"Have you ever tried to stop accidental thinking and feeling?" I ask Walter the Cat. The kitten curls on my lap, kneading my leg with his diamond-sharp little claws. It is late morning. I'm all alone on Moira. Freddy is at the El Torito visiting with Janice. This gives me the opportunity to concentrate on alternate levels of awareness.
We need fuel. Maybe I'll take Walter up on his offer to siphon some out of his tanks. "STOP! Accidental Thinking Alert!"
I get up and gently put the kitten down on the warm place where I was sitting. He does not bother to open his eyes. My mind is in its gooey jellied stage from reading Steiner's complex pontificating. "Stop accidental thinking and feeling. Daaahhhh, wha's dat mean, boss?"
I do a few physical exercises and pick up the book again. OK. No accidental thinking and feeling. Bang. Done. Now what's next.
A. Experience, through sound, the essence of animals.
B. Unite feelings with pleasure or pain in each sound. Evaluate all feelings FROM the sound source.
C. Attune to the language of nature through sound.
D. Listen with the soul, the conscious mind must be silent. Do not judge, agree, or think, just listen.
E. Sound becomes a medium of perception, a door to a new stage upon which the inner voice can speak.
I contemplate putting on a tape. Some music to listen to while listening to sounds. Ho ho, a little joke. GOD! I'm having a tough time with this. I suppose I still need a lot of work on stage 2.
I look at the kitten, curled up asleep, growing at one centimeter a day. You can almost see him get bigger. OK. This is it. No more accidental thinking. Work. Concentrate. Listen! I sit down and listen.
I don't hear anything. I listen harder, cranking up the auditory reception level to the top. Sea laps softly on Moira's hull and, as if a door opens, a whole world of sound washes over me. I hear the wind clicking the palm fronds together ashore, the distant thunder of the surf, quiet sounds of movement from people on other boats and ashore, tiny shrimp snapping in the sand below the boat.
ROOOOORRRRRRARRRRRRRRRRR The sound of an outboard revving to life.
I know it is Walter's from its sound. I am just thinking Steiner is right about this being "a door to a new stage upon which the inner voice can speak" when several aspects of the sounds connect deep in my psyche.
The starting outboard was accompanied by a shout and a splash.
Now I hear the outboard screaming across the lagoon and, within its scream I hear hysterical laughter.
I bound up the ladder onto deck just in time to see Walter's 24', blue and red, fiberglass long-boat hurtle across the lagoon towards the catamaran.
Still in my meditative state, the sounds are delightfully awesome. My soul hears the roaring, uncontrolled sound of the outboard, the shrieks of uncontrolled laughter from Walter - who's head is floating not far from the wharf - and the howl of terror from the guy and the girl on the catamaran. I fight not to judge, think, or analyze. I just listen. It all comes together in one transcendent satori experience with the cosmic mind blossoming KARRUNCHH of Walter's longboat piercing like a javelin right through the hull of the catamaran.
Whooping and hollering with the sheer ecstasy of the moment I leap into the dinghy and go to rescue Walter whose laughter has an ominous, drowning, gurgle sound.
Everyone in the community has shared in this sonic satori - Gary the Anthropologist, Mike the Herpetologist, his wife Maria, Terry the Pirate, Debby, Freddy and Janice, Nerissa and Mellisa and all the people on all the yachts are all standing around in deep psychic contemplation, meditating on the vision of the blue javelin protruding from both sides of the yellow catamaran's starboard hull. The Yamaha screams defiantly to complete the panoramic sonic splendor. It also spins the catamaran around and around on its anchor line.
Fortunately for the catamaran, the bow of Walter's boat is very sharp and - like most boats - raked forward. When it hit, it made a neat, if somewhat large, hole in the plywood. The rake of the bow lifted the longboat enough so it penetrated above the water line. Otherwise we would hear inspiring sinking noises, too.
I drag Walter aboard the Avon, dripping wet.
"I started it in gear," he gasps. Meaning he bent over pulled the string and the outboard, in gear, took off, flipping him out of the boat. Yamaha outboards don't have the "dead man" spring-loaded twist grip throttle of U.S. motors. It just kept on going.
The owner of the catamaran leaps down into Walt's boat and shuts off the Yamaha. I hear the small sounds of nature and hushed murmuring. Someone else starts laughing.
