America’s Long Journey: The Telephone


Nineteenth century (1900 back to 1800)

The Telephone

Nothing romantic or exciting about the telephone. What could be more mundane? At least, that’s how it looks at first glance.

But the more you look at it, the more clearly you see how much that was to come depended on it. It turned every home and workplace into the equivalent of a telegraph office. It gave the individual the ability to contact others immediately, at that moment, without having to leave the room or depend upon a third party such as a telegrapher. At first they could reach across town, which was revolutionary in itself. With time, they learned to talk to different cities, then different countries and even – at great expense and for strictly limited times, at first – via undersea cables to other continents. In our time we saw the telephone networks coupled with radio technology, then with communications satellites, and then with computers. So that now we take for granted a global access that would have been unimaginable even to the 19th century which had come to take revolutionary changes in technology in its stride, as we shall see.

We, looking backward, can see how many future developments were built firmly upon that telephone network. Without a telephone network, no fax transmissions, for one thing, and no internet. And if today’s cell phones function without a nervous system of telephone wires, there never would have been such a thing as a cell phone, let alone an iPhone, if that system of landlines had not existed first. So let’s take a look at how the first aspect of everyday life came to function at electric speeds.

Inventions rarely spring from the labors of only one man; usually they build upon the work of others, acknowledged or otherwise, and sometimes the question of who should get the credit (not to mention the profits) is bitterly disputed. The invention of the telephone is one of those cases, but Alexander Graham Bell is commonly credited as the inventor of the first practical telephone, and this is not the place to pursue the claims of others. Regardless what others may have contributed, Bell was the man who obtained the patent, in 1876, and he was the man who made it into a practical business proposition. Developing commercially practical telephones, adapting telephone exchanges and switching plug boards developed for telegraphy, he developed a hugely successful business. It has been argued that, regardless whether it was Bell who invented the telephone, it has he who invented the telephone industry.

He was Professor of Vocal Physiology at Boston University, training teachers in the art of instructing deaf mutes how to speak. Information on how he came to invent the telephone, and how the telephone operates, is easily found. I won’t go into it here. Suffice it to say that on March 10, 1876, Bell spoke the famous sentence to his assistant, Thomas Watson, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” and Watson answered. This was the first successful bi-directional transmission of clear speech.

In June, Bell exhibited a working telephone at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. In August, he made a call between two points 10 miles apart, setting up a telephone using telegraph lines. In 1878, Thomas Edison invented the microphone that made long-distance calls practical. From that point on, it was a matter of continuous improvement, with various inventors and engineers adding additional features. Already in 1876, Hungarian engineer Tivadar Puskás, working for Edison on another project, invented the telephone switchboard, which allowed for the formation of telephone exchanges, which were soon linked via “trunk” lines. Today’s fiber-optic cable and digital technology are only improvements on this basic framework.

Like most commercial innovations, telephones were expensive at first, and therefore were at first relative luxuries for individuals, being mostly limited to commercial use. By the turn of the century, however, forests of telephone poles supporting dozens of telephone wires were common sights in all American cities. You can imagine the effect of American life easily enough by remembering the effect the internet has had on your own. More input, quicker, with more people. At first a novelty, it became a convenience, then a necessity, with unanticipated side-effects (the decline of letter-writing, for one) and logical (but often equally unanticipated) further developments as one technology was married to another (the public opinion poll, eventually). At first sketchy and rudimentary (for decades, many rural areas would be connected via “party lines” sharing service, each household having a distinctive ring pattern to know that a given call was for it rather than its neighbors), services were upgraded gradually but pretty continuously (as party lines, for instances, became private lines).

Perhaps the most drastic effect was to subtly change America’s sensory mix, in the way that the internet today may be changing us. As I said, nothing romantic or exciting about the telephone. What could be more mundane?


Nathaniel — an inside / outside view

Friday, November 17, 2017

4:30 a.m. All right, my friends, what is on the agenda for this morning?

