Thursday, May 19, 2016
[Written on the final morning of a six-day course at The Monroe Institute on Medical Intuition.]
F: 6:15 a.m. So, re-reading the few notes I made during the week, where am I?
I did push my comfort zone a bit. That feels like an achievement. So what ought I to know this morning?
R: Notice a few things. First, people. Think how well you interact with people, and what energizes you in those interactions. Then think what obstacles your own personality sets between you and others. You had had warm feedback, like Fred comparing your give / take humor to the monkey. [A reference to the image of a monkey offering something, then snatching it back at the last second.] Don’t disregard it. You have been very much more self-observant than I have ever known you to be. How would you register the change in the absence of other people?
Then, solitude / society. Not a new thought, but worth bringing front and center. You need both, so merely arrange for it. The internet provides a nice halfway position between the two, provided that it is not allowed to take over. You may need more solitude – that is, rest from the internet interaction – to do some of the pondering and reflection needed to get to deeper levels.
Then, your work. You can see that you have made an impact. Limited, constricted, but definite. After all, I didn’t write any books in my lifetime. Writing ten of them is not meaningless even if it is not earth-shaking. And, the other side of the coin, I didn’t write any books but I did have an impact. In other words, that is only one way – your, in particular, way – to affect the world around you.
Then, your body and energy as part of your experience. It is a valid insight you had – and have already half-forgotten – that life may be approached as “working the puzzle,” or “working the problem.” It may or may not have drama, even melodrama, but it will always present a problem to be worked, like a morning crossword puzzle, in effect, if nothing more.
The more intricate the problem, the greater the interest, of course. That is one thing the guys meant in saying “all is well.” [They would say, “All is well. All is always well.”]
F: Meaning, the worse things are, the more you can get from it?
R: Let’s say, higher mathematics is daunting to those at the right level, overwhelming to those unready for it, and too simple to be interesting except as a useful tool, for those who have mastered it. An overwhelming challenge may be looked at as a challenge posed in order to bring the student to mastery.
F: A nicer image than “trial by fire,” say.
R: Nicer, and less over-dramatic. The greatest emotional trauma, [or] physical disability, [or] mental handicap, [or] relationship challenge may be seen as preconditions setting up the problem to be solved – not as any kind of punishment, not as an unfair burden, not as the workings of chance or malign fate, but merely as the presentation of the opportunity to master the challenge for the sake of mastering the skills needed in order to meet it.
F: Still, couldn’t one have a life without problems to be worked?
R: I don’t see how, nor why one would want such a life except perhaps as an experiment, or as – no, I can’t see the value in it. But of course what is a problem to one person would be no problem to another, and might look like a vacation to a third. And no one’s life has more problems than can be dealt with – by definition.
F: Even Karen’s, say? [Karen Paddock, the wife of Bob Paddock, one of the participants, endured decades of debilitating pain before finally killing herself to end it. Bob used her journal entries over the years to put together a book, “Karen’s Journal of CSF Leak Headaches and Chronic Pain,” detailing what it’s like.]
R: Especially life like Karen’s. Although excruciatingly difficult to get through, the end result for that person is correspondingly great.
F: I take it you are not referring here to the effect on others of hearing accounts of her suffering.
R: No, sticking just to Karen, she entered a life set with the potential for an overwhelming challenge that precluded any normal life she might have expected. The course of living that life stretched and developed her being – but I see this is a topic that will require spelling-out.
F: Yes, and although it has been only half an hour with you, I have been up and reading / writing for an hour – plus people will be getting up. But I take it we can continue this tomorrow when I am home?
R: Then, or sometime. It is worth spelling out.
F: Okay. Thanks as always.