Gerhardt Noakhes – (begun on the 9th of November, 2005)

GERHARDT NOAKHES – (begun on the 9th of November, 2005)

How did you become interested in ‘matters esoteric’ … When did it all start?

The thing that started me of on this was that I used to be interested in flying saucers!

Really! Was this just after you came out of the RAF. Not long after the Second World War?

Not long after, I think. There was a book about by a man called George Adamski, called, “Flying Saucers Have Landed,” (First published in 1953.B.H.). I remember thinking that it seemed as though there was some hope for man. From what Adamski wrote about flying saucers and describing what they did and what the occupants said… They had a superior approach to life than we have here and it was their intention to help us… There were other civilizations out in the universe with a more advanced philosophical and humane approach to living…
I never considered this sort of thing while I was serving in the Second World War; rather it came about as an interest in flying saucers! … Subsequently there were books published which claimed there was an obverse side to this …
So, during that time, my first wife, Beryl, and myself were interested in all sorts of strange things, like ‘creatures from outer-space’.

What happened next?

It was through one member of a group interested in flying saucers (the occupants of which apparently showed a more embracing and humanitarian philosophy), that I  heard of Khen Ratcliffe and his group (Khen advertised in the Liverpool Echo). I attended a number of Khen’s lectures and was subsequently introduced to Eugene Halliday…

We went to Edge Lane which was where Khen held a sort of ‘introductory group… It was a sort of vetting process…  I was then ‘introduced into the ‘big’ group at Newsham Park, or ‘46’. There I meet a number of people including Charlie Blyth; Henry Dent; a chap who used to be an investigator for the dole; a musician called Lennie Williams; another chap from the Philharmonic who played the bass.

Eugene was the guiding light of the meetings which covered a wide range of topics, all of them interlinked towards the integration of the human being, and thus all- embracing.
I’m not sure when this was but I met Eugene in 1961 so it was probably 1959. Eugene would be lecturing there about once every week on a Wednesday evening usually. He would come to Liverpool from Manchester.

It was a more intimate setting than Parklands’, at least when we were in the big theatre room. Of course, at first, we were in the library at Parklands which was in some respects similar to ‘46’ in Liverpool. When we got into the theatre we were some way back from Eugene, sitting in rows.
At ‘46’ in Liverpool, people would, first of all, gather together in the room. They would sit round in a semi-circle which might be two or three rows deep. Eugene would come in and they would all stand up out of respect. Then somebody would raise a question and Eugene would then proceed to answer the question, and then questions would arise from his answer. All sorts of questions would be cropping up, and Eugene would answer them all. Towards the end of the proceedings, cups of tea would be brought in. It was really ‘Paly’! Then, after some time, Eugene would tell us that he would have to go. Donald, and Able would come along with him occasionally. There were also one or two people there who taped these lectures.
It was from Liverpool that I was first introduced to Eugene. Khen told him about my personal problems and I went to see him (Eugene). I used to go over to his place in Wellington Road and spend time with him and his wife, Peg. She would just sit in with him. She used to come to some of the meetings in Liverpool with him.

Eugene lived in a house in Whaley Range in Manchester with a number of people, including Donald Lord and Joan Crane Then Eugene went to another house provided by Eddy Bird in the same road – I think he (Eddy) had a radio business of sorts, and he bought a house for Eugene. The other house was a sort of ‘family’ house with Donald Lord and a number of other people in which Eugene used to have meetings. People from outside who knew Eugene would be invited along and this was the first meeting place as far as I know, although I never went. This group started to accumulate … I went to see Eugene in his new house and Zero and David Mahlowe was also living there… I think Zero may have also given up theatre work to nurse Peg by this time…  David was working for ABC TV I think…

So you were visiting Eugene at this time on a one-to-one basis.

Yes. Because by that time I was beginning to ‘crack-up’ under the strain of my personal life. He was extremely supportive. By this time I was also driving him to various places, but I can’t really say what it was he was doing. Eugene would go off to places and nobody knew where he was going. In that sense, he was a ‘mystery man.

Do you remember the first time you met him on these, “One to ones?”

Yes. And I remember him telling me a ‘fundamental law’, “Women want what they want when they want it!” … He was talking about the ‘Eternal Woman’ of course which is in us all…..
The first time I saw Eugene was at Khen’s, and there were about 40 people there. When he came in everybody stood up and I remember thinking, “What the bloody hell is everybody standing up for this bloke for? Who is he? God Almighty!” … Later on, I realised that they did it out of respect, because of what he had to offer. People used to bring along questions for him to talk about and that’s how the talks started. There was no preparation.

What did you think of Eugene?

He never rejected anybody, and he never tried to make anybody feel guilty. A man of great compassion. If he had a situation where someone was behaving like a fool and making someone else feel uncomfortable, he would quietly take them to one side and have a word with them. I know, because of the way he spoke to me about it…  He would say that, “If you are rejecting anything, or anybody, or any ideas, you are rejecting part of yourself.” I had never even entertained ideas like that as a possibility! I never had a problem listening to Eugene. The problem was applying those ideas that I knew to be right, and that made me feel guilty.

How did you view other people present at these meetings working with these ideas?

Well after the lectures there were discussions by those attending them. Most of us indulged in social gossip! There were only one or two there questioning things in depth.
But I knew comparatively little about the inter-relationships between the people in the group. One or two became patients of mine so I learnt a little more about them…  Everybody without exception respected Eugene and any personal advice he had to give. He gave it without judgment or condemnation and you always felt very strongly that he gave honest and truthful replies to any question or query that was put to him.

Did you continue to go to the Liverpool meetings?

In all honesty, I must have, to a degree, parted company with him before that because I was spending so much time with Eugene. And of course, once ‘Parklands’ was set up, there was a complete severance with Khen. Apart from doing the odd spot of dentistry for him and his wife.

What was the work you did with Eugene?

I spent a lot of time … I can’t remember how many years… Five years… Ten years … Something like that… Every Wednesday .. Doing Engram work.
There were some ideas that I just couldn’t believe, I couldn’t understand. I could understand the idea of going back in time through a family line or through a psychic relationship. Some things I couldn’t accept at all though… What he had to say to me…

Did this bother you?

Yes. Because it threw doubt in my mind as to the validity of what he was saying

I understand. I think that this is interesting .. That you are not simply passive .. And Eugene is this sort of overwhelming figure.

When we were doing Engram work we would do something and I would say, “But there’s no proof of this. What proof is there? There’s none at all! Nothing I know of in my normal family history!”
Another thing he used to talk about was the scene of events as they were presented in textbooks, or history as we would describe it. He would say that they were a complete fabrication. What then is the truth in such a situation?
There were some doubts placed in my mind about the Engram work.. I would say to my wife, “How can we validate this in any sort of way?”
Eugene would say, “From a factual point of view it’s not important if the Engram is true or not. You are describing emotional energy that is locked up and you are releasing it. And that is the importance of the Engram work.” And I believe that that is true.
It’s changing the so-called past in the present. Doing Engram work, you always had to speak in the present tense – which vitalized it.

Do you feel it was beneficial?

Yes, because it felt real, and there was never any judgmental process from Eugene. His philosophy was that we judged ourselves, with God as overseer.
He would always emphasise that every individual was man/woman but trying to find this woman inside me has always been hard.
When you listen to Eugene explaining all this I think it’s hardly surprising that one finds it very difficult to come to terms with it.
I look at other couples and wonder if they ever really resolve these problems. I believe that a couple who really worked with Eugene’s ideas would gain a new approach to life. If you believed that he was a self-reflexive being then he would not be responding from an egotistical point of view, he would respond from the universal and would not claim any credit for it

I have no idea of what that would be like!

It made what he said creditable because it was felt there was no individual bias.

Do you remember the Yantra layout?

(Gerhard demonstrates his remembrance of the layout of the Yantra in some detail). I sometimes do an exercise in bed at night where I go through the whole layout and recall as much detail as I can, and what everything means. Sometimes, however, I can’t remember at all

But you do some work?

Yes. But not consistently. You see to get the benefit of something you should do it consistently. You don’t Engram it unless you persist in practising it, as you well know.

What about Eugene’s advice to us to acquire an active language?

Yes. Very important but I find that I could do with some help to be able to do it properly.
All of us have a leaning towards some parts of the work according to our own individual bias and where we particularly feel we can lock into a particular direction. Eugene invariably Illustrate his lectures with particular exercises which were designed to help all of us (if we persisted) in moving towards personal integration. There were so many of these exercises that we were really spoilt for choice because they were all important in the learning process

I think in fairness to us all I am not going to find many people who said that they were involved with Ishval who have actually done much work.

No. I think you might be right. Eugene always said that it’s no good just having ideas. You have to put them into practice in a particular situation. Which is what I have not done and which I feel bad about. But in working with feeling, … Eugene or Zero talked about doing Engram work they would say, “Work in feeling,” and I would find that impossible to do. They would say,” Feel what it needs,” … I would find that impossible. If you could do that, it would mean that you could pick up things by feeling in your personal relations. You would feel what was wrong, and feel what needed to be done.

I had this difficulty also. I would say to the group I was with when I first went to Khens’ “What do you all mean by feeling,” and everyone would stammer and mutter about it… And it was obvious to me that they didn’t really know.

Because they were not at that level

.. And I think that knowing that you don’t know is …

.. Terrifying!..

Well, it’s better than not knowing. .. Because at least you know you don’t know!

Well not really. Because you don’t know what Engram material it is that has put you in that situation. This is the thing about using every situation to feel where it leads you back to. And then to be able to discharge that particular Engram…  I have no idea whether or not anyone can actually do it.

Well, we will never really be able to do this until we become almost fully reflexive.

You have to be able to reflect on every situation that comes to you and see what it has it has to offer you.

If we could just go back again to that earlier time. As I understand you. Eugene would give a lecture and the group was supposed to discuss it afterwards?

Yes. There was a tea interval and people would come back and ask questions. That was done at the Liverpool meetings, but it was done at Parklands in a much more ‘regulated’ way. I can’t remember what happened at Liverpool – whether the questions took place at the end, or whether Eugene was bombarded with them all the way through. Do you know?

Well if you listen to the tapes you can hear people like Charlie Blyth and yourself asking Eugene extremely pertinent questions -but only at the end. How would you contrast the Liverpool meetings with the Parklands meetings?


Well, I think the impact was much greater at Parklands… Because of the sincerity with which it was presented….  Made you not doubt (which sounds daft after some of the things I’ve said) the truth of what was being said.
The only thing that rocked me was the fact that there was no atomic war as Eugene had predicted…  But perhaps it was no longer appropriate for the time. I always remember Eugene talking about horse racing and saying, “If somebody could predict the winner of a race, that act of prediction would set other forces in motion.” And I think that is the case here. The field was saying, “This could happen.” Not “This will happen.” But that was for conditions at one particular time. If the conditions change sufficiently then it won’t happen. That’s the only way I can see it.

Meaning if things remain the way that they are then such and such a thing will happen. But if they change sufficiently, then it won’t.

If we believe Eugene when he says that, “Nothing is static.” …

Do you have any idea of Eugene’s early life?

All I know is that his father was a circus performer and his mother was Scottish and that she would allow Eugene to do certain things that she would not allow his brothers to do. I think he might have had two brothers and a sister, but I’m not sure. I think his sister moved to the States…  One of his brothers was shot in the war and subsequently died. .. I can’t be too sure though … I think Eugene was born that way… He talks about being five and smiling about his sister’s behaviour. As far as I’m concerned he was completely reflexively self-conscious from the word go. In fact, I’m not sure that he didn’t decide to be precipitated. He talks about precipitating a situation knowing the consequences…

That might have been his whole life

Yes, I’m sure it might have been with his life. I don’t know at what point in your life in your movement towards reflexive self-consciousness you get to a point where you can precipitate yourself knowing you are not totally reflexively self-conscious. I don’t know if that’s possible or not…  Zero may be able to answer that, I don’t know.

Yes. I understand the question.
Another question Gerhard. Is there anyone you have heard of that was anywhere near to what Eugene was?

Good God, no!

It’s so easy to forget just how extraordinary Eugene was.

Khen had his lectures and notes … But you were aware that there was more than what he could say or do.

I would say that Khen was working with this material as best he could. He didn’t produce any original material.

Oh no. He wasn’t an original thinker in that sense at all. But I must say I never knew Khen well enough to know what was going on inside him. He had his own motives for doing what he did…  And the results were self-evident. But I don’t know myself well enough to say too much about other people where this work is concerned. Although I am aware that I do make opinionated remarks about what other people say and do…
When speaking about the practicalities of life there is a difference when you speak from the Engrammic level.. When you’re ‘loaded’.

Thank you for sharing all this with me, Gerhardt.

Alan Roberts (Interviewed January 2006)

ALAN ROBERTS  (Interviewed January 2006)

You recently told me that you became interested in Yoga during your time at Kiel University during the late ’60s. Could you tell me a little about that?

I taught Yoga while I was studying at University. .. I went in 1968 and came back to Liverpool in 1972. 

Did you experience any negative reactions to your promotion of Yoga

Yes. We were thrown out of the hall that we had hired by the Catholic Church because they thought we were doing séances, and another Catholic church took us in because the priest’s mother had taken up Yoga and had experienced some relief from her rheumatism.
So it was a very strange social climate. Yoga was not accepted. .. I think it was viewed as ‘foreign’ and we were a ‘Christian’ society at that time. A lot of people had an image of India and Indians as being rather primitive, and that they were ‘very different’ to ‘us’.  .. Yoga was not considered to promote a ‘proper’ religious outlook but was rather considered to be ‘beyond the pale’.

Was there then no ‘enlightened’ view of Yoga that you were aware of at that time? A view which could have been the consequence of, say, Britain’s involvement in India during the Raj, which lasted hundreds of years?

I was aware of it and I suppose that in many cases, those were the people at that time who were coming along to the classes. But the general concept of Yoga was negative. The locals at Tan-Y-Garth for instance referred to Khen Ratcliffe’s place there as the ‘Devil’s Palace’. … I have that direct from the ‘horses’ mouth’, as my cousin by marriage was a police sergeant at Chirk who came out to interview Khen and me in about 1973 about our running of a ‘Charity Balloon Race … He wanted to know what we were ‘up to’.

So there was UK cultural resistance to Yoga during the ’60s-’70s?

Yes, but in my view, it was ridiculed more than ‘hated’. It was seen as being stupid and silly. The Beatles connection was laughed at; and seen as them ‘going crazy’ –  the product of drugs such as LSD, as opposed to a genuine spirituality …

 I believe that, during the time he was living in Liverpool, Khen Ratcliffe taught  a series of eight meditations written by Eugene Halliday in the late 1960s which he advertised in the Liverpool Echo, as Yoga.  Can you say anything about this?

