Sunday, September 1, 2019
3:30 a.m. All right, my friends, ready if you are. Still interested in the larger picture, but as usual not particularly interested in theoretical information of no practical concern to the living of our lives. Some are, I know, and that’s fine, but to them I leave the question of the temperature on the surface of Jupiter or conditions at the bottom of the sea, or “the meaning of life” couched in terms so abstract as to have no application to us. What can we know that helps us live our lives?
Really, you mean, “What is the meaning of life, and how does it play out within and around us, and what is our role in it?”
I do. A description of the meaning of life that did not center on us would be interesting perhaps, but not useful.
Just as to explain the meaning of life to a tree might need to center on the nature of cellulose, or photosynthesis.
Yes. People don’t die inside from lack of facts but from lack of meaning. Lacking meaningful facts, they will attach themselves to anything that promises meaning, disregarding questions of truth.
It is an old, old problem. Religions are created to provide meaning, and what religion was ever created coldly, as a show? But certainty is not
Lost it, off on a branching thought.
You might as well discuss it.
I don’t descend to personalities here, if I can help it, and usually I can.
You mean, you don’t deal with the result of personal clashes here.
I have become accustomed to sharing these conversations. I shouldn’t like to set an example of somebody using this format to settle scores, if only silently.
Abraham Lincoln used to write angry replies, you know; but he was careful not to send them. He relieved his feelings without retaliating.
To post this would be to send the letter. And I don’t like to write these without posting them. It feels like the only thing I accomplish.
Then you will be unable to get assistance. It’s like going to a psychiatrist and carefully concealing anything you think discreditable. That may save your face, but it doesn’t get you the real assistance that an impartial and helpful point of view would offer.
Hmm. Trying to look better than I am?
Perhaps trying to be better than you are. It can be a fine line, and worth talking about, for after all, life is a long series of decisions about which impulses to encourage and which to merely yield to and which to fight tooth and nail. In a sense, that could be looked at as a process of trying to be better than you are.
And it’s a good thing, surely.
It is, but it has pitfalls. Worth exploring a little. So, here you have been insulted by an old friend. Abstractly you know why; that is, you know what is driving him. But personally, you, as the one on the receiving end, resent the insult. Perfectly natural. You are conflicted as to how to respond within yourself. You won’t lash out in return – at least, you hope you won’t, you resist the impulse, you know you disapprove in principle. But – internally?
Internally I have logical responses that I would like to deliver, and I have the impulse to “ghost” him, as they say – that is, never communicate with him again – and I prefer to emulate Lincoln and even Lee, who prayed for his enemies (and this is not an enemy). But there is a mixture of emotions fighting it out: anger, hurt feelings, resolution to be better than these impulses – a potful of contending forces. All I know to do is to not give in to anything, and ride it out without expressing anything negative. But does that mean I am not expressing negative things internally? That is, can’t we do harm merely by what we feel, even if less than by what we do?
Some careful thought will show you that sometimes unexpressed anger may be more devastating than expressed, particularly if not under the control of consciousness. You know that healing may be facilitated from one person to another non-corporeally. Do you have any reason to think – or let’s put it this way, don’t you know that so may cursing?
Your only hope of control is consciousness. Otherwise you radiate energies at a level inaccessible to you, and therefore unmodulated. This is why primitive emotions may be devastatingly effective.
No, I got off course there, didn’t I? try again?
This is why primitive people – that is, people ruled by primitive emotions – may be devastatingly effective in the world, while people of mild goodwill are not. But it is also why those who are in control of themselves, who are good by choice, let’s say, have the enhanced ability to do good.
Sorry, I feel what you’re meaning, but I seem to fumble the execution. Or maybe you aren’t as articulate as usual?
The first attempt to put forth something may often be clumsy. No matter, the spark will pass. To try it again: un-conscious goodwill is less effective than unconscious ill will. But conscious good will – focused, intensified, intended good will – far outweighs ill will conscious or unconscious.
I feel the truth of that. Why is it so?
Water comes out of a hose at the same rate, but its effect varies depending upon whether through a nozzle or not.
I see conscious v. unconscious. But what of goodwill v. ill will, or to put it bluntly, love v. hatred? Even love v. anger?
It is because life has a bias toward love. Love is like gravity, a force tending to hold the world together. Its opposite is not hatred but fear, that is, concentration upon separation and difference. Given this bias, any conscious work working with the bias is paddling downstream. Working against the bias paddles upstream.
But when we work unconsciously, or consciously choose fear and hatred?
Then you still paddle upstream, but your paddling is more vigorous.
So, paddling in love will be inherently more effective than the same intensity of paddling against it?
Yes, only of course life is never a simple binary choice, always a combination of binaries. It can be confusing.
You don’t say!
All your lives are cross-currents. There wouldn’t be much choosing to be done, otherwise. (That said, even one who is being carried downstream under terrific force may still have some ability to steer, even if within severely constricted limits.)
By the way, is this “meaning” enough for you? Was a discussion branching off from a personal emotional state less meaningful than a series of more abstract generalizations would have been? But it meant pushing though precisely what was uncomfortable. It usually does or you get “love and light” New Age clichés that ignore or wish away life’s dark side.
Well, I know better by now than to think you got diverted.
Yes, but we didn’t necessarily plan to go this way, either. ILC is a joint process, by its nature. Look at this session. The question posed was, “Tell us something meaningful to our lives as we must live them.” That offered plenty of latitude, and we merely kept the request in mind and let it play out according to what was active within you. If it had been something else, we still would have steered it to answer the request. It isn’t like there is any lack of possibilities.
And at the same time, it leaves a lot to be said another time.
If we happen to go that way, sure. But sometimes we call the tune, sometimes you do. And when you remember the overlap between us and you, it ought to ease your mind as to agendas.
It does. Our thanks as always.