Nathaniel on connection

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

5:45 a.m. John Anthony West is dying. I picked up an email in the middle of the night saying so, and for a few hours now I have been thinking about it, while sort of sleeping, processing. I think John is 10 years older than I am, which would make him going on 82. By 80, some people’s bodies are still going strong, and other people’s are packing it in. No tragedy either way, but not much we could or should do to try to overrule nature. What is nature but our All-D pattern? You don’t have to believe in predestination, or in a “the” future, to know that nature bats last and father knows best. Sometimes the ending of a life involves tragedy in its effect on others, but I don’t believe it is ever tragic for the person involved.

So I thought I’d ask Nathaniel, or the guys, about John’s life and its effect on his fellow humans, millions of whom it affected even if they never heard of him.

So that his life may serve as an example of the interface, you mean?

We could talk about that, if that’s your choice.

John has been living his life primarily for himself; his own life has spilled over to affect others. That’s everybody’s obituary, whether they are widely known or not, benevolent or not, curious, intellectual, inspiring, dedicated, or not. Given that we are all one thing, how else can it be? You can’t help doing both, all the time.

Sure.

You can tell your friends what he did as a writer. Our concern – the concern that kept you in shallowly covered dreams once you heard the word – is John’s connections with others that did not involve the written word. It can serve as an illustration of a wider topic.

Those interested can look him up on Amazon or via a search engine, but the book that made great impact on me was Serpent in the Sky, his explanation of the inner workings of what he called symbolist Egypt.

I met him at a conference in the Fall of 1995. He was a speaker at a conference including Colin Wilson, whom I had met the previous March, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and others. Of the speakers, I knew only Colin; I hadn’t even heard of the others. I remember John as a forceful presence; not much else. We met only once more, a few years later at another event. Our friendship, or thread of a friendship, was mostly via email. His influence on me was mostly by way of that remarkable book. After reading it, his forceful presence was always clear in its orientation. I loved his sarcasm about the modern Church of Progress, his contempt for what passes for culture in our generation, most of which is decay. But is this what you want?

It demonstrates his effect on you, anyway. You saw him as allied, in a similar way to how you saw Colin Wilson, though the points in common were different. In both cases, you see someone persevering in his own path for its own sake, attracting others not so much to himself as to himself-pursuing-his-path.

I think I have an idea what you’re getting at, but you haven’t quite said it yet. It isn’t clear enough that I could phrase it for you, for instance.

Remember at the beginning of all this, “the guys,” as you called them, telling you that where you in 3D saw the front of the tapestry, in non-3D we can see the connecting threads? This is an example of connecting threads. A strictly 3D view would show Frank, Colin, John as three men each going his own way, happening to meet and exchange notes that amounted to, “Yes, I see things more or less that way, too. Glad to have your agreement, and thanks for this or that bit of information; I can use it.” That’s the front of the tapestry.

The other side, the side not meant to be displayed (but this is analogy remember, not literal one-for-one correspondence), shows bright blue and red and yellow threads extending from this point over to that point – connections invisible to the front side, and necessarily, deliberately, invisible to it, so that the picture may appear as images rather than as only color. So, in our example, Coin and John and Frank are connected by certain bright threads of concern for the underlying meaning of 3D life, and it is those threads that connect them during and after and before their respective 3D sojourns lived separately.

You don’t say it explicitly, so I will: And obviously such threads may be very many in number [for each person], and may be of several different kinds.

Naturally. You are all individuals. Some of you who share a concern for the underlying meaning of the world may also concern yourselves with gardening, or archeology, or warfare, or plumbing, or library science, or bureaucracy, or fine workmanship of one kind of another, or family, or gambling, or sports. What we mean is simply no two of you combine exactly the same interests in exactly the same proportions. There wouldn’t be anything wrong if you happened to do so, but in practice it doesn’t happen. You are as individual and seemingly similar as snowflakes.

So, when you touch, it is like two faceted jewels touching. You abut in one place, or even in a few places, but not all. Your common interests or passions or predilections are few. They may be intense; they will not extend to your whole being. Other facets will match other individuals, or not at all perhaps.

Which is more important? The jewel considered alone, or the jewel considered by which facets match up with the facets of others? The answer is, yes. It’s a false choice. The two seeming alternatives are properly part of one indivisible whole. You can’t live without centering on your own life; you can’t live without affecting others and being affected by them.

In short, remember that the difference between the front of the tapestry, showing a picture, and the reverse, showing how the seemingly distinct points of color connect, is viewpoint. It is one tapestry, divided into two by the fact that you can’t see two sides at once, but that is a logical and sensory division, not an actual one. In life, there is one tapestry, not a front and a separate reverse.

And, one more thing. You know this but you don’t know it in all contexts. A person doesn’t cease to interact upon death. John Anthony West does not become a statue, of only historical interest, upon his death. Outside of 3D restrictions, a mind continues to function as it always did, as you know. Well, so where is there room to think, “He’s history”? In a sense, yes, but mostly no. Even while you function within the 3D crucible, most of your functioning takes place mentally – that is to say, in All-D beyond 3D restriction. Once the locus of your consciousness moves beyond that restriction, your interactions change but do not cease.

“What you gain on the swings, you lose in the roundabouts.”

Well, yes, but you might reverse the order to provide a more optimistic lesson. For whatever losses, there are corresponding gains.

