This month's contents:
Golden Crab Apples by Ann Swan www.annswan.co.uk
Doing and Being (part 1) by Shawn Nevins | Poems by Shawn Nevins | You Cannot Shape the Truth by Joseph Sadony | Praying Our Way Through Doubt by Fredrick Zydek | Meeting Richard Rose: 1978 (part 2) by Art Ticknor | Easter Sunday by Gary Harmon | Your Dominant Decision-Making Process by Bob Fergeson | Humor
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~ The following transcript is from the presentation made by Shawn at the April 2003 TAT Spring Gathering.
In just a little bit, I'd like to help you understand where I'm coming from. I got started in this business of self-inquiry, self-knowledge, whatever you want to call it, in 1990 with the Self Knowledge Symposium. I was down there about three years working with them, and uh, then I actually moved up, lived on Mr. Rose's farm for about three years. And about that time, his Alzheimer's started affecting his ability to teach, and I decided to move off the farm and for about three years I lived up in Weirton, just about an hour north of here.
I think it's important, and someone mentioned earlier, about the importance of finding a teacher or someone that you get a sense of Presence from. And that is what I remember from Mr. Rose, and that is the gift that he gave to me, is a feeling that there was something more real than I knew. And all I knew was that it was out there, and that it was something that I remembered. And when I moved away from the farm and I no longer had access to him, it was something I tried to find on my own, and I spent about three years basically looking for some way to find within myself what, as someone said earlier, they felt was coming from him.
I spent a lot of time hiking outdoors, trying to read inspirational material, trying my hand at writing poems, anything I could think of to try to turn within and find that sense that I got from him. And basically, I didn't have too much luck with that, and I got really, uh, depressed isn't really the right word, but really frustrated, and I decided to move out to Texas. Also, thanks to some of the wonders of biochemistry, I had a pituitary disorder that for several years had left me in a sort of a state of low-level fatigue. And that was actually cured when I was living up in Weirton, and I had a huge surge of "I want to go out and do something and prove myself to the world." I decided to go out to Texas, and make a lot of money and see what that was like. So I pretty much put this business of looking inside, behind me, and moved out to Texas, but I felt like I did want to at least leave a record of the people that I had met that I had found, that I thought were valuable. And I still believed that the search was a very valuable thing to do with your life, even though I hadn't found anything.
So I moved out there and started working on the Spiritual Teachers website, and for some reason or another, a part of what happened to me was that for the first time in my life I did something for other people. And that something, that was as close as I could come to selfless action, was building that website. I really poured myself into that. Around the time I was working on that, I had something happen for me: you would call an 'understanding', a 'realization', whatever you want to call it. But it answered the thing that had haunted me. The thing that Mr. Rose had left for me, I found inside of me. Since that time I've tried and struggled to find the words to communicate to other people, to try to give some sense of the way that I see the world or the way the world is. And so that's what I'd like to try to do with this hour that we have.
I think that, I was joking with Art and some other people a few minutes ago, that I was going to talk about effort, and the importance of effort in the search. (laughter) And uh, I am going to touch upon that some, but I think that you will see the effortlessness of the non-action in what I'm going to talk about, and I hope to give you a sense of that.
I think people need to be honest with themselves, and to ask themselves how long they're going to hold onto things that they hold onto. How long are you going to hold onto the people that you love? How long are you going to hold onto the things that you desire, the things that you own? How long are you going to hold onto your anger? Your misery? How long are you going to hold onto the beauty in the world? And there's tremendous beauty in the world and realizing that is part of the spiritual search. Finding peace is part of the spiritual search, and it's a step along the way. You really need to ask yourself, "How long can you hold onto those things? How long will those things last?
I recommend that folks, if you don't, go outside tonight (and it's something I used to do a lot), go outside by yourself, pick a clear night, and just look up. And look at what you see, and think about your relationship to that sky up there, and try and get some sense of your place in this universe—some sense of your importance against that perspective.
