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TGU — the present moment as altered state

Monday, May 14, 2018

3:35 a.m. Very good sessions last week. Can we keep it up? Your move. How is our present moment a trance?

Like a trance, we said. It isn’t an exact correlation. More like a trance than like a physically fixed phenomenon. It is, you might say, always an altered state.

Altered from what? Altered in what sense of the word?

Altered in the sense of directed, focused, intended, in a certain direction.

I’m sorry but that isn’t nearly clear to me. It isn’t just that I don’t have words, it is that I don’t know what you mean to express. Oh, and I hear it. Okay, I’ll recalibrate.

Okay, go ahead.

Remember, vast forces are at play, personal and impersonal, and they are always at play, because the moment is always the present moment. There no more exists a dead past or a dead future than there exists dead matter. Everything is alive; everything is in flux continually, — only rather than “in flux” we would say is “alive and growing,” or “alive and choosing,” or “alive and interacting.”

What this means in practice is that instead of you thinking of a stable picture that gets perturbed, you should be thinking of perturbation as the stability. Continual interaction, in other words, is the norm. Change is not interruption or incident; it is the air we breathe.

This means, you see, that any present moment of reality anywhere involves the totality of being. There is no such thing as a local unconnected incident, if you examine things closely enough.

“All is one” again.

Well, we never said it isn’t true, only that it is misinterpreted, and accepted superstitiously rather than intelligently.

Because everything is connected does not mean everything is equally important at any given time-place (as 3D is experienced). But the relative importance of this and that fluctuates not by size or inherent nature or even by what is going on around it: It fluctuates according to intensity. You see?

No, but I am beginning to, maybe. It is different for each of us at any given moment because at any given moment each of us will be lighting up different things. Each of us will be lending this or that some of our own intensity, you might say.

That’s more the idea. What you concentrate on (deliberately or in reaction to some stimulus) acquires greater intensity. In effect, you promote it to greater importance. Not permanently, not for anyone else exactly, but at that moment and for yourself.

I am deliberately going slowly. I feel like I have about a fingertip’s grasp on the material.

Well, take these sessions as an example of just what we are talking about! You intend to hold a conversation with us. That is, it is held as important in your mind. You get up, you make coffee, you sit at your desk, you write with your pen, you even hold your fluorite crystal in your other hand in case it can help you concentrate. This is all intent and what we might call bodily indicators of intent, you see. The bodily indicators by themselves help, because they are habits, and habits encourage the mind to return to a familiar routine – you can’t call it “routine train of thought,” exactly; call it “routine area of interest.” But bodily indicators by themselves do not suffice; they degenerate into rote and superstition unless maintained in connection with active will.

I think of intellectual Thomas Merton – is this your thought prompting me? – praying and knowing the difference between active mental (spiritual?) practice and going through the motions. He must have seen the difference very clearly in his decades in the monastery.

But that [individual] mental intent flickers, if unassisted by habit. This is the origin of, and reason for, so many religious practices, you see. (We know that it is unfashionable to appreciate them, but after all any attitude toward anything not well understood will soon resemble bias more than understanding.) At any given moment, an independent mind may outshine minds in harness to a routine such as prayer, but over time, prayer bounded by – assisted by – routine and by community will attain a higher average level, so to speak, than will the fluctuating individual. One might say it is a function of a spiritually oriented community to provide a continuing average encouragement in a certain direction. This applies whether you look at a Benedictine monastery or a Gurdjieff community or a Zen Buddhist temple or whatever. Islam attempts to make every day a day of habitual prayer (five times a day, and in public) as a way of doing what the medieval church in Europe did.

Got interrupted just now. Continue?

That little aside was to show you that what we are discussing has its practical application in your everyday life. (If it did not, why bother talking about it? Instead we would talk about something that did have practical application.)

Now, as we have said from the beginning, you continually choose what you want to be, and this is one aspect of that process. If you repeatedly fix your intent upon one thing, it in effect acquires a relatively permanent importance in the scheme of things. You “voted” to make it more important (to put it into Ed Carter’s terms). You emphasized one thing and in the process automatically de-emphasized its opposite. You said, “I choose to value this, to be this, and not that.” (You might, of course, have said you choose to be this and that, and in effect not the other; our point is not rejection so much as selection. Even choosing to accept everything would be in effect to reject the option of rejecting something.)

So if I get the point of this, you are describing the mechanism of “create your reality.” We fixate on what we fixate on, and that assumes correspondingly greater importance.

That is a very acceptable way to see it. Now, bear in mind the distinction we are beginning to draw between personal and impersonal forces; between personal and impersonal reality.

Yes, I see it. Although I don’t have a clear idea of what the vast personal forces are, at the moment, I can see that they would be the things that would directly enter into our choice. Seth concentrated on these in order to restore to us our sense of our power. But there are also vast impersonal forces in play that need to be taken into account, if we are to have a more complete picture.

That’s correct. Your intent for the ever-present ever-current living moment is not the whole story – how could you think it is, when your whole lives tell you otherwise? You have to factor in the existence and influence of the vast impersonal forces that create the “weather” in which you do your intending. If you will hold in mind an image of any given present moment being more a trance than an objectively bounded condition, you will be in a place to continue. So let’s pause here.

Okay. See you next time. Thanks as always.

 

TGU — the trance of the living present moment

Sunday, May 13, 2018

4:35 a.m. Okay, yesterday you talked about vast forces impersonal and personal. You said you also wanted to talk about the trance of the living present moment.

