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Emersion from the Influence of an Esoteric School


The book The Center of the Cyclone recounts much of my inner reality and external reality experiences. Toward the end of the book, I relate a period spent with an esoteric master and the beginnings of his school in Arica, Chile. In order to be in the school, I had to revise my belief systems. The metabelief operator (see Appendix Four) that I was working under said in effect: This vehicle has been educated in several of the Western sciences: at Cal Tech and medical school, in psychoanalytic school, in the Catholic Church, in the isolation tank, etcetera. In each case, you took on the belief systems of each of those disciplines. There are several disciplines that are interesting and make claims that you should investigate. On the suggestion of Baba Ram Dass you have studied the yoga anthology Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, an Indian philosopher (c. 200 ). You have yet to experience what it is that Patanjali is discussing. It is time to immerse yourself in one or several of these belief systems from the East."

As the story is related in The Center of the Cyclone, I then went to Chile to join the esoteric school.

I met Oscar in Chile. I was impressed with his energy, his discipline and his understanding. Here was a man whose belief systems were completely alien to my previous experience. I decided to study under him in a new course especially designed for fifty-four Americans, of which I was one. I became deeply involved and had the experiences that I went to Chile to find realized. At that time it was possible to study under the personal guidance of Oscar. I describe these experiences in detail in The Center of the Cyclone. That book ends with my return from Chile and the meeting with Toni and presents the point of view that my experience in Chile was very positive.

I left Chile before the end of the training. At first Oscar expressed grief that I was leaving his group. He quickly adapted to my decision to leave and expressed the wish that I rejoin him when he came to the United States, later. I agreed to do this.

Leaving Chile I had a very strong ambivalent feeling that I could not continue in the new format that Oscar introduced in January 1971. Just before I left, he had introduced the concept of the group as dominating all individuals. He instructed each of us to go into three days of prayer in solitude, each in our own home. His directions called for lying prone with the forehead on the two hands on the floor doing a sequence of prayers that he gave us in detail. He said that this was the most comfortable position to maintain for the required period of nine hours a day for the purpose of praying.

Within the first fifteen minutes I found that this position was incredibly uncomfortable. Pressure on the hands and on the forehead led to cutting off the circulation to the forehead and to the hands, resulting in pain. I assumed other positions of prayer. His instructions were to pray for guidance as to whether one should be a member of the group or not. By the end of the three days I was given my answer: I must leave Oscar and return to my own work.

Previously, I had spent five days alone in the desert; on 22 October 1970 I wrote out several pages of notes analyzing Oscar and the school. The notes are reproduced without any editing whatsoever in the appendices to my book Simulations of God, published this year. These notes were written on the last day of my five days in the desert. (See p. 239 in Simulations of God.) I quote from the end of these notes:*

To assume "God," to assume "prayer," to assume "connection" all seem shorthand for states of consciousness, for experiences inside, for solitude-isolation trips. These words short-circuit and oversimplify what is real and what exists. Maybe he's [Oscar's] right and I'm wrongbut maybe we are both right. He, with his education and background, uses these terms to express real experiences for himI block because I've explored these concepts to their depth and found them arrogantly shallow: for me. With similar experiences (I hope I can have them!) I can re-formulate in a more scientific and operational language what happens and how to get there. I must do my own work (as always), and study the results from my own knowledge and not lean on Oscar or his theories as be-all and end-all. Otherwise I may as well quit this trip right now. I need time and no pressure from Oscar: he pushes: with solitude-isolation and with programming. He's a programmer! He's enthusiastic and a bit arbitrarydoesn't explain to me what he's doing [what] I'm doing. He's the Qutb, the Masterthe traditional geheimrat professor of Europe and the East. He's to be educated about me, an American of independent mind and means. I have never uncritically accepted anyone's teaching or knowledge: I won't start now with Oscar.

One may well ask why these notes were not published in The Center of the Cyclone. This is an important point. When I returned from Chile I still had an attachment to Oscar. I still had attachments to members of the group around Oscar. I was still entranced by my experiences in Chile. Yet I had left Chile.

I met Toni and recounted my experiences in Chile, told her of my attachment to Oscar, that he was coming to the United States with the group after they had gone through another two months of work, which he was devoting to attempting to achieve "group Satori."

