It was a Peace Awareness Training (PAT) in a beautiful venue—a magnificent old-growth forest surrounding a hushed lake. Very peaceful. Great food too. PATs are like living in heaven for a week—or at least on an earth with a whole lot more grace than we’re accustomed to. It’s not just that the training is choreographed to create a spiritual awakening, but even on the physical level there’s the right balance of work, play, socializing, music, poetry (from J-R), expression, affection, entertainment, nature, novelty, and physical comfort to make it pretty much an ideal way to live—that is if you’re considering human needs rather than greeds, and the things that are necessary for a fulfilled life rather than an exciting or stimulating life.
That all this can happen within the context of an uncompromising spiritual discipline is something that’s difficult to comprehend or describe. I don’t know of anywhere in history where the spiritual and physical were so well-integrated. To me, the PATs are an example of where humanity is headed eventually—a cooperative culture whose every aspect leads in the direction self-realization, but without force or self-denial or physical discomfort. And also without any kind of self-indulgence. If you’re in the habit of avoiding yourself, or the deeper aspects of your nature, or distracting yourself a lot, then the PAT may seem disturbing at first. But generally, after the first day or two most people are enjoying themselves. They’re not necessarily enjoying anything in the outer world, but they’re enjoying themselves, and what’s coming out of them.
Even our darker aspects become objects of wonder and amusement—and the source of new creative ideas and inspiration. The PATs are a way to know yourself, but I think that even if you didn’t use the PAT process for spiritual awakening you could use it as a way to tap into your creative expression, because the root of creativity is letting go of judgment, and then accessing and being able to use everything inside oneself, “good” or “bad”. These Canada PATs, which take place in or around Victoria in the southwest corner of British Columbia, have been going on for at least 20 years or so, and there is a core group that comes back year after year for a dip in the wellspring. I’m one of them. I’ve been coming back to do sound every year, and every time I’ve returned home saying, “Wow, something is really different inside me.”
Even doing sound at PAT trainings is a creative process. You’ve got about 150 J-R excerpts and hundreds of pieces of music, and after each process the music and excerpts are mixed live to fit the energy of the moment. And the assistants participate in the PAT processes, so everyone is part of the energy that’s reverberating through each person’s awareness. We all awaken each other, and through the contagion of our self-awakening the room goes as high as each person allows and can handle. Watching the process from the sound table is like watching those fast-motion movies of a field of flowers opening.
It all takes place with minimal instruction or mental explanation. All you have to do is sit there, relax, participate, and do as little as possible. It’s a natural way to supernatural spiritual awareness.
VIEW THE PHOTOS