ROLAND LEFT THE MORNING AFTER our visit with Fu Hsi. He was doing a book tour the following week in the Midwest, but would return for our gathering at the end of the month. I found myself missing him, and didn't want to, so busied myself with other activities.
A week before the gathering of our group from New Mexico, I received a call from an old friend, Herbert Rothenberg. He invited me to lunch at his home in Los Gatos, a wonderful old town in the foothills of the coastal mountains near Silicon Valley. Herbert was a past professor of ancient philosophy at Stanford University and now worked on research projects with various institutions. His wife, Iris, was a noted horticulturist, who promoted projects about soil and organic farming.
I drove to their beautiful home nestled in the hills for lunch on the appointed day, and was welcomed by their overstuffed sheep dogs, Whimsy and Pickles. Iris came out to herd her canine children into the house, and greeted me with the special warmth for which the Rothenbergs were famous. She took my hand and led me to the garden that was her pride and joy. It was truly magnificent, with flowers of a size and vibrant color that were seldom seen. The health of the garden was evident, and bees, butterflies, ladybugs and other insects were busy at work doing their jobs.
I commented on the noticeable difference between her garden and others, and she laughed.
"People always kid me about having rocks in my head... but it's because of the rocks in my soil that the plants do so well."
Iris was known in the area as a champion of the earth. She believed that we had stripped the vital nutrients from the soil, and that only through a process of re-mineralizing could we hope for plants and crops that would be fully alive. She worked with a group who was intent on using glacial rock in pulverized form to enliven the earth. She said overuse of pesticides, fertilizers, and lack of crop rotation depleted soil, and was tireless in her efforts to educate others, speaking to groups all around the world.
I once asked her how she had gotten interested in her pursuit.
"You know... because of my name, I became interested in flowers at an early age. From there, I began to notice the difference in the quality of plants, and by asking questions, I found out why they fared as they did."
Iris knew at an early age what she wanted to do with her life. She earned several degrees in horticulture, and found that standard farming methods did little to enhance the quality of life, its primary concern being economic. Nutrient value was no longer a consideration, and the caliber of seeds deteriorated, insuring that food was losing its vibrant energy.
When she had completed her extensive education, she joined a collaboration of other concerned individuals who investigated the possibility of alternative farming and growing methods. They established organic farms during the past thirty years, and as more reports of depleted food quality in conventional farming came to light, people were more aware of the need to eat organic food rich in nutrients to strengthen their bodies.
We walked through the garden to the back of the house where tables and chairs were placed strategically for conversation amidst a mini-paradise. A grotto with lush flowers and a waterfall spilling over gigantic moss covered rocks emptied into a reflecting pool that housed the family's fish collection. These were also their pets, and Iris had names for each of them.
Herbert came from the kitchen to meet us at the French doors leading into the dining area. He had a half apron around his waist and a large smile on his face.
"Ah... my dear, so good to see you. Today I am the kitchen crew. We will be having lunch soon."
Herbert, the distinguished educator, was also a magnificent chef. He had every cookbook in the world and would often do imitations of his favorite cooking shows. His humor was equaled only by the meals he created.
During lunch, the Rothenbergs asked me what I'd been doing since we last saw one another several months before, and I told them about the directive to find the Grail, my meeting with Roland, and the subsequent journey to New Mexico. They were both intrigued by the details, and after lunch we moved to chairs in the garden, continuing our conversation.
Herbert asked me if I understood the significance of why we were doing the exercises, and I told him that since there was a new frequency pulsating on earth, we needed to make ourselves ready to receive it.
"Yes... that's true. But are you aware of what has happened historically when there have been major shifts on the planet?"
"Well," I responded, "there were major losses of different species."
"True." Herbert leaned over and lifted a pipe from the table nearby and filled it from a pouch of tobacco he had in his pocket. He then took out a metal object and tamped the tobacco in place, and meticulously lit the pipe, puffing elegantly as he spoke.
"When the basic elements that sustain conscious life are destroyed, everything tied to that system loses consciousness. We have records of ancient civilizations that had reached very high levels. Events occurred that wiped them out, and after each great cycle, we were left with simplistic human beings."