Talk a little about the incessant reading you are doing.

Re-reading the six Dion Fortune novels, Moon Magic being the last. Reading Henry Adams on the U.S. during Madison’s administrations, currently reading about the War of 1812. Dion Fortune’s The Magical Battle of Britain, again, though hardly begun. Still on The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events. Still on Awakening from the 3D World. Never finished Holy Ice, a book about crystals. Set aside Parkman for the moment. Read one short story in Ted Chiang’s Stories of Your Life, which arrived yesterday with Cixin Liu’s The Three Body Problem.

And what does all this amount to?

Avoidance? Habit? I don’t know.

Talk about your lungs.

Well, I haven’t been really well since asthma started up again, as usual, in the Fall. September wasn’t bad, but it got going pretty well last month and was tenacious enough that I realized, I was just holding my own, between nebulizer and inhaler. But then yesterday I sort of had it out with it. Or, no, it was as if I were saying goodbye to it, as a long-time companion. I remember thinking I’d miss it, in a way. Immediately I thought that, it changed. It didn’t exactly disappear, but the intensity lessened, and I do suspect it will be going. Not entirely sure what this is about. A bit I do, not all.

Talk about the alligator.

If I must. When I was working with Jane Mullen on the 30th, at one point she saw what she apologetically described as an alligator within me, very tough hide, great snapping teeth. We both took it to be a defense-mechanism instilled or installed or developed or however you want to describe it, at an early age. I could see that it had been needed. I could see that it was needed no more and in fact had caused me a lot of trouble, I not being aware of it. So I talked to it and we encouraged it to leave, which it did without struggle. I felt the difference immediately.

And finally, talk about your ambitions and your steps not taken to achieve them.

I take it you mean the things I’d like to tidy up by writing them, as I did Dark Fire, rather than leaving them in limbo.

That, and the ones not yet begun.

Those as well. Lots of work to be done, but instead other than these conversations and their accompanying labor of transcriptions, I don’t do the work, I read. I watch movies sometimes. I do email. But mostly I read. I take it you have a reason for having me trot this out? I’m not very discreet, but this seems unnecessary.

Few people know how they spend their days, and few accounts would be a recognizable summary. That is, few people would describe their lives in a way that would agree with the way others see them.

Natural enough, I’d think. The internal view – I mean, the view from inside – is always going to differ from the view from outside looking in.

Indeed it will. But the view from inside may be as different from “the truth” – meaning, a closer description of cause and effect – as the difference you sometimes cite between intent and effect.

Yes. I point out sometimes, we judge ourselves by our intent, and judge others by their actions (and, often enough, by the effect of their actions). So?

So here is our view, neither internal nor external, both internal and external. The middle two terms of four-place logic, you see. [Rather than either “identity” or “non-identity,” four-place logic includes “neither” and “both.”]

I’m not altogether sure I care for the idea. If I go to the trouble of writing it down, sooner or later I’ll send it out, and maybe it isn’t anybody’s business.

And maybe it isn’t discreditable and you don’t need to worry about it.

And maybe it isn’t anybody’s business anyway.

And maybe it is.

Well, that stopped me. It is?

From our point of view, one’s intent means more than one’s execution. That doesn’t mean, “We forgive you for not doing X; your heart was in the right place, anyway.” It means, what you really do and what you appear to be doing (appear, even to yourself) are not the same thing. Not now, not ever. And of course – though it won’t seem to you to be an “of course,” Frank – none of this is special to Frank, it is one life being used as an illustration of Life.

You having to find somebody willing to be dissected in public.

We wouldn’t have put it quite that way. But, all right, say it is so. It is a valuable contribution, that willingness.

Now, you don’t know which you’d rather hear less, praise or criticism. Of the two, you are better at dealing with the latter.

There is a saying I don’t really understand but that comes to mind: “Praise to the face is open disgrace.” As part of my payment for services rendered, you might explain that one. It’s sort of how I feel, but I don’t know why.

