The following is an excerpt from Rudi’s book Spiritual Cannibalism, the original first edition. On the back cover Rudi wrote that the book “attempts to put into perspective the relationship of human beings to one another. When we eat fruit, the skin provides roughage essential to our growth. In human relationships, too, roughage is essential. The total person must be consumed to support life in depth— to allow for creative interchange between one human being and another, and eventually between a human being and God. We cannot limit our intake to the qualities that are ‘easy to take’— we must welcome those that force us to change the patterns we have been able to deal with in the past. We must come to understand that everything is part of perfection and must be taken in a state of surrender; it must be digested and transcended. Life must be consumed whole— with all its tensions, pain, and joy. Only by surmounting a situation can we achieve the understanding, the nourishment, that that situation offers. In my study with various teachers, I was consumed by them and consumed them. This was a psychic experience, what the books call being encompassed by the spirit of the teacher. My spirit grew by eating that which encompassed me.” —Rudi
If there is a harder way to do it, please let me know so I can try it; because it must be wonderful. This is a large part of my philosophy. I believe in digging deeply within myself. I try to find some depth untouched by my conscious mind and bring it to the surface to be tested by my life. This polishes and exposes the grain and I know what my true nature is.
When we love someone, it is the flow of our energy washing away the tensions, much like water washing dirt from gold. The flow of life frees us from the depths of tensions, burying us within ourselves.
I felt this when I was young, and rather than sit inside the mountain of myself, I went out into the river of life. It tore me from myself, throwing me upon the shores of experience. I was slowly washed of my past karma.
At thirteen years of age, I worked at two jobs. I was so exhausted each day that it helped free the congestion within. I worked like a team of coolies. I needed and still need to work deeply from twelve to fourteen hours each day. I served in the army for a year and a half and worked for another year in a warehouse. Then I went to North Carolina State College and received a degree in textile engineering. This was possible only through the help of many people. I loved the time I spent at. North Carolina College, for this enabled my brain to function. Laboring freed me physically, college freed my mind. I worked for six months at an engineering training program, but I was so crippled from the successful effort of freeing my mind that I could not function. I then entered the Oriental antique business. At the age of six I had been deeply affected by two Tibetan lamas. They put into me the seed of Tibetan Buddhism; It was a spiritual experience – rational only on a spiritual level. It began the process of my inner life.
When I left college at the age of twenty-five, I studied at the Gurdjieff Institute in New York City for about five years. I lived with the Shankaracharya of Puri for four months in 1957. It was the first time I felt and saw a state of being. The help of this holy man and his divine grace nourished and sustained me. I then studied Subud for about two to three years with Pak Subud.
I have at present two Oriental art shops. I have always tried to sell at reasonable prices as I feel that the statues and paintings are a living link to the spiritual depth of the East. It is giving that connection through the art which has allowed me to enjoy dealing in this business.
My main school is at 88 East 10 Street, New York City. I have fourteen in the United States and three in Europe. The teachers have all been trained by me but inspired by God – I do not believe it possible for a real teacher to be any more than a conscious connection through which God’s energy flows. It is the amount of surrender and his sense of nothingness which keeps this energy in a pure state. Feeling oneself as God only limits the potency of the creativity that is transmitted.
In 1958 I went to India and met Swami Nityananda. It was like a traveling caravan dying of thirst coming to a great river. Endless numbers of things within me were awakened by the vastness of the energy within this man. It was not his conscious effort, but the extraordinary, highly evolved level of his being that filled and nourished me. It made me aware of how my inner condition was at that moment. Now – many years later – I still feel the effect of this experience. Upon Swami Nityananda’s death, I returned several dozen times to the village temple where he was buried and would receive great guidance from him. He would step out of his tomb and I would see him as clearly as any physical person can see any other physical person. This is the way my spiritual voyage began.
In our spiritual rebirth we are like puppies born in a sack. The teacher is like the mother who must eat the sack to free the puppy so that it can grow. Human beings, from the day of their birth, live in a sack of tension which it is almost impossible for them to break through. This tension is a psychic quantity which has to be taken in by someone who loves them and who is willing to absorb the tensions that represent the karma of this life. Not dealing with this tension builds an illusionary existence. As a man teaches and evolves, the number of people around him grows. He serves them and in turn feeds off them. It is their tensions and their total quantity that he can take within himself psychically; there is tremendous nourishment within these deep tensions. The ability of a teacher to take the entire psyche of a student within himself frees the student of the many problems which he cannot resolve. It is this decrystallization that frees a human being to evolve as a spiritual being.
