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Interview with Anne and Jim Armstrong

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Interview with Anne and Jim Armstrong
By DC
January 2002
 

3-28-11 - DC note: Dennis Samson came along with me to interview the Armstrongs. Anne was a psychic whom a lot of people from the SFZC saw in the late sixties and onward. She got to be fairly well known. She died in 2010.

Below are an introduction to  their interview with Michael Toms on New Dimensions Radio and an excerpt from the Grofs' book Spiritual Emergency.

11-26-12 - Removed here a quote pulled off the web in 2002 because it was from Ann M Armstrong (Medium/Healer/Private-Sittings) in England and not the Anne Armstrong interviewed here. I think it's Anne. Got an email yesterday from Ann M pointing out my careless error. My apologies to her and to England. Have emailed her about another quote I'll use if it's the right person. Can't tell.

***

A heads up on this interview, though I find the history, the connection to Watts, and a lot of the details interesting, neither Anne nor Jim have strong memories of Suzuki Roshi and the most interesting part of this interview is when I ask her to do a psychic reading on him, to contact him beyond the ashes. If that's all you want, go here. For those of you who realize that psychic readings are a bunch of nonsense at best or criminal fraud that should be prosecuted to the full extent of laws not yet passed until Randy gets his way, you can stop reading when you get to the Psychic reading starts here notice.


DC note: The tape starts with the Armstrongs asking me about myself.

DC: I live in Sebastopol. And I remember you all from Tassajara and Page Street. I don’t remember exactly where or when. I was there at Tassajara from the very first, when Zen Center bought it. I did the Dining Room every year. So, I always met all the guests. I remember people, guests and students, talking about readings they had with you Anne. I remember when Yvonne Rand brought Dick and Virginia Baker to see you.

AA: Oh, yeah.

DC: I remember what you said, some of the things you said to them. I’ve been to psychics some in my life. My mother would send me to them to check them out. She went to Arthur Ford, the medium too. I knew Fred Kimball very well. I don’t know if you know who he is.

AA: Oh, Yeah.

DC: He just died. He was in his nineties.

AA: Is that right?

DC: Oh, he died a few years ago. We stayed in touch for twenty-five years. I loved Fred. Anyway, I found your website and thought it would be good to get in touch. Here’s a book that I did on Suzuki Roshi. A little book of vignettes. [To Shine One Corner of the World, now published by Shambala as Zen Is Right Here]

AA: Oh, yeah. A lovely man.

DC: I did a big biography, too. This one’s a little better as a gift. So, I’d just like to hear from both of you, whatever you remember that you want to share about Suzuki Roshi, about Zen Center, any background, how you ended up there, what you did. Any memories you have.

JA: Well, I remember how we got involved with the Zen Center. You probably do, too (looking at Anne). We started when Alan Watts came to Sacramento, when we lived over there. I remember after he was in a Unitarian Church or something. You know, how they go down in the basement and have tea and cookies and coffee and everything after the meeting. So, we were down and Alan had just talked. Gee, I thought he’s an interesting guy. So, I got down there and I thought-he never said anything about how you ever get to hear him again. Alan wasn’t much into advertising. So, we got down there and finally I got up to him and I said, ‘Mr. Watts, how do we ever get a chance to, you know, listen to you again sometime (laughs).’

He said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I’m kind of connected with the Zen Center.’ He was just very casual about it. At some point he said, ‘Well, sometimes I have small groups on my houseboat in Sausalito.’ So, we just kept pulling it out of him and finally found out how you make contact to come to the houseboat. So, once we made contact with Alan, why then, naturally…they had just bought Tassajara. [made the down payment]

I remember, we went to another lecture in San Francisco down in the Haight Ashbury or some place down there, where Alan was the featured speaker. And the proceeds were all going to go to this new Tassajara Zen Center. And I remember seeing the paperwork and it said they had to pay $300,000 for this place. These people gotta be crazy! Where the hell do they think gonna raise $300,000? I mean, they haven’t got a chance in hell of paying that thing off.

DC: Heh, heh!

JA: Little did I know! Man, that was when Zen was really taking off. So, then we found out about 300 Page Street. So, that’s where we ran into Rand and …what’s his name that became the roshi?

DC: Dick

JA: Dick,

AA: Dick

JA: And all the rest of the gang. …I really think that Buddhism changed our lives.

