Also see on this site
Kitchen Press, 1996; Digital Edition, M.R.J., November 2000
The compiler first met JB in the kitchen of Richard Rose, founder of the T.A.T. Foundation, in about 1981. George Blazier, a friend of Rose's, had brought Jim to visit as he expected Rose and JB might have much in common. Richard Rose, a Zen Teacher, had a number of students in the area, and gradually about a dozen of us gathered. That Sunday afternoon was a day that none of us will likely forget. For about eight hours an intense discussion went on, mostly from JB's side. Much of what he had to say was so unique that we all but sat with mouths agape, from shock at least. It was a rare event with one man from mesmeric force pulling everyone in the room up to another level of mentality.
JB's life has been anything but normal, which no doubt partly accounts for the unique nature of his insight. He was when young probably what would be labelled an autistic child today. He was of high intelligence as it is normally thought of, which he proved when able to apply himself scholastically. For some reason JB has always been unfulfilled and incongruent with any of the things that keep most people going and functional in the world. For him a normal life in any sense just would not work, and who can understand completely the mystery behind unique human destinies? The result was, that for most of thirty years, JB was in and out of mental institutions and the psychotherapy system. His unusualness is that instead of succumbing to mental affliction, he continually pushed his thought and sensitivities to completely understand every aspect of mental illness and the workings of the mind. As he puts it: "I was someone who marched straight through hell and lived to tell about it." Mental illness is but an extension of normal psychological processes, and as such, what JB has to say applies to the workings of everyone's mind and not just to the mentally ill. The reader is invited to judge the value of JB's findings himself.
The compiler is a Theosophist, a student of H.P. Blavatsky's writings, and looks to these with confidence for the solution to life's biggest mysteries. He also believes he recognizes an expression of understanding and genuine knowledge when he sees it. The Eastern method seems to be to stay above and detached from the muddy stream of the lower mind. While this may be an alternative or best way, it may not always to degree be a matter of choice. It is possible that sooner or later in one's evolutionary journey, everyone must come to an understanding of these matters.
The technical definition of the word "adept" is that of a person who has achieved nearly total mastery in a particular area. The master car mechanics of the world are "adepts" in this sense. The compiler's evaluation is that JB is an adept in largely the kama-manas part of the mind in Theosophical terminology. The "desire-mind" is concerned with ego, personality, and normal everyday consciousness, as separate from higher aspects of mind, "buddhi-manas", which is focused in spirituality and spiritual ideas.
The following is a compilation of excerpts from many hours of tapes of informal study group meetings held by JB in 1984-5. The nature of the compilation necessarily resulted in some discontinuity in the flow of the narrative. The words are JB's own as closely as possible.
Despite a likely limited circulation, it is hoped the following is a valuable contribution of ideas to humanity in our effort at mutual understanding, empathy, and progress.
– Compiler (July, 1990)
Update and clarification, 1996
At this date six years (1996) later I cannot much differ with any of the above other than to make some updates and clarifications. Richard Rose (author of The Albigen Papers and several other books), who helped popularized JB, and some of who's students felt an affinity to what he said, has been ill for several years at near 80. JB, who's employment has been sporadic throughout his life, now at about 60, has been working steady for the last several years. His life-long situation was complicated from having only partial use of one arm. I haven't seen or talked to JB too much over the past years except for an occasional phone call or letter. An informal group of students and friends meet with him relatively regularly.
I did not in the above "Forward" wish to give the impression that JB's expertise is limited to the mundane or everyday mind. He is also a rare and profound mystic, and deep understanding of one likely leads to the other. I also dislike placing the phenomenom of JB's search within the paradigm of an escaping of mental illness. It is my belief that those who are too sensitive and too intelligent to fit nicely into the normal and social mentality of the common world, are driven out and maybe driven "insane", so to speak, from the pure madness and resultant lack of rapport with what is to them an objectively insane state of affairs which is regarded as normalcy. Indeed, someday, our current world may seem as insane a place, as we might view the feudal middle ages and Inquisition.
For Theosophists, JB is someone this writer would think a good candidate for being what is called a "Fifth Rounder", or someone who is relatively far ahead of most of us evolutionary-wise – which has its price, as a modern intelligent person would pay a price if he was magically transported back and forced to live in the dark ages of feudal Europe. Ideas of human rights and freedom of thought – or inner understanding in this case – which we take for granted would be regarded as dangerous and criminal because of the common status of undevelopment and ingnorance. A someday utopia on earth will come about by inner understanding and from following the exhortation "Know Thyself" rather than infinite technical and scientific development.
– Compiler, June, 1996