The Forum for Awareness
Full Index of Issues 1 thru 14
Volume 2 Number 1
The TAT Society was formed in 1973 because a need was felt for a philosophical forum, for a meeting and working together of all manners and levels of deep spiritual study and investigation, and for a friendly dialogue between material science and mystical intuition.
The latter category is especially necessary. Science disdains mysticism but it is forever and belatedly proving things previously declared as truth by an intuitive individual. Mysticism may disdain science, but it is forever attempting to tell of its findings in a scientific manner, so that it can convince rational and relative minds of its discoveries.
A place for meeting was needed and groups were formed in many Eastern cities. A farm is now available in West Virginia as a general headquarters, and study center.
The TAT Society holds meetings in a number of different cities for study and discussion. Other events, such as lectures, seminars and films, are also presented from time to time. Telephone numbers for the cities listed below are of TAT members who can provide information about activities in their area.
Akron, Ohio - Canton, Ohio - Cleveland, Ohio - Columbus, Ohio - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Los Angeles, Ca.
The manager of a newsstand, upon being presented with a copy of our last issue for sale, quickly reviewed it with his experienced eye and placed it on his shelf for the "self-help" category. His rapid evaluation of our "awareness" theme and articles dealing with depth psychology, dreams and biorhythms was, in a sense, extremely accurate. "Self-help" is a readily recognizable movement today, reflecting an effort by people to develop some control over their bodies and minds while living in an increasingly controlled, technological society. What is not so apparent is the goal that prompts a person's desire to help himself; and what fragments the self-help movement is the myriad of directions that people choose to follow with their newly-developed control, or imagined control.
Fritz Perls, the late guru of Gestalt therapy, a popular self-help movement, constantly insisted that the consideration of philosophical questions was "garbage" that would interfere with one's progress towards psychological health; the natural, healthy man and woman respond freely to the "pleasure principle." There is, of course, a certain philosophy implicit in Perls' position: in order to accept it, you must make a (philosophical) decision to reject philosophical decisions. But common sense, more than logical analysis, displays the limitation and error in the Gestalt approach. Humans think and question as a natural function, and it seems more fruitful to cultivate and refine that function than to deny it.
If we do wish to help ourselves, we should be willing to periodically evaluate our motives and success. What do I really want? Love, health, power, knowledge, wealth? Are my efforts showing any result? Is what I want, what is really good for me? Self-help is laudable because effort is preferable to sloth as a way of life, but certain activities, like yoga, can be approached either as a recreational past-time or as a tool for understanding the relationship between the mind and the body. Both reasons are legitimate, but while the former is its own end, the latter can point to discovery and yet deeper effort.
Proper care and study of the body through exercise, health and nutrition allow one greater control over his or her emotions. Control of the emotions gives freer rein to the rational mind for its role of analyst and decision-maker. And a clear, active mind could lead, if one so desired, into a consideration of the most profound questions that men can ask and to a direct study of the mind itself. If our efforts are not to be wasted in idleness or, worse yet, narcissistically projected into a glorified self-image, then they must be integrated into this ascending spiral of human endeavor. Self-help is then pursued in the realization that our original motives may have to change and our chosen direction may be wrong. But we pursue it, nonetheless, because of our hope of what we might become.
Editor: Louis Khourey
Managing Editor: Paul Cramer
Associate Editor: Jake Jaqua
Circulation Manager: Eric Hadidian
Printing: Doran Fried
Typesetting: Cecy Rose
Staff: Michael Baldrige, David Diaman, Keith McWilliams
© 1979 TAT Foundation. All rights reserved.
[Cover photograph by Jack Holmes]
Real astrology is not found in the generalizations of newspaper horoscopes, but is a remarkable, symbolic explanation of the types and manifestations of human and natural energy. Few people really understand it, but those who do can use the world's oldest system of "psychoanalysis."
Keep in touch with our entire readership, fellow inquirers you would otherwise not have access to, or would have to spend a lifetime searching for.
Joseph Chilton Pearce's popular book, now over seven years old, contains a modest proposal that mankind can create Its own reality. His ideas have yet to be grasped.
Autism is a medically incomprehensible affliction that locks children into a strange, asocial world. Gordon Broussard's work with autistic children has led him to an intuitive method of healing that produces amazingly successful results.
The Jonestown affair and a personal experience with a cult prompted this consideration of the explosive issue behind the stories: Do Americans really believe in freedom of religion and belief?
Dr. Bissell talks about wholistic health and American medicine, biofeedback, illness, nutrition, caffeine, fasting and stress.
The second installment of this series focuses on a traditional Indian guru who became universally known on the strength of his spiritual teaching, before eastern religion became fashionable in the west.
An ancient manuscript depicts a philosophical Jesus that we rarely encounter.
The Practice of Zen by Garma C.C. Chang, Underground Man by Edward Abood, and God Is My Adventure by Rom Landau.
Astrology works by showing how human types reflect universal patterns of energy.
Astrology and Energy
by Michael Whitely
A Brief History
No one can determine exactly where or how astrology came to be. At best, fragments of history point in the direction of its most likely course of development. The roots of astrology extend back into the earliest phases of human history. Archeological research indicates that as far back as 15,000 B.C. Mesolithic man, the inventor of the bow and arrow and sharp cutting tools, was aware of the moon's phases and recorded these in bone.
The Babylonian empire of 2350 B.C. is credited with the earliest beginnings of astrology. Situated in the southwest portion of Asia, temple priests of this kingdom had been carefully observing and recording changes in the night skies. They discovered, besides the sun and the moon, the existence of five other visible planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Christopher McIntosh gives an account of their method in his work, The Astrologers and Their Creed: "These priests lived highly secluded lives in monasteries usually adjacent to the (observation) towers. Every day they noted the movements of the heavenly spheres and noted down any corresponding earthly phenomenon from floods to rebellions. Very early on they had come to the conclusion that the Laws which governed the movements of the Stars and Planets also governed events on Earth." (1)
From the early findings of these Babylonian priests a complex system has evolved. In its first form each planet was considered a God, a directing force in itself. This notion was later discarded for a system whereby each planet emanated or exemplified various properties as noted by the priests. The exact method of arriving at each planet's properties can only be guessed at in hindsight since no accurate records are available.
The Babylonians are also credited with the development of the Signs of the Zodiac. The original Zodiac was named with the twelve constellations or star patterns in the sky. The year was divided in twelve segments following the lunar cycles and each segment or month related to a particular part of the sky picture.
There are two basic theories, concerning the development of the Zodiac offered by McIntosh: "The most popular theory pictures a Babylonian shepherd gazing up at the night sky, and, seeing in the Stars the shapes of animals and man - here a Ram, there a Bull, and so on. From these shapes it is supposed developed the signs of 'the Zodiac.' While this is the popular theory the author considers it doubtful and in keeping with the universal nature of the Zodiac he suggests a quite different line of development. "The twelve signs of the Zodiac and their attributes developed from the existing mythology of the culture and the shapes of the various star groups were adjusted to fit them." While there is no record this explanation of its development does indicate that the essential ideas of the Zodiac may have been in existence long before this historical period. (2)
Although the origins of astrology appear rooted in southwest Asia, some form or variety developed in many major cultures simultaneously. Within the span of a few hundred years the basics of astrology spread throughout India, Tibet and Egypt, each adding to the original. It is also interesting to note that the development of astrology in Central and South America was apparently a separate phenomenon, not connected with the Babylonian origins.
The civilizations of the Mayans and the Aztecs developed sophisticated systems of astronomy and astrology which are preserved in their art work and temples. The role of astrology in these cultures was cut short following the invasion by the Portuguese and the Spanish. While war spelled the end of early astrology in Central America, it also served as the catalyst for its world-wide spread. It was the Persian invasion which brought it to Egypt and the conquests of Alexander the Great which paved the way for its entry into the Greek world.
At approximately 300 B.C. astrology was far from the system we know it as today. The planets and their meaning were established, as was the Zodiac, but both came clothed in the language of the Greek mythology, with Apollo through Zeus reigning as planetary powers.
The Greeks produced the first Horoscope (horo-hour, scopos-to view) based on the exact birth time. From this they established the Zodiac sign on the eastern horizon at the time of birth known as the Ascendant. Due to the rotation of the Earth this sign on the horizon would change every two hours of clock time. The twelve two-hour divisions eventually resulted in the segments of the Birth Chart known as the Houses. The addition of the Houses to the Planets and the Signs form the fundamentals of astrology.
Tradition has it that three Chaldean Magi/Astrologers predicted the birth of Christ and traveled to the appointed place. Fact or fiction, this event of 1 A.D. marked a basic change in the use of astrology. Up to that time the main use was for what is known now as Mundane or Political astrology. As many of the astrologer/astronomers of the era were funded by the royal courts, their area of interest was the welfare of the rulers, the state of the kingdom, and other events of local importance. The concept of casting a natal chart for a common individual was foreign to this period of history and would only gain support 300 years later.
The next 1500 years of history reveal that the popularity of astrology rose and fell with a wave of regularity. For example, the first major textbook on astrology was published in 140 A.D. by Greek astrologer/ astronomer Ptolemy of Alexandria. It was significant as a summation of the information to date and it helped astrology to reach greater numbers of people on a wider scale.
By 410 A.D. astrological thought had found many supporters in the Catholic Church, but this trend was soon reversed by a full scale anti-astrology campaign waged by St. Augustine. In his De Civitate Dei he argued against it effectively. The weight of his argument, combined with the drop in literacy during the Middle Ages, contributed towards another decline for astrology in Europe and the West.
Coincidental with its decline during the dark ages it was gaining support worldwide. Indian and Arabian astrology flourished, with each culture adding new calculations and techniques. For centuries astrology remained a sub-current in the capitals of Europe while holding its own in the East and Southern Mediterranean.
The 12th and 13th centuries saw a reconciliation between astrology and the Church through the efforts of scholars such as Thomas Aquinas. This period also saw the return of astrology to the universities of Europe, many of which had a chair or department of astrology.
At this time one of the main points of opposition between the Church and astrology was the "Free Will" question, which implied that the "Stars" controlled the destiny of men. Man's condition as a free agent, as a conscious maker of decisions who could be held responsible for his actions, was upheld by the Church. The astrological premise of Planetary relationships affecting the actions and affairs of men was fundamentally unacceptable to the Church until Aquinas proposed a compromise.
McIntosh relates the new line of thought behind the question: "Aquinas got around the question of free will by the device of asserting that, although the Stars had an influence on human affairs, the Will was still sovereign. The Stars, he held, govern the bodily appetites and desires, which condition most human affairs since few can resist them. Thus the Astrologer is capable of correct predictions about the mass of humanity. His predictions cannot include those few men who are able to rise above their appetites by the exercise of their Will." (3) While this temporarily solved the problem, the same question has surfaced repeatedly throughout history and is still hotly debated today.
The beginning of the 19th century in the United States saw a great surge of interest in Esoteric and Occult philosophy. The founding of Theosophical Society and the various Rosicrucian Orders added to the "new" interest in astrology and related topics in the States. During the early 1900's the first astrology school, the First Temple and College of Astrology, was founded in Los Angeles. Astrological magazines, such as, "Destiny" and "American Astrology" and organizations such as the The American Federation of Astrologers became popular. Within a few years astrological columns became daily features of the major newspapers. The business of merchandising astrology to the public had become profitable.
The 1930's brought a new slant to the search for an understanding of Man's inner Nature in Depth Psychology. This school as a new method of astrological interpretation was pioneered by Mark Edmund Jones and Dane Rudhyar, two of the better known astrologers of the period. Depth Psychology attempted to find the roots of human behavior by examining the deepest layers of the mind. It combined techniques of astrology with Freudian concepts of personal development and growth. This combination of psychologically-oriented astrology continued through the 1950's and helped lay the groundwork for the astrological explosion of the 1960's.
Astrology in the midst of the 1960's Psychedelic Era was in its popular glory. The signs of the Zodiac were found everywhere. The business world was quick to capitalize on the phenomenal interest in astrology and produced Zodiac T-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, jewelry, etc., etc. The sales of astrological books skyrocketed and astrological themes were found in all of the Arts. Phrases such as, "I'm an Aries" and "What's your Sun sign" were the popular language of the day.
There was a challenge to society from the counter-culture, the Vietnam War, and the drug generation, and many of the traditional values and beliefs that serve as the glue holding the details of living together were lost in the struggle. To fill an empty space many of this generation turned to mind-altering drugs, to Jesus, back-to-nature, to the East, and to astrology in an attempt to find a new direction.
The 'sixties were an open door to social, psychic, and psychological experimentation of all kinds. The astrology of the period reflected this attitude by blending pieces of Eastern and Occult concepts such as Karma and Reincarnation with modern psychology and traditional astrology, to produce dozens of separate astrological approaches and philosophies. Names such as Uranian Astrology, Cosmo-biology, Unitology, Astro-dynamics, and many others, became more common as astrology mutated to fit the needs of the 'sixties.
Symbolic Building Blocks
The basic system of Astrology as practiced in the United States today involves three primary parts:
I. The Planets (Chart 1)
They represent Active energies or basic principles at work on all levels of Nature: Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, Human, the Solar System, and Universe.
II. The Signs (Chart 2)
These are forms or Patterns through which the energy of the Planets is expressed. The Sun Sign is the Solar energy expressing itself through the Zodiac.
III. The Houses (Chart 3)
The Houses of Astrology refer to areas of activity or experience.
|Sun||Individuality||Energy, Vitality||Ego/ extroversion|
|Moon||Personality||Instinctual Reactions||Receptivity, Personality|
|Mercury||Rational Mind, Curiosity||Mentality||Communication|
|Venus||Personal Magnetism||Attraction, Affections||Unification|
|Saturn||Limitations||Structure||Obstacles to overcome|
|Uranus||Intuition||Awakens to Change||Intuition|
|Pluto||Regeneration||Transmutation||Destruction of Barriers to Growth|
|Sign||Principle||Key to Sun Sign*|
|Aries||Beginnings||I am, therefore I am|
|Taurus||Stability||I have, therefore, I am|
|Gemini||Communication||I think, therefore I am|
|Cancer||Foundations||I feel, therefore, I am|
|Leo||Integration||I create, therefore, I am|
|Virgo||Discrimination||I select, therefore, I am|
|Libra||Harmony||We are, therefore, I am|
|Scorpio||Regeneration||I desire, therefore, I am|
|Sagittarius||Philosophical Mind||I seek, therefore, I am|
|Capricorn||Structure||I build, therefore, I am|
|Aquarius||Humanitarianism||I envision, therefore, I am|
|Pisces||Sacrifice||I believe, therefore, I am|
* Taken from Alan Oken, As Above, So Below (Bantam Books, 1973)
The word Zodiac is from the ancient Greek work Zodiakos, meaning a circle of animals.
|1st||Personality, appearance||Self||Self||Manifestation||Brain, head|
|2nd||Possessions, assets||Possessions of Self||Supporters, fans||Modifications of the I||Throat, neck|
|3rd||Short trips, routines||Lower mind||Siblings, neighbors||Functional activity||Arms, hands, lungs, nerves|
|4th||Home environment, parent||Home||Remote parents||Basic resource||Breasts, stomach mucus membrane|
|5th||Creativity, entertainment||Personal creativity||Children||Tentative, unpremeditative attempts||Back, spine, heart|
|6th||Service, health||Self acting for others||Servants||Voluntary limitations||Solar plexus, intestines, spleen|
|7th||Partners, marriage||Others||Partners||Polarity contact||Bladder, kidneys|
|8th||Others' money, regeneration||Possessions of other||New people||Manifestation of polarity||Sex organs|
|9th||Ideas, religion, long journeys||Higher Mind||Foreigners, In-laws||Theoretical activity||Thighs, liver, blood|
|10th||Professional status||Profession||Concerned parent, boss||Group contact||Knees, bones, skin|
|11th||Friends, hopes, social demeanor||Group creativity||Friends||Involvement||Lower leg circulation|
|12th||Confinement, limitations||Others acting for self||Secret enemies||Involuntary limitations||Feet, lymph glands|
If the planets are the what of astrology, and the signs the how, the houses are considered the Where. Where in the person's life, in which area of earthly existence, does the energy indicated by the planet-sign configurations manifest itself with the greatest intensity?
The combination of these three factors in the diagram form results in the Natal or Birth Chart: The main tool for analyzing Astrological information.
The Natal Chart is erected for the moment of birth (at the first breath in the West and the moment of conception in the East), because that point defines the uniqueness of the event in time and space. Within the framework of time and space the motions of the Planets, as seen from Earth is repetitive and cyclical. The orbits, speeds, and other individual characteristics of their positions have been charted in an Ephemeris, a book of planetary positions. At a specific time and at a particular location your birth occurred. The Birth Chart is a diagram, an actual map showing the relationship of the Planets for that moment, from that location. In that sense it is unique.
Through a study of the Chart, examining how the types of energy (Planets) are modified (by Sign) and where in life they are expressed (House), the astrologer translates the planetary relationships into specific information. In this way he relates the two, the Universal to the Particular, the Macrocosm to the Microcosm.
To illustrate this process we can refer to Mars (see Chart 1), representative of Personal Drive, the energy to obtain desired objects, aggression, etc. This function or quality of being is found in all organisms, plants, animals, even single cells, as a spur to survive and fulfill its needs.
A Birth Chart containing Mars, modified through Pisces, and expressed in the Tenth House could indicate that the assertive drive (Mars) is expressed in an indiscriminate and unfocused manner (Pisces), towards a striving for success in public or professional life (Tenth House). While this is an isolated example it serves to illustrate the process of arriving at exact and specific information from the Chart.
A person with this emphasized in their chart would incorporate this tendency as part of their basic psychological equipment. The other facets of the Chart would then be mapped out and digested resulting in a picture of the inner person and the outer person revealed, the parts functioning as a whole. The Natal Chart emerges as an "Energy Portrait," showing the potentials inherent in the person, as well as how they may unfold over time.
Astrology and Energy
Astrology can be seen as a study in Energy, of the continuously changing balance of energy in the Universe, Solar System and Man. Physics research into the nature of energy and the structure of matter has indicated that the "Physical Universe," down to the smallest sub-atomic particle, may function less like a machine and more like a "Field of Energy." Let's take a moment to discuss the concept of energy, what it means, and how we are using it.
From physics, energy is defined as the capacity to do work or perform activity. It was classified into two categories, kinetic energy in motion and potential energy at rest. We then acknowledge different types of human energy to accomplish various kinds or levels of activity, such as physical pep and vitality, emotional force and inspiration, and dynamic energy needed to solve problems and think. Each has its own quality. It can be useful to examine the chain of energy in the solar system and take a look at our position on this chain.
Our Sun as a Star is considered as the source of Matter and Energy in the Solar System. The radiations of energy from the Sun manifest as light, heat, and many other frequencies of energy, i.e. gamma, alpha, and x-rays. The mineral world is composed of energy in the molecular form of matter, which can react and rearrange itself to produce other forms of energy. A piece of coal can be burned and chemical compounds such as nitroglycerin and calcium carbonate combine to produce the energy released by dynamite. When the structure of an atom (a field of energy?), is disturbed tremendous energy is released.
Continuing the process another step, the vegetable world consumes the mineral energy through sunlight and photosynthesis. The plants are consumed by animals and used to build and maintain the body or they decay and return to the Earth.
This quick sketch serves to display the various forms of energy which change form and shape to eventually become part of us as our bodies. Our bodies are composed of food, which is composed of earth, water, air/gases, and higher frequency energies, which are derived from the Sun. This example relates energy changing as Matter, and shows the Play of Nature, constantly changing forms and shapes of energy, which we are part of and take part in.
Astrology exposes a set of energies at work in Nature. In Man they take on a physical, emotional, mental, and evolutionary meaning, the details of which are revealed in the Astrological Chart.
Stephen Arroyo, in Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, clarifies the role of the Planets: "The Planets generally symbolize basic forces or active centers ,in our Solar System which manifest as fundamental psychological functions, needs, urges, and motivators. They represent the major active principles which form character and motivate all types of self-expression simultaneously on all levels, Mental, Emotional, Physical." (4)
In astrological terms the Sun is the source of Energy, Life, and Vitality. In Man it is the Individuality, the self among the many facets that combine to make the total person. For most this is an unknown quantity and the object of their own search for identity and purpose. Landis Green in the Astrologer's Manual: "The Sun shows the deeper motivations and needs of the individual. It represents the protagonist in the drama of existence, the vital force that provides each individual with a feeling of conscious purpose and self-expression. As such the Sun denotes the deeper character and convictions that affect his main experiences and obligations." (5)
The Moon is the opposite of the Sun. Whereas the Sun is the source from which our energies flow, the Moon embodies the receptive and changeable aspect of our being. The lunar function conveys our personality, that aspect of ourselves that responds to the constantly changing stimulus from our environment. These responses are a storehouse of social conditioning, genetic and racial memory, instinctual urges, etc.
Mercury is the communicator, the rational mind, the type of mentality in Man. As the faculty of active intelligence this function can isolate and offset the instinctive nature through the use of logic and reason. It corresponds to our Need to Know, the drive of Curiosity that compels us to explore and seek. Exactly how this faculty operates in us as individuals is determined by the Zodiac sign it came through at birth as revealed in the Natal Chart.
Venus denotes the principle of Attraction and Unification. In Man this is seen as Personal Magnetism or Attractiveness. In nature this factor corresponds to the pleasing colorations and designs that are so necessary to draw the bee to the flower, the man to the red apple, and the woman to the man. On an individual level, Venus attracts Man to that which he may need to grow physically or spiritually. Psychologically it represents our affections or things we are fond or.
Mars is the energy of personal Drive, the active force of the Ego expressing itself. In Nature Mars is the sexual urge and the urge to aggression. Depending upon the placement in the Chart, Mars relates to courage and stamina, the urge to win, to step out of the crowd. The shadow side of this impulse is the wild expression of the most base desires and instinctual aggression.
Jupiter has been called the "Wisdom of Life"; it is the planet associated with positive expansion and growth. Through this planet the self can expand in two directions, either toward the animal desires to explore the five senses or the higher mental expansion into abstract and philosophical realms.
In Nature all objects and forms result from energy given structure. It is the Saturn principle which insists on the development of a solid structure in order that growth may occur. Saturn is the teacher who insists that you learn the lessons of discipline and self-control before passing. Psychologically Saturn reveals the need for the fulfillment of obligations and responsibilities, so that personal growth may occur. The House and Sign position of Saturn in the Chart can detail the particular obstacles which must be overcome.
The planets up to Saturn refer to active faculties at work in everyone. The last three planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, are considered higher octave planets because they refer to faculties that are only partially active in most of us. The slower orbits of these outermost planets cause them to linger in each Sign for dozens of years, 84, 164, 242 years respectively. Their influence is felt for the most part as psychological trends existing on a mass scale.
In Nature Uranus is the faculty that awakens to change. As the higher octave of Mercury, Uranus denotes the awakening of the intuition and "sixth sense" mental abilities. On a general level it adds inventiveness, new approaches, and original ways of expression. The area of life where these features are manifest can be seen from the House position of Uranus in the Chart. Neptune is the higher octave of Venus and works through emotional sensitivity. In its purest sense Neptune can lead the way to prophetic visions, inspiration, or the realization of Universal Truths. The same impulse gone astray can result in clouds of confusion, illusion, and deception in the mind. For most, Neptune serves to add an element of emotional sensitivity to the area of the chart in which it is found.
Pluto is considered the higher octave of Mars. Whereas Mars is aggression and desire, Pluto is the energy that is needed to destroy completely. . . in order to clear the way so that new birth can occur. In nature Pluto is the transformer of life, the agent of renewal and transformation. This principle in action is related to the leaves dying in the fall to prepare for the new growth in the spring.
