Who Is Eugene Halliday?

Some introductions to Eugene Halliday and His works
Eugene Halliday (1911 – 1987) – by Hephzibah Yohannan (2005) after David Mahlowe (1995) 

Eugene Halliday described himself as an Artist, which he meant in its Renaissance sense. He was an accomplished painter in both oil and water colour; he modelled the most beautiful miniature figures; he was a fine musician. He taught and practised philosophy and psychology, and believed with Shakespeare, Boehme and Blake that the proper study of man, is man.

Halliday was not a dogmatic or a schools man. He was deeply versed in religion, philosophy, mythology, hermeneutics, yoga, science and the arts. He wore his wisdom lightly, and was a charismatic teacher.

After wide travel in his youth, Halliday spent most of his life in the northeast of England around Manchester. In 1963 he moved to Bowdon in Cheshire, where he founded the Institute for the Study of Hierological Values (ISHVAL). Here, Halliday worked and taught for 23 years. Through lectures, groups and classes, as well as one-to-one sessions, he instilled into his listeners the importance of the individual human being as a potentially reflexive vessel of the divine intelligence.

Halliday was fully aware of the branches of Yoga, of which Hatha Yoga, the path of bodily control (including posture, right breathing and cleansing), is only one. His own teaching was closely in harmony with the Advaita, or Non-Dualist, Yoga philosophy of Sankara. Halliday related the word “yoga” to the English word “yoke”, explaining that the word “yoga” means to re-join oneself to the absolute, infinite, eternal spirit. Whichever path of Yoga one pursues, whether Raja-Yoga, Hatha-Yoga, Jnana-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga or any other branch of Yoga; the purpose is to turn our attention back from separativity, from the entanglement of identification with the ego or things in the world, in order to re-unite ourselves with the original source of our being, the infinite continuum of sentient power.

Eugene Halliday had a profound effect on everyone with whom he came into contact. He was held in affectionate reverence and today, eighteen years after his death, his words and his presence are still fresh in the mind of his friends and students.

Halliday’s friend David Mahlowe, having studied directly with him, took on the guidance of lshval, through classes and lectures, and the publication of Halliday’s collected works in hardback. The members of Ishval have continued to hold meetings to study Halliday’s work to this day, seven years after David’s death; a fitting memorial for both Halliday and Mahlowe.
Another friend and student of Halliday was Khen Ratcliffe, the founder of the International Hermeneutic Society (I.H.S.), which has its centre at Tan-y-Garth Hall in north Wales. Khen was himself a teacher of Yoga.

In his lifetime, Halliday published privately three short books (plus innumerable essays, etc). These, Reflexive Self-Consciousness, The Defence of the Devil, and The Tacit Conspiracy, contain the core of his teaching. Notable among the books published since his death are the four volumes of Contributions From a Potential Corpse, a fascinating day book of Halliday’s thought.

A short book on Yoga was written by Halliday to help those of his friends who had an interest in the subject, and to help those of us in the West who wish practise Yoga, to gain an understanding of this Eastern concept. In the West, we tend, generally, to be extroverted in our attitudes, and have adopted Hatha Yoga almost exclusively among Yogas, often as a route to physical health. Yoga is, however, much more than this, having been developed in the East where the focus has been, generally, more one of reflection and introversion. In his book, Halliday explains that Yoga is about more than posture or exercise; it is about the possibility and the route to freedom from identification, and to reunification with our spiritual Source. He defines the different ways in which the term “Yoga” is used; and presents us with a spiritual rationale, or philosophical basis, for its practise – whichever branch of Yoga we study.

Nobody who met Eugene Halliday could ever forget him, and those who were taught by him regard him as a great sage., a true, reflexively self-conscious being; as a yogi, for he demonstrated through his life and teaching that he was in constant touch with the spiritual source of his being; and as a man of great humour and compassion.

