This page is a work in progress and contains information regarding my Spiritual Quest(s) & Other Weird Stuff. Weird Stuff refers to Spiritual, Biblical, Mysticism, Occult, Astrology, Numerology, Alien Encounters, Alternative Archeological Interpretations, etc. I will updating the catalog of my large collection of Weird Stuff Books as time allows.
The following table is sortable, just click/touch on a column header. Click/Touch here to restore original sort.
Let me state up-front that I was and continue to remain remain skeptical of all the events and experiences
described in the following discussions of my spiritual quests. I basically always try to remove any possibility of
chance and personal influences especially regarding my experiences with "psychic healing".
|Date or Sequence||Narrative including events and influences|
Around this time I remember sitting on the cold cement steps of our home in my underpants and watching/helping the sun come up...maybe the beginnings of my spiritual quest.
|195?||Purchased some booklets from Johnson & Johnson on hypnosis. Experimented with some kind of
bird (pigeon?) setting it on its back on the sidewalk and drawing a straight line from its beak which
paralyzed the bird.
Tried hypnotizing a friend or friend of my brother in our living room, using techniques described in the booklets, the boy seemed to go under, I thought he was faking so I had him stand up on the end of a piano bench and told him on the count of three to fall backwards...he did! I barely managed to break his fall. I have not tried hypnotizing anyone since that near tragedy.
|195?||2012/03/15: watching a National Geographic program regarding lightning, it was mentioned that a person who had been struck by lightning had the experience of having street lights go out as she approached them. This reminded me of what may have been a lightning strike which flashed between the garage and me when I was maybe 6-10(?) years old. See more at 1965/00/01 below.|
I do not remember the exact date but about this time, I attempted suicide. I do not remember being depressed but I recall "needing" to know if there was a God and did not know any other way to find out. I used carbon tetrachloride (cleaning fluid), pouring some into a small trash can and breathing the fumes. I passed out but came to so I repeated the process again. I recall being suspended in space approaching a curtain which was beginning to open, much like the curtains in old movie theaters. I had no fear. This is in contrast to the tunnels of light often reported in near death experiences. My dad found me and woke me up before the curtain opened.
He called the fire department. I was committed and spent about a week in the mental ward at Queen of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, CA. I received no medications except for a sleeping pill the first night. Following that, for the remainder of my stay, I stayed up all night playing poker with the interns and several self-admitted older patients. I only saw the doctor once or twice and he told me that I could never come back there.
While there, a nurse would take me down stairs to buy milk shakes. When I was released after a few days, she suggested that I have some sessions with her husband, Dr. O'Neal, a psychologist/metaphysician. I do not recall how many sessions I had but he loaned me Baird T. Spaulding's 4 volume "Masters of the Far East". I could not put them down. I am not sure if the metaphysician recommended/loaned it to me but I also read Paramhansa Yogananda's "Autobiography of a Yogi" at about this time. I would sit for hours on my bed in the lotus position trying to contact the masters!
Years later sometime after 1980, I found and purchased a copy of the 4 volumes and read them again!
|1957/06/??||2013/11/14: Probably at the end of my junior year in HS, while signing yearbooks, I met a girl, Johnny(?) Bliss if I recall correctly, and we really hit it off. We were to keep in touch. I seem to recall at least one letter from her but I am not sure. The next year she was not there. Up to now, I have not been able to find any reference to her in the yearbooks.|
|1958/00/00||I had a subscription to the Library of Science book club. Of the many monthly
book selections I selected, there are 2 which I think greatly affected my later
approaches to life:
Martin Gardener, Logic Machines and Diagrams
Benjamin Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality
2016/10/23: I still have both of these books. See 2010/10/23 below.
Sometime during the El Patio job, I began a relationship with a woman, Rachel B. It was very serious on my part and when it ended, I felt like half of me was missing. I recalled the concept of a "soul-mate" and began investigating that concept. Much more on this as I get time.
In desperation, I was ready to give up on everything and decided to go to the Tassaraja Zen Center; arriving in the afternoon, I met Ruthie (my ex-wife); I had a soak in the hot springs; later I ate dinner and attended a public talk by the roshi who talked about Western Philosophy (remember I was a philosophy major at UCB at the time)which, I was told later, he had never done before; I was not allowed to stay so, after they gave me some gas for the car; I ran low on gas about half way home and pulled into a gas station where I wanted to use a check to buy gas but the attendant was not allowed to accept checks but he gave me enough free gas for me to get home!
