Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The Early Days...

by Robert Searle

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When I was in my teenage years, and probably a little earlier I was fascinated in psychical research, or parapsychology as it is more popularly known. This in the main was due to my childhood experiences which are narrated in The Realization of the Psychic.

About 16 years of age, or so I wrote two manuscripts. One was a fiction piece concerned with post-mortem existence, and another one which had the rediculously pompous title of Explanations for Paranormal Events. Colin Symthe a publisher (notably published The Link by Matthew Manning) lived in Gerrards Cross, and not far from Stoke Poges where I was living. He turned it down with a polite, and encouraging rejection letter. As for the long fiction work which included direct speech it too met a similiar fate from some publishing house in London.

None of this though quenched my thirst for a better understanding of the psychic, and spiritual. For reasons best known to myself I believed at the time that parapsychology offered the best basis on which the spiritual, and the mystical could be taken more seriously as being real "objective" phenomena... rather than tricks, and deceptions of reality, and the mind.

In 1977, I was presented by an advert from my mater about some researcher who was advertizing in The Times about collecting anecdotal "stories" for a book on psychic experiences from various people. I sent him my past "encounters" including the visitation of a Victorian ghost in Windsor which is described in The Realization of the Psychic.

My contact was called John Pyman. He turned out to be a part-time homeopath. He seemed impressed by my psychic experiences, and I had the honour of meeting him in his basement flat in Gwendwr Road, Kensington, London. He claimed that he had a philosophy degree from Cambridge, and had been an intelligence officer in World War II.

His basement flat was cramped, as it was filled with piles of books. He also had a few "ornaments" connected with Ancient Egypt.If I recall correctly he believed that he may have had a past life in that time. He also revealed that he had published a book on philosophy for American students which apparently did very well.

It was through John Pyman that I came to know something about the Society for Psychical Research. Indeed, he gave me a good reference to help me join it.
I recall him referring to the secretary of the Society as that "bird-like woman". The name of the lady concerned was Eleanor O' Keefe, and she had a very sharp mind. She was clearly highly efficient, and was a wealth of information on anything to do with parapsychology. On quite a number of occasions, her name appears in the acknowledgements of many books on parapsychology. She was apparently a friend of the late Colin Wilson, the well-known writer.

Anyway, John Pyman passed on an unpublished article I wrote about on physics, and parapsychology to friend of his who happened to be a physicist...and who incidently gave me an interesting reply.

Pyman was an interesting individual, and confided in me about having received a mathematical puzzle which he could not solve. I had a go at it myself but without success. However, a friend of mine also called John seemed to be interested in cracking the mathematical puzzle. So, I passed it on to him.

John X met John Pyman in London. Apart from the puzzle the former admitted that he wanted to throw his father out of the window! Though I did not know it at the time John X was suffering from serious mental problems, but when I used to meet him he seemed perfectly "normal". Then, I remembered something. He told me that he had been studying at Cambridge, but was unable to finish his course because of a mental breakdown. I am not a psychiatrist, and I do know what kind of condition he was suffering.Fortunately, John X did not meet up with Pyman again...and probably just as well!

On a number of occasions, I used to travel down to London to visit the Society of Psychical Research library. Often, I would take back to Stoke Poges(where I used to live) a whole host of books. Apart from the SPR, another of my haunts was the Theosophical Society, the Arcane School, and the College of Psychic Studies.

..I have to admit that SPR seemed to be more interesting than the other places I visited...It had some quite fascinating, and obscure literature. It was there that I discovered certain cases of children having out-of-body experiences/near-death experiences in which they "spontaneously" used Inner Sounds to "levitate". This was exactly what happens in Shabd Yoga....! A small piece of corroborative evidence by..children! Unfortunately, I did not take note of the reference, but I hope to retrace it.
The librarian of the SPR then (in the 1980s) was Nicholas Clarke-Lowes who had a degree in chemistry if I recall correctly. He was a charming fellow, and I was impressed to learn that he had come across The Path of the Masters by Dr. Julian Johnson. In those days the internet was not available unlike now. As such, it was also incredibly difficult to find any "objective" information about the background of the Radhasoami Movement, and Shabd Yoga.