I don’t have any knowledge of Khen’s Yoga background, but it was Khen who taught me how to teach certain Yoga exercises. … He told me that they were designed by Eugene Halliday, and that they were the best ones to do. They were the ones that he taught at  ‘Edge Lane’ in Liverpool. …  And I just accepted that. … There would later also be sessions by Khen at Knotty Ash; ‘The Holt’ school; and later at his own place in Newsham Park, Liverpool.
I taught at Liverpool University and it was Khen who passed that on to me but I don’t know if he actually taught there himself, because every year there was a new set of students and thus no ‘old hands’ as it were.

Would it be fair then to say that the type of Yoga being taught by Khen, and subsequently yourself, was ‘handed down’ from Eugene?

Yes that’s the way I see it. But personally, I have no proof of that. But that’s what it was suggesting.

How did you undertake to understand the metaphysical side of this ‘Yoga’; as opposed to viewing these eight exercises as, say, just a series of exercises?

I think that would be from Eugene as well because Khen didn’t teach Indian metaphysics in that sense. What he taught was Halliday’s system, even to the postures.  That is, you are feeling into that point where the mind lifts the body into the posture, and then attempting to extend and focus in on that point – where the idea of doing the exercise becomes energised and then shifts the body. … And that was done at every phase, every time we did any exercise. Khen only did those eight exercises, the ones I was lead to believe that Eugene had designed …. They were the ones that we did in that way.

So although when I taught we would warm up with 20 exercises which we would do briskly to get everybody moving; we would put the lights down and do these same eight positions of Eugene’s in quite a ritualistic way. That is: imaging the exercise; then feeling into the body; lifting the body into the position; holding it if you can; coming down and relaxing the body for a minute or two completely; then picking up the next exercise …

How would Eugene’s ‘theoretical take’ on ‘Yoga’ differ from the ideas in Indian Yoga that I have heard of, with its Chakras; Kundalini; etc.?

Eugene gave some talks on the Chakras at Ishval. But through the discussions and the teachings from Khen, I understood that these techniques were centred around the ideas contained in Eugene’s ‘Three-Part Man’. Which I believe you can link into the Chakras, … But that you don’t need to! 

If Eugene’s theoretical considerations differed somewhat from Indian metaphysics as such, have you anything to say as to why it was still referred to as ‘Yoga’.

I think it was due to the fact that Yoga was becoming ‘current’ or ‘on the horizon’ and it was probably the label that folk would accept most easily. …They would come along and listen to ideas that were not too alien, and not too intimidating. … Whereas if you came in as something else, say with a religious slant, you would have to contend with people who were in possession of already established ideas. This way you were influencing people by teaching them to relax and also improve their physical health. So they would accept the ideas.

Do you appreciate that someone like me, on hearing that someone is calling themselves a Yoga teacher would be confused? Because I would assume that they would mean ‘Indian Yoga’, rather than simply meaning the practice of contemplating, or (if I can risk using this word here) meditating, upon Eugene Halliday’s ‘Three-Part Man’. Which is something that I do in fact frequently practice – although I would never dream of calling what I do ‘Yoga’.

Yes I do. But then Yoga is a very ‘broad church’ anyway. Except perhaps fo the ‘Wheel Of Yoga’ which is becoming more and more entrenched in its beliefs; and more and more dogmatic in what it holds to be the Yoga cannon.  … But they weren’t there when we started. In fact, we were canvassed to join – and that’s on our own say-so. Meaning, that if we’d have said that we wanted to join, then we were ‘in’. …. I chose not to go along with them and would probably in fact not be invited now. They now insist that you teach their curriculum, and it is all too formulaic for me.
Of course, there are in fact various schools of Yoga.  …. Gordon Smith, who was also a pupil of Khen’s and Eugene, is extremely well-respected in Britain and has established his own system with his own teaching method. And it is very accommodating to people who wish to teach Yoga, and also helps to keep their minds open so that they can explore. 

If I said then, that the system of ‘Yoga’ that you teach has its roots in Eugene’s teachings. And that these roots are not in Indian Metaphysics, but that sometime during the 1960’s it proved ‘convenient’ to marry a few important aspects of  Eugene Halliday’s ideas to the newly emerging general interest in yoga, Which was an interest that had arisen mainly through an extremely popular TV programme that featured an American ‘Guru’ by the name of  Richard Hittleman, together with his two very attractive assistants. And that genuine Indian Yoga was, at that time, a discipline that most British people didn’t understand. … 

And that subsequently over the next few decades, this ‘Yoga’ situation became extremely confused – due in no small part to the further commercialisation and promotion of a bewildering variety of ever more new and trendy ‘Yoga’styles. ….. And that this commercial situation has, as a consequence, seen large numbers of people jockeying for power and financial gain within this newly established ‘Anglo-Indian ‘Yoga hierarchy’…… And that Eugene’s original eight meditative exercises have been somewhat buried under this general ‘Yoga’ culture.

Would what I say here make any sense to you? … And would you be inclined to agree?

I can see this from a number of positions. For instance, when I taught Yoga from library books at university; I had also previously studied it as a kid because I was suffering from stiffness from practising boxing and running, and so I practised Yoga to keep myself supple.

But this was in fact pre-Eugene for you, and presumably, at that time you were looking to Indian Yoga exercises simply in order to ‘keep fit’?

Yes. And it also linked in with Karate and Chinese Boxing which I took up at University, as they were also starting to ‘come on’ then. … Universities were the places to study this material at that time; and it was during my time there that my now wife introduced me to Eugene Halliday’s material – though Khen Ratcliffe and his system seemed to be more practicable and practical, and more coherent to me

What would you call it… If not ‘Yoga’ then?

A ‘Perennial Philosophy’. Because Eugene was constantly referring back to other writers, philosophers, and religious beings, and then ‘re-translating or making them relevant to us. It was also a way of life in which you attempted to understand your own psyche.  Again … it could have been called a ‘new age’ phenomena for that time.

To change the subject slightly! What would you say if I suggested that the material produced by  Eugene was an attempt by him to  form some sort of meta-narrative? That is, it was an attempt to explain everything?

………… Interestingly Eugene did appear, to me at least, to have an answer for everything!

 Whatever the subject was he appeared to know about it. It seemed as he had read everything, and watched everything.. He was able always to find the purpose for an accident. .. He could argue as to why it happened which thoroughly flummoxed me. … But I did at one point simply believe that he was just a very clever bloke ..  Until I started to use his ideas in my life, or I went to him with a problem,… and he sorted MY problem out in terms of something that worked.   So I saw that it wasn’t just clever word-play. 

Was he then a ‘dispenser of advice’?

He was a ‘dispenser of advice’ in the sense that you could ask him about anything. …But you could never predict how he would answer, either by taking you back into yourself or telling you something about the world. And the answer, if you did act upon it, did make quite a difference. There would always be a number of people at Parklands during the interval asking him for ‘answers’, or for his advice. – How to deal with people; or how to deal with practical situations. 

If I said that for me this practical advice would be enough and that there would be no inclination to look behind it for ‘basic or fundamental truths’, what would you say to me?

I feel that we now have to look behind because he’s not here anymore and this material has to be re-discovered by ourselves. He told us that these ideas were not his ideas, but they were ‘true’ ideas that were there in the world anyway. That he didn’t have any particular right or ‘ownership’ over them; and so he distributed them willingly, freely. ..He maintained that they were accessible to all of us – and,” “What were we waiting for?” so to speak!.. That is why I believe it is important for each of us to look for these governing principles in ourselves…  In order to ‘work’ ourselves. 

Not only did I want to do it because it was a good idea for me, but when Eugene went we would have to do it for ourselves.  

…. I always felt that if you ‘worked’, then you were as safe as you were ever going to be in this world….

Yes. And it did feel good to be in that body of people who were trying to work. Certainly with him at the head. … And you felt that he was always working himself. … He would re-interpret things; essays and tapes were being produced … Work was being done at Parkland itself … Other people were bringing stuff in that would give you other areas to look into … It would give you whole new reading lists together with new ways of understanding the material.  … Just to get such a diverse body of people together and be able to speak on such subjects as Kierchagard’s philosophy for over one hour is no mean feat. … And to then answer questions … !!. 

Could you attempt to explain, in part at least, how Eugene was able to do all this?

I would give examples of people who would do something along the same lines in other areas. I remember playing chess with someone who was playing with four or five other people at the same time and who beat me easily. … Eugene would give me diagrammatic answers to things in private consultations and at the same time, he would be watching TV, talking on the phone, etc. So he did appear to be able to divide his attention and yet you would feel that he was totally focused on you. … He would keep this up for extended periods.   

Having transcribed many of his tapes, I am struck by the manner in which he formulates his ‘off-the-cuff’ answers .. There was structure to everything he said. …If he came into, say, a drama group that you were observing, he would lean over and pick something out that you hadn’t noticed and he would give you the symbolism of that observation there and then – what was going on in that person’s mind at that time.  … This gave you the impression that he couldn’t give you all that he was seeing or hearing or formulating at any one moment because there just wasn’t enough time! … He was continually noticing things about the world that you just hadn’t observed. .. 

If we were to talk about Eugene ‘working’ – at least during his waking state. And if you compare his performance with that of the average person – that is, someone who has difficulty doing even one thing for more than a few moments at a time ….  If we said that Eugene was able to, or had trained himself to do, a number of things at the same time, would you say that this ability would put one in a ‘different place’, and that even though this would still be extremely difficult to accomplish, it would still be reassuring in the sense that we would not be dealing with  ‘voodoo’ or something like that.

Yes, I think we are looking at an extended and developed human being. And there are other people who one can see do this sort of thing in their own particular area. 

So there is something understandable going on here?


Yes. In that sense, Eugene did look as if he had developed this ability in many areas. But there was also this point about the range of his mind … There was also no claim by Eugene that he was ‘wonderful’ He resisted or ignored any comment about how wonderful he was being or how wonderful his information was, indeed he strongly implied that we could all do just the same, and with ‘work’ it was readily available to all human beings.

Would you agree with me if I say that attempts to ‘valorise’ Eugene, or place him on some unapproachable ‘higher level’ is motivated more by inertia and the desire to find excuses for ones own inertias than by any feelings of respect?

He was saying all the time that “You can do it!” and commented that the very fact that you call someone a ‘genius’ means that you have effectively put them beyond your range of experience instead of saying to yourself that it is possible to approach that level with effort. … And Eugene was all for that.

Finally, Alan, could you briefly comment upon your own way of dealing with Eugene’s material?

I listen to Eugene’s tapes whenever I can. I have transcribed many of them. I have, on Eugene’s advice, extended my readership. I discussed my PhD thesis with Eugene and have never ‘got over’ that particular conversation of twenty years ago. … And also the concept that I have the wherewithal to analyse anything if I put my mind to it … And if I can’t see as far as someone else then I am not working hard enough … He gave me that faith in myself.  He got me to accept myself, that I have got everything accessible to me and that what I work on will develop and that was a wonderful thing. .. That I wasn’t ‘proving anything’ so much as establishing and reaching a plateau that would support me.

Halliday Review Winter 2012–2013


Volume 2, Issue 2 (No. 25) Pages 2434 (extract)

Personal Journeys

A series of recorded conversations between Bob Hardy, and a number of people for whom Eugene Halliday had become of major importance to their lives.


interviewed between February and April 2006

Between 2005 and 2006 I conducted a number of interviews, or conversations, with about a dozen or so people, whom I saw as having had some sort of a connection, or ‘relationship’ with, Eugene Halliday.

It was my intention at that time to use this material – in part at least – to structure an ‘argument’ (which is similar to ‘a point of view’) in what was to be, technically, an ‘Ethnographic Study’.

I decided to abandon this project for a number of reasons. The most important one being that a significant percentage of those who were claiming to have had some sort of relationship with Eugene Halliday (but, I must stress here, not all) had been involved in personal counselling sessions with him, and were in fact clients of his in his psychotherapeutic practice. And as I was not prepared to commit to print any opinion I might have regarding unresolved transference material (in the obvious way it would have affected any evaluation process here for instance) I decided to call a halt to the project.

I do believe, however, that much of what is contained in these interviews is extremely interesting and valuable, and so I am more than happy (and somewhat flattered) to see edited versions of these in print and here I would like it known that I have complete confidence in Hephzibah where it concerns the need for any subsequent editing of these interviews.

Finally, my sincere thanks to those who came forward to be interviewed. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all, and I am grateful that you felt you could trust me enough to share so much with me.

Bob Hardy, 2011

The trustees of Ishval are very grateful to Bob for conducting these interviews. We consider them to be of great value, as they give unique and lively personal impressions of Eugene Halliday, which we feel will be helpful to people who are interested in Eugene’s work, but who never had the opportunity to meet him. These interviews will also be of interest to those who did know Eugene, as they present a variety of facets of his character and modes of interrelationship. Bob explained that he hoped his interviews “would provide an impression of Eugene from the perspective of the types of people who had chosen to become involved with him; rather than, as in my case, just someone who was only really interested in what he had to write and say.”

I have contacted all those who were interviewed by Bob, and some have given permission for their edited conversations to be published. These conversations will appear in instalments, in the Halliday Review. Originally intended as an ethnographic study, as described by Bob above, the trustees felt that, as these interviews offered unique glimpses of the lives of the interviewees as well as their interactions with Eugene, the title “Personal Journeys” would be apt.

Hephzibah Yohannan, 2011

© H Yohannan

Part 2 – A Conversation with Pamela Smith

This is an edited version of a series of conversations held by Bob Hardy and Pamela Smith, which took place between February and April 2006. They were edited by Bob and by Pamela. The resulting record was further edited by Hephzibah, for inclusion in the Halliday Review. Pamela has given her permission for her interview to be published on the website eugenehalliday.com as well as in the Halliday Review. It is followed by a poem by Pamela’s husband Gordon, a drawing of the Chakras by Eugene, and a letter to Pamela, from Eugene.

B.H.: When and where were you were born where, Pam? P.S.: I was born in Wallasey, in 1942
B.H.: And when did you begin your work in Faith House? P.S.: In 1979

B.H.: Because I live in Wallasey I am well aware that during the last 25 years or so, both you your husband Gordon at ‘Faith House’, have played a significant role in enriching the lives of many people from the Wirral. However, could we begin please by talking about the period which begins with your childhood, up until the commencement of Faith House?

