Jun 30, 2000
Tom: Back when every mid to upper class teen I knew was
paying $75 for the magic Mantra words, a snappy -- and strangely irritable, no joke
-- TM salesman told me a story. I even remember where it was he told me this story.
It was on the 7th floor of a luxury apartment building on 56th Street and Park Avenue,
more or less, in New York City. Irritably, he claimed that the Maharishi had come to
America with all his mantras for free. Nobody wanted any. Then, he said, when he put
a price tag of $75 each on 'em, everybody wanted one. No wonder the guy was irritable,
Tom: ["advanced meditators"] Well, honestly, my reaction
is still "huh"??? How would you compare any of these advanced souls to Herman Melville
or Ralph Waldo Emerson? Or what about Hank Williams? How would we advanced meditators
compare with Hank Williams? Or Johnny Cash?
Shawn: Hank may know how to access his creative self but the meditators are
studying their own mind. Feeling out its subtleties, understanding their own psychological
Tom: I was hoping you'd pick Melville, but how can a feller
not pick Hank. There are, in MOBY DICK, some of the most fantastic meditations, which
I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they seemed too abstract to a good many who would
characterize themselves as "advanced."
Tom: But anyway, Hank. Now, what is there inside a human
being BUT a creative self? Why would someone want to explore his own mind if it wasn't
an act of creativity of some kind? Songs and ways to seduce women came out of Hank.
You can't deny that this simple country poet served to set a huge psychological that
did more than make people tap their feet. He spelled out subtleties and psychological
mechanisms in no different a process than any alleged advanced meditator would do.
A great deal more exuberantly, at that.
Tom: Millions and millions of people have meditated on
Hank since his day. A song is a 3 minute meditation. They don't go "Git Hi Pae" over
and over again, but listen to sound and lyrics that naturally convey space and time
and emotional dimensions with vital spontanaeity. A good foot tapper, or a tear jerker,
or an abstract piano-pounding by Charles Ives, or any music is an exploration and a
meditation all the same. Since I do those things too, I'm here to tell you it's so.
You may add computer programming to that list too, when you're on a project that's
fun and absorbing. And you may add to that anything your toddlers find themselves absorbed
in at play.
Shawn: If you're really interested see this link (http://www.heartspace.org/).
This guy I've corrosponded with in the past. He is very smart, knows his psychology
and awakened 5 years ago and speaks plain english. The essays on his site are top notch.
Tom: Went there. Oh, man... I remember most of that reading
list. I didn't see KUNDALINI by Gopi Krishna, though. That one was actually useful
to me, about a guy who went through an experience, using an ancient Hindoo technique,
a lot worse than I did. But I nearly died, too. I didn't tell anybody for at least
a couple years.
Tom: And now it's STORY TIME again. I saw "Da Free John"
on the list. He used to call himself "Bubba Free John" in the days he was less concerned
with paying the IRS what he owed. His was the last book of that ilk I ever looked at
before I bought SETH SPEAKS.
Tom: I was in a book store in Rutland, Vermont, one Christmas
season, bored with playing a gig at a ski resort with a country-rock band. I perused
the "Weird and Embarrassing" section, you know, where they keep all the books about
psychic power and pyramids and yogis, and I read the blurb on the back cover of Bubba
Free John's latest book.
Tom: I can still remember it, more or less. He wrote that
"after years of meditation and spiritual techniques and intense study, most people
are still the same assholes as they were when they started." The whole grand spiritual
shebang of those days, he was opining, didn't make a damn bit of difference.
Tom: I thought, fine. Somehow, I was afraid that might
be the case. Now what was the name of the book that crazy lady who gave me the big
St. John of the Cross Medallion with the Alexandrite stone in it wanted me especially
to get? Oh yeah. SETH SPEAKS. There it was. I pulled it off the shelf and took it to
the counter without even reading the blurbs. At that instant, without being much aware
of doing so, I pulled the DUMP lever in the back of my mind and all that fancy stuff
by Krishnamurti and Camus and Yogananda and Liz Greene and who-all went sliding out
the back flap of my cosmic dump truck, never to return.
Tom: Occasionally I've looked back on some of it here
and there. It all seems so stiff and pounded together with nails and plywood to me
any more. But thanks for the trip down a memory side-lane.