At the request of some TMFree readers, this is the third of a series of eight essays on Robin Woodsworth Carlsen.
This series is provided with permission of their anonymous author.
We at TMFree do not ascribe to Carlsen's 'teachings.' This series is provided for those who wish to review philosophies of Robin Woodsworth Carlsen. Carlsen was one of many Maharishi TM-spinoff gurus.
Part one of this series can be read here. You may then read and follow links through the posted series.
The Writings of Robin Woodsworth Carlsen: Part 3
"The Sunnyside Drama: The First Three Years of Enlightenment"
Carlsen was to return to Switzerland one more time for yet another course before his final dissolution into Unity Consciousness, and to sit at the feet of his master, the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. While Carlsen's autobiographical work From Ignorance to Enlightenment covers the outline of this final course, it does not go into the details of his actual enlightenment. Instead, this can be found in yet another book detailing the first three years of Carlsen's divine state, The Sunnyside Drama: The First Three Years of Enlightenment, that begins with an intro by the author, as do all of his works. Interestingly, in this case, Carlsen begins with the following: "It is well understood that the true sage never declares his status ("Those who know do not say; those who say do not know"), and yet in not denying the fact of there being something extraordinary (or purely ordinary) in their experience they allow others to identify them (the sage) with a quality of existence that carries with it the sense of wholeness, the sense of a final freedom, a joyous consummation." Carlsen then goes on to describe his own "enlightenment" in grandiose TM-speak as is so typical among its teachers and proponents.
(Many thanks to former students of Carlsen who've been very helpful in these reviews and who all wish to remain anonymous.) - Anon
[Excerpts from The Sunnyside Drama: The First Three Years of Enlightenment © Robin Woodsworth Carlsen, 1979, ISBN 09-20910-03-3]
Robin, by the grace of God,
will you manifest the essence of the heart of Robin Woodsworth Carlsen
Through the nervous system of creation,
Through the nervous system,
Through my nervous system
Through my heart.
- a "sutra" from the Technique for the Discovery of Grace which extends the TM-Sidhi programme
It was getting late. There I was, about to begin the last of my six months in Switzerland; I had come here to achieve the final freedom--Enlightenment--and, in spite of the relative fulfillment of meditation, and my sense of the extraordinary sensitivity and intuition I possessed in relation to the others on this special course devised by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for his teachers, I could not categorize myself as a "clear", the name given to those of us who could materialize the object of our desire at will, or at least who could perceive the truth of a given object or idea merely through the slightest intention in meditation. This was called "ritam", the Sanskrit term for pure perception. I later discovered these powers were but Maharishi's device to heighten the motivation of his teachers, keeping them enthusiastic about "experiences" in the absence of the final experience: liberation.
As a "hazy ritam" I joined one of the lesser evolved groups, and we were seated in a special section within the assembly hall whenever Maharishi came to visit. The interesting thing though was the obvious fact that many members of the "nil" group--those of us who had experienced no direct power over the environment--as often as not appeared more integrated in terms of personality and "presence" than the so-called "clears". I continued, however, to remain satisfied with the applied value of my ten years of regular meditation and nearly a year of intense "rounding"--the program of long meditation sessions broken up by asanas (yoga exercises) for the duration of the day--held in Europe under the direction of Maharishi. While others felt safe about claiming spontaneous ritam, I comforted myself with the knowledge that, when it came down to it, I was still the most appreciative of Maharishi, in terms of sensitizing myself to the subtleties of his heart, to the brilliance of his role.
But still caught in the agony of ignorance, knowing the bliss that was promised, and having had such a good taste of it both in and out of meditation--I was convinced that over the years I had experienced the basis of higher states of consciousness, including the character of cosmic consciousness and God-consciousness which Maharishi had proclaimed the two milestones of growth on the way to Unity consciousness, the state of fulfillment--knowing this I wondered when I would be released. Was there still something impure in my heart? I had to rule that out, simply because for the past ten years I knew how easily and creatively I could surrender to whatever experience, person, situation contained the element of holiness, of God, and I knew that my every waking moment was approached with a kind of absolute vulnerability and openness.
No, I knew my heart was pure; the only obstacle I could conceive of was karma: somewhere there were still some things that had to complete themselves, some of my transgressions had not yet been paid off in spite of all my meditation and giving. I knew too that my mind did not operate in the precise, orderly manner that would enable me to be as efficient in my activity as I had wished to be. It still took me plenty of time to compose a paper for a graduate course at university, and with all my acquired objectivity when I was faced with some challenge from the mechanical world, the world of "things" and how they worked, a self-definition would seize me up, and I would not experience the power and intuition that so easily and abundantly was there when, say, I was with people, or performing on stage, teaching school, attuning myself to the wisdom of Maharishi.