I was reading a little bit, it was a paper about the history of the earth, and it said something about the earth having been here for about 4.5 billion years let's say. And if you put that on a 24-hour clock, then all of recorded human history is something like a tenth of the last second before midnight. And that's how long all of our recorded history is, and your life is some fraction of that that I can't even understand. And if you look around you, you have some 4.5 billion years of living that we're standing on. Those numbers may not mean a whole lot to you, but I think if you take some time to get a perspective, if you go out at night, you may get some perspective on your life and its place. I think that a key to the spiritual search, I think, is honesty; a key is desire. You've got to have earnestness, you've got to have a drive toward this, and paradoxically, or ironically, I think that desire comes from hope, and that hope actually comes from hopelessness.
I think some folks sometimes think I'm a little dour sometimes in my view towards the search. But I think you need to understand that to say something like "hopelessness"—when you look at your life and you think that "there's no meaning to my life, that I'm an insignificant nothing," (and that may be a depressing thought) but I think there are two types of depression: one is a waste of time and one is very important. I think Mr. Rose used to say that when you're depressed is when you're seeing the truth about your situation. That's a more truthful state, and a lot of folks will say, "Well, when I'm depressed it sure doesn't feel like the truth."
You can be depressed and have a sense of futility and a sense that you can't do anything, and that is a waste of your time. We all run into that roadblock, we all face that feeling that we're not going to be able to find whatever we're looking for. You can. You can find anything that you're really looking for, anything that you really desire. That's not the depression I'm talking about. The depression I'm talking about, the value is where you see ... it is like a view of life as a whole, and seeing that, that life as a whole (you can look out the window) is empty—it doesn't go anywhere, it's not going to take you anywhere, and that depression is close to the truth. It is in itself an impersonal depression. Even though you're faced with that, you're not just that. You may be something more than just that. You have the ability to find that part of yourself.
So what I'm going to do is read a few things to you, and try to give you some sense of what your current situation is, some sense of what your life is, and what the truth is. As you listen to this, you're going to drift off, I'm sure, into other thoughts. You're going to hear people talking, laughing, you're going to hear the birds back there, you're going to hear all kinds of noises. This somewhat relates to what Mike [Conners] was talking about earlier: trying to see the space in which all those things occur in, because that is closer to what you are. Try to listen to what's between the words, and what's between the distractions. So I'm just going to read some things for you.
Shawn then read the following poems to the audience:
Each day we chatter
Can you hear my silence,
We—there is no longer "we."
Put down the pen
Stop your frantic motion.
Each day all my works crumble into dust.
I gain strength from failing
Don't despair over the ineffable.
That voice speaks now,
Children play as the blue sky looks upon them—
Stillness speaks words more eloquent than I,
A teacher acts out his destiny
Follow my sad look, as sadness is the mark
My words are your words—
I will clasp your hand
Alone.... Taste the word.
From far across the green hills,
There is nothing wrong with living,
Now, on my hill
Five birds flying in a rain-drenched sky,
When life in us and around us is so full,
Listen to your voice receding into silence.
"I was never here."
You awake into sleep
~ Part 2 of Shawn's presentation is available in the July 2006 TAT Forum.
From the dust jacket of Gates of the Mind:
Throughout his life of eighty-three years the late Joseph Sadony, scientist, philosopher, inventor and poet, searched for the truth about man, God and the universe. "Seek the truth," he said, "and when you have found it, follow it, for it is God." Perhaps, more than any other man of our time, he found the truth for which all men, to greater or lesser degree, seek.
What Sadony sought—and found—was a universal law applicable to all science, nature and human nature. Through his studies of atomic energy, gravitation, electricity, light, heat, magnetism and other scientific matters, he determined upon the unity of all things: atoms, molecules, human beings, the world about us, and galaxies of stars. All, including the body and mind of man, are one, each and all constantly receiving and emitting radiant energy.
