A Resonance between Two Models – Ramesh Balsekar & Leonard Cohen: Part Two

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A lesson with Owl

In my previous post, I abridged the full transcript of Ramesh Balsekar’s conversation with Leonard Cohen in early 1999, because it was very long.  Here are the missing bits, including Ramesh’s teaching on Satori.  For the dialogue to run smoothly, I have retained some of the exchanges in Part One.

Ramesh namaste

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Ramesh Balsekar:  But you used the word “resonance”.

Leonard Cohen:  Yes Sir.

RB – Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

LC – I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth;  and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa.  That resonance became very discernible.  It became urgent that I

RB – A similar thing happened to me.

LC -Yes?

RB – You know Wei Wu Wei?  Have you heard of Wei Wu Wei?  – particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what my teacher said, and what was said in the book – amazing. Is that the sort of thing you mean?

LC – Yes Sir, it is.

RB – I see.  And in particular, The Final Truth?

LC – Well, that was the book I happened to have with me in my pack.  I would open it at any free moment, and the words would rise up, illuminating the whole day. 

RB – Yes, I see.  Have you read any other books of mine?

LC – Yes, I have just finished “Pointers”.  I have it with me now.  But I read it very, very slowly.  It seems that one section can occupy me for long, long periods.

RB – Yes.  And then, you’ve been here ten days!  But you’ve been so silent!

LC – I’ve been sipping at the nectar.  It’s very delicious to be here.

leonard and ramesh in sindhula

RB – Yes.  So now, what you have heard these ten days, and what you have read in the book, and your original understanding – how do they resonate?  Can you explain that a little bit?

LC – On the intellectual model, your model becomes clearer and clearer to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s.  On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings of doership … …  You know, over the years, especially anybody who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of ‘free samples’, as you put it.  If you sit for long hours every day and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting … … A greed for those kinds of experiences develops.  Which is what happens in monasteries.

Bunny hide and seek

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RB – I see.  You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.

LC – That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

Ramesh and Wayne

RB – That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. This reminded me of the story of Lao Tsu and his disciple, which I’m sure you know, but I will repeat it.  A disciple went to Lao Tsu with his face flushed with the vigour of achievement.  And he told him, “Master!  I’ve got it!”  Lao Tsu compassionately placed his hands on the disciple’s shoulders and told him, “Son, you have NOT got it.”  You’ve heard this story?

LC – No, Sir.

RB – Oh really?  Oh well!  He said, “No my son, you haven’t got it.”  So, dejected, the disciple went away.  Some time later he came back again, fell at the Master’s feet and said “Master, it has happened.”

Angel with Rabbit

Lao Tsu looked into his eyes, knew it, and raised him up saying, “Now tell me what happened.”  The disciple explained, “I was so SURE that I had got what I wanted, all the experiences, all the joy, I knew I had got it;  but when you told me that I had NOT got it, I accepted that as the truth.  But it was also the truth as far as I was concerned, that I had done all I could, and yet you said I had achieved nothing.  So the result was: accepting BOTH as the truth.  I went about my way, not wanting anything, not expecting anything;  and suddenly I noticed that the joyous experiences had gone, but a peace had descended.  And it also struck me then, that this was the peace that I was after – not achieving anything!”

So this is the peace that came when the seeking stopped.  You see?  So, it was the destiny of the mindbody organism of that particular disciple, that the ego be bloated to an extent where it burst;  and the pin that burst it was Lao Tsu telling him “No, you haven’t got it!”

centaur, athene & owl 87

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But again, the danger IS – if it is the will of God and the destiny of that bodymind organism – that the ego will bloat, and stay bloated at a level where the bloated ego considers himself a Master, you see?  and wants and does get hundreds and thousands of disciples!  And the bloated ego stays there.  So it may not get pricked.

But, when the ego gets weaker and weaker and weaker, then it has to ultimately die, finding out “Who is doing anything?  Who is seeking anything?  Who is to get anything? You see?  That is why I said, the only Sadhana I recommend, is to find out at the end of the day, how many actions that I remember having happened today, were MY actions, and how many just happened?

mind thief police

And I dare say that an honest analysis will make the ego come to the conclusion that no actions were HIS actions, or HER actions!  And if this happens day after day –  it may start with the end of the day, but it will be found that this analysis happens many times DURING the day! – until towards the end, an action happens and the analysis that it was not my action, happens almost simultaneously;  so that with the firmest possible conviction, with unconditional acceptance that I do nothing, the question arises, not intellectually “Who am I?” but from the very depths of frustration – it can be said, frustration of the ego – “If I have not been doing, if no act is my action, who is this ME I’ve been so concerned about?”

Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana & Rabbit

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If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL

In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

LC – I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

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guitar sketch leonard cohen

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RB – Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field.   So, proceeding this way, even that depends on the will of God and the destiny of the organism.

There’s a tiny book, an abridged edition of the Bhagavad Gita.  Have you read it?

LC – This edition, no.

RB – Bhagavad Gita is seven hundred verses.  Someone told me that Ramana Maharshi had condensed it into forty-three or forty-eight verses.  This friend of mine who used to come regularly, had a copy, so I said, “Would you give me that copy?”  He said “Yes, yes, I’ll bring it next time.”  And four times he came, and four times he forgot.  So I said, “Ramana Maharshi’s answer to me is clear.  Do it on your own!” – (Laughter.)  “Don’t read MY collection!”

And so I started doing it:  so mine came to sixty-six verses.  And one of those verses is this:  “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.”   You see?  So the many seekers who don’t reach this ultimate end, obviously have to be following paths which are not supposed to lead them to the end, during the process of that bodymind organism anyway.

