The once strapping bodybuilder of a young man was now a portly middle-aged socialite
with a full head of white hair and large thick well-groomed white beard. Samuel worked
as one of the top neurologists at the college by the ocean. He liked working at the
college. He could walk everywhere, and he thought the campus was a beautiful
environment to live and work in.
Samuel spent half his time teaching and inspiring young eager minds about the brain
channel and the other half involved with research and clinical trials. Samuel loved being
in the lab conducting research, discovering new and exciting things. Then telling people
all about what he discovered. His current object of study was the ever so popular topic
of human choice or freewill.
Samuel was feeling distraught by the results of his current field of study. According to the
data, as humans develop, they form mental images of who they are, based solely on
personal and cultural conditioning. Much to Samuel’s chagrin, he was discovering that
people are identifying with something created by an unconscious phantom self.
Much like believing that you are a ray of light when you are the sun. Or a wave when
you are the ocean.
Samuel grew up passionately inspired by the understanding that life orbited around the
mind being the most amazing thing in the universe. Lately, Samuel began wondering if
the mind might be the most dysfunctional thing in the universe, constantly thinking about
past and future ad nauseum. The incredible thinking machine it never stops.
Samuels clinical trial hypothesized that choice or freewill requires a high degree of
present moment consciousness, awareness centered on the now. That is why Samuel
was left scratching his head going over the clinical trial data. It appeared that the mind
was not capable of present moment consciousness.
Judging by the data, the mind misperceives the now. The mind sees the now by looking
at the past then projecting into the future. Samuel understood that freewill did not play
into that equation. That equation was called conditioned reasoning.
What Samuel was observing from his clinical trial was that the actions people engaged
in were not part of any conscious choice. In case after case Samuel was discovering
that people were unconsciously going through life according to the conditioned patterns
of their mind. This engrained thinking was driving people’s choices. The conditioned
mind appeared to be running our lives.
Samuel’s freewill predicament got him to wondering. Was it possible for people to make
choices not identified with the mind? After all, if people are acting like automatons that’s
not choice or freewill. Samuel needed to discover a way into the essence of who a
person really is. And why did everyone seem to be in a state of near constant thinking
concerning past and future.
Samuel did what he always did when struggling with a project. He did something else
completely different to distract him from thinking about it. Samuel went his desk top
computer screen and called up some colleagues.
“Hey what are you doing? Want to meet up at Dr. VonRipski’s? Yeah, I know. Tell me all
about it. Anyways rendezvous in an hour say.”
A glass octagon studio, constructed from wooden framework painted white, worn
ragged from years of weather abuse. Nestled precariously atop the towering cliffs over
Black’s Beach. One got the sense of floating over the ocean when you looked out
through the immense windows. Dr. VonRipski himself an enigma was never around, but
a few select individuals had access to the retiring abode.
Inside the studio, a big beautiful towering rock fireplace, several large comfy green
couches scattered about. Before one wall of windows sat a black wooden bar with
leather highbacked stools and an antique cork dartboard. Before another wall of
windows, a burgundy felt pool table and several graphite pool cues lined up.
Dr. VonRipski was a botanist as evidenced by the plethora of very strange plant and
flower arrangements nestled around the room. The smell of jasmine wafting lightly in the
The one expensive item in the studio was an esoteric sound system connected with
silver interconnects and a weird looking vacuum sealed phonograph player. Classical
music played regularly however depending on the age of the crowd and hour of the
night all sorts of worldly music could be heard. Standing outside the studio one might
think live music was being played inside, it was that good.
Samuel sprang into the studio on what was turning into a crisp cool night. The sweet
salty air combined with the crackling of the fireplace produced a relaxing aura of easy
comradery and soft laughter.
Tchaikovsky played sumptuously in the background. The gathered crowd was a
refreshing mix of women and bearded men, mostly professors. A few bright honors
students and local business folk mingled amongst the august gathering. Samuel made
his way over to his friends at the bar.
