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Washington DC and New York 1988:
I took a long sleek plane to freezing Washington D.C. I was attending a conference discussing the latest American political and economic trends.
A guy called Sir William from England was featured. He was a close associate of Margaret Thatcher. The talk was gloomy. Sir William felt that the recent strong showing of Pat Robertson in the Republican primaries was quite ominous. He felt that this unforseen fundamentalist victory was a harbinger of worse things to come in American politics.
Later while dining with Sir William, he mentioned to me that during the sixties he and his associates had invited Mick Jagger for a talk at a private estate to find out what this Hippie rebellion was really all about.
Sir William was of the impression that the Rolling Stones were just keen libertarians who wanted just a little bit more freedom in the English social scene without creating calls for further violent revolution.
I smiled. Sir William gave me his card.
This was a man I could do business with, indeed....
I then flew to JFK where I was met at the airport by a man with a cardboard sign bearing my name. I was driven to Long Island to see a man named Dick Diamond, a friend of Prechter's and a professional options trader.
I had decided I wanted to learn more about pesky options from a real pro. I would not be disappointed too. More puzzle pieces would be falling into place now.
San Diego 1988:
It was on Long Island that I found out what this thing called an oscillator was. This curious indicator measured the rate of change in a market's momentum. This indicator was like taking the temperature of the market and you could then tell whether the market was slowing down and getting ready to reverse its direction. Pretty cool, huh?
Armed with this new knowledge I then triumphantly flew home. But I still needed an Elliot guru to replace the fallen one. I then saw this tiny and obscure ad in a regular issue of Investor's Daily.
That's how I found Glenn....
Glenn was a cerebral good ol' boy from Louisiana. A true market genius. We talked the usual shop on the phone and soon we were trading live while learning Elliot Wave symultaneously. This was the best kind of learning. Hands on. It was good fun too. Glenn confirmed to me that the latest market bottom was in place so we looked for keen opportunities on the long side.
A terminal triangle was developing. As we charted it's mysterious Elliot wave structure, I also carefully mapped the unfolding oscillator divergences.
I had a TV set tuned into a financial news cable show, but I used this silly window to see what the ignorant pundits were saying to their market sheep who were following their every word. This was crucial. We would then go against these herd-like expectations. You see, you needed to be a true contrarian to win in the markets.
I had lost quite a bit of money again after Operation Big Mac because of listening to these idiot pundits. Mindless over-trading had gotten me back into a deepening hole, but I just sat quietly and analyzed all my past trading mistakes. Seeing this all was quite liberating.
I finally jumped into some S & P index calls once more near the bottom and then the bull market just took off. It was pretty thrilling. By the end of the week, I had multiplied my diminshing money ten times. Operation Raging Bull had been a complete success.
I celebrated by going out to another movie. I think it was Crocodile Dundee number two. It was unusually fitting.
Once more I had come back from the scary brink. My confidence was at an all-time high now. But the situation with my sinking family just kept on deteriorating rapidly.
You see, my Dad had been the necessary glue that had kept the combustionable parts of the family together. The minute he would depart from the scene everything would soon collapse with lightning speed.
Quite a sobering thought.
It was now the hot steamy summer of 1988 and the long war in the Persian gulf had finally come to its bloody end. Eight years after I had casually flown over Baghdad.
Over a million people had died, but this was rarely in the news.
My confused life seemed trivial compared to this catastrophe....but it was out of this strange mess that the concept of hostage taking and suicide bombing would ultimately emerge and then spread virally throughout the entire planet.
This was really no good....
I took off to northern Nevada, to a strange place called Joy lake. There, I met Don Campbell and Julian Huxley, the grandson of the Aldous the Great. Julian's wife was there too, Adele Getty.
Don introduced us to these Peruvian whistling vessels. They looked like puzzling pre-colombian statues, but you fiercely blew them and the sounds were high-pitched and almost cruel. You could almost hear the queasy voices of beings coming from seemingly invisible realms attempting to pass on these secret messages....
