CAVEAT: Warning! These letters have not been edited by Carla. Expect errors.
I got into gall bladder trouble fast on the heels of a back problem, which was fast on the heels of my second foot operation, all of which has been one down, down long experience so I have been down, down, down for a while as in horizontal and this is my first week back at work. I am answering the delightful, puzzling, incredible, etc. letters from friends and readers in order of the time I got them, what their post marks are so I am up April 21, which means I am less than two months behind now.
It is an experience I am rather familiar with. I am always sort of moving back and forth between functioning insofar as I am able to, in a rather sedentary way, and just not functioning. Hang up the sign that says gone fishing, read or watch TV. I have been doing a lot of TV watching lately because I didn’t have a chance to get the back problem squared away by exercise and you just can’t exercise with a gall bladder problem. Unfortunately the gall bladder problems continue because although the operation went well, the surgeon missed one of the stones somehow. I don’t know. That is what I get for having the surgery on May 13, which happened to be a Friday.
But back at work I am now and have been walking for a few days, just maybe a half a mile, maybe a little more than that each day, but it is a start. I’ll get back there. By Xmas I expect to be together. At least the very uncomfortable part of gall bladder surgery is over and also the very uncomfortable weight gain that went along with my being unable to dispose of what went in because nothing was moving through the gall bladder. I am not a petite woman. I am just little like a ballet dancer is little. I am light shouldered and all legs and arms and slight, the kind of figure that anything larger than a leotard and it just disappears completely, which is fine with me because I don’t need to flaunt it, as they say. I couldn’t if I wanted to unless I got everything in spandex. Anyway, forget it. I like loose swingy things that you can inhabit rather like a tent. It is much more fun.
I am delighted with you that now that you have decided to be home owners that you have been able to use the homestead land to produce the wherewithal for the updated version of a homestead. It certainly is poetic justice and delightful and I think you are right to just forgive B. I don’t know B. I haven’t asked Jim about B. I am reading this letter while Jim is frantically working in the other room so that we can have a vacation tomorrow. So let me get to the read on that I am answering this letter because I am sure Jim answered it before I did.
The meditation thing. You asked for words of guidance. I know that you have read the channeling handbook and there is a chapter in there on meditation groups. So what I am trying to think of that would be oriented specifically for you, that’s what I would like to put on this tape. See if I can kind of vibe in on you here.
You are suggesting a once a month full moon meditation. By the way it is meditation not mediation. You did it three times in the letter and I couldn’t figure out if it was a Freudian slip where you realized that meditation does mediate between you as a human and you as an eternal being or not. I rather like it actually, but just be careful that you don’t make that misspelling if you send out flyers because it will be real obvious that you are not wanting to start a mediation group. The librarian in me just had to tell you that.
Once a month I approve greatly of full moon. I can see the point behind that. It does give one access to a more magical pattern of influences from the earth and cosmos. It is also a time when people are, especially women, perhaps both more vulnerable to positive and more vulnerable to what we would consider negative emotional experience while meditating. When you accept that the full of the moon is a magic time, you also accept the fact that magic works both ways and sometimes it is perceived to be enormously helpful. Sometimes it may be perceived as enormously crazy or negative in some way.
It would probably be a move I would recommend for memory’s sake to have it on the same day every month or to have it on the same date every month. In other words, to have it on the first Monday or to have it on the first of every month, whichever the day was. Of the two, I would choose the day rather than the date because people that are available on Tuesday nights may not be available on Wednesday night. If you are going to do a month’s thing, it is better to say first Tuesday or last Tuesday or third Thursday or whatever and have somebody able to keep track of it. I kind of favor the first of the month because it is easier to remember. Okay, it is another month. Now it is time for another meditation.
And to back away a little bit from the implications of the full moon, unless you are prepared to deal with those implications by introducing study into the meditation group format. I got a note from L after Jim sent him the channeling handbook. Jim had told me that a lot of my ideas were a lot like L’s. I have not heard the whole L story from Jim because Jim was so far bummed out by L that he hasn’t really hunkered and taught me the whole L course. I would have, when I decided that Jim was going to be real important in my life, gone out to Colorado and taken his course if I had thought that I would physically be able to manage the survival aspect, the setting up of my shelter, the writing in a dream notebook and all of those things, which involve the use of the hands. You know I haven’t been there in a long time. I do all right as long as I am moving, good strong legs. When I am in shape I can rock my way through an aerobics class with fun, zest and power, also perspiration and shiny red face, but boy when you stop moving, if I don’t have a support that runs from the bottom of my spine right up to the top of my head, I am in serious shit.
