Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Q: I haven’t been able to pin you down for a long while now. You isolating? Been avoiding me?
A: It’s been a long cold winter. Snow is still all we can see in every direction. It’s supposed to be Spring. But it’s all the same, isn’t it, all God’s brilliant, pulsating play of the present moment. I think I’ve finally been able to be content and whole within myself, unrelated to anything in the outer world. Kay and I have decided that the best approach to being together until the end is to simply accept each other as we are. Trying to change each other at our age is very tiring, frustrating, and just not worth it. We are beyond being improved upon. We can only grow within.
Q: What mostly still gets to you?
A: The only thing I’ve noticed in a long time is my children. They still have the power (which I have given them) to affect my feelings. I just want to always live in harmony, respect, and love with them. It’s pretty unconditional for me, and I think that truly it is for them too, but I have a tendency to think I’ve done or not done something that displeased them or that they disapproved of. My younger son Shane always asks me why I bother to do that; he always makes me contemplate something I need to better understand. When Graham Nash wrote ‘teach your parents well,’ he really nailed it. I learn a lot from them, but not much surprises me from other people.
Q: How is it that nothing surprises you about other people?
A: Well, I’ve been ‘officially’ working with people for about 40 years now. A lot of people have shared very openly and honestly with me. After a while everything is simply some variation of something you’ve already experienced or seen. I don’t remember hearing or reading anything in a long time from anyone that seemed really new or original. It’s just this person’s version of something that’s basically very common, an aspect of human nature, or of the human condition.
Q: Is there a difference between human nature and the human condition.
A: Of course. Human nature is the way people naturally are. The human condition is the way people have been conditioned to be. We do this that we share together here and in the Course to break free from the human condition, and to simply flow freely with our human nature—which is an essential aspect of what we are to do during this physical incarnation.
Q: I’ve read your blog entries now and then, not as much as would be good for me, I admit. (See, I didn’t even say ‘should have’ because I know you don’t like us to ‘should’ on ourselves.) Every blog entry seems quite different from the previous one, and yet somehow there seems to be a great order inherent in your teachings. Where does that primordial order come from?
A: That idea ‘your teachings’ brings up this great wince inside me. I have no teachings. I invented no philosophy. I certainly never followed a religion. I had the good fortune in my life to spend some quality time with some of the great spiritual Teachers and Leaders during my lifetime, and I wanted the knowledge as I wanted to breathe, and I soaked it up like a sponge. Even at 15 I intuitively knew that this knowledge, and the ability to apply it in daily life, was the most important thing in the world. In my 70th year I would not be still writing this otherwise.
So what you are calling ‘teachings’ are Principles of Truth as they were taught to me by my major teachers, assimilated, and coming out in a generic form that includes all traditions and paths simultaneously. I am basically a typist and seemingly a regular person in all ways, although admittedly my own children have sincerely (though lightheartedly) let me know that I had to admit it, that I am definitely bizarre.
Anyway, the Principles of Truth go back to the beginning of time, even before humanity roamed the earth. That spark of Truth was hidden where most human beings would be unlikely to look for it—within themselves. For some reason I was ‘appointed’ at an early age in an unlikely environment and family history to transmit the Principles not only mentally but experientially, so that people can actually experience what they are reading as they are reading it. It simply requires the least bit of openness and receptivity to the possibility, and the rest just happens.
At 30 or 40 or maybe even 50 I could seem very deluded for saying such things, but at this time of my life I could care less if anyone thinks I’m deluded. If I’m deluded, it’s okay with me. I have simply practiced to prove the Truth to myself, and am now passing on the teachings of my Teachers. I have to think I’m something in order to be deluded, and I know there’s nothing here but the Self. And you can experience it too—right Now—pure Consciousness.
And then life goes on. We do our work. We walk the dog. We remain connected to family and dharma where family life is concerned. We shovel the snow (written in the winter of ’15). We do what needs to be done. We set along some time for some guilt-free relaxation and recreation—which is essential to a balanced life. Everyone has a karmic play to flow through. If we can simply remain in harmony with whatever comes up, we will enjoy life and be satiated in love.
