How it has all begun.


     The setting; A ballroom at a hotel In New York City filled  by four hundred and sixty people who are sitting on the carpet with their eyes glued to the person on the stage. A good looking middle aged woman in ceremonial clothes introduces herself as Jean Houston and begins to speak. It is 2.pm.

Jean Houston, Ph.D

     When I next look at my watch it shows 5 o’clock.   It seems hard to believe that three hours went by since I sat down. The word spellbound comes to mind and as I look around the room at the other participants I have a feeling that they all have experienced something similar. 

     We are told that there will be a 15 minute break which will be followed by the first experiential exercise of the weekend. 

     “That was the most interesting lecture I ever heard”, I manage to share with someone I meet at the coffee table. “Yes”, A young good looking woman agrees with a smile. “Jean is the best New Age lecturer around.  Prepare yourself for a most amazing weekend”.  “This is our third”, she adds as an afterthought. “My husband and I simply can not get enough of this fascinating woman”. 


     So this is the New Age I have been hearing about.  How wonderful that I will finally have a chance to experience it.  I sit down again this time a bit closer to the stage and try to recall what was it that I really have heard so far? And why, what I did hear, seemed so very important.  One expression came to mind immediately. I  knew that I never heard it before, and yet, I immediately knew that it referred to what was happening to me. Yes, there was no doubt, I was experiencing a Paradigm Shift.  My mind followed the example given and suddenly it became clear.  The new paradigm, I was beginning to experience, was similar to the one the people of the sixteenth century went through when they discovered themselves bound to the Earth by force of gravity alone. Certainly, like for them, nothing for me will ever be the same.  The excitement and anticipation of joy which filled me as I prepared myself for more of the adventure, was unlike anything I could remember. Anyway, not since early childhood.  


     “Find somebody’s back to lean against”, said my new teacher on the stage. ,“Preferably a stranger’s back, you will be sitting for the next 45 minutes while I take you on a sightseeing tour of your brain. To do it, I will bring you into a slightly altered Alpha state”.  Alpha and Beta states were both words which I thought sounded familiar, but did I really  know the meaning of them?  Not quite. Now, I thought to myself happily, as I sat with a rather large back touching mine. Now I may finally understand all of it.  


     I did not need the added description of the professional acumen of knowledge ‘and degrees which has prepared the way for what I was going to be led through next. That, I felt was for the others. Dr. Jean Houston had my complete confidence and I was as ready as a child, who is being introduced to a new and exciting game.  Yes! Yes! I am ready, was all I wanted to say. Let’s play. I can hardly wait. My brain which I was led to examine that afternoon belonged to a 52 year old woman artist, mother of two grown sons, who after thirty two years of marriage became suddenly widowed six months before this momentous afternoon and, and who was encased in a badly damaged body, disfigured six years before by a very radical mastectomy operation. 


     My surgeon, every six months, as he proudly examined his well-positioned seams, was very pleased with his work and, with my chemotherapy free recovery.  In 1975 at Sloan Kattering, famous breast cancer center in the States, chemotherapy,  was not used as yet. I was grateful for my life except, when I caught a glimpse of myself in my bathroom mirror.  Than I was just furious, and, which was by far worse, I felt sorry for myself.


     Of course I agreed with Jean when she told me that only 5% of my brain has so far been used and immediately in my imagination I could see as suggested the unused portion of it as an impossible to penetrate mass of tightly bound together, gray mass, with hundreds of neurons connected to it and each other.  The small portion of those connected  showed themselves in color  as if lit by sunshine.

     Before the sightseeing trip into and around my brain, I was told that it was divided into three parts. My old reptilian brain, which we examined first, had color and vitality. The description of its function left no doubt,  that I owed a debt of gratitude to it for the fact that I was alive because of its ability to distinguish between fight and flight and its constant recommitment to staying alive.

     The Limbic system of the brain, which was described in detail next, had its parts easily identifiable mainly by their assorted functions. I saw it as a receptacle of what my five senses allowed me to experience and register.  There, I saw sunsets, smelled small white flowers, tasted fresh baked bread, heard song birds and touched rose petals.   There with loving eyes I saw my smiling babies and heard their laughter, and there as well, close to the surface, hidden under scabs of old wounds were dark ugly pockets filled with fear and pain.

     The Cortex when that came into view was most interesting, Divided into two parts mine showed clearly its 95% grayness.  Of course, I thought, that is exactly where my unused creative potential is stored and that is what this workshop is all about.  Thank you God,  for bringing me here at this time to show me more of what I can be, and allowing me to do it now while I have the rest of my life still before me.

     I swallowed with large gulps everything which was served that weekend and loved it all.  If Jean Houston wanted to be my Guru I probably would have considered becoming one of her “Mooneys” as we called the yellow dressed barefoot creatures who since the early eighties sold flowers on street corners of New York. However, at the very beginning of the workshop Jean said: “I am not a guru” Guru stands for G.U.AR. U.   Absolutely, we all agreed with relief, and loudly applauded. 

     There were many other exercises, which we did all day Saturday and Sunday some were done with partners and some in small and large groups. I liked everyone I connected with and felt that they all liked me.  Before Sunday morning’s lecture came to an end I knew that no matter what, I must continue this fascinating journey and so, with very little hesitation joined the people who prepared to go away with Jean that afternoon at four for a four day intensive at a retreat center in Bear Mountains.


     There were 460 at the Sheraton ballroom that weekend and 140 of us went on to the intensive to re-experience our lives as a part of our new consciousness.  With each of her carefully prepared brilliant lectures and exercises which followed them, Jean Houston had convinced me more each day that I finally found what I have been looking for all my life. I realized that it was just the beginning and could hardly wait for what next awaited me on this fabulous road of self discovery which I had just embarked on.


     When during the last exercise on Thursday afternoon we danced and looked into each other’s eyes, I felt accepted and loved for the best in me on a level I had never experienced before and I had a feeling of complete connectedness with everyone around me knowing without any doubt that whatever it was that I stumbled upon in less than a week before, was exactly what I desperately needed to make the rest of my life worth living.  I was grateful and a prayer which had stayed with me ever since that weekend suddenly formed itself on my lips. God please let me be all that I can be and, please let me make a difference.   

     Albert Einstein who I simply love to quote said that There are two kinds of people in the world, the ones who do not believe in miracles and the ones for whom Everything is a Miracle’’.
     Here is a list of the most important ones AND JUST A BIT OF WHAT EACH GAVE TO ME 

     Jean Houston - who evoke in me an interest in human potential and taught me how to tap into mine.

    Elaine De Beauport - who showed me how to use all of my intelligences, many of which I never knew I possessed.

    Peggy Rubin - who toughed me how to look at my life and all of life around me as a part of the Sacred Theatre.

    Richard Bandler and Dashon Grinder - who, at an N.L.P. intensive, showed me how powerful a suggestion could be.

    Eric Butterworth - who introduced to me the concept of God within, to Ralph Waldo Emerson and to the other predecessors of Truth.

    August Gold - who showed me the joy of being with and trusting a spiritual community of likeminded souls.

     Conny Larsson - who used his magical knowledge to finally teach me how to meditate. 





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Irena Rutenberg