Russell Bishop (at right) with John-Roger at an Insight in 1981.
The first Insight seminar in January 1978 was offered as a fundraiser for MSIA. J-R was one of the 150 participants (yes, he was a participant!). He called me a few days after it had ended to tell me that 123 of those first 150 had signed up for an advanced course (that we did not have) and that 126 other ministers and initiates had signed up for another Insight (that we did not have either). In a typical J-R understatement, he said to me, “It looks like there will be a lot more people who will want to participate.”
A few days later when I was back in Santa Monica for the follow-up evening, we began talking about the possibility of creating Insight as an organization and offering programs on a regular basis. As we were looking at the possibility, he also told me that we wouldn’t need to do another one, ever, because that first Insight had already trained the ministers and initiates he would need to do his work. It was basically a free choice on my part. That was pretty stunning all by itself!
Obviously, we agreed to continue, and I moved to Santa Monica from the Bay Area to get things going. Over the next several months, I spent most every day with J-R at Mandeville, going over every aspect of the seminar. He wanted to know why we did this exercise, or why we used this wording, or why did this exercise take place on this day, or, or, or. As you might imagine, J-R was masterful at asking questions to gain deeper insights and understanding.
After a number of these sessions, he let me know that he was looking at the intentions and structures of each exercise and how they were able to hold the spiritual energies that were already present as well as how they could hold the frequencies that would be coming forward.
We worked for months, making small yet significant adjustments to the processes, wording, and timing of the exercises until he was satisfied that we had sufficient alignment to hold those higher frequencies. By the end of 1978, we had pretty much made the adjustments necessary.
Or so I thought.
In hindsight, it has become clear that while he was working with me on the seminar itself, he was also working with me, on me, so I could hold those higher frequencies as well. Ever the Master, J-R never told me as much – he simply worked with me in real time, often right in the middle of a process or on a break. He never told me he was working with me to lift my ability, he never told me what to do, much less how to do it.
I could be pretty impatient with participants from time to time. J-R let me see this impatience in several ways, as well as opportunities to become more patient, accepting, compassionate and understanding.
Keeping in mind that although we called Insight “The Awakening Heart,” I still had much to learn about the process of awakening. Back then, and still today, people often used the term “wake up,” sometimes as a gentle encouragement and more often as a pejorative – WAKE UP! – as though there were something wrong with person who is “asleep.”
During one seminar I was co-facilitating with John-Roger, I was becoming increasingly impatient with someone I judged for being slow to awaken. John-Roger provided my own wake-up call by reminding me that sleep is part of the natural process of growth and awareness. His example in the form of a question to me: “Would you wake up the sleeping baby so it can grow and learn faster?”
He would later remind me of the still present need for sleep with another simple question: “Have you ever gone to sleep in a state of confusion or consternation only to awaken in the morning with a newfound clarity? If so, where did that come from?” Obviously, the Soul receives instruction and clarity in the sleep state.
Another example took place during a seminar we were co-facilitating in early 1979. I was frustrated with the group for being stuck. Or at least I judged that the group was stuck, moving way slower than I thought they “should.” On a break, J-R asked me what was going on inside of me. I told him that I thought they could be so much further along by then, that I saw so much more potential, and I really wanted them to lift even higher. And faster. As in now.
J-R touched me on my hand, looked me in the eye, and said ever so gently, “Russell, I think you have misunderstood your role here. You think you are here for the harvest when you are actually here to plant seeds. Those seeds will come to fruition in their own time.”
These marvelous insights seem ever more relevant today. With all the apparent consternation, divisiveness and strife in the world today, we as ministers and initiates are being called upon to keep planting those seeds of Light and love.
Thank you J-R. Thank you John Morton. Thank you Travelers everywhere. Each and every one of us.