Oh certainly you do, you just haven’t connected it. Think of your reaction to literary criticism. One praising (or criticizing, but let’s stick to praising) another, in a sense assumes the right to do so; that is, assumes that s/he knows enough to have the right to judge.

I don’t think that’s quite fair. Mostly, when people say they like this or that, they are describing how it affected them.


And what’s wrong with that?

As a description of how it affected them, nothing at all. As you have pointed out often enough, appreciation of one’s work by others is an artist’s reward, second only to the work itself. But if the praise or criticism pretends to be an objective judgment, then the would-be judge had better have some credentials, or it is a bit of unconscious or conscious arrogance, and an implied ranking of the artist by an authority.

I see the argument, but it seems a little far-fetched.

To your conscious mind, yes. We suggest it is familiar enough to other levels of yourself! And how much less are you (is anybody!) willing to concede to another the right and ability to judge your life and your being?

People judge all the time, and are judged.

Yes, and what a world of good it does them!

I always smile when you get sarcastic, don’t know why. Anyway –

You have described your life as you see it, and although you don’t quite realize it, or didn’t until this moment, that was a description of doing, not of being. And we would venture to guess that anybody you would ask to describe their lives would similarly describe what they did, not how they were.

For one thing, doing is a lot easier to get a handle on than being. You’re asking the fish to describe the taste of water, when he’s lucky if he can describe the fishbowl!

Aren’t we willing to describe the taste of water for you? That was our point. And, as always not so much for you as through you. you as example for others, because everybody is naturally going to be concerned primarily with their own life that is their responsibility, and only indirectly with the life of others. What they can see done for someone else they can extrapolate for themselves.

A pitfall for biographers, I always say, is thinking they have the right and the ability to judge, just because they have a lot of facts; the portrait they wind up painting is a portrait of how those facts affected the biographer. My life of JFK whom I never met would be very different from those of others, even those who knew him well, because I would see or think I saw different things.

So, to describe you, we would do the same thing you just said, though you don’t quite see it. We would describe you as the interaction of your 3D and non-3D selves. That unseen element is what people guess at, be they biographers, family, friends, or spectators. And we, having a ringside seat, in describing you who are willing to drive the pen, can thereby help others see their own unknown territory.

Go ahead then. I can always cross it out or not transcribe it, if need be.

Don’t we know it! But you’ll find no need. Our judgment is not condemnation but discernment.

Here is how we see you being, as opposed to doing. You live a receptive life,

Stopped dead. But, try again.

If people respond, you respond to them. If you read, you respond to what you read and to what it suggests. If you

Gritting my teeth, in a way, not because of anything you’re saying, but for some reason this is hard.

The process – particularly when it involves a description of yourself – requires you to maintain a difficult and uncomfortable position, neither passively conveying nor actively shaping, neither comfortably objective nor comfortably subjective. The content has less to do with the discomfort than the position itself.

I see. So, just persevere and get used to it?

That is always one way.

But enough for now?

Let’s try one more short passage. It isn’t what you do on the 3D level that expresses your life, it is what that doing does to who and what you are – and that is an on-going process. The nurse who helps a succession of patients, the lawyer who treats a succession of clients, the theoretician who examines a succession of possibilities – the list could be made and added to endlessly – all of you do something that is easily and inaccurately defined, but that doing is not the whole story. What you want to be, what you work at becoming, what you hope against hope is a possibility, is your realer life, percolated through that maze of doing.

See, as an abstract statement it wasn’t hard. But the concrete example is what would let people anchor it.

Oh go ahead then. I’ll let it though if I can.

If you will hold in mind any aspirations you ever had, and look at them, you will see your life differently. You wanted to become a saint, as a boy. You wanted to be a statesman, a famous author. Three easy if not altogether compatible illustrations. But you wanted other things, in different parts of your mind. Soldier and war hero, for instance. Explorers, pioneer, adventurer, a la Daniel Boone. Cowboy, like so many boys of your time. Later you found other ideals.

