The kind you’re born with, the kind you choose, the kind that teach Catholic school
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We interviewed Peter Caddy last June during his visit to Raleigh. Unfortunately, the first half of the interview ended up in electronic limbo; our tape recorder didn’t work.
My own feeling about the interview was disappointment; Caddy’s answers were too pat for me. I felt talked at, not to. Betsy Campbell Blackwell, who was with me, disagrees. Caddy felt “invisible” to her — which meant “the man did not get in the way of what he was saying. There was no element of persuasion.”
SUN: Spending as much time on the road as you do, you are not at home, you are not at your community, do you find that your life gets disrupted at all?
CADDY: No. I live in the moment. Fully in the moment, not worrying about the next day or thinking about the past day. So there are certain techniques that one learns. I thoroughly enjoy life. I enjoy what I am doing, and I know that I am guided step by step, and all that needs to happen, happens. It is entirely in God’s hands to just direct operations.
The very difficulty I find, I’ve just been on a three months tour of California, New Zealand, and Australia, is getting sufficient exercise while travelling. So when there is an opportunity, like this morning, I go swimming in the lake.
SUN: Are there any particular people who are inspirational for you, people whom you read, or to whose words you pay special attention?
CADDY: Yes. David Spangler, above all others. William Irwin Thompson.
SUN: Do you read much?
SUN: Did you earlier in your life?
CADDY: Oh yes, in my early days of searching, I think I read every occult and mystical book there was going.
SUN: To what extent do you think that’s useful, the reading of astrology, the psychic or the channelled type of material that there is so much of in the United States and to which so many people are attracted, by genuine searching. At what point does that become a sidetrack?
CADDY: It can easily become a sidetrack. The whole secret is to be still and turn within to follow one’s own inner direction. All knowledge, all power, everything, is within ourselves. If you can have that inner stillness, the contact with the God within, the High Self, the Christ within, the Guru, whatever you want to call it, that saves a lot of reading. Saves your eyes.
SUN: In your life, there’s been much divergence from traditional social forms. Do you feel there’s a connection between the spiritual life and adherence to society’s rules?
CADDY: I’m not quite sure what your question is. I was fifteen years an officer in the Royal Air Force, which is pretty traditional, and manager of a four-star luxury hotel, so I think one needs to be able to learn a spiritual life, learn the lessons life has to teach you, while being in the world. If you’re going to reach people in the world, you’ve got to be able to mix with any level of society or group anywhere, and feel at ease, be comfortable with them. And them with you. Particularly if you have revolutionary ideas. Have I answered your question?
SUN: Maybe not entirely. I’ll be more specific. What is marriage?
CADDY: I think we are going through a transition. In the old Piscean Age, people married for all kinds of reasons, for security, for money, because they liked the person’s body or face or the shape of their legs or whatever. And if it was carried out in a church, they saw that as being married by God.
I think more of the New Age attitude is that marriages are made in heaven, they are soul links. Love has put them together that no man can put asunder. My first marriage was for comical reasons: because everybody else got married. They married very young, and we really didn’t know what it was all about. So my second marriage was really with my spiritual teacher, who at that time was my spiritual teacher.
I really learned what true marriage was in my third marriage, with my twin soul, my other half. So I’ve experienced this from all angles. For example, Eileen, my present wife, left five children, her husband and five children, which is quite a big step to take. That whole story is in The Magic of Findhorn.
SUN: So, there’s nothing sacrosanct about the institution of marriage itself, or about any institution for that matter.
CADDY: I think all the institutions need to undergo a change, as we move into the New Age. I think there needs to be commitment in two souls coming together, and taking responsibility, taking responsibility for their family. So commitment is a sense of responsibility.
It’s so easy to be sidetracked, to think, “Ah, if I were with this person instead of that one I wouldn’t have this problem,” but you may change the outer circumstance and still have the problem. Just changing your partner doesn’t mean . . . By changing your partner, you may invoke a very similar problem, unless you really love that person, or, you might be out of the frying pan and into the fire.
SUN: There are many people today who call themselves spiritual teachers. Maybe more so than ever. How many of them feel genuine to you?
CADDY: A lot. But I think the day of the guru is over. A guru, a master, a teacher, a discipline, can take you only so far along the spiritual path. All good teachers aim to bring you to the point where you can turn within and get your own liberation. I think a false teacher is one who wants to cling onto people, onto his followers instead of setting them free. I think that’s one error.
SUN: Are you saying that the ones who have the greatest followings are perhaps the ones to most distrust?
CADDY: No, I wouldn’t like that to be interpreted that way. It is the attitude of wanting to hold onto people, not wanting them to go on, to other teachers. If they say, “this is what I know to be true in my own life, and if it helps you, that’s fine, if not, go on to someone else,” I think that should be the sort of attitude, not to bind people. Findhorn is for people who have really gone beyond their teacher and are at the stage where they turn within and follow their own inner direction . . .