Can John’s friends help him in the process of dying?

Good wishes are always a good thing, but nobody needs help dying. Or, to put it another way, no matter how easily or not a person’s death appears to be, that person will have what is needed. It is literally not possible for anyone to be without the necessary resources, ever. You are not orphans in the universe, and, as Seth pointed out, it is a safe universe, a benevolent universe created for a purpose. In a real if limited sense, that purpose may be said to be – you. Nobody is an afterthought or an unnecessary irrelevance or a negligible bit player.

Somehow we have used up an hour. Anything else you’d like to say? I feel like we haven’t really talked about John at all.

We haven’t talked about his external communication, but about something far more central to you all. It will be found to be enough.

Okay. Thanks as always.

Nathaniel on the cardinal virtues

Nathaniel on the cardinal virtues

Monday, February 5, 2018

6:30 a.m. I sort of overheard the process of dreaming, early this morning, and it came to this: Another part of myself was playing various scenarios, and showing how it could have come out this way, if I had done this. At least, I think that’s what I heard, or observed. I didn’t get up and write it down, so maybe I don’t have it just right. But the insight I was left with amounted to just what Nathaniel or whoever said – the important thing is not the first-tier action but the second-tier change as a result of the action. The same lesson, too, about my long careful struggle to lose weight. I doubt anybody in non-3D cares what I wind up weighing; but the habits developed in the long period of vigilance – or, say, of observation, not to be too dramatic about it – will have to have its effect on my overall characteristic mind. It’s like the whole 3D experience is a long rehearsal, or say practice sessions, to result in whatever it is we do result in as a result of so many choices over a lifetime.

Correct, Nathaniel?

Close enough, for the moment. You might also look at physical 3D life as a long process of thinking things over. You never get to a conclusion so profound that it can’t be improved upon, but also you don’t need to. It’s the process of learning and growing that’s of interest, more so than the arriving at any specific conclusion.

Okay. So what’s on the agenda for today? The cardinal virtues?

There’s not the need to re-examine them in light of new understandings that there was for the seven avenues of error, because few people will have an ingrained resistance to them, or to what they assume they are, in the way many people will have had in relation to the sins. Prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude will not be associated in their minds with guilt and resentment, so really it is almost enough to remind them of the existence of the concept [of the existence of four over-arching virtues].

A few words, maybe?

A few.

Prudence – it is well to bring as much instinctive understanding to a situation as is possible. A little less impulsiveness, a little more deliberation. Use all your resources, not merely your present-moment activated reactions.

Justice – weigh carefully, not overreacting out of emotion or prejudice or fear. Again, mindfulness, bringing your best you to the moment.

Temperance – nothing to excess. That doesn’t mean, couldn’t mean, never departing from one state of mind, never getting carried away, never varying from moment to moment. That would be beyond human capability, even if it were entirely desirable. But – nothing in excess. Continually return to your center of gravity, so to speak. If you get carried away, return.

Fortitude – don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by difficulties or even by tedium. Keep on. It’s a long road; travel it to the end, don’t just give up and sit by the side, waiting.

That’s it, then?

It’s enough. The situation isn’t complicated. It would be well to remember that all this plays out on a field larger and deeper than 3D Theater, but yes, it’s enough for practical use. They don’t profit you by being philosophized over, but by forming your habitual spine, your keel, your relied-upon framework.

Okay. Well, thanks for that. As I assume we’re not going to quit at 20 minutes, wherever we go from here, it’s up to you. I do have a couple of queued-up questions, but not to hand.

No reason we have to go on for a given length of time. The very shortness of this session may serve to underline our few words about the virtues, and lead people to ponder them, which is all to the good.

What about the three additional virtues that the Christian fathers added to the four virtues they inherited from the Greeks?

Faith, hope, and charity will meet resistances that prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude did not. We shall deal with them at another time, lest the four cardinal virtues be somewhat lost sight of.

Huh. Okay, then, see you another time. Our thanks as always.

 

Nathaniel on covetousness, anger, and ennui

Saturday February 3, 2018

6:30 p.m. How about a second session? We’ve covered pride, lust, envy, gluttony. That leaves covetousness, anger, ennui. You up for finishing the list?

Well, let’s see how it goes. About covetousness, perhaps you can easily see its close kinship to envy. Where envy tempts you to think you don’t have the right place in the world, covetousness tempts you to think you don’t have the right goods, or the right amount of certain goods, or the right amount of goods in general. The one is about place, which easily shades into the things that are the perquisites of place, and the other is about owning things, which equally easily shades into the position or situation that would make owning such things natural.

Without entering into questions of social justice or injustice, we remind you that sins are not really about actions, but about their effect on your choices. Again, the 3D world by itself is not quite real. Its experiences are transitory, first-tier experiences, important primarily for the second-tier effects they suggest, which, as Viktor Frankl reminds you, depend upon your reactions. So, in the context of you as compound beings responding in the 3D crucible to the interaction of vast impersonal forces with pre-existing structures, what is important is not what “happens to you” but what you decide to be, or remain being, or become, in the face of ongoing stimuli, which will often seem to be “external.”

And it we choose to covet something, we not only convince ourselves that the world is disconnected, but we fixate on an external as if it were internal. Loosely expressed, but close enough.

That’s correct. Is that culpable? No. It may be very understandable, in fact. But the point is, it is never helpful. How could an error be helpful?

