Archive 3
 Castaneda: 7/31/02
The focus of this month's Missal is author Carlos Castaneda, and the sorcerer Don Juan. Castaneda burst upon the scene in the late sixties with his first book, The Teachings of Don Juan; A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.  It came at the right moment, just as the sixties drug culture was turning heads to new possibilities. His early books contained the romantic tales and exploits of theYaqui Indian, Don Juan Mateus, as he endeavored to introduce Castaneda to the world of sorcery. In the later books, the milieu of the Indian sorcery paradigm with its drugs and magic faded into the background, and the books became more of a vehicle for Don Juan's esoteric teachings. Where Castaneda found this knowledge, and if the figure of Don Juan ever really existed, is the subject of endless debate. He insisted right up until his death from liver cancer in 1997 that the books were factual accounts. This is admittedly hard to swallow, if one holds them up to any scrutiny. Even the physical descriptions of him and don Juan walking about the Sonoran desert in the heat of the day without so much as a drop of sweat make one wonder. He spoke of Don Juan finally leaving this world, of 'burning from within' and even taking his aging body with him. I have to question why a 70-80 year old would want to carry such baggage from this world to the next.
   The main premise of the books is that we are blobs of luminous light, with a bright spot within called the 'assemblage point'. These luminous eggs are comprised of aware, glowing filaments which are accessed through this assemblage point and its movements. This movement across different luminous filaments translates as giving access to different 'worlds' or views. The sorcerer's task was to become adept at moving the assemblage point so as to put together different worlds for his enjoyment, and to escape eventual death in this one. Much is written in the books about how our assemblage point is stuck through social conditioning, and how to get it free, usually through shock, drugs, and tricks. Castaneda also includes many long-winded explanations of the sorcerer's path by Don Juan . The 'nagual', or sorcerer teacher, makes it his task to assist the 'spirit' in freeing the apprentices' assemblage point, enabling him to be transported into infinite new worlds. Little is said about 'who' is being transported.

" The sorcerers' idea is we are entombed by social upbringing, tricked into perceiving the world as a place of hard objects and finalities. We go to our graves denying we are magical beings; our agenda is to service the ego instead of the spirit. Before we know it, the battle is over - we die squalidly shackled to the self. "

Castaneda led a very secretive life, only giving brief public appearances in the middle 90's, along with his group of women apprentices he called the 'witches'. He was born somewhere in South America, and first appeared in the States as an anthropology student at UCLA. He earned his Masters and Doctorate there for his 'research' into the world of don Juan and his sorcery. He never offered any proof of this research, of Don Juan himself, or of even having spent much time in Mexico.
   His later books do provide quite a wealth of esoteric knowledge, ranging from matters of the spirit, or the 'abstract', to the value of abstinence, or energy conservation. Castaneda himself never seems to have put this into a practical teaching he himself could pass on in person. Where the knowledge came from might never be known. If he himself used it to change his being, or if he had any success with it at all, might also never be known. He speaks of 'polishing our link with the spirit',  in which he implies a knowledge of going within, of connecting with the inner self.  People will be wondering if he himself accomplished this for years to come. The women apprentices, or 'witches', that still carry on his business, claim to have met Don Juan and to be privy to his teaching, but mostly seem to do what Castaneda manifestly did best: make money. His books sold an astonishing eight million copies.

" The nagual is a nonentity - not a person. In place of the ego is something else, something very old.  Something observant, detached - and infinitely less committed to the self. A man with an ego is driven by psychological desires. The nagual has none."

Sustained Action : good all-round site for info on Castaneda, pro and con.

Magical Passes : by ClearGreen Incorporated. The 'Official' Castaneda Site, though it deals mainly with selling the Tensegrity Magical Passes stuff.

" We're just biological meat with bad habits and no energy."
- Castaneda

Trick: Chase Your Attention! Have you ever been driving down the road, when you notice you've gone several miles but have no memory of it? Where were you? Who was driving? Is there really such a thing as a 'doer'? Next time, chase your attention as it wanders. Where are you, and what are you looking at? Play the game of noticing what you see, rather than becoming lost in the looker. Who's really watching who?
Trap: Armchair Travelers Grandiosity - How many times have you noticed others (and yourself!) talking confidently about something they have no real experience with.  It's easy to live in the imagination, where there is no real resistance, and to 'think' we know things we don't. Don't go about the spiritual search from the 'safety' of a fantasy land. Armchair travelers reap words, not truth. We can hide in a dream or face our fears, acknowledge our inexperience, and pray we're taught what we need to know.

"The great danger of the written and spoken word is that you will ingest conclusions without the pain of the growth.
You can't do it. It won't work." - Jim Burns

Words... or Experience?

     When I graduated from high school and moved on to a large State University, I received an invaluable lesson in the difference between fact and fantasy, words and Presence. I had been good at the high school curriculum and had been led to believe by my teachers, friends, and proud mother that I was gifted and special, and would be so forever. I had as yet no real knowledge of myself, of what might be called 'being'. Most of my so-called smarts was made up of memorized facts, a large helping of pride, and an assumed self-confidence based entirely on praise. On entering the larger world of the university, I was soon force-fed the fact that it was all relative, and that an untested life, no matter how innerly enriched with fantasy, was not much of a life at all.
     At about this same time, I encountered the books of Carlos Castaneda. I fell under the spell of his romantic tales of power. Along with several friends, I envisioned myself roaming the desert, wrapped in the fantasy world of allies, magic mushrooms and friendly old sorcerers. We were still not even weaned from our mommies, but in our fantasy realm of no-resistance, of wishful dreaming, we were sure we could do at least as well as the bumbling Carlos, if Don Juan would just give us a chance. The months ahead proved to be educational in more ways than one. I flunked out of my first semester, and had to spend a year at a small community college to get my GPA back up. Through a new-found love of the mountains, and a few near disasters there, I also began to realize the difference between being a mountaineer, and dreaming you're one. I was beginning to get a taste of the mechanicalness of my being.
     As the years passed, I lost more and more of the attachments to family and upbringing, though never without a shock, but still retained my infatuation with Castaneda's world of magic and freedom. It was not until I had the good fortune to meet a real Don Juan, a true 'nagual', that things changed. This master was no Indian, Mexican or Hindu, nor Buddhist or Shaman, but a West Virginia hillbilly named Richard Rose living a simple life in near anonymity.  The difference between him and the don Juan of my fantasies was in his Presence. This man had power. It felt like I was sitting in a room with a live nuclear weapon. I learned more from this than in any and all of the books I'd ever read. I learned what true strength was, the nature of real magic, and that we truly don't learn from books or fantasies. We become through struggle, real experience, and grace. This West Virginia Zen master did not take it easy on me, or anyone who came seeking his help. Instead of just telling us unverifiable tales of power about his teacher through books or lectures, he turned us back on ourselves. We were forced to go within to find an answer. He was all too available and real, maddeningly so. I had found my don Juan, and he was turning me inside out. I was tested in ways I could never have imagined, ... and never got to spend a single night in the Mexican desert.
     This man had also written books, but he was there to back them up. He made himself available to anyone with a sincere desire to 'discover the truth', as he put it, and never charged for his time. He had true being, and by seeing this in him, one could come to know what was possible for oneself, and how to find it. He put no stock in appearances or words, but in action and facts. I saw for the first time the difference between being aware of oneself, and of creating a fantasy and identifying with it.
     The search for truth, the journey within, finding our link with the abstract: these are just words until we find the reality they speak of, for ourselves, in ourselves. To place the higher value on the trappings of the adventure and its backgrounds, no matter how exotic, will not get us to loosen our grip on illusion and fantasy. Find a teacher if you can, and don't run away after he throws the first punch. If he's worth finding, he'll raise the grain until you think you're losing your mind. If it was worth his finding you, you will.
Bob Fergeson
- Quotes of the Month -