“Did you read the latest article in the Journal Nature by Dr. VonRipski.” A bearded man
said to a woman dressed like she just got back from Hawaii, all florals and bright colors.
“Oh yes, that was so interesting.” Said the woman in flowers sipping on something from
a coconut. “I’ve actually been to that place. What do you think of my dress Dr.
VonRipski gave it to me. I thought he would be here have you seen him?”
Samuel’s ears perked up, he confronted the couple looking surprised. “What, what
article was that? I didn’t know Dr. VonRipski published again. Was it any good, what this
time? Damn he’s fast, he beat me yet again.”
“Oh, yes hi Samuel,” said the bearded man. “It was about a pheromone meditation
retreat in Big Sur. People practice brain training by using pheromones. They believe
that you can train the brain to a state of no mind. Through pheromone triggered total
acceptance and nonjudgment of the now.”
Samuel wondered if such a state was possible and it intrigued him to imagine what life
would be like without thinking. Just a state of being. Samuel felt suddenly gripped by an
intense flashback. He sunk into one of the bar stools and closed his eyes to ride this
He was standing in a very long noisy line waiting for bagels and lattes in a small beach
side café. He was feeling stressed out and agitated waiting in line when he noticed this
person just standing there grinning.
“How in the hell do you seem to be so eerily peaceful right now. It really kind of bugs
me. I mean honestly you seem to be just radiating inner peace right now just look at
you. Are you humming, meditating, chanting what is that?”
The grinning person replied. “Want to know the secret? Like attracts like.”
“I walk around like an idiot; my mind is so empty.”
“What are you talking about,” Samuel asked frantically pulling at his beard. “These kids
running around like banshees are driving me crazy. That lady at the front of the line
talking and laughing with the person at the cash register as if none of us are waiting in
line behind her, driving me batty. I mean my god what is wrong with that lady, there’s
like ten of us behind her and she’s carrying on a conversation. And now I’ve got you
here talking crazy.”
“Calm down,” said the stranger. “Now just take a deep breath. It’s the negative thoughts
in your mind that you are choosing to identify with, that’s the only thing that is crazy
around here. It has nothing to do with that lady, this line, or the kids, and everything to
do one hundred percent with only you. Life reflects what’s inside of you.”
“Don’t tell me to calm down,” Samuel snapped. “Just look at that woman she is being so
rude to all of us behind her. It isn’t right she should be told. And what kind of parents
just let’s their kids run around like this? None of them should be allowed to be parents. I
“Woe, woe their partner,” said the stranger. “Just listen to you. Right now, your negative
mind is completely controlling you. Don’t you see, you are just reacting to what your
mind has conditioned itself about waiting in lines. Which is apparently a lot of frustration.
Let me guess you’re used to getting what you want when you want it and you also grew
up with very strict parents I’m guessing.”
“Forget this,” Samuel started shouting. “MISS ah MISS, at the front of the line, yea you
Miss Chatty Kathy. HEY, do you mind the rest of us would like to order. Your being very
rude to the rest of us. Very Rude.”
“Man, your out of control,” said the stranger laughing. “Just look at you, your acting
completely insane. You asked me why I look so peaceful. I’m trying to tell you. It’s all
about learning to dissociate from your mind.”
“You’re a lucky guy that this doesn’t bother you,” said Samuel running his hand through
his hair, fuming mad. “But seriously, I have no idea what you are talking about right
now. But hey good for you, more power to yah. I guess ignorance is bliss hey.” He
patted this person on the shoulder.
“It’s not ignorance,” the stranger said gently placing a warm hand on Samuel’s shoulder
talking softly as if to a child. “In this insane world, being conscious without thinking, is
simply the only logical conclusion. That is if you want to live with inner peace. You must
learn to surrender to what is without any uncertainties.”