For the evolving person Pluto is the function which can provide the energy necessary to break down the blocks preventing growth. Alan Oken describes the Pluto effect in As Above, So Below: "Pluto serves in a dual capacity as an eliminator and a renewer. In this respect it works surreptitiously, as its nature is subversive and its domain lies underground, but there is a good reason for its modus operandi. It reveals ideologies, neuroses, and activities which have long remained hidden or suppressed in the subconscious of a person or a nation. It draws these clandestine situations out of the darkness so that they can serve their purpose in the universal Plan. The unlocked energy may annihilate or become annihilated, but the important thing is that it is released and can be transmuted into other forms by the creative processes."
The various functions outlined above can be seen to be active throughout Nature and Man. Through studying the Astrological Chart a distinct and individual pattern emerges. The Natal chart offers the possibility of studying our own internal dynamics, conflicts, and strengths with the aid of a larger frame of reference. A general description of the Planets can only indicate the type of activity involved; to pinpoint how we will experience these processes we must examine the Zodiac of Signs in detail.
Zodiac as Energy
One of the aspects of astrology that totally fascinated me was the implication of an order or structure behind the apparent randomness of experience. I wondered if the people I had met and the experiences I encountered were conforming to some kind of unwritten, unknown pattern. I had recognized various characteristics shared by a number of people and while this was conceded by others, no one I had come across had a very satisfying answer for why this should be so, much less an accurate system of human type and personality.
The Zodiac offers an interesting system of basic personality types by identifying the varieties of experience and the elementary divisions of Nature. Through the symbology of the Zodiac and Planets, astrology can work as a systematic language to provide insights into the basics of human nature and personality.
The Elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water are the building blocks of the external world of Nature and of our inner nature. These same four are recognized as primary forces in almost all cultures and mythologies. Claudius Galen, an early Greek pioneer in medicine, related the elements to the four humours or temperaments, sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. The Greek philosophy of the period related the elements to four faculties in Man: Fire/moral, Water/aesthetic or soul, Air/intellectual, and Earth/physical. Medieval alchemist/physician Paracelsus classified various nature "spirits" or entities as belonging to the four elemental categories. They are found in legend and myth the world over as Undines or the Water element, Sylphs with Air, Gnomes with Earth, and Salamanders with Fire. (6) An understanding of our significant elemental energies is the key to astrological insight leading to self-knowledge.
As the physical world is spun from combinations of elements, so Man's inner nature is a reflection of the balance or imbalance of elemental energies manifesting for most as their Suh-sign element. In a very personal way, the Sun-sign position is a powerful if not dominant force for each of us. Our internal sun is our own source of vital energy and the essential type we are as individuals.
The astrological symbol for the Sun is a circle with a dot in the center. This symbol at once conveys the essence of the Sun's activity as a radiating source of energy. The circle represents the Source of energy, the universe as a whole, the Absolute. The dot is an aperture, an opening from which the energy from the source becomes manifest in forms. The signs of the Zodiac are basic types of this energy, as variations of the elemental qualities in Nature.
The Fire element in astrology refers to animation, vitality, and activity, as well as experiences which are intense and individual. The Fire energy is excitable and radiant, and people who personify this energy are enthusiastic, glowing, and capable of the highest of spirits. The energy of Fire and the Fire signs, Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius, are geared for activity, a positive expression as an individual. The fire-dominated signs are individuals who establish their identity or Ego through self-expression. In occult terminology, Fire is the element of Spirit and the highest aspirations.
Astrologically, Air represents the intellect or thought, especially in its use to interact and communicate. This element is associated with the breath and the energy of Prana. In the western occult tradition the Air realm is the world of Ideas, and Airy people are immersed in a world of concepts and mental activity. As a type of consciousness or sensing, these people experience life as something to be thought about, analysed and understood. This is not to say that the Air types don't have an urge to act, as all four elemental energies are in each of us, but that their actions are the result of thoughts and concepts. The Airy signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
The Water element incorporates the principles of universality, sensitivity, and the emotional plane of being. The Water signs - Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces - are in touch with and sense the world through their feelings. These are receptive and impressionable people. Like their element, Water-influenced people have a mode of sensing that is fluidic, ebbing and flowing, sensitive to the nuances and subtle changes in their emotional environment. The occult meaning for this element refers to the Soul and the deepest yearnings.
The Earth element provides the substance of stability, the mundane, the practical. It serves to crystallize the energy manifested and results in disciplined and constructive activity. Earth types are in tune with the physical senses and the reality of "here and now." The Earth signs, Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn, easily relate to giving form to material projects and accomplishing that which is before them. The realms of endless concepts or cascading feelings are foreign to the strong Earth types. The mode of sensing is through the physical senses and the occult term is Matter, energy crystallized into forms.
Astrology is considered as a branch of the occult and while that term applies to a wide variety of activity there is a connection. The various occult studies and schools of thought have in common the search for and appreciation of real natural laws and relationships. Any body of knowledge is occult for the uninformed, and the premises around which astrology is established are no exception. One of these Laws is the Law of Three.
The Law of Three, as stated by esoteric philosopher P.D. Ouspensky states: "Everything in the world, all manifestations of energy, all kinds of actions, whether in the world or in human activity... are always manifestations of three forces which exist in Nature. These forces are called Passive, Active, and Neutralizing. The three forces work together, but one of them predominates in each combination. When three forces meet together things happen." (7) The three can be seen as related phases of the same energy.
The author gives an example of the three at work internally when we try to do a certain thing. Suppose, as an example, that you wanted to diet to lose excess weight, to look and feel better. Your desire to diet is one force, the resistance put up by your appetites to eat is an opposing force. A third influence is needed for action to result.
This threefold aspect of energy is noted in the Indian Vedic writings as the three Gunas - Rajas, Tamas and Satva. In astrology the three kinds of force are known as the Qualities - Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable.
The Cardinal (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) quality is a centrifugal force, generating and emitting energy. It is typified in the energy generated as the desire to create and express the self. The result of the Fire element working in a Cardinal way is the sign Aries, the sign of the individual ego in action, personifying independence, enthusiasm and personal drive.
When the Air element is functioning in a Cardinal manner we have the sign Libra, energy generated to find a point of equilibrium or harmony. Cardinal Air is active, circulating and Libra is an attempt to find balance through interaction.
The Water element, working in a Cardinal way produces Cancer, the sign of emotional unfoldment. As Cardinal Water, Cancer generates activity in response to strong emotional needs and yearnings as opposed to the action for actions sake.
Capricorn as Cardinal Earth generates energy and activity directed to concrete tasks and accomplishments. In Capricorn energy finds the discipline needed to build a solid foundation.
The Fixed quality of energy (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius) manifests as a centripetal force, radiating in. This quality acts to organize, concentrate, and stabilize activity or energies. Taurus as Fixed Earth is fairly self-descriptive. The image this combination evokes is solid, conserving, earthy. Central to Taurus is a yearning for security through possessing material and solid values. With Fixed Earth there is an instinctual understanding of the function of Earth as energy built into forms.
The Fixed Fire sign is Leo, the sign of creative self-expression. The energy of Leo is concentrated and turned in on itself such that strong Leo types see all aspects of their environment as potential means for their own self-fulfillment. In Leo the element of Fire is intensified and like the actual element this sign can inspire, entertain, and give life to its surroundings. The Leo Fire can become overly self-centered and consume everything in its range, in its desire to keep the flames of its ego burning.
The Water element when functioning in the Fixed mode results in Scorpio. Water is the energy of emotion and feeling and Fixed quality adds the extra intensity that typifies the Scorpio type. In Scorpio, the capacity to focus emotional energy results in a potential for power as well as the need for great self-control.
The sign of Aquarius is Fixed Air as an expression of a mental type. Air as an element tends to circulate and this sign stabilizes that quality and adds the concentration needed for thinking to reach its full potential. Aquarius is the sign related to the intuition, as the higher mental faculties.
The Mutable quality acts to distribute or transfer energy as opposed to generating or concentrating it. This is a quality of adaptation and transition, the flexibility necessary to pass from level to level, or allow the possibility of change.
The Sun sign Gemini personifies the element of air at its airiest. This sign is constantly involved in some type of motion or reaction. Mentally, Gemini lives in the realm of sensations as mental stimuli, a constant correlation of new experience. This sign is always adding new data to its logical, rational worldview. The adaptable quality of air is highlighted in this sign's mentality and constant interaction with the environment.
Mutable Earth is almost a contradiction in terms, but the changeable and practical qualities combine in the Sun sign of Virgo to give us an image of a practical and analytical individual. Virgo is concerned with arriving at realistic and practical results as a result of a critical and discriminating attitude.
The combination of the Fire element and the Mutable quality yields the sign of Sagittarius. The Mutable signs have a certain restlessness as their function is unbalance or transition. For this sign the result is a constant search. Alan Oken summed up the Sagittarius restlessness with the phrase, "I seek, therefore, I am." The Fire element adds an expansive quality to this sign and can instill a drive for the broadest perspective to view life.
Pisces is the sign culminating in Mutable Water as constantly changing feeling and emotion. If Cancer is flowing Water and Scorpio is intense Water, then Pisces is the Sea, vast and deep. Those strongly influenced by this sign are not the thinkers of the Zodiac, but use an intuitive and empathetic approach to life. In this sign the Mutable restlessness can surface as an urge to explore the emotions or the depths of Being in a search for understanding.
There are almost limitless possibilities for the use of astrology. Because of the universal scope of the principles and symbols, it can be applied to just about anything which had a beginning in Time and Space. The planetary orbits and cycles are the hands of the Astrological clock and make it possible to project an Astrological Chart for past or future situations. The Signs of the Zodiac are the spokes of the wheel of Nature, each having a time, a place, and a purpose in the scheme of things.
The system of astrology is an invention. It is a response to our need to find order in our lives and to obtain meaning from our experiences. It is an attempt to arrive at a clearer understanding of some of the forces at work in our lives and in the world. It is possible that the changing moods and events which make up our daily lives can be seen from a clearer and broader perspective. Astrology as Energy, as an attempt to organize experience and find order in Chaos, can serve as a tool for the expansion of our perspective and help us to arrive at a more exact definition of ourselves and our place in the world.
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Much evidence indicates there are specific principles which can be applied successfully towards achieving a goal. The fact that these principles are of general use in the spiritual as well as the economic and social worlds is a fact many "spiritual seekers" attempt to deny. These people would have the spiritual neophyte believe that Spiritual Truths are to be found by discarding common sense, rational thinking, and everyday responsibilities and cares that "hold one to the physical plane" (like money). A sincere neophyte is able to wade through such malarkey due to the fact that he sets protective forces in motion the moment he makes his commitment to Truth or God or whatever. This law of commitment is a fact of life that many people have recognized, at least in retrospect, as being at work in their lives.
Of course there are some principles, such as Karma, (you reap what you sow), the Golden Rule, and others that most people accept as fact without much problem. But most people are satisfied with falling within the status quo. People with a goal that calls for abandonment of former ways, or a total life commitment to discovering Truth, soon learn that knowing and using forces that have formerly used them becomes vital to success.
The very basic principle of being aware of one's own death is the most important idea that a person can incorporate into his life philosophy. The fact that every major philosopher from Socrates to Heidegger to Gurdjieff stresses the importance of this knowledge is no accident. Socrates defined philosophy as the study of death. The most common theme in Castaneda's Don Juan books is the theme of using the knowledge of one's own death to make this lifetime significant beyond the ordinary.
Why is it important to be aware of one's own death? This is an excellent question to ask oneself before, for example, putting off an important project until after next summer's vacation, or, putting off next summer's vacation until the completion of an important project.
A man aware of his death knows that his time is limited. If he has committed himself to a search for Truth, and he knows that his death is an ultimate fact, then he will put aside many interests that will prove tangential to his goal. Then, once he has achieved his goal, he may return to other interests.
Most young people do not think about their own deaths. When asked about death, their opinions are often flippant and thoughtless. There is no question that Nature steers the young away from such thoughts until her goal of reproduction has been achieved. If young people actually realized how much time they actually had on this earth, there would be fewer families on the planet.
Death is kept from the sight of the American society in general. The cosmetics industry is quite pleased that an eighty year old lady worries more about her make-up and wardrobe than the fact that she may wear both to her grave tomorrow. Any person that knows his every act might be his last soon loses a great deal of pettiness and gains a great deal of energy and purpose.
Many people discern the plots and gimmicks of Madison Avenue and do think about death. Many times a death of a loved one is the catalyst. For these people, another rationalization is provided - Reincarnation. Anyone believing in Reincarnation can always offer himself and others consolation by the reassurance of returning again, and again, and again, ad infinitum. To a dynamic seeker, this idea offers not a series of increasingly blissful lifetimes but an eternal prison sentence.
Much more can be written on this all-important principle but it is more important for the individual to meditate on death at, for lack of a better word, his "leisure."
I like to think of myself as an amateur philosopher of sorts and find it very rewarding to develop my own philosophy from observing life. I try to develop my ''first hand philosophy'' solely from my own observations and believe that this type of philosophy is much more practical than anything that can be learned in books.
One conclusion that I've come to about life is that it is no playpen full of "God's delights.'' Most people would like to believe this world is a very nice place; many even waste their lives trying to pretend this. However, to anyone who tries to see things objectively, it is apparent that this world is not a nice place! We are born into this world in blood and pain, and most leave this world in the violence of accidents, sickness, or senility. Few die peacefully in their sleep.
Between the violence of birth and the violence of death is more violence - the violence and restrictions of public law, the violence of ever difficult personal relationships, and the violence of economic necessity. One has to struggle through life just to make ends meet and keep self and family in food, clothing and house.
Many people seem to hold their hopes somewhere in the future. They know that things are not all so ''great" now, but believe we are headed towards a "golden age'' in which all strife will cease. I cannot believe this either. The "game" does not seem to be set up this way. This is what is meant when it is said that this is a relative world.
For every solution we come up with, another problem takes its place. I read in the newspaper recently that a newly devised electronic brake system was installed on some semi-trucks - only to be discovered that a particular CB frequency caused the brakes to be applied. The microwave oven was a marvelous invention, but then it is discovered that it causes heart pacemakers to dysfunction. In the fall of '78 we had abnormally warm temperatures, and thus rejoiced at our expected low heating bills. But then we discover that the heating oil price has been raised because an excess amount of gasoline has been used with people driving their cars more than usual in the warm weather! Damned if you do, and damned if you don't!
A short time back, I asked a 90-year-old man "just where did he think it was all heading?'' He thought for a moment and then replied, "I don't know, but I'll tell you one thing - it's not getting any easier!"
I've come to believe that this game of life is "fixed" and things won't get any better - ever. There will be no utopia or "heaven on earth." Such things are only air-castles of pretenders. Whatever the strange purpose of this life is, it is not for us to have an easy time of it or for us to be "happy". To paraphrase a Russian proverb, "Even God himself cannot beat the ace of diamonds with the two of hearts."
Paracelsian Psychological Theory of Elementaries
Psychologists have argued for a hundred years as to just what is the nature of neurosis, compulsion and obsession. But still, after a hundred years of psychological theory, it is a well-known fact and embarrassment that the rate of recovery of treated patients is no higher than that of those that spontaneously recover. Even though a patient may know the nature of his neurosis, he is often unable to overcome or resist it. He is frequently a helpless observer of his own predicament.
In overcoming a neurosis I believe the subjective attitude, or personal "relationship" to the neurosis is of utmost importance. In modern psychological theory the neurosis is part of the person - it is the person insofar as the person is regarded as a particular personality or character. In the theory of the 16th century magus, Paracelsus, the neurosis or mental problem is an entity in itself, it is an actual, created, mental being which victimizes the neurotic sufferer for his freedom and vital energy. This theory, I believe, explains much that modern theory is unable to cope with. Modern psychologists will agree that a neurotic pattern has a seeming life of its own even after it has been fully recognized by the patient.
In Tibet there is a process by which a visible being is created by meditation, exercises and mental energy. By repeated visualization and concentration on the form of a man, woman or beast, an actual phantom creature can be created which can be seen by other people. Madame Alexandra David-Neel relates this in her book Magic and Mastery in Tibet. She herself created a phantom monk which other people saw and inquired about. Initially this phantom is under the control of its creator but eventually gains in independence and may become a pest or obsession to its creator. Madame David-Neel's phantom eventually became troublesome to her and when she attempted to be rid of it, it took six months of arduous meditation to dissolve.
The creation of a complex, neurosis, or the Paracelsian elementary is much the same process as the creation of the Tibetan tulpa or phantom being. Years of dwelling on fear, anger, hate, despair or other specific mental and emotional attitudes will create an actual mental creature whose essence is this very attitude. The creature will depend on a continued dwelling on the particular emotion which created it for its continued sustenance from the vital energy spent on that emotion. Man is obviously a creator externally with his technology and engineering, but he is also a creator on the inner invisible realms.
As Manly Hall states in his booklet on Paracelsus: ". . when God created Adam, he breathed into him the divine power. Man is therefore a creator, not merely in terms of the perpetuation of the species, but especially in terms of the imagination. . . The invisible progeny of man include thought-forms and emotion-forms. These are like infants, especially in their beginnings, for they depend upon their creator for their nutrition and survival. Later, however, if the forces which generate them continue to operate, these thought-forms and emotion-forms gain strength, finally attaining a kind of independence which is their immortality. Having thus become stronger than their creator, these thought- or emotion-forms will turn upon the one who fashioned them, often causing in him a terrible habit and destroying his health and happiness."
Within our modern materialistic belief-system, it seems quite an extreme thing to suggest that we are often victim of mental entities with a life and level of intelligence their own. Modern psychologists refuse to admit any invisible but objective influences on the human psyche, yet it seems narrow-minded to believe we are affected drastically by nothing our extremely limited senses cannot directly perceive. In this amazingly complex and infinitely diverse universe, there are undoubtedly influences and dimensions which we cannot perceive with our eyes or instruments. The most important part of man is his psyche, and this is invisible and of another dimension. To me, man seems to be half animal, half angel. Modern psychology is animal psychology and deals with the material-animalistic nature of man. True depth psychology must deal with the "angelic" or invisible and creative realms of the mental and psychic.
The elementary is not a "natural'' creation per se, but lives on the vampirization of the life forces of another creature. Elementaries are man-created entities. For instance, a particular mental state, say fear, if continually dwelled upon will create a gestalt which, continually fed from the repetition on fear, will be animated into a separate being with survival interest. If the person is prone to fear, then every time he becomes fearful, a tremendous amount of energy is released into this mental state. In time he no longer decides to be fearful, but is "seized" by fear. The created mental being or gestalt has obtained enough strength and independence that it can stimulate or obsess the person into the fear state - and thus obtain the vital energy which is expended in this state. Something "comes over" the person and he is no longer totally in the driver's seat. He does not wish to be fearful, but something strongly stimulates him to be so. This applies not only to fear, but to anger, compulsion, despair or any other repetitive and strong emotional state. To quote Manly Hall again: ''The psychic formations are nourished by the constant repetition of the attitude which formed them."
We all know people who grow uncontrollably angry or are chronically depressed or fearful. We undoubtedly can find some habitual and uncontrollable mood in ourselves. To become the creator and victim of an elementary (popular psychology would call it a neurotic complex), a person must have a tendency toward extremes in emotion or thought. Moderation does not provide sufficient energy for the formation of a specific elementary. A particular habitual and extreme emotion is required.
The will of a person is crucially important in the formation of an elementary or psychic parasite. Initially the person must will to become angry, morose, or whatever. Once the elementary gains the strength and independence to stimulate the person toward its particular life-giving emotion, the person must acquiesce to the urge and identify with the emotion if the elementary is to "succeed" and gain the vital energy and strength it seeks. The elementary cannot gain energy and strength unless the person willfully expresses or acquiesces to the emotion which forms and nourishes the elementary. Once the psychic tick gains enough strength it can only be destroyed or dissolved by refusal to acquiesce to the entity's stimulation. This can be very difficult if the elementary and its compulsive stimulation have been an accepted part of the psyche for many years. I believe the most effective way of dealing with compulsive emotions and mental states is not to aggressively resist them, but to conserve energy and to consistently and objectively observe them and refuse to acquiesce, identify or react.
I wanted to experiment with dream telepathy and asked my mother (who lives ten miles or so away from me) to think of a simple message to send to me each night before she went to bed. I wanted to see if I would pick up anything in my dreams as a result of this. I wrote down my dreams for the week and then we got together to see if there were any successful results.
In the first vivid dream I had that week, I was sure I had gotten it as "Niagara Falls," the symbol, or picture of cliffs kept coming into the dream. I was wrong. I kept getting water in dreams during the rest of the week.
I had a few more guesses during the week but no luck. In desperation, I asked my mother what or how she was doing it, was she using props, concentrating on any one thing, etc. I suggested she send the message to me, not just absorb herself in the subject. The next day I wrote down this dream: I was at a picnic in the park. I was taking a picture of my brother, now a little boy of 3 or 4. I was ordering him to step up closer, then back again; I was really irritated because I could not focus the camera on him the way I wanted. Then my mother came up and showed me a little yellow plastic switch on the camera and told me to switch it over and the camera would automatically focus. I then took a great picture of my brother, a close-up with sharp features and color.
This was the last dream of the week and when I read this to my mother she got excited and showed me the picture she had been trying to send to me. It was a printed check with a sunset, mountains in the background, and a lake. The whole picture was in a hazy yellow and she said she had concentrated on sending the color yellow to me the night before.
Considering that the picture was more complicated than I expected she would pick, I did pick up on the picture, the cliffs as mountains, the lake below and the color yellow (the plastic switch on the camera).
We are trying it some more; hopefully practice will make perfect in these experiments.
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My little boy sat under a tree in the setting sun Amongst the fallen Autumn apples in his red suit And I wondered: is he just an apple too? That is: all the myriad apples fall, One or two penetrate the ground and germinate a new sapling, and Of the thousands of young trees thus produced One or two rises to maturity and bears fruit unto continuance.
But the tree that is man,
Beyond the circle of reproduction,
Produces also Jesus' fruit,
Breaking through the circle to Beyond...
Or does it?
Or does it not blossom merely into a greater circle?
Is not this too capped by the final Crown,
Enclosing all transcendences within the Greatest Circle?
In which case, all is the White Light,
Shining from the heart of the littlest apple on barren soil
Just as from the eyes of my son and
The soul of the Buddha.
All this: Now, as it's ever been and shall be.
Nothing more is needed:
It is, I am, We are all That Which Is.
Later, in a different space, an alternate vision rose;
Strange how it began in the seeming-same root.
This is the Whole Thing, here now, in me, it is me.
I knew what I needed to hear,
Jumped up and grabbed Kabir, and
Yes, yes, it grokked - and frighteningly added more.
The voice from out of Kether
Speaking through the pen of the long-dead sage:
All must ripen whilst you live, whilst you live,
Whilst you live,
Else death is but an empty dream.
Oh Lord, is this my only chance?
Suddenly eternity melted away,
The quiet, sun-flecked sea of grass and decaying apples,
Waiting calmly for consummation in this cycle,
Or the next,
Or the next a thousand times removed;
And my heart was stirred by hastening images.
It now became urgent to ask: Am I on the right path?
It seemed so, perhaps; reassurance.
But Kabir ripples the waters once more, admonishing:
The true path is rarely found.
All the rest is forgotten apples,
Their once-promising seeds blown to the winds
Or feeding insects
Or dissolved to dust.
And still yet:
Brahma Himself is the tree, the seed, and the germ...
Is the wind which scatters it and
The worm which devours it and
The entropy which grinds it into dust.
In what ground shall I plant my soul?
In the peace of Everything Is?
Or the catalyzing discontent which shouts:
Awaken now, or wither and be gone?
Or does the upward-spiraling shoot,
Fertilized by fear-of-ending,
Sprout from the crystal sphere
Of placid endless circles?
