Doug Ertman Interviews Mark Griffin

An Interview with Mark Griffin

By Douglas A. Ertman

On November 5, 1997, shortly after 11 A.M., Mark Griffin and I sat down together and spoke for 2 hours; the first hour we spend recording an “official” interview, the second chatting unrecorded on a more personal level. The scene of our interview was a beach near Neptune’s Net, a biker bar/seafood restaurant along Highway one just south of Ventura County. We sat on a giant driftwood log that had been coughed up onto the beach by winter storms, but it was a gorgeous summer-in-November day, so hot in fact that I went away sunburned. In transcribing the tape I found our voices intermingled with the ebb and flow of waves hitting the beach, the lazy droning hum of motorcycles and trucks traveling down the highway, and the Doppler-shifted sounds of Mark’s panting Akita, Turner, who approached and receded every few minutes to check on his master—or kick sand on us.


What was it like changing from being an ordinary guy to becoming a teacher?

In the course of my sadhana, as a student studying directly under Muktananda and receiving the blessings of transmissions from him, there was a phase where I started to cross over into the states of being that are marked as the higher conditions of being–the category of ecstatic equilibrium, to use the terminology we use in the Center. This was just a few years before he took mahasamadhi. Then at the time his mahasamadhi occurred, there were very powerful transmissions that changed the nature of these states even more so.

There’s a point where you’re approaching the samadhi states— savikalpa, nirvikalpa, different categories of these qualities of awareness—where there is an onset and development, and a kind of a retreat to normal consciousness. There was one point where this pressure, which is how our transmissions actually occur, began to increase in such a way that the onset and development of these states, which would be episodic, became increasingly deep and intense, leading up to an event.

The experience was much like in a cartoon, where you see a cartoon character that opens a door in a vast open plain. The cartoon character walks through the door, and the door is locked behind him, and he keeps banging on the door trying to get back in… and it never occurs to him to walk around the door. Well in this case it was like that, but the door just disappeared. It was no longer present.

This pushed me into a process of forcing me to find a way to assemble identity in a universal condition. The dynamic in these states in that one goes from a process of experiencing reality in a subjective, or limited, identity—individual—through an increasingly expansive list of qualities, eventually coming to what we call a universal condition. It’s pretty hard to describe. It was during this time, when I was cut off from the possibility of reforming my identity at the individual subjective level, that sadhana became very real, very intense.

This process took about four years, during which time I lived in a state which can only be described as universal, slowly assembling all the dynamics of body, speech and mind, in their formless quality, to try to come up with a new condition. Over time I succeeded in doing that. To make a long story short, one of the dynamics of the universal aspect of identity is that one feels very blended, or at one with all sentient beings. Because there is no limitation or boundary in your personal identity, the identities of others quickly become available to you. It is one of the hidden dynamics of spiritual teaching that the needs inherent in the student-teacher relationship present themselves automatically.

When did you first start waking up to the possibility that maybe you were going to finish everything in this lifetime?

There would be inklings of it…

Were you about fourteen or fifteen when you started?

About fourteen or fifteen, I could sense it clearly enough. I could use the sense that there was some other fate in store for me. I could feel it that strongly.

So you were in high school, where?

I was in high school in Washington State, in a very small town. Moved around a lot.

And you just started having these thoughts or feelings that there was something big coming?

Yeah.

How did you figure out what it was?

It was an intuition of knowledge. I’d always been very intuitive and could connect with people deeply inside them. The process of moving around a lot as a child, it worked out very much to my benefit. I was always somewhat free of the locking-down effects of staying in one place for a long time, especially in the formative years, and socially, as a kid being the perennial outsider, I learned very quickly to be comfortable with my own company. This developed into a very acute sense of gazing and stalking, where I could pick people out of the social milieu of grade school or high school that I would decide to have as friends. I could determine their qualities. I think largely it started as a survival skill. The effect of being around people always changed them. But I would say that in the end, by fourteen or fifteen I could just tell that the energies I felt inside myself were going somewhere else other than where I saw the energies of other people’s lives going.

Did you just say that by being around people they became changed?

Yes.

And you noticed they were changed by being around you?

Yeah.

And did they notice it?

Yes they did.

And to what did they attribute it? Was it just this kind of weird thing about Mark?

