Tag Archives: yogi

To SAM: “We are all black bags.”

15 March 1967

My dear Sufi Achmed Murad Chisty Cheleby Samuel Lewis & Brother,

Among many other things, our communication of March 13 indicates you are willing to sacrifice yourself into serving the sufi movement in collaboration with Vilayat and the most humble and brutally proud undersigned and in this line any and all posts of confidence are open to you at your choice. The head of the Brotherhood? It is yours. The head of any other activity? It is yours. It is I who determine those things. Have I ever given the impression of not fully acknowledging and appreciating you? If so tell me when and where so that I may repent and strew ashes over my dinner jacket. (I have no dinner jacket but my suit may do.)

I was catapulted into my incongruous position without my knowledge and now has this enormous power which, also, I shall surrender to you if Vilayat so chooseth. Actually I was appointed by Allah, God, the Unfathomable at the age of 8 to revolutionize the religious temper of the world and I hoped to do it on my own terms, that is, God’s terms. I have temporarily lent a hand to the sufis because they are less errant than many other groups. They are not perfect, not one of them, not the greatest or smallest of their masters and I proposed to Hazrat Inayat we might drop the Sufi name. And one day, if no accident interferes, I shall again cut loose and set the world aflame. Posterity will dig up my past and all influences and say I was this and a that. Actually only God exists. The man in a black bag who attended the student meetings in Corvallis, Oregon had the right idea. The black robes of the Universal Worship is basically the same idea. We are all black bags, if we only knew. Therefore I am not as moved as I should be by all your negative experiences. What do you expect? What did friend Jesus expect? to be tortured to death. Well, he actually survived and was brought to India by yogis. He took in the entire yoga lore in addition to, previously, the sufi lore. Now he is a good teacher to those who tune in.
Love
Shamcher

[Written under a Sufi Movement letterhead.]

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God, Spiritual Balance, Groups

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher

J: The Sufi path is supposed to be the path of direct experience. To me this means the acquiring of a sense of presence: the presence of God within you, the presence of God coming through your teachers within you, an awareness of the presence of your soul.
S: When you use the word “god” you have to be careful. For instance, many so called ‘great’ mystics say, “God told me this from the other side.” So whenever they hear a voice from the other side it’s God? Well, what kind of God is that?! Sometimes it is a very immature spirit that is trying to get back to this world because this is the only one he understands, and so he will come back to anyone that will listen. These people who are always going around saying that they are in direct contact with God are not the real mystics… What an inadequate expression of God!

