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November 22, 1970 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-11-22

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Number 37'

Night Editor: Jim Beattie


Sunday, November 22, 1970





Stephen.. ,

...Stephen's Caravan

ALMOST TWO weeks ago, an assortment of
converted school buses, trucks and vans ar-
rived on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, carrying
between 200 and 250 devoted followers of a
spiritual teacher named Stephen.
They called themselves beatniks and hippies,
and seemed to live the easy and free life associat-
ed with those names. Most of the Caravan pre-
ferred to stay at a nearby park but some buses
came into town to find work or to meet and
talk to people.
The Caravan travelling across the country from
San Francisco is part of the intense spiritual
community that has grown up around Stephen
in the last five years. Once a teaching assistant
of Dr. S. I. Hayakawa at San Francisco State
College, Stephen was drawn into the growing
hippie subculture of Haight-Ashbury. He claims
to have discovered the spiritual world on his
twenty-sixth acid trip and has been deeply im-
mersed in that world ever since.
In 1966, he began a class talking to anyone
who would listen on Monday nights. "I was
waiting for someone else to get up and tell the
truth,' 'he says, "and no one did it. Finally I
started doing it."
Many who listened to the tall, lanky South-
Easterner they, called the "psychedelic cowboy"
cane to believe he was telling the truth.
CONCENTRATE ON each moment as it occurs,
Stephen taught. "All you need to know is
don't past trip, don't future trip and don't be con-

ceptual in the here and now." He taught that all
men are God, - that by realizing and living
in that oneness everyone could constantly be
The Caravan is an offshoot of the group that
attended the Monday night class. When Stephen
accepted invitations to speak at a number of loca-
tions around the country, many who had come to
regard' Stephen as their source of spiritual in-
spiration accompanied him on his travels.
STEPHEN AND his flock came to Ann Arbor,
preaching love and non-violence and talking
about spiritual enlightenment. Stephen spoke
three times to gatherings in Ann Arbor, and his
followers talked at length with people around
When the Caravan left after four days, a
number of people left with them. Others are
now organizing buses, planning to catch up
with the caravan as soon as possible.
But a greater number stayed behind, n o t
knowing what to think or what to do, knowing
only that they were dazed by Stephen, the things
he said and the people who followed him.
Among the people who came into close con-
tact with members of the Caravan were five
students living in' a house near campus. 0 n e
of Stephen's followers, Mordecai, stayed at the
house. Others often came in to talk, take show-
ers, use the bathrooms, or crash for a night.
These are the independent impressions of
four of the students in that house.

A ttention is energy
I WAS WORKING at my desk, doing my job, think-
ing and worrying about my political situation.
Just like I always had. It's noisy where I work,
so it's normal for strange people to walk in a little
bewildered. When Mordecai walked in cautiously
and carefully made his way around the room I hard-
ly reacted. But I sympathised a bit with his anguish
and looked at him inquisitively as he passed by
everyone. Comforted a little by my glance, he raised
an eyebrow. But he still wasn't sure. He looked out
the window. Finally he came back, and this time our
eyes met perfectly.
"I'm with the Caravan," he ventured. "Have you
heard about the Caravan?" I hadn't. But he was
eager to explain. "It's 250 beatniks from around San
Francisco, and we're traveling in buses and trucks
trying to show that not all long-hairs are scary-you
know, like Charley Manson. And we're following a
spiritual leader. Have you ever heard of Stephen
Gaskin?' Once again I hadn't. But I hadn't heard
anyone call himself a beatnik in years, so my interest
was aroused.
Mordecai was looking for someone who might
help him find a truck (he was riding along with
the others) and he wanted a place to stay. I told him
to come to the house, but not having much faith
in people, I did not expect to see him again. How-
ever, I soon learned that he trusted me, and he as-
sumed I would trust him. He arrived. We didn't eat
much of the same food, so we didn't have any for
him. That was all right. But he did have dope; that
was organic. It was all right.
Not knowing what to expect, we sat in the middle
of the floor and passed the pipe. Mordecai thought
we ought to pay attention to each other, and that
if we all did, we could all begin to tell what each
was thinking. We would then get a group head, and
by moving through our thoughts together, everyone
would be as smart as all four of us. For an atheist
who once was interested in science and retained
the heavy influence of empiricism, that nation did
not come easily. Telepathy?
"Did you space out on your own trip right there
man?" Mordecai asked. I had, of course. In silence
he had known-he really was paying attention. How
strange to think that my mind was indicated clearly
enough through my exterior that anyone who paid
attention could see it and feel it. Minute after min-
ute we sat. Moment after moment Mordecai noticed
what we were thinking and doing. Gradually we be-
gan to learn.
HUMAN ATTENTION is extremely valuable, it is
energy. If we could stop wasting our energy
through needless movements and worrying about our
appearances before the others-if we could stop
seeking that energy by distracting the gathering-
then we could all pour our energy into everyone else,
and that energy would stone us. By attending only
to the present and those in it, we could feel what
the whole group was doing. Instead of being self,

