2/4/78 - I find myself in the midst of an upsurge of ideas and feelings. Am also reassessing what is of value to me. It may prove helpful to go through the Lifestream Way literature and set down the teachings which I definitely believe and value with little or no reservation. These, then, with other beliefs, can form the basis for a new approach to life, one uniquely my own, and thus more likely to be stable and rewarding.
"There's world enough and time for all my impulses - they come and go like lights dancing on the water."
Called a woman I'd met at work to see if we might go out, but it was the wrong number. I could not find the correct one through either the phone company or Fort Jackson information.
I do not think that one must meditate for two and a half hours a day. However, one will make little progress in meditation if it is irregular. It is better directly in proportion to the quantity and the quality of the separate meditation sessions. Some people are physiologically and psychologically predisposed to find their meditation easier and more reinforcing than others, just as, on the other hand, some are more susceptible to schizophrenia, depression, alcoholism, and so on.
Meditation is just a special way of being aware. We can so live that gradually all of existence becomes our meditation. But meditation is not all the same. Some meditative practices, for example, lead to diminished concern with the outer experience and to greater investment in inner imagery and landscapes. Other forms foster heightened awareness, sensitivity, and spontaneity in the external world and lead to a reduction of introspection.
The present limits, concepts, and constructs of consciousness are simply those within which we feel comfortable now. Our awareness may be increased, even almost infinitely, as we become ready for further expansion of our unique universes of experience. We do not, however, necessarily persist in consciousness beyond our physical deaths. We may do so, but, if not, this need not restrict our cognizance before the final moment of death. Nor is there necessarily anything inevitable about the expansion of awareness or one's eventual spiritual progress. We may remain as constricted as we wish to be!
The lessons of intense meditation transcend all closed belief systems, whether they be so-called scientific principles, spiritual truths, historical "facts," common sense, or whatever.
After practicing meditation for over six years, whether Zazen, Lifestream Way, TM, or various methods on my own, I realize it is now the most important thing I have going for me, so long as it is kept in perspective. I do not want to meditate at the expense of socializing, good sex, my work, education, being in a growth group of some type, or writing. Instead, I hope such regular practice may be both a foundation for and an augmentation of the rest of life. No matter what, I must not let a day go by without meditating!
2/5/78 - It's 10:15 AM. I was sleeping late and just received a call from a man named Sondhi who is another disciple of Maharaj Dayal Nam Ji and has just moved here. He suggests we get together for Association each week! I am of two minds, but certainly I shall meet with him. I'll go see him later today. He got my name and phone number from Ralph, when they were both in PA for friends' initiations.
2/6/78 - Mr. Sondhi's arrival in Columbia is a significant event, the first time since I moved here that there's another initiate in this city. He is a very inspiring disciple, initiated thirty-eight years ago by my teacher's teacher and having been himself at the Gagan spiritual colony, spending quite a bit of time near each of the last three spiritual teachers in this path.
My "natural child" (in T.A. terms) is delighted but also on guard. "He" wants to be a good disciple and is excited and inspired by a man like Mr. Sondhi, but is also afraid of following LW again at the cost of fulfilling various normal needs.
I have come up with what I think will prove a workable arrangement. I'll attend Association with Mr. Sondhi once a week, perhaps sometimes more often, and occasionally shall also go for an Association visit alone or with Mr. Sondhi (or any others wishing to go) to other cities. I shall, however, adhere to the Lifestream Way diet and other disciplines of this path only as I feel inspired and inclined to, except that, as a minimum, I shall meditate according to Lifestream Way instructions each day.
2/7/78 - When I visited him Sunday, Mr. Sondhi told me how he was one of several others who saw Papa Ram Ji beside or in place of the new Maharaji, after Papa Ram Ji had died. He had been so surprised that he had asked others around if they saw him too, and ten or fifteen others afterward said they had seen the same thing. One, who was there at Gagan all the time, said, in effect, "Of course!" implying it was most natural, and said that this was to show that the new Maharaji had merged with Papa Ram Ji.
Mr. Sondhi added that, even up to the last, the teachers see to it that their successors retain a tiny bit of ego, but then they merge completely. He said it was the same with the present teacher, that he had merged as well and was the same as Papa Ram Ji, who was his teacher. Talking of Papa Ram Ji, he said that with him it was like when you have great lights attached to a transformer with dimmers. Most people walk around with the dimmers adjusted so low there's hardly any light at all. But with his Maharaji, he said, it was as if the light were turned all the way up, bright as could be!
