Riding with the Phoenix: To Find a New Moral Imperative

Riding with the Phoenix: To Find a New Moral Imperative

by Ph. D. George E. Monroe


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Riding with the Phoenix: To Find a New Moral Imperative by Ph. D. George E. Monroe

This book contains several different levels of meaning, each with its own episodes of adventure, intrigue, and message. The levels of discourse also can be seen as various stages in the sojourn of the main character, Gregg, from simple consciousness to cosmic awareness. Several vehicles help Gregg reach his epiphanies, including dreams, meditation, coincidences, and two near-death experiences. A visit to Greece that included stops at the Delphic Oracles historic site and Agamemnon's tomb greatly expanded his perceptive abilities. While standing inside the beehive-shaped tomb, he felt he had been "slammed through a time warp to a new level of awareness," which he would later describe as "holographic awareness." The group dynamics revelation that he divined or rediscovered through intuition, dreams and meditation is certainly important enough in itself as it sheds light on many of the social ills of our day. But the real power and value of this book is that it demonstrates how one person can and does reach higher levels of awareness and being. Riding with the Phoenix provides fresh insights on and linkages to new research and understanding about human awareness. It serves as a metaphor for the increasing consciousness of the entire human species so necessary in these times of the augmenting and unresolved transboundary and transcultural dilemmas that we face.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496930309
Publisher: AuthorHouse
Publication date: 08/22/2014
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.46(d)

Read an Excerpt

Riding with the Phoenix

To Find a New Moral Imperative

By George E. Monroe

AuthorHouse LLC

Copyright © 2014 George E. Monroe, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4969-3030-9


A Treasure Lost

Nothing has really happened until it has been recorded.

---Virginia Woolf

The past is but the past of a beginning.

---H. G. Wells

A funeral triggers painful but therapeutic retrospection

It was a very hot summer morning. The sun was already high in the sky. The grass man for Budde's Funeral Home was busy covering the freshly dug earth with worn mats of artificial grass. A canvas canopy was erected beside the open grave. Racks of flowers were set in place. Just in time. The procession of flagged funeral vehicles, led by the old Cadillac hearse, was already entering the cemetery. The roadway up from the entrance was a single trail of little used tire tracks with grass growing up the middle. At the north end of the cemetery the road turned to the right and made a great loop around the upper two-thirds of the burial plots to rejoin the single roadway that was both entrance and exit for the lower third. The hearse moved slowly up the gentle hill and around the loop. At the urging of the grass man, the procession of flagged vehicles followed in close pursuit. When the last one was in the loop, the undertaker moved the hearse back onto the single lane and down the hill a few yards to the grave site. Some of the procession was able to follow. The rest of the vehicles were inadvertently trapped on the loop. People got out and walked to where the burial ceremony would take place.

Two dozen folding chairs inside the canopy were reserved for close family members. A few others were lucky enough to find standing room under the eaves. There was no other shade anyplace nearby, so the rest had to endure the boiling sun. They hoped the minister would show mercy and be brief. With the open location of the ceremony and their vehicles locked in, there was little chance for escape. It was a country preacher's dream come true.

Gregg was already starting to sweat. He always sweated at funerals whether it was cold or hot. His undershorts were starting to get wet and pinch in unhandy places. He tried to rearrange them to a more comfortable position by quick tugs he hoped no one would notice. After a long day at the office he had taken a red-eye flight east from Seattle to attend the funeral of his beloved Uncle Ray. He didn't get much sleep on the plane. An overbearing man who had too much to drink talked incessantly to the bored woman in the seat beside him. Then the cab driver that brought him from the airport turned out to be a talker. During the hour's ride he never paused for more than 30 seconds. Gregg arrived in town just in time to walk to the cemetery. He was still in the clothes he wore to work the day before. He had washed his face and brushed his teeth in the toilet on the plane. He wished he had been able to take a shower and shave.

The Funeral Director was seating the family members. In the front row, at the edge of the burial pit, he placed Uncle Ray's wife, his daughter, two sisters, a brother and the minister. Gregg was motioned into the chair behind the wife and daughter. This made him sweat even more. He really loved his uncle. Over the years he had observed the abuse his uncle and his niece had endured at the hand of Auntie Vera. Sitting so close at the funeral of his beloved uncle stirred painful memories. "She should be in the box," he thought. "It isn't fair that she drove him to an early grave and sits here today mostly thinking about what she will inherit."