The bitten apple,
Whole and perfect.
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In recent years we have seen the rate of death and suffering due to heart disease and hardening arteries soar. Consequently, Americans' concern for their health and well-being has increased almost as rapidly. Many are linking this dilemma with the food we eat, naming the over-processed food that is forced upon us as the culprit. I think it can truthfully be said that, to a certain extent, we are what we eat.
When I think of this business of health and nutrition, it always reminds me of the commercial for a particular brand of yogurt which is advertised on television. In this commercial a mountain village is shown where it is not uncommon for a person to exceed one hundred years of age. An atmosphere of simplicity is experienced. There is no machinery or electricity. All the labor, which is mostly gardening, is manual. They show one of these centenarians walking from the garden, where he has been raking and hoeing, and they tell you that he eats yogurt every day.
This insinuates that all a person has to do to live a hundred years is to eat yogurt every day. When I see this commercial, I think of the article I read in a magazine which explores different lifestyles according to a geographical location. I can't remember the name of the publication, but the article was concerned with a particular tribe or village of mountain people who had an average age in the nineties. In one part of the article one of these people was asked what one thing he does every day to which he might attribute his long life. His reply was that he worked up a sweat every day.
The eating of yogurt was also mentioned. They do not have cows in the mountains, but goats can be seen wandering around, so I assume it is goat's milk yogurt that is spoken of. Since goat's milk is naturally homogenized, I doubt that they use low fat skim milk to make their yogurt. They do not have sugar, so I doubt also that their yogurt is loaded with sugar-rich preserves, which destroys all the helpful bacteria found in yogurt.
To go back to the previous paragraph though, I feel an important statement is present here, which is, "Health can be directly linked to a person's lifestyle." The food we eat is an important part of this lifestyle, but it is not the only factor. Daily exercise is equally important, as is a mental attitude free from the onslaughts produced by a society immersed in a hurry-up-live-for-today lifestyle.
Many things have changed since the days of old, and it is hard to pinpoint those for the better from those for the worse. We have seen the elimination of much suffering due to disease, only to be inflicted with new diseases for which medicine has not yet found a cure.
Harsh working conditions have been done away with, leaving us with an easier lifestyle and more leisure time. Instead of a physical benefit, this seems to have been a detriment to our health, making us soft and more susceptible to disease.
Having more time for contemplation, again we have fallen prey to adversaries. Instead of living by a proven moral, and using our free moments from the strife for meditation, we have become deluged with the endless possibilities of altered lifestyles with endless variations of distractions and dissipations.
Our healers and guardians of the mind have not seen fit to investigate the roots of physical and mental illnesses properly, largely due to the fact that there is not a solid scientific method of exploring a realm not easily measured in the physical. Overcome by the odds against them, they seem to have given up, retiring into a position of no longer healing, but merely eliminating symptoms.
Consequently, our healers have become weak. Without the strength for assured self-gained knowledge and unwaning authority, they have become worse examples of health than the layman. Their weakness inhibits their speaking against any popular issue, no matter how unhealthy it may be. Their defense is that there is no scientific evidence which proves this activity or that activity to be unhealthy. Falling prey to their own dictates, they find themselves running to each other's clinic for help, only to find their colleagues in as bad a shape or worse.
We are suffering a grave misfortune so that our system of health and healing can claim to be scientific. No longer being able to rely upon our professional counterparts, we are going to have to discover a system of health or a lifestyle which is conducive to health.
So we turn to those who have labeled themselves as wholistic healers or nutritionists and find equal contradiction and confusion. The wholistic medicine man is usually found to be nothing more than the peddler of some personal fetish disguised in the form of a particular megavitamin.
It may be apple cider vinegar or chelated magnesium or vitamin C or God only knows but if you take only two multi-mega-units a day and if you can get all of your friends to do the same we can save the world, or least save the vitamin industry from bankruptcy.
The nutritionist, or health food nut, not being able to find Jesus or Krishna or Allah, has settled upon food as his savior. Only food of a very pure state of organicity. The enchanter, chanting incantations about how certain types of food when placed within the house of the soul set up certain unhealthy cosmic vibrations, and like man it's really a bad trip. He has sold his soul to fanaticism, no longer eating to live and remain strong, but eating healthier and healthier foods that he may live longer and longer in order that he might consume ever healthier foods.
Food or vitamins or whatever has become the god and religion of the nutritionists and wholistic medicine man, and as far as I can tell has not had a noticeable effect upon their well being.
We cannot afford to spend our lives involved in megavitamin warfare only to find out that megavitamins cause cancer. The average man does not have the time to school himself on all the aspects of medicine and his anatomy. Equally, he does not have the time to investigate all the areas of nutrition on the market. A method must be found by which a man can gain a working knowledge of health without spending his life at it, by which time it will be too late.
I would like to propose a system of common-sense and intuition. Both of these faculties can be cultivated into a usable function. A basic understanding of the body and the food we eat will be necessary to direct our intuition properly. The intuition will begin to take force when the desire for health and sanity outweighs all other desires. Fasting will sharpen the language between the body and the mind as well as periodically cleansing the system. The elimination of meat from the diet every single day at every meal, to perhaps three or four days a week has been known to sharpen the intuition.
Common sense merely states that we become aware of exactly what it is that we are eating and exactly how we are living our lives: The reading of labels instead of listening to the dictates of the commercial or advertisement. By observing those around us who are afflicted and noting their lifestyle as compared to those who are not afflicted.
A few years ago vitamin C became a very popular antidote to the cold or flu viruses. What we were not told was that in certain cases vitamin C will eliminate a head cold by lowering it into the chest. Quite a magical feat! Large quantities of vitamin C will also cause stomach cramps and diarrhea.
In the days of old, when drugs weren't sold, and colds were to be prevented, dosages of cod liver oil were taken. This is very concentrated in vitamin A. Research has shown that in the presence of a cold, if 10,000 units of vitamin A were taken daily, broken into three dosages, it eased the symptoms. I do not think a cure has been found yet.
Dr. Yudkin and some of his chaps at the University of London have found that consuming four ounces of sugar daily will increase your chance of contracting heart disease five times over the chance you would have if you consumed only half as much sugar!
The amount of sugar in some foods is phenomenal. The reading of labels will not give you the exact amount, but it can give you a rough idea. The ingredients must be listed with the ingredient of highest weight first and second highest second and so forth. Beware if sugar is at the top of the list.
If only the fittest are to survive, then living smart to keep fit will put you ahead of the game.
In my article "Critical Day for Biorhythms" in the last issue of the TAT Journal (Autumn, 1978, Vol. 1, No. 5), an error was made in the caption for Figure 1. The first sentence read, "A Biorhythm chart of the first 30 days of life"... It should have read. . ."of the first 46 days of life." Each vertical line represented a span of one day.
A Taste of the Design
On the very day that Laura Mae's leg came out of the cast she was hit again. I had a wounded three legged dog. I did not see the reason for all of it; the trips to the vet, her pain, the expense, the repetition. That night after her hind quarter had been shattered again I walked her up the road and bumped into a taste of the design.
It was a damp, foggy late winter night. I led my dog past the field next door, and waited wincing as she tried to "go." We gave up after ten minutes. Laura sidled up to me to be carried home. I picked her up and headed for our driveway. As I passed a clump of silver birches at the driveway's edge, I saw trees as living beings with legs planted in the ground. I thought of Laura Mae's leg and said, "Well, at least they don't feel it when they are cut or chopped down." And the trees answered immediately "Oh yes we do."
I stopped on the walk halfway to the house still tenderly holding my feathery dog. I took a deep breath, conscious of inhaling life force. I lifted my face, or was it the heart, and said without words, "Please heal Laura Mae's leg and her spirit, and the legs and spirits of all living things everywhere."
For a moment I was in tune. There followed a dialogue with someone, somewhere, perhaps the stillest part of myself that went like this:
"You who would not wish immortality for yourself - do you then wish it for all that is alive?"
"An end to the senseless suffering."
"Do you know it is senseless?!"
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Is humanity ready for the idea that the "real world" can be altered by changes in thought and belief?
Reflections on The Crack in the Cosmic Egg
by Jake Jaqua
If readers of The Crack in the Cosmic Egg take the book to heart, the results can be world-shattering. The ideas set forth are not new, but Joseph Chilton Pearce brings the insights of philosophers and psychologists together in a concise and highly intelligible way in stating that our world is an agreed-upon mental creation. The world would be different, or become different, if we all agreed it were different. Paradoxically though, this agreement is subconscious and can only be affected consciously through great difficulty and personal adroitness.
Like many great and innovative synthesizers of knowledge, Joseph Chilton Pearce went through a period of intense personal suffering which generated dynamic mental struggle and searching. In his case it was the ghastly specter of cancer. His wife's grandmother died of cancer, then it was a favorite aunt; his wife's mother was barely saved from the disease by the mutilation of the knife. Her father was the next to succumb and it appeared to all that Pearce's wife would follow. It was almost a fiat, then it happened. A tumor was diagnosed which was wildly stimulated by the growth hormones of pregnancy. Pearce's world was tumbling to the ground. She submitted herself to the "priests of the scalpel," but to no avail; her death sentence had been passed.
Something was amiss here. Must his wife die? It almost seemed that she was proscribed by some force from living much longer, and that she must perform her duty to "the way things are" and die, as she was expected to. Was there an unalterable physical cause of the cancer, or was it somehow confused with belief and thus "creation" of his wife's imminent death? Pearce set foot with desperate intention into a "reprogramming" of his wife's mentality. He went on five and six-day fasts. During the day he constantly read her literature on healing, and while she slept, he endlessly repeated suggestions of hope and strength. Then a miracle occurred. In a mere three weeks she had, to all appearances, gotten well. They tramped to the "temple" of medicine and amongst much hysterics on the doctors' behalf, it was agreed that she had miraculously and completely recovered. But then the fatal blow was struck, and they were warned of the "inevitable reoccurrence." A year later, and after the birth of a child with cerebral palsy, the cancer returned and the death of his wife occurred - or was perhaps created. Few people understood his fury when the medical center suggested that he begin bringing his just-pubescent daughter for regular check-ups. Pearce had come to the conclusion or intuition that these things were somehow created or caused by the indoctrinating influence of expectation and belief. His daughter was being "set-up" for her own encounter with cancer. His intuitions were validated years later by a realization which revealed to him the means by which belief and expectation become self-fulfilling and actually create the nature of our reality.
Joseph Chilton Pearce is a man who has probed the deeper aspects of the human thinking process. Pearce has taught in various capacities in college, high school and junior high school for over fifteen years and has received degrees from the College of William and Mary, Indiana University and Geneva Theological College. He is presently devoting his time to writing and occasionally lecturing. He is the author of three books, The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg, and Magical Child, and is currently working on another book on what he labels the ''primary process'' in the psyche.
In Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Pearce examines a wide variety of areas including telekinesis, the death concept, guilt, fear, the functions of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and Castaneda's writings. He claims that through the overdevelopment of the logical and cultural mode of thinking we have split ourselves off from an organic "primary process" thinking, thus destroying our sense of unity and participation in nature. This culturally determined thinking has "turned our Eden into our hell" and destroyed the very roots of modern man's psyche. We have identity crises and feel a lack of authenticity because we have split ourselves from our proper organic role. Pearce maintains that the only means to regain our feeling of authenticity and wholeness is to reintegrate primary processes, which are ''the intricate 'thinking' systems operating below the limen of awareness''.
In Magical Child, Pearce describes the progressive nature of childhood development and brings to light how our present child-rearing practices are not appropriate for this biologically-determined maturation. Children have several stages of mental development and if the child is not allowed to naturally go through these stages, then the child will be literally ''stymied" at a level. A common example of this would be "force-feeding'' abstract learning such as mathematics to a six or seven-year-old in hopes of developing his intellect. His intellect will be developed, but it will be at the sacrifice of the fantasy and feeling part of his nature which is biologically meant to be developed at this age. Pearce devoted the first two-thirds of Magical Child to child-rearing practices and theory and in the last third of the book places childhood maturation within the philosophy of his previous two books. He also relates some personal experiences and experiments in the realms of dreams, hypnagogic imagery, and "rapport group" sittings that are thoroughly intriguing.
Pearce's philosophy is a result of his own personal struggles and this can be ascertained from the tone of his book. He is never overly abstruse and ceremoniously intellectual like many pretenders of insight. He writes in "his own voice," and you are aware that a man is writing and not an isolated, computerish exponent of dry abstraction. His book has a heart. His research was the result of a heart-felt motivation and bears the stable character of his honestly-felt desire to discover the nature of reality formation. It is paradoxical that the culmination of his search verified the very manner in which he searched.
Pearce's philosophy is unique, yet it contains seeds provided by many great thinkers. This seems to be the process of all great and world-changing theories. Many thinkers tangentially touch on the culminating theory, but one man gathers all in, and is the channel for the grand synthesis. Pearce proved to be such in this case. His sources of inspiration span from anthropology to physics and include such innovators as physicists Leonard Feinberg and David Bohm, psychologist Jerome Bruner and linguist Susanne Langer. Our "cosmic egg" is formulated and altered by scientists such as these, and Pearce has discovered the very ontology by which this occurs.
Inside Our Cosmic Egg
Pearce's "cosmic egg" is our individual or group "world-view" - the picture or mental representation we constantly maintain in our minds of what the world is "really" like. It contains values, opinions, likes, dislikes, what we regard as important and unimportant and, germane to this discussion, what is possible and impossible. We are never directly in contact with what is "out there" in the physical world. The only nearly direct contact we have with the "out there" is a limited amount of raw sensation we are able to receive through our imperfect senses. This raw data is then interpreted or formed into a concept or idea by the personal consciousness. We get such and such sensory stimulation and interpret it as "apple," or such and such sensory data and interpret "she is angry." The only "things" we are directly in contact with are our concepts of things. Our view of the world is a second-hand view and a homemade affair. We make a personal representation of the world and view our own representation.
The world is a mental picture-show we hold up for ourselves and for our children to emulate.
Each of our world views is progressively formulated from childhood. As an infant, raw sensation is the basic focus of attention. An infant notices colors, movements, noises, smells and tactile sensations but has yet formed no concepts from these. He gradually forms basic concepts from the emulation and instruction of his parents. He learns "mamma," "dadda," "doggy," and "cat." He learns to react to particular groupings of sensation as a "thing" or concept. This group of noises and colors is "mamma" and that is "dadda." His conceptual categories have not quite narrowed down, though, because sometimes a cow is "doggy" and Aunt Betty is "mamma." This narrowing down of concepts exponentially progresses through early life in reference to subtler and subtler sensations and concepts.
After time and maturation, the child begins to react to his own concepts, and not just simple sensation. This is when he begins to "think" per se, and this is when his conceptual structure of reality begins to be formulated. The child comes to know that when mother contorts her face in a particular manner she is angry. This "anger" (and the consequences) is a concept in the child's mind. To interpret a particular facial expression requires a thinking process; the information is not contained in the raw sensation. This simple type of concept is even present in animals, but in humans these concepts become more complex in an ongoing process throughout maturation until a gestalt-like world-view of inter-related ideas is created. Constantly new things and relationships are perceived which are not in the present reality-view and must be incorporated or ignored. This process is our individual "creation of the world. "
The world-view is our present mental schema of the world and consists of all our accepted beliefs and "facts" about the world. These world-views differ between cultures and, in smaller ways, between subcultures, families and individuals. Junior may have his whims granted in one family but not in another because of different child-rearing viewpoints. To a westerner a cow means "milk" or "meat," but to a Hindu the same cow is a sacred animal and is not "food." Someone living in a rural area will regard reality differently than someone living in New York City. The world-view is handed down from generation to generation with slight and sometimes drastic changes in each succeeding epoch. We "inherit the sin of our fathers and forefathers" as it may be. We all believe the world is "out there" in some sort of ultimate concreteness but, while still rather concrete, it is really "in here." It is a mental picture-show we hold up for ourselves and for our children to emulate. This is not bad; in fact, it is the only way it can be.
All our knowledge of the outside world is mental knowledge; we are in touch with nothing directly outside our own minds. All we know is that something produces an effect on the mind in the categories of our five senses. The causes of our sensation could just as logically have a totally mental origin rather than a physical origin. In this case "matter" would just be an idea, the idea of "concreteness." Actually this is all we know anyway; we do not know matter directly, but only as an idea. It makes little difference in our practical life that matter may be only a mental construct, but it has great philosophic and possibly spiritual significance. It is never known directly "out there"; it is only known "in here." We just assume it is out there. Subjectively we cannot even tell if an object of sensation - a tree, a dog, or the color blue - looks the same to you as it looks to me. My color blue could be green to you, but as long as we call it by the same name - blue - we'll never know the difference. Dreaming is a completely mental condition and our reality in dreams often seems more vividly real than when we are in the "physical" world. Our reality and our minds are not as definite, stable and unambiguous as we like to believe.
The "crack in the cosmic egg" is a small excursion or peek into the unknown.
Our cosmic egg is an arduously developed logical schema within which man is able to develop his potentials. Man's abilities are innate but he needs a structure of language and accepted facts with which to build. Allegorically, he can build with bricks, or he can build with stone, but he must build with something. Castles cannot be built with air. A person cannot jump beyond the cultural agreement of language and facts and hope to discover anything of practical importance. (He may have a mystical experience of the realm beyond "world views" but would be unable to communicate without world-view terms.) All new theories and insights are the result of recombination and metaphor of existing world-view ideas. The mind is literally a computer and, like a computer, it can only create from a storehouse or paradigm of already existing concepts. If you attempt to create a totally new creature in your imagination, you cannot do so. Your creature may have the tail of a cat, the beak of a bird and the skin of a reptile, but it is still the composite of parts or ideas you have in your storehouse of concepts about already existing animals. There are no new concepts, only recombinations of old concepts and ideas, often in a very creative way.
This logical construction which is our reality Pearce calls "the clearing in the forest." The forest is the great "out there," the dark unknown of infinite possibility. The "clearing in the forest" is our society, culture, science and our agreed upon assumption of what constitutes normal reality. The "crack in the cosmic egg" is a small excursion or peek into the unknown. Pearce relates an experience of his own of the "crack" during his college days. He felt himself enter a dissociated or trance state and was able to butt out lighted cigarettes on his face and hands without any ill after-effects, much to the chagrin of his college friends.
A similar example of the "crack" from my own life concerned my eight-year-old brother. I was once observing him play with a paperclip and a padlock and was amazed that he had unlocked the padlock two times in succession with the paperclip. I asked him to do it again and he dutifully repeated the feat. I expressed my astonishment and after this he was unable to unlock the padlock again even though he tried many times. By expressing my astonishment at his trick, I believe I indoctrinated him into the normally accepted reality-view - the reality-view in which it is impossible for a non-skilled person to open a padlock with a paperclip. Previously, he had no categories for padlocks and paperclips and could turn the trick with ease.
The Normal Aborigine
There are more dramatic examples of cracks in the cosmic egg the world over, mostly in "backward" and semi-isolated cultures. These people are out of touch with what we accept as normal, possible and impossible, and thus have freer minds to set up different concepts of possibility. The Australian aborigines and various cultures where "fire-walking" is practiced are examples. Where fire-walking is conducted in religious ceremonies, participants are able to walk over twenty feet of white-hot coals without being burned or harmed in the least. To our western minds, this is physically impossible, but nonetheless it is a "scientific fact" with sufficient evidence and data to validate it as with any other "fact." Fire-walking and similar "impossible" feats performed in various sub-cultures are definite evidence that western science does not have a complete understanding of what physical reality is, and what is possible and impossible. There seems to be a key somewhere, or an undiscovered law.
The Australian aborigines live in a culture with a drastically different reality-view. Their religious life and practical way of life are totally integrated so that a very complex and complete way of regarding reality is formulated. Upon entering adolescence the male aborigine is submitted to an initiation rite, the severity of which is not known elsewhere. The youth is starved, kept sleepless and frightened in such an extreme manner and for such a long period of time that death sometimes results. The effect of all this is that eventually the psyche is totally shattered. When the boy's mind is completely disjointed as a result of shock (no world-view), he is indoctrinated into the "Totem System" by the elders. The Totem World is a synthetic, complex and complete reality-system or world-view, but it is different. In the Totem System every aspect of the man's life is prescribed and regulated - how he walks, how he urinates, how he talks, how he throws his spear, etc. It is all done in the manner in which the "Two Brothers" did it on the first day of creation in their cosmology. Each aborigine man is in constant rapport with the "Two Brothers" who are simultaneously in every place and every time. Since the aborigine is in constant rapport with the Two Brothers who know all, he is able to hit with his boomerang an animal on the other side of a hill, he is able to run twenty miles across the desert to intercept a sacred rainfall, and he is able to track without hesitation miles of terrain which a man had traveled a year before. In our reality this is all impossible, but in the aborigine's it is possible, normal, and occurs!
As can be seen by the general resistance to new ideas, there is virtually a biological survival urge to maintain the present reality-view. The reason for this can be most easily seen from the personal point of view. A person has to believe he has the correct view towards the world in order for him to aggressively seek to earn a living and promote his personal ego and interests. A person caught in the tumult of self-doubt is robbed of his power to act. He is unable to act because he does not know in what direction to act. His survival possibilities are subtly reduced because of psychological impotence and ambiguity. A person who is sure of his values (world-view) has no doubts in what direction to act. He can be one-pointed. The principle can also be seen in cultures or nations. A nation that has much internal dissension will be greatly weakened in case of war. Pearce puts it: "A mind divided by choices, confused by alternatives, is a mind robbed of power. "
Each aborigine man is in constant rapport with the "Two Brothers" who are simultaneously in every place and every time.
While a confused reality-view can be culturally or personally detrimental, it can also be the seed-bed of creative synthesis and increased complexity - and through this complexity results increased potential. The world-view is the material through which man works out his potentials. The nature of astronomy, mathematics, music, art, economics, politics, linguistics, chemistry, physics, sociology, anthropology, etc. The highly complicated interrelationship between these fields is the mental gestalt of our culture. This labyrinth of correlation is the result of centuries of analogy and shuffling of simpler ideas. As Pearce describes it, "Scientific growth became a process of metaphoric combinations and mutations of existing scientific metaphor, a continual expansion of an inherited web of ideas."
It is the complexity and not the nature of the reality-system which determines what can be accomplished within it. If the ether theories of nineteenth century science were carried to their conclusions instead of discarded, we would undoubtedly be able to do everything with that system that we are able to now do with our modern physics. That is, if previous systems of science would have developed at the same pace and to the same complexity along different lines up to the present time, then we would have just as an advanced technology, but we would have a different description of it - different theories and "facts" that worked. It seems arbitrary that science has developed along certain lines rather than others. There have been plenty of "eccentric" scientists and theories that did not develop a following sufficient to redirect the course of science. Some eccentrics were followed, like Einstein, but other scientists and theories - like Baron Von Reichenbach and his "Odic Force," or Reich and his "Orgone Energy'' - were ignored due to no inconsistencies in their systems. We are not discovering things or laws "out there" in the material world, but developing a sufficiently complex mental schema to play out our potentials.
Metanoia and Autistic Thinking
How does the possibility that there are different but equally effective reality structures affect us? Can this possibility be used to improve life or provide an avenue of spiritual growth? Pearce gives a law for applying his insights, but the price is heavy. Two terms, "metanoia" and "autistic thinking," are used by Pearce to describe the sudden restructuring of personal reality. A good example of metanoia is the born-again Christian. When the born-again Christian has his experience of faith or conversion, his whole outlook on life is immediately changed. He has a dramatically altered view of the world; nearly every aspect of life has a novel meaning and purpose. Something causes an instantaneous reorganization of his psyche; he exchanges one world-view for a different world-view. This conversion experience is not the sole possession of Christians but can happen to persons in the sciences, psychology, philosophy or any walk of life. The key to the experience is the discovery or realization of a personally unique schema for regarding the world. The catalyst of the experience may be an idea, theory, or system which instigates a rapid mental reappraisal of the world and seeing in a different light. There are converts to physics or a school of psychology as well as converts to Christianity or Islam.
