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Oct 20, 1993 08:35 PM
by Jerry Hejka-Ekins

To Nancy Coker

     Regarding your question concerning people gaining "real
medical relief" from past life regressions, I would like to
express my thoughts.  First of all, whether or not the regression
experience brings relief neither proves nor disproves that the
patient experienced a passed life.  Other explanations are
already available; for instance the patients may be drawing the
material from their own unconscious, which has made the material
unrecognizable through condensation and displacement as we do in
dreams--or through the mechanism of decomposition, used in
mythology.  Condensation is the mechanism of taking a lot of
meaningful but unpleasant or traumatic experiences and condensing
them into one unrecognizable experience or symbol.  An example
might be--lets say that at different times over the past five
years, you; 1. read a disturbing article in the newspaper about a
mass murder, 2. had a disagreement with your boss, 3.
inadvertently knocked over a pile of books ready to go out to be
sold.  Later you might dream of having a china doll of a king
that you brush against and it falls and breaks.  The doll may
represent your boss; brushing up against it and knocking it over
may represent your knocking over the books; the doll breaking may
represent the loss of lives through the massacre.  Though the
three events were unrelated by time or causality, they were still
condensed into a single unique experience, unlike anything in
memory, though the dream may carry the feeling of familiarity.
Displacement is a mechanism where something less pleasant is
replaced by something more pleasant or acceptable.  Most people,
in a public place will ask where the "restroom,"  or the
"bathroom" is, when what they really want in the toilet.  But the
toilet is too specifically suggestive of their intention to
perform an act usually done in privacy, so our language allows us
to displace the toilet for the bath or the swooning couches that
used to be located in them.  In dreams, we may have a character
acting out characteristics of ourselves that we prefer not to
admit that we have.  Decomposition occurs in mythology and works
of fiction.  Several people with different personalities may
represent one person in life whose more complicated personality
is divided up among the several new characters.  In Shakespeare's
Hamlet, Claudius, the Ghost, and Polonius all represent father
figures for the protagonist.
     Therefore, it is possible that the patient is unconsciously
using these mechanisms to create a past life that would have the
cathartic effect of relieving a lot of turmoil.  Or to say it
another way, they unwittingly created a myth to give relief and
meaning to a lot of unresolved problems.
     You may recognize these terms as originating from Freud.
Some people would reject them just because of the association of
his name.  Too bad.  Though many of Freud's ideas have fallen
into doubt, he also had many brilliant ones.  Let's not throw the
baby out with the bath water.
     On another subject: Eldon is referring to an earlier
reference I made (before you got on) to the "split" that occurred
in 1885, when H.P.B. was forced to leave India. As a result, she
established the British Section and the E.S. in London.  H.P.B.
wanted to be allowed to take the Coulombs to court for slander,
when they sold their story of H.P.B.s alleged fraud to a
Christian magazine.  Olcott, felt that it wasn't in the best
interest of the Society and threatened to resign from the
Presidency if she did.  As we know, those unchallenged
accusations led to the Hodgson report which still is used to
discredit H.P.B. and theosophy.  H.P.B. later commented that
Olcott's actions only saved the corpse of the Society, but lost
its soul.  Regarding Eldon's conclusions that the "split" was
"undone" through Long, I would need a lot more clarification
before I could comment upon it.
     Regarding your prison correspondence. My short experience
with this is in accord with yours.  These prisoners' needs are a
lot more basic than a lecture on the seven principles.  I think
the attraction to occultism, has a lot to do with the prisoner's
need to empower themselves, and the means to do so was for one
reason or another denied to them--be it because they are the
damaged product of abusive families, and/or were unable to find a
place in society.  Over two-thirds of the prisoners are
minorities who find self empowerment very difficult in our racist
culture.  If they are sociopathic on top of that, then the
problems become almost overwhelming.  My experience is that they
need to be empowered through a lot a positive regard--not through
lessons in occult practices--which is what so many of them seek.
     On the other hand, I have had prisoners write me for
catalogues, and order quality literature such as Plato and
Emerson.  So they aren't all in one bag either.

