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Religion and Spirituality

Part 2

by Roy Masters

Bob McQuain hails from West Virginia and was educated in Southern military schools. But it was television and the theater that beckoned him, insofar as a career was concerned. At WTVR-TV in Richmond, he served his apprenticeship as announcer, cameraman, and director. His children’s puppet program was a great favorite with moppets and mothers alike. This personable young man, everyone said, would go far. He was strictly material.

In the summer of 1958, he had an opportunity to gain stage experience in a well-known outdoor drama, The Last Colony, staged in Mantio, North Carolina. Andy Griffith, the rustic comedy star, had also once acted in the pageant and had gone on to be discovered in New York. McQuain prayed lightning would strike twice. In a way, it did.

It didn’t take too long for McQuain’s stage work to gain favorable notice and be brought to the attention of the spectacularly successful Richard O. Linke, personal manager and career guide for Andy Griffith and Jim "Gomer Pyle" Nabors as well as half-a-dozen other bit league show-business personalities. The man who had shepherded Griffith from North Carolina obscurity to a level of popularity which at one time attracted forty million TV viewers every week over a period of several years agreed to sign up McQuain. "He had good potential," the peripatetic Linke was to recall.

He met and married a pretty Texan who worked as a secretary at ABC-TV. May was a great help to Bob. She was always there to lift his spirits when another actor got the TV role he was counting on. And after several days of making the rounds of casting offices and hearing "Sorry, Mr. McQuain. You’re not the type we had in mind," May was always waiting at home to soothe away the hurt of rejection, to comfort his bruised ego. Between acting jobs, it was May who reassured him that his luck--all good up to now--would get even better, and the big part (the one that would surely catapult him into stardom) was just around the corner.

During the summer hiatus--when few actors can find work--Bob, who was now the proud father of a baby boy, couldn’t afford to be unemployed. It hurt his pride, but he took a night job with the maintenance crew of bustling Consolidated Film Industries. After all, it was just a temporary thing. In the fall there would be parts opening up for him. He was talented; he had good credits and powerful contacts. He’d make it okay. No sweat.

By the time the new season started, Bob wasn’t anxious to quit. Since he worked nights, his days were free to pursue acting parts, and in the meantime he liked a pay check coming in every week. Besides that, the production part of the film business interested him more than he had expected. His rise to a position of responsibility was relatively rapid, and before long he found himself assistant to the manager of titles, optics, and special effects for Consolidated Film Industries. He worked on some of CBS-TV’s biggest series.

However, before his new career really started moving and the decision to forget about acting was made, Bob McQuain was--to put it mildly--confused. Like most males, he took out his frustration on his wife and their marriage suffered. May didn’t know what to do; she had never seen her husband act this way before.

Then one day over coffee a friend told May about Roy Masters. It was several weeks later before she remembered about the program and turned it on. She was impressed, but decided not to rush into anything before knowing a lot more about it. Finally, after several months, May was satisfied that perhaps meditation, as it was explained on the air by Roy Masters, could benefit her; she bought the record. What’s more, she began to use it faithfully.

All the while, Bob--drinking a little more that he usually did--wondered about the change coming over his wife. At first it was ever so slight, but as each week passed, the difference in her . . . attitude. . .became more pronounced. May no longer babied her husband; she made it very clear that her days of being his comforter were over. Bob felt rejected.

May never mentioned Roy Masters’ name or the meditation exercise to her troubled spouse. Bob made no bones about it when he readily admitted, "If she would have tried to force meditation on me or even praised it or anything like that, I never would have investigated for myself. Frankly, May handled me marvelously, that’s for sure."

As you can imagine, that’s not the way Bob felt a couple of years ago. There came a time when he started to take notice of the radio program. May had become addicted to and the literature she read with such interest. Initially, he considered it just another kooky California cult. He was somewhat surprised that his ordinarily level-headed wife should fall for such hokum. But eventually, May’s transformation began getting to him.

"The hardest part, as I recall, was that no matter what I said or did, May just would not react."

