Sunday, December 10, 2017
5 a.m. December 10, 1941, is the day Thomas Merton entered the monastery. December 10, 1968 is the day he died of electrocution in Asia, after a long trip that included an exchange of experiences as monks with the Dalai Lama.
My little meditation yesterday produced four things I jotted down, and would like to pursue at least a bit.
1) I’ve been thinking that the world isn’t split moment-by-moment by each person’s decisions, but pre-exists with all possible paths existing. That is – let’s take this slowly.
[Nathaniel:] Exactly, but good that you heard. Okay, so continue.
Maybe there aren’t really many physical worlds at the same time, as the many-worlds theory of quantum physicists would postulate (or conclude, rather), or as I have thought the guys were saying. Maybe what we have is closer to what common sense would suggest, but in a different way. Maybe all versions exist in potential, but only one at a time, only the endless caroming of decisions continually changes it – not just going forward, as the senses would conclude, but changing the past, just as Seth said.
We tend to think of things as more permanent than they are. But it isn’t just that things continually go out of existence, but that they also continually come into existence. If the world is a light-show continually being altered by millions of decisions, the lights are continually changing. No two moments of the show can ever be the same, since so many decisions are involved. Damn it, the idea is clear in my mind, but I can’t get it into unambiguous description.
Which is exactly our situation, even with the most skillful 3D assistance.
The second insight was that the ever-changing present moment that we live in, inescapable physically, is in a way like the physical horizon that surrounds us, in that beyond a certain distance, there is always a veil between us and reality. The present moment, like the place where we happen to be, is the center of a horizon, and it doesn’t matter what moment of our life we are in, we are bounded by that time horizon in the way that we are bounded by distance horizons spatially.
You live in a bubble. But you have a choice of attitudes about it. You may choose to look at that inescapable bubble as a prison without walls, or you can look at it as a bubble of life-support, allowing you to live and breathe in an environment that otherwise would be too alien for you to survive in.
Interesting way to think about it. Okay, the third thought was that what John Tettemer was doing in the Swiss Alps in 1915 or 1916 – just about the time that Thomas Merton was busy being born, come to think of it – and that I was doing yesterday is perhaps the same thing. Rather than trying to think about a theme, he was allowing himself to hold the theme in mind and observe what surfaced, not judging it, but paying attention, feeling his way toward it. This was a big leap for a trained intellectual. It went against all his training. As he said, he had spent his whole life accepting other people’s logic and premises, until then. (Well, he didn’t quite say that, but as near as dammit.) Now he was receiving direct feed and instead of manipulating it to match his pre-existing ideas, he was honoring it, following where it led. Big step for an intellectual, requiring not only the courage to do so but the ability to set aside his acquired intellectual prejudices against the process and the result.
And note, the bias that he had to overcome was primarily not creedal, scriptural, theological, but intellectual. That is, it wasn’t his Catholicism that had to be overcome, it was his Aristotelian logic and training. It was only when he experienced that life is greater and deeper than philosophy that he entered into a wider world.
The fourth thought that I recorded was merely that the word I am looking for may be “obsessed” in a special sense of the word. In this sense, it is that a way of s—
Well, that’s interesting.
And only clear in connection with the thought about the veil, you see.
Yes. A certain way of seeing the world is in effect a veil through which we see. The world is seen only through that veil, and unless we are able to remove it, we cannot really change our views. Of course, the fact that we remove one veil doesn’t mean there are no others. I doubt we ever see the world pure, because we never see it purely. But direct feed is probably the only way to see beyond the veil.
You still don’t have the word you want, but note that feeling for it, intending toward it, is one way of focusing on the underlying idea that is actually the thing you are looking for.
Perhaps you can spell that out for us?
There is a way of enchanting someone that is not, at all, benevolent. Fairy tales are full of stories about enchantment. Why do you suppose that is?
A form of hypnotism like Richard Bach’s story I edited, Hypnotizing Maria?
Yes. But we need to say this carefully, lest you or your readers go off half-cocked. This isn’t a conspiracy theory, nor a reason for panic or despondency.
We said, your life is perpetually limited by the present moment. We didn’t say “limited” in that word, but that was the meaning. Your view of the real world is always affected by the present moment you are living in. If you don’t think so, keep a journal and look back a few years.
You don’t need to tell me.
Actually, we do, in a way. You are used to thinking that you change over time. That’s certainly true. But what does it mean? You can’t say it’s continual growth. You certainly can’t say it is logical growth. You can’t say it is meaningless change, either, unless you can believe in chance and disconnection. You don’t grow or change according to some system or some cumulative process. We know it looks that way, but that isn’t it. You grow – even “grow” is misleading; let’s say different versions of you emerge – in response to, in interaction with, the world around you. but, what does that mean? The external unconnected-to-you world that common sense posits? Hardly.
We’re at another point where I feel that there’s a whole log-jam of information waiting for the right peavey.
That’s showing off.
Yeah, it is, a little, but why else do crossword puzzles, if not to pick up useless information? It’s a pretty accurate metaphor, though. I can’t help you by putting it into my own words, because I don’t have the sense of where you’re going with it.
You’re going to have to associate several factors. (1) The quality of the present moment always surrounds you like a bubble. (2) Everything changes, continually. (3) Everything persists; nothing is lost except from the perspective of a limited present-moment, ever-changing-and-passing-away. (4) You are not in the bubble alone and isolated and disconnected; you continue to exist in the dimensions beyond 3D; you are always a part of your larger being; you always share strands with your fellow beings.
Add these facts together, and see what you get.
I will think about it – muse on it, like yesterday – later. What I get right away is that the only way to see beyond the distorting veils is direct feed from other parts of ourselves, and I suppose from non-3D helpers who may not be directly a part of us (or may), but are anyway in resonance with us.
Rather, you are in resonance, temporary or permanent, with them. But, yes.
And there’s our hour?
And there’s our hour. We are well aware of the teasers we left the other day [Thursday, December 7], but there is no hurry. This was good work.
Okay, thanks, and till next time.