Don Campbell was a crazed musician who explored unusual sounds and diabolical instruments. His vision of communicating with other mind realms through the use of musical sounds was fairly intriguing to me.
Julian Huxley had spent much time in Haiti with demented witch-doctors and had been on intimate terms with the evil Hatian dictator Papa Doc who practised nasty voodoo stuff to stay in power.
Adele was a beautiful expert of native American Indian lore. She constructed a jazzy medicine wheel and had us stand inside it to find out what part of the curious wheel made up our particular psychology. We did also phenome chants by starting with a certain word and then madly banging drums to see how the word finally evolved as we shifted our inner sonics and followed the wild evolution of the lonesome drum chants.
It was all pretty exciting stuff and a nice break from scary options and the intense focus needed to surf the furious money waves....
Finally Avraham Greenberg arrived to give a talk about the mysterious kabbalah. It was hilariously intense. Avrham would show us how certain Hebrew letters created spooky codes of secret meanings which when deeply pondered and steadily chanted took the practioner into these keen visionary states.
We also did silent treks in the dark forests guided only by the befuddled shine of the full-moon. Needless to say this was a kind of Judaism I had very little experience with, but which to me seemed worth investigating.
Avraham kept asking me the question, " Do you consider yourself Jewish. " I found this question rather irritating and confusing.
My Dad was doing a lot of this manic traveling by now. To India to see Sai Baba, to the Philippines to see the notorious curanderos, these eccentric psychic surgeons who took sick glop out of people's bodies with their bare hands. To Israel to see an obscure
My Dad was getting more and more desperate. The big boom would be coming down real soon. I could feel it. Relations between my Dad and step-mother were pretty strained because of my Dad's bizzare excursions into seemingly non-Jewish realms. This really bugged my step-mother big time. Yup, relations between me and her were poisonous. I thus avoided going to my Dad's house at all costs.
I drove north again to Harbin Hot Springs to participate in a Watsu class. It was a strange combination of water massage cum choerography developed by this amusing guy called Harold Dull.
Harbin was a pretty weird place too with spacey nakid people running about and amusing hippie policemen chattering non-stop on their walkie talkies. A blonde German girl got quite interested in me, but I was too depressed to think much about sex. But this lusty angel with hypnotic blue eyes kept pursuing me anyway.
Oh, dear....and what an athletic, tall body she had.
I had a devilishly hard time staying inside my uncoordinated body and kept mentally floating away during those fleeting watsu sessions.
I was of course glad to be away from the roiling markets, but reading the treacherous news magazines left me in a truly apathetic state...
Bush was now battling off with Dukakis. But I didn't care, really. Ronald Reagan would soon be quaint history, but I felt the damage was done unfortunately. America was sliding downhill rapidly....actually I felt the planet itself was about to drastically change course too, but all I did was just sip soy milk and stare at the bare walls of my hotel room.
Los Angeles 1988:
I practised hatha yoga a lot and read about these mysterious Indian masters who lived off little food and sat all day mostly in their dark caves. This was terribly intriguing to me. It seemed like a keen lifestyle worth investigating.
I studied numerology and tarot and went to see this new Age witch in LA give a long talk to a large crowd of very frustrated women. The witch of course was blonde and highly sensual, but I could smell the commercial taint in the air. The only lasting thing that came out of this peculiar meeting was a tape I bought by Steven Roach called " Dreamtime Return. " It was a fantastic acoustical mix of Australian aboriginal themes that led the listener to seek safety in a deeply inner musical journey. In the future this precious tape would become my personal soundtrack.
I would take a small crystal and point it towards the silent market charts on the walls of my office and almost feel where the markets would go next as the crystal shot off these queer vibrations. I wore mostly yoga pants or a flowing Japanese yukata robe.
I mean who did I have to impress, really? I had a cute young Bulgarian/American girl come over to give me badly needed massages to help with the perpetual stress. My life-style seemed fairly exotic to her, but in truth it would seem off-landish to most people who were stuck in these wage-slave situations. I had very little contact with most humans. There was little furniture in my apartment. I lived a minimalist lifestyle. Sometimes I felt I had been born into the wrong country completely.
