Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Falling in Love with Science at Age 9

Posted: 20 March 2013: First day of spring!

Last Christmas season, during the fellowship hour between Sunday morning sessions at church, a nine-year-old girl named Dana presented to those gathered her idea for a science research project. Her initiative was intriguing, so I wanted to keep track of how it developed.

Each Sunday thereafter I would ask her how her project was developing, since it had to do with germination of ordinary Christmas seeds. For the first few weeks nothing seemed to be happening and it was clear that Dana's interest was sagging.

But, one Sunday she came to church beaming. A few seeds had begun to sprout! And she was excited. Now she could watch and keep track while a drama unfolded on her project's stage.

"Welcome to science!" I said to her that day and gave her a hug. "Keep me posted on how it develops." Below are her project's results as recently reported on a poster board.

Bravo, Dana!!!

  (click on images to enlarge)
Full Report Board

The Question and Hypothesis

Experimental Results


Friday, March 15, 2013

Chess with Tom

Event: 13 Mar 13

Eugene and Tom playing their third game

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Familiarity: a work of art

Posted: 9 March 2013

On Thursday, 7 Mar 13, Fr. John Hennies gave Birgitta and me his latest poem about a small tree that grows near his home and asked us to blend it with a rendering by his legally blind Matushka Lea, who had to feel the tree with her hands in order to draw it. Below are the results of scanning and rearranging the elements:

(click on image to enlarge)
Poem by Fr. John Hennies, illustrated by Matushka Lea

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Potential Creative vs Destructive Energy

Posted: Thursday, 6 March 2013

Woke up this morning wondering how to harness the potential creative energy or "PCE" in this legendary town that celebrates having discovered how to release the potential destructive energy of the atom.  That destructive potential was accomplished in two miraculous years by what was called The Manhattan Project, birthplace of the atomic bomb.

Now, almost three years ago and 65 years later, the term "potential creative energy" came to mind while driving home after a conversation with a Los Alamos county councilman about how to bring about about a spiritual transformation of our town. I had wrestled with him about an idea of how to apply physicist/psychologist Arnold Mindell's idea of "deep democracy" in a practical way in this place by putting our dreams to work in bringing about a spiritual transformation.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Phone call from Pastor Jack

Event: Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013
Updated: Friday, 1 Mar 13

One afternoon this past week I received a phone call from 'Pastor Jack', leader of one of the Evangelical churches here in Los Alamos. Jack reminded me of a meeting we'd had more than two years earlier when I presented him my CREEI process of analyzing dreams. At the time of our first meeting, I recalled that it didn't make much of an impression on him and didn't expect to hear from him again. But here he was, reminding me of that first meeting and asking to discuss a few recent dreams that had been puzzling to him and would I come over? I could and did.

After discussing his dreams to his satisfaction and agreeing to send more detailed information, I shared my own 3 Jan 76 dream where I felt called to "begin a 'grace-filled' ministry".

One never knows when someone will be affected by what we say...

Crazy-making in Mormondom vs Grace-filled ministry

Posted: Friday, 1 March 2013
Updated: 18 Mar 13

Crazy-making in Mormondom versus a "Grace-filled ministry"

Interior of Phoenix Second Ward when I was a boy and confirmed a member of the LDS Church on December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day!).  This view is between the chapel on the left and the culture hall that opens up via a large sliding door on the right. 

Below is my LDS 'patriarchal blessing', dated May 2, 1943, by Phoenix Stake Patriarch Orlando C. Williams. This is the beginning of the "crazy-making" influence that Mormondom has had (and still has) on yours truly and I dare say on most Mormon young people. It presumes to speak directly for God to the one being blessed, which has a powerful effect. It certainly did on me. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Patriarchal blessing by Orlando C. Williams
All active Mormons are given a once-in-a-life-time "patriarchal blessing" at an early point in their church membership. It is generally for the purpose of giving the blessed ones divinely inspired guidance for planning and living their lives. If one is born into the LDS church (often referred to as being "born in the covenant") as was I, the blessing is usually given in the mid-teens. In my case I was nine, which was unusually early. This was undoubtedly because my mother was the recording secretary for the stake patriarch and a skilled shorthand stenographer. Mother loved this work and virtually worshiped the Mormon leaders she served. She also had ecclesiastical ambitions for her two sons.