Q: Wow, you say you don’t have teachings, yet once you get going…
A: Yes, it’s a great paradox. It’s like a water faucet. You turn it on and it just flows until it is turned off.
Q: You don’t communicate like you have something memorized. You really just let it flow spontaneously, don’t you?
A: Yes, after all these years, that turns out to be true after all. I don’t know anything. I can’t even remember things. Sometimes I’ll be doing something I’ve done easily all my life, and somehow I’ll be meticulously going through each detail, like a child who was learning how to do something for the first time. For all I know there’s not much difference between me and a person with dementia. The primary difference is in Awareness. Awareness can get you through dementia so easily that you’ll actually enjoy it.
Lacking in Awareness, however, and the flame goes out. There’s simply a vacancy. Awareness is ahead of everything—way ahead of mind or emotions. It is awareness that allows us to ‘see’ and ‘know’ our thoughts and feelings. It is also awareness to see that there are no thoughts or feelings.
Q: Where does the Awareness come from?
A: That’s a great question, but there’s no answer that satisfies the mind. Awareness is Self-emanating. It is its own Source, for nothing else exists, except the relative world we can be aware of. Is the sun a source of light or a receptor of light? We know that moonlight is a reflection of sunlight, but what is sunlight the reflection of? It is is the Light of the Self, the Light of Consciousness.
Q: So you can live in this Light and still be affected emotionally by your children?
A: It’s a great paradox, isn’t it? We live on so many levels of existence simultaneously; there are so many dimensions that exist concurrently, right now, and we play our own dharmic role in each. On one level we are pure Light, Love, and Bliss, undisturbed by the mind, the emotions, or the outer world, including this physical body we presently to occupy. On another level we are incarnated in a physical body as a cycle of karma, part of the Soul’s journey back Home. And we have all the same potential human feelings and experiences as any other human. We never really ‘go beyond’ anything, except in self-righteousness.
Our life manifests as our individual, unique karma—a karmic movie. If we can remember we are the audience, the Observer, the Witness, of the movie, and don’t get personally involved with characters or happenings, then we will simply enjoy a good movie. Sometimes it will be a love story. Sometimes a melodrama. Sometimes it will be horror movie. Other times an action movie, or a slice of life, or intense suspense, yet other times a comedy. Some movies are even ‘black humor,’ which are among my favorite.
I am the last remaining parent my children have. I feel I have a lot more to ‘live up to’ than I probably would if their mother were still alive. She was kind of the ‘primary’ parent, as mothers usually are. I pitched in the best I could and was always there for them. Now, though, they are old enough to take care of themselves, although my daughter won’t be 20 until May. She is very mature and sensible, though, and very strong too for her experiences in life, so I feel really good about how all their lives are going. Still I am always 50 years older than my daughter is. Although I probably did my best parenting with her, at a more mature age, the downside of having a daughter at 50 is that no matter how long I live, she will still be relatively young. But that’s the karma we signed up for. I’m sure everything will work out perfectly.
Q: How do you and Kay get along together?
A: What can I say? We met at a Yoga Conference in the summer of ’76. I was teaching and she showed up for the class. For many years she’s been my best friend and confidant, and for most of that time she’s worked closely with me and has been the Course manager for many years, in its different manifestations. I don’t know of anyone else offhand who could help me get the Course out the way she does. We are a good match, enjoy pretty much the same things, and have mostly learned to simply accept each other as we are. In case you’ve never tried it, it’s pretty hard to change someone at 70 for the better. As the songwriter John Prine once put it, “You are what you are and you ain’t what you ain’t.” That about sums it up.
Q: Do you have anything particular to say to people reading this who aren’t taking the Course?
A: You’re missing out on one of the best things available in the physical world for inner development and increased understanding. There is nothing else similar to the Course of Training via email, with two new lessons every month. You might think it’s like something else, but I can assure you that it isn’t, and there are a few hundred students who will tell you how true that is. In fact, going back to its beginning in 1975, more than 50,000 people have taken the Course in one form or another.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your first Teacher, whose Course you started taking when you were 15?