None of this shows you, now, but they illustrate the fact that what you yourself remember of the life that shaped you isn’t much more accurate (that is, doesn’t include so much) as what others see. And of course we are leaving out what you would cross out anyway.

You, day to day, moment by moment, are an ever-moving combination of various ideals and daydreams, various responses to 3D and non-3D stimuli – that is, the books, and the thoughts and reactions the books stimulate – and a thousand unconsidered but very real everyday reactions as you go about your life.

This has gone on for nearly an hour and a half.

We won’t embarrass your further, and as usual we suggest that you take tomorrow off.

I can see I’ll need to. Very well, till next time.


The psychological benefit of writing up your life

This seems particularly relevant in light of today’s session with Nathaniel. Writing a memoir of your life can be a powerful process. It isn’t about the audience; it’s about the author.

Nathaniel : Time to be practical

Thursday, November 16, 2017

3:40 a.m. Yesterday may turn out to have been a big day. I’m thinking that my session with psychic / healer Jane Mullen is continuing to show results. That was October 30, and it seems to me it was a turning point. Certainly, a lot has happened, mostly but not entirely internal, in the two weeks since then. And, as we know, “internal” is probably a meaningless distinction from “external.”

And you, my friends, seem to have been an integral part of the process of change, or development, and I am grateful.

The theme at the moment, you will recall, is the practical application of so much investigation. Naturally, practice is going to result in change, or did you do so much work over so much time with the idea of manifesting no more than you already were?

We both know better than that. John Nelson pointed out in one of his novels that so many people want to “change without changing.” I know better than that. I feel better than that, let’s say. But of course change always involves moving into the unknown.

It does and it doesn’t. Let’s talk for a moment about the “doesn’t,” for in a time when sweeping comprehensive change is all about you (“you” plural, you understand), it is well that people be reassured that they are not being swept away by a tornado of unbound and unbounded forces. To change metaphor, they are not wandering, lost in the desert, or adrift on the sea. They are, and they aren’t, depending entirely upon their connection to their larger self which they experience.

It strikes me, that is what this whole long story is about, in a way. Muddy Tracks, first draft written in 1997-98, had as its theme my own stumbling efforts to conceptualize life as connection to what I was calling the larger being. Everything in the time since – and before, of course, given that I wasn’t writing theory but trying to make sense of experience – is variations on a theme. Connection, expansion, reorientation, exploration, consolidation – it has been going on a good long time now.

And finally you are at another culmination point. You as an individual, Frank, and you as a part of a small open-but-closed society, and you as a part of a civilization spanning the globe. These are times of gathering and manifestation. They aren’t the end; there is never a “the end,” but they are a pause for

I can’t find the right word. Not “consolidation,” not “reorientation.”

Call it rolling readjustment, maybe. Not the end of the line, not the end of movement. Not a pause, even. More a moment of recognition, a reorienting.

And, I know, not just me. I do know that.

So. for those who are ready to make such preoccupation practical, we have been providing the specific tools. For those who are not yet ready (including those who will never be ready in this lifetime), nothing wasted; no one can know what seed will germinate at what time, in what circumstance. And it takes many iterations, sometimes, for a given statement to suddenly (or gradually) penetrate layers of dullness or misinterpretation or resistance. But for those who are ready when they read this, or re-read it, or think about it later, our theme-song has been, “You are not alone, you are not lost, you are not damned, or forsaken, or stymied.” You have not foreclosed your future by your past action or inaction.

Some scripture says “though your sins be as scarlet,” you can be lifted above them not so much by divine grace (in the sense of an external agency that offers you a lift) as by your divine nature (in the sense of an innate part of yourself that you can at any time choose to identify with). Can’t remember if it is a Hindu or Buddhist or Sufi scripture. It doesn’t sound Christian on the face of it, although if we take “repentance” to be turning our face resolutely toward another path, I suppose it could be.

