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(1971-1975)



XIX

19 NOV 73 - Essence of "horse." Memories. The chestnut mare stood in a blaze of light which also lit up the hillside and showered me with a bounty of direct perceptions: plants, earth, rock, worm, dew...A cool wind moved the branches beside me. A thousand million years ago the same breeze must have rustled through other branches, other leaves, different only in form, in dimension. Karen slept on. I looked back at our cabin. An hour ago Iíd slipped out of our sleeping bag to tramp around out here in the early light. Last night we had been just friends. As the fire had failed to keep pace with the night cold we had shared our bodiesí warmth. She had slept. But for me the images and impressions had surged on and, like a strong wind, had rustled the leaves of my memories, mixed at times with the smell of her there beside me, my face in her hair, or with the sounds and sights in the room, the light by then faded to a dim glow of coals, the shadows looming 'round. In sleep her mouth was hard. She looked like a whore. Once, during a dream I suppose, she got up and started to crawl out the window. It overlooked a drop, the rocks loose and sharp far below, the silhouettes of fir branches dancing across the depths. I pulled her back, of course, and she was childlike, submissive. Still sleeping, she lay down beside me again, and soon was snoring.

21 NOV 73 - Completed yesterdayís two and a half hours of meditation at 4:30 A.M. today. Then slept for three hours. Off early and took my truck in to Daveís shop. He is a pre-initiate on the LW path and a highly recommended mechanic. In half an hour he got the truck running better than it has in six months. He explained to me everything he was doing and charged me just $5.00.

On the way home from work, I dropped Hope off; and she invited me in. I had a nice visit with her as well as with Terri, Gertrude, and Janet, other pre-initiates or initiates in LW. They're all sharing a house together, trying for a meditative style of life, with low expenses.

Terri and I got into a discussion of bad times ahead and became really morbid. Perhaps we all play at the edge of the grave. There is nothing special in this. The illusion lies in attachment to this play of shadows or in the assumption that a long and happy life is somehow the proper and natural or even the deserved state of things.

Janet, sometimes a little psychic, "flashed" that I would fit as an elementary school teacher and writer of childrenís stories.

22 NOV 73 - Thanksgiving Day. Holiday from work. Also the tenth anniversary of President Kennedyís death.

Playing old cassettes of skits Ricky, Mona, Martha, and I did together in the past. While it is perhaps slightly insane, our wacky humor, it is more refreshing than most of our everyday seriousness in this level of existence. In one of our routines, for instance, I am a teacher and the others are playing different students. I am having a little trouble maintaining control of a fourth grade class. A gifted new student, who has just moved to Austin from somewhere in the Midwest, is rejected by the rest of her classmates, unwilling to accept this outsider despite her having a very pleasant personality and not being at all competitive. Ultimately, she is burned at the stake in the playground during recess. Horrible as this sounds, it was done in such a way as to be hysterically funny and full of great wit.

I am becoming confirmed in the notion that all our gods and ideas of God are simply the metaphors by which we move our psychic energies outside our everyday selves, projective fantasies to serve our egos in one way or another.

24 NOV 73 - Over to see Ricky and Martha this morning.

A cold front has arrived. Blustery winds.

"Just as in mathematical thought each dimension necessarily demands another, higher one, until we are forced to the conclusion that there must be an infinite series of dimensions - in the same way each further extension of our spiritual horizon hints at new, undreamed of dimensions of consciousness." Lama Anagarika Govinda, "The Ecstasy of Breaking-through in the Experience of Meditation." From The Highest State of Consciousness, by John White.

It is vulgarly insufficient to answer a childís wondering "Who am I?" by listing the constituent physical elements and their percentages and gram weights.

Enlightenment, whatever else it may be, is manís ultimate experience of poetic vision. The outer world and how we react to it are reflections of our inner condition. If you are wrestling with yourself, be sure you will have to wrestle with the world in like measure. If you are parsimonious in doling out joys to yourself, you may feel confident that the world will offer you few pleasures. If within yourself you find little cause for happiness, the outer life will be grim as well. But only accept yourself, like yourself, and find joy, love, or appreciation in your own friendship, and life in "the world" will blossom for you with acceptance, love, friendship, joy, happiness, and pleasure! If you must always pick fights with others, it is clear that you find a ready victim in yourself. But, by the same token, if you would improve your outer condition, you have only to improve your inner state. Even if there is a limited alteration in your objective situation, assuming there is any objective reality, at the very least you will then be better able to ride out difficult circumstances without losing your centeredness and equanimity.

If something is in your destiny, it will happen, no matter how many or how great the obstacles. If it is not in your destiny, it can not occur, no matter how favorable the circumstances nor how much you try to assure it.

