6/23/77 - I'm in the last days of preparation for a move from a two-bedroom apartment to a private room, midway between Fort Jackson, SC, and the Columbia university campus. Also, I am fairly sure now that in September I'll be starting graduate work at the University of South Carolina, toward a Masters in Rehabilitation Counseling, while also continuing my army job as a safety management specialist. I expect to continue with participation in weekly Transactional Analysis group sessions, begun several months ago after my depressions had become prolonged and intense, with day fantasies as well as nightmares of suicide.
As of today's entry, I've resumed trying to keep a journal. Things are going pretty well, despite nagging nuisance problems like new glasses that don't yet fit properly. I am really quite positive!
6/25/77 - Began my move today.
Bothered a lot by a painful tooth, one which has troubled me off and on for about two years. Have to see someone about it this afternoon. Stupidly I have not gone to a dentist in all this time for fear the tooth would have to be pulled. Somehow this thought is horrible to me!
6/27/77 - Have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon to have a new filling ground down. Meanwhile I am chewing less and avoiding biting down completely. It turned out, though, my dental worries were way overblown. I keep all my teeth!
Have now sold a bed, rocking chair, camera, and box window fan, to simplify my moving, and have taken not quite half of my remaining stuff over to the new place.
A date has been set (7/12) to interview for a graduate study stipend. If I receive one, I shall quit my job and simply go to school full-time. If not, I shall probably take two graduate courses and remain a full-time safety specialist.
My biggest difficulty is in how I spend my free time. If it is "dead time," with few if any real obligations against it, I am likely, given recent past experience, to become very bored, depressed, or scared. I need, then, to keep myself creatively occupied as close to twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, as possible! If I can do this in company with others or an other, so much the better.
(Read Shyness - What is it? And What to do about it? by Dr. Zimbardo.)
6/28/77 - Early this morning, shaving and whatever, I suddenly thought, "I've been going along, these last several weeks, feeling nice and secure in my job now that there is a new boss, John Child, here who's a good buffer between me and the general's staff. He now assumes all that extra responsibility, uncertainly, and so forth, that had been such a hassle for me last fall and winter, and which made it totally impractical then for me to be in school. What if something happens to him?" But then I dismissed the thought and said to myself, "What is the realistic chance of something happening to Mr. Child?"
But later this morning, while on leave and working at home, he fell off a ladder and broke his leg, which will put him out of commission as the safety manager for at least several weeks. Sure enough, the buffer is gone and I am once more the acting safety manager. Fortunately, this time it is just for a short while! Still, it demonstrates the vulnerability of my position in anticipating working on at Fort Jackson while also attending graduate courses, which naturally would require me to have my mind and emotions relatively free in my off hours, impossible with the stresses of this job plus dealing with Mr. Child's role.
I wonder some about the coincidence of my thoughts or intuitions of something happening to Mr. Child. Our ordinary universe of experience, it seems, is neither an illusion nor the limit and sum total of reality. Quite the contrary! The common sense, analytical, linear type of thinking and perceiving provides only a very narrow, limited slice off the surface of reality, of all of the wonder and mystery of That Which Is. Yet, it too is a part of what is real.
7/4/77 - Independence Day - Completed my move this afternoon and cleaned up the old apartment. Still far from being settled into the new place. My junk is scattered everywhere. It will be a big job finding room for everything! This is the smallest place I've had in over three years. It will be awhile before I really feel at home here. So far I like it alright though. (Six years ago today my brother, Ralph, left our shared apartment with his friend, Luke, heading for Hawaii.)
7/5/77 - Up at 3:30 AM. Have been lying awake for two hours. My first night in this place is a dismal revelation of my mistake in moving. The air conditioning is inadequate. There are roaches. I am realizing the foolishness of having a room without kitchen facilities. I think I shall give one month's notice and leave here by the end of August. Good riddance! What a lot of bother for nothing but more bother! It makes me so mad I feel like burning the place down! Compared to this, my last apartment, despite all the neighbors' noise, was a gift!
Later. My tantrum is over. Feeling better about this place again. Life goes on.
Got more completely settled in today. Also came to the awareness that to really adapt and adjust to the various situations in which I find myself in life I shall need to return to a more spiritual style of living and have regular meditation once again, perhaps even using the Lifestream Way approach and philosophy.
7/7/77 - Blah days. Feel like writing, but nothing to say.
7/12/77 - Hectic days. Today I had my university stipends interview. It went well I think.
This evening I pick up Mr. Hammond, the Command Safety Director, my boss from higher headquarters, at the airport. He will be here for two days and undoubtedly will be going into the functioning of the Fort Jackson Safety Office in some depth. I am, by default, the present head of the safety program for the installation, while Mr. Child remains laid up in the hospital. It now appears he'll be bedridden and in traction for quite some time, many months.
7/14/77 - Mr. Hammond is gone. Before he left he said he felt I am highly qualified for a promotion to a GS-11 position and that if there were an opening in his office, near Washington, D.C., then I would be his choice for a replacement. He added that while he wished I would stay at Fort Jackson, for the sake of the safety program there, I would be a fool to turn down a good GS-11 vacancy somewhere else as soon as it should become available, and that he would keep an eye out for a good place for me. So, once again, good strokes! Now it is coming down to a matter of days, weeks at most, before I must decide what to do, whether to move to take a GS-11 promotion in safety, to quit work and go to school full-time, or to continue as a GS-9 here and try to go to school at the same time for three or four years, till I can finally get my master's that way.
