We passed through the Bonneville Salt Flats where the fastest cars had made their record runs. It had just finished raining and there were shallow three to four-inch lakes for miles around because the salt won‟t absorb the rainfall. After the Salt Flats, I was rushing to get to California. In 1966 when I was living in Orange County, I used to take at least two trips per year back to New York. I had once drove my VW bug from Fullerton, California to Long Island in 51 hours with about two hours‟ sleep. I got a speeding ticket for going 80 MPH in Oklahoma. I never intended to make such a run but once you get going, sometimes you just don‟t want to stop. So familiar was this trip for me again, and this time I wasn‟t stopping until I found what I was looking for—which was a better way.
When I arrived in California, I was crossing the mountains just north of San Francisco and I planned on taking Hwy 101 South to Los Angeles. Daf and I spent a couple of days camping at Stinson Beach, welcoming the freedom of the beaches. Boy did Daf ever take to the beach like a duck to water. All you had to do was wave your arms as if you‟re going to throw something, and off she goes in a big round arc—the classic sheepdog pattern of movement! There were lots of times when I had to pick her up and carry her off because she wasn‟t ready to leave.
The main luxury of having your own time is that you can enjoy everything in the here and now, and if you want to stop along the way you become totally involved. If you‟re on vacation or on the job where you know you are only passing through and that your presence is temporary, you just can‟t see the situation as it really is on a day-to-day basis.
The final leg of my journey was the southern route down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Along the way you pass Sam Simeon and high on the hill is this tremendous building known as Hearst Castle. As I purchased my ticket, Daf had to stay in the van and I took a bus up the hill. On the way up, you see South African Deer and all this wildlife living freely, and as you gaze out you feel the expansiveness that Hearst tried to capture when he built this place. Originally the estate covered ¼ million acres and Hearst as a child used to camp out on top of the mountain and vowed that one day he would build a castle.
The tour covered about five miles and your attention is in awe of the vastness of the valley with the Pacific Ocean down below. Then you come around a bend and there it is.
Every kind of flower and tree you could image seemed to be there. Inside, each room was decorated to the max with historic cultural artefacts from around the world. I could go on and on describing it and list 100 reasons pro and con about the Palace on the Frontier but if you want to have your mind expanded without any drug, come to this place. My immediate thought was that this would be an incredible residence for inventors and artists who could exchange their time there to serve humanity.
Travelling south again on Pacific Coast highway I reflected back on the experience and I had been touched. In a matter of hours, my mind had encountered so much input I would find myself loving and hating the guy intermittently. I guess the building would have gone on for as long as he lived. It is just incredible how much money he spent and it makes one think about gold and how the rich seems to thirst for it. Gold is their drug, and it has a corrupting force on its beholder. If this guy was a humanitarian, he could have probably helped develop the whole continent of Africa but somewhere along the line he got caught up in the glitter. All of that fancy stuff seems to take you away from yourself and others. Rich folks have a way of trying to see themselves in those they admire and dismiss everyday people as inferiors. I think the immigration laws of this country reflect such values of the wealthy and in recent years have neglected the original values inherent in a truly free society. It‟s come down to freedom only for the legislative people and those who have power and influence to change the laws to suit their needs.
Heading towards LA I decided to call an old friend who lived near the beach in Venice. I could live anywhere that on-street parking permitted me to. All I had to do was park the camper and draw the curtains. While on the beach I met a lady with a Sheepdog and we became friends. She was old enough to be my mother but it seemed like we were both looking for the same thing. She had kind of a negative attitude towards things and found herself trapped in a situation with three teenagers living in a dingy atmosphere. For an immediate remedy, we decided to paint the walls and it seemed to work. Seeing the change in my friend did something for me too. It was about a week later when I met a friend of hers who told us about this 14 year-old Indian guru with millions of followers back home in India. The story was that his father was a famous guru and upon his unexpected death, his family put out the word that his youngest son was to be Guru Maharaj Ji, messiah to the world. Apparently the Guru was staying at a friend‟s house in Beverly Hills and that my friend and I were invited to visit him at the home where he was staying. Even though he had all of these speaking commitments, we were told that if we got there early enough, we could see him when he came downstairs in the morning. What a mind blower! For this to happen to me at this particular time, I was near bliss. Someone was leading me down a path and I was eternally grateful.
