September 16, 2010
ME AND THE GURU
By Pat Chalfant
A sign on his desk in The Guru’s office: “When the chela is ready, the meaning of The Guru’s textbook will be clear! (Translation: The Guru says no refunds on his textbook!)
Hang out with “New Age” people long enough and you’ll hear a lot of talk about books. Books are the life blood of the “New Age” movement. Isn’t it time to call it something else, though?—how can it be new when it’s been around for 50 years ? One psychic bookstore in Calabasas, CA calls itself the Old Age Metaphysical Country store! That’s more like it!
Anyway, I leaped into the New Age by reading Jess Stearn’s book Door to the Future when it first appeared in bookstores. I saw him interviewed on tv about that book and I dutifully schlepped down to Hollywood Blvd and bought it like an obedient viewer should. It was the first book I ever bought because of television advertising and the first time I ever heard about Edgar Cayce and the A.R.E.
That was the beginning. of my “book thing.” I bought New Age books galore through the years. It was expensive because libraries didn’t stock that kind of book then at all!
Anyway, New Age people both buy and talk incessantly about books. They are likely to buy a book and not read it (two-fisted readers may even buy two at a time that they don’t read) until a much later date. Then when they read the book(s) months later they can be heard to claim the message was exactly what they needed to hear at that time. It seems there is a perfect kind of timing in the New Age world that brings the right people together with the right books at just the right time. Obviously, the Guru agrees (wink, wink).
GURU’S FAVORITE BOOKS: “Testimony of Light” by Helen Greaves. At one time, highly recommended by the brothers at Paramahansa Yogananda’s Self Realization Fellowship in Los Angeles. The author transcribed a description of life after death brought through to her via automatic writing from an Anglican nun who had been on the committee investigating psychic phenomena for the Anglican Church when she was living. Lots of past life teachings in this. The introduction quotes the Catholic document that purportedly removed reincarnation from the Bible.
GURU’S FAVORITE SITE: http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/egroups.aspx —This is the Edgar Cayce site that lets you sign up for A.R.E.’s online Edgar Cayce classes taught by great teachers (such as Lynne Sparrow–best past life recall I ever experienced was in her past life seminar in L.A. in the 1990s and Raye Mathis (astrologer), with whom I took a memorable Cayce course years ago in Life Mission work by distance learning) @ firstname.lastname@example.org).
ME & THE GURU
By Pat Chalfant
Ever since I moved to Beaverton (actually, Aloha), Oregon, I have been happily cooking in the kitchen again for the first time in 20 years because we have this incredible kitchen in the new house my daughter, Aimee, is buying and sharing with her father, Jay, and me.
The kitchen reminds me of the kitchen my then mother-in-law had. That was when I did the most cooking in my entire life, when families only ate out at the most once a week. It was when my two older children, Beth and Chris Ullman, were little and growing up.
Right after I moved to Oregon, I wrote an email to all my Hollywood friends, ones I had worked with and ones had I taught, in my Spirit Lights classes, etc., and I told them that since I was now working in the kitchen again, I wondered what the possibilities were that I’d have a “Brother Lawrence” experience.
If you don’t know, Brother Lawrence was a 16th century monk who had formerly been a soldier. Not that I have been a soldier, although transcribing can at times be something of a fight and that’s what I had done for ten years in the job I had at Gene Bruno’s office until October last year when I quit to come here.
However, it’s the monastic period when Brother Lawrence had worked in the monastery’s kitchen after his post-war life, that I’m driving at. While he worked there, he compiled a book of letters and diary entries that has became quite famous and can be downloaded for free now.
I told my class about it hoping to motivate them to read this classic. The thing is that he started levitating around his kitchen in the monastery, or at least I’ve always pictured his levitation that way-probably because it delighted me to picture him rising above the pots and pans, which I personally think would be the ideal way to deal with all pots and pans, especially dirty ones.
As I told Hollywood friends, anyway, I wondered if I might just begin levitating if I tried to “practice the presence of God” in my kitchen, the way Brother Lawrence had done all those years ago. His book is called “Practicing the Presence of God.” There actually was a minister in a Spiritualist church in downtown Los Angeles who was rumored a few years ago to sometimes levitate.
