Your Car Will Get You Home

This is a story about—what—active grace, grace in action? In any case, an email to a friend, in it’s entirety:

There were so many people wanting darshan from Mother Meera that the Sedona organizers had to put together three separate sessions and you had to book which session you wanted—you couldn’t go and hang out at the other sessions, there weren’t enough seats. There were three sessions, one on Tues afternoon, another on Tues evening, and the last on Weds afternoon. I booked the Weds darshan, figuring I’d drive up on Tues and then relax from the drive (I didn’t want to be buzzed from the drive and then go in for darshan right away) and camp out.

So I drove up Tuesday morning, just under a 4 hour drive from here, found the Creative Life Center just to make sure I still knew where it was, and then headed up Oak Creek Canyon to the campsite I’d reserved. When I got to the campsite I just about crapped—my space was right on top of a group of eight that was complete with a bunch of screaming kids and tattooed skinheads drinking beer at noon. I pitched my tent, crawled in, and laid there thinking that this really wasn’t what I wanted, this really wasn’t the experience I was looking for. When I was planning the trip I looked at Sedona area maps and tried to find some kind of back country camping area, and there was one area along a forestry road that looked promising on the map. But since I was worried about the condition of the road, which was dirt, and especially since there’d been a fair amount of rain, I decided against trying the forestry road in favor of the Oak Creek campsite. I laid there in my tent and thought again about that road, which was about 15 miles from where I was, and decided to go exploring—hoping to find just about anything that was better than where I was.

I headed off to go exploring, leaving my tent for the time being. I eventually found the forestry road after a bunch of false starts, and drove maybe six or seven miles into the country that looks out over the back side of the rock wall that’s behind Sedona. I was just following my nose, but I kept getting a strange pressure on the top of my head, so I just followed my nose and the pressure until I came to a pullout on the road that went back into the bush maybe 200 yards or so. I drove in, got out of my car, and immediately noticed this overwhelmingly loud hum—I thought at first that it might be some kind of machinery or vehicle, but then I realized that I could divert my attention from it and hear the sounds of the insects and the gravel under my feet, so it wasn’t a machine, and it wasn’t physical. On top of that, the view was spectacular—all of the backside of the rock wall across the valley was lit up with the sunset. I stood there and thought “this is it, this is what I was looking for.” I jumped back into my car, drove back to the campsite in Oak Creek Canyon, packed up my tent and got the hell out of there and headed back to the hilltop that I’d found. When I got back the sun was just about set, and the hum was still there and still overwhelmingly loud. I started to set up my tent, really happy that I was where I was, when suddenly I heard and saw a bunch of steam coming out from under my car hood. My radiator had sprung a leak along the top! Great! But there was nothing I could do about it until the morning so I just relaxed into the moment and enjoyed where I was.

So I sat on the top of the hill overlooking the rock wall, ate my dinner, and watched the sun set and afterglow, and then headed back to my camp site and watched the stars come out, all the while surrounded by the enormous hum that only went away when I consciously diverted my attention from it. And all the while I had this pressure on the top of my head and the sense that the whole universe was there with me. And I laid on the hood of my car and watched the stars come out, and the Milky Way stretched from wall to wall, horizon to horizon—I hadn’t seen it that intense since I left Canada. Every now and then I’d get up and walk around, still in the hum, still immersed in the universe. At one point, as I was standing looking at the stars, I started noticing one, then two, then several delta shapes moving back and forth in the sky in front of me. They looked like iridescent semi-transparent sapphire blue delta-wing stunt kits, maybe three to five feet from wing tip to wing tip, not large at all. They moved back and forth in the sky in front of me, appearing and disappearing, for some time. And then they stopped. My reaction was one of love and gratitude towards them, for showing themselves to me—but I have no idea what I saw.

Some time later I was again lying on the hood of the car, watching the stars to the south slowly move across the sky, when an orange globe slightly above the southern horizon caught my eye. At first I thought perhaps it might be a plane since there were a lot of planes in the sky, but it never moved; then I thought it was a star or a planet, but it never moved with the rest of the stars. I noticed that it appeared to be a larger orange globe with a smaller one directly below it; I further noticed that I could only see it if I looked at it in the right way. It appeared to stay fixed on the boundary between the black/dark blue of the night sky and the aura of the earth’s energy field, and the only way I could see it is if I looked at both the night sky and the earth’s energy field simultaneously: if I looked at just the night sky I couldn’t see the orange globe; similarly, if I looked just at the earth’s energy field I couldn’t see the globe. It never moved, it never did anything, it just sat there for maybe twenty minutes or so, and then, as I looked at it, it suddenly disappeared. I finally went to bed some time before midnight, still hearing the hum; I woke up once during the night, still in the hum, and looked outside but didn’t see any more “visitors”.

