Table of Contents

My fall from grace

A falling star. I moved from Tallahassee to Boulder in 1979. In the year leading up to my move I got to be something of a celebrity in the Harmonizing community. After his visit to Tallahassee in early 1978 I became an enthusiastic disciple of TH, aka Marc Tizer, Yousamien etc. He mentored me remotely via long distance phone calls, plus an almost unreadable letter in his tiny spidery handwriting. He wanted me to be one of his pet writers, helping him publish his alcohol-fueled teachings to the world. I'm happy to report I'm not guilty of that, though not because I came to my senses. The project just never got off the ground while I was there. I suspect that flight may be permanently grounded, but that's just a guess. I'm not in touch.

Rescue operation. My move to Boulder was a lifesaver, literally. My ever increasing salary gave me the means to get self indulgent and I did, developing bad habits like eating decadent foods, not much exercise, drinking more and more booze, and acting like an asshole. I was headed for a miserable ease. Leela used TH's cult in Boulder to rescue me and keep me reasonably healthy until it was time for me to move to Seattle. I was up in my head, badly disconnected from my body, so TH gave me a dancing assignment to help me connect with my body. My assignment was to dance twenty minutes every day without music. Just start dancing, however I felt moved. If I'd been dancing to music I probably would've tried to act out the music, but no music meant I had to let my body do whatever it wanted to do. I had no connection with guidance from my body at that point, but the dancing assignment allowed a little of that to get through. A vision started taking shape in me, incorporating bits and pieces I'd read about different cultures in the mythology I'd studied in school but also things that just came to me, from my body, from the dancing. That vision became a gripping story I was telling myself about the connection between humans and the earth. It developed and got more powerful the longer I did it. In a harbinger of things to come, dancing helped me forge a tiny connection between my ordinary waking life and very deep levels within me, what I now know to be Leela, my own internal authority. It felt wonderful, unlike anything I'd felt since childhood. It felt so good I was quickly sold on the idea of giving up my cushy state job and moving to Boulder to study with TH. I didn't realize it until decades later, but that bold step was my first big act of surrender to my own internal authority, aka Leela.

In the summer of 1978 TH got me started running, part of his addiction trifecta, along with booze and sex. I would run after work every day. I started with ¼ mile and built my mileage the right way, slow and steady. The after-work timing was my own peculiar southern boy kink. Late afternoon was the hottest part of a brutally hot Florida day. I reveled in the sweaty heat; it was my version of a sauna. Now I prefer it cool and gray. I'd be just fine if summer went on permanent holiday. But I digress. That wasn't my first foray into running, but it was the one I stuck with, for the next twelve years or so. I came to love running, becoming deeply addicted. My knees had the final say: quit running. So I did, soon after I took up partner dancing in 1992. It was tough. I went through withdrawal, longing to run to the point of tears for a long time. Running had been a sweet addiction. But compared to partner dancing? Partner dancing starts with the exhilaration of physical exercise but adds physical intimacy and the potential to create achingly glorious evanescent art, the sweeter for being so fleeting.

Glory. As plans were made and my pilgrimage to Boulder drew closer, TH started talking me up there as the golden boy, a model of spiritual progress for all to admire. He had a numerical system of states of being, one to fifteen; he was of course fifteen and no one else was anywhere close. He used the system as part of his teaching the first few years I was in Boulder, for instance exposing well known teachers as charlatans by the numbers. Ha, get this: Swami Tukar Gaharaji is just a four. A four! He usually didn't tell his disciples what their numbers were, but I was an exception. His clever dancing assignment had supposedly booted me to a six! All I really had was a lingering buzz from the dancing assignment, and like all buzzes it came to an end. But not for a few more months. The day I arrived in Boulder TH had me come over to his house early to hide out and make a dramatic entrance at the practitioner group meeting that was happening that night. I walked into the room as he shouted something about me and everyone cheered. That night left a mark on me: I was special, for good or ill.

Commitments. One notable perk of my special status in The Community was never having to pay a commitment. Before Harmonizing started transmogrifying into a cult the economic model was direct payment for services rendered: you paid a set fee to have a Harmonizing session or to take a workshop. Maybe people in the practitioner group (TH's inner circle) were paying monthly already; I don't know. But as Self-Harmonizing took off and full cult status loomed, monthly commitments were instituted for all. Everyone paid a monthly fee to be a frog in those slowly warming waters. The amount you had to pay was set by TH using muscle testing. For whatever reason I was never asked to pay, and I never asked why. A gift horse.