Some of the people from the Spiritualist Church where I read then for people, lectured and played music, went down hoping to see it. They of course pretended to be interested only in attending the church’s service.
They said they didn’t see anyone levitate. Apparently he was a closet levitator. I was glad I hadn’t gone.
Anyway, today, I told Jay, who has a wonderful sense of the ridiculous, that I had told people right after we came here to live that I was thinking “Brother Lawrence” now that I’m in the kitchen again. I knew he knew who I meant when he commented by singing and altering the name of an old pop song, “Fascinating’ Rhythm,” to “Levitating’ Rhythm,” and he made me laugh.
I, of course, was really joking about the whole levitation thing-pretty much. However, one friend, Beth Helms, told me she had reread that email I’d sent out to everybody and thought how really different my slant is on many of the really mundane things in life-like working in kitchens.
Before I started to write this blog this afternoon, I got incredible ideas as I slumped watching tv in my little red recliner that matches Aimee’s all-new family room ensemble, and if you like red, is a wonderful deep, cherry red! One idea after another came to mind and I heard myself composing column after column in my head so this may be fun.
I’m typing out these thoughts right this very minute as fast as I can type. Have to try to hear Chris Wallace’s interviews today at three, so I’ve told myself I’ll finish this by then.
Hope Beth Helms is right and my point of view is weird enough to appeal to at least some readers out there. I intend to cover everything from how to do a reading (as I do now, along with teaching mediumship) to reviewing operas like one that my daughter Aimee was in awhile ago in which she was a dead woman who, while she was allowed out of hell for a short while by Cupid (don’t even try to comprehend that-it’s opera), she pointlessly held a gun on the man she had killed decades before.
Now since in real life she is the daughter of a mother who speaks to dead people, that seemed most appropriate. Appropriate because we who know
about dead people returning to earth to visit, know they will likely return in the same frame of mind or same overall condition in which they had left the earth.
So I’ll write to you about stuff like that and like Brother Lawrence and even politics, especially when it can be funny or significant in some way.
See you back here again, I hope, if you haven’t been completely grossed out by this attempt to put levity into levitating and maybe even to put spirit back into spirituality as well.
Somehow now, I think of the laughing Buddha and I think if we are constantly, happily laughing, we can’t be anything but content-there’s just no room for anything else!
So, okay, how about it, God? It’s not that I want to bother you with insignificant matters, but I do think it could be fun levitating in my beautiful kitchen above the pots and pans–you know, Brother Lawrence and all that????
On the other hand, at my age, I might not be able to get my feet solidly back on the ground when I came down again. That could be a problem. I suppose in that case I could just blog about it?! I assure you that if the levitating thing happened, you’d hear about that and maybe I wouldn’t really care if I ever came down again.
Of course, I don’t know what The Guru would think about that–we always share each other’s paths. He joined me when I was researching a psychic column and articles I wrote in the National Insider 35 years ago.
Some of the material was so far out that I started doodling and letting my mind drift to get away from the weirdness of it all for a few minutes at a time and he just started showing up then on my note pad…It would probably be okay with him though, because the funny thing is, he always pretty much likes whatever I do.
ME AND THE GURU
By Pat Chalfant
ABOVE IT ALL–GRACE!
I remember when I was studying Emerson while I was trying to become an English teacher, I wrote something in an essay about the fact that we might not know where our paths might take us or even where they had already really taken us, but if we could rise high enough and look down on the path, then we could know, of course. The essay was actually about Emerson’s philosophy of Transcendentalism, of course.
Every now and then I get to a point where I need a little elevation so I can see where I’ve been and which general direction I now seem to be going. To that purpose, I took an online class in May through the Edgar Cayce’s ARE EGroups program of Internet study that was based on a book by Lynn Sparrow and has to do with transcending karma and opening up to Grace.
I just a few minutes ago ran into the words I may have been looking for without knowing it, ever since I signed up for the class. They were in the “goodbye” note written by Lynn Sparrow when the class was over and they were not actually her words, but Michael Murphy’s who had written a book she was reading currently as part of her daily spiritual practice each morning and were in: “Grace as a mark of Evolutionary Transcendence” from his book “The Future of The Body.”
