12/1/10 Mike, late 50's
Before my grocery shopping I stopped by the coffee/cafe area at the grocery store and found a man who, judging from his unshaven face and dirty clothes, looked like he was homeless, yet he was charging a very expensive cell phone. He name is Mike and after he agreed to answer my questions I found out he grew up Catholic but left the church in the sixties, feeling like it wasn't relevent. He practices Transcendental Meditation, viewing it as a harmless form of stress relief. He introduced it to other family members and described feelings of complete peace after being given his "mantra" to repeat and meditate on. But he seemed anything but peaceful as he told about his life now. Mike had a web-design business with a partner and they had deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars in an offshore bank account, and now his focus has been on trying to retrieve $180,000 dollars that he believes is owed to him. For the last four years he has lived from month to month, believing the money is just within reach, like a carrot on a stick. He prays to God for help, but also believes he must lie, cheat and steal to get his money back. He gets angry at God for not answering his prayers, feeling like God owes it to him, so when I began to give him the "good person" questions about how well he has kept the Ten Commandments to show him his guilt, he didn't handle it well, blaming God for putting him in this predicament - "Ï don't even have heat or electricity in my home" - he said as he left our conversation.