The trance that is woven by those forces, you see.

Well, I don’t see, not yet, but I imagine you intend to show me.

We do. Remember, this refers to the interface between personal reality and impersonal reality.

Hmm. The first Seth book I ever read was called The Nature of Personal Reality, but it never occurred to me until this moment that it might imply a corresponding impersonal reality.

But now it appears obvious, which tells you something.

Yes. It tells me that I wasn’t very perceptive, and that the very obviousness of the congruence of the two indicates that the perception that it implies is right.

Your very life should have told you that what Seth was saying wasn’t the whole story.

Should have, but didn’t.

Seth was trying to fill out the picture. In the 1970s, the West took for granted that reality was impersonal. He was there to say, “No, you are not flies trapped in amber. You create your reality.” Only, that was a corrective, not a full statement, and was so deliberately, as only an exaggerated emphasis on one end would compensate for the exaggerated emphasis on the other end that was an entire materialist civilization’s assumptions. It was Seth against the world, so to speak. But now you live in the world Seth helped reshape, and it’s time to re-trim the ship again.

What you’re saying makes sense.

Thank you.

Very funny. You know what I mean.

We do. And in a mild way, we mean thank you – thank you for not putting Seth up on a pedestal either. [“Either,” I take it, meaning because I don’t put TGU there anymore either.]

Well, I do regard him as the gold standard in these things.

And that is warranted. What would not be warranted would be to canonize an idea of Seth, or to treat his every word and concept as if sacred and not subject to reconsideration according to context. So, thank you for remembering not to do that. As soon as you regard as final someone’s words (which, realize, will always amount to your understanding of those words), you have lost most of the value of those words. Words are meant to be sparks, remember, not nails in a coffin. Didn’t Seth say that he came in this way – as words rather than as a physical presence – so that people would not be able to turn him into a prophet, and his words into scripture?

It’s a common tendency, though. You know that.

That is why we are thanking you for not succumbing to the temptation.

Now, you may think this is a diversion from our topic, but in fact it is an illustration of it. It is the

Yes, I hear it: Slow down, recalibrate. I notice I get that message usually when you are about to unpack a complicated concept.

That’s when it is usually needed. If it is only a matter of your expressing what we are saying – your finding words for the knowings or feelings that are coming through – you do that fluently, product of long practice at writing plus long practice, by now, of that kind of translation. It is when we come to a bundle of interconnected ideas that we or you have not tried to put into sequential thought – which is what language consists of, sequential thought – that we sometimes need you to change gears, slow way down, reach for the understanding and allow itself to unfold within you.

I have usually experienced that as my being impetuous, and needing to restrain it.

That is true relatively; in those instances, you see, you are overrunning the process. You are moving at your customary pace, but over terrain that doesn’t justify that pace. It isn’t a criticism of you or of your practice; it is a readjustment so you don’t run out of breath on the uphill slope, so to speak.

Okay. That’s an interesting way to think of it. So, you were saying?

[The following came out as one long paragraph, which I went back and reformatted as bullets, for easier understanding.]

The trance of the present moment consists of several elements.

  • Every individual’s private world.
  • The sum of those private worlds.
  • The drag of what was established previously, and
  • The drag of what is in process.
  • The “weather” provided by the interface of the vast impersonal and personal forces upon these individual private worlds.

That’s a lot of unpacking in prospect.

Yes it is. But as so often, you will see that what you wind up with is a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar, both more strange and less strange than you might expect. As usual, we’re showing you things you already experience, but from our viewpoint rather than yours, and in a different context. What we are always painting isn’t hard, it’s just different.

So let’s go down the list, annotating, and see what we have.

I’ll put your graf into bullet points when I transcribe this.

Good idea. You might mention (but you didn’t, so we will) that you were tempted to do so as we gave them to you, but didn’t know if there would be enough to warrant it. That is an example of the kind of editing-on-the-fly that the work entails. We mention it lest others be deterred as you were once, when they realize that they are an integral part of the process of deciding how the thought is presented. We are not Seth, dictating.

Yes, I get that. In some ways it would be easier on me if you were.

You wouldn’t stand for it, and anyway that isn’t the need at this point. Very well, the bullets:

  • Every individual’s private world. Your life as you experience it. What you are accustomed to calling your subjective life. This is the only inner reality you know.
  • The sum of those private worlds. You are not the world. Everyone else has a private world that is the world to them. Reality consists of all these worlds separately and all these worlds considered as one thing.
  • The drag of what was established previously. This might be subdivided, because it includes many things often considered individually. Your cultural heritage. The physical reality of whatever has been done: buildings constructed, rivers dredged, hilltops strip-mined, etc. The habits and perceptions that are embedded in experience – hunters’ wisdom, say; skills and trades and accustomed routines.
  • The drag of what is in process. This is not so easily seen until described, but call it the tendencies established by whatever is in existence as a result of past actions. The zeitgeist, in a restricted sense. The age’s idea of what is realistic and possible, and of what is fantastic and even unthinkable.
  • The weather. This of course requires a lot of discussion, but for now let’s say the aspect of the zeitgeist that is the way any present moment is affected by the vast forces that are not generated by human mental activity but do affect on-going human mental activity.

Your present moment is never as simple and straightforward as it appears.

No, clearly not.

Well, the interaction of so many factors is what we are calling the trance of the present moment.

I haven’t quite worked out what you’re wanting to add, there.

It is a common way to see the present moment that we’re trying to see how to undermine, and it is our hesitation you experience.

