The Knee of Listening – The Idea of Release from Narcissus – Week 8


The Life and


Franklin Jones

Copyright 1971 By Franklin

All rights

of Contents


Chapter 8: The Idea of Release from

The central ideas in Rudi’s way of
teaching were “surrender” and “work.” “Surrender” was an
idea that corresponded to the internal practice in life and
meditation. It was conscious and even willful opening or
letting go of contents, resistance, patterns, feelings and
thoughts. “Work” was the idea that corresponded to the
external practice. The ideal student was to be in a constant
state of surrender and a constant act of work. The purpose
of this was to make the entire instrument, internal and
external, available to the higher power, the “Force” or
Shakti,” and thus to grow by including its will, presence,
intelligence, light and power on every level of

I took this way very seriously and I
made a constant effort to adapt myself to this way
absolutely and exhaustively. I accepted Rudi as a perfect
source of this higher power, and I allowed none of his
apparent limitations to represent actual barriers or
limitations to the Force itself. Whenever I encountered
limitations in him I was immediately moved to reflect on my
own resistance. Thus, I never allowed myself to become
concerned about Rudi’s problems or to think the Force or
Divine power was available to me to a limited

The effect of this way of life was a
perpetual and growing encounter with my own resistance. And
where I encountered my own resistance I would awaken to my
own tendencies to self-pity, negativity and the subliminal
self-imagery by which I guided the creation or manipulation
of experience. The more I worked the more I saw

This way required immense
self-discipline, and as long as it worked it provided a
positive mechanism that strengthened and purified me
physically, mentally and morally. Rudi was a master at this
kind of psychological tutoring, and these effects were his
primary gift to me. Even if his motives were often founded
in problems of his own, he would never allow his students to
become identified with his own case. He would always turn
them to themselves, to their own work and

I considered him to be a tremendous
and brilliant force for the transformation of my life. He
was unique in my experience. My own tendencies were to seek
a loving connection on which I could become dependent. Where
love was not poured on me I tended to become angry and
resentful. But Rudi used these tendencies in me to create a
consciousness of my own patterns and reactions.

Rudi’s psychological presence was
coupled with the mysterious power called the “Force,” an
energy that I could experience directly and unequivocally.
Rudi became for me a personal God-presence, a strange
combination of influences that seemed identical to Christ
and the various Divine personalities in religious and
spiritual literature.

And what were my motives in
surrendering and forcing obedience to such an influence?
Clearly, I had sought just such an encounter. It was no
arbitrary meeting, but a perfectly appropriate coincidence
of my own needs at the time. First of all, it was an
encounter, a confrontation. I had spent years in a more or
less private investigation of my own mechanisms on a purely
internal and philosophical level. I had become exquisitely
aware of the content of my mind and life. Now I had sought
an influence outside myself that would contain and manifest
all of the forces and virtues I had come to believe were
really present in the form of reality. My years in exile or
solitude were an attempt to discover or affirm what was
necessarily in reality. Now I sought to encounter that
proven reality in a living, demonstrable presence. If I had
lost God and Christ, now I sought to encounter the
equivalent force and reality. I no longer considered this
impossible. I thought it to be entirely

Even more, as a result of my long
experiment I had discovered an underlying content and
creative logic or image in my own consciousness. I had
located the source of suffering and misadventure in myself
and recognized it as the pattern fascination had appeared to
me concretely as the leading and drama of Narcissus. The
logic of separation and self mechanism of ordinary
consciousness. This was coupled with another recognition,
which I found in the observations of Jung and the literature
of spiritual phenomena. It was that the drama and fate of
Narcissus was not necessary, not equal to reality. Thus, I
sought an encounter with reality that would release me from
Narcissus, my own deadly logic, by forcing me to include
what Narcissus always rejects by subtle

The idea of release from Narcissus,
the internal myth that creates our suffering and destroys
the inherent bliss and freedom of uncontradicted reality,
was my leading intention. Thus, when I saw that Rudi
manifested and dramatized that “other” presence that is
reality, that always works to confound Narcissus, I gave
myself up to him as a man does to God.

As weeks passed Rudi increased his
hold on me. He fascinated me with the stories of his life,
the whole drama of the Force and its miraculous effects. And
the more fascinated I became the more he strengthened his
demands for work and surrender. Soon there was only work and
only surrender. The underlying presence of love, friendship
and spiritual power was continually reinforced by him in
many personal ways, whenever it was required. But the
outstanding manner of his dealing with me was blunt and
aggressive. Whenever I approached him I would be set aside.
Attention was not focused on me. I was only given some kind
of work to do or left only to listen while he openly gave
his attention to others and seemed to favor them.