I looked at him. "So what you're saying is that when this shift occurs, we will lose our level of knowledge as a species?"
Herbert nodded. "If we are tied to the external reality of the planet... yes. However, all the great teachers of the past came with a message to humanity that they did not need to be bound by their environment. Many great sages throughout the world had the ability to defy our idea of reality, and as they purified their mental and physical being, they defied our idea of death and decay. There are those whose bodies did not deteriorate for hundreds of years after they'd gone on. They were able to do things in life that were thought of as impossible or miraculous, because they were not bound by the level of consciousness they found themselves in. They were internally rather than externally referenced."
I looked at him, a light bulb going off in my head. "So this is why religion teaches that we have to look to another world for our sustenance. It is to keep us from being perceptually bound by events. And, if I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying that we have the possibility of liberating ourselves completely through this shift in perception."
Herbert smiled. "Exactly. You spoke earlier of two cups that were presented... one the cup of remembrance and the other of forgetfulness. We don't have to forget if we can develop and maintain a level of consciousness that is not bound by apparent physical reality. There are other frequencies we can attune to."
Iris added more insight. "That's why the initiates of ancient cultures had to go through great trials. They had to be tested to see if they could maintain a higher state of awareness in spite of every fear and temptation being presented to them. When they referred to higher mind, they were referring to a higher frequency."
She smiled and continued. "That's why food was an important part of their process. If they didn't have the quality of sustenance to support their physical bodies, their mental capabilities would have been compromised. Refinement was and is very important, so you can see that my interest in soil has many different applications, because high energy food enables us to move into peak frequency!"
Herbert looked at us, puffing his pipe contentedly, and then continued our conversation.
"It all boils down to valid advice given to us so that we can overcome what would otherwise be our undoing. The more tied we are to external events, the more vulnerable we are to being affected by the changes that will occur. The more centered we are in a state of non-attachment, the less the external ebb and flow will matter. Our consciousness can then rise above physical reality."
I was being given more clues as to why this process of finding the Grail was of vital importance. We were in a unique position to exercise the divine portion of our nature, and to move beyond external limitations, thereby freeing ourselves from the cycle of necessity. It was all up to us individually and collectively.
Iris spoke again. "However... in the process of moving beyond the limitations posed by events, we must never forget that our purpose in overcoming the earth is not to reject or abuse it. The idea is to move beyond the world of appearances, which is very much tied to perception. But we have within us elements of divinity that cares for all life, so we are also here to contribute and replenish.
"We can restore balance where we have caused imbalance, and to move through life without concern for anything other than ourselves is missing the point. This is one system and we have the responsibility to make every moment of life an elegant statement of co-creation."
Herbert agreed. "You know, a lot of the problems we're facing are of our own doing. There are cycles within cycles... but we are certainly pushing the envelope to hurry them along. There have been highly advanced civilizations in the past who moved the window beyond their understanding, to their own detriment. They became the lost civilizations spoken of in ancient texts."
I was curious. "Do you really believe that there were civilizations who had our level of technology?"
Herbert smiled. "Of course. There is documentation of their existence scattered throughout the world. After the burning of the great library of Alexandria in Egypt, we lost a tremendous record of civilization that preceded what we call ancient times. However, I know for a fact that certain groups and individuals have documents proving and chronicling the existence of major civilizations prior to the time we deem civilization to have begun. The richness of this planet's history predates anything we know of."
"That's quite a bombshell," I exclaimed. "Have you discussed this with others?"
Herbert laughed. "There are a number of us who delve into archives, but the desire to retain history as we know it has a strong following. And the groups who know better have a deep investment in not letting there be a different history."
I was extremely curious now. "Herbert... what are you getting at?"
Again he chuckled. "No, not now. You have enough on your plate, and this is another story. When you're at the point on your journey where you run into questions for which there are no historical answers, we'll talk more about it. Right now, I think it's important that you find your way to those questions, and I don't want to dilute your process."
I left the Rothenbergs, my head filled. Here was more to think about, and I'd learned that it couldn't be done in a day or a week. This process required germination, just like any other creative endeavor, and I had to sit with the various pieces of the elephant that were laid out in front of me. In my case, they were all the clues about the Grail.
© Kathleen Jacoby, 2000-2006
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