Below is an example of the early "crazy-making" mentioned above. It is my letter (!) to my then Mormon home teacher [priesthood holder assigned to specific members or families to care for their well-being], dated March 2, 1976. A copy of this letter was sent to me this past week (postmarked 23 Feb 13) by an old friend and current LDS patriarch to Eastern Europe, before he left last week on an assignment in Russia or Ukraine. I do not know how he came into possession of this letter and am eager to ask him about it when he returns from abroad, since he and I first met in early 1979--three years later! It is extraordinarily important to me, if not also to my family, to get to the root truth of this story.

(click on image to enlarge)
My letter of March 3, 1976

At the time I wrote this letter, I had recently returned to the Mormon Church (July 25, 1975), which was on the tenth anniversary of the event and the issue that I felt called to confront the church about, which led to the first (of two) excommunications. At the time of the letter, I was simultaneously a member of three Los Angeles churches: 1) Mormon Church (can't now recall which ward); 2) Bel Air Presbyterian Church (Ronald Reagan's home church); 3) Greater Grace Memorial Church of God In Christ (a black Pentecostal church in the Watts district). 

The previous November (1975) I had written a passionate letter to LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball expressing concern for having heard "the most dangerous statement to be made in the Church" in an elders quorum meeting I was attending. It was my reaction to having heard the Elders Quorum president casually comment, "When it comes to matters of ultimate authority, the Prophet's conscience supersedes our own." Upon hearing this statement I immediately shouted "NO! ABSOLUTELY NOT!!", which silenced the conversation. I was embarrassed and angry and the other befuddled quorum brothers did not know what else to say or what to do with me. Such outbursts were (are) unheard of in such meetings. In my letter to Pres. Kimball I related this incident to explain that it was not that the statement itself had been made that was most concerning to me, but that I was all alone in challenging it. And, would he please clarify this issue to the greater body of the Church. Of course Pres. Kimball did not answer me directly, but he did offer an indirect answer in the October 1976 Church conference a year later in presenting the idea of the "personal liahona". I felt heard. [Note: the 'liahona' is a unique heaven-sent device mentioned in the Book of Mormon that magically guided the prophet Lehi and his family in their wanderings in the wilderness.]

Also at the time of this 2 Mar 76 letter, I was in discussion with a small study group at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church to explore the meaning of a recent dream (3 Jan 76) in which "I am awakened by a telephone ring and a powerful, clear masculine voice saying, 'It is time to wake up and begin a grace-filled ministry!'" Shortly after this dream (which I believed was a divine command) I was asked by the director of UCLA's extension division (also a Mormon bishop and second managing editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought) to teach a course for the university. When I replied that I had taken a new interest in dreams, he suggested I write a proposal for the university's Center for Religious Experience, East and West. The two-quarter course that resulted, after working with the Bel Air people to gain enough confidence to present it, was called Creative Dreaming and Spiritual Awakening

Incidentally, it comes to mind that in January 1966, at a time I was homeless and temporarily living in the garage of newly met friends in Santa Monica, I "just happened" to meet the above-mentioned patriarch Orlando C. Williams, whom I had not seen since his 1943 blessing in Phoenix. We were converging while walking in opposite directions on a sidewalk in Westwood, near UCLA. I recognized him, but of course he did not recognize me. As if it were an everyday ordinary event, I stopped him and said, "Brother Williams, you do not recognize me, but I recognize you! You gave me my patriarchal blessing when I was a boy and my mother, Ruth Clawson Kregg, was your secretary." At hearing my mother's name, Williams' eyes lighted up. I continued, "The things you predicted in that blessing are now coming to pass, but no one believes me!" Williams retorted, "Who are these unbelievers?!" obviously still evidencing confidence in his earlier calling and standing by the blessing. I don't recall further conversation, but went on my way with renewed confidence that this synchronicity was a comforting "signpost" that I was on the right path, despite my then indigent circumstances. Shortly after this surprise meeting I wrote another letter, this time to my friend Eugene England [Founder and first managing editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought] in the form of a poem, posted below. You will see that it evidences further signs of "craziness". Gene was concerned about me in those days and urging me to return to the Church.