In his laboratories on his eighty-acre estate on White Lake, Michigan, near Muskegon, Sadony spent many years in scientifically proving his theories, many of which he knew intuitively. Behind his experiments and writings was the basic purpose to free the mind of man from the restrictions of environment, faulty thinking, false intellectual concepts and all other impediments to a true understanding of himself and the cosmos. He saw in man an extraordinary potential which such freedom could bring. His own intuitive abilities—powers which he said are possessed by everyone, though usually dormant—enabled him to predict future events accurately, to "see" happenings in far-distant parts of the world. On one notable occasion, through his mental powers he was able to influence and direct the captain of a ship to another ship in distress during a violent storm on Lake Michigan, with the result that many lives were saved. This dramatic rescue was documented, as were many of his "psychic" accomplishments, and presented on a nation-wide radio broadcast.
Although Sadony was well known to scientists, philosophers and world leaders—among his hundreds of correspondents he numbered Gandhi, Frankllin D. Roosevelt, Kipling, Tagore, King Gustav V of Sweden, King George VI of England and Admiral Byrd—he avoided personal publicity and was little known to the general public. This volume, a condensation of his autobiography, in which he explains his "gifts" and his theory of Radiant Energy, the source of all life, will come as a boon and deeply significant revelation to all seekers after truth.
From Chapter 1, Gates of the Mind:
I was six years old we were still in Montabaur, when there began to be talk in the family about going to America. It was then that I began to be conscious of a world beyond the village limits, I climbed to the top of the hill to try to see some of it. I was alone, but I imagined that men were walking up the hill with me, and that I was one of them.
We all had on light, flexible suits of armor, like fish scales made of metal. There was a bright red cross on each breast, a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other.
It was fifty years before I found out, inadvertently, that the village of Montabaur and the hill I climbed that day were originally called Humbach; and that centuries before me the Crusaders had climbed that hill and looked down over the beautiful country, calling it "The Holy Land." The hill reminded them of that Mount that Christ had ascended to pray, with Peter, James and John, where He was transfigured before them. So they christened it Mount Tabor, and henceforth the little village at its foot was called Montabaur.
I did not know this as I trudged along that day, surrounded by the creation of my own imagination, a company of Christian warriors with swords and Bibles.
When I reached the top I still could not see America. So I closed my eyes, but all I could "see" was a lot of Indians. That was of course because of what I had heard about America.
So far as I know now I had no knowledge of the Crusaders, or in any case of their relation to the hill at Montabaur. Of course it is possible there was a foundation for the "image play" with my remembering it. The fact is here unimportant as the purpose of these early recollections is more to provide the background and to portray the general nature of early thought elements as based on experience.
At present his is merely illustrative of a later problem: What distinguishes a "true" imagination from a "false" one as an element of imaginative experience when it is regarded as an established fact that we can think only with what we have acquired to think with? In other words, all imaginative experience is made up of combinations and recombinations of elements of sensory experience with a physiological foundation. Nevertheless it has been established by experiment that the separate parts or memory elements may be put together correctly or incorrectly to form a true or false internal representation of external events or conditions. What distinguishes between the true" and the "false" when immediate verification by observation or experiment is impossible?
The answer, later to be set forth more fully, is that the distinguishing characteristic of a "true" imagination is a "feeling" that must be felt in order to understand its nature.
I did not at first comprehend this, but now in looking back at many thousands of imaginative experiences of childhood and youth, I see that when the exercise of the imagination is either unaccompanied by any feeling whatsoever, or when the imagination produces a feeling as a result of its exercise (e.g., imagining Indians is followed by a feeling of excitement and anticipation), the imagination is not to be trusted unless a train of thought is followed back to determine its origin, and unless the logic and reason are sufficiently matured and trained to adjust and retouch the picture in accordance with experience, or reason based on observation and experiment.
On the other hand, if a certain type of "feeling" (which is a dominant experience throughout this record) precedes the exercise of the imagination, and in fact produces the imagination by selective stimulation and blending of memory elements to express, to clothe, to embody, or to interpret the "feeling," we have then a type of spiritual inspiration and mental phenomena that merits further investigation, to which an introduction will be found in these pages.
My first experiences of a distinction in feeling associated with imagination were largely unrealized at the time, but preserved in memory. In climbing Mount Tabor, for example, the "feeling" came over me first that I was not alone. This caused met to imagine myself surrounded with companions all starting out together for some distant place to fight a battle. We would have swords but we would also have Bibles. The Cross would be our armor inside, but outside we would need armor of steel.