Right now I’ve gotten to the point where I can sit up for like 2 ½ hours at a time which is terrific because that means I can go out to eat, can go shopping with Nick. I want to go to the Krogers. This is a big deal for us. Jim has always been a hermit and I fall right in with his plan. You come to the grocery with balloons and whistles as far as I am concerned, especially the groceries that we’ve got out here. It is one of those stores of the 1990 type. Chez Kroger (pronounced “Shay Kro-Jay”) I call it. I don’t know if you have Krogers where you live.
Back to the business at hand here. Since you have gone through the L program (by the way L has not answered the letter I wrote back). He apparently liked the book enough to ask me why I didn’t talk about and then he went into words like amygdale. You know I haven’t learned his system yet. Jim tells me that L would automatically make me the graduate if I just told him how long my orgasms last because sometimes they last as long five minutes, he said. I don’t time them. I just have them, but I guess Jim is sitting there with nothing else to do so he has more of an idea of how long it takes and hundreds of spasms and he says that L feels that that is absolute evidence of having circuited forward into the frontal lobe.
I have never had more than a glancing acquaintanceship with science and I just simply don’t know those words and my methods have been intuitive as well as analytical, but certainly not dependent upon science or fueled by an ambition to save the planet.
I see that as L’s big problem is that he’s got a wonderful message to offer, as near as I can tell from the benefit he has been to everybody he has touched, but because of his ambition, he’s blocked in what I would call the yellow ray because of the Ra material and I really like the vocabulary it does give you. He is blocked in his desire to affect society by being over-active, wanting to save the planet.
I am not saying that that is not what he should be doing. I am just saying that it keeps him from opening up his heart chakra and what he’s doing is he is sabotaging himself by this because if he would give up the ambition to save the world and just concentrate on allowing the process to occur and just teach the people whom he gets what he has to teach them. And not once they make contact try to push that contact to give him specific information so that he can prove whatever he wants to prove and then save the world, then I don’t think he would kick people out of his heart the way he seems to do right and left. I don’t think he would have to do that.
He wouldn’t have to drop the people who seem to him now to be inefficient. He would begin to perceive that we are all very helpful to each other because we are all wandering our own road with more or less success at the time perceived by us and with more or less catalyst etc., and that basically what we can do for each other is that we can share our love for each other and our notes. What is happening to us along our road? We know we are all going to the same destination. I can’t live somebody else’s path. Nobody else can live my path. It really is pretty simple.
Pardon any gastric burbles, by the way. That is part of having a gall stone left and I am afraid about every five minutes my stomach does something unspeakable and I would like to apologize and tell you that my stomach is probably going to be rude. Sorry.
At any rate, L’s teaching seemed, just from Jim’s general description, to contain helpful processes like the dream notebook, and a way of approaching the interior of man (humankind).
Are you an inclusive language feminist? I bum my girlfriends out all the time like girlfriend instead of woman friend and because I still say man and using the King’s English to mean men and women, and I am really trying to become inclusive, but I think it is doing violence to our language. The worst of it actually is when people say their instead of his because they don’t want to say his or her.
Again, I digress so often. Pardon me. At any rate, there seem to be mythic content, and this is very important, I think, in what L had and that means that some of the tools and resources that you have, although they are not specifically meditation, would be helpful adjuncts to meditation. So perhaps you would want to work with dreams after the meditation period. Perhaps you would want to take a certain topic in addition to the meditation, but most of all what you want to do is please yourself because if you and this Zen Unitarian guy start a meditation class, you need to be there for the class.
You need to be there substantially. It is not that you would be other than or better than the rest of the meditation group. It is just that there needs to be leadership, not only in structuring the experience so that people have times when they are supposed to meditate, times when they are supposed to be discussing something and free time before and after, and the content of that you need to be comfortable with.
Not only that. That is part of it. The other part is it really helps in a group if someone is aware of the energies that are going down in-between the people who are talking. You can get, for instance, one person in the group who will monopolize the group and talk, and talk, and talk and perhaps at first, this is interesting, but it gets old very fast. If the other people in the group are not able to get a word in edgewise, you need to feel comfortable about moving that energy, silencing that person in a gentle way, saying for instance, “That is very interesting. Now let’s hear what so-and-so has to say.” And simply moving on, or if two people have formed one of those “I don’t believe you. “Well I don’t believe you either” and start repeating themselves to each other, the energy needs to be freed, It needs to be moved on to something else. And if there is somebody in the group who is sitting there feeling totally alone and left out, a lot of times if you can become aware of that fact and find some way, some simple question to include that person, that is helpful.