"Sexual intercourse is always a bestowal of awareness even though the bestowal may not be consolidated,... The emanations inside the cocoon of human beings don't know of intercourse for fun. If warriors want to have enough energy to see, they must become misers with their sexual energy.
" That's what we are: apes with tin cups. So routinary, so weak. Masturbatory. We are sublime, but the insane ape lacks the energy to see - so the brain of the beast prevails. We're too busy holding onto Mommy's hand.
" The recapitulation separates our commitment to the social order from our life force. The two are not inextricable. Once I was able to subtract the social being from my native energy, I could clearly see: I wasn't that "sexy". Most of us are frigid: all this sensuality is mental masturbation."
" Your passion is to jump without either capriciousness or premeditation to cut someone else's chains." - Carlos Castaneda
" Any life, no matter how long and complex it may be, is made up of a single moment - the moment in which a man finds out, once and for all, who he is. " - Jorge Luis Borges
" Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears." - Rudyard Kipling
" The important thing is not to stop questioning." - Albert Einstein
A man in love is not complete until he is married. Then he is finished.
--- Anon
All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian. --- Pat Paulsen

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 9/01/02 - The focus of this month's Missal is J. Krishnamurti, an Indian teacher, writer and lecturer of the twentieth century. Jiddu Krishnamurti was born to a pious middle-class family in 1895 in the rural town of Madanapalle in south India.  He was `discovered' in his boyhood by Annie Besant and C. W. Leadbeater of the Theosophical Society,  who proclaimed that he was the World Teacher that the Theosophists had been longing for. Jiddu and his brother were cared for from then on by the Theosophists. Krishnamurti was groomed to be the leader of the Order of the Star, the organization created for him by Leadbeater and Besant. Upon reaching a more mature age, Krishnamurti left the Theosophists and their Order, and dissociated himself from all organized religions and ideologies. He underwent certain mystical experiences that brought about a deep transformation and gave him a new vision of life, one of his own. He devoted the rest of his life to relating this understanding to those around him.
   He soon attracted a large following and helpful benefactors, enabling his to devote himself fulltime to his teaching and lecturing. He had several Foundations formed in India, Britain and California, where he gave talks to enormous outdoor gatherings. He continued to talk and write for many years until his death in 1986.
"Friend, do not concern yourself with who I am; you will never know. I do not want you to accept anything I say. I do not want anything from any of you; I do not desire popularity; I do not want your flattery, your following. Because I am in love with life, I do not want anything. These questions are not of very great importance; what is of importance is the fact that you obey and allow your judgement to be perverted by authority. Your judgement, your mind, your affection, your life are being perverted by things which have no value, and herein lies sorrow."  - J. Krishnamurti Early Talks, 1930
  His message was simple, one of quiet self-inquiry, and he had no method you could call a system. He encouraged what he called 'dialogue', which is a form of group discussion in which self-honesty and inquiry are used to better see one's own mind. His following today remains quite large and well organized with the Foundations still active.
"Beauty is not something put together by man. Beauty is when there is complete self-abandonment, a total relinquishing of the self, the "me", with all its aches and loneliness, with all its despairs, anxieties, and fears. Then you will live in this world as a human being." - J. Krishnamurti

- Related  Sites -
All of the sites below are affiliated and have the same basic message, giving one a feel for the Krishnamurti following of today. I'd recommend reading his essays, and the web pages devoted to discussion groups involved in what he called 'dialogue'.

Krishnamurti Online: The Krishnamurti Foundation of America : "The Krishnamurti Foundation of America (KFA) began operations in 1969.  Its mission is to “preserve and disseminate the teachings of Krishnamurti ".
Krishnamurti Information Network : "The Krishnamurti Information Network seeks to increase public awareness of Krishnamurti's work by researching, compiling and documenting his life and legacy."
Krishnamurti Foundation Trust: "The Foundation is not a religious organisation nor does it have any spiritual authority but it provides a service to those who may be interested in pursuing an understanding of the teachings in their own lives.
The Teachings of J.Krishnamurti, International Website : good site for biography of Krishnamurti.

  Tricks and  Traps   
Trick: Many of us, on having a freeing realization, are prone to use this newfound freedom and energy in a less than intelligent manner. We may rationalize that the search is now over, so why not have some fun? We take this newly released supply of energy and hand it back over to the animal-body as a blank check. The animal-body, and ego, have succeeded in tricking us into handing back the very energy we worked so hard to free. They are able to get away with this because we confuse awareness and intelligence with a strong mind and body, and think a cocky, positive ego is a sign of spiritual strength. We have driven the demon from the house, swept it clean, and in our new found pride at our success, allowed him to return with seven of his friends, all of which are named "I".
Trap: One of the most common traps is that of complacency. We reach a plateau in our life, often through hard work, where we are somewhat financially safe and have a relatively secure position in life. This is called in self-help world, The Comfort Zone. We hear that earnestness is the prime necessity for progress along the spiritual path, and while our intuition may tell us this is true, we find we have no burning drive, or time. Our funds are all tapped, so to speak, and we have no room for the Work in our comfort. How does one break out of this trap? Honesty in self-knowledge. Ask yourself, what do you really want? Then, why are you not going about getting it? What's stopping you, or are you living by habit alone, safe in sleep? Are you trapped by circumstance, or by your own lack of clarity as to your true desire?
Accident, Sublimation, Transformation
The events of childhood do not pass, but repeat themselves like seasons of the year. - Eleanor Farjeon
I was in the midst of a crowd of people, when I realized that everyone's lives were just accidents. No one was in control of themselves. I became very out of it, just like on LSD. I then realized that the answer was sublimation, then transformation. Accident, sublimation, transformation. These three steps were the key. - Bob Fergeson