As the preacher droned on, Gregg had a difficult time staying focused on his voluminous eulogizing. His mind wandered from vengeful wishes for Auntie Vera to pleasant memories of his Uncle Ray. He especially remembered the Sunday fishing trips his uncle organized. He always included as many family members and friends as he could entice to come along. It was the good times with people that he loved. Fishing was a way to get them together. When they went fishing there was always plenty of good food with cold drinks spread out on a makeshift table beside a creek or lake. Watermelons cooled in tubs of iced water were often available under insulated wraps. They were kept "until later" in the back of his flat bed truck that also served as group transportation. Usually, someone brought a guitar and started singing around a smoky campfire in the evening. Uncle Ray loved the singing. He also loved to tell stories. He constantly gathered story material from books, magazines, his own experiences, and people he met in his travels as a long distance truck driver. He especially liked mysteries and was big fan of Ripley's Believe It Or Not. In the flickering light of a campfire, he would spin marvelous (and almost believable) mystery tales. He also told some fascinating stories about his experiences when he was drafted to drive trucks for the U.S. Army in the jungles of Asia. When he wasn't telling stories or eating or singing, he wandered around and visited with people; especially the kids. He was really there for the kids. He baited hooks for the little ones. He untangled their lines when they got snagged. If lines were broken he replaced the lost hooks and sinkers. He fashioned hook removers from slender willow sticks and used them to carefully extricate hooks from fish that had swallowed them. He had a special grip for handling slippery catfish with poisonous spines and powerful jaws full of pinpoint teeth. If someone had the bad luck to catch a snapping turtle or a hated waterdog, he would cut the line and take the hapless creature someplace where it wouldn't be seen again. However, as time passed Gregg began to realize that behind the atmosphere of fun and fellowship Auntie Vera was nastily berating Uncle Ray with complaints and ridicule. She hated his family and imagined (or realized) that they also hated her. Uncle Ray would enjoy moments with his relatives and friends, only to get shot down by his wife when they were out of hearing range or in the car on the way home. Gregg had trouble believing her tears now at his uncle's graveside, unless they represented the loss of a captive she could torment.

He became aware that his thoughts about Auntie Vera were making him feel sad and angry. So he tried to change the focus of his ruminating. He tried to think of things that would distract him from the droning of the preacher. He wasn't having much luck until he caught a glimpse of something on the mound of plastic grass across the burial pit. It was green and blended in, but its quick movements from spot to spot gave it away. He strained to keep it in focus and follow its activities. When it moved close enough, he could see that it was a salamander. He sat mesmerized by this tiny green survivor with an ancient ancestry. No doubt a key feature in the survival of its species was the fact that it had developed two keen and independent eyes. They could each be rotated to provide a panoramic view of the world around it. Gregg wondered what information was within the genes of this little green creature that had enabled its kind to survive and prosper when many other larger and fearsome creatures had long since gone to extinction.

Then he noticed the grass man sitting in the shadow cast by the panel truck he used to haul the plastic grass. He was waiting for the ceremony to be over so he could pack up and head back to the Funeral Home. Fascinated, Gregg suddenly remembered that he had been a grass man once, near the end of World War II. He was fifteen at the time and looked a little older. All of the able-bodied men from his hometown were either in active military service or working overtime in civilian jobs supporting the war effort. The local Funeral Director asked him if he would put out the plastic grass for a funeral and he agreed. That part of the job was easy and kind of fun. He got to drive a panel truck to and from the cemetery. The Funeral Director was an elderly man who had come back from retirement to mind the store while his son was in the army. He didn't trust his own driving. After the funeral was over, he asked Gregg to drive him to a hospital in the city. He didn't make it clear that they would be going to the morgue to pick up someone who had recently died there. They arrived at the morgue just as an autopsy on the deceased was being completed. The naked body of an emaciated old woman lay on a refrigerated stainless steel table. Big incisions across the upper chest and lower abdomen were joined by another cut straight up the middle. The result was two huge door-like flaps that were opened wide from the center to allow unrestricted examination. The examiner randomly stuffed handfuls of organs back into the body cavity, closed the flaps, and left the room. The elderly Funeral Director told Gregg to grab the cadaver by the ankles so they could load it into a body bag. He first drew back in revulsion and then did as he was told. On the trip back to Sand Point he declined an offer to stop for a bite to eat. Later he helped to unload the bag into the embalming room at the Funeral Home. He wondered if he would ever get his hands clean again. He also vowed that it was his last day on the job.