But most of all, I would say figure out what is unique to your experience. You have had a lot of it. You are beginning to realize the meaning of life and from what I see. I really can’t tell G. I will be glad when I can meet you and can talk to you and know you because I can’t tell from what you say about the reality of diapers and everything, whether this is a joyously affirmed and accepted change in your life style,or whether it is just simply that you feel that it is a first priority. That there are other priorities that you’d like to get on with when these duties or responsibilities are through.
I personally, and I know this is a terribly unpopular belief or opinion, have experienced ambition only for one role and that is wife and mother. I have always been glad to work when I could work. I am disabled now, but it was never an ambition of mine to be doing anything but what I was doing, although I liked my jobs very much and I gave them full effort, maximum effort for the time they were paying me. But my real ambition in life was to have six kids and like most ambitions, it is the one thing that I haven’t been able to accomplish.
I was married early on, got pregnant, lost one baby, and my husband was not holding a job. And so I asked him to hold a job for six months so that I could be sure that I would be able to live and take care of my baby at home because that is really what I wanted.
I didn’t want to have to go out and work. I wanted to be able to raise kids and be at home and make a home, and I am not talking about putting junk up on the walls. I mean, I haven’t moved the furniture in this house since I put it there, but I am talking about the yen-woman energy, which kind of nurtures, blesses and nourishes. I think it basically fills up a place and makes it feel like a home. When people come into our place (you know we are both here 24 hours a day), and this place is just alive with vibrations because we are very home, homey people. I have no ambition; never have had for anything more than that experience. And the reason for that is that I have found it in my own life, and like I said, I am an eccentric person and probably nuts, that the things that speak most deeply of eternity are the common-place, ordinary everyday things that we repeat over and over, never seeing the beauty of the patterns.
And I am not just talking about smelling the flowers. I am talking about going to the bathroom, heating the bottle, washing the diapers, whatever exists in an intimate home environment as being those things that teach us the very deepest lessons of eternity. It is, I believe in the most familiar of things, that we finally find the present moment. I deeply regret the emphasis on the mountain top experience that is characteristic of the New Age because mountain tops are not desirable places for the day-to-day continuation of life. They cannot be sustained and I am not talking about literal mountain tops. I am talking about ecstasies and joys. They cannot, and I think, should not be sustained.
It is not in the mountain top experience that we learn. It is in the mountain top experience that we feel an ecstasy oneness, a fruit, a gift from ourselves to ourselves.
The work, the service gets done when we take that consciousness back into our every day life and begin to allow it to be transformed before our eyes into the carrier of eternity love and eternal ideals. It is a great paradox, but I find that when you discover the deeper paradoxes that you are on the right path because the hallmark of spirituality is paradox.
People that bop till they drop from one seminar to another and sort of collect mountain top experiences like charms on a bracelet end up with a charm bracelet. They don’t end up with a charmed life. So the meditation is a homey, intimate and ordinary thing. It is not a mountain top experience. It doesn’t have to be presented as a mountain top experience or a panacea, although in actuality. It is a transformative tool. It is certainly not a panacea. In my experience, persistent daily meditation is an absolute guaranteed initiator of change within the evolving spiritual entity that each of us is.
Change is almost always painful, if not very painful, and unless both the husband and the wife are doing the meditating together, the conflict between the one who is meditating and changing and the one who is not meditating and is not changing can be devastating and can cost the relationship, which is certainly not what I would call fun. Also realize the power of meditation and share with the people in your group the power of meditation so that if they are meditating and their spouses aren’t, they realize and make room for the fact that they will be having perceptions that the other person does not understand right away. And recommend simply that each person knowing that the changes are going to take place, be on the look-out to be the one who is willing to let things be. To be not understood, to be misunderstood, even to be criticized.
It is best that the one who is doing the meditation be the one to make the allowances because with the tool of meditation—it is easier for that person not only to continue changing, but to experience the feelings of compassion, and forgiveness and unity with people who don’t understand you. You can’t expect someone who is not meditating to feel comfortable with meditation and the changes it brings, but you can soothe and reassure the other entity in the mated pair that even though you are changing, you are not changing in a way that indicates that you are going to disrupt the vows that made you one; whether the vows had to do with marriage or whether they simply had to do with promises to each other and agreements made on an informal basis, or shall we say, without the benefit of clergy.
Be really honest what you personally would like. Set it up to satisfy yourself because in that situation, you will be the most comfortable, the most, I don’t want to say,in control. In control is the result of feeling comfortable and competent, deal with it. As a meditator you say you are strictly a beginner. Try it yourself. Try just a TM type meditation in which you pick a mantra for yourself like love. That is a good one, and go into the silence on a daily basis for maybe 15 or 20 minutes and if you find yourself oozing away, perhaps you are starting to think about what to fix for dinner. Back when I was cooking, I can’t do that now because I am too disabled, but back then, as soon as we started meditating, I found myself planning the evening meal.