We arrived at the house around four in the morning and were led into the living room where the stairwell from upstairs was. Talk about being high!! I had only heard of this young person in the past few weeks and this whole thing was new to me. There were 15
to 20 of us sitting cramped on the floor, cross-legged with great expectations. After an hour or so somebody came in the house with a bunch of newspapers and took them upstairs. There were lots of flowers all over and people were eating rose petals, bowing down, kissing…it was really something. Finally he came downstairs and sat down in front of all of us, amidst the flowers. I just sat there and stared him in the eye. For a 14
year-old he had a chubby face with lots of baby fat cheeks and I sat there waiting for something to happen. We waited and waited and all he did was sit there. One of the members of the family came into the room and told him it was almost time to go. Then he said his first and only thing, something to the effect that life was like a movie or motion picture, it goes by frame by frame, and that was it. All of a sudden he got up and we all went to the doorway to watch him leave. His followers that were there started asking, “Do you have knowledge?” and if you said no you were instructed to go to some kind of seminar, attend classes and become one of Maharaj Ji‟s followers. The people who were asking seemed like a bunch of blissed-out burnouts, worshipping the ground, chair and flowers that the guru had touched. I was disappointed to say the least and when asked, I looked some guy in the eye and said “Yea I have knowledge” thinking that I knew enough that I didn‟t need to sit on the floor looking at some bewildered kid. When I got outside and talked to my friend, I was surprised to find out that she had bought the whole program and that she was going to receive knowledge that afternoon. What really surprised me was some of the family seemed to have their stuff together, even more than the boy, but they were praising him! Well, if I was wrong I would certainly learn from my friend who was going for it hook, line and sinker. The whole experience, mainly my thoughts before I met the Guru, was very uplifting and I knew then than I had a lot to learn but following this dude was like window shopping. In a way, I could see that I was originally swept up like everyone else. Then I found myself feeling sorry for the young guy because everyone was telling him he was the one and they put him on a pedestal.
But the whole experience left me with a clear picture of how religion operates in this country. Anyone with any kind of personal experience with a religious person becomes initially exposed in a situation whereby that person believes anything they hear or see until they know better. Maybe TV evangelists are popular because that is the only contact many people have with religion and they just don‟t know any better as they send in their checks, hoping to find themselves in the grace of God. When you walk into a room, your attention or awareness will only pick up a few objects in that room in the first minute, but if you spend one hour in there you will know the contents more thoroughly. If you decided to spend a day or a week in there, not only would you know everything in the room, but you could probably spend some time learning the architectural structure too.
The same goes for religion. The more time you spend learning about it, them more you will get out of it. Upon closer examination, one finds that religious values are really a part of daily living. If you turn on your TV Sunday morning and the man comes on breathing fire about God’s going to get you if you don’t listen to him and next thing you‟re sending him a check hoping to feed and enlighten your soul—that is self-delusion.
In the following years I spent the majority of my time reading books on metaphysics. My goal was to find and understand whatever it was that would relieve my anxiety and leave me with peace of mind. I had come in contact with the Krishna Consciousness Devotees through a friend relative and I made a sincere effort to understand what they were all about. I visited the Ashram in Brooklyn several times and I spent many hours taking part in their discussions. I could probably say 100 things pro and con but for me it was too much Hare Krishna, which reflected a separatist situation in a world that I believe we should be drawn together as one. As I began reading books by a man known as U.S.
Anderson, I developed such a thirst for more that is seemed to change my anxiety into desire. What the author was getting at was just the thing that I was looking for. I had travelled many thousands of miles, spent many thousands of dollars in search of the one thing that would end my anxiety. What I was looking for was my true self that was lodged somewhere between my ears and contained in my mind.
To begin, there is so much in the mind that it‟s like finding a room in your own home that you were never aware of and when opening the door you see a scattered mess with everything in disarrangement. If your desire is to understand and learn, you must put things in order. The most immediate change I was able to bring about was through positive thinking. There are two sides to everything and to each side or point of view there is a positive or negative side. Since negativity results in nothingness and as the word implies, darkness, it should be discarded from one‟s point of view. As one observes himself, he will become aware that everything he does is by habit. We operate like computers but instead of programming, we form habits. We are even in the habit of reacting to new things mechanically. One can view a habit as positive or negative so right away you have to get rid of the bad habits. It‟s like peeling away the skins of an onion to get to the inner core. As you drop your bad habits you are slowly peeling away at your personality to get to your true self. At the same time you will note that your mind operates at both levels, positive or negative depending on how you program it. When you have a negative thought you can tell yourself that you are identifying it as a negative thought and you no longer desire to have that thought. The most important consideration you will develop is that your inner core, your true self is and has to be your best friend.
No one can be at peace with anything until he is at peace with his inner self.
With my new discovery of my true inner self I was curious as to what it as and where did it come from. I came upon a word that said it all: consciousness. Consciousness is something that is always with us wherever we are and is best expressed by the statement, I am. The very point of existence in each one of us is the sense of a voice deep within that expresses I am. You can say “I am” anything—hungry, smart, young, etc, but there is always I am. The I am is at the root of our core and the very source of all our energy. As the sun contracts all life in our universe by radiating its energy, the sense of I am is the source for all life within ourselves. The best example of I am would be represented by a radio signal. There are many radio stations which could represent different areas of interest but none of them would be of any value to you if you didn't have a radio transmitter (your mind) and energy to receive the signals ( I Am consciousness).