Pearce labels his second type of reality-restructuring "autistic thinking" because he believes it to be the case with autistic children. For varying reasons the autistic child never enters our reality structure but makes and lives in a "world of his own." In normally adjusted people autistic thinking is the temporary or permanent rearrangement of world-view so that things are seen in a different light and have altered significance and value. The fire-walker temporarily reinterprets reality so that in his world-view fire does not burn (and it doesn't). The scientific genius suffers a dramatic and catalytic reorganization of his concepts and a new reality structure and scientific theory is the result.
The autistic process does not come cheaply. Even to temporarily change his world-view the fire-walker must undergo a period of abstinence and rigorous discipline. The aborigine adolescent undergoes a horribly severe initiation rite. The scientific or philosophic thinkers who have undergone the "Eureka!" experience of discovery (Pearce would say "creation") have almost universally struggled through years of questioning.
The conversion experience is not the sole possession of Christians but can happen to persons in the sciences, psychology, philosophy or any walk of life.
The passionate questioning and desire is the key to the creation of the Eureka! experience. Most of the Eureka! experiencers seemed to be victims of the autistic process, that is, they did not know they were unconsciously setting the stage for an illumination. Pearce hints that the experience can be synthetically created. What is needed to set the gears in motion is a constant, total commitment to the answering of a personal question. One's life must be placed on the line and staked on finding the answer to the question. The question may be "Who am I -ultimately?", "Why is there suffering?" or "How can the speed of light be surpassed?" Regardless of the question, the process is the same. The type of answer found will be a mirror of the question asked. Additionally, the question asked must be a question with "heart." If the seeker cannot put his heart into the question, then commitment will not be possible and the catalyst for illumination will not be there.
The autistic process is a subliminal or unconscious process. In the memory banks there is a tremendous accumulation of ideas, facts and isolated theories all relating to the central question the mind is poised upon. It seems that a critical mass is reached when the whole mental structure is in danger of toppling under its own weight. An unforeseen catalyst appears (a brick in the pavement?), and instantly the whole massive mountain of concepts comes tumbling down, the pieces of the puzzle fall into place, and the awe-striking vision, a reorganization of reality and what may be called the experiencing of an idea of an idea, occurs. The realization is usually not in the form of a neat formula, but is an abstraction and an intuition which may take years to interpret in normal world-view terms. The astro-mathematician Sir William Hamilton is a case in point. After years of searching for a solution to a problem in modern mechanics, he unexpectedly experienced an illumination in which the "galvanic circuit of thought closed" and he received a grand intuition. He became aware in the midst of his realization that it would require years to express his insight (Quaternion Theory).
Many people may have the quantity of facts and ideas in their mind that the experiencer of an illumination does, but few experience an illumination. The overwhelming desire proves the impetus which causes the fusion of memory into an illumination. As it is, the desire acts to form a constant tension between all the isolated bits of information in the memory. A "connection" is always subliminally sought to weave all the bits of information into one whole. When the "connection" is found, perhaps on a subconscious level, all the isolated ideas crystallize into one, tremendous idea. In the extremely knowledgeable person - who has no consuming desire or question - this "tension between ideas" is not there, and thus the dramatic integration resulting in illumination does not occur.
Several years after his wife died, and concluding his own search to discover the meaning of it, Pearce experienced a tremendous illumination which crystallized the ideas in his book. Pearce explains, "And there, in my own little suspended moment out of mind, I 'saw'. The connecting link between the fragmented parts of my search fused. There was a great wash of understanding, powerful, total. I had my answer. Nothing was specific or articulate. It just was, in a perfectly clear kind of ultimate certainty.... in my experience what was understood to be the 'answer' was the very function by which I had achieved my 'seeing'. My answer was a turning in on the process of questioning. That is, the answer to my passionate pursuit was insight into how the answers to passionate questions are formed in the mind. I saw that this was but an extension of the very ontological function by which 'things were' . . . I saw that the only 'truth' for us is the process of questioning what truth might be, and receiving answers in keeping with the nature of our questions." The process of realization proved to be the realization of the process. For Pearce, the mirror had reflected upon itself and the serpent had bitten its tail.
With The Crack in the Cosmic Egg, Pearce has opened up new vistas for research and created avenues for unprecedented speculation and possibility. He has not said it all, but provided the kernel that can provide direction to form a "metaworld-view," that is, a world-view which is "one step back" and realizes the very process of world-view formation. Pearce outlines the processes by which realities are formed and thus provides us with the possibility of consciously altering our reality. This has great meaning on the social as well as the personal level. The book is now over seven years old and it has not of yet produced any great furor in the sciences. I fear that the time is not yet ripe for the type of ideas Pearce has presented. My suspicion is still greater that the time may never be ripe. He has provided a formula for "grabbing the tiller of the world" and, as is usual with such esoteric ideas, only a few will be motivated to carry the ideas out of the realm of abstraction and into their personal lives - the only place where they can be realized.
The Puzzle of Autism
Researched by Keith McWilliams
Among childhood developmental disabilities, "autism" is perhaps the most difficult to understand because of the wide differences in severity, periodic symptomatic changes, inconsistent past research and difficulty in diagnosis due to the lack of specific physical signs at the onset.
The word "autism" was first coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugene Bleuler in 1906 to describe the quality of psychotic ideation in a group of patients diagnosed as having dementia praecox or "schizophrenia," another word Bleuler introduced into the professional nomenclature. The common characteristic of these patients was an obstinate referring of everything in the world to themselves.
In 1943 child psychiatrist Leo Kanner, using Bleuler's terminology, described a group of disturbed children who shared an inability to relate to other human beings in a paper entitled "Autistic Disturbances of Affective Contact." The following years found clinical centers studying and treating this dysfunction from different angles employing such techniques as vitamins, drugs, shock and psychotherapy. Each research group developed its own terminology and treatment until it was finally realized that a common language was needed for researchers to work together. The term "autism" was eventually chosen to refer to this little understood condition. Synonymous terms that are also commonly used are childhood autism, primary autism, infantile autism and autistic child.
Results of research have led the medical and psychiatric professions to believe that autism is a physical disease of the brain and central nervous system (CNS), often found in conjunction with other diseases affecting the CNS. It manifests itself at birth or shortly thereafter and lasts the life of the patient. It afflicts children without regard to race, family background or geographical distribution. No known factors in the psychological environment produce autism.
It is usually the mother who notices unusual characteristics in her child at birth or shortly thereafter, particularly if she has had other children, although she may not be able to specify the subtle nature of what she sees and feels. Otherwise, parents may note normal development up to eighteen to twenty-four months before symptoms appear. By the thirty-sixth month if autism is present it will have manifested itself.
The symptoms of autism fall into five groups:
Perception disturbances may be either hypo-reactive or hyper-reactive. The hypo-reactive patient does not react to verbal commands or sounds. Loud noises do not startle the patient. Visually there is no reaction to new persons or objects and tactile or painful stimuli have no effect. Walking into walls or objects as if they do not exist is common.
The hyper-reactive patient shows heightened awareness and sensitivity to stimuli and may seek out this stimulation. Scratching surfaces while placing the ears close, rubbing, banging or flicking at the ears, listening to background noises of minimal intensity and teeth-grinding produce auditory input. Visual input might be watching hand and finger movements, observing fine details of surfaces or simply intense staring episodes. Autistic children also show a marked interest in objects that spin such as a top. Tactile stimuli may be provided by rubbing furniture or objects. Other common behaviors are whirling, rocking and head-rolling. Repetitive hand-flapping is also thought to provide stimulus input.
Any routine stimuli might also provoke distress or fear in the autistic child. A sudden change in light or a barking dog may produce severe agitation. A child who whirls himself might be terrified by the feeling of motion in an elevator.
Autistic children have an abnormal developmental rate in terms of the normal sequence of motor, language and social expectancies. They may learn to sit without support very early but never manage to pull to a stand.
Disturbances of relating emerge in deviant or poor eye contact, delayed or absent social smile and stranger anxiety, aversion to physical contact and relating to only a part of another person. Older autistics are unable to form peer relationships and are sporadically responsive to their parents.
Speech and language may be totally absent, or when it does occur, atonal, arrhythmic and lacking in inflection and emotion.
Motility disturbances usually involve moving the hands and arms within the visual field. Toe-walking while running has been observed. Body-rocking, head-rolling or banging, and swaying are also common disturbances. These periods of motility are often interrupted by spells of immobility.
Autism and epileptic seizures frequently co-exist, especially as the autistic child becomes older. First seizures usually develop between the ages of thirteen and nineteen and may include grand mal and psychomotor seizures.
There is no known cure for autism. At present the only available treatment for autism is symptomatic. This has proven, however, to be effective in the majority of cases. Research is continuing into the natural history of the disease in the hopes of someday finding the specific cause and nipping the problem in the bud. Until that time autism remains a puzzle to those who treat it.
The Way of the Heart:
A Transpersonal Approach to the Severely Disharmonized Child
by Gordon Broussard
Gordon Broussard was born on August 19, 1943 in Beaumont, Texas. He has a B.S. in chemistry and an M.Ed. in counseling, and is presently working as a counselor at Angie Nall Hospital in Beaumont, Texas. He is interested in utilizing mechanical apparatus to validate the existence of the Heart and its integral relationship to healing and meditation.
This book did not start out as what it has become - a philosophical treatise. In the beginning it was planned simply as a book on a different approach to disturbed children. Somehow, along the way it became what it had to become; for what I do each day with my kids is not something I turn off and on just for their benefit.
My approach to the disharmonized children with whom I work is the same as my approach to life - it springs from the Heart. My philosophy is an integral part of even the most minute part of my life and it is only natural that it should be the most important part of this book.
What is recorded here was once something I only read about. Now it is becoming something I live. I can truthfully say that little of what I record herein is beyond my experience. I can also say that for the most part this book flowed from within with little thought on my part. This book comes from the Heart, not from the mind. Although recorded as though written by "me," it was really written by "I am."
The way of the Heart is a starting point. One may look to Chapter 11 or perhaps find what he is looking for elsewhere. I make no claims, beat no drums, proclaim no truths that are mine alone. If you find something within it is because the time was right. This book is the truth as I know it, nothing more.
Chapter 1: Spiritual harmonization
What's in a name? What is the significance of a word? Of a label?
This is a book on spiritual harmonization; what is really meant by that?
Often things of the spirit and religion are identified with each other and sometimes this is quite appropriate. It is indeed true that many spiritual people - people who have turned toward things of the spirit - are also religious; that is, they oftimes belong to organized religion. However, it is not always true that religious people are spiritual.
It is the job of a specialist such as a psychotherapist to work with individuals who are said to be emotionally disturbed. Most often, this work is done only at the lower levels of the multidimensional being that is man. For this reason, changes which occur, especially for the severely disturbed, are not always as prompt nor as complete as they could be. It is the job of the spiritual harmonizer to work with individuals who have somehow become disharmonized to an extent greater than is considered normal for the general population. Generally speaking, almost everyone is disharmonized to at least some extent. Almost everyone, that is, except one of those exceedingly rare individuals who have become aware of their essential nature. It is an axiom of spiritual harmonization that the more harmonized one is the more of a harmonizing effect he has on others. As one progresses, he moves from being an unconscious harmonizer (one can thus be a spiritual harmonizer without being aware of it) to being a conscious one and the effectiveness of the harmonization increases significantly.
There are degrees and varieties of disharmony. That form of disharmony encompassed by physical illness, involving the body, is usually treated by physicians; and that form of disharmony encompassed by the emotions is usually treated by one of the many kinds of specialists who deal with the ''mind." The spiritual harmonizer is unique in that he works with disorders of both mind and body. Many physicians and specialists who deal with the mind are either conscious or unconscious spiritual harmonizers but more often they are the latter.
All disharmony is spiritual in nature. It is, in fact, a part of spiritual growth. One assumes an illness - that is, he accepts it at some level of his being - as a way of learning a necessary lesson.
As will be explained in more detail in a later chapter, an individual can be helped to achieve greater harmony only to the extent that he has learned his lesson and is ready to give up - again, at some level of his being - the disease or emotional problem.
The way to total harmony is both hard and easy. Few people, however, are willing to undergo the discipline required to travel the road to the Oneness that is total harmony. Fewer people still find the right road.
The road that each person must take is different - unique unto that person - even though he may use a map and follow a route laid out by someone who has preceded him. In actuality, only the landmarks are the same; what occurs along the way is different. Thus, in essence, each individual must follow a different road to the same destination, and his map is only a starting point. Frequently, a guide is available, but at most he - being one who has realized his essential nature - can be a shining example and harmonize the person enough so that he can gain some insight into what the goal might be like.
For most disharmonized people - especially the severely disharmonized - the most that can be expected is a move from where they are to that level of disharmony considered "normal." This book is devoted to principles which will help in normalizing children labeled "autistic" and "schizophrenic." One who utilizes them will find himself beginning his road to greater harmonization. This must be so if he is to successfully work with the children in the way set forth herein.
Throughout much of this book quotes will be given from various sources which support tenets presented. Perhaps most representative of many of these tenets is the philosophy of the Academy of Parapsychology and Medicine, an organization founded to coordinate these two areas in recognition of the fact that they are integrally interrelated. The beliefs making up that philosophy are:
All of the above beliefs hold some degree of truth. Despite this fact, it goes without saying that there are many physicians, psychiatrists, psychotherapists and other specialists in the world who will accept neither the above beliefs - advanced by their colleagues - nor the majority of the principles which will be presented in this book.
Why is it, aside from the belief that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, that much of what is being proved true is nevertheless rejected by specialists in various fields? This occurs not only in the mental and physiological sciences - if one considers these two as separate - but also in the physical sciences.
Rather than attempt to say anything at all about this, I will present a variety of possible (and essentially similar (3)) explanations encountered while looking for my own answers:
. . . It appears that every human being has an innate inertia which fights against anything that tends to lead him outside his accustomed trains of thought. Like most psychoemotional functions, this defense mechanism works quite unconsciously. A practicing psychologist and psychotherapist told me:
'Most people are only looking for confirmation of their attitudes, they don't want to learn. Even the psychopath who seeks out a psychotherapist doesn't want his attitudes changed, even though his false attitudes cause his difficulties. All of us are receptive to additional knowledge, but only if it does not conflict with our basic views or call for entirely new ways of thought. Generally we are barely aware that we are enslaved by our automatic thought patterns. . . This can be a considerable obstacle to accepting ideas that call for a different mode of thinking and new mental habits.'
The person most strongly committed to very specific mental habits is the specialist, the authority in a field. He knows like no one else what is possible in his area. Therefore revolutionary new findings naturally meet with the most vehement opposition from scientists working in the particular field, and it is no accident that revolutionary discoveries are often made by people with only relatively superficial knowledge of the field, who take a birds-eye view. (4)
To experiment is better than to argue, it is said, and even that is better than to deny without looking at the data. It may seem obvious from a scientific point of view that it is not logical to ridicule facts without examining them, but it is sometimes done. Some scientists who wish to discredit parapsychology, however, are so confident that parapsychological events can be 'explained away' that they are willing to examine the data, but then are unwilling to accept the implications even though statistical probabilities in support of parapsychological hypotheses are astronomically in favor of parapsychological theories. One way of meeting this 'awful fact,' is to claim that the work that has been done or supported by Rhine, Soal and Bateman, Murphy, and a host of others is fraud. From a psychiatric point of view, however, those who resort to calling 'fraud' are probably defending against an unconscious fear of the unknown. (5)
It is the pitfall of our species to let reliance on memory and 'reasonableness' become fossilized into pet patterns that replace original and creative thinking. Men and women with patternized minds are forever frustrated in trying to fit everyone they meet into these prefabricated patterns of the non-creative mind. This is, of course, fatal to the whole realm of relationships that could be so spontaneously beautiful, fruitful and satisfying for all of us. (6)
In a paper, 'A Psychiatrist Looks at the Mind-Body Relationship in Common Disease,' presented at the symposium on Mind-Body Relationships in the Disease Process, sponsored by the A.R.E. Clinic in Phoenix, Dr. Ernest F. Pecci states: 'Clearly, the time is coming when we must reexamine what we are really accomplishing through our healing arts, and to consider some previously dismissed concepts of disease even though they may sound quite different from our own. In commenting upon modern medicine's refusal to accept new ideas which do not conform to this preconceived, very mechanistic approach to the body, Franz Alexander stated, "it is one of the paradoxes of historical development that the greater the scientific merits of a method or principle, the greater will be its effects in retarding subsequent developments. The inertia of the human mind makes it stick to ideas and methods which have proved of value in the past even though their usefulness has served its turn."'
The only way to true knowledge - to true harmony - is to cough up the apple of knowledge and become as a little child again; childlike rather than childish in that each new thing is looked at without prejudice and each old thing is looked at as if it were being seen for the first time. Seeing thus, inner knowledge allows one to look beyond outer knowledge - which is nothing more than a starting point. Such inner knowledge combined with knowledge gained from experience is a bright beam of light guiding one down the path to Oneness.
Although the thrust of this book is toward working with children, the principles presented herein could have as easily been applied to adults. However, as I have not worked with adults I do not attempt to generalize. It is for others to determine the way to apply the principles to adults. A first step would be to find some medium other than play as a means of reaching out.
Before presenting an overview of spiritual harmonization as laid out in the chapters of this book, I feel it necessary to point out that I consider spiritual harmonization to be just one part of a total approach to an autistic child. Ideally, such a child would be in a residence situation so that consistency beyond that possible in the home could be maintained. Additionally, an integral part of the overall approach to the child would be some form of sensory bombardment. Finally, although most really good (dedicated) therapeutic persons are unconscious harmonizers, it will eventually become necessary for any good program for autistic children to have at least one conscious harmonizer whose job will be to carry out a therapeutic program along the lines of the one set forth in this book.
This is a book on working with disharmonized children who are most often labeled "autistic" and "schizophrenic." Because of the dangers inherent in such labeling (Chapter 2), I have chosen to call them disharmonized.
The source of all that a spiritual harmonizer does to rectify the disharmony of such children is the Heart center (Chapter 3). It is from this center that all the energy he utilizes springs and it is here that he turns to "listen" within during his work with the children (Chapter 4). Here too is where he focuses when attuning himself to noncommunicative children so that he may communicate silently with them. (Chapter 5).
As play is natural to almost all children in some form no matter how much they may be disharmonized, a spiritual harmonizer uses it as a means of communicating, establishing mutual trust, and changing the energy field of the child. (Chapter 6). This energy field, which is essentially all that man is, is generated by the Heart, through which the harmonizer works with it in measurable and immeasurable ways (Chapter 7).
The most effective harmonizer works not only with the energy field but also with the essence which generates it, thus effectively guiding the disharmonized individual toward total healing of himself (Chapter 8).
The higher the level of acceptance of the disharmonized individual, the more complete his harmonization. Because he may not have learned the lesson he is supposed to have from his disorder, his healing may be limited (Chapter 9).
Limitations aside, the steps toward greater harmonization differ for each individual; each person has plateaus and leaps of progress (Chapter 10). This being so, how does one become a conscious harmonizer? Although there are undoubtedly many ways, the one I have followed (Chapter 11) is mystical in nature.
Ultimately, a spiritual harmonizer may become a totally harmonized being, as a result becoming able to do things usually labeled "miraculous" (Chapter 12). The future holds out a time when everyone is at this point (Chapter 13). When this time is to be depends on those who inhabit the world now.
This, then, is an overview of what is to come; a summation of the way of working of the spiritual harmonizer.
Chapter I Notes
Chapter 2: Labeling and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
"Autism" and "childhood schizophrenia," are these one disorder or two? Opinions vary according to whom you talk.
A psychiatrist I know of who worked in a hospital with a large number of "autistic" children made the statement that "autism" is a form of "schizophrenia." At two recent talks I heard, another psychiatrist and the head of a special school for reaching "autistic" children agreed that "autism" and "childhood schizophrenia" were not the same thing. According to the former they were both forms of psychosis, (1) but although there were similarities between them there were also distinctions which prohibited saying that they were the same. The latter speaker also said that they were different, with both of them - perhaps - being a form of psychosis.
It is possible that a part of the problem is the lack of agreement on characteristics of just one of these disorders - autism. Characteristics listed in the literature range from very specific to very general. Consider, for instance, those given by Alan J. Ward:
A child must manifest all of the above characteristics to be considered as "autistic" by Dr. Ward. Yet, a more general way of classifying a child as "autistic" requires only that he manifest seven out of the following fourteen characteristics formulated by Dr. J. Rendle-Short of the University of Queensland, Australia:
Here, then, we have two different lists of diagnostic characteristics and these lists are just two of many. Taking this into consideration along with the fact that there is no real agreement on the causes nor on methods of treatment of "autism," one can, perhaps, see why I elected to call all of these children - those who may be "autistic" and those who may be "childhood schizophrenics" - disharmonized children. In any event, this term actually describes their condition - one of disharmony. A perceptive enough spiritual harmonizer can actually feel or even "see" the disharmony present in the energy fields which make up the child.
No matter how one identifies a person, he has labeled him. Civilized man is enamored with labels. Seemingly, everything must be sorted, named, and catalogued, including his fellow man. An unfortunate attribute of many labels is that they lead to mental sets which preclude thinking beyond them. Having expectations of something which he has labeled, a person often unconsciously arranges things so that his expectations will be fulfilled. And it is not only the man in the street who is guilty of this. Many specialists are also just as guilty of allowing labels to become mental blinders. (4)
As an example, in Son Rise Barry Neil Kaufman, a parent who set out to help his "autistic" child when no one else would, tells how upon hearing that Raun, his son, had been diagnosed "autistic" his family doctor just shook his head with a look of hopelessness. (5) Elsewhere in this excellent book, Vikki, a family friend irately tells of an interview she had at a "progressive hospital for the so-called 'emotionally disturbed' and 'brain damaged children.'" She quotes the supervisor of the school program at the hospital as saying: "Autistic children, well, they're really crazy. There's not much you can do with them." (6) A guidance counselor present at the same interview also said: "What we do with them is just try to at least train them to be good patients, so they aren't any trouble to the institutions they go to when they leave here at fourteen. (7)
Admittedly, attitudes such as those above probably aren't too prevalent any more. Nonetheless, they undoubtedly do still exist. Consider how closed-minded this is and how open to self-fulfilling prophecy.
The effect of attitudes like these was demonstrated in studies such as the one in which teachers expecting low performance from "mentally retarded" students got just what they expected whereas teachers expecting average performance from the same sort of students got performance on or near grade level. In both cases, nothing was actually said; communication was on other than the verbal level. What was expected became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Despite the possibility of such negative self-fulfilling prophecy, labels per se are not inherently bad. It is only when people forget that these characterizing names are statistical in nature - that there are almost always exceptions to the rule - that labels are misused. When people forget this and have expectations they communicate it in many ways - by means of facial expressions, body language, and in even more subtle ways.
Each person is a broadcasting station. His thoughts are radiated outward to all those who know how to receive them. As "autistic" children are more "primitive" (8) than normal, they are able to pick up these broadcasts much better than the ordinary child.
I've observed these children doing just this many times in my work with them. One of the best examples of this sort of thing was observable in a noncommunicative four year old who came to our institution a kicker, biter and scratcher.
Before his admission, we had heard how the child had severely bitten and scratched his ten year old sister. Admittedly, on a conscious level I'm sure that no one wanted or even expected to be bitten or scratched. Nevertheless, the possibility of such an occurrence did exist, and sure enough during the first month or so that he was there he obligingly bit and scratched a number of staff members who had occasion to work directly with him.