Letter to Eugene England

Gene: re-entry?
Closing scenes
The work’s begun.
Wanting everything to know;
Knowing too much to tell.
Listening inside
For what will one day
Come outside.

Wanting to tell,
To share,
To offer.

Refused with smiles
And frowns:
Endured by those
Whose words claim knowing.

Tired inside
But wiser out.
Streams of words
Are turning into trickles
While glances take more place
And I become a serpent
With slits for eyes
To those once close.

But were they close in heart?
I think it no,
Else they would not have
Seized the Sign:
Usurped my place.

Where is the Red Man
That I should sing?
Why Columbia in dream?

She is my friend
But fears my love;
But why?
Because she fears her own?

Next in time
Are those of Rodina.
Then to Judah
And last the princely line.
Who knows these mysteries
And destinies
With certainty?
Who really knows
The face of God
Or unseen world?

Friend, I seek you truly.
Are you inside
And tired with me?
But what is my wish?
To serve right now.
But be specific:
Get to work
And win that place and time
To build for new emerging age.

Songs will rend the air
While hearts unite
To leap ahead
Of desolation coming.

And we will walk to Zion
Through its ruins.

Santa Monica
1 Feb 66
(Op. 16)

On Saturday, 2 March 2013, Joseph Dillard commented,
For an authority to attempt to shape a young mind by presenting its views as those of God is dishonest, pathological, and - how can we put it gently - evil.

Why evil? Well, wouldn't that describe how anyone would view such a behavior toward their child by a different, unauthorized religion?

On Sunday, 3 March, Eugene replied to Joseph:
Yes, there is much evil in the Mormon establishment and in some of the patriarchal attitudes and blessings. It is built in from birth over many generations. 

But that is too simple an explanation. I nevertheless believe in destiny--for you, for me, for my family and culture. 

On Monday, 4 March 2013, At 04:43, Joseph Dillard replied:
I don't like using the term "evil," because I don't find it helpful to view anything I do or think or feel as "evil," merely "misguided" or "ignorant." Also, I know that if I view something else or someone else as evil I am seeing as such those parts of myself that they personify. Nevertheless, there are some intentions that are so transparently self-centered and narcissistic that, when projected onto others in a way designed to suppress their own contact with their inner compass, I can only term "evil." I am not calling out LDS or any institution or politician as evil, only a certain capacity of the human mind to not only suppress truth and light but to teach children that someone outside them knows their heart, mind, truth better than they themselves can. 

At 05:43, Eugene replied to Joseph...
That is a much better definition or explanation of "evil", my friend. Thanks! It gets to the heart of the issue that I have struggled with--and continue to struggle with--all my life.

How to "belove" others, as well as those parts of ourselves that are different or apart or repressive, is the greatest challenge, it seems to me.

At 05:48, Eugene added...
BTW, the word "Beloving" (which word I learned from Canadian emeritus professor of education friend Mac Freeman of Queens College in Ontario, Canada in 1990) is defined: 'Spending time with someone in such a way that that someone experiences his/her own beauty and in so doing we experience our own.' What do you think about that?