From the beginning Rudi made Nina
the object of love and pleasure and constantly drew my
attention from my own problems, questions and needs to
Nina’s need for love. I had decided before I met him that I
would either have to leave Nina or accept the
responsibilities of a husband. Rudi’s way neither required
nor valued celibacy and separation, but always love and
connection. When he began to chide me, at first humorously
and then with obvious seriousness, for my irresponsibility
in relation to Nina, I began to consider how to become more
a husband to her. Finally, he all but demanded that I marry
her, and I agreed.

There is some truth in the idea that
I got married because my teacher told me, for the sake of
discipline and as a kind of yoga. But it was a voluntary
decision on my part and one that I had come to recognize as
right and necessary. To be sure, it would be a matter of
years before I could be capable of being a husband on my own
merits, out of real understanding, love and a need for my
wife, but I knew even then that it was right and good. Thus,
Nina and I were married on February 26, 1965.

Rudi’s influence also led me to
discover a way of engaging my work-life in a way that
utilized my personal and creative needs. My father had
become interested in Rudi as a result of our conversations,
and he would occasionally visit Rudi at the store or even
come to class. On one of these early visits my father told
Rudi that I had once intended to become a Lutheran minister.
He said that at one point I appeared to lose all hope in the
church, and tended to abandon my family, the church and even
the world in despair.

Rudi asked me why I never became a
minister. I told him that at one point I had become unable
to believe in Christ or God and had gone off on my own to
discover what was true about all such things. He dismissed
all of my romanticism about the past and told me it would be
good for me to take up those studies again. After all, I was
no longer separated from such things. They had become my own
experience. And the work of a minister or a theologian was
ideally suited to me. It could make use of my intellectual
abilities and give me a creative outlet in which to speak
about spiritual truth and help other people.

I protested that I may have become
attuned to spiritual life, but I ,as in no sense a Christian
any longer. The truth for me was broader than Christianity.
I had found my symbols more in the East, and Christ stood
only as one of many Avatars, Divine incarnations or
expressions of Reality. Rudi told me that I was only being
childish. He pointed out how his way could easily be
expressed in the language of Christianity. The Force was the
same as God or the Holy Spirit. If I accepted the work of a
minister with a mature mind it could even involve me
creatively. I should simply see in it a right path that
would give me the opportunity for work and

At first this seemed impossible to
me. I was no longer affiliated with any church, nor did I
care to be. The whole life of the church seemed to me so
mediocre and limiting, and I knew I could never identify
myself with it. Rudi claimed that this was a virtue. Why
should I identify with it? Indeed, I shouldn’t identify with
it, for that would only provide more armor and self-imagery
and prevent me from using it for the sake of work and

Finally, I attributed all of my
misgivings to my own resistance. I agreed to give it a try.
Even when I told Rudi I would accept it and play it as a
kind of “impostor” he pointed out again how it was all a
part of me and suited to my very needs and

At first I tried to find a place in
a denomination other than Lutheranism. I thought perhaps the
Episcopal Church was a broader denomination that could
include more of the form of spirituality I would profess.
But I soon learned that I would have to pass through a long
period of probationary training as a member of an Episcopal
congregation before I could be accepted as a candidate for
seminary training. Besides, the Episcopal Church had many
peculiarities of its own that it would take me a long time
to learn and use proficiently and visibly.

So I again made efforts to become
affiliated with the Lutheran Church through my old
congregation in Franklin Square. The minister who served
there when I was in high school had since retired to a
congregation in Florida. But I quickly made friends with the
new minister and was received quite openly by those who
remembered me. After several weeks I was recommended as a
candidate for seminary training and given preliminary
acceptance at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at

This was in the spring of 1965.
Entering students at the Seminary were required to have
minimum training in koine or “Biblical” Greek, and so I was
unable to enter the following September. Instead, I enrolled
at a Protestant seminary in New York for a year of reading
in Greek. In the meantime, my job at the radio station had
come to an end, and I went to work as a furniture refinisher
in a store owned by one of Rudi’s students. Thus, I
established myself in marriage and study, and productive
work that could carry me until September, 1966.

