I was seated in a type of room that looks like a small theater or a college lecture hall. Next to me was a cute young black man in a pink shirt. He needed a pen and asked to borrow mine. I gave it to him. Then later, when we went on break he saved my seat. This was a cute relationship. We were somehow connected that quick.
The room was known as jury room 2; as opposed to another similar room filled with similar people, but their room was jury room 1. I\’m pretty sure almost no one in either room wanted to be there. We were there on penalty of punishment if we failed to show up on the day of our summons. It is amazing how obedient most people are when threatened with jail. I even made a joke to a colleague about not wanting to die in jail. My colleagues had coached me to just be calm and remember I am not in control.
I suppose many of the people are like me. I got my summons about a month ago. And ever since, I\’ve been wondering how to drive to downtown Houston for an 8 o\’clock start. I\’ve been frightened as hell because I don\’t ever go to down town Houston. The fear also produced a great deal of anger that I\’m going to have to drive 40 miles to get to jury duty and quite likely not let out until after 5 pm when it would for sure take at least an hour and a half to get home.
Fear would arise over and over during quiet times and in the night, or like when running. I could feel the steam building and building. I could feel almost on the verge of panic. Then, some lesson from A Course in Miracles or a prayer from AA Big Book would come in to my mind. The anxiety bubble would pop and I\’d forget it for awhile.
I was on a jury once and disliked it intensely. I vowed never to do that again. The next time I was called, I did something to make sure no lawyer picked me; but the judge gave me such a dirty look. I don\’t think I would ever try that again.
So I\’m scared to death of being on a jury and driving in Houston; and pissed about how late I\’ll get home. My small ego is having a field day with creating anxiety and hatred. The morning of, I turn my will over to the care of whatever higher power there is, I write down my ACIM lesson and grab The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I\’ve read this book once and I know it will help me with my false anxiety.
I look at the Houston Transtar map and see an accident on the highway I was planning to take. I quickly re-plot a route that is much longer but turns out to be free of traffic. I make it to the parking garage about 6:45 and note other people sitting in their cars; as I do until after 7. Then I walk down to the basement and through a series of tunnels to the jury plaza. I hand my paper in at the window and am told to go sit in room 2.
So I go sit. I watch the power point presentation about security and how to pay for parking and how can I be exempt. I read the juror hand book. Other people come in and sit. Everybody is pretty quiet. I open The Power of Now. First I read about Tolle\’s spiritual experience. I realize that Tolle is the same as Sam Harris, a guy I know named Larry, and numerous other stories I\’ve read. He didn\’t do any spiritual work. He was distraught one day and suddenly the universe opened up to him and he knew God. I am a spiritual seeker, but the emotional mountain top hasn\’t happened to me. And these books by these people seek to teach people like me how to have this experience. However, despite the lack of a mountain top, I realized I firmly stand on spiritual intuition as the basis of my life. I get through each and every day by trusting and relying on God. Divine help is my strength. These lessons from A Course in Miracles and these prayers from AA save my emotional bacon daily.
I pondered that for a little bit. I read one of Tolle\’s techniques. I totally agree with the statements on silence. So I shut my eyes there in jury room 2 and quiet my mind. I realize that I\’m more interested in being of service to the universe than playing games to piss off a judge to get out of jury duty. How may I best serve you? Thy will not mine be done. I realize that I\’ve put my life in the hands of the universe. Whatever my spirit wants to do, I will do. I sit there in the surrendered state for a brief few moments. I had achieved inner peace.
Suddenly the bailiff comes in and stands in the front of the room. He has a funny sort of smile on his face. He says something like,\” I have an announcement which I know will disappoint all of you. We called many extra people to jury duty today because we thought we would be having an extraordinary trial, that is, it would last more than 6 weeks.\” He pauses. The room full of people takes a collective gasp, \”Oh fuck, we all think.\” \”But, \” says the bailiff, \”that case just got settled out of court. So all of you are going to be set free in just a few minutes.\” Now everyone cheers. We high five. We are jubilant. A miracles has occurred. I look across the hall into jury room 1. Those people are not clapping and celebrating. They are lining up to go to various courtrooms. In deed, in a few moments they let jury room 2 go. I am in my car and headed home, traffic free, by 9 am. And I did make it to my 5 pm AA meeting, a thing I worried I\’d miss.
But I have to tell you, I felt the miracle of creating my own reality at the moment I heard what the bailiff said. My ego didn\’t do anything. It hearkened to the ACIM chapter called \”You need do nothing.\” It was like, when my ego finally let go of it\’s plans and I achieved inner peace, another reality could arise.
When I myself quit projecting bad dreams, the world itself stops being a bad dream.