Rex Ranch

Brugh has been living at Rex Ranch for quite awhile, so it's where the groups he leads meet. Our group gathered here this week. There are people from the east coast, from Florida to Massachusetts, there's one from Singapore, one from Hawaii ... from California, Arizona, Canada, we all converge on this ranch in the desert near old Mexico. It is off the beaten path -- I nearly got stuck in the Santa Cruz River because the road runs through it. The only safe way in was the back road.

Four wheel drive truck commercials should probably come with a warning, because we get to thinking we'll never get stuck. But I was stuck in the river. She wasn't going any further, and the water was up on my fenders. Luckily I managed to back out the way I came in, with a little damage to the bumper cover. At least I didn't have to use the spray on mud to look authentic back in the city.

I was coming in with all of the accumulated worries surrounding my 18-year-old's demoting me to chief asshole of the universe for not letting her stay in Phoenix another week. We'd planned that she would come to Tucson when I came down here, and I didn't want her changing the plan. Once you make plans with somebody you don't blow them off because something else came up. Well, a lot of people do that, actually, but I am not going along with that. Something else can always come up.

I had a friend when I was a reporter. I'd written a piece on him; he was a narc who was shot on the border in a heroin deal, and I rebuilt the story in fictional style. So we started hanging out together, except that he might or might not show up at any given place or time, no matter what he said he was going to do. I know because I've been with him when he told a group of friends he was on his way over, and he didn't have the slightest intention of showing up. "Yea, I'm leaving right now."

I've known other people who would shift plans at the last minute, and not respect other peoples' time and plans. I want to teach my daughter that it isn't cool to do that. You can end up in the D.E.A.

"I like where you are right now," Brugh told me at lunch on Wednesday.

I said, "I'm behind you." I meant he's the older man, and I'm where I am because I am coming along after him, and right now I'm watching him intently, so that I can find the part of me that's like him when I get where he's at now.

But it also demonstrated once more that I have a hard time just saying, "Thank you." It's really the best thing to say. I intend to begin practicing in the mirror.

"Thank you."

"And cut, that's a wrap."

John is an actor from L.A. He can go into a different character and knock over the room. He showed us a couple of films he made, which convinced me that there are a lot of people who are exceptional film makers who aren't famous ... yet ...

Steve is a sixth degree black belt in karate, and he gave a demonstration of the power of his art. I have decided to be his friend in case I need protection. The man is dangerous, but he's never had to use it in a street confrontation. "People get close sometimes," he said. "They just don't know what could happen to them.

"There was a little Japanese martial arts master who went to Gabon, and the taxi driver decided to take him out to a field where a couple of thugs were waiting, and they were going to rob him. Bad idea. The driver went over to these two guys and motioned for the master to join them. He turns bright red when he gets pumped up. So he pumped up and turned crimson, and then he comes toward them, 'Aiyeeeeee!'

"The two big goons ran away and left the taxi driver to face him alone. He put two fingers under his neck and let him get some idea what chi energy feels like when it's concentrated into deadly form. The driver wouldn't even take the fare from him when he dropped him at his destination."

Each person in his or her own way has become one of a family we've formed here, and I really felt it this time, which is our third conference together. Somebody mentioned, "It's amazing when you have been reading the dream images, being conscious of the energetics, and suddenly you're with a group of people, and you realize, they're all doing it, too."

That's what we have in common; we're all interested in spiritual growth, and we find that Brugh is the best teacher around. He's not perfect or nobody could stand him, but he's damned good at taking a little bit of information, on top and seemingly innocuous, and following it down to the unconscious pattern at the root level. Plus, he's especially amazing when he interprets a dream. Being a medical doctor, he brings all that knowledge, of the body and disease process, as well as a grasp of pattern level psychology and a great deal of personal exploration to draw on.

He's the teacher because he knows more than the rest of us about the human psyche in its varied manifestations.

You can't fake the real thing, and you don't have to be particularly gifted to see his aura when he's working in a deep trance state. As he talks about the chakra meditations, I am thinking that much of the literature I have read describe chakras as a belief, not actual energetic centers. "Some people believe they exist, but there is no evidence of this."

And I am thinking how interesting it is that some people think everything is outside themselves and open to observation. I think that there is a field of amorphous energy there which can be ordered through the use of symbols. I have no argument with somebody who says there is no evidence of there being such a thing as a chakra. At the same time I have no argument with the reality of the experience of chakras.

That's what it comes down to. I'm not looking for evidence, but for experience, in spiritual development. I look for evidence in intellectual development.

And I wonder how many other people are looking for the experience of spiritual practice without involvement inside of religious dogma. We are outside of religion, in the sense that we are interested in the rituals which have a universal application, such as circumambulation of a center, heart centering, contemplation of the lotus, Christian esoteric teaching, and experience of the divine energies through meditation. Any religion is of interest to us, but I don't think there are any among us who would "convert" to anything. To belong to a religion you are confined inside it, and if you shift to another you are confined inside it.

We are looking for the power that comes from the path of knowledge. We are diverse in the religions we grew up in, if we did, and we are diverse in our social and political views. What we have in common is an appreciation for an artist. That' s what Brugh is, actually. He has made an art out of approaching the deep psyche, and of getting back out as deftly as he goes in.

What he tries to show is that when you're wanting to move to a higher state of consciousness, you can't call the forces to yourself to accomplish this. If you could you'd be the higher state. So it's a process of surrender, more than anything else. I assume it helps if you've prepared a larger container to flow into.

When I met with my friends, what struck me most was that the blog I got the most comment on was the one where I had the eleven year old boy visiting with me, and he was afraid of the masks and pictures and so on in the apartment. I realized that its the personal experience that people really like to read. I expect I shall have a lot of that, as my 18-year-old daughter is going to be living in the apartment in San Francisco.

By the way, when I picked her up in Tucson, I asked, "Are you glad you didn't stay in Phoenix."

She said, "Yes." She got to see "The Wailers" in concert, and was disgusted that they opened for what she thought was a second rate band. "How can they make 'The Wailers' the opening act for somebody who's second rate and derivative?"

I related to her that when I met Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, they were opening for Tanya Tucker.

"Who's that?"

"My point exactly."

We had a fun drive back to Prescott. There are some things I can't tell her until she's older, such as that the explosions of anger between a father and daughter are unconscious expressions of sexual libido, which is part of the separation process. It's perfectly normal, and there's no fault involved. Besides, if I told her that, she would probably say, "No, you really are an asshole."

And she may be right. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But I have a tremendous appreciation for Brugh, and for the knowledge I have of the unconscious. I think of all the fathers who get angry with their daughters and think they're in the right and their anger is justified. Or the mothers who keep their children dependent because they believe there is something special about them that makes them less capable of facing the world without mom's oversight.

Posted: Wed - September 6, 2006 at 11:32 PM