Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Maestro's Visit and the Master's Touch

Sunday, September 27, 2009.
"Never in my career of decades has any parish so small ever dared to call me for such a music retreat," said St. Vladimir Seminary Professor-emeritus David Drillock at the end of a transformative musical weekend here in Los Alamos at St. Dimitri of Rostov Mission of the Orthodox Church in America.

To us it was miraculous! All our months of struggle to communicate with each other, understand the technical nuances of the Divine Liturgy, resolve disputes, learn to blend and sing softly and beautifully were met and resolved by Professor Drillock's gentle, firm and transforming presentations to our tiny band of parishioners. We can't adequately express our surprise, joy and gratitude for his willingness to come here and teach us from his heart and vast experience.

Praise God for this man and his inspired visit!!

In the upper photo: Front Row from left to right are Yours Truly (Eugene), Birgitta, Barbara and Elizabeth; Back Row from left to right are Deacon David, Priest Fr. John Hennies, Gary (Dimitri) and Professor Drillock

We began our musical retreat at a neutral location kindly offered by the local Church of the Nazarene.

Church of the Nazarene in White Rock

Monday, September 21, 2009

Interviewing the Elephant

This morning I awoke from a most interesting dream full of charming characters and situations. In reflecting on it the main non-human character is a large vehicle in the form of an elephant. Here is the dream:

Monday, 0500 21 September 2009
Scene a: With two men in an open field area. One man is a vigorous, disciplined, independent and take-charge type guy. He seems to be surveying the scene with future plans in mind and doesn't interact with me or the other man. I say to the other man that I'm grateful for having once been a bum, because remembering that keeps me from getting too inflated. The other man says he, too, was once a bum. [CREEI score: ++++++//+++/+++ Transformative, Confirming and/or Comforting]

Scene b. Am watching scene where a beautiful, angelic looking young blonde woman is being threatened by a crowd. She is up high off the ground with her back against a wall and as the crowd presses close she calmly extends her arm to gesture "stop!" with her hand. Everyone stops. She clearly takes command of the situation and then expresses her dismay to the crowd that they could have disrespected and disregarded her magnificent elephant. [CREEI score: +-?---//+++/++? Anticipatory]

Scene c. I am inside the elephant in the front operational seat as if it is in fact some kind of bus or large vehicle in the shape of an elephant. The angelic woman comes up to me from the right side (as if having come through the service door of a school bus) to tell me pleasantly not to have soap bubbles come out of the rear end of her magnificent elephant. I apologize saying "I'm new to this job." Another beautiful young woman, a brunette, clearly subservient to the blonde, then asks me to send her a file detailing the operation I'm supposed to be doing. I ask, "Who are you and where do I send the file?" Then two husky men come into the vehicle, climb into the driver seat and co-pilot seat around me to my left and begin operating the vehicle. They are clearly experienced and skillful. The elephant bus takes off quickly, but gently as the vehicle floats slightly off the ground (like a hovercraft) and is maneuvered deftly by the driver around street corners and intersections. [CREEI score: +?++++//+++/+++ Motivational]

Joseph Dillard's Deep Listening interview:

Date of interview: 21 September 2009

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?
Being authentic and creative.
Finding others who are or want to be authentic and creative.
Helping others who are or want to be authentic and creative.

Tell me a dream or experience you remember...
See above.

Why do you think that you had this dream?
It seems clearly in response to recent communications and conversations with Joseph Dillard and my Crystal Group friends (Rex, Ken & Clark) regarding the Remote PK experiment that I am currently working on. [Click here.]

If it were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee?
Magnificent Elephant Bus

These are the characters in the dream…
Scene a: Grassy field, Dream self, two men, clear sky, horizon
Scene b: Dream self, Angelic Blonde, Crowd, Wall
Scene c: Elephant Bus, Angelic Blonde, Angelic Brunette, Dream self; Two husky men drivers

If one character had something especially important to tell you, which would it be?
Elephant Bus

Character, would you please tell me what you look like and what you are doing?
I am a well-made large vehicle, designed to look like an elephant with large cargo capacity and able to travel fast with great maneuverability on land.

Character, what do you like most about yourself in this experience? What are your strengths?
I am beautiful and intimidating to look at. I can float and respond quickly to directions of all kinds from an operator. I am a dependable vehicle.

Character, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses? What?
Nothing to dislike. No weaknesses.

Character, if you could change this dream in any way you wanted, would you?
It is not mine to change.

If so, Character, how would you change it?
Not applicable.

Character, if this dream were to continue, what would happen next?
Eugene would take note of how I function which is NOT by command or demand, but by gentle, loving suggestions from the operator. Eugene would also understand that what he has been doing has not worked in his or my best interest. Soap bubbles from my posterior is an indicator of his misunderstanding. He should write the report that the Brunette Angel has asked for.