The yachting community assembles at the catamaran and together we tow it over to the beach and wiggle the longboat out of its hole. We lay coconut logs on the beach and, all together, haul the catamaran ashore to repair it. I note the plywood of the hull is mostly rotten anyway. The blue javelin probably saved this turkey from sinking at sea.
A wonderful, mind expanding experience. I feel more aware already, having gone through two of Steiner's exercises in a single day.
Twice a week our little group - Walter & Janice, Terry & Debby, Freddy & I - get together in Terry & Debby's tree house and do our mind games exercises. Since I get to put the episodes together, I mix Rudolph Steiner's Path to Higher Levels of Consciousness with Masters and Houston's Mind Games to get the most rapid advancement possible for our dolphin project. Mind Games leans heavily on standard hypnotherapy techniques and I've done professional hypnosis for years. If there is anything to this psychic man-dolphin stuff, we'll find it. This is serious shit.
Some of Steiner's projects are better suited than others for this kind of thing. I try to keep ahead by doing Steiner's exercises first. Kind of check them out. When they work, I write up a Mind Game based on the exercise, using Masters and Houston's book as a guideline.
Today, I am going to wander off onto the island alone and work on stage 4. The distilled outline from Steiner is as follows:
A. Meditate with reverence, sympathy, love of knowledge.
B. Mantra: "In my own world of thought and feeling the
deepest mysteries lie. I am beginning to perceive them."
C. Observe feelings and perceptions that emerge, note
inner perceptions of "colors" associated with animal
D. At all times maintain conscious self-control.
In case this does not work too well I bring along the outline for stage 5, too. This should be a good one.
A. Meditate on a seed.
B. Grasp the seed with all physical senses.
C. Mantra: "Out of the seed, if planted in the soil, a plant of complex structure will grow."
D. Visualize development of plant at every detailed level.
Freddy and I motor ashore in the Avon and I leave her on the wharf. She's going to do the laundry on the El Torito. Since she scared the bejessus out of me in the pass, I've decided to do the exercises alone, first, to get the fullest benefits.
There is quite a lot of commotion on El Torito this morning. Terry is spanking Nerissa.
I walk up past the cluttered workshop on the edge of the rainforest and find Walter busy making a new fiberglass housing for his 16-mm movie camera. It's a big one and he's slopping glass and resin onto the wood mold, looking very intent. Once the catalyst is in the resin you've got to work fast, without distractions.
Feeling very much like a distraction, I walk on by, heading down the path into the rainforest. As I approach the dark and ancient trees, I hear a mighty shout and scream. With catlike reflexes, I spin and see Nerissa clinging to Terry's back on the wharf. She looks like some monster spider with her skinny arms and legs spread wide, firmly latched onto him. He's wildly dancing around trying to get her loose, shrieking vicious oaths hardly appropriate to her young ears. I look over at Walter. Wow! He's really focused. Carefully laying up the fiberglass, totally ignoring the snarls of his little daughter and agonizing peals of pain of his best friend.
I admire that, in a way. I mean, he's got the ability to know, while smoothing down the glass cloth, his little girl and his friend Terry will work things out themselves. He's a whiz at Steiner's stage 2. No accidental thinking at all.
Janice appears on the deck of El Torito. She has the skill and balance of a trained dancer. This is because she is a trained dancer. With grace and dignity she bounds from the ship to the wharf, takes five long strides, and plucks Nerissa from Terry's bleeding back. Nerissa's face is twisted in an evil, vicious toothy snarl. She emits a spine snapping roar of frustration. There is a splash of bright red blood on her face. I wish I had my camera. She screams and waves her arms and kicks her legs and struggles but Janice acts like it is no effort at all to march back down the wharf and deposit Walter's daughter back on the ship. Freddy is on deck watching. Freddy takes charge of Nerissa, restraining her by her hair when Nerissa tries to get back in action against Terry. She's got determination, that kid.
Janice turns and goes quickly over to Terry who is still dancing around shouting, "She Fucking Well Bit Me! I'm BLEEDING!"
They go off together. Janice with her arm around Terry, looking at the big bloody bite on his back. Peace settles over the scene and I wander off deep into Malaupaina's rainforest to find a rock and an animal.
Animals are not easy to find on a little coral island like Malaupaina. There are rats and little blue-tailed lizards. But these will hardly wait around for me to meditate on them. There are ants but, really, who wants to meditate on an ant? I find the colony of fruit bats but they are high in the trees, look ridiculous, and there are no rocks in the trees. I'd get a crick in my neck trying to look back and forth. Not to mention the danger of fecal rain.