2011/09/15: for many years, I have suspected that I had projected my anima on Rachel so strongly that I never really knew her and that losing this projection made me feel that half of me was missing...leading me to the feeling that I had lost my "soul-mate" and the following episodes!
Shambhala Bookstore, Berleley, CA - Sam Bercholz & Mike Fagan (Sam and Mike had both been ordained Buddhists by Joe Miller and they later founded Shambhala Publications):
Obviously, during this time, I had many spiritual questions. My job at the UC Berkeley computer Center Library allowed me to do personal reading. As I read, new questions would arise. I usually wrote the questions on IBM cards. Later at lunch time, I would go down the street to Shambhala Bookstore. I would "scan" the bookshelves with my hand and I usually found one or more books...sensed by feeling warmth in the palm of my right hand. Usually the books were used and fairly cheap and I bought many of them. When I got back to the library, I would start reading the purchased books and, very frequently and very quickly, I would find answer(s) to some of the questions I had just previously written down! This happened for many many months. 2016/09/23: I hope I can find some the the IBM cards in some boxes in my garage so I can document some of these experiences more fully.
After bugging Sam and Mike almost every day by asking so many questions, they suggested that I attend the talks by Joe Miller which were given weekly in the basement of Shambala. Attending one session, I was hooked! Joe and Guin became my spiritual friends and teachers. Joe and Guin were members of the San Francisco Theosophical Society which I joined and from which I borrowed many books. Eventually I became a part of the "inner family" of the Miller's spiritual students.
Joe & Guin Miller:
I prepared many dinners for Joe and Guin at my Berkeley cottage before the talks at Shambala...and drove them back to S.F. after the talks...Joe especially liked my macaroni and cheese which I made from macaroni and many cheeses...these cheeses were provided to me at my music job at Arturo's Quiet Village, San Jose, CA by a supermarket manager who came to the club weekly and who gathered up all the cheese at his store which was to be thrown out because of expiration date or small amounts of mold.
Joe was very popular and many folks wanted him to be their guru but he told me that he did not want to be a guru where folks blindly followed but that he preferred folks would stick their necks out in discovering their own spiritual paths.
During a talk with Joe about the path of Middle Way, Joe suggested that the desired practice would be to "balance" the Mental and the Physical aspects of life and rise to the Spiritual (as shown in the first diagram below) but I suggested that the Middle Way path would suggest that the desired practice would be to "balance" the Spiritual, Mental, and Physical (as shown by the dot in the middle of the triangle in the second diagram as shown below). Joe agreed!
Spiritual /|\ / | \ / | \ / | \ Mental/____|____\Physical Spiritual / \ / \ / . \ / \ Mental/_________\Physical
Joe was a great advocate of Ramana Maharshi ( http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/teachings/instructions/). I purchased many copies of his pamphlets including "Who Am I?" and would give them out to many folks. After practicing the "Who Am I?" instructions for several weeks, I had a period of several months when, without apparent planning, I always seemed to be at the right place at the right time. I remember giving a set of the pamphlets to the mother of a lady friend...many years later I had a chance to visit my ex lady friend and she told me that her mother had kept those pamphlets by her bedside every since!
1969/1970: Tarthang Tulku - almost adopted for visa reasons - Tibetan bread
with Om Padme Hum on top, he said it was the first time he ever ate a mantra!
He used a cheap record player for spinning a prayer wheel...I also incorporated
a mantra into data in computer programs which had the mantra spinning at many
thousands of times per second! He asked me to allow a visiting monk to stay with me
for about a week or so; the monk seemed fasinated with Playboy magazines.
I recall meeting an older woman at a T.S. meeting who introduced herself as "this one is called...".
I practiced some meditation techniques and had a vision of the "eternal now" with experiences depending on where attention is directed...maybe influenced by Seth Speaks series. I had purchased "Seth Speaks" by Jane Roberts (Butts) some time before but could not really get into it. A couple of years later, I could not put it down and ended up buying and literally devouring all of Robert's Seth books. After Roberts' death, another person claimed to channel Seth and wrote several books but I could not relate to any of these books. I recall a meditation/dream where I was suspended in space surrounded by spheres with me at different ages/stages...much like the 1983 movie Brainstorm (Natalie Wood's last movie). It seemed that every thing/time exists in the Eternal Now and it is just a matter of where/when the consciousness is directed/focused. If true, this would explain the ability to access past lives...and maybe future lives? 2015/01/16: actually, with the concept of Eternal Now, there is no actual past, present, and future!