Okay. How about anger?

Anger similarly tempts you to see the world as disconnected and out of balance. In this case, its close connection to pride is not necessarily apparent, but a moment’s thought will bring you there.

Pride says, I deserve better than this.

That’s one reaction. Another is frustration at one’s inability to find a way to whatever is desired. At the root of anger is going to be fear of consequences of continuing to exist in whatever stream of events is unfolding.

Could you clarify that, a bit?

The Dalai Lama, as you know, struggled with anger throughout a long life of watching and hearing about what the Chinese were doing to his people. He was of course kept fully informed about first-tier events. He was aware of the suffering – the unnecessary suffering, had other minds been differently formed – and this bore upon him.

He knew what we are telling you. He knew it, believed it, lived it – and still it was only natural that he would have to struggle not to give in to anger. It is not sufficient to know, abstractly, intellectually, that anger is a snare. One must overcome it by an act of will, while remaining aware of the causes of legitimate anger (which is not the same thing as the sin of anger).

Explain that parenthetical comment?

Again, it is the admixture of the wrong kind of pride that turns a legitimate reaction against you. Legitimate anger is, for instance, anger on another’s behalf. Mix that reaction with self-righteousness, though, or one’s own imperious will, and it tempts you to the kind of judgment that is condemnation rather than – or even in addition to – discernment. It leads you to assume that you know better than the universe does.

But when we see unmerited suffering being caused, is that knowing better than the universe?

Think of the Japanese expression Sayonara, which, yes, means goodbye colloquially, but literally means, “If it must be.” It is a greater part of wisdom to know when something must be. As an example, tell of the monk who reported to the Dalai Lama after years of confinement and torture.

Yes, I was thinking of that. When he was asked if he was ever afraid, he said, yes once he was, because he was afraid he was on the verse of hating his torturers.

That is a way to deal with “what must be.” He wasn’t condoning what they were doing to him. He wasn’t forcing himself to see it as somehow right. He wasn’t even allowing himself anger as a weapon of resistance. In his extremity he clung to the knowledge that the real enemy is the force that can compel you to renounce your greater understanding, can compel you to decide (second-tier reaction) to be otherwise than you would have been. He was wise and stalwart, and thereby turned the situation to ultimate advantage. He did not allow himself to turn to anger.

What about ennui, then? This one seems to be less under our control than the others.

No, it seems to you to be less under your control than the others, because when you fall into the other errors you remain somewhat aware that you are doing so, while your struggles with ennui seem to you to be struggles against who you are. You see no element of personal choice.

I don’t think that’s quite true, at least not in recent years. I’ve learned better.

True enough, in your latter years you have recognized that it is possible to imitate your models in this – Lincoln, Churchill – in actively refusing to concede that life is hopeless. It is in turning life into an act of faith that one remembers that there are reasons for that faith, that it isn’t just hoping against hope, or whistling in the dark. But if one does not struggle against these feelings, one may by – what shall we call it? Moral inertia, perhaps – strengthen the very forces sapping your will to live.

Ennui is yet another example of the dangerous effects produced when the wrong kind of pride mixes with qualities that might otherwise be innocuous or positive. Resignation, non-attachment, willingness to accept whatever comes – these are all non-problems. They are often enough valuable methods of riding the rapids of life. But add the wrong kind of pride and they become a sort of defiance of the universe, a sort of saying, “I’ll take my ball and go home.”

“If I can’t have life my own way, I’ll sulk”?

More or less. But who gets life their own way, while defining “their own way” from a 3D perspective? If you want everything to be peachy-keen every moment – well, you’re going to be disappointed. Life is not like that, and it’s a damn good thing for you that it isn’t, or how would you ever contend against yourselves? How would you ever address the things you were created in 3D to address?

Charlie Brown told Lucy that in life we have our ups and downs, and she said she didn’t want downs, just ups and ups and ups.

Yes, and she’s portrayed as so happy.

Good sarcasm.

So now we’ve taken a look at the seven broad roadways leading downward, not from a pietistic or moralistic perspective, but strictly to show you why they are errors of perception and conduct that can never leave you happier or more fulfilled. So this is a good time to end this session and resume perhaps after you give yourself a day off.

Good timing in another way, too, as we are finishing the last page of this 110th journal book since September 6, 1966.

Perhaps you can see that your non-3D self had a better idea of your life than you.

Yes. Thanks as always.

Nathaniel on gluttony

Saturday, February 3, 2018

4:40 a.m. Shall we proceed? Gluttony, presumably? At least, that’s next on the list if one uses my handy LEG CAPS acronym.

We can give a few words to gluttony, if you wish. First, remember that each of the seven major avenues of error turn toxic only when mingled with a distorted form of pride; when, one might say, one’s self-image is out of drawing in a certain way. In other words, it is the admixture of a mistaken sense of who one is that takes certain qualities and turns them against one’s best interest.

Gluttony is not about over-eating, though at first glance it will seem so. If it were about over-eating, anorexia would be one of the counter-balancing virtues.

I know that’s a joke, or irony anyway. I merely note it lest someone reading this miss the fact.

Never wrong to be careful. Some, though, will think themselves underestimated. No harm done. Our point: Remember that we are not talking about first-level consequences, but second-level. Not physical results per se, but what the physical experiences leave as residue in who one is, what changes they make in you by the decisions you make about them.

