Saturday, January 29, 2011
5 AM, and for the first time in a long time I feel like really communicating. Whether because I went to bed at nine, or because I spent much of yesterday in somewhat physical labor, moving books in cartons to TMI, then putting them onto shelves, then rearranging them by author, which involved a lot of moving around between and among bookcases, or whether it is that I neglected to take a nap at any time during the day – for whatever reason or combination of reasons I am up and seemingly am back in business.
I got up a few minutes ago – no, more than an hour ago, but I went back to bed afterward – and wrote the beginning of a column for The Meta Arts. I don’t have the meat of it, and I started to get lost in the middle of it, but I think I have the end, which is what counts.
Welcome back. It isn’t as if we went anywhere.
Actually, it is exactly “as if” – that is, that’s what it felt like.
Well, it would. You can only tell if there’s a fish on the line by the tension.
You could be an old boot.
As you would say —
I know, adequate comment escapes you.
It does. But nice to see you resurfacing.
I take it that there are some emotionally difficult issues to sort out, or I wouldn’t have had all these problems in communicating with you.
Not necessarily emotional problems. This isn’t the only way to jam up the works.
I’m open for instruction.
Well, consider. You have asked hard questions, sometimes. Not questions that are hard for us to answer, so much as hard to answer in any way that you will be able to hear.
Such as, what was the purpose of the Florida trip beyond some R and R. When you asked, you also clutched, and ran away pretty quickly. Hardly an emotional reason behind that, but you were unable to stay put long enough.
Well for one thing, the pressure of upcoming events and of uncertainties. Specifically, your talk to the TMI group, your moving books to the new TMI browsing library. Beyond those two specific things, questions of where to live, how to find a new place, how to get your computers working right, how to get a handle on so many computer files and paper files. Health issues, decompression even from the pleasurable disruption of your routines. A lot of things roiling the surface of your mind.
So what just changed? I gave my talk, I arranged the library, but I haven’t made a lot of progress at anything else.
This is a bigger subject than you at first realized. It’s the question of how do you live in the world and still keep your center. You don’t think of yourself as living very much in the world, but you do, of course. Just because you don’t watch TV doesn’t mean you’re a recluse. Emerson didn’t watch a lot of TV, either, or Lincoln.
They were always on their cell phones, I suppose, or texting.
No doubt. The point is, the external world provides distractions, yes, but does so in the same way it illuminates anything in your life – by activating the internal part of you that corresponds. Thus you can easily have a swirling chaos within you even if you don’t talk to anyone or do anything but read mystery novels or do crossword puzzles or – well, we were going to say “dig in your garden,” but for other reasons that particular activity would tend to reduce the internal chaos. But you get the idea.
Internal peace comes from – and generates – harmony. There is no one road to or away from it. Panaceas such as meditation or ritual are only panaceas for those they work for! That is, there is no pan-acea, no “one-size-fits-all.” What fits one person today may not fit tomorrow, and may never fit his neighbor. A couple of generalizations may be offered.
Now, one person’s slow may be another person’s full-tilt. That doesn’t matter. If you’re feeling scattered, slow down. Everything within you will be screaming for you to speed up, because there aren’t enough hours in the day, there’s too much to do, you don’t have time for the luxury of slowing down, etc. When you hear that coming from within – slow down. It is counterintuitive but true that the slower you go, the more you can do, and we’ll tell you why in a nutshell (not that we haven’t said it before, and not that you haven’t heard us sometimes and forgotten other times).
The more conscious you are, the more time expands.
We’ll say it again. The more conscious you are, the more each passing moment offers. You remember the year after your Gateway, that seemed to stretch on forever, to your delight, so that it seemed that the first anniversary of the program would never come around? That was specifically because you were living at a vastly more conscious – present – level than you had since you were a child.
So – slow down. Remember the Pennsylvania Dutch spoof saying, “the hurrier I go, the behinder I get.” There’s truth there.
That’s one generalization, and I thank you for it. Do you have another, or more than one other?
How about “suspend judgment”?
Is very true that the more you judge yourself or others, the more you fix yourself into one place, one viewpoint, like a bug pinned to a card. Very uncomfortable for the bug, and not offering much scope for living!
Observe your life, and the lives of those you care for – everyone’s life, in fact – and do not think yourself qualified to know what is good for you or for them. Their very inexplicability may be a function of their individuality which may be a function of their connection to guidance. We are not advocating eccentricity, here; we are just repeating as so often that you never have the basis for judgment. Not only is judgment destructive to your freedom of movement, because it fixes you into one viewpoint and reduces your ability to change positions, it also impairs your ability to really see. Thus, it impairs your consciousness.
Is the connection clear?
It’s on the periphery. It sounds like it makes sense but I’d be hard-pressed to explain it.
A firm position, an inflexible point of view, reduces one’s ability to truly re-examine anything from another viewpoint. If you doubt it, merely think of any of your politically opinionated friends (or yourself) and see how it is nearly impossible for them to sympathetically enter into another, contradictory, viewpoint. If they are pro- or anti-gun-control, say, or pro- or anti-abortion, or whatever. If they are strongly partisan. You read of the psychological mechanism 40 years ago.
Yes. Charles Hampden-Turner. Radical Man. He said that after enough time seeing others as adversaries, people lose the ability to see opportunities for joint constructive action.
And is that not a loss of effective consciousness? It is only a slight exaggeration of what may happen to anyone at any time, and therefore you might make a habit of examining yourself for calcification of the opinions.
I can hear people object that this would leave us nowhere to stand.
To the contrary. It will give you a much firmer place to stand, because broader.
If you know only one side of an issue, if you can argue only the one side of any stance, as if those with the opposite stance are perforce stupid or evil, how broad and stable of platform is that? But if you can see why people believe a thing, and nevertheless cannot bring yourself to agree with them, you are not locked into position by your excessive emotional investment in being right. (For, if you change views, either you become, or you were, stupid or evil, if you have so defined the holders of opposite views.)
Do you think the guys upstairs are unanimously pro- or anti-gun-control? Do you think we own stock in Monsanto, or boycott its products? Do you think we confuse political stances with morality? Rhetorical questions, self-answering – but we phrase it this way because in fact you probably tend to think something much like this, unconsciously. And as we continually point out, if it is unconscious, is not within your control. Only when a thing becomes conscious does it submit itself to your choice as to your stance toward it.
It has only been an hour, but I guess I’m out of practice. I think we need to stop. Thanks for all this, and for your continuing assistance with our lives.
You are quite welcome. Remember. Slow down. Suspend judgment. And, we may add, be joyous in your everyday life. It’s quite justified.