This article is transcribed from a conversation with David Whitaker on August 15th, 2018
I remember how attuned I was to these words. And how much joy and alignment I felt doing these meditations. It was as if it was effortless.
– Leigh Taylor-Young
My initial sharing is, I recorded Meditations of the Loving Heart in 1979 and we’re now in 2018 and that’s a significant period of time for memory.
I had a wonderful time exploring the creation of this. The two people who came to my spirit to plug into about it were Phil Danza and Pauli Sanderson. Pauli would, not always, but sometimes be involved in writing discourses and meditations and all kinds of things. And Phil was, as he is today, the key guy when it came to recording.
So I first talked to Pauli and said, “My memory of these two meditations was writing it and getting feedback from J-R and it came together really quickly. I want to make sure to ask you whether you were involved.”
And she said, “no.” So that took care of that right there.
And I then called Phil and we had a delightful conversation and a lot of laughter about memory. I did four different meditation recordings for J-R and I’m pretty sure that two of the four were done at Mandeville in the basement.
And I said, “What is your memory of that Phil?”
He said, “yes, I’m pretty sure that we did Meditations of the Loving Heart in the basement.”
I was describing the basement and he said, “guess who else was in the room?”
I said, “who?
And he said, “Me!”
And I said, “oh gosh! I’m feeling even better now.”
So we were describing the room and enjoying the memory of how heavenly it was to record at Mandeville. It was in the basement and we’re looking at 1979. To say that it was rough was kind of an understatement but they had padded the room for sound beautifully. Edgar would often use it for recordings and Phil, and I don’t remember whether Edgar was there when we recorded Meditations of the Loving Heart. He might have been because he was so involved with producing the media back then. I truly don’t remember, but it seems like the fragrance of his being is present in this as a producer because he would produce these things and Phil would sound tech them.
I remember J-R coming into the basement during the recording and I was disconcerted because when I work in film I am extremely focused. I learned it and was trained in it by the nature of my business which requires enormous focus to the degree that you might have to memorize thirty pages of dialogue off the page between 8 o’clock at night and 8 o’clock the next morning.
So I had acquired a great facility for focus and had a good handle on it except J-R walked into the room. I had enough discipline to hold to it knowing that it was a blessing. No exchange. No words because I was in the middle of the recording. I think it was at a pause and he just walked out and we kept working, we kept doing this meditation. What we can’t even imagine or see or know was how things would change when J-R would come into a room. He would stand there, do whatever it was on whatever levels he would do it and then leave the room and it would be like the world was different.
I think that the first recording I did for J-R was for the People Center that he would talk about in the ‘70s. The big focus of our collective agenda was that we wanted a place where we could gather and be together, which of course today we could consider as 2101 [Wilshire] and surely we have it at Prana [PAL&G] today. Windermere was also a part of this.
At the time, Prana was already present, and J-R wanted to record a programming for a beautiful people center. It’s quite archival. I don’t think that this recording ever made it out of cassette form. I have a cassette here but I don’t think it ever went to CD.
But Meditations of the Loving Heart did, and that’s why I think this was the second recording I did. I remember how attuned I was to the words. And how much joy and alignment I felt doing these meditations. It was as if it was effortless.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had this in your life where you ask, “Where’s my place? What is my skill? What is my contribution?”
Even with a very rich career, I never seemed to lose that uncertainty of my place; of not quite knowing a sense of place. I remember as I was recording those meditations, having this profound sense of my place, of my alignment, of something so natural and attuned in its creative flow that it was like being in my place. That was the experience I very much have in my memory.
I asked John this morning if it was clear to share this and he said, “yes.” After I recorded Meditations of the Loving Heart, J-R said that the Holy Spirit had placed a blessing with my voice that would extend to others when I would do things of this nature or public speaking.
When J-R told me that, it matched the experience that I was having when I was doing the recordings and when I was writing. To the best I remember on this particular recording, I would write, run it by J-R and then J-R would send it back and I wouldn’t meet or talk to him about it, it would just go that way and happen very fast.
We all have experiences of how J-R could be very matter of fact or perfunctory and yet maybe what he had just said rocked your whole world. Yet it was sort of like, “pass the salt,” and you’re kind of going “oooh!” It was so inspiring.