– by Hephzibah Yohannan (2005) after David Mahlowe (1995)

Alan Roberts – My Take On Eugene Halliday

In encouraging someone to involve themselves in any form of reading, we need to first describe the nature of the subject and outline the interest value of the piece to be tackled. The nature of the subject [of Eugene Halliday’s teachings] is a vast treatise on the nature of life. So it falls into the categories of religion and philosophy. I also consider that it is the work of an inspired man, and that that is its value. I cannot prove that but then that is for you to decide if you choose to dip in to these pieces. This then is a personal testament to the value of Eugene’s work.

In bringing the work of Eugene Halliday to the new reader I can really best fall back onto my initial experience of him. This will also serve to describe me, as regards how I was first captivated by these ideas and the man who described them.

I first met Eugene in 1971; I was a 21 year old student teacher at Keele University. As some indication of his effect on me it is now November 2006 and after 35 years and a degree and a Ph.D. I am still giving talks about his lectures and studying him much more than anyone or anything else.

I was working on the refurbishing the retreat centre of Khen Ratcliffe, Tan-y-garth Hall, set up to teach Eugene’s ideas. Khen recommended that I go to Parklands, ‘”You’ve heard the monkey, now go and see the organ-grinder,” was how he put it. The first talk I attended was on Kierkegaard by Hanukah Rose and Eugene together, and I was hooked. I had never been to a lecture where the questions could literally reach anywhere and be on anything. They started with the subject matter, and returned to it regularly, but they digressed marvellously. Hanukah was scholarly but Halliday’s comments ranged from the impish to the profound, and frequently both. To be upbeat on Kierkegaard is no mean feat.

My involvement was gradual. At first and I attended his monthly lectures at Parklands for two years or so thinking that he was a very intelligent man and a great talker, I had seen and heard quite a few of those at Keele. Then one evening I attended a meeting …continued >>

Malcolm Clark’s Melbourne Yoga and Meditation Centre offers daily Meditations and regular Monthly Workshops which apply the teachings of Eugene Halliday. For the yoga and meditation practitioner seeking more than just the benefits of Yoga’s preparatory exercise and posture, the daily meditations and workshops deal with the deeper teachings. These current events assist in understanding the interpretative methods of Eugene’s work in approaching Yoga and Meditation teachings from all over the world.and from ancient times.

It is a significant maxim that for learning Yoga and Meditation disciplines, a teacher is required who indeed has embodied the values of the truths being taught. Many modern western people feel a bit uncomfortable with the idea of a guru or teacher as guide. This arises in part because of the failure at some period in history where the teacher has failed to impart knowledge in a self-consistent way, and in turn the student becomes frustrated or even lost on their journey of awakening to greater understanding. It is the responsibility of the student and the teacher to be clear in their communications and in the sharing of knowledge.

The Melbourne Yoga and Meditation Centre has chosen to base the Yoga and Meditation disciplines principally on the teachings of Eugene Halliday, who indeed spoke and wrote of every important aspect of Indian Yoga and Meditation and indeed of Meditation traditions from all over the world in many ages. He integrated intelligibly the great religious, philosophic and artistic traditions of the world. He was and is a true master of the art of Yoga, and it is for those who wish to delve into the deeper teachings, such a guide, a true teacher, is of tremendous value.

Below in outline are a number of the diverse yet precise teachings of Yoga and Meditation along with teachings which have evolved out of the ancient texts and oral transference. We all do well who read, study and inwardly digest the knowledge of those who broke the spell of ignorance and disregard. Finding our own way is part of the journey, but knowing where to look and go is of fundamental importance. Eternity has an infinity of time and space, but as creatures we have only limited time and space to gain the realisation. Here are some downloads for consideration and use in your own meditations and unfoldings.

Towards the Whole Being, the Advaita(non-dual) teachings for the 21st Century by Eugene Halliday. These teachings are an update and extension of at least the recent 2600 years of Man’s artistic, religious and philosophic strivings and development. Eugene Halliday’s clarification of Samadhic Contemplation in the essay Reflexive Self-consciousness is key to the deepest understanding of Yoga and Meditation discipline.

Introductory and Traditional Teachings in outline.

Yoga related Meditational Essays excerpted from the Teachings of Eugene Halliday

psychographic drawings by Eugene Halliday >>

Leave a Reply