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Jun 12

Author's Introductory Note

When I look back at my journey as a Reluctant Metaphysician, it seems as though my life, along with others,  has served as a dedication to the re-enchantment of the cosmos. Has some wider force than myself used my life as an example to show me, and others, how to re-sacralize the body, the world of dreams, human posture and movements, nature, and our relationship to the universe itself? It certainly seems as though some cosmic trickster picked the most unlikely person, ensconced in the world of rationality, to illustrate metaphysical lessons about the world behind the world. (Or, maybe not so unlikely of a choice, this Being wisely chose a person who could tell a good honest story and make a cogent argument for a good cause.) Regardless, this trickster deity abducted a person like me and filled my life with incredible, metaphysical, and synchronistic stories in order to say, “If it could happen to a sceptic like him, it could happen to you.”

Richard Tarnas, a prolific metaphysician, encapsulates this view of an enchanted relationship to the cosmos through his “Two Suitors Parable.” To compare the disenchanted mechanistic universe of modern cosmology to the view of the enchanted cosmos, he poses a thought experiment and asks that you imagine that you are the universe,

Would you open most deeply to the suitor… who approached you as though you were essentially lacking in intelligence of purpose, as though you had no interior dimension to speak of, no spiritual capacity or value; who thus saw you as fundamentally inferior to himself…; who related to you as though your existence were valuable primarily to the extent that he could develop and exploit your resources to satisfy his various needs, and whose motivation for knowing you was ultimately driven by a desire for increased intellectual mastery, predictive certainty and efficient control of you for his own self-enhancement? Or would you, the cosmos, open your self most deeply to that suitor who viewed you as being at least as intelligent and noble as worthy a being as permeated with mind and soul, as imbued with moral aspiration and purpose, as endowed with spiritual depths and mystery as he? To whom would you reveal your deepest truths (Tarnas, 2007, p. 39)?

When we view the events of life with a symbolic eye, metaphysical teachings of the cosmos are transmitted, synchronicities seem to increase, and a re-animism of life takes place. If the most rational among us just acts as if the universe is enchanted and meaningful, that “creative Being” may kiss us on our eyes and touch our hearts—the cosmos can become our lover and soul mate.

The initiation into the pathway of the Reluctant Metpahysician can come from a career change, an upsetting external event, a serious illness, a painful breakup, or an unravelling culture. Each of these can serve as an invitation to enter a deeper world behind the world. Places in nature, people we meet, our dream life, and visions we have can all help us to “trance-form” our life stance.

To see the particular stories of my journey as a Reluctant Metaphysician, please see the book. To see a summary of some of those tales see the list of Personal Stories.

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Jun 12

Personal Stories

List of Selected Stories
(from Appendix I of The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician

– List of Author’s Personal Stories –

Chapter 1:

  • The Tree of Life: In My Back Yard

Chapter 2:

  • My Childhood Energy Blocks

Chapter 3:

  • Murdered by Nazis: My Lucid Repetitive Dream

Chapter 4:

• My Life Path: Two Streams Joining

Chapter 5:

 Dandelions Are Not Just Weeds

Woodstock: Social Forces and Psychedelic Experiences

• A Lawyer Captured by Astrological Forces?

• My First Philosophy Class: An Introduction to Metaphysics

Chapter 6

My First Teaching Job-Montclair State

Dream of the Land Where the Sun Rises in the West

• Don’t Worry Dad, I’ll Still Be a Lawyer; but I’ll Be a Lawyer for the Body, Mind, and Spirit

• Dangers in Answering the Hero’s Call: My Journey to California

Chapter 7:

• Telegraph Avenue in the Early 1970’s: Mythology Comes Alive on the Streets

• Esalen Institute: The Four Shaman Dream

Chapter 8:

• My Vision Quest: Deer Kissing Eyes

• Carrying Forth the Vision: Teaching at JFK University While Sleeping in the Woods

Chapter 9:

• Am I a Direct Descendent of the Baal Shem Tov?

• The Kabbalistic Connection Between My Name and the 16th Century Alchemist and Court Physician, Michael Maier

• Almost Arrested for Sleeping in the Woods

Chapter 10:

• Meeting with Manly Hall: Author of The Secret Teachings of All Ages

• The Founding of JFK University’s Transpersonal Counseling Program

• Meeting with Dane Rudhyar: A Foremost Astrologer of Our Age

• Meeting with Dr. Eugene Gendlin: Originator of “Focusing" and A.P.A.’s Most Distinguished Psychologist of the Year

• Meeting Ken Wilber: My Cat Has a Question for You

• Teaching My Cat to Give Massages

• Meeting Larry Dossey: Is Splitting Intention and Energy a False Dichotomy?

