Omar Matthew And Halim Welch 7/1/76
WALI ALI: So we are going to start talking with Omar. Murshid didn't give you the name Omar, did he?
WALI ALI: It was George?
OMAR: Yeah, it was George for a long time; Pir gave it to me when Miriam and I met.
WALI ALI: When did you first meet Murshid?
OMAR: It was 1967 at a Christmas party over at the Sri Aurobindo ashram.
WALI ALI: Oh really!
OMAR: Yes, he came with Frank Tedesco.
WALI ALI: I remember Frank, I saw him in Philadelphia.
OMAR: Oh yes, I haven't seen him.
WALI ALI: I just happened to run into him when I was in Philadelphia, he was the same as usual. So this was over at Sri Aurobindo's, over at Dr. Chaudhuri's?
OMAR: Right he had studied there—
WALI ALI: And were you studying there, how did you happen to meet him?
OMAR: I was really looking for my teacher, is what I was doing, really that was what I was doing, and I thought it was going to be Dr. Chaudhuri, see, but I wasn't sure and then when Murshid came in he was like the—I don't know, it is hard to describe. Everything there was on one vibration, and here comes Murshid and he was all this light, and he just interested me right from the beginning, but not —like I didn't think, I didn't flash that he was going to be my teacher. In fact he had mis-matched socks, real weird tie, short hair, and he had a little card, and he said, "Oh, here's my card."
WALI ALI: That didn't seem real hip, did it?
OMAR: I didn't know. I just said, "Okay,” but Frank and I was actually drawn to Frank who told me about Murshid, he really got me interested, and I guess he had joined mainly because he was one of the few young people there. So I came to a few meetings, open-house things, and then I had to go to Pasadena for awhile and then I came back and I started going to school.
WALI ALI: You weren't in the Committee then?
OMAR: No, that was a little later, it was like in the summer six months or so later. I started going to school at the extension here and Murshid was taking the same class, a Linguistics class—
WALI ALI: Oh really!
OMAR: Right. And I was flunking the class, and Murshid knew that I was flunking the class, so he would prepare like all the notes and everything for the homework and stuff. I really hated this class, and I didn't want to pass it, I didn't care, you know. Gosh, it was really hard for me, it was a class that was written for scholars like—
WALI ALI: What was the nature of it?
OMAR: Linguistics—we were studying the breakdown of the language so that information could be transmitted to other Linguistics, that's basically what the transmitters are—the study of the breakdowns, all the phonemes.
WALI ALI: Oh I see: I see: I don't want anything to do with that, huh?
OMAR: It was like a science that was at that time in its early stages.
WALI ALI: Yeah.
OMAR: And later, it advanced somewhat. But Murshid, he was really hot, he knew it all, these different languages and stuff. He really had a lot down, but I just dreaded even going to the class. It was really hand for me to even get together with Murshid because I just didn't want him to—
WALI ALI: You just didn't want him to talk about the class?
OMAR: That's right. And he would always do that and so would I.
WALI ALI: Right. Because once he knew somebody in one context, whenever he saw them he would always bring that up. Like with David, it was rhubarb pies. Once he asked David, "What would you most like me to bring you to eat?" And he said, "Rhubarb pies." And from then on it was rhubarb pies, you know—so I can imagine that when he'd see you he would want to talk about the Linguistics.
OMAR: He actually wanted to help me to pass the class, and to get a good grade on it, because he really did a lot of work for me. He helped me do a lot of homework.
WALI ALI: He wasn't taking the course for credit or what?
OMAR: I don't think it was for credit, but he was just interested in it.
SABIRA: Do you remember the name of the teacher?
OMAR: No, I don't.
WALI ALI: We did an interview with Needleman whom he took a number of courses with, which was very interesting. id he have any of the other mureeds going to the class with him at that time or was he taking it by himself?
OMAR: No, not in that class. He did in a poetry class.
WALI ALI: Oh you went to that one with him too?
OM! He invited me to come to that class, and I think he did invite other mureeds.
WALI ALI: And he paid for it?
OMAR: No, no, I just went for a few classes; I didn't go through the whole poetry class.
WALI ALI: So—not to jump—how did the Linguistics thing come out?
OMAR: I passed the course with a C, and it was only because of the work he was doing, and even at that, it was just really hard for me to go to that class. I hated the class because I felt like it wasn't set up for students—people who didn't understand the nature of Linguistics. But for Linguists it was a good course. So I guess I had like a psychological block is what you might say, but I did pass it so everything turned out alright.
WALI ALI: What was his behavior like in the class? Did he get upset and make speeches?
OMAR: Yes, he was—quite often the teacher would get stuck and he would get up and explain something, and the teacher would be kind of embarrassed. Yeah, he was— what can you say—he was hot—sometimes it seemed like the teacher would get a little exasperated because Murshid would know so much stuff, but I knew it was hard for Murshid to keep quiet, but it was a very interesting experience. That was before I became a Mureed actually, which wasn’t until later. We had a lot of talks or I would come and visit him. We would go for walks and stuff.
WALI ALI: This was what? In the early part of '68?
OMAR: Yeah, the early part of 68, and gradually I came to more of the meetings. I guess mainly my contact before that was just going to that class; I would come over here and we would go into that class together. And I was at a meeting once—he would say whenever the disciple thing would come up, I would say, “ I feel like the Lord is my Shepherd,” and I would say “He was watching me,” that was my thing, why go to anybody else when I can communicate directly with God? And he would always agree with me; he would never try to say that I needed a teacher, but I was at a meeting once and somebody actually raised the question, “Why have a teacher?" And he explained—I believe his explanation was that everyone had a job to do. What he said that night made me feel that I definitely wanted to become his disciple. I walked up to him and said, ok “I definitely want to become your disciple,” and he said, “Good, good.” See Wali Ali.
WALI ALI: Not me, I wasn't around. It could have been Mansur—
OMAR: No it was—
WALI ALI: Daniel?
OMAR: Daniel! And I did. We never really had an initiation. We were supposed to go out, I think for dinner or something like that, but that didn't happen. Instead, at one of the Saturday night classes he announced, or told me to stand up with the rest of the disciples, or something like that. That was pretty much my initiation.
WALI ALI: Right. He did that with a number of people who didn't have a ceremony.
OMAR: A lot of people he would just take out to the Pacific park out there where all the rides are—
WALI ALI: Oh yeah?
OMAR: Yeah, some people he would take out there, and some people he would take to dinner—
WALI ALI: Who'd he take out there?
OMAR: It was a couple that I stayed with and that was their initiation. I can't remember their names either, I stayed with them—
WALI ALI: Were they married by him? Were they married by Dr. Chaudhuri?