Character, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change? If so, how?
I would change nothing. It is fun to be here and watch how Eugene learns and becomes more effective.

Character, you are in Eugene’s dream, correct? He created you, right?
Yes, he created me, because I represent an ancient mythological creature of great wisdom that exists in him. He needs to get to know me intimately so that he can operate me as freely and easily as those Angelic training operators are doing at the moment.

Character, what aspect of Eugene do you represent or most closely personify?
I've just answered that.

Character, how would you score yourself 0-10, in confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, peace of mind, and witnessing?
That is very easy. Tens all.

Character, how would Eugene’s life be different if he naturally scored high in all six of these qualities all the time?
He would effectively fulfill his purpose on earth for this lifetime.

If you could live Eugene’s waking life for him, how would you live it differently?
I would not live it differently. He is learning quickly, stumbles, mistakes and all. It's fun to watch. I do not worry about him.

If you could live Eugene’s waking life for him today, would you handle his three life issues differently? If so, how?
As I have already said, he is handling his life issues well. I would not change anything.

Character, what three life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of his life?
Being authentic and creative
Bringing the RPK experiment to resolution
Developing creative discourse between different religious traditions such as Mormon, Orthodox, Jewish, Sufi and others.

In what life situations would it be most beneficial for Eugene to imagine that he is you and act as you would?
Once he has understood me completely, he can allow himself to be driven by responsible, authentic and creative people.

Character, why do you think that you are in this dream?
To present Eugene with an imposing image that he would have a hard time ignoring and to give him a completely new perspective on what he is attempting to accomplish. He is learning about the power of love versus intimidating control.

Eugene, what have you heard yourself say?
I need to adjust my understanding of my purpose on this planet.

If this experience were a wake-up call from your soul, what do you think it would be saying to you?
I think I've got it.

Joseph Dillard replied from Berlin on September 21, 2009 1:47 PM:
Elephant, what do you think of Eugene's RPK experiment? If you were in charge, would you handle it the same way, or differently?

Elephant: Eugene's RPK experiment has kept him focused on a life-changing experience of long ago that he has been faithful in remembering. The experience offered only a hint to him in terms of a new life direction, but it was enough to motivate him to follow it through, despite much opposition and misunderstanding. He has not understood until recently that his scientific training has prejudiced his approach in favor of standard CR considerations. Now that he has been exposed to NCR thinking and applications, he is more open to modifying his original idea. I encourage him to follow this CR line, including the device he has assembled, but to be open to your NCR suggestions, Joseph, as well as to the subsequent CR modifications of his Mormon Crystal Group colleagues. He would do well to work on transforming his own attitudes into a less "forceful" style and one that is more "powerful" in terms of persuasion and empathy of the objects he is attempting to influence. He is attempting to demonstrate an "edge" between CR and NCR that could have far-ranging global implications.

Joseph Dillard on September 22, 2009 12:25 PM
Dear Eugene,
Please elaborate for me on your understanding of the difference between CR and NCR approaches.

Joseph, CR and NCR are shortened terms coined by Arnold Mindell in his 2000 book Quantum Mind. Briefly, CR or "consensus reality" refers to the differing perceptions of individuals that correspond with one another. On the other hand, NCR or "non-consensus reality" are those perceptions of individuals that do not collectively correspond with one another.

Mindell refers to Einstein, who began this discussion in the early 1900s, by pointing out that perception and experience vary between individuals. Some of our perceptions correspond to one another while others do not. Quoting Einstein: "We are accustomed to regard as real those sense perceptions which are common to different individuals, and which therefore are, in a measure, impersonal. The natural sciences, and in particular, the most fundamental of them, physics, deal with such sense perceptions."

Mindell amplifies and critiques this by saying that "consensus reality (or CR), implies not only a general collective agreement of modern international culture, but also scientific authorization."

He continues, "How a person or a group defines the term 'real' is not an objective fact but a matter of opinion. Problems begin to arise when we use the term 'real' as if it were the absolute truth."

He concludes that "the result is a physics that splits itself off from parts of nature and from parts of human perception." [Quantum Mind, p 25]

I hope this addresses your request.

Saturday, September 26.

About the Angelic Blonde: she is clearly a powerful, caring character and I don't think I created her. She has come to help me in at least two ways: 1) facing an initially hostile inner crowd, stopping them from mischief and gaining their sympathy for "her" magnificent elephant, which the elephant claims I created. 2) then she gains my attention by alerting me to something I'm doing that's incorrect and unnecessary. When I read that part of the dream to Fr. John Hennies, he laughed and laughed and laughed. Obviously the image she used was graphic and informative. I got the message and have stood corrected.

Then the Angelic Brunette gives me something to think about by asking me to clarify my understanding how the elephant functions and to send her a report. That got me to thinking about what to write.

