(September 2,1924 — May 22,1996)
William Samuel was a prolific writer and teacher. A humble man who discovered true peace and tranquility, the kind of peace and tranquility not subject to the changes and turmoil of the world. Never seeking to be well known or venerated himself, yet still, he has been widely recognized by many as a genuine true Master. William would often say that he did not embrace the idea of being called a teacher, “I’ve been telling my own story–how it happened and what it has allowed me to understand–for over 30 years. That is not the same as being a teacher.”
From William’s book “A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity” we read the humorous but accurate, honest and insightful words from William: “Every teacher, book, writer, practitioner, sage, guru or peanut vendor, by whatever name, title or label they go by, is an aspect of the Awareness (Identity) “we” are. We take the book from the shelf most likely to render a specific service at a given moment. Exactly so, we have appeared to go to the philosophy, teacher, church, friend, stranger or peanut vendor that has unfolded as sufficient for the moment–but that philosophy, teacher, church, friend or stranger is within the awareness We are. So is the peanut vendor. We are forever looking at our Self.”
Many would refer to him as the teacher’s teacher. It was easy to see his wisdom and light he shared had been lived, tested and proven for himself. Every word he spoke and shared came from hard earned practice and living of it.
William grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. He eventually made his home, which he called “Woodsong” in Mountain Brook, Alabama. He loved the hills, rivers, trees, fields and woods of Alabama all his life. His love for nature and wisdom, combined to bring us a brilliant message of Love, freedom and genuine Self-discovery.
His father was Jewish and had left the religion for his attraction to and love of the study metaphysics. Metaphysics lead him to study Christian Science. William’s mother became a Christian Scientist when she married William’s father. She was the one who brought young William up in Christian Science. As a young boy. William would attend church with her, but he never fully accepted the teachings. With his genius IQ and intellectual reasoning, he could not comprehend a religion that would state that God is Divine Mind, God is Good and God is All in all, that God is Love, but profess a denial of the tangible world of human imperfections and suffering. He tells a wonderful story about this dilemma on one of his audio recordings that we offer on Youtube – William Samuel Woodsong – You can subscribe to the channel if you like. We do plan on posting more for you to listen to there.
William tells us that being a little Jewish boy and a Christian Scientist in the South, in those days, did not make for an easy childhood.
When Billy (William Samuel) was about fourteen years old, his father sent him to military school at Clemson University in South Carolina.
William also tells us some profound and revealing stories about those most difficult days at Clemson. (When I get the full biography written, I will do a thorough job of collecting all these stories for you, as they are wonderful look into his life and teach us so much.)
Bill graduated as a 1st lieutenant just as WWII began. Bill was sent to China with his troops to fight near the Burmese boarder. Read more on all this at Wanderlings website. You’ll enjoy reading Wanderlings stories and adventures.
Because William Samuel is not well known, some find it rather intriguing that William Samuel was one of the first Americans to sit with Ramana Maharshi. The story of his visit goes something like this:
At eighteen years old he graduated from Clemson and was immediately made captain of infantry and sent off to battle in China, during W.W.II While in China, William’s troops were doing battle along with the British and Indians near the Burmese boarder. It was during that time when William apparently was given some much needed R&R. He took advantage of that time and went to see Ramana Maharshi in Tiruvannamalai, South India. William, at that time, was only 21 years old. This two week visit took place in April of 1944. It is believed that William was among the first American students to visit Sri Ramana. Up until then the visitors were mostly Indian and British.
Soon after William’s visit many more westerner’s began coming to see Sri Ramana.
With grace, respect and humble words, never revealing to his readers who exactly this renowned “Master” in India was, William writes in his book “A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity” first published in 1958:
“Some years ago I was honored to be the first American student of a renowned teacher in India. For fourteen days a group of us sat at the feet of this “Master,” during which time he spoke not one word—not so much as a grunt—until the final day when he bade us farewell and assured us we had learned much. And to my surprise, I had. It took months before the seeds of those silent days began to sprout one by one, revealing that there are indeed many things for which the uptight, recondite babble of books and teachers is more hindrance than a help.” The Secret Revealed
William was indeed a master teacher who had found a way to communicate honestly and clearly his insights on the Absolute and the premises of the metaphysical, subjective view, today often called non- duality.