Despite this fact, throughout the nine months that I worked with this four year old he made only one serious though half-hearted attempt to bite me. This occurred on an occasion when I was feeling quite depressed about a personal problem and was therefore not as harmonized as I should have been. Thus, even though I initially might have had some fear of getting bitten (my hair was mussed several times and several futile attempts were made to scratch my face), because I was consciously radiating harmonization - a positive form of radiation - rather than expectations regarding possible negative behavior I was in no real danger.
Here, then, is the way that a spiritual harmonizer proceeds when working with an abusive child: First, he radiates harmony even though he may have a slight fear of injury. Next, as the child responds to this harmonizing radiation any possible need to physically prevent him from injuring the harmonizer becomes unnecessary. At the same time, because the danger of injury is past, any possible fears of injury which the harmonizer might have had cease to exist. Thus, though some negative expectations might have initially existed they become unnecessary. Actually, an individual approaching total harmonization would not have had any fears in the first place and so some of these steps would be unnecessary for him.
Because I trusted him, the four year old, who was quite intelligent, actually used biting (or the threat of being bitten) as a means of testing my trust. Initially, his tests were quite simple - he would either place his open mouth quite close to my arm and click his teeth or sometimes he would even go so far as to rub his teeth on my arm. Later in the relationship his testing became much more advanced and did much to further our relationship.
The next stage of testing began one day when I found my nose grasped between a tiny thumb and forefinger and on its way toward an open mouth, where it lingered quite close to clicking teeth. This was the extent of the test for a month or so. As I had no reaction, the next stage brought my nose into the open mouth. Again I had no reaction. The final stage of testing involved having that young man's teeth gently closed on my nose not once but many times. At no time throughout these months of "testing" did I wince or draw away. Because this is so behavior changes in the child were marked.
Up to this point I've gone into what the child did to test me and how I reacted. Now it's time to show the opposite side of the coin - how the child reacted to my reaction. I've said that how I reacted to the testing advanced our relationship, behavioral changes in the child being quite marked. What were these changes? (9)
Each time a "test" was over, I observed a number of changes in my little disharmonizee's behavior. First of all, he always seemed quite happy (as I am not positive, just reasonably sure of this, I emphasize that it only seemed this way). Next, immediately following the test and over the next several days until the next test there was a sudden increase in new "positive" behaviors. Because I had trusted him, the child elected to trust me even more and he demonstrated this trust by opening himself more to me.
This is the way the spiritual harmonizer works - using the positive rather than the negative aspect of self-fulfilling prophecy. Expecting the best, he gets the best except at the beginning of any relationship when he may have to protect himself from the child or the child from himself (in the case of a self abusive child). He does not require any food rewards (praise helps though) nor does he require cattle prods nor other negative stimuli; his is a totally positive approach.
It is not necessary for the spiritual harmonizer to specifically "attack" behaviors which are less than desirable; instead, as he works such "negative" behaviors peel away, revealing the more desirable behaviors underneath. The energy which the harmonizer radiates, no, which he is, is all that is necessary. It is through the utilization of this energy that the harmonizer stimulates inner change which becomes outer change. Thus, instead of working from the outside in, the spiritual harmonizer works from the inside out. Changes may take a little longer to appear, but when they do they are almost always massive. They come thick and fast - an ever rising gradient with few plateaus.
All of these massive changes are able to occur because the harmonizer works from the Heart center, the central core of all people - of all that is. In the next brief but very important chapter the nature of the Heart is explored and the frame for the rest of this book is erected.
Chapter II Notes
Chapter 3: The Heart Center
Whether he knows it or not, all that a spiritual harmonizer (or anyone else) does is dependent on energies which originate from a single source - the Heart center. This center, the Heart mentioned in the Upanishads, is not the same as the physical heart nor the heart chakra,(1) which is one of the seven centers (2) located in the vicinity of the spine that science has recently proven to exist.
Proof of the existence of the chakras was obtained through the utilization of instruments such as the oscilloscope and electromyograph by Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama, (3) who has doctorates in psychology and philosophy, and Valerie Hunt, a kinesiologist at UCLA. (4) Having scientifically measured energies originating from the chakras, these scientists have effectively modified their status as subjective perceptions of psychics and mystics and lent verisimilitude to the chakra-related psychological approach to emotional problems developed by a yogi, a psychiatrist, and a psychologist. (5)
Long before such objective proof of the existence of chakras was available, however, mystics were feeling and "seeing" the energy kundalini (6) flowing up sushumna (7) stimulating each chakra as it went. Even today one can meditate on specific chakras and feel them. Or, if he is sensitive enough, he can have a spiritual harmonizer stimulate chakras so that he can perceive the sensation which identifies a chakra. (8)
Although science has not yet proven the existence of the Heart center, one can subjectively prove its existence just as he can with the chakras. The Heart center can be felt by an individual as a vibrating, whirling dynamo which spins clockwise if perceived from inside out and counterclockwise if perceived from outside in. (9) It is even possible for others who are sensitive enough to touch the area in which this center exists and feel it, (10) and this is not true of any other center such as the chakras. The Heart center is unique in another way in that it can become continuously perceptible to one at or near total harmonization.
It is from the Heart that the energy a spiritual harmonizer uses comes. In fact, the Heart center is the tool of the harmonizer for it is here that he turns - as mentioned in Chapter 1 - to listen when beginning his work with a new disharmonized person. Here too is where he communicates silently with a noncommunicative child, the communication being from Heart to Heart. Or, the Heart of one being the Heart of all, turning within to the Heart he is also within the Heart of the child with whom he is working. More conventionally, thoughts may be the final effect of a telepathic communication but what occurs is not a flow of thoughts from brain to brain. Rather, having encoded his communication in the Heart, the harmonizer has effectively and instantly placed them in all Hearts, since they are the same. Usually, however, only that person he is concerned with perceives the thoughts that come into being from their essence in the Heart. Finally, it was mentioned in Chapter 1 that the energy field which is really all that man is springs from the Heart. By radiating energy from his Heart center the spiritual harmonizer is not only "sending" energy to the disharmonized individual, he is at the same time allowing that individual to heal himself because his Heart is the disharmonized individual's Heart and the energy that is the body of the individual is effectively being made more harmonized too by the individual. (11)
The Heart, then, is quite important. It is here that one focuses his attention to become more harmonized - effectively concentrating his energy, because all the senses are activated by energy - and it is from here that harmonizing energy flows. Tracing this energy flow - and this is definitely possible - one finds that energy going to the Heart travels in the following manner: It enters the body in two places, through the soles of the feet and through the medulla. In the former case, it travels up the sushumna where it gathers in sahasrara, the crown chakra along with the energy from the medulla. Next, this energy descends through a channel (atma-, amrita-, parajiva-nadi) to the Heart center which is on the right side of the chest.
Going from the Heart (12) (in the work of the spiritual harmonizer only, as all energy in the body comes from the Heart but in a different manner) it travels in the following manner: When directing harmonizing energy through the hands, it flows from the Heart through the right arm to the right hand (right being the positive pole). When utilizing a meditation harmonizing circuit (see Chapter 7) the flow is essentially the same. The harmonizer and harmonizee sit facing each other in the adepts posture, holding hands with right palm down and left palm up. As when using the right hand for healing, the energy flows from the Heart to the right hand. Now, however, it flows from the right hand of the harmonizer into the upturned left hand of the harmonizee, from there to the Heart of the harmonizee, then into his right hand and the left hand of the harmonizer, thus completing the circuit.
When directing energy from the Heart through the eyes, the energy flows up the channel through which it entered the Heart center from the body, entering the brain, where it travels to and through the eyes.
Essentially, this is how energy being used in harmonization flows. Which - hands, circuit, eyes - of the flows is used depends on the needs of the disharmonizee. In some cases combinations may be used. Some aspects of how to decide which to use will be covered in Chapter 7.
Those of you who have read scriptures such as the Upanishads (13) know that the Heart is more than just a point from which harmonizing energy flows. In such scriptures it is described as the essential core of each person. It is here - in the Heart center - that Man's essence (Christ consciousness, Spirit, the Self, Atman (14) or God) can be said to reside. (15) Tracing thoughts to their source, the developing harmonizer finds that they arise from the Heart. Focusing on this center, one finds that it encompasses all others, negating the need to focus on the third eye, the crown chakra, etc. Paths that require ascension of levels (lokas) in gradually more tenuous bodies or sheaths are also found to be unnecessary as these levels are also encompassed within the Heart center.
Admittedly, at one stage of his own increasing harmonization a harmonizer may work on the seven levels, (16) utilize the chakras, etc. As he becomes more harmonized, however, this becomes less and less necessary as he becomes focused more and more in the Heart. It is when he is totally focused there - totally harmonized - that all that is presented in this book becomes unnecessary because reaching total harmonization one does nothing while at the same time doing everything. That is, peace and calm and healing flow from his entire body although he is doing nothing more than being himself. This occurs to a lesser extent in all harmonizers - conscious and unconscious - but doubts, fears, etc. inhibit it. With total absorption in the Self comes maximum effectiveness.
All that has been said here about the Heart center may seem hard to believe, but it is true. Undoubtedly science will soon - at the very least - measure this center, for what can be so readily perceived subjectively should be even more measurable than the chakras. Until this occurs, however, the aware spiritual harmonizer can calmly go about his business of allowing harmonizing energy to flow from a source that he knows to exist because he feels it.
In the next chapter the use of the Heart for inner listening will be explored. It is necessary that this be done, as upon first meeting a child the harmonizer knows only what he has been told and this is not always what he needs to know. By quietly observing the child while resting in the Heart he can become aware of how to proceed then and later.
Chapter III Notes
Ultimately, I too agree with this emphasis on Being rather than seeking sensation. All spiritual harmonizers who have gone the way of the Heart must - at the last - come to the realization that the sensation is only a manifestation of Self, which supersedes all manifestations. This must be done before they can be said to have become totally harmonized (even though no becoming is necessary, one is always there). However, the way of the Heart was developed as a way of working with children and a way of becoming totally harmonized (a starting point, really). It varies slightly from Sri Ramana's path from one point of view but not from another.
Chapter 4: Inner Listening
When first encountering a severely disharmonized child, a spiritual harmonizer may face many problems. Often there are reams of reports from not one but many specialists. Almost always the label and the prognosis are the same - little hope is held out.
The best way to proceed in these cases is often to read the reports on a child with whom one works sometime after one has established a relationship. Perhaps it would be better still to avoid reading them at all. Is it not better to learn on your own what the trouble is and also how to proceed?
Here, then, is how one goes about this listening within to establish how to proceed; or, rather, how I go about it. I work in a sparsely furnished room which contains a large tumbling/ exercise mat and a chair. Toys for the play which comes later are kept in a closet unless I wish to determine how a child is going to react to a particular item or group of items.
Closing the door, I sit upon the mat in the adept's posture. Then, focusing on the Heart, I begin to listen within and to closely observe anything and everything which the child does - how he moves, what he does or doesn't do about my presence, what he is saying in his Heart that is there for me to read if only I allow myself to hear.
Perhaps one of the best books I have yet seen on inner listening and inner communicating is J. Allen Boone's The Language of Silence. (1) In this small book I found described the things I do and the attitudes I find necessary for best results. Written about how to silently listen and communicate with our brothers, the animals, it applies equally well to our fellow human beings. This was said of Mr. Boone by Paul and Blanche Leonard, close friends who edited his book:
"... Man can achieve a relationship with all living things far beyond that usually accepted or expected. Allen had cultivated a mental affinity with nature. He never looked down on animals as 'lesser creatures,' rather, he looked across at them as companions in the grand adventure of life." (2)
How many of us who work with the disharmonized children in the world are guilty of looking at the records of a child or at the child himself and of judging him - however deep within us - as less than us? Couldn't this be why we often do not accomplish as much as we would like with the child as fast as we would like?
One does not hear a voice - or, at least, I don't - when listening within. Voices and colors or even anatomical visions are possible but I consider them trappings which can often divert one from his task ("See, I am psychic.'" "I can see visions." "I am unique.") of helping others. Cast out preconceptions and expectations and listen. Dwell in the Heart on the right side of the chest - between the two nipples, two digits to the right of center. Listen with humbleness, with openness, and you will "feel" the still, small voice within and the answers will be there.
Turning again to Mr. Boone, who speaks of his own gradual awareness of how to proceed:
"I wasn't sufficiently empty. Was too full of myself. Was overstuffed with my own beliefs, supposings and opinions. Consequently, there wasn't sufficient room within me for much of anything else to get in... To remedy this, I formulated three disciplines for myself. The first: try to keep myself as empty as possible, so there would always be plenty of room for knowledge to flow in. The second: try to function more with the childlike attitude, with its integrated genuineness... its humility... its willingness to be taught by everything... its natural receptivity... and its enthusiasm for sharing. And the third: to listen more attentively to intuitive whisperings, with their accompanying unfoldments..." (3)
In inner listening we are our own best helpers and worst obstacles. For, to properly listen we must be willing to help others and, on the surface, this is quite easy. However, the very intellect which so satisfactorily analyzes, coordinates, gains perspectives, etc. can stand in the way, plugging our inner ears, blinding our inner eyes. Sometimes we intellectually decide what the answer to the problem of the child is before we start. Of this Mr. Boone says of himself:
I had forgotten to take the intellectual clamps sufficiently off my habitual thinking. As a result, I was intellectually groping about in the wilderness of the suppositional, the delusive, and the unreal. I had been trying to gather in fresh and needed wisdom, by way of expanding my awareness, with an already made up human mind - caught in its own intellectualizations and rationalizations. As a result I had fogged up the entire situation for myself." (4)
We must so love our charges, those we have elected to help by choosing our profession, that we can overcome the limitations our own intellect places upon us. We need to reach out not as objective observers but as individuals willing to give of ourselves to children who may have been loved but not "listened" to nor "communicated" within the Heart. We must overlook the disorder that exists - the disharmony - able to see what can be. Barry Neil Kaufman has this to say about the ability of love to carry us closer to the ability to listen within:
"Perhaps if we were unencumbered by unhappiness, the closeness and sensitivity that flows between us and those we love could bring us within a range of communication that defies logic and intellectual statement. It is not the product of specific effort as much as the natural result of free-flowing with our own nature. As the roar of a passing truck drowns out the music of a cricket or bird, so may the whirling frenzy of our fears and tensions drown out the messages of our inner voice. As we choose to detach ourselves from the stress and short circuits of unhappiness, we become more aware of our KNOWING and more allowing of our natural INTUITIONS (whether we choose to view them as psychic or not). If what then surfaces exists outside a specific and documentable rationale, if our experience becomes multidimensional, opening unique and penetrating connections with our environment, we can be glad for the specialness of ourselves and embrace the gift of our increasing awareness." (5)
Note that Mr. Kaufman says that inner listening is effortless, it is due to flowing with our own nature. Indeed, if one were to attempt to try to hear things - to listen within - he would find that he had defeated himself in his very attempt.
Students of disciplines like judo, aikido, T'ai Chi, Zen, yoga, etc. know that one cannot force the flow that goes by many names - chi, prana, ki, etc. (6) - it comes as one practices and develops the proper air of inner waiting. So, too, is it true that inner listening cannot be forced. One must grow toward it by harmonizing himself. One must harmonize himself by turning to the Heart and by turning to the Heart he learns to reduce fears and tensions to be happy to listen.
How best to proceed to listen within if one follows no discipline? Practices no meditation?
Surely anyone who has come this far in this book is at the very least both religious and spiritual - being Christian, Jewish, Buddhist doesn't matter, as what's in a name?
The religious person who is also spiritual knows how to pray - to turn within and talk to God. This is an accepted part of religion although it is only the spiritual person who knows how to do it effectively, his words being more than just empty mouthings. There are those who know that one can also have replies - that a two-way communication can be established - but they are even more in the minority than those who know how to properly pray.
How then to establish this communication - for when one listens within the Heart he listens to God. How then does one pray? Surely it is done within even though one's eyes may be turned toward Heaven or cast toward the ground. Unconsciously one turns toward the core of himself and speaks. If this core were traced as is done in some paths it would be found to be the selfsame Heart so greatly emphasized herein.
By turning to this place of prayer and assuming the attitude of prayer - but, however, listening instead of talking - when one encounters a severely disharmonized child, the way is prepared for listening within.
By neither grasping nor reaching out nor expecting is inner listening accomplished. Instead, one must maintain a humble air of expectancy, of waiting, of wanting to know how this child before you can be helped. Thus proceeding, the budding conscious spiritual harmonizer suddenly finds that he "knows" the answers - place your hand here, use this toy, say these words, gently require that he gaze within your eyes - the answers come. One begins.
Day by day the answers continue to come and are perceived more easily with greater understanding. One may find himself doing a totally different thing from one day to the next. He may - initially - despair that he is apparently not getting anywhere, but even as the inner voice provides instructions on how to proceed so too does it sustain one, providing solace. (For is not this voice the voice of God, of the Spirit which dwells in us all?)
As the spiritual harmonizer develops, he dwells in the Heart without sitting quietly, finding more and more that no matter how he is working with a particular child what he is doing is "right." Suddenly, unexpectedly, the child is getting better despite the fact that what has been done with him might be considered ''unconventional'' when compared to other approaches to similar children. More importantly, the harmonizer finds that not only has the child gotten better, he has grown too. For, each interrelationship allows harmonizer and disharmonizee to become more than they were before.
When working with a noncommunicative child - one who is nonverbal, wrapped up in fantasy, withdrawn, etc. - the harmonizer must not only listen within, he must often also "talk" to the child within because ordinary verbal communication does not penetrate the barriers around the child. Perceptual difficulties or unfocused thoughts may prohibit hearing with the ears but never hearing with the Heart. The method of utilizing this form of inner communication is presented in the next chapter.
Chapter IV Notes
Chapter 5: Silent Communication
Rare though they may be, there are spiritual harmonizers - totally harmonized or well on their way - whose mission in life includes teaching others how to emulate them. Abiding always in the Heart - radiating peace, calm, joy and unlimited love - they show others how to keep from deviating from their own particular path, which will lead them - if they persevere - to this state. The most aware of these instructors know that words are superfluous in such teaching. Instead, it is best done Heart to Heart. Silence is a much more effective means of teaching for them than mere words.
The reason words are not the most effective means of communication for this or any other purpose is that they are inefficient at best. Consider the way in which they come into being. A recent totally harmonized being characterized the process as follows:
Inasmuch as the harmonizer resides in the Heart, at the level of abstract knowledge, there is no need for him to proceed through these steps to instruct another. He need only speak Heart to Heart in a manner similar to that discussed in Chapter 3. The truths thus given come into the consciousness of the student by means of the first three of the steps given above. So it is, until he too resides in the Heart and is beyond the need for instruction.
Words are ineffective for other reasons when working with severely disharmonized children. With them, however, it is because they reside behind barriers - due to perceptual difficulties, fear or other causative factors - which inhibit correct perception of these words. In this case too, Heart to Heart communication is the best.
As he becomes more harmonized, the spiritual harmonizer begins radiating all the time. These radiations are both harmonizing and communicative in nature and those children and adults who are calm and perceptive enough can detect them. This is true of both "normal" and severely disharmonized individuals although, as will be explained a little further on, perception of these radiations by these latter individuals may be particularly inhibited at first.
However, sometimes even from the beginning the severely disharmonized child too knows that there is something different about a conscious or unconscious harmonizer. Occasionally this awareness comes from only a fleeting meeting as in the following passage from Son Rise:
"Sitting, Waiting. In that hospital lobby with Raun before that last examination. Suzi on the couch watching Raun. I, in my world, climbing the brick walls with my eyes, still searching for answers. As we sat there, a little girl and her mother came walking past. The little girl broke away from her mother's grasp and ran directly to Suzi, who opened her arms. Eyes were teal blue and razor sharp. Suzi stroked her face gently and began talking to her quietly. The child just gazed into Suzi's eyes and touched her head to Suzi's. They were like two old friends saying hello on the stone floor. The mother came over and without saying a word took the child's hand and directed her toward the door. All this time, the little girl kept looking back at Suzi." (2)
The author continues saying that he and his wife later found out that the little girl was "autistic," a patient with "marked lack of interest in people." True, perhaps, but the child knew there was something different about Suzi Kaufman. She perceived the harmonizing energy and silent communication of love and peace coming from her.
As was mentioned above, not all severely disharmonized children are as perceptive as the little girl in this passage. Generally, it is difficult for even the "normal" individual to immediately perceive a harmonizer's radiations. It isn't likely to occur unless he is sensitive enough to look beyond his everyday troubles. Unless he sits down and gives himself a chance to "feel" the radiations.
Severely disharmonized children are usually far beyond sitting down - theirs is often a life of perpetual motion until they run down from total exhaustion each day. Contrarily, they may do no more than sit for hours engaging in some form of bizarre play. In either case, they have completely tuned out not only the external world but also anything internal beyond whatever they have totally focused their attention on. For whatever reasons - and the theories are myriad - the severely disharmonized child adopts particular behaviors in which he might persevere for hours if not days. This ability is much like that of the fakir who stands on one leg or holds one arm aloft until he can no longer use the particular limb. The primary difference is that the fakir consciously chooses his abnormal behavior whereas the severely disharmonized child does not. In both cases, however, the longer this abnormal perseverance in a particular activity has existed, the more difficult it is to rectify it with or without the conscious cooperation of the individual.
That the severely disharmonized child cannot always immediately perceive the harmonizer's radiations in no way contradicts the statement in the last chapter that Heart to Heart communication cannot be blocked by perceptual or other difficulties. In truth, such communication cannot be blocked. Even from his first encounter with a disharmonized child, the radiations from a harmonizer reach the child. This is even more true when the harmonizer's radiations are focused on the child (which was not the case in the passage from Son Rise quoted above). At first, however, the child may be aware only that this particular adult is somehow different from all the others he has encountered. In the event he does not perceive the harmonizer or any other individual, he may at most be aware that something different has entered his sphere of awareness.
It shouldn't be surprising that when encountering peace, calm, joy and unlimited love for the first time in his life the severely disharmonized child doesn't respond in the "conventional" manner. Even the so-called "normal" individual, who has experienced degrees of these feelings, is overwhelmed and often bewildered when in the presence of a spiritual harmonizer whose radiations he can perceive. Why, then, shouldn't the child rebel or fail to respond immediately when first experiencing these feelings? True, they are actually everyone's natural state, (3) but doesn't the body usually rebel when one who has long smoked or drunk attempts to withdraw from these habits and return to a more natural way of life? The habits of perseverance, hyperactivity, aloofness, etc. are much more deeply ingrained and therefore much more resistant to change. Heart to Heart is an infinitely more effective way of effecting change and communication than ''behavioral mod'' and voice-to-ear, but it is not necessarily instantaneous.
Theoretical considerations aside, how does one speak without speaking? How to reach out to the severely disharmonized child and bring him into contact with other human beings? Once again, one who has never meditated need only turn to the place of prayer. Now, however, instead of listening he is, in effect, speaking to the Christ within the child which is in fact the actual reality of the child. Communicating peace, calm, joy, and unlimited love, all he is doing is making the child aware of his own essential nature.
At first, as should be recognized by now, harmonization of and communication with the child is usually done by actually focusing on the child. As the harmonizer progresses he has no need to do this - dwelling in the Heart he is doing all that he needs to do. How this comes about will be considered to a greater extent in the chapters to follow.