Interesting. Your hesitation. I was assuming it was mine.

That’s why we pointed it out, to correct the idea.

Let’s say this. Any given present moment is not simply the addition of a moment of time to a fixed past. We know it looks that way to a certain habit of mind, but it isn’t so. Neither is it tabula rasa, totally malleable to any individual will. (If you think it is, try moving Egypt to Indonesia, or if that’s too hard, try reversing the result of any recent public action, or, for that matter, relocating yourself across the world – or next door! – instantly.) The present moment is always an interface, and it is more plastic than fixed, but fixed in the limits of the boundaries of the factors that surround or inform that plasticity.

Did I get that right? It doesn’t sound right.

We mean, it is fixed but not by physical inertia nor even by mental inertia. Rather, it is more like a trance than a ratio, or the results of a formula.

Some good unpacking, here. Enough for today.

Okay. Thanks as always, and until next time.

 

America’s Long Journey: The Mexican War

 

The story of how Texas won its independence in 1836 is told in its own section, below. From 1836 to 1845, Texas led a precarious existence as an independent republic, officially recognized by Great Britain, France, and the United States, but desiring to join the Union. When Texas did finally enter the Union as the 28th state on December 29, 1845, war with Mexico soon followed.

Here, as elsewhere, it is important to remember that hindsight varies with the times. Sometimes certainties are merely our own unconscious prejudices. It is tempting to see that war as simple American aggression against a relatively blameless neighbor. Indeed, many saw it that way at the time, and it shocked those who thought of the United States as a new beginning in world affairs. Emerson said it as part of a poem:

“But who is he that prates Of the culture of mankind, Of better arts and life? Go, blind worm, go, Behold the famous States Harrying Mexico With rifle and with knife.”

Most Whigs opposed the war, wanting to strengthen the economy with industrialization, rather than expand it. Most Democrats, on the other hand, supported expansion as the nation’s “manifest destiny to overspread the continent allotted by Providence for the free development of our yearly multiplying millions.” At any rate it wasn’t as simple as President Polk made it out to be in his message to Congress, in which he said that Mexico had “shed American blood upon American soil.”

But whatever the ultimate rights and wrongs of the situation, Mexican actions in crossing the Rio Grande and attacking American soldiers had precipitated a state of war, and then the war had to be fought and won. Once it came to war, the situation had a logic of its own.

Mexico was in political chaos, insolvent, with no conceivable way to pay the many outstanding financial claims against it except perhaps to cede the territories of New Mexico and California in return for the American government undertaking to pay Mexico’s claims. These territories, though long part of Mexico, were largely frontier lands, unsettled, ungoverned, and unprotected, with Americans, rather than Mexicans, constituting much of the non-native population. The fear was that if the United States did not take possession, they might fall to the British Empire, then in its heyday.

What’s more, the people of Northern Mexico didn’t necessarily object to the transfer of sovereignty. In the 25 years since Mexico became independent in 1821, it had become less and less able to defend the northern half of the country. Comanche, Apache, and Navajo Indians, especially Comanche, engaged in large-scale raids hundreds of miles into the country, stealing livestock and killing thousands of people. When American troops entered northern Mexico in 1846, they found a demoralized people who offered little resistance, perhaps preferring their new masters to their old, perhaps not, but at any rate appreciating the greater security that the American military presence promised.

The genesis of the war was simple enough. Texas had won its independence in 1836 on the battlefield at San Jacinto, in which Sam Houston’s army captured Mexican president (and general) Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Santa Anna had signed the Treaties of Valasco, which recognized the Rio Grande as the boundary of the Republic of Texas, but the government of Mexico repudiated the treaties, did not concede the Texas independence, and insisted that in any case the Nueces River was the limit of the territory that it controlled de facto.

For political reasons, the Congressional resolution annexing Texas deliberately omitted any mention of the Rio Grande boundary, but when the Republic of Texas became the 28th state, the United States inherited its territorial claims. President Polk sent General Zachary Taylor to Texas, and by October 3,500 Americans were on the Nueces River, ready to occupy the disputed land. In November, Polk sent a secret representative to Mexico City to offer $25 million for the Rio Grande border in Texas, to forgive the $3 million owed to U.S. citizens for damages caused by the Mexican War of Independence [from Spain] 25 years earlier, and to pay another $25 to $30 million in exchange for the two territories of Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo México.

Mexicans refused to deal. When president Jose Joaquin de Herrera considered receiving the president’s envoy, he was accused of treason and deposed, and a more nationalistic government publicly reaffirmed Mexico’s claim to Texas.

At this, President Polk ordered General Zachary Taylor south to the Rio Grande, about 150 miles south of the Nueces. Mexico demanded that Taylor withdraw. Instead, Taylor constructed a makeshift fort on the banks of the Rio Grande opposite the city of Matamoros. On April 25, 1846, a 2,000-strong detachment of Mexican cavalry attacked a 70-man U.S. patrol, routing it and killing 16 American soldiers. American blood had been shed, to be sure. On American soil? Polk thought so, or pretended to think so, and sent a message to Congress saying so. Congress approved a declaration of war on May 13.

Santa Anna persuaded the Americans that he would work to sell the contested territory at a reasonable price, and he persuaded the Mexicans that he just wanted to fight for his country. Or course, as soon as he got command of an army, he double-crossed everybody, declaring himself president and trying to fight off the Americans.