OMAR: No, they weren't married, this couple. This guy was—he and Amin were in the same place when Murshid found them together, they'd been there in the institution.
WALI ALI: Langley-Porter;
OMAR: Langley-Porter … matriculating—
WALI ALI: I happened to drop in on Langley-Porter some months ago, someone else was matriculating, they have a great new center there They have everything going for them there.
WALI ALI: So when were you—how long of a process was this before you were initiated? Did it go over the year of '68?
OMAR: It was in 1968, I think it was the summer of ‘68.
WALI ALI: Of course I was initiated in the summer of '68 too.
OMAR: It may have been early summer.
WALI ALI: I remember when I first started coming over here you would come over here some days also, and he had you working on some drawer or something. Was it a science drawer or something? What was that?
OMAR: He had me filing papers, filing papers, all of his papers.
WALI ALI: Can you tell a little story about how that came about?
OMAR: Yeah, one day he was talking about—he was giving a Buddhist class and he was talking about—I remember, and I think Gavin Arthur was here—no it wasn't Gavin Arthur, it was his other friend—
WALI ALI: Ted Reich.
OMAR: Maybe that's who it was.
WALI ALI: Or Wagner or somebody—
OMAR: It wasn't Wagner—
WALI ALI: Warwick?
OMAR: It wasn't Warwick, it was probably Ted Reich—anyway, he was telling a story about these men crossing the sea of—you know where samsara and nirvana—something like that and I raised a question and I said, “If it is illusion, if the world is illusion,” oh I said, “If there is no difference between going from birth to death,”—and that there was an illusion or something—they were going from—was it heaven to hell or birth to death—do you remember it? Anyway, where they were going in this boat—
WALI ALI: Crossing from samsara to nirvana?
OMAR: Right; I said, “If there is no difference, what are these guys doing in this boat? That's what I want to know." He said, "You are our next Buddhist teacher; come here Saturday morning" So I came Saturday morning and he had me clean out the drawers! So I never understood much about that, but I remember the contents of the drawers were all these things —were very fascinating to me. There were a lot of letters that he had written to people in India, and I was really knocked out by the amount of work he put into this whole agricultural plan for helping India to solve their food problems, you know about that. He spent about ten years or something like that just writing, just writing to, communicating back and forth, and all these letters, they all said things like, “yes, we agree with you, your plans certainly would help us, we could certainly—we have submitted your plans to the board and they all agree that it would work—however, due to certain political ties at the time we are not able to put this particular plan, into action. And all these letters, I wanted to cry, they were all, all they represented were a different kind of disappointment—
WALI ALI: One rejection after another—
OMAR: And there were a lot of gardening books—
WALI ALI: It was like a drawer on that kind of subject. I remember once you telling me—by this time maybe you were in the Committee—you were working sort of full time with—
OMAR: With the Wing—
WALI ALI: Yeah, with the Wing, and whatever it was. You worked in a restaurant too?
OMAR: Yeah, I was cleaning up in there.
WALI ALI: And you had like one afternoon or one day off and Murshid was asking all the time for people to come and help him, and so you volunteered and you came over and he gave you this drawer to clear out or something. And you couldn't figure out what the hell was going on or something. It seemed like you were laying around (?). I don't know why I remember that, maybe you can tell me.
OMAR: I remember trying to figure out, I always figured that whatever Murshid tells us to do, he is obviously setting us up for something big, something is coming up, you know. I was just waiting for it, you see; I guess I was expecting a flash!, a bang or something.
WALI ALI: Right—
OMAR: Instant enlightenment or something like that from clearing those things out.
WALI ALI: Right, I think that is the reason I remember it, is because it was such a right, typical sort of experience that people would get. And if they could make it through that—because he would say, "I need workers, I need workers," and then somebody would come over to work and he would give them something really mundane that was obviously unimportant to do—
OMAR: Either that or he'd take them out—
WALI ALI: Right! And they just had to get by that one to see what was really going on. So where did you go when you went on your walks? On your talks? Was he living here at that time?
OMAR: Yeah, actually I didn't go to any of the walks like the Saturday afternoon walks because that was my performance day, but I remember nights when he would talk over in the Haight, at Daniel's maybe—or maybe we'd go over to Daniel's and we'd go over to the Temple in the park there? The Krishna Temple. And we'd walk there and we'd walk back, and sometimes I would come here and I would catch Murshid outside, he'd just be pacing back and forth, say before an afternoon class or something, pacing back and forth. And he would say, "here," and I would pace with him and he would talk to me, and just, I don't know—sometimes the things he would talk about, I didn't generally know a lot of who was involved but he would be like telling me that this and that happened to him the other day and we would just talk.
WALI ALI: About what was going on?
OMAR: Yeah, couldn't really like remember much because it was just all just conversation kind of stuff—but he was telling me about, like maybe he went to a talk and his ride didn't show up, because he was always worried about being late, "Oh I'm tardy," he was always having time hindrances because he couldn't drive. One time I came over and Akbar was here, and I had this girl with me who was a kind of a girl friend of mine—
WALI ALI: It wasn't Patty was it?
OMAR: No, no, it was before Patty. In any case, I thought there was a meeting but there wasn't a meeting. He was going to go out to a talk that night, so I said, “This is my friend." And he said, “Any friend of George's is a friend of mine," and he really kind of zoomed in on this girl and she was all nervous and uptight. I had told her about Murshid and got her all shook up and she was standing there and he says to her, "I really like you," or something like that—and she broke down into tears and said, “Yeah, I know," and he just calmed her down and told us some funny stories and got her laughing, you know. And we left, I remember then, and gosh, she was just floored by the whole experience, his gentleness and strength, she wasn't the type to say, “ I'll sure come back— "
WALI ALI: Did you go out to eat with him a lot?
OMAR: Just a few times actually.
WALI ALI: In Chinatown?
OMAR: No, I don't remember Chinatown, I remember having some Indian food or some Turkish food.
WALI ALI: Uh huh. His periods of restaurants is a curious thing for awhile he was taking people to the Taj, an Indian restaurant, and then they refused to let some of his disciples in at one time because they didn't have ties on or long hair or something like that—
OMAR: Yeah, I didn't go to any of those—he did invite me one night to— one night when he went out to those dances, those Tibetan dances and he took about 20 disciples to see these Tibetan dances —
WALI ALI: I don't remember that—
HALIM: I remember going with about 20 disciples to the Afghani restaurant in Berkeley.