[To my surprise I find (courtesy of, it is neither Hindu nor Buddhist nor Sufi nor Christian, but is from Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” I would have bet it was from the Upanishads. If I properly understand the sense of the chapter, Isaiah, who was a prophet, not a lawgiver, was saying, in effect, that God told him that God wasn’t interested in sacrifices or externals, but in repentance – that is, in voluntary individual reform.]

A difficulty of scripture is that it is words rather than someone’s presence; hence the words may be taken out of context; their meaning may be seen only one way; they may be used as law rather than as assistance. But remember, everyone who reads a book is directly connected to the author, hence to everyone else who ever reads it. This is as true of scripture as of any book else.

A two-edged sword, there, isn’t it? I can see why not only literalism but sheepitude are dangers there. the sense of being one of a huge number visible and invisible, living and departed, may convey a sense of certainty, and that sense (correct enough as far as it goes) may extend to a self-righteous exclusionary cult mentality.

You know full well that you cannot have a tool sharp enough to do your work without it being sharp enough to cut the unwary.

I used to tell my kids that.

Scripture is a very powerful tool, and therefore it gets misused and injures the unwary. Is that reason to discard it, or to post warnings for the unwary to have more care?

Not that they are likely to listen, being unwary.

(1) You never know. (2) The point is that you don’t want to deprive yourselves and others of that powerful assistance because the unwary may misuse it. And yet that is exactly what has happened among seekers who are intelligent, and independent, and sincere – often enough, desperate – yet so afraid of becoming sheep that they dare not take the food that will feed their life.

Not a new idea to me. Hard to apply, sometimes. I see it in my friends (or seem to; perhaps I misjudge them). If I mention God or cite scripture, it is as if I betray that I am childish or superstitious or, let’s say, had not overcome the difficulties of my childhood. I saw it in Colin Wilson, for one.

The touchstone always is a person’s sincerity and perseverance, not his conclusions or his walled-off areas. You yourself are not particularly open to scientific arguments that might tend to “prove” a meaningless or contingent universe. And, why should you be? That isn’t the “you” that it is your job and joy to express.

Yes, I know that. Obviously I am well aware of the value of Colin’s work in opening a space for seekers who are of a certain background and disposition – as I myself was.

Wouldn’t it be a reproach to a teacher if his students never went beyond his limits to their limits?

That’s a good way to think of it. I like that.

We return one last time (for now!) to the point. It is time to make all this dedication and inquiry and good intent and exploration and resolve practical. That is what we have been sketching out, not the way but anyway a way. This is not the time to leave your castles in the air.

A la Thoreau: “If you have built your castles in the air, your work need not be lost. Now put the foundations under them.”

Exactly. So, not two worlds but one world. Not spiritual or physical, but both human and divine. Not predestined or free, but both and neither. Not stuck and lost and hopeless, only thinking one is.

As a man thinks in his heart, so he is?

That’s one sense of it, surely.

And, like Daniel Boone, never been lost in the woods but once confused for three days?

Also true.

Very reinforcing and encouraging, as usual. Our thanks, also as usual.


More photos of Bruce

These, courtesy of Jim Szpajcher, are from a workshop Jim hosted for Bruce. In the group picture, Jim is in front, wearing a blue shirt and a big smile. Bruce, suffering the fate always accorded to tall people, in in the very last row (on the right).

The photo below, of Bruce illustrating a point with a gesture, will likely remind those who knew him of Bruce’s lucid, relaxed style of instruction.

An upwelling

(1) Bruce

Wednesday. November 15, 2017

6:50 a.m. Up again after maybe an hour and a half – not sleeping, exactly, but resting, anyway.

Very unsatisfactory session today. because no coffee? Because no idea where it would go? But either and both these conditions have been true in the past. Stage-fright lest Bruce come in?