Here, as an young American infantry captain, William fought in some of the fiercest battles of World War II, in some of the most remote and harshest areas of China. It was during those days when Samuel lived and tested his spiritual lessons on the battlefield. About China
During this time in China,William met another teacher, Mr. Shieh. This wise old man was William’s Chinese translator. Mr. Shieh was a venerated Taoist Monk and, as by divine providence, he was there for William during those years in the field, at the very ends of the supply line. Mr. Shieh became William’s friend, guide, and spiritual teacher through those years fighting with the Chinese troops.
Before the war ended William was fully entrenched in China, again fighting along side Chinese troops retaking Ishan, Liuchow and Kweilin.
Soon after the war, William went back to China to continue his study with Mr. Shieh for several more months. Mr. Shieh would give William ‘assignments’, such as sitting at the fountain square in town and having to find ‘something good’ about every passerby. This old Taoist Monk Mr. Shieh and William were forever devoted to one another. You can hear some of the wonderful stories about William’s days with Mr.Shieh in China on the DVD Seminar With William Samuel available on Amazon. The DVD is a professionally filmed talk given by William in 1993 in White, Georgia. It as lovely way to understand William’s teachings and to enjoy his delightful humor and simple way of expressing the subjective ideas. In William’s words, straight from the heart, we find that what might have seemed difficult to grasp, becomes quite clear and easy to see.
Read more on the Seminar With William Samuel DVD
After the war, returning to Alabama, William got married and took on the duties of a business man with a growing family, running his father’s bakery and restaurant in Birmingham.
However, a few years later, by 1952 he had been called once again to war. For many months he lead troops through the Korean War, which he reports had been even more devastating than the battles fought in China.
This time, William was older and he did not have his wise companion Mr. Shieh by his side. He also tells us that, though this war was worse, he had found a way to live through the chaos with equanimity and peace. This time he could live what he had learned. Like Arjuna, he had won the war already.
William writes about those horrific days in Korea: (see A Soldiers Story).
When William returned from his Korean duty, he went back to his family and the bakery business. During these years he wrote his first book titled “Two Plus Two Equals Reality.” Though it was a book with only 60 small pages, it was filled with tremendous insight and an whole new way of understanding Reality and God. Also the fact that is was being distributed in Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950’s also tells us something quite marvelous about Mr. Samuel and his brave heart. This book brought many to notice his wisdom and people began to gather around him to listen and to study.
Free gift and stories here: Two Plus Two Equals Reality
At first, he began teaching and talking with the many students from Birmingham University who would come to see him at his bakery. There these young students could sit with William and enjoy a good discussion on life, truth, religions, and philosophy. The meetings there became popular and began to gather varied people and groups that sought him out.
Many years before the book on the power of Now became popular William wrote on the same subject and wrote it very well. Now Is The Only Time
He was at the same time becoming a well known practitioner and healer to those who belonged to the metaphysical groups that were related to the Christian Science Church. However the church would not recognize William’s practice, as William often wrote articles that were not in line with the dogma of the Mother Church and the words of their renown idol Mary Baker Eddy. William had a distaste for any teachings that were set in stone and that would not grow and change as an honest and Living Philosophy truly would, or should.
I share here some honest words direct from William Samuel’s unpublished journals: “I’ve experienced a space of passings on during the past year, all of them dedicated metaphysicians, each one of them troubled in ways that all are troubled in the presence of years, the parting of old friends, the approach to the grave. The point I’d like to make here is that, as appearances go, metaphysicians don’t face death any better, not a bit better than our old country religionists down here in Alabama. Oh now, metaphysics allows one to make it through the young years and the mid years better because there isn’t a body consciousness, not so much of an ego concern but when the chips are down and the prospect of physical end, of tangibility’s end, the metaphysician, I find, isn’t anymore certain of painless, effortless transition than anyone else—than anyone else.
Well, consider the paranoia of Mrs. Eddy’s last years. One wonders – at least I’ve wondered if her frequent declarations of eternal life were spoken out of strength or out of weakness. She wrote on her last day of tangibility: “God is my life but who is this me who says ‘my’ and why was there still a sense of me in one supposedly so absolute? Well, I can answer that, I can answer that. The me-sense doesn’t die, the me-sense hangs around just like the shadow of a tree, when the tree is found its shadow doesn’t vaporize and when the tree is sighted and attention is riveted there it isn’t on the shadow. As appearances go, those who attain years in their study of truth and metaphysics…and difficulty with those years is often the case for the elderly… there is ever less concern with the esoteric stances of absolutism with the profundities of metaphysics, there’s less a concern of that and a return to the basic simplicity which are, incidentally, no more present in metaphysics than in the most rustic, primitive, back woods fundamentalist religion of Alabama.