P.S.: I have very powerful memories which began when I was sitting in my pram. Eugene said that, “I was conscious, even as a baby.” I can remember sitting in my pram outside the Co-Op in Victoria Road, New Brighton … I must have been a few months old as I was only just able to sit up … And my mother going into the shop, leaving me outside to play with the pram cover which had rainwater in it – it was safe to leave infants outside of shops in those days! … I remember as a small baby the smell of a freshly baked loaf of bread that my mother brought to me… I was picking at it and trying to eat it. … I remember my bone teething ring with its silver rattle.

So I have very conscious memories of this time.

I had a lot of childhood experiences starting at the age of three or four, which I now realise were psychic experiences. Experiences such as the feeling that I was the tiniest thing in the universe, and then in the moment … the expansion of consciousness … and I would be out in the stars.

At that age, I was quite fearful because I had no control. I didn’t know what was happening. It was only at a much later stage when I was practising Yoga that I realised I was experiencing the microcosm and the macrocosm – which is one of the ‘siddhis’ or powers of Raja Yoga.

I was brought up in a community in New Brighton because my mother was a ‘seaside landlady’ and we had a large boarding house. … I had a very structured life in that respect. As a baby, my mother’s sister (my aunt) would arrive at 7.30am to look after me, as my mother was so busy with her summer visitors. I can remember always feeling sad that I couldn’t be with my mother; and when Sept/Oct came I was delighted because could have my mother for the winter. … And she used to make a great fuss of me then of course

B.H.: Were you an only child?

P.S.: No. I had a brother, Teddy, who was fifteen years older than me, and when I was three he went into the army. He saw action in Palestine & Egypt and he was very handsome. At the time that he would come home on leave – I would be about 5 or 6 I would be very proud of him because he was so tanned and good looking, and the girls used to stand around the front gate just to see him, and I can remember on one occasion receiving these ‘yellow bent things’ from one particular young lady… And I didn’t know what they were because it was after the war. We had rationing, and we didn’t see that much fruit. They were bananas of course, and because I had never seen one I didn’t know what to do with it, I didn’t know you had to peel this thing, so I tried to eat it without peeling it and it was horrible! Eventually, Teddy married the same girl – so the bribery worked!

B.H.: So in a sense, you were an ‘only child’?

P.S.: Yes. There was that big gap of fifteen years between Teddy and myself. Then his army service when I saw very little of him – although he did come home from Egypt on leave from time to time … Followed shortly after that by his marriage when he left. … And so I was alone and therefore I had a lot of time to think with no sibling distractions and I would say I was quite lonely.

B.H.: Were you spoilt?

P.S.: No. My father was very strict. My father is Irish. I wasn’t allowed in the room when he was eating his dinner, I had to leave. It was quite a strict household in that respect. My mother was lovely and very artistic. She played the piano and sang. My great joy was being with her, but unfortunately by the time I was 18 she had died, so I was quite alone at that point.

But going back to my childhood … everyone went to church. We went to St James church in Victoria Road. We went in the morning time to First Service, in the afternoon we went to Sunday school, and in the evening we went to evensong. So I was brought up n the Protestant Christian religion. And because, as a child, I was a deep thinker, I listened to what the vicar was saying and I listened to what the school teachers were saying and I loved the story of Jesus and what he did. .. And it was a wonderful peaceful feeling for me to be in the church, I enjoyed it very much.

After Evensong we would go down to the ‘front’ where everyone promenaded and you had to wear ‘Sunday Best’. And then we would go on to Flanagan’s – a seafood restaurant where they did ‘silver service’ – and all the sea-side land-ladies would be eyeing each other up and down. Looking back it’s all rather amusing.

Although I was lonely it was all very exciting, and as I grew a little older I was allowed to ‘play out’. My mother used to pack a lunch for myself and friend from next door, David Johnson, and I (we were both only 5 or 6 years old) and we were allowed to go out in the summer down to the beach with a picnic basket – Alone! … You wouldn’t dream of allowing that nowadays. That was wonderful, and we started to explore the rest of New Brighton. It was a very exciting place to be then because there was so much going on in places like the fair and the tower. Everyone would come over from Liverpool for their ‘days out and as we grew older we got more freedom and we would spend most of our summertime in the outdoor swimming pool, brown as berries. Wonderful, wonderful!

There was a very high-diving board at the pool (30 feet) and my cousin Peter used to swallow-dive off it. When I was 14 or so I tried to do it. … I hit the water so hard that I thought I was going to die and my arms were bright red where they had hit the water!

With mother having a boarding house we would get a lot of our visitors from Yorkshire, a lot of them were mining people. They would come because they loved to watch the shipping on the river and would spend most of their time down at the front with their binoculars, because it was a very busy port in those days… Then there was the New Brighton Pier with all the shows, and I would be taken along to see them. It was like being on holiday permanently.

B.H.: New Brighton was quite an up-market holiday resort in its day wasn’t it?

P.S.: Yes. It was a very happy time. But I can remember rationing, and getting orange juice and powdered egg.

It was 1955 when I was thirteen that we got our first 9-inch TV with a huge magnifier over the screen so that if you sat to the side of it, it was distorted.

B.H.: Do you remember the Coronation?

P.S.: Yes I do. I saw it in someone else’s house. My mother had given up the boarding house by the time that I was nine or ten and they had bought house in Liscard in Withens Lane, opposite the grammar school, it was lovely house. My father was a tradesman and it was a very nice place to be, but by that time (I would be about 12) my mother had started to develop cancer and so I spent a lot of my early teens looking after her because she was very ill. She was ill for about six years before she died, and she went down from about thirteen stone to six stone, she had radium treatment but they couldn’t do a lot for her. It was quite horrendous and she was in a lot of pain. So that period was quite an unhappy one in one sense.

All through my life from the age of two I had trained as a dancer, with Nesta Bellis and then Hylton Bromley. I studied ballet, tap, classical, and contemporary dance right through until I was 18 – when I ‘went professional’. I was also one of six students, picked from hundreds, who studied Modern Dance under a Russian teacher from the State Ballet.

I won my first ‘Miss New Brighton’ in 1959 when I was just sixteen. And despite the fact that my mum was ill she made my dresses and came along to see me compete. I think that was perhaps because it took her mind off her illness.

Because of winning these contests I got a modelling course with Patricia Platt, the model agency in Manchester, and took the training with them. I was a fully trained and qualified dancer, and at that point in time, fashion houses introduced music, and subsequently movement, to fashion shows. So I moved to London and became a choreographer for these shows. And that’s what I did until my early thirties.

I loved dancing, and I told Eugene that movement and dance felt like praying to me, it was an expression of the soul. And of course Eugene understood that because I think his mother was a dancer, and so he had a great understanding of movement. ..

Later on, when Khen Ratcliffe put us onto Tai-Chi, Eugene took me to one side and told me how I was to execute the movements. Because I was a dancer, I was doing them in that way. But he made me place my consciousness right through to the extremities of my fingers for example. He explained the truth behind the movement because it is a universal flow in dance, movement, and expression.

Although it is of course a very powerful martial art also. … I’m skipping forward here, but I wanted to show that Eugene was able to provide valuable advice and guidance to professional people in their own particular field.

B.H.: Can you say anything more about your psychic experiences?

P.S.: As a child, I was having what I later saw as ‘psychic experiences’. And later on, I had the formal structuring of the church. .. Mother becoming ill and dying was a terrible blow to me. .. I was very close to her psychically and so that started me searching again. …

I had always been searching for God, and as a small child of 7 or 8, when the vicar at St. James’ said, “God is not in here, He is everywhere.” I can remember running round to every church to try to find out where ‘God was’. As a consequence of things like this, I lost my faith in the church as I didn’t think that this elusive guidance that I was looking for was going to come from the church.

In the meantime, my mother becoming very ill threw me back into myself, into terrible depression and fear after I lost her, and not knowing where to turn. …

I started reading and discovered Arthur Finley (‘On The Edge Of The Etheric’), Gurdjieff, …Ouspensky

B.H.: Were you being advised as to what to read?

P.S.: No… I went to the library… I went searching. In the meantime, my mother’s best friend and my Godmother, who I referred to as my ‘Aunt’, had the ‘White Rose’ healing circle on Seabank Road. I joined and became assistant to the healer. I then started to go to Spiritualist Church. … And then I eventually moved to London.

B.H.: Did you attend the Spiritualist Church regularly?

P.S.: Yes … And I read a great deal. I suppose I was seeking solace because I felt so desperately unhappy and alone… My father was so strict and difficult that I just couldn’t live with him. … And so I was searching.. And I couldn’t really find in the Spiritualist Church what I looking for. Although I saw that they were very genuine people I felt that a lot of it was guesswork – ‘work from the platform’. Even at that point, I felt that I knew more than they knew, deep in my own heart.

B.H.: Did your father approve or disapprove?

P.S.: My father, who had been brought up as an Irish Catholic and who had seen so much ‘going on’ with the priests and the nuns in Ireland, said he would never set foot in a church again until they took him in ‘in a box’. Even then he didn’t go through the church. When he died, Gordon and I conducted his funeral service!

B.H.: Am I right in assuming then that all your attempts to discover truth were ‘personal efforts’ and were not guided by anything other than your own searchings – in which you were very focused?

P.S.: Yes, it was a driving force. And by this time I had married and gone to London. I had a disastrous marriage; I really married to please my mother before she died. And I had already had my eldest daughter, Mandy. I still went to Spiritualist Church and one day (I would be 22/23) I went with Mandy to see Doris Stokes at the Ilford church. Doris Stokes picked me out and said, “You do healing,” then she said, “Not a few people … thousands. You are sitting on a carpet doing very strange movements, and your teacher …. You will find your teacher!” It must have gone on for about twenty minutes. It was my uncle who had come through to her and he was speaking and when I came out I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I thought, “What does she mean ‘sitting on a carpet doing strange movements’.. .?” And it was shortly after this that I began my yogic practice.

B.H.: Was this while you were in the ‘South’?

P.S.: No…. Shortly after this, we moved to the West Indies and I went to live in Jamaica. . I had a lot of time on my hands because we had servants and we lived a real ‘expat’s’ lifestyle. This would be around 1966. We had two children by this time, Mandy and Greg who were only 14 months apart, and I used to take them to school at 8.30am and then go to the ‘Ligany Club’ for breakfast and I got talking to an English woman who had lived in an Ashram in India for a few years and who had studied under a Guru. I was very interested as I had read books on yoga from time to time and felt there was something in it. Even as a child I’d had books on yoga and my mother had taken them away from me and said, “Little girls shouldn’t be reading things like that!” There were men in loincloths in these books and she didn’t approve! Anyway, I asked this woman to come to my house to teach me, and she did. She brought all her notes from the Ashram with all her information, and I became fanatical about it. Because I thought, “This is it; this is the special thing I have been looking for; this is going to bring me peace and tranquillity (!)”

I would lock myself away and practice for hours at a time, and I did develop very rapidly – in sensory awareness etc. .. I became much healthier ..

B.H.: Do you think being a dancer helped you here?

P.S.: Yes. But instead of it being an ‘external’ art, it is an ‘internal’ art. …
One day I was travelling up to Mandeville in the mountains and some of the locals, who were ‘high’ on Ghanja,
hit us head-on in a stolen car. .. I flew into the dashboard and windscreen banging my head, and my knees went into the dashboard. The children were asleep on the back seat and they were thrown forward but they were OK. My ex hit the roof and his arm went through the window. … But fortunately no real injuries; a powerful shock but no real injuries. The guys that had hit us got out of their car and ran away! . A local bus came along with chickens on the roof etc. and a voice shouted, “Anybody dead?” We said, “No,” so they drove off and left us, bleeding in the road!!!

This incident taught me a real value of practising yoga. After these injuries, because of the whiplash and the fact that I couldn’t walk for days and I was getting blinding headaches (for two years I had facial neuralgia and headaches) I thought I’d do a little ‘gentle’ yoga and I worked through it all and eventually get completely well.

We came back to the UK, and to Wallasey as my father was still here in 1969/70. My marriage was well and truly ‘on the rocks’ Although I came back with my husband we were soon divorced. … So I picked up the threads of my previous career, went back to my old agent, and thought, “I’ve got to find a yoga teacher.”

I had moved to Derwent Drive.

My uncle who was an engineer and used to install huge boilers in factories was hit with a chock from a crane and quite badly injured. My aunt phoned me and told me about a gentleman who lived across the road from me by the name of Charles who was a lawyer and who had been in the same orphanage as my mother – he also turned out to be Gordon’s step-father! I went across and spoke to Charles and then took him down to see my uncle. They discussed the case and then we got in my car to go home and my car would not start – ‘dead as a dodo’. So, my cousin, Peter pushed the car from Sandridge Road right down to the promenade, but it was dead and we had to give up. We both walked from New Brighton up to Liscard which gave us time to talk, and I told Charles that I was looking for a yoga class, and he told me that his son taught yoga, and that’s how I met Gordon.

The next morning I went back to the car, put the key in the ignition, and it started first time!

I went along to the first class and got the shock of my life when I saw Gordon because I’d seen him in a vision ten years previously. I knew he was a ships officer because when I ‘saw’ him he was standing on a forest pathway with a white polo neck on and in uniform. .. I thought, “This man is my partner in spirithe isn’t my partner for this life.”

B.H.: The house that you lived in before Faith House. There were five of you living there I believe. Could you tell me a little about that time please?

P.S.: Yes. When I first met Gordon there were four other teachers – Walter and Norma Graham, Jack Wilson, and Gordon – who were running classes over ‘Pantabricks’, the shoe shop in Liscard. They had a big studio over the shop … It’s not there anymore. The building has been pulled down…

Gordon’s step-father, who had introduced us, sent me along to this Yoga class and when I walked in I got a shock because I recognised him from a vision I had had about ten years previously.

We were looking for somewhere to have a proper yoga centre we found that Gordon’s dad, who was a lawyer, was going to sell a house, which had had tenants in. Gordon suggested to all of us that we all throw in £500 and raise a mortgage on the rest which we did.

Because my marriage had broken up I was able to move in as a caretaker with my two children and Gordon moved in with us. And that’s how we started as a couple.

Gordon had knocked down a wall between two upstairs rooms and consequently had created quite a big room which we both subsequently decorated. … Gordon and I decorated the house together.

B.H.: So there were four teachers here and yourself. It seems fairly obvious that it would be your intention also to teach- is that so?

P.S.: Yes. This is the period where I learned to teach. I took the course with Wilfred Clark who was a good friend at that time and came and visited us a few times, and who had founded the British Wheel Of Yoga – which is now a large organization and recognised by the UK government … I took his exam and passed it. .. we both passed it … Up to this time there were no formal qualifications in those days. …Gordon and I got the only qualifications available at that time from the All India Board Of Yoga.

So we lived in this house and also ran it as a yoga centre and it became quite successful. But the problem of car parking became a real issue and we had some real problems over that as the neighbours were justifiably annoyed by people parking outside of their property.