6 DEC 73 - "I would regard it as the greatest treachery on my part if, in embarking on a new domain of knowledge, I accepted any foregone conclusions." Bohr, to Einstein, as quoted, p. 314, in Einstein: The Life and Times, by R.W. Clark, Avon Edition.

7 DEC 73 - "For me the world is weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable; my interest has been to convince you that you must assume responsibility for being here, in this marvelous world, in this marvelous desert, in this marvelous time. I wanted to convince you that you must learn to make every act count, since you are going to be here for only a short while; in fact, too short for witnessing all the marvels of it." From Journey to Ixtlan, by Carlos Castaneda.

10 DEC 73 - Today is the first anniversary of my new life free of drugs, eggs, meat in any form, or alcohol.

11 DEC 73 - If a work of writing is authentic, it will surprise the writer, will confront him in new ways, just as it will the reader.

If life has become a series of boring routines or repetitive games for us, chances are we need to shift into more authentic attitudes and modes of living!

Everyone needs someone who cares.

Indulgence in contrived happiness is as empty as genuine despair.

15 DEC 73 - Much has happened in the last few days with respect to my relationship with Hope. In my own mind, apart from any dialogue with her, I have been debating whether or not to ask her to marry, and to then spend my life with her. I seem to be in as much conflict over this issue as I have ever been about LW. One day I feel sure it would not work out, another am willing to give it a try. Rather to my surprise, I now find I'm really happy about the idea of marrying her, and am thinking we may agree soon on a date to wed.

Despite its excess baggage, its mythology, its alien cultural traditions, etc., LW has given me a new sense of meaning! This has made a big difference.

17 DEC 73 - This marriage question has become an obsession with me. Now I consider Janet, now Hope, now Michelle, as prospective mates! Meanwhile, of course, I have no real idea whether any of these young women have any real interest in me, though all of them seem to enjoy my flirtatious, kidding around kind of banter, etc. Everything else could just be in my imagination.

19 DEC 73 - Thrown into a quandary today after Hope asked me to marry!

21 DEC 73 - Informed Hope today that I am not ready to get married. I have been feeling terrified for the past two days at the idea of soon being wed to her. Yet I have also been feeling dreadfully ashamed to have perhaps led her on or made her feel I would marry her. She is, naturally, not taking well my ambivalence. There seems to be no emotional compass in me! I am swept this way and that, willy-nilly, with one or another wave or even a storm surge of temporary feelings. I do not know if it is all the extra meditation I have been doing or some deeper personal crisis I am going through. But my sense is that I am raw, undefended, exposed to the world, to whatever happens, unable to rein in the sheer volume of intense feelings that are flowing through and over me, as if I am but a bit of cork floating on a tempest tossed sea.

24 DEC 73 - Despite the above entry, yesterday I asked Hope to marry me! At first very surprised, she then said "No." We went on, as earlier planned, to a movie, "Papillon," with Michelle, then had coffee afterward. Nobody had much to say all evening. Now I am really upset.

28 DEC 73 - Quite striking in the winter evening sky lately, the moon, Jupiter, and Venus have been in close proximity. One night they appeared perfectly in line. The next evening they formed a striking triangle, near the zenith of the celestial dome, while purple streamers lifted upward toward them in the dark blue-black background, rising as if out of the sun while it sank under the horizon. Ray Sanford, a local psychic, is said to have explained that the event signaled a great outpouring of love to the Earth. Well, I hope so. We seem to need it!

29 DEC 73 - I have never before dreamed of receiving a letter from my old mentor, Harry. But last night I did. And he had not written for several months, nor I to him. Sure enough, in this morningís mail there was a letter from him. He advised I not try to marry at this time. Would that I had had this counsel a few days earlier! He suggested, instead, that I live with someone for a year or so and then, if things seemed good between us, we might marry. (Of course, this goes against the teachings of LW, which say one should not engage in premarital intimacy.)

1 JAN 74 - A beautifully clear, crisp winter day. Hope and I are going hiking in the hills northwest of Austin.

3 JAN 74 - Ricky and I visited today and caught up on each otherís news. Good times.

4 JAN 74 - Had a brief, vivid, out-of-body experience today. It happened during meditation and was accompanied by bright light and loud sound. It lasted only a few instants, seconds at most.

"It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." Marcus Aurelius

5 JAN 74 - Embarrassing though it is to admit, Hope and I really have very little in common beyond some flirtation and sexual attraction. Mainly, it is just that we are both available and in close proximity. I have been trying too hard to convince myself a life together with her would work. I do not really love her.

8 JAN 74 - Registered for school today, all but paying the bill. Also, Hope is twenty today. I bought her a scented candle.

