An Ancient School In a Modern World
by Dr. Derek Lamar, QM21.com
Remember that movie with Vincent Price…? A really, really “bad” AIP film titled “The Last Man On Earth?” It is probably one of those films with a cult following now, especially with zombies being so popular and all. It is appropriate in the immediate times we live in. And so weirdly ironic in a Gurdjieff Fourth Way kind of backdrop applied to this current writing. Also, when I opened the school back then in 1986, one of the songs, of many, which we used as the opening soundtrack to the event, included The Hooters song: “All You Zombies.”
“All you zombies hide your faces…
all you people in the street.
all you sittin' in high places…
the pieces gonna fall on you.”
A Fourth Way Teacher, in keeping with Gurdjieff’s “theme” that “man is asleep,” (which goes along with the Zombie concept) must always be aware of Gurdjieff’s admonition that humanity, in its state of unconsciousness, has become an automaton. Rarely does humanity glimpse that, however. Only those who drag themselves with their inner voices crying out… “No… go back… don’t do it…. It’s a trick… nooooooooooooo!!!!” And yet moving onward and being superficially brave as they slowly walk the walk of facing their self and their doppelganger lurking in the “Hall of Mirrors.” At some point you feel like “The Last Man On Earth.”
When I first gave in to personal counseling, while in the school I attended, fearing the worst, I told my counselor that it was like there were voices in my head saying, “You know, your parents probably taunted you as a child, would lock you in a tiny cabinet while you cried and whimpered alone… in the darkness of depression and despair… with no one else there… alone… wondering, what next?” And I laughed knowing it wasn’t true but still that was the inner fear I was observing within me; perhaps my first real use of self-observation. She smiled and looked down at her notes.
"I'm Not Worthy... I'm Not Worthy..."
What I didn’t know then, and wouldn’t find out for some time, was that the cabinet I kept myself locked in, where I cried inside in solitude… always wondering… “What did I do? What is wrong with me?” was the invisible bubble I was encased in as I went from here to there, always talking, chattering, noisy, annoying, non-stop, desperate for attention, yearning for someone to love me even though I didn’t deserve love… because… there was something wrong with me.” I didn’t know Mike Myers yet. I didn’t know what it meant to yell out: “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!”
The voices, the voices, not like a heavenly choir of course. More like the madness from Dante’s Inferno set to the music of the spheres and played backwards as the walls of reality continued to distract and hold back the tears amidst the fears but always tapping... tapping at my chamber door. But I was an artist. My head was filled with pictures and sounds as ideas would abound in the Fellini-like ensemble of creative thinking that would visit me throughout the day. A fine line between madness and genius the books would say. It is true you know. And who should know better than me having been in a private Fourth Way School myself for seven long years? But I had quit my music and even though the creativity remained to be used in new ways it did not explain the pain inside which would outpicture itself in my new world of angst and disappointment. The opening of the new school would reveal itself to me as something different than I had expected.
(Above: Just what is the "sphere" of our influence? Below: Krishnamurti in the reflection of Self-Observation.)
But these were fleeting moments that I would control within me of course. I didn’t have time to entertain them or do my own “Work” which I should have. But I would end up doing it later. Its time always comes due with or without interest. Reminding me of the lyrics from one of my past songs which went: “No money down is a way to inflate love, no money down never lets you get enough, she kept her promise and her self control, she kept her interest rates very low, she kept her word she’d never let me go… it’s alright… it’s alright.”
"The School Unfolds"
The school actually was moving along wonderfully. It was incredible. All of the books from our library were still packed away in boxes but nowhere to put them. This made using them nearly impossible. But as Gurdjieff would convey to his students, it would be the impossible which would force the immediate needs out of the invisible walls and into the path of the student. In this case I had some classes prepared but only a portion. This meant that suddenly I had to create classes from scratch and there were no books at my immediate disposal with which to do that. It was here that I would have to let go and fling myself into the invisible abstract of the ethers as I required answers that I knew in “Reality” were there --- but I had been given no map. Oh, I knew the principles and the process but up to now these were only the echoes of words which I feared would escape me when I would need them the most.