- .
Facing the ol lif--ncmfrtbl
f60 --R~D i



A letter to spread words of love

I told you something very important was happen-
ing to me. I'm afraid the shortness of my comment
has left you confused. I hope this letter can give you
a little better idea of the impact Stephen and the
Caravan has had on my life. Remember though as
you read this that it has been a deep religious
experience and words no matter how well they may
flow will only be a faint, partial reflection of all
that I felt and thought.
Tuesday - Another day in the life. Late in the
evening I meet Mordecai. We talk and he lets us
know very quickly what he's into, what he believes.
As we smoke together, the rap gets heavier and he
directs it more at us: Don't be moving about so
much he tells me. It's an energy habit you're using
to attract attention ... Look into my eyes when you
talk to me, it's more compassionate ...You have our
attention - say something worthwhile to us and
don't use the energy to boost your own ego ... and
so on.
At first I am confused. Then later as he explains
more I am skeptical. He is telling me the "truth".
But the truth is something one must create out of
long despair and through each embittered experience.
It's something we each have to stumble onto our-
selves and though we can help each other here and
there, no one can show us the way. Right?, Wrong.
The spiritual "truth", Mordecai tells me, is absolute
and applies to everyone just as truth about physical
laws does.
Wednesday - No classes, no homework. Mordecai
has impressed me as a person. I'm going to listen
some more - maybe this is something I can latch
onto and learn from. In the afternoon we get stoned,
stoned like I've never been on dope, stoned because
the energy in the room is high, because people are
getting it on together. Matthew is here from the
Caravan and his face, gestures and speech are so
gentle, so Christ-like.
Thursday - Climbing higher as ego layers melt
under the flame of a little white tab. James and I
look into each others eyes and feel the energy pass-
ing, rising, back and forth between us. All differ-

ences, all conflict, all distance separating us dis-
appear. I am he as he is me.
THAT NIGHT we see Stephen. I begin to feel
for the first time since the appearance of the
Caravan people that I am becoming part of some-
thing larger than myself, part of a community seek-
ing fellowship and enlightenment. I have many
friends now. Stephen speaks and there is no rejection
in me of anything he says - the words fill my being
and I grow stronger with the energy that they carry.
Stephen is so amazingly perceptive and sensitive to
the people in the room.
Friday - Helping Jim on his first trip. Listening
to Stephen at Canterbury. His daughter is there and
she is so alive and aware - just beautiful. Stephen
is having some trouble getting across to the people
here tonight - they hiss him, they try hard to cut
him down, I sense a lot of hostility and frustration.
But near the end of the evening the ntoe of the dis-
cussion changes and Stephen becomes more relaxed,
more warm, more stoned. His closing words are filled
with love, for that is why he is here talking to us.
He really loves us.
The Caravan people have showed me much. I
learned that my ego was separating me from others.
I learned that many of my actions were determined
from a subconscious that I had no will over. I learn-
ed that we create our own world, manifesting phy-
sically our mental desires. And I came to apprec-
iate so much more what the Beatles told us - that
the love we take is equal to the love we make. Peace
will not come by anger or violence, but by amplify-
ing peace and love in our lives. Here and Now.
Such it was that I shared communion with these
people. Such it is that I am left to talk of it. A few
days taken out of space and time, a few days spent
walking and learning and being stoned. Together we
climbed the mountain and saw the spiritual king-
doms that lay before us and together we climbed
down again. As we came to the shoreline I stopped,
not yet having faith enough to walk on the water.
But my vision is with them as they gently sweep
over the ocean under the horizon in their journey to
the east.

N OVEMBER 10, 1970 B.C. (Before Caravan). After.
two months of school, our pattern of life seemed
well established. The five of us were getting along.
well, no real problems. School was a drag but school
was always a drag. We didn't have enough time to .
do all the things we wanted, but we never had enough
Then Mordecai appeared that Tuesday, talking
about Stephen--enlightenment, being one, getting
straight, breaking the ego, making the subcon-
scious conscious and living in the here and now.
He stayed with us four days. We rapped and

"You can smoke grass and not get high, then you can tell some truth
and the weed'll come on. And you can get high without the grass, just
on the truth."
"You straighten up the universe by straightening up yourself . . . All
you need to know is don't past trip, don't future trip, and don't be concep-
tual in the here and now." Stephen

............................... ......................,.......,...............................,......................................................

. ..... ....

Feeling oneness, tripping on truth

WHEN SOMEONE walks into your life who has
attained the near perfection of honesty it's likely
you'll do more than Just lift your eyebrows. In fact,
if you're hip to it it will probably affect your out-
look on life considerably. If it's real, your intuition
will sense it quickly, and the longer you're around it,
the more conscious its truthfulness becomes. You
begin to understand astounding things about honesty
you never admitted before.
This is precisely what happened to the five of us
when a number of the caravaners came into the
household last week. Their straightness, egolessness,
and lack of nervousness caught our attention like
nothing ever had before. Problems we had encounter-
ed living together were brought into sharp focus-the
atrocious ego games we had been playing, the atten-
tion-getting techniques, the superficial interest in
one another were all things we had never consciously
A lot of that has changed now since the momen-
tous experience we underwent last week. For myself
and Bruce the experience reached its optimum when
we dropped a psychedelic drug Thursday and went