10 JAN 74 - Yesterday, something unusual happened that changes everything. I was all set to go pay my school fees. However, when I got home from work, night before last, I found a telegram from the U.S. Civil Service, asking me to call a Washington, D.C. number right away. I did so yesterday morning and learned that I have a very good chance of being hired by Civil Service as a claims examiner. (My score on the Federal Service Entrance Exam had been rather good.) Accordingly, I cancelled my school registration and worked out with my boss new arrangements for my hours in the next few weeks. If I can get this job it will finally erase the stigma of my past vocational and academic indiscretions, so long as I stay with it for at least a few years and do well. Also, I would be earning significantly more than ever before. And I would be near a large group of followers of the philosophy of LW.

In about five years my prospects should be sufficiently improved to permit me to be essentially my own boss, yet within the womb-like protection of the best bureaucracy money can buy, the dike, canal, and pump system that channels the raging torrent of greed and enterprise into the richest and most secure economy on earth, complete with irrigation ditches to insure that even the driest, most distant fields receive periodic drenching, enough for a beautiful bloom here and there, while, closer in to the fount of plenty, a burgeoning middle class ekes out a kingís living, no matter if it is devoid of inner meaning, and does not even realize the filth upon which it feeds and is founded - hour after hour, onward rolling, machine-like, food for conscious energies beyond its imagining or comprehension, settling for bright color commercials and cathartic explosions of excess on giant screens or for hypnotic-electronic-physical-gyration-trance-storms for the masses en masse, till death sets its seal, stunning, the yearsí, lifetimesí numbed, diminished consciousnesses flared into sudden shocked awarenesses, microseconds brief, and then, false teeth clattering on the bathroom tile, a gnarled, manicured thumb twitches against a cigarette-stained index finger, the scene reels and recedes to a point that vanishes, the image fades, the circuit is snapped, click, click! Then the bones enfolding the brain, like petals preserving their inner scent, smash against a sharp hardness on their final descent, receding consciousness releasing control, external senses cease forever as it sounds like brittle sticks breaking inside your head, saying softly "Youíre dead." They find you later, in their time, with that foolish dead grimace-grin poised upon a stubbly, wrinkled, varicose chin. As sphincters relaxed the hot pasty mass oozed out, no blame. Itís no longer remotely your game. That thing lying thereís just a toy that you no longer need. Godspeed!

13 JAN 74 - The last couple or three days I have been experiencing a feeling I have not felt so intensely since I was an active alcoholic living in San Francisco: terror! Not simply tension or fear but real horror, as if my bodily existence may end at any moment, terror, TERROR, of absolute annihilation, of knife in the back, of bullet in the head, of muggings, pick-pockets, of being cheated, stolen from, beaten senseless, and fear and terror of having no recourse, of simply being lost with none to whom I could turn, of being overwhelmed by the mushrooming of small problems that, if not at once handled correctly, mean one error after another until the entire situation screams from the rooftops: FAILURE! YOU BLEW IT! And no turning back - for the wolf waits, ten paces behind, panting, eyes no longer eager, merely patient, calculating, intent on the throat, waiting, waiting, for one misstep, one more, one mo...to make his lunge, while I flounder, sodden, half-frozen, off-balance, waist deep in a snowdrift and no one in miles to hear my screams in the moonless sky night, the last star winks and stares, sightless, the blood drenches my chest, hot, bubbling with froth, steaming, the red pool spreads out on the white blanket, its scent carries for miles and miles in the dry wind. May my soul have the grace and good fortune to tip-toe from this scene without either backward glance or fleeting recollection. In the end, we plunge ahead as we must on nothing but grace and faith, sometimes very much despite ourselves. Time, like the tide a drowned sailor, simply carries us along.

Our entire universe of experience is based on the correctness of our perceptions. But these, top to bottom, inside and out, are makeshift things, fabrications, illusions, cleverly convincing fantasies, internally consistent, of course, and so impossible to view objectively, yet - unstable as heck! - Just a few whiffs of extra carbon dioxide, for instance, and the whole house of cards flies away in a rush of wind, a vortex of light and sound, intimations of eternity.

19 JAN 74 - Yesterday was pretty eventful. Michelle quit her job at The Orange Squeezer in an uproar, pissed with Steve over something. It upset everyone. Before the end of the day she decided to leave for her family's home, in California, at once. I found myself extremely sad about this turn of events and went over to see her at the end of my shift. I suddenly realized I was in love with her, could not imagine a life without her. Indulging again my romantic instability, I asked her to marry me! She said "No," of course. And I wept! Michelle remained calm. She fixed us some tea. We talked of this and that innocuous thing while I calmed down. Dry-eyed again, I bid her farewell and left.


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