TGU on definitions and change

Friday, April 29, 2011

6 AM. All right. I’ve sort of lost track as to where we are, so I hope you kept your notes.

We’ll check the web and get back to you.

Tweet me.

You’d better make coffee.

Going to be that detailed, or complicated?

Maybe it just requires that you remember to settle in, and approach it in a collected fashion.

All right, back in a few. [Brewing] BTW, I’ve figured out that just as a hen is said to be an egg’s idea of how to get more eggs, I’m your idea of how to experience coffee in the mornings.

A joke, yes, but – as so often – a joke with more than a grain of reality. It is through the experience of life in the physical that certain things are accomplished, but the life itself, as experienced, is part of it. A sunrise may not have any particular cosmic significance, but it is still worth experiencing. What one has experienced any and all may experience.

Second-hand, so to speak.

Well – that is a subject in itself. If your fingertips touch the desktop, could you be said to receive the sensation only second-hand because you are not your fingertips? The question would be badly posed, hence nonsensical, because the definitions would be inadequate. You are, or are not, your fingertips, strictly depending on how you define “you.” And all we’ve been doing with you these past years, particularly starting in the fall of 2000, is manipulate your definition of the problem so that you could see that most things boil down to a question of who “you” is.

Okay, now that we have fuel in the system –

Now recalibrate.

I see your point. A little harder than usual.

But now you feel the difference.

Yes I do. Not hovering, exactly, but with a little distance. Hard to describe.

Hemingway would have found out how to describe it exactly.

No doubt. Something I should aspire to?

No, and you don’t have to go tarpon fishing, either. But notice the difference in goal and achievement, not only in subject matter and style. He was out to recapture on paper – which meant, first in his memory, then in concept (so he could explain, having understood what he had experienced) then in expression. You, working on the inside, often proceed in the opposite direction, first seeing – or sensing, rather – the relationship, then reasoning out how it expresses in fact, then in a sense experiencing it for the first time consciously.

Interesting. Is this today’s topic, though?

It’s all grist for the mill. But to continue from where we left off –

“You” changes as your definition of “you” changes. The definition changes as your experience of “you” changes. If you don’t keep track, and we don’t mean by taking careful notes or by drawing up some conceptual scheme, but merely mean being aware of which “who” you all are in any given circumstance, you can wind up entirely lost, because your definitions are changing in the middle of the sentence, so to speak.

How you define yourself expresses what limitations you accept for yourself at the moment.

Go back and hear that again. It’s important. Your definitions both express and set your limitations. That is, they express the ones you’re already working from. They set your intent moving forward.

If you think you are limited to the possibilities inherent in the logic of scheme 1, 2, 3, or 4, that is what you will get. In a sense, it is yourself working out the logic of the idea. As soon as you accept (not just play with the idea, but made real to yourself) that your limits are not what they were, but are something else known or unknown, then your possibilities automatically change.

Which is why we are setting out all this theoretical structure which is not any more ultimately true than any other. It is useful scaffolding.

Sure. I see that. And I see that I couldn’t do without some scaffolding, implied or express. If no one else provided it, I would cobble it together, probably mostly unconsciously, out of whatever I knew, believed, experienced, sensed, or thought I knew, believed, experienced, or sensed.

Of course, and nothing either wrong or unusual in it. That’s life in a limited body, in a nutshell. But you decided some time ago – 20 years and more, now – that direct input from the other side ought to be available to you, therefore potentially was available, and it was only a matter of seeking. In practice this worked well enough. You will notice that you did not get just what you had expected. (And if you had, that would have more than half convinced you that what you were getting was all in your mind, as the expression is – that you were making it up, merely.) In other words, there were inherent limits to the possibilities, and your experiences brought you up against those limits. But those limits were not inherent in the “external” situation, if we may use such an adjective in discussing an internal experience. They were inherent in the interface between the limits you brought to it, and the possibilities of changing those limits.

It’s an odd feeling. I think I know what you mean, and I think that didn’t quite say it.

Common enough. Rephrase to taste, then.

I think you mean, what I believed going in served as limits to what I could experience, but somehow not as absolute limits, but as sort of elastic ones, and that the experience itself then led me to see myself and the situation differently, which changed the new limits.

That sounds like what we said, to us, but no harm in rephrasing. Perhaps some will be able to hear one way who couldn’t, another way.

Now, this is life. This is what life does. You start with a set of elastic limits and change them as you react to experience. Doesn’t matter whether you are actively causing the experiences or they are happening to you – that is mostly only a difference in viewpoints anyway – the changes take place at the interface between previous boundaries and present reaction to experiences.

You might look at your entire life as continual course-correction, except that the term “course-correction” subliminally implies that the previous course was somehow “wrong” whatever that means to you. An alternate description – but the same thing – would be that you always have dependable innate guidance at your disposal, working for you.

But of course, if you keep changing your destination you have to expect that the indicated direction is going to change. Is that the fault of the guidance system? This, however, is an aside, and we will drop it for the moment.

One reason for sketching four schemes of seeing (experiencing) the world was to remind you (whoever reads this) that change is so easy and can be so hard merely because it is a matter of seeing yourself differently. If you are the type of person to cling to what you know, then of course change is going to be hard, and is going to seem hazardous. Any course is going to seem set by dead reckoning. Being this way has its uses and its disadvantages. That’s true of anything. But if you don’t want to change, what are you doing reading this? And if you want to change, do you want to do it the hard way or the easy way?

Now – we interrupt ourselves to contradict what we are saying. What is “hard” or “easy” is nearly meaningless in that a very small change in viewpoint or values or destination makes everything so different that “hard” and “easy” are seen for what they really are – mere expressions of the terrain between where you are and where you wish you were.

However, this caveat noted, do you want to do it the hard way? Cling to your present definitions of yourself and seek to experience the world (i.e. yourself) differently.

Want to do it the easy way? Take definitions with a lot of grains of salt and concentrate instead on what you actually experience – concentrating on life as magic. That is, tentatively living “as if” life responds to conscious and unconsciously expressed intent.

It’s only 7:15 but my arm is sore. About done for the day?

As good a place as any to pause, sure.

Thanks as ever.



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