Author: David Christopher Lane Publisher: The NEURAL SURFER Publication date: April 1997
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I want to go back to the home base now.
DICK WRITES: Dear Doug: It is Susan Blackmore, not "Blakemore." ( Dave, Remember Wilbur/Wilber?) DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, Dick I remember, but it was you who was transcribing my letter who got Wilber misspelled. You can go right ahead and miss-spell (!) any body on your own dime..... I shall not mind. DICK WRITES: "The Unknowing Sage: The Life and Work of Baba Faqir Chand," David Christopher Lane, Walnut CA: Mt. San Antonio College Press, 1993. ISBN: 1-56543-022-0. I'd be happy to send you my copy. Send me you snail mail by private e-mail post. DAVID LANE REPLIES: That would be good since I don't even have a copy myself, but most of it is on the Internet via Dave Rife's homepage..... DICK CONTINUES: Major Works in English by Baba Faqir Chand: "The Art of Happy Living." Translation and Annotation by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 83 pages. "A Broadcast on Reality in America, 64 pages. "The Essence of Truth." Edited by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. "Jeevan Mukti: Liberation in Life. Edited by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. "Manavta: The True Religion. Edited by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 40 pages. "The Master Speaks To The Foriegners. Edited by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 39 pages. "Nam - Dan: Or Spiritual Initiation. Translated by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 97 pages. "Realisation Of 'The Reality.'" Edited with commentary by Kuber Nath Srivastava. 98 pages. "Santana Dharam: True Religion of Hhumanity." Translated from Hindi by Swami Yogeshwar Ananda Saraswati and Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 245 pages. "The Secret of Secrets." Translated with Annotation by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 60 pages. "Truth Always Wins: Satyameva Sayate. Edited by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 60 pages. "A Word To Americans." Edited by Dr. I. C. Sharma. 37 pages. "A Word To Canadians." Edited by Prema Nand Roy. 27 pages. "Yogic Philosophy Of Saints." Translated by Professor Bhagat Ram Kamal. 136 pages. Let's take a page from Dave's book on Faqir Chand: "Honesty is a virtue that is hard to come by. Sure people claim to have it or at least aspire to it, yet few of us can be totally frank about our lives, our motivations, our hidden desires. It is particularly difficult for those who are in positions of authority. Why? Because it is precisely when we have some social status, some social leverage, some social mobility that we run the risk of hurting another's feelings. Is a mother totally honest with her child? Does she not lie or deceive on occasion to avoid hurting the feelings of her tiny beloved? Is a teacher completely forthcoming to his student? Does he not blind himself occasionally from the obvious drawbacks of his pupil? Naturally, we would all admit to lying or deceiving at one time or another. The problem is where we draw the line between harmless social lying and damaging personbal dishonesty." p. 97. Is this self referential? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, in many ways it is. I clearly blind myselves from the drawbacks of my students..... Why? Because that way I can teach to their "potential", not to their burdened "past." DICK WRITES: Your exchange with Dave reminds me, in part, of Daves "old philosophy professor's lecture at Berkeley on the three ants in the apartment complex. Frits Stall says that the three ants debated over whether or not there were any other rooms in the universe. Two ants said no way--this is all there is. Whereas, the other ants said I think there is. They debated and debated, until finally one of the skeptical ants said I am not absolutely sure, but let's _personally_ find out. The two other ants (believer and skeptic) said no, that's much too risky let's just discuss the issue some more. Well, the punch line of a rather silly story is that the one explorer ant went out and found for himself that there were indeed other rooms. But he had to go there _himself_; the other ants dallied instead in arm-chair speculation. Forgive me for recapitulating a simple story from Frits Staal's lecture. But it does drive home an apt point: are we willing to _seriously_ check out religious claims?" [David Lane, 8/15/1986] Or another plum from memory lane: "The 'scientific' aspect of mysticism is that essentially _anyone_ can go within and have experiences which are beyond the waking state; indeed, of such an exalted realm that they make the waking state look like a foggy dream in comparison. This is not 'pseudo-science'--it's called practical engagement. [David Lane, 8/28/1986] and again . . . "Rather, the 'proof' of mysticism is an experiential realization of a higher state of consciousness, which carries with it the same numinous weight that the waking state carries--namely they are both self-evident when they are experienced. Richard, I daresay that you don't go around trying to 'prove' your existence to your friends or foes. Why not? Simple: your existence/awareness is self-evident and therefore does not need proof in order to 'convince' you that you are really alive. So it is the same with mystics. When they are in that higher state they don't need to go around to the other higher beings trying to prove that they are having a transcendental encounter. It is self-evident; it is