OMAR: I never went to that restaurant, I think a lot of it was because I was simply at nights in that business —
WALI ALI: Can you remember any incidents or anecdotes, things that happened that were either teaching lessons for you or—
OMAR: Yes, I remember once going to Murshid—I had decided that I was going to go to India, I had gotten that craze you know—I didn't have any money or anything, and I was just really uptight at least my career wasn't going well too, and so I figured, “Oh well forget it, I'm just going to split and do my spiritual thing." And I went to Murshid—he was at the Khankah at that time—and he asked me if I had any money and what I was going to do in India, and I said, “ I wouldn’t need much money, and I’ll meet Pir Vilayat there,” and I was pretty vague about it all. And he said, “Stay here, there is plenty of work here for you to do,” but I said, “I am smoking and drinking and, and messing around.” And he said, “You’ll just be doing it twice as much when you get back from India, and so stay here and enjoy it!” He gave me a kiss on the forehead and he kind of left me sitting there in the middle of the floor in ecstasy—I remember being very ecstatic about that kiss on the forehead and he left because he was in a hurry, and he just walked out, “Goodbye!”
And I remember another time I went to Murshid too, it was a very strange time for me, because I get into some pretty— I am pretty well rounded, but sometimes I get into some weird psychic spaces. I had been doing a lot of fasting, and I was doing long practices; I was doing some really heavy breathing practices, and I was just—oh I was staying at a place where the vibes were very intense too. Like I was really open and at the same time really subject to a lot of negative stuff that was going on—in me and outside too. And I decided—I had this idea to go and see Murshid like 11 o'clock in the afternoon I was like 50 miles north of Murshid and I went and stuck my thumb out on the highway and one ride and I was there. Just one ride took me right to the door; I walked in, and I was very much in a state of mindlessness, very much at this time, and I walked in and I had forgotten why I had come and what I really wanted to see Murshid about. And I thought, “I'll just see him,” and I walked in and he was in the middle of a business meeting with the people in the house, and I felt really terrible —like, gosh here I am and I don't even know why I am here and he is busy, and I sat down on the steps and I just kind of faded back into this mindless state, and I just sat there and I was kind of staring.
And the next thing I knew he was standing in front of me, and he said, “Yes, what is it? " And I didn't know what, and I was frantically trying to think of a good excuse to see why I was there. So I said, "I guess I need more work," and he said, “Fine, fine, work yes!"
WALI ALI: That was always a good one, that was an inspiration.
OMAR: He went out to the garden and he started pulling up potatoes, and he said, “Pull up some potatoes over there," and the minute I set my feet in the ground it was, click!—just what I needed, just whatever I was doing it really brought me back home. I was right there! It was exactly what I needed.
Another time I can remember, I had had a relationship with a young lady who—it was a very deep relationship—at any case she left me and it was the end of the world, the end of the world! It was one of those end of the world relationships, and I was just cracking up. I didn't want to perform, I didn't want to go on stage, I couldn't do anything, I started smoking cigarettes—at that time I had been really healthy, I stopped doing my practices, I didn't want to do my Yoga, I didn't want to do nothing—not a thing. I was just miserable, I was just determined, I guess, to just hold on to it, and I went to Murshid's at the Khankah, and the minute I walked in, he said, "Oh, I was expecting you." Which really threw me for a loop, and he said, "Come on out in the garden." Actually he wanted to talk about some theatre things, but I walked out there and he says, “How've you been," or something—I forget what he said, and I immediately started telling him about this chick, and I started to cry, whaaaaaa; "I really love her," it all came out you know, "I love this chick, and she left me, and I was doing everything, I was doing my practice, I doing everything right, and how could God do this to me? And everything, you know" And Murshid looked at me, and wha-a-a-a and the minute I started doing it I started feeling kind of guilty, and I said, "God, why am I laying all this shit on him for?" And I started expecting him to get strong, sometimes he was very heavy with these things but he never was with me, and I kind of thought, "Oh, oh, he is really going to let me have it," and he looked at me and kind of smiled and said, “ I hate to say this but there are a lot more fish in the sea!" And it broke up that whole trip, it just broke it. It was so funny or weird or strange or whatever, it just broke that whole trip that I was on.
WALI ALI: Gee this is great; this is just what we want. You should see some of the tapes that we have gotten from people just full of wonderful stories just like this. It is good to have them.
OMAR: I know. I think one of the biggest preoccupations among the disciples is to sit around and talk about Murshid, tell their own stories. The most profound experience that I ever had with Murshid, the only time he was ever heavy with me, and I am sure that I deserved it a lot more times, but the only time he was ever heavy with me was just before he died. Did I tell you that story?
WALI ALI: I don't know.
OMAR: — In any case, it is funny that they wouldn't let a lot of his female disciples come and visit him because they were in such emotional states, and they actually let me, because I was probably as emotional as anybody, but totally helpless because I had never seen him like that. I stayed with him for a couple of hours during that period where he was kind of out of his mind—
WALI ALI: Just words just coming out, yeah.
OMAR: And, gosh, I got there, and whoever was there before me, he'd been kind of sleeping or something, and whoever was there just said, "OK, here he is, Dr. Wagner may stop in a little later, someone will relieve you in 2 hours" and left. So I sat there and everything was fine for a while, and then Murshid started screaming, "Get out of here, I don't want any, leave me alone, shut up!” and stuff like that, just screaming, and I was jumping up and saying, "What is it Murshid, what can I do?" feeling really, totally helpless, and fortunately Dr. Wagner showed up and he took one look at Murshid, and he said, "My God he has this terrible heat rash." And he had his arm in a sling, God, it was really hard for me—like his foot had a little cast on it or something, jeez, he looked so helpless; and not only that he had this heat rash all over his body. So what did Dr. Wagner do, he took his clothes off, he started taking his clothes off.
WALI ALI: Taking Murshid's clothes off?
OMAR: Taking Murshid's clothes off, yeah, he took all his clothes off and he started rubbing him down with this oil—
WALI ALI: You know he is a nurse now.
OMAR: I didn't know that—
WALI ALI: He is now—there is no real name for it but he is a man-nurse, and he has fulfilled the requirements, and that is his work.
OMAR: Yeah, I am not surprised. He was really efficient there, and he started "Come on, let's get rubbing Murshid's body down with this oil, and he said, "it will really help some of the heat rash." Gosh, it was hard for me to even touch Murshid's body, I don't know what it was, what the hang-up was, but it was just that I had never been in that relationship with Murshid.