In May, Taylor and 2,400 troops defeated 3,400 Mexicans in the Battle of Resaca de la Palma, in fierce hand to hand combat. Taylor’s troops crossed the Rio Grande and took the city of Monterrey, then in February, 1847, held the mountain pass at Buena Vista against an attack by 15,000 Mexican troops led by Santa Anna personally. A second army under General Winfield Scott was transported by sea to the port of Veracruz, and on March 9, 1847, Scott performed the first major amphibious landing in U.S. history, using specially designed landing craft and 12,000 volunteer and regular soldiers to offload supplies, weapons, and horses. Veracruz surrendered after 12 days. Scott then marched westward toward Mexico City, defeated Santa Anna at Cerro Gordo, captured Puebla, the second largest city in Mexico, and successfully stormed Mexico City in August.

Meanwhile, a U.S. cavalry force reinforced by a Pacific fleet had invaded western Mexico, lest Britain seize the area. California was won by army and navy operations, culminating in the treaty of Cahuenga on January 13, 1847.

President Polk achieved his goal of American territorial expansion to the Pacific coast. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo forced Mexico to cede Alta California and New Mexico to the United States in exchange for $15 million and the assumption by the United States of $3.25 million of debt owed by the Mexican government to U.S. citizens. Altogether, adding up territory lost by the secession of Texas, the territory ceded after the war, and the Gasden Purchase of 1853, Mexico’s land-mass was reduced by more than 55%. However, the land lost was mostly empty of Mexicans. Alta California contained only about 14,000 Mexicans; Nuevo México, fewer than 60,000. Of those, the great majority chose to remain where they were rather than relocate to the south.

With time and politics, the war came to be seen in the North as a Southern plot to gain new territory geographically suited for the expansion of Slavery, and that view, though not complete, was not wrong. The question of whether the newly acquired territories were to be free or slave brought the Union closer to Civil War. It might have come in 1850 – almost did – but in 1850 political opinion in the North had not been hardened by a decade of ever-increasing defiance, insolence, and invective hurled at it day by day by representatives of the South. That defiance stemmed from a sense of injustice, as the Southerners saw what looked to them like a conspiracy to deprive them of the spoils of a war that had been largely fought by Southern troops. President Ulysses S. Grant, who served in Mexico under General Taylor as a young army lieutenant, said in his Memoirs: “The Southern rebellion was largely the outgrowth of the Mexican war. Nations, like individuals, are punished for their transgressions. We got our punishment in the most sanguinary and expensive war of modern times.

TGU – Vast personal forces

Saturday, May 12, 2018

10:55 a.m. Shall we go again? It’s easier than trying to do the work I find runs so counter to my grain. Notes and logical analysis and all that – necessary to do what you want done, and I hope it will be done by somebody for whom it is as easy as these conversations are for me. Why can’t we each stick to our specialty?

In any case – more?

We can’t do this together all day, but we can do more if you wish, bearing in mind that you won’t be doing it next weekend. [My AIG weekend course runs from next Friday to Sunday.]

We ended somewhat abruptly, I felt. Maybe that was me, looking at the clock and seeing that our usual hour had elapsed.

Or that you were at the end of a page? No, such things might enter into a breaking of a connection, but at other times you might go 70 or 80 minutes. No need to assume that you abandoned ship. If we ended abruptly, perhaps that has as much to do with the deep waters we are about to plunge into as with the lapse of time.

You were at the end of a section, you mean?

It was a reasonable place to pause, put it that way.

Initially you said you wanted to discuss vast impersonal forces, vast personal forces, and the trance of the living present moment.

Nor will we do more than begin on any of the three topics, of course. But, as a way of providing an initial orienting view, fine. So let us leave off the topic of impersonal forces for the moment, and touch on the subject of the vast personal forces that frame and influence and even animate your 3D lives.

I’m getting the sense that there’s less difference between the two than the adjectives would suggest.

It’s always more a matter of perspective than of any absolute relation. If you look at any two things from one angle, you see the ways in which they are connected. Look at them from a different angle, and the differences are accented. So long as you remember this, you won’t go making absolute (and therefore arbitrary) distinctions that in their absoluteness become unreal.

Why do religions stress the personal relation between the individual and the divine, do you suppose?

Can we take that as a given? Animism? Buddhism, for that matter? Pantheism?

Good reservation, but look slowly. Even if we take Buddhism to be a religion, does it not center on each person? If we take animism or pantheism to be religions in the same way as what are called “the higher religions,” do they not center on the relation of the person to All That Is? For this moment, we are centering our discussion not on any religion’s idea of God or gods or any formulation, but instead on the believer. We maintain that all religions stress that the person is not stranded among uncaring forces that take no notice of him. Is that a clearer way to state it?

It is clearer; I don’t know still if I can agree with it – and you did ask if I did.

By implication, yes we did. Very well, let us drop the implication and return to making flat statements subject to your later examination.

That might be easier.

“Jesus loves me.” Powerful statement. “God is love”: In some ways a less powerful statement, or a more powerful, depending entirely upon whether the soil the seed falls on is fertile or stony.

I am feeling that you would like to give other examples, but I’m not familiar enough with them.

It needn’t be confined to what you (any of you) call religion. The work of Emoto demonstrates what we might call oneness in compassion. Any way of seeing the unbroken oneness of creation sooner or later comes to the oneness of that creation with its creator – and when it does, who cares (in a sense) how that creator is conceptualized? Now, you do care, obviously, because if that creator is seen as The God of Wrath, or as a tyrant in the image of an ancient Near Eastern king, or of Thomas Hardy’s conception –

“Like flies to boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport.”