I began jotting down an outline for individual classes and then walk into the lecture room where the boxes of books could be found safe and sound and out of harm’s way but also seemingly out and beyond my mental reach. There is a passage in the bible where Jesus enters into Jerusalem and his followers begin to sing: “Hosanna to the Highest,” indicating that the “Messiah” had come and in the person of Jesus. The established religious leaders of the day were horrified at such a sacrilegious display and demanded that Jesus control his followers. But he replied that if he were to silence his followers “the rocks would cry out.” As I mentioned earlier on in this series this relates that statement about “energy will express itself where it will.” You cannot hold back that which is rising to the needs of the moment. And in that same state of realization I approached the boxes of books knowing that “the books would cry out.” My Teacher once said, “The dime in your pocket wants to be found as much as you want to find it.” So I reached into whatever box I was led to open first and pulled out a book and let it open to where I would find what I needed for the class I was working on --- and it presented itself to me. As they say, “Don’t try this at home.” But actually DO try this at home. Try it wherever you are, wherever you go. It helps to know that within our Quantum Reality all answers exist and all formulas and all processes and all numbers and sounds and notes and words and solutions exist already for the one willing to reach out into his or her self and enter into the abstract and receive exactly what it is he or she needs.
So, I had all of my previous metaphysical Bible classes prepared and the notes done. All I would have to do is go over them before class and present them as before. And when I gave those other classes at The Thomas Institute of Metaphysics in Los Angeles I did that and it worked out. But now I had all of these other classes to present that I hadn’t yet written so the process would really be needed for those as well and then some. The other series would be “Lessons In Ontology” which, like the Metaphysical Bible classes, there would be two sets of ten weeks totaling 20 lessons. The other series would be the Gurdjieff classes and the title that came for that was “Fourth Way Today.” It too would be 20 lessons. So each week I would sit down and let the classes present themselves to me as notes, and with quotes and material from the books I would let “cry out.”
(Above: Krisnamurti could easily move his personna from East to West without discomfort because he was a man of ideas and not tradition.)
Each week we would also present the “Sunday Talk” which was essentially an hour long. And it could be whatever came to me and usually in the same manner with which I would write a song. I would come up with a catchy title and let the ideas flow as needed with appropriate points to be made and find some music which might be good to play here and there. Some of the lectures were… “Meetings With Remarkable Ideas,” “New Age Activism,” “Release Vs. Relief,” “Survive The Coming Chaos,” and “Krishnamurti Moved A Stone.”
The concept of the “Sunday Talk” was obviously based on “church.” People are familiar with that and for most of those who came to the Ontological Learning Center they weren’t going to be going to church so this filled that vacuum. It was a way to socialize, hear new ideas and give one something to think about and hold within them the following week. As it said on one of our flyers:
“No matter your religious beliefs, Sunday is a day of regeneration. It is the ending of one week and the beginning of another. Traditionally Sunday has long been a day of worship of God, and yet even the source of this idea, the Bible, reveals an understanding beyond the physical structure as having any real meaning, but rather the pursuit of a inner knowing as the true quest. Listening to new ideas and eternal truths often prompts the “inner dialogue. It is in this hope that these on-going Sunday lectures will serve to open you up to your higher self and act as a catalyst by creating an atmosphere of receptivity that you can carry with you throughout the week.”
(Above right: Krishnamurti speaks from the comfort of his home and foundation in Oak Grove, Ojai, CA.)