Read the 3 Evans-Wentz books: I recall wishing I could develop some of the siddhis (occult powers) but to no avail. But later (see 1986 below) when I took a couple of psychic healing classes, I discovered that I had probably always had some of the "powers"!
Read many books by Wei Wu Wei and related to much of what was written.
Read a lot of books regarding magic including Aleister Crowley. Much of what I read seemed very familiar like I had spent a lot of time/energy practicing magic at some time (previous lives?); but I chose not practice any magic. Although I did make a bath tub full of Holy Water to soak in for a spiritual cleansing.
Concept of "multiple selves" within an individual. EXPAND: intellectual self...studying, problem solving, computer programming, etc., biological self...eating, sleeping, sexual, etc. intense problem solving can make biological self (body) forget to eat and sleep, sexual activities can make all other "selves" disappear
After being alone without physical companionship for quite a while, one day, as I was leaving the driveway, I "put out a message" to the "?" that I was alone and, later that day, I picked a young lady hitch-hiker who needed a ride to a friend's house which was near my house; I drove to my house and let her out. A couple of hours later, she knocked on my door and said her friend had moved. She stayed with me for a month or more. She moved out when I met Carlynne and she left me a very nice thank you note.
yoga teacher: Mischa Dolnikoff - great singing voice - checkers - loved my food especially the macaroni and cheese!
Inyat Hazarat Khan - purchased and read many of his books with which I related on a basic level. Joe suggested that I was a heart person rather than the mental person I had thought I was!
Joe Miller suggested that I might want to visit a meditation group in Walnut Creek (I think it was Walnut Creek). When I arrived, there about 15 people. We sat in a circle on the floor. I mentioned the the person next to me that if I began to snore to tap me on the shoulder because I did not want to disturb anyone. I began to watch/count my breath and, the next thing I knew, a bell was being rung to end the meditation. Apparently I did not fall asleep! The next day I mentioned to Joe what had happened and that I did not recall anything. He asked me what it was like and I answered that it was like I was suspended in a vast warmish gray colored space. So I did remember something about the experience! 2016/10/27: I just realized that there was only observation with no thoughts arising.
For a while, I hung out with Eya Yellin, a spiritualist minister. I attended several meetings where spiritualist ministers did "billet" readings. One evening at Eya's home, a merchant marine friend of hers arrived. After some discussions, she asked me to do a card reading for him. I said I did not know how to do readings but she said she would help. She got out a deck of cards with simple pictures of stick figures. I had no idea what the figures meant. She told me to simply say the first thing that entered my mind upon flipping a card. I followed her instructions and, at the end of the reading, her friend said it was the best reading he had ever had!
I preferred the "New Tarot" over more traditional Tarot decks for readings. After doing reading for several people, I gave up readings because I did not like to tell them about negative aspects of their readings.
I have always caused Ouija boards to stop functioning. Similarly for table tipping, they just don't tip!
Carlynne B., third wife - met at S.F. Theosophical Society - girl-friend of acquaintance - "gush of warmth" - marriage by Sam and Mike (Mike created an un-interpreted astrological chart as marriage certificate) with Joe and Guin Miller attending. I made a huge batch of fantastic cioppino for the wedding dinner (2015/01/08: wish I had the recipe now).
One night at the T.S., a Tibetan rimpoche gave a talk. During the talk he gestured with his hand/arm and I saw a "ball" of light drift slightly upwards from his left hand. I turned and started to ask Guin if she had seen the ball of light, but before I could complete the question, she said "the ball of light"! After the talk I went up and asked the rimpoche what the ball of light was and he said he had no idea???