But even the limitations I have spoken of--efficiency and mechanical aptitude--seemed to recede as I experienced more and more bliss in my consciousness, ever increasing levels of refinement in my physiology, and such an obvious degree of radiant wholeness and love in my activity. Maharishi had begun to give us the special techniques that had been promised, and from the start I felt at any moment I could be overtaken by the reality of Unity. Just a few days before my historic walk in the Alps, I had gone up to Maharishi's room to express my fulfillment, for just that afternoon I had felt a long period of sustained egolessness and bliss that seemed so near to the final beatitude Maharishi had described and which had been the glory of Indian religion.
As it happened Maharishi had just gone down in the elevator as I was on my way up, and as I walked, innocently, and joyfully into the corridor towards his room I was met by one of his secretaries, John Cowhig, who, while in his manner congenial and supportive, advised me it was impolitic to wander into Maharishi's room without first seeking permission. I of course knew this, but had experienced the desire to see him as the expansion of life within me wanting to celebrate the joy of what he had conferred upon me. But sensing immediately the slight tension in John's demeanour I did what I was so often wont to do in my life: to turn the attention towards him, praising him, and indicating what prodigious acts of goodness he must have performed in earlier lifetimes to deserve the karma of being so close to Maharishi. (I later, as in the significance of the ritam groupings, discovered that there was not a simple causal relationship between ripeness of the heart, and proximity to Maharishi; some of the purest and most evolved souls who had come under the grace and guidance of Maharishi spent their time thousands of miles from his presence.) Once I had gauged the method of stimulating John's heart (and ego!) I quickly delivered myself from any kind of difficulty incurred by my unannounced visit. John happily agreed with my speculations about his fortunes, and I soon departed for my room, aware that it would be another time before I could express my gratitude--as spontaneous and overflowing as it was--to Maharishi. Also by this time the intensity of my experience of fullness had diminished, and I accustomed myself once again to renewing the program of evolution.
Several days later--Maharishi had returned to his hotel forty kilometres away in Seelisberg, we were in Arosa--I was lunching on the balcony that looked over Swiss meadowland; one of the course participants handed me an article from Time describing the Dalai Lama, formerly from Tibet, the recognized leader of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. The article spoke of his direct connection with Buddha and the thousands of people that had gathered to enjoy his darshan--the particular aura of holiness that is supposed to radiate from a saint. I read the article several times, and was about to discuss it with the friend who had first given me the article, when another friend, William H. [truncated], tapped me on the shoulder to remind me of a promised walk we were to take up the mountain. (Part of the program of the day called for daily walks after lunch in the vigorous Alpine air, this to stabilize the effects of the long sessions of meditation, and to breathe in the prana--life energy--of the mountain atmosphere.)
My friend was a poet of sorts, gentle, effortfully (at times) warm, and although I enjoyed his company, he did seem to often mistake sentimentality for pure and intense feeling. Some of his poetry, while sincere and "spiritual", lacked a rawness, a pungency that would enable the form to rise to the elevated level of the content. Some of it seemed merely the propagation of his obsession with a state of harmony and bliss.
And this is what we immediately began to discuss as we started our walk up the mountain path: the merits of didactic poetry versus imagistic poetry, or to be specific, the ultimate validity of describing in poetry a reality (God, Enlightenment) that was not
yet the reality of one's experience. William, as devoted and intelligent as he was, had not expressed his own individuality, his own agonies, and unfinished desires. I argued that no matter how limited so-called realistic poetry may seem--when, say, measured against the content of the scriptures--still it was preferable to lofty descriptions of ideas whose truth had not yet incarnated within one's experience.
We continued to argue--happily, boisterously--until we began the descent, a different and more circuitous route back to the hotel. While Bill walked ahead I stopped and began to feel a surge of expansion in my mind, which I immediately translated into a more animated and histrionic level of debate. As I shouted and acted out my thesis--we must speak from where we are in order to give a potency to poetic form--the whole sensation of perception, feeling, and thought began to alter. A rock face just to my immediate right began to transform into the most delicate and holy substance I had seen; it seemed as if the rock was composed of the breath of what could only be described as God: it floated in a shimmering of Beingness and appeared to be deathless and more effulgent than the sun. I felt the essence of my heart melting into the texture of infinity of the rock.
My friend by this time was asking what was happening, and by the look on my face, knew something powerfully expansive was taking place. I could not speak and by this time had fallen to my knees, turning in the opposite direction to give some respite to my exploding vision; here on the other side was the panorama of mountains, and they too assumed the form and reality of Beingness, of the most liquid yet ethereal immortality. I was moaning as I experienced all these boundaries of perception dissolving, and then, as I turned to look up into my friend's face, I saw the perfection of God shining from his face and body. I put my head down to touch the ground when suddenly my whole being began to flow out of its self, engulfing me in the same ocean of light which had swept over the rock face, the mountains, and my now Godlike friend.
And then I as if woke up. The spell was broken. I knew myself to have always existed. All my suffering, all my strivings, time, space, personal history was but a dream. There had never been anything but the light of consciousness. I had never been born nor would I ever die. Something disappeared forever, and I later came to know what that was. Something continued to form the apparent boundaries of Robin but the ego that had previously had so much to say about my sensation and experience of the world was now the individuated expression of what was the unmanifest reality of God.