Accident:  Let's take a look at the above quotes and see how they can provide a road map for self-knowledge. Many of us have had the experience or shock of realizing that the patterns and coping mechanisms of childhood are still with us and active, perhaps long after they are needed. As Eleanor Farjeon points out, these events, and their emotional reaction patterns, are still in us, dictating our behavior year after year. If we take the time to observe our day-to-day patterns with a bit of objectivity, over time we may see that we are mechanical, a robot. We may even realize that any reaction we have to change our mechanical pattern is also mechanical, just another reaction to a reaction. This realization can put us into quite a quandary, and is death to certain egos. The removal of these egos is paramount to progress, for they will never admit the need for real change.
Sublimation: We will become frustrated with this apparent paradox, and hopefully take our search more inwards. How can we find something in us that is not of the world of accident, something which is not just an endless chain of thought begetting thought? The next quote, taken from an old journal, provides the clue. We must refine our machine, for as we are, we are not capable of moving beyond the mechanics of associative thought. Here we move into the realm of sublimation. Our limited energy must be withdrawn from the associative world of behavior, saved and used for other puposes than the accidental world of desire and fear.  This sublimation is akin to a refinement of our observation and thinking processes. We turn inwards and begin to look for the motivations of our actions, to question why we think as we do. We no longer can believe in the ego's story of " I did this because 'I' wanted to ". Try as we might, we cannot find this 'I' we put so much faith in earlier.  And thus, through sublimating our energy through the questioning process, we have transformed our thinking and observing.
Transformation: This new level of of observation, one of seeing the patterns of our self and their mechanicalness, is still within the realm of the thinking mind, even though it brings a certain relief from the former sense-based thinking. If we are honest and keep on observing, driven by the still ever-present restlessness, we may come to the realization that we will never find anything Real in the mind, with the mind. If we are lucky, this realization may bring periods when we drop the whole game and become quiet. Here, another quandary with its trauma is necessary, for another set of egos must be dropped. Knowing that all thought is reactive and one step behind the present moment, we may begin to just listen, to observe without reaction. In this quiet, listening mind, something Real has the possibility of entering.
Bob Fergeson
- Quotes of the Month -

" Surely thinking is a reaction. If I ask you a question, you respond to it - you respond according to your memory, to your prejudices, to your upbringing, to the climate, to the whole background of your conditioning; you reply accordingly, you think accordingly. The centre of this background is the 'me' in the process of action. So long as that background is not understood, so long as that thought process, that self which creates the problem, is not understood and put an end to, we are bound to have conflict, within and without, in thought, in emotion, in action.
" Thought is old and can never discover the new. When thought realizes that it cannot do anything, then thought itself comes to an end. Therefore there is a breaking through of the limitation of consciousness.
" When I want to understand, look at something, I don't have to think about it - I look at it." - J. Krishnamurti
" You can't think and hit the ball at the same time. "- Yogi Berra
" Everyone invents himself or herself.  Not one of us, as we are mechanically in life, has his or her centre of gravity in Real I.  We have it in False Personality, in Imaginary 'I', in a fiction of ourselves that we have to keep going.  As long as you are identified with False Personality, no transformation of yourself can take place."  - Maurice Nicoll
" Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. " - Thomas Edison
" The mind won't allow you to be in the moment...ever." - Vicki Woodyard

I started out with nothing and I still have most of it left.--- Anon
Life is sexually transmitted and terminal. --- Anon

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  10/3/02 - The focus of this month's Missal is Carl Jung, the famous psychoanalyst.  Jung was born in 1875 in a small village in Switzerland. He went on to study medicine in university and while working under the famous neurologist Krafft-Ebing, he chose psychiatry as his career. He met Sigmund Freud in Vienna in 1907. Jung's fame is second only to Freud's in the brief history of  psychoanalysis. He and Freud worked closely for several years, but eventually split on the role of sexuality in neuroses. Jung went on to develop his own theories, which he called 'analytical psychology.' Jung is also famous for his concept of the 'collective unconscious',  a realm shared by all human minds. He died in 1961 in Zurich, after a long and varied life.
   Jung divided the human psyche into three parts: the ego, or conscious mind; the personal unconscious, or what is usually thought of as the unconscious mind; and the collective unconscious, the common unconscious mind of all humanity, which contained what he called archetypes. Jung taught that the ego could not directly experience this vast unknown, but could only see it through these archetypes.  Common archetypes include the anima(for males) and animus(for females) which are the figure of the opposite sex which can link us to the collective unconscious, and can be either positive and ideal imago figures, or negative and nasty. The archetype of the ego is usually seen as the hero figure, while that of the shadow, a dark sinister one. The shadow is the unaccepted side of us, which we repress and refuse to admit, thus enabling it to cause all manner of trouble to us and our associates. Jung called the part of us that we accept and project, the persona.

 "When people say I am wise, or a sage, I cannot accept it. A man once dipped a hatful of water from a stream. What did that amount to? I am not that stream. I am at the stream, but I do nothing. Other people are at the same stream, but most of them find they have to do something with it. I do nothing. I never think that I am the one who must see to it that cherries grow on stalks. I stand and behold, admiring what nature can do."

 He gave us much through his insight and work, such as the explanation of meaningful coincidence he called synchronicity, a working theory of dream interpretation and a lifetime of work exploring the underlying commonality in all religions. He not only wrote, but sculpted and drew the visions he received from the collective unconscious.
"It is, moreover, only in the state of complete abandonment and loneliness that we experience the helpful powers of our own natures."
- C.G. Jung

  He categorized the ways in which we deal with the world into four 'functions': thinking, feeling, intuitive and sensing. One of these is dominant or 'superior' and the default manner in which we react to the environment, while one is mostly undeveloped and 'inferior'. Jung said that to develop all four equally, as well as consciously separating from the forces of the unconscious, led to 'individuation', in which a person had brought all parts and functions in himself into full consciousness. This brought into being what he called the 'transcendent function', the one capable of seeing the other four. The goal of life, according to Jung, was to realize the 'self', the archetype of wholeness. Here, all opposites were reconciled, and since tension and its energy where no longer present, life was no longer necessary, our mission of learning having been fulfilled

"I am an orphan, alone; nevertheless I am found everywhere. I am one, but opposed to myself. I am youth and old man at one and the same time. I have known neither father nor mother, because I have had to be fetched out of the deep like a fish, or fell like a white stone from heaven. In woods and mountains I roam, but I am hidden in the innermost soul of man. I am mortal for everyone, yet I am not touched by the cycle of aeons."

