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Carnal Knowledge

itchy scalp and body talc deep thick fog mockingbird wake-up call tousled hair carnivore's lair rhino head bony bulges heaving like the earth after winter freezes and thaws implacable maws ghostly noises in the almost empty chambers of their house and squirrels skittering o'er roof and boughs ear wax toe jam naval lint scaly age spots and little aches hither and yon a quiet time before the wheel of death rolls over him his loves and cares transformed his second body glows his spirit knows no certain assurance of things to come let the mystery be unto the resurrection carnal knowledge sight nasal trumpetings the air we share

9/16/77 - I start square dancing classes this coming Monday evening. And Sunday I'll go to Sunday school and a church worship service again. Tomorrow, if it works out, I'll be going bowling with one of the women in my Transactional Analysis (T.A.) group.

There has been a great deal of stress at work lately.

I received Transcendental Meditation initiation last Saturday and will probably be going regularly now to TM group meetings, with pot-luck suppers and advanced lectures on Sunday evenings, when I don't have a date.

I am also now in the Sierra Club and, once back from Virginia Beach, plan to be going on several of its outings in this area. I leave Tuesday morning for Hampton, VA, where I'm to attend the Command Safety Conference, and then will go across the bay to Norfolk, to stay with my brother, Ralph, and visit for a few days with him and friends in the area, returning on the 28th.

Have had lots of fantasies lately of getting a better job, one I'll like more. Typical are images of my being a journalist or an elementary school teacher.

I ask myself what I would really like to do.

Place no permanent reliance on any set of conditions either in your environment or in yourself, for with the next moment, hour, month, or year the whole equation may be altered by a factor you had never considered.

9/21/77 - This is the first of two days here at the safety conference.

Realized today that I'll never be happy (secure, yes - happy, no!) in my safety job. The sooner I find something I really enjoy, the better. But I mustn't be so hasty that I jump into something else I won't really like in just a few months.

9/22/77 - "It does not matter how one arrives at the stage of final integration, but rather whether one adopts a suitable mechanism of rebirth." (A. Reza Arasteh, from Frontiers of Consciousness edited by John White)

"In brief, the transcultural state of human growth (toward final integration) is a universal state regardless of time, place, and the degree of culture..." "Moreover, not only is this state universal, and not only is it in this state that men are equal, but equally important, the mechanisms and psychological laws that give birth to this state are universal regardless of the names and titles that are given to it." (Ibid)

9/23/77 - An almost sure cure for depression is simply to get up, get active, get out, and take a brisk, long walk.

(Read Going Too Far.)

10/6/77 - Sherigham, England: A good place to go after am old. Some think the average age at death is greater here than anywhere else and the soil is especially nutritious, the old folks especially active, and mentally alive very late in life. A large percentage of the population live into their nineties and beyond.

Most of life - the way we live it - is just a way of passing time.

10/13/77 - Had a dream last night that my father discussed my plans to return to school full-time next year. He was seeking to convince me that my current job is really not that bad and that I am earning more money and living more stably than ever before, pointing out that it took me several years to finally get this job and I was extremely glad to get it at the time, whereas there is no guarantee I'll have similar success, even after many years, if I change careers now. He added that, of course, I could go on working at Fort Jackson and take one or two graduate courses a semester. I felt almost convinced, but, on awakening, realized again that I'm not content with staying indefinitely at Fort Jackson, nor with the length of time it would take to get an M.Ed Degree, and possibly a Ph.D., as a merely part-time student.

10/24/77 - This morning I pre-registered for a course in the Rehabilitation Counseling Masters Program at the University of South Carolina. I felt awkward and embarrassed because I had registered twice before in this program but neither time followed through. In all three instances it was the same advisor, and he remembered me all too well. But I am as determined now to see this through as I had been several years ago to give up on abuse of alcohol.

Later I had a breakfast of orange juice and pancakes at a nearby restaurant. In so doing I broke the diet rule of the Lifestream Way, which excludes eggs, fertile or infertile. In a sense, I was also renouncing the external authority of Lifestream Way for my decisions. Last week I gave up a rather detailed but compulsive contract with my T.A. group, concerning routine activities and use of my time, thus once more locating responsibility for this sort of decision-making squarely within myself as well.

I am in the habit of establishing for myself an elaborate structure of rules that I shall follow, to help narrow down the range of possibility to a manageable number of decisions, a safe limit of behavior choices. It sends spontaneity to hell but provides a minimum feeling of security. Without this foundation, I sometimes become very frightened.

