In Memory of Frederick Rabenstein

Frederick Rabenstein, who died in 2009, was a regular attendee of retreats at Springwater in the 1980s and 1990s, until he was incapacitated by illness. His devotion and affection for Toni was intense, and from the way in which she asked me to carry messages to him after he could no longer come to Springwater, I sensed the depth of her feeling and concern for him. Frederick was the proprietor of an antique silver shop in Greenwich Village in the 1960s and 1970s, and had become immersed in the teachings of Krishnamurti. It was in a Krishnamurti dialogue group that I first met Fred, and we became friends. His openness to looking at any question with seriousness and sensitivity was beautiful and rare, and I miss him.
How Frederick came to hear of Toni and her work I now don’t recall. It was through Fred that I came to know of Toni’s work, in 1997 or 1998, having seen a brochure on his table following a meeting of our dialog group. I remember asking him, “Is she the real thing?” and he, looking straight into my eyes, simply nodding. I felt a great depth of meaning and confirmation in that look and nod. What brings any of us anywhere, in the deepest sense, is beyond understanding, but I am filled with gratitude to Fred for having brought me to Toni and to Springwater, and to those who carry on the work of open inquiry there.
Fred and I occasionally marveled at the seeming uniqueness of a place where serious inquiry into our lives and minds and relationships, into the whole of what is, can be given the space to unfold in each person, without doctrines and “shoulds” (“you should believe this, your mind should be this way”) hampering the process. We carry our own “shoulds” with us, of course–often unconsciously. But these more easily reveal themselves if we are not afflicted with “official shoulds.” Fred so deeply believed in the importance of free inquiry and in the importance of ensuring its continuing survival that he left a generous {please list the $100k amount if you feel it is appropriate} bequest to Springwater in his will. This is something practical that each of us can do for the vital inquiry that occurs at Springwater.