In March, he wrote me an exuberant letter in which he stated that the group had achieved Satori (Level 12 in the nomenclature cited in The Center of the Cyclone). In his second letter he asked me to meet with him in San Francisco on his return.

* John C. Lilly, Simulations of Cod, p. 245.

Toni and I went to San Francisco and met Oscar and his wife Jenny with three other members of the Chilean group, including Joseph Hart. At this meeting, Oscar was his enjoyable complex multilevel self with a good deal of humor. He obviously enjoyed his meeting with Toni. He suggested our coming to New York, where he was opening up the first course in the United States, in the fall of 1971. In order to understand what I had been through in Chile, Toni decided she would take the three months' training offered by the group in New York. We drove East and met again with Oscar and the group at Bayville on Long Island.

In spite of having left Chile early, I was still operating under the illusion that I was considered a member of the group (at least by Oscar). Oscar did not disabuse me of this point of view in his discussions with me, personally. At Bayville there was an encounter with him in which he said that he would have to ask the group if I could rejoin. At this point, things became rather dramatic.

Oscar called me into his room in the motel in Bayville and very intensely said that it was impossible for me to rejoin the group, that in their meeting he felt that they could tear me to pieces, like a tiger. Later rumors about what really happened in this group meeting made Oscar out to be doing a bit of politics.

He had gone to the group and proposed entry of his wife Jenny into the group, but did not strongly advocate my rejoining the group. I talked with many different persons in the group and found that they had had orders not to talk to me. However, several did talk with me secretly. I had many good friends in the group. I was startled and quite hurt to find that as a whole they were rejecting me. I went through a good deal of grief and finally managed to overcome my entrancement itself (the term entrancement is meant in terms of infatuation" and "blindness" resulting therefrom), and analyzed my ambivalence (i.e., wanting and not wanting to rejoin).

Meanwhile I had written the manuscript for The Center of the Cyclone, praising Oscar and recounting my experiences. All in all the account came out mostly on the positive side; the negative was suppressed. The analytical notes from the Chilean desert were not included. I gave Oscar a copy of the manuscript. He read it and reported that he was delighted with it. (He may not have been so delighted had the notes from the Chilean desert been inserted.)

In the meantime, the training had started for the new group of seventy-four students at the Essex House in New York and Toni joined. I stayed on the periphery of both groups and found that there were definite instructions that people in both the groups were not to communicate with me. I attempted to communicate with my former friends, but there was a concerted effort on their part not to do so.

I was available to them, living in the Essex House with Toni, but my availability was not made use of for the whole three months.

At one point I was asked to lunch by Steven Stroud, one of the Big Sur people who had gone to Chile with me and who was one of the more dedicated members of the original group. At lunch he made me a proposition. I was in the state of wanting-not-wanting to rejoin the group. His proposition was that if I would withdraw from publishing the manuscript for The Center of the Cyclone, I could then be a member of the group. This was the final straw that broke my ambivalence and my entrancement. I informed him that the manuscript was well on the way to being published, that it would be very inconvenient to withdraw it and I did not see that this was necessarily a realistic bargain. I refused the proposition and withdrew my request to rejoin the group. .

During this period I saw Oscar socially several times. We found each mutually entertaining but did not resume the deep relationship that we had developed in Chile. His new mission was tied up with the group that he had selected, recounted above and in The Center of the Cyclone.

In retrospect, it can easily be seen that I was not the only one that was eventually rejected by the group, by Oscar. Several self-starters left. Claudio Naranjo was the first to be summarily removed from the group while still in Chile. Several others were dropped in Chile. I was the only one that left in Chile on his own initiative.

Apparently my leaving could not be forgiven by Oscar or by the group. I remember the day (in Chile) that I announced to various members of the group that I was leaving.

During our Sunday exercises in the desert (the so-called pampas exercises as given in The Center of the Cyclone), several members of the group came up to me in sorrow that I was leaving. One or two came up with great rage. I was startled at the high emotional level at which these people treated my leaving. To me at the time it was a very logical step. I had received my answer in the three days of solitudinous prayer: I had reached the end of that particular trip, had completed my objectives with Oscar; I was more or less satisfied with my analysis and conclusions. It was with difficulty that I understood their emotions. Apparently they had become very much attached to me as a member of the group and were disappointed that I was leaving. Somehow, some of the people felt that this decision cast a reflection on them. What I considered to be logical and intuitively revealed, i.e., terminating, they considered to be betrayal.