To Leonard Cole/Donald DeGracia
     I've looked in my dictionary of clinical terms, and also
could not find "hypnogogia."  However, "hypnagogia" is there and
simply pertains to the act of falling asleep.  Perhaps this is
the term Donald intended.

To Brenda Tucker
     Taking from your statement: "If you look at the tenants of
theosophy as they are written by the early participants in the
movement, you may notice discrepancies. Do you feel that
discrepancies shouldn't exist? Do you feel that one method is not
really helpful to people, but instead that it is harmful to
believe and practice along certain chosen lines of thought?"
     Sounds like an important set of questions to me.  But to
find answers, I think we need to first sit down and
systematically identify what these "discrepancies" are.  Then we
can evaluate them.
     In another statement you say: "By stating your own opinions
how do you know you aren't harming the real truth in the
literature that is there for all to read and recognize in their
own personal time and way."  My response is that we don't know
for sure.  That is why we need to be careful when we express
opinions.  If our opinions are considered by people to be
authoritative, then we have an even deeper responsibility to
assure that they are fair and correct, and stated with the right
motivations.  It is said that in Pythagoras' mystery school, new
students were not allowed to speak or express opinions for a year
or more.  Seems to me that this precaution is germane to the
issue you have raised.

To John Mead
     I'm looking forward to being "bored" by metamathematics. I
hope you can put it into a language for us math dummies to
     Seems that some people want to focus on one topic.  If we do
that, I'm afraid that some people will be left out who may not be
interested in that area.  When we planned TAN (Theosophical
Action Network) on Peacenet, we had a mechanism to divide the
conversations into categories.  From hindsight, I think it was a
mistake, as things became unduly complicated. I personally found
it a major trauma every time I tried to find my way around the
ever growing labyrinth of topics.  Therefore, I feel that the
present structure is the best one.

To Arvind Kumar
     Welcome aboard.  I have very closely read Alice Bailey's
Autobiography, and less closely some of her other books,
Particularly ESOTERIC ASTROLOGY.  I would be very interested in a
comparative discussion of Blavatsky and Bailey's writings.  But
my purpose would be to compare the writings to see where they
agree and/or don't agree.  For me, I find Blavatsky more
appealing than Bailey, and would have to come from that bias.  If
you are comfortable with that, I'm ready to play.

To James T. Anderson
     My description of "ants on the wall" was meant to be
descriptive--not that I thought I saw ants on the wall.  When I
mentioned the incident to a woman I studied with for eighteen
years, who was very psychic, she suggested that I was seeing the
molecular structure of the wall.  This would have also been an
apt simile, but not necessarily what I was really seeing.  When
the experience involuntarily repeated itself when I was in my
late teens or early twenties, I did for an instant think I was
seeing "crawling ants,"  until I remembered (or recognized?) the
phenomena from my past.  I think this distinction is important,
because it shows our tendency to attribute a more normalized
explanation to things we see through involuntary psychism.  When
I willfully dissolved the wall as a child, it never occurred to
me that I was seeing ants.  But when the same phenomena was
involuntary and unrecognized, my imagination for an instant
substituted ants as the most plausible explanation of what I was
seeing.  As to why ants and spiders, my guess is that whatever we
are seeing have bug-like motions.
     It looks like we have already started an insects-and-
arachnids-on-the-wall study group.

To Jerry Schuler
     As you say, Karma yoga may be the lowest of the schools in
India.  Though it doesn't excite many people in this country
either.  Altruism just doesn't go very well with the goals of
capitalism, though great karma yoga people like Mother Theresa do
get a courtesy applause.  H.P.B. was pushing both jnana yoga and
karma yoga.  The jnana caught on with the popular set, but I've
also met many people in theosophical organizations that got the
message and also are dedicated to individual practices of karma
yoga.  Magic is also a path, but as you suggest--less safe.

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