He talked about repeating your inner meditation experiences. He said one day a lady stood up after Papa Ram Ji's Association and asked why her meditation was not good anymore. He said perhaps she had talked to someone about her experiences, and she admitted this was true. She wanted to know if there was nothing she could do. He said would she promise never to do it again. And she used an Indian gesture, holding both earlobes or something like that, equivalent to crossing her heart, and said she never would. "Alright," He said.
"And will you promise never to do it again (take away her experiences) too?" she asked him, and made the gesture again. He was very amused at this and smiled. Just then his picture was taken. That was the photograph, chosen out of two hundred fifty, that was put on the cover of the LW book of his teachings.
2/8/78 - Maharaji has said that if we fully understand all of the teachings of the Lifestream Way which can be expressed at this level of existence it is still just 2%. Its essence lies far beyond this world's thinking and knowing.
There is an artist in me, a small child, a mystic, a naturalist, a wit, a scholar, a writer, a teacher, a lover, a poet, a philosopher, and more.
Tonight in my transactional analysis group my fellow participants stressed that the "place" toward which I might go to be happier now and in the future is that of easygoing relaxation, accepting of my fears, nurturing myself in the face of self-criticism, daring to be myself, as I am, not as I must mold myself to be, and hence to live "here and now" more, to be less in my plans, programs, projects, agendas, expectations, and all other self-improvement schemes.
2/9/78 - The T.A. group told me last night that it is OK if I have a day off to do nothing, to sleep all day, or to get up late and not shave, and so on, without needing to compulsively follow some prescribed schedule, accomplish something, keep my place neat, and all the rest of it. In fact they encouraged me to take the risk of completely doing without some specific regimen and said this was my "work" now more than anything else.
They also said it was alright to continue in their group as long as I felt like it, even though I had no specific excuse, like being really badly off, "not-OK," or behaving in an unhealthy way. They encouraged it, as a way of allowing the new healthy inner "skeleton" a chance to become hardened and strong.
I realize now too that I am overly concerned with being consistent. If I resolve something one hour I expect that I will follow that the rest of the day (or even many days, months, or years). But this is a kind of tyranny. I'll give myself permission to be inconsistent, to seek entirely different goals from moment to moment, day to day, or whatever!
2/10/78 - Today had another "run-in" with my primary antagonist now at Fort Jackson, the deputy director of Facilities Engineering. We had a brief, heated, public exchange over safety concerns. The episode was incited by my questions about the criteria for environmental differential pay for employees who must work on firing ranges where there are likely to be ammunition duds encountered. It is not just an academic issue. A man had his arms blown off here last year while working on one of these courses. Yet the engineering division, for its own budgetary reasons, fails to grant employees the extra pay to which they are entitled, with the result that safety inspections on the ranges are neglected.
Received a note from my counseling course teacher, on a reaction paper I submitted at the conclusion of the 2nd three-hour class meeting: "You are growing rapidly! Hang on."
The experience of timeless, placeless floating, flying, merging, and so on, that one may have in special dreams, drug states, times of illness, or in meditation: are these the result of "too vivid" fantasies, of regression to infantile or earlier consciousness, otherwise simply alternatives to ordinary awareness states, or are they instead sometimes qualitatively superior to normal consciousness?
In a way this is asking if the partial dissolution of the personality construct puts one more, or less, in touch with reality. Also implied is the question whether or not there is a reality behind ordinary existence, one we may at special times realize (make real) for ourselves more than at others, as when our personality construct is under significant stress or when, for any other reason, we are investing it with insufficient psychic energy to maintain the illusion of its reality (as a completely consistent, cohesive, all-encompassing, stable, lawful, persistent whole, independent of and separate from ourselves).