On Tuesday, 5 March 2013 at 08:07 AM, Joseph Dillard wrote:
Regarding "Beloving," how you define it reminds me of how I often feel doing interviews. When I get in touch with emerging potentials that score higher than I do in fearless confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing, I will sometimes wake up to the fact that I feel that I am spending time with "someone" - it may be a dream tea kettle or a pile of dog crap - in such a way that that "other" experiences its own beauty and in so doing I experience my own. As a consequence, my capacity to do the same with policemen, other drivers, and even my spouse and family, increases.

At 08:20 AM, Joseph added:
And I wrote a second post: You wrote, "I nevertheless believe in destiny--for you, for me, for my family and culture."

I used to; I don't any more. I came to recognize that I had been co-opted by sorts of parental and cultural scripting served up as "God's will," divine destiny," "fate," "karma" (I created it and deserved it), or as a "trial." All of this terminology is, in my opinion, crazy making. It generates either grandiose narcissism ("I am one of the elect") or undeserved self-abuse ("my destiny is to be a fallen angel"). To me it all boils down to staying stuck in the Drama Triangle, in the rolls of persecutor, rescuer, or victim. I am doing my best, at this stage of the game, to leave drama to professional actors.

At 10:40 AM, Eugene said:
Your 8:07 comment is really useful, Joseph. It allows me to explain more confidently and clearly how dream workers can assess whether or not they are behaving in a beloving way in their dream scenes, even when there is no other person in the scene! And it naturally segues into introducing CREEI workshop/seminar participants to the IDL interview!

At 10:45 AM, Eugene added:
And your 8:20 AM comment is even more important, Joseph!  I am afraid that I may be stuck here in the terms that you describe. I still do see a destiny for the LDS and RLDS, for America, Russia, Ukraine--even Iran and Israel!, not to mention any other country--and even for this planet! 

This reminds me again of a long-ago prophetic letter  (1965) by an erstwhile Mormon mentor, who had a most powerful effect in teaching me about love. He became a father figure after my own father died the year before and was the first person I ever experienced falling in love with. A huge, surprising, wondrous projection!! I was originally introduced to him when I was an undergraduate engineering student at UC Berkeley and had had a first transpersonal experience in spring 1959. 

It didn't matter to me at the time that he had been recently excommunicated for being gay. (Besides, I didn't know anything about 'gayness' in those days…)

On 13 Mar 2013, at 09:52 AM, VBW said:
Eugene wrote to a very beautiful woman, "There have been times when I believed our gods were the same, but I'm not so sure these days. It can be crazy-making to wrestle with this subject--i.e., my God is better than yours; my God is truer than yours; my God is the real one, etc., etc. ad nauseum." and a very beautiful woman responds "I have no religion, my religion is love, every heart is my temple -Rumi"

At 11:00 AM,  Eugene replied to VBW,
Regarding the above message from a devout Muslim woman in Iran, Eugene had commented about their 2+ year correspondence in an earlier letter:
You are no doubt the most persistent person I know, besides myself and Birgitta..., which can be both a blessing and a bother! :) 
 About your quote: "Fate is a story that's been written for you by somebody else. By your parents' genes, by what happened to you when you were a child, by your culture, by the fact that you were born a man or a woman. Destiny is a story that you write.~ Alberto Villoldo"  
The distinction between "fate" and "destiny" in this statement is interesting, but not something I agree with. Perhaps we really do differ here. Destiny for me is something one accepts with humility, faith and hope and not something one write's for him/herself or accepts from any book (scripture or otherwise) or mortal (wise or not). There have been times when I believed our gods were the same, but I'm not so sure these days. It can be crazy-making to wrestle with this subject--i.e., my God is better than yours; my God is truer than yours; my God is the real one, etc., etc. ad nauseum... 
 Life, Light, Love and Laughter,  Eugene

To her earlier comment, VBW added a PS
PS, I am absolutely a blessing, but more than it, a TRUE bother...This is your DESTINY..haha

At 10:34 AM, Eugene replied:
Your clever reply made me laugh!! ... 