[Incorrectly remembered. The actual lines, from King Lear: “As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods, They kill us for their sport.”]

It makes a difference. The Good Shepherd is a radically different concept. But even a god conceptualized as a vengeful demanding tyrant may still embody (so to speak) the personal element. “You’d better follow his commandments or he’ll clap you into hell when you die, and maybe torment you while you’re still alive.” You see? It isn’t pleasant, it isn’t even entirely sane, but it is a personal relation, as if you were living with a vitriolic unpredictable father. Even that may be in some ways preferable to being an orphan whom no one cares for.

Obviously – we hope it is obviously! – we aren’t advocating any of these conceptualizations as the only accurate way to see it. Instead, we are saying, people have always felt that personal relation to forces that otherwise seem entirely not personal. It is not as simple as saying your ancestors were stupid cowardly superstitious people who personified impersonal manifestations so that they would feel more comfortable. In fact, you could very nearly make the opposite accusation against your contemporary dyed-in-the-wool materialists, and say that they ignore all evidence of teleology in nature, all evidence of non-sensory interaction, all evidence of the created-ness of creation, solely because they find it more comfortable to believe in a mostly dead universe without meaning.

No, people sense these vast personal forces, they just don’t have any commonly agreed upon way of looking at them.

So I take it you are going to suggest such a way?

That’s what we’re doing, right along, of course. Sure. Only, as always, absorb the idea, then wrestle with it. What you reject and reconfigure may be an advance in everybody’s understanding. But – again as always – you can’t get anywhere by refusing to consider a thing except in so far as it agrees with what you already think. How can you experience the clarifying shock of unrecognition if you refuse to look at things you have previously rejected, or refuse to look at things in a new context?

You might think of the vast personal forces in your life as local variants of the vast impersonal forces.

That needs translating. The image that comes to mind is electrical, transformers stepping down current.

A serviceable analogy, if a bit impersonal

Well, a dialect as opposed to a language.

Let’s say, speakers of a dialect, as opposed to speakers of a larger language. Yes, that’s getting there. or families as opposed to clans as opposed to nations as opposed to all humanity as opposed to all mammals, etc. You do have the basic idea there. Unlike the vast impersonal forces that are like the weather, products of forces beyond you, the vast personal forces we refer to are very much the byproduct of human mental and emotional activity. That activity usually results in physical activity, but it is the mental field itself that concerns us at the moment.

But this is enough for now. In the first place, we’d just as soon end on a suggestive rather than a definitive note, and in the second place, this is as much as a usual session, and enough is enough. Don’t come back for another bite of the apple today. If you do, we can’t stop you, but why should you ignore counsel given for your benefit?

I know, remember what happened to Edgar Cayce when he refused to listen.

Remember what happens to Frank DeMarco when he refuses to listen!

Smiling. Got it. Okay, till next time.

 

TGU — Vast impersonal forces

Saturday, May 12, 2018

4:15 a.m. All right, guys. The discussion of the inertia and the plasticity of the single present moment seems to have drawn people’s assent. So today, building upon that –?

Vast impersonal forces, vast personal forces, and the trance of the living present moment.

Okay. Sounds like you have a lesson plan prepared.

We smile. Let’s say, We’ve done this before.

That’s my line.

Most of what we can say depends upon your lines: That is our lexicon, our vocabulary, even to a degree our grammar. That is one reason why we continually encourage others to enter the fray (as you do too, re realize). Every new voice brings to the task a slightly or greatly different toolset, and the more skills and experiences we have available to work with, the better we can do. More participants not only reduces the guru factor – a good objective in itself – but reduces the pressure on each of them to think, “I’m nobody special, what can I add?” and – you will recognize this one particularly – “What if I get it wrong, and mislead people?”

It’s a different form of “Safety in numbers.”

It is.

So. We have been accustoming you to the existence of what we sometimes are calling “the weather.” That is, objective conditions beyond the control of individual All-D beings, not the conditions malleable by the human will. We have deliberately used the exact same term, Vast Impersonal Forces, because invariant terminology serves to objectify an idea. It makes it seem more real, because the name becomes familiar. If you look at this true statement in and of itself, it may seem ridiculously unlikely, but in fact it is true. What you hear repeatedly in identical nomenclature, you come to believe in. If we had said sometimes vast impersonal forces, sometimes non-subjective factors, sometimes dynamics beyond the human 3D scale, sometimes aspects of reality from beyond the 3D / non-3D interface, our statements might have been equally correct, and they would have lost much of their force.

Repetition sells.

It does. That’s why sales directors use it. Familiarity may breed contempt, but it also breeds – familiarity. Recognition is half the battle to acceptance. Only, then the problem becomes being sure that people look at what they have come to recognize. We’ve got their attention; now we need to engage their critical faculties, because as we’ve said often, until you wrestle with a thing, it isn’t yours.

So what are these vast impersonal forces?

I’m getting that the terms has two meanings at least. One, “impersonal” in the sense of “beyond any given individual,” and two, in the sense of “not having to do with human activity at all.”

True as far as it goes. Let’s look at the trance – the spell, if you prefer – that is the ever-enduring single living present moment shared by all humanity and experienced (usually) as if unique to each moment of sequentially experienced time. It could be further subdivided, as you are intuiting, but one step at a time.

Slow down, in other words.

Always a good thing. Once you’re up to speed, it’s helpful to look deeper, slower, more mind-intensely.