I come across a semi-wild cow under the coconut trees. It looks startled and backs away from me with trembling steps. Once and awhile our little community bags one of these for meat. This one appears to know all about our carniverous habits. It is unaware I'm only looking for an animal and a rock to meditate on. It gets about five meters away, turns, and bounds off with the natural skill cows have in forests - knocking over small trees, thrashing about and generally frightening itself out of what little wits it ever had.
A big black monitor lizard with yellow polkadots is on the trunk of a coconut tree ahead. In the sunlight. There is a suitable, reasonably sized, gray rock right next to it. I sit down slowly, cautiously, keeping my eyes on the sleek monster. Monitor lizards are seldom seen. This is a bit of luck. They are very shy creatures. And fast. They can climb a tree in seconds, running straight up it. This one is about a meter long. Fine. Perfect.
I settle down and look at it. I can see it slowly breathing, its big fat sides expanding and contracting in the sun. Here we go.
But I've completely forgotten the damned mantra. Slowly, cautiously, I move my arm so I can get my notes out of my hip pocket. I lean every so gently forward. My fingers close on the notes. I slide them out, unfold them and look down.
OK. Got it.
"In my own world of thought and feeling the deepest mysteries lie. I am beginning to perceive them." Of course.
I look up. The fucking lizard is gone. I look up in the tree. Nothing. Down at the ground. Gone. God DAMN!
Now it's lunchtime. I'm hungry. Back on Moira, Freddy asked if I wanted to take along a lunch. "Oh, no," I said "I won't be long. And anyway a little hunger is excellent for achieving alternate levels of awareness. You know. Fasting." She just smiled.
Ho ho ho.
I get to my feet. Look at the notes. Seed. Forget the rock and the animal. Anyone can find a seed in a coconut plantation. I wander down to the beach and gather up the materials. I get a green coconut, a brown one, one that has sprouted a little green blade of leaf, one with a little plant growing out of it and lots of little white rootlets. I line these up next to a small tree, maybe a couple of years old. Visualizing the seed growing into a tree will be a snap with all these props.
What do I know about coconut trees? Well. They start out as an ovum and pollen in yellow coconut flowers. They are often fertilized by ants that creep everywhere around here. I look down at the coconut tree trunk I'm sitting on and see a trail of ants marching up it towards the crown of the tree.
Coconuts can have flowers, and nuts of different sizes, all year 'round. The fertilized ovum develops into a little nut. There are a big bunch of nuts just under the crown of leaves above me. The nuts swell up with water and nutrients sucked up the long stalk from the moist sand. These enter the tree via little hollow white roots with root hairs. The fluids move up through the whole stalk via thousands upon thousands of tiny tubes. The pressure to suck the fluids up 100 feet in the air comes from transpiration of moisture from stomata located on the underside of the palm fronds. As the moisture evaporates, surface tension draws more up from below.
The fluid fills the young nuts like green water balloons. When they are young and green, the husk covers a thin, soft, tan colored nut shell. At this stage the embryo is small, located below one of the 'eyes.'
Boy, are they good to drink at this stage. When opened the water is pure and clean, sterile, cool, even slightly bubbly......At the thought of this, I am so thirsty I can hardly think.
A little older, and the meat grows on the inner side of the nut and becomes soft, rubbery, delicious. I look at the green nut I've gathered for my meditation experiment.
The tree grows to maturity in about 13 years. Like people.
I really am thirsty.
It lives maybe 80 years. Making nuts till its about 60 or 65 and then gets senile. Enough. On with the experiment.
I say, to myself, out loud,
I try to visualize the development of the coconut at every detailed level as I repeat this mantra.
All I can visualize is a machete. God I wish I had a machete. Even a knife. WHY didn't I bring a knife? I jump up and look around. If I can find a sharpened stick I can shuck that little green nut in a flash and be slurping its cool refreshing water and munching its rubbery little meaty life...I look around. No sharpened stick.
Sometimes you can find them in the plantation, stuck in the ground where the local guys have come to harvest the copra. I go off looking. I don't see one. "You can never find a sharp stick when you need one," I grumble.
"Christ!," I say, "Now I'm thinking accidentally again."