Bejurin. TH put me in a household on Pine Street a few blocks east of Mork and Mindy's house. My housemates were all in the practitioner group, disciples in his inner circle of more advanced students studying to become Harmonizers. The house was abuzz when I arrived, in the thick of preparations for the upcoming backpacking trip in the Weminuche. Some of my housemates had given themselves new names, like Doña. Harmonizing names to symbolize their new life in what was already beginning to transmogrify into a cult. I was in even deeper than that: I gave up my naming rights, asking TH to give me a new name soon after I arrived. I was told he had refused to do this before, but he seemed willing to make an exception in my case. I got a call from a fellow disciple, his secretary et cetera of the moment, that my new name was taking shape. A few days later I got a call from the man himself, but I couldn't understand what he was shouting in his thick Philly accent. His secretary had to take the phone from him. She said Hello Bejurin very clearly. I can still hear her voice. I let myself be saddled with Bejurin (no, not Bjorn, it's bee-EE-jay) from 1979 until 2004, when I finally got up the gumption to begin shedding my misplaced allegiance to that era of my past.

It's just a name. I've never been one to do things by halves, so I went to the courthouse and changed my name legally from Jeffrey Scott Cassady to Bejurin Cassady, no middle name. My first of three legal name changes. Three because it took me two tries to get rid of Bejurin. In the early 2000s I added John as a middle name, to honor both my father John Tom and my brother Timothy John, who had recently died. It wasn't until 2004 that I developed the gumption to come up with my own name. In those days I was charmed by the pointless practice of genealogy, so I picked a name from the family tree. I never considered changing it back to Jeffrey Scott. I never liked those names, part of the reason I asked TH for a new one.

Backpacking trip. With that for an opening there was nowhere to go but down. But I kept it together just long enough to go on a much-heralded two-week backpacking trip in the Weminuche Wilderness, spoken of in hushed tones among Self-Harmonizers as the practitioner trip. Joke of the day: even when we slept it was in tents. We camped beside a monumental medial moraine, a boulder field of house-size boulders. Days we hiked and climbed on the ridges or followed the creek on into the Weminuche. Nights we circled the fire, for which there was no shortage of Ten High, TH's namesake bottom-shelf bourbon, lugged in in heavy glass handles. Two weeks of campfire circles and it never ran out. Talk about your loaves and fishes. I soon found an aerie retreat up on the south ridge above our creek, way above tree line, where I could escape the camp buzz and talk to the fairies. Nature's long-lost magic was coming back to me, up there in the high mountain air.

A night of fearless wonder. On the full moon night that graced us midway through the trip, we had an especially energetic campfire circle after a long day gallivanting about on nearby peaks and ridges. The circle finally broke up in the wee hours and we started heading for our tents in a state of drunken exhaustion. At that moment, nothing was more appealing than the prospect of snuggling into our warm down bags and sleeping it all off. But TH had a gleam in his eye and other plans. He started doing muscle testing on his own finger, his main method for getting guidance. A handful of us were called back and given precisely muscle tested doses of psychotropic substances, Psilocybe cubensis in my case. That night I was set free of fear: of falling, of the dark, of death. I ran full tilt across our backyard boulderfield in my hiking boots in the moonlight. I zigzagged across it, flinging myself into the air at the edge of one vast boulder not knowing where I'd land, always landing catlike on the next boulder. The brilliant moonlight created inky black shadows I thrust myself into head-first, ass-first, any way I wanted-first; I was free of fear. In the dawn light I sat on the highest boulder and watched the moon set as the sun rose, sweetly aligned with the ends of our canyon. I don't care if it was just a trick; it was the best night of my young life.

Just another trick. But it was just another trick, and not nearly as good a trick as the first one. The dancing assignment got me to call on my own inner resources to forge a wonderfully invigorating if temporary connection between mind and body. It was a harbinger of things to come, and it helped me get the hell out of Tallahassee and move to Boulder, which I very much needed to do. My night of fearless wonder was just a booze and mushroom trip, delightful at the time but of no lasting value at all. I had experienced what I thought was a moment of enlightenment, free of fear. But freedom from fear is not a good thing. Loss of inhibitions is a common effect of many drugs, including the booze that was still very much in my system all night. Fear is a crucial ally, a message from Leela helping keep me alive and on track. It's a warning I must heed. Plus it was drug induced. At the time I had no problem with that. I was an enthusiastic drinker, having recently been taught that drinking was a holy sacrament and an important ally, to use the term TH stole from fellow con artist Carlos Castañeda. The truth is the opposite: drugs short circuit the system, making progress impossible. It would be decades before I began to grasp the truth: to make progress I have to rely on my own deepest self, on Leela, the wisdom in my body, surrendering to her and letting her guide me rather than seeking guidance from anything or anyone outside. My psilocybin trip was just another trick TH played on me to keep me toeing the line, playing my role as a cog in his plans for fame and glory. Booze and other drugs had to go before I could make any real progress. I did start making a certain kind of progress in 2006 when I began to surrender. But it was remedial work to repair all the damage I did up to then by making poor lifestyle choices and indulging in delusional thinking. I had an entrancing night, and got more entranced with Harmonizing, and stayed in TH's circle through the eighties, which was what I needed to do to stay reasonably healthy until I was ready for the next step, moving to Seattle. Bottom line, it was a good thing for me, and I'm grateful.