 - Related  Sites -

  The Jung Page, founded in 1995 to encourage new psychological ideas and conversations about what it means to be human in our time and place. The premier Jungian site, with excerpts and articles by the big guy himself.

TCG's Carl Gustav Jung Page:  Good site for links, plus a great selection of Jung quotes at:

Carl Jung: Excellent biography and introduction to Jung's work, by Dr. C. George Boeree:

 Tricks and  Traps   
Trick: If a repeating negative thought, such as an illusive pain or fear, has you frustrated as to its cause or value, put it to the test by shining an objective light on it.  Reveal the thought or symptom to someone, thereby taking positive action and taking it out of the shadows.  Have a frank talk with a friend you trust, go to a good doctor, write a letter to someone.  Get it out in the open and see what happens. Let the light of consciousness in and see if the knot melts.
Trap: Visualizing the thought of 'now' and projecting it to the exclusion of all other thoughts, and believing this to be the actual present moment, or 'being in the now'. This mistaking of a projected memory for the 'now' simply leads to frustration as it soon collapses and leaves one worse than before, forcing a new round of projection as the circle of mind, memory, and imagination continues to spin.


"The mind has the ability to create, better than the ability to accurately witness. With the ability to create comes the ability to delude the self." - Richard Rose

The Trap of Projection

      I remember my first real encounter with the trap of projection, when I was a struggling alcoholic trying desperately to become sane and sober. I had spent months believing that my problems were based in others only, and if they would just leave me alone, I would be just fine. I also bought into the projection of place being a cause, in that I thought if I could move to another town, I would be free of the restraints of my negative state of mind. The saying, "Wherever you go, there you are", hit like a tone of bricks when I changed towns, jobs, and friends several times and things went from bad to worse. It slowly became apparent that the problem was in me, not outside in place or person. The projecting of our problems on the environment and others, thinking that if you could just be away from your current environment and associates, things would be better, is just projecting the blame away from our infallible, self-righteous ego.  I was not facing the fact that our being creates our life, and to change our life, we must change.
     We can also project positive, but likewise unconscious, aspects of ourselves onto others. This can be seen first as an admiration or jealousy of a facet in the other person. Later, we may come to see the same attribute in ourselves, and realize that something inside was simply trying to draw our attention to it. I can remember having a vivid first impression of someone as being 'capable'. Later, after working with them for several months, I came to see that this was something I admired about them, and wished for myself, but my ego, again, couldn't imagine it as possible. It went against the current belief-system. I needed to see it in action in the other person before I would accept it as something possible for me. The experience of it in the other led to it's manifesting in myself, after I had come to see it was not an impossible, or even impractical, thing for a normal human to have.
     The same thing happened when I first met a spiritual teacher, and felt his inner strength. I at first believed this to be something only he could possibly possess. Years later, I came to see the same inner light in several of my fellow seekers as well as myself.  It had been something I wouldn't have accepted, therefore unconsciously refused to cultivate, and had to be seen first in another before it could become manifest in me.
     This trap of projection is mainly one of thinking, rather than observing. The thoughts we believe, whether our own or those perhaps projected into our heads from sources that may or may not have our best interests in mind, we take to be valid and 'us'. By learning to observe our thoughts rather than mechanically react on them only, can lead to a new level of being, one in which everything is possible, even our own becoming.

Bob Fergeson
- Quotes of the Month -

" A concept is not a carrier of life"
"Accident and superstition manifest the will of God."
" To the psychotherapist, an old man who cannot bid farewell to life appears as feeble and sickly as the young man who is afraid to embrace it. "
" Whoever carries over into the afternoon the law of the morning... must pay for doing so with damage to his or her soul".
" When you come to think about it, nothing has any meaning, for when there was nobody to think, there was nobody to interpret what happened." -Carl Jung
" One can partly foretell what a puer aeternus will look like and how he will feel. He is merely the archetype of the eternal-youth god, and therefore he has all the features of the god: he has a nostalgic longing for death; he thinks of himself as being something special; he is the one sensitive being among all the other tough sheep. He will have a problem with an aggressive, destructive shadow which he will not want to live and generally projects, and so on. There is nothing special about him whatsoever. The worse the identification with the youthful god, the less individual the person, although he himself feels so special." - Marie-Louise von Franz
" We possess an interior sense which is in connection with the whole of the universe, and which might be considered as an extension of sight. We possess the faculty of sensing in the universal harmony the connection between events and beings with our own conservation. . . . The communication of the will rests upon a kind of convention between two wills, which might be called being in rapport." - Franz Mesmer
" The Truth requires action."--- Mason Weaver
" I have nothing to say and I'm saying it." --- John Cage

" Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the former." --- Albert Einstein

"It was a woman who drove me to drink and I never got the chance to thank her." --- W.C. Fields

" Basically, I have the same rule for driving that I have for life:
'Stay away from other people.' " - Mr. Cranky

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 7/1/01 - This month's Missal features another modern day mystic, Eckhart Tolle.  Tolle's main message is one of becoming free from one's identity with the mind, and instead becoming one with our true Self, which he refers to as 'Being'. This is accomplished through staying present in the Now, and removing the need to be in time, either the past or future.  This fixation on time, especially 'psychological time' is the cause of our needless suffering.  Our identification with our painful memories, or fear of the future, creates within us a 'pain-body', which is called up through our habitual reactions.  Tolle tells us that only through staying in the present, and Being, can we be free of our mind and its misery, and access the power of Now.
His website gives the following biography: ' He was born in Germany where he spent the first 13 years of his life. After graduating from the University of London, he was a research scholar and supervisor at Cambridge University. At the age of 29 a profound spiritual transformation virtually dissolved his old identity and radically changed the course of his life. The next few years were devoted to understanding, integrating and deepening that transformation, which marked the beginning of an intense inward journey.
   Eckhart is not aligned with any particular religion or tradition. In his teaching, he conveys a simple yet profound message with the timeless and uncomplicated clarity of the ancient spiritual masters: there is a way out of suffering and into peace. Eckhart is currently traveling extensively, taking his teaching and his presence throughout the world. He has lived in Vancouver, Canada, since 1996.'
 In his book, The Power of Now, he details his system of finding release from the mind in time, and talks of various 'portals' through which we can access our true Being, in the Now.  I find his book to be very accessible, though somewhat repetitive and New Agey.  It is written in a question and answer type format, the material taken from numerous lectures and talks.
  Tolle gives much material on the ways and means to stay in the present, and avoid the trap of the mind in time, but offers little on how he himself found this.

