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a Needle in an Outfield"
(excerpt From Magic Mike
book) Looking For Magic In America Or, How I met The
Dalai Lama of Tibet "
Copyright 1997 Magic Mike Seattle, Wa.
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The cork and pinwheel
thing always stuck with me. I was six years old. My dad tried to make a
paper pinwheel spin on a needle in a cork, that was under a jar. You had
to do it with your mind. It was 1953 in Philadelphia. It was shortly after
that that my four year old brother lost his hearing aid earpiece. My dad
offered a $5 reward to us to find it. The new hearing aid had just cost
my dad a months pay. It was getting dark and it was lost in a place where
three outfields in the park met back to back, so the lawn area was large.
It got darker. I felt pressure of time.
Four of us had been at it an hour, with
no luck. I just sat down for a breather, braced myself with my hands behind
me, down on the grass, and felt something small and hard UNDER THE PALM
OF MY RIGHT HAND! It could have been a stone, but I knew immediately and
without doubt that it was the earpiece, about the size of a nickel. I laughed
to myself as I closed my fist around it, KNOWING
what I would discover as I brought it up for a look. There was a magic
moment when I realized that the mind could do anything if there was certainty. I decided I wanted to study the powers
of mind further. During that same period, the kids in the neighborhood
would try various methods to fly like Superman. We tried running fast and
jumping. It never worked. Then I realized from somewhere within, that it
was by sitting still, in a pyramid shape, with the mind in a perfect state,
that would unlock that power. I had been showed the library by my mother
the week before. That Saturday morning, while my parents slept, I went
to that library on my first solo bus trip.
I got there before the library opened.
I had to wait for an hour, until 9 AM. I was sure the ancient knowledge
was there for the looking. But when I described what I wanted, the librarian
thought I was talking about magic when I said, "Where's the old books
on how to fly and turn invisible?" She sent me to the game section
where magic books were. Neither of us knew the word metaphysics in Philadelphia
in the 50's. Hey, I was only six!
Disappointed, I took 10 books home on
close-up sleight of hand, and mastered a couple of stunning card tricks
in less than a week. I tried them on my father, and the adults and kids
in the neighborhood the next Saturday, at a break in the ritual, all-ages,
box-ball game, that we played on weekends in the alley between the row
houses. When I saw what marvel and wonder it created, I took a vow to myself
at that age of 6 years old, to always provide people with a little magic
and sense of awe, so that people would not take reality for granted.
Since four years old, I had been slipping downstairs at night,
when my parents were asleep, to watch TV late night movies. I always knew
that I would meet The Dalai Lama one day, since seeing the Frank Capra
movie Lost Horizon on the late show, that same year. Years
later, when I was 25 years old, I remembered what I was looking for while
trying a meditation practice I found in a book. A year later, in February
of 1973, I found the Tibetan Book of the Dead and knew again
I would meet these teachers. For the next six years, I pictured a large
well tended lawn, on a hill. I started looking for that hill in April of
1974. I felt it would be out West and I left Pennsylvania, looking for
the right place. I went to Colorado where I helped start a new FM radio
station, and a year later to Oregon. I went back to Colorado a year later,
and then back to Pennsylvania. I was running a radio station in Scranton
for 18 months when I felt the time was near and I left for the west coast
again in 1978.
After I began to perform magic for a
living, and I saw the total solar eclipse in the Spring of 1979. at the
replica of Stonehenge, along the Washington Columbia River. It was supposed
to be a cloudy morning, but I deduced that it might be clear on the east
side of the Cascade Mountain Range if most of the clouds would be held
back by the cold of the morning peaks. The eclipse's totality was at 7:50
AM, so I left for the two hour drive and got there at 7:30 AM. The stone
monuments were in a field on a western plateau overlooking the Columbia
River. There was one big cloud covering the sun.