Does the personality construct, with all of its potential for varying states, and for meaningful assimilation of such diverse experience, derive from the physical body and its survival-relevant universe, or do body-bound survival-relevant universe personalities derive from some more basic condition of reality and potential experience? We may logically assume higher and more profound levels of reality, which are as meta-programs to our programs. However, their logical existence by no means assures that we are potential meta-programmers, necessarily partaking of these higher levels, whether or not our individual life programs are cleared, erased, or canceled. Recognition, even emotional realization in full consciousness, that our entire universe of experience is an arbitrary construct, does not mean that we are capable of transcending whimsical constructs and attaining levels of being which are so vital and essential that further constructs here are superfluous. Yet such possibilities are certainly intriguing!
2/11/78 - The child in us, I believe, is religious. The adult functioning of consciousness and experience maintains the world for us as a cohesive, coherent, orderly place in which to have meaningful, though separate, existence, and is practical, pragmatic. Depending on the needs of our internal child and parent, and the amount of energy with which we invest the adult worldview, our adult may develop consistent, rational arguments which support, modify, or deny our religious thinking-feeling. But it is implicit in the adult function that practical, pragmatic concerns are more important than religious ones. So if we routinely act and think more from our adult, and if our adult functioning has not been "contaminated" by our child, then we shall tend to discount religious concerns, regardless of whether they are highly positive and inspiring or primarily negative and self-defeating. This is true not because of the actual merits of adult over child functioning, but simply because of the greater investment of psychic energy in the one than in the other.
In the ideal situation, one's inner parent functions to nurture the child in us and, to support the latter's fulfillment and happiness, one's adult is invested with no more and no less psychic energy than that necessary for a practical adjustment to the external world and/or for the resolution of discrepancies or inconsistencies in our inner world experience and thinking. Ideally too one's child has sufficiently adapted to get along easily in the outer experiences but retains enough freedom to seek and find self-expression, happiness, and fulfillment through the impulses and inspirations that are natural, spontaneous, and ... well ... child-like, including especially those of a spiritual nature.
Regardless of our prejudices and biases - and in our culture these tend to support the adult over the child worldview - there is no reason to think that the parent's, the adult's, or the child's conception is closest to reality. Rather, each addresses a portion of reality in a manner consistent with its own style of functioning. If each is acting in a healthy way and in balance with the other two, there is the possibility of a synthesis, with a resulting worldview that is qualitatively superior to the separate experiences by each of the three alone. But if this synthesis has not yet occurred, to compare the products of one separate function with those of another is like trying to compare the value of a delicious orange, a delicious apple, and a delicious banana. Happiness comes from the inner child, however, and, regardless of the correctness of his/her view (not a valid question in any case, as just explained), it thus behooves us to assure that the child has as much freedom and security to fully express itself as we can give it!
2/13/78 - Bad cold and slight fever today. I stayed home from work and skipped this evening's square dancing lesson.
Yesterday, during Association with Mr. Sondhi, he told me that when he was initiated along with several others by Papa Ram Ji, and after the instructions for hearing the inner music were given, they were told to practice. Papa Ram Ji then asked if they had heard the holy sound current. All said they had except Mr. Sondhi. To him Papa Ram Ji repeated his instructions and told him to try again. This time he heard it too, he told me, although, of course, only at the first stage.
Later he was talking about sitting in meditation. He said that when we begin to feel pain in the feet or the legs we may be tempted to move them to get more comfortable. But he insisted this is precisely when we must show our mettle and not stir in the slightest, for it is the beginning phase in the withdrawal of the attention up to the eyes. To move would only mean that we must start over again.
2/15/78 - I've been feeling a lot of conflict over resuming Associations, as if to do so puts me under an obligation to be less spontaneous or to live a strictly Lifestream Way lifestyle (at least to try to) once again. This makes me feel perhaps I should completely give up Lifestream Way and all attempts to be with fellow initiates. Yet that also does not feel right. They are now my main network of friends.
So, I'll continue to meet with Mr. Sondhi and occasionally to travel far for Association visits, as next Sunday to Ashville, NC, but shall also continue to be very relaxed about precisely how I follow this path. It is, after all, no one's business but mine.
There are no intrinsic values. In and of itself nothing has either meaning or significance. We lend our worth to experiences, lose track of the exchange, and then assume it belongs to the experiences themselves. This gives the panorama of life's situations a vividness and color it would otherwise lack. Existence itself, separate from this injection of ourselves into it, is as devoid of character as a computer printout of nonsense syllables, a box full of cancelled postage stamps, a pile of ashes, or the random movement of molecules in the infinity of space.
