[January 10, 2006]
(6:20 a.m.) My friends, I’m at your service. I was starting to say “before I start my work day” but realized that this is part of that day, and not the least important part. So —
You were struck by the ferry pilot who took responsibility for his failing to show up to work in a fit condition. Not only did he try to kill himself when he saw the results of the wreck; he appeared in court explaining what had happened and making no plea for mercy; accepting judgment, because no external judgment could be harsher than what he had imposed on himself.
This is what we often see when souls “come over” and are struck by the impact their decisions have had upon others. They judge themselves harshly, out of that initial shocking change of viewpoint. Yet is their harsh judgment of themselves justified? If so, is not equally harsh judgment of others equally justified?
One could argue it either way, and either way be right from that point of view. One way leads to accountability and responsibility – but also to narrow-mindedness, intolerance and harshness. The other way leads to wider understanding, empathy, compassion – but also to failure of standards of all kinds, indiscipline, and slackness.
Life in duality is a balancing act. You cannot do all good or even be all good because good is wider than your categories, and is split (in a manner of speaking) between opposites. To gain the good of one attitude is to lose the good of the opposing attitude. To embrace even the bad of one attitude is perhaps to escape the bad of the opposing attitude. And to refuse to choose between alternatives has its own good and bad aspects.
This, disregarding the fact that good and bad change identities in different contexts.
This brief discussion goes in as part of your on-going discussion of the virtue of seeing things from alternate viewpoints.
Thank you for that. Who should I talk to today? Or is it time to do other things?
All right. Very glad to speak to you. Looking at some of my pictures flash on the screen of the computer, photos from the Columbia River.
Yes it makes you think of Indian life. The odd thing is that it has never occurred to you that the warm family life you experienced growing up was very Indian, very tribal. You had a family that might as well have been a tribe, and your thinking about it – if thinking is the right word, really – was as if you were living a tribal life.
Your immediate family, quarrels and all, was your base. There were eight of you, not a chilly few. And you regularly met for birthday parties and were one of 15 cousins from several brothers and sisters who themselves had remained close. Your family feasts – Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving, even Halloween – were family time, and whenever you brought home friends as guests in later years they were accepted into the warmth and closeness, and for some it was a revelation, though you realized it not. All this is very Indian, as you and your sister Margaret are very Indian.
Yes I see it as you paint it. True, it never has occurred to me.
The reason to bring it into your awareness is that your life is – along one thread – a seeking to bring to a chilly industrial secular life the tribal sacred – casually sacred, perhaps we should say – life that you have lived.
“We” – does that mean we slipped from Yellow Hair to TGU in general?
Do you not yourself refer to yourself often in the plural?
That’s true. Well, on, then.
This is merely repetition for emphasis. Seek out the good and find new ways to make it live. There is no going back to older forms, and no need to go back.
Yes, I see: Part of our work is not so much the imagining of new ways to live as the re-envisioning the best of what we already know, and seeing how we can transfer that value to new things.
Your children’s lives – their childhood – seemed to you to be not as joyous, not as spontaneous and rich, as yours, because yours was lived so richly in imagination. But remember, imagination is invisible to others, showing only now and again a glimpse. The life of the next generation may be richer than you suspect, as yours may have been richer than they suspect.
All right. I’ll put this out and see who is jogged by it.
(11 a.m.) John Cotten, I hear you knocking on the door, I think. Yes?
Yes, friend. Your readers will not know how you came to rescue me – to wake me up, we would say here – some time ago in your time, when you did what you did mostly by remote control from your completed self. If that isn’t lifting yourself by your own bootstraps, you tell me what is.
You are gradually assembling the whole party of us that are known to you, and drawing us closer to your every day mind, and this is going to pay off for you – as it would for anybody who did it – by increasing your range. After you get a handle on those of us closest to you in temperament, disposition, age (the era, I mean) and geography, then you can use us to help you move farther afield.
Bear in mind, what is close to one may be very far to another. Suppose two of you in bodies each connect to lives in the 15th century China. For one of you that may be very close – as Bertram is to you – because of the close emotional and even mental makeup. But another of you may find a Chinese life very foreign, very tentative, because there is not the emotional similarity to bridge the gap in life circumstances. After you establish closer relationships with those you are most similar to, whether from geography or timeline or emotional makeup or even similar experience (work, home, travel, for instance) you may use us to provide the bridge. Indeed this is already happening in your case.
Now we might as well jump in here and say that the point about similar experience is important! Tell your story about the lake in the night.
Yes, it was in my mind. In 1980 my brother and I went camping in the Desolation Wilderness in California, off Lake Tahoe. One dark night I volunteered to go get water at a nearby lake, and for some unknown reason I insisted (not that there was an argument about it, but I mean I was definite about it, not knowing why) on walking over there without a flashlight or lantern. There was no moon, as I recall, and if there were stars visible they weren’t providing a lot of light. Anyway, I more or less felt my way across the terrain, came to the fringe of trees, carefully climbed down to water’s edge, and as I dipped into the lake had the strongest feeling that I was s a Japanese sailor, visiting long before Columbus, going to a lake in California at night for water. If I am remembering this right, I didn’t think it was the same lake; just a similar experience.
Don’t over-dramatize this. I knew who I was, and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary (I didn’t see much, in fact!) but there was this definite and inexplicable presence in my mind. And I knew he was there before Columbus, even though history said otherwise. And just recently I read 1421: The Year China Discovered America, which proves to me that it was possible.
Yes. Now, you see, the being in that place in that way (and in the absence of artificial light, which is a reason why you didn’t bring it) allowed a quick intuitive connection that had no intellectual content. Therefore your intellect did not shut off the sense of contact. But – because there was no context – you never knew what to do with the contact experience. Now, you do.
And bridging that considerable gap would in turn move me farther yet, or prepare me to do so, rather.