Because, at that point when Anne and I…probably about mid-Sixties…must have been…

DC: Well, Page Street, we bought in November of ’69. But, Tassajara we bought in December of ’66.

JA: Okay, that’s when we met Alan. Right at that time. Because every time he did a benefit it was to help pay off Tassajara. You’re right. It was after Tassajara. Where was the Center of things before they bought Tassajara?

DC: There’s a Japanese Soto Zen temple called Sokoji on Bush Street.

AA: OHHH! , sure.

JA: Sure. I used to go there to sit very, very early. That’s right. Judith Weaver took us. You know Judith?

DC: Sure.

JA: Ok.. I remember we went there with Judith Weaver and sat there and remember we went back to her place at lunchtime after the sit there that afternoon.

AA: Yeah.

JA: But, anyhow, after we met Alan, he had four weekends of Mahayana Buddhism. And we were just barely starting to understand something about Buddhism. We were kinda off-beat Christian mysticism types. You know what I mean? We had read some Rosicrucian material and stuff like that. And of course we were brought up as Christians.

DC: Did you ever read any Emmett Fox?

JA: Oh yeah.

DC: I was raised on Emmett Fox type Christianity.

JA: So, we’d read all that kind of stuff. By that time we’d run into reincarnation. Of course, that made sense. So, when I was a kid I had run into Theosophy. So, I had a basic understanding of that. But, nothing like what we got with those four weekends with Alan on Mahayana Buddhism. I’m telling you, when we came out of those four weekends, our life was so scrambled, that everything we had ever believed was stood on its head. I’m not kidding you, I bet it took us a year to recover. So, it was the best thing that ever happened to us. It made us really sit down and think. So, by that time, we’d become well acquainted with Alan. We were starting then to, well, I guess really Buddhism changed us and Tassajara changed my life, because I went down there in about ’69 and Anne had a workshop at Esalen. So, I dropped her off at Esalen and then I would go on over to Tassajara. I stayed over there a week.

And then I came back and picked her up. I’ll never forget. I walked into the office at Esalen in the dining room and ran into some of the people that we knew there. Of course, electric razors don’t run worth a damn on kerosene, so I had a week’s stubble on there, you know. And they said, ‘Oh, you’re growing a beard.’ I said, ‘Hell no, I just haven’t been able to shave for a week.’ So, I went on home and got in the house and my daughter said, ‘Wow, Dad, that’s great! You’re growing a beard.’ I said, ‘I’m not growing a beard. I just haven’t had a chance to shave.’ ‘Oh, yeah, it looked great. You can’t shave.’ ‘What do you mean I can’t shave?’ She said, ‘I will get up in the middle of the night. I’ll turn the hi-fi on. I’ll keep you awake all night, if you shave.’ I said, “Chris, you gotta be crazy. I can’t go to work looking like this.’ Well, you know, I sat there for a week thinking about my life. I felt there had to be a better way to live my life than the way I was doing it. So, well, as a matter of fact, we had finally built the booster that got the guys to the moon. So, you know, we were pretty deep into rockets of all kinds, both tactical and...I started in Southern California and I ended up in Sacramento.

DC: Uh, huh...

JA: So, we were building tactical as well as for NASA to get themselves on the moon. So anyhow, I just told them I want out. So, I went about a month later to my boss who said, 'Mr. Armstrong, are you bucking the system?' I said, 'What do you mean, Eleanor?' She said, 'You know, everyday your hair gets longer, your beard gets longer, your ties get louder'...

[DC and JA both laughing]

JA: So, about once a month I would go talk to the Vice President and I said, 'Look, I want out.' 'Oh no we got lots of guys around here. If anybody's gonna go. There's a lot of guys around here. You just go back to your desk and relax.' So, once a month I'd take my little journey up there. Finally, one day I said, 'Look, this place, you gotta lay off some people. And I said, why don't you lay me off. There's a guy down there that can handle my job. He’s got a wife and three kids. He's bought a new house. And I said, 'He needs a job worse than I do. Give him my job and let me go. And finally the next spring they let me go. So I quit. And then, while I guess it was a few years of rambling around and then Anne and I start doing workshops.

DC: You and Anne were already together?

JA: We'd been together since the day she turned 21.

DC: What year was that?

JA: 1940.

DC: And how old were you that year?

JA: Born in '16. So, I was 24.

DC: What's your first memory of coming to Sokoji?