Rudi’s effects extended to all areas
of my life. One evening he came to visit Nina and me at our
Houston Street apartment. He seemed obviously uncomfortable
in the place, and said the atmosphere was very heavy and
unclean. He remarked at how dark and small it was there.
There were few windows, and the building was in an old, run
down and unclean neighborhood. He told us we should not keep
cats or other animals because they kept the place dirty and
created vibrations that draw consciousness down to an animal

Nina and I took this quite
seriously. We gave the “Bitty” to a friend and sent the lady
cat off to Nina’s parents. We tried to brighten up the
apartment, and covered the walls with religious and
spiritual pictures. As a result we also began to collect
art, and we spent quite a bit of money buying paintings and
sculpture from Rudi during the next few years. Finally, we
found a large and bright apartment on Fourth Street near
Sixth Avenue, and we moved there shortly after our

All in all, our lives became cleaner
and happier. It was an intense struggle and discipline for
me, but I welcomed all its effects. And I looked to Rudi and
the Force for a dramatic reversal of my ordinary state of
resistance and the logic of Narcissus.

These changes in our way of life
were the essential and lasting benefits of our experience
with Rudi. Even these were gradual, and it would take longer
for the kind of internal experiences I sought to begin with
any kind of dramatic potency.

Even on a physical level my life was
becoming happier. My new logic of living was a conscious
surrender of the patterns of self-indulgence and excess to
which I had voluntarily submitted in the past. I began to
limit and improve my diet, and this, coupled with the heavy
labor of work in the furniture store, gradually strengthened
me and dropped my weight from more than 230 pounds to about
170 pounds. I began to use Hatha Yoga exercises to limber my
body and adjust my weak back. All of this enabled me to
enjoy a state of comfort and well-being I had never known

But while I concentrated on these
more external improvements in my way of living, I was slower
and more reluctant to let go of certain obstacles in my
internal way of life that prevented the Force from creating
new forms of internal experience. I had long been accustomed
to writing and exploiting the inner mechanisms of experience
through its means as well as through the use of drugs and
other excesses. Clearly, Rudi’s way was opposed to such
habits and the prolonging of them could only prevent the
evolution of that internal advancement the Force was
supposed to initiate.

My first experiences with the Force
in class and in my personal relationship to Rudi were
gratuitous events. They indicated a real presence of a
spiritual kind, but they affected me mostly on a physical
and mental level. They served to motivate me, but they were
not of a profound and dramatic nature.

In class I would only become
profoundly aware of my own resistance. After my first one or
two experiences of the exercise I saw that I would have to
perform a revolutionary and gradual effort in relation to
this resistance. Only then would I have any of the kind-of
dramatic. and visionary experiences Rudi described and which
I had learned to desire on the basis of my own past
experiences and my reading of spiritual

Even because of the presence of this
resistance in me and my consciousness of it, I began to
acquire intense feelings of frustration in regard to the
internal work. Thus, I continued to maintain my efforts to
write as before, and I began again to use drugs on occasion
to relieve this frustration and provide certain forms of
internal opening and perception that I so deeply

However, as a result of my new logic
in opposition to Narcissus, and also because of the
purifying presence of the Force in my life, my old ways also
met with resistance in me, and they began to cause me

I began to see my writing as a
superficial and fruitless exercise. And I doubted if I had
any talent at all. My writing had developed to the point
where I should begin the actual and conscious production of
a book that would contain all of the values and discoveries
of my long progress. But I steadily resisted bringing it to
the point of deliberate creation. I felt that something more
needed to occur. There was yet some crucial event that
needed to be uncovered in the process of internal attention.
I hadn’t yet seen the death of Narcissus.

By the spring of 1965 I had begun to
use marijuana frequently. I found it relaxing and
particularly necessary under the pressure of work and effort
that Rudi required. But the drug began to have a peculiarly
negative effect. When I would smoke it the salivary glands
in my mouth would cease to flow and I would realize a
profound anxiety and fear.

I took other drugs with my old
friends. We took Romilar again, but now its effects seemed
minor. We found the city atmosphere aggravating, in contrast
to the natural and beautiful setting of California. We began
to turn on and spend our time yearning to return to the
ocean and the forests.

I took a drug called DMT which had a
remarkable and miraculous effect. I became visibly aware of
the nature of space and matter. Time disappeared, and space
and matter revealed themselves as a single, complicated mass
or fluid. When I concentrated on a wall or the objects in a
room they would break up and converge with incredible speed
toward an invisible point at infinity. I would see forms and
space break into the millions of geometrical and
mathematical units that composed their apparent structure.
When I would look at someone’s face I could see the muscle
and bone structure below with a kind of X-ray vision. I
could see the internal organs of the head, the brain, the
moving flow of fluids and nerve energy, the sheaths of the
body that were more subtle than the physical.