Yeah, it was…of course, this comes out in the milieu of being a kid, but it was just an impact. The quality of being able to see what a person was doing, and why, has always been with me. One of the interesting things about people is that we are rarely seen, and when we are seen, it really affects us. I think largely it was that seeing ability…yeah, it became such a reality that 5 times out of 10 mothers would say “stop playing with that kid Mark,” because they would notice such a change in their kid when they were hanging around me. Their personalities would change.

All of the sudden they’d say:

“I can’t play with you anymore.”

“Why?”

“My mom told me not to.”

“OK, well, whatever.” (laughs)

So, your next move was down to the Bay Area?

Yeah.

Why there?

I knew that would be where I would meet my guru.

You knew?

Yeah. You get that kind of information, you pick it up internally and in dreams, in memory of deep dreams. When you’re even in the womb or pre-womb situations, you get talked to by the great scientists of the spirit that are attending the awakening of consciousness in man. They tell you where to be born, they tell you where to go to meet your teacher, they tell you where to be at such and such a time. When your teacher comes through they tell you to go see that person. It’s a poster, it’s a book, if its words, you know, just traveling on the wind, by hearsay, waves are being generated. And I knew that I was supposed to go to San Francisco and wait, which is what I did.

When did you arrive in San Francisco?

That was ’72, ’73. I met Muktananda in ’76.

What did you do until you met him?

Hung around. I had already sunk into the art scene, which has been my social milieu. When you live my kind of life it actually is a very good kind of life to live, because you can be idiosyncratic and not draw any attention to yourself. Or you’re just being, you know, an artist…what do you expect? (laughs) I went to 5 years of art school, 2 years at the Conservatory of Music in San Francisco, and 3 years at the Academy of Art in San Francisco.

So painting and piano?

Yeah, that’s what it ended up being. Composition more than instrumentation.

What was it like meeting Muktananda for the first time?

It was like meeting the Guru.

You knew instantly?

It was one of those. I’d heard about him before he came, although I didn’t know it was him I was hearing about. I was just hearing about a guy who was going around touching people, and when he touched you something awakened inside and all of your ignorance, all of your evil that you were beset with was taken off of you, and you would awaken. I heard this when he was still in India, and he had just done his very first sweep through the United States. It was very short, which I had just missed, I think. When he showed up I just went over to see him. Everything that was inside myself told me that this man was the Guru. It was a matter of total conviction. He accepted me immediately, and gave me the first series of instructions, very simple. That became the parameter, the basis of our relationship. As far as those instructions have been followed, I was his disciple. In a second, it produced a very powerful line for me to tie into.

You see, the relationship between the Guru and the disciple is very subtle, extremely profound, and for the student, it can be a very tricky situation. Where the Guru functions first is in the deepest nature of the soul, yet the outside dynamic, the more surface dynamics are what the student ties into first, because they’re not capable of seeing into the depths of the Guru’s maneuvering. So the Guru has to very quickly assess what the capabilities of the student are, how far can the instruction go with this person, how serious are they?

It’s kind of like if you’re buying a horse, you take hold of it and see how much spirit it has, and by holding onto its mane, grabbing its head, what kind of resistance does it give? How much spirit is there? On that assessment, the lock and the flow of the inner grace is established, and rounding out the spirit are the external orders of the Guru, which set the parameters of the relationship in motion. And they go from very specific to very general matters.

I won’t talk about what those were specifically, because they were too personal, but I could tell that he was laying out the means by which he could instruct me. And in the sense that I immediately embraced those first episodes in that way, I began to get immediate results, both internally and externally, that showed that my assessment was correct, of what was going on. A very powerful seizing of my spirit by the Guru was occurring, and internal experiences, and explosive episodes of purification began. The purification was so strong that a couple of times it took on the aspect of life threatening-powerful infections exploding out of various systems.

He had to move fast, and he had judged correctly that I was a very strong person, and what mattered was speed. It was only seven years from the day I met him to the day he took mahasamadhi, and in those seven years I would describe my life as a flat-out make or break sprint. When you meet a Guru, for best results, it’s best if you can run the broken field obstacle course from the moment you meet the Guru. You run through the irretrievable wells of being that rest inside the line of ecstatic equilibrium, wherein your consciousness becomes finally established in the higher states, and thus you are drawn upward into the mandala of the Guru without any resistance. There’s no time where you’re pulling against the chain, but you’re actually running ahead of the bit, trying to go as fast as you can. It’s better if you can get through to those states before your Guru leaves this world.