There are all kinds of things you think about as soon as you sit down and try not to think. Suddenly everything in the world you want to think about, so the TM way is to use a mantra to entrain the mind and I don’t think you need a Maharishi to give you a mantra. You can use a well understood word like love, or the Creator, or service, whatever your focus is. Make this your own. Get some experience in meditation. See how you really feel about it on a daily basis and in a month’s time or so, step back and examine with your analytical ability the experiences that you have had; what you think about it so far; and what you would like to share with other people. Make sure that you really do like to meditate. That you really do think it is something that you want to share with people.
The key to your beginning this grand project is discipline. Discipline was never my favorite thing. I hardly see why it should be anybody else’s, but a certain amount of it is necessary. One possibility, since you are going to be suckling or heating a bottle (your baby is coming June 17th, it is a good time to meditate while your baby is eating because the little sucker isn’t throwing up, crying. You can’t change his diapers. Little kids have such a high level of need for you that it just seems like you are constantly doing something. You are either heating the bottle, or you are—with diapers these days it is a whole lot easier. You don’t have to rinse them out, but changing them and bathing the baby and cleaning up baby vomit. I have taken care of babies and it is a busy proposition, but that one really mellow time is when you are feeding the baby the bottle, so with a newborn baby, you might find that it is easier to come by the discipline of checking this meditation thing out by yourself.
You won’t be an expert after one or two months. But you will know whether you like it or not. You’ll be able to see what it has done for you, and I think in order to offer it to other people; you need to be able to rear up, as they say in Kentucky, on your hind legs, and say, “Yah, I can witness to the efficacy of meditation in my life. I have just begun doing it. I’ve been keeping this notebook (or whatever it is that you do during this evaluative period” and I really can see that I am getting more centered, more conscious of eternity and its resonance within my daily life. I am feeling like I have a more complete feeling for compassion.“ Whatever it is that you seem to have found out, however, you seem to have subtlety or obviously changed. Develop for yourself this witness because when people come, some come with an open mind and some come skeptically and if someone asks you the question of, “Do you really think this is worth it?” You just need to be able to say from experience, “Yeah, so far I do. I do think that this is a key thing to do.”
And in actuality, G, I think it is a key thing. I don’t think that you could possibly go wrong with a meditation group.
Let me know how you are doing with it and if you have any more questions, let me know. I certainly don’t think the channeling is necessary. I think the greatest of meditations is the silent part of meditation. I love to listen to channeling myself and one thing that I do regret about not having a big group anymore is that I don’t have anybody else that really wants to channel. Jim can channel, but he’ll only channel the part that I cannot because I have been told not to by Ra and that is a question and answer period. He’ll do the questions and answers, but he has an incorrect and very low opinion of his level of skill as a channel and will not give the basic message on a Sunday night meditation or whatever. It’s too bad.
Hopefully one of these days one of my students will be local and will be willing to give me the chance to listen to some channeling for a change. I would certainly welcome that.
My feet are healed up except that the guy got one of my six toesies wrong and it is the ring toe on the right foot and that little sucker is cocked over to the right to the point where it completely swallows up the little toe and sticks out beyond it a little bit. If it were merchandise I could take it back, but unfortunately it is my body and he is not interested in correcting his error for free. I am walking again with sore feet and I just hope that as I am able to walk more and more and finally get back to jazzercising, which really does help out with the back problem, that my feet will get less tender simply because I refuse to allow them to conquer me. I have been able to do that with all of my body except my hands and wrists. I can’t do a damn thing with my hands and get away with it.
I’ve got time to tell you about Jim’s garden. Jim runs like a clock. He is the most self-motivated man I have ever known and at precisely at 12 o’clock, which is ten minutes from now, he will finish his morning work and move into the breakfast mode. We eat breakfast at noon. Neither of us like breakfast so we have brunch. I have fruit and he has cereal. But I think that I have time and can tell you about his garden.
It is just so wonderful. The first year he made a … he got a bunch of stones, shale, creek rock from a drywall fence that had fallen over on a neighbor’s yard because it was old and the neighbor wanted the owner to get rid of it. And Jim connected with the guy through an ad in the Bargain Mart and found these stones and got them for just taking them away, all of these marvelous stones. So he created a large, cross-shaped patio, a cruciform in the Celtic manner with the circle in the middle, which is a circular fountain, with like three cement candles, the flame of which is the water and is very nice. And then the four arms come out and widen at the bottom of each arm, flare out, to make a classic Celtic cross, real pretty and even visible from altitudes. People with private planes have flown over and seen it from the air.