So now, realizing that so much is really up to me and lacking certainty about how things will turn out, I am feeling scared and worry that I am going to blow everything, that I'll wind up without a good job, friends, a graduate degree, a spiritual path that's meaningful to me, or a place I can call home. I fret I might then return to drinking or worse. I wonder what to do about the fear. The pat advice I give myself does not come to grips with it. For now, all I seem to be able to do is watch it, wait it out, and hope it will leave soon. It is no fun!

10/28/77 - Two days ago was my thirty-fourth birthday anniversary. It seems like a milestone. I've stayed alive past thirty-three! When I was fourteen, I had briefly convinced myself I was some kind of new son-of-God(!) and cultivated the fantasy that, by age thirty, I would devote my life totally to divine service, that by my thirty-third year I would have finished my "mission" to the world and would die in an apocalypse that would take the rest of mankind with me into oblivion and beyond. (It was easier, and understandable, if not necessarily healthier, to invent and dwell on such delusions than to deal in a straightforward way with the daily hell of feeling I was chief among an abusive dad's victims.) Instead, in T.A. terms, I've now "lived beyond my script!" What now? What will unfold is quite open and unknown, yet full of possibilities.

Several months ago I had a polarity therapy treatment session in Ashville, NC, from another of the Lifestream Way initiates. In accordance with the hypotheses of polarity therapy, due to the harmonic energy flows from the relatively unblocked body of the therapist, such treatments release obstructions in the patient's energy currents and stir up the wastes stored in the his or her body at a cellular level. The resulting unfamiliar flows often create strong new energized sensations, normally outside one's awareness. But the release of stored wastes may temporarily create sickness, until they have been removed from the body in the natural course.

Although her apparent "manipulation" of me was merely in the form of various pressing or pulling movements, over a period of approximately an hour and a half, and mainly just in my feet, I then experienced the predicted energy fields, especially around my hands, and, a few hours later, I did indeed become nauseous and suffered diarrhea.

I did not maintain the nutritionally and emotionally pure lifestyle she recommended. Nor did I go back for more polarity sessions, to keep the energies flowing and the tissues free of accumulated waste. So, the sense of flowing fields soon receded, and I no doubt also again have my share of obnoxious "stuff" in my system. Still, that experience was yet another hint of realms beyond our ordinary consciousness and of possibilities available to us, if we but say "Yes!" to them.

If there is a special process by which we are involved in the structuring of reality, as many have suggested, then it would seem that, nonetheless, we have far less than unlimited influence over the real world we thus shape, for there is as yet apparently no exception to the rule that everyone must die. In fact, we all must do so within scarcely more than one hundred revolutions of the earth around the sun, the vast majority of us much sooner even than this.

11/3/77 - I am meditating daily, AM and PM, on my own now. Tonight was especially interesting. I had a partial out-of-body experience and a lot of visual imagery, as of death's head variations and entering and moving in a long tunnel that opens out upon the unknown or into a realm beyond this material, four-dimensional world. My physical relaxation was very good and some of the time the mental activity seemed independent of any physical sensation. I experienced even a few impressions of "powers of light" in the void.

I believe that, just as our construct of ordinary reality is arbitrary, so also our conceptions of altered states of consciousness and consequent shaping of other realms of reality are arbitrary until/unless there exists an accessible realm or realms completely beyond all our preconceptions. In other words, our universe of experience is idiosyncratic, personal, individual, unique to/for each of us, whether our present level or mode of consciousness is familiar, ordinary, and consensus or is non-ordinary, unfamiliar, and autistic. Other realms are as legitimate as this one. However, only those in which there is some consensus are validated for us. It may be that just one significant other is sufficient to legitimize a special alternate realm for us.

In any case, we should not accept as final or absolute any system of interpreting alternate realms of consciousness, for all such systems are themselves arbitrary and are bound by the culture(s) in which they were developed and by their teachers, promoters, exemplars, and adherents. The best we may gain from any system of alternate realms of consciousness are techniques that work well, confirmation that such realms exist, and the inspiration that they are worth pursuing, even if at apparently high cost.

