by Dr. Derek Lamar
Strong charismatic teachers are a must for any successful school, be it Fourth Way, metaphysical, or otherwise. Thane was that kind of Teacher. When you heard him speak you were hearing the words while internally you felt as though you were being transformed. You had a tremendous sense of comfort and awe in his presence feeling that he "knew" what he was talking about even if you didn't yet understand it or the implications. But you knew you wanted to hear more and you were prepared to continue this sojourn.
This is why though I appeared to criticize the "school" for its seeming shortcomings I said: "And yet it is where I was supposed to be." It wasn't just the "Teaching" but the man. Like the Russian mystic, Gurdjieff, Thane had that sense of observing which looked through you and cut away the false from the real. Often this caused uneasy moments and yet you lived to be in his presence. His long time personal student, Norma Keller, was very much a cut from the same cloth but unique in her way and style. She was also very charismatic with her long Hawaiian gowns, short cut silver white hair, a knowing smile and a confidence which made you feel comfortable but always on your toes.
(Above: Gurdjieff, Derek, Thane. Far right: Thane during his Eloi-Sun period in 1935.)
You felt special to be around these and other people but once you were involved in the "Work", learning esoteric information, you could escape much of the need for the attention you often arrived with. People tend to be attracted to those whom they feel will rub off on them. It is a popularity thing. Many students envy being close to the Teacher, but often, for some, it is too threatening to their egos to get that close. While others are so ignorant of the "hot stove" they touch it like little children not knowing that sometimes too close is painful.
One of the first things one learns in a Teaching of this magnitude is that it gives you a sense of "hope". When I was honest with myself I could admit a feeling inside that said: "There is something wrong with me." I can reflect on this with an incident that happened while I owned a graphics advertising business on Eye Street in Bakersfield just a block from the Bakersfield Californian newspaper. One day this homeless kid bolted out of the Wall St. alleyway walking fast and half out of his mind yelling: "What did I do? What did I do?" That moment for me was like a bolt of lightning searing through my body and into my soul. I could hear a hidden part of myself screaming: "What did I do?" This would later lead me to important work.
When I began taking classes originally I immediately felt a change within me even though intellectually I could not verbalize what I had learned. There was something about "being there" and having what seemed like a light from another world wash over you as it opened you up to a new level.
(Left: This isn't the classroom. But it could be.)
Of course I was still running around to find someone to have a relationship with. I had been "imagining" I was going to be a rock and roll star but I didn't really start writing my own music until after I met Thane at that party at Ludwig Gerber's house on Blue Jay Way in 1971. There is an Eastern saying: "When the student is ready, the Teacher appears." When this happens many things will seem to fall into place. Your life will begin to open up. Sometimes it will simultaneously fall apart. Often both of these things are necessary.
(Above: Ludwig Gerber, Thane's attorney and the famous Blue Jay Way house.)
It wasn't just that I had arrived "at a certain place" but I was now connected with a Master. The flow of esoteric information was all around me and its influence opened up my creative center. The process of composing music was rapidly becoming a form of "automatic writing". Once my subconscious was open to abstract music a hypnotic process ensued which would be the foundation for the ideas and words that would become the lyrics.
(Left and right: Derek Lamar promotional material.)
Most of the time I did not realize the depth of the songs. I didn't yet have the capability or the capacity to interpret the symbology. That would come much later. My first eye opener was the full realization that I could actually change things in my life. I could alter the future and I could refile the past in such a way that it no longer controlled me or kept me from being who I really was.
I was tormented by my own personal demons but I found that my needs were always met. The voice which said: "What did I do?" combined with a sense that "there was something wrong with me", left me forever walking around the chair of life keeping me busy but never really confronting exactly what was haunting me. I finally began doing "The Work". This involved looking at myself and at my ideas. Sometimes this was personal, sometimes impersonal. In Fourth Way you learn that you do your "Work" where you are. You will find that what you need to deal with is right there in front of you at that moment if you are ready to face it.
I learned that rather than expanding my consciousness by acquiring more information I began moving up in levels. It isn't just one of those boxes on the shelf you call your studies, but life itself is the project and as you change so does your world around you. The people nearby you begin to change and they start to respond to you differently. I learned you cannot change anything "out there" because it isn't "out there". It is inside of you. The world is changed through the observation of it and as your observing changes so does everything else.