One day, while at work, Joe called me to say that he had scheduled a meeting with a young man from San Jose but something had come up and he could not meet with him. Joe asked me if he could send the young man to meet with me instead (wow...I really thought I had "arrived"). I said, "of course". At about 8pm, the doorbell rang and I answered and introduced myself. We sat down and the next thing I knew, I was at the door saying goodbye to the young man! The next day, Joe called and asked what I had said to the young man. I answered that I had no idea! Joe laughed and said I had answered all the questions the young man had asked. To this day (2012/03/19), I have no idea what happened nor what was said. I have considered many times being hypnotized to see if a memory of that evening could be recalled.
Visit of young man from Europe, visited the SFTS, and ended up staying with me for several weeks before continuing his spiritual quest. Joe thought he was a very special/spiritual individual. I had an experience of seeing him through my bedroom wall.
Joe often told me that I was not really of this evolutionary cycle but that I was basically on a visit from the Devachan evolutionary cycle, additionally, he indicated that those in the Devachan cycle are reptilian. I do not think he was referring to the Theosophical Society's concept of Devachan:
Joe managed to get me an appointment to meet Sufi Sam (Samuel Lewis). I met with him but all he talked about was computer programming. I figured that the Sufi path was not for me.
Joe managed to get me an appointment with a local S.F. Zen teacher (Gene Wagner) who was always very busy. It was a very rainy night in S.F. and apparently all his students were sick and none of them showed up. So I had the teacher all to myself. He confided in me that he had a hang-up with levitation...he had not told any of his students about this! He provided me with a particular breathing exercise. Later, while practicing this breathing exercise, and "circulating" energy internally all around my body, for some reason, I decided to "project" the energy outside my body. I moved the energy up to and out of my head. At that exact instant, the S.F. Bay Area experienced a rather large earthquake, knocking down garbage cans outside my cottage. I immediately sucked the energy back into my body and the earthquake stopped. The next morning, I asked Joe if I had caused the earthquake and he said "I don't think so but, if it happened again, "COOL IT"!"
I recall driving back and forth across the Oakland-S.F. bridge on my way to music jobs and various meetings and seeing the street lights go off as I approached them and then going back on after I passed them. This happened many times! It also happened on regular streets. I was reminded of this on 2011/10/19 by the movie White Noise 2: The Light which described the Near Death Experience and to hear Electronic Voice Phenomena. Also see 195? above.
I recall going to an art display with Joe and Guin to see some paintings by a young "follower" of Joe. The paintings seemed to produce "heat" when I held up my palms in front of them much like how I sensed "heat" when looking for books at Shambala bookstore and later when I did "psychic" healings!
Actual dates unknown but probably during the 1970s.
I seemed to sense that the pulse of the universe was clave.
I Ching event: I was consulting the I Ching regarding when a certain individual would return to my life...I threw the coins and got an answer, I threw a second time and got a similar answer but I wanted a more detailed answer, when I threw the coins a third time, the I Ching said I had consulted the oracle 3 times and it would not provide additional answers...I put the book back on the shelf and I have not used it again!
|1980/00/00||Young evangelicals at door, invited them in (something I would seldom do), let them talk but, before I let them describe their experience of being "born again", I described what their experience and its results were like, they were amazed because I said I was basically inclined toward Buddhism instead of Christianity.|
|1986/00/00||Berkeley Psychic Institute:
Events at Sam's classes:
Past Live Experiences ?:
During a visit to Joe and Guin, when I told them about the healing classes, they both asked me to do a healing on them. When I tried to check out Joe, it seemed that he was able to block my investigation into why he was having leg/foot problems but I told him he was lacing his shoes to tightly. When trying to check out Guin's onset of blindness, I "reached" into her head and located the eye was having the problem....Guin said that she sensed a vibration in her head while I was searching.
Because I have always been a sceptic, during all my healing attempts, I rarely ever said what I was doing and asked that the person let me know if they sensed anything. I was almost always told they experienced some kind of sensation and it was virtually always at the location I was "working".
Experience with succubus? But not demonic more like a female spirit just hovering over me!
Experience with Percodan: after some dental surgery, while under the influence of Percodan, I was laying down in bed probably asleep, I became aware and, opening my eyes, I saw my bedroom but when I closed them, I was in a room with several women in what I would describe as Quaker dress (black dresses with white lined hoods...apparently they were in meditation. This continued to occur for some time.
Experiences with "lucid dreaming" - awoke to find body still asleep - out-of-the-body experiences?