The origins of man and woman-kind are so ancient and our individual and cultural memories so brief that their beginnings have now become lost in the often conflicting myths of the sciences and religions of our day. Speculations abound and various dogmatic claimants to truth harangue us with their divergent views of how we came into being and why. Perhaps, though, it is really sufficient simply to admit that our true origins are very, very old, that we were spawned in some unimaginable union of the mysterious and the unknown, and that our heritage of power and creativity is so vast that apt nicknames for our people might be terms like "The Myth Makers" or "The Reality Shapers."

Of course, set against such idealism is the fact that, for all our vaunted, theoretical capacity to remake ourselves and our worlds of wonder, as time has marched on we have not seemed to get better as a species, except perhaps in intellectual terms, while our propensity for immaturity and hellish levels of violence seems only to increase. As spiritual beings, we remain newborns!

Hypothesis: Our own "vibrations" determine the current condition of our unique universe of experience, which is, then, a reflection of (or a perfect representation of) our own state, that the universe of experience is no more nor less real/illusory than are we ourselves, in our various states of mind. If we accept this hypothesis, it may then be that, even for each individual, there may be many, or even an infinite number of, potential (or actual) "other" unique universes of experience, each equally real, at least in potential, and that they are simply actualized/fulfilled/realized by the divergent states of mind through which we seem to pass in temporal awareness.

For instance, in my own case, in keeping with my eschatological "vibes" at age fourteen, the world would by now be lifeless and desolate following an apocalyptic end to both civilization generally and myself in particular. And there may be a unique universe of experience in which this has in fact occurred! However, in this universe of experience, my vibrations have changed. In this state of mind it is possible to conceive of and realize (make real) a reprieve for civilization and myself. It is possible for the world to continue on for several more years on the brink of annihilation, but not in fact falling into that abyss. In this conception, my apocalypse (in my universe of experience) need not affect you (in yours) for we share a universe only because at this particular moment, or sequence of moment-to-moments, our immediately synchronous vibrations link us, here and now.

Our overall vibrations coincide sufficiently for us to be "here" together, just as two electrons may share a particular distance from a nucleus only because the background and present energy levels bring them together here for a brief time. (You can't actually pin down or isolate either of us here, anymore than you could the electron in its ring.) Each electron, with less or greater energy, would fall or rise from the present ring it shares with its fellow electrons, or would even split away and perhaps join some other atom passing nearby.

In this situation, the "roots of coincidence," of which Arthur Koestler spoke, are in ourselves. But there are not, in fact, any coincidences at all, for each aspect of our unique universe of experience will be utterly consistent with every other aspect, as if this universe were a seamless garment, woven of a single thread, in five or more dimensions, in such a way that each "point" in the "fabric" is at one and the same time in contact with every other "point" simultaneously. It simply can not exist except in a manner consistent with every other reality-moment in the universe. (I do not speak here of an alleged objective universe outside ourselves, that persists beyond and regardless of the total individual lives and deaths of each and all of us. In this hypothesis, no such universe necessarily exists.

If a tree fell in the forest and nobody were there to hear, would it make a sound? No. In fact, it, the forest, the essential quality of sound, and even the time and space within which some hypothetical thing having "treeness" might exist, all these would have no relevance, meaning, or being if we were not there to convey them.

Our minds, or at least our brains, have the means to interpret and model reality in multiple dimensions, even if we are not able to follow all the steps in a logical, comprehensive sequence. Hence, the universes we experience are multidimensional. Otherwise, they would conform to the more limited models of which we would then be capable. But the remarkable thing may be that, but for our modeling, and that of all other sentient beings, no universe would exist at all.

Dare we seriously entertain the possibility that our world is simply a convenient and conditioned mental construct?

11/13/77 - I would like, I think, to explore different methods of improving awareness, including group therapeutic techniques, meditation, and others. Something as simple as going for a long walk can have the desired effect. Also dancing. Or simply seeking to do well and attentively what one does in his/her work. Also going to good theater productions, creative uses of imagination, auto-suggestion, as too with isolation and so-called "sensory deprivation." All may be worth considering.

I had vivid dreaming of Maharaji last night, including his fixing me with his piercing gaze. Now that I have told Mr. Plymouth (his representative for the Eastern United States), Esther, and others, of my turning from the Lifestream Way, there will be little external expectations of my being a true disciple. It is just between me and Maharaji. I shall follow this path only as seems most natural for me, or perhaps leave it entirely and go my own way.

11/24/77 - God is no respecter of time or space.

There are no paradoxes within divine vision.