JA: Well, so as soon as I had that week down there. I spent a week down at the Center.

DC: You mean Tassajara?

JA: At Tassajara. Then I came home, quit my job and then I immediately applied for a month. So, I went back in about April.

DC: Is this '69?

JA: of '69 or '70. Went to Tassajara. Yah, like April of the following year. I think it was '69 I went down there in the summer and then the beginning of '70 then I think I went back to Tassajara. So, I went back then for a month.

DC: So, I was there then.

JA: So, I stayed there a month and they gave me a job in the woodshop.

DC note: Here he’s talking about some opportunity to learn Japanese carpentry or to go to Japan to do so, maybe something that came up at Tassajara.

JA: ...go to Japan and learn how to build, learn Japanese carpentry? I'm tellin' ya', that was a hard thing to turn down. Boy, I know I came home and talked to my family, boy that was a rough thing to give up, because I could have really loved to have done that.

DC: Now, was Anne with you when you were in Tassajara?

JA: No, no. I could have stayed there forever. Anyhow, then I came home and then I kinda hung out and doing various things for the next few years and then in the summer of ’76, Anne and I started doing workshops together. And we’re still doing them. I think one of the highlights of my trip at the Zen Center was the Roshi’s wife invited me for a tea ceremony. And that was great! That was really a treat. So, I came back then later in the fall. I went to a nine-week live-in pottery workshop and I came back to Tassajara at the end of the summer. I remember when we’d go pick all the pears that were left on the trees and that had fallen on the ground and brought back a truckload back there?

So I came back then for another couple of weeks. That’s when I finally decided I was not going to go to Japan. I would have loved to have been there.

DC note: He’s jumping around in time – mentioned 76 and then back to when Suzuki’s still alive in 70 or so. No biggie.

JA: So, anyhow, then Anne started getting more acquainted with the roshi. So, you can kinda tell him what your connection with the roshi was.

AA: That was a long time ago.

JA: Yeah, I know.

[Phone call interrupts here. Someone's got a problem]

JA: That’s what you get for livin’ so damn long. Waiting’ to have all the friends we got are all dyin’ or somethin’ happenin’ to ‘em. Take ole’ Ram Dass, you know, of course I guess he’s getting’ in much better shape though.

DC: He’s doin’ alright. I saw him recently.

AA: Did you?

JA: He’s lives right here someplace in San Anselmo.

AA: I didn’t spend anytime in Tassajara.

JA: No, you didn’t. Your contact with him was, cuz’ I remember one time when we were together and he said to you, …a lot of people used to come to her, you know, for counseling. So, she went and talked to him one day. I remember you saying that you had told him that you were a little embarrassed, because she said, ‘I don’t want to interfere with their spiritual work.’ He said, ‘Look, you take care of their psychological aspect and I’ll take care of their spiritual aspect. He said, ‘Don’t worry about it’. And he was always gonna come see her, but he never, never got around to it.

DC note: I would say that Suzuki was not at all interested in psychic readings but he wouldn’t have been hostile to the idea, just would have been polite and then forgotten about it. He wasn’t interested in any sort of interpretive system whether it worked or not – including psychology. He said he was interested in astrology as a young man but then decided maybe it wasn’t necessary to know so much about yourself. I’d say that his way was to encourage people to tune into their own intuition.

DC: Heh, heh. I bet Yvonne wanted to take him to see you.

JA: Yeah, she was one of Anne’s clients.

DC: Yvonne used to introduce him to a lot of people on the outside.

AA: Where is she now, do you know?

DC: She’s in Muir Beach.

AA: Oh really.

JA: Yeah, she’s just up around the corner here.

AA: Is she still involved with the Center?

DC: As a friend and adviser. She’s has her own center at her house with her own students.

AA: She does? Oh my goodness. I didn’t know that…

JA: Just around the corner.

AA: So, I don’t know that there’s very much I can add to that, because, like I said, I didn’t have that much contact with him. The only concern I had was the fact these students would come to me and I got really embarrassed about that. But, he said, ‘That’s alright. You need to do both things.'

DC: When did he say it was alright? Where were you?

AA: Oh my God…where was I?

JA: What we used to do when we’d come into the city, lots of time we would stay at 300 Page Street in the extra rooms they had there. So, we’d stay there and we’d go to sit in the morning and we had contact with the roshi at that point. So, we’d probably be doing one of those sessions and then we got to know Baker very well. And he was one of Anne’s clients.

