27 APR 74 - Packing, sorting, throwing away. Only a few hours remain for me here in Austin. Mailing or shipping most of my stuff in cardboard cartons or a new footlocker.
I said "Goodbye" to Hope the other day. Despite my sticking to a strictly friends relationship recently, she seemed shocked I am going, and without her.
28 APR 74 - I am a web of awareness strung through time and the worlds of imagination's fancy, a mist to cloud the void, flecks of light caught in a dream, a bundle of sparks afloat in a vision of darkness, a shadow among shadows playing upon the backdrop of so-called "common sense reality." These are the rasping, barely audible, whispered words of the dying dead or dying living. There are others, but we do not know them, have only a few clues and hints of their existence. Yet, without them our dream of darkness would surely be ever so much darker still.
30 APR 74 - A seeming passage through time and space. It is 4:00 A.M. here in Knoxville, over halfway to my new home. Coffee and an apple at the rest stop. Trying to visualize Maharaji sitting here at the table with me. Doing my mantra. Feeling pretty spaced out from the long hours of sitting half-awake as the miles have sped by.
Later: Abington. 8:00 A.M. This country is really beautiful!
1 MAY 74 - Down to just fifty cents, earlier today, due to poor planning, but now have adequate funds again. Had to wire for the extra money from my bank savings in Austin.
Well, I'm here! I must say, what I've seen of this place so far is not too impressive!
2 MAY 74 - I move into my apartment tomorrow. Now the only big worry is a vehicle.
Have already begun to suffer from anxiety, loneliness, and sadness as this new situation forms itself around me. I feel very much the loss of friends and familiar surroundings in Austin, especially from my last couple of years of involvement in LW. Here, with no one who loves or even cares at all about me, I find I am feeling simply afraid. Maybe this is a blessing, driving me closer to Maharaji, forcing me to make every effort to be a good initiate and to follow my vows.
4 MAY 74 - Am all moved in here now. I live in a really poor section of Petersburg, VA, almost a ghetto, in an apartment, without air conditioning, right across the street from a busy hospital emergency room. This is not a great beginning. There are virtually no furnishings in my place. It's terribly hot at times. And the ambulances come and go all night with sirens wailing. Sleep through is virtually impossible. Cannot afford better for now. And I'm buying a V.W. Bug. Catching up on correspondence. Also, making copies of various LW discourse tapes, from initiates in several different places, here in the U.S. and even in other countries, India, Holland, etc. Cleaning up the apartment.
Went for a walk and found, a few blocks away, a new world! Gigantic, tall, stately trees. Spacious, cultivated, landscaped lawns. Magnificent, brick homes of charm and elegance. The moonlight shone bright from a full moon in a star-strewn sky. The whole scene was one of grandeur. I held my breath. It was like a fairytale place. The brilliance and beauty were in such contrast to the ordinary, dingy surroundings here that I found myself thinking, for an apt comparison, of the astral plane.
6 MAY 74 - Started my new job today. I feel as out of place there as a fresh-water snail thrown amid tidewater varmints. My boss and the other safety specialist are pretty old school. Well, I must just make the best of it.
9 MAY 74 - Got lost driving home today, after I picked up my new Volkswagen, and wound up in some really lovely country. Finally back, after I came through the "Colored section." I live in a Black neighborhood, as I had done at first as well in Berkeley. The rent is cheaper.
12 MAY 74 - After a lapse of several weeks, I resumed my full quota of daily meditation today. Also got in touch by phone with Esther Dupchek, a lady of whom I learned only yesterday from an initiate in Richmond. Esther is the only other follower of this path in my vicinity and, as chance, karma, or destiny would have it, she lives just a mile and a half from my apartment. We arranged a meeting.
18 MAY 74 - Visited with Esther on Tuesday evening. She is quite a remarkable lady. She is seventy-six and a former secretary of the Pittsburgh group of followers of this LW philosophy. In fact, she got it organized and helped start three others about twenty years ago! She sat me in an armchair and then told me it was where our Maharaji had sat when He visited her home in 1964. She beamed and glowed with joy and talked my ear off for three hours! Oh, what a fantastic coincidence of fate to have placed me, though far from a large LW group, so close to such a loving disciple of Maharaji as this dear lady! Esther said to me, just before I left, "What is the use of dancing before the blind?" Indeed!
19 MAY 74 - Muses and Young, in Consciousness and Reality, suggest development of a psychopathology associated with spiritual paths, pointing out Tart's insights in this connection, adding of him, referring to his Altered States of Consciousness, "He too modestly relegates to a footnote in his paper what should be underlined a hundred times these days, saying that in general people who develop a personal interest in altered states of consciousness or 'higher' states of consciousness tend to think that once they become interested in 'spiritual' matters of this sort it is very difficult for them to err, that they have transcended ordinary human concerns and problems; whereas in point of fact it is clear that all the various kinds of neuroses and pathologies that occur in the context of everyday life can also occur around the subject matter of spiritual development or higher understanding, and are that much worse for being unrecognized." A valid point!