Some of his actions at the time, he told me, were really outlandish. Whenever he observed his wife going to the bedroom with the record and portable phonograph, he’s come stomping in, slamming the door, opening and shutting the bureau drawers, and doing anything else he could think of to interrupt her meditation. But May was rooted in principle and never obliged her husband.

The more she kept her cool, the more antagonized Bob became. He accused her of not caring for him any more. When he could take it no longer, he played his trump card. Deciding to show her once and for all who had the upper hand, Bob gave her an ultimatum: "Either you stop all this meditation nonsense, May, or I’m going to pack up all my things and leave you. I mean it!"

She looked at her husband and didn’t answer him as she considered his words. As first she was a little frightened. She loved Bob and always would, but this was her moment of truth. With a voice free of any emotion, she told him, "I don’t want you to leave, but I will not stop meditating. If I did, our marriage wouldn’t last very long anyway; so if you must go . . . I guess you’ll just have to."

Now he was really shook. Bob couldn’t believe his ears. Unable to utter a word, he just stared at his wife. "I was . . . deflated. My energy was gone . . . depleted."

Following his wife’s answer to his demand, an answer that left him stunned, Bob couldn’t go to work. He called in sick. For a week he just moped around the house not saying a word. Needless to say, he wasn’t about to leave May. She had called his bluff, and he knew it. He also knew that she had something else--something that maybe he should look into.

May didn’t make any comments one way or the other when she observed her husband listening to Roy Masters’ program with her. It was a little harder to refrain from commenting when he asked whether he could borrow her meditation record: "I . . . I want to hear it, May. I mean, that is, if it’s okay with you."

Of course it was. But May still didn’t say anything. She just handed him the record and explained that she had to do some shopping. "I’ll be back in an hour or so, Bob." He was alone and he hurried to the phonograph.

The day before, Bob had heard Roy mention on his program that he would be giving a lecture that evening on "What men should know about women." An angry Bob McQuain was sitting right up front as Roy spoke. "I was really ridiculous that night. Do you know, Bill, I even refused to look at Roy when he was speaking. I stared at the ceiling, at pictures on the wall, and at my feet. I did some other things, too, in hopes that he’d be disturbed." Laughing, Bob added, "He wasn’t . . . but I sure was."

How did Bob react to Roy’s record? Remembering the incident quite clearly, he recounted: "I thought someone was sticking electrodes into my head as I sat listening to it. It was as if all my life I had walked around stooped over and then all of sudden I could stand up straight for the first time."

To his wife’s complete amazement, Bob began attending every lecture at the Foundation that be could. And at every opportunity, he utilized the meditation principle Roy was teaching. "I was starved for it. At first, I must tell you, I meditated for the great feeling of release that it gave me. That was wrong, of course. Later on I started meditating for the right reason and not for any good feeling."

A year later, Bob McQuain made one of the biggest decisions of his life. As it happened, I was at Consolidated Film Industries one afternoon, supervising the production of a film spot that I had written to be used on CBS-TV, when Bob saw me and came over.

Taking me to a part of the vast complex of studios and laboratories where we could talk in private, bob revealed: "I just gave C.F.I. my notice, Bill. In two weeks, I’ll be working full time at the Foundation.

I was a little taken aback. I knew he had just been assigned some top TV shows to work with. In fact, the network had requested him specifically. If he kept on like he had been, Bob would have no trouble getting to the top. He had youth, personality, tremendous experience on both sides of the camera, and a great track record. Any way you look at it, he had a lot going for him.

"Bob, are you sure you know what you’re giving up?" I had to question his decision. I’ve known a lot of people who gave up everything to pursue a metaphysical vocation. And some of them lived to regret their choice.

"I appreciate your concern, Bill. But I thought about this a long time and it’s the right thing to do. Financially, it will be a little difficult, but it’s worth the sacrifice."

Happiness is most emphatically not a dry martini. I might add, it is also not a warm puppy or losing twenty-five pounds, or being a blonde. It’s not winning an election, making a million. or being presented an Oscar. It’s not even writing a best-seller. Then what is it? If you asked Bob McQuain, he might say that it was finding a true purpose and meaning to life in the service of a cause greater than himself.