A: He died at age 93 the year before I began his Course. Luckily his wife was 50 years younger, and continued to send out his lessons for many years. His father was British nobility and his mother was an Indian woman his father met on his travels to the East. He entered Oxford University at age 15. He was visiting the Taj Mahal with some friends as a young man when he saw a man near a Bo tree that he recognized, and he excused himself to go see him.
He remembered the man from catching him as a child when he fell out of a tree. The man still looked the same as he had then. The man told him that he was expected as a lamasery in Tibet that no one could possibly find unless they were led there. He told him they already knew about his whole life. My Teacher said he had to think about it, and the man told him what hotel in Bombay he was staying at and said be there by the next morning if he wanted to go.
When he went back to his friends they asked him what he was doing, and he told them he went to talk to a familiar man. They said, ‘What man? You were alone by yourself the whole time.’
Needless to say, he followed the man to the lamasery in Tibet and didn’t leave until 17 years later, when his Master sent him to America. He was in Swami Vivekananda’s entourage when he came to Chicago in 1897 to first present Eastern teachings to a Western audience. He was among the first to meet with Swami Yogananda when he first came to America, before he ever became the Paramahansa.
He was the Western representative of the Lodge of Mystics or the Great White Brotherhood (having nothing to do with color of skin.) These are the ones who are primarily responsible for overlooking and guiding the spiritual growth of the people on Earth. Even the Indian Masters look up to the Masters in the lamaseries of Tibet and Nepal. He wrote his final Course when he was in his 80’s, and that’s where I received my primary Training, which contains the ‘understanding that will make you free.’ This month, actually, is the month of his birthday.
Our Course is the modern interpretation of the Principles of Truth that have been around for eons, but which did not originate on this planet. We are like the ‘minor leagues,’ with a few true and authentic Teachers available to take us to higher or more expanded levels of Being.
Our Course is especially important for other teachers to refine their understanding and be initiated into the higher realms available to them. Trying to teach others without this Training can be limiting, in ways that can’t be understood until the Truth of Being is fully understood. Like my Teacher before me, I will never be widely known in a public way. He understood that persecution is the fruit of true Masters revealing themselves or what they actually teach.
I have already experienced this to a limited degree, and know the perils of fame as a ‘spiritual teacher.’ Those who teach or reveal secret knowledge, or ‘the mysteries', are inevitably persecuted by those who want the Truth to remain what they have always imagined it to be, according to how their minds were molded at a very young age, and they do not want their order of the world threatened.
Q: Didn’t your Teacher say something about Teachers, including himself?
A: Yes he did, and this was one of my favorite things he ever wrote, although it took me many years to finally fully understand it:
“He or she is great who disturbs you, irritates you, even affronts you, so that you are shaken out of your habitual ways—fairly pulled out of your mental ruts, lifted up above the commonplace.
“The writer, for instance, is great whom you alternately hate and love—whom you cannot easily forget. In his private, personal life he may be proud, arrogant, crude, coarse, irritable, absurd, or even immoral…I grant all that…and yet be great. He is not great because of these reprehensible qualities, but in spite of them.
“The apparent inconsistencies and inequalities of his nature may contribute in great measure to his power, just as the rocks, boulders, chasms, woods, mountains, and valleys make up the grandeur and majesty of the Yosemite, or Yellowstone Park. So here’s a tip: Fall in love with your Self and be your own Teacher. This is my truest and most sincere advice.”
If your destiny is to teach others, be careful how you present yourself. Be modest and humble among all things. Don’t let on that you possess ‘the Secret of the Ages’ even if you do. True knowledge is best concealed, except to those rare ones who are evolved enough to grasp the Truth no matter where it leads them.
I will close the interview at this point. Thanks to all who put in the time and energy to read this, and may the Truth be revealed more and more to you each day.
For information about the Course via email, and a complimentary first lesson, please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to our translators who have volunteered to help make the Course available to as many as possible, the lessons are also available in Spanish and French.
I’ll meet with you in the ‘comments’ to follow. Questions contribute to the understanding of all, even if you already ‘know’ the answer in your own way. A lot happens on a very deep level in that space we share together. Be Happy. Be Love. Celebrate.