This month's missal examines the life and work of Joseph Sadony (1877-1960). A pioneer in the art of direct perception, he was born in Mountbauer, Germany. He came to the United States as a small boy and spent his youth with his folks in Kalamazoo, Michigan, before they moved to Chicago when he was a teenager. As a young man he walked hundreds of miles through the western Indian Reservations as part of a special investigation for President Teddy Roosevelt. He married Lillian Mary Kochem of Kentucky in 1906 and bought an eighty acre estate near Muskegon the same year. This was where he built his home, Valley of the Pines, which he had dreamed of in detail before seeing it. It was where he would spend his productive life, and build his research labs. Here he wrote, and ran his experiments until his death in 1960.
Sadony had from early childhood a gift of seeing things directly, and for questioning everything, even his own existence. He never bought into the usual definitions of life, and had a hard time with conventional schooling. He dropped out of school for good at age thirteen and never went back, preferring to learn directly and from those who practiced what they taught.
I lay in the dark; then suddenly something happened to me that I did not comprehend until years later, in memory. The vague distress of an internal conflict I could not understand suddenly vanished. In that moment I gained a new sense of identity. Yet I felt like a stranger in the bosom of my own family. Suddenly I didn't know who I was, and lay there in the dark asking myself, "Who am I? Where am I? How did I get here?"
Fervently and deeply I wanted the truth, and I could see that none of the teachers knew the truth; none of the books told the truth. It was nothing but words, and words about words. Brick by brick, word by word, I saw the wall being built around us children to seal us for life into one room of our brain, with only two windows, our eyes, safely guarded with prison bars of words stronger than steel that also kept out most of the light; with every other gate of the mind carefully sealed by a word, so that no feeling could be arrived at, save through a word first, like putting gloves on our hands, shoes on our feet, spectacles on our eyes, muffs on our ears, and a woolen padding on every nerve end so we would be cut off from the quivering, life-giving pulsations of direct contact with the truth.
So I revolted; tore down the wall of words; threw off my shoes, both physically and mentally, and walked barefoot even where the stones were sharp and painful.
He had what most would call an ability to predict the future, though he himself never described it as such. He simply would see or 'feel' the chain leading up to an event and could then point out the event before it happened. He never used his gift to profit or make things easier on himself, except for one unfortunate time when he gave a friend a tip on the future direction of the stock market, earning his friend money, but not a dime for himself. Nevertheless, he found that his power to 'feel' was taken away for exactly one year. He was left to rely on his thinking to carry him through until the sensing returned.
The following is his own account of this 'feeling' and how it worked:
All I knew as a child was that I had some sort of relation with what I could neither see, hear, smell, taste nor touch; and that relation was a "feeling."
But I found that "thinking" and "imagining" first created a false feeling that lied to me. It was only when the feeling came first, without thinking, that the feeling was right. And my thoughts and imaginations were right only if they were induced by the feeling and not by association of thought resulting from what I saw or heard. Sometimes there was nothing in my experience to fit the feelings that came to me. Often I could not understand them at all in terms of word or ideas familiar to me. Still I "knew"; but I couldn't explain it.
What puts the letters of the alphabet together to form words? What puts words together to form sentences of understanding?
No one could answer me. Nor could I. All I knew was that if I stroked a thing with my fingers until I felt that it was a part of me, like my foot, I could "feel" it, just like my foot.
There is only one way my foot can talk to me, and that is by a feeling. It may be pleasant or unpleasant, hot or cold; comfortable, tired or painful. My own memory tells me why, and what it means. I can't see my foot; it's in my shoe. I can't see my foot even if it's bare. All I can see is the dead skin outside. That's all I can see of anything. All we ever see is the dead skin of things. We never see what anything really is. We can only "feel" it.
If people were going to insist on calling that "seeing," very well then. I could "see" better with the ends of my fingers and with my eyes closed. Also I could "hear" better that way.
To prove it, and to amuse my friends, I would hold my hand high, fingertips in the direction of a distant railway engine five miles away that none of my friends could hear or see. I would say, "It's whistling, only you can't hear it now." Then, "It's coming closer, closer now it's going to whistle: one, two, three" and whooo came the shriek of the engine just after my third count.
"But how did you know?"
"I saw the engineer reach up to pull the whistle."
"But how did you see it? We couldn't even see the train yet."
"With my fingers."
"But you can't see with your fingers!"
"Of course not. But that's what you insist on calling it."
He spent much of his adult life writing, either in his daily column for the local newspaper, or in editing and publishing The Whisper, an independent journal of Prevenient Thought. His book, Gates of the Mind,
lays out his view of life and our possibilites, as well as describing his own. He also ran the Educational Research Laboratories in his home in Valley of the Pines as part of making his living, but mostly to advance scientific understanding and to verify his own intuitions. His work was for mankind, and he believed this was the practical way to live.
