Archive for the 'theft' Category

Taking something back, or sharing?

March 19, 2014

There’s this spiritual story about an adolescent who really feels strongly that a grown man has stolen from her her jewels.  He feels equally convinced she has robbed him of something equally valuable, namely, something required to maintain his stature and status in the community.

So how to restore equilibrium?

There’s an attempt, which doesn’t succeed, in which he returns something and she returns something, but they both accuse the other of returning a false approximation of what was stolen.

There are attempts at partial returns, there are empty promises, there are claims nothing was stolen — lots of adversarial attempts to restore without actually completely participating.

In the meantime, they are each using some “ill-gotten gain” from the other to try to maintain themselves.  They each end up in situations in which they are ill-equipped in some way, and this does not serve the greater good, either.

A lot of the trouble reconciling was probably a trust issue — “If I give to you, will you really give to me or will it just be throwing good money after bad, as they say?”

So here’s how it got resolved:  they both were agreeable with sharing with a disinterested third party, and through something like the mathematical transitive principle or something like a concept of mixing cooking ingredients, eventually they both ended up with a portion of what they felt they were missing.  What they shared with the intermediary included the “stolen good,” and through sharing with the intermediary, they had access again to what they considered the good stolen by the other.

Footnote:  disinterested third party did not have an easy time of it, as they were often treated as if they were actually the other person in the dispute.


Roast beef sandwich

November 28, 2013

Jordan looked at me sheepishly this morning and said he had something to apologize to me for.

He had eaten a roast beef sandwich he had bought for me.

He had gone out with friends after class yesterday, and at a restaurant they ate at, had ordered a sandwich for me as take-out.  On his way home, he had stopped at the home of a friend he’s known for ages, who was home on break from college, and he stayed there into the evening.

He got hungry while he was at the friend’s house, and “there wasn’t anything to eat,” which was plausible, not so much because of want but because of what I might call “food issues,” so Jordan ate the sandwich he had with him.

I told him, that despite the fact that he doesn’t agree with my “karmic nonsense,” I was going to tell him how this was actually great news to me in a way;  my nagging issue that some guy “done me wrong” and took from me something that was mine, had been reduced to my child eating a roast beef sandwich because he was hungry — that scenario didn’t bother me, and, he was apologetic about it (not to mention aware of what he had done — and he said he plans to get me another sandwich).  I have a very strong sense that this pattern of feeling wronged by a guy who doesn’t give back, and takes advantage of my having given to him first, is a very old pattern for me, or possibly for someone I have been helping (I do think I help people clean up their old and difficult karma when they get too stuck).  When the pattern reaches an innocuous iteration, it’s like the last ripple of a wave, or the boat getting close enough to the dock that one can step or jump out onto terra firma.

So I am quite happy, in a way, to hear about my missing roast beef sandwich.  I like feedback that progress has been made.  I feel like I have successfully let go of something that was impeding me, finally.  And I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving

Stolen paintings

November 3, 2012

I forget whether I’ve mentioned this before, but someone I know recently picked up from her lawyers’ office some paintings returned by family members as the result of a lawsuit, I believe.  And it turns out they’re not even the right paintings, the specific paintings in dispute.

Having been to the Isabella Stewart Gardner this past week, stolen paintings were also on my mind — those blank frames are so sad, the museum is such a well-crafted and unified aesthetic whole that their absence has repercussions to the experience of what is still there.

But as I was doing yard work this afternoon, it occurred to me that in the spiritual version of this, it’s not that specific paintings — that is, visions or insights — are missing, even though some of the participants complain as if that were so.  It is that the ability to see has been lost.  If it was lost due to the consequences of damage inflicted by someone else, perhaps the participants view this as its having been stolen.  But the good news is that it’s not like stealing particular objects or particular crafted art or even like stealing someone’s glasses.  The ability to “see” again can always be restored, it’s not something finite and able to be permanently removed.

So stolen physical art is a material loss, disappointing and painful.  But the mystical analog of art, even if it misplaced or temporarily difficult to locate, can be regained and without needing the cooperation of any thieves.

Lost and resolved, cont’d

November 21, 2011

I had a large number of old LPs (and CDs) stolen from me about seven years ago, and even now I sometimes go looking for an album that isn’t there anymore, as I did this morning.

(I have some replacement CDs, both for albums and for missing CDs, though not for Willy’s collection, because I don’t know exactly what was in it, besides Ian Bostridge and Shostakovich and African disco music and the Kinks.)

I’ve also discovered other music through people I’ve met since I lost all those recordings, and maybe music is a little like love in being available in the universe in infinite supply.

But there’s something that still makes me grimace every time I look for something as if it’s still there and it turns out not to be.  I go back for the song in a way that reminds me of going back to pick up a stitch in knitting, or something, and when it’s not there, I end up trying to accept that altering the pattern must be appropriate  as a general proposition, not just because someone has interfered with my things and I feel forced to.  I think the note I shy away from sounding is that I object, even if my objection is like one of those empty cries in the wilderness.