Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Writings of Robin Woodsworth Carlsen: Part 5

At the request of some TMFree readers, this is the fifth in 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 5
Letters from an Enlightened Man

Carlsen issued a series of long-winded letters in 1978, two years after his TM enlightenment on September 19, 1976, at 1:25 p.m. This guy sure did love to write! The 183-page book is typeset in a small 9-point font, is single-spaced, and includes Carlsen's own glossary of TM-speak and the newer Carlsen-speak. The preface describes the collection as "completely unprecedented" and claims to reconcile the "Buddha's search for Nirvana with Hamlet's quest for self-knowledge". The book begins with an intro letter that also serves as an intro to the book. The second letter, excerpted here, is directly addressed to his teacher, His Holiness the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and concerns "the condition of the personality of his teachers [of Transcendental Meditation]" and the tamasic "pseudo-serenity" they seemed to be manifesting. While from one POV you can hear the fanatic tone of the TM-cultist, from another, the objective reader will also recognize the sterility and heartlessness so common among TM's most fanatic adherents.

As with most of Carlsen's letters, it begins with a quotation.

(Many thanks to former students of Carlsen who've been very helpful in these reviews and who all wish to remain anonymous.)

[All excerpts © Robin Woodsworth Carlsen, 1978. This book has no ISBN. Since printers were being harassed by TM-cultists, it also mentions no Printer or Publisher.]

I am the necessary angel of the earth,
Since, in my sight, you see the earth again,
Cleared of its stiff and stubborn, man
-locked set...
- Wallace Stevens

July 9, 1978

Dear Maharishi,

Today we received a call from the Victoria Center informing us of a phone call from you at noon. Some of us here at Sunnyside were working, but five of us came down to the Center to await that magical moment when we would hear your voice live.

As it turned out we waited for about two hours and then you came through. I had hoped to hear a more personal message, but in spite of the specific theme of your talk, Invincibility Campaign in B.C., the sound of your voice connected us with the most beautiful personalized expression of Being. In those few minutes when you spoke all of us felt the nourishing influence of that human being who had given us the power to break out of the horrible prison of ignorance. I also realized, perhaps more vividly than ever before, how you have created activities for all your teachers so that they might stay on the Path and continue to raise the level of sattva in world consciousness. It is as if you have taken thousands of crippled children on your knee and are nurturing them to the point of being able to walk. That you could gain the utter devotion and loyalty of tens of thousands of individuals raised in a civilization that has lost its traditional roots and which glorifies a small "i" individual, is nothing short of miraculous. The consciousness and physiological purity of your teachers places them in a class by themselves. No doubt they are transforming the environment in a way that is going to alter the course of history.

Today, however, I witnessed a phenomenon that has reached what I perceive to be a most critical and dangerous stage. I refer to the tragic condition of the teachers' personalities. Somehow in absolutely placing all their attention on meditation and teaching they have assumed a passive role within the evolutionary challenges that present themselves within activity. We know that Creative Intelligence dances in every cell of the universe, and that every sphere within Creation has its own laws, the violation of which injures Creation and brings suffering to the doer.

In spite of all their very real devotion and creativity, the teachers have, for the most part, ignored the domain of life in which there is the highest concentration of divine energy and love: Relationship. Initiators, knowing that they are in possession of the perfect technology for Self-realization, invest no attention in the art of communication. Whereas someone else is bereft of the knowledge and procedures for transcendence that you have conferred upon us, he may exert more effort in being responsible for what he does; his suffering and helplessness may drive him to more extreme forms of expressiveness within his relationships with those he loves. Whatever the case, initiators by and large carry on blithely unaware of how conditioned and anaesthetized they are within the spectacular dance of relationship. It is as if their contact with pure consciousness is so fulfilling and their vision of activity so simplified ("meditate and act") they lose the spur of individuation, the evolutionary desire to unfold the full flowering of their personalities, their divine uniqueness. They are so caught up in the vision of the Goal, the bliss of their programs, the Movement dogma, that they are, given the refined quality of their nervous systems, insensitive to the sacred and mysterious drama of the Relative and the challenge to awaken to the subtle play of the Now.