Gradually, or perhaps from the beginning, the harmonizer verbalizes as he speaks Heart to Heart. First, the child comes to understand inwardly what is being said. Eventually, however, he understands even the verbal communication. His barriers to perception fall away and he begins to relate to the harmonizer and then to other human beings. What is at first limited slowly generalizes to all aspects of the child's life. This change can happen more quickly if what is being done externally with the child is reinforced by all others who work with the child. They may not be conscious or unconscious harmonizers (although, if they are at all effective they are almost certainly the latter if not the former) but by structuring the child externally so that what he is doing is given every chance to develop, internal change is "helped" to occur.
In the next three chapters various aspects of listening within, speaking within and harmonizing will be examined in concert. This will be done because none of these functions occur separately from each other; initially they are interwoven functions, later they are one function.
Play as a means of communication, establishing mutual trust, and changing the energy field of the child will be examined in Chapter 6. A step beyond this - more direct in nature - are the techniques of working with the child's energy field either with or without the child's knowledge, which shall be considered in Chapter 7. Further along still is what occurs when one works directly Heart to Heart without consciously doing anything - listening, communicating, rectifying. It is at this stage that the harmonizer reaches closer to the "miraculous" capabilities of the totally harmonized being. Chapter 8 is devoted to this Heart to Heart work. The abilities of the totally harmonized being are considered in Chapter 12.
Chapter V Notes
Chapter 6: Play
Play is natural to almost all children. Though it may be play alone, play near others, play with others, "normal" play or "bizarre" play, it is a way of relating to the world; of learning through fantasy to cope with reality for the "normal" child or of protecting himself from a bewildering world for the severely disharmonized child. Whatever the form the play of a child takes, it can be utilized by the spiritual harmonizer as a means of externally reaching out and making contact.
Even from the beginning the harmonizer may evaluate a child by setting out an assortment of toys and seeing how the child reacts to them. By making external evaluations from his observations and by listening to the voice within he chooses the way to interact with a particular child. The way of the harmonizer is not that of the play therapist. His task is not one of sitting and objectively observing the play and making comments to interpret emotions being expressed. If he did function in this manner, many of the children under his care would not benefit as they do not necessarily comprehend speech much less relate it to feelings. No, the harmonizer who follows the way of the Heart becomes actively involved in play with the disharmonized child. I have wrestled, tumbled, tickled, flown kites, played cards, ridden up and down in elevators, while pointing at pictures in books, "eaten" Play-Doh, and done numerous other things. In the course of this play healing has taken place within, and integration of children into a society they may have never truly experienced before has taken place without. Both are necessary to help the child.
I have stated that through playing with the child the harmonizer communicates with him, establishes mutual trust between himself and the child, and changes the child's energy field. How does one proceed?
From the beginning, the harmonizer should talk to the child. The talk should not be talk for talk's sake. Rather, one should talk to the child as though he were able to understand even if he seems unable to do so. Communicate what you are going to do, what you would like him to do. Tell him you love him. Tell him "no," not often but when necessary. Even as you speak communicate the same thing Heart to Heart. In this manner the child receives the same thing from two directions (three, if one includes body language). Initially, perhaps, he cannot comprehend the external communication and he "feels" rather than perceives the internal communication. Gradually, what is rising from within and what is coming from without will be understood as one and the same, as harmonization occurs rectifying possible perceptual or other difficulties which are prohibiting correct processing of auditory input. Eventually he will understand others as well as he does you.
Of course, as has already been said, one does not stop with verbalizing and Heart to Heart together. To one degree or another the very presence of a harmonizer is a form of communication if the harmonizer is at all harmonized himself. The silence of the harmonizer is the greatest eloquence of all. The radiations which come from him are essentially all that is, so whether he attempts to communicate with the child or not (and he will, unless he is totally harmonized or close to it), he is communicating just by being.
All the children that I've worked with have had some fear or other. Most have been afraid to trust people in general and before they would trust me they would test me as the four year old in Chapter 2 did, although perhaps not so severely. In all cases the trust came gradually, not all at once.
As an example, let's consider a thirteen year old boy I now (April, 1978) work with who rolls and tumbles with me. At first this young man, let's call him Tom, sat quite far from me. He did not permit me or anyone else including his parents to touch his back, to hug him - he could hug others but they could not hug him, he would push them away if they tried - or to show affection in other ways. (2) Affection or other expression of emotion embarrassed him and made him nervous and still does to some extent.
Having worked with Tom in another capacity, I knew that he liked to be read to. Inner guidance as well as common sense told me to read to him.
At first as I did so he listened with interest - from a distance. Over a period of time, as he became more and more enthralled with the stories each day, he began to forget about me and to move closer so that he could look at the pictures. Eventually he got so close that he was shoulder to shoulder with me. One day I was pleased to find Tom's head on my shoulder. From then on, reading faded out - its purpose having been served - as a part of our interaction, and greater and greater physical contact became the order of the day. Trusted, I was allowed to become the one and then one of the few who could touch him, hug him, tickle him. Embarrassment did and does lurk in the background, but now it is forgotten about as we play.
The harmonizer should not expect his play with a particular child to remain the same each day. Nor, should he expect to be able to do something one day just because he was able to do so the previous day. He should have no expectations when it comes to how the child should play or interact. Trust is not built with these children by demanding that they meet your expectations. You're trying to get the child to accept the world so you make it attractive enough to get them to come out and stay first a while and then all the time.
This is not to say that one shouldn't hold the severely disharmonized child to some rules. For instance, if such a child likes to go into other person's rooms and take things that appeal to him - there is frequently no sense of other's property in these children, everything is considered theirs - you have every right to make it clear this is not permitted. Be careful how you go about it though. Likewise, as a child is able to interact more, the standards he must meet are raised. Then, when he is able to cope, is the time to present rules of the sort every "normal'' child must live up to. Even then it must be done gradually, rule by rule.
Consider the following example: a child may shred paper when frustrated. It would be easiest for you and the custodial staff - unless you clean it up yourself - to stop this behavior immediately. But, you are working for the child's benefit, not yours. Look within and find another behavior to gradually replace this undesirable one with, or find a means to alleviate this frustration so that paper shredding is no longer necessary. Gradually you may find, as a teacher at the institution where I work did, that after he makes the mess the child will first help you clean it up and then clean it up himself. Allowed to grow and guided to rewarding activities, this child finally stopped shredding paper almost altogether. All of this occurred because this particular teacher was fairly harmonized and was willing to ask externally and internally ''why?" She was not just another adult who pushed and shoved the child demanding that he meet her standards immediately - stop shredding paper and clean up the paper you do shred. He was allowed to become, to grow to her standards.
Generally speaking, a child does not object too strenuously to being stopped from doing something he knows is considered wrong. Surprisingly enough, I've found that even the most noncommunicative children know "right" from "wrong,'' but they'll test, test, test to see if you'll let them get away with what they want to do but know they shouldn't. They may even throw a tantrum to get you to give in to their wishes, but unless inner guidance leads you to act otherwise be unbending. If it tells you to be flexible, do so.
The child's respect is gained when you don't give in when they resist and you know you shouldn't; for though it appears otherwise, they do want guidance. They do want help - at least most of them do. Trust goes to one who is consistent when consistency is demanded, not to one who is wishy-washy, allowing something the child does to be "right'' one time and "wrong" the next.
Consider the following: I worked with a twelve year old who loved to enter other people's rooms and take whatever appealed to him - particularly books on cars, airplanes and motorcycles. Inner guidance led me to prevent this behavior not by grabbing him and saying "no!" but by making a nonsense syllable and blocking his way into the room. How effective this inner given technique was was demonstrated in an amusing way.
Initially the child, let's call him Joe, protested a little when I blocked his attempts to do what he wanted. Over a period of time, he accepted it without ever giving up in his attempts to get into rooms containing things he wanted. One day he thought to grab my arm and yank me - with my cooperation - out of the way while attempting at the same time to rush past me before I could react. From then on this was a part of his technique even though it hardly ever worked (sometimes I let him get by - at inner guidance's direction - to see what he would do). Now, although Joe decreased his attempts to enter other people's rooms, he never stopped altogether. (3) Even so, on those occasions when I was too tired to beat him to a door or when inner guidance led me to hold back, Joe would stand before the doorway and make my nonsense syllable while looking at me in a manner designed to let me know that I was falling down on the job.
Joe had so come to trust and love me in the nine months that I worked with him that he did not take advantage of my real or apparent weakness. He even reached the point where although he cried a little he would allow a blood sample to be taken when I was present. This from a young man who at one time screamed and fought with arms and legs flailing at such an attempt, requiring several people to hold him down. This from a child who changed from a totally withdrawn, zombie-like child to a child who was kissing and hugging people and telling them that he loved them.
A child (everyone) is his energy field, which springs from the Heart center. All that a spiritual harmonizer does involves this center. As he plays, engaging in roughhousing, or in a game of cards, his energies come into contact with those of the child.
Anytime two people are near each other their energy fields interact. Two "normal" people probably aren't even aware of it unless one of them is particularly sensitive to inner impressions. However, should one of the two be a sapper, (4) a depressed individual or a joyful one, the other person is either exhausted by the encounter or he feels depressed or joyful.
The energy field of a harmonizer can extend quite far from his body, reaching infinity (5) if he is totally harmonized. This is considerably more than the feet or inches of the "normal" individual. Therefore, when the harmonizer plays with a disharmonized child he is correspondingly affecting the child's field to a much greater extent than a "normal" therapist could. This occurs even if he is too involved in tickling or whatever other activity he may be engaging in to focus on the Heart. (6) Anytime a harmonizer is around anyone else he is manifesting positive changes in their energy field. The more harmonized the harmonizer and the more sensitive (and calm, etc., see last chapter) the individual, the more likely it is that he will be consciously aware of this harmonizing effect.
With younger children the form of play engaged in is most often quite physical. Once a relationship is well established, it is only the most harmonized of harmonizers who can engage in this form of play while at the same time remaining consciously as the Heart. The beginning harmonizer will find that it is only during the quiet games that he can consciously harmonize a child. On other occasions harmonization is taking place through the energy field around his body, which radiates from the Heart center, wherein he dwells unconsciously.
Harmonization of a child during roughhouse play is done without the child's knowledge. So too is harmonization often done without his knowledge in the quiet forms of play. However, in this latter situation one can "focus" the energy and thus - relatively speaking - be more effective, especially if he is a beginner. This latter, more direct, form of harmonization, done in play and other situations, will be considered along with other things in the next chapter.
Chapter VI Notes
[The concluding chapters of "The Way of the Heart" will appear in the Spring, 1979 issue of TAT Journal.]
Cultists and Anticultists
The Difficult Search for The Easy Answer
by Raymond Lieb
Following the Jonestown fiasco in late November of last year, I was amazed by the, predictability of the reaction of many Americans to this morbid phenomenon. I watched it on television, I listened to it on the radio, I read it in the newspapers and magazines, and in each medium the message was the same: Destroy All Cults.
In all honesty, how could I blame those who clamored for the scalps of the cultists? An investigative team of newsmen and a congressman murdered, over nine hundred followers of an apparent madman sacrificed for a seemingly pointless cause. The logic of those advocating cult elimination was plain: should we not learn from our mistakes and head off the next disaster, instead of once again playing the role of horrified, impotent spectators?
Indeed we should, we were told, by those whose interviews fanned the anticultist flames. FBI agents sniggered with "I told you so" omniscience, for they had long advocated the removal of strong federal laws restricting their ability to infiltrate off-beat religious movements. Religious leaders thundered from their pulpits that this incident proved what they have known all along: that those digging in unconventional gardens in search of answers will eventually dig up the Devil. And reformed ex-cultists repeatedly warned us that hundreds of potential Jim Joneses were already stealing the minds and souls of our children until they are hypnotized or brutalized into committing homicide, suicide, or whatever else these demented demigods demanded.
The temptation was quite strong to jump on the bandwagon of fear and conventionality and join the stampede which seemed destined to run these heathens into the sea. What prevented me from hopping aboard was the sudden realization that my personal search for Truth, or meaning, would also be ground beneath the onrushing backlash. For the impetus behind this anticult movement was not so much an honest desire to defuse potentially explosive movements as it was reflective of a general expression of society's fear of whatever challenges the pablum of easy answers which it offers to its constituents.
As evidenced by the turbulent 'sixties, society can deal with almost any form of challenge to its political or social structures. Despite uncountable protests and movements, and completely bewildering social trends, the dull 'seventies emerged and life was soon back to normal. For any social structure can successfully deflect attacks on its efficacy if the challengers play by the rules that have been set down for the game, and protest in all forms is still part of the game of politics. Challenges to a society's religious, or philosophical paradigm carry a much more insidious threat to its continued survival. If too many people question not the framework of society, but the very premises behind a culture's conceptions concerning the nature of man and the universe, then that culture has a very dangerous threat to its existence. That is, if people in a society cease to worry about who is in the White House and start questioning who they are, or what life is all about, then the whole rule book of social and political gaming may soon become obsolete. If each man were free to follow his own path to Truth, then each would also be free to possibly discover that the entire game of governors and governments is absurd.
. . . if people in a society cease to worry about who is in the White House and start questioning who they are, or what life is all about, then the whole rule book of social and political gaming may soon become obsolete.
And that, to me, is the true meaning of the reaction to Guyana. It is not the horror of the deaths, although that horror is all too apparent, which is threatening to force all non-accepted religious systems to go underground. It is, rather, a self-correcting mechanism built into all societies which automatically rebels against any threat to that culture's spiritual or philosophical self-conceptions, which is fanning the flames of anti-cultism.
My life became interwoven with an incident during the same week that the news first broke from Jonestown, and that event better enabled me to understand the true stakes in the game of Jonestown.
When I graduated from college, I began spending one week-end a month as a volunteer worker for a local service organization. While the drive and idealism which prompted me to take on this task had long since dissipated, the inertia brought on through habit kept me glued to a cigarette-burned desk in a windowless office on the third Saturday of every month.
While at this desk, I was buzzed by the receptionist, who informed me that a somewhat bedraggled woman wished to speak to me about some personal problems. I told her to send the woman in, and soon I was face to face with a smiling, harmless female of indeterminate age, who I will call Lisa. As we exchanged pleasantries and I attempted to put her at ease, I became aware that this was not the typical individual trying to impose upon our organization for a free hand-out.
Lisa was a forty-nine year old flower child who was en route from Woodstock, New York to Taos, New Mexico, where she had previously made arrangements to join one of America's last remaining communes. She and her rider had stopped off in town some time ago, searching for rest and lodging, which I quickly interpreted to mean a free place to "crash." She contacted a number of local service organizations, including the Salvation Army, but none were willing or able to put up Lisa, her rider, and 16 cats in various stages of pregnancy. None, that is, until she got touch with our local "cult."
While I was all too aware of this group's reputation for total intolerance of any state of mind other than its own, I believed Lisa when she told me that she thought that they were just good people willing to offer her a place to stay, with no strings attached. For Lisa was a middle-aged woman who had somehow managed to retain the naïveté of a sixteen-year-old girl, albeit at a terrible price to her intuition and common sense. So she gladly stayed in the cabin provided for her, and was only mildly annoyed when her vehicle refused to carry her and her entourage on their journey the next morning.
Lisa spent three weeks trying to get that junker to start again. During that time, she noticed that the "lifers," the year round residents at the movement's farm, became less interested in her unusual viewpoints concerning life and the prospects for mankind. They seemed less willing to listen and more concerned with talking and explaining their own system to her. After two weeks on the farm, she was approached by the movement's director, who asked her what her "program" would be. Lisa explained that she had no program and was not planning on staying, but was only trying to locate a flywheel for a 1952 Ford Panel Truck so that she could fulfill her commitments in New Mexico. Nothing more was said about her future at the farm at this time.
At this point Lisa's story quickened, or at least her rendition of the events did so. Yes, she did notice that now her former "friends" were avoiding her on the farm, and that some people became downright rude. As a result of this change in attitude, Lisa was very glad to find the missing part of her truck at a junkyard 26 miles down-river, and once the flywheel was installed and the truck running again, she began the preparations necessary to leave.
Apparently the cult ran out of patience before Lisa could explain her good fortune, because the next morning two of the movement's heavies arrived at her cabin, called her a "burned-out hippie," and warned her that if she was not gone in an hour her truck would be towed. Although hurt, and even a bit frightened, Lisa explained that her truck was now fixed, and that as soon as she got some gas and supplies in town, she would gladly depart for good.
Lisa finished packing, and left for town. She drove the truck as quickly as it would run, and did not dawdle when choosing the items she would need for her journey. When she returned to her cabin to pick up the rest of her gear and her cats, she discovered that she had not moved quickly enough.
In the middle of the field outside of her cabin sat everything she owned, and it was ablaze. She screamed, not for her belongings, as they were replaceable, but for her cats. Had they burned them too? A soft meow from behind her assured her that they had not. They had merely evicted her "family" into the cold November rain and padlocked the door to the cabin. Eventually she found all sixteen of her cats. One six-week-old kitten died the next week of overexposure, another was crippled for life with two broken legs. Lisa wept unashamedly when she spoke of her cats. They were her children.
Lisa gathered up her cats and came to town, but found little sympathy and even less tangible help. The police refused to intervene, saying that the events had transpired on private property and therefore were outside of their jurisdiction. She had approached three attorneys, but all told her that her case was not worth pursuing. I knew from experience what the score actually was. Nobody felt she was wronged. She had played with fire and gotten burned.
I put Lisa in touch with a young, aggressive attorney who took her suit, and waded through the paperwork necessary to get her the funds to continue her journey.
But the purpose of this discourse is not to enlighten the reader as to the wonderful service that charitable organizations provide to homeless hippies. No, it was the reaction of those to whom I spoke about Lisa that interested me.
All that I talked to about this incident expressed shock and outrage at the cult's treatment of Lisa. But as we discussed the matter in depth, I quickly discerned that these people did not care so much about Lisa and her cats and blankets and bucket and whatever else she lost on the farm as much as they were looking for an excuse to carry on about those lousy creeps who lived out there on a farm and danced and did not believe in the same God that they were fortunate enough to have had chosen for them. In fact they did not hear me at all, once they heard the name of the cult; all they were looking for was a soundboard against which to vent their hostility towards the "heathens on the hill." Without exception, everyone I talked to, including some of my more "liberal" friends, expressed a concrete desire to see that cult wiped off the face of the earth.
But why the hostility? The group was not a political threat, and they kept a low enough profile that they did not really have any effect on these townspeople's lives. I soon saw that what irked these people was the cult's daring to believe in a different path to Truth, and a correspondingly different way of living their lives.
So I stopped telling the story. I could see no further point in stoking the fire. Truthfully, I have no real use for that cult either, and I was certainly not endeared to them by their treatment of harmless Lisa. But these people, these fanatics are searching for something out there on their farm and quite possibly they are looking for the same answer that captivates my attention, and the same people who carry on with righteous indignation when I tell Lisa's story would probably want to degrade me if they knew that I was interested in dreams, and philosophy, and other aspects of the search for self-knowledge. If these cultists were Communists, or unbathed radicals from a bygone era, I am sure that they would not have evoked the same intensity of wrath that they were now inducing.
That same week the shocking news from Jonestown hit the streets, and I heard the same reactions in almost the same words from the same people. Nine hundred people. Or Lisa's burned bucket. It was all the same. What people were looking for was a reason to do away with threats to accepted philosophic and religious traditions which have assumed the status of fact by society's desire to pretend to know just why the hell we have all been put on earth. This is the force behind the backlash of Jonestown.
Unfortunately, it is as difficult to come to the defense of Jim Jones or Lisa's tormenters as it is to condemn them for daring to believe differently. Many of these cultists are crazed, and thereby ruin the field of spiritual investigation for those sincere people who truly wish to know themselves, and do not demand that everyone take their path to "Truth." There is no easy position. There is no easy answer. There never is.
But we can at least avoid the either-or syndrome which society, and its shining knight, the news media, force upon our psyches. We are not either for the People's Temple or against it. It is quite conceivable that one may be for a fearless search for Truth, regardless of its acceptability by society, and still be opposed to any fanatical bent which forces the rest of the world to either believe as they do or be wrong.
What is at stake in the Jonestown disaster is not simply America's right to prevent another calamity of this magnitude. Obviously we must ask once again, "At what price freedom?" It is important to be aware that many are using this opportunity to unleash their pent-up fears concerning any unorthodox philosophical system which could possibly throw doubt on their accepted view of man and the universe. And the odds are that your beliefs would also be swallowed up in the wave of spiritual intolerance which threatens to engulf us all.
The papers will be reminding us of Jonestown for some time to come. A story of this magnitude comes by quite rarely, and it is certainly a break from the economy and Middle East. But before you condone or condemn, or urge others to do the same, ask yourself what is really at stake in Jonestown. You may well find that you are sitting in front of the stampede, instead of riding upon it.
TAT News: Wholistic Health and Nutrition
by Dr. L. Fred Bissell
L. Fred Bissell, M.D. has been in private practice for 22 years. He now does psychosomatic medicine with a wholistic approach in Ravenna, Ohio. He is a member of the American Board of Internal Medicine and a graduate of a three year post-doctoral training at the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. Dr. Bissell has also trained in bioenergetics, sensory awareness, family therapy and biofeedback. This talk was given on November 19, 1978 at a Forum on Health and Nutrition sponsored by the Pittsburgh TAT Society. Dr. Bissell will provide a reading list on topics covered in his talk; send your request to TAT Journal, _____.
Wholistic Health and Medicine
Wholistic health involves the body, mind, emotions and spirit; I include the emotions because I think they can be identified. Wholistic health is an attempt to integrate the inner relationships of these elements of a human being as he exists in the universe. My belief system says that there is a unity in all things and the wholistic health concept is an effort to look at the unity of the individual and his environment.
I think that much of medicine is practiced on what I call the "body shop" model: A person has something wrong and takes his body into the shop - the office of the physician, osteopath, chiropractor or other health professional - and says, "Fix me up, there's something wrong." Sometimes the doctor replaces a part; kidney replacement is not now too uncommon and we've even had some heart transplants. There have been tremendous advancements in medicine in a sense - the transplantation of organs, the $15,000 coronary bypass operation that is quite frequent now (and that I have some reservations about). But I think that we ought to pay more attention to the prevention of disease. Thirty-six percent of the deaths in this country last year were from heart disease which is primarily related to stress and, perhaps, to our eating habits. The coronary bypass is performed after this disease occurs.
I also want to put in one of my biases early and say that Valium and Librium, which are the most prescribed medications in the country - some $180 million worth was sold in 1976 - is just like "putting sugar in a gas tank." I have this bias against Valium and Librium because they act upon the reticular associative areas of the brain. You can divide the brain into three parts, the cortex, the mid-brain and the lower brain or hypothalamus and medulla. When you take Valium or Librium it blocks the flow between these areas. It relieves stress because no longer do the impulses go to the cortex from the lower brain and vice versa. And it's an addicting drug, there's no longer any question about it. The wife of a patient and friend of mine is absolutely addicted. And it is reported with increasing frequency. These drugs are particularly hazardous in the person who has alcoholism or has alcoholism in their family.
Most of medicine deals with people who have already developed their disease, and this fixing-up process has been done well by specialists in many areas. I was asked last night what my specialty was, and I said that I was a "generalist," and in a sense I said that with some pride but also with some hesitancy. (I am Board-certified in Internal Medicine.) The results of specialization have gone about as far as they can in many ways and it looks to me now, that the wholistic approach, and the emphasis on family practice is a valid area of medicine and should have priority. I say this because even now most medical schools are controlled by specialists and the medical student sees the unusual things that a specialist does and forgets that this is only about five per cent of medical practice; ninety or ninety-five per cent can be taken care of by almost any physician or practitioner who is qualified, conscientious and responsible.
The unique thing about wholistic health (and I like to spell that with a "w" partly out of my respect for Granger Westberg who has eight or ten wholistic health clinics that he has established in churches) is that it involves the recognition or belief that there is a spiritual aspect to man; and I firmly believe that. If you have trouble with the idea of spirit, you can define that as your relationship to yourself and others, and to the universe. My belief system says that there is a core of joy and health and happiness in every person.
