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Private: Acquiring the Motorhome Presence - Michael Joly

Private: Acquiring the Motorhome Presence - Michael Joly

There is a twenty six foot, 1977 GMC Royale motorhome living on Cape Cod called “Presence”. I named it Presence for two reasons. The first was to give a tip of the hat to Eckhart Tolle, and the second –– it takes a great deal of Presence to be the owner of a classic 40 year old motor coach.

Eckhart Tolle is a contemporary spiritual teacher most well known for his best-selling books “The Power of NOW” and “A New Earth”. He speaks and travels widely and co-hosted, with Oprah Winfrey, a web based video series based on “A New Earth”. This web series was described by authors Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal in their book “Stealing Fire” as the largest spiritual gathering in the history of the world.

The message Eckhart delivers (he, like all true spiritual teachers is emphatic that he is a messenger and not the author of the message) is that we can transcend our normal state of mind that is so often filled with problematic thoughts that make us suffer. Simply stated, Eckhart teaches a concept of Presence –– of being intently aware of the present moment while consciously letting go of thoughts. The result of doing so is to be vitally alive and “aware of being aware”, to sense one’s true essence identity –– consciousness, free from egoic identification (job, title, gender, personal history, future strivings … ). Why would one want to practice being in a state of Presence?

Because it feels good, and these good feelings of peaceful joyousness are our birthright. In other words, one would want to be aware of, and practice Presence because it lessens the sufferings that arise when we become identified with our thoughts –– when our egoic identity runs the show. And further, something remarkable happens as Presence is increasingly experienced in one’s life. Life seems easier, more synchronistic and is propelled along by a power not of our own making, the power of, and inherent in, the NOW.

I purchased my 1977 GMC Royale from the commercial landlord of my boutique studio microphone workshop in Hyannis, MA, Bill Anderson. Bill is a lively octogenarian who’s full of stories. Some of his most entertaining are stories about being a marine helicopter pilot in the Korean war and his subsequent piloting adventures. There is a story about Ethiopia, it’s legendary emperor Haile Selassie and gold smuggling that I have still not gotten a straight answer about.

In 2015 after I returned from getting “beamed” in Frankfurt, Germany (a sort of satori experience that changed my life as I’ve written about elsewhere) I looked on Bill’s GMC motorhome with new eyes. He had put a “For Sale” sign on it a couple of years earlier. He and his wife Audrey were no longer using it as much as they had been in previous yeas and it was time to find a new caretaker. 

As part of my life change underway at the time (wrapping up a failed marriage, selling my house and liquidating my recording studio) an insight occurred to me –– I could buy Bill’s classic motorhome, live in it, and tour recording studios around the country with my “girlfriend” Lucy (a Yorkshire terrier) my $30,000 collection of classic Neumann microphones and have a grand time comparing these classics to my own, much more affordable mics.

Insight provides impetus, but rarely manifests in the exact form one imagines 😉

So I bought Bill’s reasonably well-maintained motorhome in April of 2015. But I didn’t realize I was buying a teacher of Presence that time and time again, to this day, would challenge me to develop my capacities to trust, be patient, be aware, be grateful, feel abundant, ask for help and most challenging –– to accept the “is-ness” of the moment.

When I park Presence, emerge from its side entry door and glance back lovingly over my shoulder I don’t see a twenty six foot, 6-wheeled, two tone (brown and tan) spaceship on land. I see a being, one of my “brothers”.

This idea of a machine-brother needs some explanation. I’ll tell you about walking my daughters Zoe, Coco and Eva to school and spotting my “brothers” in the trash, on the street, in Boston’s South End …