A friend who is reading my entire blog from earliest to latest said “I have read this blog post a number of times (as I continue through in chronological order and seem to be stuck in this general vicinity). This may be the most powerful, meaningful description of us downstairs and them (well, the unknowable us) upstairs that I have come across to date.” So I thought I’d post it again, and maybe others would find it equally interesting.
[Continued from previous post]
R: Well, suppose there’s a world-wide catastrophe like Hitler represented – it seemed to us it was a world-wide catastrophe – would you react with some kind of negative emotion to that?
F: Um, well – we wouldn’t see it the way you see it. Would you react emotionally to an electrical storm, say? Or to – oh, a random number generator generating more ones than zeroes for a while? You know? We tend to see it more as an interesting natural phenomenon than as a life and death battle between good and evil. You see it that way, but you need to see it that way, that’s what you’re there for. But we do not.
R: Do you experience anything like what we would call love?
F: If you could take your understanding of love and divorce it of the — shall we say, warm fuzziness? Yes, of course, that’s what makes the world not only go ‘round, as you say, but it’s what makes the world! But love to us is the interpenetration of being. It is the fundamental oneness of everything. To us, you see, love means not rejecting Hitler, and the war, and the suffering. Love means incorporating that as well as everything else. It’s the binding energy. Gravity worked as well for Hitler as it did for Gandhi, and so does love. We can’t put it better than that. It isn’t quite the same when you’re not in isolation, because your way of judging things is different. Just as to you everything primarily looks separate until you remind yourself that it is not, to us everything primarily looks one until we remind ourselves that it could be seen otherwise.
R: Okay, so your experience of love is the common phenomenon, so to speak. It’s the common state of being.
F: It’s what makes the world – everything; life, the universe – possible. It’s what it is. It is to life what flesh is to bodies. No love, no life.
R: [pause] Okay.
F: We don’t get warmly fuzzy about gravity, either. [they laugh]
R: I shouldn’t have brought that subject up before we came in here. I’m going to bring it up later at a more appropriate time.
R: [chuckles] Mm-hmm. Okay. A bit of a change of topic here. Sometimes Frank seems to feel very dissatisfied with his life. How do you react to that?
F: Well, we’re used to it. [pause] There’s nothing wrong with dissatisfaction, there’s nothing wrong with any state.
R: So this isn’t a situation where you might give him some advice, or —
F: Oh, we’ll always give him advice! Will he take it? Or will he be able to take it? And — [pause]
Supposing you have a child and you want the child to perform some intricate task. You might make it harder for them to learn by hovering over them than by giving them a little distance. You might by giving them a little distance reduce the pressure on them, actually. In other words, we hear you saying we could help if we chose to by being closer, but actually not. Not in our judgement, anyway. But we’re always there when he asks. And we’ve certainly given him plenty of clues over the years. Plenty of nudges, really.
R: Do you understand the source of his depression?
R: In a way that you could help those of us who care about him, help him out in some way?
F: Well, the problem is, how do you know –how does anyone know — what is good or bad, what is right or wrong, what is helpful or not helpful? We appreciate the intent, but this is really his bicycle to learn to ride, and other than running along with the bicycle holding the seat until he sort of gets his balance to letting go, there’s not much one can do. Otherwise, he won’t really learn how to ride the bicycle. You know? He may get to the end of the driveway, but he still won’t have learned how to ride the bicycle. It will actually have crippled him rather than assisting him. This is not to say that it is bad to offer someone help. Of course it’s always good. Particularly out of the motive.
R: But it sounds as though your recommendation would be to take the same stance you’re taking, which is feel supportive but let him live his own life.
F: Well, you wouldn’t have any choice about that anyway. No one can live another person’s life. Well, I guess what we would say would be –
Frank: That always sounds so funny to me. I hear, “I guess.” And I think “what? Don’t you guys know the difference between I and we?” [chuckles] Get the editorial voice out of there. [A moment’s breathing, returning to an altered state.] Forgot where they were.
R: What I was asking was simply the most appropriate stance for the physical beings in your life – in Frank’s life – is to take the same stance you’re taking, which is to wish him well.
F: Well, we understand that, and that of course is right and good. We’re trying to delve a little deeper here. You could – theoretically – find the source of someone’s depression, or someone’s anxiety, or someone’s rage or any or either strong emotion or dominant emotional pattern, but as we say, it might not be a good thing to –
The impulse to help is always good. The care and compassion is always good. But there may not always be a point of application, and if there is a point of application, it may not always be really what’s needed. So that, supposing one had a fever so that certain germs could be burned out, reducing the fever might retard the process of burning out the germs. On the other hand, reducing the fever might prevent death, you know, so it’s always a matter of judgment.