Such remarkable states of awareness
combined with my rising sense of anxiety, fear and
reluctance in relation to drugs, so that finally, in the
early summer of 1965, I determined somehow to stop their

I decided that I would deliberately
take a drug for the last time. I would not simply stop using
drugs before a last, decisive try. I did not want fear to be
my motive. Thus, I bought two large capsules of mescaline,
and Nina and I wen to spend the Fourth of July weekend at
the summer home of a friend on the south shore of Long

I was quite anxious, and I delayed
the taking of the drug for several hours. Nina decided she
didn’t want to take the drug, and so I gave it to a young
man who was also present. My friend, Larry, took several
capsules of peyote. I shuffled through all my cautions. Then
I downed my last capsule of drugs with abandon. It was to be
the most terrifying experience of my life.

After we took the drugs we drove out
to a nearby beach for a picnic. It was a deserted area. We
spread out blankets and lots of food. As soon as I began to
eat I noticed that peculiar nausea and disinterest in food
that often accompanies a powerful hallucinogen. My friend
Larry was already experiencing the effects of the peyote,
and he was walking along the beach many yards away. I
watched him as he walked, and my mind seemed to have become
a prism focused through a concave lens. Everything became
small and compressed. Instead of opening and expanding, my
consciousness had contracted, so that I felt trapped, and my
very life seemed about to vanish in the tiny focal point of
my vision.

Physically I felt equally unstable.
I perceived none of the familiar points in space or the
sense of my body within them that permits balance and
judgment. I was becoming quite disturbed and frightened. My
speech was becoming incoherent. Somehow, I managed to
communicate to Nina that she should get me to the

When we got into the car I told her
to drive and just keep me moving. As we drove, I was
overcome by violent fear and confusion. My body began to
tremble, and soon my legs began to shake and jerk up and
down, so that I felt I was about to be overcome with a
violent fit. Then I felt as if I were about to have a heart
attack. Violent constrictions began in my lower body and my
chest, and then the awful moment came in the heart. There
was a powerful jolt and shock in my chest, and I passed into
blackness, knowing I was about to die. But then, a moment
later, I returned to consciousness and felt the violent fit
climbing in me again. Again there was a seizure in the
heart, and again the black. Then again the trembling fit of
terror, the fit of breathing and the jolt in the

I couldn’t imagine a more terrifying
predicament. It was an endless cycle of deaths and fits that
had no end but always seemed to end. I told Nina to get me
to a doctor.

Minutes later we arrived at a
hospital. Nina guided me in. I was incoherent with confusion
and fear. Several nurses came and asked questions, but they
seemed unconcerned or unaware of my state. Nina told them I
had taken a drug, and they frowned and told us to sit and
wait. I couldn’t imagine whey they didn’t simply administer
an antidote or a tranquilizer.

The minutes passed, and I began to
wander around the waiting room searching for

Nina sensed that they were only
stalling in order to get the police. I decided we must
somehow get away, and I told her to meet me in the parking
lot. I found a door and wandered out toward the cars. As I
walked I felt as if I were passing utterly into madness. My
mind appeared like a dome with two interlocking spheres that
closed the visual mind to what is above and outside the body
and ordinary perception. As I walked these semi-spheres
turned and openings were revealed in their separate shapes.
Thus, as I walked, the mind opened beyond itself, and I
seemed to pass through myself and out beyond any figure or
ability to perceive or know a thing in relation to my
personality and form.

I had told Nina to get me some
tranquilizers. When she found me I was groveling in the dirt
beneath a tree, weeping and crying to God and Christ and
Rudi for help. I swallowed a few tranquilizers and asked her
to call Rudi on the phone. But Rudi wasn’t home. Nina spoke
to his mother and found that Rudi was away for the

I stumbled into the station wagon
and lay down in the rear section on my back. Then Nina drove
off toward our friend’s house. As she drove I passed into an
absolute consciousness beyond any thought or feeling or
perception. The deaths that threatened me earlier became a
kind of Nirvanic death of perfect and mad

The next thing of which I became
aware was the door opening to the rear of the station wagon.
It was night. Nina was standing there. She led me out into
the street and into the house. I was experiencing a state of
absolute tranquility. But I no longer possessed a memory of
any kind.

