Prague, as reported here, was a delightful whirlwind of jet lag, no sleep, spending time with the Czech team, meeting translators, co-hosting L/L's first international event, and spending time with over 30 seekers. At the conclusion of the event Sunday night, our responsibility was to squeak in a few hours sleep, because the next morning we were bound for Salzburg, Austria! (Well, technically Bad Reichenhall, Germany.)
Day 1: Monday, Oct 15 (Day 5 of our trip)
Jim, Austin, Trish, and I woke Monday morning at our Airbnb where we were soon met by one of Prague's most spiritually enlightened citizens, at least one of its biggest hearts, Vojta of the Czech translation team. Super pro that he is, Vojta lead our party of five to the main train station. There we were met by Karin (of tribe Asheville) who had scooped up Misha (the Belgian French translator), growing our party from five to seven.
Sweetheart Romi was also there to say goodbye and ensure we got onto the train station. Both he and Radim were very kind in helping to get some of the departing attendees to the airport Monday morning. I miss those guys.
Tired though we were, Austin, Trish, and I were so stoked for the coming journey on a train. A real European train! The kind you read about! The kind you see in movies! And it would be hours long. And it would be traveling through the Czech and Austrian countryside. What heaven did we land in?
As the compartments could accommodate only six bodies, five us took one compartment, and two of us-Trish and me-took another that was unoccupied. Trish and I faced opposite of one another with a window between us, a glorious window to worlds we had never seen. And how wonderful it would have been to gaze outward the entire journey, indulging the eyes in wonder, but fate would have it that we were joined by two articulate Peruvian women, and two parties of two people together in a shared compartment eventually begs conversation. So it was that we could not devote our full attention to the passing scenes outside the window. (Which, funny enough, happened to Trish and me when we took a train from Cusco to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu in Peru during our honeymoon. We were paired with a chatterbug and couldn't look out the window.)
Exchanging information with others, however, is not without redeeming value. They were kind and gave us a fascinating window not to the Czech countryside but into life inside Peru. We learned that it is easier to keep things clean in the USA (we do take great pride in our multi-surface cleaners), and that communists are much to blame in certain political instabilities. Did you know that the past four consecutive Peruvian presidents are jailed? Four!
Upon arriving at the Salzburg main train station, our seven-human party grew by two more as we met the pants-averse, blonde-haired and bighearted giant known as Thomas Florian Dopfer (he would be in shorts for the next four days), and the soft-spoken, kindhearted and quick witted Nadine Konzack.
This partnered couple were friends of the German translator Jochen Blumenthal. Somewhere in the months leading up to Prague, they proposed creating a video for L/L Research featuring Jim, Austin, and me talking about the Law of One. Nadine is a professional videographer and would volunteer equipment and boatloads of time filming and post-producing. Sounding like a win to us, we agreed and worked closely with her and Thomas to develop topics that we could explore, and to plan the logistics of lodging and moving 11 people while creating video in the span of 2.5 days.
Eleven people? That is because once our nine-person party left the Salzburg train station and reached our lodging of three nights just across the German border, we were met with the final two of our party: Jochen Blumenthal and Matthias Galke. When we arrived just past sunset, Jochen was there with Matthias waiting outside of our cars. Over five years of working with him from a distance and now the moment of a full embrace. There is no substitute for a meeting in the physical. And we were very eager for this meeting.
Jochen is a pioneer in the L/L world. He began as a volunteer translator six or seven years ago and then proposed a licensing partnership whereby he would be empowered to translate, print, and publish German translations of L/L material in Germany. And five years ago to the month, he formed Das Gesetz des Einen Verlag (Law of One Publishing House). Later, he teamed up with Misha Deschreider (the French translator) to incorporate French into the publishing house, forming Maison d'édition La Loi Une d'Edition de La Loi Une. Jochen was the final and ninth translator we would mee.
Matthias is a German teacher of yoga. Like our Australian friend Garry Fung, he is very quiet, preferring, I believe, the role of observer over speaker. He has read a good portion of the world's library (more on that later), including the Law of One books. He is also a friend of Jochen's who really wanted to meet Jim.