WALI ALI: Yeah, he was negative and you were positive-
OMAR: Or he was just so helpless you know, and so we finally ended up rubbing him down. Dr. Wagner tried to get some food down him and he kept telling him, "Shut up and get out of there," but Dr. Wagner kept trying, and I would have said, "Okay, Murshid," and Dr. Wagner kept saying, "Oh Sam, I'm not leaving, now come on, come on, this food is good for you, come on Sam," and Murshid, "Get out of here!" He just kept screaming, but Dr. Wagner was really good with him. So then Dr. Wagner said that he had to leave that he had a lady whose family had died, she was in a terrible state, maybe in a fire or something, I can't remember. So he left, and I was sitting there with Murshid and Murshid started to—I guess he had kind of calmed down and was resting, and all of a sudden he started screaming, he said, "hello, hello, come here, come here," or something like that, and I walked up and said, "What is it Murshid, what is it?" and Murshid reached up with his left hand and grabbed my beads and pulled me down, just yanked me right down to his face—I was right nose to nose with him and his eyes were open and they were very solid. Up to that point they had looked really hazy and strange, and weird eyes, but at that point they were just fixed and it like he was right there, he was there in his body—I knew he wasn't delirious at that point and I was looking in his eyes and his right hand reached out and slapped me across the face really hard. My first impulse was like anger, I thought—and then that just left me really fast, so disbelief, and I was just standing there, and he said, "Come, Goddammit, come!" And he just closed his eyes, and that was the last time I saw Murshid alive. And he died the next day, two days after—
WALI ALI: He was in Chinese hospital at that time, was he over here at General or was he at Chinese?
OMAR: He was at General.
WALI ALI: So then he was moved to Chinese, and a couple of days later he died.
OMAR: Yeah, I think it was one of his last days at General. Oh, and there are other little things, you asked me about Patty. I remember at the dance classes I was always checking out the girls and I was always feeling a little guilty about it, and especially at this time I was really sweet on Patty. We were dancing and Murshid was talking, he was explaining this dance. And I was kind of listening to him, but I was really looking at Patty, and I guess that he could see that he wasn't getting my attention. He walked right up to me and he looked at me. I really felt appalled, I really felt terrible, and looked at me and he could see how I felt. He looked at me and he said—he looked at me and he looked at Patty and he said, “I like it, I like it. " And he just went back to explaining the dance.
WALI ALI: I saw her when I was in Boston. She looked really good.
SABIRA: We just wrote her; is this Patty Martin?
WALI ALI: Did you live at Krishnadas'?
OMAR: No I never did.
WALI ALI: Tell the story about the theatre, the spiritual drama, and Murshid and Pir Vilayat.
OMAR: That was the hardest part, my experiences with Murshid—
WALI ALI: Yeah, I know—I just want to see it.
OMAR: And I remember, originally I would always get fed up with the theatre, and I would come to Murshid and I would say, “That's it! I’m through with it, I'm tired of it, I can't stand being around these people any more, I just want to do spiritual work." And Murshid would say things like, "You don't even know what spiritual work is, there is plenty of work to do where you're at, just go on back, don't worry about it, everything will be fine." We talked a lot about theatre and my ideas and his were always very different.
WALI ALI: What would you say that his idea was, what was he trying to get at?
OMAR: He was really behind doing. I remember when the interest was high and he was the most behind it, was when Pir Vilayat was here, and he was interested in—I know Pir Vilayat was interested in seeing his Father's plays done, and I felt a real resistance to doing Murshid's plays, not because they were not good, but just because I didn't like the plays themselves as performance pieces, and I felt—I just had a real resistance to doing them—but I always felt that he dug what we were doing, but I always wanted to do them differently, I always wanted to expand them and change them in some sort of way, And I guess at the time, I really—even now I am not that good of a teacher, but I am a pretty good actor and director and teacher— I probably could produce too. But in any case I did not have a lot of love in my classes.
WALI ALI: Yeah, I recall that—
OMAR: And also I just didn't have a lot of patience with people and that wasn't useful, but I remember the camp—he was always saying, "Whatever Vilayat wants, that's what I want," and he made that perfectly clear. I went to this—he had told me at one point—"I put you in charge of the theatre." So we went to this camp—I can't remember, but it was the second camp maybe, Arizona, or Colorado.
WALI ALI: Was it the Colorado camp or the first camp in Paradise?
OMAR: I believe it was the first camp in Paradise, right.
WALI ALI: Right. They filmed it.
OMAR: And Pir Vilayat took you and I aside and said, “I am taking the theatre out of your hands, George; I am putting you (W.A) in charge of it"
WALI ALI: Oh God, I forgot all about that.
OMAR: He said, “I want you to work closer with Wali Ali." I guess my ego wasn't ready for that, I had a guilty conscience (?) and then you came back and you didn't even have time to do the theatre because Murshid was really putting you through a lot at that point, he had you doing a lot of work, and even Murshid said that you didn’t have the time, so there I was in the middle and Murshid was saying, " I am taking it back out of Wali Ali's hands, and I am giving it back to you." And I said, "Now wait a minute, Pir said that "Give it to Wali Ali," and that's fine, I'll work with Wali Ali and finally he said, "Okay, Wali Ali, you will do it for awhile," and I wanted you to do it anyway—because I didn't want it at that point, I didn't even want to fool with it, I didn't want the responsibility. So I remember you did a play, we tried to do a play—
WALI ALI: We tried to do one of Inayat Khan's plays, I think it was the one about Puran, I can't recall the name of it right now, but I remember doing it. I remember I was right in the middle of doing some things and Murshid was in New York and we got a letter from him saying that he didn't want me to have anything to do with it once it was over, so that was it!
OMAR: I remember that that class was really having a tough time too—
WALI ALI: Yeah, I didn't have any better luck than you, probably worse—but you were caught in the middle of it, and how did it develop? How did it go from that point?
OMAR: From that point not much happened with it—
WALI ALI: Murshid never came back to you about it?
OMAR: Murshid never, never really said much about it until a few years later he was living in the Khankah and Pir called me and asked me—No! maybe it was someelse that said that they wanted to do a play for the camp, and so we managed to get a few people together: Mary (Jamshed's Mary) and Terry Peay, if I am not mistaken and another person, who wasn't a Sufi at the time, and we got together and we managed to get this production together and do it at the camp in Paradise, I think this was maybe the third year or something—
WALI ALI: You narrated it, or something—
OMAR: Right, I was in it too—do you remember that play? It was quaint, it was really great, we had everybody shining flashlights—
WALI ALI: That worked pretty well—
OMAR: And I felt very good at that point that I had finally gotten a production together and had done it and that it had worked out really nice. And I remember that Sherdyl played Johnny-be-good—one of the dance scenes, one of the party scenes. And Pir Vilayat was quite taken, but—taken aback I think! But he said that he quite enjoyed it. And then at Chamonix he let me work with him on one production of his Mass—the Holy Grail in a Mass—that he was doing every year. And then I did one of the Greek plays in Scotland with and that was my last real big play. Actually, since I've been back I've done a pageant—
WALI ALI: You did something at the Whirling Dervish Bazaar.
OMAR: Right, at the—
WALI ALI: The stories of Nasruddin.
OMAR: Right, I did the Nasruddin tales.
WALI ALI: I thought that was really gold.