It flashed into my mind immediately that Spiritualism doesn’t seem to have a place in it for things like Grace. Then immediately I thought about the mystery of the Spiritualist services I’ve attended over a 40-year period. Spiritualism was the genesis of the modern spirit communication movement.
I thought of how the words spoken to us in Spiritualist services by mediums, especially when they bring evidence of life after death, seem to transcend the now and the norm but Spiritualists would insist that they happen according to the Laws of Nature. For them nothing in this universe happens except through Natural Law.
The other words that were in Lynn Sparrow’s goodbye note that were from Murphy had to do with the fact that things do rise out of nothing without warning sometimes and seemingly lift us to greater heights, going beyond evolutionary scope and creating out of apparently whole cloth the person we are now going to become.
I think that even when we are unaware of it, our lives rise up from a foundation of Grace, whether we are Buddhist, Spiritualist, Hindu, or Christian or “whatever flavor” you may prefer.
God belongs to us all and is in us all and, and even when our Creator acts miraculously, in fact, he is still always acting out of law, for Edgar Cayce’s readings said that both karma and grace were universal laws.
Now I don’t know what Spiritualists might think of this, but God is the Law, if only because He is Infinite, isn’t He? Karma is largely from the past, although it’s in the present too because we’re always whipping up a little bit for the future, whatever else we may think we’re doing at any given moment.
It’s good to know that grace is a law too, and to know that it’s something we don’t have to work to create because we can’t create it, not purposely, anyway. It
comes unbidden, seemingly. Although in the Murphy quote there were words to the effect that we could certainly follow a path that was likely to create such a “miracle” (Spiritualists don’t use that term because for them everything that happens is through Law, not by miracles). Grace is a gift we have to open ourselves up to, it is always there in abundance and we merely need to know that and start letting it in.
This makes me feel that Dr. David Hawkins (author of “Power Versus Force”) was right when he said that a loving thought is many times stronger than a negative thought so negative karma will release its grip on us when we simply know that love, which is what I think Grace is most akin to, can snatch us all from the terrible grip of karma, but only if we have evolved enough to become aware of its existence. Karma then is of course the means by which we are pulled back into God’s loving arms when we are going the wrong way, against the stream of Grace.
It seems to me that this flies in the face of the idea that many Spiritualists have that they can’t be followers of Christianity because they believe that the idea of Vicarious Atonement is central to Christianity and that each of us must atone for his own sins.
I admit I have looked first one way and then the other at the idea that karma could be overridden by Christ sacrificing his life on the Cross, because I was
brought up in Christianity. I’ve decided I will just have to conclude that Jesus’ life epitomizes the Law of Grace, that he knew that was what would save Him and all of us and I’ll just assume that Spiritualists would perhaps change their minds about the whole thing if they knew this, too.
Lest I seem too uncharacteristically serious in this space, I admit that somehow these thoughts were kind of overlaid with me singing the words to “Makin’ Whoopee” as I brushed my teeth, threw out my apple core in the kitchen and got ready to write this and go to bed.
But I could make a case for “Makin’ Whoopee” being an example of Grace, I think. All songs are examples of grace, don’t you think?—they seem to come literally from nowhere and suddenly our inner (spirit) ears can hear them. We don’t have to work to make that happen—I used to get new tunes for songs just walking through the Shubert Theatre to go on a bathroom break when I was writing a lot of songs for Religious Science church services that I sang and played for.
Which reminds me of the grace I received when I was six and heard songs no one else could hear, just as if they were being played in the car with me, only the radio wasn’t on. I hadn’t yet studied music although I
would about three years from then.
And now, after all that, with God’s perfect timing, I hear in my head (?!) these wise words of George Burns: “Say goodnight, Gracie!”
George Burns became real to me for the first time when his assistant invited a group of actors that included me to Tom Clapp’s memorial service many years ago.
Tom Clapp was a good actor and director who worked as a director for the Los Feliz Performing Arts Center in Los Feliz before it burned to the ground. Tom’s friend invited me and other actors Tom Clapp had worked with, to Tom’s memorial years ago.
Thereby, George Burns became more real to me through his assistant’s friend’s death because he was there, too. Lots of people, of courses, have become more real to me in death than in life, because I chat with them there at times. But not George Burns who hasn’t uttered a peep to me so far since his death!