In the morning I packed up and limped my car back into town to try to find some radiator stop-leak, and maybe someone to fix or replace my radiator. The NAPA auto parts store finally opened at 8, and I bought two large jugs of stop-leak and a gallon of coolant, and was told by the owner that according to his records the closest radiator that would fit my car was in Los Angeles, and wouldn’t get to Sedona until Friday afternoon (this was Weds morning)– which would have meant spending Weds, Thurs, Fri, and probably both Saturday and Sunday, in a motel waiting to get my car fixed on Monday. That wasn’t exactly acceptable, so I dumped the stop leak and the coolant in my radiator and hoped for the best. After driving the car around for 30 minutes or so the leak stopped, so I was feeling fairly confident, but I still had to get it home to Tucson 230 miles away.

Since my darshan wasn’t until 1PM (actually 2, but they wanted people there early), and it was only about 8:30 by the time I got the goop in the radiator, I decided to go hiking and headed up Boynton Canyon for a couple of hours. After that I drove over to the Creative Life Center, pulled into the shade under a tree, only to see steam pouring out from under the hood once again. I popped the hood and sure enough, the thing had opened up and was spraying coolant all over the place: there was no way I could drive it back to Tucson like that. But I had a darshan to go to so I let go of my car problems for the time being and went into the Center. A whole bunch of Tucson folks had driven up, some on Tues, some on Weds, and I met with some friends there, one of whom is a pretty good mechanic who just happened to bring a long a friend of his who works as a mechanic. I told them my car story and they said they’d follow me back to Tucson if it looked feasible (or to my mother’s in Phoenix if that worked out better) but in any case we’d all take a look at the car after the darshan session was over.

So I took a seat, Mother Meera came in shortly after, and the darshan started. I sat there and meditated for about an hour, then came down enough to start thinking about my car again, about the possibility of getting as far as my mother’s place (maybe 100 miles or so from Sedona), about the possibility of getting it all the way to Tucson, etc. And as I was sitting there thinking about all that I suddenly heard a woman’s voice—no one I recognized—say “Your car will get you home.” I did a mental “huh, what was that?” and the voice repeated, “Your car will get you home.” As I said, it wasn’t a voice I recognized, and I’d never heard Mother Meera’s voice (the darshan is in silence), so I assumed it was either her telling me my car would be OK, or it was my own wishful thinking.

After everything was over we went out and looked at my car, at the crack in the radiator, and decided it might be worth the gamble to try to get it at least to my mother’s in Phoenix, if not back to Tucson. So we started out, me in front and the two guys and their wives following me. We stopped and bought four gallons of water just in case, and then headed down the road towards Phoenix. I drove along keeping my eyes pinned to the temperature gauge the way I’d watch my speedometer if I had a cop on my tail, and every time I’d start to worry I’d hear that voice telling me that my car would get me home. There were a couple of steep hills on the way back, one fairly short—less than a mile, and another that’s about three—four miles long. I made it up the first one with just the slightest rise in the temp gauge that settled back down once I got to the top, so that was a good sign. But I was worried about the long hill—if anything was going to do me in, it would be that one. When I got to it I kept my speed down, didn’t try to push the car up the grade, but I could still see the temp gauge rising some. About the time I started to worry I noticed that the sky had grown dark overhead, and the next thing I knew it was raining—not everywhere, just on the hill that I was climbing. The rain soaked my car and cooled the engine back to normal, and when I reached the top of the grade the rain stopped as quickly as it had begun. And I heard the voice saying, “your car will get you home.”

After that I just drove, and the car stayed normal to cool, and I made it to Phoenix and thought, “what the hell, go for Tucson”, and as I drove past the exit for my mom’s place I phoned her to let her know I was going for home. And I drove all the way to Tucson without stopping, and the car never faltered, and it got me home. Amazing. There’s no way that should have happened. That was 230 miles on pure grace.

Monday I got a new radiator in the car.

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