Remove from the scene of the room in which you read this the following additions from your own mind: depth; color; touch; familiar images; smell; relevant inner music; weight; spatial orientation; taste; projection of self into the future; relevant memories; anything relating to life sustenance; and any stimulation. What remains? An apparent void or a merely meaningless chaos. It follows not that all is meaningless, but rather that we ourselves are the sole source of the merit we find in life. Nothing outside us can give that value.
If we are finding things dull, colorless, boring, meaningless, valueless, etc., and we are not on drugs or brain-damaged, it is because, for whatever reason, we choose to withhold worth and value from ourselves and hence from everything else. So long as we choose to feel unworthy, existence will mirror unworthiness and meaninglessness. On the other hand, we may choose a path of cultivated meaning, value, interest, flavor, color, love, self-worth, realness, spontaneity, creativity, lightness, and impulse. Then the entire universe of experience, uniquely our own, will mirror and resonantly magnify them back to us, beyond our dreams.
Begin by asking yourself simple questions. Is this right for me? Is this what I really want? Am I being real right now? What does my reaction to this tell me? What do I really want to do now? Somehow our needs and capacities for warmth, responsiveness, sensitivity, caring, love, spontaneity, and being genuine can overcome the cold logic of a meaningless universe.
I see now that Lifestream Way can not be my path. It is not a real approach for me, and I get confused trying to pretend that it fits when it really doesn't. I shall see Mr. Sondhi a few more times for Association, until after our visit up in NC (with my brother, down from VA, and other friends), but then I'll tell him, or explain by letter, that I just no longer feel right acting the part of a disciple of LW and so will not continue to go to such meetings. I must find and follow my own course.
It is becoming more evident that this year will prove to be for me one of significant beginnings and endings. I doubt now, for instance, that the last of 1978 will find me still at Fort Jackson working as a safety specialist, still struggling over whether or not to live a Lifestream Way lifestyle, or still in my transactional analysis group. I would not be surprised to be by then a full-time graduate student in a program I really like and to have also become involved in unexpected ways in at least a few other special interests that now I cannot foresee.
I think a lot of my preoccupation with death or altered states of consciousness is because of how little vitality and nurturing I permit myself in ordinary, day-to-day living. On the one hand, I long for death as an alternative to this existence. On the other, I fear that oblivion may come too soon, before I've had a chance to make up for all the dreary, confused, or wasted years.
2/18/78 - Something has snapped in this here dude! I realize that I am OK! I can't describe it. All I can say is I'm shouting, singing, dancing, jumping up and down, and carrying on. And NOTHING, N O T H I N G is going to get me down or keep me from being me and going after what I want. So this is what it feels like to be happy!!
It's like being drunk, only a lot better. I feel powerful and cocky as hell! I feel like a billion bucks, a king stud, a winner! Get outa-the-way, folks, 'cause I'm comin' through! Yaaaahooo!! Look out, world! These confining walls are gonna come tumblin' down! They're too small for me, Babe! Right on!!!!!
I think I may simply meditate now on watching my thoughts. I'll not reject any image or idea that arises, including the various previously used mantras and other meditation methods, but just observe each as it occurs. There shall be no time requirement and no seeking of special results. I'll merely watch, watch, and watch. I'll see what happens. The main thing is to have confidence in what I am doing and in the products of mentation. They are natural and self-liberating. They may reveal "heavens," "hells," and anywhere in between. They might be dully or brilliantly abstract. They could lead ultimately to enlightenment or to simply being more relaxed. Whatever.
Later. Meditated this evening for about an hour and a half using an observer approach.
I believe ghosts may be a dissociative reaction to feelings or knowledge that we have trouble owning and so project (as if) outside ourselves to an appropriate figure imagined vividly. If the ghost gives information we believe we could not already have, then the reason for our difficulty in owning the knowledge may be that it is derived telepathically or clairvoyantly or by other extrasensory means, and that we have not as yet included in our self-image the capacity for ESP. If several people see or hear the ghost in common, perhaps it is simply that they share an ESP awareness and/or an impression of vivid imagination telepathically and, again, project this outside themselves.