7:15 a.m. This is the first time I am left with so unsatisfactory a feeling about it. It occurs to me, perhaps I am shirking.

Bruce, is it you, wanting to come through?

Of course.

Well, I don’t see that there’s any “of course” about it, necessarily. It has been a good while – years – since we met or even talked.

Not that that makes any difference.

No, maybe not. So – how are you doing? Surely you haven’t adjusted so quickly?

Why not? I wasn’t taken by surprise, and I had a firm idea of what was to come. Any surprises would be incidental; mostly I knew.

That’s reassuring.

If is as you have been told. The closer you establish the link while you are alive, the easier it is to change your base of operations.

I don’t suppose you will have completed your past-life review.

Again, why not? It takes place in an instant – it only takes a long time to describe if you have to string words together in sequence.

I trust you are satisfied with what you saw.

Anything can be improved on – could have been improved on, I mean. But, it could have been worse, too.

You did make a difference, Bruce. You came a long way from being a mechanical engineer who liked doing Lifelines.

I know that. It is very gratifying, but the strongest gratification is in the people I loved and who loved me. You’ll find it the same. Anybody will. Expressing and experiencing PUL [pure unconditional love] is a solid achievement. Other things are well and good, but they’re more transient, more tied to the moment.

Well, you always said so. I remember you telling me of how as a boy you were walking down the road and pulled the ability to feel and threw it away, because it hurt so much. We who knew you only as an adult watched you recover and develop it. It was very interesting.

Sometimes you have to lose something and get it back, before you can appreciate it.

Many, many people benefitted from your work on yourself, Bruce, even though only at second-hand.

You’ll find it is always that way.

So now you are with Bob Monroe and Ed Wilson and Dave Wallis and Ed Carter, with Laurie Monroe and with Rita presumably. Old Home Week?

Well –

How well I remember that, Bruce! I’d ask you a question – what is a capacitor and what does it do, I remember that one distinctly – and you would pause, take a drag on your cigarette, let the smoke out, look up and to your right, and start by saying, “Well –.”

See? Some things never change.

I don’t know, Edgar Cayce said once, “Where I am going, there are no cigarettes.”

Hasty conclusion. As to my friends, bear in mind that anybody may have mutual friends with somebody else, but the mutual friends are going to be only a small percentage of the number of friends and loved ones he has in all. Right at the moment, relatives I lost years ago are more front and center. But you know that is misleading. It isn’t quite that way, but that is one way to describe it. Anyway, the TMI portion of my life is one portion. There were many others, and what is important and productive and pleasurable and even urgent – I think we have urgent here too, although you might not think it – is going to change from moment to moment. Don’t forget, one realm, not two. We here and you there is a way of seeing things, but it isn’t really any more accurate than we here and you here, or we there and you there.

All one world. I know.

You know theoretically, but you will find yourself forgetting in practice.

No doubt. Okay, Bruce, any messages for your old friends?

Let’s say this is like having my manuscripts edited, all over again. I knew what I wanted to convey, and it came out in my words, but the editing process certainly changed the result.

I’m looking for the less obvious meaning of that, and I get that anybody you contact is going to in effect participate in editing your thoughts – if only by putting them into 3D sequential language – so we shouldn’t worry too much about consistency among various messages.

And you shouldn’t treat them as scripture, as you like to say. But there isn’t really any need for more at this point.

Give my regards to our friends as you encounter them, and congratulations on your new freedom.

I won’t go into it – ask your sources – but in the absence of 3D time, you are as “here” and as free as I am. But I know what you mean. Thanks.

See you another time, maybe. I’d say “be well,” but I guess that is no longer a concern.


I know what you mean! Okay, till another time.

(2) Heads and tails

8:30 a.m. True or not, I do feel better [after receiving and sending it], which is a test in itself.

11:10. And it must have done me some good, as I slept till just now when the phone rang.