On the Saturday before the “Krishnamurti” lecture I gathered my notes and went to the “blackboard” and wrote the title of the lecture there for the next day. I decided to attempt to draw a picture of Jiddu Krishnamurti there on the blackboard as well. I got a book out of the boxes and found a picture to use as a model and began drawing the head of Jiddu K. It was through the drawing and the study of the picture I was using that I realized that Krishnamurti had a comb-over. It was the funniest realization ever. I think it helped me see the frailty of humanity and how even out of incredible greatness there could still be the anguish and damage of personal vanity despite the vessels out of which would issue forth ideas and statements of liberation and spiritual quest that someone like Krishnamurti would bring to the West.
Nancy and I first encountered Krishnamurti in person at his foundation in Ojai on April 4, 1976. It was an awe-inspiring occasion to be there with him out under the famous oak trees and share that moment forever in our minds. Others arrived and finally Krishnamurti gave his talk: “Total Freedom: A Relationship With The World.” He said:
“Is one of the causes of fear comparison? Comparing oneself with somebody else? Obviously it is. So, can you live a life comparing yourself with nobody? You understand what I’m saying? When you compare yourself with another, ideologically, psychologically, or even physically, there is the striving to become that; and there is the fear that you may not. It is the desire to fulfill and you may not be able to fulfill. Where there is comparison there must be fear. And so one asks whether it is possible to live without a single comparison, never comparing, whether you are beautiful or ugly, fair or not fair, approximating yourself to some ideal, to some pattern of values. There is this constant comparison going on. We are asking, is that one of the causes of fear? Obviously.”
(Above: Krishnamurti as a young man was the darling of the Theosophy movement and chosen to be "The World Teacher" but then with a clarity of vision and his own destiny to pursue he spoke out to tell everyone that he was not to be "The World Teacher" and that they were to do their own "Work."
We bid our good-byes and left on a wonderful journey down the coastline of the Pacific and felt in the clouds the remainder of the day. By the time we got to Malibu we stopped at Ted's Rancho Restaurant for a bite to eat as we watched the ocean's waves crash against the sandy beach. As we sat and gazed out over the water, still in awe of our weekend, and as we discussed Krishnamurti and the day we all spent together suddenly a rainbow appeared in the sky, then another. This was truly a way to remember an already unforgettable day when suddenly a third rainbow appeared surpassing our wildest expectations. Krishnamurti's greatness is not only what he chose to do for others... but also what he chose to do for himself.
(Above right: Krishnamurti dialogues with David Bohm, a link pin in contemporary mysticism as it pertains to the understanding of esoteric ideas and his own expertise in Quantum Mechanics. Two books emerged from these discussions: The Ending of Time and The Limits of Thought. In its own way from Mahatma Gandhi to the Manhattan Project.)
On February 17, 1986 Krishnamurti, then 90, passed away at his home in Ojai. That was only a couple weeks after our three successive trips to Bakersfield from Los Angeles to give three weekend lectures to promote the school. We didn’t hear about Krishnamurti’s passing until around March that spring. What a shock that was. So from that moment I looked forward to being able to salute what he accomplished by at least talking about him and his achievements. Even in our library we have over 40 of Krishnamurti’s books that have stood the test of time. His influence among other teachers and Theosophy and East-West consciousness will forever remain an achievement chiseled into the history of Mind Unfolding as others take that journey to seek to know themselves and realize the importance of centers of learning and how it quietly changes the invisible path toward Higher Consciousness. An ancient school in a modern world is the quiet moment of being in the now while standing upon the throne of infinity and knowing that nothing else matters. Whatever that might be, the extraneous thoughts that fade, are but food for the zombies who know not who they are or where they are going.
(Above left and right: promotional pieces from Ted's Rancho Restaurant. Both nostalgic and politically incorrect in the use of the ash tray. Always good for spare change on the bureau.)
(Above: Krishnamurti reviews his past and his life and the journey taken.)
Saga continues: The Firewalk of The Mind
Let there be Light... Divide the Light from the Darkness... Mind, Body and Soul...
Yin and Yang... Breathe in and Exhale...
Looking in the mirror... Looking within the Self...
Man-state, Son-of-God-state, God-state...
Quantum reality emerges...
Return to Blackboard cover page.
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