To give you the bluntest answer, there’s no way that you can get at his sense of the meaninglessness of his life. He fights that out, but no one else can. If it were easy enough for someone to give him an answer, he’d have got the answer.
R: Okay, get settled in again here.
F: [Yawns] [laughs] In my case the Tao is Yin and Yawn. [they laugh]
R: I asked last time about whether the roles that we tend to play in our various lifetimes are the same, and you said no to that. I was wondering about that also in terms of life goals, of overall purposes. Does that tend to be the same, in a series of lifetimes?
F: [laughs] Only if you’re slow learners. [they laugh] No, there are so many goals and it’s – now, don’t misinterpret this, but — it’s so easy to do that you can accomplish a lot quite easily sometimes. And then it’s so hard to do that sometimes it can take a long series of things to work out different nuances of the problem. By “the problem” we mean, to experience not only a complicated emotion or a series of emotions, but the working out of them. Because the working out of them can cause – will cause – other problems, you see. It’s a long, long road. Sometimes you’ll need to be dominant and sometimes submissive, and sometimes downtrodden and sometimes the downtrodder. It’s – you know, it’s nothing new.
Let’s put it this way. You might have several lifetimes in a row in which you were a hard-driving executive type no matter what it showed in. But those lifetimes in a row might be not at all consecutive in terms of time; they might be all over the map in terms of time. So, it’s very hard for you to see a pattern like that.
R: I guess I had thought in terms of overall purpose in life, not at the level of being an executive, but —
F: We meant that as a character trait, not as a career.
R: Okay. But still, well for example, what is Frank’s overall purpose in this life? Can you state it in such a way, or is that just, are there too many to even speak about?
F: Well – there are some things we won’t speak about, only because some things need to be pursued not self-consciously. They need to be done between the lines. But we can certainly say that [pause] an experiencing of life in a very cloistered, almost monastic way, that profoundly alters the balance between this side and that side is a major portion of what he’s doing. We’d rather not say any more than that. He more or less knows that anyway. But, you see, there are things that can only be done if you don’t know what you’re doing ahead of time. For one thing, because it takes all the steam out of it if you know what you’re doing, believe it not.
R: I can imagine that.
F: Now, let’s go a little further here. Let’s say he plans six achievements, and by the end of this lifetime accomplishes anywhere from zero to six. In another expression, they won’t be the same set of goals. Even if they were the same set of goals, they wouldn’t be in the same circumstances. Even if they were the same set of goals in the same circumstances, they wouldn’t be in the same personality that shaped around the new person. So, there’s less seeming continuity than you might think.
But also supposing all six goals were accomplished and we/she/it/we/they, whatever, were to come in again, there would be a new agenda. Or a partly new agenda. Or the old agenda in a different set of circumstances. So, what you’re asking has a lot of logic behind it, but to us it looks a lot different than it does to you. [chuckles] You may have heard that before!
So we would say, no, every time you go in you have a different mix. That’s the best way we can put it. [pause] Now, we’ll put this in terms that are in terms of careers, but we don’t mean it that way, it’s just a way of expressing – Well, alright, we can do it in terms of an emotion! You wouldn’t expect someone to come in choleric, time after time after time after time. At least we would not. We wouldn’t expect one to come in who was scholarly, or monastic, or contemplative or artistic or executive or military. We wouldn’t expect the same thing all the time, although there might be predominant strands– even several.
In fact, look at the way that Frank has been able to discover his other connections, and you’ll see that he started with the ones that were the closest to him now. If you come up with six monks in a row, that doesn’t mean you’re always a monk; it means that’s the easiest thing for you to relate to this time.
F: We heard you really get that one. [chuckles]
R: Mm. [pause] I don’t know if this is a meaningless question or not. Does the extent to which a person is able to fulfil their purposes in a particular life have to do with the next assignment, so to speak? Or some further assignment? I mean, are there certain purposes that ultimately have to be achieved?
F: Again, you’re looking at it from an individual point of view, and what we would have said would have been, “well, if that particular tool wasn’t shaped just right, there’ll be another and we’ll use that one, and even if there isn’t another, we can make do with something else,” you know? We don’t look at it as individually as you do, because to us the individual is almost an illusion. We know where you’re going – it’s not a meaningless question, at all, but perhaps that’s the theme of these sessions, the difference in appearance from our side and your side.