Since this consciousness is the sole I am interpreter and benefactor that gives us life, when we no longer that the presence of I am, it can be said that we are dead. But let‟s see what has really happened. I am consciousness is energy that dwells within a physical body. When we are sleeping our minds may be very active elsewhere in dreams while our body lies peacefully resting. Can it be said that our minds and the I am consciousness temporarily dwell in our bodies? To take this one step further, you are not your body—
you are your mind which is indestructible because it is not physical. At this point we have to bring in the concept of the spiritual, which encompasses the great masses of I Ams.
Anything that exists beyond the realm of physical is spiritual. Just as a large body of water is comprised of individual droplets, a spiritual body is comprised of a collection of I Am s. If we were to isolate one drop of water, we could understand the chemical makeup of that one particular drop but as part of a whole we could not define its limits or boundaries. Could it be that each one of us is a part of a whole on a spiritual level and it would be impossible for one part of something to comprehend the whole it is a part of?
In other words, could one part of a finger understand that it is attached to a hand attached to an arm attached to a body, controlled by a mind? No, its total preoccupation would be with what it is as one in an assembly plant has one function and the sum total of all workers performs his part and is unable to produce the whole by himself. If you‟re still with me, each I Am is a part of a whole which means we are all of the same spirit and while we appear to be different by size, skin color, sex, etc we are one in spirit. It is as if we are one huge puzzle with many different parts which all exist to complete one picture.
If there is one single point I want to emphasize it is this: the human race is comprised of many different members but all are connected spiritually and when one acknowledges his spiritual unity, he sees himself in all others and learns to relate to that person‟s mind instead of their body.
Growing up in this world exposes us to many different varieties of cultures and nationalities. Seeing yourself in others focuses your attention on their minds and you will hardly notice any physical differences. It is these differences among us that should be the central theme in bringing us all together. As I was growing up, I was limited to learning values and ways from my immediate families and close friends but no provision was made to understand or become aware of people of foreign lands and cultures. The first exposure I had was from a college Sociology course. This is probably the reason for all wars, which are fought among strangers. A country‟s leadership tells its young sons to hate and defend in the name of patriotism. It is that belief that one‟s country, religion, family, etc is better than another that creates all the separatism. A religious leader who proclaims there is one way or preaches fear to those who don‟t conform is teaching separatism. Maybe that is the only way they can raise the bucks in order to perpetuate the broadcasting of its ministry. When you support such a situation you‟re adding fuel to the fire. The only faith that I have ever come in contact with that respects all individual religions and believes in the oneness of mankind is the Bahai faith. Can you believe that the Bahais are being executed in Iran at this time under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khoumeini?
In 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr was called upon by his Creator to leave a very troubled world behind, but upon his death his message was proclaimed all over the world, peace and change through non-violence. Never have I seen such a courageous man, armed only with his soul, penetrate the walls of prejudice, leading freedom marches and always advocating for social change through non-violence. It was not until his assassination did I become aware of King‟s tremendous influence on the world and myself. He seemed to define something within me that I couldn‟t previously understand. When I was around 14, I was riding the bus to school and a boy sitting behind me was really getting obnoxious, and even though he was smaller than me, insisted on having a fight once we got to school. Right away I was on top of him and I had him pinned down with my knees with my right arm free. I raised my fist to bring it down on his face but the strength was gone from my arm. I could not throw a punch! All I could do was bring it down to bump his lip. I thought about it for years and it wasn‟t until Martin Luther King Jr‟s message that my embarrassment turned to pride. Pacifism was always within me, I just had the wrong interpretation of myself. It took another man to bring me to terms with myself.
Here in America, the term redneck is used to define someone who generally sees and believes only in his own values and is ready to physically fight or kill to preserve his values on the rest of the world. If one is physically stronger than his opponent, he is demonstrating weakness by taking up the act of violence. On the other hand, the other man who is physically weaker is showing courage and strength while confronting his brother by trying to communicate his message instead of being a bully. The more I thought about pacifism, the more appealing it became to me. Ideas are not communicated and absolutely no good ever comes out of physical violence. Man has the negative abilities within him but he must realize that it only exists to accentuate the positive. Life is a total learning experience which becomes much easier to deal with through understanding as I was finding out.
There have been many people who have had experiences whereby they have returned from what they consider “near death” and report visions of peacefulness and tranquility.
Many of these people believe they were experiencing the passing of death but for one reason or another returned to this life. If this is true, this will substantiate my belief that we are all part of a spirit that dwells within our consciousness, which being non-physical can never be destroyed. Upon death of the body, our consciousness becomes totally devoid or free of preoccupations of food, shelter, clothing—all the needs of the body.
Can you imagine an existence whereby you don‟t have to worry about maintaining a home, taking care of your car, buying food and clothing, and having to take care of the living needs of others? What if, in this existence, your only concern would be to understand love and truth, and this existence would be forever? I had come into contact with a book called The Book of James by S. Smith, which maintains that the author is a medium and the spirit of William James is communicating through her and he says he is experiencing just that. In thinking it over, if one sees himself as an indwelling spirit within a body and sees all other life as the same spirit in different manifestations, and recognizes the importance of cooperation instead of competition while reacting to innate feelings of love and oneness, then maybe that person will come to understand that guns and killing are contradictory with any logical, rational purpose our Creator has intended for us. To this end, anyone who kills is also killing himself and soldiers who are following orders are letting their bodies be used as weapons.