One of the things that’s an aspect of my makeup is that I’ve had a lot of incarnations, and I’ve had enough incarnations to know that it’s true: that’s the best way to do things. And even as it was, from the day I met him to the day he left the (earth) plane, this flat-out sprint involved every aspect of practice I was able to put on line. And because of this underlying, intrinsic strength I have, Have always had, was born with, I could go through levels of purification and levels of the processes of sadhana that I think other people would have found unendurable. I found it very interesting that when that process came, the aspect of my life where I moved around a lot and was the perennial outsider became very useful. Because one of the things that happens when you start that process in your life, the involutionary path, is that you start living in a way that most human beings don’t have an understanding of. And you’re going through the most delicate processes, and dealing with the most subtle aspects of your spiritual nature and your spiritual substance, and a lot of that requires an ability just to be alone and keep your own counsel, go through the process. Sometimes you have to be physically alone. You just have to kind of hole up, not for long periods of time, but just for a month here and there. Because it’s important to understand that even while I was going through all this stuff, I was still going to art school. I had a studio.

How did you support yourself during what sounds like a very full-time thing?

I had a scholarship to the art school, and that proved to be just enough so that I could get by.

Did you have jobs?

I had jobs working in the video industry making sets; that lasted a couple of years. I would do light construction, all the usual stuff. I never worked in restaurants or anything like that, it’s not in my makeup, but there would be a combination of things like that that I could just string together as a way of making a living, making art.

You were 21 when you met Muktananda?

Yeah.

So you were almost at the end of art school, or somewhere in the middle?

The years from that period – the match-up between what I was doing exactly when – is a little gray. I would say I had done two years of Music Conservatory first and was just starting art school…in the year after I met Muktananda. I started in a summer school and then I went for two years, so I actually went 2 and a half years there.

Did you live in the ashram in Oakland?

Yes I did, I lived there for about 10 months. After that I would get on tours and follow Muktananda around and live and take care of my own residence, not live in the ashram proper. I find the actual population of the ashram somewhat abrasive, and invasive, so I would just deal with him indirectly. He would make himself available for darshan every day, I would have his darshan, I’d meditate through the night and study during the day. You have to understand that this whole seven years the actual time I was with Muktananda was probably a third of it. He would spend time in India, a year in India without being in America, so I would just stay in America. When he was in America I would spend most of my time with him, as much as I could afford. As you know, travel is expensive, and this was the seventies so you could really live very cheap, but still…

So when you got transmissions from Muktananda, you had more of an ability than most people to receive them, or to understand them, to put them into practice?

I think so, yeah. I think I used them…

Could you see them more clearly than other people?

Yeah, I think that’s the thing.

What is it like to be able to see clearly what a transmission is?

It’s great!

Is it like reading a book, or seeing a video?

It’s like an event. You know how we talk in the Center that there are four bodies: there’s the physical body and physical mind that has the report of the senses, and moves itself through the world; then there’s the subtle body, which is the primary body of energy, of prana; the causal body, which is the primary body of mind; and the supra-causal body, the body which is outside of the condition of duality, yet present and hard-wired into the formation of the human being. It’s important to be very clear on that.

To that degree, that way I teach is reflective of how Baba taught. He put out very key information. You know, he’d just be sitting out there and he’d just say “A human being has four bodies…” and he’d say it over and over again a thousand different ways, so that your attention wouldn’t wander from the fact he considered this important. If he didn’t consider it important information, he wouldn’t say it over and over again.

He said “you should think about this, and you should meditate on it, and you should try to understand it, try to have some inner experience of it.” When he said that, I would do that. And it wouldn’t take long before I could find that I could clearly define the waves of consciousness coming in at the level of the conscious mind and the senses, the waves of conscious mind coming in at the level of energy, and the chakras, and the pranas, and the waves of conscious mind coming in at the level of mind, which is called higher mind and no mind, and even at the beginning I would have a sense of the blue pearl. That was one of his crème de la crème aspects of his nature, was the transmission of the blue pearl, the spontaneous…it was awe inspiring, it’s awe-inspiring to even think of it now.

It must be said that I had a knack for yoga. The studies of yoga’s dynamics have always been easy for me. I’ve had virtually no attachments to this world, so there would be nothing to hold me back. That being said, when you’re dealing with a teacher capable of powerful transmissions, it should be understood that the primary stream of transmission is in the third body, the causal body, which is formless and without limit. Infinite power, infinite formation can be drawn out of it and can emerge from it and can be given and placed anywhere.

It’s at the level of mind?