It matched up with my love of doing meditations and closed eye processes because I feel so deeply the presence, I think we all do, that I can actually speak it in an alignment, like when I do an ordination it’s that experience. It’s a sense of profound place. When I do an ordination, there’s nothing I would rather do than to be in that kind of attunement with Spirit so that the vehicle of my voice and my being is dancing with Spirit in a oneness in service to another.
I did another meditation called the Spirit of Peace, in the early ‘90s. I’m going to address it because it’s kind of part of the story. I was having lunch with J-R and I had just taken a job being a Goodwill Ambassador at the UN for the environment, it’s called the United Nations Environment Program.
John-Roger and I were sharing about it and I said, “J-R, I want to produce an event in the general assembly for peace and I want to write a meditation,” I was sharing my dream, “and I want to do it for every head of every agency for the United Nations. Every part of the United Nations. All aspects of it. And I would like to work with the Society of Prayer for World Peace.” I told him this whole scenario. He looked up as he would do and then he looked at me and said, “yes, it looks like you could do that.”
The meditation just flowed. I went to my boss at the UN and said, “I want to do this, what do you feel? I’d like to go to MSIA and have them co-produce it.” Everything happened. MSIA co-produced this event in the general assembly. I wrote it based on an earlier meditation, and MSIA then produced it. John Morton heard it and came on board and said, “I would like to do the other side of it,” This is in 1989. There’s a picture on that CD that’s adorable. It’s John and me, young. Not together, but on the same tape. The Society of Prayer came forward, they did their flag ceremony. The environmental organ of the UN co-produced and it was a magnificent event.
When I recorded the Spirit of Peace it was that same experience of alignment. It’s a tape that I highly recommend for children because it’s a visualization, almost in a childlike way of healing the planet. I just love doing this work. I love doing the planetary meditations. I love creating closed eye processes. I’m writing one now, a children’s meditation.
And back to Meditations of a Loving Heart. I had not listened to it in many years. I found it going through my CDs and I took it to John about six months ago. And I said, “I’d love it if you’d listen to this, I just listened to it and I’m kind of amazed how much it moved me.”
And he listened to it and he said, “Well where has this been? I don’t ever remember this!”
And I said, “Well, I don’t know,” So I called the products [department] and they had two on hand.
So then John, in his inimitable brilliant fashion that sets things in motion, said, “I want to play this at the ministers meeting [in LA].”
So that’s the tale. I feel it’s a ministry that I adore and am grateful for. Any time someone asks us and we can do it, it’s a joy to say “Yes.”
In the playfulness of this, it’s the “yes place!” I love saying “Yes!” I was saying this to Sherie [Wylie] today that I love her nature because I saw a reflection of my own. She’s a “yes person.” When John and I first began working together, he would ask me:
“Would you do this?”
And I’d say, “Yes.”
“Do you know how to do it?”
“Well, I can learn”
And that’s been my MO, “OK, I’ll do it.”
It goes back to that thing that J-R and John share with us so much which is “the ability to do is the willingness to do.” And most of my life has been lead by willingness and the ability comes.
When I heard the meditation for the first time in years, I was taken by how relevant it is to our times now. And how, in retrospect, it addresses the enturbulation of our times now and gives a way of addressing it spiritually in the guidedness of the meditation. I remember back in the ‘70s when J-R said that these times would be coming. And what could be shook will be shook and to stay anchored in Source, weathering storms so that we stay standing because our foundation in the Spirit is so strong.
More and more, in my experience, I feel the incredible closeness with our family and the joy and gratitude for us and also the gratitude for showing up no matter what. I was deeply touched at Conference when John addressed Craig Rand — who is physically challenged but he did everything in his power to get to that ministers meeting. J-R used to say, no matter what it takes, sick bed in hand, show up to be together. I get the power of this, in that together we create a transformational vortex.
When I look at Transcendent Leadership. It’s a pilot program in a sense, but the anchoring of it is promising to create a very special place for others to come in, in due time, demonstrating that we are good followers of the Lord and good disseminators of the Teachings.