J: Perhaps they have made a “god” of the object of their obsessive desire.
S: Yes! That’s why even the word “god” can be misused and is misused. I saw an advertisement in the newspaper once of someone who said, “I talk to God”. Well, isn’t that wonderful, I thought, so do I…
*
J: Superstition, Shamcher, I see as a craving for a higher sense of order significance in one’s life. And I see it arising after a long period of time where one has lacked that kind of meaning and sense of higher significance. So when one suddenly gets a glimpse one seizes on it and says “yes, this is explaining my whole life”…
S: This is what I would call the high form of superstition. The low form is when one has all types of negative interference, and thoughts that tomorrow the world is going to end and you’re going to go to hell.
It is a positive sort of superstition when you feel the urge to expand because you think that you have found a solution to everything. You may get caught up in this, but usually after awhile you finally see that you don’t really know it yet, and then finally you come to the point to where you say, “Well, I don’t know it yet, but it doesn’t matter, I am beginning.” And this is beautiful because you are listening now instead of making assumptions. From that point on you have no superstitions anymore, or at least not serious ones…
A very common form of this superstition is when people read about karma and reincarnation. “Oh yes, now I understand everything!” But each of us understands the concepts of karma and reincarnation in a different way. lnayat Khan was very careful to explain–in a sense explain away–the ideas of reincarnation and karma to us. He said that what most people think of reincarnation is not you, not yourself that was reincarnating, but the mind stuff… Look at Buddha, His whole life was to try and get us away from the idea of karma and reincarnation, so we would not have to be born again here.
*
J: ls the Soul subject to states of obsession?
S: No. The soul is supreme and is always as it is. It is only that the soul forgets itself in the mind that is subject to superstition or obsession.
Of course very few people really live in the soul or remember the soul.
*
J: Shamcher, Inayat Khan stressed moderation in the undertaking of spiritual disciplines, didn’t he?
S: Yes, I could give you an example of what he meant from my worldly experience. . . .
In the dunes near Oceano in California there lived a man who was an abstract painter. He was a recluse and his occupation very well fitted his life. He lived about a mile from me, and whenever I would come walking past he would say, “O, Bryn, Bryn, come in.” And then he would talk for an hour without interruption because he hadn’t mastered the art of being alone and was rather desperate for company. He had exaggerated to himself his ability to live in solitude and now he had to have these outlets. He talked and talked and he would even say things like, “You know that Moon Mullins next door is running up and down the beach stealing all my lumber.” It wasn’t his lumber of course. This shows his unbalance. And the danger of being alone when you are not really capable of it. So many do this. Run up to the Himalayas or something…
I almost succumbed to this in 1959. I was in the Himalayas and I found myself walking up along a streamlet. The water was fresh and fresher the higher I went, and it was so beautiful and easy that I did even feel myself moving after awhile. And I began to think that this was the place that I should spend the rest of my life. Then, just as I was thinking this, I saw a cave, you know, one of those caves where you’d expect a saint to be looking out from the opening. So I said to myself “Oh, this is exactly where I should stay, but how am I to get in?” And then I discovered by climbing higher that there was a way of getting in.
It was really dark. And as I was feeling around I felt something soft that went GRRR-GRRRRR, and then I felt again and it went GRRRRWHHAHHHHHHWHAHHH
and l got out of there.
Later on I looked at this bear, for that’s what it was I think, as something pushed by Inayat Khan to tell me to get out of there and get out in world again. So I went back to the world and began once again to fight for OTECs…
Before this, you see, I had been fighting rather in vain for OTECS. And had had an experience where I was talking to Prime Minister Nehru and a room full of scientists, where I felt that they were listening, and were interested, but that nothing would come of it so I might just as well go on retreat.
But then I got thrown out of that cave. And before I knew it, all of America was talking OTEC, and I was in the middle of it, so there were some very good reasons why I couldn’t just sit in solitude…

J: Didn’t a yogi once tell Pir Vilayat that the holy men in the Himalayas were a dying race because the way for us now is to stay in the world?
S: Yes. They are a dying race because the world is now ripe to take care of itself. It doesn’t need saints sitting back there keeping us in touch. And this is coming! You see young people everywhere, and many old people too, who have become aware of the need for balance in the spiritual realities, of the need for a balance that will make them much more than simply the heirs of religious traditions.
One time the Dalai Lama said that a certain Trappist monk was the only person from the West that he knew of that could meditate, but you see it coming among all the young people around us now, so there is a direct contact with what I would call the stream of the universe among them or at least some of them.
*
J: I understand that Inayat Khan talked about a sort of progression among the Spiritual masters and that since the time of Mohammed, the message that he completed, there is no longer any necessity to use a go-between for enlightenment.
S: Yes. Except that when you say the word “master”: Inayat Khan never used that expression about any human being. And he was the first to say that he was not a master. He would always say, “There is only One master, the spirit of guidance that leads every soul to its destination.” So I become offended when I hear people talk of Inayat as a “master”, of course, though he may have been in a sense the greatest one for us.
I really don’t like this word “master”.
*
J: What is the spiritual path?
S: If one would be facetious one would say that there is no such thing. But if one is kind, and accepts it, one would say that in the line of Inayat Khan, it is annihilation of the false ego.
This annihilation of the false ego is much different and bigger task than is usually realized. For some it may take a million years. Others may seem almost as if they are born with it. Some people work really hard at it and never seem to succeed, and then they’ve apparently got it, until the next day when they haven’t got it anymore!
You know, humans are so crazy sometimes they really succeed! The funny thing is, many times it is the less you try, the better you do. All life is for this purpose, whether one calls it a spiritual path or not. The difference between the other paths and what we call the “spiritual” path is that the spiritual path has an element of knowing and conscious seeking. But then again, for some people, it may not be such a good thing to be conscious of it…

J: So what’s the point of joining any spiritual path or order?
S: So why join an order if you feel like that?