I believe it was these feelings that generated the ultimate rejection in New York. I hold Oscar as a personal teacher who had introduced me to extremely valuable experiences through techniques, methods and ways of thinking that I hadn't had before I went to Chile. For this I felt eternally grateful to Oscar. I liked him personally but I found the politics surrounding him too much for me. In my own tradition I have established bonds with my teachers with the hope that in the future I can return to them when need arises. With Oscar this turned out to be impossible. Two years ago, when I had a need of talking to Oscar, I found that the group surrounding him prevented any contact with him and I had to do without his counsel and proceed on my own. I have not seen him since that New York period. I do not even know if he received my messages.

Since that period, various members of the group have come to call on Toni and myself. One who expressed his rage in the Chilean desert apologized for his behavior and asked my forgiveness. I said to him that there was nothing to forgive, that I understood from whence he was speaking and from whence came his negative emotion.

As my emotional entrancement and ambivalence died out and as my objectivity with regard to the group increased, I realized that somehow I am not built nor have I been trained to come under the sway of any group. I gradually realized that I am an explorer who at any time can become a student in order to learn more, in order to sharpen my own philosophy of exploration and my own techniques of exploration; but this student must also graduate when he has learned enough for his purposes. I reserve some of my entrancement for my dyad. This frees me up to continue my explorations.

My own childish nature, hidden in the layers of sophistication, of education, of explanation, surfaces freely in the dyad. For me, it is inappropriate for this childish nature to surface in other ways. With Toni I give free rein to my childish nature when we are alone. Slowly but surely, the young child in me is becoming educated, immersed in the security of Toni's love; he still has difficulties in surfacing at the behest of a group.

To give you a specific example of the kinds of things that occurred in New York, Toni recounts her experience with the Arica group. You can now see the background that led to her experience and my state of mind during her experience. I needed to go to New York and spend that three months outside of the group to resolve my own loving attachments to that group and attain a higher degree of objectivity in regard to my human relationships with them. It is a lesson well learned and I am very appreciative that Toni gave me this opportunity by taking the training with the group (New York #1, as it is called). It was during that year that I realized that each independent selfstarter, as I call them, taking that training, left the New York group on his own initiative. Other people took the training on the basis of my experience in Chile, recounted in lectures afterward. Other persons have taken the training on the basis of having read The Center of the Cyclone.

I wrote that book in a state of positive transference for Oscar and for the group reflected in the book. Apparently I laid the groundwork for my more objective analysis of that positive transference in the notes in the Chilean desert. In all fairness, I should have published those notes in The Center of the Cyclone.

In my state of enhancement, I failed to do so and only later was I able to publish those notes after the entrancement disappeared. Thus does one's objectivity suffer from attachment. In the words of Patanjali, "Pleasure leads to attachment; pain leads to aversion."

Through these experiences I learned that attachment and aversion are both the result of lack of objectivity. To achieve the state of High Indifference described by Merrell-Wolff, one needs to experience the depths and heights of attachment and pain. Objectivity comes, then I experience High Indifference.

Apparently, as long as I am in this human vehicle I will be unable to stay in a state of High Indifference. One's brain contains special survival circuits generating pleasure and generating pain in order that the organism that one inhabits can survive on this planet. It is only through close brushes with death, through the education that intense pain brings and through the education that intense pleasure carries with it that one can ultimately achieve the state of High Indifference beyond Bliss, beyond the hells created on this planet (in one's self and through others), that one can finally give these up and leave the vehicle to go on somewhere else beyond human conception and human imagination.

I do not believe that any teacher, any master, and guru, while still in this vehicle, can remain one hundred percent of the time in the highest states of which I have had experience. He cannot do this until he has the dyad as well as the means to remain in the highest state while operating outside consensus social reality, as did Sri Aurobindo, a yogi, teaching in India (see Chapter Fourteen).

