The Trip to California

john, being national chairman of the American Society of Test Engineers during the mid eighties, would attend a technical conference in Anaheim every year in January. john decided to fly out a day early to enjoy the weather.

Sunday morning he awoke, spent some time meditating, and then out of the blue called a Zen center. He had never visited one and was interested in learning more about mediation and Buddhism. To his surprise, the center was happy to send someone the 35 miles to pick john up.

john spent about 1 1/2 hours talking, by interpreter, to the Zen master. john was then asked to stay for lunch, which he did. He then was driven back to Anaheim.

Since john had the rest of the afternoon free, he decided to spend it at the swimming pool at the Marriott. He took a book to read: "Zen To Go" with him to the pool. There was no one else at the pool for the next three hours and john was certainly enjoying his quiet time.

Finally, john decided that maybe it was time to get cleaned up and go to dinner. He gathered up his towel and book and walked across the pool area. Just as he was reaching for the gate, suddenly(!) off to his right, a flower girl, ringbearer, bride and groom, all dressed in white, were coming through a patio door from the hotel lobby. They were all in slow motion!!! After john recognized what was going on and that they were probably headed for a reception area near the pool (although no preparation had taken place), he turned his head forward to leave.

This is when john found himself looking at a flaming tree just in front of him. He was looking at the golden trunk of the tree with pulsating veins! This trunk was of pure gold and was the most beautiful thing john had ever seen! There was NO TIME! john and this trunk were just one entity within this timelessness!

john has no idea how long he stood "on point" with this tree, but was embarrassed when he came out of the encounter. He felt that hundreds of eyes must be watching him from their balconies above.

As a result, he dashed to his room as quickly as possible. He was not shaken, but was still in total awe with what had just happened to him. He could not explain it. He called the Zen center and asked if what had happened to him was "enlightenment". The answer from the Zen master was: "not close". No other explanation was given.

John isn't sure what happened to him that day. He does feel that it was the first time he had ever really looked at anything and he found it was absolutely beautiful!