Finally, in the tideline, I find a sharp stick. I run back to my quiet meditation spot, shove the stick in a hole in the reef rock, and whack the lovely green coconut on the sharp end of the stick. Following the lesson of an 8 year old boy in Buruku, I lever back a big section of the green husk. I stab again and peel again until I see the naked dome, soft and vulnerable, with the three eyes. I Thrust a sharp shell through the softest eye - no doubt the one protecting the delicate embryo - and glug down the delicious, wonderful, bubbly, coconut water.
Some of it spills, by accident, down my chin and onto my chest but I couldn't care less. When the last drop of succulent water is gone I whack off the top of the nut and use another shell to scoop out the luscious soft, white meat.
I sit on my coconut tree trunk again, chewing contentedly, open my ears to the sound of the island around me, fill my inner soul with quiet, and say, "Out of the seed, if planted in the soil, a plant of complex structure will grow."
But, in the middle of the mantra, I start to laugh and can't stop.
Dr. Walter A. Starck II steps between the roots of a gigantic Ficus tree deep in the rain forest and vanishes into a black hole. I follow. Inside the tree, an intricate web of interlacing aerial roots forms the vortex of a wooden tornado that tunnels up into the sky. Some time in the distant past this strangler fig, or banyan tree, vined up a host tree to extend its crown of bright green foliage high above the luxuriant jungle. It's host, strangled by the ever tightening web of roots, died, decayed, and left a tunnel some six feet in diameter inside the gigantic banyan tree. I look up. The tunnel is more than a hundred feet high, graceful, twisting, lit by sunlight filtering in through the lace of roots. I see Walter's thin, spidery legs as he scurries up the interior.
I launch myself in pursuit and eventually come to a small hole at the top. I stick out my head. The floor of the rain forest is a long way down. Tree tops float like green clouds around me. Walter, standing casually on a 3 inch wide branch just above me comments "One quickly learns the meaning of the word 'plummet' when looking down like that."
I squeeze through and climb the remaining 20 feet on the outside of a vertical wall of living wood.
A net hammock hangs lazily between the great branches and Walter flops into it, swinging easily back and forth over the thin air, while I try to appear casual, perched on a big thick limb next to him. I stare out over the tops of the trees towards the lagoon. From here coconut tree tops and fig leaves frame the turquoise entrance. It's clear sparkling water swarms with luminous colors. The shore of the lagoon traces its outline against the green jungle with a fine line of gleaming white sand.
Far off to the east, a thunderhead towers into the tropical Solomon Sky, stalking toward our island retreat on long, wispy, grayblack legs of rain.
I turn to look deeper into the rain forest. From up here I can see the salt marsh and the dead cypress tree forest whose barren branches are the home of thousands of flying foxes. I can even see some of the bats, dangling like heavy black fruits on the bare branches, hanging absurdly head down and fidgeting away the daylight hours. The trees block my view of Moira and the El Torito.
"I've finished reading Steiner's books on the path to higher consciousness," I begin. "Did you read Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and its Attainment I loaned you?"
"Mmmm." Says Walter, basking in the sun. "Yeah." He grins at me, opening one amused eye, "Look around. You can gain some knowledge of the higher worlds from right here."
We laugh and he continues, "Steiner has some interesting points. But it appears he's lost track of reality somewhere along the way. I'm sure if an ardent student followed his instructions he'd find what Steiner describes, but I'm not sure it's anything more than another form of self-delusion." Walter sways gently in the hammock. I stare for a time at the blue, blue lagoon.
"Probably. Rudolph was playing with levels of mind most people never consciously experience. And because he lived in Germany in 1914 he had to interpret what he perceived in terms of his own background as a Minister's son."
"Good perceptions, erratic and erroneous data display." Echoes Walter.
"Whatever he was perceiving, his conscious mind interpreted as visions of angels, old spirits guarding inner gates, dogfaced demons, and all the other myths of spirits and souls of his day and place."
"Insanity" Walter observes, "Is the failure to reality test, to believe something without basing it firmly in testable perceptions."
"Well, exactly. See, as I read Steiner, I found something testable about development of perceptions of higher levels of awareness."
"And that is? Quit beating around the tree top," he looks up at me.
"The sequence of his program fascinated me. He breaks the training into several segments or stages. Stage one," I hold up a finger but Walter has his eyes closed again. "Preparation and Enlightenment. This is supposed to increase the student's powers of observation. It is a series of exercises to tune the mind beyond ordinary levels of thinking to the inner experience of observation. To do this, the student is supposed to select different natural objects and spend hours concentrating on them and the feelings that develop during the process. Fully conscious self-control must never be lost. During observation, the student must seek the feelings that are developing within himself."