Yes, I get that. It was a valuable distinction you made, a while ago.

You might as well express the joke that is running through your mind; we may be able to turn it to advantage.

Which is to say, you may be planting the remembrance in the first place! Well, General Winfield Hancock was a slim, athletic man until gravely wounded in the battle of Gettysburg. After that, his mobility was much reduced, and he began putting on weight, until after a while he was pretty immense. Someone writing to someone after meeting him said, whimsically, “If, as has been said, all flesh is grass, the general may be compared to a load of hay.” I think it is a funny comment, but I look forward to seeing how you intend to use it.

Isn’t it obvious? Over-eating is a failure of prudence and temperance, perhaps, but it by itself could scarcely be said to be a failure of moral character; it could scarcely lead one into the shoal waters we mentioned by analogy earlier. But if gluttony is not simply over-eating, what is it?

I’m getting, it’s a concentration on the wrong things.

Not quite, but you’re on the right track.

It’s a wrong kind of pleasure? The thought comes to me of the Romans with their feasts complete with vomitoriums where the guests could (and did) deliberately throw up what they had eaten, so they could return to eat all over again.

That’s closer yet. You sense there’s something wrong with that, something unhealthy. Pursue it.

Well, it can’t be as simple as misuse of pleasures of the senses. At least, I don’t think so. I mean, that begs the question of the word “misuse.” We can feel that it’s wrong – that it is repulsive, in fact – but putting a reason for it being wrong isn’t quite so easy.

Concentration on the wrong thing? Or, let’s say, concentration on a thing in the wrong way?

I get, it’s making an idol out of a sensual pleasure. Is that what you have in mind?

Notice what we’re doing, here. We are helping you clarify your understanding by holding the space, as you say. If we – if you – hold your attention on a subject long enough, without trying to force a conclusion or chop logic (which is another way to say the same thing), clarity will gradually emerge. It is mostly a matter of concentration combined with non-attachment to any given conclusion.

Okay.

That’s all guidance is, you see.

If you say so.

So, proceed.

Well, I can see that the idea of making idols of sensory pleasures might be the difference between sex and lust, or between appetite and gluttony, or between –. Hmm, actually, only those two. The others – pride, envy, covetousness, anger, ennui – are not particularly connected to sensual pleasures.

No, they are a distorted sense of self and self’s place in the scheme of things, as we shall see. But, you are correct, lust and gluttony are similar in that they channel through the senses and seem as though they could not manifest in the absence of 3D life. In reality, they could, and can, and do, but the manifestation is different. But that may be said of any 3D phenomenon as it manifests outside the crucible.

So, again, gluttony is associated with pride. How?

Well –. I sort of almost feel it, but not quite. It’s like part of me knows the answer and part doesn’t.

It would be closer to say, part of you knows how to look at things a certain way, and another doesn’t.

And the way to resolve it, presumably, is to settle in and intend for the understanding to surface.

Do so.

[Pause]

I tried to feel what it would be like to be one of those Romans, and all I got was a sense of swinish insensibility. No doubt they were very fashionable, and what they were eating was very elegantly prepared, but there was a swinishness about the misuse of a legitimate pleasure to encourage a – something. But I don’t quite have the “something.”

Stay with it. Retain the sense of the Romans but without judgment. Judgment [in the sense of condemnation] can never be correct, and only misleads.

Ah, I get it. You want me to find why it was harmful, and condemning them for indulging in it would only throw me off the track.

It would, in effect, say – as judgment always says – “This is about them, not me.” How could that produce illumination?

All right. I’ll go at it again.

[Pause]

Can it be as simple as, it concentrates the mind on the 3D as if that’s all there is? Lust would do that too.

Well, you tell us. Can it be that simple?

Maybe so. I can see gluttony and lust as leading toward a blindness to the world beyond the 3D, although what that has to do with pride, I don’t see.

Well, try to imagine either lust or gluttony coexisting with an active sense of humility. That is, try to imagine these two moods (for that is one way they might be seen) both being active at the same time.

I guess they couldn’t very well.

Humility is remembering one’s limitations, one’s true place in the world. It doesn’t mean thinking yourself a worm, it means remembering you are not a god. Lust or gluttony is devoting yourself – at least, for whatever time one or the other is dominant in your mood – to one object and necessarily forgetting at least for that time any competing or complementary or conflicting priorities. Can you imagine being drawn by gluttony and at the same moment remembering that you are more than your physical body? Is it likely that you could be consumed by lust and at the same moment be aware that your 3D life is other than it appears?

You see? These are not acts or attitudes to be punished; they are acts or attitudes that are their own punishment; they contain their own drawbacks. Again, not wrong because forbidden; not forbidden at all. But, worse than useless. Misleading. Harmful.

Anger, pride, may leave you beside yourself, forgetting who and what you are. Covetousness and envy may lead you to be unable to remember the balance in the world. Ennui may leave you unable to summon the will to be. And lust and gluttony may misdirect desire.

Can you clarify just a bit more how pride is involved with lust or gluttony?

Both depend upon a misperception – temporary or relatively persistent – of self as being centered in or wholly confined to 3D. Both put one’s 3D-mind’s idea of desire and satisfaction in center place. Both make it harder to for you enjoy 3D without losing yourself in it.

Lust without that distorted sense of self is sexual appetite. Gluttony without it is the appetite of taste, the love of food and drink. As we keep saying, sin is the turning of legitimate pleasures into pitfalls.