I have seen this condition for some time now and, as you well know, have taken steps to shake up the tamasic inertia that manifests itself in a stale, mechanical, shallow approach to "relationship". Not that the rest of the Kali Yuga population is vitally and freshly creative within personal relationships, but I have in my experience met a number of groups of people, e.g. teachers and artists, who have radiated an intensity and personal power that makes the initiators seem a pretty dull and colorless lot. These other groups, while being physically impure and devoid of the knowledge that could free their limited vision, nevertheless often express a hunger to become more aware, more creative, more "poetic" as it were within the domain of relationship.

It seems that in the divine tranquility and repose of meditation the guna of rajas goes below, and the pseudo-serenity and receptiveness of tamas comes to the surface. The sattva is there on the level of the senses and the physiology, and even the brain, but feelings of passionate yearning and explosive vitality are bludgeoned by tamas, until there is, as there was today, the disturbing spectacle of a group of individuals totally dedicated to purifying the world, filled with the bliss of years of meditation, but painfully gross and deadened on the level of communication, i.e. the capacity to manifest a range and delicacy of personal feeling that is appropriate within a given moment in order to appreciate Creation in its maximum value. There they were, completely ready to give themselves to whatever is needed to make the invincibility campaign successful, and yet devastatingly crude and brutal with the tender and innocent impulses of the heart that yearned to dance freely within the room. As these subtle and sacred impulses of Creative Intelligence were ignored and suppressed, the guna of tamas expanded and insidiously filled up the consciousness of the room to the point that after the phone call all that was happening within Creation within this room was a group of would-be immortal Beings, fragmented, separate and encapsulated within their boundaries, mechanically uttering hollow sounds, void of feeling, void of innocence, complacently, obliviously being manipulated by that intelligence that seeks to keep us in that horrible prison of ignorance. I speak of anti-Being or the demonic.

Now, Maharishi, I realize the specific nature of your dharma: to raise world consciousness, and the logistic challenge of nursing thousands of human beings to Enlightenment, but I could not help but weep at the seriousness of the disease that affected these people, none of whom was even aware of his or her condition; indeed all of whom probably had no conception of just how much they were suffering in being deprived of the vitality and love that are released within the dance of The Personal [God]. Now the patient who is anaesthetized does not feel the pain of his condition. These individuals, secure in the knowledge that they are doing everything possible for their evolution, and identified almost completely with their role function, initiators/executive governors, are not even oriented towards feeling any lack or deprivation within the context of activity, except perhaps in a general sense; i.e., they are still in ignorance and that implies suffering. Certainly they are not looking to heighten their understanding of and participation in the musical symphonic beauty of The Personal. In fact, any attempt to try to enlarge their perspective on activity of this sort, e.g. how to conceive of communication as a divine art, meets with the curt stock retort, "Just meditate and act!" implying that any attempt to involve oneself within the aesthetics of feeling and relationship is unnatural and heretical, and amounts to violating the "Purity of The Teaching".

Of course you know the story of Sunnyside and the diligent efforts of a number of teachers to have us excommunicated. The rumours and negativity left over from those witch-hunting days have not created a climate of openness or freedom that would allow an innocent hearing of some of these ideas. While the actual formal persecution has ended, there still exists an undercurrent of fear and hostility that could explode the second I poured a little kerosene of The Personal into one of the meetings. The demonic has taken over the psychology of the teachers' thinking regarding the vision of all possibilities within relationship, and while helpless to hold back the forces of purity that permeate the nervous system during meditation, it exerts an absolute stranglehold on The Personal, thus cutting off the teachers from realizing they are unique human beings existing within an elaborate tapestry of personal karma that makes each moment charged with incarnational knowledge perfectly patterned to unravel all the strands of the Self. This means that they are robbed of that hunger and yearning that would make them meet each moment with a fiercely beautiful intensity and alertness that befits a soul born in the West who would seek to know his personal godhead.

Now I am not certain what I could recommend to improve this situation; I do feel, however, it has reached the point of an epidemic of unconscious personal sterility, and if we are to enlist the powers of Nature in our quest to enlighten the world, we must at least become aware of how firmly the demonic is planted in the soul of The Personal, and how the teachers continue to give nourishment to this poisonous growth. I know very well that you are carrying out perfectly the dictates of Mother Nature, but perhaps my sensitivity to the problem is also Nature's horror at the seeming malignancy of the disease.