Karma may be lived through in simultaneous, rather than successive, lifetimes. In God's view there is absolute simultaneity. We may live other lives. Perhaps we hold in common the karmic heritage of several, or even a multitude of coexistent lives, collectively carrying us toward spiritual fulfillment. In God's eyes, there are no such things as past lives.

A system of meditation or of growth in awareness, to be comprehensive, must address such diverse things as negative emotions, conceptual thinking, habituation, dullness, neurology, boredom, sensory stimulation, inertia, drowsiness, distraction, muscular stress, gastrointestinal preoccupation, physiological psychology, verbal thinking, visual and auditory imagery, and so on.

Unfortunately, it is almost always easier to be patronizing, angry, sad or afraid than to sincerely try to understand. Most of us do what comes easiest.

It is said that the inner door opens only from the inside and that we who knock or pound upon it, or simply stand and wait at the threshold, must just attend the grace of the divine decision that we are ready, before we shall be permitted entrance. But who are we expecting to behold once the door is opened except our own higher selves, waiting there to merge with our identity-bound small selves?

The aim of meditation or of prayer, then, in this view, is not to realize some divine Being, infinitely beyond us, but rather to attain our own full unity and integration, having achieved which we may then be in position to answer such questions as "Is there a God?" or "Why was this world created?" or "What is the purpose of life?" (Of course, we should also have modest expectations. The answers to such questions might be something like: "If you are hungry, eat. If you are sleepy, sleep. The sun rises, stays awhile, and then sets.")

No matter what man in his ignorance does to this beautiful little sphere, there will be infinite other worlds of wonder left to roam, in realms of knowing beyond this world's dreaming.

We are neither saints nor villains. Yet true nature may be both saintly and villainous - and much else besides.

A child is more than "a child." A horse is more than "a horse," even more than "the essence of horseness."

Nothing is only what it seems. Nor is the particular "event" of as much moment in itself as we may be inclined to feel.

Nothing exists outside the seamless "fabric of being," That Which Is.

There is no coincidence or accident. It would be as impossible for there to be an "accidental occurrence," a matter of "chance," as it would be for a creature to have consciousness, or even existence, in absolute isolation.

People are terribly concerned with their life spans, while all about them there is infinite potential for fantastic changes in the quality of consciousness. A single moment of (just one of the possible states of) non-ordinary awareness could be worth more than a lifetime of conventional existence.

11/26/77 - Early this morning, having gone to bed shortly before, and being between ordinary wakefulness and full dreaming, and so aware that I was "really" just lying in bed waiting to go to sleep, I had an unusual experience of altered consciousness in which a malevolent astral (energy) being seemed to focus his (its) attention-energy on me, with the result that I soon became aware of my own "energy body" and of some kind of conflict between the "forces" of mine and his (its) and of some pain in my "back" (the focal point of the negative attention), of immobility, and of a very prevalent "energy-sound."

"If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite."
William Blake, "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell," 1790

My brother, Ralph, has a philosophical bent and I a psychological one, but we each seek the same goal, conquest of the unknown, beyond the current frontiers of consciousness.

I believe that no one lives in a vacuum, that events do not occur by chance, that there must be a Purpose underlying all phenomena, and that the Source of all being it at once supremely personal and absolutely impersonal, depending solely on the observer's (experiencer's) vantage point. I believe that what we call "good" and what we call "evil," even when in purest forms of either, equally manifest That Which Is. They but reflect our varied human response to It.

Idea: Write simple, unembellished narrative, focused on the details of the present moment, avoiding words of greater than two or three syllables.

Idea: Audit a creative writing course.

Idea: Develop a set of clear statements about "the nature of things," paralleling the teachings of the Lifestream Way, but based on my own beliefs.

Idea: Write a short autobiographical work on extraordinary states of awareness.

12/1/77 - Meditated this evening for nearly two hours at a stretch. I must admit there was not much focusing of attention! I kept nearly falling asleep or getting distracted by thoughts and internal dialogue. But I came to a realization that I can not look anywhere "outside" for meaning in life or a happier outlook, not even to my T.A. group or a girlfriend, helpful as these may be as support for my own work.

12/4/77 - I attended church school at a downtown Methodist Church this morning and, to my surprise, really enjoyed it.