Despite feeling very pleased with Mr. Hammond's appreciating my work and potential in army safety, and though I have misgivings over changing careers one more time, I feel strongly inclined now, if I get the stipends (which will also mean it is all the more likely the state, at least, will be willing to hire me once I finish the master's), to quit civil service and just go to school full-time.
7/16/77 - Yesterday was my fourth anniversary of Lifestream Way initiation. Yet today I have written a note, that I'm mailing in a few minutes, to Jack Plymouth, Maharaji's eastern U.S. representative, in which I ask to be released from all remaining duties as an Association secretary. My efforts in this role have been in spite of my no longer strictly following the Lifestream Way approach or being sure of its correctness. I feel very badly in this situation, but have held off a decision until now so as not to let down Mr. Plymouth, who appointed me on Julie Conrad's recommendation. Now, though, there are others who could take my place and seem more steadfast than I in their practice of the Lifestream Way faith.
One of the mistakes of a lot of people, who have by accident or experience or simply good sense happened onto some really good ideas about how to live, has been their tendency to seek justification or authority for those ideas or styles of life by imbuing them with religious or political overtones. But one does not need to be a revolutionary, a social reformer, or a disciple, nor does one need spiritual or divine sanction, or the self-righteousness of a moral elite, in order to recognize, appreciate, and enjoy the advantages of: a simple way of life; being more relaxed about things; living more in the present; avoiding unhealthy foods or drugs or drink (or the consumption of creatures who suffer when they are in pain or would miss the life that for our pleasure is cut unnaturally short); greater intimacy and love between people; more creativity, playfulness, and spontaneity; greater refinements of the quality and quantity of consciousness; taking good care of oneself; being a friend to oneself and to others; meditation; doing productive work that one enjoys; etc. All too many of us are looking for, and eager to listen to, someone who will tell us what we should do. Yet to live well is its own justification and requires no other.
For myself now the question remains what would I like to do, which is also practical and realistic for someone of my abilities, personality, and background.
My impression is that, apart from the clear benefits and value of a Lifestream Way lifestyle, the teachings themselves seem to raise many more questions than they can answer. Indeed, their assertions, considered with some objectivity, seem to be as difficult to make appear reasonable as the astronomy of the middle ages was before people realized and accepted that the universe and solar system really do not revolve around the earth.
7/24/77 - Received two phone calls from initiates today, one from Esther and one from Rich, inviting me up to Virginia Beach for next weekend. I shall try my best to make it! Monday, Aug. 1st, is Rich and Cindy's daughter, Denise's, first birthday anniversary.
I also today definitely decided not to go back to school but rather to make myself available for the next good promotion opportunity and to hope that my transfer may be to an area close to a good Association group.
This afternoon I resumed Lifestream Way meditation for the first time in many weeks.
8/2/77 - 11 PM. Just back a few minutes ago from a four-day holiday in Norfolk, staying with Rich and Cindy and their daughter and visiting with my brother, Ralph, along with the rest of the Virginia Beach Association group. Had a great time!
I'll be up in Ashville, NC, next weekend and have been asked to give an Association talk.
8/14/77 - Too long my life has been that of an introverted, introspective, isolated, and unhappy loner! I mean now to change this. Except for regular daily meditation, I intend to gradually wean myself away from all pastimes and activities that cut me off from others. My occupations now shall be: first, my work; second, the routine essentials of looking after myself, my possessions, and business affairs; third, my meditation; fourth, regular exercise; fifth, ongoing group therapy sessions; and sixth, structured and unstructured pastimes in company with others. Old reclusive patterns and habits such as writing, watching TV alone, going to movies by myself, reading, sitting around my apartment, and so forth, shall be reduced and then generally avoided completely. Further, I shall practice saying "Yes!" more and more often, as much as I can. I shall be positive!
I feel that Lifestream Way, like many other belief systems, blurs real differences and distinctions to provide universal explanations that fit its premises. This, as so often in the past, causes me a kind of intellectual anguish, even as I at the same time crave and relish the social and emotional rewards of this path.
8/15/77 - Slept poorly last night. Toothache and worry. This morning I have a meeting with the directors of three major directorates on post, full colonel types, and with some of their staff, several of whom will be gunning for "safety" and trying to blame various things on my office. It should be interesting!
Later. It turned out OK. On the one hand, these men were not as intimidating in the real situation as I had feared. On the other, some accommodations on my part, on behalf of our office's "mission" here, went a long way to resolving tensions.
8/29/77 - Yesterday, I began going to church again. I intend now to continue with church activities each week, whenever I have "nothing better to do." I may even go to Sunday School and get into the choir! I feel like a Silas Marner rejoining society, however awkwardly and timidly. I hope from now on to have something to do at least five evenings a week and to join everything remotely of interest. What is more, I'm going to look into buying a house, take up a sport, keep on meditating, dress more casually, eat and sleep better, not push for my next promotion, and take things more just as they come naturally.
9/4/77 - Had a dream last night in which I was served a meal by Maharaji. I asked Him to help me, since I am very weak.
9/11/77 - I've found I just no longer feel at home in a church environment. Consider, if you were a Catholic, trying to become involved in a Protestant church, simply for social expediency. Or consider if you were a Hindu trying to be active as a Moslem just because you thought there might be more single women in the Moslem community. Or becoming a Jewish kibitzer or a socialist commune member just because you were lonely. A person does not just need friends. He also needs to be true to himself and to what he sincerely believes. Should a "redeemed Christian" join an atheist community because the latter happens to offer more social benefits? Expediency is not a legitimate basis for determining one's allegiances.
Still, what do I do now to replace the emotional or spiritual support and sense of community I used to find in The Lifestream Way? I seem to be as undecided and at loose ends as ever!