I attended a tarot session in LA which I found peculiarly absorbing. A bombastic Russian man unquietly claimed to the attentive audience that he had discovered two new additional major arcana cards. Sergei told me that I would soon find plenty of spiritual teachers. It was just a matter of the student becomming ready for the necessary transition. This struck a strange chord in me, indeed.
I visited my favorite Catholic monastery in misty Big Sur to ponder the unfriendly future. I was now believing in the miraculous concept of synchronicity more and more....and thinking that it was more normal than stupid linear events.
The cotton-like fog rolled slowly over the Pacific ocean and I quietly felt as if I was living high above the struggling human realm....the Catholic monks continued their silent prostrations and I felt quite at home here.
Big Sur 1988:
This was my final trip to Esalen. I gave a fairly decent talk on fractals and Elliot wave Theory. It was appropriate because Terrance Mckenna and Ralph Abraham were giving lucid talks on fractals too at this rather pioneering workshop.
Terrance was an extremely gifted speaker. Like me, he was into fractals in a big way. These irregular geometric oddities were good at describing mass human psychology. It could be expertly charted too.
Terrance heroically tried to combine the intricate details of the I Ching with state of the art computer graphics. What came out was this supreme fractal mountain on his luminous digital screen. At its summit holy novelty seemed to reign. Ugly noise would follow soon afterward, however. Did history and civilizations really follow this curious trajectory?
Could divination be turned into a hard science?
I had no clue, but I enjoyed Terrance's heady poetics quite a bit. The way he effortlessly hopped up and down from one mind level to another instantly reminded me of Prof. Feyerabend....
But Terrance unlike Feyerabend had one of the world's biggest collection of psychotropic plants at his experimental ranch hidden deep inside the big island of Hawaii.
So how about that?
Santa Cruz 1988:
Bush soundly beat Dukakis. The dreary Republican nonsense would continue, but vicious character assassinations would dog American politics from now on. Wedge politics were hot. Bush's henchmen would lead the new way.
I drove up to Santa Cruz listening to these funny world war one songs I had taped from an obscure cable TV series. I stopped off at Kali Ray's place to do hatha yoga and then went onto Mount Madonna...
I had come here to listen to an Indian doctor talk about about Ayurveda. It was this very subtle Indian science and at its ancient foundation stood the three basic humors. One was like mucky sludge. One was like glowing fire. The last one was like a fierce wind. These three essential humors were found in everybody. I had them. We all had them. But in rather different mixes. The thing then was to find out your very own personal mix. To see how unbalanced you really were and to then put things back into proper balance.
You did it with special herbs, the right diet, and the of course the right life-style. Yup. Even the environment you lived in was extremely critical. So were the people you were closely associated with. Ayurveda was just this all-encompassing science of well-beingness.
It really was.
I mean there was so much to explore here. This doctor was a real spell-binder. He would just talk in a sing-song way to you.
At times this Indian doctor could get pretty agitated, but he would then quickly correct himself. We were all taught how to look at our tongues for signs of incoming illness and we learned also how to take our very own pulses to discover the exact humor mix in each one of us.
Yup, there were a lot of desperate people at this curious little talk. The crucial message seemed to be that emotional problems generated the key imbalances between these critical humors. It was important to really love your body and let the process of healing become a truly emotional one.
All mental stress led to chronic imbalance. Duh....this often lead to a subtle dis-ease. This dis-ease always generated a lot of ugly toxins in your body and they could then quickly spread through it. It was critical to localize and then release these unwanted and predatory toxins. But most dis-ease was pretty self-regulating, if caught at the right time. That's what meditation and these herbs were all about.
It was crucial to know your limits. The humor mix told you these limits in a very personal way. Most wind illnesses involved toxins in the colon. Poorly digested food often turned toxic and blocked the poor colon. Thus food actually was now turned into foul poison. This was kind of scary.
All cancer was a serious wind derangement. It was just repressed emotions in a most lethal kind of form. This emotional repression weakened the immune system and allowed toxins to accumulate in the target organs.
