AMORC’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, California.
The grounds and exhibits at “Rosicrucian Park” are magnificent and worth a trip.
The statue at the front is of Taweret, goddess of childbirth and fertility.
Years ago, while I was living in San Diego, California, I was a member of AMORC. AMORC, calling themselves the Rosicrucians, was then headquartered in San Jose, California. They became famous for advertising everywhere, and to this day I contend that their instructions give a good but simple liberal arts education, especially for those who did not attend college. Most people know about their home training. I was told that this was the brainchild of their (modern) founder, H. Spencer Lewis. He had originally wanted a Rosicrucian temple in every village and town, but when it became clear that wouldn’t happen, he developed the weekly lesson plan composed of “monographs” for which AMORC became famous.
But what most people don’t know is that many cities do have local AMORC temples. When I was in San Diego we eventually won the right (through having a large enough regular attendance) to have a temple where we had regular meetings. I don’t know if San Diego still has such a temple. Rituals and practice in temples is dramatically different from what you do at home. There is a difference when people work together. We’d chant, have certain celebratory rituals, etc. I remember one time I was, uh, low on funds and saw on our schedule that we were going to have a “feast.” I saved money by not eating for two days, preparing to gorge myself on the meal. It was served in nice sized pink boxes, the type you get at bakery stores. We each got one. The “feast” in the box turned out to be a cookie and two sips of grape juice!
One of the parts of the weekly meetings was a brief period of meditation (more accurately “contemplation”) during the playing of music. The music was Samuel Barber’s passionate and emotional 1938 Adagio for Strings, supposedly Imperator Lewis’ favorite music for this purpose. The slow and highly evocative piece is absolutely perfect for brief meditations, lasting less than 10 minutes. Except… I play music. I’m a musician. At the time, I was living through the money I made in a band featuring two brilliant singers, guys from College Station, Texas, who called themselves the London Brothers. I played keyboards. I had also studied music at Santa Monica College, UCLA and UCSD. I studied playing organ and piano. I trained in composing, sight singing and early synthesizers. I sang in massive concert choirs and small madrigal groups. To this day I like virtually all styles of music (well, I can only take so much Country Western…). But every time they played the music at the AMORC lodge it drove me crazy. The performance had been taken off an old, scratchy record and put on a low quality, hiss-filled cassette. The performance was fine but the sound quality was horrible and disturbing. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t contemplate. I couldn’t meditate. Crying (End) by The London Brothers I talked to one of the members, a gentleman who had been part of the Order for far longer than I, and told him my problem. I was willing to re-record it on much higher quality. Was there anything he could do. Instead of responding, he told me this story:
Once, there was a young many who went into meditation. He meditated for hours. He went deeper and deeper into meditation. Soon, he knew he would achieve enlightenment. Soon, he would be one with the universe. Soon he would have solutions to all the problems of humanity. Soon, he would become one with God!
And then a fly landed on his nose
and he came out of the meditation.
And that was it. The man didn’t give me any further advice. He just shared the story, turned, and left. My mouth hung open. But I got it.
Meditation practice is supposed to help you expand beyond regular consciousness and help you break through your self-imposed limitations. If a fly landing on your nose, or a scratch and hiss on some music, is going to break your focus, you’re not doing something right. The fly and the scratchy music, as reasons for not succeeding with meditation, are good reasons. They’re valid reasons. But there’s another word for reasons: excuses. If you have reasons/excuses for not being successful with meditation, what’s keeping you from giving those reasons up and being successful? In fact, what
reasons excuses are you telling yourself that rationalize your not achieving the success you want in any area of your life? Why are you choosing not to give them up and achieving success?
Click on the link above to hear the last part of the song “Crying” ¬†by The London Brothers,
the band I was when the event in San Diego described in this post took place.
For the instrument geeks like me,
I was playing either a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 or Yamaha DX 7 (I think it was the Prophet)
and a Moog Source.