This long thread began with my request to my friends upstairs to help me tell people how to get into touch with guidance, at least as I personally have understood and experienced it. I shuddered to think of beginning an epidemic of Psychic’s Disease, but still it is no less dangerous for people to rely on external authority when they will have to choose which authority, not having any basis to do so! It amounts to them depending on their guidance to find a source of external guidance. Perhaps not so bad a plan, but not without its eccentric points.
[Wednesday, January 18, 2006]
So – friends – I don’t know quite what has been going on this past week – is it just a funk, or what? For whatever reason, I certainly haven’t done much work. I did note, yesterday, a decision point early on, when I picked up a John Sandford novel to finish re-reading it, rather than buckling down. And I suppose there was another, later in the day, when I picked up [Joshua Lawrence] Chamberlain’s The Passing of the Armies rather than work. A lot of reading as in the old days. I don’t much like it, though: It is as if I have a bad choice, of wasting time reading, or reading what may be worthwhile (Robert Johnson) but it’s still a diversion, or anyway killing time – or doing work that has lost its savor. I suppose the easy obvious answer is just to do the work – yet it can’t be that simple emotionally, or I would do it, ever if after some hesitation and delay.
That is right. People don’t do things without reasons – as we have often reminded you. But the reasons may be obscure to them; they may be contradictory, or self-defeating. Still, to turn the machine, find its mainspring.
You aren’t all that focused, for one thing.
Well – you know why. But then why is something else also in my mind?
It is an example of how little your lives are in your consciousness. You will recall that Albert Einstein complained late in life that he could no longer think on many levels at one time – and his hearer did not know from experience what Einstein meant. He thought he did; he thought it was an ability of Einstein’s that he did not share. He was partly right. But it would be more nearly accurate to say that Einstein was more aware of, more connected to, the process. You all have many strains flowing at the same time. You are relatively unconscious of most of them.
Take, for instance, the drunken monkey, or the disk jockey. Two examples (though they seem one, to you) of processes going on within you that proceed on their own rules, occasionally interact with consciousness, and continue to proceed regardless whether you are in contact with them.
Let us re-state that. We are saying something very different. Try to actually hear what we mean.
Your model of consciousness is wrong, and so you understand things wrong. Of course, your model is wrong because you understand things wrong, too – it is a feedback loop, and models reflect understandings from experience, while distorting or at least molding understandings from experience, which means, in practice, in effect limiting possible experience.
But never mind that. The point is that your model of consciousness is wrong. We will give you another model (if your fear of contradicting authority does not disable you as intermediary) and the new model will enable you to see things differently, by freeing you from exclusive reliance on the old inadequate models.
Get some coffee and we will proceed, and – by the way – you will see that your past week was not wasted. Faithfulness is all – but it is all.
All right. It is just seven a.m.
Begin with the image we gave you, of the individual being actually a container of many threads. Now, don’t get nervous about all this. If it doesn’t work out you can scrap it! It isn’t that big a deal!
Sure. Go ahead.
You are not a unit, except seen a certain way. The less you see of your situation, the more you seem to be a unit. The more clearly you see, the clearer various divisions and amalgamations become to you.
You have a body. You are confined physically to the time and space that your body occupies. If you think that neither soul nor mind exists, you think that the physical conditions surrounding the body determine what seem to be mental and spiritual processes. This is the extreme position – that you are only a body; that anything you think is the result of what your body experiences, and if you could know everything it experiences, you would account for everything you think you think; everything you seem to feel; everything you seem to intuit.
We will reserve argument about the various levels, merely saying that any argument, even the most ridiculous, has at its base some kernel of truth, as people call it, some grounding in a true principle. However, that same true principle, that same kernel of truth, may serve to construct very different appearances, when seen from different viewpoints. Viewpoint, like faithfulness, is all. And there is a sense in which viewpoint is faithfulness. We leave you this cryptic gem to examine for yourself.
Now, people who are unable to subscribe to the idea that the body accounts for everything split into two camps. (At least, it may be seen that way.) One camp adds mind, another adds mind and spirit. We cannot conceive of a camp that would in theory add spirit and not also mind, but in practice this does occur, as we shall see.
Well, mind. Seeing the individual as body and mind is in theory a difficult position to maintain, as it implies a dualism that wonders which is master, which is servant. Someone who believes in body and mind – only – does not really believe this, but only deceives himself – herself – that s/he thinks this. Because in a two-fold scheme, one is primary and one secondary; there can be no equality of being in any mixture. So one is driven to the position of saying one is primarily a body, upon which mind has grown, or one is primarily a mind that has manifested a body. Historically both ways of seeing it are represented.
Either way of seeing things tends to unconsciously assume that two things are being discussed – a body and a mind – even though in more analytical moments the same person thinking about it recognizes that the body is actually a collection of cooperating systems and the mind is —
Well, actually, this gives too much credit for discernment that in fact is not all that common. For the moment let us leave it at this: the points of view that see only body and mind tend to see a body and a mind, and they differ as to which is primary.
Psychological experience convinces others that the scheme is inadequate. Not from theory but from life they say that they are composed of body and mind and spirit. In your society they very loosely mix the terms spirit and soul, not knowing the difference, hence not knowing how to distinguish between them. But this anticipates. The third level is body and mind and what is termed either spirit or soul.
By spirit (or soul in this mistaken view) is understood something primary, something that precedes or at least is co-equal with the body and mind. We are not aware of a tradition or even a thought-form that considers spirit to be the result of body and mind – or either one by itself. Anyone who would be temperamentally liable to think spirit the creation of body and mind would – is it not obvious? – be more liable to discard the concept of spirit entirely. And indeed this is only sense. Spirit dependent upon body and mind is a contradiction; it is a –
Well, in short it is a misunderstanding of the difference between sprit and soul. But before we discuss the soul, let us say briefly that there are those who think the spirit is created at the same time as body and mind. This, too, is a misunderstanding of the distinction between spirit and mind, to which we now proceed.
[It was a long session. This will continue on April 21]