The Heart of the Matter
June 17, 2011
Cliffhanger in Brighton

stallone-cliffhanger.jpg

In 1994, I flew to Brighton, England, to attend a 2-day event with Maharaji.

Having seen him many times before and knowing how life- changing time with him can be, I was seriously pumped to be going.

Waking up bright and early on Saturday morning, I made my way to the hall, got on line, and took my seat.

Maharaji, as usual, spoke with great eloquence, humor, and passion, cutting to the heart of the matter -- a great beginning to a series of talks he'd be giving over the next two days.

When he was done, the MC announced the lunch break and informed everyone that the evening program would begin at 5:00 pm.

Perfect! I was really hungry and wanted to find out if the food in England was as bad as people said it was. So I found a few friends and invited them to join me for the fish and chips in a quaint little pub only minutes away.

When I returned to the hall at 4:30, there was already a long line. I found my place on the end of it, chatted up a few locals, and began the slow and steady shuffling forward to the entrance.

Then the line stopped.

cliffhanger-1.gif

"The hall is full," an usher announced to no one in particular. "There are no more seats. Come back tomorrow."

"Tomorrow? Come back tomorrow? Dude, I just paid $650 for a round trip ticket to England! I just took three days off work! No one told me there was even the slightest chance of not getting in. This is insane! Who's in charge? Let me talk to someone with a walkie talkie! There must be a way to get in!"

My pitiful internal dialogue continued, in full stereo neurosis, for the next ten minutes, me alternately blaming the program organizers, the ushers, my pub waitress, "them," the entire country of England and, ultimately, myself for apparently having too leisurely a lunch.

And then... I remembered.

I remembered what Maharaji had been teaching me in oh so many ways since I first met him many years ago: how to let go... how to enjoy the moment... how to go beyond the chattering monkeys of my mind and enjoy the divine play that is only ever happening NOW.

"Hmmm," I thought to what was left of my self, "I actually have the entire afternoon off in jolly old England. No job. No bills. No responsibilities."

As I exited the scene of my mini-meltdown, I could see, just a few hundred yards away, rising up to the sky like some kind of cinematic mirage -- eight movie theaters.

I scanned the marquee. Four of them I'd seen before. Three didn't start until evening. But one... one was just about to start -- Cliffhanger, starring Sylvester Stallone.

Hey, why not? The joke was on me. And though I hadn't quite begun to laugh, I could definitely feel a smile coming on.

So I bought a ticket, some popcorn, and took my seat (believe me, there were plenty to choose from).

For the next hour and 53 minutes while Maharaji inspired, uplifted, entertained, cajoled, held forth, waxed poetic, and reminded 5,000 people what life was all about -- I sat in a darkened movie theater watching the former star of Rocky I, II, III, IV, V, and VI battle the bad guys, under impossible conditions, high in the Rocky Mountains, trying to save the day.

It was totally surreal.

There I was, 3,476 miles from home, sitting no more than a few hundred yards from the most amazing person I'd ever met (Maharaji, not Stallone) and was totally enjoying a movie I wouldn't have chosen to see in a thousand years.

PS: I got to the hall very early on Sunday morning.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at June 17, 2011 12:53 AM

Comments

From Nothing
To Everything
Through disambiguation
By M-Theory;
What a mess,
What a joke,
What a cliff.

Posted by: Alain L [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2009 10:05 PM

how very FUNNY! ~ as in ha! ha! funny ~

but, in a way,

not, ha~! ha~! funny.

i saw conan the barbarian as i walked to the miami convention center, but then i saw Maharaji. big movie buff in those days.

Posted by: Jaimo [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 5, 2009 11:24 PM

wow, what a riot. i was in the same theatre with Conan as well.

Posted by: Jaimo [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 9, 2010 09:41 PM

that is really funny, thanks for sharing Mitch.

Posted by: lor [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2010 03:13 AM

Nice reminder - we are not always in control - and as many of us used to say in the '60s, "Go with the flow," and as Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, "Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God."

Posted by: j bhutu-ji [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 10, 2010 12:32 PM

I remember seeing that movie in a theater by myself as well (there was no way I could get my wife to see it). Wasn't bad if I recall. I liked the woman from Northern Exposure who co-starred.

I once flew all the way to LA in 1977 but arrived at the Shrine Auditorium just after the event ended. And I wrote a check for the flight with not enough in the bank to cover it. The trials and tribulations of the ultimate fulfilling life ;-0\
Happy 1971-2011

Posted by: Bookman99 [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2011 10:55 PM

Ah..memories..I had a similar experience in Brighton at the 5 day event..turned out..we actaully needed an "afternoon off"..as we were really jet lagged.. altho we didn't see a S Stallone movie..we took the time, sat in a cafe overlooking the sea in the sunshine..and thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.
Those were the most amazing 5 days of my life!

Posted by: Valorie Berman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 17, 2011 12:43 AM

in summer of 1978 or so, i decided i needed to go to a program in Phoenix, Arizona. it was about Sunday or Monday and the program was the following Sunday. since i was in Miami, Florida, had no car and no money, my only choice was to hitch hike. it took me 5 days just to get out of Florida, after several very unpleasant incidents along the highways and byways of the Sunshine State, and, as the program began in Phoenix on Sunday, i arrived in San Antonio, Texas, with another 1000 miles to go. i didn't make it..... did someone say something about 'what you are looking for is within you'??????????????????

Posted by: sanfranciscojim1 [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 20, 2011 01:05 PM

I definitely would not have been so serene. Mo'fos.;-)
Just got back from Brighton. happy to report no hitches, beautiful program, top notch master, just bad weather. But what a funny place.
A carnival on the edge of the water (the pier). Great metaphor.

Posted by: Jean-Paul Peretz [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 27, 2011 05:26 PM

My God I felt sick just thinking about how I would of felt if I had traveled all that way and not got in!

Well done for getting over it prince!

Posted by: Pamela Smith [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 1, 2011 03:49 PM

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