The level of mind. And it goes from mundane mind to higher mind, finally through what is called unmanas, no mind, and what is called thesumanas, which is the point where the no-mind connects with the higher mind, and the higher mind connects into the lower mind. It’s a line of definition. What is referred to as the void, where the principles of one quality of attention stop, and the principles of another start.

So the transmissions take place at that level?

That’s where they always take place. Whenever you’re dealing with the Guru, with that level of transmission, that’s where it has to occur, because you’re dealing with the abstract condition of the limitlessness of mind, out of which any formation can be created. Absolute limitlessness, where any possibility of any formation is within its potential. So when you’re dealing with a person, of whatever level of development, high, low, or in between doesn’t matter, all you’re looking at from the teacher’s standpoint is various capacities for change. Well, that’s what I turned into.

When he gave the transmission, I’d watch him. He’d do just like what we do. A series of meditations, and there would be a known time when the transmission would occur, and I’d watch the transmission. I’d watch when he was doing it to others, I’d watch him when he was doing it from the seat, I’d watch him when he was moving around the room, I’d watch him when he was doing it at a universal level, I’d watch when he was doing it at—what would be the word for in between universal and personal? Somewhere in between! (laughs)

shaktipatThere are different flavors, and qualities and tones to it, and you’d see this thing come out of him. You have to understand, once you connect to the inner mind, then you’re there, because there is only one mind. It’s just a matter of where people plug into this massive field. The plug in is a kind of a lock for a while, and then you start being able to plug in more and more and deeper and deeper at different places. One of the things about any perception is that it’s something you’ve got to get use to. It’s not necessarily like the report of the senses, where it orders itself into developments of the five elements, you know earth, water, air, fire and ether. You look at all the appearances and it’s all different densities of those materials, resources.

The mind substance is much swifter, more fluid, and so perceiving that substance requires a different mode of seeing. And that’s what I mean by fluidity and capability. One is capable of perceiving and experiencing with equal ability in more than one mode of perception. That kind of stuff is directly related to the practice of meditation and the practice of spirituality. Just getting those chops, you know, under your belt. That stuff came quick to me, and combined with this kind of inner strength I could go through a lot of processes in a really short amount of time. Teachers are not limited. Their only regulation is by the student’s capacity for change, for absorption. Even then they could go at an incredible rate of speed and kind of stack stuff in, kind of like stacking CD’s on an infinite CD changer, what’s going to happen next, next, next, next, next is just laid in there. Muktananda could do that.

As it turned out, after he died, after he took mahasamadhi, the connection I had made with him was so strong that it was not broken by his movement to Siddhaloka. And the process between Guru and disciple continued on, and to all extents and purposes it did not decrease in intensity, it increased in intensity. That became possible because of the practice of inner communication, learning to hear. And the mind essence learning to hear, and the essence of the heart. And so, things could continue to develop between us personally.

So you got visits from Muktananda?

From time to time. It’s pretty incredible.

What is that like? Is it like opening your eyes and seeing someone there, or is it like hearing the voice in your head, or seeing him in a dream?

It’s very vivid. It’s like a cosmic visitation.

He beams down into the room?

Sometimes. Sometimes it’s in a dream, sometimes it’s in a meditation. Sometimes it’s during the waking state. It happens all the time. The stuff between the planes is not very thick. But yeah, sometimes it’s like if he were sitting there, I’d be able to see you there, and him here. You might not be able to see him but you could certainly sense him. That’s not so far out. That is the underlying principle of what the lineage does. That’s why the lineage is the lineage.

That power, that presence of all those that have gone before, is touched by and connected to a teacher that they are using as a lightening rod to do specific kinds of spiritual work. That’s why when we do an intensive or retreat, there’s a quality that I always find extremely dramatic. Just before the retreat or intensive starts, the energy of the potential is just hovering in space, and then we go through the meditation that I describe as the clearing of obstacles, and the establishment of the mandala. Don’t you feel that force come through there?

I know something’s going on, but it’s very vague. That’s why it’s interesting for me to know what you are seeing or feeling.

That connection is like (Internet) dial up. You get the connection, and it’s an agreement between the gurus to produce that kind of work.

So you get visited by or communicate with other former members of the lineage?

Yes. Some you don’t know, some you do know. Yeah, you get to meet them all, that’s the thing. That’s the essence of the blessing of the lineage. That’s why they say, look for a teacher who has a connection to a lineage. Because when you connect to that lineage, through that teacher, you are drawing on the presence and the power of that lineage.