We did a lot of work there and stayed for a couple of years. We did quite a lot of work on Cabala there …We did the 22 paths and I did the voice recordings

B.H.: Was Cabala new to you at this time?

P.S.: Yes. …But I took to it like a duck to water. Reading and studying and going to Eugene … All this work was part of ‘the pattern’. When we had finished our tapes on Cabala we took them to Eugene and he told us, “Never to put them out as they would cause an explosion!” So we have never ever let them out.

We had a lot of visiting Indian Gurus as well, but Eugene himself didn’t actually come to that house. But we were regularly attending Yantra classes … I did drama… and we were seeing Eugene regularly… This would be 1977-78 when I was still doing the choreography and modelling as well in the daytime. Gordon would have been going to Eugene for around ten years by now at least. …

After a couple a couple of years I became pregnant with our youngest daughter Zarah and decided we needed a bigger house.

B.H.: Gordon says there were problems at that time with the council etc. Could you tell a little of your reminiscences of this please?

P.S.: There were problems with my ex-husband who made a great deal of trouble for us. He made it his business to go around the neighbourhood spreading malicious rumours about my activities. This eventually created a really bad situation for us. The man next door, who was on the council, came hammering on our door saying, “We don’t want your sort here with your curries and your sitar music. I’ve been to India and I know all about it!” He didn’t know that Gordon was a ships master…Years later there was some tragedy in this man’s family and his wife came to me for treatment!

B.H.: Do you think the prejudice regarding your sorts of activity was widespread?

P.S.: There were very few Yoga teachers in Britain at that time and they were all having problems with the authorities or the churches. They weren’t allowed to teach in church halls. This was the result of various individual priests and vicars lack of understanding. They thought what was being taught was Hinduism and it was against Christianity. They had no idea that Yoga was a life science and that it embraces all religions. … In some local authorities you were not allowed to teach meditation, only Hatha yoga, the physical practice . … There was a definite prejudice because certain church people were saying that if you meditated you let the devil into your mind. … It really smacked of witch-hunting. … It’s hard to believe, but you would not have experienced this sort of thing unless you were involved at the time …

B.H.: I remember a lot of people being ‘into’ the whole Hippie thing, with things like the Carlos Castaneda books being popular … I had no idea there was a negative reaction.

P.S.: This is because you didn’t have to deal with the authorities. It was very extreme, especially when I was going through my divorce… My husband was claiming I was doing the most extraordinary things during meditation, such as I went through a ‘hole’ in the wall and came back .. It was quite ridiculous really …

What we did once I had Zarah was find a different house to live in and we still continued to work and by this time we’re taking lots of classes for the local authority!! .. Because it had suddenly become very popular. … I think it was popularised by Richard Hittleman on TV because anything that goes on TV can become fashionable.

..But Gordon had been teaching off and on for a long time for the local authority, and through him, they approached me and we were taking classes with as many as 70 people in great big gymnasiums. I needed a loud hailer. … We were teaching in places like Wirral Technical College; St George School and many Schools in Wallasey; I was also doing afternoons at the Grosvenor Ballroom and places like that .. I taught until just before I had Zarah and continued as soon as I could afterwards. So it was quite a busy period…

B.H.: Why do you think Yoga had become so popular with the mainstream?

P.S.: Richard Hittleman had two very glamorous girls with him doing the Yogic practice. Women tended to look at them and think, “Gosh, maybe I could look like that if I do this!” But then when they came they discovered that there was much more to it than that. … But TV is a tremendous influence on people …

We found that we didn’t lose pupils who would have become bored with just doing physical (Hatha) practices – we were offering more, we were teaching some of Eugene’s ideas .. We were teaching ‘thinking-feeling- willing’. How to apply yourself, creatively. … It wasn’t a fashionable thing for me, it was a revelation, there was something very special there for me, and it became a vocation.

Having done choreography and modelling professionally, learning the postures and standing up in front of people and teaching was no problem for me. .. I always remember Gordon saying to me, “If you dry-up in front of a class, just pause for a moment, and look at your foot.” .. And it works!

Eugene said, “You must always strive to be spontaneous, and not make reams of notes.” So I never took notes with me, I always ‘let go’ and let God and had the faith to do it. I believe because it was done with the motivation of opening people up to spirit, to make people realise who they really are, that they are spirit inhabiting this particular body, and it for the purpose of creative and learning and developing their own potential to learn how to love and be compassionate in life – I think that came through and that’s why Gordon and I had such a huge following… And this the reason that we did what we did.

Anyway, we went to live in Princes Way in a beautiful house- which we also renovated (we have always worked hard and had a good family life).

At some point we got Donald Lord to come and speak because we now had hundreds of interested students and we hired Emmanuel Church hall. On the day before he was due to give the talk, we got a phone call to say that he had a mystery illness and I said to Gordon, “What are we going to do?” .. We rang Parklands and Eugene said that he would come. Well, we rang several people and in the end, there must have been over two hundred people at this church hall – it was absolutely packed to the doors. … And we charged them 50 pence each. … At the end, we had all these polythene bagsful of 50 pence pieces which we gave to Eugene … We gave it Ishval … We had a wonderful day and I believe Eugene’s eyes were twinkling because he realised that we were really working so hard here. … You could feel the love that supported us. ..

B.H.: How do you remember the Parklands meetings?

P.S.: It was very ‘formal’ and we all wore long gowns.

B.H.: Why do you think you dressed like this

P.S.: I think it was the product of an era maybe.

B.H.: Because before the Parklands period it all sounded a little more ‘beatniky’ in parts, with people sleeping on floors in Wellington Road, and that sort of thing. .. But I suppose Parklands was not the sort of building that you could slop around in wearing a pair of jeans. …

You did not have Faith House at this point, and you are going to Parklands. What sort of things were you doing?

P.S.: I was in the drama group – which I enjoyed very much. And it was really much like a ‘Yantra’ and it was very enlightening because you were put into different situations. So it was very, very, informative … About yourself …Because you were somehow brought face to face with your ‘true self’, with our inner self. This happened even if you were not taking part in the drama itself but simply being an observer…there was so much to learn…so much that came out of people…this innate knowledge which is locked within the individual would flower

B.H.: So Eugene had involved his concept of ‘work’ within the field of drama then?

P.S.: Very much so. …

Although I gave up the activities at Parklands apart from the Sunday lectures because I had to look after a small baby and was teaching myself, it had all become very much a part of my life. It was something that was with me all the time… spirit…what we call in Yoga constant remembrance… you didn’t ‘fall’ from grace you were in that state.

You cannot put into words how it affects you… When you ‘psyche’ I would say that you delve into the depths of your own being, into the resonance within the cells of your own being, to draw out the experiences of your ancestors. That’s what it means to me. Whereas ‘letting’ was releasing all of that memory and moving into the field not into the ancestral patterning – that’s the difference to me anyway…I can’t remember when I stopped going to drama, I think it might have been when I started the Health Farms but I can’ remember the year…But even then Gordon and I continued to attend Parklands until it closed – which was some time after Eugene’s death

B.H.: Did Eugene advise you about the material that you taught, and could you give me an example, please?

P.S.: When we started to do Tai-Chi, I thought that as a dancer I could do this well until I spoke to Eugene and he explained how you let the energies flow right through the fingertips .. there was a difference …Eugene made a difference.

B.H.: Yes. Regrettably, I have always been suspicious of these ‘re-interpretations’ of Eastern disciplines to suit westerners. … Anyway! On with the narrative! You are at Princes Way – What next?

P.S.: We got the stage where we had private classes, but now because Princes Way was our private home, we hired ‘The Grange’ on a regular basis – and we had both upstairs and downstairs studios. In the meantime, because the classes were getting so full we decided to look for a big place where we could live privately and also have a big studio… And this was the beginnings of Faith House. We were still going to see Eugene, he was still very much a part of our lives. … We eventually found Faith House. This we felt was our life.

B.H.: Is there a difference in teaching from one place instead of a variety of places?

P.S.: Oh absolutely. Creating a centre is what it’s all about. Everyone who came to Faith House felt that they belonged…There was this feeling of extended family if you like.
I cried when we left … I hugged the walls!

B.H.: Was there any special reason for leaving?

P.S.: No. We were just getting older, we couldn’t really keep it up. I had become diabetic, the children had all grown up and left … And my dad, who had lived with us, died. The upkeep of the building itself with its 30 rooms and driveway and everything… It was just too much for Gordon.. And we were so successful that it was too much for me… We were running Health Farms…Yoga classes…I was working thirteen hours per day, six and a half days per week, plus I had a lot of staff which could be a headache… But we’re skipping a lot of years.

When we got to the place there really was so much to do…And Gordon did all the heavy work and my father worked ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with him and I actually scraped the walls of all the rooms and decorated all to top bedrooms … But Gordon did a lot of work…I’ve never known of a man who could work as hard as him.

B.H.: Could you tell me now what you can of the beginning of Faith House please?

P.S.: First of all I’d had this dream that there was this big house in New Brighton, Victoria Road, but I didn’t know exactly where…And Gordon drove up and down, up and down….and then a ‘For Sale’ notice went up on a hotel and we went to look at it….Gordon was horrified because it was in a very bad state and he said, “No way! I couldn’t take that amount of work on!”

Anyway we went away, but it kept nagging at him, and three months later we went back with a builder friend of ours, Dougie Cousins, who is very positive. He thought it could be done (remember there was dry-rot everywhere). I took Gordon’s step-father to see it who, being a lawyer, thought we were completely mad, “Leaving your beautiful house to come to this!” I told him, “Charles, in two years you will eat your words!”. And he did…

So I went to my father, who had become very depressed because he was living alone. He had always been a very busy man but was now retired from the building trade… I said, “Dad, will you come and look at this house we’ve found. It’s huge and it used to be a hotel, in Victoria road.” … He came – and he could see the possibilities…So we bought the place and my father came down…there was an old single bed in one of the rooms…and he never went home again! He gave me the keys to his house and said, “Sell it and bring the furniture here!”…And dad stayed with us happily for fifteen years, surrounded by his grandchildren, until he died.

He loved Gordon and he worked like a Trojan with him, and he had to because Gordon was tremendously strong – I’ve seen him carry castiron fireplaces on his shoulder down three or four flights of stairs…I can’t begin to tell you all the stories about fixing up the place…

Anyway, my nephew came and completely rewired the place, but we still had these old ladies living there and we were so soft that we let them stay there. We still had our other house and we hadn’t actually moved yet because we still had to do all the decorating. I said to Gordon that we would have to start at the top, and hopefully, when I get to the ground floor they’ll have gone.

What happened eventually was, because it was a double building, they moved them through to the other side. They weren’t ‘all there’ I’m afraid, one used to play the grand piano and the other used to whistle. The piano player would not get off the piano stool so the removal men had to move her through these two old-fashioned glass doors to the building next door. As soon as they were through my dad had the doors off, he had the breeze- blocks in place and he plastered the door space up…. Because they were pinching bits of our stuff…and they would appear behind you in the basement in the dark holding a carving knife! … To such a degree that my nephew who wired the house would not stay in the building on his own.

B.H.: Who were they Pam?

P.S.: They were actually the children of a Mr Smith who had owned about half of New Brighton. They were very wealthy… He had shops, he was a businessman … He had eight children and not one of them every worked. They lived off the proceeds of what their father had made and sold off one piece of property after another.. These two old ladies and a son and his wife were the last remaining survivors. The son had run the hotel after the war… They didn’t know what was going on and one of them who was about 80 had a boyfriend…a little thin woman she was…She was the one that whistled… She used to go up to the Hotel Victoria on Saturday with her boyfriend and would drink ‘pints and chasers’…She came home one night went to sleep, and never woke up again!..

B.H.: What is your version of the story about this ‘other worker’, this retired gentleman from Liverpool?

P.S.: A girl called Norma used to come to my Yoga classes and she knew just how much we were struggling with this building and how much work we were doing… People were always dropping in to see how we were doing… She mentioned that her father-in-law had retired and was driving his wife mad because he was at home all the time… I thought no more of it and one day the doorbell rang and this little old lady was there and she said, “Would you mind if my husband Norman came to help.” !!

And every day after that, except Saturday I think, this little man in a cap would arrive at the doorstep… Very shy… He asked what he could do, and I told him that the bathroom on the first floor needs decorating… I gave him the paper and everything and just left him to it. .. I would call him down for his lunch because one thing I insisted upon doing was feeding everyone properly…We always had a big table and everyone was welcome… Anyway, Norman came down and sat at the table. He had his cap on and wouldn’t look at anybody. But then my dad came in and of course, they were in the same age group… Around 65 … My dad would try to chat to Norman, who was starting to respond.. They became the greatest of friends.. They would laugh and joke together… They were like brothers…They would both walk around the roof (so high) with Gordon and I would be having a heart attack…. They both worked together and really supported Gordon. …

Gordon did so much heavy work that he gave himself a hernia which was repaired, and then he had a double hernia. …My dad got a hernia!

My dad tried to understand what it was that we were doing… He met Eugene … He knew what we were doing was something special and he was very proud of us… He loved all the girls coming to Yoga on the Tuesday and Thursday mornings and what he used to do was brush the drive, and all the girls would say, “Good morning Jack!”… One lady said that she was talking to him and asked about why didn’t he go on holiday, and he told her, “Every day’s a holiday here!”… Don’t you think that’s wonderful…..

B.H.: How soon after you bought the first building did you purchase the second?

P.S.: About two years. It took us months to decorate the place and we moved in without any carpets. I remember the week before Christmas I was working upstairs with my dad and he started to cry. I said, ”Don’t worry dad, it won’t be long now. The carpets will be down before Christmas.” …And the central heating had gone in.

B.H.: Perhaps they were tears of relief!

P.S.: It had taken a long long time. After Christmas in January, Eugene came to the official opening. But we had opened the studios in September before.

B.H.: You were using more than the forty-one-foot room then?

P.S.: Yes. We had a number of rooms down there. You got down into the basement through the kitchen and down some steps, which were 150 years old. They were worn down where the servants had walked up and down.

B.H.: What did you do with the basement in the adjacent building?

P.S.: It was a flat for the people who had run the hotel at first. Then we converted it. We had the steam bathroom, sun-bed, and sun-showers down there. We also had a dining room down there.

B.H.: So when you opened you had students ready to enrol?

P.S.: Well everybody followed us there. There had even been a collection and we were presented with £150 towards the carpet (Which was quite a bit of money in those days). The millionaire, Phil Karani – I had treated his wife and introduced them to Eugene he came to the opening and he bought the door for the basement!

… People helped us …

In numerous ways, there has been so much love and support over the years, which continues to this day, many friends from the past still attending our weekends at Tan y Garth Hall.

