From the book “Healers, Gurus, and Spiritual Guides,” written by former CBS News Correspondent William Wolff.
“If you are for what is truly right,” Roy Masters was telling me, “then everything else that is wrong–but seems like it is right—is shown up in contrast to it.”
We were sitting in the breakfast nook of his spacious Inglewood, California, home. Ann, his wife, was doing her best to keep their five children relatively quiet and occupied in another part of the ranch-type house while daddy was being interviewed. Roy seemed oblivious to their commotion; while he is talking about truth and principles, the roof could cave in and I’m sure he would continue his explanation without a pause.
Roy Masters is one of Southern California’s most compelling and dynamic advocates of meditation. It’s a very special kind of meditation he recommends, one that can change a person’s life and in some cases “save” it. Roy has made a career of instructing people in the exact techniques of this meditation and has gained a large and loyal following. He stands in sharp contrast to most the truth teachers, metaphysicians, philosophers, and psychologists I have come in contact with. In fact, he opposes any and all who claim to teach the truth, heal the sick, counsel the troubled, or lead the way to God.
“Anyone who has a remedy, a pill or technique to gain health and sanity,” he emphasized, “–all the problem solvers–will be out of business when my message reaches the general public.”
“Most all of us have problems, Roy,” I shot back, reacting somewhat negatively to what I felt was an unwarranted attack on a multitude of sincere people striving in their own small way to alleviate a few of life’s woes. “Would you have us cease our attempt to eliminate them?”
His brown eyes, ablaze and unblinking, stared hard at me. I suspected that he could hardly wait for my last word to begin his rebuttal. “Bill, your problems will give you up,” he said with intensity, “you don’t have to give them up.”
“How?” I demanded.
He smiled and his gaze softened; I had grabbed the bait, and he began to reel me in. “This is accomplished through having the right attitude.”
I found little fault with his statement; but I still wanted to know why he bristled at the people he somewhat contemptuously referred to as professional problem solvers.
“First of all,” he explained, “you don’t need to solve any problems.”
“You don’t?” I asked incredulously.
“When people ‘fall from Truth,’ that is, when they lose their ‘center of equilibrium,’ it is then that they need a solution for the problem that has come into being because of that fall away from reality–they’re blind,” he said forcefully, Even while I listened to him, I marveled at how effectively he is able to utilize speech. He bludgeons forth with a barrage of words that is staggering in its intensity. Syllable after syllable comes stabbing at you, trying to pierce whatever armor you have put up. Finally you either flee in utter confusion, despising this iconoclast, or you stumble away completely bewildered because you have no “cells of recognition” left, or, as many have done and are doing, you stay and listen.
“In their blindness, people grope, and in their groping they blunder, and when they blunder they get sick and create all sorts of problems.” I acknowledged his point. “In other words, Roy, you say that problems are just effects and not the cause, and therefore should not be our primary concern.”
“Yes, that’s one way of saying it, Bill.” His approval, I found to my surprise, pleased me. Before I could amplify, he continued:
“Because of their ‘fall from Truth’ people need doctors, lawyers, ministers, marriage counselors, psychologists–all kinds of problem solvers who should never have come into being in the first place.”
I refused to let that statement go unchallenged. “Wait a minute, Roy. Now, just why shouldn’t these healers and teachers serve the public?”
His answer was quick. “All these people can possibly accomplish is to guide their patients farther and farther away from themselves instead of leading them to themselves–where they have fallen from–so that the healing will take place by the healing of the inner nature.”
This enormously energetic and vocal firebrand philosopher claims that every person who looks for a remedy finds a bigger problem at the end of that remedy. Knowing the general nature of his beliefs, I knew what to expect when I asked, “Roy, what do you think about positive thinking?”
He snapped, “People think that whatever makes them feel good is good, whether that be positive thinking, the church, or any remedy that gives you the idea that you are well when you’re not.”
I myself have seen what appeared to be remarkable examples of healing through positive thinking, and when I presented this observation he retorted: “Various things make you feel good for a while and it does seem to be the remedy. You become dependent on that which gives you the effect. “Positive thinkers” usually die from degenerative diseases. They isolate themselves from the real problem by slapping on sugar-coated ideas or swallowing nice-sounding affirmations.”
“What do you have against feeling good?”
“When people are wrong spiritually (unrepentant), they must feel right because inside they are so wrong,” Masters answered. “Always they fluctuate between good and bad. They can’t stand not feeling anything. They have the need to engage or preoccupy their senses with all sorts of feelings.”