And the same might be said by Jerry Olsen, Arlyn Hann, and Roberta Maxwell. They, and others too, work for that same big cause at the side of Roy Masters. Perhaps another time, in another volume, we’ll be able to delve into the interesting experiences of those we haven’t been able to cover in this book. In terms of human drama (both inspiring and instructive), there is a vast amount of material in their stories.

On April 18, 1968, at a special Medicine and the Mind seminar held on the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles, I questioned the eminent Daniels D. Hansen, M.D., F.A.C.P., and Assistant Professor in Medincine and Psychiatry at UCLA about meditation.

WOLFF: Dr. Hansen, in your opinion, is there any value to, say, starting the day with fifteen or so minutes of stilling the mind? In other words . . . meditating?

DR. HANSEN: If I had a quarter hour to spare in the morning, I’d use it to do sitting-up exercises!



Sigmund Freud’s concept of the perfect analyst was a man, who, while attending the patient, remained neutral, surgically detached, yet always attentive to everything going on, without preconception or judgment. This--at least to me--means true humility. It is clear to me that this openness is very much lacking in the typical metaphysician who immediately "knows" what is wrong and, with a brain bulging with preconceived notions, theories, and fantasies (mislabeled facts), eagerly makes all sorts of nonsensical judgments as to cause and effect, then proceeds to sell a pet panacea with all the restraint of a used-car salesman. I must add that a good many orthodox psychological counselors, therapists, and others in that league are similarly disposed. and that goes especially for the Freudians, who, as far as I can see, do not approach their patients with anything resembling humility.

As I perceive it, one of the superb features of Roy Masters’ approach is that he presents as opportunity for the meditator to create voluntarily a special "vibratory" atmosphere that allows the "analyst within" to do the kind of work that Freud had hoped his disciples could accomplish, but that they rarely, if ever, do. I am in agreement with Masters and Dr. Thurman Fleet and many others who believe that the individual can and must be educated to accomplish this life-saving task for himself. How can mankind survive without such awareness?

It must be remembered that insight, no matter how rich or significant, is not in itself an end, but merely a step toward the real goal: ceasing to react to life wrongly and starting to live as fully and wisely as we can. It all begins when pride is put aside and the tormented soul sincerely admits to being without solutions or even worthwhile ideas. The true confession cannot (I believe) be made in the presence of some mortal man, even though he may wear a "uniform" that proclaims him one with the power to forgive.

The enlightenment that leads to right action is not something that can be coaxed out of you as you lie on the couch of a doctor whose claim to wisdom hangs framed on his office wall. Likewise, it doesn’t come out of a group therapy situation in which everyone plays the now-popular game of exchanging hang-ups.

The event occurs at that exact moment in time when the meditator, alone and absolutely empty, knows for the first time that he is without direction, that he is floundering helplessly and must eventually be destroyed. Even in this moment of anguish, there is no resentment of an unfair fate; there is no self-pity. There is only the quiet acknowledgment that through egotism and ignorance the inevitable is happening. And in the midst of this deserved pain the meditator quietly and patiently longs for something that will guide him away from the Hell that lies ahead.

A new course is needed, but although the seeker’s hands grip the helm, he doesn’t turn it. He is through being the captain of his soul. he has made a terrible mess of his life because he thought he knew the way to go. Now, bravely and (for the first time) wisely, he awaits orders from the true captain, the only one who knows. And the promise is that with proper meditation the needed direction will be given.

The analyst might refer to this direction as mature reasoning springing from understanding. Fatalists are apt to toss it off with the nonexplanation that "It was all meant to be." The spiritually inclined consider it God’s Grace. and what about those whose wrecked lives have been salvaged by the use of Roy Masters’ meditation technique? Well, they’re apt to look upon it as a miracle.

And I don’t blame them one bit.



Stay tuned to New Insights for more of Healurs, Gurus, and Spiritual Guides

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