12/8/77 - In a dream early this morning I volunteered to go look for and rescue a person missing during a flood. The waters were still boiling and rushing in a great torrent. It seemed that not only was it almost certain the person sought was already dead but also that I must surely perish in trying to find him. All of this was in beautiful colors. I awoke before learning how things transpired.

12/10/77 - Last night I attended a mid-course square dancing session. Lots of fun!

"We've done so much.
  There's not much more to do.
  Let's not stop here.
  Let's see this business through."
  by Shri Mata Ji, from "A Little More Effort," And It Is Divine, '73,
  Divine Light Mission

I would say that there are three primary difficulties with my diligently following the Lifestream Way path now: the loneliness of this way of life (until I have found someone who wishes to share such a style of living with me or I have a large Association group nearby with whom to meet frequently); lack of ongoing inspiration and motivation for maintaining as stringent a discipline as is required; and the inconvenience of the dietary, sexual abstinence, and time restrictions.

It is also true that I have reservations and doubts that have never been resolved. But these are no different now than when I applied for initiation, and they alone would not deter me if it were not for the other nagging difficulties. In fact, I can not help wondering if my trouble making a firm commitment to the Lifestream Way is not due a lot more to my T.A. "script" dynamics than to my sense of intellectual integrity. After all, it is part of my script that I must be perfect or not be happy, that I not feel my life is worthwhile and meaningful, and that I have few if any friends.

By breaking with Lifestream Way (or trying to be so good a disciple that I make it all seem very unpleasant, assuring failure and frustration), I but guarantee the fulfillment of my negative script, doing nothing to add to my happiness. All I thus do is maintain an existence of stoic despair, cut off from friends, ties, joys, and satisfactions cultivated for over five years. And for what? For the hollow reward of being able to say to myself that I hold the purity of reason more sacred than the intuitional stirrings of the heart. - Well, I must see what I can do to compromise a little my bent toward self-defeating perfectionism. For though I may not ever be a good one, still I am an initiate, and anything to make this path seem a little easier will make my whole life thereby that much happier, richer, more meaningful, and worthwhile.

12/20/77 - Last night Dad and I had a big argument over his disappointment with me and my life and my resistance to him. It climaxed with my becoming quite angry and with his explaining through sobs that he had not meant to belittle me or detract from my own worth or right to go my own way, but that he had been deeply disappointed that, instead of following in his footsteps as he had anticipated and hoped, I had resented and rejected him, chosen to do other things with my life, and did not want to be close to him. He broke down, cried, and complained that all of his children had turned against him and didn't care to be close to him, that he did not understand it, and that it certainly was not what he had wanted. I realized how much I love this man, hugged him, and told him so through tears of my own. We talked on more calmly for about another hour and then both agreed it was bedtime, leaving on good terms, more friendly than we'd been for some time. It was as if this experience was necessary to clear the air and get through a lot of the crap that usually intervenes between us. Nonetheless, I did get across to him that I won't take responsibility for his disappointment.

12/21/77 - It is nearly six years now that I have been keeping this record. For most of that time I've led a quite ascetic life, at least by western standards, with no sexual relations at all, little or no meat in any form, and some time, often quite a bit, each day devoted to meditation. And it's been five years since I had any alcoholic beverages. I believe I am now beyond a serious compulsion toward alcoholism, but probably will be careful in this regard for the rest of my life. Fortunately, drugs never were a problem. The journal continues.

12/22/77 - Those with too precise expectations are very easily disappointed. I think of my father, but the same applies to me.

12/23/77 - Up today at a little before 5 AM. Slept little last night. Tried to meditate from 5:30-8:00 AM., but kept falling asleep instead. Then meditated, for just about ten minutes, shortly before lunch.

This afternoon I went bowling for the second time while I've been here in Austin with my family over the holidays. The first time, three days ago, I scored about the same as my bowling league average (120) back in South Carolina. Today, however, I began a new bowling method, a "bowling yoga," whereby I would slowly count my inspirations and expirations a few times immediately before each time I would bowl. With this method there was a marked improvement in my game. I averaged 167, with a high game of 188. I am thus much encouraged and expect to use this method from now on!

12/27/77 - "If we take knowing God as being always in meditation as you act all day long, as choiceless awareness, as being clear with no judgments, no opinions, no clinging, no pushing and pulling, no this nor that - we will experience what it means to know and be in God." Ram Dass, Grist for the Mill.