The minister's droning seemed to be slowing down a little. He was emphasizing some points with short bursts of increased volume, either to drive them home or to wake up those who had tuned out. The salamander sat atop the grass-covered mound beside the pit and surveyed the dismal scene. Its two eyes rotated constantly, like tiny radar antennas, picking up and processing information. Gregg wondered what the wily little creature was seeing and what survival strategies were being activated from its genetic archives. He wasn't sure why he had the strong intuition that its appearance there, in that unlikely time and place, was no coincidence.

A small cloud briefly blocked the sun and made it a little darker at the scene. Perhaps the minister took it as a signal to wind down his remarks. He came to a close and suggested a moment of silent prayer. Gregg mused that bowed heads and silence seemed altogether fitting to the somber surroundings in dimmed light. He noticed that Auntie Vera was fidgeting in her chair; anxious to get the deed done and move on. "Treasures are always put in boxes and then hidden away to be lost or forgotten," he thought. "Uncle Ray is a treasure. He's about to be put in a box and then a vault where he'll be hidden away. He'll be a lost treasure in due time, as memories dim and those who knew him pass from the scene."

When the prayer ended, the minister nodded to the Funeral Director who signaled the grass man to release the brake on the mechanism that held the casket over the grave. The casket was slowly lowered into the vault. Then the grass man and a helper hooked heavy canvas straps to the concrete lid and let it down carefully onto the tar-covered edges of the vault. The squished tar would form a water-tight seal. The straps were removed and placed behind the grass-covered mound. A few family members and friends came by to toss a handful of dirt on the vault. The Funeral Director got into the hearse and drove out of the cemetery. Family and friends returned to their cars and followed behind. Gregg stayed a little while to watch the grass man put the plastic grass into the panel truck and head back to the Funeral Home. When he was alone, he said a few words to his beloved Uncle Ray and then walked away as the diggers stashed the remainder of their six-pack and moved in to fill the pit.

As Gregg was walking from the cemetery into town a car pulled beside him and slowed down. He turned toward the car and a window opened. Two men were in the front seat. The one on the passenger side called his name.

"Gregg, old buddy, is that you?"

"The last time I checked it was still me. Who are you?"

"Don't you recognize your old high school buddies?"

The car stopped. Gregg stepped closer and studied the middle-aged faces without a glimmer of recognition. Then the driver spoke.

"Dammit, Gregg. Its Lonzo Hobbs and Bill Turner. We heard you were in town for your uncle's funeral. Get in and let's go over to the Corncrib where we can talk."

"Good idea. Son-of-a-bitch! I still can't believe it's you two."

He got into the back seat and they headed for the bar. The Corncrib was a short order restaurant and tavern that occupied most of the first floor of a rambling two-story wood building. The upper floor had been empty for a long time. Gregg and his old buddies slid into a booth near the back of the main room where new Model A Fords once had been displayed for sale. The walls were covered with weathered lumber supposedly salvaged from old corncribs. A hand operated corn sheller and other collectibles sat on crude shelves or hung from randomly spaced nails. A few regulars sat at the bar, nursing their beers and talking politics. The lunch crowd hadn't yet arrived. The special of the day was corn bread and beans with sliced tomatoes. Gregg ordered the king-sized beef burger with fries and a frosted mug of beer. His buddies ordered the same. When the bartender/waiter headed for the kitchen, they turned to each other. Lonzo was the first to speak.

"Dammit Gregg, I'm sure sorry about your Uncle Ray. He was one helluva guy. It seems like a hundred years ago, but I still remember the fishin' trips he dragged us on like they happened yesterday. Lots of tasty food. Campfires and singin'. Practical jokes. And his special mystery stories. Sometimes I was afraid to go off in the dark to take a piss after he told a scary one."

