Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums, and Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America by Peter Washington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There is a way, ladies and gentle men, whereby, your spiritual strivings and meditational meanderings, appear… as a way of seeming as if all your spiritual pursuits are you seeking an ANSWER from Heaven… and divination and supplication being a type of ‘stooping’ of the soul, to merely downgrade itself to try to receive something from its own consciousness otherwise not available to its own conscious consciousness.
The progression - of ages… the matter of your period in time. The ratiocination of time and place, in a semi-complex equation with technology, social forces, order of societies, who’s paying attention to whom, perhaps, being dragged into an est seminar with your yuppie friends. Est-cetera. There are plenty of incidents of this type in our psycho (analytical) world.
It’s the signs of the times, man…
The reaction even to the INVENTION of psychoanalysis.. had ripples like your unconscious mind bounced off the strata of rock formations that now had to be defined.
Waves of contemplation, physical interpretation, particulate matters, we’ve got to discuss these things…
The underground held all kinds of new designs. The mythic poetry of non-mechanical reaction to industrial revolutionary minds.
Trying to reconcile silentiary motivations and just people who don’t take any time.
Check this passage from the book I just finished that talks about what people are doing in the meantime:
‘Ermin Chikhou —himself a Nakshibendi dervish — discoursed rather puzzlingly (given his faith) on the imminent Second Coming of Christ, assuring Bennett that he had a vital role to play in this event as a sort of John the Baptist to the new Messiah. For once Bennett was sceptical; but when he returned to Syria in the following year the prophecy was repeated. Winifred Bennett, who had recently suffered a severe cerebral haemorrhage which left her more of less crazed, stayed behind at Coombe, and Bennett travelled round Syria and Iraq with close friend and future wife Elizabeth Mayall, visiting holy men as they went. One sheikh at Damascus endorsed Ermin Chikhou’s prophecy of a Second Coming, while another at Kerind told him the same thing, obligingly adding that Bennett and his fellow-traveler were destined by God to be companions. At least the second prophecy was correct. But though Bennett travelled extensively in the wilds of Turkey and northern Persia, visiting Gurdjieff’s old stamping-grounds in Central Asia, the Source obstinately refused to appear.
Disappointed by his travels and wrestling with the many volumes of The Dramatic Universe, his epic work on the history and nature of the cosmos, Bennett was then attracted by a new idea from a very different source, when he heard from Work friends about Pak Subuh (1901-1987), the Indonesian founder of Subud. Instructed by his inner boices, Bennett was introduced to the new spiritual practice in the annus mirabilis of 1956 by Husain Rofe, a north London Jewish convert to Islam. Bennett was shocked by Rofe’s vulgar claims that Subud cured the dying, virilised the impotent and made astral flying possible, but he persevered.
Subud is a form of Islamic mysticism whose name derives from three words: susila, budhi and dharma. Susila is a man’s true character, which emerges when he acts in accordance with God’s will. Budhi is the divine life force within human beings. Dharma means surrender to God’s will. Subud is thus that absolute submission to God which allows the growth of the individual’s true, i.e. spiritual, nature, usually overlaid by worldly concerns. Such growth can be initiated by means of the latihan, a Javanese word meaning ‘training’ — which in this case begins with a kind of meditative communal submission to God’s presence. The submission is referred to as ‘opening’ because it involves emptying the mind of all ordinary associations, thus preparing it to receive God. A latihan session, supervised by a Subud ordinand, may last up to half an hour, during which the participants do anything from meditating in silence to screaming and talking in tongues.
“The similarity between Subud, the Work and the SES is clear: the accretions of what Gurdjieff called ‘personality’ are being stripped away to allow ‘essence’ to appear. Pak Subuh also agreed with Gurdjieff, Bennett and MacLaren that withdrawal from the world is not the way to spiritual growth: Subud is a method, not a hermetic religion. But Subud differs radically from the Work in that its method involves surrender, not struggle. In this respect it is closer to Krishnamurti than to Gurdjieff. Nor does Subud have the sinister cult mannerisms of the SES. There is no tutorial discipline, no re-education.
- Madame Blavatsky’s Baboon - 389-390