Namaste, Pam __________________________________________________________________________________________

© H Yohannan


A Poem by Gordon Smith

I once studied a man,
to find in which case he belonged.
Was he Jew, Gentile or Arab,
Arjuna of Bhagavad fame.
Freud, Jung, Adler or ancient

Then I caught a thought
One I dared not utter.
Was he that pristine light,
un-faceted jewel,
that once walked the earth,
as truth, crucified by man.

Then I saw clearly,
as one candle lights another,
he walks in the self same light.



by Eugene Halliday

from an undated letter to Pamela Smith

Kundalini is the totality of forces which for the sake of social equilibrium have been repressed, pushed down the spinal cord and stored at the basal plexus in the sacral area. What is allowed is stored in the head, and particularly in the forebrain, where it is kept in a state of relative readiness for social use.

Kundalini is very wise because it is the storehouse of the experiences of the life force of all the generations of human protoplasm. Many of these experiences are of a socially unacceptable nature and so are unknown to the socially conditioned mind. Thus Kundalini is wiser than the social, civilised mind can be. When Kundalini (the weaving of appetival power) is brought up by meditation into consciousness, there is released a mass of information of ancestral origin and this mass (which is sentient energy) may trigger processes in the nervous system, at different spinal levels, which may occur too quickly for assimilation by the ordinary processes of consciousness. Then one may experience sensations of light, hear sounds, etc. of an unusual nature.

The important to remember is not to fall into identification with any of the phenomena that one experiences, but to see them for what they are, just energy manifestations occurring in consciousness. Some of these manifestations derive from early experience inside the womb, before birth, others from earlier still.

The arousing of Kundalini not unusually results in the unlocking of previously suppressed unpleasant experiences of long ago. When this occurs it is useful to gather one’s consciousness together and enter into the stimulated record (engram, or imprint) and examine and re-evaluate its contents. By this one releases energy from a long encapsulated state, and the information contained in this energy, and enters into one’s conscious knowledge-store.

It is better to see Kundalini for what it is (stored ancestral energy and information) than to embrace any fantastical view of it. There is enough magic in the fact. We do not need fanciful versions of it. To be able to investigate the total ancestry of the human race is interesting enough, without having to put oneself into a state of high euphoria about it.

The more ‘sobre’ we are when investigating the contents of Kundalini, the wiser we shall become, for we shall then not distort our view of the phenomenon we encounter, or of other phenomena that accompany it.

‘Sobre’ investigation of spiritual realities is even more important than investigation of gross material things for at spiritual energy level everything is intensely dynamic and kinetic, while at gross level things tend to ‘stay put’ and change only very slowly.

We are to remember that consciousness itself is a catalyst, that it tends to induce changes in things by its mere presence. Consciousness perceives the real pattern of things, their interrelations of form and function, and rearranges them whenever they have fallen into disorder.

At its top level consciousness has for its content the infinite eidetic field, the totality of basic geometric forms which constitute the patterns of all things of the phenomenal world, the hexonic sentient power field above which is only the volitional field of universal intentionality. To enter the volitional field in its pure form one must be volitionally reflexive, that is, able to turn one’s will back upon itself and to secure it not in an idea– pattern, but in its own fully self-conscious awareness of its own volitionality.

It is one thing to reflect on a pattern of ideas. It is quite another to reflex or bend back one’s will upon itself so that one realises that what one experiences is simply the product of one’s own will to phenomenalise one’s own invisible energy in order to create an interesting universe for oneself and for other reflex self-creators able to cooperate in the supreme act of cosmogenesis.

__________________________________________________________________________________________ ©

© H Yohannan

Halliday Review Summer 2014

Halliday Review Summer 2014

Halliday Review Summer 2014Volume 2, Issue 3 (No. 26) Pages 2438 (extract)

Personal Journeys

A series of recorded conversations between Bob Hardy, and a number of people for whom Eugene Halliday had become of major importance to their lives.


interviewed between December 2005 and February 2006
Between 2005 and 2006 I conducted a number of interviews, or conversations, with about a dozen or so people,

whom I saw as having had some sort of a connection, or ‘relationship’ with, Eugene Halliday.

It was my intention at that time to use this material – in part at least – to structure an ‘argument’ (which is similar to ‘a point of view’) in what was to be, technically, an ‘Ethnographic Study’.

I decided to abandon this project for a number of reasons. The most important one being that a significant percentage of those who were claiming to have had some sort of relationship with Eugene Halliday (but, I must stress here, not all) had been involved in personal counselling sessions with him, and were in fact clients of his in his psychotherapeutic practice. And as I was not prepared to commit to print any opinion I might have regarding unresolved transference material (in the obvious way it would have affected any evaluation process here for instance) I decided to call a halt to the project.

I do believe, however, that much of what is contained in these interviews is extremely interesting and valuable, and so I am more than happy (and somewhat flattered) to see edited versions of these in print and here I would like it known that I have complete confidence in Hephzibah where it concerns the need for any subsequent editing of these interviews.

Finally, my sincere thanks to those who came forward to be interviewed. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all, and I am grateful that you felt you could trust me enough to share so much with me.

Bob Hardy, 2011

The trustees of Ishval are very grateful to Bob for conducting these interviews. We consider them to be of great value, as they give unique and lively personal impressions of Eugene Halliday, which we feel will be helpful to people who are interested in Eugene’s work, but who never had the opportunity to meet him. These interviews will also be of interest to those who did know Eugene, as they present a variety of facets of his character and modes of interrelationship. Bob explained that he hoped his interviews “would provide an impression of Eugene from the perspective of the types of people who had chosen to become involved with him; rather than, as in my case, just someone who was only really interested in what he had to write and say.”

I have contacted all those who were interviewed by Bob, and some have given permission for their edited conversations to be published. These conversations will appear in instalments, in the Halliday Review. Originally intended as an ethnographic study, as described by Bob above, the trustees felt that, as these interviews offered unique glimpses of the lives of the interviewees as well as their interactions with Eugene, the title “Personal Journeys” would be apt.

Hephzibah Yohannan, 2011 

Part 3 – A Conversation with Gordon Smith

This is an edited version of a series of conversations held by Bob Hardy and Gordon Smith, which took place between December 2005 and February 2006. They were edited by Bob and by Gordon. The resulting record was further edited by Hephzibah, for inclusion in the Halliday Review. Gordon has given his permission for his interview to be published on the website eugenehalliday.com as well as in the Halliday Review.

Could you tell me a little of your background?

G.S.: My early childhood was extremely unhappy. My mother and father separated prior to the start of the Second World War, and my whole existence was one of loneliness… It really started in 1939 when I was seven years old and living in Liverpool. I had a label stuck on me and off I went to a place near Chester. I was an evacuee until about 1944. It was a lifetime at that age… It was a period that was probably useful. There were seven of us just on a mattress on the floor… Unfortunately, I got placed with people who saw me as just a number and more of an unwanted inconvenience.

I had no real idea of the horrors of war, we were near Sealand Air Base where planes were crashing and pilots were being killed. On some occasions at night-time looking through the window, I could see Liverpool burning.

I started to question the reality of existence, even at that age. I remember at probably seven or eight years old, my first governing concept … I thought very hard about this… The most wonderful thing to have would be peace, and a home, and some security. I visualised my home, I can remember it very clearly, no carpets on the floor, a wooden floor. I would get a job, it would be my place and I would have a family… The family was important.

After the war was over I was about thirteen or fourteen and I came back into a situation where my mother, who had remarried, had become very ill. My step-father was a very good man… He was kindly and always encouraged me to study and work… He was a ‘good’ man…

Another significant part of my life developed because I had to take responsibility for the family. There was a period where both parents were in hospital and I had to look after the family at 14… I had two younger brothers and a sister and I got a job at a Chartered Accountant’s in Liverpool, but I couldn’t cope.

We lived in Liverpool before the war, but now we were living in Wallasey…

My mother died when I was still young, but before she died I went to hospital to see her and, although I was relatively uneducated, I promised her that I would go to sea and become an officer. It may have been a way of escaping, or the result of romanticism, because I used to escape into books as a child. And I had read, ‘Round The Horn’, ‘Before The Mast’… That sort of thing… reading was quite important to me…

My mother encouraged me to go to church and I was also a choirboy and I used to seek refuge in ‘All Saints Church’, in Wallasey. I received a certificate while I was there as the only boy who attended every service in a twelve-month period (including the funerals!). I got quite a lot out of the church because I met other people of the same age. … I got a good feeling from it, I would go to the back of the church and look through some of the old books there and wonder what really lay behind the church and its teaching. And I was quite frightened by all the, ‘Thou shalt nots’, and ‘If thine eye offend thee, pluck it out’, and all that, which I found quite horrifying.

I eventually managed to get away to sea, and my step-father assisted me in this. I was 18 and it was quite difficult to go to sea as a deck hand then. They all wanted me to go as a steward but I wanted to go on the deck-side. We went to Liverpool and I got onto a sea-training ship called the ‘Vindicatrix’. It was an old German Tea-clipper down in the docks somewhere, on the river Severn.

It was a very hard school because it was a place you could be sent to by the courts as an alternative to being sent to borstal. I was there for three months by personal choice as it was a means of getting to sea and passed out with a Bosun’s mate ticket. I did quite well really… I got battered a few times, but eventually went to sea and sailed as a deck-boy out of Liverpool. I would go to the ‘pool’ and sign on various ships. I started off on ‘The Ulster Prince’ for a few months… They sent me to a Union Castle boat that sailed out of Southampton. My mother, who was quite psychic, said before the voyage, “Whatever you do please don’t bring me mother-of-pearl sea-shells home.”…

We got down to Cape Town on the South African coast. I went ashore and saw these beautiful mother-of-pearl seashells, and collected them for my mother, and that was when she died. I came back and was very upset…

I asked my step-father to put my dinner in the oven and said “I will be back soon” and went down to The Pool (Recruitment Centre), The Pool told me there was a ship waiting to sail off Birkenhead. I got on a tug and went out to the old ‘Busan Star’ which was the old German prison ship. I boarded and she upped anchor and left… Four months later I returned home for my dinner!… This was the sort of background I had… It was a tough ship! The Busan Star was previously the ‘Altmark’ and was boarded by the British Navy, to release the prisoners from the hold.

I tried to start my studying while on board and a lot of the Sailors objected to it. “What are you doing that for! They taunted me and I found the boxing I had done during my training stood me in good stead, although I might not have always been successful I was not afraid to stand up for myself… This was my life while I was going from ship to ship. All the time I was extremely lonely because being in the Merchant Navy on steam ships was not like the stories I had read about sailing ships. This was a different ball game altogether.

Eventually, I went to Liverpool Technical College, studied hard, and two out of twelve of us passed the maths paper, and I got my Second Mate’s ticket. It was difficult at that time to go from ‘the deck’, to officer, and I couldn’t get a job at first because there was the bias against coming through ‘the decks’… So I went along to ‘Elder Demsters’, and they were desperate to get people for the ‘Gold Coast run’. So I got my first job… And this would be the start of the period when I started to study not only navigation but Greek philosophy!

I changed from company to company and became friendly with a ‘sparks’ on one ship and when we got to places like Athens and if we had some time we would go ashore. I was very interested in Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, etc. and I stood in the places where they were supposed to have studied. I was very interested… Although I didn’t understand everything… It was something I felt. You of course do an awful lot of reading at sea… I also climbed Mount Carmel at Haifa, which was connected with the Essenes – while all the crew were enjoying themselves in ‘The Black Cat’ on the seafront! The Jewish villagers were all watching me as I came down from meditating on the top of the mount.

Certain things I found interesting… Early on I sailed with ‘Blue Funnel’ for a number of years and did the run to the far-east and Malaya; and I was morbidly fascinated by the cages where they kept the prisoners… They have shrines there now.

B.H.: The reading of philosophy and esoteric material etc. when you became a deck officer… Were you aware of anything like this at an earlier age?

G.S.: From a very early age, about three in fact, one of the things which had always fascinated me was seeing people in dreams with two faces – a face and a ‘hidden’ face. I didn’t understand it then as I was only a child, but later on I realized that I knew at an early age that many people spoke with ‘forked tongue’ as it were!… They said one thing, and usually meant another… There was this hidden side of them… This negative side… I actually saw it as a young child.

B.H.: Did you remember your dreams? G.S.: I did as a child… I don’t so much now.

B.H.: Sothere were subjects such as philosophy which were starting to make an impression on you sometime during your 20’s. What happened next?

G.S.: Well, although it may seem strange, I didn’t really like ‘going away’ and so I got a job locally with the Mersey Docks And Harbour Company. I had to get my pilot’s license during this time, I would be about 26 or 27. I accumulated a lot of experiences while I was at sea, and I saw a great deal of the world… a great deal of the Far East.

I also came across a book during this time that really impressed me, I called it ‘The Book Of Gold’ and it had in it all of the ‘Upanishads’ and also the ‘Bhagavad Gita’. I was very taken with this material, so much so that my step-father spent some considerable time and energy attempting to get a copy for me, unfortunately without success. I was also becoming very interested in ‘spiritual’ writings. This interest had grown in me since the age of about 13 or 14. I remember being presented with the idea that by some fortuitous means, intelligence had arisen—by the sheer number and complexity of chance happenings that had occurred since the beginning… I used to go into our back garden and look at the ‘creepy crawlies’, the hens (we still had hens from the war), at plants, at people, etc. and think, “There’s so much intelligence expressing itself here.” And I just could not accept the idea of a non-intelligent universe. To me it was much more logical to accept an intelligent universe. So I was already beginning to think along these lines early on. I was motivated by a burning desire to discover ‘the truth’…

At some point I heard my step-father’s good friend, Jack Wilson, talking to him about a number of people in whispered, slightly awestruck, tones. I pricked up my ears at this and discovered that there was a teacher in Liverpool who was worth listening to. This resulted in my introduction, by Jack, to Khen Ratcliffe.

B.H.: When was this Gordon?

G.S.: I might be guessing a little here but it would be about 19591960… Very early on… I was very impressed with Ken, he was charming, full of humour, and very worldly; an extremely knowledgeable man…

Khen never spoke of himself in connection with this work but always referred to his teacher, Eugene Halliday. I picked up a booklet by Eugene called ‘Reflexive Selfconsciousness’, and from the first moment of reading the first page I knew instinctively that I did not need to look any further. It was almost as if I had found what I was looking for and everything seemed to fall into place. Rationally I couldn’t explain it, but intuitively I had no doubts that here was the teacher that I was looking for. I feel Ken was struggling somewhat as ‘Hermeneutics’ (which was how Khen referred to the material) and his ‘International Hermeneutic Society’ wasn’t the sort of thing that grabbed the attention of people at that time, and often it would be just my step-brother, Charles Cook, and I sitting listening to Khen.