"The reason why some people love to engage in dangerous activities, such as mountain climbing, car racing, and so on, although they may not be aware of it, is that it forces them into the Now - that intensely alive state that is free of time, free of problems, free of thinking, free of the burden of the personality. Slipping away from the present moment even for a second  may mean death. Unfortunately, they come to depend on a particular activity to be in that state. But you don't need to climb the north face of the Eiger. You can enter that state now."
" All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, greivances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of unforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence."
" The whole essence of Zen consists in walking along the razor's edge of Now - to be so utterly, so completely present that no problem, no suffering, nothing that is not who you are in your essence, can survive in you. In the Now, in the absence of time, all your problems dissolve. Suffering needs time; it cannot survive in the Now."           
All quotes from The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
For more information, visit his website at:
Knots upon Knots

  I've noticed a similarity in how knots of energy are built and maintained in the mind, and the ways simple knots are tied in rope.  Let's take a look at the square knot and the mind, and compare these two processes. Feel free to take a shoelace or piece of twine and follow along.
duality  A square knot starts out as two separate pieces, a simple duality, which end up being joined as one. Similarly, the mind of a child starts out as a blank matrix, in duality, which ends up as a very complicated, but single binding unit.  There are two parts to this process of becoming bound into the dual world: the initial percepts, and the compensating reactions. Starting with this pair of opposites, the entire mind, or personality, is built.

half hitch
When the first part of the knot is tied, we have two different ends, one layed on top of the other.  In the photo, the blue strand is first layed over the black.  When a strong emotional percept is imprinted on the mind we have, say, the black strand . When the next percept, or reaction, comes in, we have the blue strand laid across the black.  A pattern is being formed. There's still not much tension here, the mind is still relatively simple and relaxed, but a fundamental change has occured. A knot has been tied, the awareness bound into duality, and the intial freedom lost. A  tension has been created that must be compensated. This compensation is necessary for the continued formation and balancing of the mind's pattern, or manifestation. The mind is continually drawn outward in this fashion. Since the purpose of nature is to create minds that are complicated enough for self-survival, and the mind and its dimension are dual in nature, the compensation is not to return to freedom, but to lead the mind further and further into duality.  A balancing, opposite tension must be found, a compensation, which will further tie the knot and bind the awareness.
square knotIf we look at how the second half of the square knot is formed, we may see a clue as to how this compensation process works. The blue strand again wraps over the black, but from the other direction.  This insures a good, working knot, one that will not pull loose under pressure. An opposing tension is needed to compensate for the original knot. Left balances right, up compensates down, black-white, life-death, good-bad, etc.
The entire mind system is built up in this manner, getting so complex that the original knots are long buried under the Gordian Knot of personality and habit, which is taken to be our very being.  In psychology, a mind that has good, working compensations is said to be healthy.  The mind will operate under strain without coming unraveled.  The down side to this is, is that a healthy mind has no reason to question itself.  Here we see the value of trauma and suffering, if self-knowledge and freedom is our goal.
   Field of Being
  To find the truth about ourselves may entail a good bit of unraveling.  Through these initial steps of self-discovery we may find we are seemingly but mechanical behavior patterns, knots upon knots. Tying new and better knots may make us better robots, but not until we go back beyond duality, beyond knots and patterns of mind, will we perhaps see the blank field of our simple awareness, our true being.
Men such as Eckhart Tolle have given us the map to escape from the suffering of the mind and its endless knots, but we must make the journey and return to Being ourselves.

Bob Fergeson

"The dawn breaks because another day and night have died,
 but the sky was there through all."  - Richard Rose -

-Quotes of the Month-

" What do you need problems for? The mind unconsciously loves problems because they give you an identity of sorts. This is normal, and it is insane.
A great deal of what people say, think, or do is actually motivated by fear, which of course is always linked with having your focus on the future and being out of touch with the Now. As there are no problems in the Now, there is no fear either." - Eckhart Tolle -
" That which people take to be their self, their identity, their very being, is itself only an experience -- witnessed by something anterior to that identity, which is completely impersonal and which is the only real being." -Bob Cergol-
" Spend time alone: From a few minutes a day to weeks-long isolations. This is a time to evaluate what you have accomplished and where you want to go. It is a time of intense concentration, intense looking within. When alone, it is easier to realize that we are the sole judge of our life and what matters is that we find the thing which settles our soul. A person may camp out, get a cheap motel room, go to a retreat center, or even hide out in their own room." -Shawn Nevins-
" I do believe one ought to face facts. If you don't they get behind you and may become terrors, nightmares, giants, horrors. As long as one faces them one is top dog.'' - Katherine Mansfield -
" Free thinkers are generally those who never think at all.''- Laurence Sterne -

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 1/3/03 - Insight -This month's Missal takes a look at three Pathway's to Insight. First, we'll take a look at what some have called the first step into the mind, dreams, and their interpretation. Then, we'll  take a return look at a psychological system of finding insight through free association with Jim Burns. Last, we'll look at a way of receiving insight from within through the Listening Attention.
    In the bustle of everyday life, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with information and demands, both material and emotional,  which tend to take up all of our time and energy. The intuitive wisdom within cannot find an outlet to the ego-consciousness in this storm of thinking reaction. Dreams are a way to let this interior wisdom shine through. The interior self is constantly trying to get our attention, and dreams are a great way to begin letting this wisdom through. A profound spiritual realization requires a still, clear mind. Dreams can show us what clouds our vision, and help us begin to clear the field. For information on starting a active dream study, see the links below. Click here for a past Missal on Dreams.

   Careful study of our dreams, and the characters which inhabit them, can show us much about the elusive workings of the ego. We can see the different roles we play in life acted out in our dreams, using the forms of familiar persons from our day-to-day life, and begin to see the trick of how we project our own unconscious ego-patterns onto others. To see this in dreams is a first step, but only when we begin to see in real life how there are no 'individuals', including ourselves, but merely the many 'egos' of the Universal Mind, will we begin to see our own true nature, and awaken from the dream of life.
" While men are dreaming, they do not perceive that it is a dream. Some will even have a dream in a dream, and only when they awake do they know it was all a dream. And so, when the Great Awakening comes upon us, shall we know this life to be a dream. Fools believe themselves to be awake now." - Chaung-tzu-
   Last month's Missal introduced a modern day teacher, Jim Burns, and his book, At Home With The Inner Self.  Jim's method of receiving insight came to include dreams and free association. He often remarks that he never learned anything from books, but learned to receive directly, from the source within.

