The sun was actually shining—a rarity this spring in Vancouver. I imagined having my early morning cup of coffee and going to the ocean while the sun was still out. My wife, Ann, had a different agenda. Get the chores done. Then play. First on the agenda, the police record check that I had put off for two months. On the way, I realized that I hadn't quite come to terms with the agenda shift. The MOOD descended. This is the point at which an enlightened person would invoke The Witness, and cut The MOOD off at the pass.
Instead, I'm standing in line at a police station on a slow burn, wondering what the hell we did before there were police record checks. How did we ever manage not to hire axe murderers, I'm thinking to myself holding ticket number 76 waiting in a lineup and not walking on a beach with a sweet caffeine buzz. The nice young woman is asking for two, count 'em, two pieces of "government issued ID". I'm half way there, with my driver's license, which doesn't even come close to impressing the young woman. Yep, you guessed it, back home for the passport. It's only a 20-minute drive, but the back and forths add up to 1 ½ hours of not walking on a sunny beach. And I'm feeling it, all the way home and back. The Witness gone officially gone awol, or better yet, entered the witness protection program, safe from my simmering rage.
Next chore. The bank. A simple deposit. In and out. Then, the beach. Well, the officious young bank teller notices that the cheques are made out to me personally and not to my business. Never mind that this has been happening for the last 18 months. The problem was that one of the cheques, I later discovered, exceeded the limits of this teller's authority to deposit. She sought out her supervisor, who sought out the manager, who sought out official word from the central office in Toronto, who came to the same conclusion as the teller, twenty-five minutes ago. I was neither friendly, nor understanding by this point. But ever resilient in the face of evolutionary challenges, I thought of a brilliant solution. I'd open up a personal chequing account, and then immediately transfer the money to my business account. And in the process have the pleasure of screwing this ridiculously bureaucratic banking system.
Yes, I could do that I'm told, but I'd need to talk to the account manager, who would be available in 20 minutes. Thirty-five minutes later, I'm sitting across from another young woman who insists on calling me Mr. Bruce, despite having my single, government-issued piece of ID which shows that my last name is clearly Sanguin. After the fourth "Mr. Bruce", I show her the license and tell her that my name is Mr. Sanguin. I'm trying breath work at this point, but it's not working. I can feel a virtual cascade of hormones—not the good ones—flowing into my blood stream. Gun control was made for moments like this.
Forty-five minutes later, the account manager escorts me back to the teller, informing on the way that the transfer to my chequing account will take at least five business days. So much for my brilliant solution. So, that's the morning. I look at the sky and notice the clouds are starting to roll in.
I arrive home in a sweat, wondering if enlightened masters like Ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, Adi Da, or Eckhart Tolle, do their own banking, or ever have to deal with police record checks. I mean what good is Witnessing consciousness if you're never pissed off enough to truly test it?
I calm down over lunch. The phone rings. It's the police. They need my fingerprints, because I'll be dealing with the elderly and children. "Why", I ask as calmly as possible, "did you not get my fingerprints while I was there this morning—twice." The young man (and everybody these days is younger than me in case you haven't noticed) tells me that I left too quickly. I've had it.
I ask him if it isn't true that the man processing me earlier was in training, and that he handed me the receipt for $95.00 (a tax grab for the city), thanked me, and told me to have a nice day. He says yes that was true, and yes, it was possible that the trainee made an error. "Why" I ask, "would you therefore imply that this was my error?" In any case, the peace officer replies, we generally need fingerprints in a situation like yours. "Generally", I snap back, or "mandatorily"? "Sir, you need to come back and be finger-printed." My wife suggests that we get in the car and do this immediately, or it might never get done. I refuse. I did eventually get to the beach. The clouds stayed away. I aged ten years.
This is where the evolutionary spiritual path is tested, in the trenches of a partner who has a different agenda for the day, cumbersome bureaucratic systems, employees in training who just happen to be at the end of the line you've chosen, and overly scheduled lives. I failed spectacularly.
This piece was originally published at Bruce's blog.