The old country preacher is as certain of the presence of God as the most dedicated metaphysician but there’s a difference, there’s a big difference that’s significant. As the preacher’s sight grows dim he doesn’t condemn himself for not having enough faith in God. As what seems his tangible hearing clouds and words are more and more indistinguishable he doesn’t think he’s failed in his knowledge of God and yes, when the demands of the world present themselves to him and he can no longer make sense of the intellectual complexity of the tangible presence he doesn’t hit some sort of a depression brought on by self-condemnation that he knows nothing about God or that he has spent all these years in the study and knows nothing, nothing, such as is so often heard from the metaphysicians.
I tell you, we come back home to simplicity, to a gentle childlike simplicity. It is already spread over the whole face of the earth. We come back home to a gentleness of God presence that doesn’t have to be consciously known, that doesn’t have to be articulated with a lot of words and doesn’t have to be lived in any special set way, no pattern of praying, no pattern of going to church, no pattern of meditating, it’s a simplicity infinitely more simple than that, it’s a listening, a listening, of being, a listening to the still small voice within, to the divine imprint within which is present right here, right now to this awareness that listens, that is present here as surely as it’s present to the little birdlings out there that are ricocheting around on this April day and making nests every year, intuitively making nests, instinctively doing it, listening to the divine imprint with no knowledge whatever of what the nest is for. But ultimately, it will hold an egg. The divine imprint is already here as the awareness we are. The God imprint is all that’s real here and the Child is here right now doing nothing wrong, guilty as nothing, having made no mistakes. And that Child is the awareness, the awareness that listens to these words, not the possessor of the awareness of these words, not the owner of awareness but the awareness itself that listens, the life that listens.
The great philosophies of the world and their enlightened spokesmen are all agreed on one point—at least they’ve agreed on one point—that point being that life is the nearest approximation to God, to Deity than any other human concept or any other concept that humanhood is capable of recognizing. Further, the essences of all enlightened instruction that I know anything about, however it’s been written, declare that God and God life are synonymous, that God and God life, this life, are one.”
“Okay then, the intellect of us asks this question, well all right, if God is all and God is life, what is this funeral all about? Well, the funeral isn’t for the dead, a funeral is the celebration of life. There is no body being buried. Every body is a resurrection going on, it’s lying not dead there, like a shadow—like a shadow, it serves only to make life more clearly apparent.
Over the years folks from all walks of life and from all parts of the world came to see him; metaphysicians, young people on a spiritual search, and people of all religious and philosophical outlooks, Eastern and Western began to show up.
William had no desire to be venerated. In William’s words saying “To whatever extent I allow Samuel to be the object of praise and veneration (instead of God-self) to that same extent I create the tangible situation which must appear to bring Samuel down in the eyes of the venerator. That is self-flagellation I can do without. It is difficult enough already for the few of us on earth who have been given the task of waging worldwide battle against the power of belief. Most tenacious among those beliefs is the insanity that one must be either a leader or a follower. Allness leads what? Singleness follows whom? The Seminal Idea discloses Identity to be nothing less than the Ineffable’s very own Self-awareness! Every grain of sand and star in the heavens shouts the proof of this fact. Every flower that blooms and wild bird that flys verifies the changelessness of this fact. When the story is told properly–and listened to as a child listens–the individual awakens to DOMINION, to his birthright, his heritage from the beginning, and there is no more need of teachers.
” SOMEONE must make the honest statement in such a manner, and at this time that one is me–and shall be–until it comes to me to do otherwise. Tell me, if on the world scene I have been successful in disclosing DOMINION to those who have come to me, would this produce a following of sycophants? No. We are a camaraderie of living Light and love to whom the entire world will turn when our time has come.
From the 1960’s to 1990’s William devoted himself to writing, and teaching, traveling to speak with the different groups who invited him. He would go to wherever he was asked to do seminar. He wrote and taught about what he called “a new way of understanding Identity and Reality.”
But most of all, William preferred to live quietly, writing and sharing his message with those who would come to his home in Alabama to visit with him.
As William woulds say, “Like LaoTse who lived his Light silently and alone while working square in the middle of the teeming scholasticism of his day, we avoid human entanglements and personal popularity like the plague. We honor the Light that is Life, that every person is. We may very well appreciate a mirror that speaks to us with clarity and honesty–and we may consider that mirror unique among mirrors–but the authority lies with the awareness that looks into that mirror, and not the mirror.”
By 1968 he had written and published his most noted book “A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity” and completed its companion book “The Awareness of Self-Discovery” in 1970. Excerpt from “The Awareness of Self-Discovery.”
