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Many thanks for taking part in this interview. Welcome to StudentsofFranzBardon.com
SOFB: Please introduce yourself and how you discovered the teachings of Franz Bardon.
Clint Sabom:Thanks so much for having me here. I’m the co-founder of Contemplative Light, an online resource for mysticism and self-help. And I host a podcast, too, which can be found on our webpage. I’ve explored many different spiritual and religious practices over the past two decades. I discovered Bardon through the work of Lee Irwin, a religious scholar with whom I briefly corresponded. This was in 2009 or so, and it seemed like no one I knew had heard of Bardon. Now he seems to be getting more attention with the internet.
SOFB: In every interview I like to ask some standard questions about sticking points found in IIH:
VOM: Franz Bardon said he expected step 1 to be completed inside of 2 weeks. Do you think this was realistic or the first of many tests of the students 'Will'.
Clint Sabom: It’s hard to tell what Bardon meant by ‘complete.’ These are good exercises for any one at any time. And the people that do these perfectly are probably few and far between on the planet.
VISUALIZATION: People tend to spend years here expecting IMAX like results, what is your advice for those on these Step 2 exercises. Did you follow the method from IIH or come up with your own approach?
I did this step and every step following the method in IIH. Overtime, I think I took lots of the breathing exercises and adjusted them some, but it all started from the foundation of the instructions in IIH.
I went through all the exercises without feeling like I had perfected any of them. But my ultimate take-away was the degree to which one can master these exercises is proportional to their own overall spiritual evolution, regardless of path. So my advice would be to get stronger in body, mind, and soul, with whatever path or method works best, and your capacity to get results from Bardon exercises will increase.
VITAL FORCE: Some people can not feel the accumulation, what can they do to feel it more intensively?
Also seeing that you are a person who likes to use weights etc for your physical health, have you found ways to integrate the two?
Clint Sabom: I think movement, exercise, weights, yoga, and things like that are good to increase kinesthetic awareness and vitality. I also think it’s good to sit in saunas and hot tubs! Some esoteric practices can tend towards dissociative states, and that’s definitely the opposite of what you want here. Condensed heat and condensed water counterbalances that. Whenever Carlos Castenada began to dissociate, the shaman Don Juan threw him in water.
I think the capacity to accumulate vital force is something that comes as the sum total of everything you do and are. Bardon mentions it early in the text, and he mentions many abilities as if they are a singular thing. But really, I think it’s all connected. The more you do, the more you will able to do, and I’m not sure it’s even possible to build it all linearly or in the exact order in which IIH mentions it.
For me, I’ve felt surges in accumulation when I underwent a shift. And it could have been something as simple as practicing more regularly, rearranging furniture, being less stressed with work projects, or getting more sleep. But once I did start feeling it, I knew I was doing something right, that my energy had found a sort of optimal center. So when I feel surges in vital force, I take it as a signpost that I’m on the right track or in the right groove. Like finding a sweet spot. And then being sure to stay there.
ELEMENTS: Getting in contact with what Rawn Clark called the principle of the element can be difficult as at that point the student has no real idea of what this and when it is make believe and when this goal is finally achieved. What are your thoughts here?
I think you can associate different elements with different emotions and start there. It can extend from work on the soul mirror. I also think some people are predisposed to certain elements in the same way people are predisposed to certain emotional temperaments. So if you can get in touch with just one element then that is good. It could seem like make-believe if you can’t feel it. But if I’m honest, there’s always been some sort of tactile or kinesthetic sense with elements.
The book presupposes years of experience in meditation prior to starting it, I think. And regardless of how much experience one has before starting IIH, it’s probably not enough. Some people just may not be sensitive enough yet for this work, just like some may be too sensitive. Not sensitive enough will lead to very little experiential understanding and never really “getting it” and being too sensitive would lead to social disconnect, mental disorientation, and a disdain for ordinary living.
DEPTH POINT:This is perhaps a big development in the IIH where a bigh shift has to occur in order to understand the point Franz Bardon was trying to make. Can you comment on the significance of this exercise?
You’ve got to make this your own and trust your own subjective experience. Sometimes I think it’s confusing to students because they think there is a right answer or a right way, but it’s more like there’s just your answer and your way. We come here through ourselves. And we find the depth point like we remember childhood summers.