Khen introduced us to a wide range of subjects at his Newsham Park address including Shakespeare, music, hermeneutics, etc. We got totally absorbed in what we were doing, so much so that Charlie decided to study Shakespeare himself. And this he did for about forty years! He has become a real authority on the subject but maintains that he, “Still hasn’t finished with Shakespeare yet.” Charlie would later continue studying by listening to Eugene’s tapes. He purchased a copy of the book ‘Shakespeare King Educator’, written by David Mahlowe, and maintained that, after his long period of studying Shakespeare, that, “This was one of the most remarkable books he had ever read; everything about Shakespeare and his work is summed up in that book”. At the moment he is working as a caretaker in a school and they are advertising him as their ‘Residential Shakespearian Tutor’ – not bad for a caretaker!

B.H.: During this period then, you were going to Khen’s. Was Khen taking the meetings himself?

G.S.: Khen was taking the meetings and after a year or so the numbers increased. It was principally an all-male group and quite intellectual and then (perhaps due to instructions from Eugene), Khen said that we were going to start some Yoga. Don’t forget we were a group of young men and our energies were really scattered. Khen really started to work on us, and Yoga became a way of integrating all of our scattered energies. Khen said that, “It was no good just being in your head, you need to organize the work in yourself.” He approached the yoga as a vehicle for coordination and integration. We did a lot of work on bio-field energies, and a lot of spiritual work also.

B.H.: Do you know if Khen was familiar with Yoga before this period?

G.S.: I don’t know, I think he was guided by Eugene in this. Eventually some ladies started to come along… The ceiling in the meditation room was painted by a musician from the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, I think his name was Ross… He played double bass… The Newsham address was quite a large building… Khen set us exercises to do, we would practice ‘psychosomatic drawing’, art therapy classes. We did a lot of work in Liverpool…

Khen was also very interested in psychic phenomena and once or twice we went along to visit and see some well known Liverpool psychics working, and we used to do some work in that respect.

Eugene was coming by this time to Newsham Park, once per month. He was a regular visitor. It was breathtaking. He never used notes because he would simply ask for a question, and people would put maybe two or three questions. He would start to speak and answer all the questions. He had all sorts of gifts. He also had a penetrating gaze. Before the talks you would be unaware, but when he was ready everybody sensed it. The focus would be totally on Eugene. At the end of the evening various people would always say, “How did he know about my problem?” He not only answered everybody’s questions, but somehow gathered everyone into accord and answered unvoiced questions. He was brilliant. He had a wonderful sense of humour, and he would never let you ‘lean’ on him, he would always ‘sidestep’ you and make you do the work. He would always guide you with humanity. He didn’t ‘trap’ people and without doubt, he was ‘gifted’.

Khen didn’t recommend that we go and see Eugene, for many years, until we’d done a lot of work on ourselves and on vocabulary on defining terms…

I was always aware, when I studied navigation for instance, that I needed to know my math. But I was also aware that the people who worked out the spherical geometry itself were the real geniuses and this intrigued me. There were people around who had initially laid down these procedures… It was these people who had done this from first principles who interested me…

I did a great deal of practical work during this period. I had one enlightening experience in this area which helped me a great deal. I had been reading ‘Circulation Of The Light’, and I used to meditate every afternoon on this technique and a most weird thing happened. When I was able to circulate the ‘light’ (or consciousness)—it’s a reflexive technique—the light touched the heart and it was like sunlight touching the earth, and something in me responded deeply because there was a burst of light in the heart and what emerged psychically was a beautiful wild white rose with a golden centre. And it expanded very rapidly in the heart, and consciousness started to expand, and it frightened the life out of me. And at that moment I became the lady doing the ironing next door, the birds singing on the trees outside and I fought against it and thus failed. But interestingly I had perfume of a rose on my skin for about a month afterwards and that was very real.

B.H.: When I first went to Khen’s at Tan-y-Garth, this was the very first thing that we had to do; change our passive language into an active one.

G.S.: After a long time one began to realise that Eugene didn’t speak from the level we normally associate with conversation, he spoke a language which was highly charged spiritually. It is a difficult thing to get hold of, but he seemed to be able to speak at the level offor want of a better wordthe ‘Logos’. He was the most ‘Christlike’ man that I have ever met—and yet did not profess to be so.

In ancient Egypt as you know there was a language for the common people and a language for the priest-craft. They used to ‘lift’ the language and we get a glimpse of this in the seers who reputedly divined the 50 consonants of the Sanskrit language through meditation and it was thought to be part of the sound geometry of the universe. So it’s a highly spiritually charged language. It’s the same with the Hebrew in which each letter is charged with a higher significance. Now Eugene was gifted in that area, and even taught himself Sanskrit. He was versed in Sanskrit and many other languages. He had the ability to lift what you were saying into another dimension. That seems a remarkable thing to say, but it was true. People realised this, but the difficulty for normal folk like us was that we were taking on board a vocabulary which was highly charged. A powerful vocabulary, and it tended to ‘run us’ for a long time. Because we thought we understood a few ideas and concepts from the Master, and we would bore people to tears because we didn’t have his background and knowledge. Consequently it took a lot of work and a lot of time to establish that type of vocabulary and a way of dealing with our vocabulary in ourselves.

Eugene was unique. He was at home in the art world; with the sciences; with the classics; Shakespeare… In fact in the early days when he first arrived he gave people a choicehe asked did we want to do Cabala (The Tree of Life), or the Zodiac. People chose the zodiac, and Eugene used it in a unique way. That is as a way of studying psychological types, by working and understanding yourself, and he was brilliant at it.

B.H.: Were these experiences becoming more and more important to you?

G.S.: I eventually remained on Merseyside and took my pilot’s license in order to remain here and do this work.

B.H.: What else did you do at this time other than go to Khen’s, or attend Eugene’s monthly talks?

G.S.: I was a great experimenter and I used to meditate frequently. I had a period of practising Astral Projection. And that convinced me in a way that we were more than just a physical entity: That we had a subtle body, and that there was a subtle dimension.

In fact I read Muldoon [Sylvan Joseph Muldoon—’Projection of the Astral Body’—Bob], and Carrington [Hereward CarringtonYour Psychic Powers and How To Develop ThemBob]. I experimented with techniques during a three month period, which were not in these books, and I mentioned these to Eugene and he told me to be cautious. I became ill after three months because wandering out of your body every night depletes the energy of the body. To anybody reading this it will sound weird. But, for instance, if I was travelling through space I’d have a sound source outside of my body and I would take a bearing from it. I could think, move, and will and I could move myself certain distances and stop. I found that the mind, the feeling and the will, linked together, enabled me to move freely in space. Even coming back to the body was like being in control of a helicopter, because I could come down in stages. I also experienced catalepsy because I would return to the body sometimes and my head might have fallen off the pillow or something. I learnt through trial and error the way back into the nervous system was by taking a breath. It is stated in the Bible that God breathed life into man. And I found that by consciously willing breath brought me back into the nervous system.

B.H.: For you at least, then, it was all very real.

G.S.: Oh, it was all very real, and people didn’t understand it. People who do this sometimes became paralyzed. But there was one idea that really helped me, and it was idea of the observer. “The observer is not the observed.” [E.H. Reflexive Self-Consciousness.] I learnt to watch and observe the phenomena. And this prevented the panic that can occur in unusual situations.

B.H.: So you managed to maintain that interest then?

G.S.: I also managed to watch myself in dream. But I have since learned… And I wouldn’t recommend these exercises to just anybody. There is nothing to be gained from doing some of these obscure practices.

They’re not to be practiced—it is quite sufficient to get on with your lifeto try to cope with everyday life. To study, to practice meditation, if that’s the way you choose to go.

B.H.: Don’t you think that as the pressure on people becomes greater, to perceive the world as material only, some sort of psychic experience would be helpful? It breaks that hold that materiality has?

G.S.: Yes. It affected Pam and I quite significantly. We both went out to Khen’s place in Wales, Tan-y- Garth, with a group of friends, and we were in the meditation room and something affected us both which was quite remarkable. We came together mentally and eventually opened a Yoga Centre on the Wirral.

The interesting thing was that when Pam and I started teaching Yoga, we were teaching very much as Khen taught as a means of coordinating and integrating the different levels of our being.

B.H.: It is almost as if you have been on a personal journey. You travelled a great deal in the physical world; and also explored your interior world.

G.S.: Looking back, I must have been putting impressions into the ‘field’. When I talk about the ‘field’, I mean the energy field which we call ‘life’. At a certain point I believe I started to be guided. I know it’s a cliché, “Once a pupil is ready, the master will appear.” This is what happened. My life as a child was one of extreme loneliness and hardship. Things like being battered with a stair-rod were not pleasant. Only having two rounds of bread per dayI was starved… and ended up being a bit of a loner…

I was not very social during my sea-time, rather unusually, I didn’t swear.
B.H.: But that was the first thing that I learnt to do when I was a ‘Sparks’ in the Merchant Navy!

G.S.: It wasn’t a conscious decision, I didn’t find it necessary. I have been married to Pam for over thirty-three years and she has never heard me swear.

B.H.: This loneliness in your early life could be seen as pre-conditioning. Was there a positive side to this?

G.S.: I feel there was a positive side, because I took refuge for a time in myself. For example, I would walk alone in woodlands outside Chester and sometimes I would come across dead animals and wonder what happened to their ‘spirit’. I would have visionary moments in my contemplations when I would ‘see’ another world. I often saw different worlds in different time spheres, which was, to me at least, quite natural… I used to visualize ‘peaceful times’ and ‘happy times’… It may have been a product of the age I was in… I used to often go back in time and recall lying on my back in a hammock in a beautiful garden. I had a glimpse once of a beautiful girl, it may have been the start of puberty… but she was not of this world… I could see sunlight shining through her, she was from a distant age and was living in a manor house… And these situations would take me by surprise.

B.H.: Would you tell me a little about the ‘beginnings’ of Faith House please?

G.S.: Pam and I were both teaching Yoga at night-school classes and different venues. I was still working on the river doing a full-time job and teaching part-time, and we would fill in for each other.

We were both looking for a place to open a Yoga Centre and both had a strong feeling about a big old house in Victoria Road, New Brighton. It used to be a hotel and it was virtually derelictit was falling down.

I went away from the place for a couple of months but couldn’t shake the feeling. We eventually went to see it and it was obvious that it wanted a tremendous amount doing to it. There was dry-rot; most of the plaster needed knocking off; and floor joists needed replacing. The main teaching room wasn’t big enough which meant knocking a wall down and putting in an RSJ for support. All the electrics needed replacing although some of the plumbing was alright, although it was Victorian and this meant all lead pipes. We decided to put up with these and replace them as we could.

We effectively ignored the condition it was in and went ahead and bought it! B.H.: How many rooms were there?

G.S.: The first house had about fifteen rooms in it and when we bought ‘next door’, about seven to eight years after, we had about thirty rooms.

Why there were so many rooms is because it used to be a refuge centre for seafarers and military people during the war and they had knocked the large kitchen into two rooms, and all the top flats were doubled. Everything was partitioned!

The first thing I did was get to work on the basementwhich took about six months to complete.

The initial condition was very bad… There were two rooms which had to be knocked into one, making a 42-foot room with about 8 foot of headroomthis was for our yoga activities. All the joists needed to be removed. All the plaster needed to be knocked off the walls… A tremendous amount of work. My step-father, who was a lawyer, said, “You must be mad, it cannot be done!”. But Pam and I worked so hard, doing everything from ripping out fire-places in every spare minute of our time. We would work from six in the morning until ten at night and I counted thirteen large skips that we eventually loaded up.

B.H.: You could say that you gutted the place.

G.S.: There was so much to be done. I was working full-time as I said and so I employed an architect to work out the size of the RSJ, the pillars which needed to be put in, and the strengthening to keep the building up. This was all work which had to be done in the basement.

Pam asked Eugene if we should go ahead with it and he said, “If you don’t do it, someone else will!” which was correct.

I think we started in the summer, and little by little, after three or four months, we could see that we were starting to make progress. Pam and I had moved in with our family by now (at first we were living elsewhere) and started to make it habitable. Pam’s dad was a great help because he was a builder and at a certain point we invited him (because he was on his own) to sell his place, move in with us, and help us with the work.

B.H.: Pam describes him very much as a conventional man. So you effectively gave him a family life, a home, and a purpose.

G.S.: Yes. He was very hard working.

We had prepared the house to live in. It was over 150 years old. To give you an example, there was a joist loose in one of the bedrooms which was a consequence of a land-mine landing towards the back of the house during the war which shook the whole top story which had somewhat ‘distorted’ the building itself and it was in a real mess…

I should also add that there were also three old ladies (sitting tenants) living there and they wouldn’t move out! They used to like to sit in the front room where one would play the big upright piano there, and another would whistle! Although it might seem to be quite a weird set-up we were working for quite a long time to repair the place. When we put a bid in for the house next door, we persuaded the three old dears to move over. We got some workmen to lift the pianotogether with the old dear who was sitting on the piano stool—through the adjoining wall! And Pam’s father (a very practical Irishman) immediately cemented up the hole with breeze-block!

At that time I had the idea that I would take early retirement and devote myself full-time to teaching Yoga. I believed the only way practically that this could be done was that if the Yoga classes could not support the thing entirely we would get a tenant. The tenant would effectively pay the rates via their rent… We had a chap on the ground floor whose son was on the tug that went down.

B.H.: I remember that… It was the ‘Applegarth’—she got swamped and went down at the Pier Head I think—that would be about 1960, when I was studying for my ‘ticket’!

G.S.: Yes… And the salvage vessel I was Captain of took his body out…

We spoke to Eugene about the name and he agreed that ‘Faith House’ was good…

We finally began to make some progress, but were experiencing some difficulties. For instance the ‘Planning Dept.’ insisted that we fireproof every floor and provide emergency exits. I argued that we weren’t cooking but teaching yoga exercise, but they didn’t agree. I wrote a letter to the head of planning saying that I agreed that safety was the first consideration and we should have doors opening onto the ground floor and agreeing to fireproof the whole of the basement from one end to the other, thus fire couldn’t affect any of the floors above—and they agreed… Then they said that we could practice Yoga during the week but we would have to sort out parking, but we couldn’t work on Sunday. This led to an article being published in the local press to the effect that I was prepared to stand on my head outside of the Town Hall on Sunday and they could arrest me if they wanted to for doing Yoga on a Sunday… But it never came about; we were ‘playing games’ with each other…

Ultimately we put wire-mesh up on the ceiling from one end of the basement to the other and plastered it in. We manoeuvred the massive RSJ into place and built support pillars… We built a small platform so that students could see us when we were talking; I used old timber from the site for this… There was an old two-story brick building attached to the back which had fallen down and I had to skip it, I believe a doctor lived there at one time, anyway there was tons of rubble… This left the outside back wall… which was bulging! There was just loads of work…

There was so much to do that Pam’s father couldn’t cope, but as soon as we started to make progress ‘helpers’ started to ‘appear’… “Could I give you a hand to tidy up?” “I’ll paint that wall for you.” Things like thatnot a lot but at least someand we began to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Towards the end we got the basement carpeted, the outside entrance sorted out, and started our first Yoga classes…

B.H.: Could you describe the way you got into the Yoga classroom?