It is difficult to communicate the
emptiness of my condition at that time. It was not merely
that I didn’t remember who Nina was, who my friend was, or
where we were. I had not the slightest notion of what I was
or what they in fact were. I had no idea what a human being
or a world was. I had no ideas of any kind. I perceived
everything as an original, blissful, infinite

It was a totally arbitrary
awakening, and I simply began to adapt to my form and the
form of world in which I appeared. I learned the names and
relationships and uses in that world. I adapted to the
memories the people claimed to have of me. I questioned them
and learned how to function among them. But it was all a
present learning process without even a hint of memory
involved. Later it seemed to me that if I had awakened as a
pair of shoes in a closet it would not have been more
arbitrary and unusual than this, and I would have adapted to
it in the same way.

After several hours in this state I
had acquired a certain facility for life in this form. The
feelings of love and familiarity were simulated again in my
mind. And we drove out to watch the stars and the sunrise on
the beach. My state was one of absolute peace and
tranquility, a consciousness unthreatened by any death or
any necessity to persist. It was an enviable, brilliant and
even true calm, a state that may be rooted in ultimate
reality, but the price of suffering that had been required
to attain it was beyond my endurance or my willingness to
pursue it again.

During the next week I spoke to Rudi
about the incident. He knew that I had already paid the
price, and he made no attempt to blame me for it or make me
wrong for doing it. I told him why I had done it, and
promised I would never use a drug again. He accepted my
promise and pointed out how devastating such drugs are. Even
the internal strength I had gained as a result of the past
months of effort with the Force had been wiped out by those
few hours of experiment with drugs. He told me that I would
have to avoid all such things in the future or else invite
madness. Now I must begin to work and surrender in

And so I did begin to work in
earnest. My efforts, internal and external, were profoundly
magnified by this freedom from the need to indulge myself in
drug experiences or any other kind of stimulation. I found a
new strength with which to penetrate the resistance of
Narcissus within me.

Finally, even my writing stood
before me as an obstacle. Over the years I had accumulated
and retained a handwritten manuscript of perhaps fifteen or
twenty thousand pages! Besides this there were several boxes
of notebooks and collected material. I decided I would
either turn all of this into some kind of productive writing
or else abandon the activity altogether.

For several days, in the late summer
of 1965, I pored over my manuscript and notes. But I saw
that these pages themselves had developed into a size that
could not possibly be either edited or used. It was simply
too large, too expanded to be researched or included. The
more I examined it the more useless it appeared.

I saw that all of this had in fact
accomplished its purpose. It was not really the preliminary
work for an eventual novel. It was the visible product of
years of a spiritual exercise of my own peculiar design. Its
purpose was not fiction but the realization of truth. And
its purpose could not be fulfilled in the writing of any
work of fiction I had in mind, but only by its extension as
the spiritual work I had discovered in relationship to

Thus, I decided to burn every last
page of everything I had ever written or collected in my
life. In doing so I was aware that something vital and
creative might also be destroyed, but I knew in any case
that whatever concrete results were produced by my writing
were retained in my mind. If ever I gained the refreshment
and creative power to write again, I could draw the useful
material of those years of labor from my own

Nina often remarks about how
startled she was when she came home that evening. I was
squatting totally naked in front of the fireplace, throwing
sheaves of manuscript into the fire. For her it was also the
end of a familiar form of life. It was the apparent
destruction of all of the results of an effort she had made
possible in many ways. She had protected and supported me
through all that period of creativity, and now she was never
to enjoy its fulfilment. But I assured her it would be
fulfilled. My life would be its fulfilment. Love and
consciousness and truth would be its manifestation. And even
what was substantial in all that I burned would remain in
me, to be used whenever the real impulses of are were

It took me three days to burn it
all. I don’t know how many grocery bags and boxes of ashes
remained to be discarded. But it was a purifying fire. I had
spend years to recover every last memory, motive and form to
consciousness. Now I had to perform the sacrifice that
returned it to its source. Thus, I would be empty and
creatively free. My manuscripts were a burden of past time,
a present obstacle to conscious awareness. I saw that now my
work must be a present, positive creativity. It could no
longer be a passive observation of contents. That had served
its purpose, and now Narcissus was known to me. He was alive
as me. Now I must overcome him in myself, and to do so I had
to be free of every last vestige of the old work and its

The result of the burning was a
purification from all my past and the position of
self-conscious knowledge its awareness required in me. I
felt thoroughly cleansed and free. My life was perfectly
renewed and alive, instant and direct, a present activity
free of any content that could either determine or limit its
ultimate Realization. Thus, I gave myself utterly to the
overcoming Narcissus, and to the liberating attainment of
his death.

of Contents