Nor can I argue with Rumi's statement, which is the perfect reply to any question of "religion".  Birgitta has remarked a few times throughout our marriage that "religion is Satan's copy of true faith." That’s obviously what Jesus taught and Rumi writes and I believe it.

As far as you being a BOTHER, I think of a famous [English] poem called "The Hound of Heaven"!  
With affection,  Eugene 

At 10:43 AM, VBW replied:
Happy I am able to make you laugh..This is the only work I can do in the world.
Love, Very beautiful woman

At 4:00 PM, Eugene added:
If a Muslim (or is it Moslem?), Christian, Mormon and Atheist can meet and commune in the name of Love, what is there to worry about?!!

On 17 March 2013, at 10:08 PM, Joseph Dillard wrote:
“Beloving” is not so much about “us,” whether defined as homo sapiens or eternal souls, although we think it is. It’s about the life force that personifies first as luminosity, abundance, and cosmic humor, then as those values - fearless confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing (or whatever synonyms you want for them), then as perspectives, and finally as identities that personify those perspectives, whether tea kettles or dog crap or angel, or deceased aunt Martha. Life is waking up to itself, loving itself, through all that, and the more concrete the form gets, the more clear life gets about some aspect of itself. Because it is life, as it gets clearer, you and I get clearer, because we are extensions, outpourings of it. The clearer we get, the less we identify with the forms or personalize what other forms do or don’t do in relationship to us, whether in a dream or awake. The result is that we are more out of our own way and therefore can experience multiple perspectives, the values they embody, greater luminosity, abundance, and cosmic humor, and through them, life itself. 

What is the source of the word “beloving, other than your friend, Mac Freeman?” I am assuming that someone took the noun “beloved” and turned it into a transitive verb? Did it grow out of any particular religious tradition, like LDS?

The Power of One Woman

Posted: Friday, 1 March 2013
Updated: 2 Mar 13

Dr. Zahra Akbarzadeh

Dr. Joseph Dillard, creator of the Integral Deep Listening protocol for interviewing dream characters writes:

It’s time to throw away your stereotypes about Iranian society. Not only does Islam have a rich Sufi mystical tradition, but creative, powerful, and very compassionate women are transforming society there. One such woman is Dr Zahra Akbarzadeh, M.D., a cardiologist in Tehran, and devout Moslem, as well as a dedicated student and certified teacher of Integral Deep Listening.

Dr. Akbarzadeh has translated one of my books, Ending Nightmares for Good, which deals not only with nightmares but also sleep terrors and post-traumatic disorders, into Farsi, the language spoken in Iran. She has done IDL demonstration interviews for psychologists, school counselors, institutions for disabled children to teach IDL to their families, as well as the personnel at orphanages in a number of cities in Iran, demonstrating how children become happier and healthier when they find and follow their inner compass. 

Dr. Akbarzadeh recently explained the connection between heart disease, anxiety, and nightmares on a popular TV program that is beamed to millions of Iranians across the country. She is currently collaborating with another transformative Iranian woman, Dr. Mozhgan Arefi, a Ph.D. in psychology who currently teaches at the Islamic Azad University in Isfahan, to test Integral Deep Listening in a study with ninety children who have post-traumatic stress disorder. Its effectiveness will be compared to the clinical modalities most commonly used by the US Veteran’s Administration for the treatment of PTSD: cognitive behavioral therapy and group psychotherapy. The results will be published in a peer-reviewed international journal.

Dr. Akbarzadeh is extraordinarily inspirational because she is a product of the method. She has used it to move out of drama in her own life, to reduce cognitive distortions, overcome detrimental cultural scripting, and to find and follow her own inner compass, all as a devout Moslem. 

Spirit uses anyone, anywhere, that opens their heart and mind and learns how to get out of their own way. By showing the children of Iran how they can get unstuck and stay unstuck, by finding and following their own unique inner compass, Dr. Akbarzadeh is demonstrating a path of inner wholeness for all of us. 

Our heartfelt thanks to you, Dr. Akbarzadeh!