So the misconception “What is the best path?  Which is the best Spiritual path?” – there is no “best spiritual path”.  There is only a particular spiritual path for you, or for this particular bodymind organism, at that moment of its development.  So the Source will send this bodymind organism to that Guru who is appropriate for him or her at the time;  all the bodymind organism can do, is to follow that Guru to whom he has been sent.

But my only point is this:  many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?   Therefore the word “Guru hopping” is used in a sort of derogatory way.

russian dolls

LC – Guru …?

RB – Guru Hopping.  (Laughter).  It’s used in a derogatory way.  To me, it is perfectly logical and acceptable.

LC – In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

RB – Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

LC – Yes.

RB – And he didn’t ask for …?

LC – Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

cloud colloquy

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RB – I see.  So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

LC – My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

RB – Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

LC – Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English … …  I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)  

RB – This is gasho?

LC – Yes, and depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

RB – The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

LC – It’s correct.

RB – Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

LC – He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

RB – No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me.

LC – Ah Yes.  Yes, Sir.

RB – That I DON’T know what will come out of my lips if such a question were asked.  That’s what I meant.   When I said “I don’t know”, what I mean is – that would be your answer to my question about what you should say.

leonard and ramesh 1999_0001

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You see? So some experience happens.  Then people want more experiences.  This greed as you quite rightly said, for the experience.  Wanting – ananda means ‘bliss’.  But the word ‘calm’ or ‘cool’ – deep down, that is how the word has come – cool, or calm.  At one stage Ramana Maharshi uses the word ‘bliss’ because it has come down – not Ramana Maharshi, but in the translation.  One point I came across, which I have triple underlined – he said: “Calm is superior to bliss.”  The word I prefer is “peace”.

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Each unto each other

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A Resonance between Two Models – Leonard Cohen & Ramesh Balsekar

Ramesh 1

Read more of this conversation Part Two

During my visit to Ramesh in Mumbai, in early 1999, I witnessed the following conversation with Leonard Cohen, and bought the tape.
After I got home, I made this transcript:

Ramesh – You live in a Zen monastery, I am told?

Leonard – That’s correct, yes.

For how long, three or four years?

I’ve been associated with this institution for about thirty years – and about four and a half years ago, I was ordained as a monk.

I see. I see. Would you say it is a pretty stiff discipline?

It’s – very rigorous.

But you like it?

Not particularly, no.

Well that is honest. So what I would like to ask is this: the understanding before you came here, and what I talk about – how does it compare?

It was the resonance between the two models, yours and my teachers’, that led me to study your books with some diligence. And because of the experiences I received from your books, and because of the advanced stage of my Teacher and yourself, I felt it would be appropriate to come and sit with you.

leonard cohen 1

I see. But you used the word ‘resonance’. Can you explain that a little bit, Leonard?

I found that during some of the rigorous retreats that we’re subjected to, I would find myself opening one of your books, specifically The Final Truth; and I would find that your writing would illuminate the discourses of our Master, and vice versa. It became urgent that I …

A similar thing happened to me. When I was with my – Nisargadatta Maharaj. You know Wei Wu Wei?

Yes, Sir.

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Particularly one book which a friend of mine gave me twenty years ago, which I knew was a treasure, but I couldn’t understand it – I kept it aside. So that was what used to be – what Maharaj said, and what was said in the book – amazing. …   You’ve been here for ten days!

Yes, Sir.

But you’ve been so silent!

Ramesh talks at home

I’ve been sipping at the nectar. It’s very delicious to be here.   On the intellectual level, your model becomes clearer and clear to me – your conceptual presentation – and so does my old Teacher’s. On the experiential level, I feel the weakening of certain proprietorial feelings about doership.

That is a very good word!   Proprietorial – me, mine!   I see. Now, this weakening – how do you mean this weakening, when did it start?   Did it start thirty years ago? Is that what you are saying?

I couldn’t characterize this seeking as spiritual. It was a kind of urgent …

You mean what started thirty years ago was not really spiritual?

No Sir.

I see. I see.

I don’t know if it is today. The description seems to pale in the urgency of the actual search, which is for peace.

Yes. Yes.

And you know, over the years, especially anyone who hangs around a Zendo meditation hall, is going to get a lot of free samples, as you put it. If you sit for long hours every day, and are subjected to sleeplessness and protein deficiency, you’re going to start having experiences that are interesting. It was a hunger for those experiences that kept me around, because I NEEDED those experiences.

YES! The HUNGER for those experiences. Yes! So?

leonard cohen 2

I forget where we were. I’m sorry.

You said, experiences happened, and there was a hunger for those experiences.

There was a hunger to maximize, to continue, a greed to … a greed for those kinds of experiences develops. Which is what happens in monasteries.

I entirely agree, yes. There is a greed for those experiences.

Very much so. And I must say that my old Teacher puts little value on those experiences.

I see. In fact, did he WARN you against them?

Warns you, and BEATS YOU, against them!

With his stick? On your shoulder?

Yes Sir. We are not encouraged to take these hallucinations seriously.

But how effective are those beatings, Leonard?

Not effective at all. I’ve seen them more effective in the case of other monks than they were in this case. So I respect the system; it’s a rigorous system based on a very useable model, but it wortks for some and does not work for others.

Quite right. I see. And what you’ve been hearing for ten days, has it made some difference, do you think?

Sweet!

leonard cohen 3

Some difference in this greed?   Can you explain that a little bit, please Leonard?

Your emphasis on the disidentification with the sense of doership, is crucial to the weakening of – the modification of that greed.   And by the grace of this activity, I have experienced …

You have tried it, during the last ten days?   I see.

Yes. Of course, greed arises. The hunger arises, legitimately, and without my bidding. The greed for peace, for equanimity, for balance, arises spontaneously. But I feel that somehow I don’t have any leverage on the apparatus. Somehow there is a sweetening of the whole experience.