Several years later he gave the bakery to his employees and gave himself over entirely to writing and to the many people whom he corresponded with and to those who came to study with him. His love for the outdoors was such that he held most of his classes under the pine trees of his home in Mountain Brook, Alabama and aboard his houseboat “Lollygog,” as it drifted along the banks of Alabama’s Coosa River.
The stories that lead to his own enlightenment are told throughout his books and audio recording. His work is iconoclastic on the one hand; tender and warm and inspiring on the other. He has the unique genius of being able to bring together Western Christian metaphysics and Eastern thought, offering an indispensable guide for any seeker wishing to peace and understanding.
William Samuel’s writing isn’t based on theory. On the contrary, he lived the words he wrote, and passed the wisdom on to us. In doing so, he left us extraordinary insights and discoveries which help us rediscover the Divine that already resides within us. In William’s own words; “Every word I’ve published, I have lived. I do not write from theory, speculation, nor from the opinions of other–only from my own LIVED experience. It seems most important to me to put every revelation and glimmer of light to the living test. I’ve done just that and have published nothing that did not first prove fruitful in my own experience…. and I had still another criterion;. Nothing is included in these works that had not only borne fruit for me but had also proven to do the same for others who had put it to the same test as I. An intellectual difference, perhaps, is consistency”.
Several years after publishing his works, William was delighted to find this statement in THE TEACHINGS OF SILVANUS (vii,4): found among the Nag Hammadi Library scrolls ‘Put all words to the test first before you utter them.’
William was informed by the British Philosophic Society, who had finished an examination of his book “A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity” that they had found this book to be ‘A thoroughly supported philosophic system. Every statement in his work, has been properly supported with the reason and logic a philosopher considers necessary. Mr. Samuel has made a statement for the allness of God which is intellectually sound even to the most demanding members of the academe–the philosophers. To address the Heart without galling the intellect is a feat indeed’. In William’s humble and honest style he responded “Human intelligence couldn’t possibly do that, but Awareness is that feat in action.” Excerpts from “A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity.”
By 1986 he had written and published his final book “The Child Within Us Lives! A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Metaphysics.” This book charts a practical and livable course through the labyrinth of the objective sciences and religions into the mysterious states of the new quantum sciences and metaphysics, further, we are taken to the transcendence of such divisions, by way of the discovery of our original nature, the Child within.
If you have studied non-duality and feel you have not yet understood fully, then this is book is for you, “The Child Within Us Lives! A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Metaphysics” will be the most enlightening and liberating books you shall ever read. Here you will learn of the essential Quantum Leap needed in order for the fullness of your study to came alive, wherein you will know and know you know. Excerpts from “The Child Within Us Lives!”
You will find this book “The Child Within Us Lives!” to be a working and proven study of metaphysics that does not decry the reality of matter, but insists that matter be understood as part of one’s self-discovery in process. In this book Samuel speaks to the primal nature of light and linear time and to the necessity of understanding them. Scientists and religionists alike will appreciate this well-written work that is filled with clarifying analogies. There Is No Mystery In Christ
Samuel’s brilliance combined with his keen awareness of spiritual life is evident in his ability to write in a gentle, unpretentious style. He is powerfully iconoclastic on the one hand and tender, warm and inspiring on the other. He speaks the Truth without the stilted jargon of Eastern non-duality or Western Theology. In his work you will find a nonsectarian view-unconventional beauty-beholden to neither establishment nor organization. The Christ Is Here
William’s books are filled with personal stories telling us how he put his insights to the test, showing us exactly how we can live and prove these precepts in our own lives.
Those who knew him best considered him a humble, unpretentious, soft-spoken teacher who communicated truth in a tender, simple and yet powerful way. Those who listened and heard his message were brought to find a peace and understanding that carried healing on its wings.
Samuel enjoyed a worldwide correspondence with those he has helped find the fabled “peace beyond understanding.”
Many of those who studied with William found his work to be a clear and effective and enlightening instruction. And they are today passing along his name so as his work continues to grow and reaches even greater numbers around the world today.
If you are searching for an end to personal turmoil, here, in William Samuel’s books you will find a teacher’s textbook and guide that goes from Alpha to Omega in clear, simple, tender language.
His books are written for those who want Illumination itself, not a description of it-and for those who want to know how to live it.
If you want to know more about William Samuel please contact Sandy Jones Literary Executor to William Samuel’s Literary Estate. Thank you
And please enjoy the many excerpts from William Samuel’s books that I have posted on the Woodsong Journal Notes Blogspot