I cancelled my air reservations and L.A. Zen Center reservation today. I don't have enough money for my summer courses and the sesshin.
Tonight I arranged for Al, my brother-in-law, to assist me on the yards for the rest of the summer season.
11 MAY 72 - Rains yesterday have put me behind once again. Had a nice visit with Henry and Fiona last night though.
The organism has an apparent abhorrence of the delusive system. So long as it is maintained, the creature is out of balance. At the least, it feels uncomfortable, tense, while this condition continues. Yet, paradoxically, when the organism has such a system, it must undergo great pain and struggle to rid itself of its delusions, and usually can do so only with the assistance of others whose delusive systems are at least "thinner" than that of the one being helped. For myself, I intend now to begin a determined program toward freeing my Real Self, toward maturity, toward psychological health, Enlightenment, and frequent positive states.
I have decided, after all this time, to allow myself moderate drinking again. It seems clear that I did not have such a severe problem with alcohol as I had thought or else I could not have gone so long without a drop! I shall therefore permit myself one small glass of wine, or equivalent, in social settings, each day.
14 MAY 72 - It seems my conclusion of the last entry was premature. I did not keep to the limit I had imposed on myself but at once began adding just a little more and then a little more, and after already having had plenty of wine, then, when offered some whiskey over at Ricky and Mona's, I was glad to accept. I must therefore once again reluctantly exclude all spirits from my diet.
I am seriously considering following the system or philosophy called The Lifestream Way, which my brother Ralph is now following already. Either this or Zazen meditation in a regular Zen center, I think. I have been reading some of the literature Ralph has sent me on Lifestream Way.
It is now 184 days without my drinking alone.
15 MAY 72 - I am still going through some of this Lifestream Way literature. I find it intriguing and encouraging that there is marked similarity between some of the experiences described in Lifestream Way and certain descriptions in Lilly's Center of the Cyclone. This despite their approaches being quite different. The author of one of the Lifestream Way books says one must have a spiritual teacher of the very highest order and claims that his teacher is such a one. Lilly makes no such claim but rather insists that one should retain a degree of skepticism even as one pursues, on one's own, the higher levels of consciousness. His approach seems to have more of my sympathies at this point. In The Lifestream Way there are accounts of an "Audible Word." There seems to be nothing paralleling this in Lilly. Can one really become attuned to this and through it attain the very highest spiritual realms? I am surprised a little to note that I am not questioning the existence of such realms! However, I still wonder if they may be merely subjective or if they also have objective validity. At least there seem to be great similarities in the descriptions of higher regions or realms or states by people from widely disparate backgrounds. ( I ask myself: "Would you always sit upon this bank and wonder what lies beyond, on the other side? Or would you venture forth, at whatever cost, to see what may be beyond your present knowing?")
16 MAY 72 - As the rains have continued off and on all day, I have spent the day reading, first further in some of the Lifestream Way literature, then getting into a new book, Pearce's The Crack in the Cosmic Egg.
Unaccountably, was overwhelmed with anxiety, to the point of nausea, today. Really feeling wretched and lonely! Undecided what is best to do with my life now, yet completely unsatisfied by things as they stand. Fantasies of drinking. Hope I'll be able to meet new friends in school when classes start.
17 MAY 72 - Worked eleven hours on the yards today. Nothing like a day filled with strenuous physical activity to get your head straight and your body relaxed! Feeling real good by the time I returned home.
18 MAY 72 - Up at 8:00 A.M. Called a few customers and worked out a new schedule for hitting their lawns next week. Showered. Brushed teeth. Had a cup of coffee and breakfast. A beautiful sunny day! Listening to a Leonard Bernstein concert on F.M. Reading the Pearce book.
Worked the yards for nine hours. Then shopping. Back by 9:00 P.M.
The following thoughts occurred to me out on the yards as useful hypotheses:
1. Whatever God is, I am, along with other men and women, very much of God. Much or all that I project on God, or on a god, is already inherent in me, is part of my being, of my realistic capacities and natural activity.
2. The entire universe, or even a universe of universes, is not merely acted upon but brought into being, shaped, and sustained by collective "imagination," of which it, this universe, is also a part.
3. Man has fantastic freedom. I, along with other men and women, and to some extent all creatures here or anywhere, actually have the capacity to intervene in particular aspects, or even the basic nature, of the universe.
4. The limits perceived by anyone are his or her present methods of coping with and adapting to That Which Is. Yet, greater flexibility, openness, courage, confidence, adaptability, faith, love, curiosity, ultimate doubt (by which I just mean a basic questioning of the final reality of any apparently absolute limits), dissonance, or other, may permit him to see beyond the presently perceived boundaries. Beyond all of the limiting universes and all limited experience lies the set of all universes of experience which together encompass That Which Is. (I should acknowledge borrowing a bit from Lilly in the foregoing.)
20 MAY 72 - Hopefully more conducive of ease in social activities, have gone back to very moderate drinking in company of friends.