OMAR: Yeah, that was really nice that was fun, it was very light, and although we did the stories pretty much as they were written we still had a chance to be really creative about it, and we put them into a framework of being like traveling minstrels, desert minstrels, and so that was quite a nice production. And then we even did another thing over at Hurkalya—we did that same play again—
WALI ALI: That one that makes the statue and the statue comes to life—
OMAR: Yeah, yeah, that's right, we did that play over at Hurkalya. And so that was my involvement. Later there were the pageant classes forming, and Vilayat was really much more behind pageantry than he was behind theatre per se. And that started going, and I took an interest in that and then it didn't really work out for me time-wise and also just personality-wise. I had a lot of karma to work out there. I had a strong personality.
WALI ALI: So did other people.
SABIRA: Other people had the same problem.
OMAR: And so anyway that didn't work out. I did have the opportunity to participate in the Cosmic Mass which we all did.
SABIRA: Were there any points that you remember where you had dreams or visions or does Murshid come to you?
OMAR: No! And that has always disturbed me because I always feel like that as close as I was to Murshid I feel kind of badly that he hasn't kind of bothered me at one point. Other people he has visited—he has visited a lot of people, even people who haven't actually been initiated by him, the people who came along after he died, they have dreamed about him and I never have.
SABIRA: He manifested differently to each person, that's probably the only answer there is. He usually gave what he thought the person was supposed to have, and maybe that wasn't for you—Do you remember any other stories that were humorous? In what way do you feel he influenced your life; what was his contribution for you?
OMAR: I always tell people whenever I talk about him is that he was the most influential person in my life. I suppose what he did was that he turned me around going quite a lot from the whole direction that my life was going in before I met him. He never interfered with my theatre, of being in the theatre. I guess that is one of the differences I noted between him and other people—who I have gone to for teaching is that you never really felt you were being say, pushed in the direction of doing what I was doing in the theatre, and other people—like Pir Vilayat for instance, and I remember Reshad too—he really did make it a point to encourage me to do what I was doing. He never came and saw a show, I never could get him to do that.
SABIRA: Did you feel…?
OMAR: I always kind of wanted to get him in there; he never saw me on stage. He always just assumed that I was pretty good and I always felt, "Gosh if I could just get him," he just never had the time, he always had classes every night.
SABIRA: Do you have something you want to add, Halim?
HALIM: I could start my whole interview all over again after reading what was there before.
SABIRA: That's alright.
HALIM: I was just interested in hearing of your experience with Murshid in the hospital; I had a pretty parallel experience when I was there attending to him. I tried to stay real far away from him; I just didn't feel right about touching him, and so at one time he made me feel real terrible because he was going, "Come here, come here,” and I am standing way to the left, "Come here, come here, come here," and finally he just blasted me, "Come here and scratch my back, it hurts like hell!" So I scratched his back, and that took care of that. Another time I was in the hospital they moved him from his room to the X-ray table, and so he had to get out of his bed and get on a slab to roll him down the hall to the X-ray room. And he didn't like that at all, he was just griping and bitching and screaming, and they strapped him Gee, that guy sure has a lot of pizzazz, doesn't he; he must have had an active life!" And I had a beard then—it was quite a bit longer, it was way down to here (points to upper chest). And he was on the X-ray table, or he was in the X-ray room and I just got close enough, and grabbed my beard and he went WHOMP! and I went AUGH, AUGH! I can't remember what he said, but I remember his taking my beard and going Whomp! right down to his face, and he went Whomp! and he let go.
There is something I'd like to add; one time he busted me—at that time I wasn't attending Saturday night dance class; Halima was pregnant and I was sympathetic to being with her on Saturday nights, and there was a big party coming up, and I knew about this party, so no one that was running the Saturday night dance class invitation this year called me up. One day at the Khankah when I was working over there I cornered Murshid in the hall, "Murshid, I really want to go to this dance class party. Can you arrange it for me to get there?" And he was real busy moving down the hall, and he said, "I can't think about it now," and he walked away, or, no, he said, Talk to whoever is in charge of being sure who is to be there, talk to Fatima, talk to someone," and I didn't want to do that, so I don't think I did. I went home and two or three hours later he calls me on the phone, he says, "Hello, this is Murshid," and he starts off ranting, "I can't have people constantly interrupting me with their personal neurosis and own personal desires," and I didn’t think he was rapping about me, I figured that he was rapping about someone else, because as his secretary, he would sometimes rap about who was bugging him, and you’d sit there and listen, right? So I was figuring, "Yeah, It is really a drag, Murshid, who is this person that you are on his case about?" And that really pissed him off. And he said, "It is your very self; when you came up to me in the middle of the hallway and asked me about…, he just blasted me right off the wall! I had the phone out to here and I could hear him screaming at me, and then he said, "Very good, God Bless you," he just neutralized the whole thing when he said, "God Bless you," and I must have stood there for fifteen minutes, just blasted out to here. Murshid's reply was, "You of all people who should be protecting me from this very thing!"
OMAR: That reminds me of the times when I came to a class and he was outside pacing back and forth and one of the things he did—his sense of humor is one of the things I will always remember, but he always had to set you up for it—for the punch line—he said, "A disciple of mine came to the meeting drunk last night." "He did?" I said. He said, "That's right," and he said, "Boy did I let him have it—but not for what you think. I didn't let him have it for being drunk, I let him have it for not sharing."
SABIRA: Halim, I don't think you told us too much about how you happened to become the secretary-treasurer on your other tape.
HALIM: I didn't say a lot about that was very pertinent actually.
SABIRA: That's a good point to start on.
HALIM: At that time I was close with Abd ar Rahman; we used to live together and play guitar together and hang out and he would bring his car over to repair it because he didn't know anything about cars. Murshid had paid for all his tooling, paid for his whole engine, and Abd ar Rahman didn't know a thing about cars. I think it was the summer of 1970. I was at the Arizona camp, and Pir Vilayat asked someone to go to Tucson—I guess he may have asked Abd ar Rahman to go to Tucson.
WALI ALI: It didn't exactly work out that way but I know the sequence of events—it wasn't Pir Vilayat’s idea, I think it was Walter Bowarts'—
HALIM: Oh that's right; it was Walter Bowarts' idea, and apparently he hit it off with Rahman. The way it came down was that Rahman was going to go to Tucson. And he was laid off this job, and so I was thinking, "Far out, who is going to fill your shoes?" I saw this as a job I'd really like to do, and I saw it as an opportunity to realize—I was looking for a way to get closer to Murshid, and the only way I know to get close to him was to work with him, and I hadn’t found a way yet. So I said, "Let's do this," and so he said, "Fine."
I had one other—it became an election almost, because Mansur ran against me, and that was very interesting.
WALI ALI: Ran against you?