Shortly after I began my counseling, Betty Cuff, my mentor at that time, said: "You should experiment with this new found ability at visualization and see how it can work for you." I had mentioned to her that another student I was seeing would always let me pay for the entire meal when we would go out. Betty said: "Visualize her paying for her share and see how that works out." I put this to work and visualized her paying her portion of the bill. The next time we went out she reached into her purse and took out the money just like I had imagined. Betty said: "So that's great." I said, "Yeah, except I forgot to visualize the tip so I had to pay that." We both laughed. This was a beginning of really seeing the power of the mind for me even though I was still dealing with reality as both here and out there.
(Above: Zucky's Deli in Santa Monica after 1994 earthquake. This is where the "famous" visualization dinner took place.)
During this period in 1974 I wrote a song called "He Saw Hitler Make Black Magic" based on my Teacher's experiences with Hitler in the 1930's. I performed it at Improv Night at the school along with another song. During the "Hitler" song I suddenly found myself near the ceiling. I very calmly observed the room, the chairs, the people and then saw myself performing on stage. I freaked out. I was out of my body. "How can this be?" I asked myself. "I can't be here and perform the song down there on the stage. I'm going to screw it up." Suddenly like a vacuum I was sucked back into my body and there I was singing to the audience from the stage. Again I left my body and calmly viewed the audience but as soon as I realized I wasn't on the stage I again panicked. Back again I would go. A third time I left my body and each time I found it easier but still was drawn back when I would see myself on the stage. I got a standing ovation at the conclusion of that song. One of the Mentors there who could "read lights" said there was something odd going on with my aura. Yeah right.
That would change my life forever. It changed how I viewed performing live, how I thought about interacting with in general and how much more there was to learn about mind, energy, expression of creativity and the unfoldment of what was going on around. For a long time I thought it had more to do with my performing music but I would learn years later it had more to do with giving classes, speaking in public and expressing this "energy" for positive purposes.
(Above left and right: Nazi artifacts. The occult of the Third Reich still holds that period of history a mystery.)
I began doing more inner work on concepts related to sexuality and relationships and my own ability or inability at being natural with people. This brought me to a whole new level of understanding androgyny and how the essence of reality is both male/female and this forms the basis for all universal energy and expression. In a Master class called Crown Mysteries held at the Hotel del Coronado, I was primed and open to everything the class could offer. I had no preconceived ideas. I had been doing my work, and I listened intently and let myself be relaxed but alert. During the meditation one was to participate within his or her consciousness. Basically it was a Kundalini yoga exercise but more than that. It was the culmination of mind, body and soul and being God. It was one's own "Big Bang" which culminated in an esoteric climax within one's own consciousness.
(Above left and right: Hotel del Coronado... beautiful historic hotel and "haunted" grounds.)
I was so shocked at the actual outcome. I was even embarrassed once I regained my psychic composure. I thought I had literally experienced a physical biological anatomical ejaculation in my pants. I moved on to realizing it was in my mind. I was somewhat in a daze as I collected my notebook and left to return to my hotel room. I didn't want to speak about what I experienced with anyone for fear that I would lose whatever it was I had achieved. This was the last event of the class and all that was left was for everyone to return home.
(Right: "Big Bang" representation.)
We left and made it back to Santa Monica. My hotel roommate, Tom Landfried, and I didn't discuss what either of us experienced. We went to the bungalow I was living in on Pacific Coast Highway, sorted out our luggage and went for a walk on the Santa Monica Pier just a short distance away. We walked in total silence taking in the cool ocean breeze. We passed the carousel, the restaurants and the arcades and finally could hear the waves hit the pilings. When we were about 100 feet from the end of the pier almost everyone fishing turned and looked up at us. We continued walking in silence and at about 50 feet everyone turned and went back to what they were doing. It was like being Moses coming down from Mt. Sinai with eyes wide open! Another moment I will never forget.(Left: Kundalini yoga and the expansion of consciousness.)
(Right above: Santa Monica pier. Many walks on that pier which turned out to be memorable. One evening my wife and I had dinner at one of the diners on the pier where Francis Bukowski was waitressing. She was separated from poet, Charles Bukowski, at that time. Her daughter, Marina, was also with her that night. Another time I witnessed Peter Graves and Barbara Baines acting under flood lights near the carousel as they filmed an episode of Mission Impossible. But nothing like the night coming down from the mountain.)
(Left:Entrance and exit of the Santa Monica Pier.)
Saga continues: Eyes Filled With Tears
© Copyright Derek Lamar 2005
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