Tag Archives: Xerox


At yesterday’s A Course in Miracles meeting we discussed the purpose of the Course and I concluded that the main goal of the Course was to learn to be at peace with oneself and the world about. This is, of course, my opinion that has been derived from twelve on-and-off years of study and discussion. I look at the people about me and to world in which we dwell and it seems that so many are not at peace and do not know what it might feel like to be at peace.

I know people who are so unhappy because their circumstances are not what they believe was meant for them. Their car is not nice enough, their house is not big enough, their bank account is not fat enough, and their job is not powerful enough. It is impossible task to find peace in the face of all the not enough’s that creep into the thoughts and dreams of those running the maze that is often referred to as the rat race.

There was a short time in my youth where I was at peace with who I was and where I was going but then I was seduced by the dark side of life – overwhelming ambition and devotion to career. I was a chain-smoking, coffee-guzzling, accountant who became an Accounting Services Manager for Xerox at the tender age of twenty-six. I was not at peace and I did not even realize it until I met the teacher who had been waiting for me to take tutelage with him. Graham was a man who had found peace with himself and with the world around him, which is not to say he was perfect for he was a man like any man and had his vices and foibles like White Owl cigars and tall cans of Budweiser’s. Yes, Graham became my Peace Tutor and the best friend I ever had.

Graham died of lung cancer in 1982, the year my world went into a spiral so violent that by the end of 1983 my marriage had ended and I walked away from Xerox to accept a Corporate Vice-presidency. At that time of my life I remembered Graham’s lessons but failed to practice them and for the next two and a half years I suffered with the undulating economy until the day of my rebirth in September of 1986 when I was given the opportunity to be let out from my employment contract. It was as if the weight of the world had been lifted from off me. I went on to become a Senior Consultant for a small consulting firm and spent the next twenty years creating software solutions for companies about the United States. In that capacity I was at peace with who I was and mostly at peace with the world about me.

Yesterday’s message in the Course was: To have peace, teach peace to learn it, and yesterday I had the opportunity to practice a real-time lesson with one of our co-students who is having a very difficult time finding the peace within himself. One of the exercises many of us engage in is focusing on the good and beautiful aspects of our world thereby limiting the negativity that is the destroyer of peace. I opened the window shades of the hall in which we meet, which overlooks a garden area between the hall and the church, and asked him what he saw. His reply was the aged wall of the church and the ugly power lines draped between them. Had he lowered his eyes into the garden he would have seen a variety of green plants and a single red rose that was tucked among them. I believe peace may be found in the petals of a flower should one choose to focus there.

Peace is such a powerful desire that much of the world’s population uses it in greeting one another in much the same way American’s say How’s it going and Catch you later. Peace, you can look for it everywhere and find it nowhere or you can look for it within and find it everywhere.

As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu.
(May Allah’s peace, mercy, and blessing be upon you.)


David Bowie captured it so well so many decades ago when, at the end of 1971 – a very tumultuous year for me, he released the album Hunky Dory with the song Changes. He concluded the song with the lines:

Pretty soon you’re gonna get older
Time may change me
But I can’t trace time
I said that time may change me
But I can’t trace time

So, here I am more than forty years later continuing to see changes in me and changes within the world about me. Some changes are an improvement while others I could just as soon do without. One example of a personal change for the better was, for me, leaving the mobile home behind for a downsized two-bedroom fixer-upper in a quiet neighborhood with good neighbors all around. But, even though it was a good move, it had its share of problems like when we discovered that behind the old shower wall was dry rot, which meant an exterior bathroom wall needed to be replaced. Then, when we finally moved in, the main cast iron drainpipe disintegrated and created a toxic lake underneath the house forcing us to return to the mobile in campout mode.

Yesterday, my son-in-law brought me my records that had still been in storage at the house he and my daughter bought from my wife and me. He unloaded eight heavy-duty packing boxes each weighing fifty pounds or so and when he was leaving he commented that all of that music would now fit on a thumb drive. When I purchased my first three record albums at the Noah’s Ark secondhand store when I was all of perhaps six-years old I could never have imagined the technological changes that were to occur in my future.

Core Memory PlaneMy first exposure to computers was in 1973 when I went to work for Xerox in El Segundo where they built the Sigma computers. There I learned about core memory, which was developed in the 1950’s but was still being used, and hard disk drives a bit larger than trash compactors with removable platters that stored something like 25 megabytes of data. When I began programming in 1978, using APL on Sigma computers, we still had core memory banks containing (if I remember correctly) 1K and 2K core memory planes. And, from that background, today’s 128 and 256-gigabyte flash drives appear to be almost magical devices.Magical Flash Drive

Most people I know, including myself, do not relish the onset of change, which, along with death and taxes, seems to be a universal constant. Way back when this once seventeen-year-old listened to David Bowie’s Changes for the very first time I never imagined that I would make my most recent change: I joined the AARP.

Does that make me a senior citizen?