What if the entire universe was a projection of your own mind? Would you have any trouble finding the depth point of a tree? Would it even matter?
SOFB: Also can you comment on the difference between the spatial center of a thing and the depth point of a thing.
It’s what some philosopher’s might call the difference between objectivity and intersubjectivity. Spatial center could be verified empirically. But depth point is the individual’s experience as it interfaces with the outside world. Then, your experience extends into the outside world until it BECOMES the entire outside world. Or, in this case, your experience becomes the object. The depth point is like the heart of the object, the core, the fundamental essence. But it can be experienced visually, as if there is some magnet inside or soul inside through which to play with it. It’s almost as if you’re finding yourself in it, in a very private way.
GESTURE: Not much is ever heard about the application of Gesture training to create our own finger rituals. Has this been a useful part of your training and if so how have you applied these rituals in your training and daily life.
For some stupid reason, I didn’t use my fingers but rather my tongue. And I made this entire condensed ritual by placing my tongue a certain way in my mouth. And then I stopped the practice altogether, forgot what the ritual was, but now I sometimes find myself placing my tongue in my mouth that way automatically. I wonder if this explains half of my life since?! Suffice to say I am not the best one to ask advice about this.
SOFB: Thank you for the background. At this point I wanted to present a video of yours ‘Initiation into Hermetics’ By Franz Bardon - Is it real?
I think this is a great question to ask as for myself everything inside the book is something for me to test and validate through my practice so nothing is taken on faith. You did this video several years ago where you state you think everything is real, has your opinion on this, the book, exercises or indeed Franz Bardon changed since this time?
Clint Sabom: I think it’s all real but I do feel compelled to give several qualifications. One, I think the people on the planet who are able to do all IIH exercises would not write this book. Nor do I think their own path set out to do these things. My guess is most of them are Taoists, and their training was much more self-sacrificing and different than Bardon’s model.
I think Bardon was someone else. I subscribe to the theory that some entity entered him around age 14 or whatever happened. I think The Hermetic Hour gives a description of this theory in an episode on Bardon. It feels funny saying this, because most of the time I am a bit discouraging about Bardon and think it’s better for people to stick with paths that are more grounded, more psychologically-based and less esoteric. But here I am, saying yes, I think something supernatural and bizarre happened with Bardon, and we may never know the details. But, yes, I think the metaphysics of the Cosmos are generally set up as he describes and the exercises are possible for humans.
SOFB:There are many other great videos on your youtube channel, one of which about PME. Could you expound upon your thoughts on PME? Do you think Bardon expected many to get to this stage? Can you share any of your experiences with the beings of PME?Also you mentioned in one of your comments on youtube that you felt PME was not a responsible book to write. Can you explain what you mean?
It’s important to me here to mention that many people have written me with questions about Bardon, and many of them suffer from mental illness, in various severities. Bardon’s warnings, in any of his books, are very real and very serious. That said, I don’t think students of Bardon who are mentally ill were made so by Bardon exercises. Rather, they came to Bardon after their breakdown/psychosis/mania/dissociation had already occurred, and Bardon’s worldview became a sort of romantic enabling of their own mind-body disconnect. That’s not to say there isn’t some overlap between the dimensions of madness and mysticism, because there definitely is and it’s a cornerstone of archetypal psychology. But my concern would be that people would use Bardon and it would make their mental illness worse. I tell anyone with a history of psychosis to stop Bardon immediately, practice Buddhist mindfulness, get a gym membership, and try to get on a regular schedule of eating, sleeping, and psychotropic meds if necessary. Of course, no one likes to hear this, which just goes to show valid my concern really is.
At a certain point in PME, I had the thought that maybe Bardon himself had been possessed by one of the kinds of entities he talks about. Or that Bardon’s various books were all written by different people. But even if it was Bardon and he just had the intention to teach - why let this knowledge loose upon anyone? This could drive people to depths of insanity and inner torment beyond comprehension, if they fall prey to some sort of succubus-like force. The forces could come through another person, a random occurrence, any number of things. And it won’t be interesting, spiritual, romantic, visionary, anything - it will just be a living hell. I like IIH but I don’t create elementals or channel entities or conjure spirits. That’s fucked up.