Self-preservation is not a remarkable phenomenon, but race-preservation is. The man who will fight to preserve himself or his family is not a particularly interesting object of study, but the man who will live his life and give his life for the sake of mankind and human progress is manifesting the mystery that is the religion of mankind. What is the source of his "feelings"?
While Sadony's writings leave us with inspiration, encouragement, and hints as to our own intuitive abilities, he does not give much in the way of a system of how to come to these abilities. We are left to our own determination and desire. He left no school or followers, but thanks to the recent work of those who understand his work, his writings have been preserved to shed light on the mysteries of our own potential. He continually warned of the dangers of words and the unquestioned concept and belief, and instead points us to going within one's own mind to find and follow our ' feelings' as the way home.
Actually I do not see ten thousand miles away with any form of "vision" whatever. I do not "see" the future. My reception or perception of these things is entirely formless, entirely a "feeling," entirely devoid of image, word, thought or concept. What makes it intelligible to myself or someone else is the activity of my imagination, which endeavors to symbolize, portray or interpret the "feeling."
And what is the "feeling"? That is the one great mystery. That is the quest. That is the source of all inspiration, the fountainhead of all spiritual gifts, the heart and life of all religion. This is the foundation that science has provided for spiritual understanding: a physiological foundation for a nervous organization that responds to an unknown source or sources of energy in the form of "feelings." These feelings are neurological and physiological; not the activity of a special or occult "sense," but the coordinated activity of the entire nervous organization. The reaction is one of selective stimulation of previously experienced and conditioned reflex arcs of memory. The imagination interprets the "feeling" in terms of memories associated with similar feelings. Thus a complex feeling is broken down into its elements by symbolic representation in an imaginative composite of memory elements. Thereby we "understand" it.
All quotes by Joseph Sadony
- Related Sites -
The Valley of the Pines Website: This site is dedicated to the legacy of Joseph A. Sadony and the people that he touched with his life. Joseph led an extraordinary life and lived it to it's fullest, never asking for anything in return. Here you will find all the information you could ever want to know about his life and work.
We are in the process of cleaning up and restoring the Valley of the Pines which has fallen into disrepair. We are also working to organize all the information on and in the estate. Thousands upon thousands of pages of letters, books, photographs, scrap books, articles, journals, and much more will be available for research. So sit back, relax, with an open mind and a thirst for knowledge enjoy the following pages and continue to check back periodically because this site will do nothing but continue to grow. It has been a long time coming but we think Grandpa would be proud of what we are doing. http://www.thevalleyofthepines.com/
Gates of the Mind: The Work of Joseph Sadony.
"It is for the purpose of exploring that state between what is more Real and
what is very temporary that this web site is presented.....here are most works of Joseph A. Sadony as unchanged and proofed as we can present them. His legacy lives on, peace to the wanderer . " - Gary Harmon.
Amazing collection of Sadony's work, compiled and edited by Gary and Linda Harmon. http://gatesofthemind.com/
Spiritual Books Worth Reading
: "Spiritual reading is the search for wisdom that has been written in words. The search for enlightenment, satori, the absolute, Truth, Self, nirvana, God, are all subjects that are beyond language. Special writing skills are required to convey anything of value to the reader. To save you time in finding the most understandable of authors in this nebulous area, this list has been assembled." http://home.earthlink.net/~grharmon/
Tricks and Traps
Trap: confusing verbalized thought with direct experience. Through many years of training, we have come to believe that our thought-concepts, memories and words are somehow as real as direct experience. We may have lost track of direct experience altogether and come to live entirely in our thoughts and personal feelings, cut off from what we might call the 'now' by a gap of time.
Trick: Learning to 'listen' or 'feel'. Instead of unquestioned acceptance of our thought and feeling reactions, try seeing what's being presented to you through the various gates of the mind. The translating of this direct perception into worded thought and images can come later, along with an emotional reaction, but first, what are you perceiving, now?
Tricky Trick: becoming too clever for our own good. We can become so smart that we can even project a concept of 'now' into our own heads and thus believe we have solved the problem of direct experience by referring to this 'now' thought-memory whenever we want to feel we are 'seeing'. Thus, we assuage our 'feelings' and keep our ego on top by yet another conceptual trick.
"Every argument that I ever heard was caused by someone trying to shape the truth by words, instead of allowing the words to be shaped by truth. -
I wanted the truth to select its own words, and not for men to try to shape ideas of truth in my brain with their words. This would not be true, and it was impossible ever for it to be true; for that is not what truth is."