Illusion was not replaced with illusion; it was erased.
Illusion is the end result of what happens when the
ego decides to shove something that's been perceived
into/ the subconscious because it's not integratable
with its previous structuring of reality.
Hence, what is behind illusion we really know, we
Just don't admit it to ourselves. Being stoned,
whether on food, drugs or yoga; lets you know it by
amplifying your subconscious to full consciousness.
Ego itself took only a minimal effect and relating
to others ceased being a function of it. j
PEACE SETTLED around me and not excitement.
All energy was directed to attention to the here
and now-the energy of an ordered universe flowing
through me.
I cannot tell the experience, I can only tell about
the experience. It can only be taught if one is will-
ing to learn by looking beyond the words that de-
scribe it.
Since Thursday my ego has been gradually re-
organizing itself , (nothing traumatic) t h o u g h it
seems to have arrived at a different place than it

each thus became a part of the immediate universe
as it moved along. But you had to pay attention,
because if you didn't, the people around you would
know-because they were paying attention to you.
Tripping into the past or the future by yourself
could only destroy the stone.x
But it was frightening to have that much energy
poured in and out of me. Mordecai always looked
directly in your eyes when he spoke, and its pretty
difficult to look directly into someone's eyes. "It's
more compassionate that way," he said. "You know,
compassion means passion between two people." Still,
it seemed easier to miss the beauty he might trans-
mit, if only I could avoid the incredible truth he
could send through his eyes when telling me what
I was really doing. Strangely enough, Telepathy was
already upon me.
Yet it was incredibly painful to recognize that
someone could help me by compassionately telling
me what my actions really meant to the others. So
horribly foreign to my usual life was the trust which
facilitates the flow of energy! If only I had known
that the others around me might observe me in
an effort to help me, I would not have needed to
feel threatened: But that first break into trust was
hard because it necessitated admitting that the
paranoia which precluded trust was based on the
egotistical assumption that I was more important
than the inner peace of the others and should thus
be defended even at cost to them. I had prejudiced
my whole life in favor of myself to keep my ego
safe. And when the others, like myself, were defen-
sive in that way, no one won. All our energy
was wasted on ourselves, and everyone had been
forced to seek attention furiously. Instead of living
in harmony, we had fought and distracted each
The pipe had stopped, but our minds had
not. As I looked around the room, I could see that

smoked and. ate brown rice and experienced and
learned-and then he was gone.
Now we're playing with the pieces, wavering be-
tween putting them back together in their old form
and fitting them into a new way of living.
Mordecai was short, long hair, full beard. He
projected a sense of calm and a sense of knowing;
he was unobtrusive yet his presence radiated some-
thing strong.
Because he was strong, I fought him from the

beginning. I honored myself that first night with the
title of skeptic - I pretended to be discerning while
the two Jims underwent what they later called
a'religious conversion ruce doiibted, but by the next
day' he had decided something important was hap-
pening and he wanted to be part of it.
I was unsure of Mordecai and of myself, un-
willing to sell my soul to the stranger. By Wednesday
evening, I was miserable and I began to admit why-
I was afraid my world was moving on, leaving me
I felt the beginning of a feeling that became
more solid in the next few days, a feeling that there
was no half way with this new philosophy. These
people were challenging my life, taunting me, by ex-
ample, to throw away the things most central to me
in order to take up something more meaningful.
Threatened or not, the heavy feeling in the rest
of the house drew me like a magnet. When we all
went to hear Stephen Thursday night, I was ready
to accept as much as I possibly could. We had built
up a tremendous anticipation, expecting Christ for
sure if his disciple Mordecai was so impressive.
WE DID NOT find Christ but we were not dis-
appointed. In Stephen I could see the philosophy
at work, even if I could not feel it myself or even
understand it thoroughly.
Listening to him and to other Caravan people,
I picked up fragments. All men are one. We must
drop all barriers that keep us from realizing that
unity, barriers like the ego, or prejudice in favor of
the self, and the subconscious. We cannot past trip,
or future trip, but we mustlive in the here and now,
exist and be aware of and cope with it constantly.
Get straight. And here were 200 people all helping
each other to get straight and, for them, it seemed
to be working.
It was not until Friday night that I felt what
I had been hearing about. I got three strong charges
that night, as we heard Stephen for the second and
last time. When he was finishing, Stephen sat up
straight, breathed in deeply and fixed his eyes on
the people jammed into Canterbury House. He
looked at all of us and at each of us and had us
completely transfixed, in communion with him.
Later, I experienced the same stoned electric chill
when we said goodbye to Mordecai.
But the most powerful feeling I had during the
entire time the Caravan was here was when I saw
Stephen's little girl that night. She was about nine
years old. She sat straight, like her father, and took
deep breaths, like him. And her eyes were bright and
sharp, beautifully and deeply aware.
MUCH OF THE effect of the Caravan will wear off.
But those moments, that look, cannot wear off,
Only after the Caravan had gone, I began to
realize the full implications of what they were saying.
Some of us tried to study but couldn't do a thing.
Bruce thought very seriously about leaving to catch
the Caravan. None of us wanted to lose the experi-


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