J: No Shamcher, I’m only asking a question.
S: There is every point and no point at all. The person who doesn’t join may be every bit as wise. One follows an impulse, and that impulse is the best one can do at the time.
I know people who are, in a sense, more conversant with sufi attitudes and ways than many of the sufis, yet who would find it a horror to join the group. Others join, of course, and are very successful because they join, so there is no attempt at a general rule here. I myself have always been in doubt about groups: “Should I join or should I perhaps not join?” And after I have joined: “Should I stay in or get out?”
It doesn’t really matter! But sometimes I have felt like I was cheating the people who were not in the group but were trying so hard to get in, while I who was in the group wasn’t really sure that I wanted to be there, so was perhaps giving the wrong impression ..
But then I would decide that to leave would be wrong against all the people who were still in who would wonder, “Why does he leave us now?”

J: It sometimes can be really frightening to have only God and yourself to depend on…
S: Personally I don’t see any difference. I am very happy alone, and I have often felt that I joined with Inayat Khan not to receive comfort from him but for what I could contribute to his movement. Not that he personally needed anything…
One time Inayat was approached by a man who said that he liked his message very much but that he couldn’t join the organization because he had to be free. And Inayat answered him, “Well, I think I am free and yet I am in the organization, but I don’t think you are so free because you are afraid of organizations.”
So if you are afraid to join or not to join, you are not free. If you join as a matter of your own free will, join with the thought that you are doing so because you want to help its cause. Because if you join with the idea that it is going to give you comfort you may be extremely disappointed, because it may not give you comfort. You shouldn’t want anything from the organization. About this you shouldn’t care…

J: But you think it’s all right not to join and just to depend on your own being?

S: Yes. It is quite all right just to depend on your own being. God, to me at least, is all the comfort one ever needs, and more. And I don’t take comfort from anyone else.

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Attachments

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher

J : Could you give us an example of someone being too attached to fruits?
S: Yes. l have a friend who is an economist. I consider him the finest economist in the United States. He is also a zen man, and interested in Sufism and Yoga.
One day he comes to me and says, “Bryn, I don’t think I will continue any longer.” I don’t give him any response. “Yes,” he says, “I have articles running in the Economic journal, and I have written three books, but nobody listens… Nobody does what I ask…I think I’ll give up.”
Why do you want to give up, I say. Look how hard I have worked all my life. And yet the only thing that I can do is to continue with what believe in for the rest of my life, and the less people who listen the intensely must I work.”
So he says: “But Bryn, you are one in a million, no I mean one in a billion…” But anyway he realized that he had made a mistake by saying that he was going to give up.

J: We have spoken a great deal about attachments. Would you say that even if people cannot dissolve their attachments, they would become much better off if they could simply make them more gentle?
S: I think so, yes, definitely. Too often the trouble is that we want a sudden change into something impossible, we want a pedestal, so that is true. We can develop right here and now, if not perfectly, at least gradually.
*
J: We spoke of disease. Would you say that a person can cure himself?
S: In the first place, whatever name you put on a disease is laughable. People say, “Oh, cancer. That can’t be cured…” Who knows what cancer means? And who knows that that can’t be cured? Everything can be and has been completely cured at different times. And any disease that you can name has been completely cured by some people. The reason that there is so little of it now is that there is so little faith in these things…
There is a sort of faith in medical science, and of course some of the doctors in this field are the finest people in the world. And of them the very finest admit that they cannot answer questions like this, because they only know one dimension of healing and that is not entirely natural.
I know of one of these men, a Dr. Simonton, who has taken on any cancer patient who is given up by regular doctors, and then he makes them develop their thought power–their heart and thought power combined–and then really look at themselves. A phenomenally high percentage have been cured… He has even described cases in which a cancerous growth has diminished in a week or a month into nothing.
Or there is the story of the yogi in India who had his hand cut off by the police who thought he was a criminal. And then the policeman said, “Oh, I’m sorry, you’re not the right person…!” But the yogi told him not to worry about it, held the arm back in place for awhile, sitting there, and in half an hour there wasn’t a sign.
This is the ability the human body has in it. And we have not been utilizing it–though it is perhaps not so bad. Humanity has gone into an anti-spiritual development for awhile to find the “facts” of life, and now, gradually, we are returning to that more keen understanding of what life is all about, and the amazing things that our bodies can do.