Bill nodded in agreement, then started to laugh as he took over. "Yeah, the mystery stories were fun. And they always made you think. But the practical jokes were really a hoot. Remember when we fooled ol' Granny Anderson into thinkin' she was the supreme expert at catchin' fish? She was always braggin' about somethin'. That time she told a whopper about all the fish she caught once and started advisin' the little kids about how to fish the right way. We cooked up a scheme to get her to set her pole and come up by the picnic table to help with the food while we hooked a dead fish on her line. She couldn't see very well and didn't realize the fish was dead. Every time she went back to her pole there was another fish on the line. Being good and helpful boys, we volunteered to take the fish off her hook and put them on a stringer. Every time she (caught) another fish, she bragged about her foolproof method. She must've (caught) forty fish that day. She told the little kids that they should just set their poles and go away a little while and then come back and there would be a fish on the line. She was all puffed up proud and we were laffin' our asses off."

Bill broke in, "yeah, the stringer somehow got untied and all the fish got away. She was so pissed and never did know the difference."

Lonzo took back the lead. "Man, the most fun was when Orville was drivin' the truck back home in the dark after a fishin' trip. There was a bunch of people in the back and they were singin' and laughin' and havin' a jolly old time. Orville knew where someone had run over a big animal, a dog or 'coon or something, and it had been layin' out in the sun all day and got really ripe. When he spotted that carcass layin' in the road up ahead, he reached down and pulled out the choke on that old truck so the engine started coughin' and spittin' and slowin' down. Orville eased the truck to a stop right over that putrid carcass and rolled up the windows on the cab. Right away people in the back started groanin' and coughin' and holdin' their noses. Orville tried to start the truck and got it to move forward just past the carcass. Someone in the back grabbed a flashlight and shined it on the road. Next thing you heard was people screamin' and pukin' and cussin' ol' Orville. He was in the cab laffin' his ass off. Me and Bill and some of the other boys jumped out and ran down the road 'til we was out of smellin' range. Then Uncle Ray came along and blasted his horn at Orville which broke up the party. Orville drove ahead slowly and stopped up the road to let everybody get back on the truck. Later, Uncle Ray gave ol' Orville hell but he could hardly keep from laffin' when he did it."

Gregg raised his hand to indicate he had a good one to share. "This one's about high school. When ol' Virgil Bunker finally got his. He was always doin' something sneaky and then braggin' about how he got away with it. He would strut around all cocky-like and piss everybody off. He found a way to be the first one outside the building when the last bell rung at the end of the day, by sneakin' in the fire escape chute and slidin' down to the ground outside. When the rest of us came out the front door he was already on his bike and sayin' smart-alecky things just to aggravate everybody. Then ol' Max Henderson figured out how to settle him down. In the middle of the afternoon he got excused. Instead of goin' to the boy's toilet in the basement, he went outside and crawled quietly up the fire escape chute and took a crap just outside the chute door on the second floor. Virgil's system was to get one of the girls to go up to talk to the study hall teacher just about time for the bell to ring. When the teacher was distracted, ol' Virgil would quickly open the fire escape door and launch hisself down the chute. That time you could hear ol' Virgil yell 'shiiit' all the way down. We all hurried outside but ol' Virgil wasn't anywhere around. He had gone straight to the woodshed back of his house. The incident was investigated the next day. Nobody knew anything and Virgil didn't dare tell, so the principal made ol' Virgil go up in the chute and wash it down."


Excerpted from Riding with the Phoenix by George E. Monroe. Copyright © 2014 George E. Monroe, Ph.D.. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents


To the Reader, vii,
Acknowledgements, ix,
Prologue, xi,
Chapter I A Treasure Lost, 1,
Chapter II Stranger In Paradox, 11,
Chapter III Seminal Incubation, 39,
Chapter IV Beyond Illusions, 73,
Chapter V Darkness Into Light, 99,
Chapter VI Receiving Guidance, 125,
Chapter VII A Cosmic Point of View, 137,
Chapter VIII At The Vertex, 151,
Chapter IX A Treasure Found, 169,
Selected Bibliography, 197,
About the Author, 205,

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