Recently I was sent a book on kundalini yoga by Gopi Krishna. I had read his autobiography several years ago, as suggested by Dick Price of Esalen Institute. I was impressed by Gopi Krishna's experiences, both positive and negative in raising his kundalini. I was unimpressed by his latest book. He makes judgments that are all too human. He uses Alan Watts' autobiography as an example of someone who was on the edge of attaining enlightenment but did not achieve it because he neglected kundalini. He pushes his own methods as if the be-all and end-all for achieving the ultimate states of being. Despite

his contentions, his writings do not reflect speaking from a position of the higher states of being. He judges all too humanly. Merrell-Wolff states in Pathways Through to Space:

It is a mistake to think that the Dharma of even the God-Conscious Man is without problems. As God-Conscious, His impulse is His Dharma, and thus there is no emotional conflict. But the question "What does that Dharma mean in practical action?" is quite another matter. Absolute solutions of relative problems, outside of mathematics, do not exist. The Higher Consciousness is certain on Its own Level; It does effect an enormous clarification of insight on the subject-object level; and It always manifests as an intent to effect the highest good of all; but in all dealings with human beings unknown variables are involved, even from the perspective of high Adepts. As a consequence, Illumination by no means implies infallible action in the subject-object field. So there always remains the practical problem, which we may state in the form of a question, "What course in action best manifests the inwardly recognized Dharma?" Naturally, for the solution of this problem, the Illumined Man who has, in addition to his Illumination, a broad rational understanding of the science of ethics is also best equipped for making lofty intent to manifest as wise action.

Another important point which should be remembered is the fact that rarely if ever is the personality of the God-Conscious Man enveloped in the full Light of the Higher Consciousness at all times. Generally the period of the envelopment is brief, sometimes of only momentary duration, and in many cases it happens but once in a lifetime. Much of the time, even in the cases of Men who have known a high order of Illumination, the consciousness sinks more or less into the subject-object field, with a corresponding obscuration of the insight. The lesser impulses, which have their ground in the subject-object man, are not completely transformed in one moment, although the purification of them proceeds progressively. There remains, therefore, a practical need for discrimination among the complex of all impulses that may arise. He who has had even no more than one moment of Illumination does have a modulus for such discrimination, and that gives Him a decisive advantage over other men. But nevertheless He has not transcended the need for discrimination in practical action.*

* Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Pathways Through to Space.

There are at least four areas of human experience and human action, which we must distinguish. First there is the planetside trip, one's relationships with others, one's daily life. Secondly there is the experience of transcendence, of Illumination, of far-out domains. And thirdly there is one's written report of Illumination, far-out spaces and so forth. And fourthly, there are reports by others of one's experiences and of one's writings about these experiences.

Most of our knowledge of the religious leaders of the world, Jesus Christ, Buddha and so forth are by disciples, followers who were experiencing positive transference to their teacher and who revised the direct writings and the direct accounts of the experiences of the transcendent states. An Illumined Man cannot fully express His Illumination in his accounts of the experiences nor in how he handles his earthly responsibilities. His Illumination may or may not be reflected in how he carries out his everyday life. His Illumination may or may not be reflected in how he writes about others and their ways of life. An Illumined Man, in his vehicle, not in a state of Illumination, may be as human as anyone else. His judgments may be as bound to his "common sense" as any person who is not Illuminated. Paraphrased here, Albert Einstein defined "common sense" as "that set of biases and prejudices which one accumulates before one is eighteen years old." The Illumined Man must analyze his own Unconscious Programs in order to achieve action and decision and judgment in consonance with His Illumination. Illumination does not automatically guarantee a full analysis of the Unconscious, resident within the human vehicle. Until such analysis is carried out rather completely, the coherence with Illumination is missing and the large gaps show.

By direct personal experience with Oscar I know that he had achieved Illumination in the sense that Merrell-Wolff defines. I deduce from Gopi Krishna's autobiography, Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man, that he too has had experiences of Illumination. I know from reading Merrell-Wolff's writings and from meetings with him that he also has had the direct experience. In comparing my own experiences with those of Oscar Ichazo, of Gopi Krishna, of Merrell-Wolff and of otherssuch as

Sri Aurobindo, Ramana Maharshi, Ramakrishna, Yogananda recounted in their autobiographies, their writings and the writings of their followers, I deduce that my experiences fall into this same category.

