During my school years and career adventures which overlapped on several occasions, there were times when the class content and the job details were less important than the processes themselves. It was as if the degrees and jobs were not as significant as what happened while I took classes or met my work responsibilities. At times what came out of experience had more lasting value and deeper meaning than class or work content. A simple example is a telling place to start.
Acquiring Basic Skills
In the 10th grade, I took a typing class at my Dad's suggestion. This came from his "Columbus" method of typing (find an island and land on it) which was a disadvantage in the newspaper business. But this was not something boys did at the time although I remember some of my buddies were in the same class. This was embarrassing, but since I was a diligent student, I gave it my best shot. Anne Comptom was an excellent vocational skills teacher. She drilled and drilled and drilled until it seemed like she would never quit.
This turned out to be the most practical course in my life. Working at this keyboard now owes much to Mrs. Compton's dedication. For years I wrote paper drafts in long hand and relied on the good graces of my wife and occasional secretaries to handle the typing. Midway through my career, I began writing at the keyboard. This happened because I was frustrated with the slow hand relative to the fast mind and the aggravation I caused my wife trying to read my abominable handwriting. The efficiency of my work depended more on this skill than any other thing I learned. At the keyboard, it was easier for my rational fingers to keep up with the flow of my intuitive mind.
Another practical course I took, given my computer career, was Fortran programming with Robert Graves at the University of Chicago. His approach differed from the conventional method of teaching programming. We reviewed problems for computer solution in class. He focused first on a clear understanding of the problem and then spent the rest of the class working out a flowchart representing the computer logic to solve the problem. We did not spend time on the syntax and semantics of Fortran. That was our responsibility outside of class.
Professor Graves casually mentioned the Daniel McCraken Fortran Programming text was in the bookstore. (Note 125) Although it was not required, we could get it to help with coding the problem solutions for one of the University's computers. The program code counted little toward our overall grade. In my ensuing computer career, I found the typical programming course focused on the syntax and semantics of a particular language and coding solutions in that language.
Since I was blessed with my first programming instructor, I learned how to think like a computer independent of a specific language. With this foundation, I went on to program in over a dozen languages on a variety of computers. Given my language independent orientation, within days I could write acceptable code in any language to solve problems on almost any computer. I am still the beneficiary of his teaching since my use of desktop applications is informed by a sense of the inner workings of a computer that he instilled.
Learning How to Eat
As was true of most in my generation, I grew up with unhealthy eating habits. My parents were not the best role models. The absence of high fiber and bulk in their diet had taken its toll. As a result both took daily doses of mineral oil for regularity. This was probably a significant contributor to the onset of my Dad's colon cancer which eventually took his life at a relatively young age. As the fast food craze took off with the advent of McDonalds and Burger King, I joined everyone else eating high fat, low fiber, animal protein dominated food.
Many years of poor eating habits passed before I discovered the relationship between how I felt and what I ate. This was clear with alcohol. When I drank too much, I was sick the next morning. But the subtle effects were not as obvious. I learned about them reading Frances Moore Lappe's Diet for a Small Planet. (Note 126) The data on the resource cost of a unit of animal versus plant protein were staggering. If we all ate plant protein, there would be enough food for everyone with tremendous savings in water, fossil fuels and top soils.
On several occasions while our children were growing up, we tried a vegetarian diet. Making this change took some getting used to if you were a teenager. A garbanzo bean casserole was not their idea of food especially since they were the only ones in school eating the stuff. We eventually gave into pressure to return to the quick and easy conventional foods. After all that was what everyone else was eating - why did we have to be different? But the longer I explored the dietary consequences for health and life style, the more I was encouraged to improve my eating habits. I did have to be different!
The more I read, the more I discovered the effect of chemicals on plant based foods. Since crops were grown using synthetic fertilizers, I was subject to the unknown long term effects of these practices. In addition the heavy use of pesticides and herbicides meant these chemicals were entering my body again with unknown outcomes. To top it off preservatives and additives were included to lengthen shelf life and change the foods appearance and texture. All of this pointed to the use of organic foods. Until the early 1990s, these foods were not readily available in most parts of the country.
Taking a closer look at meat production, I found the possible consequences of producer interventions were more dangerous. The use of growth hormones meant trace amounts of those chemicals were getting into my body. The change in the physiology of young people testified to these effects. Animal antibiotics passed along in meat consumption meant my tolerance for and response to antibiotics was being affected in unknown ways. Finally the accumulation of environmental toxins concentrated in animal protein meant I was ingesting excessive amounts of substances such as mercury. In addition to what I learned from Frances Moore Lappe, this pointed to eliminating animal muscle as a source of protein in my diet.