Striking, how even the reminder to slow down changes my perceived mental state.

More mindfulness always will.

We need to make a few flat statements for you to provisionally accept, if we are going to be able to continue. After you have absorbed the gist of the next leap in understanding, then it will be time to look back and criticize and parse what we are about to say. That is, then it will be time to wrestle with the material. But you cannot productively wrestle with it until you have understood it, and you cannot come to understand it by trying to fit it in with wherever you are at the outset.

I get it. A leap of faith until we absorb it, then a more careful reconsideration to see if it holds up in the cold light of day.

A little dramatic, but yes. So here it is:

Everything is alive and conscious, and each part of reality has a different kind of consciousness specific to its nature. The consciousness of rocks is real, but it is not the same as that of trees, nor either to that of mammals. Only, extend that beyond your accustomed limits. Transitory forms – clouds, explosions, energy vortexes, dust balls – all have their specific unified consciousness as well. Try not to let logical objections derail you, here. Everything solid, liquid, gaseous, plasmic, has its own specific form of consciousness which is an integral subset of the overall consciousness which is reality.

But it doesn’t stop there. The overwhelming majority of the kinds of energy that make up reality is not perceptible to the senses. In other contexts, you know that. Beyond infra-red in one direction, beyond ultraviolet in another direction, your senses have no connect to what is. It is and must be and must remain terra incognita, because you do not have the sensory receptors for it. (Nothing wrong with the situation. How would it help an otter to be able to read a newspaper? How would it help a rock to have a sense of smell? Only, when you come up against a limit, recognize it!)

All that vast majority of energy beyond the range of your senses, and beyond the range of your extension of senses which is instrumentation, exists; it has its own consciousness; it contributes to the shaping of reality, which is the same as saying it impacts your life even though you may not be aware of it nor it of you. For the moment, accept as fact that the otter’s mind is affected by the human mind and the human mind is affected by the otter’s. Neither one necessarily recognizes it.

So one restricted definition of vast impersonal forces would be the influence of so many unperceived and imperceptible influences upon your world.

Now, you might say, “If I can’t perceive them, how can they affect me?” But that is a silly argument. You can’t perceive microwaves, but they can cook you. So then you respond, “But microwaves can be perceived by instruments, which means they are within our range, so no wonder they can affect us.” But, you see, that makes our point for us. Forces that cannot be perceived by the senses or by extensions of the senses do affect you, and, as you may say, are therefore detectable somehow. (We realize that this isn’t quite logical, but follow the argument for the sake of where it leads rather than parse it here.) If so, how?

Directly.

Of course. Intuitively. Only, what is intuitively experienced may easily be shut out by logical / emotional filters, and if it is, then it might as well not exist for that individual. But, it exists, acknowledged or not. This is one aspect of what we call “the weather.”

I suppose that it is these unknowable forces –. No, let me say it more carefully. I suppose it is these forces that cannot be experienced through the senses nor registered by instrumentation that religions call spirits, genii, demons, angels, etc.

Let’s say, scripture (when it is not prescribing rules of conduct) deals with the existence of things known but not perceived by the senses. These things known may or may not be perceived at all accurately, and the logical assumptions and conclusions connected with them may be very close or wildly wrong or anywhere in between, but they do at least recognize forces that instrument-bound science and “common sense” perception cannot.

“There is more in heaven and earth, Horatio, than your science knows.” Rough paraphrase.

Rough maybe, but true. It is in the awareness that the world extends far beyond the bounds of what may be perceived by senses and instruments that an extension of field becomes possible for the All-D creature.

In other words, if we remember that the world is far more than we can ever measure it to be, we won’t allow our mental filters to leave us half blind and half deaf.

That’s a way to put it. We would have said, “a rather poetic way to put it,” if we didn’t fear you’d think we meant it as a compliment!

Very funny. Okay, thanks for all this, and till next time.

 

TGU — the plasticity of the present moment

Friday, May 11, 2018

4:15 a.m. Very well, shall we talk about the plasticity of the present moment? Remembering that it is always the present moment, and that somehow it is the same present moment.

And remembering to hold contrasting qualities in mind as we do so. The inertia that amounts to the drag of other minds holding an attitude toward it, and on the other hand the quality that balances that inertia. They must be examined while keeping in mind their essential unity, lest the idea arise that what is one thing manifesting two ways is actually two things each manifesting separately.

Understood, but – “the drag of other minds holding an attitude toward it”?

It should come clear as we discuss plasticity.

All right.

You know that someone described magic as the art of producing changes in reality in conformance to the will. You have seen Dion Fortune’s lucid explanations of the use of magic, and have read many times in her novels her descriptions of how magical manipulation is accomplished. You have read many other accounts, some lucid and many not, but all having the air of someone honestly describing things experienced. And of course you have read accounts of magic that were not thought of as magic by the very author of the account. On a personal experiential level, which outweighs all reading (but may be brought into focus by such reading), you have had your own experiences.

You also know that you have always been drawn to history and magic both, although most are drawn more to one or the other, rather than both. Or so you have assumed. The reality is somewhat different. The reality is that you were looking equally outward and inward, and most people prefer to look inward or outward. That is the distinction you noticed, which appeared to you as their outward manifestations.

I see it as you say it. It wasn’t only history that is the opposing pole. For some it was mathematics or science or fashion or money-grubbing or politics.

Yes. The opposition was – is – between looking inward and looking outward. The form that either approach manifested varies. For some the inward gaze manifests as psychology or religion or philosophy or abstract metaphysics.

