When I wrote to Thaddeus Golas for permission to print his letter, he sent this reply.
Yes, you may print the letter — but not for the reasons you gave!
Testimonials that something works are a dime a dozen, and I have long been aware that anyone can get high by inventing a theory — how willingly we expand with our own bright thoughts! Or even someone else’s “new method.” My aim has been to get past all that to what was universally operative: being expanded itself.
That is why the tone of my recent writing is somewhat dispassionate. I’m not preaching that everything can be simple and peachy. I would rather that people chose to try expanding on the basis of what is in the articles, than on the report of my personal experience.
To make that report accurate, I have to say that through all these recent weeks I have felt myself carried along by events without any clear idea of what the hell was going on or what I was getting into. Staying expanded will change your reality, but reality is unpredictable as always. It is not, I must say, a neat and orderly way of achieving earthly goals.
Being expanded gets you high, and agreement gives you pleasure. But when you go for the high, you forfeit your current agreements, and you have to maintain the expanded state no matter what happens. You may see worlds crashing around you, like Mr. Natural. Don’t pull back, and don’t look back.
I can’t believe I am where I am and that the last month’s events have happened.
You are already familiar with the sort of ideas that have been coming since I got the flash about staying expanded, of prolonging consciousness. Well, about six weeks ago I was thinking, where are the physical changes in my local reality that should be happening if this theory is correct? Wow!
There has been such a rush of events, a drama every day, that the details will have to wait, but I am now ensconced in a forested valley, the mountains receding into the east, a few scattered farmsteads visible on the far hills. Officially it is the guest house of a 180-acre ranch now rented by Bill and Liz of The Lazy Man’s Guide’s dedication — they are in the main house a couple of hundred yards away in the woods. Their house is grand and complete, but mine is an unfinished folly, charming but no hot water and I am cooking over an open flame in a stove that is a glorified fireplace, etc.
When I came up with Bill a couple of weeks ago to look at the place, I was totally critical and reluctant — after all, I had just come back to the city after a long absence. Then I walked out onto the platform of this cabin and sat down facing the valley, and it was like falling into a bowl of whipped cream. I truly thought I would be unable to get up to leave. I immediately flashed on a scene in the film “Black Narcissus” of a yogi meditating in the Himalayas that blew me away in the same way.
Even so, when we were driving home I said, “If I had a helicopter I would move in,” because I hate dirt roads, and there is a one-mile dirt road to the place that keeps the squares away. But the more I thought and talked about it on the way back to San Francisco, the more I knew I had to move in immediately. I had left part of myself there, and the rest of me was just waiting to go back. So here I am.
I came up alone Wednesday (the lease signed on Tuesday) as an advance scout to get the power turned on etc. (I have only a carload of possessions plus a few boxes, but today sometime a caravan will arrive for the main house.) I have no more sense of controlling events than I ever did on a psychedelic trip, and the events are just as delicious. In fact, this is the first time I have had a sense of the promise of those trips being realized in the earthly reality. All I can say is, have the patience to keep saying “I am expanded all the time,” and then let it happen.
Regarding the article, “Fixing the World: An Interview with Schlomo Carlebach” by Howard Jay Rubin [Issue 84] — the words are nice, finding so much light in Judaism, the same light available by many paths. But to judge the violence of others, not mentioning our own violence, puts us back to square one again in the love and forgiveness game.
Trying to let this go, even as I write.
P.S. Your magazine shines a lot of light. Keep it coming!
I read it after leaving church, put off by all the words and the form. Tears came to my eyes several times. I thought, “This is my real church service.” I have been struggling to be the Power in my life, source instead of effect. Hugh does this for me.
So thanks for the magazine, the vehicle for the article.
This morning at work, I am sipping my tea and reading your editorial. It is awesome, incredibly “right on” for me. These are the issues I look at daily, like going through the motions, the thousand different disguises being me; my ignorance of who I really am; “imagining that our treacheries will protect us.”
Ultimately, what is it all about? Words are merely a facility. You’re right: crooning our specialness to each other ain’t it. The honesty of our minds describing its prison ain’t it, either. The hard core stuff in life is truly: What is the game we are playing here on the planet?
Thanks for being out there playing the game, doing your dance.
At 2:30 p.m. Saturday, October 3, Swami Muktananda Paramahamsa took leave of his mortal frame. From mid-afternoon that day throughout the night calls were made all over the world telling of his passing. Everywhere, small groups of people gathered to swap Baba stories and open their hearts.
I was amazed at the diversity of the people that were attracted to Baba. My sister and I are worlds apart in almost all areas of our lives, but we both love Baba. Baba’s ministry was the first “spiritual trip” to come into my life that appealed to blacks as well as whites. Up to that time the teachers and guides all had a curiously homogenous following — white, young and mostly college-educated. Baba was the only teacher I knew that didn’t mind tough love. He yelled at a girlfriend of mine once and she couldn’t talk for a week it frightened her so. But his love turned apparent, for within months her life began to take a pleasing turn. That was three years ago, and this person’s life seems to get better and better. Being yelled at by Baba would be, to me, a blessing, but he never did.
So many people have described him. I can’t. I can tell you what I saw go on around him. Sometimes it was like an acid party. Sometimes just a plain old circus. Sometimes very boring. But Baba just walked, or sat and talked or hit people over the head with peacock feathers. What went on outside of my view I haven’t a clue. Did he have a personal life? Did some of the swamis stay constantly by his side like lieutenants? Who cares? He was only there when you saw him. Everybody had a personal relationship with him. Their hearts were the switchboards. I cannot count the times I have called to Baba in my heart and the heart responds with that love. I need to use the word “that” because it manifested in a certain way. It was assured. My mind knew. My heart knew. The uncertainty that sometimes comes with being human was erased. It was just enough to make you remember your real self. A couple of times it was overwhelming, and then the feeling turned to outright rejoicing. The electricity was turned up, the breathing became erratic and the tears of joy would wash away that sense of separation. The one thought my mind could muster was “thank you.”
I got to put my head in Baba’s lap once. As I think about that now, I remember my sister saying that some great sage said, “Even one meeting with a saint is enough.”