And there is your hour.

Thanks as always. Till next time.

 

Nathaniel – sin as intersection of forces

Friday, February 2, 2018

4 a.m. Shall we deal with Dirk’s question? I asked him to phrase it as though to you.

[Dirk Dunning: In speaking about lust and other vices, you attempted to describe them as the intersection between vast impersonal forces. Frank interpreted that and attempted to analogize this to weather. You said “No, that doesn’t get the idea. More like sonic booms – the effect of interaction of forces pushing through the atmosphere.”

[By this do I understand you to mean that they result from the interaction or boundary between forces? Are they then phenomena that represent the tension, stress and boundary between these forces? As such, are they then what might be called “emergent” phenomena? Or said in more plain language, are they the result of the interaction between these forces – without independent form of their own?]

The short answer would be, yes, that is what we are trying to get across. Sins are not structures in themselves, but the result – and cause – of interactions of forces. They may be regarded as side-effects (viewed as results) and as precipitators (viewed as causes).

Hmm. Is that what the church means by Original Sin? A warping causing further warping?

Without speaking for the church, we could say, that is a productive way to see it. Only, the creation stories of Genesis are intended for people whose customary framework assumes 3D conditions, so of course the fables, the myths, in which these truths are expressed are going to be distorted by 3D logic attempting to interpret non-3D phenomena, just like people’s accounts of afterdeath phenomena, and for the same reason.

Thus, you don’t need to postulate a snake in the garden making a subversive and disastrous suggestion to the first woman. Even when you translate these story elements into their psychic equivalents, it is still being told as understood by minds interpreting it as if it were a 3D story. This can hardly be avoided, but needs to be held in mind. To take those stories as codifications of important psychological truths is important, but not sufficient if you are able to carry things further. If you once remember that any story is a sequential account of simultaneously occurring events in a different environment, you save yourself confusion.

That said, don’t throw out the baby. Those stories mean something. They have importance. The fact that they may need to be decoded not once but on multiple levels does not mean they are useless; still less, that they are invented. In fact it is a sign that they are potentially important and are valuable clues. It would be well to suspect that where there are elaborately constructed and preserved clues, there may be something the clues are pointing toward! The world’s spiritual libraries were not compiled around trivia, still less around nothing.

But, to turn again. Yes, sin may be regarded as a phenomenon that occurs at the intersection of forces, the boundary – a continually fluctuating boundary – between different energies, each with its own dynamic. This is not the only way to see the phenomenon, and to see it only in this way would lose important aspects of it, but it is one way, and does shed light on what is going on. You may choose to regard it as the mechanistic aspect, as opposed to the will-driven aspect, of the situation.

What I think you just said is that we can take a systems approach to understanding life, and in so doing see it as the interaction of forces affecting our lifes, downplaying our personal interactions, or we can take a psychological approach and see it as our making choices that affect it. (And of course I recognize that in the writing of this paragraph I received additional clarity, so that I knew more by its end than I brought to its beginning.)

To respond to your parenthetical, this is how human thought nearly always works, except in the deliberate logical step-by-step construction that occasionally happens. When you “feel your way” through a problem, your non-3D component is being allowed to feed you ideas as you go, instead of your blocking it out by your own 3D-oriented thinking.

As to the content, yes, that is what we are saying. There is one reality (as we continually remind you), but it looks different from different angles, and is well worth constant reexamination.

So where do we go from here?

If you once see sin and error – and other error, we should say – as systems phenomena rather than as moral failings for which you should feel guilt, things change.

”One of those things. The kind of thing that happens in 3D.”

Yes. It relieves you from unbearable pressure, you see.

I do, but perhaps not everybody will see it automatically. It’s what I came to realize about classic Catholic guilt, it is the continual knowledge of failure to live up to a standard that, being an ideal, can’t be lived up to. It is a playing against a stacked deck, a variant on the joke about the three rules of life: (1) You can’t win, (2) You can’t break even, (3) You can’t even quit the game.

And of course at some point human flesh is going to rebel. No one can thrive under so unremitting a load of guilt. Either people throw away the code itself, which means throwing away the valuable guidelines that make sense of life, or they redefine themselves as evil – with terrible consequences – or they give up in one way or another, ending in despair.

But the answer is not to refuse to see, nor to say that everything that has been seen over the ages is wrong, nor to say, “It does not apply to me.” The answer is to see farther, and that is what we are attempting to help you to do, primarily by holding two contexts in your minds at the same time, to help you re-knit your world.

By two contexts, I get, metaphysics as we commonly see it today, and traditional religious thought, which never have anything to say to one another.

You can see the benefits of the procedure. It assists you to see your blind spots, your hot buttons, your dead-end thinking, your accustomed ways of not-seeing. We do that simply by describing things out of their ordinary contexts, but without distorting them. A systems context is no less accurate than a psychological one, and associating the two will bring clarity that can never be attained by examining either context alone. It is in discomfort that additional clarity is to be found.

Through discomfort, I take it.

Well, through it but also in it. The presence of discomfort is a useful alarm clock that wakens you from sleepwalking though the explorations.

Interesting. But you don’t mean shock for shock’s sake.

No, but when resistance or sleep is ingrained enough, that might be appropriate. Unnecessary and undesirable in a self-selected audience.