My Western education in science, in psychoanalysis and through experiences with close brushes with death (before I was aware of these writings or before I had met some of these men), place me in the peculiar position of being an explorer rather than wishing to inhabit these regions continuously during this lifetime. As I show in Chapter Seventeen of this book, and as I hope to show in a much longer book analyzing a year spent in these states of transcendence (irrespective of the consensus reality around me), there is a basic necessity that is neglected in most of these writings and by most of these men. This necessity is the analysis of one's impulses, of one's survival programs placed in one's unconscious during one's lifetime, having to do with trauma incurred on one's planetside trip. The Western yoga demands analysis of one's self as one is, not as one wishes to be. Transcendence by wish is possible and has been demonstrated by many people but such transcendence cannot be permanent. Self-analysis, analysis of the memories stored deeply within Self, is an absolute requirement for a successful integration of experiences of Illumination, Enlightenment, Samadhi, Satori with one's planetside trip.

There are many, many people (in the United States especially) who believe that transcendence is a stepwise process given by some divine source to favored individuals. Ideally this may be true. There may be individuals who have experienced that which is right for transcendence by having the right parents, the right peers, the right education. If such people exist, I have yet to meet them. If such people exist, I have yet to find writings that give proof of this. The travail of pain, of fear, of rage, of wisdom through excess is still necessary for an adequate self-analysis and for an adequate integration of one's freedom within to act from a state of High Indifference continuously and without letdown. No one that I know of, including myself, has yet achieved this, here in the United States. I keep hearing of the next guru coming from the East, from Tibet, from Japan, from Afghanistan, from Arabia, from India, from China, and yet when I meet them I see definite limitations imposed by the earthside personality. I also see unquestionable evidence of Illumination experiences stamped in each of these persons.

There are those who feel that total transcendence and integration leads to a holy aura, to a charisma, to an esoteric influence upon others, to a divine influence that somehow magically will transform others into a state of Illumination. Examples of Jesus Christ, of Buddha and of other ancient figures are constantly brought to the fore as proof of these achievements. With this I cannot agree. It seems to me that such ancient divine presence on the earth is a projection of followers entranced by charisma, entranced by apparent miracles giving free rein to their idealizations in their imagination, in their writings. Apocryphal stories spring up around any figure who has experienced Illumination and who collects followers. There is a tendency in these accounts to ignore those parts of that particular master that are all too human.

I am willing to revise these concepts at any time that I can directly experience such an idealized divine person. Until that time I will continue my explorations and my analyses of these phenomena insofar as I am able, without entrancement and without aversion.

I do not wish to accumulate followers. I do not wish to be revered. I wish to encourage others to investigate, to explore, to self-analyze, to self-transcend, to expand their consciousness and to improve their planetside trip within the consensus social reality as it is, not as they wish it to be. When and if I have Illumination experiences I am grateful. I do not know their source. I do not understand them yet, and I cannot take on the belief systems of others that so readily explain these phenomena as manifestations of a God that they define in their belief system; their God is too small. It is my metabelief that if there is an Intelligence in the Universe, it is so vast that man, Illuminated or not, is a small puny animal, inhabiting a very small planet in a very small solar system, in a small galaxy in a very small part of a truly vast and immense Universe beyond the imagination, beyond the intellectual grasp, beyond the emotional attachment of us, the human species. Our explanations, our beliefs about God, our experiences of Him, are not the province of a few privileged self-styled men of God. If any of us are in communication with this Intelligence, then all of us have the potential of consciously establishing that communication. It is not only for the elite few using esoteric methods and impressing followers with ritual and their own experiences.

I believe that anyone who sets about it can experience the phenomena described. If he/she has a sufficient discipline, sufficient time, sufficient education, sufficient analysis of self, he/ she can have these experiences under the proper conditions. Literally in the mind there are no limits, except those placed upon that mind by itself. Enlarged inner limits lead to vast experiences within.

Thus did I emerse from the bonds I established with an esoteric master in his school. Thus am I giving you my present limits as I conceive of them.

