“Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”
My first opening
It was the 70’s,I was in my late thirties living in San Francisco and working as a draftsman in an architectural office.
I was living in a flat with 4 cocketiels
I had a pot habit and would smoke a couple of joints each day after I came home from work. I smoked more on the weekends.
The highlight of my week was going to the gay bars in the Castro getting stoned then going to the gay baths.
One day after I took a very enjoyable trip, driving to Acapulco and back in my Volkswagen, a friend strongly recommended I read “Teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda.
He suggested that since I was so fond of Mexico, I would really enjoy this book.
I did not think much about it, but one day in a book store I came across the book, purchased it and shortly began reading it. Once I started reading I could not put the book down.
I was astonished by a view of a world I did not know about and had never thought about.
Before this time if someone had described these things to me, I would have thought them nuts.
Now, it was as if a door had opened in front of me and I got a look into a wonderful room I had never known was there!
I sure wanted to experience that reality, I wanted to know about this magical world that Castenada had described!
I became intensely curious about this hidden world I had no access to.
I immediately began reading the other Castaneda books about Don Juan the sorcerer.
I began going to an esoteric book store on 24Th St. in the Noe Valley, in San Francisco.
Suddenly there was this whole new magical world that I wanted to find the door to!
I found that there were many writers claiming to have experienced another reality and to know the way there.
I read about Esalen in Big Sur.
I began reading books by people such as Claudio Naranjo, Roberts (The Seth Material), John Lilly, E. J. Gold, Fritz Perls, Robert De Ropp and even waas enjoying the stuff Shirley Maclaine was putting out there.
I did not understand much of what I was reading but sure wanted to have some of the experiences they were talking about.
At one point I read a book by an author who described how he managed to have out of body experiences.
He would pop out of his body and be floating on the ceiling looking down at his body, then go flying above the city and countryside.
Now this sounded like some fun!
He even had a method that seemed possible to follow. I began trying his method which was relaxing and being aware, not falling asleep.
At a certain point in the relaxation he described having a spinning down sensation.
At that point he popped out of his body and from the ceiling could see his body lying there.
Then he would get going, travelling above the area and countryside looking down at the landscape.
I tried it but each time only got as far as the relaxing. I just fell asleep before I got to the spinning sensation.
One night I was lying in bed and relaxing as suggested, and wow!
Now I began to feel the spinning sensation and was really excited because I was almost there.
Suddenly there was a terrible buzzing of mosquitoes around my head and everything was over.
I got up to chase the mosquitoes and discovered 5 of them on the wall above the head of the bed!
This was fantastic because I had never seen or been bothered by one mosquito in that apartment and suddenly there were 5 of them just when I was about to leave my body!
I fell into superstition and decided that was an sign and I should not pursue this anymore.
I began to want to find a group or a teacher who could show me the way to this other consciousness.
One day while in the bookstore I came across a book titled “The Fourth Way” by Peter Ouspenski.
In my readings I had come across references to The fourth way but did not know what it was.
Since I was buying books based on association and accident, there being no organized plan in my head about how I should proceed, I bought the book and began reading it.
The book is a journal of Ouspenski’s meetings of his group. People asked questions about how to work and Ouspenski answered them sometimes berating someone for a bad question.
They also had work days in which, I thought, they went out and worked in a garden. The best thing was that hidden in the book was a bookmark with a name of an organization and a phone number. The name was The Fellowship of Friends. I now had someone to contact!