I met two girls recently who read through PME, and they had a really insightful way of pinpointing what they thought was wrong with it. But I’ve long since lost interest in PME.
SOFB: KTQ, Franz Bardons 3rd book. Some believe it is truly groundbreaking and represents a very high level of accomplishment while others feel it is not useful or even not Kabbalah. What are your thoughts upon this and what has been your experience of using the Cosmic Letters.
Clint Sabom: It’s such a cool book! If there is some advanced extraterrestrial race watching us, they’re probably laughing and thinking, “you mean, these humans have that book in their midst and they’re still living like that!?! How dumb can a species be!”
I have no idea if it’s Kabbalah or not, but I did feel that upon reading it I had been given a legend to some sort of Holy Grail. I fantasized about living alone on a bunch of land, and making this book my life’s work, as a hermit. That never happened and probably never will. So I put it away. It’s too immense to read otherwise. I can’t possibly see it being helpful unless you have tons of time and resolve to devote to it.
SOFB: Rigor in our practice. I often ask about the subject of delusions and deluding ourselves as I feel it is important to stay alert to the tricks of the mind. So I ask how can we remain viglant in our practice to ensure that a standard really has been achieved. The confidence of a beginner might assume ‘aha that was easy’ while the seasoned meditator being more aware of their mind might continue to question their readiness. What would you advise to students to ensure they make timely progress while not deluding themselves.
I think it’s more about love than mastery. Although I suppose you could love the task of trying to master something. But the point is to do this because you enjoy it rather than be concerned about how hard or easy it is or how good or bad you think you are doing. And if you love it, you will do it regularly. And if you do it regularly over the years, your own practice and life itself will keep you plenty honest. When people are talking about how easy these exercises are or how well they do at them, all I think is, “that person needs validation. They need others to think that they are advanced.” There’s a contingency of people that does that. But it’s just a stage. If they keep going, they’ll be the seasoned meditator who questions their readiness. Which is also a stage. Then eventually they’ll just do it if they love it, and if they don’t love it, they won’t do it.
SOFB: Looking back upon your rise through IIH, would you change your approach? Based upon what you know now?
Before this interview I was all set to be dismissive of Bardon. But in answering the questions I started looking through IIH for the first time in over a year. And now I’m enamored all over again. There’s something so incredible here. Should I have never put it down? Should I have made it more central? I don’t know. But thanks for bringing me back to it! Maybe that’s the take-away. However our paths unfold, IIH is a fountain perpetually overflowing.
SOFB: Lastly you are a Co-Founder of Contemplative Light. Can you tell us more about it and how (if at all) your work with IIH fits into this project?
Clint Sabom: Contemplative Light grew out of our experience in contemplative Christianity. We’ve always subscribed to the perennial philosophy, and Hermeticism can plug in anywhere really, though it’s often been largely seen as a competitor or antagonist to the three monotheistic faiths in the West. More interestingly, though, we have a lot of material at Contemplative Light about Integral Theory, which I think is an extension of Hermetic alchemy that provides missing pieces as well as reframes many concepts found in Bardon. Real paranormal abilities are rare. Superstition and mystification are drugs. Ken Wilber’s The Religion of Tomorrow is a must-read for anyone who is reading this interview. If you don’t get anything out of what I say, at least read that book. Developmental psychology,psycho-analysis, and contextualized western philosophy are entirely absent from IIH. I think that’s why it never quite adds up for some or they never get the results they’re looking for. Wilber takes the premise “as above so below” and integrates all major academic disciplines with mysticism.
SOFB: This is another stable question we like to ask. What is your favorite book or the book you have found most useful on your path up to this point and why?
Clint Sabom:The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I read it in 2007, and it helped make more tangible all the grooves I’d found in meditation that seemed to lead to direct calm. Of course, Eckhart is so famous now that he fills stadiums. I have a hard time understanding that, because it seems like once you tapped into Presence using his guideposts that making some big effort to see him would seem pointless. There’s a culture around spirituality that I’ve never quite understood.
SOFB: Is there anything else you would like to mention? Any projects that you are working on that readers may be interested in?
Clint Sabom:Contemplative Light is working on something really big for 2020, but I can’t say anything more. So make sure to keep checking our website for updates at our website Contemplative Light.