I did not then realize that these details characterized the Crusaders, who gave the hill historic background and a name. All the elements were familiar to me, but not the history. My memory contained swords, Bibles, Crosses, metal armor, and the idea of men who would use these things. Emphatically, I did not see the "spirits" of Crusaders walking up the hill with me. What I "saw" was entirely the product of my own imagination in which was composited various elements of memory acquired by previous sensory experience.
But these memory elements were selectively stimulated, assembled, and imbued with life by a "feeling" at a particular time, under a particular condition, at a particular place, which invested them with a meaning I did not myself comprehend until fifty years later. Whence and what the "feeling"? Why the particular mental imagery evoked by the feeling? Not in these few childhood cases alone, but in thousands upon thousands of cases extending through a lifetime: my own and the lives of many others whose experiences I have investigated.
That was the quest in which, symbolically at least, I set forth with a sword in one hand and a Bible in the other, to find the answer. I sought the truth, and as time went on I found that my imagination provided the truth in one instance and deceived me in another. It deceived me when I used my own reason and memory to speculate on things I didn't know enough about. It deceived me when I concentrated or "tried." It never deceived me when I didn't try, and didn't care, and had a "feeling" first that started my imagination going to piece together in a flash what was aroused from my memory by the feeling. What was the feeling?
I stress this because as time went on people who knew more about such things than I would say, " The boy is psychic, " or "He is clairvoyant." "It must be telepathy or psychometry," and so on.
And I knew they were all wrong. I possess no special, mystic, or occult sense that other men do not possess. My mental operations are limited entirely to what I have acquired and recorded by sensory experience. My imagination has only my own memory to draw on. I visualize something spontaneously past, present or future, near or far; it proves correct, with witnesses to verify it. My records contain thousand of such witnessed cases in which I was correct 98% of the time. What did I "see"? Nothing but a composite of my own memory elements of past experience.
Truly and literally it was "nothing but my imagination." Still it corresponded with the truth. Why? Was it a good guess? Was it "coincidence"? Was it "chance"? These were questions to be answered by experimental research. At first I did not know. But time ruled out chance beyond all dispute. And I did soon find out that man's most important thinking does not take place in the brain alone, but with the entire body and nervous system.
Truth is not to be found in man's memory of words or his reflective visual or oral thinking. Words and memories of sights and sounds may be woven together into endless combinations. What gives them meaning? What determines the exact word or memory elements that will be combined in any given concept or idea or train of thought? What assurances have we that our ideas have any correspondence with reality at all?
Our only assurance from a scientific point of view is one based on experience, observation and experiment. How then is it possible to know things in the future, at a distance in the present and in the past, without opportunity for experience, observation, or experiment? I can only say that I have established this fact for myself, that I am writing this commentary on my early experience to introduce you to what I did and how I did it, so you too may establish the facts for yourself, without taking anyone's word for it; mine or that of anyone else.
It requires not the use of some mysterious faculty you do not possess, but rather the suspension of the use of your "intellect" (verbal memory, reason, etc.) until after your feeling of intuition has clothed itself imaginatively. Then harness it by "logic and reason," by all means, if you can. But you must first learn how to stop thinking at will. You must learn how to "deconcentrate" instead of concentrating. You must make no strenuous "effort." You can't "force" it. You can't "play" with it. You can't "practice" it. Spontaneity is its most essential characteristic. It cannot manifest in the realm of habit or "conditioned reflexes," as in the case of instinct.
In the language of the New Testament, you must not try to move the spirit; you must let the spirit move you. This means that you must let the truth shape you, for the simple reason that you cannot shape the truth. Your relation to truth is direct, and not by reflective or verbal representation. You will find the truth neither in words nor in memories, but only in direct nervous coordination of the whole of your immediate sensory experience, internal as well as external.
~ Thanks to Kelly Johnson for the photo of the Mabel Rolling Harris 1949 portrait of Joseph Sadony, which still hangs in the Sadony home at Valley of the Pines. The complete text of Gates of the Mind is available at the Gates of the Mind web site.
