My mother, Pat Thompson 1929-2018. She had a spirit for the universals.
Karlfried Graf von Durckheim 1896-1988
I wanted to do a page on Karlfried Graf von Durckheim.
His book "The Way of Transformation, Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise" had a big impact on me.
Karl Friedrich Alfred Heinrich Ferdinand Maria Graf Eckbrecht von Dürckheim-Montmartin (24 October 1896 – 28 December 1988) was a German diplomat, psychotherapist, and Zen Master. He became a leading proponent of the Western esoteric spiritual tradition, synthesizing teachings from Christian Mysticism, Depth Psychology and Zen Buddhism.
"The Wheel of Metamorphosis" An integral concept in this self-understanding is referred to as "The Wheel of Metamorphosis." Dürckheim viewed transformation not as the sudden achievement of enlightenment, but rather as a continuous and cyclical evolution, akin to the motion of a wheel. He posited three stages and five steps in each cycle:
Stage 1: All that is contrary to essential being must be relinquished.
Step 1: Practice "critical watchfulness" (analytical awareness of one's own thoughts and behavior).
Step 2: Let go of all that stands in the way of becoming. Stage 2: That which has been relinquished must be dissolved in transcendent Being which absorbs and recreates us.
Step 3: Union with transcendent Being.
Step 4: New becoming in accordance with the inner image which has arisen from transcendent Being. Stage 3: The newly formed core must be recognized and personal responsibility taken for its growth. Step 5: Practicing this new form on a daily basis through critical watchfulness, which leads us back to Step 1.
Quotations "The man, who, being really on the Way, falls upon hard times in the world will not, as a consequence, turn to that friend who offers him refuge and comfort and encourages his old self to survive. Rather, he will seek out someone who will faithfully and inexorably help him to risk himself, so that he may endure the suffering and pass courageously through it. Only to the extent that man exposes himself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within him. In this lies the dignity of daring." – from The Way of Transformation, 1988.
"Perseverance can bring a state of ‘self-lessness’ in which you are released from the division of subject and object, which ordinarily dominates consciousness. In that state you can finally experience the perfect enjoyment of the unity inherent in it. You may even taste the joys of an experience which determines all further experience: ‘It is not I who am breathing, it breathes and I merely have a share as a union of body and soul.'" - from The Japanese Cult of Tranquility, 1960.
"A great deal of my present work is in helping people who underwent great spiritual crisis during the war. We know, of course, that sometimes, in extreme circumstances, people have a natural satori or spiritual awakening when it appears that all is finished for them–and they accept it. This happened often in the war, and when those who lived through it tried to tell the tale to their friends it was shrugged off as some kind of hallucination, a brief fit of insanity in a desperate situation. When these people come to me, as they often do, I have the happy opportunity of showing them that, for once in their lives, they were truly sane." - quoted in Alan Watts, In My Own Way: An Autobiography 1915–1965, 1973, p. 321.
Books Hara: The Vital Center of Man. Inner Traditions.
Zen and Us. , 1991.
Absolute Living: The Otherworldly in the World and the Path to Maturity. Penguin (Non-Classics). 1992.
The Way of Transformation: Daily Life as Spiritual Exercise, 1971)