12:40 p.m. Okay, I finally got it. My reaction to being expected to post my conversation with Bruce is an example of the attitude I need to overcome.

Correct. Modesty, even humility, is a very good thing as opposed to egotism. But any good thing can be carried too far. As we said this morning, you have begun to express deeper levels of who you are. You want to, but your own self-contradiction is getting in your way. And here is the thing: No matter how much the world might want and even need a decision, no one has the right to overbear someone’s free will. In fact, it is more than a matter of right; it couldn’t be done anyway. How does one force another to make a free choice? And an unfree choice is no choice at all, so has no force.

I take it that, as usual, this is not just for my benefit.

No, not just; but it is for you to pay attention to. We most earnestly implore you to pay attention to your own soul’s longing.

Interesting. It is in this issue of appearances that I am affected by public opinion. I, who am always congratulating myself on not having to hide.

It hangs in the balance.

Presumably if heads-me declines to take the indicated path, tails-me will, so what’s the difference?

In a way, free will is an attempt to have heads and tails both come out in the same place, which tips the balance, you see.

No, I don’t see, actually.

A long time ago down the chain of decisions that is your life, the path not taken by you – by the version you are tracing today – led to mastery. If we can encourage tails-you to take decisions that lead to the same result that that very old heads-you chose, the entire weight of your total being will be moved.

I still can’t say that I see. Maybe somebody else will. But I don’t need to understand it. I know what my deepest wish in this life has been, only it seemed impossible of attainment, without teacher, without school, without a discipline to lean on.

Don’t you know that people’s deepest wishes are apt to be granted? And, does it occur to you that your deepest wish is rooted in your deepest nature?

Meaning we already are what we long to be?

In a sense, yes, or why would you long for it? What would bring you to recognize it?

I get that I am depending upon the inner knowing that has always sleepwalked me when necessary.

You are not alone. You may have heard that.

I see. Well, all I know to do is what Emerson said, “Obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime.”

That’s all anybody could ask, and all you or anybody could need.

And I suppose the next step is to transcribe and send all this, and stand naked.

No one could or would force you to do so. It’s up to you.

Yes. All right.

(3) Typing

1:15 p.m. I suppose this is why you have had me reading Dion Fortune novels, which are all about people discovering their built-over selves. But this is no small thing you’re asking me to do. If I do this, I think surcease from asthma is not an unreasonable price to demand. But that isn’t the kind of payment in advance one can exact, I suppose.

2:05 p.m. If I type it up, I’m liable to send it. So – hesitating. No small thing, this; yet I suppose if I do not do it, it’s shallows and miseries for me. I just don’t know.


Nathaniel — expressing a deeper part of ourselves

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Each time I come to this, except when I know I will pose somebody’s question, I wonder, what today? So far there has always been something, and even when the result seems to me the most personal, I see that someone posts a comment saying that the session hit home with someone besides myself. Not that everyone draws the same conclusions I do, or interprets the information the same way, but – since I was given the notion that words are sparks rather than precision implements – I have ceased worrying about that. We’re all on our own, and we can only each do our best.

So, Bruce Moen died yesterday, apparently peacefully, after many months’ slow approach to his transition. I presume that he was as well prepared for it as anyone could be. My friends, any comment on that?

You are finding it more difficult, these conversations being neither private nor public, but a mixture of the two.

Indeed I am. I presume my difficulties are no greater than others may experience.

Each person’s experience will be slightly different from anyone else’s, as they [the individuals] are slightly different. Each will be similar, as you all have many things in common. This is so in all aspects of life, so of course here as well.

Very well. A sus ordenes, as always.

Well, not noticeably! That is, yes, you are very willing and cooperative; however, we should not care to predict the result if we were to try to give you orders.

It isn’t your place, after all, to give orders to 3D personalities. We may labor at some disadvantage vis a vis those not 3D bound, but we are no less immortal and self-sustaining (if you want to put it that way) as you. I know you know I know this; it is for the studio audience.