DC: That would have been later.

JA: Yeah, it was later.

AA: Where is he now? Do you know, David?

DC: Colorado and Germany. He just had an operation for prostate cancer in Germany. [cancer has not returned – dc, 3-11]

AA: Jeez. Is he still involved with Zen Center?

DC: He has his own center.

AA: He has his own. So, everybody’s kinda split off and doing their own thing then, huh?

DC: He was abbot of the Zen Center for oh, 12 years, and then he got into an impasse, I’d say, with people, and he went off and started other groups. I see him a lot. Do you have any memory…do you remember when you met Suzuki Roshi?

AA: When could we have met him? You see I ended up going down to the Zen Center in Southern California…

JA: Yeah, she lived there for three months.

AA: with Roshi…the one that died.

DC: Maezumi?

AA: Maezumi, yeah.

JA: Yeah…she wanted to go some place where nobody knew her, because that’s her problem is that she got all burned out and she said I gotta go some place. And so, we both agreed that she needed to go some place and we looked in all the kinds of retreats we could find. We finally found Maezumi down in Los Angeles. So, went down there and checked that out and she agreed to stay there. So, I said I’m gonna write a check for 3 months. I want you to stay at least 3 months, until you’re ready to come home. Until you really feel liked you’ve gotten rested up. So, she went down there and she said I’ll come under one condition and that is nobody knows who I am. She said, I do not want anybody to know who I am. So, she totally denied when anybody would sorta say, ‘Aren’t you Anna?’ ‘No, my name’s Anne. I don’t know who Anna is.’ She stayed down there for 3 months. She got to know Maezumi pretty well, because when that whole damn scandal came out she was right in the middle of it.

DC: Oh, really?

JA: Oh yeah, she was right in the middle of that one. The roshi, he and his wife wanted an interview with her. So, she did that. But, she said I won’t talk to you without your wife. The two of them talked to her. Maezumi was ready to put her on the payroll. He said, I would just like to be able to…(laughing)…to consult with you whenever I’d feel like it. Anne says I don’t want to run your Zen Center, you know. He says, ‘I’ll talk to you at random.’

AA: He was a nice guy. Really gentle. It was easy to be with him, even though he was such a big figure.

JA: He was a nice person, all right. So finally, what we agreed to do at the end of her three months, we agreed to stay on for a couple or three days and do a workshop. So, we did a workshop for the whole gang for two or three days after she was all done.

DC: Now, let me ask something. I just want to see if I can get some further impression of Suzuki Roshi from each of you. If you remember when you first saw him or if you have any impression of him or any memory at all. I mean, you don’t have to…but, so far neither one of you have said much of anything about him.

AA: Well, my impression of him was that he was very down to earth. He was a roshi. I mean, you could approach him at any time and he would sit and talk with you. So, it was very easy to be with him. You didn’t feel like you were interfering. I don’ t know that he had that much to say and that he was so involved with his own students, but Jim met his wife. I never met her.

DC: Oh, yeah. She’s doing fine. I just got a letter from her. She just sent me $50 to buy a gift for my younger son.

AA: Where is she?

DC: She moved back 10 years ago. She’s in Shizuoka. South of Tokyo near where she came from. Near Suzuki Roshi’s temple. You know, like 30 minutes from it or something.

JA: She was a very lovely person.

AA: See, I never got to meet her, I just met the roshi. You don’t have that much contact with him.

JA: But, that’s it. I had contact with him at a distance every day for a month or more. Six weeks or so. When we’d stay at the Zen Center. As far as…

Psychic reading starts here (a few impressions of Suzuki just above here)

DC note: This transcript which I didn’t do, has some weird glitches in it. Maybe it’s cause of the tape being turned off and on, but where Jim’s statement above cuts off and Anne’s below begins, they ran right into each other without it saying that Anne was talking. Maybe it’s a file problem. Maybe I still have the tape and can figure it out later but it’s not important. I can remember what happened which was I enjoyed all the history and background but I kept trying to get them to say something more about Suzuki and they didn’t have much to say except general positive things and then Jim would get off on something else which was fine - so I remember there’s nothing very descriptive missing.  I didn't really care how much they did or didn't remember about him, I just wanted to get that part out of the way and see if I could get a psychic reading on him from Anne. So with the tape off I guess, I asked Anne if she’d contact Suzuki, see if she could get a psychic reading on him. She said sure and I turned the tape back on.