We were now at full strength with 11 of us split between MountainFloat and a nearby German home. We couldn't see our surroundings well, so we got settled in and gathered at the dinner table. On the first floor of the home was a corner room with a low ceiling and stone floor. One side of the room featured a kitchen, the other side a long, sturdy, solid-wood table with wooden chairs on one half, and a wooden L-shaped bench connected to wall on the other long and short side. Charming as could be, the house had a very old feel. 500-years old, to be exact. 500 years! (Except perhaps for remnants from a Spanish settlement in Florida, there is no building still in use in the US from five hundred years ago. British colonists did not arrive until the early 1600s, and those colonists ensured that little would remain of what native North American populations had built---though I don't think they built much with stone or other more durable material anyway.)
The proprietor, a pleasant fellow named Volker, made us all a lovely dinner, after which Jochen revealed a small surprise: he presented everyone with the first French printing of Secrets of the UFO, a gift to both Misha and L/L Research. We all signed the book and toasted the occasion. Then had a meeting to discuss some of the do's and don'ts of filming. (Do: speak confidently. Don't: pull the camera up to your face and shout "I'm comin for you!" Unless you're filming for WWE.)
Day 2: Tuesday, Oct 16 (Day 7 of the trip)
Organizing 11 people to move in sync. This takes some time. But out we eventually went, first to pick up a new mic because Nadine's had broken, then Nadine and Thomas took us to Konigsee inside of Berchtesgaden National Park where we . . .
But wait, the first event of the day was to glory in our surroundings. We were in Bavaria! We were in the ALPS! Or at least one corner of them. Holy shit. The Alps, particularly the Swiss Alps, are a hiker's Mecca. In another life, I would spend my days traveling the planet hiking mountains and all places of non-urban beauty. (And in between hiking, reforesting the planet, cleaning up the oceans, ending fossil fuels, transforming our criminal justice system, implementing green technologies, making healthcare a universal right, Etc. I would stay busy.)
Our destination was chosen for this video because Thomas had set his heart on being near the mountain known as Untersburg. This mountain and its surroundings are something of a new age hot spot that attracts the attention of shamans and seekers with lore of magic and the paranormal. And for reasons unknown to me, the Dalai Lama also called it the "heart of the world."
Our lodging was on the other side of Untersburg across a broad valley with beautiful-looking German homes and businesses nestled in the folds of the hills, alternating between rich green open spaces and trees.
Now back to Konigsee, a lake situated in a German national park that is the closest we've come to experiencing a fjord, flanked as it was by steeply inclined mountainsides. To call it gorgeous would be an understatement. The air was dry and crisp and the leaves, mostly orange, were bright with fall colors. Love was in the air.
My head was way too full from all the planning and execution of the just finished Prague event, along with the details of this new event, that I hadn't really preloaded my brain for the upcoming interview. I could only do what Austin and Jim were doing and consult the heart, hoping that years and years of study and distillation of this material would come out somewhat coherently in front of the camera.
We found a few spots alongside the shimmering lake for filming. Jim spoke about densities and sexual energy transfer, Austin about harvest and the veil of forgetting, and me about will & faith and polarity in consciousness. We had a stack of index cards, each of us choosing a topic we wanted to speak on. Nervous. Tense. What the h-e-double hockey sticks am I going to say? How am I going to talk to a camera? ---These were some of the thoughts going through me. I am a LOT more comfortable with a keyboard in front of me. In person, I am often tripping over my words, or saying too much, or too little, or not in the "right" way. Austin had a tension going into it as well, but once we got going, it eased up for us, though it never got easy. Jim, on the other hand, seemed natural.
While we filmed at the lake, Jochen and Misha were at the small cluster of shops a 15-minute walk back at the start of the trail. They have had a blossoming partnership for years and, thanks to this occasion, were able to meet in person for the first time. Another thread of joy in this group adventure.
We tried moving forward to do a little more filming near a waterfall, but that involved walking across a series of rocks in the water, then a little scrambling on the side of a rock face to get to a dirt trail. Jim is still very agile and physically able, but his body is also 74 years old, so he thought it might be wiser to avoid taking that risk, and we returned to regroup with the rest of our party and head into town for our first dinner in a German restaurant.