If one applies common sense to understanding a purpose for our life situation that we all find ourselves in, perhaps we should prepare for our immortality by placing our awareness and values in non-physical attributes beginning with caring for life around us.
The number one killer in our society today is stress because of the pressures and demands placed on our bodies and internal organs. One of the heaviest burdens each of us must face is protection from uncontrollable persons who want to inflict physical violence on us and to fight fire with fire we must resort to the animal kingdom. Yet the most consistent and stable friend you will ever have will be your dog when you learn to look him in the eye and see part of yourself in there.
I had spent the whole summer travelling throughout California and the novelty of travelling was wearing off. Each night was getting colder and with the prospect of winter coming on, I decided to go back to New York with my newly acquired knowledge.
Certainly I could turn my friends onto what I had learned and with great enthusiasm I headed east. As I approached the major cities, the pace of everything picked up in to a near frenzy as other drivers rushed to and fro, getting on your tail and expecting you to rush along with them. Once you have removed yourself and stepped back to see where your head is at, you will note there are many things that a busy society is and you are not.
In other words, to exist in modern day society people adopt impersonal values to relate to each other to avoid any personal contact. It‟s more important which toothpaste or mouthwash you use than what you ever did for yourself or anyone else. I guess what I am trying to say is that in many situations it would require a very small amount of effort for one person to accomplish making life more livable for others in more disadvantaged areas. For instance, there are many Long Island, Westchester County, Beverly Hills housewives who don‟t have to do more than push several buttons on their telephones and can spend a million or two on food and first aid equipment for people on the other side of the world. With a little initiative, one could hire a person to go to a disadvantaged country and supervise a complete agricultural program with adequate irrigation to ensure continual farming and food supply. Why couldn‟t we make such a venture a fashionable thing-to-do society project???
Somewhere in New Jersey, I called my friend John in NYC to tell him I would be at his place within a matter of hours. Daf and I were pretty tired but the thought of being with friends gave us the spark to finish the trip. It was around 11:00 at night as we pulled up outside of his apartment. Ringing the buzzer, we rushed out of the cold night and went up to his apartment. It was so relaxing to be off the road, out of the elements, and so stoned!
After two hours or so we decided to go out for some pizza and as we walked across the street I noticed the door to my van was open. Sure enough, I had been ripped off!
Cleaned out, ruthlessly the stereo was ripped out, about 70 tapes, clothes money, savings bonds and everything else. Instantaneously, my consciousness had been automatically lowered. Welcome back to the city!
Having no place else to go for the winter, I decided I wanted to live in Greenwich Village. It was a great find—a beautiful apartment overlooking Abington Square with glass windows along all the outer walls. Always desiring the best of everything, a monthly rental of $327 in 1972 for an unemployed soul searcher seemed to make as much sense as Richard Nixon was President, so I figured if he could pull it off so could I.
John helped me all day long moving in and I set up the mirrored glass ball with the spotlight that I had kept from the store.
It was great, a large two-room apartment for Daf and me, now all I had to do was get a job. I had a friend who worked in the employment agency that had originally got me a job at S & H Greenstamps. When I saw him the following day he agreed to hire me on a commission basis and the following day I started working. What a switch from my expectations but at least I had a great place to live. My new job was to pick a bunch of employment applications and call around to various companies trying to market these fellows. It was just like trying to sell a used car over the phone to someone who can‟t stand salesmen and wasn‟t looking for anybody else anyway. With my newly formed awareness, I had hoped to accomplish some positive goals and bugging people wasn‟t what I had in mind. After three days I quit and was back among the ranks of the unemployed. A friend called me and asked if I could get her a stereo and instead of making money off of her, she took me out to dinner and that was great! Then she turned me on to a bunch of genuine Orange Barrel LSD and all kinds of downers, mostly bootleg Secconals. The LSD was a four-way hit and you would stay very high for 12
hours or so. With the lights and the music, I was definitely enjoying myself and meeting some great people.