23 MAY 74 - We spend our whole lives in a state of trance not unlike that "sleep" into which people fall in hypnosis. Everything to which we attend in this life is as the moving watch, the glittering bauble, that the hypnotist might use to put his subject under. Every train of thought we may have is the ideation of one entranced, hemmed in, and conditioned by the suggestions which program not merely our behavior but our very perceptions, anxieties, hopes, etc., of which and by which we fashion a seamless fabric, our understanding of everything that is.
"As long as we continue to learn from others, with an attitude of appreciation towards them for their contribution, however small, it is impossible to go insane or even to become very neurotic." Another excellent point.
10 JUN 74 - The hottest, muggiest day for me here so far. Perhaps I'll have to do my meditating in the bath! Am coming to realize just how difficult being a LW initiate is! When the difficulties increase just a little in the context for our meditating, the whole LW lifestyle can suffer. At such times as these, the meditation, for me at least, becomes extremely hard.
22 JUN 74 - When feeling anxious, I should see how my life may be further simplified and how it may be more completely devoted to the LW practice.
30 JUN 74 - Used up the last of my sugar today. I intend to be using it no more in this life!
6 JUL 74 - Meditation is still very, very difficult for me. A lingering heat wave here does not help. It continues to be extremely muggy, late into the night. I come home from work each late afternoon to a top floor apartment where, with all windows wide open, the temperature is still above ninety degrees. Despite a large fan, it does not get down below eighty degrees till about 2:00 A.M., after which I can usually fall into a fitful sleep for a few hours, before getting up very early to try to meditate, and then prepare for work. My sleep time is also broken by the frequent intrusions, alluded to previously, of the wailing of police and ambulance sirens, that persist throughout the night in route to the hospital emergency room entrance, right across the street from me, or of the loud stereo throbbing of electronic noise from insensitive neighbors. And a plague of sand fleas seems resistant to all sprays and powders and now has infested even my bed!
Over the Fourth of July, Esther and I went to Virginia Beach for picnics, swimming, and sunbathing. It was great! I had worried that Esther might be too old for this kind of thing. But she was wonderful, frolicking around in the surf, for instance, with several children whom she had quickly befriended. We both got sunburned.
While I was way out, at some considerable distance from shore, trying to get briefly beyond the farthest breakers (who knows why?), I barely heard a small voice over the waves' roaring: "Please help! Someone please help me!" About twenty yards farther out was a little girl, apparently in trouble. How had this tiny thing gotten so far? She looked exhausted, trying to stay afloat but too tired to swim back, in danger of going under. By what slight chance had I come across her? I swam over, of course, and, with much more difficulty than I like to admit, eventually got her safely back to the beach. Once there, she seemed embarrassed and just mumbled "Thank you" quietly and waddled off without a backward glance, presumably in search of her mother. I discovered I was crying! I should not have made a big deal over it.
In The Three Pillars of Zen, by Philip Kapleau, there is mention of a teacher who had achieved enlightenment through intently listening to all the sounds that came to him. Afterward he was called Kannon, for Hearer or Listener. On the afternoon of 7/4, for a few brief moments, it was as though I could hear the little girl's anguish over the surf, as if her cries directed me, unconsciously, right to her and I was Kannon when she needed me to be.
After our playing on the beach, Esther and I went to an evening association meeting in Virginia Beach and met the LW folks there, a nice little group.
While driving us back, I happened to mention some of my recent financial difficulties as well as some intellectual concerns over the Lifestream Way philosophy. But Esther put a stop to that quickly! "Why should you worry?" she asked. "Just attend to your meditation! That's what Maharaji would say. And besides, in a year, you'll see. You'll have plenty of money and nothing to worry about. So why worry now?"
10 JUL 74 - Esther related to me this morning having been very ill a few days ago, to the point that, for a little while, she thought she was going to die. But then she had a beautiful dream and "something else," that she said she could not tell me about. From these experiences she said she had been left with a feeling of utter peace and calm, such that no doctor's medicine could ever do that for you, and that it was a very nice feeling, of utter completeness. Although in LW we are not to share our meditation experiences, she said it was alright to tell me of the dream, part of it anyway. She had entered an enormous room through a grand entrance. The accommodation, she said, was still so vivid that it was as if it were right here, every brick of the walls, for instance, as if she could reach out and touch it. She said she was in a place that was so huge it went on for miles! She was alone there, she said, and yet there was something about it, the complete stillness there, for instance, that made her feel completely, utterly peaceful. She went about there for some time, just looking and enjoying the ineffable, peaceful stillness and then, when she awoke, the feeling persisted, so much that she had no desire to speak or even think for hours, but just to continue in that state of contentment. And then, also, she noticed that she was no longer ill. Nice dream!