“I think I’m more of the, do not go gently into that good night type, but hey I’m still open
to learning. After all I wouldn’t mind having some of what you have right now.” They
Samuel thought maybe this person was what he said he was, walking around like an
idiot his mind is so empty. As a neurologist, Samuel has worked with people largely
unidentified with the mind. People with brain trauma or genetic disorders like down
syndrome. Many of whom seem genuinely happy or peaceful doing whatever.
Samuel’s head came up from the bar and he snapped back out of his dream like revere.
He shook his head and sipped at his drink, hum interesting. I should find out what this
is, he thought. Drink in hand he rejoined the couple still talking about Dr. VonRipski.
“How long was I out?”
“What? You just sat down at the bar, are you alright Samuel you look a little peeked?”
Bright and early next morning Samuel was at his desk. Sitting in his small office
listening to the radio when suddenly a voice on the radio caught his attention.
“When you are surrounded by other people at this level it feels really good.” The
classical musician was being interviewed on air for the public broadcasting station. “You
know we truly work so very hard to get to this level of excellence. Practice, practice,
practice. It’s just feels so great to be here with all the other certainly talented musicians.”
“What on earth is she talking about,” Samuel shouted out in dismay. “How arrogant can
you get. Oh, we are so great because we’re so talented. We are better than everyone
else. We work so much harder than everyone else. Those are called god given gifts for
crying out loud what is wrong with you.”
The professor in the office next door heard Samuel shouting, not unusual, but he came
over just to see. “What did you say Samuel. Were you asking me something or just
talking to yourself again. You know I think that’s weird.”
“No what, what, no. I’m just trying to figure out why people can be so arrogant so full of
themselves it annoying.” Samuel pulled and twisted at his beard then looked up at his
colleague. “Tell me professor if your so smart, what are some things people can be born
with and have no control over. And I’m not talking about diseases today. That virus thing
is behind me. I mean things which would lead a person to believe that they are better
than everyone else. Even though they had nothing to do with it, although they might
actually think somehow that they did.”
“Well that’s easy Samuel, good looks like mine,” said the colleague laughing.
“Well let’s see. You can be born into a rich powerful family. You can be born with natural
sheer physical strength, born smarter then everyone else, born to be amazingly
beautiful like me. Oh, yeah and born to be incredibly gifted at things like music, math,
art, dancing, athletics. The list goes on, why what’s this all about Samuel? Is someone
telling you how great they are, and you disagree yet again.”
“Maybe, this time it’s more like what is the mind telling us,” said Samuel looking glassy
eyed. “And what or who is telling the mind. You know, we recognize talent as something
people are just born with. You either Mozart or you’re not. It doesn’t matter how hard
someone works or studies at it. Life can be very black and white that way. We recognize
that we have no control over these things. Well at least not yet we don’t maybe
someday. But anyways…”
“Yeah, so what Samuel. Some people are just born lucky, so what’s the point?”
“Well you know. It just makes you wonder if choice and freewill operate in the same way
as god given gifts you know, out of our control. Let’s just say for a second that people
have no control over their freewill then what does that make us as a species?”
“Well Samuel I’ll tell you what it’s not. It’s not called freewill just by definition if we have
no control over it. However, if you have discovered empathetically that we have no
choice or freewill in our lives then that might account for something. Hey, did you just
prove that everything is connected. We are all one with the universe, cool man.”
“Seriously… Stop messing around. People make choices based on the lives and
genetics that they are born with that’s fundamentally true. But, what if true natural
choice and freewill are actually not of the mind? Then how does that work?”
“Well once again Samuel that’s easy, you’re talking about the spirit now. Old school
stuff mind, body and spirit. Look you figure it out and let the rest of us know OK. Hey,
you going to that party tonight, Dr. VonRipski’s I love that place.” Samuel mumbled
something, the colleague walked back to his office.