The concept of spiritual work is always expressed in terms of simplicity and sweetness – “on earth as it is in heaven.” This refers to the nourishment which exists on the highest spiritual level – heaven. It is unfortunate for people who were born on earth that they are raised in the illusion of this existence. Life is hard and cruel, and it takes enormous physical strength to understand and deal with it consciously and successfully. Success in the world is almost frowned upon by people who practice spiritual work. They look with disfavor at those who succeed, intimating that they would not dirty their hands with material possessions. The public impression of spirituality has degenerated to the point that when one sees a priest – whether Eastern or Western – the reaction often is “How much does he want?” rather than “How much can he give me?” And the “how much?” refers to money, not to brotherhood, love, or consciousness.
An expression often seen in front of Christian churches is “God is love.” The most basic manifestation of God’s love on earth is in the creative act of giving birth. It is painful, it is tedious, it requires endless help from everyone – and for years after the birth the process of raising the child tests the living parents endlessly. It is this test that matures the mother and sometimes the father.
The title of this book, Spiritual Cannibalism, attempts to put into perspective the relationship of human beings to one another. When we eat fruit, the skin provides roughage essential to our growth. In human relationships, too, roughage is essential. The total person must be consumed to support life in its depth – to allow for creative interchange between one human being and another, and eventually between a human being and God. We cannot limit our intake to the qualities that are “easy to take” – we must welcome those that force us to change the patterns we have been able to deal with in the past. We must come to understand that everything is part of perfection and must be taken in in a state of surrender; it must be digested and transcended. Life must be consumed whole – with all its tensions, pain, and joy. Only by surmounting a situation can we achieve the understanding, the nourishment, that that situation offers. In my study with various teachers, I was consumed by them and consumed them. This was a psychic experience, what the books call being encompassed by the spirit of the teacher. My spirit grew by eating that which encompassed me. There is no limitation to experience if one has the ability to not build tensions. For example: drop two mice into a bag of flour. The mice will eat until there is no longer anything in the bag and then chew their way out. When they emerge, there may be twenty or more mice. Drop two human beings into a mass one hundred times their size. Most likely, they will die of fright. It is the mind that terrifies people. Physical and spiritual growth depends on the ability to chew slowly, to digest, to allow time for the consumption of matter.
Eastern spiritual teachings contain countless similar situations – classic examples of energy expansion. They always pertain to the ability of a man to grow and to transcend a situation – by slowly chewing away at it.
I have watched many saints in the process of teaching and have found that the only difference between the teacher and the student is the ability of the teacher to use his energy – to transcend and slowly digest the person relating to him. It is not important how two people begin a situation – what is important is their relationship at the end. It is always the eater and the eaten: one exhibits the ability to work and the other exhibits the lesser ability to nourish. With the ability to open in depth, nourish in depth, and grow in depth, a human being can develop the capacity of a dinosaur. People look at the cosmos; Gods are those who eat the energy of the cosmos and become part of that energy.
Our deeper self consists of hundreds of past lives. This deeper self is what we call the unconscious. It sits in its depth and watches us express the present existence. If we do a good job – if we live in depth – it slowly opens and allows more creative depth to express itself; if we handle that well, it will allow more and more of this endless accumulated spiritual wealth to rise in us. The manner in which most people mutilate their ordinary life and still walk and talk as if they were alive is only explainable by this deep unconscious energy which exists in all human beings. It explains the mysteries of how, when someone has completely destroyed his existence, there remains some strange capacity to go on. This defies the ordinary mind, as there seems to be no mechanism left in the person. It also parallels nature: forests burn down and then regrow in twenty years. Floods, tornadoes, and other natural disasters occur; in a decade or two, no scar remains. The brutalization of a human being builds tension. We are infinitely strong and endlessly able to start again our journey of evolvement. It is the true miracle of life that you can brutalize it, tear it apart, and still it survives.
It is this inexhaustible capacity in a human being that I love and wish to nourish. It is the deep expression of God and is the only facet of life worth recognizing. Feed it and it will grow; watch it and it will express the mystery of creation.