But it was more complicated than that. Junk emotions were a form of psychic pollution too and even eating in a lousy mood often harmed the crucial digestive process. Turning often pretty good food into dangerous physical pollution. Most people were on a slow suicide trip, unfortunately.
Financial speculation was a wind deranged activity. Yup. American culture was wind deranged too. Our culture simply moved too fast. We were in a technological dark age. This killer pace seemed to badly enflame our psycho-emotional constitutions.
On a subconscious level I knew I had already exited my market career. This critical act would ultimately manifest in about nine months and I would be back with this saintly doctor once again. This curious guy had put the final rusty nail in my options coffin.
But the doctor wasn't finished yet. He urged all of us to identify harmful emotions as they came up and to then quickly just detach yourself from them. You see, repressing them was sheer suicide....
It was important to listen closely to your body. If you were hungry it was important not to eat too much. If you weren't hungry it was important not to snack too much. If you were tired then it was really important to rest.
RELEASE was the keen buzz word here. Blow your nose! Fart! Belch! Piss! Shit! Just don't keep it in! Social etiquette be damned. It was more important not to accumulate deadly toxins in the body and psyche. It was kind of like vipassana. You just let every emotion simply come up. Then you identified it, then experienced it, and finally just released it.
The doctor also talked about human relationships. As far as he was concerned, they were just these sacred mirrors. All conflict was just a golden opportunity for a very intense learning experience. Emotions needed to be resolved always. That's what life experience was for, you see.
Intimacy always needed clarity. Clarity then brought compassion and love. Love was never blind. Only fixation was. Love thus brought this ultimate healing. Unresolved emotions just brought up big problems.
Love of life was the true law of life. This wasn't really Buddhist, I thought. But what the hell. Fear and anxiety led to these cruel judgments. This then blocked all true love, you see. All conflict just implied a serious lack of communication. Communication was always possible if all people could learn to listen to each other with this empty kind of mind. This wasn't so easy.
Listening with an empty mind was a very advanced art. If listening was not clear, all spiritual practice was just a silly circus. You had to always just forgive. It was like this crucial final forgetting. So just forget and live the next moment. Real togetherness was just pure perception. Not stiff, silly mechanical routines, do you know what I mean?
I arrived at LAX and met Glenn in person for the very first time. It was great. We felt like long-lost brothers....but what a bizzare contrast. I was in these yellow sweat pants and Glenn was wearing an expensive Armani suit!
Glenn talked about Elliot wave of course, but also for the very first time about W.D. Gann. Another great market master of the early twenieth century. Glenn talked about accumulation and distribution patterns too. This sounded mysterious to me, but it wasn't really.
I would learn more about this quite soon. The planes above roared as Glenn and I hugged each other goodbye. After finishing off a huge hotel meal with Glenn and other keen market traders, I then flew off to Boston.....
Logan airport was freezing. Feverish snow was everywhere. On the gory plane ride I bumped into Dukakis' campaign manager and started sternly deriding him for such a lousy campaign. I could hear this endless tape loop of JFK belting out one of his speeches to the anxious incoming passengers and felt that the Democratic party had simply dissolved itself away into instant mediocrity...
I finally arrived at the Barre ashram around noon and quickly checked in. I was given a lonely room and told to do as I pleased. This historic place had been founded by Joseph Goldstein who was a real Vipassana nut.
I was finally here.
I had somehow miraculously made it. It was my final journey of the year. It would be my final inner pilgrimage before the looming a-bomb exploded in San Diego and I knew this.
I was back in Vipassana-land. Yup. Again. " Don't feed those hungry thoughts! Just quietly observe them. You see, they simply go on forever. " Joseph entoned. I desperately sat in the silent shrine-room. It was fairly large. I kept on watching my buzzy mind. There was nothing else to do, really. I tried not to duplicate my mental experiences. I tried not to expect anything dramatic either. I tried not to get too attached to my emotional fluctuations. This was the real challenge here. But I felt I was ready for it. For I was now a keen mind veteran. I wanted to win the epic battle with my devious mind.