2/19/78 - I don't know what to make of Mr. Sondhi. After just three meetings with him I find I am completely charmed by the old gentleman! I went to Association with him today convinced that soon I would be suspending our meetings and renouncing Lifestream Way in order to get on with life, after my own style. But I came away feeling love for him and seriously wondering if giving up this path is really what I want to do. Partly it is his manner, his personality, and partly it is the stories he shares of his Maharaji, of the present teacher, and of their influence in the lives of disciples.
I leave our meetings happy to be an initiate and to have a friend like him. I am now also at least half believing there really is an afterlife and that Maharaji will take me one day to the highest spiritual level.
During our meeting today Mr. Sondhi told me how, in 1952, when his old auntie became sick and had come to stay with him, Papa Ram Ji appeared to him, his upper portion only, in astral form, and told him his auntie would die in three days. Sure enough, three days later she was dead. He said also that Papa Ram Ji assured him she would have the teacher's protection. She had once asked Papa Ram Ji for initiation but he had only replied that she was not following the instructions of her own teacher. (At this time she had been a disciple of a woman master. After Papa Ram Ji's remark, she had just turned and left.)
He told me as well of a man who asked Papa Ram Ji for initiation after he had already been initiated by him. Papa Ram Ji simply asked him to come back the next day. The following day Papa Ram Ji went over to him where he was standing at a market and confronted him with trying to test him, asking him if he had not been initiated by him at such and such a place and time the previous April. The man fell down before Papa Ram Ji and asked his forgiveness.
Mr. Sondhi then told me how a man came to the present teacher and asked for initiation. Maharaji asked him how long he had followed the required principles. "Six months," the man said. "And were you not eating fish at your uncle's house this morning?" the teacher asked him. And so the man left. Later the man told his initiate wife that he hadn't any intention of becoming a disciple himself, that he had simply wanted to test Maharaji.
Living alone and without a kitchen, I have often found it difficult in a place like Columbia, SC, to have a good LW diet. There are very few places where I can go with the assurance of having the strictly correct foods, having no animal fat in bread or fried things, no meat stock in cooked vegetables, and so on. I had avoided the convenience of fast-food-service restaurants because of this uncertainty. It has often been so difficult in the last couple of years that I have been tempted to leave the LW path simply to have a more varied diet. Today Mr. Sondhi treated me to a snack lunch at MacDonald's. We had French fries and milk shakes. He tells me he also will sometimes order toast when he eats out.
Our Associations are more interesting because of Mr. Sondhi's tales and since he often translates and comments on the Granth Sahib. He learned to read this work in the original (although it was not a language he had known before), on the direct instructions of Maharaji. I have also given him the book in Hindi that I brought back from India, Earthly Heaven, from which he says he will sometimes read.
Today he told me how, by Papa Ram Ji's grace, he and his family escaped from Lahore, Pakistan, at the time of the Partition of India and Pakistan, when there was slaughtering on all sides. Indeed, there was much shooting and knifing of people near Mr. Sondhi and his family too. They had escaped, he said, by the skin of their teeth, as had all under Papa Ram Ji's protection. In an Association in India, a year earlier, Papa Ram Ji had foretold that a great storm was coming to Lahore and Rawalpindi, but had added that they need not worry. They would be taken care of. Mr. Sondhi said that when Papa Ram Ji was dying he lost half a kilo of blood a day, "the blood he gave in place of that of his disciples during the Partition Wars."
"Oh God, to have reached the point of death only to find that you have never lived at all."
2/20/78 - Bought a typewriter today. Also went to a movie: "Julia," a very fine film!
Am more convinced than ever that I'll be quitting my job and going back to school full-time this summer.
2/25/78 - Some excitement last night: I received "proof" during slumber of awareness beyond either dreaming or the waking state and briefly experienced, at one and the same time, being in super-consciousness and also in the dream realm.
2/26/78 - Paraphrasing Graham Greene, I can't believe in a God I can understand. As ever, I'm having trouble with the tenets of the Lifestream Way. I distrust explanations that would reduce divine intentions and the infinite to ordinary comprehensibility, especially when some of these same explanations sound suspiciously reminiscent of Hindu mythology. From whence are derived dogmatic assertions about the nature of reality, the purpose of existence, and specific rules required to be followed for the achievement of enlightenment? Are such rules really of holy origin, or are they perhaps reflections of all too human motives and needs?