Becoming A Vegan
From my initial forays into organic non meat diets, I learned about different kinds of vegetarians: lacto heuvo, vegan and fruitarian. I started out in the lacto heuvo camp. When I learned that egg yolks contained large amounts of cholesterol, I eliminated eggs to reduce an elevated cholesterol level. While spending several weeks at an ashram that served both lacto heuvo and vegan meals, I tried both side by side and experienced the subtle but distinct mucus forming effects of milk products. That experience encouraged me to eliminate diary. Incrementally, I had become a vegan. Although I loved fresh fruits, I did not see myself as a fruitarian. But there was a time when I did not see myself as a vegan! Who knows what tomorrow may bring?
With further explorations, more lessons came my way. With occasional exceptions, society had zero tolerance for the vegetarian life style especially vegans. So sticking to a program required considerable ingenuity and perseverance. My companion and I shifted from a typical western diet to a relatively organic vegetarian style and found our body odors significantly reduced. The longer we perservered, the easier we found the taste and smell of being around each other as we approached the sweet smell of a new born. Another significant discovery was the effect on my mental processes. My mental clarity seemed to be related to the degree I followed an organic vegan diet.
My commitment to the organic vegan way was sealed in an 18 day program with Joel Fuhrman, author of Fasting - and Eating - for Health. Under his daily medical supervision, I followed a strict regimen with 14 days fasting and four days refeeding before release from the clinic. The trials and tribulations of preparing for, completing his fast and then transitioning back into a regular routine were reflected in my diary of the fasting odyssey. This was written to friends whose own interest in healthy eating encouraged my participation in and writing about the experience.
Dr. Fuhrman's rigorously scientific argument for a natural plant based diet made consummate sense to my rational mind. Even more compelling were the mental effects. By the end of 14 days, I could barely walk to the front desk to get the daily newspaper which I had little energy to read. However even though I was physically weak, my mind was as clear as a cloudless winter sky in a far Northern latitude. What a difference purging my system of accumulated toxins made!
I now follow a vegan diet using mostly organic foods. Since this requires close vigilance especially eating out, I cannot claim 100% adherence. In addition, organic foods are not as easy to obtain out of season. But I come as close as practical without being obssessive. The startling discovery in these vegetarian explorations came with my realization of the dramatic impact of an unadulterated plant based diet on the mind. I found that healthy eating contributed to a clarified mental state for exercise of The Intuitive Self. Plus there was an incredible lightness of physical being!
Death in the Family
Other process discoveries came from the milestone rituals of birth, marriage and death. The deaths of my Dad in 1960 and of my Mother in 1969 were landmarks in my personal journey. Especially in the case of my Dad, it was not until years later that I realized the depth of the experience. I had recently married, returned to school full time and left the family business while he was in what turned out to be the final stage of a three year illness. He had surgery three times for colon cancer and finally died from ravages of the disease.
Because his health was deteriorating, I went by Winter Park Hospital frequently. The day Dad died, I was scheduled for an examination. During my visit that morning before class, I had an amazing experience. Dad had been somber and stoic about his illness. He was devastated mentally as was his body by the cancer's progress. Dad felt cheated by life as a victim of the great depression, young people taking over the news business and failure of the family business. Given all that with the three year illness thrown in, he was not a happy man to be around.
But that Saturday morning was different! The day before he looked as wasted and devastated as a Holocaust survivor. Few words were ever exchanged between us especially in the latter years of his illness. But that morning, I saw a man radiant with energy who spoke vividly about my studies, exam and plans for the future. He wished me well in what I was doing. Nothing like this had ever happened before. When I called my Mother later that day to see how things were going, Dad was dead. In my self exploration work I wrote my Dad's obiturary to release the sense of betrayal I had felt around being chained to the family business.
In later years, when I read the studies on near death experiences, I realized Dad probably had such an experience in the early morning hours that Saturday. What a blessing to have a "reconciliation" with him after our struggles in the business. We never saw eye to eye about the business. In my youthful twenties, I knew what was best! He was trying to recover some shred of dignity after the hardships he had encountered. The whole experience was beyond my immediate comprehension. Not only was I enriched by his blessing, but I had been witness to an extraordinary example of intuition in the large. Dad had met the divine and lived a few more hours to share that with me.