I got it together for another job interview with a company that sold photocopiers and materials downtown on Wall Street. Once again, this job also paid on a commission basis but the man hiring me agreed to let me spend the day with their top salesman. Great! The following morning I reported to work and met this real shazzy dude who was number one in sales. He made several calls where he clearly bugged the people he met and before you knew it, it was time for coffee. He and his buddies all assembled together and had a discussion about how they were going to pool together all of their sample supplies to sell under the table to one of their clients. After the extended coffee break, they got all the photographic paper together and I waited out in the hall while he did the deal. I asked him why he did that and he explained that was the only way he could get by. That afternoon I told the boss thanks but no thanks and went home to the bottle of downers. With the pressure off, I could kick back and I was up to three Secconals a day but in the back of my head I knew I had to do something if I wanted to live there and pay the rent. After several more interviews that didn‟t turn out so well, I thought I had reached the perfect solution. I had an interview scheduled for a furniture buyer for a big department store and by accident I had taken a downer without realizing I had the appointment. On the way over there I noted how relaxed I was and how good I felt. The lady who was interviewing me was very straight-laced and her attitude so serious it was like it was happening to someone else and I was the audience. I couldn‟t conceal myself any longer as I laughed aloud and then I laughed even more at the shocked expression on her face. On my way home I came to the realization that downers weren‟t doing my life any good. There had been many occasions when I was with some friends and before I knew it, it was two in the morning and everyone had gone home as I was waking up on the floor or couch.
The days seemed to fly by and it didn‟t look like I was going to come up with the rent.
However, during the last few nights I was hearing a bunch of strange noises and I had a pretty good idea what it was. There was a small hole in the big bag of dog food I kept under the kitchen sink and apparently my little visitor would crawl along the water pipes and take as much food as he could. It got to the point where you could hear him walking along the pipes late at night. When you‟re paying as much rent as I was, that wasn‟t expected. These apartments were built close to the warehouses where they butchered meat and the word around was that there were rats in the building. Not mice, but rats! Not knowing what I was up against, I decided to get a big rattrap the next morning. To test the trap that was about a foot in length, I dropped a ballpoint pen on it and the trap shattered it all around the room! That night I set it just before going to bed and in the morning I rushed into the kitchen to see what happened. Sure enough, there was a giant rat which I immediately measured (what else do you do with it?) to be 13 inches from head to tail.
Naturally I went around and showed everybody in the building, but I knew who I really wanted to see. I put the rat in a plain brown bag and I went to see the rip-off owner of the building. When I got there he was gone and there were two elderly ladies who were probably secretaries. I told them to relay the message from me that I refused to pay my rent until my apartment was guaranteed to be free of rats and not only that, the place was so cold you had to sit around with a coat on. One of the ladies snapped “There aren‟t any rats!” and as she was finishing that line I reached in the bag and pulled Junior out by the end of his tail and dropped him on the floor in front of her. One lady screamed “Get it out of here!” and the other picked up the phone and threatened to call the police if I didn‟t pick it up. Knowing that I had made my point, I went over and picked up the rat, put it in the garbage can by her desk and walked out.
Rats or no rats I received my eviction notice about a week later and like everything else, it was a rip-off but since I didn‟t have a lawyer and it wasn‟t worth fighting and hassling, I just moved out. I have to admit that the downers had gotten the best of me and by moving I was able to leave that whole scene behind. I was moving all my stuff to my mother‟s home and once again I could concentrate on my reading and not worry about having to earn money except to buy the books I wanted to read.
One day while walking through Grand Central Station, I saw a booth which had a computer that figured out your astrological forecast based on the time, date and place of your birth. I had never given this much thought but as I was shedding away all kinds of distractions and responsibilities to find myself, all of a sudden astrology became important to me. I was born on January 17, 1945 at 7:11 a.m. in New York City and according to various astrological texts, I learned my sun sign was Capricorn, my rising sign was Capricorn and at the time of my birth the moon was in Pisces. Without going into too much detail, this meant I was extremely involved in business, was a self-starter, and I was very intuitive and looked toward mysticism. When I thought about all of this, it was really me. For some unexplainable reason business was a way of life for me and now it all seemed to start making sense. The very fact that I was pursuing my spiritual needs in a psychic or metaphysical manner was explained by my moon being in Pisces. As being business-minded is to being Capricorn, intuition is a trait of Pisces and my particular combination was really who I was. As I read more and more about astrology, it was evident there was a great difference of opinion as to what most things meant, but one could not deny basic similarities in many instances of comparisons of people born under similar circumstances at the same time. I believe that heredity is carried out astrologically meaning that the genes are in tune with the vibrations of the universe, but that environmental factors play an equal importance in that you are harmonizing with others and can adjust to living within society.
I started getting into understanding thoughts, which led me to the aspect of mind reading.
If you believe in one universal mind of which everyone is a part, then in a sense you share this mind with them along with your thoughts, both positive and negative. In the past I had been through some heavy LSD experiences and instead of experiencing a bad trip, I was always able to reject negative thoughts by telling myself I didn‟t desire to have that particular thought or if it persisted I would imagine everything in my mind‟s eye to be completely, solidly bright white light. Metaphysically speaking, pure white light is pure energy of which there is nothing better or stronger (symbolized by the sun). When you can sit back, close your eyes and imagine pure white light in your mind, nothing can penetrate this state of bliss. When things got really bad thought-wise during acid trips, I would mentally shoot myself through the sun several times and that would do it. I was learning that the mind took on two separate existences depending on the level of thought.