Nonetheless there is a lot of value in a Lifestream Way lifestyle. It has a great deal of appeal to it, backed up by centuries of Eastern and Near Eastern yogic and mystic tradition, philosophy, psychology, and experience. It is a highly sophisticated meditation system. Further, the wisdom of its recent spiritual leaders has been in part to synthesize the best of several ancient spiritual traditions and certain modern values into a creative philosophic whole, larger than the sum of its parts. Without doubt the present Maharaji is no ordinary man. Those who attempt to say this path and its results are "nothing but" this or that thereby simply demonstrate that they have not yet adequately reckoned with it, but feel content instead to deal with this approach only superficially.
For me now, though, this is not the right path. I am not yet ready, even if I once thought I was, for the way of renunciation and devotion. My own path leads me instead, I expect, toward greater involvement in the here and now of this world, into the transient joys and sorrows of a lusty, hearty engagement in life. It leads, I expect, to a sharpening rather than a dulling of the edge of my skepticism and to a kind of profound doubt about everything that is "given" (in the mathematical proof sense). It suggests a continuing testing, exploring, experimenting, and discovering (I hope) of the nature of existence, reality, creativity, self, and one's fellow creatures here.
3/3/78 - Last night a really neat dream: I shall marry the nurse if I survive the shot she's just given me, some new drug that is supposedly for tetanus but also puts one to sleep. Yet this is good because for now I must get out of the country. People are out to kill me. Numerous, colorful, significant tattoos were put all over my chest and arms while I was unconscious. This was done by new-found but good friends I discovered I had. A friendly snake, most rare, intelligent, and deadly, scares off many bad guys who are after me and gives me a chance to get to the nurse for the shot and the ticket aware (away). I shall return and then in triumph! The tattoos are as if alive and filled with meaning, each telling its own story, that becomes deeper and deeper as one go into it, like peeling away layers of an onion, skin by skin. I'm not certain the nurse is on my side but will have to trust her. If not, I'll soon be dead. If so, I'm saved, with finally a happy ending.
Awoke from this dream feeling great, dancing around the apartment. In a dream earlier last night I also really communicated, at long last, with my father. (As I'm writing this, have just remembered my favorite song from my late teens was "Moon River.") I always knew I could die. But I was never confident of so many friends in dreams before. And never previously has a snake been friendly. In another segment of the same dream I had been "alone" in the cave where I was later protected by the friendly snake. I don't remember why I was in that place, but I realized there were snakes there and that I had to use a long stick to disturb the ground and the thick entrance vegetation before I would take a step, because unless they moved I couldn't see them. Yet they remained hidden anyway.
The Little Prince, of course, comes to mind.
Yesterday evening, in class, talking with a fellow classmate about my job, I made the following delightful slip: "It's hard to get fired up about safety. It's something I just fell into accidentally."
Am enjoying the dubious pleasures of a new sinus infection and sore throat. These started two days ago and are bad enough that I could hardly talk this morning. I took off from work this afternoon, then came home and put myself to bed. Skipped league bowling tonight.
3/4/78 - Staying at home and nurturing myself most of the day. Still feeling badly.
Fever. Real and unreal undulate in waves like light interspersed with bizarre images. Big butt, elephant snout, the thick warm mucus flowing down my throat. Pink sweater caresser breasts, soft blond hair, blue jeans worn white against her bottom. "All you have to pay for is the salad." "I have no curfew." "See y'all later. Have a nice day!" "Where's your tip?" Braces. "I am all of seventeen." Such words, momentous messages, dropped upon the ether. Black skin. "Do my flesh tones look right to you?" (Cough, cough, cough, cough!) "Are you alright, sir?" "Yes (tears flowing), just bring me (cough, cough!) some water, please." She runs to attend my need. Innocence. Simplicity. Warm, taut thighs. "Towing enforced at owner's expense." Checkered tablecloth. Bottomless pools of blue, looking at you. "Put a nickel in, in the nickelodeon." Only now it's a quarter. Bird shit. Throbbing tunes, mechanical melodies, flashes of inner vision. Purple fox dancing in fresh snowdrifts above the tree line. Red sky. Yellow flakes falling. Silence, silence, forever. (Cough, cough, tears flowing.) "All my men wear English Leather, or they wear nothing at all!" "What is Mu?"