If you're being bothered by something, I've found that if you let your body run the show, just laying horizontal, that all the things that wander around in your mind will drift off. You'll start getting a feeling that an important thought is coming. As soon as this happens, you know you're on the road home. The pain diminishes and you start realizing what is disturbing you. Learning this technique is like learning a new language. Ideas will come to you and eventually one will come that really hits the gong about problems you are facing.  The thing that is hard about it, when you're first attempting it, is to realize that you're searching for something you presently have no answer to. It is hard to realize that you are putting effort into putting something where there is now nothing, as far as consciousness is concerned. I came upon this method instinctively.  This, meditation and dreams is where I've learned everything, I never learned anything from a book. - Jim Burns

"When you begin to have experiences of the information from within, you learn how perfectly attuned the inner mind is to your immediate and momentary circumstances. The fountainhead lies totally within.  All we discuss here pertains to the methods and particulars that are involved in uncovering the wellhead."- Jim Burns
For a more complete look at Jim's Method, click here. To order a digital version of his book, click here.

"You will not know what mental troubles are until you have risen above the mind dimension.
The mind cannot analyze the mind with the mind." - Richard Rose

   In searching for our true self, we come to see that the reactive mind is not a reliable reference for truth. We see we have been searching for truth with what amounts to a mechanical reaction-pattern, trying to find something real which lies beyond that pattern. All information is instantly qualified by our own perception apparatus according to our past, our genetics, and our unconscious inherited beliefs.  The silent witness or true observer, is lost behind this endless mind chatter and 'self' knowledge. A true attention, or seeing, free of the individual mind, would be better for our search. What would this be like? Can we find it, in ourselves? Is there a way of seeing beyond the individual ego, and to reconnect with the Universal? To explore this 'headless' awareness, take a look at The Listening Attention, and Maurice Nicoll's The Transformation of Meaning.

The silent passage to the inner world is always with us, it does not need to be formed, just found, but we may need years of preparation to see it. A great deal of self-analysis, ' work on one-self ', is usually needed in order to get beyond the ego and its belief that the mind and worded thoughts will lead us to the Real. A lifetime of learned behaviors, emotional blocks, fears, self-doubts, and wishful thinking need to cleared away. We must reach a point where we can slip behind our compensatory thinking patterns long enough to let something real get through. All repressed emotional material and debilitating drains on our energy must be dealt with, too. We will need all our strength to face the unknown, alone and unarmed. - Bob Fergeson
- Related  Sites -

Understanding Your Dreams by Ron Masa Ph.D. : Discover the rules our dreams play by... Written in condensed outline form by veteran dream psychologist Dr Ron Masa. "Self Direction must come from within. Dreaming is our primary connection to the source of being."

Dreaming our way back to life: An interview with Robert Bosnak  A renowned Jungian analyst, Bosnak believes that dreams can lead us from depression, disorientation and ennui to a feeling of aliveness and vitality—if we take the time to work with them.Check out The Dreamwork Experiment (From Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming by Robert Bosnak) From NEXUS:

The Mystic Missal is proud to offer a digital version of Jim Burn's profound book on psychology, mind, and 'mental illness', At Home With the Inner Self. This book is out of print but now available in digital format as an .rtf (159 KB) or .doc (305KB) file, for $7. To order, click here.

The Listening Attention: A companion site to the Missal which examines the need for direct perception in the spiritual quest. In the spiritual search, the quest for true self-definition, we soon come to the realization that our best efforts, and even our very selves, are mechanical and reactive.  A different level of seeing is needed, a pure awareness that is not itself a product of the world or mind, but primary to the reaction pattern we call ourselves. A listening which is attentive yet not reactive, and unaffected by circumstance and the constant changes of thought and mind.  
Tricks and  Traps
Trick: Trust yourself, not your reactions: Even though we may find ourselves agreeing with books and believing in teachers, something in us made the decision to do this, and Something else is behind that, watching. Instead of blindly identifying with our reactions as us, look for what made the decision. Who's behind the reaction?  Take a step within, and listen.
Trap: Placing faith in information, rather than understanding: We may have valuable insights from dreams, books, and teachers, though possibly forming and catering to an ego around them. Realize, in your waking day-to-day life, what you've seen in dreams and books.  Relate the intellectual information to the associated pattern in everyday life. This is the test of whether the information has turned to true understanding, rather than ego-fantasy.
"As Above, So Below"

     A common mistake we often make when first learning to interpret our dreams, is to take every dream character as the actual person in waking life; that Uncle Joe in the dream is the Uncle Joe in day-to-day life. We overlook the possibility that it could be a facet of our personality simply taking a familiar form as part of the inner self's attempt to get its point across. As we come to be able to take things in our dreams on a more personal level, we may begin to see how our ego identification moves from one character to another in the dream, and how at times we seem to be a disembodied observer watching the play. This is a big step into understanding the tricks of the mind. A much bigger step, a true leap, is to see how the same game is being played out in waking life, how we move from one character to another while going about our day, and never notice it. We prefer to think we are one, and that this 'person' is a continuous consciousness from moment to moment. To come upon this realization of our reactive mechanical nature, while awake and in dreams, brings us to the pressing need of finding the true observer, rather than taking it for granted.
The world of dreams and that of waking life are similar in make up, being created by the same mind. In each world, we are not permitted to doubt that world's validity, until some shock casts doubt on the whole scene. This shock, or ego-death, can take many forms in dreams and waking life, but its main purpose is to show us the nature of our mind and our identification with its creations, if we are so inclined. The loss of a job or loved one, coming face to face with our inability to control our lives, the shock of realizing our lack of understanding or honesty in even simple matters: any of these can cause the mind to stop, and perhaps for the first time, seriously doubt its previous infallibility. We may realize that any personality facet we place our 'self' in, is liable to be lost, whether in dreamland or without. If we happen to put serious thought into what this implies, we may see that the Law of Progression would indicate that no matter how many or how tall we build our castles in the sands of the mind, they are all liable to vanish and die. Even the stars and heavens will pass. What then, do we do?
     The answer is much simpler than we think, and closer than the hat on our head. In all the above process of identification and subsequent loss, something was aware of the whole game. Behind the created patterns of mind and dream, something was watching, unidentified and silent, for how else could there be continuity? If we can remember our dreams while awake, and perhaps vice-versa, then something universal, rather than individual, must be present. To learn to observe our own mind, rather than identify with it, can bring us closer to this Universal Something behind all thought and dream. Study your dreams and study your life, each from its own perspective, and the other. Find That which sees them both. Look within the background for what holds the games in place, the screen behind the moving ghosts of mind and dream.
Bob Fergeson
- Quotes of the Month -
" You learn sooner or later that you are not running the show and that if you relax, the show runs better, Things will happen better if you just relax; many things are under control in many respects. You quit and things happen, you let the door open, you stop the obstructin, you eliminate the ego. The ego is one of the biggest obstructions to the achievement of anything." - Richard Rose
" Once upon a time, I, Chaung-tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of following my fancies as a butterfly, and was unconscious of my individuality as a butterfly. Suddenly I was awakened, and there I lay myself again. Now I do not know whether I was a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly now dreaming that I am a man."- Chaung-tzu
" Truth may be experienced, but it cannot be intellectualized. This is one of the great traps that contain and hold so many sincere seekers; life is not an intellectual journey! " - Michael Roads
" The things you refuse to meet today always come back at you later on, usually under circumstances which make the decision twice as difficult as it originally was." --- Eleanor Roosevelt
" I remember thinking I just want more. This isn't it. Fame is not the goal. Money is not the goal. To be able to know how to get peace of mind, how to be happy, is something you don't just stumble across. You've got to search for it." - George Harrison
" Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most." --- Anon
Comic Philosophy

