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Conversations with Seth book two
By Susan M. Watkins, George Rhoads
Moment Point PressCopyright © 1999 Susan M. Watkins
All rights reserved.
Love Thine Ego As Thy Self: Drugs, Religion, and Other Wages of Sin
Like an oak tree that is lightning struck,
his straight back
crumbled and snapped.
Buddha's face on my balloon
burst in just an afternoon.
dropped one by one from off the bunch
and rolled beneath the couch to
lie with the dust.
My Buddha used to drive a truck.
He used to sell vacuum cleaners.
My Buddha loved children and dogs
but cats would just confuse him.
In sacred books
he wouldn't recognize himself.
Buddha slumped and
cracked the imitation bronzes.
I would die of laughter when
my roly-poly Buddha slumped.
—Dan Stimmerman, 1969
I have said to you before, using—if you will forgive me—your terms, that you are the black sheep of the universe, because you no longer blame gods nor devils nor circumstances for those effects in your life that you do not like; nor bow down to gods, devils, or circumstances in praise for those good conditions that you have yourselves created. That therefore, you will become conscious co-creators with an All That Is that has little to do with the puny concepts in which God has been entrapped for centuries, as far as your religion and myths are concerned. For those myths have also entrapped you who believed in them.
—Seth in class, March 26, 1974
The war between the ego and the intuitions often cast its refugees onto the shores of Jane Roberts's ESP class. Particularly during belief-assignment readings, people would confess to agonies of guilt in one context or the other. Many were afraid to even experience emotion, let alone express it. On the other hand, some (especially those studying Eastern religions) struggled to suppress the ego so that "pure" emotion could "just flow." In one of his first classes, for instance, Ira Willis described his journey to India—where he'd joined a religious sect that required a severe initiation whipping by the guru leader. Ira had submitted. Later, he'd returned from India and tried Rolfian therapy—in which his body was punched, pounded, and squeezed to "get out the bad vibrations," in Ira's words.
By the early '70s, the drug scene was touching everyone's life in some fashion, and was a frequent topic of class debate. Were you wrecking your body, or were you delving into the rings of magic? Were drugs a filthy evil, or were they no different from the wine we sipped on Tuesday nights? Did they allow you new freedoms from the confines of the ego, or did they turn you into an antisocial nitwit? And although neither Jane nor Rob used marijuana or other drugs nor permitted their use in class, it was the format of this ongoing debate that provided us all with our first real insight into the rise of the drug culture: through the LSD trip of class member Lauren DelMarie.
It was a cold Tuesday in January of 1973. Class had been discussing violence and aggression, fear and anger, guilt and retribution. "Violence begets violence. Peace begets peace," Seth had admonished earlier. Several hypothetical situations were spun around the notion that beliefs form reality, and that violence was never justified. "Yeah, but what would you do if a rapist came into your house and grabbed your wife?" Warren Atkinson demanded. "Offer him a cup of coffee!" someone giggled. "No, really. What would you do? Let him go ahead and rape your wife rather than commit violence?" Warren pursued, a little heatedly. "I mean, how can you not justify self-defense?" Warren's wife, Camille, grinned at us. "Oh, brother," she sighed.
Seth then entered the conversation with words we'd heard before. "Do not get so piqued!" he told Warren. "A gentle reminder: You form your own reality. If a rapist comes to your door, then your own fears and anger and aggression have brought him there. You have broadcast your feelings, and he has picked them up ... There is a reason—there are no accidents."
Seth withdrew, and class started discussing accidents, anger, and all the little violences committed daily against the self. It was then that Lauren launched into the description that he was to allude to many times in the following months: a year before, Lauren had bought a tab of LSD from a New York City street dealer—and in a half-hour, his universe had gone insane.
"I laid down on my bed, and let me tell you, the walls were holes in space," Lauren said. "I looked at the dresser, and it was alive. I knew it was going to come across the room and get me—and then it was coming across the room, with the drawers opening and shutting, opening and shutting, to chew me up ..."
Lauren said the trip lasted for hours, or days, or weeks; he couldn't tell. Time bent awry, and space warped before his eyes. "I screamed and screamed—I couldn't stop," Lauren said. "I didn't even know I couldn't stop until a long, long time afterwards, when I could feel how raw my throat was ... I knew I was dead, worse than dead. I looked in the mirror and saw the flesh melt off my face. I saw the bones show through and my skull laugh at me. I saw my skin hanging rotten. I tore off my clothes and threw myself against the walls. Then I saw it: the ceiling fan. It was going around and around and around up there over my head. I couldn't take my eyes off it: I knew what it was going to do! It was going to come down and cut me to ribbons. And it did! It came right down and it started slicing right through me, hack! hack! hack!—and I was being sliced like a roll of bologna, in pieces, and I could feel it, I could feel those blades slicing through my skin and muscle and my bones and my guts! I could see my blood and guts flying all over the room and splashing on the floor and the bed and the walls, and I screamed like a maniac—and I started smashing the mirrors with a hammer because that was the only way to save myself ..."