In the few years Mother had left, she met and married a delightful human being, Henry Willard. I looked up to him as an example of a light and easy way of being in the world. Where my Dad had learned to shrink from and protect himself from the pain of life, Hank had discovered and embraced the joy of experience. It was striking how two men of the same era developed such different accommodations to life. Their karmas were truly quite different.
Mother and Hank's time together was short lived. Mother's years of heavy smoking caught up with her as emphysema. While struggling to recover some stamina for her breathing, she contracted acute leukemia and died within two months. In the time she spent with Hank, I saw her reborn to the more intuitive person she must have been as a young woman. She resumed her love for dancing and won contests for her performances. Over and over, I was struck by Hank's easy going attitude toward life which contrasted so sharply with my head on attack mode.
The dying and funeral experiences I had with my Mother and Dad gave me pause to think about what my own would be like. I joined a Memorial Society to write and communicate my desires for a memorial service. In addition I contracted in advance for an economy package cremation. Along with these preparations, I executed a health care power of attorney with my daughter to ensure my wishes were carried out in the event of a prolonged illness. I also joined and supported the aims of the Choice in Dying organization who were dedicated to carrying out the terminal care wishes of their members.
Next too death, births were the most striking experiences. When my wife was pregnant with our daughter in St. Louis, we took child birth classes. DePaul Hospital and the obstetrician were progressive for the 1965 time frame. I was encouraged to share in the delivery at a time when this was not yet popular. I do not know how helpful I was cheering on the breathing and pushing, but being a part was fantastic. After the doctor, I was the first to hold my daughter. I remember as if it were yesterday. What an extraordinary event - new life takes it place in the human family. Moments later she was at my wife's breast for her first meal as they were wheeled to their room.
That peak experience contrasted sharply with our son's birth two years later. We were living on Chicago's South Side. City health regulations forbid fathers being in the delivery room, and the hospital considered the idea barbaric. How archaic given my experience in St. Louis! We could have driven to Indiana to find a hospital that would cooperate, but I was fearful we might not get to the hospital on time having heard that the second birth often came more quickly than the first.
When my wife's water broke late one evening in July, we were off to nearby South Shore Hospital. As soon as we arrived, I was whisked away to the waiting room where I spent the next several hours wondering what was going on with the birth of my son. Besides drinking lots of coffee, my only striking memories were that my wife had more difficulty with our son's birth since we did not have the same preparation and that I was lonely and sad sitting my myself in the waiting room into the wee hours of the morning.
My faith in and excitement about the birth process was not restored until the approach of my granddaughter's birth. Although I did not realize it when my son-in-law called to say they were on the way to Baptist Hospital, when I got there, I was allowed to remain with the delivery. How things had progressed - we were in a birthing suite no less. The staff was friendly, helpful, reassuring. There was a genuine family atmosphere. Since my ex-wife had just arrived in town, my granddaughter was privileged to have not only her Mom and Dad, but three of her grandparents present at birth.
These different birth experiences ran the gauntlet from the sterile, logical City of Chicago facade to the family celebration atmosphere at my granddaughter's birth. Participating in my daughter's birth opened my feeling center to the deeper rhythms of life that resonated with the intuitive chords of existence. The Chicago experience showed how cold and menacing an overly rational attitude could be. My subconscious was primed for a balance that embraced the intuitive dimension without discarding the protective value of the rational. Being present at my granddaughter's arrival confirmed my intimations of what a holistic birth experience could be!
Getting Married Too!
Marriage completed the trilogy. As did death and birth, marriage offered compelling lessons for intuitive development. After a nine month whirlwind romance, my wife and I were married in September, 1959. She was the extrovert, I was the introvert; she was the intuitive, I was the rational. The stage was set for many learning opportunities. Opposites attracted as my shadow drew me to someone whose qualities I needed to learn to express.
One lesson I learned was that rational types dominate given that mode's high need for order and at a deeper level control. Given hindsight, I saw how my rational mode ruled the roost for years on end. One of the more telling examples from my wife's perspective was that we raised the children according to my beliefs. Another quality of the rational style was forcing its viewpoint on others. That reminded me of Eric Hoffer's True Believer - they are right and no one else's opinion mattered. (Note 130) During my autocratic years, I was tantalized by his book title but did not discover its shadow message until years later.