All right, I’m reoriented now.

Think of it this way, then: People gazing outward maintain the assured reality of the 3D world. Those gazing inward retain the possibility of altering it by altering themselves. Only – don’t expect this to make sense right away. There is more reorienting to be done, first.

Jung said those who gaze outward dream, and those who gaze inward awaken.

That may be more a paraphrase than a careful statement of fact, but it is in line with what we are saying here, only that statement refers to the effect of such orientation on the individual aspect of reality, and here we wish to look at it on the communal aspect.

Jung was asked if the world could avoid nuclear war and he said it depended on whether enough people were willing to work on themselves.

That’s right, and our discussion here may shed some light on how that could be – how the relationship between the two could be. He did not mean, It depends upon enough people getting together in coordinated group activity. He meant what he said, because, you see, he knew the indivisible unity of the human mind. He also knew that the overarching mind has local divisions, but he knew that the unity was there.

So if you will hold in mind our discussion of the inertia that holds the world in being, you will perhaps redefine plasticity as a different kind of inertia, the inertia that holds the world in being as it changes aspect.

Let me try.

Yes, go ahead.

Inertia may be defined as the force (or tendency, or whatever) that makes an object at rest want to remain at rest, but it is equally the force that makes an object in uniform motion remain in that motion. This is stated clumsily, because this isn’t my turf, but I can see that an object at rest and an object in uniform motion are actually the same condition, only language distorts their identity and makes the seem like two different states. That’s why inertia covers them both, because they aren’t really a “both,” but a unity.

Good, so try again.

In terms of your present exposition, inertia v. plasticity doesn’t mean no-change v. change. It means, the continuity aspect v. the alteration aspect. That’s the best I can do at the moment.

Not so bad. The important distinction to be drawn is that it is not a matter of two forces – or even of one force seen in two aspects – enjoining either stillness or motion.

The term “dynamic stability” comes to mind from somewhere.

But let’s not get off the point, which here is that that living present moment has its inertia and that inertia is a living moving thing, not a dead unmoving thing that must be overcome. “Drag” is a relative term meaning, in context, a tendency to be slower than the desired motion. This is not a scientific description, mind you.

So I guess the question at hand is somewhere between, “What causes change in the living present moment?” and, “How can we – any of us or several of us working together – effect such change?”

And we say, in practical terms, look to scripture and magical practice. In theoretical terms, we’ll continue.

The scripture I had in mind was Jesus advising people to pray two or three together, though that wasn’t quite the context. Magical practice isn’t so different, I suppose – or maybe prayer should be considered to be a magical practice, come to think of it.

And what is it that prayer or magical incantation seeks to do?

Yes, I get it. They seek to connect humans to a super-human level of power or awareness or state of being.

The vagueness at the end of your statement shows you the vagueness of your thought in that respect. Vagueness is always a flag indicating an area that could do with some thought.

A better way to say it would be –?

Prayer – any magical incantation – seeks to remind a 3D being of its essential All-D nature so that it may transcend its limitations that follow from its self-definition as a (merely) 3D being.

But to say that is not to say that there aren’t forces at a higher level.

Of course not. But it moves beyond the obvious “reaching for assistance from higher forces” to the more subtle fact that those “higher forces” are in intimate unbreakable relation to the 3D beings themselves. In a sense, everybody is connected not only laterally (so to speak) bit hierarchically. It is because 3D humans can focus that they are useful to the rest of reality. It is because they tend to get stuck in that focus that they require assistance.

And I guess this brings us to consideration of the vast impersonal forces you have been mentioning?

Not quite. It brings us to consideration of vast personal forces, which are not the same thing. These are not the weather but the raincoat, so to speak, though that seriously diminishes their role. They are your allies in the battle, your assistance in bringing in the crops before it rains, your larger mind helping you function. Any number of analogies possible; season to taste. For the moment, say the personal v. the impersonal, and leave it at that, while remembering that all oppositions, all polarities, are ultimately part of one unbreakable unity.

Well, there’s our hour and a little more, and as so often, it doesn’t seem like we’ve gotten very far.

Yes, and do you know why it feels that way sometimes? It is because you get a sense of a larger field of view, and the contrast between what you vaguely sense and the little that we can spell out at the moment is discouraging.

I suppose. Very well, till next time.

 

TGU — The inertia of the present moment

Thursday, May 10, 2018

5:10 a.m. More on the nature of the present moment?

We are sketching the present moment as trance, remember. It is real, it exists, but it isn’t what it appears to be. And the deeper one sees into its nature, the more the picture changes.

Any present moment has its own inertia

So many contrasting qualities being thrown up for simultaneous consideration, I realized I’d have to stop and recalibrate. Take a breath, in other words, and slow way down.

It is always possible to slow down, and advantageous. Better, of course, if one has speed to slow down from. Very difficult it can be [Channeling Yoda here, apparently!], to gain speed if one is not naturally gifted with it. That is the purpose of many a spiritual discipline – to help people gain speed. And then there are other disciplines to slow them down, depending upon need.

The complementary attributes of any given present moment are inertia and plasticity. For the moment, we will consider only these two. As you saw, or anyway felt, the number of attributes could be multiplied beyond the possibility of coherent consideration. Slow and steady wins the race.

Plasticity is how the individual chooses among potential realities. Inertia is the quality that presents a coherent reality in the first place. That’s enough for you to explicate, so do that briefly and we will expand upon it.