But then the two husky, experienced and skilled Angelic men come aboard to SHOW me how to operate the vehicle of my creation. Notice that there are no wheels on this vehicle, nor are there any levers requiring force such as steering wheel or brakes, etc. It's not a standard earth-like vehicle nor bound by gravity. Notice also that the co-pilot guy says something extremely personal to me that I did not report about the dream. If something important happens to my wife Birgitta, it will confirm my belief about his abilities and purpose.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Discourse with Jewish Views

An angel prevents the sacrifice of Isaac.
Abraham and Isaac by Rembrandt

For the past couple of years I have had an interesting and stimulating dialogue with Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, former rabbi of Idaho. I first became aware of Rabbi Gershon when he commented on a Sunstone Blog post regarding the recent controversial California Proposition 8 issue on gay marriage. Both my son Nick and I were impressed by his comments and resources. We developed an independent dialogue, which the Sunstone people--an independent-thinking Mormon association--did not take an interest in. All this occurred before I joined the Orthodox Church in America this time last year.

Now that I have become an Orthodox Christian, Rabbi Gershon and my conversation has changed. In the previous post in this series I began inquiring into the origin of the three great religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam and soon came to an impasse when considering the spiritual experiences of Patriarch Abraham. That's when I recontacted the rabbi for his view and it has evolved into the kind of discourse that I have wanted for years--a dialogue based on experience, not academics... To be continued.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

When does "cult" become "culture"?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Merriam-Webster definition of "cult":
Etymology: French & Latin; French culte, from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate — more at wheel
Date: 1617
1 : formal religious veneration : worship
2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator
5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially : such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

I was born and raised a Mormon and am now an Orthodox Christian convert.

Orthodoxy accepted my May 1975 baptism performed by a Presbyterian elder in the Colorado River and ignored my July 1975 re-baptism performed by a Mormon priest in the Pacific Ocean. Orthodoxy considers Mormonism a "cult" without authority from God. By contrast, the Mormon Church in Salt Lake City considers itself to be the ONLY true church authorized by God.

How did this happen? Is it either/or? Or neither? Are we talking about different Gods?

Both Orthodox and Mormon ecclesiastical institutions can be viewed as "cults" in terms of definitions 1, 2, 5a and 5b above, whereas Orthodoxy views Mormonism mainly in terms of definition 3. Neither can now be described in terms of 5c, although they certainly could have been so described during their respective beginnings.

Both Orthodoxy and Mormonism are currently more than ecclesiastical systems; they are ways of life. Both see their church structure as “The one true church.” Many other ecclesiastical organizations make this same claim. However, Orthodoxy claims to be the original institution established by Jesus. Even so, within Orthodoxy there are many “denominations” or self-governing congregations as well as ethnic ones. The Roman Catholic Church is another claimant with an even more monolithic structure than either Orthodoxy or Mormonism. How many more such structures are there out there that claim exclusivity and how true or legitimate are their claims?

Trying to take such claims seriously from so many different traditions often seems like trying to humor the narcissist who asserts: "My body is the only true body!" And so saying is unable to see or value any other body but his own. Where did we get the notion that the "only true church" was an external reality rather than an internal one?

I became an Orthodox Christian after having been deeply moved from "within" by the compelling effect of Russian Orthodox Liturgical music, which came to me as a musical file attached to an email from a non-Orthodox friend from the "outer" world. Greek music doesn't move me the same way, nor does Antiochian music or Episcopalian or Lutheran or Presbyterian or even Mormon, although I feel much in common with devout believers in any of these institutions. Furthermore, there are many devout believers outside of these or any other ecclesiastical organizations. Could this mean ecclesiastical organizations per se may not really matter? Can it be that ecclesiastics are not essential to a believer's commitment to or experience of the Divine? Might the issue be more like the difference between nomadic believers versus city dwelling believers? Which of these are the "true" believers? Or does it not matter?

Let’s go back as far as we can to the beginning.

Somewhere along the line Orthodoxy was considered to be a cult in terms of definitions 3 and 5c. When? I suppose it was at the time of Jesus, when he attracted disciples. It certainly was viewed that way by the Jews and Romans. How long after the death of Jesus did his followers morph from cult to the culture known as Christianity? The Pharisee Jew Saul of Tarsus seems to have had the most influence on this expansion sometime after his transpersonal experience on the road to Damascus that transformed him into Paul the Apostle.

What about Islam? Mohammed gathered disciples from family and friends and formed a cult around his personality and his claim to be Allah's only messenger. This cult eventually became the culture of Islam. How long did that take?

And what about Judaism, the granddaddy of them all? Where and when did that culture start? Was not Abraham the original patriarch? What specifically were Abraham's spiritual experiences? How did he talk directly to God? Who knows any of this for sure? What are the uncertainties?