Inside every older person is a younger person - wondering what the hell happened.
 --- Cora Harvey Armstrong
The most likely way for the world to be destroyed, most experts agree, is by accident. That's where we come in; we're computer professionals. We cause accidents.  --- Nathaniel Borenstein

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 Zen - 6/03/03 - This month's Missal examines the ancient art of Ch'an, commonly known as Zen.   Ch'an originated in India with the esoteric teaching of the Buddha, possibly even before.  It was carried to China by the larger than life figure of Bodhidharma around 450 AD.  Bodhidharma is also reputed to have started the Shoalin Temple, and created the martial art of Kung Fu. After Bodhidharma came his student, Hui K'o, who was succeeded by Seng-Ts'an, Tao-hsin, Hung-jen, and then Hui-neng.  Ch'an reached its height with these Grand Masters or Patriarchs of Ch'an,  from whom we have some of the purest teachings. During this period it was known as Buddha mind, only becoming referred to as ch'an later.  By the time it migrated to Japan, at about 1200 AD., it had become associated with sitting meditation, and became known as zen (the Japanese pronunciation of ch'an).
   Giving a working definition of zen or ch'an is difficult,  for it deals with looking at one's own nature, which is the one thing we take most for granted. Some say it is a relentless questioning of oneself, or perhaps a direct seeing of oneself; using the mind to examine the mind, until only the seeing is left. One thing ch'an is not, is a religion based on ritual, involving mere intellectual discourse, though many followers of modern day zen take refuge in this form of distraction.
    Little is factually known of Bodhidharma, or where the few writings attributed to him actually came from, but his story illustrates the dynamic earnestness necessary for the realization of the Truth about oneself. He is purported to have sailed the then arduous journey to China from India to bring the teaching of the Buddha to the East, and later, to have walked back to India overland. He sat in meditation near the Shaolin Temple, staring at the wall of a cave for years, determined to find his Source. The following four precepts, or pillars of zen, are attributed to him, and show the necessity of finding one's own truth, inside oneself, with no reliance on religion, formality or priesthood:

 The Four Pillars of Zen:

1. A special transmission outside of the scriptures.
2. No dependence upon words or letters.
3. Direct pointing at the soul of man.
4. Seeing into one's own nature and the attainment of Buddhahood.
 The lives of the Zen patriarchs contain the teaching stories of men who pulled no punches in finding their truth, and in teaching their students.  Their often irreverent attitude was used as a teaching technique, which was also transmitted with punches, blows and humiliations; anything to hit the student with the necessary shock at the appropriate time to kill the ego/mind, and bring the student to the brink of realization.
   Though few of them taught under the banner of zen, many of the past centuries greatest teachers also used this technique of a system of shocks to bring the student to the brink. Richard Rose, Nisargadatta Maharaj, Gurdjieff, and others, never catered to their students ego's, but kept them under a system of tension and shocks. The zen saying that liberation comes from killing the mind, is not a joke or exaggeration, and not accomplished through comfort, ritual, and the ego of the intellect.
Many people are afraid to empty their minds lest they may plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own Mind is the void. The ignorant [seekers] eschew phenomena but not thought; the wise [seekers] eschew thought but not phenomena. - Huang Po

   Ch'an emphasizes finding reality or nirvana within, as our own true nature, through a relentless questioning of one's own mind, until one is reconnected with inner wisdom directly. A direct experience of one's own nature through an intuitive comprehension, rather than a belief in deductive knowledge heard from without.

The all-discerning wisdom sees things intuitively, without going through the process of reasoning. Being infatuated by sense objects, and thereby shutting themselves off from their own light, all sentient beings, tormented by outer circumstances and inner vexations, act voluntarily as slaves to their own desires. - Hui-neng
 Ch'an is not for the faint of heart, or those seeking an easy way out of life, but is for those who can't rest until they know what and who they are. The books and web sites listed below give a good feel for zen, but nothing substitutes for the experience of a zen teacher's sword of discernment aimed directly at one's own head.

Buddha is Sanskrit for what you call aware, miraculously aware. Responding, arching your brows blinking your eyes, moving your hands and feet, its all your miraculously aware nature. And this nature is the mind. And the mind is the Buddha. And the Buddha is the path. And the path is Zen. But the word Zen is one that remains a puzzle to both mortals and sages. Seeing your nature is Zen. Unless you see your nature, it’s not Zen.  - Bodhidharma

Recommended Books:

The Zen Teaching of Huang Po: On Transmission of Mind, translated by John Blofeld
The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma, translated by Red Pine
The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi, Translated by Burton Wilson
The Diamond Sutra, and The Sutra of Hui-Neng, Translated by A.F. Price and Wong Mou-lam
Psychology of the Observer ,by Richard Rose
Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, compiled by Paul Reps

- Related  Sites -

The Teachings of Sudden Illumination by the CH'AN MASTERS in ancient China. This thorough and descriptive site will take you to the inspiring teachings of many of the Ch'an masters.

Hubert Benoit's Supreme Doctrine: Psychological Studies in ZEN Thought.  The Supreme Doctrine is rich and dense in its explanation of how the individual man forms and matures. Benoit refers to this process as the pattern of our natural development, which leaves us with a great sense of metaphysical distress. He describes how this distress comes about and how the mind attempts to handle it, always unsuccessfully. The only real solution, he says, is the interior realization of our true state of being, which he identifies with the radical transformation of satori.