SUN: With Eileen’s guidance, to some degree, there have been some prophetic statements about what you will be doing, giving you part of your plan. A lot of people go and get psychic readings —
CADDY: Eileen’s are not psychic readings, let me make that clear, it’s not the psychic level.
SUN: Okay, explain that.
CADDY: I think there is a danger in psychic readings because they tap into the psychic levels which are very much planes of illusion, rather than going beyond that to higher levels.
SUN: How do I distinguish, as a person who doesn’t hear inner voices, but has her own intuition —
CADDY: That’s the thing to follow, the intuition, that’s what’s important.
SUN: There are a lot of spiritual teachers in the United States today who use as a part of their teaching — whether it’s psychic ability or tuning into God’s will, such prophecies as “California’s going to fall into the ocean.” To what extent is that useful?
CADDY: The role of the prophet is to say, if you go on as you are, this is what’s going to happen, so it will shake people up. A good prophet is a prophet whose prophecies do not come about. So whatever you think, if you think doom, you’ll help bring that about. So I think it’s good to listen, to say the future depends on the past now, the future depends on how much love and light can be anchored in our lives, how we can work together in groups and how much unity can be established between groups. This is why we’re spending so much time travelling all over the world, to help bring that unity of the forces of light, and to think very positively about the future and create the new, and let the old disintegrate.
SUN: Often there is a political naivete among people who move away from society to work on themselves but who are still living within society. If, for example, the whole economy of a country is deteriorating, it’s going to affect communities no matter how isolated they are. How is this dealt with at Findhorn? Is there an attunement to basic political and social struggles in the world?
CADDY: No, we’re not concerned with the social struggles; it is to demonstrate a different way of living, of a New Age consciousness. Politicians may come and see . . . Barnard Levin, the most biting and respected journalist in Britain, wrote about the Festival of Mind, Body, and Spirit that the trickle going through turnstiles was just a trickle now but would become a flood and engulf the whole world; the politicians haven’t got the answers that these people have.
A country gets the government it deserves, for their answers, and a change in consciousness changes that.
SUN: But how do you deal with the fact that you are going to be affected by what’s happening around you? For example, in my community, there is a controversy over the construction of a dam, which the farmers are opposed to, and the town wants more water for the burgeoning population. I’m not immediately affected, but if, for example, I were part of a community, whose land was being threatened it would certainly be a real issue for us —
CADDY: Anyway, we don’t get involved in political issues.
SUN: Issues like that never affect you?
CADDY: If we are really living in the moment, and being guided by God, no outside force can touch one really. One is completely protected. For a long time, for years I asked, should we store food and fuel? And then at a lot of communities, we’d see about storing food and fuel. And then we had the shortage of oil. We were cut by 25%, and then the miners took that opportunity to strike, and Britain was really in a sticky way. What happened at Findhorn? Findhorn wasn’t touched . . . the whole community had oil, when we were cut 25%. The previous year I had ordered eight tons of peat for the garden and I had in mind fine, grainy peat. Okay, an eight-wheel lorry with peat blocks for burning on the fire arrived. I thought, “Oh my God, what am I going to do?” So they dumped it. So when we had this shortage of fuel, we burned peat during the day and used our fuel rations at night. Then there was an electricity cut. You couldn’t get a candle for love nor money, and we had our candle studio, we had masses of candles there. And we loved dining by candlelight, having nice cozy evenings by the fire. So you see, the rest of the country was suffering, but we weren’t; it wasn’t any cleverness on our part.
SUN: Could you talk about the different forms a community can take, and do they need to be visible or announced. People often think about Findhorn, or The Farm in Tennessee, or something enormous when they think about a community. How small or invisible can a working, effective community be?
CADDY: It can be all different sizes, starting smaller and growing larger. Findhorn began with certain numbers, two, three, four, five, seven, nine, and twelve . . . that’s how we have evolved, two to three, and then four, and so on. But you shouldn’t take that rigidly. We were told there is no blueprint for a New Age community, that we had to live in the moment, and be guided by God, step by step. It’s our looking back, and seeing the steps one has taken, the principles we have learned, that can be shared with other people in different ways at different times, on how to form different types of communities.
SUN: Well, what would be your advice then to a group of people, 2 or 200, who are getting together with the best of intentions to start a community?
CADDY: I’d say don’t. Because people forget the long training Eileen and I had before starting. The lessons that had to be learned, like faith, obedience, and the ability to turn within. It’s no good turning within to get inner direction if you haven’t learned obedience to follow that out. So in starting a community, I’d say it’s vital people be able to be still and get that inner direction, and obey what they get. To start a community, it is vital that there is a leader, that there is somebody where the buck stops, the buck stops there. About 95% of the communities, I am told, in the United States, fail, and I think this is one of the main reasons. Someone has a vision he is prepared to be responsible for; then, as at Findhorn, we move more into group consciousness and action and responsibility.
SUN: Are you ever afraid?
CADDY: Never. Except of a dentist’s drill.
Elizabeth Rose Campbell