AA: So, I get the feeling that he’ll be upstairs someplace, you know. Wherever it is that where we go. He’s kinda looking down on the scene and also kinda looking at his situation where he was at the Zen Center. What is he thinking? (pause)

Well, one thing that he’s telling me is that he felt very honored being a part of the Zen Center and having been given that particular responsibility. And he said, when he first got into it, he said he felt very humble, that - what was it he could do for the people there? Then he said, after a while, he said somehow he became very, very comfortable and was delighted to experience himself with being like a part of the family or part of a group of students who he had down there…

What else is going on? [She’s asking him here]

Kinda wondering what happened after he died. What happened to the Zen Center, because he felt very connected to it. And almost responsible for advancing the process of the Zen Center. And he said, (pause), he said he had so many people that ran the place, so that he didn’t feel like he had that much responsibility, but he was just simply a part of the group of people that were there.

He says I don’t have any trouble tuning in to the other side. He says, that every now and then he kinda like peeks in to see what’s going on with the Center and with the students. He says, he’s very gratified with what he sees, because so much of the time he can literally look into their hearts and see that the people there are very dedicated. Not necessarily to him, but to the Center itself. For that, he says he feels somehow he did start something that continued on in a way useful for the students.

Ok…what else do you want to say? (pause)

He says that he’s certainly enjoying the other side. But , he also misses the contacts with the world and with the students that are here. So, he says every now and then he’s really inclined to tune in to one or another of the students, just to see what’s going on with them. He knows it, but he says they’re kinda like my kids. I really appreciate being around them and hearing what they have to say.

What are you doing? (pause…Ahhh…Ahhh)

But, he says the work goes on, he says, because you know when you die you don’t just stop. He says, you carry this energy with you to the other side and it feels like very strong positive energy to me. So, that whatever you have been doing here, it seems to be like a pull to go back in to stay involved with the kind of energy that he was very much involved with here.

He says, that getting involved with that Center, getting this done...I guess I can give myself credit for that. I don’t think that’s being egotistic, but then he says there’s a long way to go, but there’s always more to do, but if you like, I do at some level stay in touch or look in on the lives of the students - you know, that he was touched in a deep way.

So he says, let’s say, that I kinda live on both sides. Here I don’t have a body, like on earth, but I’m in touch with the emotions and he says, like I could describe the landscape here. So, he says it’s almost like somehow when you die, you get rid of that limitation and there is a flow of energy from one place to the other. And he says, so let’s say that I live in both places.

DC note: I remember Anne saying that she experiences landscape when she does readings like this.

AA: And he says, he’s also very delighted that you’re doing this. Like putting some of his life down into a book. He says, you’re telling me, showing me, I feel kind of embarrassed, because he says, who am I? I was not that important. But he says, whatever’s written about me is also very much appreciated.

But he says, really the main thing I want to say is I travel between the two worlds, because many times he says he was part of the service. Not in the body, but in spirit. He’s there, when they’d have the service at the Zen Center. So he says, I’m very happy to be remembered in that particular way.

Then he’s showing my something interesting. He says, that from the time that when he was little, he said he didn’t know what it was that he wanted to be, but he says, it had the word ‘religion’ involved. In other words, he felt that he was gonna end up doing something that had to do with God, religion. And he says, and so, he thinks that energy pulled him into the Zen Center and that’s where he established himself. And he was very, very proud that he was able to do this.

And he says, that what can be done over here? Like, oftentimes he will be assigned or assigns himself to welcome those that have died. And literally has the opportunity to introduce them to that other realm that is so different from the realm that we live in here.

And he says, I still haven’t forgotten my teachings. I haven’t forgotten the kind of dialogue that is useful for someone that has just crossed over. So he says, that’s basically what he does is to somehow introduce the ones that are dying, introduce them to that other side. I’ve seen the other side so many times, he says, Oh, it’s just an absolutely fabulous place! Like mountains and colors and sounds. He says, he’s in the midst of that and he says, it’s not a bad place to be.