And then the next year he planted more and the next year he planted more. Now he’s got a rose garden. He’s got like a sea of oats and other long wonderful grasses, things that all people like F who have moved from one place to another in the country. She’ll dig up a bunch of stuff and she’ll give it to us and we’ll put it in our yard so we’ve got a very eclectic garden. Roses, lots of things Jim puts out all around on the outside on each of the corners of the cross. He’s got just a riot of different flowers. Mostly dahlias, petunias, four o’clocks, impatiens, ageratum, moss rose. Just all kinds of beautiful things.
This year he has finished one project, which was to build a dry wall above the ground, double garden, in a sweep so that he can complete the curve of the garden with all the fronds and sea oats and stuff. He’s got that moving along that same kind of line and that is all in now. He is working at this point on a great big trellis with hopefully roses to go climbing over it and after that he wants to put down paths and people can wander around the garden.
I objected at first to the idea of paths because I just figured it would make cutting the grass infinitely difficult. He has got so much in the back yard now that basically we have not a backyard. It is a truly European concept and I just love it. Also Jim has an enormous kitchen garden. He is growing four or five, six times the easy-to-grow things because I go to a downtown church. Jim has never been interested in going to any kind of church, but I am an Episcopalian and have been since the cradle and it is really important to me. I found this parish over 20 years ago downtown that I just took to. It’s got the best music in town because the people who are in the local box society, which is internationally actually, they tend to buttonhole students at U of L, especially Margaret with her church music classes and she’ll say, “I really feel it would add to your experience as a future organist to join us.
That at first just brought people in by the music and they have a lot of fun, sight-reading music, and dashing down and putting it in the service. We sing such hard music, that the practice time that we have is really not enough and so the only thing that saves us is that most of the people who sing in the choir are somewhat better than the average choir member at reading music, etc., have had more experience with it.
It’s got the prettiest building. It’s got the most incredible stained-glass windows. The preacher actually preaches almost always on love instead of rattling off dry bones about this saint or that saint or this historic figure or that. He’s just got everything.
And a lot of people stay and become an Episcopalian because of the unique type of church that the Episcopal Church is and the uniqueness of the parish. For instance, Father Ben, the priest there, works with me on my channeling, not that he tells me what to do, but he reads the stuff and gives me some evaluation of it from the standpoint of a spiritual counselor. He has always been most supportive and before him I had other clergy within the dioceses that was supporting this ministry of mine and not going, “Oh, this is of Satan.” That can really hurt the hell out of you.
I wish you luck in your finding a place to worship. I think ritual of some kind, myths, getting into the interior universe and allowing that universe to be, maybe just recognize it for the first time that that universe is greater and far more real than all of this outer illusion. It is a very big thing and if you can find a church that does that for you, great. If you can’t find a church that does that for you, then you are stuck with your own myths, whatever myth appeals to you.
A lot of people have moved into the American Indian tradition because it, unlike so many New Age sources, is not only a giver of information. It is also a giver of ritual and I believe it takes ritual to bring out in us the experience of worship. That is why I think that the things that we repeat the most, that we are most the ritualistic about also have a lot of bearing, have the deepest bearing on our ability to merge our impressions of eternity, and our impressions of temporality and free will so that we see time disappearing into eternity and eternity manifesting in time. Another spiritual paradox that I have no intention of explaining, because who could? I just rejoice in the paradox because I know then that I am on the right track.
I am sorry to ramble so long or not, depending on whether you enjoyed it. I wish you well. Hope that you can come see us some time or that we can come see you. You are in Durham, N.C. I have to look on the map to see where that is. It is possible if we get to go to the beach this summer, if the tube comes out in time. Obviously I can’t go water bathing with a tube in my chest. If we make it to South Carolina, maybe we can come by Durham and make a special stop and meet you all.
I mean for me to meet you all and for Jim to renew your acquaintance. And I think old lovers should stay friends forever, don’t you? I mean really. Who else have you been that close to and who else can you trust quite so much? So let’s stick with each, keep up with each other and experience the good feelings that that connection brings. Write when you can and good luck with what you are doing. And don’t write because you think you have to. Just when you feel inspired.
And above all, I shall be thinking of your new little one and be thrilled for you. I just can’t think of anything more exciting in this world. I hope you have a wonderful, easy, knock-on-wood, uncomplicated delivery, but however it goes, I know it will go okay. Until I see you again, lots of love and light.