It had been a week since Don Pedro and George Dixter had driven to see me at the coffee shop in Kendal. It seemed a distant memory. The seven days had been filled with a fury of puppy duties, and I seemed to be buried in a never-ending cycle of monitoring and walks, at all times of the day and night, as Tess got through the thirteenth week of her life.
Towards the end of the week we had a breakthrough. The previous guarantee of car sickness began to abate, as long as we put her in the back seat and kept the expensive dog crate in the car boot out of the equation. We’d have settled for trotting alongside the car, to be honest, we were so relieved to think that there was light at the end of the car problem.
And so it was that, with Bernie at college, once again, I decide to risk all and drive Tess and I to Grange for a walk along the sea front. It was the time of year for the very high tides, and the previous year’s had been spectacular. I drove slowly, checking that she was okay in the large and floppy dog bed we had sourced from the local market in Kendal. It had a waterproof lining, so, if disaster struck, I could use the vast cleaning kit in the boot to clean things up. We were getting very used to mopping up.
Happily, she wasn’t sick . . . a bit of slavering, but otherwise fine. Passing Grange station, I sighed with relief that normal-ish journeys were becoming possible. Arriving at the main car park, I made a big fuss of her and fitted the lead so we could go walking on the very deserted promenade. She didn’t like the strong wind, but seemed content to be outside the car and in the fresh air.
I thought about the year that had just passed. The initial meeting with Don Pedro now seemed prophetic, as though it marked a portal that had been waiting for me. One of my favourite sources of esoteric knowledge is Gurdjieff, and he always maintained that a genuine desire to probe deeper into the spiritual life prompted a kind of response from the world – our own world. He called this response ‘magnetic centre’ – a reference to how the right things are attracted to the seeker in such situations. Those things may not be right for another; but they are appropriate for the person at the centre of that world.
Things had moved so quickly after that meeting. My initial impression that he terrorised Maria Angelo, the waitress at the Sunrise Cafe, had given way to a realisation that they were constantly involved in a ‘theatre of the moment’, playing out a deadly serious game of gesture and response – and all at a much deeper level of meaning than that normally engaged in by two people. There were no textbooks in Don Pedro’s world; it was all teaching in the ‘now’.
I considered the picture of Tess and I walking along the promenade, under the dark clouds and in the buffeting winds. I looked at Tess, all floppy and spontaneous, and wondered if Don Pedro had seen something similarly ‘young’ in my attempts to be superior to him on that first, cold morning?
The idea of a true self had been at the heart of everything that had happened between the four of us. It had come as a shock that what we view as ourselves is really a hierarchy of reactions, a composite ‘me’ that takes over selfhood from an early age. This process is, of course, necessary – without it we would never be strong and competent in the world; and yet this ego, and its undoing, is the start point for the true spiritual journey home.
We reached a point where there is an open level crossing on the Lancaster-Barrow railway line. I urged Tess though the white gate, checking carefully before we ventured onto the tracks, her tail wagging, furiously, at the new terrain.
I thought about the puppy analogy, again. It is uncomfortable to come to accept that you don’t know things. It is even more uncomfortable to feel the peeling back of your worldly self in the interest of what lies beneath. That hardship, that pain, is the reason so many people chose a path filled with imagination rather than the simple truth of their own lives. There is nothing wrong with imagination used creatively; but I had found out the hard way how it is used by the ego to suppress the truly spiritual search – which must begin with honesty about oneself. My suspicion is that this can only be given by another. We cannot see ourselves, but our ego reacts when others do . . .
This, then, had been the substance of the year. And added to that, when we had gone through the early stages, had come the ‘trials’ of trust. To believe that we exist in a caring universe is not a a popular view; and yet it is at the heart of so much of the ancient wisdom. Perhaps it is something we can only learn bit by bit.
Tess and I climbed the steep hill towards the town centre. I was quite excited at the slim possibility of seeing them again. We had made no plans, but Maria Angelo worked in the Sunrise Cafe and there was a chance that my adopted mentor, and fellow student, might me there.
We turned the final corner to arrive at the cafe.
It was closed. A small sign on the front door said they were taking advantage of the winter to re-furbish the interior. There was no indication of when it would re-open. I was about to leave, when I saw the envelope. It had become sodden by the rain. On it was the ‘circle name’ that Maria Angelo had given me . . . Lobo.
The Coffee with Don Pedro stories are taking a break. The Silent Eye School is experimenting with a variety of styles of publishing. One of the formats we are looking at is that of the graphic novel. Sue Vincent and Stuart France, my co-directors of the Silent Eye, have just published their first such book, details below:
Mister Fox cover
The Don Pedro stories will be published in a similar format in a few month’s time. The cover for part one is below. Sue and I will be working on them after the Silent Eye’s April workshop.
Thank you all for your interest and support
Coffee with Don Pedro is usually published on Thursdays. The previous episodes, some of which are labelled ‘The Beast in the Cafe’ are in the blogs. You can follow the enigmatic trail by clicking on this link.
All images and text ©International copyright, The Silent Eye School of Consciousness, 2015.
Contact details and an outline description are on the other pages of this blog and via the website at www.thesilenteye.co.uk