Nathaniel — impersonal forces, 3D and improv
Sunday, February 11, 2018
5:20 a.m. The last dream I awakened from was full of English voices, characters. I realized, they were the result of watching so much English drama and documentary lately. And I thought, maybe this is what dreaming is, sometimes: We seize this or that character and get the feel of them and set them to doing improv. Rather like life in general on a larger scale, it seems like, now, writing this.
And perhaps that’s the text for the day’s sermon? For you said last time you might begin to “round things off,” and I’m wondering if this dream isn’t the jumping-off point. You said, to address the question of “toward what?”
You may notice that you are beginning to be led by your dreams in a new way, they orienting you to an emotional point of entry of a topic. Rather than trying to read a dream literally, or as symbols, you are learning to ask why that dream now, and why the effects of that dream now. Of course, what is news for you is yesterday’s news for someone else; it isn’t like a shining new departure for the world at large.
No, I understand that. I’ll settle for “news to me.”
And others, perhaps, of course; we don’t mean to imply it concerns you alone (if there were such a thing as “alone” for anyone). But this is another way in which you are not orphans in the world: The thing you struggle toward [that is, understanding of life] is not impossible of access. Everything has been realized before, at some time or another. It isn’t like the whole thing is on you, no matter what the thing or who the “you” may be. Only, it always is needing to be updated, and that’s your struggle, you see. Now take what we just said and apply it more widely – and here we are very much addressing those reading over your shoulder, for it is a truth that will long outlast you, and them. What we just described is an aspect of life in its underlying nature, which means in its meaning. You are always updating the world’s files, you might say.
The current generation – whatever current generation we may speak of – is always putting into 3D expression certain enduring truths? I know that doesn’t get it, and I know we’ll probably have to go at it slowly, but that’s the sense I’m groping toward.
That’s right. Fast insight and slow exposition. There are worse ways to work.
Remember the continual existence of the vast impersonal forces. They do not exist only in 3D; that would be impossible. But they blow through the 3D world in blowing through the All-D, of course. And it is the 3D’s relative resistance combined with its innate plasticity that allows those forces to be – captured, one might say; shaped; molded into intermediate and creative form.
I get the impression you are finding this difficult to express. Difficult in itself, difficult through me in particular, or what?
That is less of a difference than you might think, but let us not divert to it. We are at the nub of this particular exposition.
When people ponder the meaning of living, they can bring to their understanding only the things they know or suspect or think they know. You can’t stack blocks you don’t have. So, given that no two people have the same inventory, no two people do the sums and arrive at the same answer, even if they’re all following the same rules of arithmetic – which, by the way, usually they are not. So – trust your own reckoning, but keep in mind that at best you will be only relatively correct, and certainly only somewhat complete. You won’t know everything or understand everything that you know, and so what? You are not so constructed that you could. No one ever had or ever will, and it wouldn’t even be of assistance if someone – or everyone – could. That isn’t the purpose of 3D life. It is viewpoint, not summation, that 3D experience is designed to produce, and if you once really absorb that fact, you’ll see how life is never a failure or a tragedy or a pointless tale told by an idiot, no matter how it seems.
The vast impersonal forces blow through the universe, the weather affecting the atmosphere, so to speak. Only, in the slowed-down 3D crucible, the effect of those winds is embodied, is slowed and shaped and modeled. You begin to see?
I think so. You’ve said we are doing improv, and I’m beginning to see that we are expressing by our natures what we are, animated by the forces that blow through us but are not us.
They are and they are not; that’s a matter of viewpoint too. The spirit bloweth where it will: That isn’t anything to do with your will. Yet, it blows through your shaped and ever-reshaping character, which produces the music, and that is to do with you. You may have been created a harp or an oboe or a guitar, so to that extent the music you produce is limited, but an instrument may be in tune or not, may be adequate to the stress of the music or not, and you and your decisions have something to say about the condition you are in to receive the forces making the music.
Now, it is a difficulty of speech that the high road and the low road may or may not arrive at the same place, but they are more or less impenetrable to each other. So when we give you a high-flying metaphor like the vast impersonal forces blowing through your lives to produce the music that is your lives, we lose the advantages given when we can explain things from your personal experiences. That is why we go so often from one to the other, to try to keep our explanations stitched together.
So, take what we just set out for you, which is accurate enough for all its high flying, and think about the life you are leading, the external and the internal of it, the waking and the dreaming, the practical and the visionary. It’s all true and it’s all accessible, but you have to pay attention to it if you’re to sort it out. And only those who need to do the sorting (need by their own nature, we mean) will be bothered by the need. Others will toss off the idea as idle or fanciful, or even as evasion of “real life.” That’s all just viewpoint as it shapes your lives.
I am again feeling that valedictory feeling as I have before at the end of a particular series of conversations.
You don’t know if this has gone along far enough to provide a book, because you weren’t thinking in those terms. Well, concatenate your transcript files and see. There’s no harm in a short book.
And the central topic or theme?
Read the book! How else have you ever figured out what has been said?
All right. But if I can sort of feel that we have reached a jumping-off point, a rounding off, I’m not at all sure we have even addressed, let alone answered, the question of “toward what?”
Haven’t we? If your lives are designed to allow you to focus and tune (so to speak) vast forces beyond your ken, is that not as much explanation as you can absorb?
Perhaps, but it isn’t really enough to be satisfactory.
We well understand. But you see, just here is where the great danger lies. At the point beyond which you cannot see is the great lure and the great snare. For it is here that you may be tempted to make it up as you go along.
Isn’t that what we do anyway? Necessarily?
Not in the same sense of the word. It is one thing to make it up in the sense of allowing yourself to be carried along rather than trying to steer against the wind or current. It is a different thing to cease to listen and instead impose your own design.
A fine line.
To be sure. An invisible line, sometimes. That’s why intent and character mean so much to ultimate success or failure. If you firmly intend not to deliberately mislead, not to prefer certainty to doubt, not to pretend to know more than you do – all this acts as a safety margin, you see. When you stray – as you will; nobody is perfect every moment – your center of gravity, your character, will pull you back. That’s what the building of character is for, to provide you a reliable center of gravity.
So, the Jung quotes that you entered into your journal many months ago and only now rediscover – “coincidentally” – as you go through old journal books, can you not see that they apply?
Of course I can. He allowed himself to speculate, but he never allowed himself to confuse speculation with experience. He kept in mind just how much he did or didn’t know, in formulating his reports of his long expeditions in the human psyche.
It is a good procedure. Now, Frank, you are not Swiss, and nor are most of your readers. You will not proceed in the same way, will not have available to you a doctor’s training, will not have Jung’s grounding in ancient languages and Swiss culture and the concerns of the 19th and 20th centuries. This is advantage as well as constraint.
None of you is designed to, or supposed to, or allowed to, live another person’s life, but yours. Your advantages, your circumstances, your desires and conflicts and opportunities and constraints are all unique to you, yet are part of the larger improv continually taking place, which without you is incomplete.
Fortunately for you it is not necessary for the actors to understand the plot, for improv has no larger plot within its own terms of reference than to see what happens. So with you. As to the larger meaning beyond the improv itself – whether it is for casting, or for training, or for general entertainment, or for reasons that are not apparent – there’s no harm in looking for them, but no assurance that you’re going to be finding it. Maybe your continuing search is the meaning, eh?
And that’s enough on the subject. If you’ll go back and put together this group of conversations, and see what they come to, we can proceed after that, or not, as you and circumstances allow.
Okay. As always, our thanks and best wishes.