My Decision Not To Attend JFKU

Orinda, California
May `80

Sitting In On A Couple More Classes

Mystic Vision—an okay class. The instructor was more than prepared
and the material presented was interesting. There were more than 40
students in the class, the largest class yet, and they were involved.
The only problem I had with the class was that the instructor said
some things that didn’t jive with what I already knew. Case in point,
the instructor said there was a four day attachment to the
physical plane after death as opposed to the Bardo Thodol’s astral time
as recorded in the Tibetan Book Of The Dead. There’s nothing wrong
with teaching inconsistencies, especially since there’s no
verification method in place to begin with. It’s just that I couldn’t
help but visualize myself as a JFKU student, concentrating on every
detail just so I could regurgitate them back on an exam in order to
get a good grade. That was not what I wanted from JFKU.

Spiritual Psychology And The Nature Of Being—the most controversial of
the classes I attended. I’m still not sure how I feel about the class.
The class was in the Department of Transpersonal Counseling, and the
professor called the methods he was teaching Buddhist Psychology. The
professor exuded a dominating presence in the classroom and, in his
teaching of the Mahayana/Theravada Buddhist distinction; he
contradicted the professor in the Meditation and Prayer class who
taught the same material. It would be difficult for me to attend a
university where each instructor dictated the class’s subject matter
and content according to his or her own prejudices and biases.

The telling quality of this particular class became evident when a
student volunteered his own experience of loneliness as an object for
Buddhist psychological analysis. The Professor, without even a smidgen
of empathy, proceeded to critically evaluate the student’s “feelings
of loneliness.” The student let it be known that he was not impressed
with the evaluation, but the Professor seemed very pleased with
himself. The Professor, as if to bolster his case, compared his
methods of analysis to the methods used in the teachings of EST.
At that point, what little I knew about EST (Erhard Seminars Training) was
confirmed, as was my distaste for this Professor. EST was an esoteric school
of thought that believed in breaking down a sick person’s inhibitions by
directing challenges at the individual in hopes of extricating a cure.
The challenges, more often than not, fell into the category of
personal ridicule. As far as I was concerned that was not education,
and I certainly was not going to pay to be a part of it.

After that class, I had pretty much made up my mind not to attend
JFKU, but I still wanted to talk with the head of the Consciousness
and Mysticism Department. Hatha Surrender was a very nice soft-spoken
young man. He was dressed in white and had penetrating blue eyes. I
told him I liked what was going on at JFKU, but I wouldn’t be able to
attend just yet. I was being polite. What I was really thinking was
that I had my own university to attend, and between the two of them
there was no comparison. CMU paid me to go to school!


About bwinwnbwi

About me: Marvin Gaye’s song, "What’s Going On" was playing on the jukebox when I went up to the counter and bought another cup of coffee. When I got back, the painting on the wall next to where I was sitting jumped out at me, the same way it had done many times before. On it was written a diatribe on creativity. It was the quote at the bottom, though, that brought me back to this seat time after time. The quote had to do with infinity; it went something like this: Think of yourself as being in that place where infinity comes together in a point; where the infinite past and the infinite future meet, where you are at right now. The quote was attributed to Hermann Hesse, but I didn’t remember reading it in any of the books that I had read by him, so I went out and bought Hesse’s last novel, Magister Ludi. I haven’t found the quote yet, but I haven't tired of looking for it either.
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One Response to My Decision Not To Attend JFKU

  1. eof737 says:

    Wise choice… and I agree with you on the disturbing methodology used in EST… Amazing though that it was the rage in the 1980s. I had friends begging me to join them so I could discover my “real self.” What a crock of cow-dung! 😆

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