DC: Heh, heh…

AA: Not bad at all. He says, I don’t know what his assignment might be. He says, I haven’t received an assignment yet, so he doesn’t know how long he’s going to stay in this particular place. But, he’s still greeting many… and he says, kinda like how frightened people are when they make the crossover, because they’re catapulted into a new world. And so he says it’s up to him. He has made it his job to greet those that are newly come to that place. And to sit down and to talk to them and to calm them down and to tell them that you still continue to grow. So, there’s just a shift of energy from here to there. And he’s delighted to do that. Because, he loved what he did and he has worked with a joy again. So, he says, that somehow he is continuing that work. But, he says, when I do that, I speak from the heart not the head. It’s a whole different way of being there. But, he says, the dialogue comes from the heart.

(pause) hmmm. Well, he tells me his main job is to welcome the people that have died recently and to calm them down and to let them know this is not a scary place. It ‘s a welcoming place. And, you will recognize people there that you have known here that have made the crossing.

And, he says, sometimes there are little groups that get together and discuss and talk about what their life was like on the earth plane and how different it is there. He said, they’re all following the attitude that they’re missing something. Like they’re there, but the world made such an impact on them, that they feel like somehow they left something very valuable behind. He said, it’s his job to tell them that it’s a very normal transition for us to make. And how we begin here, what we see here is one thing , but we move into a whole other level.

He says, the energy there is very refined. He says, it’s not heaviness, not dense like we feel ourselves to be here. But, he says, it’s very light, very airy. It’s almost like air, you don’t walk, you float. You just think moving, and you move. And he says, of course the landscape is beyond anything you can possibly imagine. Hmmmm. So, he says, thank-you for wanting to make a contact with me.

DC: Could I ask a question?

AA: Mmm hmm.

DC: Does he have anything to say about Dick and what happened with Dick? Dick’s leaving Zen Center and all that?

AA: Look, what he’s showing me is that, you know, when you’re here, you have a certain level of thinking and associating with this. Once you leave the earth plane-the things that happen here just don’t matter. And what he’s telling me is that everybody has their own destiny and each one of us fulfill our own life the way we need to. But, he says, it’s a whole different world. It’s just like that’s one world and where he’s at is an entirely different world. So, he says, there really isn’t much relevance. And for sure, he says, there’s no criticism. There’s simply accepting the new ones that are dying and making them comfortable. But, he says, it’s…hmmm…he says, hopefully we have learned from the mistakes that we have made. But, he says, over here there is no judgment whatsoever. When you go over there, it’s just like you start out clean.

Well, that’s about it. Suzuki says, you know, he certainly isn’t judging him. Everybody does. People think they need to do it. So he says he has no judgment. Suzuki says there’s no judgment for anybody.

DC: Well, that’s the way he was when he was alive, too.

AA: A lovely man.

DC: In terms of this work that I do I’ve been…This isn’t all I do, but I’ve been collecting the oral history, and did the biography and I have a lot more I’d like to do on it. I don’t think it’s the most important thing in the world, but it’s seems to me that sort of the way Bosworth collected Johnson’s history, that I want to get it to a certain level. I like to do things well. I would like to complete them. I know he already said that he appreciated that. But, also it’s like a real burden to me. So, I would like to keep going and just wanted to see.

AA: Let me think a little, if you want to keep going. Mmmmm. He says, once we die we leave the human part of our selves behind us. There really shouldn’t be any connection left with that part of ourselves.

(what are you telling me?)

He says, for heaven’s sake, I wasn’t perfect either. So, I had no right to judge anyone. And he says, he is delighted that you are doing the writing, because he says looking back on his life he would like to feel that he made some kind of an impact on the people that he connected with…Of course he did.

DC: Yeah.

AA: He said, he feels like it’s an honor for him for you to be doing this. Hmmmm.

(anything else?)

You know, I see him surrounded by children, little, well, how little I don’t know, but they’re maybe, the ones that have died, they are six or seven years old. It’s almost like…

(what are you doing?)

First of all, welcoming them.

(What else?)

He says, I have classes. I have classes. I see him and I see a bunch of the young ones that have died. It’s almost like he says getting them in touch with their souls. Getting them in touch with who and what they really are. Not just this body that they lived in.

DC: Hm, mmm.

AA: He’s really quite delighted with the work that you are doing.

He has a job. He doesn’t want to come back very soon.

DC: Heh, heh, heh…

AA: Too much work to be done on the other side. Thank-you for coming and being with us. It’s really an honor to have you and I can feel his chest, like his heart is beating very rapidly, you know. Joy not sadness. But with Joy.