Hoffer was a San Francisco longshoreman who spent his days on the docks and his evenings at the library reading and writing. Although I never finished the book, the title reverberated down through the years as a mantra droning on in my mind. It was like a song melody that returned as a haunting refrain. I had that experience with Enzio Pinza's "Some Enchanted Evening." But years would come and go before I learned to step back from my true believer. The song title still tantalizes my mind since its resolution has not manifested.
As we worked together in the classroom, our styles meshed in a more complementary fashion. I attended to the academic details while my wife carried the ball on the interpersonal connections with students and clients. She was the front office, I was the back office. Quite literally, I developed back office computer accounting systems for trip expenses and client billing. In general these were too heavy handed for my wife since they included technical details like keeping a methodical record of expenses. A new love in my wife's life led to divorce in 1989.
Living with an intuitive for 30 years, I came face to face on a daily basis with the sharp difference in styles. But the rational mode was slow to yield control and share responsibility as a team. Being separated from the daily reminder brought the differences into sharper relief. In some ways, the distinctions stood out more clearly after separation than when we were together. At the working level, I was blessed with my wife's guiding light for my shadow Intuitive Self. Even though the slow magic worked at the subconscious level, nevertheless, work it did. The Intuitive Self owes much to that relationship.
Other Paths to Knowing
Although my relationship with my wife was the most immediate and intimate guide for awakening The Intuitive Self, other threads worked their subtle magic. Robert Ball, the teacher for my psychic classes, gave astrology readings. The only thing I remember from my natal astrology chart was that my rising sign was Libra. Armed with that pointer to my inner nature, I read Linda Goodman's and other popular books for insights into the dynamics of interpersonal relationships from an astrologer's perspective. (Note 131)
The seed was planted for an amazing discovery about the intuitive process. This was the first time I was vaguely aware that an astrology chart functioned somewhat like a Rorschach ink blot. Ball used the chart to focus his intuitive energy in my direction. Later I realized it could just as easily have been anyone of an infinite variety of things that intuitively gifted people have used down through the ages as a vehicle to manifest innate knowing. On other occasions, I had readings using the palm, tea leaves, Tarot cards, I Ching, body aura, etc.
Another gifted intuitive I worked with was a psychic friend of my wife's from England. Among other techniques, she guided a client through what she called "far memories." From an induced hypnotic trance, she took notes on my stream of consciousness speech for later transcription. One far memory session began with a current life image around a family business incident where I remembered friends asking if I could come out to play. This transported me to another time and place with a similar working situation. But there the roles changed as I was sympathetic to a young boy who was working too hard.
Other flashbacks to past lives provided information about my life long tension pattern. In one, I saw myself as a knight in shining armor who was a standard bearer. The image amplified to become a red hot rod running up the left side of my neck and sticking out as a banner held on high trying to show the world something. In another, the entire left side of my face was torn away in one blow by an ancient Japanese warrior just before I would have done the same to him. These images along with the continuous physical stress operating a machine in the family business gave meaning to my tension patterns.
Insight from these far memories informed my current circumstances. I was shown another way of thinking about being tied to the family business. The long term consequences of carrying the tension laid down during those years were made abundantly clear. In one past life, I died with a shrunken, crippled physique. The question in my present life was whether I would choose that to happen once again. This was an example of how the literal truth of the far memory was irrelevant. The psychological discovery brought new insight to my current situation. This may or may not have been a past life. What difference did that make? My self understanding was enriched by the process.
Consulting Psychic Guides
The Cassadega psychic community is located between Orlando and Daytona Beach. Originally founded as a winter home for a community of spiritualists in upstate New York, Cassadega recently celebrated its centennial. At any one time there were anywhere from 20 to 30 intuitives living in the community. Some owned homes and others rented a cottage for part of the year. They practiced together since all agreed to follow the community's standards of ethical practice.
On several occasions with friends, my son or by myself, I visited the community to obtain a reading. Rather than make an appointment, I usually went to the bookstore that maintained a list of mediums available for readings that day. Using my intuitive sense, I selected one from the list and called to see them. No two readers used the same technique to facilitate the flow of intuitive knowing. Each had a personal way of connecting with intuition in the large with me as the subject. One read my aura, another asked my sun sign and yet another focused on a different aspect of my being to make their connection.
As a management professor, I fantasized about a research study of the community. With their cooperation, I would observe and document their individual reading styles. By comparing and contrasting approaches, I would discover underlying patterns of belief and behavior shared by all even though their surface approaches differed. I further imagined their keys to intuitive knowing would correspond to those found in a similar study of managers. My hypothesis was that the dimensions of intuitive knowing are the same for spiritualists and executives. I still hold that belief although I do not have evidence other than my sense about the process of intuitive knowing.
