Thursday April 5, 2018
5:20 a.m. I have been listening sometimes to Judith Pennington’s meditation CD, as last night, and reading David Solomon’s The Dead Souls Chronicles: A Zen Journey Through the Christian Afterlife, and the meditation, and what I read last night, reminded me to ask for a dream that I would remember and understand. I did wake from a couple of meaningful dreams during the night but I did not have a pad and paper there to make notes, so they are gone now. Still, the work gets done in our sleep. But I should remember next time to have a pad ready.
I know I had a reason to mention the CD and the book, and I look forward to learning what it is!
It is not you alone who must balance self-development with – shall we call it, perhaps, world-development, or perhaps race-development, or – what should it be called?
Well, shall we unpack the underlying idea?
Of course. That’s what we’re here for. That is, that’s what we’re doing.
The developing theme, as you must see, is now the stitching-together of two parts of one theme that are often seen as separate, even contradictory, pursuits: development of oneself and concentration on the welfare of the society as a whole, or shall we say either self-work or work for others. It is an entirely mistaken polarity, easily untangled, but only after one has a clearer view of reality than one is likely to pick up from society unconsciously.
It is hard to unpack, for a simple concept. I can hear in the background confusions that may arrive with words like “random” or “chance” as opposed to deliberate pursuit of wisdom, or deliberate study.
Yes, it is hard, or it is easy. Again, it depends upon the mind that receives it, how it is or is not prepared.
Jesus’ parable about the man who sowed seed, and some fell upon barren rock, some in fruitful soil, some among weeds and weed-seed, etc.
Yes. There was no implication in the parable that the sower of the seed was careless in choosing the ground to receive the seed. In fact, implicit is the idea that the seed was made available everywhere, only not every kind of ground would be receptive. Note, too, there was likewise no implication that it was the stony ground’s fault that it was stony; it isn’t as if by willing to be different it could have been receptive. The parable concerned readiness.
So, the seeming opposition between concentrating on oneself or on one’s neighbor, whether “neighbor” be interpreted as an individual, or a collection of individuals, or abstract groups, or “society” at large, or even the earth, say (as in ecology) or political or economic entities as such. This is a polarity that can be merely a misunderstanding or can be a true dilemma, depending upon one’s insight and definitions.
Let’s look first at the polarity as it is misunderstood. It is common for those who see this to escape this horn of the dilemma only to fall upon the other. So, self v. other. That’s how it looks. One can meet one’s own developmental needs or can help one’s neighbors, however those neighbors may be defined.
This is a product of unconscious scarcity-consciousness. “There is not enough.” In this case, not enough time, not enough attention, not enough energy. “If I give to others I won’t have enough for my own needs.” Or, put another way, “If I first take care of my needs, I’ll be able to use the excess for my neighbors, as far as it will go.” This is impeccable logic, and if the world were as it is commonly perceived, would be unanswerable. Of course it would leave as puzzles such things as the existence of altruism, and of the charismatic effects of people’s development past a certain point, and the suffocating insufficiency of concentration upon one’s interests along, and the everyday matter-of-fact seeming self-sacrifice shown by parents and sometimes by children and often enough by people with no obvious ties to each other or to one another. (That is, it isn’t merely one-on-one, but may be one among several.)
But you see, all this confusion depends upon the unconscious acceptance of 3D limitations as being somehow realer than they are. Individuals as units, separate in space, separated by time and genetics. Life as either a one-off, birth to death and then the end, or as a succession of struggles among Maya, enmeshed in delusion until one can escape from the 3D entirely. (Bob Monroe’s cosmology implies this, by the way.)
Change the assumptions – or we should better say, change the perceptions and the necessary conclusions – and what is left? Is it still a matter of scarcity? Is it still a question of first-tier consequences being what count? Is it still a matter of “you” and “not-you” in the larger sense? And, mostly, is there any real way in which you are, as opposed to appear to be, alone?
That being so, the seemingly inevitable conflict is seen as wholly illusory. At the same time, that doesn’t define it out of existence; it merely – merely! – helps you to penetrate more deeply into the question of what really is, what the choice really is, what the opportunity / challenge really is, once you take it out of what “common-sense” logic would define it as. You may kick the stone; it still exists even in not being as it appears.
(Stubborn matter-of-fact skeptical Scot Samuel Johnson, thinking he was thereby refuting philosophical idealism that said matter was not what it appeared to be, kicked a stone. I take it the guys are saying, he didn’t prove anything, true; nonetheless he was right as far as he went, in that there was a stone; he could kick it. Where his insight was insufficient was in thinking that proved that the stone – and he himself, his body – were what they appeared to be.)
That’s right. In 3D you must deal first with appearance, then you may (or may not) penetrate deeper into the reality behind the appearance. Given that you are part of things larger than yourselves, and given that third-tier consequences are real in a way that first-tier consequences are not (and vice-versa), your identification with a given point of view will determine what is real to you or not.
It will determine what the microscope lens is focused on.
Yes. Now, when you escape the 3D focus and realize that there are more, equally real, levels of reality to focus on, your scarcity-consciousness is apt to take a hit. It may attach itself to some given aspect of life – “There are only so many hours in a day,” or, “I can only concentrate on any one thing by not concentrating on something else,” but it needn’t. The way of out of the trap of perceived scarcity, of opportunity costs, is to accept that chance does not exist in any meaningful way. Once accept that your needs will be provided for, and you no longer need fear that you are wasting your time because you can’t see other opportunities, or because opportunities are being withheld from you.
So, if you are drawn to help your neighbor – in whatever way seems natural to you – you may be sure that this is not in conflict with your own inner nature, nor does it take from your inner needs. If it is innate, it is innate, and there’s an end to the question. To follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it, is to follow where your inner nature leads. If it leads you to this or that version of helping your neighbor, do you have any reason to think it is self-sacrifice to follow where you are led?
On the other hand, any impulse may be a way of evading responsibility. The same action may be genuinely out of your inner nature or it may be a way to avoid doing what you know you should be doing instead. And although this is stated as an either-or, in fact it is the same thing stated twice, viewed alternatively. The inner nature that leads you to self-development may also lead you to self-squandering. It’s always a matter of your choice, not a matter of merely being dragged along in the wake of a tugboat. In another part of your minds, you know this. Life isn’t as easy or as straightforward as it may be made to appear merely by concentrating on one aspect and ignoring another.
We shall say a little more about this another time.
But meanwhile here’s our hour, and a little more. Okay, thanks for all this, and see you next time.