No. 32, August 1976
Cathy Lowrie and Michelle Philipps are two of the nine people initiated during Ira Woods' last visit to Sydney in April. Both 19 years old, Michelle is at technical college studying for her Higher School Certificate, while Cathy works as a nurse at Sydney Hospital. Both girls are area reps on Sydney's newly-formed AMP Committee.
How did you come to receive Knowledge?
Cathy: I got to a point where I was doing all these things, I was just going along in life and I started thinking that maybe there was something more, something to make me happy. I was feeling that there wasn't much in life; sometimes I couldn't even see why I wanted to keep living, because there didn't seem to be anything. I heard about Guru Maharaj Ji on the television: it was just a coincidence really because we never usually watched T.V. It was when there was all that trouble with Mata Ji. They were interviewing people and saying, "Oh, this guy's a ripoff," and the people were saying, "Look, you've got it all wrong … " I just couldn't believe it, there was this guy saying, "Oh, he's got this much money, and they're doing this," and they were saying, "No, look, you've missed the point," really calm and relaxed. And I just thought, "Maybe there's something there."
Michelle: Cathy and I used to live together when she first started coming to satsang, and she told me. We were both feeling much the same at that time. When I first came to satsang, I really felt that I understood what they were saying, that it was true.
Cathy: I didn't really look ahead into it very much. Now I've got Knowledge sometimes I think, "How did I get here?" Things just seemed to happen.
We were initiated about ten months after we first started coming to satsang. It wasn't until we did the seminar at the end of last year that I really started getting into it, started to get to know people. The seminar channelled me to really begin preparing for Knowledge. It was such a sharing thing, we all went into it together. The premies were lovely, and the aspirants too.
The Golden Age
It really flowed well.
Then there was the three-day seminar with Ira, and the Knowledge selection. That was incredible. It's funny, during all that time I got to a point where I thought, "I just don't know anything." I knew I wanted Knowledge, but that was about all. Like in the Knowledge selection it was presented that this is for the rest of your life. Well, I'd sort of been thinking all the time, "Oh yeah, I'm going to do it for the rest of my life," but then when Ira said, "Okay, you're going to do this for the rest of your life? You're going to do this … ?" and I said "Yes" … It's like you just have to have so much trust to know what you're going to do. Because you know that you have to do it, and you have to really trust that you're at the point that you actually can do it. Because it's so big. You think you understand before you get Knowledge - and I suppose in a way that you do - but from where I'm looking at it now it seems that I didn't have any understanding. I suppose that's just because you're progressing all the time. You come to a point where you see, "This is how it is," and it's hard to understand how you thought the things you did before.
Michelle: That three-day seminar was amazing. I found that I learned a real lot about myself that had never really occurred to me before, things that came out of me that I didn't even realise were there. Ira just brought them out. When he was speaking to you, or even if he just looked at you, it was like he was looking right inside you. It wasn't so much that he told you anything, it was more like he helped you see yourself a bit clearer and come to your own decision. You just had to be really honest with yourself, and see if it was what you really really wanted.
Cathy: When I look back at what I thought Knowledge was, it all seems really wishy-washy. When you've got the experience you know what it is. You just know that this is it, that this is really what you want. You finally feel you're home. Not to sit down and relax, because you know that there's more, but you know that at least you're on the right track. When I see other people and I think that they can't even have that experience in themselves, that all they're doing is just thinking, it really seems empty, just like shells. When you've got Knowledge, it fills you up so much.
Michelle: I've really appreciated having had the preparation, the seminar and that. It's so good to really come to the understanding before you're initiated that that's what it is that you're looking for. Understanding that this is the whole purpose of everything, really helps me keep going a lot of the time. If I didn't understand that, as soon as something rotten happened I'd probably say, "Forget it." But as it is, you know that no matter what else you go and do, you're only going to be looking for the experience you have in Knowledge anyway. So it just seems futile to even consider anything else. Even though I think sometimes, "Oh, if I could do this or do that," I see how useless it is, because I'd only be doing it to be where I am now.
Cathy: Sometimes I've caught myself thinking, "Wow, I just don't feel like I've got any trust in Guru Maharaj Ji or any faith in the whole thing." And I can see how it's just my mind saying that, and how simply doing satsang, service and meditation when you're going through something is trust. It's just that you keep doing it, keep doing satsang, service and meditation to get to where you want to go.
The thought of not doing that really scares me, as a matter of fact. I haven't even thought about not going to satsang or not meditating if I'm going through something. I just really try to hang on, because I know that it's the only thing.
Do you feel that DLM has changed much since you first came?
Michelle: Yes, I think it has. Just in little things that I notice if I'm talking to someone who hasn't been here before. You know that a few little things aren't there any more, and you can see that they would have put people off.
Cathy: I think everyone is trying more for the experience of Knowledge, so they're naturally leaving all the paraphernalia behind. It doesn't seem like such a trip now. When I came here it was a bit like all these people getting together rah rah rah sort of thing. Whereas now it seems like everyone's really trying, and it seems to be bringing everyone together more in a way, because they're experiencing the Knowledge. It's on a different level.
Michelle: I feel like it's changed more on that level of understanding than in exterior things. There's a different feeling.