And he also says, that his wife was such a blessing to him. That if any of us ever come across her in our present life to let her know that.

DC: I'll tell her.

AA: That somehow she was such a blessing.

DC: I’ll write her. I’m in touch with her.

AA: Are you really? Oh, wow! he says. He says, sometimes we forget to give thanks to those that have the deepest meaning to us. He says, because of her, I knew love. I really, really knew what love was about. Mmmm. She had such a big heart and such a good mind. And took such good care of me. He would like to have her know it.

What part of Japan is she in?

DC: She’s in Shizuoka. A little south of Tokyo near where his temple was.

AA: You were very close to him?

DC: Yeah.

AA: Well, I think that’s all I have to say. I’m half here and half there. It’s like when I look into the other realm it’s like we got one arc in here, but like I see a spread of flowers. And the mountains are green. And the sky is ever changing. I mean it’s a beautiful scene on the other side. Wow! There’s a lot of Joy on the other side.

DC: Wouldn’t that depend on the being?

AA: Absolutely! I’ve been to the other side, too! I’ve peeked into Hell, too and that’s not good. So, it’s whatever our deeds are, they take us to the place where we belong. But, he’s busy doing his work, you know. Joyous to me. It’s like the soul work it never ends, you know.

DC: Well, maybe you should let him go.

AA: Yeah, yeah, I just want to thank-you for coming. Mmmm.. Leave now.

JA: Mmmmm. Nice.

AA: Are you married?

DC: I’m divorced a year ago. It was sorta like my third major relationship ended after 16 years, but we have an 11 year old, so I see her about every day. I see my ex-wife every day, we get along really well. And, I’d like to get re-married. I’m not used to living alone.

AA: I wouldn’t want to live alone.

DC: I’ve got so much to take care of. There’s so much I try to do, but you know. I imagine something will happen.

AA: Yeah.

DC: It’s not a good thing to try and push.

AA: No, it has to happen in it’s own time. No, I don’t think there’s anything else I have to say.

DC: Well, let me just ask you if I might about, like I did to Suzuki Roshi, like I said this work I’m doing is very, I love doing it, it’s like a real burden, I’ve spent lots of time and money on it. I have a lot of debt. I’m probably going to have to sell my house soon. That’s not the worst thing in the world. I have a lot of resources. I sell the house I can pay all my debts. You know, I’m writing on other stuff, too. But, the center of all of it is doing this oral history and this lecture archiving. One reason is because there is so much misunderstanding, that I feel that a really big oral history would help to clarify things. People tend to have a lot of ideas they make up and superstitious ideas [interesting choice of words for this interview] and they’ll glorify him and I’ve shown a lot how he was just a person that had a lot of faults. But, so many memories from people who said this and that, but having you see what I’m doing, do you have any advice or-I don’t mind just depending on myself, but if you have any advice, suggestions.

AA: Just keep speaking from the heart.

DC: Hmmm, mmm.

AA: Always, let that be your guide. Whatever your heart tells you to do. Because that really creates that connection between the two of you and that’s what he wants anyway.

DC: Hmmm, mmm. So, you think, speaking from the heart, you think this is going to work for me, like in a practical sense to keep doing this?

AA: Doing this?

DC: Doing this oral history, working on the lectures, interviewing people.

AA: Yes. It’s a good thing you’re doing. We die and we don’t really know what the person was about. So, your work and Michael Toms work.

DC: I know him. He’s one of the people that suggested I do that book of vignettes about Suzuki.

AA: Oh, is that right?

JA: I’m glad you mention Michael. He wants another interview and we’ve just been so busy, that we just kept putting it off and he said sometime when you’re down in the condo I’ll want to come down, because otherwise we live up in Amador County. He did come up there and stay all day up there…a few years ago.

DC: He’s interviewed me, too. That’s New Dimensions Radio.

AA: They’re a nice couple.

DC: What’s his wife name?

JA: Justine

AA: Justine

DC: Justine

AA: I’m not good on names. Energy, yeah, but names are something that escapes me. Well, I certainly appreciate having made the contact with him.

JA: It’s not something that you would just sit down and do.

DC: You know, one thing I was thinking of doing is having Suzuki's hand writing analyzed. Have a very good hand writing analyst do it. Do you know any?

AA: No, I don’t . But, I think that would really be interesting.