When Lauren started smashing the mirrors, his mother called the police; by the time they arrived, Lauren was standing (in one piece) in a sea of broken glass, wearing nothing but a motorcycle helmet and cowboy boots, yelling, "Fuck you and the atom bomb too! Fuck you and the atom bomb too!" and swinging the hammer in all directions.
"The police didn't dare go in and get me," Lauren told a hushed class. "Finally my mother went into the room and punched me in the stomach and got the hammer away from me and they dragged me out—but all the time, I knew that I was in slices. I was screaming in agony and they tried to grab me, but when they touched me, it was like they put their hands on all this raw and bloody flesh—and I couldn't stand it! I couldn't stand it!"
The police took Lauren naked and screaming to the hospital, where he was confined for two weeks. "I didn't come down and I didn't come down," Lauren said. "I couldn't get out of the trip, and even after it finally wore off, I'd turn my eyes just right or think about what I'd seen and there it would be again, all that pain and torture and fear ...
"I wanted to kill myself," Lauren admitted, "and the only thing—the only thing, the only thing!—that kept me from jumping through a window or tearing my own throat out was the thought that I'd kill myself, and be dead, and still be tripping—I couldn't stand that thought, that there was no escape, no escape anyplace ..."
Lauren stopped, swallowing back tears, his fingers digging into his knees. Nobody said a word. Finally, Richie Kendall spoke up in a church whisper. "Some of us understand what it took for Lauren to talk about that ..." he started, reverently.
"Oh, bullshit!" Florence MacIntyre's voice banged down like a gavel. "I'm sorry, Lauren," she said. "I just can't work up any sympathy for you at all. You knew what you were doing when you took that drug! You didn't have to take it. You knew what could happen! I don't understand why you expect us to feel sorry for you. You risked destroying yourself when you knew better, and that's why LSD is illegal. If you wanted to expand your consciousness or whatever, there are certainly other ways to do it."
Hmmm, I thought, wasn't that just like Florence, irritatingly pragmatic? ... Yet, I had to agree with her: Why take the stuff and then whine about being victimized by it? Not like an earache, surely, where the pain was innocently encountered in the soul's marketplace.
"Now!" Seth's powerful voice boomed out, and we all jumped. Lauren turned pale; his throat muscles convulsed and his eyes seemed to bulge right out of his head. Jeeze, I thought, he's terrified! What could Seth possibly say about any of this that could scare Lauren in anticipation?
"I have a few words to say to our Lady of Florence, and for some others here who may not understand," Seth began. "First of all, he [Lauren] is embarked upon the same search that you are embarked upon, only his methods were different," Seth told Florence. "You must try, gently, to understand this."
Florence wrinkled her nose. "Well," she said, without enthusiasm, "I suppose I could try."
"Now, you can take on penance and retribution, if you want to," Seth continued. "You can believe that you are sinful and evil and that in order to be good you must cleanse yourself; and you can then accept a method that will cleanse you. You [Florence] chose a hard road on your own of guilt and retribution; of torture quite as severe as his. You chose your own framework. You [Lauren] chose your own! Neither would be necessary, if you understood the basic beauty of yourselves—the basic integrity and joy of your being. But when you do not understand that, then you will look for it through whatever doors are available and open. You will search for it as a [thirsty] animal searches for water in a desert."
Seth made an elaborate sweeping gesture to the rest of the class. "And now, I will let you continue. You are all on a trip! You have been on a trip since your birth, in your terms!"
Seth withdrew, and Lauren gave Jane a frantic explanation of his words. "I still don't understand—I mean, it just blows my mind—why I did it," Lauren wailed.
"That's what I mean!" Florence said. "I don't understand why you did it either."
"Yeah, but," Lauren shook his head. "I mean, if I create my own reality, and there's some big Super-Lauren out there who knows what's going on, then why in hell would that whole self, or entity, or whatever, want me to go through all of that? I mean, what did I get out of it? Terror and agony. I mean, I flashed back into that trip for months after ..."
Lauren looked up at Jane and stopped, giggling nervously. For several minutes, Seth had been sitting there quietly, just listening.
"I think that Lauren solved all of his problems in a very short time," someone remarked.
"He has not solved his problems in that quick a time," Seth answered. "He has learned what they are—but, continue!"
Conversation went on for five or ten minutes, with Jane in trance, Seth listening quietly. Finally, he turned to Florence.
"He looked to his drugs as you [Florence] look to your religion," Seth said. "When you turned to religion in the beginning, it was something you trusted; and yet, it seemed to open knowledge of other realities. It intrigued you. Today, let an old man like me tell you—the ideas grow a different way, but the reasons are the old ones."
