Interview with DR. larry morris
We don't know the context of this interview, the original opening page was lost. It most likely took place in 1988 as a radio interview. The interviewer is not identified and the opening comments are missing. It begins with Larry's response to an unknown question.
DR. LARRY MORRIS: [...] So maybe it's the goal of each of us, like Brother Lawrence, to accept that we are already and always have been in God's presence and it is simply a matter of letting go.
INTERVIEWER: Who is Dr. Larry Morris? Who are you?
DLM: I'm just a human being, trying to live from the highest I know, and trying to share my spiritual journey with others through my work as a minister.
INTERVIEWER: Please give us a brief history of your life.
DLM: In my mid-twenties, I had a spiritual experience in which I felt a oneness with God and with this life. I particularly felt a deep gratitude for the precious gift of just being alive. You might say my "history" started from that point. Since then, I have spent my life trying to get in touch and stay in touch with that sense of the goodness and grace of this life we're in right now.
I began to meditate, traveled and studied in India, studied with many spiritual teachers; Eastern and Western, studied and practiced many of the major spiritual traditions - but all of it has just been a journey to know and accept myself better and to love and surrender to God more.
Throughout this time - a period of twenty-three years - I managed to complete my training in what for me were parallel careers. I completed my Ph.D. in English, in the area of spiritual literature, at UNM in 1978. A short time later, I completed my ministerial training from Brooks Divinity School in Denver. I was a university professor for three years; and I've been a full-time minister now for the past six years.
INTERVIEWER: What are your spiritual goals?
DLM: Originally, I thought of God as a tiny sparkle of bliss within me, like a needle in a haystack - that I had to somehow find through various arduous spiritual disciplines. Through these methods, I would seem to find God and then lose Him, find Him again, and lose Him again - a frustrating process.
Now I see God as a vast Ocean of Bliss; myself as a tiny bubble on this vast Ocean; my job is to simply let the bubble dissolve, so that I can be used powerfully by God as a participant in the upliftment of the world.
INTERVIEWER: When did you decide you wanted to be a spiritual leader?
DLM: I never wanted to be one, per se, it was never a conscious goal. I was sort of bumped along in that direction. I was content to be able to continue to practice my own spiritual disciplines. When I was first approached to teach a meditation class, I was rather hesitant to do so. From there I went to practitioner, counselor, associate minister, and finally, minister. Now I am comfortable with the role.
INTERVIEWER: I know meditation is an integral part of your life and you place a great emphasis on its importance in spiritual growth to your parishioners. Why?
DLM: I have been meditating and teaching meditation for a long time. I find that when I meditate daily (and the same holds true for those I know who meditate) my life simply works better; things fall together instead of apart, I'm happier with myself and my world, and I'm able to function more effectively throughout my life. Getting really still every day helps us focus our priorities; it's easier to put God first and to see our lives from a spiritual perspective when we give ourselves this quiet time.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about Hillside Community Church.
DLM: Hillside is a Community Church. It is for people who are seeking a deeper meaning towards spirituality. It is a place for people to come together in a non-judgemental environment, where they can seek to unfold in a community of like minds. It is a bridge-building church: people who normally do not go to church usually are drawn to Hillside. It is a New Thought church in that it teaches positive living through meditation and affirmative prayer, and it also bridges Eastern and Western philosophies and theologies. On any given Sunday there may be talks with biblical teachings as well as Zen, Yoga, Hasidism or Sufi stories. There is usually quite a bit of humor as part of the healing aspect of the service.
We try to be a church that meets the needs of people on many levels. As well as our Sunday morning services at 9:00 and 11:00 AM, we have a Wednesday Evening Meditation Service at 7:30 PM. We also offer spiritual counseling by myself and Dr. Susan Nettleton who is a psychiatrist as well as associate minister at Hillside. Some workshops and classes include "Mid-Life Turning Point" to be given by Dr. Susan Nettleton, the associate minister on August 12, and I will be giving one on August 19th entitled "Spiritual Warrior Workshop." Also, I'll be starting a new eight week meditation class on September 1st. We've also recently started a social group that meets at the church, usually on Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM. We call ourselves "the church for growing people," where one can find the "best of East and West" spiritual traditions. We're very interested in helping the individual to grow spiritually, and we try to get to know each person on an individual basis. Our church facility is located at 8707 Northeastern NE, behind the Wyoming Mall (Albuquerque); our phone number is 296- 9593.
INTERVIEWER: Do you believe in evil?
INTERVIEWER: How would you like to make your transition?
DLM: Every day we make a transition. There is a saying that I like a lot: "Friend, forgive me for dying so little today."
INTERVIEWER: Who is your favorite female person?
DLM: A woman in India named Sauris. She was a disciple of Ramana Maharshi, a great south Indian yogi.
INTERVIEWER: What person(s) living or transitioned do you most admire and why?
DLM: I have a problem with the word "most." It is an absolute. At this moment I would say that I admire very much my Indian friend's spiritual teacher, U.G. Krishnamurti. Why? For his depth of realization.
INTERVIEWER: I sense an aloofness about you - even when you are hugging someone - is it shyness? Or perhaps a protective instinct?
DLM: I would say that it is shyness. Basically, I am an introverted person who can, when necessary, become extroverted. Also, in the capacity of a minister and counselor, it is necessary to maintain the perspective of seeing everyone as God-beings and in a non-judgmental light. Interaction on the level of personality can become a trap which narrows the focus and minimizes my opportunity to offer spiritual guidance to those who seek it.
INTERVIEWER: I would like to hear more about your wild days spent at the old bar, "Okie Joes" on Central!
DLM: Well, it wasn't quite like it may sound. It was a place where many poets and artists congregated at the time, much like North Beach in San Francisco in the sixties. It provided an opportunity at that time for people to explore and share different ideas. It was great fun also.
INTERVIEWER: What would you like me to ask you?
DLM: Why I am a minister. I chose to become a minister when I was teaching at ENMU. I couldn't talk about God or help people get in touch with God within them. I like to work with people and share the spiritual life. It provides a high level of personal fulfillment. It is my belief that the spiritual life is meant to be shared.
INTERVIEWER: What can I do as an individual to help the world grow and mature?
DLM: Transform yourself. It is my observation that outer movements are not as effective as inner spiritual transformation.
INTERVIEWER: What do you think the state of global consciousness will be in the year 2000? Is it what you would like to see? What is it now?
DLM: I would prefer to be optimistic about it as that suits my outlook more. I prefer to affirm that the hundredth monkey syndrome could reach the point by then that everyone realizes that there is indeed only one presence amd that it unites us all. Call it God, Truth, Peace or whatever you wish.
At the moment, there seems to be more tolerance in the world, and less prejudice at least in a blatant sense; however, there are still many "spiritual" wars being waged. I see war as essentially a spiritual, not a political issue, so peace must first come from within. I think that "Global Forgiveness" would be an interesting proposal. We could try what Christ suggested, that we should forgive "490 times," or what the Buddha proposed, "May every living thing obtain bliss — now."
INTERVIEWER: Amen. And thanks!