HALIM: He ran against me in a way that was really kind of unique. In other words, Rahman said, “Halim should succeed me, I nominate Halim to take my role." And Murshid said, "Fine, great, wonderful, glad you are doing something; you aren't opening a restaurant as it is, glad you are doing something. But then Mansur made a bid for it and—didn't you remember that?
WALI ALI: There are a lot of things I don't remember.
HALIM: Mansur made this whole proposal, he should become it, and he would reschedule all the financial priorities—and he had everybody being paid percents, but it all worked out that he got the top, the bottom line first is what it came down to, by everybody else sacrificing. Anyway, Murshid wouldn't have that and Mansur didn't get it, so that's how I became the secretary-treasurer.
WALI ALI: Was that around the time that we were trying to write up a constitution or something?
HALIM: Yeah, that was the summer of 1970—
WALI ALI: There were those meetings over at the Garden of Allah with Gavin.
HALIM: I remember one here—I don't know about the Garden of Allah meetings; but right after that I went to Los Angeles to represent us to the Sufi Order and Pir Vilayat turned around and made me the Treasurer of the Sufi Order which was ridiculous. He didn't even forewarn me, he just sat at this formal meeting with this fifty year old corporate executive who was running the Sufi Order then, and he turned to me and said, "Of course you would enjoy—would you please become the Treasurer of the Sufi Order?" I said, "Huh?" And he said, "You will take it, of course, won’t you? You are the treasurer up there and you could be the Treasurer of the National Order, it would be a great solution for the two corporations since your reports—I didn't do much for the Sufi Order for that year.
WALI ALI: Did Wahid succeed you as Treasurer of the Sufi Order?
HALIM: Wahid did succeed me as Treasurer of the Sufi Order
WALI ALI: He did it, I guess, for a number of years. He did it for a long time. You and Wahid worked together very little?
HALIM: I would say that Wahid was Yussuf's man. Yussuf ran everything except for the camps and then Wahid took care of that, of the camp's budgets, but the rest of things, at least that was my understanding, and so I know that Murshid was rather happy with me as his financial secretary—
WALI ALI: I know he was happy with you for one major reason because you didn't give him any flack, and Daniel would always give him plenty of flack.
HALIM: Right, for one thing Daniel would—
WALI ALI: You would just agree which was—
HALIM: For one thing Daniel got Murshid to support his whole car, not only pay his gas and mileage but buy him all his tools and—
WALI ALI: Murshid always said, “I get a fiat from God that I am supposed to help this man and his family—
HALIM: Yeah, I know—
WALI ALI: Yeah, he wanted to see that he was supported, and that is one of the main reasons why he sent him to Tucson because there was a job offer that went along with it—with Omen Press. But Daniel—he just had this whatever it was—nagging Virgo side to him that Murshid would want to jump over something and do it and Daniel would bring up these details about it. He didn't want to have to justify himself to Daniel all the time. And did Daniel—you weren't in on the great Diner's Club story, it's on one of the tapes.
HALIM: I have another interesting one: all the time that Murshid was alive I was more or less married to Halima. That was a relationship that kind of began in the psychedelic days of the Haight, and it never really seeded itself very well, we were always planning to go apart, and then she got pregnant. So when I had a son I felt very obligated to make it work at that point, so I really tried to make it work, but it wasn't really working, and Halima was inclined to make it not work at that point, where I was trying to make it work. And I would talk to Murshid about that occasionally. He didn't get into my decision on whether to make it work or not, he would say, "Do what you want." I would start talking because I was always thinking about women, so I started talking about polygamy. "Oh well, polygamy, it's a great institution if you can do it, you know, and it is fine, it works in the East, and over here we have mistresses." But when he made his—I think it was at Shirin’s wedding—he got up and he made this great grandstand statement—
WALI ALI: Announcement, oh yeah! I remember that. Were you there? (to Omar).
OMAR: Yes, I was there, yes. I remember that.
HALIM: So he made that big speech about couples breaking up and then afterwards, he really blew my mind—I think at that time Halima had split and she was living at the Mentorgarten for awhile—
WALI ALI: Halima? I don't remember that.
HALIM: She was living here for a few weeks or a month maybe she lived downstairs in this room, I think, but I can't remember when it was.
WALI ALI: I don't remember it.
HALIM: She remembers it, and I remember it—but after that whole ceremony, that whole wedding—we were going back to the cars and he was running real fast and he said, “ I don't know if it did any good or not but it was worth a try."
WALI ALI: So that shows you where he was really at, and he was concentrating on trying to keep the two of you together.
OMAR: I remember one of the funniest things he ever did was the night he was supposed to be filmed and we were at that big—what's it called—where we were dancing in San Anselmo for awhile—
WALI ALI: Oh yeah, the Theological Seminary—
OMAR: Theological Seminary, right—we were up there in that big round room, and they were setting up all the lights and cameras and everything and Murshid was pacing around, and greeting everybody as they came in, and Murshid walks over and he says, “Do you have a pencil and a pad?” ”No” And he says, "Well get one, I want you to take notes on my performance!" I said, "Huh?" And he said, "Oh, you'll understand." Okay, so I went and got my pencil and my pad, and I sat there and I very meticulously made notes—I didn't know what kind of notes to make, so I made an outline on what he did. I thought that maybe he was going to try to use it to understand the script later or see if they were going to run it in line with the notes or not. In any case he never asked me for the notes. Later I said, " I took those notes," and he said, "Oh fine." That was it. He never asked for them—
SABIRA: Do you still have them?
OMAR: Those notes? No.
HALIM: I was just thinking of one other story about Murshid He traveled north with Saul, he did a tour of the Northwest once-
WALI ALI: Yeah.
HALIM: And he came back and he—and I was living alone then, I had a little house in Novato then; he showed up in front of it, and he brought Saul in with him; Wuta and Saul—
WALI ALI: Mansur, Mansur was on that trip too—
HALIM: But he didn't bring Mansur in with him this time. He showed up at my house, and he said, "We just got back from the Northwest and we had a great time—here is Saul, and here is Wuta, and here is his van, and he is going to live here. And he just moved them right into my house; and the funny thing was that we were living with him before at Abd ar Rahman's house and Halima and he would never speak to one another, then he turned around and invited him to my house for a month!
WA: That’s very funny.
WALI ALI: That was in Novato?
HALIM: That was in Novato, I had this little house; you were out there.
WALI ALI: Everybody ended up living there, right? Ayesha lived there?
HALIM: Oh, the first house, I see what you mean. Then when Basira and James split up, Basira lived there and Yussuf lived there and lots of people moved in and out of that house. Murshid sure had a funny relationship with Ayesha; she would call him every day, and he would always cool her out.