Samuel took a deep breath and began pouring over his notes and research on the
clinical trial. The results kept pointing to a few startling facts. One was that people seem
to be living their lives doing what they’re being told to do by their constantly thinking
minds. The rambling mind appears to be controlling through a lifetime of learned
reactive patterns or conditioning. Literally generation after generation, humans react to
certain situations because that is how our mind tell us to react to that situation.
The genetics we are born with and the environments in which we are raised contribute
greatly to how our mind learns and makes decisions about how to respond to life
situations. The problem Samuel saw in all of this was that it is all one hundred percent
out of our control. So, who or what is calling the shots down here on old planet earth.
Samuel felt despondent. Choice and freewill don’t mean anything. People can only do
what they are made to do and can only react or respond to life how they are told by their
Samuel spent the rest of the day drafting notes about the clinical trial into a report. He
felt depressed by the whole thing and knew that he would be happy to put it behind him.
As the light outside began to fade Samuel tidied up his desk, finished for the day. He
was more than ready to spend some quality time mindless talking with people over adult
Samuel strode purposefully over to the cliff top studio. He took a deep breath of the
fresh ocean air and walked inside. He was happy to see some people he knew and
walked over. They were deep into conversation talking as people usually do about other
“Oh, hi Samuel,” said a fellow colleague. Samuel ladled some bone broth infusion into
cup and drank thirstily. “Did you hear about what professor Franklin has been doing in
his free time.”
Samuel listened intently to a tirade of judgements as they poured forth about professor
Franklin. Samuel felt lightheaded and a cold sweat broke out over his forehead. He took
another long pull from his bone broth infusion and his head cleared. Samuel set his cup
down. He liked to use his hands when talking.
“You know when we judge someone we are actually recognizing ourselves in that
person. Or more specifically that person is bringing up something that we see inside of
ourselves. Hence the judgement. If that person makes you angry it is because of the
anger inside yourself. Or if that person makes you uncomfortable it is the
uncomfortableness within yourself that you are feeling. And so on and so forth.” Samuel
was pulling at his beard looking glassy eyed.
“Yes, Samuel what is it this time,” said a fellow colleague. “I know life is a reflection of
what’s inside of us, right! Isn’t that what you always say. If you come across three
assholes in the morning guess what you’re the asshole.” Laughter broke out.
“I have no doubt of it,” Samuel said and ran his hand through his shaggy sandy blonde
hair. “No, my friends, there are no judgements to be made, because we are in fact, all
equal. All one hundred percent equal, all part of the same system we call life. None of
us can do anything about it. People only think they can because their mind tells them
that they have choice or freewill. Why because their mind tells them that they are
separate. The mind has fooled us all into thinking that we are separate.”
“Total acceptance and non-judgement of the now. Right Samuel? Please spare me the
new age psychobabble.”
“We can only hope to empty our minds and flow through life. Look it makes sense, our
minds are conditioned by our past. The mind only tells us what it has learned over
generations of evolution. And our emotions are just our bodies response to what the
mind is thinking. Emotions can’t help us with choice or freewill. Only by going beyond
the mind and experiencing present moment consciousness can we understand the true
essence of ourselves.” Samuel was looking at his friends who were starring back at him
blankly, shaking their heads in dismay.
“Well Samuel your truly depressed aren’t you.” A fellow colleague finally spoke up. “You
know what they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.”
“Meaning what,” responded Samuel eyeing his colleague suspiciously.
“Simple my dear young professor Samuel. If you want to know what life is like beyond
the mind then join the dead my dear brother otherwise you know what they say, get
busy living or get busy dying.”
Samuel staggered backwards before grabbing and raising his glass. “Amen I’ll toast to
that. Say have you noticed lately that there’s no minds and no bodies around.”
Meaning what,” replied the laughing colleague.
“Well simple my dear young professor. I don’t mind, and you don’t matter.” With that
Samuel bid his adieus and strode purposefully back to his office. He had a new
research and clinical trial to write up.
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