I was investigating numerology but the calculations were tedious. So I wrote a COMAL program on my
Commodore 64 to do the calculations
I had read a lot about Masonry including anti-masonry materials and decided to join a lodge. My mentor was Al Sawyer.
I was raised to the degree of Master Mason at Lakeside Lodge 760.
Shortly thereafter, I passed through the degrees of the York Rite
the Scottish Rite.
I also joined the Southern California Research Lodge F&AM.
2009/10/22 After several years of being inactive due to work and ill health, I allowed my memberships to lapse.
I just found these printouts in a stack of old stuff! So here, for your enjoyment:
If you know where these originated, I will be happy to provide the correct attribution(s)!
From Beliefnet Buddhist Wisdom:
"In meditation, don't expect anything. Just sit back and see what happens. Treat the whole thing as an experiment. Take an active interest in the test itself, but don't get distracted by your expectations about the results. For that matter, don't be anxious for any result whatsoever."
- Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, "Mindfulness in Plain English".
IMHO some of the best advice regarding meditation.
|2012/03/20||I still have virtually all the religious/spiritual/occult books I
have bought over the years.
Eventually, I hope to catalog all these books.
|2015/03/11||received an email from Raj via the Contact Page of my website asking if I had done a
reading/healing for him back in the 70s...we then talked on the
phone and described aspects of our spiritual quests...at first, I thought he might be
the young man Joe Miller had sent to me back in the 70s (see above) but then probably not...
common friends and acquaintances from the Bay Area during the 70s...
a couple of additional phone calls and discussions...he suggests that I should take
up Tarot readings again...sent him a link to Ramana Maharshi's "Who Am I?"
I am definitely interested in taking up healing again... especially to see if I can help Mary.
Reading Sycnhronicity Key...energy: general avoidance of crowds
ball of light...see above
|2015/03/29||While watching a TV program about the Gospel of Judas, I recalled
that, sometime probably during the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, I began
to suspect that Judas was a hero rather than a villain, because without
him there would have been no crucifixion and no resurrection, therefore,
According to the TV program, apparently all the disciples including Judas, and, therefore, the ancient and modern Christian Church, were/are basically clueless regarding Jesus' teachings. If this is true then Jesus did chose his disciples wisely! So why did he so choose them?
I have long distinguished between Christianity (the teachings/practices of Jesus) and what I call "Churchianity" (the teachings/practices of the so-call Christian Church).
|2016/01/00||Maybe beginning my spiritual quest again. Read/reading several recently purchased books:
The Embodied Mind by Varela, Thompson and Rosch
Tibetan Zen by van Schaik
2010/10/23: Purchased more than a few books by Chogyam Trungpa, Tarthang Tulku and others and continue to pursue my interest in Buddhism. I am finding that I never truly lost that interest!
|2016/07/06||Just a thought: Are scientific theories and their physical applications just "new" variations of the use of meditation/mantras/mandalas/mudras/meditations to manipulate "reality"?|
|2016/09/00||While reading "The Essential Chogyam Trungpa", I remembered many of my experiences and was able to re-evaluate many of them especially my relationship with Joe and Guin Miller. I feel the inclination to begin meditating again.|
|2016/10/23||While reading The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of
Science and Spirituality by the Dalai Lama, I recalled that in 1956, I had
a subscription to the Library of Science book club. Of the many monthly
book selections I selected, there are 2 which I think greatly affected my later
approaches to life:
Martin Gardener, Logic Machines and Diagrams which peeked my interest in logic and later in philosophy and which ultimately lead to my interest in and pursuing a 35 year long career in computer programming.
Benjamin Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality which influenced my way of thinking philosophically about and how to behave in the world, i.e., specifically realizing that all things including morals, ethics, ideas, theories, thought, and even the concept of self are relative.
BTW I still have both of these books.
|2017/02/17||Talking with my "step-daughter" Cookie, I mentioned how our concepts of time, space and how "reality" "works" may depend on our language and thought processes, e.g., does the subject-verb-object construct in English as compared the the subject-object-verb or object-subject-verb constructs in Spanish create different world views. I mentioned Benjamin Whorf's "Language, Thought and Reality" (see 1958/00/00 above). Then we began to watch the new movie "Arrival" and in the movie the main character mentions Whorf while trying to translate the "language" of the aliens and how the such a language would provide a different world view/explanation/theory!|