• Meetings with Kozoko Onodera—A Polarity Therapy Healer

• Stalking Deer in the Woods with Yi Chuan Qigong Walking Meditation

• Meetings with Master Fong Ha and other Tai Chi/Qigong Masters

• Transforming Coldness with Standing Meditation Qigong

• Meetings with Hana Matt: A Jewish Renewal Teacher

 

Chapter 11:

• How Taoist Saliva Swallowing Saved My Life in the Desert in Israel

Standing Meditation, the River of Life, and Scuba Diving: Opening of the Taoist Door to the Sea of Elixir

• The Hawaiian Flute Master: A Cross-cultural View on Honoring Your Departed Loved Ones

Chapter 12:

• Dancing with Deer-Not Dancing with Wolves

Chapter 13:

• My Vision of the Origin of Tai Chi

Chapter 14:

• My Visit to the Cave of the Oracle of Delphi

Chapter 15:

Healing with the Elements: Transpersonal Hypnosis for a Writer’s Block

Chapter 16:

• Meeting Dr. Bessel Van de Kolk: Advocating for Qigong Empowerment for Trauma Victims

Chapter 18:

A Dream of the Energy-Stream, Vacuum Cleaner in Reverse: Empowerment in Relationship to My Inner Foe

Chapter 19: 

• Tai Chi Self-defense in a Bar in Hawaii

• Crane Splitting Hands: Weakling Scholar Uses Empty Force to Protect Himself

Chapter 20

• Four Crows Join When My Father’s Dies

• A Mourning Ritual: Rising in a Plane with the Full Moon

 Chapter 22 

• Pelican Sinks Its Qi on My Car

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Jun 12

About The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician

The book, The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician, is one metaphysician’s "coat of many colors" that is passed on to the reader to help you on your journey through the seasons of your life. My hope is that from listening to my story, you will learn how to weave your unique coat of many colors to pass on to posterity. Like Joseph, each of us does not want to be sold into “the slavery of life” or suffer various wounds and betrayals due to the way of being in which we are cloaked, but from such experiences the fabric of each Reluctant Metaphysician's life is woven.

As a Reluctant Metaphysician, I have woven my integral “coat of many colors” from the following,

  • The Metaphysics of Myths: To extract primordial wisdom from mythic tales to help us navigate distressing times.
  • Age-old, Energetic Metaphysical Traditions: To become initiated into time-tested practices, such as Tai Chi and Qigong to keep our sense of equanimity.
  • The Metaphysics of Bodymind Healing and Psychotherapy: To learn self-healing methods to deal with times of crisis and to find our life stance.
  • Astrological Metaphysics: To become aware of the cosmological synchronicities of our current times, and of our personal  lives, so that we open to the awe of the great mystery play of life (no belief in the correspondence between celestial sphere and our lives is necessary.)
  • Political Metaphysics: To draw from the world behind the world to help us cope with, and develop political actions for, the troubled times in which we live.

The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician speaks to the importance of a holistic spiritual philosophy in our current times of the “great unraveling” of our political, economic, cultural, and ecological world.  Here you will find an approach to finding your life stance in such troubled times. The metaphysical path is an “all vector approach” that incorporates both “spiritual” and “soulful” pathways, traditions of postural initiation such as Tai Chi, mythology, depth psychology, bodymind healing methods, a non-deterministic approach to astrology, and a multi-dimensional approach to the political sphere.

I hope you’ll pick up the book The Path of a Reluctant Metaphysician to discover how to weave your tapestry of metaphysical traditions to help you find your center (axis mundi) in troubled times.

About Michael Mayer

Michael Mayer is a reluctant metaphysician and storyteller who uses ancient sacred wisdom traditions to help people find healing pathways through troubled times. Dr. Michael Mayer is a psychologist in private practice, author of twenty publications, including  six books and various peer-reviewed articles on bodymind healing. He does workshops on his integrative approach at professional  conferences, universities, hospitals, and various workshop locations such as Esalen Institute. For a more complete bio click here.

Testimonials

Dr. Michael Mayer has helped numerous people through his knowledge of psychotherapeutic principles, internal martial arts practices, and life style enhancement. Readers of this book will find Dr. Mayer's personal story an engrossing one, and may be motivated to recast their own beliefs and behaviors, even reluctantly, into a metaphysical mode. 

—Stanley Krippner, Ph.D.
Alan Watts Professor of Psychology, Saybrook University
Co-author, Personal Mythology

For more testimonials see "What Others Are Saying."

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You can also e-mail Dr. Michael Mayer directly at [email protected].