With a broken-down oven, in a hotel kitchen, on an uninhabited island
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I appreciate your magazine immensely. I was turned on to it by a friend. I turn on various friends as I am able. The blend of gentleness, insight, humanism, compassion and all the other good stuff you have put together does a lot for me.
I hope things go well for you. I know you have chronic subscription problems. I have a similar thing. I operate a small networking newsletter for the East Coast Bear Tribe. (I’m an apprentice of Sun Bear and a friend of Medicine Story.) I always have a lot of effort and personal cost involved in one of my issues. The output seems worth it, however. The input from my small public can be quite rewarding also.
I will keep turning people on to THE SUN and I’ll put a prayer in my pipe for you.
I really like the direction that Issue 96 took in its articles by Robert Bly and Steven Hendlin. I feel it’s definitely time to begin growing past the “Love and Light” superficiality of the (God, I hate this term) “New Age.”
However, as I got all the way into each of those articles, my initial delight turned first to tempered appreciation and finally to disappointment in both cases by the time I reached the last pages. It would be such a simple straight message to say, “Hey there’s nothing new going on; we’ve all got to grow in our own natural ways; feel free to explore with the self-confidence and integrity of your own best hunches.” Bly and Hendlin sound like this is what they’re leading to, but then each goes off in his own direction, providing one more generalization of what everybody needs to do.
Bly presumes that my marriage at nineteen was not in my best interests; I’ll go tell Sita, my wife of seventeen years, that neither of us had “enough of that invisible fire energy available to sustain and feed a relationship.” I guess we were just lucky. And Hendlin, a psychologist, eloquently wields a rapier against all the naive and distorted ways in which Westerners get involved with Eastern gurus or disciplines, but suddenly he turns it all into a sales pitch for his own orientation: psychology first, spirituality later. His eloquence is nowhere to be found in slashing apart the incredible distortions, failures, and shortcomings of Western psychology. The truth is, spiritual trips and psychological trips both have their pros and cons; it’s tacky to present the con of one and the pro of the other, pretending to provide us with objective insights.
It is time to put all this “New-Age” nonsense behind us. Bly and Hendlin have both articulated a lot of that nonsense, and for this I’m grateful. Now if the reader can take Bly’s and Hendlin’s biases and add them to the list, we’ll be doing even better. I have a guru and my spiritual practices include worshipping God in the form of a monkey. I’m thirty-six years old and I’m quite happy in my own bizarre path. It doesn’t mean I have to like Rajneesh with his opulence and arrogance; neither does it mean I reject the value of psychologically working through my neuroses. I don’t have to accept any label, any alliances at all, and neither does anyone else. What we do need to do, before we blow each other off the face of the earth, is to open up our senses of humor and realize that there is no rulebook, there is no best way, which applies to everyone. Bly’s dragons are important metaphors, and they’re also nonsense. Hendlin’s psychology-to-spirituality sequence is right on, and it’s also absurd. If we wish to help each other through our writings, let’s present our paths as powerfully as we can, but remembering to remind the reader that only he or she can stumble on to their own best way.
Now, let me tell you about this far-out monkey. . . .
I like very much the way you and the other people who put the magazine together explore your human fallibility. I think it is that willingness to be real, to be wrong or unsure of what you are doing, that gives THE SUN its vitality because it allows space for varying viewpoints and human possibility. It brings it back to what it’s all about.