- Joseph Sadony
The Ties That Bind
“Experience is binding. Intense experience is intensely binding. Observing the process of experiencing is liberating. Your experience generates experience. Experience is to the identity as food is to the body. Your identity weaves itself in a self-perpetuating chain-reaction (identity spins identity)-- so long as the attention is glued to experience -- and so long as the body fuels the reactor.” - Bob Cergol
“The things that are holding you up personally are the negative things that have happened to you.” - Richard Rose
Sadony talks of tuning the 'human radio'. To be able to pick up 'feelings' within our awareness that preclude our verbal knowledge and give us valuable information. Others speak of uncovering the wellhead to insight, of sharpening the intuition, similar references to getting information directly. How might one go about doing this oneself? Two things are necessary before this is possible.
First, one needs the incentive. After the usual ego efforts have failed, and we find ourselves with our back against the wall, only then will most of us turn within for direct knowledge from a source other than our own associative mind. This explains why failure has been called the best success, and trauma a sometimes necessary force on the path. As long as things are going to plan, why look within for some nebulous voice?
The second condition is to have a clear receiver, capable of being precisely tuned. The old business dictum, 'past performance dictates future performance,' indicates the trouble. Our mind has been formed from associations formed in the past, and as such has no real capacity for new, outside-the-box knowledge. Let's take a look at this and see how we can break free, and tune the receiver.
As personalities, individual selves, we are formed from experience. These experiences create an experiencer who is their sum total, or 'us'. When an experience or action is intense or charged, it creates a hot spot or 'energy knot' which stays charged as long as the experiencer 'believes' in it, thus keeping it alive. These knots are usually unconscious to their owner, and are thus able to stay in the background, acting as a filtering mechanism. All future reactions will be affected by them.
Dispassionate observation is the key. When we can observe our own reactions, without reacting, we are getting a clue as to how to free the receiving mechanism from these knots. To break up these reaction pattern hot-spots, we observe them without reaction, thus breaking the chain, and opening possibility. To observe them dispassionately removes their charge, and thus frees us from their limiting effect. We then have the possibility of freeing the attention from its obsession with the associative mind. This is tricky business, for to be present during an event that usually brings up a hot-spot, and not react emotionally as usual but instead simply observe, is not easy. We must also be on the lookout for other defense mechanisms that will keep these knots hidden and unconscious. Here's where honesty and using others as a mirror comes into play.
How many times have we dealt with situations and people by simply letting the mind run through it's arrogant 'knowing', staying on automatic? How much have we missed by not being able to listen, or by running away into distraction? Can we learn to observe ourselves as we perceive, in the moment? As we go about our day-to-day routine, instead of either insisting we already know everything already, or putting our hands over our ears and tuning out, could we observe ourselves, and watch the mechanicalness of our mind at work, without emotional involvement? Instead of rushing to defend our sense of self in every moment, could we tune our attention within to something more subtle, something less self-obsessed, and perhaps pick up the still, small voice within? Over time, we may find that this voice has our best interest at heart, even when we as ego do not. Eventually, we can come to observe ourselves in more trying situations, and be amazed at how dispassionate observation clears the machine from static. Our inner self can become our own best friend, if we learn to tune the receiver and listen to our 'feelings'.
- Quotes of the Month -
" It matters not who in the world of time the mind may be; Truth imprints upon its tablet its own law. If that mind is so constituted, it can no more help reflecting the fact than a mirror can help reflecting the rays of the sun if at just that angle to catch the eye as well as to send the reflection that will come to the human eye that receives it. The receiver is just as important as the sender.
" He who used Truth as a weapon, makes many enemies, but creates one Friend.
" Thoughts are wreathes of evaporating intelligence. - Thoughts are composed of what one's vitality consists of.
" Admiration is an unconsciousness confession of dormant accomplishments in the admirer.
" The man who lives within the chamber of licentious thoughts, must expect to pay its rent.
" Be careful not to allow the weather-vane to stick, or it will lie.
" As we think and act, so are we. Our thoughts leave an indelible mark upon our features, while our actions leave monuments in the graveyards of the memories of others.
" Just get into the game of being boys and girls. It is the most wonderful game in the world. Even the Master played it when He said "Suffer little children to come unto me. Forbid them not." As little children we can enter the Kingdom of Heaven -- but not as old men and women: for they are left behind to clean the cobwebs of old Mother Earth. " - Joseph Sadony
" I've discussed the value of failure in creative work. Failure is terribly important.... The notion that failure is a negative thing is wrong." - Emma Thompson
" No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true."- Nathaniel Hawthorne
" The greatest of all pleasures consists in the contemplation of truth." - Thomas Aquinas
"Contrariwise, if it was so, it might be; and if it were so,it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic."
- Lewis Carroll
"Creative minds always have been known to survive any kind of bad training."
- Anna Freud
Copyright 2003 - 2007 Robert Fergeson. All Rights Reserved.