The three great world religions are Judaism, Christianity and Islam and all trace their origin to the Patriarch Abraham. How did Abraham start? In Genesis, I read that he was originally called by "the Lord" just after his father died and directed to leave his father's land to allow himself and his followers to be directed by the Lord from then on.

I asked my friend Rabbi Gershon about this.
Right now I’m stuck with Abraham as the father of the three major religions. Can you tell me more about when Abram became Abraham?

He sent me an article from a Jewish news source by Eliezer Segal entitled "Abraham Our Father"--And Theirs? The article ended with:
It is evident that all three of the great Western religions have laid claim to "Abraham our father." And the intricate web of relationships between these religions--including both conflicts and points of agreement and harmony--can be traced through the examination of their respective interpretations of Abraham's life.

In addition, as has been evident throughout our history, the interpretations Jews have given to the Scriptures often reflect pressing concerns that go far beyond the particular verses that are being expounded.

For this reason, the study of Jewish biblical exegesis offers a most challenging and rewarding way of exploring the development of Jewish thought and history.

Encouraged by this I wrote to Segal on September 11:
I have further questions, which I hope I can ask of you. They deal primarily with the Jewish view of the nature of the “Most High God” (Supreme Being, Creator Father, etc.) and Abraham’s relationship with this God, which is not clear or consistent to me. How do your people respond to such a question?

I have in mind how a response to the above question would square with the appearance of “the Lord” (as a man??) to Abraham prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and of the two men (angels?) who came to Lot prior to the destruction. Is there anywhere a discussion of the possibility of extra-terrestrial manipulation (as well as protection) of these highly motivated, sincere, but na├»ve men?

I hope such questions are not too radical or outrageous... Can you direct me to specific references that would address such questions?

Segal responded within hours:
Sorry, but your questions are much too deep and complex to cover in email correspondence. They really would require a substantial education in rabbinic literature and Jewish biblical exegesis, etc.

Indeed, these are not frivolous questions. I hope someone out there in the Jewish community can respond seriously and knowledgeably. Is there a Jewish forum for such discourse where non-Jews can participate?

I sent Rabbi Gershon this author's reply and said that it felt like a kick in the teeth. He then wrote:
I am sorry that you received such a response. I will attempt to respond after Shabbat

I look forward to his response..

Saturday, September 12

In thinking more about the Segal's response to my initial message to him and my rabbit friend's response, I decided to write to Segal again:
Forgive me, but I think you have opened yourself up to further discussion by publishing your important article. You ended it with these words:"In addition, as has been evident throughout our history, the interpretations Jews have given to the Scriptures often reflect pressing concerns that go far beyond the particular verses that are being expounded.

"For this reason, the study of Jewish biblical exegesis offers a most challenging and rewarding way of exploring the development of Jewish thought and history."

These words invite questions, notwithstanding they may be “deep and complex”. Actually, they are really not so complex that a young person cannot ask them earnestly. It doesn’t take a scholar or a rabbinical seminary graduate to offer an opinion on what I placed before you. That is why the internet is such a boon! I am publishing our exchanges on my blog, which I invite you to inspect...

My experience with Jews throughout my life has been generally provocative and inspiring. No other people are so generally gifted and intelligent, and I feel freer to be myself around them than most others. Your heritage and tradition AND suffering have produced profound thinkers, great writers, gifted artists of all kinds and the most brilliant scientists. You [as a people] have taken on the world and survived it, no matter who wishes you ill!

Don’t disappoint me and my friends and family who are great admirers of Jewish contributions to world history by ducking my questions.

Blessings on you and your family,


PS. I want to tell you one major personal example of interacting with a brilliant Jew. His name was Immanuel Velikovsky and the year was summer 1972. I was then on staff of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and was asked by College president John R. Howard to put together an international symposium to give Velikovsky his first opportunity to defend his radical ideas before an international academic forum, which had shunned him all his professional life. Giving him that opportunity at age 77 produced a triumph for both him and the college. During that symposium I sat spellbound along with scholars from all over the world while Velikovsky kept us all on the edge of our seats for three days explaining without notes! his radical ideas as published in books like Worlds in Collision, Ages In Chaos and Earth in Upheaval.

Velikovsky, a contemporary of Einstein (and co-founder with him and other prominent Jews of Hebrew University in Jerusalem), was originally a psychiatrist who became a cosmologist with an obsession for explaining in natural terms the dramatic events in the Old Testament. Examples were the sun standing still, the near collision with the Planet Venus, and the parting of the Red Sea. Among my most prized possessions are two hand-written personal letters from this man written during that symposium.

Now, I am asking you to consider some events in the life of the historically pivotal Patriarch Abraham that may have a more ordinary, less-than-miraculous, albeit radical, explanation.