Our Teaching Approach

The Value of Discussion and Inquiry

During the period of ancient Greece, it was well understood that there could be great value in discourse. They saw this as a wonderful means to inquire into and reveal what had been hidden from one’s consciousness. It also leads to the making of discoveries for oneself. To the Greek philosophers this approach was vital to the understanding of important human issues including the development of greater consciousness. It is admittedly hard to just say why and how it can be helpful, because the best way to discover it is by doing it. I can say that many students have experienced the value of this technique. In fact, there is a program at California Institute of Integral Studies which has the aim of assisting the student to “engage in inquiry as an integral, spiritual, and transformative process of personal and social transformation.” It is a very effective approach, one favored by such teachers as Jiddu Krishnamurti.

The nature of mind – Let’s take a look at one of the most important questions. What is the nature of our internal dialogue, all the thoughts that occupy our mind and which often seems to control us? And, where does all that internal talk come from? Why is it constantly going? Some have called this constant chatter as the ‘crew that never rests.’ Throughout millennia, human beings have struggled with these questions. In fact, the disciplines such as Zen Buddhism are so severe because without extreme measures, it seems impossible to reach states of steady internal silence. What meditators and psychologists alike have realized is that most of our internal talk actually arises from our unconscious and is formed from early childhood conditioning. This is the real challenge and what we must work on to achieve inner silence. This is also why the correct use of discourse can be helpful as part of one’s training as students may discover for themselves the answers to these and other important questions.

How Language Affects Us – Another aspect to our classes and training includes the introduction of the idea that it is important to understand how we are affected by words and language. This is a study which has been neglected far too long. We will not be studying language itself, but how we are affected by our use of language. There are ways to learn how to use language in our communication with others that will change the way we live in the world and foster internal stillness as well as clear consciousness.

Learning about the Process of Release – One of the first things we may discover is that the key element if our movement will be concerned with the importance of learning how to release all of the material that is in the way of our own discovery of our real inner nature, or as many have referred to is, our own enlightenment. While meditation can be an aspect of this process, there is much more we can to accelerate the ‘release process.’ In astrology, this archetypal process is represented by Pluto as well as the other outer planets, Uranus and Neptune. We must learn from what we are releasing ourselves. This will include our personal discovery of what attachments and identifications really are, and not doing it in just a theoretical way.

Are There Forces that Can Help Us?

As we discover more about this, we may find that there are forces which are present in the world that will help us. One term for this force is the word ‘Logos.’ In ancient Greek philosophy ‘Logos’ is seen as the force that gathers together or unifies us. It is holistic and integrative in nature and as it emerges more and more within us, we can begin to approach states of silence, reverence, and divine love. This study and practice can take us into the esoteric understandings of the early Christians Jewish mystics and who were later referred to as ‘Gnostics’ and ‘Kabalists.’

The Importance of Meditation/Contemplation in a School of Astrology

Why are meditation courses considered to be a part of a School of Astrology? One of the first experiences I ever had after studying astrology for only a year was that I felt that somehow astrology had assisted me to ‘touch the Divine order.’ This feeling has never left me. I knew from this that astrology could offer a person a magical experience. But, I also learned that what enabled me to have these experiences and understandings was that the studying of astrology was simultaneously teaching me how to contemplate. This ability enabled me to ‘feel’ the planetary energies in play in our lives and to assist others to experience them directly as well. In this way, astrology becomes one technique for achieving higher states of awareness.

Another factor that underscores the importance of astrology in transformational growth is the deeper meaning of the outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. One of the finest astrologers of the last century, Dane Rudhyar, regarded these forces as ‘transcendent planets.’ He saw them as doorways to ‘galactic consciousness,’ which gave them a purpose and value that can often go ignored by many astrologers. One example of this is the nature of the planet Uranus. It rules the principle of Individuality. When a person develops this aspect of their psyche, they move beyond the usual conforming forces of Saturn and being to create a true center within themselves, an integrated Self capable of both operating successfully in the world and also connecting with the divine. The uses of astrology with meditation/contemplation can evoke the ‘gathering together’ forces of ‘Logos’ that is a necessary part of the awakening process and enables us to activate one’s inner knowing.

Finally, astrology can be seen as a wonderful tool for self-awareness. The study and applying of one’s birth chart can be used to help us discover many unknown aspects of our personality, but it also can simultaneously link one’s so-called ‘personal issues’ with universal principles that unite all of us as human beings who are connected to the stars.

 

The Use of the Dyad Technique

I was in College in the latter part of the 60’s and received my Master’s degree in 1972 in social work. This was an extremely exciting and creative time as many new therapeutic approaches were emerging. What was especially important to me and many others was that some of those new approaches were extending beyond psychology to the fields of personal transformation, spirituality and self-discovery. Many people were beginning to practice a meditation discipline and finding that tremendous progress could be made by doing so. One of the leaders of these new approaches was Charles Berner. He used his knowledge of the developing social sciences and developed a ‘dyad’ technique that some also called ‘partner-assisted meditation. Berner also developed what he called the “enlightenment intensive.” Many found that this technique accelerated the process of significantly quieting the mind so that these programs began to be established world-wide with great success. In addition, the dyad technique began to be used in other ways to help clients work through difficult personal issues, most of which started in early childhood.

Influences

All of us have been influenced, in varying degrees by other people and it does seem helpful to share those teachers and authors who have affected us the most. It also is an interesting personal process to step back and ask the question for ourselves. It is in this spirit, that I express those who have affected me the most in my journey through life. There have been many, but the ones I can identify most are the following people. In the areas of transformation and metaphysics, they are G.I. Gurdjieff, Jiddu Krishnamurti and his friend Carlo Suares, Sri Aurobindo and Mother Mirra Alfassa, and Victor W. Rowe. There are two people, Israel Regardie and Dion Fortune, who have assisted me greatly in understanding the use of the Tree of Life and the Kabbalah from such a unique perspective. Their contributions to metaphysics remains highly significant and often unappreciated. In the the field of astrology, by far the most influential thinker and the person who validated my own thinking the most, is Dane Rudhyar, who still today is not appreciated for all that he has contributed to the study and practice of astrology. And, finally, the person who helped me understand an extremely overlooked understanding of how human beings are affected by the use of language, I must mention Alfred Korzybski, the founder of General Semantics and the concept of levels of abstraction. To these great people, I owe so very much.

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