Praying Our Way Through Doubt
~ Fredrick Zydek is a teacher of creative writing and theology. He has more than 800 publishing credits, including personal essays, fiction, academic articles, plays, seven collections of poems and an occasional review. This, in Zydek's own words, makes him "incredibly prolific or incredibly old." Published with the author's permission and with assistance from the editor of Sacred Journey, where it was originally published.
~ Continued from the May 2006 issue of the TAT Forum.
October 10, 1978
Richard Rose gave a talk at Ohio State University on moods. Here are some of the notes I had made:
October 30, 1978
I had done the first of quite a few solitary retreats at Richard Rose's farm the week ending October 21st, and I wrote the following letter on October 22nd:
Dear Mr. Rose:
This is a personal status report, of sorts, after my week at the farm. (A Columbus TAT report will be forthcoming after our next business meeting on November 12th.) There were five basic questions I wanted to resolve during the week:
I wish I could tell you how fortunate I feel to have found your group and how proud I am to be a part of it.
I remember being outside raking leaves on a sunny autumn day when Mr. Rose's response arrived in the mail. And I remember being infused with joy when I read a sentence in his letter that he had underlined: "I think you'll make it."
December 31, 1978
Mark S., an OSU student who was taking the spring quarter off in order to spend three months in a solitary retreat on the Rose farm, and I were the only people from the Columbus group who went to West Virginia for the traditional New Year's Eve party at the farm.
During a conversation with Mr. Rose about not remembering childhood trauma, he said that traumas were there or I'd have memories of joy.
When I asked for advice on monitoring the OSU self-inquiry meetings, which responsibility I was taking on, he said to keep them friendly above all. To use humor. The transmission of energy goes on all the time between people. An example is healing relatives. And he advised never living with somebody who hates you, or it will make you sick. For teaching purposes, the teacher only needs to be at a higher level to transmit. Final transmission to help someone make the leap has to be done by an enlightened person.
On the topic of how a person goes about dropping false egos: When you really see that which is not you, it will be taken away.
Trap: Remaining unconscious of our dominant decision-making process, either thinking or feeling. Most of us are heavily weighted to one or the other, and equally oblivious of it. To illustrate how this trap works, let's take a person who is feeling-based.
One afternoon, they decide to quit eating donuts. This decision is feeling-based, meaning they felt it to be good idea from an emotional reaction regarding the negative consequences of continuing the behavior. They don't feel good about the behavior because fear, let's say, has entered the picture. They decide to stop. Then, the secondary function, thinking, comes in and rationalizes the decision in order to bring verbal thought in line with it: "They make me gain weight, they cost money, I need discipline, I need to cut back on the sugar," etc. This is the main clue that their thinking is secondary: it is only used as a rationalizing tool for the already made feeling-based decision. This is best seen when the flip-flop occurs the next morning. The urge, or positive feeling, to have a donut now outweighs the previous day's emotion, and the decision is made to eat one. Then the thinking processes come in and rationalize why: "I can do what I want, I'll start exercising, I won't have one tomorrow, nobody will know," etc. This thinking is directly the opposite of the previous day's, but this doesn't matter when the feeling or desire is primary. This feeling-based system alone is a wobbly, painfully slow way to walk through life.
This one sided trap can be seen in thinking-based people, too. In them, the decision is based on rigid rules of logic, and then reinforced with the emotions. If the situation dictates that the thinking should change, the feelings will arise to support the decision to stick with the old rules, regardless. This can be seen in literalists who fall back on unbending rules for all decisions, and then use the feelings to support them in their foolishness. One will encounter many head-on collisions with brick walls on this path.
Trick: Understanding can only occur when both of these functions, thinking and feeling, occur together in a marriage of reason and emotion. Each should be used to check on the other, forming a system of discernment, rather than thinking being only a rationalizing tool for desires and fears, and feeling only an emotional support for literalism. Together, they can form understanding and find the truth, enabling us to walk the walk, steady and sure; apart, they breed strange creatures as varied as the wishy-washy flip flopper and the unfeeling monster of fanaticism.
The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
(We appreciate hearing from you.)
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