I look at Walter and he opens his eyes and looks back at me. I'm still holding up my finger, so I waggle it at him. "Sound familiar?"
"Of course, I've spent God knows how many hours observing creatures in great detail, drawing each microscopic part and wondering, 'What the hell is that for?' So you think phase one of Steiner's training is offered in biology courses on college campuses everywhere?"
"Not exactly. But in my case, and in yours, it was. The next two steps are even more interesting at least for me. Here, look at these notes." I fish some folded pages from my pocket.
I hand Walter my crumpled up notes. He scans them. "Hey, we did this seed thing, stage 6, for one of the mind games. That was a good one."
"I practiced it first," I say, leaning forward to tap on #7 as Walter's eyes reach it.
A. Qualities appear, seen and heard, within all things that are hidden from physical eyes.
B. Occurrences and beings from the spirit world become seen as forms, colors, tones in a connected whole.
C. These form guide symbols to lead the seeker on the path.
A. Duties will be assigned in occult script, with no outward, physical stimulus.(Devil statue vision)
B. If guidance of higher perception (reading occult script) correctly followed, further symbols will give assurance (Impossible coincidences on the trip to the Solomons)
C. If own opinions and desires are followed, wrong results, confusion (plenty of examples of this. Like trying to go to Ontong Java).
A. All will be left in your own hands. No Goal. No signs.
B. Seek higher self and strength to act alone.
C. There is no time for doubt or hesitation.
"At this point, as I was reading Steiner, I began to notice my scientific training as a biologist had already taken me through the first stages of Steiner's road to development. When I repeated his experiments during the past week I found they were effective immediately. As to the seventh stage, the writing system, I was already familiar with it, too. My first introduction to it was the specimen of Moira I found on the beach so many years ago. Moira taught me all about guide symbols."
"Well, it was pretty weird to get these Steiner books and sit aboard the Moira in Malaupaina's lagoon and read Steiner's series of trials and recognize them as the path I've been on for years. The water trial was surely when my old life was left far behind and the Oriental Esmeralda carried me to Moira's birth place. The bizarre coincidences on the voyage down here were definite signs saying, Keep Going, this is the way! I even knew it, and felt it, at the time.
"When I arrived here, your response to the Solomon Island government suddenly left me without direction. And, strangely enough, my obsession during the period that followed was about the wind, an air trial. I wandered here and there in the Solomon Islands seeking some kind of wisdom from sorcerers, holy men and pagan priests.
"The next stage of Steiner's development program is to Enter the Temple of Higher Wisdom with the draught of Forgetfulness and the Drought of Remembrance. The Draught of Forgetfulness is the secret of acting without being disturbed by lower memory; putting faith in the present. Remove the ties of the past and put full awareness into the present experience, act upon each experience not upon the judgements of past standards.
"The Drought of Remembrance is to retain the working knowledge of the higher truths and unite them with our habits and inclinations. Learn to breathe and see with the soul, speak and hear with the spirit." Walter seems to be examining the leaves of the banyan tree, lost in his own thoughts.
"Coincidentally, his tests also apply to me," Walter muses, "And, to a degree, they apply to Terry as well. It seems, however, Steiner went astray in his Temple of Higher Wisdom. I hope our Mind Games will be more instructive." I take this as a quiet rebuke. Walter is saying I shouldn't get too worked up over higher truths and magical droughts.
"I kind of wonder if our Mind Games are part of Steiner's mystical series?" Walter has closed his eyes. My mystical understanding of our non-verbal communication channels brings up the unsurprising message that closed eyes and lack of any response at all indicates Walter is bored with all this. I change the subject. "What did you think of our first couple of sessions?"
"Oh, who knows. It's another thing to play with. I've never really felt hypnosis was anything more than a mechanism to focus one's attention on something. I enjoyed the experience but did not really feel, at any point, I was actually in a trance state."
Through the banyan branches I can see part of the roof of the tree house where we meet for our mind games. I sit and meditate on the scene and experiment with Steiner's growth game, first feeling the banyan tree growing, sending its juices up from the deep root system into the furthest little leaf buds and then spreading the game out to see the whole rain forest in its endless shifting dance of growth and decay. Walter, suspended in his hammock over nothingness, is gently snoring in time to the sunlight blooming as a rainforest.
I wonder what's going to happen when we finally try to reach the mind of the dolphins.