G.S.: You went up the drive, and as third-party insurance was very high, it was a steep drive and you went round the side of the building. I put lights in the back so the whole of the back was lit… The surface was rough house-brick at that time… they went downstairs to the Yoga room from the back kitchen where I got everybody to ‘sign the book’ including what they paid (two shillings or whatever it was), Pam or I took a two hour class and then they left…

B.H.: So the back of the house was higher than the front, thus the ‘basement’ actually had large windows at the front of house from the ground level.

G.S.: Yes, because of the way the land sloped.

Work on Faith House continued at a steady pace. For instance I ordered two hundred paving stones to re-surface the back. The wagon turned up and dropped them in the front by the side of the house… I had dungarees on and carried the lot. He would drop half a dozen into my arms and I would put them on a bag of sand and carry them through to the back. In the end my arms were ‘screaming’ and my dungarees were ripped to pieces…

I put sand down and laid the slabs but as I’m not a paving-stone layer, I must have lifted each one about thirty times, packed sand and stones under them where it needed it, and Pam’s dad came and cemented them in… Then something very strange happened…

A lady turned up at the front door, I don’t know where she came from. She said, “I believe you’re doing a lot of work here. Well my husband has retired; he’s been in the ‘building’ all his life. He’s retired now and he would love to help.”… Out of the blue!... His name was Harry, and he befriended Jack. They were like old mates working together. He came all the way over from Liverpool on the ferry with a little bag of tools on his back… and he did amazing things! And he became very attached to us. We gave him a meal every day, he sat down for lunch with us… Jack may have given him five bob occasionally for his fare and he worked hard…

I eventually got the fractured joist back in place on the upstairs level. It was heavy because it was holding up the whole house. When I got it back in place I couldn’t fix it because six-inch spikes wouldn’t hold it… I solved the problem by joining two very big jubilee clips together, passing it round the joist, and tightening it up—and it held. I got Pam’s dad to plaster over it, but it was just over our bed. And night after night I would lie there wondering if the thing would hold… I eventually ‘artexed’ the ceiling! And the repair held.

B.H.: So you gradually fixed the whole place up. How many children’s bedrooms did you have to renovate?

G.S.: Three, they all wanted separate bedrooms. It was a very big job as they used ‘three by three’ timbers. I actually bent crowbars getting the six inch nails out. The walls themselves were made of heavy boarding and I saved it all for other jobs.

I repaired the 150 year-old locks by taking them apart and using heavy elastic bandsbecause I couldn’t get spare parts, they were too old. They lasted for years, and when our son took over Faith House he discovered them and asked, “What are all these elastic bands,” He couldn’t believe it!

B.H.: How long was it before you opened, and when did the work stop?

G.S.: The maintenance work on the house never stopped but we finished the basement after six months of hard graft.

It gradually built up so that we were teaching Yoga during the day or evening in some form or other, be it meditation or concentration, on most nights of the week. We had members and non-members who came in occasionally. A normal class was about 30 people, occasionally more. Pam was the ‘main attraction’ but I took a class as well. However, I seemed to get the ‘oddballs’.

The foundation of the house was built on sand and when it’s contained it’s like water – you can’t compress it. They put the footings in and filled with sand. The outside walls were fifteen inches thick…

There was dry rot in the wall because the house had been ‘let go’ and had got damp. The dividing wall between the two houses was only one course of brick thick and I was injecting the walls with fungicide… There was a man living next door and I put a tube through into the basement next door and pumped fungicide in!

I eventually took a course in Physiology and Anatomy at the Northern Institute. It was an eighteen month course but I managed to complete it in six months, and I became a member of the London and Counties Society of Physiologists. I was interested in healing and I thought the formal qualification of a Physiotherapist would help.

I would also get the ‘oddball’ students. I once had a man who was subject to epileptic fits who would get excited with the girls in their leotards. He had an uncanny knack of throwing a fit when I started the relaxation at the end. He’d be foaming at the mouth, crawling round the room and crawling after these women. I used to sit on him and say “Calm and relax.” Continuing with the relaxation… Which made it interesting… But he was upsetting the class so I eventually had to ask him to stop coming. I told him, “Yoga isn’t calming you down, it’s exciting you!”

There were two classes, one in the morning and evening… The classes were mixed, but I tended to attract most of the males, and this was not a problem… It was a practical way of transmitting the teachings of Khen Ratcliffe and Eugene Halliday… We always had meditation as well as relaxation…

When I started Yoga with Khen sometime in the early sixties the class was all men. Hittleman did the Yoga series on Yorkshire TV with these two glamorous slim ladies and that started to attract the women… But it didn’t matter to us later at Faith House if the groups were mixed or not, it was ‘all OK’.

We would practice yoga for an hour, take a brief break and have ten minutes or so of questions about Yoga, Philosophy, and Psychology. Trying to make it interesting and stimulate interest in the philosophical and spiritual side. We would then always finish with a deep relaxation.

B.H.: Obviously you’re getting a positive reaction from a section of the Wallasey community here. What about negative reactions to what you were doing at that time?

G.S.: Not at Faith House, but prior to this period, in the late 60s. Five of us had bought a large house in Hale Road, off Seabank Road. And I thought that I could start a Yoga group there. There was an adjoining wall in the room I wanted to use so I charged the adjoining wall with a crow-bar all day and eventually got it down. I threw the rubble into the back for the time being so I made two rooms into one and Pam and I started Yoga work there. We did a lot of esoteric work there also. And all of us were interested in these subjects. People like Jack Wilson, who used to go to Khen’s in Liverpool, would come. Another person from Liverpool would come with his wife Norma. We all put £500 in to start. The main driving force was myself and Pam… This was the time when we came together as a couple.

There were negative reactions… The doorbell would go… We were hounded by a Liberal councillor who started shouting at me that he knew all about yoga, “I know about you and your curry and rice, and Sitar music! We’ll have you out, we won’t have the likes of you here!” And he tried to close us down. We were put under a lot of pressure and people from the council would find excuses to come into the house with ‘check boards’—to check the number of radiators that we had for instance; we were read the ‘riot act’ and were told that if we spoke to any more than eight people at one time we would have our rates quadrupled…

B.H.: Do you feel that anyone particularly was involved?

G.S.: It could have been a lot to do with neighbours… particularly Pam’s ‘ex’. We were being hounded. Then we were teaching yoga and philosophy; but more importantly we were teaching people to think for themselves, to make conscious decisions and to ‘wake up’!

B.H.: Do you recall the first time that you were introduced to Eugene’s ideas ? What were the first things that you remember being ‘struck by’?… Was it was idea of the ‘threepart being’ for example?

G.S.: The first thing I remember very clearly was picking up a small booklet at Khen Ratcliffe’s that Eugene had written on ‘Reflexive SelfConsciousness’.

For some strange reason, after I had read the first few lines, within me there was a recognition that this was ‘very true’… I had never had an experience quite like this before with any other written material… Perhaps it happened occasionally with extracts from the Bhagavad-Gita or the Upanishads… ‘Reflexive SelfConsciousness’ simply made sense, and was profoundly logical to me… And it clarified for me most of the things in my life that I had thought about… The nature of the Divine… My own natural feelings about consciousness and intelligence and Divinity…

The commonly held view when I was growing up was that everything was the result of randomness and accident… and that it was this that had produced the wonderful complexity of life… I never believed that… Because in every human being that I looked at I saw intelligence… In everything around me, in every aspect of life… manifesting uniquely… To me it was more logical to posit intelligence as the basis of everything around us… Because otherwise, although I could imagine a few random happenings in the infinity of space, I couldn’t in my own backyard, where I could see an apple tree, and a butterfly, and hens laying eggs!

B.H.: You can’t see this as a process of pure chance… Without some sort of impetus then…

G.S.: Reading ‘Reflexive SelfConsciousness’ (which was the first book of Eugene’s that I read), gave me a grounding which was of inestimable value to me in a very practical way… For instance, when I became Master of a salvage vessel, we would get into some difficult situations, and it enabled me to stand back, observe, and take controlwhereas I had seen other people in similar situations tending to ‘lose it’ and ‘identify’ with the situation.

B.H.: As a consequence of reading ‘Reflexive SelfConsciousness’ did you embark upon a series of ‘exercises’ or other practical work? I can’t see quite how just reading a book would give you the automatic ability to ‘step back’.

G.S.: First of all there was the logic which came through from Eugene’s work… For example, if the power which underlies all material existence was non-sentient or non-knowing, no matter how complicated the configurations of non-knowingness were put together, it could never make knowingness…

B.H.: ‘Meccano’ is still ‘Meccano’?…

G.S.: Yes… no matter what set number you go up to!… We have consciousness and awareness, and that intelligence must have been there from the very beginning… Absolute Sentient Power… ASP… The way it was put over by EugeneI believed it absolutely…

These ideas involved themselves in practical application when I began working with Khen Ratcliffe… His daughter, Shelagh, was, I believe, trained as an Olympic swimmer using techniques put forward by Eugene on ‘Biofield Consciousness’. She would literarily try not to be self-limiting, but swim ‘through the baths’… She would do a ‘Let’, so that the field would operate in her entirely—down to her fingertips…

We started to work with Khen, not just on psychic things, but also on very practical things, such as yoga postures…

B.H.: I understand that the group associated with Khen Ratcliffe at this time practiced a series of postures that was connected with ‘Reflexive Selfconsciousness’… and that these exercises were devised by Eugene Halliday.

G.S.: They were in fact devised by Eugene, and based on a profound understanding of Yoga.

B.H.: What do you here mean by ‘profound understanding’.

G.S.: Yoga, as you know, comes from a Sanskrit root meaning ‘union’. And this means unity with the ‘self’ or the divinity within you… Union with God—Atman equals Brahman. They are not different… That in you which ‘knows’ that you are here… The aim of the practical exercises was to transcend the inertias of the lower mindthe lower mind which channels all the sense information and makes you profoundly mechanical, and which tends to engage you in serial thinking…

The practical application of the exercises was to get you to use the ‘higher mind’… In the sense that consciousness, or the awareness in you, was catalytic… and by actually visualising in your mind a posture, or more correctly an Asana which implies the use of mind… At the purely analytical level this exercise would be on the right ‘wavelength’, but not very effective. But then by using feeling to energise the idea, it became magical, energizing the whole body efficiently…

There was something else we also worked atwe tried to be self-determining; we tried to discover ourselves as Will. That is—consciousness initiating ‘will’ in the belly, ‘feeling’ or ‘love’ in the heart, truth or intelligence in the head. Will was an intention initiated from the innermost recesses of being… From consciousness itself…

And we tried not to ‘go to sleep’ on it… So, it was necessary moment by moment to be Self-aware and to ‘think’, ‘feel’, ‘will’, and co-ordinate the process by developing ‘spinal awareness’. Because by developing ‘spinal awareness’ you get more integration, more coordination … Now we did a lot of work on this …

B.H.: Would I be right in assuming that in your view, Eugene had ‘access to field consciousness’ and that these exercises that he formulated came from ‘the same place’ as Indian Yoga exercises? It doesn’t seem to me that Eugene read a book by, say, Woodruff on Yoga, and then said, “Do these exercises”…

G.S.: I heard from Donald Lord that it took Eugene 15 years to master Sanskrit… He could take phrases from different aspects of Yoga literature and had the ability, I believe, to see these at the level of their divine originhe could actually see where the idea came from; what it was which formulated those words… Words which in a sense became Yantra… They became a way of looking at reality because they gave rise to the form (Yantra) which when they were embodied gave rise to these divine gestures (Mudra)… and the termination of these words is TRA which is TORA – the Law…

He had this wonderful ability to look at the Sanskrit language and interpret it. Indian philosophers had maps of the unconscious which seemed well ahead of Freud, Jung, and Adler. They had already seemed to have mapped the unconscious through their meditational techniques, and awareness of what ‘makes people tick’…

Eugene’s methods resulted in psychological integration because it made you a whole person. Between mind and emotion there is a psychosomatic zone. Because of the emotionally charged content of what goes on in our minds, we experience a lot of trouble and this is the realm of the psychologist, but the way you feel about your vocabulary, about how you verbalize about life, affects body chemistry quite quicklyso now they give you a tablet if you have a problem, which is a materialistic, biochemical answer… I felt that Eugene’s methodology gave you health at all levels, because you would start to think in a different way and this would influence your other centres.

B.H.: Because you would start to think about things a different way, you would experience different emotions connected with these new thoughts, and this would start to break down the established inertic patterns… And that would change the body chemistry…

G.S.: Yes… We would be doing work on the ‘Beyond and Death’; on ‘Dreaming and Daydreaming’; on ‘Waking Consciousness’; on the ‘Biofield’—which is an extension of consciousnessand beyond this (there are other fields beyond the ‘Biofield’). And we did a lot of work on tensing and relaxing… purely working on the ‘field’ outside of the body.

B.H.: Could you describe this in a little more detail? It’s difficult to appreciate, “Working outside of the body”.

G.S.: Put it this way, if you were sitting with your hand very relaxed, you would have a sense that your hand was there in the field… You would be aware that there was a relaxed hand there in the ‘field’… Instead of thinking, and then sending linear impulses from the mind down the nervous system to the fingers… You start in a detached way, become intensely aware of the feeling that there was a hand there … Start to focus, focus, focus, intensely on that energy…

Khen became very good at getting us to relax, he would ‘count us down’ from 1 to 5 during a session, and we would enter a hypo-tonic state which felt like being a glass of water without the glass around it!… Then he would try to develop our awareness of this by counting back from 5 to 1 to ‘tonic’, where we would be ready to move into immediate actionin a flash!… Like a cat… When we did our Yoga exercises, postures, and relaxing exercises, he would always bring us back to this ‘tonic’ before we went out of the door…

He would also take us the other way to a Hyper-tonic state. He would count us back to five and we would be rigid!… Completely immobile… Khen would sit me against a wall, and when you’re that age… in your twenties… you have a lot of energy that you want to get rid of most of the time… and I found I could shift this energy through the top of my head and the bones in my ears would produce a sound in my head like a high-pitched tuning fork… and Gerhard Noakhes would shout, “Look at that! There’s a witches hat on top of his head!… Look at the light above his head!”… This sounds weird, but I could project this energy as light against the wall and then I would let it go, Gerhard would say, “Oh! It’s gone!”… I would have no way of proving it, but Gerhard would see when the light was on and off… I discovered from later experiments that I could direct this energy all over the place…

This was the sort of work we did… We became au fait with the fact that we were more than just material beings…

B.H.: Can you tell me anything about the manner in which Khen worked with Eugene?