The trademark of my downfall. The sonata of my night of fearless wonder had an ominous coda. The nearest town to our trailhead was Silverton, a former mining town that now lives off adventurous tourists and government remediation projects. When we got back into town we had some free time to bang around town. Most of my fellow campers were keen to have a fresh brew at one of Silverton's many trendy bars. As was I. But first I indulged my severely starved sweet tooth with a bar of Toblerone™. It was heavenly, just what I wanted. From my perspective now it seems like a perfectly sensible choice. But I was observed buying my treat and immediately ratted out by one of TH's spies for transgressing our holy diet. A diet that wasn't really a good fit for me, as I can easily see now. What can I say; I didn't fit in.

The fall. Things didn't go well for me back in Boulder. My bar of Toblerone™ was seen as a grievous sin, a bad sign of worse to come. I moved into in a house in Table Mesa, Boulder's fatuously named southwest suburb, with four other practitioners. I was supposedly a practitioner in training but quickly came to be seen as a failed student, headed for compost. That was the word for those foolish enough to leave The Community. I was feeling pretty desperate, and one sunny, miserably cold Sunday I hatched a plan to test myself with a manly march. I decided to march stalwartly due west from the cul-de-sac at the end of our street as far as I could go. Through Boulder Greenspace straight into The Flatirons, themselves backed up by the full weight of the Rocky Mountains. To make this march more a test of my manly mettle I was determined to march in as straight a line as possible, undeterred by obstacles. I put on my hiking gear and pocketed my compass to keep me on track. I bulldozed through some scrubby thickets any sensible man would've walked around, but otherwise hiked along easily in the open country. Then I crossed the Mesa Trail and the going got steep. I scrambled up a dry gully until my passage was blocked by a huge boulder. I climbed around one side of the boulder, and I could see my gully route continuing up around the bend of the boulder. I just needed to make a little arcing jump to get there. But I had no momentum and my footing was precarious. I was barely hanging on, hands and feet starting trembling with fatigue. Reversing was not an option; I had lurched myself into my untenable position and had to go forward. I summoned my strength and made the leap, miraculously landing squarely in the gully, right where I was aiming. But I couldn't stick the dismount. I tottered there momentarily, then saw myself falling backward off the mountain in slow-mo, arms waving futilely in the air. At some point everything went black. I have no memory of the impact.

Opioids. According to the Daily Camera I fell 35 feet; I went back to the spot a year or two later and it looked more like 25 to me, maybe 30 tops. Whatever. It was far enough to break two bony parts I'd never heard of before: the ramus of my right ischium, and the coracoid process of my right scapula. I fell onto a scree slope; that probably saved my life. I'd been calling out for help; I don't remember that part. I emerged into consciousness to see three faces hovering over me, hikers who'd heeded my call and come to my rescue. Eventually Rocky Mountain Rescue arrived, bless 'em. They gave me morphine, strapped me onto a stretcher, and carried me down the trail to the ambulance, several miles away. It was a bumpy ride. The morphine didn't do much for pain but it did make me nauseous; I puked over the side of the stretcher a time or two. I got no relief until I got reassessed in the ER and a shot of demerol. It reminded me of my tonsillectomy at age 5. I was given sodium pentathol. I babbled to the nurse that I would come back every year to have my tonsils out. In Boulder I didn't babble nuthin', just eased down into my nod, carried away in the tender embrace of the Angel of Synthetic Opioids.

Aftermath. TH's official interpretation of my fall (everything needed interpreting and he interpreted everything) was that I'd done it to avoid going on the hitchhiking trip. That was the plan he'd come up with to get me back on track, snap me out of my post camping trip slump. He hadn't actually told me about it but he'd told others so the word quickly got to me. As soon as it warmed up I was supposed to hit the road bumming around the country, carrying minimal kit, living by my wits. I was actually looking forward to it: big adventure! Hitchhiking was on its last legs in the 1980s but still doable; I'd done a little in conjunction with hike-through backpacking trips. Backpacking is one thing; wilderness is a friendly camping environment. That hitchhiking trip would have been mere homelessness. You live by your wits in a different kind of jungle. To be out there for several months, just bumming? Real bums respond to that by drinking and drugging to deaden the pain. Leela arranged for me be in no condition for that. She approved the substitute plan he came up with; I had an absolute blast in Jamestown.