The Golden Age
No one can stop you - Interview With Derek Harper
After the conference, The Golden Age asked Derek Harper, National Director of DLM in Australia, a few questions:
In the United Press interview printed in the last Golden Age, Bob Mishler says that he sees DLM becoming "part of the mainstream of life." How do you feel the Mission in Australia fits in with the overall community at present, and how do you see it developing?
Well, relative to 1973, I think we blend in very nicely and we're getting better all the time, but it won't be until everyone is really experiencing the Knowledge that our external manifestation will be widely accepted. You see, it's not that there's anything wrong with the Knowledge or the changes that take place within us but it's the useless mumbo jumbo that we create that alienates people. Self-righteousness, fanaticism, dogmatism, rigidness, and intolerance are manifestations of the mind, not of Knowledge. Confusion, depression, ignorance, lack of sensitivity and tact, nervousness and feeling ill at ease with normal people are limitations imposed on us by the mind. And unfortunately this is how a great many people see the Knowledge, the organisation and the people who support it, because people went out and tried to propagate the experience of Knowledge before they had experienced it for themselves. So naturally people began to associate DLM and Guru Maharaj Ji with these negative aspects and it's not until we, as a group, start to really experience Knowledge that we will be able to overcome these first impressions. So I think the situation is better than before but when you consider how powerful and beautiful Knowledge is, the potential for us, individually and collectively is enormous. We can, and will, become more and more together. So it's only a matter of time until each practising meditator has the wisdom, strength, sincerity and sensitivity that we see in those people who are really advancing on this path.
What role do you see for an individual member of the Mission in this development?
Well, as I see it, the individual is the Mission. Each member is responsible for one eight-hundredth of the whole and he can either improve that section or not. I have my one-thousandth and you have another. No one can make you practise Knowledge and no one can stop you, we are entirely, solely and only responsible for our little area. We're all in it together and we are all equal in terms of our responsibility. So in fact there is no other role than that of the individual in the development of the Mission. When you enlarge a newspaper photograph you find that it is composed of black dots and white dots. If there is room for one thousand dots in the photo and they're all white, it's
No. 30, June 1976
probably a photo of snow. If half are white and half are black then the photograph is grey, but in fact the dots are not exactly evenly distributed and so there are patches of black and patches of white and patches of all shades between. Well, it's the same with us, but it is always changing: more black dots have decided to become white and so the whole image is getting lighter. The question is, do you want to be a black dot or do you want to be a light one? Development for the Mission is when an individual becomes lighter.
During the time DLM has been in operation in Australia our approach to our own lives, and to outreach, seems to have gone through various periods of upheaval. Sometimes these changes seem to be leading somewhere, other times they just seem to be swings of the pendulum - going across the path rather than along it. Do you reckon the changes we've gone through were a necessary part of our growth? Do you see them continuing, or is there a point of balance to be achieved?
It's like we've walked out of a very heavy party and we're totally drunk. And in order to find our way to our home we have to follow a line we drew on the footpath on the way to the party. Now the quickest way from any point to any other point is along a straight line drawn between them but because we're so drunk, unconscious and lacking in coordination we find it extremely difficult to walk right on the line, instead we stagger and lurch from one to the other, trying to find our balance. Now the longer we walk the more sober we become, the less we lurch from side to side and the quicker and more direct progress becomes. Some people are so totally ripped that they wander so far from the line that they get completely lost and spend hours crawling around on their hands and knees looking for the line again. And that's us as individuals and as a collective, we're just staggering along singing songs, laughing, crying and falling over but we are getting more sober with every faltering step. So don't lie down on the footpath or fall asleep in someone's garden -we're not home yet.
So although our lurchings aren't necessary in themselves, what can you expect of a drunk person? They will get less and less until we achieve stability. We're like the blood of the Mission, if we're juiced up then we'll effect the stability of the Mission. The more sober we become, the more stable the Mission will be.
Is this lurching necessary? Well it is and it isn't. Just as a child constantly falls over whilst learning to walk, so we constantly wander off the path. Making mistakes is a necessary part of the learning process and is fine as long as we learn from them. We can all say, "Why doesn't the baby just get up and do it?" but that would be a little unfair. Anyway what's wrong with falling over?
In the last Divine Times, someone was quoted as saying that he felt that all the confusions people with Knowledge experience are rooted in a lack of understanding that the practise of Knowledge is an individual experience. Could you comment on that?
I've already used it before, but one of my favourite sayings is "no one can make you experience the Knowledge, and no one can stop you." It sounds simple but it is very important. The experience of Knowledge is the exact opposite to confusion: knowledge of your purpose in life, of your life force, clears up all confusion and misunderstanding that a person might have.
But if people don't actually experience Knowledge in their lives then in fact they get even more confused. Because they think they have the answer and that therefore everything should be okay -but it isn't and it's confusing. They just seem to go round and round in circles. To use the analogy of the drunk guy again, they have been shown the little line to walk on but insist on taking a bottle or two to keep them happy on the long walk home. So they have seen the line but try as they may they just can't seem to walk on it because they just won't stop drinking. And as we all know, drinking is thinking. So if a person doesn't get themselves together as an individual then all they can do or try to do is imitate others, and nothing is more sad than to see a hopelessly drunk and unhappy person trying to imitate someone else. He can vaguely see others walking along the line but he can't understand why he can't do it himself. He can't see the connection between drinking and lurching, or between thinking and confusion. It completely eludes him.
As we move towards finding our own understanding, it seems that we sometimes run across contradictions or paradoxes - two that come to mind are effort/relaxation, and direction/discrimination. What do you see happening here?
In this experience we call life there are two main parts, reality and illusion. Reality is behind and supporting everything including the illusion. Reality is the source of love, beauty and awareness, it is the goal of Knowledge. To be aware of the reality is to be fulfilled. The other part called illusion, is divided into a further two parts called duality, paradox, contradiction, yin and yang. Duality as the name implies, is dual in nature. It has two parts: good and bad, left and right, up and down, you and me, here and there, first and last, past and present, positive and negative. Now if you're experiencing the Knowledge you are aware of the reality that is hidden behind the illusion. The reality that can only be experienced by meditation. If you are not experiencing the reality, then you must be left with the illusion. So when you see effort and relaxation, direction and discrimination, you can think, "These contradict each other," and become confused. But if you were firmly established in the reality of the Knowledge you would understand that they are complementary and dependent on each other for existence.
This is getting a bit complicated. Let's just say that if you are getting confused by the contradictions you see in yourself and others, you are in the illusion. Because when you are in the reality, these contradictions cease to exist.
When you're meditating, you are not in your mind and when you're not in your mind, who is there to notice contradictions? But as soon as you stop to think about what's going on all these contradictions spring up. You see, we're not supposed to be thinking about this experience, we're supposed to be in it. For everything in this world, every idea, every feeling and every concept there is an equal and opposite one of equal value, strength and validity. So if you try or even just allow yourself to speculate about the intellectual, moral or logical consistency of this path, you're in for a lot of trouble. It isn't logically, morally, or intellectually consistent, it's beyond these. It's not bound by any rules or regulations, it goes where it wants, when it wants and how it wants and we have no choice but to hang on. We're not in control of this trip and we never will be.