Meditated this evening for nearly two hours, just letting it happen as it would, no set time to start, to end, no set method or form, not trying. Afterward feeling really good, relaxed.

I got back from Austin a little after two AM yesterday. Resuming work today.

Lots of heavy dreaming lately! A great deal going on there, and it seems all to the good.

12/28/77 - Very deliberately, am trying to take myself, be with myself, accept and affirm and love myself just as I am. At the same time, am trying to take life, and all the experiences it seems to generate for me, just as it is, without judging, simply observing it, affirming it, letting it be, loving it, going with the flow.

I think that, from today, I shall meditate on my own rather than committing myself strictly to any one method, way, philosophy, or system. Further, I'll begin today a year-long experiment with no restriction of meat or eggs from my diet, while still retaining a restriction of no alcohol or drugs.

Read The Japanese Corpse.

1/2/78 - Osis and Haraldsson, in their book, At the Hour of Death (1977, Avon), make a strong case for survival of the personality beyond physical death, if the only alternative is deterioration and subsequently ultimate death of the personality with the loss of brain functioning. They suggest that the visionary phenomena experienced by a small percentage of dying patients shortly before their deaths proves the personality's continuation post-mortem. Unfortunately for the scientific value of their research findings, however, they failed to address at least two other possibilities, either of which, by the "Law of Parsimony," would be more reasonable explanations for death-bed visions than the notion, attractive as it is, that we do survive the grave. First, the visions may be waking dreams, representing to the consciousness in as attractive a form as possible what the "unconscious" already "knows," that the patient is about to die. Here the function of the vision is that of stress release, and the stress may or may not be already defined and interpreted by the conscious personality as the imminence of death.

The knowledge of one's impending death, even despite physicians' prognosis and one's own conscious expectations in some cases, might be of two kinds. There could be a subconscious knowledge, based on true awareness of one's own internal physical condition. After all, a portion of our nervous system's functioning involves a constant, careful monitoring of every aspect of our physical condition. Such feedback must be much greater than that available via medical technology to the attending physician.

On the other hand, there may be some kind of foreknowledge of one's own imminent death, just as there is (also in a small percentage of the general population) E.S.P. or prescience of other subjects. In this view also, the visions would present this information in a dream-like manner. It would be portrayed probably in as good a light as we can imagine.

To speculate a bit with this broad option, that pre-death visions of one's own demise and subsequent spirit journey serve a function evolved for this world, perhaps, just as wild animals which have been dealt death blows by attacking carnivores will sometimes, though still alive, cease their struggles and behave as if in a trance, so too the human animal may have an inherent "mechanism" sensitive to the immanence of its own death, which renders beautiful what otherwise might come as an ultimately profound shock. In a few cases, the salving trance state may last long enough to get one beyond the certainly of death and permit, when opportunity presents, a capacity to escape what for awhile seemed an inevitably gruesome fate. Even if such against-the-odds reprieves occur but rarely consequent to the narcotic of pre-death trances, the few that do survive in this way, and pass on their genetic predisposition for salutary visions, may bequeath to their offspring a little advantage in the many challenges ahead.

The other major consideration that occurs to me is that the visions represent, in projective and dissociative form, what actually are the unconscious needs of the dying, or at least of a small percentage of those who are either actually dying or are vulnerable to death, namely to die!

The idea here is that the visions reflect deaths which are "expected" in the sense that they are consistent with an unconscious or conscious view of the pattern of one's life, or one's "script," in transactional analysis terminology.

Some of the "unexpected" deaths which follow such visions might, in this view, be caused by the patient's having suddenly "realized" at an unconscious level, and then self-manifest through the vision medium, that the present crisis is a fortuitous circumstance, providing the "golden opportunity" for fulfillment of the life plan, and that, furthermore, to live on anyway must now appear so inconsistent as to be more stressful than the fear of death! In effect, such patients perhaps kill themselves, through entrancement with death.

We may ask how such capacities, "mechanisms," functioning, were developed or "evolved" in the human species. Or what is the "survival value" for the animal Homo sapiens of the death-bed visions of an afterlife or of visits by relatives or religious figures, etc. "from the beyond"?

Perhaps it is nothing more complicated than this: beautiful visions "from the other side," and the peace, happiness, and serenity of a few fortunate souls at their times of death are all the rest of us need to cherish and nurture a little hope, without which this existence would surely seem at times too much for us. Even now we often need, or think we do, the additional "solace" of alcohol and a large variety of other drugs and stimulants.