I see. You see, what happens is – Wayne and I had a very brief talk a couple of days ago; we were both walking on the roof. He made a point that while certain practices bringing about these free samples, inflate the ego, could these practices also not inflate the ego to an extent where it bursts? Which is one way for the annihilation of the ego.

..

That is a very excellent characterisation of this kind of practice.

I see. That is what it is supposed to do. But I told Wayne, the explosion will happen if that is the will of God, and if it is the will of God, that that bodymind organism follow THAT PATH. … … Ramana Maharshi used the words “Who am I” because in English there is a marvellous distinction between ‘I’ and ‘me’, but in the Tamil language and most other languages I am told, this distinction is not there. So when Ramana Maharshi said, “Find out who am I”, he really meant, “Who is this me I’m so concerned about?”

Ramana Arunachala III

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If this process starts, it is the will of God. And if this process reaches a certain depth – every step is God’s will and the destiny of that body-mind organism – the actual arising of this question is there a me, out of DEEPEST FRUSTRATION, is what is perhaps called THE DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL   In the time lag between the arising of the question and the arising of an answer, the deepest frustration is the dark night of the soul. And the dark night of the soul awakens you into the answer: “There never has been a ‘me’. There is thinking, but no thinker. There is doing, but no doer.”   The thinker, the doer, the experiencer, comes later, and becomes proud, or has a feeling of guilt.   Thinking happens. A thought arises and leads to some action. And later on, the individual ego doer comes in and says “I had a brilliant idea which I put into practice, and now I am Bill Gates, making five hundred dollars every second.” That is how thought occurs. But the one who says ‘I thought’ comes later. And it was God’s will and the destiny of the mindbody organism that that should happen. Albert Einstein in his total humility, has gone on record as saying the equation came to him from outside.

I think that’s the experience of every artist and mind worker.

Yes. Nureyev the ballet dancer has said, “Nureyev dances best when Nureyev isn’t there.”   And the same thing is said by I suppose, any artist in whatever field … …   Bhagavad Gita says this: “Out of thousands of people there is one seeker. Out of the many seekers, there is ONLY ONE who knows me in principle.” … … Many Gurus, unfortunately, tie down their disciples, saying “Now you have come to me. You wanted to be initiated. Now our relationship is life-long.” You see? But to me, that is ridiculous. You initiated him, but who sent him to you?   That Source certainly has the right to send that disciple somewhere else!   Who is this Guru, to bind him for life?

In the Zen tradition as you know, monks went from one Master to another, in search of different aspects of the teaching. I don’t feel I am betraying my Teacher by being here.

leonard cohen 4

Yes. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here. In fact, Wayne told me, you told your Teacher.

Yes. He asked me to cook him one last meal. Because I’m his cook.

And what is his favourite dish?

Uh – salmon teriyaki.

Oh. Well, that’s – that’s my favourite dish too. I mean, the particular dish you mention, I don’t know what it is, but … salmon.

It’s just marinated in soy sauce and saki, ginger, pepper, for a certain period of time, and then battered.

So is cooking one of your talents?

It’s not a talent, it’s a duty. I cook for the old man.

So it is your duty to cook salmon for your Guru.

That is correct.

And it is the Guru’s duty to eat it, whatever way you cook it!

He is very cavalier with his duties.

I see. Yes. YES. So, Leonard, is he likely to ask you when you go back, what did you learn?

My understanding, he will discern exactly. I think the issue more urgent, is whether I stay there or not.

Yes. But if he does ask you – which is not impossible, is it? – what would you say, Leonard?

Well, we have – I would try to convey to him in the terms that – but he doesn’t speak English.

Ramesh Balsekar 14 feb 13_0001

So you speak Japanese?

No. He speaks very very little English. I speak very little Japanese. But we’ve been studying together and drinking together for a long time.

What is his favourite drink?

I tried to introduce him to vintage French wine, which I consider a refined beverage, but he insists on drinking saki.

If you ask me, I’d prefer Scotch or sherry.

I agree with you. He did – he was very discerning about cognac.

Yes.

He liked cognac, and he established masculine and feminine qualities to the different brands. For instance he thought Remy Martin had a feminine expression, while Courvoisier had a masculine expression. None of these designations were taken too seriously after the third or fourth drink.

You see, that is the whole point, Leonard. The whole business is taken far too seriously. That is the ridiculous thing about it. There’s nothing serious about it, because there’s no seeker!   And who is serious about it? – the seeker!   You see? The seeking goes on, on its own course. So, if this question were asked you Leonard, is there a specific point which you learned from Ramesh – which is NOT what you had earlier – what would you say?   I don’t want to suggest an answer …

I would probably gasho to him. (Bows deeply)   And depending on the truth of the moment, whether I could step aside from the understanding and let the understanding communicate itself …

The answer is, “I don’t know”.   Is that what you meant?

It’s correct.

Then that is absolutely correct: “I don’t know what answer will come out.”

ramesh listening

He has, you know, the Japanese rigour.   So he would question, he would listen carefully to my saying “I don’t know”. Because “I don’t know” is the answer to many koans.

No no. What I’m saying is: “I don’t know” is your answer to me. … …   Must be a pretty hard life there?

I’m given many privileges that the younger monks don’t have, because I have a family and obligations, so although I’m not free from the general form, which is very early waking up and long hours in the meditation hall and lots of work, I’m allowed to go down, into the city from time to time, to take care of my affairs and see my children.

Yes. I see. Yes. You have a family?

I have two children.

Two children. I see. And a wife?

I never married.

I see. So the two children are grown up?

They’re in their middle twenties.

Oh I see. But they’re on their own then, yes? – You have to help them?

They’re on their own, but I feel I can be of use to them. It’s difficult raising children in America. It’s a difficult manoevring and navigating through a lot of dangerous waters. So I’ve tried to stay close to them through some very difficult periods. A child growing up in America with money.