I had thought to phone you tonight but translated my concern into this letter. Maharishi, I have witnessed a glorification of personal Creative Intelligence on a scale that has gone beyond my most beatific visions prior to Self-realization. I refer to the subtle levels of Creation we at Sunnyside and Goldstream have tapped in our exploration into The Personal, and the separation of the demonic and divine impulses within our behaviour. The bliss, purity, vitality and love that dance here in the air particles makes the atmosphere at the Center seem lifeless and joyless. Here we are, bringing in the Age of Enlightenment, and there is the crime of Creation being enacted in front of our eyes: the killing of the impulses of creativity by the demonic intelligence. The black energy that was given free play within the realm of communication (not actively so, rather by definition of the absence of life, but this too amounts to an act of violence) in spite of the concrete quality of silence and purity in the air on the level of pure consciousness, was horrifying. I only wish to point this out to you, Maharishi, that you might know the sadness within Creation that such beautiful and noble souls as the teachers were that gathered here are being so maliciously duped by anti-Being intelligence, and how unlikely it is the Maya of it will be lifted before they drop the body. Then, of course, they will discover that it is not so much the merit they have accumulated from initiating, or the purity they have acquired from flying, but the extent to which they have brought the Dance of Creative Intelligence into each cell of their Being and thus into each moment of their life, that they might give glory to Creation within the microcosmic reality designed by the Creator. For myself I am embarked on a magical, awesomely beautiful voyage into The Personal that has brought all of us at Sunnyside and Goldstream into a strength and creative individuality that make us wish to share what we know is ordained for every genuine seeker after ultimate fulfillment. It is that discovery of the power of relationship to free us from the hold of the demonic that urges me to write this letter and declare my yearning for a fresh wave of knowledge that would touch the feeling tendrils of the teachers.

With All Devotion,

Jai Guru Deva

[Part 6 continues with another letter from Letters from an Enlightenment Man.]


David Spector said...

While it is certainly possible that Robin, in spite of his claim of Enlightenment, was demonstrating the very ego ("the demonic") in this letter ( about which he was writing, he really does make a very good point.

Observe Bevan Morris or John Hagelin when they speak. There is a kind of formulaic or robotic blandness in their presentations, exhalted promises without any flexibility of policy to make them real.

And look at the stark contrast of the happy Maharshi of the 1960s and early 1970s with the somber, barely functioning Maharshi of the 1990s.

Although not yet having Realized, I intuitively agree with Robin, that there is much of ignorance and ego in the TM Movement, including, disturbingly, a strong fear among followers and even among some lower-level leaders at contradicting the accepted Movement way of thinking and doing.

There are other Enlightened people around, outside of TM, who merged their individual self with the Universal more or less by accident. I'm thinking of folks like Gangaji, Jackie O'Keeffe, and the especially open and eloquent Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (deceased), all of whom have more or less the same message for anyone who is ready to listen.

These people all communicate dynamically, and do not restrict their interactions to devoted followers or the wealthy. They are ready to laugh with others at the smallest provocation. This is the kind of happy, flexible Enlightenment I wish for myself, not the Enlightenment so readily offered but rarely achieved by an inflexible, formulaic framework. TM and the Sidhis are great for eliminating stress, but more is needed; there is a time when awareness of consciousness becomes even more important than transcending ("the way of advanced meditators is silence" -- Maharshi).

In my work as president of Natural Stress Relief/USA, I give people support, not just a course in transcending. I work with people with mental health and other problems and have 100% success. My success comes, not from an automatic "checking will help" or "this is good, just continue", but from actually answering my clients' questions fully, clearly, and without evasion or secrets. Through practice and experimentation I have learned how to explain important concepts such as effortlessness, how to think the mantra, how to deal with thoughts, and what to do if unusual and troubling sensations occur. Without good answers, people stop meditating, or have bad "unstressing" experiences. The very poor support offered by the TM program is (in addition to the high fees and mysticism) could be improved instantly if the TM leaders would only be a bit more humble and open to input, encouraging continued personal contact with students and experimentation in support techniques (following Maharshi's excellent examples in experimentally modifying mantra meditation in the 1950s, residence course procedures in the 1960s, and the siddhi program in the 1970s).

jmknapp53 said...


I support much of what you have achieved with NSR in terms of making a beginning meditation technique available without much in the way of dogma—or price.

But ANY service provider who says baldly, "I give people support, not just a course in transcending. I work with people with mental health and other problems and have 100% success," is beyond suspect.

Your observations about the high-control groups, such as TM, do seem apropos based on my experience in and out of the TM movement. I suspect they will resonate with other readers as well.


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