In contrast to 900 telephone number psychics who promised to answer all questions and solve all problems, I did not seek the advice of intuitive counselors to tell me what to do. Instead they were models for my own awakening intuitive knowing as well as validation for vague insights that had not reached the light of day. In using psychic guides, I found their observations teased out and gave life to intuitive knowings that were at or just below the surface of consciousness.
My relationship with psychics worked at two levels. First I listened to their impressions, and second I observed how they worked. While they verified my intuitive impressions, they offered a role model for the intuitive way of being in the world. Using that strategy, I periodically consulted with an intuitive guide. I have an hour reading with a psychic every three or four months. We usually discuss the intuitive process as well as explore clues to my current circumstances.
Knowing What I Knew
Another avenue of psychic insight came through my Synthesis Institute studies. Since psychosynthesis emphasized spiritual growth in the self discovery process, this was a natural venue for intuitive insight to flourish. My counselor was intuitively gifted in guiding my sessions and those of others I observed in our group. Time and again, I saw her quickly cut through to the core issue in our processes. It was not unusual to be overcome by an epiphany at the sharpness of her insight and the client leap forward that followed facing the crux of an issue.
Reflecting on those experiences, I sensed some were intuition in the small drawing on similar client situations and others were intuition in the large flowing from knowledge that reached beyond her expertise with or knowledge of the client. Whatever the source, my personal discoveries during this work flowed like an avalanche. There were so many, I grouped them into categories to help comprehend their diversity: Transformation, Self, Relationships and Intimacy. Intuition was flooding me with new insights about myself, others and my relationships with them.
Most people I knew were skeptical of these explorations. They did not think the methods were scientific. But I realized that was rational arrogance to believe the logical mode of knowing was the only way to discover. I saw these and similar models of reality as alternative metaphors for discovering meaning in the fabric of life. Whether the ideas were scientifically valid became a non issue. The question was: to what extent did seeing the world through that set of lenses help me find meaning in my life experiences? If I came away from the exploration with an enhanced sense of comprehension, then it was valid!
That raised a larger question about the nature of truth and validity. Increasingly it seemed presumptuous to believe scientific theories of reality were any more valid than non scientific views, for instance one of the American Indian or shamanistic traditions. How conceited to think the Western mind had a corner on truth. In the infinite infinities of implicate order levels, at best the human mind could grasp but a fragment of the larger truth. I was learning to accept knowledge that came through the epiphanies of experience. Listening to the surf or watching a sunset, I knew as much as it was humanly possible to know.
If my intuitive sense confirmed a new insight no matter what model it came from, then meaning was added to my understanding. That was divine! A line from Hamlet speaks to the consequences of allowing the rational mind to shut out avenues for self discovery:
I tried to accept truth wherever I found it with the full realization that I would never come remotely close to TRUTH. This was another way Hoffer's True Believer title worked in my subconsciousness - beware those who think they know. The Tao Te Ching said: "He who speaks does not know, He who knows does not speak."
Studying the "Mind"
On another avenue exploring the dimensions of intuitive experience, we monitored neurological activity during a series of tasks that alternated between the rational and intuitive. Our subjects were students from the course I team taught with my wife and one of our colleagues. The equipment consisted of an electrical skin resistance (ESR) meter and brain wave display called the Mind Mirror designed by Maxwell Cade (Note 133) along with traditional Autogen electro encephalograph (EEG) monitoring equipment. Student testing took place in the Cognitive Styles Assessment Center I established in the School of Business.
The student volunteers completed a half dozen paper and pencil assessments of style preferences including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and our own Human Information Processing (HIP) Survey. To supplement the paper and pencil results, we wired the volunteers to the ESR, EEG and Mind Mirror to monitor changes in neurophysiology while they completed a series of tasks such as adding numbers and matching patterns. These efforts were limited by hand recorded readings made during task completion. Our setup was not sophisticated enough to record real time analog or digital data.
Having done neurological research and read about efforts using sophisticated brain scan equipment, it was clear nothing of consequence would be learned about intuition from reductionist investigations of neural activity. The subtle dimensions of intuitive behavior would not be revealed following these lines of inquiry. Finding out what I would not learn pursuing those avenues, my interest in self reports of internal process was heightened. Later emphasis on the Intuitive Experience Journaling protocol owed much to what I did not learn observing individual's neurophysiological responses.