Cathy: My whole idea of who Guru Maharaj Ji is took a big turnabout when I realised that it's not like he's all clad in gold up on some pedestal. I mean he is really special because he's realised the Knowledge, but in a really practical way. Everything he's doing for us is just really practical to help us incorporate Knowledge in our life, rather than to make it trippy. When I saw that video of the Development '76 conference he seemed so natural and matter-of-fact. It just seems a
No. 32, August 1976
lot better that everything's becoming more normal. Normal but with the extra touch. It just seems much more practical.
From having your preparation and having had your experience with practising Knowledge, what would you say to someone preparing for initiation now?
Cathy: Just to try and understand what it is. That's really hard when you haven't got it, but that's all I can say really: just try and understand more and more what the Knowledge is. Then you'll be prepared to dedicate your life to find out what your life's all about.
Michelle: I think too - I suppose this is like what Cathy said - that it's coming to the understanding that this is what you really want to do: you feel that it is a process of finding out what everything's .nout, and that it's not in all those other things.
And also, one thing I've realised is that you don't have be like a sheep - you're in it with everyone else, but at the same time you're discovering what your own self is about. I found that what I did a bit was try to be what everyone thought I was supposed to be, rather than developing in myself: when I first came I thought that I had to lose everything and *t have Knowledge and be Ake a zombie or something. But it's not like that. You don't have to fit into all these little picture-frames of what you're supposed to be like. Szill be involved in the community - it's not that you away from that, but have our own identity.
Cathy: I think that happens as you start meditating more. You start experiencing who you really are so then it becomes a lot more natural. When you start experiencing who you reallyare then everything seems to happen.
You're saying that coming to the understanding you need to receive Knowledge is a pretty individual thing. What role do you see for the premies in helping people prepare for Knowledge?
Cathy: What I've found is that once you start experiencing Knowledge, you can tell people about it from a really sincere point. It's not just words: you're really experiencing it and you can tell people. And I think people want to hear, they really want to hear that there's something else. And for aspirants - I think it just helps their understanding grow if you can tell them how it's fitted in to your life, how it's really incredible coming from that point of love all the time instead of coming from that thought all the time.
Michelle: Sometimes when you wait for Knowledge you can get really weird things in your head that you blow up out of proportion. I found that it really helped when I just had satsang with someone, and they could show me that it wasn't such a big deal. They could bring it back to the correct proportion which was usually nothing. It's just good to be able to talk to people and have them know what you're meaning, because when you come to a point where you think everything else is pretty futile, there's not a lot of people you can really talk about stuff like that to, because they don't understand what you mean. Whereas you can talk to premies and they really know what you mean.
How do you find satsang now?
Michelle: I find it really good. Sometimes after being at tech all day just to get into satsang and listen to it takes me into a completely different headspace. Times like that I appreciate it so much - I can see that you really need to hear it.
And sometimes, too, I talk to Cath and maybe she says how she's been going through all this stuff, and I think, "Yeah," you know. Because I've been going through it too and sometimes I think that maybe I'm the only person. .
Cathy: I find that sometimes if I do start getting confused, or something starts niggling at me, I can really build it up. And I find I'm not in the position sometimes to just start meditating. I find that I really need satsang just for breathing space, so that I can get into it again. When you have that understanding with someone else, they can point you in the right direction and you can just go forward again.
I think too that you need to be careful not to get into thinking, "Oh, I'm too together, I can't ask for satsang." Like sometimes when I really want to hear satsang I can hear my mind just so loudly saying, "You don't need satsang." And then when I finally get around to asking someone and they start talking my mind says, "You know all this." I find I just have to be really open and accept what people are saying. Like if I knew it all I wouldn't need to hear it again, but I obviously don't know it deeply enough.
It's confronting when you talk to someone who's experiencing Knowledge if you know that you're not, that you're not trying or something. You just can't deny it, it's so much in front of you that it makes you realise that you have to actually put more effort in and do something about it, to get to that point.
Michelle: Yeah, sometimes I find satsang really confronting, too: it makes you really look at yourself, and like you were saying, sometimes you don't want to hear it. But once you've heard it, it's good because the problem's gone…
Cathy, you just moved in to a community centre didn't you? How was that?
Cathy: Actually it was really funny when I moved in there. All of a sudden I had to live in a house I didn't particularly want to live in.
How do you mean? You didn't like the physical house?
Cathy: Yeah, well it was the house on one level, but then I realised that it was a lot more than the house. I had a day of realising that I had to move in, and like I knew I wanted to do it, but at the same time the mind was there saying, "You don't want to do it." It was really confronting, actually. I was trying to think that I was doing it for Maharaj Ji, but I wasn't really succeeding in thinking that.
It's like you're just in there with your mind, really, if you're not meditating. I was just out there wondering why I was doing the whole thing. And I simply had to understand that yes, I do want to do it. I just want to spare myself the agony of going off into my crazy thoughts for the rest of my time. Because it's so futile, you know, just thinking about things. I really experience that it's true what people say about how the most beautiful thought that you can think of has got nothing compared to meditation. And I think some good thoughts! But then when you realise you're thinking and start meditating again, it just doesn't compare. It's like you were saying how you're realising that you just want to do meditation, practise Knowledge. You don't have to do it, but you do it because you want to do it.