But what if there were no visions, religious ecstasies, transcendental experiences, or states of bliss, even for a few, awaiting at the end? What a drab, colorless, dismal, meaningless world that would be! We might, like the poor Scandinavians whose lives are led in relatively dark and colorless surroundings much of the year, have less spirit or will to live. Reflecting this, as is true for them, our rates of suicide might be much higher and our capacity for weathering life's adversities somewhat lower.

1/3/78 - Meditated for nearly two hours.

1/4/78 - Meditated a lot today as well and straightened up the apartment.

1/5/78 - Read The God We Seek and Modes of Being by Paul Weiss.

1/14/78 - I've been having abundant sexual fantasies lately, since accidentally surprised a girl who shares this house (in another room, with the entrance at the rear, so to speak), in the nude the other evening, ironing in front of an open doorway to her area, at a time when it was warmer and she must have thought everyone was still away from here on the semester break holiday. I knew from the sounds that she'd just gotten back and was taking her mail over.

Enjoyable as such fantasies may be, they'll have little likelihood of fulfillment. The girl was extremely embarrassed and, in any case, shows no interest in me. I think she regards me as a little weird. This might fascinate a few young ladies. But this one apparently interprets my odd habits of dressing, etc., as reason to keep her distance. Three times she has knocked on my door about something: once I was deep in meditation and so didn't answer the door; once I was in meditation but got up anyway, and when I opened the door appeared to her with disheveled hair and sleepy eyes and in a huge old overcoat I wear for comfort (when meditating in the cold), very much a mangy thing and several sizes too big for me; once I answered it in a robe, barefoot, and with a knit stocking cap on my head, again for the cold, but primarily to pull down and cover my eyes while meditating. Aside from our exchanges on the mail and this nudity incident, we've hardly taken note of each other's existence in the six months I've been here.

Esther called today. She'd just gotten back to her home from a several days' stay with her son and grandchildren, while her daughter-in-law was in the hospital for an operation. She told me a rumor that Maharaji will be coming to this country next spring. Also dropped a couple hints about attending Association meetings, meditating, and so on. She is concerned that I am apparently straying from the Lifestream Way path.

The snow is falling in large flakes which are sticking now, though not yet on the roads.

Beginning an exciting new book today: The Wayward Gate by Philip Slater, a group therapist and author of several works, including the excellent work: In Pursuit of Loneliness.

Out this eve for a brisk walk in the whitening landscape.

I want to try to be simpler and simpler, to have uncomplicated dreams and contentments. I want to try less hard. I want to be less, not more, ambitious!

I want to believe that, if I really desire something, a way will be found for it to happen. Thus, for instance, if I quit my job this spring and return to school, that I'll find the means to complete an M.A. in Teaching and/or an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counseling and to complete other valuable courses, practicums, or internships in counseling. And then, thereafter, the means to get into an interesting career to do work more rewarding than that I now have.

Read The Dragons of Eden.

All too often parochial considerations, conceit, vanity, and egotistical motives loom large as obstacles in human endeavors and social relations. This seems to be particularly the case in the search for what is true and real, most especially as regards all concerns of a "spiritual" nature. Indeed, it seems that in questions of "the spirit" one is already well along toward spiritual goals if he or she is able to continue their pursuit without such impediments.

1/27/78 - Went to a party tonight for people in or associated with the Vocational Rehabilitation program at the University of South Carolina. I felt very out of place, awkward, and intensely self-conscious. I left, after about two and a half hours, feeling quite lonely and as if it were hopeless to think that I shall ever really feel at home in this life. I wished I were already dead. The result seemed the more devastating because I had doggedly tried all evening to be sociable and outgoing, wishing I were genuinely enjoying myself as much as I pretended to be. After talking to several there about aspects of the Voc. Rehab. program, their jobs after completing it, and so forth, I am again confused about my own desires and unsure I want to see this academic curriculum through, it being merely a step on the way to what I really want and perhaps not the most direct route, even for my zigzag, paradoxical life.

1/31/78 - If Lifestream Way is not the true path, nonetheless the effects on their lives of its true adherents are profound. And that which lies behind the Lifestream Way teachings, that dunyatmak of which they are the varnatmak, is very, very deep. It is, surely, the source of the miraculous and perhaps even of "reality," of creation and life itself. And Maharaji is the key to that dunyatmak.

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