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The Mystic Sciences

From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse

J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher

J: When I heard you speak on the “mystic sciences”, the I Ching, tarot, astrology, etc. up in Toronto this spring, it kept striking me that you were saying something on a deeper level than that they simply don’t have any value. That they could be aids to developing our insight, but the hold of their attraction over us is such that they have degenerated into something much less than they had been intended to be…
S: Yes. Someone once asked Inayat: “Shouldn’t we sufis get our charts read?” And he answered: “Where are the astrologers?”
That is the whole point.
Swami Yukteswar, Yogananda’s teacher, once wrote a book called the “holy science” that said that Indian astrology, on which is based Western astrology, is about 400,000 years wrong because of a mistake made many, many years ago.
The whole idea of zodiacs, twelve zodiacs–why twelve and not a million?

J: I had this explained to me once that the twelve zodiacs correspond to the six chakras below the crown. That there is a masculine and feminine side to each, and the zodiac was an external correspondence to the pathway of our Kundalini energy…
S: That sounds very good. But some say we have six chakras, some twelve, some three, some four… They are all constructs of the mind, descriptions. Why believe someone else’s descriptions? It is better to wait with a judgment until one has gone very deeply into oneself and seen these things. Then, if you see six chakras, of course for you there are six chakras, and if you see three then of course for you there are three… It is different for each person.

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Meditation, Drugs

From correspondence:

But what is meditation? Not just thinking, in fact the opposite. Swami Rama points out two ways of meditation: voiding the mind of all appetites, for food, for sex, for fame, for riches, for achievements. Or concentrating on one point – a star, a guru. He greatly prefers the first. The modern way of concentrating upon a guru may create all kinds of difficulties. It is still a form of appetite. But the guru’s physical form is not the real guru, but rather his spirit, or rather than that again, your own spirit, inspired by the guru, whether he deserves it or not.
This also answers your question about the thumb up transmission of physical force. For people living on that level it becomes important. Also, it may prevent them from advancing further. But it is not necessary that it so prevents a being, if that being can free himself from it later. In a sense it is like drugs. A person may be on a stage where he would never have had a lift except first by drugs, but drugs also prevent him from going on. Except if one day he can free himself entirely from the delusion of drugs. As to such transfers of physical force – to an enlightened being it is no help at all, just a cause for an indulgent smile. To a physically drowned person it may be temporarily good. Again, it may later prevent him from going on.

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Spirit World

From correspondence:

The trouble with the mediums, psychics and fortune tellers and the Uri Gellers is not that they talk about “spirits” and “invisible beings” but that they talk about these things wrongly, stupidly, ignorantly and most often proudly. Almost all mediums and psychics are in touch with the most “illiterate” and stupid spirits. There is more cheating and nonsense in the “spirit world” than in this to all of visible world. Uri Geller likes to play with spoons and watches. Most mediums play with sick and dangerous spirits and spirit criminals.

Most of the old taoists, yogis and sufis had structures of the mind to lean on like most people now. A few, very few of the taoists, yogis and sufis on the other hand were living in several worlds at the same time. They saw and could discriminate between beings in the spirit world just like you two can see and discriminate between people you know. And some of us do so, more or less clearly, even today.

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It’s Not Enough to Sit There

Should we talk about it at all? Or should we keep meditating upon the light? One sufi, the same Sam Lewis, said, “In order to be a masterful sufi, in order to become really a light, you have to go into the darkness and fight the darkness.” Its not enough to sit there and meditate upon the light and do all these things. Well, if you are concerned mainly with yourself and your progress, that’s all you can do. but if you understand the reality of the whole flowing universe, you are not satisfied with helping yourself, you must bring everybody with you. As it is said in the Buddhist scripture, before the Buddha can go up to heaven he had to have the whole humanity with him. Well this is sufism essentially. It has been expressed as a difference between sufism and yoga. That isn’t quite true anymore because the better yogis also have this view, you must have the whole humanity with you.

So a real yogi or a real sufi isn’t the least bit interested in doing phenomenal things. He is interested in bringing humanity forward – by delving into dirty economics, war-mongering, energy, food supplies.

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