When I was concerned about Ray, my mind represented a temporary living being who knew he was going to be around for one lifetime; however, when I could relax and feel the presence of energy and love towards everything that was created for goodness I could feel love through others as they were experiencing it themselves. To me this was proof that we were all connected psychically. The trouble always starts when man acts on his own with disregard for his brothers and nature; he is acting on his own and destined for failure. I believed that as the sun was the source of all energy and to the degree one could understand that, he could attach himself to it and use it best for his positive purposes. In dealing with any phase of magic or mysticism that involves another person, one only has to ask himself would he desire the same for the other to wish upon him and the answer will determine the whiteness or darkness of the matter.
I was beginning to get into the Hermetic Philosophy which is inherent in the Tarot cards of which there are many designs and variations. Each particular card has a specific meaning or intensity and as the cards are laid out in their basic positions and each position has a meaning relating to personality. The first card chosen characterizes personality of the person whose cards are being read. The Tarot cards are believed to be 5000 years old and were used in Medieval Europe when scholars of different countries got together to communicate by overcoming language barriers. The most accurate Tarot card readings come through the reader‟s intuitive faculties based on his knowledge of the meanings and symbolism. Tarot cards teach that there is a duality in all things and one‟s life should be in harmony within the extremes. The only exception is the duality of positive and negative actions towards humanity. Negative actions of man exist as a learning experience to contrast with and understand the goodness provided by our Creator in a perfectly conceived universe of order and harmony. Another significant aspect of the Tarot is the micro- and macrocosm of all things. Any large organism is comprised of similar smaller components and the makeup of the whole is innate in each component. To me it was best represented with the analogy that a part of our Creator is within each of us as the verse We are made in his image goes. The image is consciousness as the Tarot teaches that things must be imagined in thought before they are manifested in the physical. Because of the personal nature of one‟s inner search for identity, I strongly recommend that one keep himself in a state of neutrality as far as being an independent and not place yourself under anybody‟s domination. This will ensure against being caught up in a Hitler or Jim Jones type trip where the oppressed become united around one who gains their trust by repeating the words and actions of others, and the separation they sought met with ultimate defeat. When one is constantly questioning and tries to understand the opposite point of view, he will not be mislead by believing that he is on the right side. After considering opposing points of view, he should move to seek harmony in a non-violent and peaceful course of action.
I was able to spend the winter months at home but it wasn‟t long before I was back in the van again and headed for California. I wasn‟t sure about what I wanted to do but the thought of the wide-open beaches lured me back across the country. Nothing was happening for me in New York and I was finding out I couldn‟t be left alone to pursue my interests. When Daf and I arrived on the coast that‟s where we headed. There‟s something about seeing a sheepdog with her long hair in the breeze, running in large arcs down to the water‟s edge and dodging the waters as they broke on the shore.
We went to visit some old friends and I met a real estate salesman who said he could get me a house for nothing down using my G.I. Bill!! The whole thing was turning out to be a dream come true. The idea of having my own home was like being on your own island!
Since there was a buyers market and I had my choice, I must have looked at 50 houses and I finally decided on a three-bedroom house in the San Fernando Valley. I had to wait about three weeks for it to go through escrow. Now that I was getting this place, I had to find a way to support it and that meant it was time to get a job! For the first time in several years I went and got a haircut. The next day I was hired as an Accounts Receivable Analyst for a local manufacturer of televisions and stereos. Can you believe I had been looking for work on and off for two years, and all I had to do was get a haircut!
I was hired by the firm‟s vice president to resolve five million dollars worth of receivables they had on their books. I was to report to him in the chain of command.
Being a self starter I was given a desk, a pile of papers including a copy of the report that I was to prepare weekly, and a stack of computer printout paper with the totals way out of balance. It was part of my job to go through the company‟s records and then contact the various parties involved and resolve whatever discrepancies in order to get it off the books. In the majority of situations, the salesmen involved promised the buyers anything and everything in order to make the sale and earn their commissions. While going through the company‟s records and talking to a lot of old-timers, I was able to learn a little history. It seemed that this American manufacturing company was at one time a leader in its field in the manufacture of radios, console televisions and stereos but in recent years had fallen to foreign competition that was produced from much cheaper labor.
As I was beginning to see from my own experience, the company was dominated on the employees‟ side by a few headhunters and the surviving workforce lived and breathed with fear. With sales dwindling as more and more foreign competition entered the market, management put the company up for sale. Then they made a deal with several warehousemen to set up new companies and shipped them hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory, which got the accounts receivables looking good on the books to potential buyers. As a result I was looking at all the receivables that were years past due. Most of my work in that particular area seemed fruitless and there was no chance of receiving funds from most of the accounts. As I was coming to this realization, my boss announced that he was leaving the company and within a short time was gone. This left me out in the middle of nowhere and my daily obligations were correcting the computer runs and preparing weekly status reports for the home office of the parent company.
Word was getting around that the company was folding but the management seemed to let everything go and I wound up quitting after nine months‟ time.