R: Mm-hmm. Well, then what you’ve just suggested though, that if the one tool doesn’t quite fit, there’s another–
F: We’re always making do. [they chuckle]
R: Does that suggest that there are certain patterns on your side that need to be filled, and that you’re looking for the right tool to fill those?
F: You could say that we’re performing extemporaneous drama, and trying our best to script it despite [laughs] the best efforts of all the actors! And there could be certain events –
Okay. Take a civilization as an event. If we create Western Civilization, with its mechanization and its desacrilization and all of the various attributes that are the west – to create that involves moving a huge amount of pieces on the board, so to speak. Now, if you have to do that at the same time as preserving all the free will of all the pieces, it becomes a very interesting question.
R: [chuckles] Interesting challenge.
F: The other part of that, though, is, all those pieces come in with a part to play. However [laughs] in the middle of the play they forget what their lines are, and they improvise. Or they choose not to play their lines, you know, or they play them badly. So that’s not a bad example. Yes, there’s purpose, is really what your question is. Do we on our side have a purpose on your side. And it is yes, but it’s not so much to get the painting painted as it is to have you all have the experience of painters, so to speak. Which gives us the experience of being painters. That may be clumsy, but that’s the best we’re going to do with that.
R: What about the purposes, then, on your side? You have purposes as well.
F: Well, the overriding long-term purpose is to get everybody back into full connection, so that we can see what happens next. That’s like our meta-purpose, I suppose. But within that purpose are all kinds of specific flavors of experience that we decided, “oh, yeah, if we did this, we could put this together.” Now, [pause] How to explain this?
You have, as you know, a reality in which there are innumerable realities, any of which can be chosen at any given time. Or, a better way to say it is, at any given time, there are x number of realities that can be chosen. [chuckles] It would be relatively difficult for you to walk into Caesar’s Gaul, or into the pyramid or something, physically. But you know what we mean.
Those [pause] shall we call them alternate, or possible worlds, are not quite as real as the one that’s chosen. [pause] But since it’s all in the eye of the beholder, they’re equally real ultimately. And I’m sure that doesn’t make any sense.
R: Well, it sounded more like an individual than a totality responding to purposes here.
F: For each individual, there is a realer and an unrealer path. You’re actually here today. That’s what feels real. To another individual, they’re elsewhere and theirs feels more real. So on our side, it’s all equally real, but on your side, it is not.
Frank: That doesn’t make any sense. [laughs] Does it? Doesn’t make sense to me!
R: We’re almost through, but I wanted to ask just one more question.
Frank: All right. Hang on a second. [laughs] Congratulations, gentlemen, that doesn’t begin to make sense.
F: [re-entering] Okay.
R: How do your purposes get established? It’s just a little question.
F: They emerge. As things happen, they emerge. We know that you’re in the habit of thinking that outside of time-space there’s no time, but – it’s just not the same kind of time, you know? You can’t wait without duration. The argument’s been made by him a lot of times. We grow as you grow, unevenly, in reaction to what happens. And as we grow unevenly, there is felt, there is perceived, a lack, or an urge, and in the exploration of that the next thing emerges.
R: You’re exploring that as a totality? Or are you getting guidance from somewhere?
F: Ooh! [pause] [chuckles] That’s an interesting question. We have experienced it as, “it emerges.” And now you’ve made us very suspicious. [pause]
R: I know my question’s just an urge, and I have big suspicions about that.
F: As soon as you say that it becomes obvious that, in fact, that’s exactly what’s going on. But — why out of our experience would we not have understood that? [pause] Oh, wait a minute. [pause] The suspicion is that there are other parts of us that do understand this. Which means, either we haven’t gotten into contact with them, or it means that we are being [pause]
We may be more specialized tools than we happen to think of ourselves. [pause] We’re going to pursue that, and we’ll let you know.
R: All right. That’s good.
F: By the way, you two – this is just to scratch this itch – you said, and he says it all the time, too, “this may be a meaningless question.” That’s literally not possible. Every question has a unique origin. Even if it’s the same question on two different days. The origin and the penumbra of thought or emotion or experience around it will be different. It doesn’t mean they’re always productive, but it does mean they’re not meaningless. [chuckles]
R: Thank you very much. I appreciated this discussion tonight.
F: Well, thank you for participating.