Healing is an effort to allow this spiritual aspect of man to emerge. There can be disease at all four levels of the individual - body, mind, emotions or spirit. And you can see that a person is having difficulty in a particular area of his life. These levels are integrated, and the closest representation of this integration that I have found comes from Bioenergetics. It represents the core of a person as spirit, surrounded by the body which is surrounded by another layer that we call the ego, which is the protective aspect of the individual.
Illness can occur which is primarily spiritual. I recall a woman who came to my office who had developed symptoms of dizziness; she would get very confused and feel like she was going to fall. When I took a history from her I discovered that these symptoms developed in church one morning; I asked her if she could recall what the minister was talking about. She did, and it was really very simple. She had recognized a conflict that arose in respect of her belief system and religion, as it related to her own life and its meaning. Her symptoms cleared up in one month.
In wholistic health the emphasis is on health and wellness. With my own medical training it's hard to get into the frame of mind to think in terms of people's health. The emphasis is also on the individual, and giving the person the responsibility for his own health. That's quite different from the "body shop model" where you take yourself to the doctor and the doctor does something for you. This causes a lot of the malpractice problems because the person thinks the doctor alone is responsible. I don't think that's true; no matter what the physician recommends, you need to evaluate it in your own mind and take the responsibility.
So the three main features of wholistic medicine are the emphases on:
The techniques of people involved in wholistic health are finding a way to help the person find what's best for him or her. Massage is very important, and biofeedback and acupuncture, relaxation and meditation techniques, and visual imagery, which I think is going to be increasingly important. In one study of cancer patients, every person who recovered had a clear-cut visual image of him or herself being well. It's a very powerful technique when used properly.
These techniques are important in wholistic health and they are different, in that none of them can be effectively administered to another person, unless you've had experience and maybe benefit from that technique yourself. In other words, the role of the practitioner is changing; the dictum, "Physician, thyself be healed," is very essential. The American Indian medicine man didn't maintain his status in the tribe as a healer unless he was able to heal himself. It didn't mean that he did not become ill, but he must be able to heal himself after he did. I was recently reading a book called Healing and Wholeness by Sanford, an Episcopal minister who now does Jungian therapy, in which he talks about the shaman and the ecstatic healer. All of these healers have gone through experiences of very severe, if not critical, illnesses themselves. The Chinese doctor in centuries past was paid when people were healthy and he was not paid to take care of the person when he became ill; his responsibility was health. In a sense, we're moving towards that.
In our practice, we usually ask the family to come when we see a person the first time with some problem that is chronic. When a person came to the Navajo medicine man, a common technique that he used was to bring the family together to do a "sand painting" that represents symbolically the problem that the person has. I think that this is a fantastic exercise. We usually take one or two hours with a family and they say, at times, that it's the longest they've sat together in perhaps three or four years, except to get in the car and go on a vacation (which can be stressful in itself.) I am impressed with the fact that the Navajo medicine man approached the family in this way.
The mind extends beyond the body. It isn't incorporated in the brain or in the body. My belief system says that my mind is part of something greater than myself and the universe.
The research in biofeedback over the past ten years documents that the mind is in absolute control of the body. I think the implications of this are profound. For a long time many people believed there was an intimate relationship between the mind and the body, or the body and the mind (and spirit), but there was always room for argument. Scientifically now I feel this has been documented. I think that fact will be accepted gradually and integrated into medicine.
The best evidence has been produced by Basmanian, a physician from Atlanta who for years has worked in rehabilitation with people who are paralyzed, injured and so on. He's been involved in biofeedback for fifteen years now and was one of the first medical people to use it. He implants microelectrodes in a person's muscles, and by certain techniques he can show that an electrode fires from only one muscle cell. He rigged this up with an oscillograph so a person being tested could see the response and also with something to cause a little "bleep" sound when the muscle fired.
He showed that people can learn to fire one muscle cell at "will" within forty-five minutes. The experiment is described by Barbara Brown in her book, New Mind, New Body.
Basmanian had the courage to introduce the concept of "will" back into the scientific literature. It's hard to figure out the nerve tracks of how a person can fire, just one muscle cell, but this has been well-documented and been repeated several times. A person can learn to control just one muscle cell. This is a very significant development because if you can learn to control one muscle cell, the implication is that you can learn to control any cell in your body.
There are some two thousand biofeedback systems in the body and with every single system that we've been able to monitor in humans or in animals, the human can learn to control or the animal can be conditioned to respond to and control that function. Biofeedback training has many applications. I've worked mainly with galvanic skin response (GSR), one of four types of biofeedback that are used primarily. GSR was used back in the early 1900's by Carl Jung in his word association tests and had a flurry of interest in the 'thirties. I think that it's one of the most useful.
EEG stands for electroencephalogram, monitoring the brain waves. It got the most interest and publicity about six or eight years ago when Kamiya in San Francisco found that people could learn to control their brain waves. Barbara Brown once set up a train and people could make the train go faster if they could "get into" more alpha waves. EEG research is currently in a state of flux because there have been findings that there is no certain wave, like alpha or beta, that characterizes particular states of consciousness, but rather a pattern of waves may be associated with states of consciousness.
Another biofeedback system is the EMG, electromyogram, which was used in the muscle cell experiments. EMG can be used to relax certain groups of muscles but may not produce a generalized relaxation response, whereas if you use a GSR and it shows a change, it generally means that you're getting a generalized response. This has a lot of applications, particularly in relaxation techniques and rehabilitation and it's very useful. I am convinced that if you can get anybody to relax, whatever symptoms they have will usually improve.
The fourth, temperature training, is particularly useful with migraine and tension headaches. Swami Rama was tested at the Menninger Clinic and they put electrodes on his hands six to eight centimeters apart and in about eighteen minutes he had produced a twelve degree difference in the temperature between those two sensors on his hand. Of course, the eastern yogis have long been able to control their bodies with the development of certain techniques. Biofeedback is simply a kind of electronic adaptation of this control. People can learn if they are willing. Biofeedback is not in the mainstream of medicine now and I don't know when or if it will be in the near future.
You can train people on a GSR or an EMG or a temperature trainer and their blood pressure will decrease, but they have to continue to do that relaxation technique or their blood pressure will rise. Also, there must be a complete unity in the belief system of the healer, the patient and the family; if not, then things are not going to work, whatever it is - coronary surgery or digitalis or whatever. That's equally true with biofeedback because the unconscious bias creeps through eventually in any experimental design if the people really don't believe in it and influences the results.
The body is always telling us something. Both the very obese and the severely malnourished person lose their ability to detect hunger . One way you can begin to train yourself to listen to your body is to pay attention when your body wants a drink of water or to urinate; just respect this. If we can just respond to our own stimuli, then it's the beginning of inner awareness. It is necessary to become quiet to be able to listen to ourselves.
Illness and Transformation
Illness represents the opportunity for transformation. I heard a Jungian analyst tell about a dream of a cancer patient in which she was walking up a path on a hill behind several other people in a group. In the dream they rounded a bend and saw an old tree with a knot, like a cypress that you might see in California. She was aware that everyone looked at this knot because they had to walk around it. As she approached this tree and looked at it, the knot was transformed into a figure, a woman she recognized as herself being in a healthy state. It turned out that that dream seemed to be a turning point. She eventually did heal her cancer and became well. I think that the dream is a vivid example of the transformation that can and does occur with an illness.
The lack of forgiveness is found in every single illness in some form. We have begun to see this and recognize it in our patients. Perhaps the key to health is forgiveness. I sat in a seminar with Pir Vilayat Khan, the head of the Sufi Order, and he said (in regard to this idea of transformation) that you need to do the internal work; if you don't you'll get an illness which will help you to do it, or the illness will develop so you'll then have the internal work to do with the illness. That's why I believe that moving towards inner awareness is something that all of us has to do, whether I or you want to or whether I or you think it's important. I think that's certainly one thing life is all about.
A book that I'm fond of is by Carl Friedrich von Durkheim, a German mystic, called Daily Life as Spiritual Experience; he points out that we have the opportunity in our daily lives to begin to get in touch with this Divine person within us and to develop our divinity that - in my belief system - is in all of us. Jung calls it individuation. We have to become aware - conscious - of our unconscious processes.
Some generalities about nutrition. There are approximately forty elements - minerals, vitamins and proteins - that are identified as essential for human life, as indispensable. And they are just as indispensable as oxygen. It isn't quite as apparent because you can go quite a while without protein before the effects start showing up in the body. I keep thinking about the basketball player on the west coast, Bill Walton, who is vegetarian. He always starts out the season pretty well but the last few seasons he's ended up with injuries. I wonder if this relates to the lack of protein. The fellow who was just appointed Celtic coach, Dave Cowens, is also vegetarian, but it looks as though he fares a little better than Walton as a vegetarian.
Our cellular environment, our body, is never perfectly adjusted, so that there are various levels or gradients of nutrition. Some of us may be very well-nourished, some may be very poorly nourished. The quality of nutrition can be very low and yet maintain life and function. I'm reminded of one experiment with vitamin C in guinea pigs. You can give a guinea pig about 10 mg of vitamin C and it will look like all the other guinea pigs, will reproduce and be healthy. But if you give a guinea pig 200 mg rather than 10 or 9, the offspring in the third and fourth and fifth generations continue to be healthy, but if you give only 10 mg eventually there is deterioration in the number and health of the offspring. I point this out not for its specific finding but to show the concept of optimum nutrition. I personally think that eventually it will be shown that most human beings need far more vitamin C than there is in any average diet, even a good diet with fresh fruit.
Another important thing that we know, but which is not recognized, is the individuality of people's nutritional requirements. And this individuality has a wide range. Roger Williams has written a book, Biochemical Individuality, in which he documented the wide range of our body chemistry. If you took every one of us, our biochemical profiles would be just as different as our fingerprints, and so are our nutritional needs different. A lot of our nutrition happens by chance and it happens by family patterns, it happens by availability. But to really take into account the individuality of nutrition, I think it is very important for ourselves as well as for those people we take care of.
Another principle of nutrition is that you need all the necessary nutrients at the same time, what I call a "symphony" of vitamins, minerals and proteins. Williams insists that, for instance in alcoholism, people who are optimally nourished are not going to be involved in the addictive aspect of alcoholism. It turns out that there is not one single bit of research in this country that I know of that has taken people with alcoholism and provided the "symphony" of nutrients, and made sure they got them under a controlled situation to see what effect it had on their disease process. Hopefully, this will be done.
I do want to talk about caffeine as a prelude to talking about fasting. How many of you in this room think caffeine is a drug? (Many hands raised.) Good. In the past six months there was an article published in one of the most prestigious medical magazines, the "New England Journal of Medicine," which showed some things we've known about caffeine. First of all, the pulse goes up when we drink coffee; the blood pressure goes up. In this study, the output of the adrenal gland in norephenephrine, a hormone which stimulates us, was increased 220% in a person (who had not had caffeine for six weeks) by drinking one cup of coffee. I think that's very significant. You can't "get high" (stimulate yourself) without "coming down." The body balances itself. You can continue to drink coffee and stimulate yourself and your body adapts to that, but if you stop drinking it you have a problem. It is recognized that if you are drinking four cups a day, and you don't have your coffee for a day, you will have symptoms. You will be uncomfortable, you will be nervous and irritable. I think that this can occur with as little as two cups a day.
Years ago I discovered this in myself; one afternoon I didn't feel good so I stopped and had a cup of coffee and a piece of pie, and I realized that, after drinking about half that cup of coffee, the world became "rose-colored." I couldn't believe the effect of that one cup of coffee, and I was only drinking two or three cups at the most then. Then, after I began going without coffee for a while I found myself buying chocolate candy bars; it took me some time to put it all together. Of course, chocolate contains about 15 to 20 mg of caffeine per ounce, so if you eat two ounces of chocolate you've got about 30 or 40 mg. That isn't so bad in us, but if you give that amount to a child and consider it by weight, it's a significant dose.
Alcoholism is a relatively common disease and I think that caffeine is just as much a problem and part of a disease as alcohol is. What contains caffeine besides coffee? Tea - same thing. Cola - obvious. Chocolate. So I suggest that people drink herb teas. I see the herb tea rack in the supermarket and which kind has sold the most? "Morning Thunder," which has more caffeine in it than coffee; also, you can't use one with mate, a South American drink. I have now stopped drinking coffee almost completely and find that I don't even miss it. Now I drink mostly herb teas if I want a hot drink. Sanka does not have the caffeine but it stimulates the stomach just as much as coffee does.
How many of you have gone without food for at least twenty-four hours? Many of you, that's unusual. I have started fasting people in the hospital and the nurses look at me like I'm crazy despite the fact that there's a lot of medical literature on the subject (I've gone over some thirty articles on fasting.) Of course, about ten years ago there was quite a flurry of interest in fasting in the treatment of obesity. However, it turns out that only about fifteen to twenty per cent of people who lose weight from fasting do not gain it back.
How many of you have had a headache when you fasted? O.K., several of you. Unequivocally, the headache is due to the caffeine withdrawal, and so if you are going to fast I think you need to taper your caffeine intake as a prelude.
In my own experience I am no longer hungry on the second day of a fast. Under medical supervision, people have fasted 236 days with water only and vitamin supplementation. You usually feel good; the most striking effect that I have is a slowing down and a calming. I usually sleep better and on the second or third day I begin to get a little "high." This is partly due to the fact that your metabolism changes, you begin burning fat and develop what we call a ketosis. The last time I fasted I went six days and I got into ketosis. The people in the laboratory had three blood tests during that six days and by the sixth day they were looking at me saying, "What's going to happen to him?" and I honestly began to wonder a little bit myself. This was about four or five months ago and I was doing some reading then and I learned that that's what happens if you fast for over three days, you get into a ketosis. Now it turns out that if you can go ten days or two weeks or into three weeks that ketosis modifies and changes and you will spontaneously begin to get hungry. The "Journal of Experimental Medicine" in 1976, volume 118, page 245, had the best article out of some thirty or forty that I read. Another excellent reference on the subject is Fasting: the Ultimate Diet by Allan Cott.
What actually happens when you fast? For the first day or two you begin burning sugar from your liver and when that runs out you begin to burn fat and you develop a ketosis. Your blood pressure usually goes down and your blood sugar level will gradually drop, though not to hypoglycemic levels in most people. The article I mentioned documented that there is a slowing of the frequency on the electroencephalogram; there is also an inhibitory effect on the lower brain, mostly shown in animals but there is some evidence of this in humans. Initially you may have some headache, a little nausea, but most of the time you feel fine. After anywhere from ten days to three weeks there are some things that you have to be concerned about. You may develop hypotension, so that if you are lying or sitting down and you get up you may faint, which means that your column of blood is not supported. That's primarily because there is some contraction of the extracellular fluid in the body and you can't maintain your blood pressure quite as well; so you just have to take a little time to adjust. Everybody gets a rise in uric acid, and a few people may develop gout with joint pains, usually in the feet or other joints. If you fast long enough you may develop anemia and certainly vitamin deficiencies.
Considering the psychological effect personally, every time that I fast it just appalls me how important I make food in my life. I realize how much time I spend thinking about my next meal, etc.
Stress and the Relaxation Response
When you're under stress there are certain things that happen in your body. First of all, your pulse and blood pressure go up, your muscle tension increases, your skin resistance goes down, and all of this is a part of the fight/ flight response. So in any situation where we're fearful, our body responds to that. I'm a great admirer of Hans Selye whom I heard speak first about fifteen years ago and then again three years ago; he has written the books Stress of Life and Stress Without Disease.
Very little has been recognized about the significance of stress in medicine until a few years ago when Holmes and Rae created a list of forty life events on a rated scale of one to a hundred, with events listed like the loss of a spouse or death of the person closest to you, down to something like getting a traffic ticket. Holmes documented that there is a relationship between disease occurrence and these stressful life events. Not much has been done with this knowledge because you can't just tell everybody, "Change jobs," or "Change spouses." But recently, when we started looking at people doing meditation, or as Benson calls it, "the relaxation response," we saw what happens when people just sit quietly, what happens to their bodies. Every single physiological variable that's been observed in meditators is exactly opposite of stress. For instance, your pulse and blood pressure go down, your skin resistance goes up, your brain waves slow down, the oxygen consumption in the body goes down, etc.
I want to emphasize that when you sit for fifteen minutes, quietly in an upright position, breathing in and out, saying "one" at the end of your expiration, assuming a passive attitude, just letting things come and go, when you do that for fifteen minutes the oxygen consumption goes down more than it does in sleep. What this says to me is that here's something which is available to every single one of us in this room. If you and I will take the discipline, the interest, the motivation, whatever it takes, to sit quietly once a day, you will get more relaxation for your body than you do in a night's sleep. I just read an article about sleep in the "Smithsonian Magazine" which indicates that sleep is just not restful. We go through these constant cycles of change, into the REM, out of it, stage one, stage two and occasionally we get to stage four, but even at stage four the oxygen consumption in our body is not as low as when you do the relaxation response. Now I'm taking that as evidence because I think that it reflects the fact that the muscles are more relaxed in meditation than they are when we're sleeping. There are certain things that happen if you begin to be quiet with yourself. A change in inner awareness will gradually occur and some evidence indicates that the arousal response diminishes which seems to have advantages. Some ten to twenty percent of people who do the relaxation response may have some side effects. So to have some contact with a person with experience in these methods and techniques is important.
I have provided some ideas about wholistic health in general and with more specific comments about other related subjects which will, hopefully, stimulate your interest in your own health. Thank you.
TAT Profile: Ramana Maharshi
by Damien Markakis
TAT Profiles are a guide to the life and thought of individuals, past and present, who have contributed to the advancement of human awareness. For those major figures with whom many are familiar, the goal will be to extract the core of their philosophies and present it in a clear and concise manner, along with recommendations for deeper study. Lesser known figures will be dealt with more subjectively; evaluations will accompany the basic information and the reader will, hopefully, benefit from our reviewer's study and experience in deciding whether or not that persons system is worthy of his time and attention. Future installments in this series will feature such teachers, masters and prophets as Madame Blavatsky, G.I. Gurdjieff, Edgar Cayce, and P.D. Ouspensky.
Ramana Maharshi and the Yogic Path of Discriminative Wisdom
Why would people from every walk of life, both from the occident and the orient, have traveled out of their ways at great inconvenience and expense to visit the inhabitant of a cave in Tiruvannamalai, India? Why would statesmen, writers, and peasants alike all make the oftentimes long journey into the sweltering climate surrounding the sacred hill known as Arunacala? Why would such prominent figures as Carl Gustav Jung, Somerset Maugham, Arthur Osborne and Paul Brunton all venture into the heart of the vast Indian sub-continent with the sole purpose of meeting a Hindu renunciate by the name of Ramana Maharshi?. . . a man who has been referred to "as the most saintly of modern Hindu ascetics and mystics." (1) The objective of this essay is to explore the life and spiritual teachings of this great sage, and in the process to speak directly to each of these questions.
In a small Indian village south of the sacred city of Madurai, there lived a rural lawyer named Sundaram Aiyar and his wife Alagamma. A visiting ascetic who had once been mistreated by this man's ancestors had cast a curse on the family which was to insure that one offspring in each generation would renounce the world and become an ascetic. This couple's second son was named Venkataraman (of which "Ramana" is an abbreviation). He was born on December 30, 1879, a day dedicated to the celebration of Lord Siva's victory over the demon Andhaka (a Hindu myth meant to symbolize the conquest of light over darkness).
Raised in the security of a middleclass, Brahmin family, the boy led a normal, uneventful childhood in the secluded village of Tirucculi, South India. He demonstrated a keen interest in outdoor sports, but was indifferent towards his studies in school. While being blessed with an extraordinarily retentive memory and an alert mind he, curiously enough, was an abnormally deep sleeper. Stories have been recounted of his friends actually striking him while he was asleep without being able to awaken him. Another relevant event in his life was the death of his father when he was twelve. His father's passing apparently caused a noticeable change in the son's nature by making the latter more reflective in a profound sense. Other than these factors, his childhood development through the fifteenth year left no clues as to Ramana's impending spiritual destiny.
During his sixteenth year, a great spiritual awakening was to radically transform his view of life. The first premonition of this mystical unfoldment came accidentally one day while the boy was speaking to an elder relative who had just returned from visiting Arunacala, a noted sacred hill nearby. The mere mention of this spot kindled an intense curiosity in Ramana, who soon afterwards began reading his first piece of religious literature, the Periyapuranam (a tale of the lives of the sixty-three Saiva saints). He became fascinated and overwhelmed by these accounts which pointed the way to realization of the Divine. The spiritual experience that transformed his life was soon to follow unexpectedly during 1896, when he was seventeen:
"It was quite sudden. I was sitting alone in a room on the first floor of my uncle's house. I seldom had any sickness, and on that day there was nothing wrong with my health, but a sudden violent fear of death overtook me. There was nothing in my state of health to account for it, and I did not try to account for it or to find out whether there was any reason for the fear. I just felt 'I am going to die' and began thinking what to do about it. It did not occur to me to consult a doctor or my elders or friends; I felt that I had to solve the problem myself, there and then.
"The shock of the fear of death drove my mind inwards and I said to myself mentally, without actually framing the words: 'Now death has come; what does it mean? What is it that is dying? This body dies'. And I at once dramatized the occurrence of death. I lay with my limbs stretched out stiff as though rigor mortis had set in and imitated a corpse so as to give greater reality to the enquiry: I held my breath and kept my lips tightly closed so that no sound could escape, so that neither the word 'I' nor any other word could be uttered. 'Well then,' I said to myself, 'this body is dead. It will be carried stiff to the burning ground and there burnt and reduced to ashes. But with the death of this body am I dead? Is the body I? It is silent and inert but I feel the full force of my personality and even the voice of the 'I' within me, apart from it. So I am Spirit transcending the body. The body dies but the Spirit that transcends it cannot be touched by death. That means I am the deathless Spirit." (2)
Ramana claimed that this whole enlightenment experience took barely half an hour, and produced results which would normally have been achieved only after a lengthy striving towards liberation. The normal process of working with a physical Guru was completely omitted in his evolution. That he was able to attain the peak of spirituality without any arduous study or training was, in his own estimation, the consequence of a highly unusual karmic destiny. Rare indeed is one who could offer such profound mystical proclamations without having previously heard of the philosophical notions of Brahman, samsara, and so forth:
" . . . that pure Awareness is what I am. This Awareness is by its very nature Sat-Chit-Ananda (Being-Consciousness-Bliss)." (3)
Ramana emphatically stated that this experience was Absolute (meaning fully conscious Identity with Self), and that "there was no more sadhana, no more spiritual effort, after this." (4)
Having undergone such a radical awakening produced a noticeable change in Venkataraman's attitude towards the phenomenal world. Unable to find meaning any longer in his high school studies and the superficialities of worldly existence, he soon left home unexpectedly to travel to Tiruvannamalai, a spiritual power point to which he had felt magically attracted for some time. For seventeen years he resided within the confines of the local temple grounds and a nearby cave at Arunacala practicing an extreme asceticism and samadhic absorption that manifestly demonstrated that: "he was living in timeless Reality. He did not even feel the bites of ants and other insects. The blood and pus that oozed out of his back and thighs stained the wall and the floor. Ramana remained unaffected and unconcerned because what happened to the body could not touch the Self." (5) This complete absorption in the Self characterized this phase of his mystical career. During this early era he attracted the devotion of two yogis who would occasionally put several questions to the now matured sage concerning philosophy and the spiritual life. Although still silent, he would answer through writing and gestures. These questions and answers were recorded and published later in the booklets entitled, "Self-Enquiry" and "Who Am I?" These works contain the essence of his realization and the suggested methods for practicing the meditational technique of "self-enquiry" which he so strongly advocated.