In Toni's chapter on her Arica experience, one can see the detail of her relation to various planetside episodes that occurred in New York during her three-month stay. In reading this account, one must remember that Oscar was no longer as available to the students as he had been to me in Chile. He was already becoming more remote, doing less teaching and turning more of the teaching over to the forty-four survivors of the fifty-four entrants who had formed the original group in the school in Chile. By this time all self-starters had left the group. The group of survivors was convinced they were "right"; none of them had done self-analysis to any great depth. Toni recounts her experiences with this group with great candor. Many similar episodes happened in Chile, which have not been recounted by me or anyone else, in print. Even in Chile, Oscar was surrounded by palace politics, which in my own explorations I either tried to minimize or ignore. Thus has it been and probably always will be around a teacher working in the depths and heights of the unrealized human potential.

At this point I am reminded of my first trip to Arica, Chile, during which I spent many hours alone with Oscar Ichazo. My notes after that trip generated the following passage in Chapter 10 of The Center of the Cyclone (p. 154, Bantam edition; p. 144, Julian Press edition) :5

Thus, in that one-week trip to Chile in May of 1970, I was able to see something of the framework of the training that Oscar was proposing to give. Even though I couldn't see the full panorama, I had glimpses into spaces that I wanted to go as well as spaces to which I had been and wished to return.

I had some doubts that I kept to myself. I did not like the idea of being in a closed group, esoteric or otherwise. I have pursued my own path, learning from whomever and wherever I could. In my experience, the politics inherent in many group decisions lower the quality and the effectiveness of the action. The experienced, wise, energetic, intelligent individual functioning in a loose coalition with others in a wide network is far more effective than he is in a tightly organized group, or so it seems to me.

Thus I entered into Oscar's course and beliefs starting 1 July 1970, immersed myself in them for seven months in his controlled environment in a foreign culture (in Arica), and reemerged from his direct influence on 7 February 1971 in the United States. Powerful continuance of interpersonal attachment-aversion continued until dissolved in New York in November, 1971. This experiment (1 July 1970 through 31 December 1971) I count as a successful one; (1) the dyad of Toni and I survived its first onslaught successfully; (2) I came back to the "intelligent individual functioning in a loose coalition ... in a wide network"; (3) I learned that my explorer's paradigm is workable, useful and teachable to others. This paradigm, reproduced from the Epilogue of The Center of the Cyclone, is as follows :+

In the book I illustrate a general principle of living and being. It is a principle I wrote out in the Human Biocomputer. Here I revise and enlarge it. In a scientific exploration of any of the inner realities, I follow the following metaprogrammatic steps:

1. Examine whatever one can of where the new spaces are, what the basic beliefs are to go there.

2. Take on the basic beliefs of that new area as . . . true.

3. Go into the area fully aware, in high energy, storing everything, no matter how neutral, how ecstatic, or how painful the experiences become.

4. Come back here, to our best of consensus realities, temporarily shedding those basic beliefs of the new area and taking on those of the investigator impartially dispassionately objectively examining the recorded experiences and data.

5. Test one's current models of this consensus reality.

6. Construct a model that includes this reality and the new one in a more inclusive succinct way. No matter how painful such revisions of the models are be sure they include both realities.

7. Do not worship, revere, or be afraid of any person, group, space, or reality. An investigator, an explorer, has no room for such baggage.

I used this system many times in my life; in the early isolation work, in the tank work with LSD, in the Esalen experiences, in the Chile work. Each time I made what reconnaissance I could, entered the new area with enthusiasm and as openly as I could, took on the local beliefs as . . . true, experienced the region intensely, and finally moved out again, shedding the beliefs while critically examining the data and reprogramming my theories.

In my own way I have found that deep understanding is the best path for me into the unknown, the "highest" states of consciousness. I fully expect to continue to pursue this path. I consider everything I have written as transitionalas the exploration deepens and widens so we will be able to do a better job of mapping and exploring and further mapping.

As of today I have found no final answers, I am intent on continuing the search. Am I just the leader of 100 billions of connected cells? If so, who elected me leader? Where did the cells come from? If I am more than just the net result of 100 billions of cells living-cooperatively, where did I come from?

Chapter Two


Coincidence Control Develops the Dyad | The dyadic cyclone the autobiography of a couple | Experiences in New York: Toni \ s Account of Arica Group Training " Memory is incomplete experience "