Seth looked down at Lauren, sitting on the floor, tears filling his eyes. "He went where his friends went, as you went where your friends went," Seth said to Florence. "But, you are looking for the same thing. And you are accepting the same burden in order to do so. You [Florence] faced ideas of guilt in your own way, and he in another. You thought you were doing what you should do, and, in his own way, so did he."
"This has nothing to do, however, with the fact that there are dangers in both endeavors, or that with the use of drugs, you automatically change the physical being of which you are a part. And you are lucky, for you [Lauren] are making your knowledge a part of you. But there is a dilemma with the use of such drugs, for part of the being knows what other portions do not know.
"But when you believe that you must test yourself, and when you believe that there must be demons, and good and evil, and contests, then you form them in your reality. But you [Florence] made a contest as he [Lauren] did, and many of you in your own ways have done the same."
"Now, because Lauren looks so long-faced, give us a moment," Seth said, his jovial nature returning. "There will be, then, a 'Song of No Contests.'" Jane slipped into a gentle Sumari song to Lauren and Florence; the sounds were soothing and loving toward both. As the song ended, Jane wavered for a moment, half in and half out of trance, and then Seth's facial expressions were there once more.
"What do you mean by your use of your word 'lucky' when you spoke to Lauren?" Florence immediately demanded.
"I was saying that usually, in your physical life, you have a balance of knowledge," Seth said to her. "You operate with a group of beliefs. These beliefs seem to be consistent, so you operate—in your own mind at least—with some consistency.
"Now," Seth roared to us all, "I am not telling everyone to go out and get grass [marijuana], but grass is a natural ingredient, and acid [LSD] is not, in your terms. There are those who go on fasts and will not touch liquor or cigarettes and will not look an egg in the face, and who will take acid without a qualm! [But] it has various effects—few that you understand— and it brings to the forefront knowledge of the self with which you are not, at this point, equipped to deal. The resultant lack of balance can be disastrous.
"You were lucky," Seth repeated to Lauren. "I use the term 'lucky' in that you were graced to assimilate that knowledge in a way that you could at least bear, if not understand. But when you have mental experiences of the same kind of nature that are not brought about [by LSD], then you draw out from the cells that knowledge, and you are prepared to face it. And, drawing out from your cells that knowledge, you bring about, on your own account, certain changes in those cells that are otherwise brought about without preparation. Only those changes occur, then, that are natural to your stage of development."
Florence never did approve of Lauren's methods ("I still think you should have been smarter than that," she repeated later); and Lauren himself would wonder aloud again and again why he'd done it. "How bad can your beliefs get, putting yourself through something like that?" he'd ask. It was a good question, and one that underlined our reactions to most bad experiences.
Actually, this wasn't the first time we'd heard Seth remark on LSD's effects. About a month before, Ronald Runyon, an author of occult books, visited class from the West Coast, and told us that he'd been offered a guided LSD experience by the administrator of the only hospital in the country where LSD could be legally given at that time, under controlled circumstances. "He thought it would be an extremely valuable spiritual experience for me," Ron says. "At the time, all my acquaintances in the Human Potential Movement were extolling LSD as a panacea."
Ron, a former member of the British Society of Psychical Research, had up to then refused to take the drug, although he said that he was tempted to try the "controlled" trip. Ron was describing the lectures he'd given on the unconscious, psychic, and drug related phenomena, when Seth came through with several minutes of "telling analysis of my conversation," as Ron remembers it. Among other things, Seth cautioned Ron to stop using terms to hide from his own subjective experience, noting that, "the terms you dislike—the terms that anyone dislikes—you automatically dispense with, and you say, 'they are terms.'"
"The terms that appeal to you, however, are the trickiest, for you very seldom examine them, and they become invisible beliefs, and you use them as lenses through which you then perceive and color your experience ... and this applies to all of you and your beliefs." Seth concluded his advice by saying that Ron didn't need to take the LSD. "You do not need to find the answers from acid or from me, even when I am being acidy!" Seth finished, punfully.
"Subsequently, and consequently, I did not visit [the hospital] for the LSD, nor have I had a single drug to this very day, which now seems wise in view of what Seth says in The Nature of Personal Reality on how LSD alters the cellular structure of the brain," Ron says, adding that he went on to experience vivid dreams and other revelatory material on his own.
Later, however, in March of 1973, a class visitor described his work with a psychiatrist who administered LSD to patients suffering from certain psychological disorders. (Interestingly, Lauren didn't come to class that week.)
Matthew, the doctor's assistant at this particular institute, described the LSD treatments to us as a method of "purging nightmares," and that each patient was briefed beforehand on what he might encounter on his guided trip. At this point, Seth was in the conversation, pointing at Matthew with Jane's glasses.
Excerpted from Conversations with Seth book two by Susan M. Watkins, George Rhoads. Copyright © 1999 Susan M. Watkins. Excerpted by permission of Moment Point Press.
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