DC: I grew up around stuff like this. One of my mother’s best friends would invite me over and then she’d have a hand writing analyst there, not just a graphologist but a graphoanalysist.  And I’d write and he’d talk to me about it and explain and it was very nice. Hand writing analysis is so interesting. Haven’t done any since then though.

AA: We’re always telling on ourselves. We don’t realize it, but we are all the time. Very interesting.

Follow-up call 1-21-02

DC note: I called Anne and said that just like in his life, Suzuki had ignored his kids in that reading. I’m going to write to his widow, but doesn’t he want to say hello to his kids?

AA: Of course, of course, of course, do that he says. He’s embarrassed and embarrassed he spent so little time with them. His congregation was always more important. They felt ignored. He’s jumping up and down saying, “Do that!

He very conservative, quiet, There’s a real sparkle inside of him

The fact is Roshi limited love. He fit himself in a mold.


Introduction to Anne and Jim Armstrong's interview with Michael Toms on New Dimensions Radio

Poets develop a relationship with the Muse, artists are often "seized" by inspiration, inventors claim ideas just "came to them," and musicians are sometimes born knowing how to play. What they are all using is intuition, and Anne Armstrong is a psychic extraordinaire, and claims inspirational intuition is available to us all, whether you are a stockbroker, a computer technician or a bus driver: "Most people who are successful in some activity in the world are using their intuitive abilities, though many are not aware of it. We don’t have to wait for it to ‘come to us’ either; we can invite it in." Find out how to get intuition working in your life; the answers are closer than you think.

The late Anne Armstrong, who passed in the spring of 2010, was the psychic’s psychic. She used her extraordinary psychic gifts in transpersonal counseling and training of professionals to develop their intuitive capabilities. She is survived by her husband, Jim Armstrong, (married for 70 years), who is a former engineer and lifelong student and teacher of esoteric disciplines. Together, they taught thousands of people in workshops and personal readings.

Topics Explored in this Dialogue:

How to develop your intuitive abilities

What are practical applications for intuition in daily life

Who’s more intuitive-men or women?

How successful people use intuition

What is the connection between intuition, psychic ability and spirituality

What is the nature of the Kundalini experience

How hypnosis cured Anne Armstrong’s debilitating migraine headaches

Host: Michael Toms Interview Date: 8/13/1999


from Crisis of Psychic Opening

Anne Armstrong writes about her own experiences of Psychic Opening in the book [Spiritual Emergency (Grof & Grof 1989)]. After she experienced her initial awakening, she had to train for about six years before publicly practising. She has found that the channeller or clairvoyant can access different levels or depths of awareness and transmission within the "subtle realm". Some are very low, mundane levels where information is trivial and entities are spiritually underdeveloped. Other levels reveal information beneficial to the highest good and associated entities are highly enlightened. A lot seems to depend on the psychological clarity of the psychic and the extent of their training and personal development. She states:-

"...I have found that the more I cleared up my own psychological problems, the better the quality of the lecture material became. I also believe it is the reason I have not had an unpleasant experience in this area for fifteen or twenty years.

I feel that humanity can obtain a lot of help from this more subtle realm if it will prepare itself to receive that help. But it takes discrimination. Material received from the psychic realm must be judged just as critically as (or more so than) that from more mundane sources. The unscrupulous entities in these etheric realms will take advantage of personality weaknesses of the budding sensitive. Our mental institutions are full of examples. The less blatant examples are the corner psychics that will solve all your financial, marriage, sex, professional, and spiritual problems for anywhere between $5 and $250...

...I want to say again that this is an area for discrimination, examination, and skepticism. Budding psychics are not messengers from God. They are just members of the human race who for one reason or another have glimpsed a realm beyond the physical reality. Since most people want someone to solve their problems and tell them how to live their lives, the budding psychic has a fertile field to till. So many people are just waiting to feed their egos and give them all the power they will accept. If one begins to open up psychically, the information received should be used discreetly to improve one's own life. If one becomes a significantly better person as a result of psychic/intuitive abilities, one can then consider sharing with others—if asked to share."


69-09-01 - SFZC Board notes. Mainly talk about the new building, 300 Page St., preparing to move in there, who will do so. Anne Armstrong wants to come to Tassajara as a student last week of September. OK if she doesn't do any readings. Anne was a well-known psychic a number of students including Richard Baker saw


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