Weird experience – but useful after all!


This time I would like to share a really weird experience I had some two weeks ago. I found it weird for it’s almost identical to a scene I described in my novel ‘The Glass Dome'(www.geerthofman.comglass-dome pp 233-238). So what happened and what was the learning I finally took from it?

One night late I rode my bike home after having visited a friend. It’s only a less than 2 mile ride so that usually takes me less than 10 minutes. As I left the main street for a street in a small residential area I saw a bicycle lying on the street. Since this is not a street where cars can drive through my first thought was that some kid had left it lying there before it went inside. So I drove past it and decided to leave it. A bit further on a young man with a bike was standing in the middle of street. Approaching him I asked if all was OK. He said he wasn’t from here and that he was waiting for his cab to show up. I found it a bit weird that he would have a bike with him and then take a cab. As the taxi central was right around the corner I told him to follow me so I could show it to him. As we got there I asked again if he was OK. He said he was fine but had too much to drink at a birthday party. I asked him about the bike lying on the street and wondered if he had anything to do with it. He said he didn’t but that he thought it weird too and asked if we could go check it out. I agreed and together we cycled the 40-50 yards to where the bike was lying. I picked it up and noticed it was quite small, so not for an adult, and that its tires were flat. As I put it against one of the houses a young bloke descended the façade of another house. Of course that didn’t seem quite normal to me and I asked if the bike belonged to him. He asked me if I could show it to him, which I did but when we got there he turned very aggressive at the flick of a second and kicked the wheel of my bike and hit me. He actually dealt a blow to my head and I was flabbergasted. His kicking and hitting didn’t have much power but I was completely surprised by the scene. I stopped to see if I could help in this situation and as a result I get attacked by some youngster! I told him to stop or things could get out of hand. Mind you, I’m 6’6″ (1.95m) weigh a bit over 100 Kg and no it’s not all fat! And I wasn’t frightened. This bloke, weighing 60 kilos, must have been on dope and booze to think he could knock me out. But….he wouldn’t stop. He kept trying to intimidate me and just didn’t want to let go of me. I tried to ride away on my bike but he would pull my jacket or the bike and make me stop. And all the time he would not respond to anything I said but kept shouting orders, repeating them as if they were a mantra to him. I saw no other way out than an escalation of violence resulting in me knocking him unconscious and that is something I didn’t want to. Positive about that. I did lose my patience though at one moment. I put my bike on its stand walked towards the assailant thinking where to hit him. Immediately he backed off and immediately I recalled I didn’t want to do this. So I got back on my bike, tried to drive away and…there he was again: pulling my bike and preventing me from going home. What he was saying had stopped making sense from the beginning but now it was even getting worse. He told me he was with the police, on duty, he would call his colleagues (to which I invited him with all my heart) and he wanted to fine me for 10 or 20 euros. Now, that seemed a way out for me without getting violent. So I asked him if he would let me go if I would give him 20 Euro. 10 or 20 would do it for him he confirmed. And he was calming down. By now his buddy insisted he let go of me which caused him to get infuriated again. I showed him the 20 Euro note which he took and then they started fighting over the action. Not about splitting the loot but somehow his buddy felt it was way wrong. When I got home I started to get infuriated myself. Indeed it felt completely wrong to be attacked after offering help and then to get to pay for that privilege as well. But I managed to control my emotions and I stayed at home, trying to get some sleep.

The next day I tried making sense of what happened as I choose to believe that nothing happens for no reason in our lives and that there’s always something for us to learn. But I couldn’t. Every time I thought back of the events my adrenaline skyrocketed and I wish I could get hold of this guy, probably only to release my frustration. Not very productive at all. But I kept asking myself what wanted to manifest itself through this experience.

Then yesterday, all of a sudden, I thought back of a book that Rao Kolluru once gave me in NYC. And I knew what I had done wrong. The book is called ‘The Ten Spiritual Pillars of Business Success’. You can find more about Rao and his work here: Amongst others Rao tells the story of two brothers who stayed with a guru for some time. One day one of the two brothers, Raj, comes back from having visited the village, covered with bruises. He explained that somebody in the village was badmouthing the guru and that he had taught him a lesson. The guru said that he should have let it pass and have restrained himself. The next day the other brother, Tom, came back with a similar story. And he had let it pass with no intervention from his end. The guru asked him why he hadn’t taught the villain a lesson.

Indeed, it’s a story about the three gunas or qualities as Rao labels them: Sattva, Rajas, Tamas. Very short: balance, energy and lethargy. Immediately it became clear to me that I had stayed in Tamas during the situation, where the opponent had been in Rajas and Rajas only. I also remembered a conversation where a gentleman (a Vedic astrologer) had asked me if I wanted to retire early. As there were some indications I like to retreat. Now the experience had started to make sense. What I make of it is that I have been too much in Tamas lately, thinking it was Sattva (and, fair enough it will have been Sattva from time to time as well) But hardly in Rajas and, to be perfectly honest with you guys, that has been showing in my life for quite some time now and has been affecting the business side of things as well. But I couldn’t see it until this weird experience of some two weeks ago made me think of Rao’s story again.  I have started looking for ways to activate Rajas much more (including changing nutritional habits) and to reduce the overly present Tamas (well at least during day time :-)) It will allow me to get out and engage much more with the world than I did and change this attitude of wanting people to come to me (well, they should of course but until know they could see no reason for it. :-))

So after all this showed some great learning that I get to put into practice. Oh and looking back at the experience, I clearly see other ways (using Rajas) that would have ended the situation without having to knock this bloke in a coma. They all involve engaging with him, possibly also on a physical level and although I am aware of the dangers related to that (with all these armed people in the street), I’m even more aware of the dangers of not doing it. And indeed, I do keep on believing that the best way to avoid troubles is to walk away from these situations. But when that is not possible and appeasing doesn’t have any effect it is better to engage.

All love and blessings,