From Fundamentalism, Through Atheism, Toward Realization

A Video Autobiography by a Kriya Yoga Student of Paramahansa Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF)
Larry Dominus Reavis, Ph.D.

 

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6. Atheism

"I think Reavis has found himself a little girl," proclaimed Sergent R.

"Not so"! - I retorted. He and other sergeants repeated their belief on several occasions. But I could not bring myself to tell them the truth. After all, how could they believe that I suddenly had become so cheerful and cooperative because I had become an atheist?

The euphoria of finally being free to be honest lasted quite some time; but it certainly didn't last through all of the 14 years that I was an atheist. As I had planned, I chose a wife from Mexico, and the first five years were good. But then I got my Ph.D. and we moved to Dallas and the good life was over - at least for me. Just foretold by Paramahansa Yogananda (see my physics video), that move to Dallas marked the beginning of the years of misery that he had predicted.

My misery increased to an extreme level once I met the girl that Yoganandaji had shown me in that Korean hillside vision. When she learned that I was married, she left. For months I walked around like a zombie. I felt happiness could never return to me in this lifetime, for I had two children to which I was very much attached; I could not choose divorce. Instead, I stayed home with them every night, went to the park with them, got ice cream with them, took them to school each morning, and eventually found some peace in my new lifestyle focused mainly on my kids.

When my daughter was six years old she asked, "Is there a God"?

I took a long time to reply. Finally I answered, "Some people say there is, but I don't think it's true."

After her own long pause she very slowly replied, "huh-uhhhh."

"What"? I demanded. "What might a little kid like you know about God"?

But she stuck to her guns.

It got me thinking. I thought back on all those wonderful stories that I had loved, especially from the Old Testament. Finally I decided that I'd give her something of that by converting to Judaism and joining Temple Immanuel - the Reform Jewish temple. I had been working closely with many folks from Temple, for they were by far the most active people in Dallas pressing for greater rights for Blacks and Latinos.

But when I went to talk with Temple's director of education, he discouraged me from pursuing that goal. It was, I was told, a very difficult conversion process. So I gave it up.

Nevertheless, my life was changing. After my lost love left, I canceled all of my 30+ journal subscriptions, resigned from all volunteer work and all the other committees that I could possibly get out of. I even found other faculty menbers who were willing to teach my Spring courses, and asked the Director of the Institute of Urban Studies to please find a substitute for me for the large-scale research projects that were on-going.

My psychology department chairman didn't think I should resign. In the end, I agreed with him and resumed teaching my classes. But I did little else except to sit in my backyard for seven hours every night. I wasn't searching for enlightenment or anything of the sort. I just didn't know what else to do; and sitting in the dark felt comforting.

After perhaps four months during which I unwound, I began to hear students talking - students who lived a few miles away, students from my graduate seminar on social psychology. I thought that was strange - hearing voices in the night!

I was giving five-hour lectures every Thursday evening (anyone was free to go at anytime), and many students hung around until well past midnight to discuss the ideas that I had covered in my lectures. And they popped into my office, and even drove to my home, during the week to expand upon their ideas. So it was that I had become quite close to them. I was relieved when the student ratings came back at the end of the semester, with my class again liked better, according to the ratings, than any other course taught in the psychology department, for I had worried that if I didn't stick to an evidence-based format that the students would rebel.

It might have been the next year when I taught the graduate seminar that I started experimenting to see how far I could push this mental telepathy thing. I recognized my new clairvoyance as being the result of an improved signal-to-noise ratio: Once I had stilled much of the noise in my head, then I had been able to hear the small signals that must always have been there.

My experiment consisted of my unrolling my next lecture in my head, visualizing the class. As I sat in my chair and mentally visualized giving the lecture (I never used notes in those days), I would listen for their questions. After I digested their questions, I would ponder the question until I had a sharp, crisp answer ready to go just at the right moment.

When I actually gave the lecture, the students would indeed ask their questions, just as I had heard while sitting in my backyard. I instantly would pop out my response. The students thought I was brilliant; but I wasn't brilliant - I was just cheating by peeking at the questions beforehand.

I reflected upon this experiment. And I reflected upon my strange "mystical" experiences in Korea, which had renewed my interest in physics. And I reflected on how it all could be integrated through physics.

The final result of almost four years of reflection - from Jan., 1970 until Sept., 1973? Finally I was ready to move into my final resolution.





















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