The hard sitting continued. I hated getting up so damn early, so I slowly drifted into the grave-yard shift. I would sit next to the stiff Buddha statue in the shrine-room and see my thoughts just regress into old predictable patterns. The confused observer just watched his thoughts and then another less confused observer would watch
that observer and so on. I wondered quietly to my brooding self if this was how one just accidentally slipped into more subtler astral realms.
There were these strange periods of intense weeping and this would clear the blocked up heart-space for a short while. I was learning to be attentive and to be also more aware to what was actually there at any particular moment, and no other moment. It was much harder than it sounded. Your developing skill determined just how subtle your awareness could get. I mean, like what was your real touch-point of sensitivity? It was an important question. Yup. Thoughts seemed to always chunk into these thick constellations. Thoughts were really tricky. I mean you could observe them, but it was also very easy to get completely lost in them. They were a really tough concentration vehicle. That's why the breath was much less hairy. I mean, you could always go back to the quiet breath. Once you were at the mind movies, it was easy to get lost in the silly show.
As I watched the hypnotic snow silently drift down from my cold window, I realized it was really important to learn how to concentrate sharply on an object. Different objects interested the wavering mind with different kinds of intensity. The mind loved going to the crazy movies. It was hungry for tons and tons of objects. The fickle mind needed these thoughts just like
the growling stomach needed food. CHUM, CHUMP. It was just perpetual gluttony. Greater awareness was the key to survival here. Vipassana was the keen science of micro-awareness. The mind would be fed with less and less crazy thoughts. It would be put on a very strict diet, indeed.
AH, DIRECT EXPERIENCE....
This was the real thing. This turned all mindbody experiences into a less polluted form of reality. Direct experience even made the targeted object vanish if you got deep enough into it. All flimsy shells needed to be boldly stripped. None of these illusory husks could possibly remain. That's what you had to do to get aboard this enlightenment express. It was now leaving off track 109.... So you had to hurry.
I mean it was sheer silliness to get attached to these stupid ghosts. It was important to let the purest form of awareness come out. To just let things slowly reveal themselves. It was important to observe closely. If the careening mind got totally confused, you just went back to the quiet breath. That's how you kept awareness keenly focused and aimed. There was nothing to judge, really. You just did it. I mean, all perception and feeling were just so temporary. So why judge? This crafty non-judgment brought a new lightness to your struggling mind.
It was great.
When one really experienced directly any object, it just disappeared. It wasn't really real to begin with. But to get to this tough level of experience was pretty hard. Our controlling minds had this nasty habit of making things as real as possible. All normal waking experience was just indirect. Illusions thrived on this indirect experience. The holy breath cycle was your firm anchor. If you wanted to focus on these perpetual emotional and mental cycles you could. But your sharp focus if it was intense enough made them dissolve ultimately.
That's what you really wanted. After your fleeting thoughts dissolved you were free to go back to the quiet breath and just anchor your constantly shifting mind there. Or if you couldn't dissolve these tough mental and emotional cycles....that's why you ultimately went back to the quiet breath.
The indirect experience of the mind cycles betrayed their illusory nature. It was spooky. The breath was like a curious training tool for the ultimate goal of casting away these mental ghosts. This ultimately generated a calm and forgiving mind.
I walked into town when noble silence was broken finally. As I walked on the soft snow, the fierce wind slapped my face. I thought about the forgiveness concept. It was dumb not to forgive, really. It was totally fucking useless not to. It really hurt. It felt terribly heavy. You had to give it all up! It was important not to get too defensive. To just breathe a little bit easier. The small town, near the Buddhist ashram was filled with many imposing war memorials. I was amazed by how such a small obscure place could have lost so many of its men and this made me quite sad. All these countless men had died because somebody, somewhere had held a burning grudge. You had to practice forgiving beings often. It made life a lot less miserable. You then had more space to feel a bit better inside. You were less isolated then. This was real true wisdom. And it didn't come out of a boring sermon. It came out of my own private experience of dealing with my stubborn mind.