Al and I worked seven hours on the yards today and got a lot accomplished!
I have decided to take Pearce's advice and ask myself a passionate question, but what question is my question? Tentatively it may be something like: "How can I transcend myself and become whole?"
Once more negativity pushes out earnest intentions. With time and tension on my hands, alone, I am possessed by sexual and drinking fantasies, fear, and a cynical certainty that no "crack" will ever occur in my miserable "cosmic egg."
22 MAY 72 - My truck has developed serious problems once more. Despite this, Al and I worked five hours on the yards today. I tried some estimating this afternoon but did not get a single contract.
I have revised my passionate question. The new version: "How must I realize my highest self?" And, indeed, how shall I begin this quest? Again I am thinking perhaps I should leave this area and get into the L.A. Zen Center program, or perhaps some other such group or community. Yes, I think I shall definitely, not later than October, head out to California.
Visited with Henry and Fiona tonight for supper and chit-chat.
25 MAY 72 - Feeling anxious and depressed, locked into a rigid, logical, straight-jacket of rationality that stifles out spontaneity, creativity, my very life, and turns everything into an hour-glass seeping sands of devouring death and escaping life unlived. Locked into this everywhere self-perpetuating horror, automatic and inexorable as a computer program, a mechanical system, controlled nightmare unscreamed, hour after hour, year after skidding year, hurtling into, plummeting down the inevitable abyss, scared of death, locked out of life, a shadow, devoid of soul, unreflecting, almost sightless in this gray, crumbling, perpetually decaying world of my own making. Ghoulish phantoms haunt my steps and invade my thoughts, copulate, and give birth to ugly fears. The yawning chasm of oblivion looms near with such a fearsome, attractive countenance.
28 MAY 72 - Went for lunch to the Quaker Meeting House for short meditational worship followed by lunch outdoors in a pastoral setting. Ricky was there. Also Harriet. We talked awhile. During lunch, Joseph and one of the older members discussed Gurdjiev and Ouspensky. Joseph commented that to him they were too intellectual and psychological, in contrast to the more spiritual approach of some paths to higher consciousness.
Harriet invited me along on a swimming outing at a lake not too far away. I was happy to join them. I had a pretty good time but felt uneasy and self-conscious, never as though I fit in.
29 MAY 72 - Both my mowers went out today. Wonderful!
Seeking to put "my life" in order by straightening up my apartment.
I want now in every possible way to "simplify, simplify, simplify," which, I believe, is a quote from Thoreau's Walden.
Henry and Fiona called. They'll be leaving their pet cat, my old friend Lizzie, with me while they are gone on a lengthy vacation this summer.
30 MAY 72 - The yards, courses, friends, and women do and yet do not make a damned bit of difference; and I shall be quite dead one day, perhaps today. How must I realize my highest self?
Made an ass of myself tonight, acting smug and superior toward an equally obnoxious hostess. We were well matched and played our parts brilliantly. Ricky and Mona invited me along on a dinner outing with Judith, Mark, Harriet, as well as with Denise and her date, for Mexican food at a new restaurant. Afterward, we all went over to the apartment Denise shares with her mother, both divorcees and both rather "with it" counselors at the draft counseling center that Ricky and I and two others got started five years ago. I dropped out some time ago; but it is still going strong. Well, I should have done as Judith did and just kept my mouth shut. Instead I seduced myself into playing this phony, sophisticated, superior role that was a bore even to me, and could not have been a hell of a lot of fun for anyone else either!
1 JUN 72 - Vivid dream last night in which I destroyed the world of my small self and ordinary experience. As it faded into oblivion I died. But then there was a residual form of me floating free! It was very strange. I was so fascinated by this new form that I awoke, still filled with the conviction, that this is how it will be at the end.
Had an early breakfast over at Henry and Fiona's today and then moved Lizzie over to my place, along with their stereo, T.V., and a few records.
Al and I worked six hours on the yards. My money problems have become so serious I shall be very hard pressed to just pay him on time this week.
4 JUN 72 - Getting further into my thinking and meditations and reading on this question of how I must realize my highest self, am now very seriously thinking of getting involved in this path called The Lifestream Way. In any case, I have decided on abstaining from meat or alcohol after today, this being one of the path's requirements. I can not say that I go along with any spiritual reasons for this; but if I am to become a part of such a group, for whatever reasons, then I must abide by its rules.
5 JUN 72 - Registered for my courses at the university today. Fortunately, Al offered to wait an extra week to get paid.
6 JUN 72 - Last night I visited Denise at the apartment she shares with her mother and accepted a couple of scotches before the end of the evening. And today I said to hell with my new no-meat diet.
Vacuumed the apartment here for the first time since I moved in. Also got completely caught up on my yard business. I am eager now to get back into the academic fray starting tomorrow. Once more into the breach! Ha, ha, ha! Bravado, bravado!