About two months before I quit I met Linda, who was a secretary there. Within a short while she moved into my house and continued to work at the company after I left. After having another rancid taste of corporate bologna, I returned to pursuing my readings of the Tarot cards, metaphysics and mysticism. The more I read about and studied the Tarot, the more aware I became of what I didn‟t know. I was becoming increasingly reliant on the cards and was very preoccupied about the future. Before doing anything, I would always consult the cards but when it became apparent to me that I was using them as a crutch, I decided to quit. Along about the same time, I was watching one of those Sunday morning TV religious programs and I heard him quote something Jesus had said. Wow, it blew my mind that this great leader sounded like a metaphysical magician with a cosmic consciousness. With my Jewish upbringing I had never heard him quoted before, and I certainly had not run across anything in my independent studies. It was really something, a guy would come on and quote Jesus (who was always saying, the father dwells within and that where I am you may be also) and then proceed to do just the opposite of what Jesus was saying by telling the listening audience to follow and understand someone else‟s interpretations! They put Jesus on a pedestal as God instead of seeing him as a refection of his Creator—made in his image through consciousness. If the TV evangelists were to preach love and understanding through the soul and its expression through feelings, as a people we would be much better. Everybody would see themselves in each other rather than the existing philosophy that a few dollars and picking the right religion or minister will ensure you a place in heaven and eternal bliss.
For the first time in my life I could really understand and relate to Jesus as a result of his words and everything started coming together. Jesus, born a Jew, grew up listening to his own conscience instead of the traditions of Jewish religion. He went around telling people about the truth and light within themselves—that the divinity they sought in life was present through their own consciousness if they would not look to material things to find themselves. As Jesus travelled around he met many people whose heads were definitely not in the same place as his was and as he referred to I am not as himself, but as the higher consciousness within him, what he was continually saying was that the same was true for everyone. However, when the headhunters of the day heard him, they judged him from where their heads were at and felt deeply threatened. Can you imagine a man living his whole life helping and healing his brothers and sisters and his only
“crime” was that he was much more aware of his existence…so they crucified him? This is the ever-present healing power Jesus left us with his passing: if you think you have hurt and problems, think of this man who lived his whole life for the benefit of others and all the pain he must have felt for mankind as he was strapped up on the cross. When you examine your own problems and hurts, don‟t they seem lessened in relation to the amount of suffering Jesus endured? Since all things are relative, healing is accomplished through a more comprehensive understanding of consciousness and the nature of one‟s existence.
When someone is trying to comfort a friend he should direct him to understanding the life of Jesus and the tragedy he encountered. In modern days it‟s seen in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr—a man who suffered countless indignities but because his consciousness was in such a place, he could forgive his brothers for persecuting him.
While growing up I had a traditional Jewish upbringing which included Sunday school, Bar Mitzvah and celebration of the major holidays. About the only thing I can remember about Sunday school is their asking me not to come back, but I sure can remember those holidays. Each holiday kicks off with a dinner and traditional ceremony that involves reading from prayer books as our ancestors did five thousand years ago. At one point in the ceremony, the youngest son is called upon to ask four questions concerning the ceremony, which is all fine except you have to read them in Hebrew! Since I was the youngest son, my father would direct me to start reading and upon my immediate failure to do so correctly, he‟d kick me out of the house. This proceeded to happen the last three years of his life and it was really starting to build a complex in my head. If he was so damn hung up on the Hebrew language he could have taught me himself! I guess he figured he was doing alright because he was making good money.
I always believed in God but nothing really seemed to make much sense about my religion. In the name of religion, I experienced some of the most traumatic episodes of my life. I was kicked out of Sunday school, kicked out of my own house and persecuted by my peers—and even by my friends behind my back. After all this my only desire in school was to try and understand why my world was coming down on me because of a label I had. To compensate for all of the prejudice, the Jews tend to flock together, which is understandable on their part. However, it tends to create a division with an us and them attitude. My head was so busy with all of the social interaction going on that schoolwork was hardly a consideration for much of my thought. Who really cared about who discovered what, about what formulas to use in math when on the bus somebody calls you a Kike and everybody laughs! When school would let out in June, I had a job at a country club that discriminated against Jews. I would caddy in the morning and when I came in I would work in the locker room, cleaning and shining golf shoes. Not only was I talking their bullshit, I was scraping it off their shoes. The locker room boy‟s name was Ray also and people would hand me some tips and say “this is for Ray” and I would keep it! Because they were giving me the minimum wage, I wasn‟t allowed to be tipped for the work I did.
Ever since those early days I have tried to understand what religion and minorities were all about. Most things in life are taken for granted until they are lost or in jeopardy. You cannot really know yourself if you are continually around others like yourself. When you find yourself within a minority and you feel discrimination, your attention becomes focused on yourself and you begin to notice differences and uniqueness. You don't want to be like those who are oppressing you. So in a way, finding yourself in a minority enables you to see yourself more clearly. What I was beginning to understand was that animals and the woods were the only two things that let me be myself. As my life progressed, I was learning that different people were bringing out different qualities within myself. I could see all people intermingled either in a positive or negative way.