They have their own money?

No, I mean, in a comfortable surrounding.

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monkeys 2

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Yes. What is your relationship with your children? What advice do you give them – depending on the circumstances? The point is, how does one raise one’s children with the total acceptance that each child has its own destiny? Each child is programmed in a unique way. And yet you have to do your duty, as a father. What has been your experience, Leonard? Was it interesting?

My experience is to rely on instinct at the moment, and discard principles I myself received from my own parents, which were quite effective in their own way. I find for instance, that that the way I did it, or the way it was revealed to me –

Do they live on their own?

My daughter lives in my apartment, and I live on the mountain, and my son lives around the corner.

And you provide the money for them, or do they work?

They work. They work hard.

And they earn their own living then?

Yes, Sir.   But they grew up in a privileged environment. They didn’t have to work. They didn’t have to struggle.

They didn’t have to earn and learn?

No, they didn’t have to earn and learn, and not only that, but  they were exposed to things very early in their lives, as many American kids are. I had been through that myself. So I was able to react in a way that was unconventional. But having understood something  …

From personal experience?

From personal experience, I established a connection with the child on the basis of that common experience, rather than on a principle of right or wrong.

wei wu wei vi

Quite right. Yes. It worked?

And fortunately, it seemed to work.

Oh? I see. In other words, you talked to your children not like a father to a son or daughter, but as one person who has experience of what they are experiencing.

Yes Sir, that’s correct; not only that, but having taken that course, it’s enabled a real usable friendship to develop.

Yes! Yes! In fact the relationship itself must have taken a beautiful turn.

It has! My daughter says, like “You’re really cool, Dad.”

That is the highest compliment, isn’t it. Cool. And the curious part of it is, this word is really the definition of the traditional word ananda. The traditional word ananda is translated as “bliss”. But my objection to the word “bliss” is, it raises expectations in the seeker.

It’s a tyranny.

Calm. Cool. Well, this is a great compliment from your daughter!

It was, it was.

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Wei wu wei ii

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You are cool, Dad. And what about your son? What do they do?

My daughter runs a store for antique deco furniture. She goes to England and buys furniture and brings it back and sells it. She got a job with an antique dealer two years ago, who apprenticed her. And my son has just put out his first record with a big record company.

Oh well! So he inherited your talent for music?

Well, I don’t have much talent for music, but he has. People who know my work will, er … I have a kind of croaking delivery. But he actually is very musical.

What you are saying is, your son is better than you are – were.

He has strengths that are much more apparent!

And you have told him that?   So he must ALSO have said “Dad, you’re cool.”

He has.

The son being praised by the father. So you have a very good relationship with your children!

Thank God, I do.

wei wu wei v

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Again, God’s grace. You know what I say about God’s grace and God’s will? We use the word God’s grace when something nice happens. When something not so nice happens, and we know we can do nothing about it, we put our head down and say God’s will. So now, if somebody asks you Leonard, “how do you live your life?” – you are about sixtyish?

Getting to be sixty-five.

I see. How do you live your life? Does living your life present a problem? What would be your answer, from personal experience? Is living your life now, with this understanding, a difficult thing?

Well, if it is – and it’s been the experience of this being, that things come with difficulty rather than with ease – so I think the perspective on that programming is changing.

I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get that. Things come difficult?

Yes, for instance I’m a song writer by profession …

You still write?

Yes Sir. And I’ve always found that I write one word at a time. With sweat and difficulty.

Like pulling out teeth.

It’s like pulling teeth, and it takes a great effort. I’ve written some decent songs, and people ask me about song writing, you know, they say “How do you write a good song?” And I always say, “If I knew where the good songs came from, I would go there more often.” I don’t know where they come from. I know that I have to sit at my desk or in my café or wherever it is, and sweat over it. Other song writers greater than I – and I’ve had this conversation with them – will give me completely different information. They’ll say, like “I wrote it in the back of the taxi cab” – you know, a great song. So it seems to be my experience, that things are difficult in just the way this programming works.

That is correct.

ramesh for cover

So the understanding now is, that this programming, unless it is the will of God to change the programming, is going to be as it is, but I don’t have to get involved in the programming. I can work at my desk as I’ve always done, but without that additional tyranny of disapproval of the method; because this is the method that …

… is supposed to be for you

… is supposed to be for me.

I tell you how I understand it. What you are saying is this: writing a song comes easy for some people. They can write one in a taxicab. For you it becomes much more difficult. But what you are saying, I think, is, that there is no wish that you could do what that other fellow is doing. Isn’t that right?

No. There is no wish.

Wei wu wei iii

That’s the whole point. You have accepted the way YOU write your songs, and you have accepted the way someone else is able to write the songs.

And deeper than that, Sir, there is – I’ve always had a sense of this – this perception of this bodymind orgasm – organism … !

The American pronunciation!

… has been that there is a background of anguish, of mental anguish, that does not seem to respond to any methods that I impose on it. So as that understanding deepens, I try less to impose any methods; and although the chatter and the activity of the mind continues, it doesn’t seem to have its poisonous sting.

Say that again, please? The chattering of the mind goes on?

The chattering of the mind, and the alleged anguish of the mind continues to operate sometimes in degrees of intensity that make one gasp or cry for help …

YES!

But with this understanding that is dawning, it seems that I am less willing to criticize or impose.

I see. Again, the same thing. You write the songs the way YOU are programmed to write, but there is no wishing that YOU could do what some others can. Doesn’t the same thing apply here? Isn’t that what you are saying?

Yes Sir. (Bows deeply). Yes, Sir.

