Riding on the train

Riding on the train

Friday, January 31, 2020

3:35 a.m. I am looking forward to this session, and I hope you can deliver what you promised, a preliminary use of three viewpoints to show how our lives are part of the larger world.

That isn’t how we put it, exactly, but yes that is what we’re aiming to do.

Bear in mind:

  • The relation of detail to overall does not itself vary, but the appearance may be vastly different depending upon where it is viewed from, and how it is measured.
  • The train leaving the station looks like the train moves, or like the station moves, depending upon the observer’s standpoint. If you are on the station, the train clearly is the one moving. If you are on the train, the station clearly moves away from you – except that you know it didn’t, and so you overrule your sensory reporting. Still, that’s how it appears.
  • A bird’s-eye view of the train and station confirms that it is the train that moves, and that is always going to be the case, considering one in terms of the other. But a view from even farther out would see that the station, though stationary in terms of its surroundings, is of course moving in space as the earth moves. This last may seem irrelevant, but let’s look at it.
  • Your 3D lives may be seen as the moving train. The objective world, the “external” circumstances around you, may be seen as not only the station but the tracks and sky and everything else; as the train itself, in fact, you being not train but passenger.
  • Isn’t that how your life feels? You being carried along, and everything around you being external and independent of you?

Indeed it is. Perhaps your analogy would be improved by the train being the moving present moment, always carrying us in one direction.

And carrying a carload of you at the same time in the same place.

Yes, that’s true, and a nice fine-tuning. So, looking at life that way, you as passengers in the train are being carried together, so that the train itself seems a stable reference point, and the places it passes move into the past. As far as anyone could tell, it was the outside scenery that moved, rather than your train moving through it, except, as we say, that you know better.

Yes, that improves the analogy considerably, because now you can see, more easily, that from an outside view, —

No, we’re getting bogged down, or I can’t quite get what you’re after.

Let’s leave the analogy, remembering though that it isn’t a bad image of 3D life: you as individuals being carried together on a moving moment of time that travels past moments that appear to recede and disappear. The future moments are not yet in sight. The past moments rapidly are out of sight. Only the present moment is in sight; only it feels “real.” This is the view between you and the “external” world.

That is, it is the view between our normal view of us in the center and everything around us being solid in a way we are not, and a –. No, dammit, again it’s all balled up.

As always, when you get wrapped around the axle, as Skip Atwater used to say, the answer is: Go more slowly.

Recalibrate. Okay, hang on.

Now, did you notice? Well, we know you did, but it’s worth spelling out for others. What we have been describing as recalibration is nothing more or less than a re-concentration of forces on this present moment. It is a focusing of your energies on “now.” And this tells you what?

I never looked at it that way: When we are scattered, we are scattered among time, not merely scattered among stray thoughts.

Better to truncate the sentence and leave it at: When you are scattered, you are scattered among time. This is a very counter-intuitive thought, and it will lead us a good way.

You say “counter-intuitive,” and I think, “but intuition is how it came.”

And that is just language getting in the way. Counter-intuitive means, roughly, across the grain of your habitual way of seeing things. At least, that’s what it means in this context. Yes, clearly a hit like that could come to you only intuitively; you have no sensory evidence to lead you to think that when your mental processes diffuse, they do so over time rather than, as you had thought, over what you might vaguely think of as mental space.

It is another example of Ram Das’s admonition that we should be here, now.

It is a different world, lived that way, with different rules and different possibilities.

And this is not digression, even if it was not in your script.

No indeed. Nor do we have scripts. We, like you, stay in the moment and process what manifests. We have intent, but how contact allows expression is always undetermined.

So now let’s go at it again, remembering that various snapshots taken from various places at various times will produce a more nuanced and fleshed-out picture.

I am very slowly reading Dion Fortune’s Through the Gates of Death. A little book, only 120 pages, well leaded to resemble double spacing. She is an example of someone offering different snapshots. Joan Grant, another. Ram Das, Neale Walsch, Richard Bach, so many more. It isn’t like we’re dependent upon any one source.

No, but it isn’t like everyone will or ever could produce identical pictures. Reality is so much greater than any of us, than all of us, that nothing and nobody can encompass it. The question always is, Does this view of things help me now, where I am?

Is it useful scaffolding.

Exactly. Is it useful. It doesn’t have to be absolutely the only way to see things. (Nor could it be, of course.) But is it what you need now, wherever you are, wherever you are going.

Well, we’re all in the same railway car, so I suppose we’re all going in the same direction at the same speed.

So you are, so we are – only that hardly exhausts the subject. It’s time to look inside the car.

Sure. Some are reading the newspaper, some are texting, or reading email, some are doing the morning crossword, some are napping or daydreaming, some are involved in active or desultory conversations with others. Some may be reading books or listening to music. We’re all passing the time in the same passenger car, but that doesn’t say anything about what we are doing, thinking, experiencing.

That’s a pretty serviceable external view. But viewed from within, what is happening?

Well, whatever is happening with that person.

Concentrate. What is the view from within?

Doesn’t that depend on the person selected?

What is the view from within that is common to all and specific to each?

We are being carried along.

Yes. Keep concentrating.

We are confined to the car until the train stops. (In this analogy we are ignoring the possibility of walking from car to car; no analogy is perfect.) While we are being carried along, we experience ourselves as “passing the time somehow.”

Yes indeed. You may or may not have any idea how you got on the train or where it came from or is bound for, but if you do, that is second-hand knowledge. What you know, what you are living, is that you are in this moving car with others, and you have to pass the time.

Some of you remember boarding and some remember past exiting, but no matter how you put context around it, you experience yourselves as journeying in a closed car and needing to pass the time somehow. We aren’t implying that you are or aren’t bored, or that your state of mind is always the same (clearly, it isn’t). We merely point out, you are all filling the time.

And speaking of time, more next time. Take your day off.

Yes, I intend to. Thanks, as always.




“The world will ask you who you are and, if you do not know, the world will tell you.”

Carl Jung




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