7 JUN 72 - A good thought from Don't Push the River, which I am now reading: do not keep rules! As soon as something becomes a rule it is no longer good for you. Eliminate words like "ought," "need," "must," or "should." The want to that comes through is best for you!
8 JUN 72 - My "Steps" is my nod to history, my own. Wading through it may never prove worthwhile for the general reader. Yet at least for this reader it is very interesting indeed!
After class today I took my mowers in to be fixed and myself off for a badly needed afternoon rest.
If I understand the message in Don't Push the River correctly, it is best not to consider the ultimate values of things, simply the immediate, moment to moment value, whether it, in and of itself, be divine (if any) or totally mundane.
The scampers were bad tonight, despite the light. He hurled a shoe at a large brownish-black one and missed and it went scampering back and hid in a crack. Fred put down the paperback and lifted the glass. Empty. He stared at it a moment, slowly got up, and went over to the old icebox. No luck. Out of his peripheral view he saw the pale blue unicorn again. It was smiling now. He turned and stared suddenly but it was gone. Clever creature! He went into the next room again and collected a few coins. The scampers ran this way and that, black and brown spots streaking here and there like so many wary revolutionaries, a true underground, scratching and scampering about brown and black and gray and red and blue and white floors and walls. The wind was blowing hard and the yellow sheets he'd put up for curtains were billowing into the rooms. He heard the light clopping of the unicorn's silver hooves behind him. He would not let on this time./ He would not look round. He found his wallet and slipped it in his shirt front and went out. Just as the screen door was closing after him he glanced a little to the side to catch a glimpse. Sure enough! There he was! Barely visible, pale blue, smiling mischievously, his diamond horn glowing softly there in the darkness. Fred went on several more paces and looked back. The unicorn was standing out in the yard, gazing after him, the shadows dancing over him, but still the pale blue outline of his beautiful form standing out just enough. He wondered if the animal could get back in before he returned. He toyed with the thought most of the way down the dark street toward the bright, noisy intersection, that shining, gleaming marketplace where the cars raced to and fro, this way and that, with lights blaring and engines roaring and wheels screeching out of the darkness and into the night. Half a block away they disappeared as in a dream. But here, another world! No unicorns here! On one corner shone a great star, while on another a giant shell, and on a third a huge revolving disk. And beneath these gods blazed rows of shining cylinders with hoses and nozzles amid vast expanses of concrete. Crickets by the thousands convened on this brilliant oasis and were crushed beneath the tires of the gas pump patrons. But Fred was attracted by the fourth corner, on which sparkled and blazed a cozy 7-Eleven store behind its asphalt apron. He walked on in. He came here often for beer or wine and to flirt with Candice who worked here six nights a week and flirted back with her bright smile and quick laugh and let him enjoy the dancing tips of her breasts, frolicking there beneath her blouse, leaping about, barely confined in the cotton cloth, as she laughed over her own jokes or exchanged with him light banter. Late into the night, after he'd drunk himself to sleep, he would dream of Candice and the dancing, bouncing tips of her breasts, and of her fine, ample bottom; and he would waken suddenly, in a great sweat, still flying, soaring, and for long moments could not remember he was lying, damp and hot, in bed, the yellow sheet curtains billowing in, and the pale blue unicorn standing there in the shadows beside the bed, his horn glowing upward, his lips inclined near Fred's ear, whispering, whispering, the words so soft and lyrical he could barely hear - and forgot them at once.
10 JUN 72 - Maggie has disappeared. She went out exploring night before last; and, though I left the door ajar all night, she never returned. The same last night. No Maggie. Poor thing! I'll probably never see her again.
Last night, scotch, beer, and witty conversation over at Ricky and Mona's. Denise was also there. Afterward, we all went walking in a nearby park and hunted crawfish in the creek, using flashlights. I drove Denise home quite late. We were both a little high. I find her very attractive and, as we kissed "Goodnight," found it pleasant to dream of other things as well. But Denise and I will never make it together. We are both too nervous in each other's company and too "out of touch with our real selves," whatever that means.
MAGGIE IS BACK!!! HOORAY!!!!!!!
12 JUN 72 - Planning now on leaving for L.A. in just over two more months.
Received Ralph's latest audiocassette tape. He says he will be here on the 22nd. Also that, after a brief stay, he will go on to his next assignment, here in Texas, and will be frequently returning on the weekends for visits and to attend "associations" on Sundays at Joseph's home. I had met Joseph, of course, already, at the Quaker meetings. Intriguing! (The term "association" refers to at least two things, I understand, the eventual merging of the individual soul with the divine Lifestream and the meeting of individuals to discuss, or hear the teachings of, the Masters of this path, which, indeed, is considered the only true association, everything else being "maya" or of no consequence, merely one or another product of the mind, as opposed to things of a spiritual nature. As Ralph is using it here, "association" just means a meeting, somewhat similar to church or Quaker meetings, where disciples of this path come together to find renewed inspiration for staying with the teachings and principles of The Lifestream Way.)