And, you see, part private, part public.

I don’t see what is to be done about it.

Who said anything is to be done about it? Be aware of it, make the adjustments as the need for them indicates. What else could you (anyone) do?

Very well. So, today’s theme? [Pause] Yes, I get that. I will center.

You must now learn to express a deeper part of yourself. This means letting it well up within you, thoroughly mixing with what it finds as it does so.

I get almost a visual metaphor, but I can’t quite find words for it. Quite simple words they will be, I suspect, when I find them. The image is of something boiling up through a liquid, roiling and mixing as it rises, sort of tumbling things in waves. Can’t find the words for it yet.

It is a good image, conveying process, steadiness, disruption becoming transformation, injection of additional energy, plasticity of form.

I keep thinking “ice cream” but that doesn’t have any of those characteristics. Strange. It is a fermenting, slow-boiling process that is just out of reach.

Not everything that may be perceived or conceptualized need be named. The important point is that they be followed. Fingers pointing to the moon, not the moon itself, not even the finger itself.

Yes, I get that. Life precedes understanding.

Well, sometimes. Like most such couplings, it is a reciprocating process, sometimes one leading, sometimes the other. But this is an example of the fact that the work can proceed even in the absence of clear understanding, certainly in the absence of precise description.

Another image that comes is of a river rapids. It’s all water; it is all water of the same salinity, chemical composition, etc. The difference is in what happens to any given part of the water as it is tumbled. Some gets aerated; gradually I suppose it all gets aerated.

Wild ride, sometimes; perhaps even [wild] for water.

We have now fooled around to not much effect for half an hour. If there is a theme here, I don’t see it. We have mentioned expressing a deeper part of ourselves, but the mention is all we’ve gotten to.

You are also painting a self-portrait as we go along, and all the better since it comes out in asides and unconscious allusions. It is well for anyone doing the work to remember it is not only okay to be a normal human being, it isn’t even avoidable. Only, normal doesn’t necessarily mean typical, and typical doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all except a vacuous abstraction.

Stirring is another image that comes to me. Stirring one element into another, producing a new homogenous liquid that is neither the one nor the other. I’d say it could be solids stirred, too, only there isn’t the sense of transformation that liquid has.

Stirring will do, so will boiling or churning. The general idea is more important than the specific clothing.

There is something I intended to ask or say, and it keeps almost appearing, then disappearing again. Presumably you know what it is.

We do because you do, on an equally non-3D level. But if you cannot receive it through your own internal channel, why would you expect to be able to receive it from an “external” channel still internally received? That may apply in cases where you have not been paying attention, but scarcely when you are.

Well, you tell us. That is a puzzling aspect of things, come to think of it. It applies to the whole process.

You must remember not to fall into the habit of thinking yourself in control of the process, merely because necessarily the material must come through your mind.

It is a temptation, that’s true. Sometimes it is obvious that I am interacting with a different intelligence; sometimes obvious that it is me; and sometimes not clear at all. Despite that, there is the unconscious tendency to over-reach, to think it is or ought to be under my own control, when of course, that is the last thing I’d want, and the last thing any genuine interaction could be. But. We’re all interconnected. You and my mind are at least temporarily linked, or we couldn’t be having the conversation. So why wouldn’t you be able to tell me things like what it is I am forgetting?

The question expresses a certain lack of clarity, if we may say so.

No doubt. Abstract reasoning is not my best thing. But I am presuming that you know how to bring more clarity to the question.

Not at the moment.

That’s puzzling in itself.

Never mind. You’ve been at this 50 minutes and there isn’t really time for more.

Nor much point in it, I guess. Well, I suppose not every session can be expected to be first-rate.

You do the best you can. Besides, remember always, you don’t know, nor need to know, who will get what from any of it.

True enough. Okay, then, I guess I’ll sign off. Thanks for being there.

We could say the same thing.

Till next time.

Till next time.