One of the secondary objectives of this event was to cultivate friendships with important friends, and times like this gave us the space to do. At dinner I sat next to Jochen and shared in a great depth of discussion about our personal paths, about L/L and, the coming office in Asheville, and other fun topics. Jochen has a very interesting personal history, having spent years living as a monk and ascetic in ashrams. He loves the contemplative life and its rituals of chanting, praying, and meditating.
I also got my first time with Matthias who blew my mind when he told me how many books he reads per week, and how he's been doing that uninterruptedly for 25 years. (The math turns out to some ridiculous number, like over 10,000 books, I can't remember.) He shared with me his years-long, epic passion project nearing completion. He is writing a comparative analysis of the Law of One, synthesizing it with other pieces from various fields in his studies. It is in German, so I could only revel in his explanations of the chapters as he scrolled through them on his tablet.
Day 3: Wednesday, Oct 17 (Day 8 of the trip)
Our final day together was devoted again to filming. We woke to another Volker-prepared breakfast, then got ready to film. There was no need to leave our lodging this time. Perched on a mountainside, it had expansive views of the valley below, and lots of color to offer due to the variously planted flowers on the property.
In arranging for this event, I had suggested that we get more people on camera besides Jim, Austin, and me, particularly Misha, Jochen, and Vojta. They could speak of their spiritual journey, the role of the Law of One in their lives, and their experience of translating the work. Translators have a very unique relationship with the material that Austin and I sometimes envy. Translating causes one to scrutinize and question word choice and syntax in a way that may never occur to the English reader.
Fortunately, they accepted the invitation. Trish, however, did not. She preferred behind-the-scenes support. And support she was. Both she and Karin were able to serve on Team Misha in helping her with mobility and other needs, including taking Misha into Salzburg to see the birth place of her beloved composer Mozart. Misha, a professional translator by vocation, has freely gifted L/L and French readers with more translations than anyone. It was a great pleasure to be able to help say thank you through this adventure.
So Nadine and Thomas got the translators Misha, Vojta, and Jochen on camera, and then we headed off to "heart rock." This is a rock the height of an average person that sits by itself off a path in a nearby German forest. It is so named because there is a cavity in the side of the rock that is roughly shaped into the classic image of a heart. Into this cavity water collects. What was interesting were all the offerings that visitors have left for the rock, including shaping another heart on the ground of various smaller rocks. It gave an enhanced air to the experience, and there I spoke about the heart chakra, Jim about uncondiontal love, and Austin about the energy centers altogether.
And then, back to MountainFloat where we did the final filming, Jim speaking about meditation and reincarnation, Austin about catalyst and healing, and me about wanderers. Each of us also spoke to what the essence of the Law of One for us (man, give me a keyboard, please!), and something of our journey. Then the three of us got together for a shared intro to L/L. It's a funny look, actually---we're mostly shaded against a bright background, so our faces don't come out well, and we're sloping downward on an incline, i.e., Jim lower than me, me lower than Austin. But, most L/L productions are usually a little rough around the edges, nothing too polished. This was true for my own part as I struggled to adequately speak what in writing I do effortlessly.
And then our third and final dinner, this one in Salzburg, with more great conversation and bonding time with old friends and new.
On the final morning, Austin and I received a generous mini-workshop from Nadine about recording and editing video. Then we said goodbye to Matthias and to Mountainfloat, and the remaining ten of us converged in Salzburg. We split between two cars and took a gorgeous drive through Bavarian Germany to Munich, Nadine and Thomas's hometown. We shared a final dinner there together in an open-air courtyard, and the following morning Jim, eager to see his kitty cats, flew home to Louisville, it being his tenth day away. Austin, Trish, and I flew to Rome to meet with the Italian translator following in Jochen's footsteps, Gianluca, and his lovely partner, Inla. (Our weekend in Rome will be the next installment.)
In the days following our time together, Nadine and Thomas went straight to work. Nadine organized the videos into 21 segments, each on a different topic, and began constructing her process of post-producing. She crafted great graphics for introducing each person, and then selected all the places where quotes and pictures and music would be inserted. Meanwhile, Thomas began a diligent search to find supporting quotes from the Law of One to splice into the video sequences. And in this and other ways their volunteer efforts continue as they give L/L their labor of love.
