The Menlo Park conference was over at midnight. A young man asked me, “I heard you live in Berkeley. Could I get a ride with you to the Oakland Navy Base?”
“I don’t know that area,” I answered. “Can you guide us there?”
The ride was slow because of the dark and the pouring rain, but we quickly discovered a shared enthusiasm and the miles rolled by. Suddenly my rider said, “Turn right at the next light,” then we were at the Base gate. A few more turns, and without prelude he thanked me, jumped out of the car and dashed for the barracks door.
“Wait!” I cried. “How do I get out of here?”
“There’s only one way out. You can’t get lost.” And he was gone.
Now what? I had no idea how I got here. I tried to remember. It was 1:30 a.m. and still pouring. I hoped I could figure it out. After several false turns and passing through completely strange sections of the Base, I knew I was utterly lost. I kept trying to remember; no luck.
Suddenly I found myself facing a high chain link fence with a sign: “SECURITY AREA! Turn off your lights!”
Yikes. I did. I sat there a few moments, trying to collect myself.
Well, I couldn’t stay here. So in the darkness, I jockeyed the car around 180 degrees and turned on the headlights. And there, not 15 feet away, were two does and a fawn, staring into the lights. I was entranced. For several minutes they stood still, then slowly stepped out of the lights and disappeared. Wow.
Then a thought came: something in me got in here and that something must know how to get out; maybe if I just think about the deer…I started the car and drove without error through several turns to the gate. I was on my way home.
It was an intense lesson: if I stay with my intuition and don’t try so hard to reason about everything, my deeper self knows what to do. I began the new practice. It has served me well—well, that is, when I pay attention. When I think of the deer and not the confusion. May we all discover the pleasure of following those inner leads!