3/5/78 - I called Mr. Sondhi this morning and explained that I won't be going to see him today because of a bad cold. I also reminded him of our trip to NC next weekend for Association with the group there and with other visitors coming down from VA. We'll be leaving about 10 AM next Saturday, returning late the next day.
"Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most."
3/7/78 - My sore throat has progressed to a hacking cough with laryngitis. The sinusitis continues as well. Not too pleasant.
3/8/78 - For all practical purposes have lost my ability to speak. Met with my graduate advisor this morning (my voice full of cracks, squeals, and unexpected silences!) and got several important questions resolved. Am now virtually certain I shall be going full-time to school starting in June, and then straight on through till I finish my masters, probably in the spring of 1980. If things go as intended, I should then be well qualified for openings in rehabilitation counseling. The important thing here is just taking things one day at a time. I've called in sick for the rest of today.
I see now how I can use electives to get the kind of training I want, without needing to change programs. Things are looking up!
Read the Children in Crisis book series, by Dr. Robert Coles.
I shall begin my full-time graduate studies in three months with $10,000 set aside for expenses. I'll apply for a stipend to supplement this reserve. Whether or not I receive it the following year, I shall apply for a graduate assistantship, other part-time work, and/or a student loan or loans, to get me through my second year.
3/9/78 - Was awake later than usual last night with a still worse hacking cough. While trying to get to sleep, experienced some vivid hypnagogic imagery. Also, developed a little speculation or hypothesis, that the experiences, as if real, of having lived in previous lives may be due to a tendency of the mind, noted in gestalt psychology, to fill in the gaps when our perception or conception is incomplete.
A part of ourselves, I believe, never meaningfully grasps the idea of our own death as an absolute terminus, nor the idea of our having begun in the womb. But ordinary reality gives us no data on our consciousness before birth and after death. This is an enormous gap to fill in! It makes no "sense" that we simply travel down a linear time river of life from an insignificant source to the sea of nothingness. But we are accustomed to cycles, the most fundamental of which has always assured our "rebirth" each new day, for as long as we can remember, after the nightly death-like sleep. Add a pinch of ESP, the ability of the mind, released from the exigencies of external stimulation and relaxed from the organism's comfort and survival needs and programs, to wander as if unconfined by time or space, and you have all the data, association, and motivation necessary for a very convincing reincarnation trip.
Astral body dreaming last night. It involved a lot of vivid experience of psycho-kinesis, flying, floating, and use of intense concentration, especially as affecting the psycho-kinesis, direction of flying, and the environment through which I flew. Lapse of concentration, or diversion of attention, altered the movements of objects and my flight and surroundings from what was intended. Extremely exhilarating! Then some people there tried to show how I (we - others with me, sporting about) had simply been tripping out, that they had somehow set the whole thing up artificially, to give us the perception and sensation of psycho-kinesis and flight when in fact this was not so. They showed how they had done it and were amused at our gullibility, especially mine, for I was adamant that I really had flown. (I had even gone through a closed door!) During the dreaming I had become aware of what I was doing and that it was extraordinary: levitations, astral projections, and supernormal powers, but not that I was dreaming. Finally, I admitted, deeply disappointed, that they had indeed manipulated at least some of our perceptions. I continued stubbornly to insist, however, that just because there might be an ordinary, mundane explanation for what I had experienced did not rule out the possibility that I really could fly and skillfully move things at a distance while in special states of consciousness.
3/10/78 - Went to my graduation dance tonight, for completion of a twenty-week square dancing course. Despite not having a partner during the last half of the instruction, and so sometimes having a little awkwardness in finding someone to dance with me, I enjoyed it. Beginning next week I'll be attending an advanced workshop and also sometimes visiting with square dance groups that meet through the week. Then I'll attend a regular dance perhaps about once a month.
I am today finally getting over my cold and sore throat. Tomorrow I'll be going to Raleigh for an Association visit with NC friends and my brother, Ralph, his friend Mary, and the Whites, all down from VA. Mr. Sondhi has not yet said if he will go.
It seems hard to grasp that in only about eleven weeks I'll be a full-time student again, after all these years, and winding up participation in my transactional analysis group.