Upon meeting someone, they will usually react in the same manner as you treat them, and if they are indifferent or unmoved, then that is also a reaction so whether positive or negative, we are all affected by each other. The golden rule of the Jewish religion, do unto others as you would have done to you is exactly the same as seeing yourself in others and acting accordingly. When Jesus said the father dwells within and that where I am you may be also, he was experiencing or witnessing an event of intelligence and creativity, which becomes transcendental as awareness and growth proceed.
If one believes in life after death, what do you have to work with if you shed our body?
Perhaps all you will have is the I am of your existence which learns through feelings of love and compassion rather than the present way of pain that exists with a body. As a drop of water becomes part of a whole when added to another body of water, maybe we will all be untied spiritually in much the same way. If one applies this same rationale while living within the body, then he is able to experience overwhelming feelings of oneness within his environment and all forms of life around him. I understand this to be experiencing a heaven on earth existence. Even a tree can show us so much about ourselves. The root structure determines its longevity and strength to cope with the elements of nature and in reality symbolizes that part of man which is unseen. But it is responsible for everything in him that is observable.
I once saw a movie called Johnny Got his Gun in which a young civil war soldier is wounded so badly that the only part of his body that seemed to function was his heart.
The movie took place in one room and there was a voiceover inflection to signify Johnny‟s thoughts. The movie was about the outer world learning that Johnny‟s mind was still functioning normally and it isn‟t until nearly the end that somebody finally notices that he his moving his head up and down on the pillow in Morse code, enabling him to communicate with the outer world. Even though we really aren‟t our bodies, handicapped people often have to prove their capabilities to an undiscerning outer world.
In this world of fantasy and make-believe, there can only be one thing to pursue and that is truth. When acknowledged, the truth reflects one‟s own experience in a perspective whereby reflection on past events will help you understand your life and its particular meaning. Care must be taken when understanding your particular truth as it may not be the same for others. For example, a group of people are sitting in a circle and an object is placed in the middle and each person is asked to draw exactly what he sees. They are all viewing the same object at the same time but none of their drawings will be the same because they are all at different angles to the central object. Another example would be to give ten people of different ages the same Bible and ask them to explain what any particular verse or chapter means. Each person will relate his own personal interpretation in defining each word, based on his age and individual experiences.
To the many who are looking for the person as a mate, I say stop looking elsewhere and look at yourself. When you come to terms with yourself, you will find a security that won‟t ever leave you like a divorced mate. It‟s like the wealthy people seeking good feelings through their material goods; a person looking for a mate to make him feel good has very little to offer the relationship and is destined for heartache and misunderstanding. All of these emotional experiences that end in pain are meant to center one‟s awareness on himself in that he must become his own best friend. Becoming your own best friend is brought about by being proud of who you are and what you want to do (self respect). Recognizing your own sensitivities in terms of feelings enables you to enjoy those things that you are truly interested in. The important point I want to make is to learn the difference between thoughts and feelings. It‟s almost the same difference as relating to someone‟s mind instead of their body. Depending on where your head‟s at, your thoughts come racing to you, often changing course in midstream and quite often it comes from those around you. About the only constant process you can know about your thoughts is that they occur in a habitual way and a conscious effort must be applied to change them. This brings about the most important ability that we can do to improve our mental process, and this is concentration. Concentration is the ability to calm the mind from the many outside thoughts and focus one‟s awareness towards a particular project.
To the extent you can develop a sensitivity through this awareness is directly proportional to the amount of success you will have. Sensitivity to the task will heighten one‟s awareness towards anything as it is only a matter of common sense that the more you look into something, the more you will get out of it.
When you start to examine the truth in your life you will find the root that leads to your core. You will be in touch with your core when you can relax, quiet your mind from all thoughts and seek the calm inner peace and stillness that remains. This is the goal sought in meditation and is your connection with the universe. For out of that stillness comes a voice that emanates a presence of I am. When you consecrate your life to your Creator, you‟re allowing this presence to enter your consciousness. Only when you quiet your mind and realize that you were created for a particular purpose can your higher mind (consciousness) pervade your being.
The key to staying in a higher state of consciousness is to practice and feel a new sensitivity towards all people and things. It‟s like you are the person or object, and you are treating yourself exactly as you want to be treated. A whole new world of feelings will begin to transform your being as you start to share feelings with all life around you.
As you walk through the woods and realize that you are related to everything in nature it‟s a feeling of going home and certainly a kind of rebirth of the soul. This inner feeling is so strong and rewarding. When you think of all the world‟s wealth tied up in material goods by people who are trying to attain the same feelings but are going about it in the wrong way, it seems absurd. Our instinct feels a need to take care and love life in its many forms, sort of a celebration of life and as you watch things start flowing to you, you want to pass them on where they are needed.