WALI ALI: "Chant Allah! Just say, 'Allah.'"
OMAR: I remember one time I went to a meeting; he had spent a lot of time at this meeting warning his disciples against overdoing things—he wanted them to consult him before they would do any kind of fast, heavy practices together or whatever, and I was interested in fasting at the time, and I remember catching him after the meeting and said, “Murshid, I was thinking of doing some fasting." And he said, "I don’t care what you do!”
SABIRA: You said that you got your name at the restaurant, Halim, was Murshid there?
HALIM: Yeah, that was a deflating one there, that one. I was really attached to getting a name from Murshid and he never gave me one, So I heard that if you went along with him over to the restaurant you could ask for a name, because that guy over there, Hassan, gave a lot of names out. So I went over to this restaurant with Murshid, and everybody lined up to get their name, and I was at to the end of the line, and all of a sudden I got to the point where I was almost about ready to walk away, and I said, “Oh I've been in line this long, I'd just as well get a name." So I get up to Hassan and he goes, "Let 's see: it could be Rahim, or Karim, or Halim, those are your three choices, go talk to your Murshid." So I walked up to Murshid, and we are walking down the street going to the car, and I said, “Murshid he has given me three choices: it is Rahim, Karim, or Halim." And he says, “ It can't be Karim because Fred’s dog is named Karim, it can't be Rahim because of Rahima (Hassan and Jayanara's), so Halim it is! The one with the dog—that put me off so much that I didn't use the name for six months. I also sometimes feel that I conned him into initiating me, because I was one of the guys he put off. I was with Halima—he grabbed her immediately and he kept putting me off and six months must have gone by, and I was coming around and he still didn't give me initiation—
WALI ALI: Did he initiate her first?
HALIM: No, he initiated us together, but they had a relationship, a rapport—
WALI ALI: But that was often the way he was—the way he was with women as distinct from the way he was with men when they first came around. He would always give women a lot of love, usually, and he would give men very much the strength trip which he gave….(inaudible)
HALIM: It is mentioned in that first interview there that when I first met him and I asked him for a Sufi initiation, but he still didn't initiate me and we were going to the Colorado camp. I was taking my truck, and everybody else that was going was already initiated, and Murshid was talking about having his disciples represented and unified there at the Colorado camp, so I thought, " I've got to be a disciple." And I went to him and I said, "Don't you think I ought to be initiated so cause I'm going with all the other disciples?" And he said, " It's a good idea,” “here, that's it!"
SABIRA: Did he know your little boy, was he born at that time?
HALIM: Yeah, he was born in 1970, but he didn't pay much attention to babies— he wasn't very much into them.
WALI ALI: What about embarrassing situations? Where something happened that was embarrassing.
WALI ALI: Oh I remember—something just came, to mind—a party that you had over at your place, a lot of people—it was your birthday.
OMAR: Yeah! Yeah! I was on this trip: it was really funny. I've always tried to combine my artistic interests and my spiritual interests, but combining peoples' atmospheres was another different thing. I invited like all the people that I knew from the theatre, and I invited all the disciples, and—
WALI ALI: You invited Murshid?
OMAR: Yeah—and he came, you know, with all the people from the Khankah. And what happened was, it wasn’t embarrassment—what happened was that there was this guy who was in my performing group—I had always talked a lot about Murshid—in the theatre. And most of the people had various backgrounds, religious backgrounds—but most of them certainly didn't want to have anything to do with the spiritual movement or anything—and I guess I had really talked a lot about Murshid. I guess everyone was interested to see what this man was like, and I remember that when Murshid came in I was so happy to see him. There was this one guy in my performance group who took one look at Murshid and he just burst out laughing, he just couldn't believe it, that this was the man that I had been talking about all these years. And I sat there and I could have killed this guy right in front of Murshid. He was drunk and just obnoxious, and he was later super obnoxious, and Murshid just pretty much just ignored this guy. I remember the guy later went into my room and like crashed out on my floor and knocked over a lamp and stuff; he was the kind of guy, I was the real kind of red-necked type and it was real hard for me to even perform with him; he wasn't a bad actor, he was just a macho kind of guy who wasn't very sensitive when it’s all said and done, but at that moment I could have killed him—I could have just stomped him because it was like he didn't see what I saw in Murshid—not only did he not see it, but it was humorous to him. That was a pretty hard knock. I wasn't really embarrassed, I was just shocked, this guy was so gross. My party, my 21st birthday, and I remember it was so weird because a lot of people brought these meat dishes. And people like Krishnadas were going around saying, “Oh my God; Oh my God; Yeech; you know, and it didn’t come together, and I am sure that a lot of those people now would even—everybody's changed, everybody's evolved in a certain sense, but at that point, gosh, I really felt split, I really felt like gosh, it is not coming together. And the only place where it came together was when Daniel pulled out his guitar, and everybody sat down and listened to him play. And the music started and then things started, there was more of the coming together, really not so much socially.
WALI ALI: Murshid was pretty quiet at that party, he didn't do any numbers, did he?
OMAR: No, when he first came in— In fact, one of the things that this guy was laughing about was, there was this girl in our group and Murshid immediately took a liking to her and he started doing the H.M.S. Pinafore or something—and he started doing this whole opera you know, and he was dancing and gosh, he was just really feeling good that night, but nobody else knew how to react to Murshid, and there was kind of a strange kind of mixed reaction, and that's when this guy just started laughing hysterically. But then after that he got very quiet I think, because the rest of the party got stoned and going—it really wasn't his stomping ground.
WALI ALI: That's what I recall too.
OMAR: So when we left him he was a bit disappointed.
WALI ALI: He liked programs at parties.
HALIM: Do you remember the party at Nancy Silver's?
WALI ALI: Nancy "Silverfish."
HALIM: That we went to, that was combined, partly of I guess Ralph and Nancy's theatre crowd, and Murshid was invited.
WALI ALI: I don't know if I was there, I may have missed that one. What do you recall of that one?
HALIM: Murshid was really—he came in there being the guardian—Nancy being his god-daughter and he just started making statements about, "Let's get a program going, let 's get some dancing going," and all the artistic people were hanging out there with their drinks looking real cool and casual and just jawing away and he just kept ar-r-r-r-r-r-r-ing away, and I don't think that anything really happened, they just kept looking at him, and I didn't know what to make of it. Here he came and—that's about all that happened, except he walked out of it, and he didn't get anybody to dance, he didn't get anybody to do anything, and he walked out of there still bombastic and he had come in and he said—in fact he told everybody what he thought of the party, he told everybody that it was off the wall for sure. And that when people get together they should do something about it, and everybody was pretending that they didn't hear it, and then he just kind of turned around and he ft .
WALI ALI: Ralph must have been livid; that was just the sort of thing he couldn't stand.
