Conversations September 6, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

4:40 AM. Today is an anniversary that grows in importance to me year by year. On September 6, 1966 — 44 years ago — I made my first journal entry. This present 6 x 9 spiral bound journal book is my 81st. I do believe that the simple habit of keeping a journal has done vastly more to give my life continuity than any other thing I ever did. Other than the mechanics of keeping body and soul together, what other habit has continued for 44 years? From time to time I have tried to stop; the way I was keeping it has petered out; what I was getting out of keeping it was a mystery to me — but I kept on doing it because in a way I had to keep on, not knowing why. It was never a diary after my college years. In my year of grad school in Iowa City I began keeping it as a repository for thoughts that came to me as I did my required reading — I found that I could jot the thoughts down in the journal and then be free to continue reading without distraction. Over the years it became something of an in-house psychiatrist, or anyway someone I could tell my troubles or perplexities too. And, beginning in 1989, it became my natural medium for conversations with The Boss — my first conception of The Guys Upstairs. Something in me knew a hell of a lot more than that 20-year-old boy why it was important to buy a blank book and start keeping a journal.

So. My friends, shall we continue? Don’t think I don’t feel your gentle nudges — how do you propose to use that paragraph about the journal to further your purposes? Or anyway, continue as you would.

Writing in a journal book is a good image for living life in 3-D. The only page you write on is the current blank page. Each written page recedes psychologically and — shall we say mentally, or emotionally, or both? The current page is of importance to the task of the moment. The previous pages might be looked at as being merely to bring you to the latest page, or might better be seen as each one forming a page in a whole, each having its own intrinsic importance; no page having been written for the sake of any given future page, yet each forming a link in the chain of pages. The analogy is not perfect — only an exact replica could be a perfect analogy, and what good could that do anyone? — but it will serve.

I have just experienced two dis-continuities. I took Free Cell off my computer because I was playing it too often when I had nothing else in mind, and I finished the Star Trek videos, at least I think I have seen them all, and having watched three seasons of a weekly show in five weeks or so, that too had become a habit.

And the analogy is that in life one has periods of intense immersion in a given experience, and then perhaps that experience is gone forever as one moves on to other things. Being the parent of a newborn, or an infant, for instance, is something radically different from life before or after the event. Being a school child, or a young married, or any of what are thought of as the stages of life, marks a leafing-off. But this is obvious. Your lives are not monotones even when monotonous. As notes must vary if a different tune is to be played, so your discontinuities are part of — are a necessary part of — the continuity that is any one human life.

And I hear you saying, each such life is a discontinuity in the larger life.

That’s right. And it is true on any scale you care to apply, for life — reality –- is all one thing regardless of appearance. If you were reading a musical score and could not see the scale for what it is — a sort of reining-in of variation to produce a set effect — you might think it random; you would very likely think it a mass of separate items whether coordinated or not. And it is true that it could be looked at that way. But a higher, more comprehensive view sees that the mass of notes have what you might call a contingent existence, whose purpose embodies them all because it transcends any one of them, or any combination of them. Thus, any life, and life in general, up and down the scale of the great chain of being.

It is because your time has lost sight of the meaning of the score that it thinks each given note of ultimate importance, which quickly amounts to thinking any given note of no importance at all. But if you can regain the sense of the music as a whole, you will automatically value the notes comprising it at their proper value. For, is a C of greater, or lesser, value than any other note? Is one chord intrinsically valuable — and does it exist except as a combination of notes, and does it have meaning except in a context beyond itself?

You know all this. We are veering off into the “why” of things when we intended to provide you with your own intuition of the “why” by setting out a better understanding of the “how” of things. But perhaps there is nothing lost in occasionally reminding the studio audience why we are all cooperating in this explanation.

To resume the exploration of the “how”:

Consider the consciousness with which you are experiencing these words. It is provisional and temporary, and in your life serves only as a bridge between the present moment it is reading and the overall pattern that is your soul. At any given moment, your consciousness has different components, hence a different flavor, a different purpose — or purposes, for you usually have more than one at any given time — and

Sorry.