clear; it is vivid. Now the mystic _cannot_ bring that experieintial proof to the waking state (just like a dreamer _cannot_ bring the material stuff of his dream to the waking state; nor can the waking state individual bring 'proof' of his waking state to the dream world); he can only point to a methodology which will invoke such a state so that the person can judge for him or herself. Materialistic science will _never_ prove mysticism; it can't. There is no 'material' to mysticism; [wait a minute, what about the 'spiritual property' at the Dera?] it is a state of consciousness, which has its own proof on its own terms. The scientific aspect to mysticism is that it offers a method whereby one can _see_ and _experience_ that level of consciousness. The interpretation of that event, naturally, is like any experience we have---open to a flood of possibilities. [David Lane, 12/18/1986] Doug, I guess that you can see where this is going. We've seen where Dave came from, but where is he going? Today, what methodology is he pointing to for invoking a mystical experience? You may be right about Dave. You said it in jest, but he could be a little schizoid. Or, maybe, he just likes to argue. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I think, Dick, you should re-read my reply to Doug. I took Twitchell to task for his "empirical" claims. Now there may well be a trans-rational state, but we are not going to verify it by believing in non-verifiable solipsism. Either invoke the higher state itself (as I argued in the previous quotes) or provide some demonstrable "empirical" evidence (if one believes that astral travel can be used to ascertain 5 digit numbers). Either one is fine with me, though I have serious reservations about the latter. I think "doubting" one's inner visions is a sign of progress. By the way, since we are on the subject of schizoids...... Did you tell Paul Kurtz you were a member of Eckankar? Did you tell him about Gakko, or Rebazar Tarzs? As for my linear descent? I can only say it again to you: I have just gotten more skeptical..... Nothing mysterious about that. I would love to see Glen do the five digit experiment (I will have to give him the right address in private, however, for obvious reasons). Indeed, Dick, I am all for you having Rebazar Tarzs visit me...... ------------------------------ TRACY WRITES: Why does Steve wonder about Dr. Lane's motives? They are there for the world to see. Let's take a look at one of Dr. Lane's articles and see if we can discern his modus operandi. [Keep in mind that Dr, Lane began his following of Charan Singh in 1973/1974 at the tender age of 17. Let's see if we can determine why certain religious firures receive an admittedly romantic treatment and others receive a skeptical treatment.] DAVID LANE REPLIES: If you really want to give yourself a more comprehensive view, I would suggest that you read THE RADHASOAMI TRADITION and then read my series on THE GURU HAS NO TURBAN. Then juxtapose it with my writings on Neurology, on Faqir Chand, and on Skepticism. I guarantee you that you will get a nice ideological headache. Why? Because I can be much more brutually skeptical of my own guru than most would suspect. Yet, even though I have gotten a lot more skeptical in my old age I can still love and admire some very nice human traits..... ------------------------------- TRACY WRITES: Dear Bruce, This is what Steve stated: " Did anyone flame him for that? No. " The answer is, "Yes. The ex-ECKist David Rife did." I find it interesting that someone who has laboriously entered into the propagation of Dr. Lane's material would make the comments that Rife made. Whatever one may think of Dr. Lane's material, there is no question of his devotion to Charan Singh and his memory. Why the savage response from Rife? Any clues? Tracy DAVID LANE REPLIES: I thought Dave Rife's sardonic rip was quite funny. I didn't take it personally at all. I love Charan Singh, but I can enjoy a good rip and a good joke anytime...... I remember laughing out loud when I read Rife's comeback. Love can survive scrutiny.... and so it should. -------------------------------- DOUG WRITES: David, I enjoyed your response. Here are a few thoughts in return. In reading your response to my article, "In the Face of Criticism" I almost get the feeling that there are really two David Lanes under one baseball cap down there in San Diego. Is this possible? There is the public Lane, scholar and professor, who hopes that his work may be the early pioneering effort of a new field, the objective scientific study of mysticism. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Thanks for the compliment, but quite frankly I am under no illusions about being a pioneer. I am just a guy thinking out his thoughts and trying to learn more. Crick, Churchland, Wilber and others are much more pioneering than I will ever be. DOUG CONTINUES: And then there is another Lane, who has spent probably far more hours reading Paul Twitchell's writings than most q , in fact almost beyond comprehension, as well as researching extensively the writings of other spiritual teachers. