It was Saturday, September 3rd, and the place was packed. I took a look at the crowd and was glad we’d called our order in. 5A’s is always busy, but every table isn’t always full. I made my way to the counter, looked into the kitchen and noted that there wasn’t a single woman there, only guys. Sayeed, two of his sons, an old man, who is probably ten years younger than me, which I have a nodding acquaintance with, and another man I’d not seen before were all working. That’s enough personnel to get the job done, but not as smoothly as it would have been accomplished with the presence of a woman.
“Where’s Sasha?” I asked Saeed, when he worked his way to the counter.
“She had something to do in Atlanta,” he said as he glanced around the jammed dining room and then threw a look over his shoulder to make sure his all-male crew was moving in something like a coordinated effort.
“What’s going on in Atlanta that could be more fun than this?”
He grinned, shrugged, and threw his arms out, open palms up, and said, “I don’t know. She said it was important and she had to be there.”
Same time next day, I walked into 5A’s and though the crowd was different, its size was about the same. At the counter, I noted the crew, with a couple of substitutions, was was still all male. Saeed seemed calmer, and he had a smile on his face as he raised his phone toward me and said, “Here’s what our warrior is doing.”
I looked at the photo displayed on the screen of his phone and asked, “That’s Sasha?”
“Yep,” he said with pride, as if he were the one who dispatched her to a far away corner of the universe. “That’s Sasha the Warrior and not just any Warrior. She has been officially recognized as The Best Warrior.”
“I’ve always known she was good, great actually,” I said. “I just wasn’t aware of her true position in the overall scheme of things.”
He rolled his and eyes and without words he made it clear that he had always known Sasha was a warrior.
Sasha’s important mission was to participate in the 2016 Dragon Con Convention. If, like me, you’ve never heard of of Dragon Con, here’s Wikipedia’s opening two sentences on the subject: “Dragon Con is a North America multi-genre convention, founded in 1987, which takes place once each year in Atlanta, Georgia. As of 2016, the convention draws attendance of over 77,000, features hundreds of guests, encompasses five hotels in the Peachtree Center neighborhood of downtown Atlanta near Centennial Olympic Park, and runs thousands of hours of programming for fans of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, and other elements of fan culture.”
To complete your Dragon Con education, here’s a short clip posted on YouTube that will give you an idea of the seriousness of the event and the devotion and intensity of its participants:
The moment I saw the photo of Sasha the Warrior, I knew I wanted to post it in a blog though I didn’t know how to fit it into the untroubled mind theme. Then, as I read about Dragon Con and watched a number of the videos that I had to watch to learn enough to write this, it came to me. Actually, a couple of things came to me. The first was the first chapter of the Dhammapada, which begins:
We are what we think.
All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.
The second thing I thought of as I considered Dragon Con, was a passage from The Divine Moment that goes like this:
And what of this moment?
Does it carry meaning?
All of the meaning
you care to invest.
That’s your act:
to give meaning.
Try not to suffer
a failure of imagination.
Do your very best…
The universe awaits
your unique contribution
plant a new seed in the
matrix of life.
“With our thoughts we make the world,” and Dragon Con is living proof they are limited only by our willingness to breath life into them. And meaning? Pama Rab Sel said it better than I ever could; “All the meaning you care to invest. That’s your act: to give meaning.”
So how does that fit into the concept of an untroubled mine? The answer to that question is on the faces of the Dragon Con participants and spectators shown in the video.
“Try not to suffer a failure imagination. Do your very best…”
BERT AND CHRISTINA CARSON