JOHN LILLY, PERMISSIONARY
by Frankie Lee Slater
I was privileged (and delighted) to live at the home of Dr. John Lilly for nine
months in 1988-9. Along with an extended family of people several of us
affectionately refer to as "the lilly pod," I have considered him to
be a stand-in dad. These are some of my thoughts written just after his
passing on Sunday, September 30, 2001. I discovered he was in Los Angeles
that week through one of the wonderful synchronicities John's life was so full
of, the kind he referred to when he spoke of ECCO (the Earth Coincidence
He is now a bridge between worlds for us all. Those who knew him well
would say he was that all along.
I was fortunate to visit with him the preceding Friday evening at his hospital
room at Caesar's Sinai where he awaited what was considered to be a minor
operation to clear out an infection he had developed in his chest. He
looked particularly clear and serene that evening. Everyone was
optimistic that he would soon be back on his feet, but his 86 year old body was
apparently ready to free him of its containment.
Our experience was one of gazing in one another's eyes and smiling. Words
seemed redundant in this presence of absolute connectivity, love, light and
mutual admiration. It is this image that will live on indelibly in my
mind's eye, this image of knowing in eyes smiling that I wish to share with you
John modeled enlightenment free of any pretense. I remember being amused
when people would come to Decker with all sorts of projections about how John
was behaving when he acted "as if" he wasn't interested so he could
relax in his big easy chair and read his book - amused that they were seeing
what they were seeing rather than marveling at the fact that this man, 30 or 40
years their senior, accepted any and all walking around his living room in the
One of my favorite illustrations of a John Lilly moment was the first day I was
living in the motor home that he had hooked up to the front of the house for
me. The toilet had backed up and I ran into the house to tell John who
was immediately on his feet, waddling out to the motor home (John waddled) and,
without skipping a beat plunged his hand literally into my sh-t. Nobody
but nobody I'd ever met before or since was less affected by the stuff of the
world than John. He was a self described "Permissionary"
and we are all the freer for knowing him.
In the Native American understanding, when someone we know and love makes his
transition, it is a "loan of power" to those who will carry on here
on Earth, a "rite of passage" affirming that we have reached a place
in our lives where our elder brother can now move on, knowing we are capable of
carrying on in a good way.
I would like to offer this possibility for anyone who has ever known John Lilly
up-close-and-personal or been hugely influenced by his work and example - that
we take this opportunity to step beyond any perceived limitations, rise up to
ourselves and, like John, make our unique contributions.
When he and I connected the other night I was telling John what I've come to
understand "beyond the surface appearance" about this time and my
part in helping to shift the planet. He spoke very little, simply to
affirm, "You see the connection in all things. I love that you see
the connection." I see it now John, and I promise to share what I
see with the world - that the truth of our being is absolute connection through
love and harmony and beauty, and all else is the illusion.
Thank you John Lilly for gracing us with your presence. It is said the
great Siddhas go beyond death to became the stars. I will look for you
John Lilly Web Site
Frankie Lee Biography