Wednesday August 17, 2016
3:35 a.m. Talking with Nancy last night, it seemed clear that the lesson she took away from last session isn’t the one I took. No, that isn’t quite what I mean. I mean, she as an example showed how different people hear different things in the same words than I hear as I’m writing them, or as I’m sending them later. Words don’t mean the same thing to different people – and I’m not talking about vocabulary here, or semantics, but meaning, communication.
That is an advantage as well as a disadvantage, as usual. Slippage is opportunity, not just inefficiency. Ambiguity is a door we can use to suggest things, and of course everybody is going to need different suggestions because no two people begin from the same places. The argument that convinces one person of free will strikes another as proof of interference, and a third of overall purpose, and a fourth of general confusion.
And that merely reinforces my idea that logic and chains of thought are more matters of convenience than proofs of anything [I wrote “everything”] – and even as I write that, I can feel myself demonstrating your point.
If, in exploring these things, you bear in mind slippage as a fact of life, and internal course-correction as another, you’ll breathe easier. It isn’t up to anybody’s feats of logic or exposition; all you can do and all you – anybody – need do is your best. That’ll be enough.
“You do the best you can.”
The important thing for you, Frank, in this instance, is to show what life looks like to you, through your window, via your communications and your conclusions and your speculations. That’s why your novel is slowly coming to life within you again, for one thing. Other people have other goals, other priorities, other possibilities. We doubt you’d do well in the Olympics, or in politics, or as a realtor. But you do better at being you, doing your work (which isn’t the same thing as producing some product; we mean living) than anybody else ever could. It’s true for everybody. The only sense in which “one size fits all” is that for each of you, the task and the opportunity is the same: Live your possibilities. It is in this sense that everybody is perfect – each of you is a perfectly crafted opportunity, or window on the world, or reflection of oneself as one facet of a jewel. You are perfect because you are what you should be, not because you are clones of each other or are exact copies of some divine pattern.
More, you are perfect because you are all part of the same over-all thing, “the only thing there is.” So it isn’t a matter of each part needing to be well-rounded or balanced. A machine, an organism, even a molecule, is not one undifferentiated symmetrical thing, still less a collection of undifferentiated symmetrical things. It is a combination of dissimilar, specialized things that function together as a whole. Of course, bear in mind that analogies are only analogies.
But if you – and we – are part of one thing, and are non-physical as well as physical, and are living in conditions of duality and perceived separation in space and time, and if even unity is interminably divisible into components and if multiplicity is always only a way of seeing unity–
Yes: What does it come to?
Or, more practically, what is the universe to you? What is life to you?
Isn’t that where we came in?
There really isn’t any other place to enter or exit. What’s it all about, Alfie? Everybody has the same question, nobody has the same answer, and meanwhile your life comes at you moment by moment.
It struck me yesterday – what was I seeing or reading or thinking about? [a biography of Bernard Shaw, I think.] – the incessant activity. Everybody is so concerned with planning, striving, competing, and not necessarily among each other but in general. It’s exhausting.
Life is nothing if not ceaseless activity. Even sitting zen is doing something. That’s part of the point of that ever-moving present moment: Nothing stands still.
Except at the still center. So let’s talk about that.
All right. I don’t have any idea where you’re going to go with this, except for the word “balance,” so – let’s see.
Stillness balances activity, as the hub of a wheel in its quiet rotation around its own center allows a much greater rotation at the rim.
Is that the bet analogy available?
It was the first on the stack, and although it has its defects, it does give you the non-logical but nearly tangible sense of relation – stillness allowing for, controlling, motion. A very different but equally inadequate analogy might be the projector versus the film. A third, the seed-case and the plant-to-be.
Mutually contradictory analogies designed to reinforce one aspect, as usual.
It has proved useful enough in the past, has it not? The sphere, then the hologram?
Not criticizing, just commenting.
Nor did we think you were. The point to be understood is that analogies are necessarily always partial, partly misleading if taken literally or applied too closely.
What does it mean, the still center?
I suppose it means that we are on the revolving rim where appearances are realer to us than underlying reality, or realities, and that at another level the reality is more apparent [should have said “evident”] and the appearances less so.
That is one possible take on it. Another is that, at the rim, not just appearance but experienced reality is ever-changing, and at the sill center, all changes are in balance.
Did I get the end of that sentence right?
Not quite, but it isn’t wrong, either. We would have preferred to say, at the still center, the resolution of everything produces balance, as it stems from balance.
All manifest qualities proceed from one source of potential?
Be careful that words don’t go dead on you here, producing what seems to mean something but is really just sounds. It is a very common problem.
You live your lives and they are real to you, of course, for they are as real as the “you” that is living them. They are the same thing, as “you” cannot be divided from the color of your hair or the state of your beliefs. In living your lives you are you, in 3D, and yet you are at the same time no less the “you” created from the much larger being; thus you are also in non-3D; you are also not the you you experience yourselves to be. Both, not one or the other.
But the larger being itself is a special case of a deeper level of reality which is the hub to it as it [the larger being] is to you, and so on and so forth, all the way up, all the way down. The center is the center; the rim is the rim. That is, at one extreme is the realest reality, at the other is the most apparent of appearances.
And yet – not instead of, but contradictorily also true – there is no geographical aspect to this realness – appearance scale. You won’t find real in one postal code and apparent in another. Neither will you find a smooth chain of increasing or decreasing realness. For as the theologians say, God is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.
That is, the realest real is everywhere, and so is the shadowiest of shadows. It can’t be sorted out into this v. that except in logic.
True enough. Theology is the application of logical exposition to supersensory perception. It has the defects of its qualities. That doesn’t make it useless; doesn’t make it a panacea. It is one tool among many.
The point here is that you, where you are, whenever and however you come to read this, are in unbreakable connection to the center as well as to the rim. Yu can and may live in the stillness as well as in the activity. We are not talking about how you spend your time, whether meditating or selling papers. We mean, the door is always open.
Oddly, it doesn’t matter to the universe or even to yourself what you choose or how you choose to experience your life. A life in intimate connection with the stillness is not more or less desirable intrinsically than one that is lived amid the drama of the rim of the wheel. It is just a matter of preference, and – we remind you – you were created to prefer!
And there’s your hour, and a little more.
Right you are. Cheers, till next time.