Exactly the same thing. The chattering of the mind happens, but there is no wish that the chattering of the mind should become less. Isn’t that what you are saying? So whatever happens is accepted. Alright, there IS the chattering of the mind! It is the nature of the mind to chatter. It is the nature of the monkey to moan. So you let the monkey moan – the way he wants to! Therefore, the chattering of the mind may be there, but there’s no anguish. Is that what you are saying – as I think you are?

play monkeys

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It is. But even if there is anguish …

You mean, accept even that anguish is acceptance? Quite correct. Even if the anguish does happen, even if the involvement does happen, acceptance of it means “the cutting off of the involvement, when it is accepted.”

Correct.

So, even the involvement has to be accepted. Involvement happens – oh, alright, so it is happening …   Thank you very much, Leonard. That is exactly what I was hoping I’d get from you. (Obeisance).

First published in Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK Journal
“Self Enquiry”, summer 1999

ravens

Read more of this conversation in PART TWO

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My adventure invites fellow travellers. I am a poet, an artist and a seer. I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

aquariel link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012-2014. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

The Wandering Fool and Ramesh

With drawings from my sketchbooks in 1988, some “Poems of Eclipse” 1999, (inspired by Ramesh Balsekar’s philosophy) and a new sketch of Ramesh.

Read also my landmark post On Gaia as our Self in my other blog, Aquariel !

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Arcanum 0 The Fool

Arcanum 0 The Fool

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A Picture …

Standing over
a rock under standing – river bed
unaltered wherever I go,
the art of life discovers
a masterpiece – the obvious!

Along the rain washed road, a wanderer
wears battered hat, carrying
bundly bag and flower.  Why
did God’s will place him there?

He turned.  He thought he knew
but could not see the thunder cloud
above him, deftly brushed.

Trapped in the wrong dimension,
unwittingly he got wet!

Backed on canvas, his quest
is strung on fibre, warp and weft.
His human history, he cannot see.
On flat earth theory, he’s crucified;
the Master’s Eye looks back!

Who created him:  Botticelli, Van Eyck,
Michelangelo?  He was
and is composed no where apart
from Life around him, which is Art.

2 The Wandering Fool with Flower & Egg

Let the vagrant lift his Cross
of time through space,
the canvas warp and weft,
to follow Eye.

Let him through a hemisphere
turn his gaze
from flat earth
to Creation’s inward sky.

Let him see as the Master sees
himself.

0 Fool Arcana version 2

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The spirit in the Garden of Eden
took root in animal skins.
World’s habitat being strong,
my vigilance is overcast.

The disappointing fragment magnified
is an ever present threat
to thunder and enclose my soul –
yet the coast is clear.

The breath that stops the world
can nothing else contain,
for it is everything.

The holy Grail
draws to itself the Grail against
all other gravities.

3 Two young Fools conversing

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In Ramesh’s aphorism, my life
is a painted land,
a mile or five miles wide.
A house or two I see from where I stand.
What next unfolds?  I walk in time and space.

That thread links a hill which hasn’t happened yet
with a vivid face which has.
The future hill with remembered face
in the Master’s Eye, are space.

Stepping away,
wider vistas with the fragment coalesce
and realisation comes:  the masterpiece
was painted long ago.

6 Astronomer Fool with spinning top and cockerel

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Creator

My vivid face and brooding hill
have thirty roving years between.

My wanderer, awarded a cosmos of his own,
searches source
around the fade-out of his visual field.
He rests at night in a picture frame of mist.

How may he know God’s will unless
he’s in love with nothing else?
content to be rained upon, re-brushed
with madder rose, ochre, a touch of sapphire,
and even cleaned away?

Meet Mrs Madder Rose - 1987

Meet Mrs Madder Rose – 1987

In love with nowt but what Creator does –
he’s granted a strong belief he may find out!
Else who among his Angelic lovers of Art
could his capering convince?

Ramesh in his wisdom has remarked: “When understanding happens, a created object sees that nothing he or she believed they did, or felt, is separate from the Creator Subjectivity. It has no being apart;  nor ever had.  The entire texture of autonomy, guilt and pride, is illusory, fabricating divine ignorance.”

Ramesh Balsekar ja 14 feb 2013

Ramesh Balsekar ja 14 feb 2013

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Master

God’s Name
belongs to the canvas figure, alone.
Prayer is open-ness.

Shell

GOD is a sound:  here a spiral shell
on the beach, and elsewhere tightly closed.
The Mystery of Master’s work within a gem
erases and enhances Grace.

The co-creation has no concept
but to be.  The Master knows not
how his own beard grows.

Wandering Fool with paper boats

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Binah – the Understanding

The drum’s
cellular surface quivers
like an ear.

Osmosis passes from root in earth to flowering leaf, as sun from star.
Osmosis regulates cell densities through magnetic vacuum
beyond the brain.

The gnosis has no fight with life,
and always unseats itself.
Behind every alteration it
seems to bring about, gnosis
remains unaltering.

The philosophical aphorism accepts and discards
concepts freely, as tools
that grow on us, are sharp,
grow blunt, and are put away.

arcana 6 and 0_0001

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

Aquariel Link

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address https://janeadamsart.wordpress.com/

A Walk in the Dark Night

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My recent post The Miasms, Karma and Homeopathic Healing touches on “walk-ins” or demonic possession.  I had a strange experience of this, about thirteen years ago.  This post contains that story, as I told it to John de Ruiter.  Around it I found other writings and pictures.   Existentially, we come to grips with our shadow, as we walk.