So, to reiterate. Two sets of forces, one that we have been deliberately describing in identical terms: vast impersonal forces sweeping through your lives, and what we have been looking at as structures, because they have a structural aspect, the forces of All-D beings manifesting in the 3D crucible. The interaction of these two sets of forces produces vortices.

Psychological warping?

Sometimes. But also creativity in all its aspects. Life, really. Your 3D life, we remind you, is driven not by thought or logic, still less by the pre-determination of circumstance, but by passion. When passion has constructive outlet, it manifests quite differently from when it does not. But of course “constructive” is a judgment requiring definition – but then, that is what metaphysics is, what religion does.

What? Provide definitions for what is constructive and what is not?

Can you tell us what else they do, or could do?

So we’re back to scriptures as guidance.

In a free-will universe, a crucible constructed specifically to provide an arena in which to exercise your will to create what you wish to become, what would be more important than to provide some guidance along the way?

And there’s your hour.

Well, it’s all very interesting. This one I’ll have to re-read a couple of times, I suspect. Thanks as always.

 

Nathaniel on envy

Thursday, February 1, 2018

5:30 a.m. All right, gentlemen. Do we begin on envy (or another of the seven sins or errors or missings of the mark), or do you have other fish to fry?

We can discuss envy, if you wish.

Doesn’t matter to me. I had the idea you were going to go down the line using my LEG CAPS acronym.

You see that at least one of your friends has misconstrued the message.

I suppose that can’t be helped, can it? If I like the plaudits I should be prepared for the brickbats.

Or maybe it isn’t about you at all, but about the message.

Well, yes, I guess I do know that, only isn’t it more how the message and messenger are interconnected, inevitably?

That’s what we are saying. It isn’t about you, but about the interconnection. The message, in the largest sense, is always the same. Reality doesn’t change, in that sense. But it [the message] is always incomplete, because reality is always bigger than any given expression of it, so the aspect given by any one messenger is going to differ, slightly or significantly, messenger by messenger.

Hence, subject to distortion?

It will look that way to some. To others, it will look like a uniquely opportune rephrasing, opening windows. Your own opinion of it could change from one moment to the next, and although that would matter to you, it wouldn’t matter to the message. In other words, you can’t judge an incomplete message, and it will always be incomplete, always, as you put it, an interim report. But what you can do, as we repeatedly have emphasized, is weigh it moment by moment: Does this resonate, does that resonate? Does what did resonate before resonate with me now? Does what didn’t resonate before now seem truer than I had thought it?

Not writing scriptures, I know.

How one deals with scriptures is not any different, in practice. All you ever know, all that ever affects you or offers the possibility of constructive change, is your personal interaction at that moment. What this means is, a conjoining of the stimulus of the present moment with what you are at that moment, in other words, what you have made of yourself to that point. We bid you remember, that means more than 3D elements only; it means how the interactions of cohabiting one personality have affected all the various strands that comprise it.

Now, I’m sure you’ve never said that before!

Haven’t we? But surely the implications are there in the material.

Sometimes it requires a 2×4 to the back of the head, maybe. I’ll speak only for myself (obviously), but I never thought of our moment-by-moment interactions as affecting all our strands, equally moment by moment.

Now that you point it out, we can see that the temptation would be to consider your present life as a unit and each “past life,” each strand, as a unit, and perhaps assume that when you were completed, each of the strands updates their files, so to speak. But in other contexts you saw clearly enough the connection between any decision and the strands, and of course any decision is going to be a matter of that present moment.

Well, actually, there are two ways of seeing it. One, every time you decide, things change all up and down the line. Two, the only change that really registers is what you finally become as a result of a lifetime of decisions. Here’s the difficult part: Bothe ways of seeing it are true, impossible as that may be to fit into 3D-oriented logic.

I can sort of feel it; I can’t say I can reconcile it.

It is like people returning from death, trying to make sense of things that happened outside 3D constraints by fitting them into those constraints. A certain amount of distortion is unavoidable. It is sufficient that you accept the input and let it find its own place; you don’t need to give intellectual assent to it, nor reject it. Truth will resonate regardless whether you understand it.

So let us proceed to the rest of the sins, remembering that we said that very form of harmful error would be found to be mingled with a distorted, harmful, form of pride.

Envy. What is that but a tacit assumption that you are in the wrong place or that your life is on the wrong track? And what is that idea but an unconscious assumption that there can be an external force that can push you, or anyone, out of place?

Yes, clear enough. “He has something I ought to have. It’s not fair.”

And, there is a common saying, true enough in its own context, “Life is unfair.” But it would be better phrased, “Life appears unfair as long as you don’t take into account all its aspects that are invisible to you.” You understand.

Sure. I went into that with what I was then calling the guys upstairs – you, for all I know – back in 1993, when Kelly Neff and I discovered those lives as Marcus and Katrina, two children killed in 1943 by Nazis. I asked why those lives, and was shown how the suffering then readjusted the balance for them, in a sense; how it burned away guilt and burned away isolation from people.

But not everybody came to that realization. To them life may still seem unfair, because they are looking only at the present moment.

I get, any present moment is always going to be unfair.

Is always going to appear unfair. If that present moment could somehow exist in isolation, that would be true enough: Some people are happy and some miserable. Some have opportunities or fulfillment and some do not. Some have the basic necessities of life and some do not.