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I can read very fast so it is really not that difficult, and, moreover, I enjoyed reading some of Twitchell's stuff, particularly TALONS and the Tiger's Fang. DOUG CONTINUES: The public scholar Lane says, "Concerning inner visions and the ontological reality of inner beings, I have written a lot on this subject...I am very, very doubtful of the "ontological" existence of these inner beings, outside of our numinous neural nets." And yet that other Lane says, "Well, nothing is closer to my own heart than my deceased guru..." and this second Lane has spent a good portion of his youth and much of his adult life searching through the spiritual field. If I didn't know better, I might actually believe that the second quiet Lane was an earnest spiritual seeker looking for someone or something that could connect him to a greater reality, while the scholarly Lane's well honed mental machinery doubts, questions and cripples the actions of his seeker self. Of course, there really couldn't be two David Lanes, could there? Let's hope not. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I don't think being loving and being skeptical are mutually exclusive. I have always been this way. We are, as our evolution indicates via our triune brain, a composite of several features. Thus, I can be quite emotional, quite intellectual, and still be able to surf the rogue neural firings that occur from wide and disparate readings. Let me exemplify this: I can love my guru and still disagree with him. I can still be open to the possibility of the trans-rational while enjoying the materialistic rip of Wilberian ideas. As Fitzgerald said about intelligence (sorry Nathan, but this quote has nothing to do with I.Q.'s): "intelligence is the ability to hold contradictory ideas and still be able to function" (I am paraphrasing badly here). I think it is quite human to think in multiple ways and even attempt to correct previously held ideas. As I have mentioned before, I wouldn't want to make a religion out of my thoughts when I was 4; I surely wouldn't want to do it when I was 40 or 50 either. DOUG WRITES: But seriously, David, you must see the problem created as soon as you suggest that people should not accept their own experiences as real. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, I think it is always helpful to doubt, to some degree, any or all experiences that we have. That is how medicine progresses, how astronomy progresses, etc. Now that doesn't mean that we have to be unruly or cynical. It just means that I am willing to doubt my own visions, my own versions, etc. That is how we learn, fundamentally. To be sure, there will be times that we have to buck the system and hold out for our version as being superior, but that doesn't mean that I can't still be open to doubt. I like doubting; I think it is helpful. DOUG WRITES: Anyone who accepts this advice immediately negates themselves. If they cannot trust their own experiences, then of course they must rely on someone else's reality. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, it doesn't have to be an either/or possiblity. We can give and take. If I don't know much about a new town, I will sometimes have to listen to "others" more than I would if I were conversant with the area. But even then, I can still be wrong and self-correct myself and my views by listening to others. It is an experiment in truth and verdicality, and I see nothing wrong in having others correct me or instruct me..... Give and take. DOUG WRITES: O It sounds like you are suggesting that they are not bright enough to figure this out for themselves, so, of course, they must entrust their perspective of reality to some really smart people who have studied this, reasoned it out, and decided what is best for them. DAVID LANE REPLIES: No, it can be a two-way street of interactivity. I just happen to think that one who "doubts" the reality of his nightmares in sleep is on the right track. The dream is part and pacel of his own brain and knowing that can "liberate" one from the illusion that it is "objective" ontologically. DOUG WRITES: The repercussions of this self-negation are quite significant. In fact, I don't think there is any greater limitation to a person's spiritual development than such self-negation. Of course, this doesn't mean that sorting out for ourselves what our inner experiences really mean is simple. It is all too easy to fool ourselves, that is true, but does this mean it is better to let others fool us instead? Do you see the trap here? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Actually, a good test of one's experience is to see how well it stands up to doubt, to scrutiny, to testing. There's nothing wrong with doubting. It will simply let the truth stand as it is, or the doubting will reveal the inherent weaknesses. DOUG writes: With Heaven's Gate in the news, we once again are hearing all about brainwashing. But the thing that amazes me, is that no one ever seems to mention that these people are so vulnerable to brainwashing because they were trained to accept beliefs from outer authorities. Their parents say, "But we trained them to be good Christians. Obviously it must have been those evil cults that did this to our children." But the cults only substitute one form of brainwashing for another. The solution is not a group of scholars deciding for everyone how to interpret their inner experiences, but each individual learning to understand for themselves what these inner experiences mean. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I agree with you here. Best to "doubt" scholars and academics too. That is why I actually enjoy A.R.E. and why I think Steve R. does me a great service (I am serious), because he allows us to really think through these positions, etc. You too are doing a good thing by doubting what I write. It makes for more interesting interchanges. I really don't mind being wrong. I think it would truly groovy if Rebazar exists or that we find that Sudar Singh, as Twitchell described him, truly lived..... DOUG WRITES: I remember one day when I was going to high school, after a series of strange experiences left me wondering about myself. I said to a friend of mine, "I think I might be somewhat psychic." He laughed, and said, "That's obvious." "Why do you say that?" I asked. Then he reminded me of a dream I had forgotten about, that I had shared with him. In the dream I had flown out of my body and flew across to the other side of our town, down a side road, turned left onto a street I had never been on before, and up to the house of a girl I liked at school. When I had told my friend this dream, he suddenly said, "Let's find out if it's true!" Since he had a driver's license, but I didn't yet, we hopped in his car, and followed out the path of my dream. When we came up to the house where I had stopped in my dream, he said, "That's the one." He had known the house, but I had never even been on the road before. I went over to the mail box to check out the name for myself, and it was the right one. The reason I am telling this story is because I grew up believing in the scientific method, like you, but I was suppressing my own experiences, and it was causing me all sorts of problems until I finally accepted that they were experiences as real as any others, just different. But the problem is that there was no one I could talk to about this. In those days, especially, but even today people look at you funny if you talk about these sorts of experiences. So it was an incredible discovery to me, a year later, when I ran across my first books by Paul Twitchell. Finally I found someone who was talking about the sorts of experiences I was having. He was validating my own inner understanding. He gave some exercises on how to the leave the body consciously through what he called Soul Travel. I tried them, and had an out of the body experience the first day. In the experience, I found myself flying down a road toward a car that I recognized as my friend's. He was driving, with another friend sitting next to him in the front seat. I flew inside the car, in the back seat, and called out to them, but no matter how loud I yelled, they didn't seem to hear me. So I tried to listen to what they were saying, to remember for later. That evening, I called my friend and asked him where he had been at that exact time. He said, "I think I was driving to ____ with ____." I asked him what they had talked about, but could never verify it was the same conversation I had heard, but all the rest checked out. When you first have these sorts of experiences, your mind finds a million reasons to reject them. Maybe it was a coincidence. Maybe it was just a dream. But after you have these experiences over and over, for years, you begin to find ways of sorting them out without rejecting them. Now do you see how lame it sounds to anyone who has had these sorts of experiences, when you say that you doubt their validity? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Doug, I have had all sorts of interesting experiences as well, but I don't mind when someone, like my brother, doubts them. Geez, I remember when I spoke in tongues when I was 15. I got all sorts of skeptical questions. I think it was healthy, actually. The same happened to me when I turned vegetarian at 16; the same happened when I was attracted to Charan Singh. All the doubts and all the skeptical questions, I believe, were quite good. It made me think better, feel deeper, etc. DOUG WRITES: You said in your response, "Okay, let's...say that the inner regions are real and that they are supra-physical. Fair enough, so even on that realm we can have several people confirm or disconfirm core features of that region and report back here...I don't think we need to resort to mere solipsism for our truths. There may be such a thing as a science of mysticism, just as we have a science of optics. But one thing is key here: We may be wrong (in either direction)" What you are saying here is "We don't know." But what you should really be saying is "I don't know." Even more important when you are saying "We don't know" you are really implying "No one knows." I don't sense, in what you wrote, that you think there is any possibility that other people may know the answer to these things. Surely you can see how foolish this must sound to those that do know. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Let me put this to you another way. If I started to speak to a cow about Kant's categorical imperative and he/she just started "skeptical" mooing at me, I wouldn't get offended. I wouldn't even think it was foolish. I would think, rather, that I would have to find way to communicate (to bridge) with them. If certain beings have such knowledge, then let us have them demonstrate it or provide us with convincing reasons (rational or otherwise). I have no problem with being just wrong. The only glitch is that I will hold out for fairly overwhelming proof (or viable methodologies). Thus, to be frank, I am not convinced by "reports" of visions of Rebazar that he ontologically exists. You see, I am not convinced by "reports" of visions of my guru that he ontologically exists because of them. I think doubting will insure that we settle for better or higher proof, not less. DOUG WRITES: You said, "The reason I have taken Twitchell to task about the "historicity" or "factualness" of certain ECK Masters is because he himself makes the claim that they are "historical" and "physical" beings...Thus it is Twitchell himself who makes "empirical" claims...Yes, there are certainly "mandalic" statements or suggestive metaphors which point to something trans-rational. However, Twitchell is being taken to task here for his "empirical" pointers." David, I have no problem with you taking Twitchell to task for his historicity and factualness, although if you really wanted to fight fair you should pick on someone your own size, and who wasn't dead already. DAVID LANE REPLIES: I have, my friend, taken on Darwin Gross (he threatened me with a lawsuit); I have taken on Harold Klemp (his attorneys have threatened legal action many times). When I am dead, I wouldn't mind anybody ripping me. I even like it when I am alive. DOUG WRITES: I think you have turned up some very interesting facts. And I enjoy anything that comes to light about Paul's life. I think he was a fascinating person. Yes, I realize that many of these facts appear to contradict what Paul said or wrote about his life in his books. But why do you so quickly skip over those "mandalic" statements? Why this preoccupation with the historical facts? Do you really think that you can interpret the meaning or value of those "mandalic" statements by studying the historical facts? Or do you think that all that matters is the historical facts? Or perhaps you feel inadequate to deal with mandalic matters, so you spend all your time with the facts and nothing but the facts? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Simple answer: If i can't trust Twitchell to be accurate or factual or honest on THIS level (something I can verify) I see no overriding reasons why I should believe him on the NEXT level beyond human (oops..... Heaven's GAte is slipping through). DOUG WRITES: What I was trying to say in my article was that I don't think that the historical facts matter at all. Yes, they are interesting, but it is only the "mandalic" statements that matter. When you read Paul's books, all that you see are facts to be tested and judged. When I read his books, I only see the "mandalic" material. I don't think there really are any historical facts in Paul's books, I think they are all mandalic statements. It is like when we drink a glass of milk, there is some milk left on the glass. A thin coating. That residue is like the facts. Don't you feel a little foolish studying the residue? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Quite the opposite. I think it is foolish to trust mandalic statements when the guru is dishonest about empirical statements--and we know Twitchell "twisted" facts (to cite Harji). It is not my fault that Twitchell plagiarized and covered-up and had his biographer tell straight out lies. It is also not my fault that Twitchell made empirical statements that have been proven wrong. DOUG WRITES: The Sufis say that this is like people who look into a well to see the reflection of the moon. Why don't they look up to see the moon directly? DAVID LANE REPLIES: Yes, I like looking at the moon, but I won't take a lake's reflection of it as the real thing. DOUG WRITES: Why do they try to see the whole world by looking down into that dark hole of facts? The only thing you will see there are poor reflections of reality. Yet the scholars stand there around the well, clapping each other on the back over their great discoveries in the well. DAVID LANE REPLIES: Again, I don't think that you have to bypass your brain to get to your heart. We can be intelligent in our love. We don't have to sweep contradictions under the rug. I actually think the more we are skeptical, the more we will ground ourselves better for whatever may be trans-rational..... keep ripping...... You see, your critiques are also helpful...... ---------------------- Dear Tracy: I enjoyed your analysis of my chapter on Charan Singh in the ENCHANTED LAND. It was quite funny at times, as well. I will clearly state that I think some gurus are better than others, just as I think some people are better than others. That is, some people are kinder, more honest, more fun to be with. Others, can be a drag (Charles Manson for bridge?). Now having said this, it does not follow that I cannot disagree with my guru, my previous ideas, or that I may get more skeptical in my old age. I certainly have. But Steve's overall point that I am writing against Eckankar or any path similar to Radhasoami is just plain wrong. That is why I mentioned Faqir Chand, Ramana Maharshi, and Yogananda. But more to the point, see what I write in THE GURU HAS NO TURBAN, or read what I write about Shiv Dayal Singh in the R.S. TRADITION. I don't think you are aware of my personal history with the Beas Satsang. If you were, you may be a bit surprised. Faqir Chand contradicts my own guru and yet I don't think I have ever really said a bad word against Faqir. Indeed, Faqir is much more "upsetting" if you will to orthodox Radhasoami than any other minor offshoot. Why? Because he says the gurus are more or less lying to their followings. And I am the guy who came out with Faqir's writings in the West. The point of Steve's thread was that I am motivated to guard my guru and his path from intruders. But the simple fact is that I have provided lots of information worldwide which "contradicts" orthodox Radhasoami. I have provided information with casts "doubts" on gurus, including my own. Read Faqir Chand for yourself. I took a lot more heat in India for that book than I ever did from anybody in America. --------------------------- keep ripping, as I think it is quite conducive for more, versus, less insight. -------------------------------
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I want to go back to the home base now.