Sea 1

8 November 1998 –  The Dark Night of the Soul

The truth is impersonal.  It isn’t “me”.  It is intercepted by colourful individual hue-and-cry localities.  They do what they want or are designed to do – the shape of a flower, fish or hedgehog – but it never stops being truth.  If in the morning it flows strongly, I think “Ah, I can see the truth!”   But that’s because it will open any mind that’s willing.  It is not something to be proud of.  Sages – those who are established in truth – go about their business and most people wouldn’t recognise them.  Why?  The truth doesn’t belong or stick to anyone.  It is all there is.  The obstacle is in considering it as an object I must reach.  The obstacle is the seeker after truth, for she puts it ahead of her, like a mirage.

sea 2

Tripura Rahasya says (p.12) – “The beneficent work of the self-inhering divine Grace is finished when the inward turning of one’s mind increases day by day.”

notebook page

…   is the realisation there is nothing I can do, and thus the extinguishing of hope.  Life burns a lamp of hope revealing rock walls, and believes it is the agent of illumination.  But when there is no lamp indicating progress, the darkness is its own source.  When the light is gone and there is only the infinite, soft and impenetrable darkness, this for some is death, the loss of heaven-god, and so it is called the soul’s dark night.  But you know, and I know, since we are One, that this is the cave of the Uncreate.  The darkness of the void is but another perception of the light.  Wait.  For the Word has not happened yet.  There is no Word here.

sea 3

Yesod What is the dark night of the soul?

Tifareth It happens before the ability to see from beyond the pairs of opposites dawns.  Some souls, when in the power of darkness, experience futility.  Gifted adolescents turn playmate to the demons, which are half formed currents of Creation in the astral body.  They feel trapped in vast, fecund fields, for the vital energy is vampirized.   That is why they stay in bed. They are exhausted.  The fields of the night glitter with POETRY – “the gorgeous black sticky stuff“.   Every soul, every branch of the Tree, must experience Hades – whether past, or yet to come – in the relative cupboard of Time.  It is the loam of below the Earth.  The wraiths of Nature  prey on and suck substance from one another, as within the physical ground: the play of spores, nitrates, seeds and rotting fibres.  It is the mud without which no lotus grows.  All must find the magic land.  Some, having passed through it, forget it.  But you and I recall it, to draw the references.  We recognise the stems, which are still rich with it.   Your drawings in 1964  are the Asphodel, the Hadean flower.  But you are not trapped.  You were when it was seductive, sensuously compulsive as the Soul’s Dark Night.

Jukebox and Beehive, Carlisle 1964

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Tifareth — The dark night of St John of the Cross – Mine eyes have seen a great Light, but now they don’t –  laboured in sorrow to bring forth, and to reconstruct the ladder.

The dark releases you.  Nothing else can.  When you go inward first, it is dark, not the custom light of the world.  You cannot see the unknown.  This is truth.

The substance of all this is that the Dark Night occurs when God disconnects you from seeing Him as a safe, Heavenly Mountain to climb up and reach, and pushes you back to drown in your swamp.  The Dark Night occurs during the i-lamp’s destruction, the miner’s lamp to …   you feel?

Yesod It is when the lamp no longer lights my cave walls with shadows, and so there is just the unbottomed. But what is the dark night of the soul REALLY?

Tifareth The dark is the passage of waiting.  It is the night through which you cannot sleep.  It is the longing for sleep, and the sterile agitation of the mind, and the slumberless corners of the body.  It is whatever episode in the life span endures grief, pain, bewilderment, inner destruction, the letting go of baggage, detachment learned the hard way.  There is no other way.  Without the dark night, who would bother to look away from the grazing-ground?  It isn’t cause and effect.  It is just that in the painful or sludge-y darkness, there burns a naked longing for the wise.

Yesod Integral to the dark night perhaps, is to know “I have no control.”

Tifareth – Whatsoever.

Yesod This in broad daylight looks very fine, but when trapped, it is the essence of suffering.

Tifareth – And the essence of surrender.  Surrender is’t just a pretty face.

Sea and rock, the feet

The dark night is the curling coal of the fathomless wave, the curve or swelling, and the willingness not to panic or wail with loneliness, but to “chill out” with it, rest on its breath, as in its feet.  There is a longing to be un-costumed, and to give up all resistance.  It is the Miner of the dark hard Night.  I learn from the companions.  When resistance is less, “I” diminish, therefore what suffered, becomes the easy movement of the breath.  The cells know this, for they sink.  This quiet state has the union and pivot of the world;  and in here the existential hell gets shot through with stabs of silence, open-ness, NOW, irrelevance, like shafts of Vedic Ushas, the Dawn.

Ushas

And then the swan of silence floats.  There is still “I”.   Only God may remove what God put there.  Think about that!  Only God can remove “I”.  I can’t.  Only God can remove God’s eye one seeingness is. But can he? …  There is no escape, nor is there death.  Tentatively, cast adrift, leave prIde and other eyes behind (they are mental attachments, seeing, applauding, approving … ) unclothe and see what happens … alone …

A verse I wrote when my daughter was young and wild and off the grid in San Francisco

You see my Lord  
never mind that I'm her mother,  
but I am (?) put in the place where it is my feeling  
to have her come safe to harbour over the heaving waters - 
soul come safe to harbour, come what may, 
be loved, her own (unknown)  
and so the spells attuning in the fields of Asphodel 
with the healing silence, 
in the dry nude mountain are in-placed. 

What a cinematic world this is. 
All is well, so I am told deep down.  
All, all manner of things is well 
and strong, and blossoming.

hallowe’en

And … even during the really difficult years, now past, she could laugh at Mum being such an old bat, and we could reach each other in this way:

… her threat to abandon her A Levels and become a Beautician in deepest Essex

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Here is Ramesh Balsekar with Gabriel Hafron.  They had honest conversations about suffering and  suicide.  Gabriel walked his dark night and – as far as I know – eats lotuses.  I love Ramesh’s pragmatic and passionate fondness for talking.