I tried to start mentally burning a
hole in the cloud and saw that a small break might drift over in time to
see totality. I started to smile as a man saw the "I Believe In Magic"
button I had, with stars and a comet and said, "If you believe in
magic, get rid of that cloud!" I said, "I'm working on the problem!",
and just 15 seconds later that hole broke, just as totality totaled! The
valley below began to ripple and shimmer as rarefied light, sparse rays
escaping between the mountain peaks of the moon, played with the land and
our minds. I remembered stories of the past, as the pale yellow glimmer
rekindled old tales and genetic memories. I felt Antiquity! And I knew
it signaled a big change about to happen.
In 1979 I heard on the radio that The Dalai Lama was in the country for the first time.
I traced his visit to a stop in Seattle. I drove 300 miles, to a building
at Seattle University, where I observed the lawn on the hill as I walked
to the entrance.
Tibetan lamas came out just then, and asked us to use their camera for
a picture with The Dalai Lama who came out a moment later. We took their
picture. This photo was taken an hour later. The next evening I met the
Lama to the left of the Dalai Lama and he invited me to come two days later
where I was introduced to The Dalai Lama and shook his hand. That has happened
seven times over the last 16 years, at teachings in Vajrayana Buddhism
I have taken in Seattle, Wisconsin, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and San Jose.After my Bar Mitzvah, I began to study Christianity.
I studied Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Catholic teachings.
In college I studied Upanishads and Hinduism. After college I gravitated
to Zen Buddhism, Hebrew Kabala, and The Tao of Physics.
I realized that the most complete teachings available
on ancient knowledge, uncorrupted, without a break, was the Tibetan system
of Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism. That's when I started looking for Lamas
or Rinpoches to study with. In 747A.D. The Buddhist magician Padmasambhava,
who wrote The
Tibetan Book Of The Dead, wrote of fourteen future Dalai Lamas, predicting
that: "When iron birds fly (planes) and horses go on wheels (trucks/horsepower),
the people of Tibet will scatter around the world like ants, and the teachings
of the secret dharma will come to the land of the red man."
I recommend these. They are all five star caliber.
Land-My People, The Dalai Lama (Most Highly Recommended-Magic
Buddhism : Vajrayana Practices by Kalu Rinpoche (Vajrayana - Diamond
: The Self-Perfected State by Chogyal Namkhai Norbu (Big Sky/Mountain
teachings), (Most Highly Recommended-MM)
Path to Freedom : Practical Instructions on the Union of Mahamudra and
Atiyoga by Karma-Chags-Med, Rinpoche Gyatrul, B. Alan Wallace (Translator),
Karma Chagmei (compassion teachings),
of Voidness by Geshe Rabten (Sunyata-emptiness, void teachings),The
Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation; Or, the Method of Realizing NirvANa
Through Knowing the Mind by Walter Yeeling Evans Wentz, W. Y. Evans-Wentz
(Editor) Evans-Wentz, (Most Highly Recommended-MM)
Yoga and Secret Doctrines - Evans-Wentz, (Most Highly Recommended-MM)
of Tibetan Mysticism - Lama Govinda, (Most Highly Recommended-MM)
Way Of The White Cloud - Lama Govinda
Way of the Bodhisattva - by Shantideva,
In The Land Of Snows - by Jamyang Sakya (my dear friend since 1979),
(Most Highly Recommended-MM)
Tao - by Lao Tsu,
Tao of Physics - by Capra. (Most Highly Recommended-MM)
Three Levels of Spiritual Perception : An Oral Commentary on the Three
Visions (Nang Sum of Ngorchen Konchog Lhundrub)
- by Deshung Rinpoche (Kunga Tempay Nyima), Sonam's previous incarnation(Most Highly Recommended-Magic Mike)
Customer Comments - Customer Review of this book.
Chuck Pettis (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Seattle, Washington , August 9, 1998 A
comprehensive view of life, death and enlightenment I have read many spiritual
books in my lifetime. This is the most comprehensive explanation of life,
its purpose, karma and how to attain enlightenment I have ever seen. Not
light reading, this book not only provides detailed information on meditation,
worldly existence, suffering, the rarity of human birth, and the law of
karma, but provides powerful meditations and spiritual practices to help
us increase our capacity for love and compassion and to improve our ability
to concentrate free from thoughts, so as to attain insights and ultimately
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