Wednesday, July 7, 2021
3:45 a.m. I have just spent a few minutes leafing through the past three sessions, trying to remember where we were going next, and failing. We neglected to leave a marker, last time.
You will remember, we said we would talk more about how the virtues and vices manifest in 3D lives. Isn’t that marker enough? At least, it will be, once you release unconscious expectations of control!
Is that what I’m doing? Thinking to control it?
More like, feeling you need to control it, lest there be no one at the helm. But it is not the helmsman’s responsibility to summon the wind, only to respond to it.
Always interesting to see examples of my working behind my own back.
It’s common enough. Now, let’s proceed and we might as well begin right here. The present little difficulty is an example en petite of problems that arise on a larger scale when the 3D self tries to, or feels it has to, function in ways that are properly the sphere of non-3D.
We get in over our head, you mean.
There’s no blame to be attached, not any implication of recklessness. It’s just one of those things that happen. So be aware of it.
Remembering to set my mental slide-switches to maximum receptivity, maximum focus. And immediately, I get that this is why Pride is considered the first deadly sin.
Yes if you look at it in a certain way. The assuming a greater competence than you actually have or could have: That’s pride, in this sense. We are not talking about such manifestations as pride of accomplishment or pride of position. In their place, there is nothing harmful or misleading about such things.
That is, you aren’t discussing vanity, but a misunderstanding of one’s place in the scheme of things. Or do I have it wrong?
That’s close enough. Remember, we are looking at these things as natural phenomena, not as moral failings. So, this morning you mistakenly took on something that seemed to be, but wasn’t, your responsibility, and this interfered with your doing what you really wanted to do. Is this a sign of moral turpitude, or merely of mistaken application? You see?
Lust, envy, gluttony, covetousness, anger, sloth or despair or ennui – aren’t they all going to appear natural, unavoidable, sometimes? They may be sins in the sense of missing the mark, but they are not sins in the sense of destroyers of character, unless actively embraced and considered to be good rather than failings. If there is one thing more than any other single thing that discredits Christianity and turns a helpful belief-system toxic, it is the seeing things as good and evil – which quickly degenerates further into seeing people as good and evil, rather than seeing them as desirable or undesirable, or as useful or harmful.
Yes, it isn’t discernment but condemnation that is the problem.
It is. What is more discrediting to thinking people than the concept of hell, where an all-loving God tortures souls forever? It is not only morally repugnant, it doesn’t even make sense. And it is necessary only if one looks at things through the fruit of Seeing Things As Good and Evil.
But as soon as you look at the same facts in a different light, you see that the scriptures are spelling out how these forces affect you, insofar as you experience yourselves as separate 3D individuals. Then once you extend your self-definition to something closer to the extensive network of traits that you are, the same definitions are seen in yet a different light, and they continue to shine a helpful clarifying light.
So now, turn to the cardinal virtues, and look at them in the same light as yesterday – as choices, not as mandates. As assistance, as tools, as attitudes.
As apps, I suppose the younger generation would say.
As apps, why not. So in your attempt to maximize your life, to express your potential, to grow to whatever extent you can do – and, to help heal your extended self – employ the virtues.
That italicized phrase –
Well, naturally discussions of growth and morality and health don’t ordinarily remember that your present life reflects helpfully or harmfully on many connected “past lives,” but of course it does, as they also do you. Your choices matter in terms of what you become, but they matter, too, in terms of what you help your larger being to become.
Huh! New idea, but at least at first blush, it seems reasonable. If we are here in 3D to choose and thereby decide what we will be – and at the same time who we are reverberates among all the other strands which we comprise –
Haven’t you often wondered why the universe (so to speak) should care about your own little life? Well, the answer is that there isn’t any “own little life”; you all extend in all directions – we all extend in all directions, remember; it isn’t in any way 3D and not also non-3D. So, if you want to change the world, change the people in it. If you want to change people, change yourself. Anything else is secondary. It’s easier to preach and to try to change people’s behavior, but the real work is changing (or maintaining) your self. That’s all you can do and all you need to do.
I realize that you are not saying that external works are useless; they flow from what we are.
Yes, but “They flow from what we are” amounts to, “Can a good plant give forth bad fruit?” What you are is your moment-by-moment creation; everything else flows from it, though it may also flow back into it, as a feedback loop.
So now look at how practicing the virtues – choosing to live the virtues – may have its effect.
Justice. Prudence. Temperance. Fortitude. To the degree that you live these attributes, do you not send helpful messages down the line to all your strands and all their strands? Living in faith, living in hope, living in charity of mind and judgment as well as in deed and activity – are these practices that can be futile?
No, it’s very striking, the practical light you show them in.
They always were practical. Do you think the ancient Greeks, the old Romans, would have bothered with meaningless abstractions? But wisdom disconnected from understanding does appear to be mere words. It is, in part, to help you reclaim the sense of living truth that they embody, that we have been traveling this long road. When you looked at the Gospel of Thomas, when we went through the sins and virtues, it was all necessary preparation. And of course one could always use more preparation, yet one always already has enough to hand.
I am reminded of someone’s saying that all the equipment in the laboratory is only for the purpose of turning the scientist’s gaze in the right direction.
Yes. We’re just trying to get your attention long enough for distractions to fall away, so that you can recognize and remember what you know. In a sense we are saying, “Do pay attention to the man behind the curtain!”
I presume most people will recognize the allusion to The Wizard of Oz.
We’re all about looking behind the curtain, seeing What Is as best we can, and sharing the view.
So, next time?
We are still setting our context for life after 3D, remember. Today’s thoughts should help. Next time, maybe we will glance at what actually happens when one 3D life impacts another. Not necessarily as dramatic as you and Joe Smallwood at Gettysburg; maybe more like the old man’s [spiritual] healing of John Cotten as it reflected to you. So much “time” intervened. So many “lives.” Your own character was already forged and half a century of it lived. What’s the mechanism here?
And after you clear that up, we will have gone five or ten minutes and will have nothing left to say.
We can play pinochle thereafter, except you don’t know the rules and we can’t handle the cards. Checkers, maybe – and in fact, maybe we’ll talk about checkers and Joe Smallwood. Till then.
Till then, and thanks as always.