Gabriel and Ramesh

I recall the barely concealed jealous tension around the relaxed alert old man: the sniggers and impatience we could barely contain while Gabriel worked out his stuff.  The sheer mind-stuff in one’s teens and youth hurts.  It is a torment.  It tangles the web and hammers the knot.  Philosophers suffer atrociously from mercurial parasites and mental arguments – Gabriel was a philosopher with sharp streetwise chutzpah – a “nice” Jewish lad.  The public sage receives seekers who are ignorant of psychology and their own emotions and the basics and are desperate for a path.   For meeting after meeting, Gabriel begged Ramesh for relief;  and Ramesh explained to him with all the time in the world, and with intense compassion, no, he cannot help him.  He must walk himself.

I continue to feel fond of that little old man and his bright ways and blackbird gestures.  He was a retired Bank of India manager.  As I have been in his room, and dedicated my time there, I savour the background Mumbai street noises;  wailing barrow boys and baroque car horns; the wheezing crows and twittering sparrows;  and I think of him alone and snoozing in his chair after lunch with his dignified wife.  I see him walking to and fro on his roof in inquisitive harmony.  Living on the top floor – you can see the sea from there – he took his daily constitutional in the apartment.  I cherish the gentle grace of his greeting, white shirt, silken skin and impish smile.

Ramesh said to a German visitor, that when the ego wants to be enlightened, the ego wants to be God, and of course it cannot be, and thus the depression and “losing it”.

What a dodgy business to install the understanding in an unripe hyacinth!   Many a spring it takes, to flower and shrink back into the bulb underground;  for subconscious programming to accept an accelerated revelation.

Hyacinth – A Sivaic Poem

When the blue, proud Hyacinth dies, he falls 
slowly inward; flower fading crinkles 
first, and then his tips of tall green spears  
turning gold, begin to burn.



.
The bulb of his Self Light 
that hides, until a Spring to come 
in dark soil, is drinking him, 
all of him up, O Lord of Caves! 

Let his sapphire die back to earth   
and then, consumed
in your fire, spring forth! 
O Lord of the River, and of Caves.

1993

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November 1999 – Talking of a Walk-in

Here is John de Ruiter, whose early appearances in London were homeopathic and alchemical.   He seemed to be in love with wandering very slowly around in peoples’ black holes.  He puts his YOD – the attention – on the littlest bit, and just lets it, and waits.    He may have  touched the deep before speech,  releasing me from having to listen to any more sages.

John de Ruiter and his game

The people who spoke to John were little microphones.  Sometimes they were little mirrors.  The one on the right goes pop with enlightenment. The lightbulb on the left is  endarkenment.

In one of his meetings, I had a conversation with John, about a “walk-in” I’d experienced recently.

I said:  “John, I’d like to talk to you about being nobody who has nothing, and about tension.   Tension seems to build up whenever it limits or defines itself –  limitation is put around it – in any way.

“But something happened last month.  It was a dream.  There were footsteps coming.  There was no person in them, just the essence and the sound and the place of them on the gravelly ground.  They came from behind, walked right through me and pulled me towards a farm, a place of violent anger, revenge and fear, and I was terrified.  It was an electric current, a magnet.  I tried to stand still while it was going through me, but it had enormous strength.  At that point all of a moment, I thought of you.  I tried from side to side, to open, soften, let it pass through me like a wave through water – but it was too strong.  Then a Christian prayer came very powerfully, the Prayer of the Heart.  I woke from the magnetic field, shouting out loud, with that prayer.

“But there was still my enormous tension of resisting, wasn’t there.  It’s a razor edge thing of being, and yet being also the resistance.  Subsequently, I felt this current had moved away and left me.  But I had had to make myself HARD with all my might, to resist it.

John replied eventually: “It’ll be back. 

“As soon as you resisted it, for that energy, its response was, “That’s good enough.”  That’s what it wanted.  So next time it builds on what took place, and then the next time it builds on that, inside of you.

“The only way is to let yourself completely dissolve in the midst of that. There is then no threat which is taken to heart.  Nothing to protect. Then it’s not only you who is dissolving, but that energy that’s moving through you.  And that energy dissolves too.”

I said: “There is an energy used, “to not resist” – to “try not to resist.”

John: “This is the belief that you ought not to resist.  Such a belief you don’t need. Tender absence can live.  Your belief is something you’re doing.

“You would even be better off to resist and to be OK with resisting, than to try to “not resist” because you believe that you shouldn’t.  The second one makes more of a mess than the first.”

co dependent borderlines

Long pause

co-dependent fishes.  

[NB – Some other paintings in this series are in “For Z”, posted 25 August  –  see the Archive of all Posts].

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Jane: “I don’t know what sort of mess it made … because it left a feeling of openness …”

John: “To resist and be OK with it?  That’s the first one.  Even to put effort and trying into ‘not to resist’, because you believe you should put effort into not resisting – there can be an open-ness in that. The open-ness is wonderful. The effort creates the mess.

“Two things can be happening at the same time, and then there is a mixture of tightness and open-ness. The mixture is OK.  Stay with the part you’re in love with.  You don’t have to work with the other part.”  (24 November 1999)

This retrieval rings extraordinarily true for me.  It leads me to the way – in principle – Christ may have dealt with the dibbuks.

First:  while copying it out, I saw and felt John de Ruiter’s predisposition to bathe in these situations and their darkness, and be their elixir – the awareness.   He loved unconditionally the darkness, to be its slow unfolding light, from the deep depression which had rebirthed himself.   He held the tantra touch, the YOD.   He was indifferent to the huge meetings, the organization, the groupies, it all went on around him. He went to bed with some of it, and people were scandalized.  He was a forest man from the north;  a lumberjack.

