This week the name William Samuel has entered my consciousness, first via his intriguing book Two Plus Two, and secondly via the recorded lecture transmitted on the always excellent Urban Guru Cafe. Ten years ago I wouldn’t have got more than a few lines into his work before the ‘God’ language sent all kinds of judgements whirring in my brain. A close reading of his work, however, reveals that here was a man – a humble baker from no less than Birmingham Alabama (a place which history, alas, has forever allied with the very opposite of ‘enlightened thinking) – who was, in effect, a Buddha working among us.
The story goes that Samuels first encountered Eastern thought while serving in the American military in China, during the 1940’s. His translator during this time was a Taoist monk and it is perhaps from him that some understanding of ‘The Way’ first permeated the young soldier’s mind. After the war he returned to Asia for further study, then back to Alabama where he married, had three sons, and become the proprietor of his father’s bakery. Over the years that followed he became known as a healer and mystic of some repute, and published several books. Two Plus Two is available as a free download from this site, and it really is a quite remarkable piece of work, as clearly stated as anything written by Ramana Maharshi, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj or anyone else.
Samuel’s discovery, needless to say, was that he was not the limited, autonomous human being which he had believed himself to be, but a simple manifestation of the cosmic principle which governs all things. He uses the illustration of arithmetic with great efficacy.
Consider numbers for a minute. They exist because the principle of arithmetic exists. If there were no principle there would be no numbers. Because the principle is infinite, there is an infinity of numbers. We might say that numbers “live and move and have their being” in the principle of arithmetic because the principle is.….. No number can exist outside the perfect principle. No number has a mind or will of its own to do what it chooses. No single number or group of them can be anything other than exactly what they are, which is Principle manifest as that particular aspect of principle. There is no life, truth, intelligence and substance in the numeral itself.
Anyway, have a look. It’s a radical message, because if ‘you’ truly listen to it, then ‘you’ will have to disappear…. forever.