With the completion of my being, I assumed a silence and inner repose, having been transformed into the actuality of what existence was. I was the substance, the reality that so obviously had its being before and beyond the phenomenal forms that before seemed to have an existence of their own. Now I had become invisibly one with something whose integrity could only be described as God, for I saw how that something was the essential character of everything, indeed was naught else but that something. I had lost everything only to gain everything, and that everything now supported and motivated the particular something I was, giving me a uniqueness that was the purest form of the universality which now was the primary reality of my existence and of my being.
By this time I spoke quietly and persuasively to my friend about what had happened--that I was "in Unity", the term all meditators and teachers were familiar with as equated with liberation, Enlightenment. Apparently my actions and my appearance during and immediately after the experience testified to the authenticity of what I now simply and innocently declared. The integration of my personality was suddenly absolute and every sensation of tension, worry, or doubt had dissolved leaving only the self-confidence of Being.
All of us on this course--about one hundred and fifty teachers, plus the thousand or so others located in different hotels in Switzerland--had come to achieve this condition of wholeness, and it was both natural and extraordinary that someone had finally "made it". My friend, given to effusive displays of affection, rejoiced in the miracle of having been present to witness my metamorphosis, divining quite remarkably the impulses which now carried me through each moment and which radiated in perfect harmony from my being. We began to walk while I described all the sensations of being unified with God, each sensation corresponding to the traditional descriptions found in Eastern scriptures and in the subtle analysis Maharishi had given us of higher states of consciousness.
Now, while I dwelled in my previous condition of separateness--ignorance--I had been sensitive to all the currents of feeling moving between people and within a situation. So much of my attention had been placed on attuning myself to those currents so I could adjust the movements within my own heart so as to respond and act in a manner which would heighten the flow of harmony and individuation within the situation, each moment. Such sensitivity, such action required an elaborate form of control and effort, gauging the slightest nuances of meaning evoked by those feelings, effectively bringing that meaning into a focused understanding--all this to make the moment charged with the maximum evolution.
Now I found myself helpless to impose the faintest amount of control; I was entirely powerless to influence what was happening through me and around me. Nothing could center itself from within that would allow me to manipulate or exercise some influence over what I was to think, say, feel, or do. Every impulse, every molecule in my being was now aligned with the eternal continuum of pure consciousness, the wholeness of what was absolute and unmanifest. The Robin that was still there enjoyed the faint illusion of will, desire, but the actual reality of all my actions had its origin and purpose in the supreme reality out of which I had come, the reality which had conceived of my "I"-ness. The contrast to my previous state of experience was staggering, for now, I could sensitize myself to the currents of feeling, yet all the while remain purely detached and, indeed, sensitize myself without inefficiently empathizing or involving myself in a way that made the experience complex; my mind remained free of all impressions; I felt spontaneously my actions to represent the perfect computation of all the variables in the cosmos relating to that one moment, the computation that would deliver the most evolutionary content, the most aesthetic style.
Three Swiss villagers were approaching us, two men and a woman, and I registered the grossness of the two men--crude, hard faces, a heaviness in their walk--and the relative purity of the woman, but at the same time, because there was nothing I could do in the situation but observe, I blissfully watched this fact: the contrast in beauty and sensitivity between the men and the woman, without experiencing the constellation of feelings and thoughts that would have overtaken me in ignorance and caused me to lament the woman's fate. I knew I could watch the death of my child without losing the integrity of my consciousness, the integrity of my emotions. I might--if it was called for--respond passionately, even violently, but at the most fundamental level I would remain wholly centred in the infinite serenity of Being, knowing as I did that everything had its existence, its dramatic forms in the repose of God Himself.
This, then, was the first real evidence of the application of my Enlightenment: the amazing contrast in my sensation of subjective experience in the face of a particular personal situation. (Each situation for me in ignorance was personal since I was always acutely aware of the quality and content of every feeling that was being expressed--this is what always captured my attention, often when such bias towards "The Personal" was not particularly the most efficient way of focusing to accomplish the task before me.) I walked away from the three Swiss villagers completely unchanged in spite of perceiving all of what I would have perceived in ignorance--more so in fact, since even my perceiving was being done for me. Instead of becoming involved in this scene I was immediately fresh and ready to absorb the specific meaning of the next moment, this that I might function in a way for the evolutionary benefit of the environment. And this was the glorious freedom I now enjoyed: without intending to do anything, everything I could have desired--and much more--was accomplished skillfully, effortlessly. Yet, in experiencing all this going on automatically, I nevertheless paradoxically had a more vivid sense of the pure individuality that was the purpose of these boundaries called Robin, having been created.
[Part 4 continues with excerpts from "The Sunnyside Drama: The First Three Years of Enlightenment."]