It doesn’t mean to go around the teacher that is your teacher to another teacher in the lineage and say “no, that person is my Guru, and this guy isn’t.” It doesn’t work that way. You can meet them and receive blessings. You can meet them through the teacher, but the hierarchy of how blessings unfold plays out very directly, in a very straightforward way. But the full impact of the mandala that is present in the Guru makes it possible to remove the obstacles, to remove the oceans of karma that are the obstructions, and the sources of confusion and ignorance inside a person. It’s impossible to give profound transmissions of shaktipat deeply without a lineage. The mechanics of the manipulation of inner spirit that generate the process of awakening is because the power of the mandala of the Guru is present in the teaching, because that force is available.

Do you feel like it’s yours, or that it’s borrowed, or given?

You don’t feel like it’s yours. It’s just like political office. The key is authority. There’s a dynamic of having access to power, knowing where power is and knowing what power is, and the key is the authority to use it. It just won’t function any other way. In that regard it’s similar to being in political office. You are given the office of guru. And I say it in that way, because inherent in the office of guru is the authority of the office to give shaktipat, to remove obstacles. The authority to do its functions inside this mandala where all of that happens, and the immediate burden of the karma is…well, it comes through me, and through my spirit. I have to endure that. I’m not personally responsible for all of that karma. The machine inside the mandala called the clearing of obstacles gives me access to a means to the elimination of that karma that does not put my personal health or my personal spiritual health at risk. It is abrasive. This kind of work is like being a firefighter. It’s always done in dangerous situations, and it wears you down. That’s why spiritual teachers just tend to burn up after a while.

But about transmissions…how it looks is kind of like an internal tarot card or something. It’s all impressions. Things just are what they are. There’s a period of time where you kind of make them into energies that coalesce around symbols. Other times, it’s just knowings, it’s just suchness. Sometimes it will be a pattern or field of colors, some kind of key. That’s why I say tarot card. When you see a good tarot card, the picture has really rounded up the psychic energy that it is talking about in a very concise and natural way.

Speaking internally, it’s like programming, like software. You can generate an internal language, a personal dialog, like cueing your own software to act a certain way. But in the end, it all rides on an energy called matrika, which is a shakti of words and their objects, and in that regard it’s a vibration. So it looks just like a vibration, but often the many thoughts of the transmission are not just one vibration. Usually a transmission is extraordinarily complex thought involving countless vibrations that are woven together with the will, the dynamic of spirit of the Guru and spoken. In other words, transmitted all at once, like a thousand profound vibrations said in a single thought. And that’s where the skill comes in. You get better and better at doing that kind of stuff..

The full flowering, then, of the lineage through you would be for you to be able to pass on the lineage to one or more people?

Yeah. That’s one of those things. That’s how it happens.

Do you know yet whether that’s going to happen or not?

I’m in full struggle toward that end. The people I’ve been working with up until now have been extraordinarily fortunate. If you’ve been around any part of these last four years, you’ve been a part of what I euphemistically call the Catalina Project, which is the aggressive program of transmissions aimed at civilians, meaning students, everyday people. And the only sustaining power for people is winning their faith and trust, in that they will continue to participate. In other words, they will continue to show up and involve themselves. In doing so, they define themselves as continuously game, and down for the process.

The barrage and the aggressiveness of the program, the intensity of the transmissions, and the depth to which they were driven, is actually somewhat unique. The results have been extraordinary. I have seen that people have been able to do what some part of their spirit tells them to do, when it forces them into a line of action, 99% of which they have not the slightest understanding of. They’re going by what they feel inside and their connection to me personally. They’ll go through this extraordinary process of inner change, feeling these constant pressures, constant exposure to change.

I’ve deliberately kept the support structure very thin, because I wanted people to be able to find their own inner resources and not distract themselves with some external program, which in the end always fails. The group of people that we’ve got in the Center right now is a result of that, people that have gone through that process. If you look at any of these people, if you follow any of them, they’ve gone through levels of change that are just inconceivable. What is present internally…I mean, they’ve all become very, very powerful spiritually. They don’t know how powerful they are. And they have only the slightest, only a fractional glimpse of what has gone on with them.

In most cases the playing out of the understanding of the process will happen over time—the rest of this lifetime, and the period immediately following this lifetime. I’m speaking of the moment when every one of you leave the body, something extraordinary is going to happen. Also, during the phase of subsequent lifetimes, as you come to grips with the transmissions you have been given.