Carl Jung had spoken of Sri Ramana as "a true son of the Indian earth. He is genuine and, in addition to that, something quite phenomenal. In India he is the whitest spot in a white space." (6) Jung spoke highly of this man's Realization as being typically Indian, with its emphasis on the identification of the Self with God. To understand the yogic path of self-enquiry is important in studying the Maharshi's teachings because he was a jnana yogi of the highest order. Jnana yoga has been described as "the path of intellectual discrimination; the way of finding God through analysis of the real nature of phenomena. . . a difficult path, calling for tremendous powers of will and clarity of mind." (7)
The term "jnani" refers to those sages who have emerged out of that school of Indian philosophy known as Advaita Vedanta. The importance of developing an appreciation of this classic school of Hinduism becomes apparent when we discover that "it was the purest Advaita that Sri Bhagavan taught." (8) The most noteworthy exponent of Advaita (meaning "non-dual") Vedanta was Shankara, a spiritual giant of Hinduism around the 7th century A.D., whose philosophy is concisely summarized by these three aspects:
A solid background in the Upanishadic scriptures of Indian philosophy would certainly enhance one's appreciation of Ramana Maharshi's teachings, because they lay the foundations on which all of Advaita Vedanta is based. The Upanishads are the "concluding portion of the Vedas, the oldest and most authoritative scriptures of India. Often called Vedanta, these teachings are the basis of India's many religious sects and are regarded as the highest authority of religious truth." (10)
Ramana Maharshi embodied the fullest power of the Hindu tradition of which he was a part. He did not, at any point, iconoclastically refute his spiritual heritage like a Krishnamurti. He found all the tools necessary to achieve and convey the nature of spiritual liberation within the esoteric vehicle of the Advaita Vedantin school. He was noted for his emphasis on a method of self-analytical meditation called vichara (self-enquiry). The crucial and fundamental question was always "Who am I?" In the following response is presented an answer to this spiritual riddle which reflects the essence of the meditative process whereby Ramana systematically and directly viewed the difference between the illusory and the Real nature of the mind and the universe: "Who am I? - The gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not; the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch, sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects, viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five conative sense organs, viz. the organs of speech, locomotion, grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am not; the vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the residual impressions of objects and no functionings, I am not. If I am none of these, then who am I? After negating all of the above-mentioned as 'not this', 'not this', that Awareness which alone remains - that I am." (11)
Bhagavan ("One with God") repeatedly emphasized throughout his discourses that this method of trying to go directly to the root-source of the mind was the only completely effective method of "killing the ego" and obtaining an Absolute state of awareness. He viewed religious-devotional observances, rituals, invocations, mantras and breath control (pranayama) as being indirect methods of furthering one's spiritual progress. While being important aids to many who find value in their use, they are inefficient in comparison to the "direct style" of jnana yoga. Ramana's tolerance for working with people on all levels of understanding is, however, reflected in his comment that "all the yogas - karma, bhakti, and jnana - are just different paths to suit different natures with different modes of evolution and to get them out of the long cherished notion that they are the Self." (12)
Paul Brunton, a prolific esoteric writer in his own right, was directly responsible for discovering and introducing this "sage of Arunacala" to the West. The former's book, A Search In Secret India, has a couple of chapters devoted exclusively to personal experiences with the Maharshi while visiting the latter's ashram. If not for Brunton's writings, Bhagavan might have remained an obscure, local spiritual guide.
Ramana stated emphatically that there was a level of consciousness "behind" the normal human mind that was both Eternal and Absolute. This principle reflects another classic theme of Vedanta, which maintains that there are four states of consciousness:
Shankara originally formulated an explanation by analogy of the notion that the world, as we subjectively perceive it, is an illusory projection of the human mind. This traditional example was frequently referred to by Ramana: A man sees a coiled rope at dusk, and mistakenly concludes that it is a snake. The next morning at daybreak he returns to see that the supposed serpent is in reality only a rope. He projected qualities onto the rope which it did not, in reality, possess. In this analogy "the Reality of Being is the rope, the illusion of the serpent that frightened him is the objective world." (13) This philosophical idea of the world as illusion (maya) is meant to reflect the notion that all of phenomenal existence is only the creation of the mind. (A comparative footnote: this attitude is echoed by the Yogachara and Madhyamika schools of Mahayana Buddhism - the posing of the spiritual question, Who am I?, and the whole self-enquiry process are somewhat similar to Zen attempts to solve a koan. Until the final enlightenment experience, this question remains a mind-boggling riddle).
There is a great paradox between the Maharshi's "preparation" for Awakening and what he advocated for others. He explained that his transformative experience was spontaneous and unexpected. Although he did not submit to the process of any arduous training beforehand, he was quick to note that such an occurrence was due to a highly unusual karmic destiny, not typical of the average seeker. He repeatedly emphasized the need for determined and persistent effort:
"... unless the bond of the mind is cut asunder by prolonged and unbroken meditation, 'I am the Self, the Absolute', it is impossible to attain the transcendental State of Bliss, which is identical with the annihilation of the mind. So long as subtle tendencies continue to inhere in the mind, it is necessary to carry on the enquiry, 'Who am I?'" (14)
He affirmed that one must be prepared to make a long term commitment to fight through the parade of obstacles that will inevitably attempt to stymie one's progress. Regular meditation discipline was endorsed as a means of creating an ongoing current of awareness which would enable one to remain relatively detached from the samsara-bound workings of the mind.
Various interpretations of Ramana's vichara (self-enquiry) method have been offered as a means of making an abstract meditation process more translatable to the reader. In essence, the goal of the process is to enable one to distinguish between the Real and the unreal through "an intense activity of the entire mind to keep it poised in pure self-awareness." (15) After the mind rejects objects, one after another, as transient and unreal, That which survives the elimination is Real. "By this process of abstraction we get behind the layers of body, mind, and intellect and reach the Universal Self." (16) By tracing the ego (the "I" sense) back to its source, the yogi strives to dis-identify from the mental images and projections of the normal waking state. Application of this meditation process initially leads to one-pointedness of mind. We are still identified with the stream of thought consciousness, but at least our minds have begun to focus intently on one thing. With relentless concentrative discipline we begin to observe with dispassion the distractions by things of the world (including sense objects, desires and tendencies) which have previously occupied and enslaved our awareness. Their hypnotic spell can and must be broken.
Ramana's teachings revolve around the question of whether the ego or "I-sense" really exist. His analysis of this dilemma can be summarized in this manner; if the ego and the mind are composed merely of thoughts and through investigation we conclude that thoughts are transient projections of the mind onto an underlying and more real mental state of pure, aperceptive awareness, we cannot help but give serious consideration to the Advaitin notion that ". . . . for one who can hold to the view that there is only the One Self all outer activity appears a dream or cinema show enacted on the substratum of the Self, so that he will remain an impassive witness." (17)
At first impression one could easily be misled to believe that the Maharshi was strictly an impersonal and intellectual spiritual guide. However, the bhakti (devotional element) was quite active in him at times, and he used to sometimes weep spontaneously while reading certain mystical texts. Ramana vividly described the emotional dimension of his early spiritual life in these terms:
"I used to go and weep before those images and before Nataraja (Shiva) that God should give me the same grace He gave to those saints. But this was after the 'death' experience. Before that the Bhakti for the sixty-three saints lay dormant, as it were." (18)
Unlike many contemporary Hindu teachers, the Maharshi discouraged his disciples from becoming fascinated with the siddhic (supernatural) powers such as telepathy, levitation, astral projection, or other "miraculous" yogic practices. He advised against indulging in any of these psychic "gymnastics." Some yogis might develop such powers of mind through destiny, or incidentally as part of their mystical unfolding. According to Ramana, these psychic practices could easily become diversionary sidetracks from the real problem of trying to discover one's real Self.
In evaluating the realization of a spiritual teacher we are naturally led to investigate his description of enlightenment. Is this mystical experience a final, once-in-a-lifetime episode, or can there exist varying degrees of an ever-expanding awakening? The Maharshi spoke of two levels of immersion in the Self (Brahman):
Observations on Direct Enquiry as a Meditation Technique
Arthur Osborne, a long-time student of Ramana, observed that most meditators are intellectually and experientially quite far from understanding the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta, or practicing the sadhana (spiritual discipline) of self-enquiry. Because of its abstract nature and rigorous mental demands, its appeal has always been, and will always be limited to a ripe few individuals. To construct a written account of this yogic system that will inspire both the head and the heart presents a major problem because it is notoriously hard to expound on. The Maharshi's spiritual teachings can be difficult to apply on a practical level because of their highly abstract nature. This problem confronts anyone trying to work with a system having an Advaita Vedantin foundation.
Controlling the outgoing (extroverted) mind of the senses is fundamental to any yogic system. If we are an intuitive - intellectual type of personality, the path of jnana yoga might possess a tremendous appeal. Whereas, if we are emotionally oriented, the highly abstract nature of a jnana yoga method might strike us as being cold and lifeless.
Sooner or later we have got to learn to directly study and experience the fact that we have no control over our minds. We cannot control our own thoughts for even a minute without having our awareness ricocheting off on an endless series of tangential diversions. Genuine application of jnana yoga confirms the fact that we are slaves to sensory input projected onto our minds. Unless we have diligently studied the mechanics of the mind through meditation we will never know how fragmented and dissipated our mental focus actually is. The analogy of the mind as being like an uncontrollable monkey swinging from branch to branch (from sense object to sense object) is a classic example of Indian philosophy's attempt to convey the fickle and sensory-grasping nature of all human awareness. The senses are constantly bombarding our consciousness with an endless array of impressions which immediately impinge upon our awareness, with predictably negative results.
Ramana Maharshi claimed that ultimately the mind and the ego do not exist (in the sense that we usually view them). For him, only the Self was Real. Now this position might sound tantalizing to our ears, but we are confronted by the seemingly insurmountable task of trying to actually become that realized awareness. The only viable alternative is to begin a rigorous disciplining of our chaotic minds as a starting point for spiritual practice. We cannot successfully just jump into a direct-enquiry analysis of consciousness without previous training in mental concentration. The distinction between indirect versus a direct method of meditation (as previously discussed in this essay) is very real in fact, but one should realize that the concurrent use of both methods might be necessary for a period of time until an unshakeable power of mental energy is harnessed which will enable one to relentlessly pursue an intense self-analysis of one's mind without surrendering from fatigue at the first sign of resistance from the relative ego(s). Vichara (self-enquiry) must become a continuous, unbroken mental current "for the ego will try to make a truce with this current of awareness and if it is once tolerated it will gradually grow to power and then fight to recover supremacy." (20)
Concentrative ability (often called "samadhi power" in the Hindu tradition) is the fundamental meditation skill whose importance cannot be overemphasized.
Those of us who might be telling ourselves that we know how to regulate our thinking, had better take another long, hard look at the deeply-engrained, mechanical and uncontrollable nature of awareness.
Ramana Maharshi died in 1950 at his ashram in Tiruvannamalai. An important consideration is, did he transmit his Realization to any of his disciples before his mahasamadhi (final absorption in the Self at the time of death)? If so, are they teaching in the West or elsewhere? These questions remain unanswered, although there is no doubt that this venerable teacher left his presence felt on many individuals. In any case, his stature as one of the greatest esoteric teachers of this century remains an unchallenged fact. The profound qualities of his spirituality will always stand as a monumental contribution to the Indian mystical heritage.
A detailed list of virtually every book ever printed about Ramana Maharshi may be obtained by writing and requesting a publication listing from: Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi Ctr., Inc. 342 East 6th Street, New York, N.Y. 10003
Also, his ashram in India publishes a quarterly magazine, "The Mountain Path," which provides an excellent overview of his philosophical ideas: (subscription rate: $4.00/yr.)
Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai 606 603, South India
This dialogue is translated from a manuscript in the British Museum. The manuscript, which was found in Oxyrynchus in Egypt on the backside of a land-surveyor list of measurements, is very old. It is in a case which is chained to a table. A British officer stands by it all the time. He allows anyone to copy it, but not to touch it.
Jesus to John
John said: "Master, is there any material universe?"
Jesus answered: "No."
John asked: "Is there a material body?"
Jesus hesitated a long time and finally said: "Saints believed that their bodies were fashioned of clay and this believing brought them death."
Jesus said: "Let not him who seeketh cease from seeking until he hath found:
. . . and when he hath found, he shall be amazed.
. . . and when he hath been amazed, he shall reign.
. . . and when he shall reign, he shall have rest.
. . . the Kingdom of Heaven is within you and whoever shall know himself shall find it.
. . . strive, therefore, to know yourselves and ye shall know that ye are in the City of God, and ye are the City."
The Real People
Who are the Real People? They are the ponderers and the action-takers. They are the ones who admit their own errors and try to correct them. They are the ones who search for the deepest answers to the mysteries of the world and themselves. They are the ones not interested in the outer glitter but in the interior substance. They are the ones interested in what is invisible and proclaimed unreal by the majority of men. They are the ones who wish and strive, are open-minded and simple in heart.
The Practice of Zen, by Garma C.C. Chang, Harper & Row, 1970, 256 pp., $0.95.
Garma C.C. Chang is a unique scholar who took the time to expose himself to both the practical and intellectual dimensions of traditional Buddhist spiritual practices. His translations from ancient Chinese (Ch'an) Zen sources have proven to be landmark contributions towards enabling the West to appreciate and begin to apply the original, authentic methods of a philosophical system which has apparently been fated to disappear from Chinese soil - a victim of communism on the mainland and materialism on Taiwan.
The author states that, "Zen is the pinnacle of all Buddhist thought." First introduced into China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma during the 5th century A.D., Zen soon became one of the most prominent schools of Mahayana Buddhism. Thought to be the quickest and most direct route to bringing individuals to Enlightenment, Zen does, however, present a formidable challenge. Chang flatly states that it is "the most difficult subject in Buddhism."
A major portion of this book is devoted to the discourses and autobiographies of Chinese Zen masters (such as Po Shan, Han Shan, Chao Chou, Huang Po, etc). The extreme dedication of these spiritual giants of the Ch'an tradition is inspiring and awesome in the reflection of commitment and determination shown. For instance, we are given the story of one monk who meditated for twenty years, thus wearing out seven meditation seats before obtaining realization.
The "serene-reflection" type of meditation of the Tsao Tung (Japanese: Soto) school is contrasted with the more rigorous style of working with the koan exercises of the Lin Chi (Japanese: Rinzai) school. The more advanced Zen adepts focus on struggling to answer their spiritual problem in the form of koans such as "Where was I before my birth and where will I be after my death?'' Seldom have I seen such practical instructions on working with the koan-meditation practices of Zen. Chang's comments are conceptually abstract at points, but the discourses of the masters involved are purely experiential, and valuable guidelines to the levels of meditative insight.
This book simultaneously offers an introductory and advanced view of the meditation techniques utilized by Chinese Zen. We are introduced to the inner secrets of how to work relentlessly on a spiritual question by raising and "boring into" what is referred to as the "doubt sensation." The confrontative anguish of facing one's own impermanence can produce, in ripe individuals, an intense yearning to know the meaning of life and death. The psychic tension generated by concentration on this existential dilemma is used to enable one to eventually break through to a deeper level of consciousness. The emphasis in koan practice seems to be on intense personal effort and mental struggle. In The Practice of Zen we are led through a meditative progression:
In a chapter entitled, "The Seven Different Types of Meditation Practice," Chang effectively delineates the techniques used in these classic, Buddhist approaches:
The author was initiated into the Kagyupta lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, and actually spent a 100-day retreat doing nothing else but trying to work with one Tantric visualization exercise for nine hours a day. He has earned the right to comment intelligently on the methods involved.
While reading this book I could not help but ask myself the question of what relevance the lifestyles and systems of the ancient Zen masters have to modern circumstances. They dedicated their lives full time (usually within a monastic setting) in an attempt to solve the riddles of existence. Thirty years were seen as nothing in terms of time that might have to be spent trying to "break through" one's koan. Such an attitude and setting stands in marked contrast to contemporary America where some students of Zen (or other spiritual systems, for that matter) struggle to squeeze a two week meditation retreat into their rat-race schedules. The need for a dynamic, lay approach to Zen, suitable for modern life, seems obvious. Master Hsu Yun made the observation that "people's capacity to practice the Dharma is deteriorating all the time." After studying the careers of these Chinese Zen teachers, I have no choice but to agree.
Underground Man, by Edward Abood, National Book Dist., 1973, $10.95.
This book talks of the Underground Men who either dropped out of "normal", mainstream life, or were kicked out, or were never able to fit into it. They saw and felt more than their fellow men and knew that something was very tragically wrong, but could do no more than struggle desperately to find some cure for it. They were stripped of comforting ideologies, the benevolence of a Divine father-figure, or the joys of the community of mankind. Colin Wilson called them "the Outsiders" in his book of twenty years ago. They are the rebels, the malcontents, the revolutionaries, the dreamers, the seekers, the misfits. They are the ones who sense - with keen, even morbid sensibility - the absurdity of life as it is commonly lived, the emptiness of values in an apparently meaningless Cosmos, the estrangement from Nature, the madness of the masses, the decay of culture, the abandonment of God, and the nameless craving of the soul for what is true - to the point of shattering their illusion of sanity and hurtling them into the void. Their characteristic attitude is the negation of all the falseness they encounter within and without them, more than the affirmation of anything positive and certain - other than their right to have a meaningful existence at any cost. This results in their constant state of tension and uneasiness which is the fuel for their movement.
Abood describes eight Underground Men of modern literature: Dostoevsky (his Notes From Underground was the prototype of this breed), Kafka, Hesse, Sartre, Camus, Genet Malraux, and Koestler. They are not mystics, but they are the prophets of our modern age - a prophet merely being one who tells us what time it is. Their characters are restless, lonely, angry, hungry, hurting, hypersensitive, idealistic, bitter, complex, and sometimes mad. They may extend their indictment of guilt not only to society, but to Nature, Being, or even God. All eventually find some answer or at least a direction in which to pursue it, although earlier promises to them from life or men were betrayed. Abood wisely and compassionately chronicles their stories; how their existential despair is the necessary price for the search for validity in life, and the gnawing emptiness that is the necessary prelude to finding it. The book gives no final answers, but it does give a fascinating and disturbing glimpse into eight passionate men who personify every major political, scientific, social, philosophical, and psychological movement of the past century. The book is stimulating reading - and rewarding self-confrontation - to Underground Men and Outsiders everywhere.
God Is My Adventure, by Rom Landau, Unwin Books, London, 1935, 255 pp., $1.20.
Each era has produced its share of spiritual teachers and movements. During his lifetime, Rom Landau had the unusual opportunity of personally meeting and learning from a number of such individuals prominent in spiritual circles during the years between World Wars I and II. He was a seeker whose literary talents placed him in the unique position of being able to encounter and critique, to a wide audience, such charismatic figures as J. Krishnamurti, Meher Baba, George Gurdjieff, P.D. Ouspensky, Rudolf Steiner, and others who were strongly influencing the European spiritual scene during this era. God Is My Adventure is an evaluative work possessing merit for those whose research remains incomplete in areas relating to any of the aforementioned systems.
In the course of Landau's travels we are led on a descriptive tour of Rudolf Steiner's system, which grew out of his breaking away from the Theosophical Society to found the Anthroposophical movement. Steiner's unique blend of science and mysticism had widespread appeal in Europe at the time. His esoteric interpretation of Christianity was respected in many circles, and stood in intriguing contrast to his mathematical and scientific genius. Landau recognized that "anthroposophy had become one of the few spiritual movements of our time that have penetrated into almost every field of human activity.''
The author had considerable respect for P.D. Ouspensky and his philosophical system. The latter's methodically precise approach to "Fourth Way'' psychology (''he approaches truth like a surgeon") possessed an appeal which stood in direct contrast to the observed vagueness of a Krishnamurti or the aloofness of a Gurdjieff. Ouspensky's fresh approach to cleaning out the cobwebs in consciousness generated a strong interest among European intellectuals who could not find meaning in the maze of esoteric ideas that were in circulation at the time. Ouspensky's theme was that our lives are unquestioningly spent in a state of mental sleep or unconsciousness. The mind, upon close examination, is discovered to be completely mechanical in its functions. Our imagination constantly runs away uncontrollably with our thoughts, and as a consequence our consciousness is without control or focus of any sort. Until we begin to administer a recommended process of self-observation, we cannot expect to cultivate a higher level of awareness. Ouspensky spoke with the author about his previous contacts with the early founders of the Theosophical Society, his extensive journeys throughout the near East and India, and the reasons leading to his break from his original teacher, Gurdjieff. Landau concludes that, "Never before had I met anyone working more directly and more logically to help people conquer the phantoms of sleep and to lead them into consciousness."
Landau and Paul Brunton (another well-known author on esoteric matters) both drew essentially the same conclusions on Meher Baba, the Sufi mystic whose disciples referred to him as a "Perfect Master." His hypnotic magnetism and forceful presence were only surpassed by his spiritual conceit and the blind adherence of his followers. Although Meher Baba apparently did have some type of deep mystical experience in his youth, his bloated self-esteem and pretentious proclamations about transforming the world did not impress the author's investigative mentality.
Another interesting tale in Landau's spiritual tour involved George Jeffreys, a then famous healer in the vein of a higher-grade, Protestant revivalist, who apparently had the capacity to harness psychic energy generated by a large group of people and project it into the sick through a process of laying on of hands. The author concluded that this man was a medium for a spiritual force generated from an extra-sensory dimension.
Landau was a cautious but sincere inquirer who strove to separate the bogus from the genuine. When he met George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff his discerning faculties were put to the supreme test. After repeated attempts to penetrate the enigmatic character of this man (reputed to be a master in many fields of esotericism), Landau drew a skeptical and critical conclusion. Although not willing to go as far as some detractors of Gurdjieff, who viewed him as a charlatan and a madman, the author found this Russian's repeated evasiveness, contradictions, and abrasive nature to be unconvincing and unattractive. That Gurdjieff learned the mechanics of the projection of psychic energy while residing in Tibet (supposedly as the Dalai Lama's chief tutor) is difficult to dispute from the accounts given. The author conveys an interesting, actual experience in which he was the victim of one of Gurdjieff's "psychic manipulations," which he judged to be hypnotically induced.
Having failed to reconcile Gurdjieff's personality with his complex teachings, Landau next turned his questioning in the direction of J. Krishnamurti. During a week's stay at the latter's California home at Ojai Valley, a personal exchange of ideas occurred as the author sought to gain clarity in place of vagueness, in attempting to study and apply Krishnamurti's philosophical ideas. During this encounter, Landau developed a deep appreciation of Krishnamurti's sincerity of purpose, high ideals, and the "beauty of his personality"; but his "unconvincing logic" and ambiguous mode of written expression still inhibited the author's attempts to establish a deeper rapport. The recurring Krishnamurti theme that recognized the necessity of suffering for the attainment of truth did strike a resonant chord in the writer's mind.
A most intriguing part of God Is My Adventure lies within the concluding postscript, written thirty years after the compilation of the original work. This perceptive analysis in retrospect offers revealing insights into the reasons why some movements withered while others flourished, as well as a general overview of existing psychological-philosophical trends of the times. The writer is quick to denounce the semantic babble of most post-war British and American philosophers; and also excoriates the Beatnik Zen, and the popularized Vedantin version of Indian philosophy that emerged in California during the 1950's and 1960's.
Curiously enough, after his spiritual odyssey has finally run its course, we learn of the author's eventual attraction and commitment to working with the ideas of the Sufi mystic, Ibn Arabi. Combining the latter's philosophical perspective with the workable parts of his Christian heritage, Rom Landau thus sets off on his own spiritual journey.
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