 Leaves from the Buddha's Grove: Zen/Ch'an Writings: These leaves of Dharma are part of the paradox of writings about the 'wordless teaching' that is Zen (Chinese: Ch'an). A collection of Taoist writings are also available, as Ch'an was heavily influenced by them and often draws upon them. Hopefully, experienced practitioners as well as beginners will find something of use here. Large Buddhist site with good introductions, glossary, and writings of the Zen masters.

 Zen(Ch'an) Frequently Asked Questions: By Mark Vetanen and Ardent Hollingsworth.  Basic introduction to Zen Buddhism.

T'ang Ch'an and the Myth of Bodhidarhma: from a paper by Albert Welter. Scholastic introduction to the history of Ch'an and Bodhidharma.

Tricks and  Traps

Trap: rationalizing distraction as spiritual work. We may feel an ache in our hearts, or fear in our minds, and then find that this ache or fear is relieved or covered up by reading inspirational works such as Rumi and Ramana. We may even find relief from friends and teachers. Trouble is, years may go by and we find we are still running; looking for the latest 'in' book, looking for that group we heard about on the internet. If lucky, we may begin to see that no amount of reading or socializing will ever really fill us, or give us that perfect hiding place. This realization could bring us to the following trick:
Trick: Facing the Unknown. Next time you feel an ache in your heart, or fear or inhibition rising from the depths, try facing it.  Instead of running for your favorite 'spiritual' remedy, calmly look at the pain or fear, in a listening or questioning manner. Instead of panic and distraction, ask yourself 'Why?'.


Fact and Fantasy

" Zen is 'walk, don't wobble'." - Richard Rose

     Many of us go through life enamored of ourselves to the point of not really knowing where we are headed or why. We refuse to question our decisions in any meaningful way, and only after a severe shock or trauma will we ever admit we may not have been what we thought. One of the dominant features of many seekers of truth is a feeling of superiority which tends to blind the student to his own true life pattern. In other words, we live in our heads, safely hidden from the facts of our real existence.
     If we are lucky enough to be clobbered into wakefulness and the truth of our life through trauma or necessity, ( I have no interest in speaking to those who are convinced they are 'ripe souls', needing only to wait in idleness for their coming release), we may find we have been blind to something Richard Rose called our "fact-status". For example, when I first entered university, I was so convinced of my own superiority that I never thought of cracking a book, never bothered to show up for class, or take notice of the declining state of my health and mind. After flunking out my first semester, becoming hooked on drugs, and letting my teeth nearly rot, I was forced to re-evaluate my thinking. My fact-status could no longer be ignored, no matter how far I hid in inner fantasy.
     The above pattern of self-conflict, while a bit extreme, illustrates the gap between our false image of ourselves and our fact-status. We are continually knocked off balance by this conflict, and instead of facing the truth about ourselves and acting accordingly, many of us simply regroup, re-invent, and continue to live 'as if ' the story in our heads were true. The ego refuses to see anything wrong about itself, thus denying that which asserts otherwise, fact or not. We continue to be lulled asleep. Falling off the log into the stream of unconsciousness, we are shocked awake and climb back up, only to succumb again to the ego's song of distraction and desire, wobble off balance, and again take the plunge. This continued stumbling between ego-fantasy and the shock of the facts eats up our time and energy.  We can keep up the game when we are young, for awhile, but sooner or later we tire, become isolated, defensive, and begin to crystallize. Any hope of finding something beyond the ego fades, as the ego becomes all.
     The above may sound hopeless. But balance can be obtained if we perservere, learning from our mistakes and those who have gone before us. Rose called the process of using what uses us, 'milk from thorns'. By recognizing the ability of our own mind to delude itself, we can hopefully set up a system of checks and balances to insure that our idea of ourselves is, at least, somewhat related to the facts. This fact-checking can be brought about in many ways: through honest friends and family, co-workers and collegues. Another one is intuition, learning to listen to the small voice within.  Most importantly, we can become more aware by learning to be honest in truly observing ourselves. This use of self-observation, which might be called the opposite of rationalization, is spoken of by every serious system of finding spiritual truth.
     Now, there are some of us who say, 'why bother with observing myself, when the great teachers recommend inquiring directly within for the absolute?'. To find the truth, or absolute, one needs to be a true vector of inquiry. The above examples of how we are not this true vector, or stable inquirer, show the myriad paths of fantasy in which we become intangled. Let us not presuppose ourselves to be something we are manifestly not. A quick check of our fact-status will show us how we are ready, willing and able to be distracted from inner inquiry at the drop of a hat or wink of an eye. Learning to walk a straight line, upright and somewhat mentally sober, would be a good first step. Developing one-pointedness of mind first, we then turn this beam upon ourselves, now knowing the difference between fact and self-created fiction. We are beginning to have a sense of balance through wielding the sword of discernment.
     By developing and using this power of discrimination on our own minds, we come to see how and where the ability to fool ourselves originates. We come to know our minds, and thus become objective or anterior to them. Through this process of separation from our former 'self ', and through a growing acceptance of our fact-status(things as they are), we find we have been practicing what may be called a practical form of self-inquiry combined with surrender, and have made real progress.
     When we look back on the delusions we so readily accepted and projected, we have to laugh at ourselves and our previous stumblings about. The value of this progress is not in that we have found reality, but in that we have become better able to discern the real from the unreal, and thus have increased our odds of knowing reality if we ever do happen to bump into it. In the words of Richard Rose, "We must desire the Truth, and have a capacity for it else we could not receive it even if it came to us by accident. " By learning to walk, not wobble, we keep from continually falling off the log of discernment before we get to the other shore. We become painfully aware of the games we insist on playing, and the fears we harbor, and realize we might not desire the truth about ourselves as much as we thought. We begin to see our true inner motivations, hereto unconscious, and thus have the beginning possiblity of real self-inquiry through a stable mind, and real surrender through acceptance of truth.
Bob Fergeson

- Quotes of the Month -
" Zen is an Eastern system which takes into account that much (but not all) of the game is already fixed, and that is is a good idea to see things as they are rather than try to change things which cannot be changed.
" When you question any consciousness, it will have to answer you or leave. That's the Zen technique for everything.
" I found that Zen indicates a method of approaching the mind directly with the mind,... "- Richard Rose
" All my friends tell me I actually exist, and by an act of faith I've come to believe them."- Chris Fry
" All miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone." - Pascal
" The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death. "- Chogyam Trungpa

Comic Philosophy

Q: What does a Zen monk say to a hot dog stand vendor?
A: Make me one with everything.
Q: What does the vendor say when the monk asks for change for his twenty dollar bill?
A: Change comes from within.

Reality is nothing but a collective hunch. - Lily Tomlin
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.- Hunter Thompson