(She closed her eyes and asked John to, also)

Secondly, the entity in my dream was “Mr V” whom I had met again, after many years.  Our rendez vous was the terrace outside Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath.  His approaching footsteps made the crunchy sound in the gravel; and we had a rather intense afternoon scrambling in and out of the woods and over fences.  Then they walked straight into my dream at night.  They tugged me towards an emotion – a farm nearby which was red with rage and gore .   I know now that if I had gone with them, my soul could have held a permissive bitterness, and I might be stuck and sick, seeking revenge.

I first knew Mr V when I was 20, and can only say about him now, that he was a gifted soul, but he was going into a downward spiral.  My long co-dependency with his dark side accelerated my awakening.  It re-opened my ancient doors he now shunned.  He was a catalyst in every way.  I saw the raw Karmic force, the way it whirls like a tornado.

I did this small painting (below), soon after my dream.  I amalgamated it with a 1970s dream from The Watershed, about a wounded, orphaned foal (also below).  I didn’t draw Mr V’s crunching footsteps through my space  – but I sketched the blood-red farm impression, the psychic “rage, revenge and fear” which I tried to resist by standing still and letting it go through me.

Foal farm holocaust

This is the story from “The Watershed” – The Foal.

Dreams No.124  June 1975

THE FOAL is crying,  we wish to discover how the larger animal died,  so we are leading the helpless foal through the broken out-houses, that it may sense and tell us.  The foal screamed and held back, native terror of its dead kin.   But we were too strong for it.   I carried it in my arms.   It lay numb and resigned with terror.   There was a splash of red on the floor,  blood going sticky.   I pleaded the foal’s case with the others,  I said Let’s spare the foal, it’s not right to force him into this fear.   We’ve seen the blood, we can find the rest for ourselves.   Please, we mustn’t do this to the little animal, the baby,  we will scar him for life.   So I took the baby back into the yard to wash and clean him again,  he was covered in thick mud again,  thick wet mud like a baby found in a bombsite,  and I was cleaning it off with water.   He was a human baby.   I was to clean him at a sort of trough.

The yard was derelict and full of rubbish,  thrown-out relics of demolished houses,  plaster and refuse.

The creature who had died, who had taken its own life, left imprints of itself,  its face,  in silver foil which was lying around.   It had been playing before it died,  it was non-terrestrial,  it came from some other place in the universe.  It left big graceful sculptures on the ground in thick wire and scrap iron tubing.   They would not live long because they were an alien implantation and they could not survive here,  they could not be seen.

They were ungainly structures standing on two or three legs with a kind of conscious expression above, like a child’s drawing.   They were very simply made and ephemeral because …  heaven knows what would happen to them,  they might get thrown away in ignorance with the rest of the rubbish.

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My job here is to touch on essences, not the pressure of autobiography in the tyre.  The Karmic narrative condensed within that dream, took many years yet to walk through itself, and realise the  “water under the bridge”.  I can look back on it now, and recognise the essences.  They release me deeply, acknowledging past-life hints and flavours:  apprenticeship to a medical magus in Elizabethan London, whose boundless curiosity raised and angered the dead.  In those days, cadavers were useful not only to Renaissance painters.  The esoteric Renaissance was rooted in compost – the fertile nitrates of medieval plague.  The penalty is the pain I took on, in this lifetime, together with an abortion at age 17 in my Victorian life.   These issues working through consciousness, are in the domain of “the Divine Regulator”.

My dark night revisits the pit, the walk-in or mood, to share with you my way through.   The daughters of Solomon are dark but comely.  Beauty walks with the beast.   I am astonished how, in the walk-in story, when I called on Christ with the Jesus prayer, I was released.  After twenty centuries of abuse, Jesus’s Name still has power to overturn the tables.  In any healing circumstance, His is the homeopathic power –  his Father’s, with Mother Earth.

In that episode and others, I suffered first the NEGATIVE force/fate, for it highlights the power of That which overcomes it.  They are one and the same wave crest.

The principle applies to everything we suffer, individually and collectively.  The Overcomer isn’t as dramatic and colourful as the negative fate, which is hard like gristle.  The Overcomer only pervades it, unnoticed like gravity, and brings me through to let it go.  The negative fate has its entire worldview, prediction and science.  All that is cast away – a heap of old clothes by the road.  (Even now, a symbolic Samaritan paradox:  the parables are multi-dimensioned.)   The sun came out.  Sometimes when the Sun comes out it is blinding brilliant like the road to Damascus.  But usually it just makes me take off that coat.

In my previous post, Listening with the Oracle, the Egyptian priestess in “Self Preservation” gazes at the whirling winds, the tornado before the sun comes out.  My efforts are considerable, but imaginary.   Who Ray!

Life is a landscape, a veil on the rock: the rock is the Face, the underlying geology.  It changes like clouds, because we are human and have lived a long time.  It rings the changes and comes around like the stars.

sun path

What is my Guru?  Guru means dispeller of darkness.  Let all obscurity fly from thee.  The Guru may be a person, but is really an interior climate.  When I think Guru and look inward, I find the seed of love in all its forms.  Love has the face of my beloved, and of others; but they are all incidental. They are boats on the wave.  With love comes patience.  The Guru is essentially, relationship – the give and take which is patience.

 **

 The Guru of Everything in Life

A footnote:  Gareth Knight describes in his superb biography of Dion Fortune, her first great astral battle with the college headmistress, who bashed her for four long hours with:  “You are incompetent and you know it.  You have no self confidence, and you’ve got to admit it.”

This mantra is the exact inverse of the strong occult leader she was to be.  The disabling hypnosis flagged up the opposite, like a colour complementary in the dark.  The girl broke down for months, but would rise to the initiatory test.   Competence and self confidence are the achilles heel and hallmark of creative artists, great mediums, and leaders alike.

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My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books) – along with many other creations in house.  

I write, illustrate, design and print my books.   Watch this space.