And it isn’t that “things even out, over time.” To say that would be in effect to say, “It doesn’t matter, life will be unfair to everybody sooner or later.” Rather, life is never unfair. It always is adjusted exactly to every individual’s reality.

That last word seems to have made the sentence meaningless. Could we substitute another?

What we’re meaning to say is that life is always in balance. The visible 3D present moment always exists with the invisible reality of which it is a part. How could anything get disconnected? So injustice, tragedy, accident, again are somewhat real, but only somewhat. Look a little deeper and you see the eternal balance. Life doesn’t get out of order.

Okay. (Though you know some are going to have a hard time accepting that.)

Whether people can or cannot accept an argument or portrait or statement at any given time is not your concern. What cannot be assimilated now will perhaps be valued later. What you can do is set it out, as a vendor sets out the jewelry s/he has made at an open market. Those who are not drawn to the merchandise do not detract from [did they mean “interfere with”?] those who do, and nothing is lost.

Does this sum up envy?

We have said what needs to be said. It is the nature of sins to lead you astray; that is why they are singled out as perils. If you experience envy, it leads you to think that life is not treating you fairly; that things are not as they should be; that you know better than the universe. Is this helpful in any way?

Clearly not.

To strive for social justice is one thing. To strive to change things because one feels envy of others is something apparently the same, or similar, but in actuality very different. It is not necessary – in order to avoid expressing or feeling envy – to endorse whatever social order one finds oneself in. only, as always, be aware of your motivations.

And there is your hour, and next time we may move to another subject, circumstances not overruling.

Okay. Thanks as always.

 

Chasing Smallwood –.31. God-fearing men

[A book with four interlocking themes:

  • how to communicate with the dead;
  • the life of a 19th-century American;
  • the massive task facing us today, and
  • the physical world’s place in the scheme of things.]

  [7 a.m. Thursday, February 16, 2006]

It feels like I haven’t heard from myself this good while. I have been reading, reading. Sam Watkins and then Elisha Hunt Rhodes. And a bit of re-reading – Far Memory by Joan Grant.

[Watkins, who had been a private in the Confederate army, wrote a book of memoirs called Company Aytch. Rhodes began as a private and rose to the rank of colonel in the Union Army. All for the Union is a book compiled from his diary and letters by his great-grandson. Both men were extensively cited in Ken Burns’ “Civil War” series.]

I wound up liking Elisha Hunt Rhodes very much, though I suspect that he and I would be farther apart in temperament than Sam Watkins and I would be. But his political opinions and his determination to do his duty are very appealing. He found that he liked army life. I don’t think that Sam Watkins ever would have, even if he’d been paid and fed. But then Watkins joined after he was 30, and Rhodes before he was 20.

All right, to work. Joseph, what is your reaction to Watkins and Rhodes? And do you communicate “up” there? And, does my watching “the Civil War” facilitate communication for you somehow? And, what in general is your life there? (May want others on that last question.) And don’t think I don’t suspect prompting when I come up with bright questions like these.

We can take those questions in order, knowing that everything connects to everything, and so sometimes we wind up going in circles and yet still get somewhere.

Sam Watkins and Elisha Rhodes are both good Christians, in a way that is becoming strange to your times. I’m not only talking about belief in creeds, but

Well, let me start again. You read their books and you keep coming to sentences talking about God’s mercy to them, and their friends having gone to their reward, and – especially Watkins – God holding them in his hand, so to speak. “God always does good, and he has his own purposes that we were working out here below.” That is the general tenor of it, if the words aren’t quite right.

In your day you would suspect a man of hypocrisy if he talked like that. Yet – notice – you, yourself, understand and sympathize with that attitude much more than the attitude that says life is chance and coincidence, and meaningless. In some ways you would have fit in here (in the 19th century, I mean) but you’d certainly have been on the forward end of things! I mean, you wouldn’t have been able to take the form of the religion so much.

I know what you mean but it isn’t coming out very clearly. Is the connection faulty, or is it hard for you to express, or what?

Well let’s just soldier on, and see what we get. I’ll start again. We got all day. (Here, anyway, we do!) This all connects us to the other book you’re working on putting together, that you are calling Iona. And the subject is close to my heart, and has a lot to do with why you have been getting all this.

In your day, the people who are simple and religious are in a different relation to their times. In your day, your civilization is not Christian and don’t pretend to be. It pretended still when you were a boy, but it has been a good while since everybody assumed or pretended that Christian life was the society.

In the 1800’s it was different. Then – well, Civil War times, anyway – people were moving toward being a Christian nation –

No, I ain’t any good at these general statements. You need somebody else for this. Let me tell you my specific reactions, and we’ll go better.

All right. Interesting; I suppose I wouldn’t be the personality to discuss molecular biology or something, but I hadn’t really thought about the fact that of course we specialize in how we think, as much as what we like to think about.

That’s right. Well, Watkins and Rhodes, like I said, both were religious. Watkins came to it in battle and hardship and suffering, and in feeling like he was protected by the very hand of God because he kept watching his friends get killed till he was one of seven left. He was already 30 and more when the war started, and he was in the Southern army which meant if he was a private he could expect to stay a private, and he was pretty disgusted with the class aspect of it all, even if he never put together the fact that it was the class aspect that caused the war. But you can see from his own account that he was brave and true, and smart and quick-thinking, and just damned lucky more than once. Now, you can’t safely assume that he tells things just the way they happened, even though he does try to keep to what happened to him; memory plays tricks, plus there’s so much we make sense of but don’t make sense of right, if you see what I mean. But mostly he is telling the truth, because he was a God-fearing man in a way that is not natural to your time but was then.

