Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Would you like to say more about the discontinuity between who Michael had been and who he was after the incident with the door?
Sure. Good idea. We smile.
You think yourselves much more stable, more unchanging, than you are. You think this so unconsciously that it can be hard to persuade you that it is so. It seems to you that you see changes in yourselves over time that “prove” that you don’t see yourselves as basically unchanging. But we would say that as usual, this is a problem of language making a thing seem like its opposite.
You might say, “I was born, was a child, became a teenager, moved into adult life, aged into middle age, became old, died; just one long set of changes.”
We would reply, yes, that is obviously so. And your own self description assumes, silently, a stable platform from which to observe. “I” was born, “I” did this, much later “I” did that — as if the “I” was a stable platform from which you could look at that succession of changes.
Well, it isn’t.
It isn’t stable; it doesn’t even exist, in the way it seems to you it must. “It” is actually “them.”
Now some of this is familiar to you from Gurdjieff maybe. He talked rightly of the continuous succession of “I’s” that in turn ruled your life — you not suspecting the change because you identified with each “I” in turn. (And this, as if there were an unchanging “you” to observe! The language is so coarse a sieve!)
But this is only one aspect of things. We have given you a great metaphor for what any human being is — that is, what any soul is, combining the eternal spirit with specific aspects in a physical body, and locating an awareness primarily within time-space centered on that body-soul complex. We call it threads and rings (originally threads and spools).
If you see yourself as a transient container (the ring) through which have been threaded millions of threads (traits, call them) this is your personal universe of potential. No one ever lives up to his potential. No one could or is designed to. The entire point is to provide you with a seemingly infinite variety of choices so that you will not be constrained by lack of options.
This is sort of true, and of course equally not true. Your freedom is in choice within the situation you are placed into. Your constraint, or responsibility, or fate, is the “external” situation. None of the sketch is new to you, it is background in brief for those who came to the show when the program was half over.
Choosing who you will be happens in many ways. Slowly through the acceptance of consequences and the reconfirmation of prior choices. Abruptly through renunciation or through being seized by enthusiasm. “Accidentally” by seemingly external events disrupting the flow of what had been. These seemingly different causes of change — and others that might be named like inevitable processes (aging, say) are all the same thing, for internal and external can never be separated truly. They are seen as separate but in fact are one, wherein lies your freedom.
[I’ve wandered somehow]
You’ve been wandering quite a bit today, actually, having publication in mind quite as much as reception.
Ouch. Yes, it has me seeing it with an editor’s eye, I guess.
Well, stop it or you’ll have nothing worth editing. It’s always your choice whether to do it — but why do it badly?
Point taken. A new level of playing out in the open, I suppose.
Yes, as you get used to it, it will be no distraction, just as each previous level.
Okay, so — continuing?
You are bundles, not “individuals” that is, units. As bundles instead of units, you can rearrange yourselves. What is resetting your control panel but laying down certain things (if only by reducing percentage of emphasis) and picking up others?
Well, there is no such thing as accident because there is no such thing as external unconnected to internal. And there is no such thing as one, dependable, unchanging, you, because there are so many levels of you. Conscious-you changes from habitual activity to habitual activity, from location to location, from preoccupation or environment to the next preoccupation or environment, even if they are experienced repeatedly or alternate it regularly.
Therefore — the point of all this —
You is not stable.
Events are not external.
Well, not quite.
A crack in the head, a brainstorm, a laboriously thought-out idea, an inspiration, an enthusiasm, a circumstance that drags you kicking and screaming to a place you never would have gone otherwise —
These are all the same thing.
They don’t look like it while you are in a body being carried from moment to moment, place to place, so to speak — but they are the same thing.
And so you could rightly say that your friend Michael (as all of you), functioning on several layers and unaware of most of them (as most of you), did his choosing not on a downstairs level but upstairs. And because it was so radical a shift, and so unlooked-for downstairs, the easiest means of making the shift was a collision with the door.
You say, “easiest?!” But what is a concussion against such gains?
Before the door hit, and he was one bundle, or rather he was using certain strands of his bundle of possibilities in a certain proportion. The flash of time after the door hit and before he regained control — took the wheel again, so to speak — his upstairs contingent laid down certain threads, took up others, rearranged a few ratios. His control panel switches were reset from another layer of his consciousness, put it that way. After that, first he was disoriented and hurting, then when he realigned to overcome the shock he found himself with new perceptions and abilities and was faced with the agreeable challenge — but a challenge nonetheless — to learn how to live with them, which means dying to part of what he had been and coming alive to do unfamiliar things. There is always a price to be paid for gifts.
That sounds like — it feels like, rather — “the end of this particular transmission.”
It is as close to a natural place to stop as any, unless you wish to continue in a particular direction.
No, can’t think of anything. Thank you as ever.
Don’t neglect to ponder this one as of course it applies to you — to anyone — as much as to your friend.
Yes, I do see that. Thanks again.