What It’s Like
Being a Correspondence Student
at the School of Metaphysics?
My first exposure to the School of Metaphysics was a comment made in passing by Ivy Norris, who I’d met at an essential oils conference. I was calling to set up a date for a Raindrop Therapy, and she mentioned she was a teacher at the school. One thing led to another, and I ended up meeting her at the school itself in Broadripple, a neat part of Indianapolis.
I got to look into the “inner sanctum”, the room where the classes were held, and browse through the books for sale on the shelves in the large common room out front. This whetted my curiosity; I’d been through many books over the years that explained various isolated aspects of the higher truths –this was a bonanza! Everything was here on the shelves, all in one place.
We walked around the shops in Broadripple and she told me about the things she was doing as a student herself; her teacher was having her choose something she didn’t like to do, and then to do it deliberately until she liked to do it. What a concept! This metaphysics was unlike anything I’d ever run into before.
My life was in crisis, and over lunch I related a dream I’d had which disturbed me. I was driving a bus down a narrow road on the side of a mountain, and the road ahead became suddenly too narrow for the bus to pass. It was one of those dreams that wake you up. Ivy told me what it meant in the Universal Language of Mind, which was not at all what I had thought it meant. There was a lot to this metaphysical stuff I didn’t know about. And she was so confident.
She mystified me further with talk about her Health Readings, and her Dharma (whatever that was), and the book report she was going to have to run off and do. She was always driving out to Windyville, Missouri for meetings and retreats. I looked it up on the map. It took me quite a while to find that tiny little dot. I checked it out on the internet at som.org. I was beginning to get a feeling for the larger picture. It felt like I was being given a long hard look into an alternate reality.
It was Ivy on the phone suggesting I sign up for one of those retreat weekends she’d talked about that got me thinking, but it was Ivy on the phone, again, insisting that I go, that got me acting. It was her tone of voice. Confident.
This weekend was going to be about healing for a higher purpose, about Permanent Healing. I didn’t have a clue. I thought we were going to be lectured to about healing; I didn’t realize that we were there to be healed. The way Ivy talked about the experience I figured it was going to be an ascetic retreat in a remote camp — tents maybe, rough cabins if we were lucky, nuts and berries to eat, tea made from twigs and bark to drink.
Moon Valley Ranch was not at all what I expected. It was so much better. And when breakfast was served on the first day, I knew this was heaven. These people knew how to eat! And time and time again over the weekend as we gathered around the table in a spirit of friendship, around the living room in a spirit of compassion, and on the back porch in a Circle of Love, it became increasingly apparent — these people knew how to live.
I was moved; I was healed. It was a powerful experience. Watching Dr. Dan put Dr. Barbara under, [directing her attention to the inner levels of consciousness] and to have a reading right there in front of God and all those people — I tell you, it went right to my heart.
There were things for the mind, too, but what really happened for my mind was that it changed places. That other life I left back home — that became the alternate reality. This was the real one. I wanted to find a way to get involved, to learn more about what these people knew, but moreover, I wanted to know what these people knew.
It was Christine Andrews who suggested the Correspondence Course, and it was Doug Knapke (now a former student) who in that same confident tone urged me to go for it. The $1200 magically appeared in my financial grasp, so I did it. Within a week a big carton of books was delivered, and I received my first tape.
My teacher, Tad Messenger, led me through the centering exercise for the first time. “Bring your attention to the area of your solar plexus, and immediately see there your light…” Light? What light? I don’t see a light. This is how it was at first. Like coming into a movie that’s already started. Did I miss something? This isn’t making sense.
Looking back from a new vantage point gained with several months of study, and a week-long stay at the School of Metaphysics in Windyville, including a second Spiritual Focus Weekend where I received my Dharma Report, I can see why Tad was able to field my questions and concerns even before I had voiced them. There is a connection one develops with the Superconscious as one progresses in this work, and Superconscious as we learn is connection with everything.
But it’s not learning about. It’s learning in a way I’ve never done in any school. The closest experience has been studying Aikido for the last several years. In martial arts class there is also a becoming. You know, you know about, but moreover, you just do. From the start of my studies in metaphysics I’ve been practicing techniques that work on parts of the mind I didn’t even know I had.
My skeptical nature was piqued when I was directed to gaze into a mirror for ten minutes every day. My notes ran along the lines of “Whoa, dude! Bad hair!” until that day when everything changed before my disbelieving eyes. As the edges grew fuzzy I saw myself looking back at me as a shaven-headed monk in an orange robe. The experience didn’t last very long, but as I turned away there were tears streaming down my face. In that moment I knew my tuition had been well spent.
The simple requests made in the lessons have forced me to face myself in ways I’ve never done before. “Make a list of ten things you most want. Do it now.”
Do it now?! I’ve been trying to do that for the last twenty years! Do you have any idea how hard that is for me to do? It took me a week, a soul-searching week to finally commit to paper ten things I can say with all my heart I most want. This changed my life. I know now they were there all along — this was an exercise in shucking corn. Write down twenty-five “I am’s”… sounds easy doesn’t it? What my instructor doesn’t know is how long it took me to accomplish these simple tasks. (Don’t tell him, either.) This is the advantage of the correspondence work — you are not forced to reveal yourself to the group.
The down side of correspondence is that you are not inspired by the group, and there is no joy in sharing a new-found awareness or release. Having been out to the School, I can tell you meditation is better as a group activity. Even as a group of two. The compensation for the solitary student comes in the form of a growing connection to Superconscious mind, which gives a satisfying sense of connection to both worlds at large — the seen and the unseen.
Through my studies with the School of Metaphysics I have come to see that life is a process of adding to. Everything I’ve done in the past has led me to the place I am with the skills I need to go beyond. Nothing is wasted, wrong or ruined. Like the Beatles wrote and sang, “There’s no place you can be, that isn’t where you’re meant to be, All you need is Love.”
So I’ve come a long way in a short time. From a curious outsider intrigued by a friend’s confidence, commitment, and connection to a group of strange folks living in a tiny little dot in Southwest Missouri, wondering what a Dharma is anyway, to a fellow seeker and humble student of the teaching and the Way that embraces all the world; now I have my own Dharma.•
Alan Woodson is a chiropractor and musician who lives in Urbana, Ohio.
©2002 School of Metaphysics