Now Elisha Rhodes, that you like so much and suspect you wouldn’t have had much in common with – he and Watkins were the same pea formed in different pods. Rhodes was formed in Rhode Island – (you didn’t see Watkins having his own island named after him, did you?) But he was a New England boy, and he was a boy. First to last, he kept saying to himself, this is all for the Union; I hope they know what they are doing; I can’t do anything but do my best where I am, and God will provide. And I want to be in the whole fight. I hope it’s over soon but I want to be here first to last.

Now those are two Christian men – very pious, very intent on being good men, church-going for what it nourished in them, not for show or company – both joining for principle and both thinking they are the righteous party. Watkins thinks he’s fighting to protect states’ rights from centralization, and he is, and you can’t in your time say that was wrong. Rhodes thinks he is fighting to preserve the union – “all for the Union,” he says first to last – and you can’t in your time say that was wrong. But one of ‘em had to lose as soon as it came to war. That states rights cause, or that Union cause, were fine until the tug came, then one side had to lose, which meant one set of right had to lose not only to a different set of right but to a set of wrong. Either way.

That is why Abraham Lincoln’s clear-sighted, temperate nurturance of abolition made the difference. From Europe, the question of states rights versus the Union didn’t stir any passion; They didn’t much believe in either one, and they didn’t have much of a stake in either one. The aristocrats that ran England – and that had had the whip hand over Europe since Waterloo – had a certain sympathy with the would-be aristocrats of the south, though they still considered them semi-barbarous upstarts – but their financial interests were balanced between southern cotton and northern markets, so they were held in suspension.

It was the people of England, not the rulers, that made the difference. They didn’t have any sympathy with aristocrats; they didn’t want to see the great experiment broken up – and they knew that the big issue was slavery, and they didn’t want their country ranged on the wrong side of the slavery question.

You noticed, to read either Watkins or Rhodes you never would have guessed that the war had anything to do with slavery. Rhodes doesn’t mention the abolition until the end; he was in it to preserve the Union, and Watkins said he was in it to protect states rights. The slavery problem didn’t exist as a cause of the war. It was the elephant in the living room, as you say in your time. It was so big they couldn’t see it!

Now, that takes some explaining.

The south was calling the north names for decades – their worst epithet was to call somebody a damned abolitionist, or, after a while, a black Republican. But they would only see it as outside interference with their affairs, as if somebody was telling ‘em to plant potatoes instead of tobacco. They never did and never could and never would have come to the point of thinking that abolition sentiment wasn’t just interference by outsiders but was God’s will.

Mr. Lincoln saw that.

Elisha Rhodes went to war to save the Union. He never thought much about slavery except that it was somewhat vaguely the cause of people wanting to break up the Union. He didn’t care about the subject and never informed himself about it, even while he was right in the middle of the war that centered on it! His mind was on protecting the Union and it didn’t extend to questions of domestic arrangements, as we called it.

But Mr. Lincoln saw it. You saw that Herndon said he read less and thought more than anybody in the country. He had seen what was in people’s hearts, even before they could see it themselves, and he knew.

I’ll tell you again, flat. The Union itself was not cause enough to beat secession itself. The rights and wrongs of it were too closely balanced. It was right to save the Union but wrong to break down the states – but it had to be one or the other, once it came to war. So which one did you choose? But when it became a war to end slave-holding, the sacrifice of states rights became worthwhile. In other words, once slavery was thrown into the scales it became the Union and freedom on one side, states rights and slavery on the other. And just like the German who said “we are allied to a corpse” [in the summer of 1914, referring to Austria] so states rights was allied to a corpse, and went down with it.

All right. Now to go back to Watkins and Rhodes as good Christian men. This is important. You in your day cannot understand them if you try to make them into models of yourself – and if you do understand them, you will see yourselves a lot clearer.

All this is about your own time, you see. All this is about you, and your dilemmas, and your dangers, and your crisis that is going to be settled in your time.

Watkins and Rhodes put it into a Christian framework because that was the right thing, the only thing, for their time. Should they have been talking about quantum mechanics, or the akashic record, or the uncertainty principle? No, they were in the 19th century, and they understood things in the terms the century understood. Watkins may not ever have heard of Darwin.

Being soldiers they had a broad experience of death that few others get. Not just the horrible ways men die in battle, but the varieties of experience, like the men who know they are going to die, and do – and the ones who think they are going to die, and don’t – and the seemingly arbitrary nature of it all that takes one and leaves his neighbor, that wounds instead of kills because of a bible or a button or a scabbard.

Experience – not fear – leads them to a knowledge of God, though they wouldn’t have claimed knowledge but belief, and though you might not say God but The Universe, or All There Is, or even The Reality Beyond The Guys Upstairs, for all I know,.

What I’m saying is, you are closer to them in your belief – in your experience – of the reality of non-material love and guidance than either of you is to the blindness that thinks in terms of materialism and chance. Now – this has consequences!

Take a break now. Get something to eat.

Before I do, I seemed to sense more what I would call The Guys (in general) then you in particular, a couple of paragraphs ago. True?

We all put in an oar here and there. You are beginning to notice. That’s good. Progress.