Because now I hear in my head again these wise words: “Say goodnight, Gracie!”
So I will—”Goodnight Gracie,”– followed by what Durante always said as he closed his show, “Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!.”
Love yourselves, you are vast!
ME AND THE GURU
By Pat Chalfant
“MAKE MY LIFE A PRAYER, TRANSPARENT TO GOD’S GRACE, A WINDOW THROUGH WHICH ALL MAY ONE DAY SEE GOD’S FACE.”
“Be the God you want to see in the world.” This is from an email message that’s been making the rounds that imagines what a Jon Stewart interview with Jesus would be like.
I have said, as have many others, that all we will ever be or want to be is held safely within us. That’s God!
If, during the early years of my life, there had been a town square where all the townspeople went to meet and talk every day, I might not have accomplished anything in life. I love hearing people tell their life stories. However, you can’t listen endlessly to life stores because, among all those life stories, there will inevitably be many life stories full of self pity.
Complaining and joining others in their complaining won’t do. Since, as was said before, we have all within us that we need to become all we can in life, we must go to a place that’s quiet and where we have the space to think for ourselves and to do what we wish to have done.
As it’s always said, if you want something done, do it yourself. Don’t just join the townspeople in the square to twitter about it and complain, even if you do love, as I do, hearing life stories.
Internet chat sites are exactly like my imaginary town square. They are too often populated by those who haven’t gotten it yet: that you must do it yourself if you want to “get her done.” “It” can be whatever you wish because it is all contained in the potential within us.
Don’t know why I think of my Mother but I do just now and I hear the word “beautiful” and I don’t know why I think of that. She was beautiful. But I didn’t think what I was talking about was beauty, as such.
Perhaps it’s because I was thinking this morning about the journey I took to what I do now, starting from telling my mother–who had just spent her money on a reading from Marion, Indiana’s resident fortune teller–that she had to stop giving money to people like that because they were just fakes and she was just throwing her money away.
I remember her face when I said that, looking strong and beautiful, as it always did and not at all repentant about money badly spent, but looking as if she knew something I didn’t, but would keep her peace.
That’s an interesting old saying that my mother and grandmother both used quite a lot. There is no point in upsetting oneself over opinions of others, best to keep the peace, better yet to keep one’s own peace.
If you know the value of what you are doing, it doesn’t matter what anyone else may think about it. You don’t have to check with the people online or in the town square to see if they approve. We go where we must to build our faith and hope and our futures.
Mediums, fortune tellers, psychics all provide a way to help us get through a bad patch of doubt at times, at other times they reassure us that we are on the right track, and many of us have made it through despair with their help.
The point of bringing up my mother is to say how unlikely it was, given what I thought I believed at the time I told my mother she was wasting money seeing “fortune tellers,” that many years later I would become one of those people that I thought were all fakes, and were all stealing our money.
However, I’m sure that, although she never mentioned it to me, the irony was not lost on her either when I became a medium . No one could possibly have thought that I would ever study to become a medium and then advertise myself on the Internet as one, because no one could imagine such a thing as the Internet, either. It was all unthinkable.
When I was growing up in the Midwest, no respectable young woman aspired to becoming a medium! What I wanted then was to find a way to get to sing professionally, and also to get published, both of which were not quite respectable then. I thought I wanted to simply make my living on what I loved doing, as the title of that wonderful book by Marsha Sinetar states, “Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow.”
I never was completely able to support myself on either music or writing. Although I did those things eventually, they merely added money to our budget. I never made my entire income off them.
So what is my point here? Chatting on the Internet would never have gotten me a job, for sure. You can’t chat and sing or chat and write, or chat and do much of anything else of any use I suspect. You can chat and give people your advice, for what that may be worth.
Nowadays, I give readings by telephone and in person and teach mediumship. Some clients have told me that they have relatives who tell them to forget psychics and save their money, just as I told my mother to ditch the psychics and save her money. They say that they ignore those people just as my mother ignored me!
The passage of time often gives us amazing new perspectives.
“Be the god you want to see in the world.” Set yourself apart from the perennial chatterers and in the quiet of meditation, which is what started me on a spiritual path, perhaps you’ll find inspiration that you can later share with others, as well.
That’s what we keep trying to do–Me and The Guru!