I have noticed in our talks that Esther seems to have a sixth sense, or at least to speak at times as if she does, sometimes as though she does not, herself, distinguish between what she knows by ordinary means and what she "knows" from her intuitions and visions. Whether the latter forms of seeing and knowing bear any relation to objective reality is another and intriguing question, for which I certainly do not yet have an answer. But her "second sight" does make her a rather interesting lady to be around. This morning, for instance, with a twinkle in her eye, and as if chiding me for something, she said I would not even be around when she would pass away. "But who knows?" she said, "It may be that there's a reason I have to stay here longer than I thought. There may be a kind of extension," she said. "It may be some time yet."
Later she told me she might be moving to Florida with her daughter and her son-in-law who will likely be retiring and settling there.
Our visit together today was the nicest we have had so far.
The vast majority of men, women, and children live an insect hive-like existence. At the metaphorical bottom of our consciousness we are submerged and utterly lost in negative myths. But our consciousness is not a fixed entity. Each person finds his place along a "totem" of understanding which is of inconceivable length. At any given moment our awareness may be fixed at one or several points along the distance of the totem, or might even extend throughout its entire length. At the metaphorical top of our awareness, we are at levels of being, understanding, knowing, perceiving, and meaning so completely transcendent that only through very positive, very encompassing myths can we in imagination gain a flash or glimpse of what that might be. In fact, our consciousness, at any single point upon the totem or throughout its length may only be portrayed properly through myth and metaphor.
That myth most accepted by and common to us, invested in our imaginations with greatest detail, and shared in consensus with our fellows, high and low, we call "reality." And by this myth we set the bounds of all our other experiences of consciousness, along the totem of potential awareness.
We have become absorbed, as well, in the magic of the mythical "realms" of spoken or written words. Through these magical invocations we come to realize a kind of artificial world, aspects of which we further sanctify, as I say, by referring to them as "real." It is natural and necessary that we do this, for we are, above all else, The Myth-Makers; and it is our destiny to create and recreate worlds, and worlds within worlds, through the power and enchantment of our word-agreements.
But our word-worlds are only a small part of our capacity. Visible light is but a small part of the entire spectrum of light waves. Similarly, by focusing awareness exclusively in so-called reality, we actually imprison ourselves in a narrow band of experience, along the full extent of our entire totem of knowing and being. We have separated ourselves even from knowing our nature and destiny as makers of myths.
Yet there are powerful metaphors by which we might scale the inconceivable heights of a totem of complete experience of That Which Is. This complete experience now seems mere fantasy, wishful dreaming. To gain those heights, or even to achieve the first foothills, we need no lesser myth than that of a Supreme Being, by whatever name or understanding we each may have for It. And we must gradually, each at his/her own pace, go beyond the worlds we have created and sustained as real, with our worlds of words, to those of ultimate silence. Thus may we discover our true destiny as myth-makers and as transcendent over each new myth we make.
Beyond all the myths, we shall simply be. And, in that inconceivable, essential being, there may be found, then, no difference between us and the absolute gestalt of That Which Is. Until then, with these many dreams and myths, this is but another, a myth of a magical totem of awareness and freedom, anchored in the myths of our bodies' instinctive functioning and soaring to spaces above all myth-making functions, into the Light that is shining forever, that gives us and the totemic myth being, that sets us to dangling and dancing out our destinies, down here in the misty myths of physical reality.
There seems to be abundant evidence that there definitely are realms of knowing, consciousness, being, feeling, and perception, beyond that which we know in the familiar, common-sense terms as real. Even in our own lives there are keen moments of high awareness when we are much more awake than ordinarily, moments which, by comparison, make the rest of our existence seem pale.
But there are others who seem to be more or less continually living at some higher level of being than ourselves. The greatest of these have sometimes had their teachings collected and handed down to us. Despite the passage of time, such teachings are still so significant that they form the basis for the world's great religions. The influence of the lives of these few enlightened geniuses through history, not to mention the vast prehistory of this little world, and the clarity, simplicity, yet great profundity of their versions of truth, despite the distortions, are such that, compared with the ordinary lives of those around us and what passes usually for understanding and wisdom, we may, in an understatement, say that there is something here of the miraculous.
If we once begin, then, to look for special teachings whose one common denominator is that they all raise us beyond our ordinary view of things to some higher level on the totem of consciousness and being, we will discover that between ourselves and the very highest teachers there exists a vast profusion of systems, groups, methods, disciplines, or paths for accomplishing this end of transcending ourselves and our current view of reality. The difficulty, then, seems to be to discriminate between these, to determine one's own best course in the quest of his or her highest self.