We give thanks to everyone who helped make the event possible. From Matthias serving as boom operator, to Vojta contributing photos, additional video footage and music, Karin serving as was Misha support, boom operator, and interview coach, Jochen giving music for the video, transportation, and interview, Trisha serving as a driver, Misha support, and logistical arrangements, Misha for being herself, charming us all and lending her story to the camera, and especially to Nadine and Thomas who put in gobs of time working with us to plan this event, then film it, then months of effort in post. Thank you, everyone!
Like the seven consecutive days of filming for what would become the transcript book Tilting at Windmills, this recording was all done in one shot-no redo's. There are definitely times that we stumble (at least I know I did), but hopefully it will lend some authenticity to the video. We're not slick. We're not enlightened beings. Just plain seekers sharing some of the fruits of our own study, and hopefully shining some not-too-distorted light on the Law of One. And hopefully having no visible nose hairs.
Increasingly video is becoming a primary means for information sharing and learning. L/L Research has infinite amounts of text (I'm not helping . . . ), but little in the way of video. This video sequence was designed to address some of the basic topics of the Law of One. Not to be comprehensive. Not to be advanced. For the newbie doing a search, or "stumbling" along, our hope is that it may offer some seeds that may alert them to the Law of One, if indeed that is what their soul is seeking.
One learns when meeting vibrationally resonant other-selves that it takes little to form bonds. Conversation, shared meals, and extended time is enough. Beautiful settings certainly enhance it. But a shared project in mutual service to one another, and to a collective goal, is perhaps among the most potent means of forging and deepening friendships. We all really just enjoyed each other's company. We are very lucky and very grateful for the experience.
And, oh, in what settings. Mountains everywhere we went, some snow-capped. And a stunningly crisp, clear, blue October sky. Daytime temps were perfect, neither cold nor hot. And, in fact, we learned that the Germans name different types of weather or pressure systems. The one responsible for the unseasonably warm mid-October weather was named Lisbeth.
This, however, was not the only synchronistic connection to Carla Lisbeth Rueckert. The other most prominent one occurred at the very start of our journey. As Trish, Jim, Austin, and I drove to the airport to depart from Louisville for Europe the week prior, I noticed a license plate on the car in the next lane over from us. It read "RUCK". This was one of Jim's nicknames for Carla. And minutes later as we pulled into the departure lane of the airport, a hawk circled overhead.
She would have loved to experience this. And she did, in each of our hearts.
Jochen introducing the first printing of the French OVNI - Les Messages (Secrets of the UFO) to Misha and Jim. Then revealing the rock hammer carved into the book a la Shawshank Redemption.
At our first night's dinner. After the photo our smiles returned back to scowls.
Misha outshining the mountains behind her
Bing and Bean. Future home in the background.
First filming of the project. Right off the side of the road! Good spot for bathroom breaks and recording information from higher dimensional beings about the unity of all things. Either or.
Nadine and Thomas are at the camera. Karin holds the boom. Jim seduces the camera.
Jochen and Misha walking at the start of Konigsee after their recent bank robbery
Jim caught for a split second before he drove out of view on his motorcycle
The stone path to the waterfall Jim thought it wiser to avoid. We lost one of our party here. Never heard from them again.
Our new friend Thomas at one with the environment
Austin contemplating the mystery of how he got there
Nadine and Vojta setting up the camera for the DVD extra: miniature Jim, Gary, and Austin
This tree is now ready for graduation thanks to Jim's beaming investment
Looking at the valley below from our mountain lodging. By the looks of it, vaping is popular here
In the doorway of mountainfloat and heaven, local hot pretzels notwithstanding
Vojta filming with mountainfloat behind. Scarf + cat = show stealer.
Misha didn't think she'd do well. Then put us all to shame when she melted the camera with her charmpowers
Jochen taking his turn opening his heart and German-accenting his way into yours
Some of the team at heart rock cafe, I mean, heart rock
Next incarnation: this flower
Austin on film in a setting that almost looks make believe
Fuzzy because they're dreamy. Not the mountains. The guys. Duh.
Our talented, hardworking, videographer duo! Nadine and Thomas.
7 out of 11 in one pic. Squared, that's a nice chunk of love/light. Not bad.
With love, your three bozos, Austin, Jim, and Gary.