G.S.: Khen had lived previously with Eugene in the Isle of Man and was also working for a long time in Edge Lane, Liverpool, before I knew him… When I met him in Newsham Park he had just arrived there… Eugene’s talks would be recorded on reel-to-reel tapes… Khen would painstakingly transcribe these into booklets using a type-writer and we would take them to study… Khen never charged us any moneyhe had a box in the hall and we would put money in it… He and Bha did not have an easy time of it… He was in trouble with the local education people because he was teaching Shelagh and Janet (his two daughters) at home… He told me later that Janet got ten ‘O’ levels…

B.H.: So Khen is teaching a group in Liverpool…. What I am trying to establish is whether or not the content of this teaching originated with Eugene.

G.S.: I would say that it did… Eugene came once a month or so to give a talk, Donald Lord came once and gave an excellent talk on Ruach (Spirit)… Someone used to bring Eugene but I don’t remember who it was…

I can remember Eugene sitting on the platform asking for questions off the cuff, and he would answer them brilliantly… We would all put our reel-to-reel recorders on the platform and as one would stop another would be switched on… There were all sorts of things going on… People would talk afterwards, and this was very common to hear them remark, “How would he know I had that on my mind?... How did he know I was thinking about that?”… And somebody else would pipe up, “I was

going to ask him that, but I didn’t, because he answered it”… One or two would start to look uncomfortable!… Thinking perhaps, “How much does he know!”

B.H.: Was there any recommended reading ?
G.S.: The only reading I remember being recommended was ‘The Bible’ and ‘Shakespeare’… B.H.: Did he ever speak of people like Gurdjieff?

G.S.: I remember him mentioning Gurdjieff very briefly in passing… but that was all. But don’t forget that working with Khen kept me on Merseyside in a job that was very poorly paid at the time. But because the group meetings were so important to me… I wanted to keep close to this work…

B.H.: You would sayand you are someone who has certainly ‘been around’—that you were convinced that you were getting the ‘real thing’, and it was of such high quality that learning all you could became your major driving purpose?

G.S.: I thought about this very much… Although this may sound like a naïve statement, “The master will appear when the pupil is ready,” to me it was very real. I was hungry for it… And other people were.

If I spoke to people outside the meetings about my experiences, they had a tendency to ‘look at me sideways’—so I tended to keep quiet an awful lot…

Khen was marvellous… To me he was a ‘man’s man’ who said as things were… OK, he liked a box of chocolates occasionally, and he could charm the ladies if he wanted to… He could charm the blokes if he wanted to!… Because he had a way of delivery… He was very bright; he was very intelligent; and he could have got a good job anywhere… But he saw something in Eugene’s material which profoundly affected him and his whole aim in life, to me, was to put forward Eugene’s teachings… he was a bit like John the Baptist strangely enough…

B.H.: He was the only person I met who dealt with Eugene’s ideas themselves. I mean by that, that you and Pam, for instance, used the medium of the body in the form of Yoga exercises; in the case of David Mahlowe it’s the written word of Shakespeare… I am not claiming some form of hierarchy here, but Khen seemed to work just with Eugene’s material…

G.S.: Exactly… He did… And when we were doing our Yoga—it was Eugene’s material.

B.H.: One of the problems we have in 2006 is that Yoga has been slanted so much towards physical exercise that the way in which you used to practice it with Khen has become almost marginalized. Would you agree? I understand you are still writing courses and trying to bring these ideas back.


G.S.: I was getting ‘insights’ as a consequence of the work I was doing on myself… I thought it was reasonable to suppose that if I were gaining these insights, perhaps others were too… So I arranged a meeting with a number of well established Yoga teachers at ‘Faith House’ and founded the ‘Comprehensive Yoga Fellowship’ (CYF), which ‘ticked over’ for many years with the idea of encouraging people to look at what they were doing, and write something about their own authentic inner experiences… It didn’t really happen though, and I found myself the only one who was doing any writing… It didn’t really take off.

Although I initiated the whole thing, someone else and his wife took over… My name, Pam’s, Ted and Joan Lovett from the Crewe Yoga Fellowship, are the names on the CYF letter-head, because we were the founder members… I’ve already told the new chairman, who is doing a great job, that it’s not necessary to leave our names on…

But I am writing more now about Eugene’s ideas. The last article was called, ‘The Spirit of Mantra’… and I’m in the process of writing one at the moment called, ‘Yoga In Action’, showing the difference between inertic patterns of behaviour in Yogasuch as just blindly following books and doing what others tell youand the spirit of yoga as pure initiative… As Will… Embodying the work in oneself as a whole developmental process… It’s ‘all Eugene’, but I have put it in my own words following my own experiences.

B.H.: Am I right in assuming that Yoga today is typically a set of exercises with no authentic experience?

G.S.: Everybody now is putting their name on it… All sorts of different titles, etc… We had people who came to teach at Faith House who claimed to teach for no money, but secretly expected a fee. If we charged £5 entrance fee for these lessons (because we knew that it was all the members could afford) these visiting ‘Gurus’ would say that, “It was not enough!” … But at the same meeting they would say that, “I don’t charge anything!”

I must say that we had a lot of visiting Gurus, and the majority of them were excellent. But we had one chap who was brought over by the fellow who wrote ‘The History of Yoga’. When this ‘guru’ saw Faith House, he said, “This is my new Yoga centre,” Pam said, “Over my dead body!”

B.H.: Do you perceive a commercial aspect in some of the ‘teachers’ coming over from India now?

G.S.: Very much so… They were not all altruistic … least of all the visiting gurus from India! When I listen to some of the tapes from India… they are not a patch on Eugene. They haven’t got the clarity… Sincere. Yes…

B.H.: There seems to be a continual move to heavily commercialize any form of self-help today doesn’t there?

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G.S.: All the time… I can see a time coming very soon when Yoga in this country will collapse in on itself, because it is empty of any authentic experience. It’s like a bubble that gets bigger and bigger but does not necessarily include any more content. But then a lot of people like this. They like to be ‘kidded’.

B.H.: Can I say that it’s been fascinating talking with you Gordon. Thank you very much for your time.



Vidah Roberts (Interviewed between Late 2005 - Early 2006)

I would like to explore how it was that you became involved with the work of Eugene Halliday. Would you start by telling me your name?


Was that your original name?

No, I changed it.

Why? … Can you tell me the idea behind that, please?

Because names bring up their functions. And it came out of working with Zero and Eugene. Where I felt I had to shift myself from the definition of myself given to me by my parents. And I wanted to change my function!  So the new name came out of all that . . . It is a statement of intent.

Would it be correct to see this as a form of baptism?

Yes, absolutely. It’s there in lots of religions. Some people don’t do it ‘publicly’, but they have a private name as part of their developmental work. They have a ‘spiritual’ name, and often it is kept secret. But making it public helps to stimulate the function of the word (name) and so helps with the development of that change.

OK. You were born when?

1949 in Liverpool. My mother was born in the ‘South End’ and we moved back there when I was two – when my dad died. She went back to live with her mum. So I grew up there with my grandmother and my mother. I was dominated in this ‘matriarchal’ home,  A very strong grandmother who was very unpleasant at times, repressive. Very difficult.

Was this domination centred on your behaviour?

Well, it might have been at the time. But when I was 11 I discovered that she disliked my father intensely and saw me as an extension of him. I was told that I was an extension of my father and that he was an evil man, therefore I was as well.

Did your mum help?

No . . . not really, she didn’t stand up to her mother.

Was your school background the normal Liverpool school background?

Yes, I passed the 11+ and went to grammar school. I met Alan when I was coming to the end of my schooling, around 15.

Did that help your situation at home?

No . . . not really. I didn’t really get any release from that stuff until I’d done some work with Eugene and Zero – when I was in my early 20’s.

Was there anything in your early background that would indicate that you would have these interests later on?

Not really. I wasn’t reading books on the subject. I was solitary and quiet. There was never any interest in me at home. Nobody really discussed anything with me.

Do you think that was normal for the time? Can you see your grandmother as having qualities that reflect her ‘time’?

Yes. She was a bit extreme and very dominant, but I think very normal. The worst thing at that time – and it doesn’t happen so much nowadays – is that people didn’t understand that their children had feelings; that they were people. My dad killed himself, he committed suicide when I was two . .. That was never dealt with. His name was never mentioned to me, Ever. It was like he hadn’t existed. Until I got to 11 when my grandmother dropped it all on me in a very violent way. And then it wasn’t spoken about again. There was no supportive follow-up at all. So that was carried or suppressed in me with no real understanding of any of it.

Was your involvement with Ishval or Ken a consequence of you meeting Alan

No actually, it was the other way round. I actually brought him to it. It was through Yoga. I was about seventeen or eighteen. Alan had then gone to university and I was still working and trying to get to Art School.
I guess Alan and I had started looking at alternative stuff in a very general sense. This would be in the mid-sixties, about 1965. I joined Ken’s yoga class, can’t remember where or how I found it. He then suggested that I come along to the Prescott Road/Newsham Park talks and I took Alan along because I was quite impressed with what I was hearing.

Can you give a rough idea of how many people were present at these weekly meetings?

25 – 30 possibly. The only person I particularly remember from that time was Peter Gunning. But I don’t really remember anyone else. I was too busy trying to take it all in, so I wasn’t really ‘contributing’, just ‘being there’.
I went there till I was 19 or 20 and Alan was coming as well.

Were you still doing Yoga and what was that like?

Ken was a good yoga teacher.

Did you feel that what you were doing was part of the ‘spirit of the time’?

Well, none of my friends was doing it and I felt very much as if I was ‘stepping out of line’ . . . All my friends were doing the ‘normal’ stuff …. They were into buying clothes and going to clubs. .. And I suddenly got into this sort of ‘hippie’ thing. . .  It started to feel very much like some other ‘stream’.
We went to live a Tan-Y-Garth when I was 21 and we felt very much like part of that ‘stream’. I didn’t feel separate there. But I certainly did back where I came from – very different.

Did you feel a lot more at ease there, or as we might say today did you feel, “This is cool.”?

Yes. But I didn’t become interested because it was ‘trendy’, I found myself there as a development of my initial interest.

Did you feel, by the time you went to Tan-Y-Garth, that you were dealing with something ‘concrete’ as opposed to say a ‘fad’.

It felt very significant and important by the time we were going to the meetings at Newsham Park – with the talks by Ken about Eugene’s material. That felt life-changing.

Did you feel that in the verbalization of this material that Ken was Eugene’s student?
Not initially. Because we were hearing Ken talking about all this stuff. But it was Ken who told us about Eugene, and it was Ken who took us to Parklands when I was 21. .It was then that we realized that Ken was Eugene’s student. .. For a long time after that Ken would not tell people about Eugene – and he certainly wouldn’t encourage them to go to Parklands. He wanted to keep that authority for himself – although he would not have denied that Eugene existed.

Can you say a little about the beginnings of Tan-Y-Garth please?

The four of us (Ken Bar, Alan, and myself) moved out to live there together.
We would have the ‘weekends’ there all together and Alan and Ken would come to Liverpool on a Tuesday morning, to teach, then both come back on Thursday to be ready for the teaching, retreat weekends when groups of students would come and stay. So it was just Bar and I there full time for about two and a half years.

What did you think of the idea of Tan-Y-Garth?

I thought it was great. The place had a really good feel. It was full of life and exciting.

Did you know of Ken and Eugene’s relationship at that time?

Only that Eugene didn’t, and wouldn’t, go there. We didn’t see them interacting at all, and we would go with Ken to Ishval for the Sunday monthly talks, Ken may ask a question from the audience but there didn’t seem to be any special relationship.

Did things change when you went to Parklands?

I suppose the way that we viewed him (Ken) changed. We (Alan and I) were just extending ourselves I suppose. This would be around 1969. Parklands was different for us again – It was a different scene altogether. Very affluent too.

Did you think that he had ‘sold out’?

Well . . . He was living in this fabulous opulent house, but it didn’t really matter. When you met him it mattered even less.

You started working with Zero after this?

I worked with Zero from the time I was married in 1974. I was having a lot of problems by this time. My ancestral stuff was kicking in and the big issue for me was the pattern in my family. My grandmother had had three husbands and the second husband killed himself, and my mother had two husbands and the second one (my father) had killed himself. It seemed they were killing off their men really!
I could feel this ancestral push, and that it was making me into a cold and negative female. And I realized that I needed help with this. So I phoned Eugene and said, “This is what’s happening to me, can you help me.” He was very responsive and suggested I started to see Zero in alliance with him. I went very regularly for about five years. And it was brilliant and very interesting. It was ‘Engram’ work.

Do you think it was important that you initiated it? That you realized you needed help?

Oh Yes. . You have to need it and then you’ll go and ask for it. And it certainly wasn’t ‘On the menu’ at Ishval – you know, “. . . Relatively few people did it.

Do you see this work as parallel to any other psychological school? Say, Jungian psychology for instance? I know your husband Alan did his PhD thesis on Jungian Archetypes in Shakespeare.

I would say Jung’s work is included but every other possibility is included too. Whatever is appropriate is used.. At that time I was working at a very practical level. I would hear Eugene say things in his lectures and I would say to myself, “I feel I know that”, but didn’t know I knew it.. But I actually knew inside myself what he was talking about. So I came at the work from that point of view, the feeling level, and working at it in a very substantial way. That was how I worked with Zero, and I came out of that as a different person with a different name.

It seems to be counter-intuitive; you believe you must learn these concepts.

Not so much learn as understand the concepts. But the practical work is really important. Exploring feelings, finding the roots of trauma and pain, re-experiencing the core situations, all of this and much more. Engram work clears away some of the rubbish but without that rubbish, you wouldn’t begin the exploration.
At the end of my period of work with Zero Eugene suggested I could start working in the same way to help other people, which I did. This became a central part of my life and changed the course of my life quite considerably.
Working with others re-enforced the understanding that we are all unconsciously programmed by our ancestors, parents, upbringing etc., and until we find a way to see that clearly it is very difficult to make independent choices for ourselves and our lives.


Thank you Vee