Well, I get that we’re back to Castaneda’s tonal and nagual, or my own distinction between the world of the living present moment and of the dead present moment, in other words between reality as experienced directly and the same reality experienced 1/30th of a second later by the senses. The first is plastic and may be affected – chosen – by the individual will. The second is fixed and is there to be accepted by the individual will. I am sure it isn’t that simple, though, and even as I write it I get that it isn’t correct.

No, but it advances the argument, so it isn’t a waste of time. Do not allow yourself to forget – this is addressed to whomever should read this – that in describing reality as experienced by intuition and by the senses, we nonetheless describe the same reality. It’s easy, in dealing with abstractions, to allow them to sort out in your mind so that certain attributes are here, contradictory or complementary aspects are there, and in practice you are considering one thing as if it were several. Reality has plasticity and inertia, and that must be remembered, or the picture resulting will be distorted.

Let us consider the inertia of any given present moment, bearing in mind that although we have to consider any given present moment as if it were separate from the rest of reality, in fact there is only one moment, one present living moment, experienced in different circumstances.

I do know that, and after I realized it, I realized equally that it can’t be explained logically – at least, not in any way I know of – but only intuited. Once we realize that it is all one living present moment, many logical difficulties vanish – like how I in the 1990s could affect Joe Smallwood’s life at a moment in the 1860s, and vice versa. But our 3D circumstances argue strongly against the realization.

That is why mathematicians and other scientists who dwell in the realms of the abstract are closer to you than are those whose logical structures are based in sensory investigation. But we would rather not go down this side-trail, contenting ourselves with notching a tree to mark the place.

The present moment as you encounter it in any one instant of time has considerable inertia whether considered from the intuitive or the sensory. Inertia from the sensory you should well understand; you experience it all your lives. It is a prime function of 3D to provide that persistence, that drag. Slowing events down, slowing causality so that it may be experienced and lived, is one prime purpose of the 3D world. If you want things to happen in conformity to your will, just come out of 3D – but don’t expect to have it both ways. The increased freedom you experience will be exercised not upon a stable platform as in 3D, but in a wilderness (or playground) of unbounded freedom. It isn’t the same experience as you might expect.

I think you just said, we might think we’re going to get to exercise unlimited freedom of will, but it won’t be exercised against a stable background, so there won’t be the Superman effect of vast powers relative to the environment.

That’s right.

Now, we said the living present moment – the living present as experienced directly through the intuitions, which of course means also through your non-3D extensions – has its own inertia. What do we mean by that? Clearly we don’t mean that physical structures or forces or events act as drag upon non-3D forces. So, what do we refer to?

Well, I get that you mean that every mind that participates in that version of the present moment has a presence, a weight, so that any one of us is always vastly outnumbered. We can’t reshape the world mentally any more than we can physically. Or, to be more careful, we can’t reshape it instantly, without effort, without weighing our force against the force of everything else.

In other words, mentally, spiritually, psychically – however you wish to phrase it – the world has a solidity in the same way it does physically. This ought to be obvious, but is often lost sight of.

I get, “In fact, mental and physical aren’t even different things.”

They are different aspects of one thing, so how could they be different things? But that’s how they appear because of the difference in your intuitive and sensory input, and in your mental structures derived from the experience of living that way.

Now, you know that every moment of historical time has its own persistent realty. You all have lived your lives in just that way, having no choice. So couple your experience to your concepts, and realize that although life is not exactly what it seems to be, neither is it entirely different than what it seems to be.

In other words, do the work of thinking these things through as you give us new concepts or new connectors.

That’s the only way you will make it yours. You can’t blindly accept or blindly reject and make any progress. You have to do the work. If the people listening to Jesus or Gautama went away saying, “cute story,” and did no thinking, no absorbing, what did they gain from being there?

So, the inertia of the present moment. You will always have to deal with the reality presented – held – by other people’s minds. It is like the continuity provided by mountains that do not move.

“Minds” wasn’t the expression you wanted, but I couldn’t find it, and decided not to fish for it lest I lose the thread of the statement.

Yes, it’s not an accustomed association for you. Sink into it.

[Pause]

Difficult. I’m getting a sense of people participating in a magical ritual.

Close. Continue.

If you had a group – a village, say – all performing the same ritual, you would in effect have a persistent temporary group mind.

That’s right. And –?

What they held would be in effect a magical creation.

Continue. We know it is slippery so far, but it will firm up.

The spell would somehow amount to the total of what (not who) they all were.

It would consist of all the properties contained in all the individuals – functioning as a group – in all their extensions. A very complex mixture, you see, rife with possibilities and contradictions and tensions creative and destructive.

Just like the life we experience here.

Not like it, it. This is one way of describing what your life is. Or, let’s say, a way of describing one aspect of your life. It is why external life (for that is how it seems to you, external) is so intractable. You can’t just will a thing into existence. If you bring it into existence, you do so by exerting effort against this inertia. You oppose or you steer or you manipulate or whatever, but you do not create against no background, any more than you jump into the air without kicking against the floor.

Think on this, and next time we’ll return to the plasticity aspect of the same unbroken living present moment.

You always go off somewhere unexpected. I can’t tell you how satisfying that is to me, even though I recognize it as, after all, my own accustomed mental life.

And that is a point we need to make now and again: Everything we point out is familiar to you in other contexts. You all are as much experts on life as we are, and you have as much access to what we know as we do. How could we succeed in reminding you, if it were not so?

Well, our thanks, as always.