This process was undergone, undertaken, because it had to be. Part of what Hard Light is involved with is the planting of the banner of dharma in the hard ground of North America. It’s truly hard ground, and it has required an absolute assault. In that regard, I’ve always spoken openly about the sadhana as it’s experienced here at Hard Light as a state of warfare. It’s a life where anything can happen, and a person lives in a condition where they’re prepared to give or do anything. All of you are learning about that right now.

How do you separate that from scary Southern California cult stuff, you know, sounding like people are willing to do anything, or give anything. How do you make sure you’re not falling into something bad under that scenario?

What you’ll notice is that I never ask for anything, except your continual involvement internally. I shy away from letting people assemble around me. We only meet weekly, and I make sure everyone keeps their own lives. Anybody can get married, they can live where they want, they can have any partner they want, they can do anything they want with their lives, they can do anything in the world that they want. I don’t care. I just say find a way of living so that the process of your life can include interaction with me and the Center. I find that offsets it. I’m very scrupulous about that, because I think it generates a level of freedom that makes people nervous. Because on the one hand people are given all this spiritual power, but on the other hand I give very little in the way of external parameters, of what I want you to do. I don’t say “you must be here, you must go there,” and I doubt that I ever will. What interests me in this kind of work is, what will people do? Given this level of spiritual energy, how will they behave? When they get to the levels where it starts happening, things they don’t understand, that they didn’t expect, and at the same time…(no parameters).

I’ll put some suggestions out there. You know, I’ll suggest that people become celibate, just to use a big one, speaking to the people who will be reading this article. Sexuality is like a huge bubble, blocking out most people’s horizons of what people want to do with their lives. I just suggest, you should experiment with celibacy—time where you’re not engaged in sexual activity, time where you are, and watch and compare the difference. I’ve always left it right at that, and I’ve gotten a real strong response…slightly over half the people who work with me are crossing over into a very established program of celibacy, just based on the momentum of their own study, their own thinking, their own conviction. Because it relates directly to how spiritual energy is anchored inside a human form, and how it can be maintained, how it can be lost, how sexuality affects the psychological inner profile of how you feel and think about yourself, let alone the samskaras connected to it.

When you largely think “here I am, dealing with a spiritual teacher, a teacher of inner experience and capability where I have the opportunity to make some genuine spiritual progress, while these samskaras and forms of ignorance are being taken off of me, it would seem very foolish to act in such a way that I’m adding more at the other end of the chain.” And a lot of people have come to that of their own accord, and are working with it. It’s also one thing I’ve lived long enough to know, you can’t tell anybody anything. You can put out what is best, but people have to come to it of their own accord. Especially in America, and especially because we’ve gone through a phase where cults have gotten a very bad name as well. I’m not really reactive to that in a social manner, it’s just an observation of how people think.

More people will be coming in over the next phase, as we widen our activities to new cities. Seattle and Santa Fe are on the front burner of the establishing Centers there, with their own Center post shingle outside the door, as points of access, as points of entry, and that fits in very well with the curriculum: weekly meetings, intensive every 5 to 6 weeks, and then retreat twice a year. I think we’ll be building up the population of people who are studying inside the Center at multiple points, and in general. But out of this group of people who have just gone through and ended this last four years, this extraordinary process, what I’m calling the Catalina Project because it got started on Catalina (island).

It turns out there are people that, as they live their lives and start to realize that their study of the spirit and their study with me is increasingly important, are willing of their own accord, of their own decision, to commit more of themselves to it. I fully hope and expect a group of people to emerge, maybe 10 or 12, that will be candidates for another very serious program. I won’t be treating the absolute civilians like you guys have been, these last 20 or 24 people. It will be a broader, more even program for a while. This will give you guys time to assimilate what has happened with you, and provide a climate for newcomers to enter, feel safe and be ready to put it together.

I think a lot of the reason we’ve had so few people join in the last few years is that people have had to be extraordinarily brave with what was going on. The way I was handling people was very extreme. And there was a time for that and of that. I’m going to be going into a condition of analysis for a while: how much of it and what parts of it were functional, et cetera. It’s like the establishment of a first crop. It’s like the pioneers coming out, they have to get to viable ground before winter, get the crop in, hunker down for the winter; get things established before they starve in the first year. It’s like getting the first set of seeds in the ground All your lives have been changed. (top)

Layoga Magazine

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