OMAR: I do remember now that you bring up embarrassing situations, I guess embarrassing would be the right word. But I'll tell you what happened—there was always this conflict between my spiritual and my artistic life—for one reason I always felt that time-wise, I only had so much time that I could devote to one or the other so it was like a lot of times I would be at meetings I would be missing rehearsals or—
WALI ALI: Yeah, I remember that conflict- -
OMAR: And I was always trying to reconcile it one way or the other, and there was this one lady who was a Jewish woman, she had a few kids and she was an older woman than I was. She wasn't old, she was in her thirties, but I really got her interested in Murshid, you know; I had been talking about this man so much that one day she was giving me a ride home and she says, she confided in me that she would really like to meet this man, he would like to meet somebody who was all these things. I don't know, I am probably exaggerating a lot too, and so I said, "Great, he is having this open house on Sunday—he always had an open house, he would have his classes, his dance classes in the afternoon, dinner, and then he would have his classes in the evening—it was really a full day—and I was so excited, I had gotten somebody who was interested in Murshid, and it was really always important to me, because I always felt like it was really helping the whole world. Just introduce people to the Murshid, and I came in and Murshid had just finished all of his classes—morning classes—and he had one hour during Sunday when he would watch Perry Mason, and that was it. There was nothing else happening, because he had that one hour and he had to rest so he could continue into the night. And I walked in right in the middle of Perry Mason, and I said, “Murshid, I would like you to meet my friend," and he said, “Shhhss, not now, not now.” And this woman—he is watching Perry Mason—he says, “Oh, uh, that's alright, I have to go home and feed my kids," and stuff—she had a long drive down the Peninsula. I knew this was the last time I would ever get her to come that far out of her way, and I was kind of brought down, and later—she left, and I kind of stuck around, and Murshid turned to me and said, "I really have to have a rest, that one hour is very important to me."
HALIM: I just thought of an embarrassing situation that I had about my name—
WALI ALI: Yeah?
HALIM: There was a point when after I got that name I wasn't in to using it because I couldn't erase this negative feeling that I had about—
WALI ALI: Fred's dog—
HALIM: Fred's dog, you know me, and then Murshid started calling me Hamid; he couldn't remember my name and that further added to my embarrassment about it—
WALI ALI: He called you Hamid, yeah, I remember that—
HALIM: And in all his correspondence he called me Hamid, he never called me Hamid personally. He totally forgot my name because I was driving him from the Khankah—and he was going to do his first dance at Yogi Bhajan's—and it was one of his off nights, and we were driving down from the Khankah, and he warned to stop by at this old lady friend of his whom he had known for 30 or 40 years that lived near Yogi Bhajan's in San Rafael, and he had corresponded with her —
WALI ALI: Margaret Alvernase—
HALIM: So he dropped in, he came in, and I walked to the door, Murshid and I had been driving around, and I was wondering who this older woman was and she says, "Come on in and sit down," and he goes, "Oh I'd like you to meet, Frank uh, Hamid, Halim, whatever you want to call him." That blew me out right there for the rest of the night. And I was surprised later on—I took him to Yogi Bhajan's—the way that they greeted him. We arrived, and they have such pomp about their ashram and thing, and Murshid and I arrived, and we were late—no, they were late as far as assembling to greet us; they just kind of let us just sort of hang out over in a corner, so Murshid fell asleep and then they came out and saw him. It was always interesting to meet other spiritual people who put a lot of energy into creating an image for their school or their teacher, and that somehow Murshid would come out like a character and you always had this—
WALI ALI: Right, because he wasn't into that kind of image building or whatever it is—
HALIM: Often I get stumbled by people who could intimidate you in a way, and didn't anticipate being intimidated by that because they were having a meeting.
WALI ALI: I know people were—especially when Murshid had real short hair and no beard and was so straight in a certain way—I am trying to recall when he first grew his beard—
HALIM: He started growing it right after I was going to the meetings at Amin's old house and he started growing it then, in early '69. I first heard him in '68, he came here once and I heard him, he was clean shaved and clean cut—
WALI ALI: He looked about 30 years younger—
SABIRA: One tape says that he had to command his beard to grow, and that he commanded it to do it.
WALI ALI: Oh no!
HALIM: “I have my passport now,” talking about his beard, “See?” It took a long time to grow, it was real straggly.
WALI ALI: I think this has been great, maybe there is some more but I don’t know how to provoke it.
SABIRA: Did you have any experiences with dreams or visions?
SABIRA: Uh huh.
HALIM: One time when I was living next door here, this was during the winter and I was really down and out—I had really locked myself in this position of being the office Secretary-treasurer which wasn’t really working for me and I was convinced that that was the way it had to work for me, and if it wasn't going to work than something was going to come along. At that time I, my Dad called and asked me if I wanted to open a restaurant. He said, "I'll front you in this restaurant," I don't know, I got real despondent where's it at, where's it at, where s it at?" And in the middle of that I had this strange dream, which Murshid—I guess I busted through, because I was so intense on busting through and reaching him and I felt that, like I was sure as heck disturbing him—and he came back in this blazing voice more than anything else and this imagery, and he woke he up in the middle of the night while this was happening, and he said, "You are working for me," that was his exact words.
And I had one other dream about him right when I got back from Chamonix. I took a short nap in the afternoon, and I was in this airport and this big escalator coming down, and he and Ted Reich were doming down the escalator and they got to the bottom and I looked up and said, “Gee, good to see you, what are you guys doing?” “Oh, just passing through,” and so we didn't say much of anything, just kind of looked at one another, and he reached down and shook my hand, and he shook my hand and then his hand was like a hot iron and I pulled my hand back and there was the Sufi Symbol. And then he turned into Murshida Vera in the dream. And that's all the two dreams.
OMAR: Yeah, just a foot note to that story that I was telling about the men in the boat, the boat was going from samsara to nirvana and the question was, if there is really no difference between the two places what are these guys doing in the boat?
WALI ALI: It's like a koan.
OMAR: The only—I don’t know how our valid various drug experiences are—the only time I ever saw a vision, saw Murshid in an experience outside of the actual experience was one time I had taken some peyote and I was really having a rough time on this peyote, and so I said, “Murshid what shall I do?" and he said, "Concentrate on Murshid's picture." Murshid's picture was on the wall; it was that picture there, and as I was concentrating on this picture Murshid started making faces—different kind of faces and it was really hard to define I said, “Murshid, why are you doing that?" “What do you want me to be?"
WALI ALI: Okay, I think this is a good time to just stop.
Footnote from Halim: Dear Sabira, I am very circumspect about using these two dreams I mentioned. I do not know how valid they are. Please do not use them. In all it is pretty accurate. If anything else occurs worth mentioning I will send it to you.