“The proper handling of life’s challenges, problems, and stresses provides healthy and natural growth for the individual,”
Roy Masters claims he leads people to the Truth. He doesn’t teach them the things they must discover for themselves. “The proper handling of life’s challenges, problems, and stresses provides healthy and natural growth for the individual,” he says. “When one believes he doesn’t have what it takes to meet the challenges of life, he camouflages this inward lack with all sorts of ‘information.’ Actually most so-called intellectuals use their storehouse of knowledge to justify their ignorance.”
Not too far from the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, a sign with large letters proclaims the headquarters of Roy Masters’ Foundation of Human Understanding. (Editor’s note: The Foundation of Human Understanding is now located in Grants Pass, Or). The building is really just a large store, refurbished to provide comfortable lecture facilities for Roy and his associates. It resembles a Christian Science reading room at first glance, but don’t let the establishment’s facade deceive you.
For most of the five lectures a week there is standing room only, as the faithful, the curious, and the “professional truth seekers” (that phenomenon so characteristic of Southern California) crowd this haven for the unorthodox to listen to the cultured, articulate voice of Roy Masters hammer home his hard, illusion-shattering message: “Each person has a moment in experience in which an important–the most important–decision of his life is made. He can choose to be above all Creation, looking down at it, desiring to dominate and rule it–to have creation praising and glorifying him–or he can choose to submit to the Power Who made it all.”
The young teacher was shocked at first; then she broke into tears. Not in the least perturbed, Ann sat down and waited until the teacher stopped crying before she proceeded to explain her statement. Mrs. Masters could have written the Principal a note complaining about the teacher, or she could have repressed her feelings. Instead, she chose to act from within at the moment it seemed necessary. She didn’t fear repercussions, embarrassment, or an unpleasant scene; Ann provided stress for the impatient teacher and also stress for herself that tested her ability to act properly in that particular situation.
The moment of truth for some could be telling a loved one what one has been too frightened to say previously. It could be the way a parent handles a situation with his children or the way a child reacts to his mother or father. “The moment you forfeit the right, in order to attain personal advantage, you forfeit a pattern of growth from the nature of grace,” Masters insists.
Even though his thesis is pretty much the same in all the lectures, the way he approaches it can be startlingly original and extremely forceful. “Man is only complete when he finds perfection complete within himself–functioning out of Spirit. Man must learn in each moment to live spontaneously from within; otherwise the root of man’s nature will be the world outside.”
The function of the Foundation of Human Understanding is to reveal a principle through which people can learn to respond from within (there’s that word again) rather than being manipulated by outside conditions. Roy Masters warns: “There is a hypnotic influence in the world utilized to lead us away from what is right for us. This is why we have fear, impatience, worries, uncertainness, lack of confidence–all this because we pull away from ourselves.”
“Psychocatalysis is a science of diminishing response to persons or objects,” he explains. “By eliminating the response to outer stimulation through self will, one can ‘starve’ the roots of unfounded fears.”
Can this kind of mental calisthenics bring the unconscious mind under the control of the conscious? Roy Masters firmly believes it can. He also believes that the principle he advocates will bring order, peace of mind, and harmony into our lives.
Psychocatalysis, Masters admits, combines some of the concentration techniques of ancient Yoga with the sound logic of Judeo-Christian principles. There are thousands who swear by it, claiming almost miraculous cures, the elimination of cumbersome habits, and an awakening of dynamic inner powers.
The purpose of meditation is to cause the emotions and intellect to respond to the quiet-consciousness. When difficulties arise and conditions become confined–when everyone else is in a panic–the individual practicing Roy Masters’ method will be able to act in a correct manner. Masters claims that an impartial understanding from within is activated to guide and direct the individual, and no jumble of ideas or host of disturbing and destructive emotions obscure his vision.
I have made it my business to interview many people who have tried the meditation technique, and they have made some interesting comments. Not all, by a long shot, agree to its unqualified effectiveness. Many have said they can’t see any particular benefit in the technique after working with it for varying lengths of time. However, others I’ve met are enthusiastic about the immense change it has wrought in their lives.
“Now I can observe the exact nature of my problems and because of this new insight,” a proponent of the method bubbled, “I know how to act correctly. Life has never been better, and in all departments.”
“Before meditating with Mr. Masters’ record,” a middle-aged Los Angeles accountant told me, “I used to react violently to my wife, my children, and even to my clients–everyone and everything ‘turned on me.'”
“O.K., so now you meditate three times a day as Roy Masters prescribes. How are things different?” I questioned.
“Well, now I act rather than react.”
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