When I first joined the SPR I had been interested in Eckankar, and I was suprised to get an expose about it from Leslie Price who was with Eleanor O' Keefe when I phoned. He kindly sent me copy of his information which was a journal called the Spiritual Counterfeits Project . It drew virtually all its research from a certain academic, David Christopher Lane who is now a well-known authority on the subject of the Radhasoami Faith. I later contacted him, and managed to get a free copy of his book on Eckankar which went into its controversial background in greater detail than the Spiritual Counterfeits Project Journal.
I only went to three lectures at the SPR. One was by Matthew Manning (who left me cold), the second one by Francis Hitching, and the third one by Susan Blackmore. These lectures took place at Kensington Library, and before going to one of them I remember on one occasion being in the Society's library with an interesting assortment of "veteran" parapyschologists...Eric Dingwell (or Ding!), Renee Haynes, Manfred Cassirer, and a certain Guy Lyon Playfair. I thanked the last named individual because it was through his book The Unknown Power that I was seriously drawn into the study, and research of parapsychology. However, I did not find Playfair very friendly, and he seemed to be closeted up in his own little world.

Anyway, it was through the above experiences, and indeed, the "Vision" of the Spiritual "Sun" in 1977 that empowered me to try, and find out whether there could be a revolutionary new approach in which science, mysticism, and parapsychology could come together to create a major paradigm...that paradigm ofcourse was Multi-Dimensional Science, or MDS..............

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

An Encounter with the Subud Brotherhood....

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Right back in 1983 I was doing research for a possible article on the Subud Brotherhood. In Windsor I met Dominic Rieu, my key contact. He was a charming fellow of the old boy network. At the time if I recall correctly the conference centre of Anugraha was nearing completion. The word which is Sanskrit means Unexpected Place.

Anyway, I nearly had the chance of meeting Bapak the founder of Subud who was visiting Anugraha. Unfortunately, it was not to be due to other commitments. When I met Dominic I mentioned that the receiving of the "Holy Spirit", or "Higher Energy" during the practice of Latihan as it was called was like the Kriyas in Indian yoga. These Kriyas, or actions are an outward result of the purifying Power of the Spirit (similiar to the Pentacostal experience). They may involve strange movements such as jerks, and other kinds of actions. However, the human will can stop the process at any stage of the Latihan experience.

Anyhow, Dominic Rieu seemed impressed by the above "revelation", and the Indian mystical connection ..along with my knowledge on the Subud Brotherhood. He showed me a book which he had recently written, and published. I was allowed to borrow it along with other material.

Rieu died sometime ago in his nineties..Here is a link to him which also has link to a Times Obit on him.

Bapak the founder of the Subud Brotherhood wrote something of his inner experiences in certain "controversial" writings. These have yet to be traced by me. They maybe similiar to those of Indian Mystics.

Interestingly, I posted a link on Multi-Dimensional Science on a Subud discussion group. One lady made the claim that if people were able to record in writing something of their inner experiences on receiving the "Holy Spirit" it could cause premature awakenings in others which would not necessarily be desirable. This reminded me of Swami Muktanandas highly descriptive accounts of his visions, and the the like which could in some cases cause people reading them to awaken the Kundalini energies, and hence, bring about "higher" changes in conciousness. Whether this leads to "desirable" consequences is another matter.

Sant Kirpal Singh a respected Shabd Yoga Master gave a brief "critical" comment on Subud.

"....The mystic base in the case of Subud is much more important than in that of Christian Science, yet is often directed toward the same end. It seeks, through following a certain course of exercises called Latihan, to put its followers in touch with hidden psychic powers. It does not seem to enhance consciousness directly but enriches it indirectly through increasing one's powers of intuition. Whether one looks atthe experiences of Mohammad Raufe or those of John Bennett, one realizes that in the case of Subud, a person may serve as a medium for higher spiritual forces,curing people of diseases, without becoming a conscious co-worker. The result is that instead of progressing to higher and still higher planes of consciousness, until one merges with the Infinite, one tends to cultivate a passive receptivityto psychic powers which may not necessarily be of the higher kind. Many disciples during Latihan reproduce strange animal or bird experiences--a far cry from the Nirvikalp Samadhi or the Sehaj Samadhi spoken of by the greatest mystics."