That momentary consciousness may be looked at like an electrical field, volatile (as you just saw!), unstable, unsubstantial, and important only for what it can convey and transform. The electricity in your computer is not valued or even recognized for itself but for the work it makes possible. Or — another analogy — your consciousness at any moment is like the RAM in that computer, filled each moment with different content depending on what programs you have been running, what data you have been flowing through it. But if that RAM ever stops flowing, stops fluctuating, you experience it as a computer locking up. It cannot function as it was designed unless it flows, and fluctuates, hence is highly impermanent.

Remember always, your mind is non-physical; it translates into the physical (as far as you can be aware normally) through the brain. The brain has rules established partly by its architecture and partly by the firmware installed. Translation errors, or perhaps we should say biases, are inherently probable, hence they might as well be considered part of the package. To use your joke, an unfixable bug becomes a feature.

The interface between the brain and the mind is your unique makeup. And the interface between brain/mind and the passing moment is your fluctuating consciousness. That fluctuating consciousness is the means by which your life makes its impression on your mind (your soul) — and thereby on the group-mind. In other words, each moment is a moment of flux, of choice, and therefore each moment is the unique opportunity to affect your soul and the entire scheme of things. Fortunately for you as individuals, no given individual can affect the whole very much. Where would you be if anyone could? And yet no one’s input is negligible, nor can you see at any moment what will be seen as important and what will not. This paradox cannot be resolved within binary logic — that is, within the mental world as it exists when filtered through the brain. You’ll just have to trust the sense you get that the information resonates.

I am starting to experience the limitations of the way we are working. I begin to get too tired just as we are in full flow. I get the sense that if we could continue, we could get vastly deeper stuff.

But that is not a path open to you. Do you care to teach people by your example to burn themselves out, as Edgar Cayce did, as Jane Roberts did? And anyway there is a better way, but it involves work as well as effort. There’s a difference.

I’m listening.

Yes, perhaps you finally are. All right, then. The effort is doing what you have been doing — basically, taking dictation. The work is what you must begin to do, or do more consistently — think about what has been received, and — in your case, Frank — reshape it so that it may teach others. A book that can be absorbed in a few sittings is likely to be more influential than a mass of material however valuable that has to be absorbed day by day as you and your guinea pig/volunteers are doing. In the case of those volunteers, and any who come to read these words, your work is to think about and make part of you what resonates herein. What does not resonate, leave untouched, and do not feel obliged to “correct” what has been given; merely give your own take on it, as Frank is going to give his take on it. This is not scripture and is not meant to be blindly accepted nor blindly attacked. It is an instruction manual translated from a foreign language, which means it has valuable instructions perhaps occasionally garbled unintentionally.

Can we return to the volatile nature of consciousness? I’m sorry I interrupted, in a way.

No harm. We are always on plan B. But the time is running out, as always.

Let us say this. If you will begin to realize — some of you already know it well, abstractly, as a concept, but if you come to experience, moment by moment — that your momentary consciousness is continually fluctuating, continually is made up of different elements, just as you have come to see that different “guys upstairs” enter and leave that consciousness perceived or unperceived, identified or unidentified — then you can begin to understand the porous nature of who you and we really are, why we say truly, without exaggeration, that the individual is a convenient fiction. This is the key to many things, this volatility of consciousness, and it is here that we shall resume.

All right. Thanks, as ever.

2 thoughts on “Conversations September 6, 2010

  1. I have to say that today’s musical analogy really “clicked” for me, as I have always found the spools and threads analogy a bit abstract (though I see it’s value as a vast interconnected web).

    I like the idea of seeing our threads as musical notes, which can be grouped as chords — some of which are harmonious and some of which can clash with others. I suppose the overall score then equates to the “spool” of our lifetime, using the notes/threads but not using them up.

    As I watch The Lawrence Welk show on PBS, I notice how different band members stand and play a bit, then sit down while other instruments stand and play next. This seems a good analogy to our shifting inner being, where various threads come to the fore for awhile, and then recede while other threads express. So in this analogy, “I” am the bandleader and my melody changes as different instruments get played. One moment I’m mellow woodwinds, and the next brassy trumpets, or perhaps frantic drums.

    Thanks for sharing these.

    Bob

    1. I’m tempted to say, in re your comment, “wonnerful, wonnerful,” — but actually, thanks for it; it’s an interesting analogy. I had been thinking of a jazz band, and it works about the same that way.

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