3/12/78 - Returned about 6:30 PM from the visit with friends in Raleigh. Had a really good time! Rosemary and I reminisced about when we had known each other back in Austin, in 1970-71 (when I had unsuccessfully tried several times to get her to go drinking with me), at the University Co-op Book Store. In fact, we had helped organize an employee union there. So, this weekend we talked about the eight years in each other's lives, getting caught up with the time since we'd known one another before. She's now happily married, has a beautiful baby, has been meditating for many years, and has had a series of jobs that show off her abilities. For at least seven and a half of those years she has been living with the guy she married. She and he have spent a good many months just traveling around the country. When I knew her she was living with another fellow and dropping a lot of acid. Now she and her husband are the area LW secretaries for NC and SC, replacing me, since I had resigned that role a few months ago. As it happened, they arrived in Raleigh just as I was resigning my Association secretary position.
After we had exchanged our intervening histories, I found myself feeling sad that mine had been so empty as compared with hers. In fact, I felt that my prospects for the next eight years, or the rest of my life for that matter, looked pretty dim compared to the life she already had behind her. Afraid I let this mood get me down most of the rest of the day. Mixed up with this is ongoing irresolution about the LW spiritual path. I continue to keep up contacts with initiates, and these inevitably involve expectations placed on me for behavior consistent with that of a devotee. Unfortunately, frequently these expectations are not well founded. Yet it embarrasses me to have to turn people down, either directly or by simply not doing or feeling what they expect.
Mr. Sondhi continued this weekend to relate amazing stories of incidents he has witnessed or of which he has heard in nearly two generations as a LW disciple, most spent at or near Gagan.
Tonight am feeling my isolation more acutely than in a very long time. For all my busy-ness, activities, and plans, I am still lonely and depressed and have found nothing attainable which holds lasting value for me. I feel like getting very drunk. I go through my routines, resignedly for the most part, feeling there's really nothing else to do, but do not expect them to get me anyplace. My life has lost its illusions and magic. I tell my friends I am doing "very well!" yet am afraid I may break down in front of them, begin to sob, and not know how to stop. Perhaps I am just tired. Tomorrow is another day. Life goes on.
3/15/78 - A nuisance problem developed with my car's clutch or transmission during the trip to Raleigh over the weekend. I'll have to take it in to the shop and leave it.
Today I applied for a stipend for full-time studies in vocational rehabilitation.
3/17/78 - Had a dream last night that I nearly flunked my exam in my first graduate course.
3/19/78 - Two basic alternatives present themselves. Either there is the possibility of life after death or there is not. And of course we can not know which eventuality is the case, however strongly we may find attractive the unambiguous simplicity of either condition. Much is made, and rightly so, of the fantastic vistas and realms of consciousness available to us besides the ordinary, common sense world of consensus reality. And it is argued that these lie beyond this realm and prove personality's persistence after the grave. In fact they do not. For there are limits to objective proof within this level of experience.
But if there is no life after death the other alternative is not unappealing. It would mean that, though these vast other vistas of experience do not in fact lie beyond this existence, do not transcend it in any ultimate sense, instead they are part of it and enrich it stupendously. They broaden, deepen, and magnify it beyond our mind's capacity to habituate existence into dull routines. They assure the omnipresence of the miraculous through each instant, shaking and shocking us into extraordinary realizations, wonders, and visions. Fortunate is he who is receptive to the realms within! Whether we ultimately live or die, they offer the highest hope to us all.
3/20/78 - Dreamed last night I went to a doctor for a complete physical and he immediately diagnosed severe vitamin deficiency and inadequate exercise.
"We have no imagination for evil but evil has us in its grasp."
3/21/78 - For many years now, though with at times an impulsive, exceptional gesture toward matrimony, I have avoided romantic involvements that might lead to marriage, wishing no mental/emotional distraction. From what I have seen of others' dyads, it seems unlikely that I shall be so fortunate as to have a truly happy wedlock, when so many find this relationship filled with enmity and controversy. Perhaps it is simply that watching my parents has made me cynical at an early age about nuptial bliss. But, more realistically, I expect it is that my personality bent lends itself to more joy in great stretches of undisturbed solitude, with vast landscapes of time and freedom from cares in which to think, meditate, and find inner peace. All this I know I would of necessity give up at once if I marry, especially, as seems probable, if my future wife turns out not to have the same values as myself.