Nathaniel on self-observation
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
5:10 a.m. Last night I thought I would take a glass of wine to relax. To my great surprise, it made me dizzy when I tried to go to bed early. As dizzy as if I were drunk, dizzy as in, that whirling sickening feeling when my eyes were closed. It is sufficiently strange that I think to ask you, my friends, what is going on?
Good that you not only noticed – how could you not, though, in the circumstances – but remembered that things don’t just happen; they happen in a context.
Am I being told to stop drinking alcohol entirely? I’m not a very alcoholic person. It isn’t like I have a drink every day, or every week, or even every month.
But when you ask a question, stay for the answer.
Yes. Go on.
Usually in your life (everyone’s, we mean, not yours alone) it is a more productive question to ask what something is in aid of, than why it happened. They may seem like two ways to say the same thing, but they aren’t.
I see that, easily enough. The one is more map-reading, the other more analysis of where we’ve been. Similar activities, but a different orientation.
You will remember Thoreau saying that he had discovered that one could over-do anything, even drinking water.
He wasn’t blaming himself for having had too much water, obviously. He wasn’t gnashing his teeth, nor setting his teeth in grim resolution to reform. He was merely observing. He had done X; Y resulted. He would not do X again, as he didn’t want to de-tune himself.
He may have had a tendency to generalize rules for others from what was true for him.
Regardless if that is historically true, recognize that any observation you make (one makes) probably describes a tendency in yourself to be watched. That is, if you say it of others, look for it in yourself.
Biography as cautionary tales, eh?
Well –this could be a long discussion. Let’s at least take a step or two along the road. The fact of the matter is that mental experience is no less an education than social experience.
I take that to mean, we may learn from other people’s lives – from the story of other people’s lives – in the same way we can learn from actual observation of people we interact with in the flesh.
After all, in the last analysis (interesting phrase, that!), all experience is mental; which means, all experience is you, reacting; which means, all internal and external events are more or less the same in their effects. Or, not quite that. More like, your real life is your choosing your attitude toward what comes at you. Therefore it follows that, to the degree you are more attuned to the inner life, the greater its influence. No, not quite right, but you have it. You try, and we’ll correct if need be.
I think the nuance is, if one lives primarily “in one’s head,” like me, the majority of one’s important input will come from that world. If one is oriented primarily toward the objective, outside-world life, then that is where one will find the input. Interesting, this shouldn’t be hard to say; it is a simple concept, even an obvious one, but I am getting the sense that we still haven’t quite said it. Which tells me it isn’t as simple as I am inclined to think.
Well, the word “important,” for one thing. Is the air you breathe important? Yet it may not be noticeable.
You don’t need to tell that to an asthmatic!
No, but you see the point. “Important” is not the same thing as “noticeable,” for instance, nor is episodic the same as habitual or even constant, but you may not know the relative importance of any of them. In fact, that is a major point in itself: As we have said in other contexts, you never have the data that would be required to judge your life. But observation need not be tied to judgment, and in fact is more likely to be accurate when it is not connected to an attempt (one-time or continuing) to judge.
Whitman said something like, “I think I could live with the animals, they are so contented. They don’t weep for their sins,” something like that. Meaning, not that he did, but that he didn’t think it was healthful (let alone restful) to be among those who did. “There is not one that is respectable or discontented on the face of the earth.” Something like that. I’ll quote it if I can find it easily.
[From Whitman’s Song of Myself, courtesy of http://www.all-creatures.org/poetry, found through duckduckgo.com:
[I think I could turn and live with animals,
they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.
[They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.]
You see, the point that is half-eluding stating is that observation and rumination (speaking of cattle!) are key.
Are we back to Socrates, the unexamined life is not worth living?
Notice, he didn’t say, the unjudged life, the unrepented or un-rued life. Like Whitman, perhaps (though that may seem an odd pairing) he is saying, see your life as it passes; experience it. Analyze it, if that is to your taste, or don’t, if it is not, but notice. But notice what your life is, not what others say it is, or what they – or you – think it ought to be.
Yes, I get it. Saying “experience your life” is not the same thing as “Go out and collect experiences.” This idea of a bucket list – a list of thing you want to have accomplished before you kick the bucket – is easily trivialized. What’s wrong with your bucket list containing only one item, if you prefer, which is, “Don’t make a bucket list”?
Probably your life will not have been wasted even if you never learn to ski, never experience life as one of the rich or one of high society or one of whatever elite impresses you. Probably you may live your life fully and successfully even if you don’t (or do) drink heavily, smoke, carouse, fast, devote yourself to acts of charity, spend your days reading and your nights watching movies or taking long walks or playing cards with friends or strangers.
Why, to listen to you, you’d think we are here to be what we are and what we want to be.
Yes, imagine that. We, like you, are smiling. We, like you, are entirely serious. Your lives were given to you for you to express yourselves by continuous interaction between what you are and what comes to you. “What comes to you” will be people, or experiences, or —
No, that may be my mis-phrasing. I got what you meant: Our input may come from anywhere, objective or subjective; our task (and our entertainment, our artistic task, perhaps we should say) is to react to it, to interact with it, to continue to work with ourselves as a sculptor works with clay, to mold it to the shape, or anyway toward the shape that pleases us.
And don’t worry too much about what you bring to yourself. A little, fine; not too much. [Typing this, I see the meaning may not be clear: They meant, don’t worry too much about what input you choose to admit into your life.]
In other words, don’t over-steer.
You can second-guess yourselves right out of what you know is true and helpful.
It’s an odd feeling, this morning. I can seem to hear you saying some of these things specifically for people I don’t necessarily know who will be reading this.
That is always true, of every author and every reader, only there is no way (and no need) for those involved to be aware of it. Your 3D components are meant to relate to the world around you, which means the place and time you live in. That place and time includes records of the past and foreshadowings of the future, but it is still a definite orienting locus. So it is no surprise, and no malfunction, that a given writer or painter or artist does not know who any particular work is to have special significance for, and it is equally unimportant that any particular recipient be aware of a particular connection. Nonetheless it is there, and in a very real sense.
I was told once, and have never forgotten, that everyone who reads a book is directly connected to the author and thus to everyone else who ever reads it. And I suppose that goes for musicians and composers, for sculptors and painters, no less.
What about architects, builders, anyone who shapes the world in any way?
Meaning, the workers in factories? Farmers in their fields? Trash collectors, police, anyone?
Who do you suppose is unneeded in the world? Home economicus [“economic man,” as a theoretical construct] is only an abstraction, like homo ludens [“playing man,” I guess you’d say, or maybe “man as playful being”] or any other abstraction. You are all there, you all interact in ways known and unknown. The man who founds a publishing company, or a distribution company, or a book store virtual or physical – do they not all impact the world around them? The people who grow fruit, or package it, or ship it, or display and sell it – are they unnecessary, supernumerary, merely because you can do without them without ceasing to live?
None of these interactions need be obvious; that doesn’t make them any less important to the world. Important to the individual, important to those the individual affects.
Henry Adams certainly wasn’t thinking of me when he wrote his histories of the United States during Jefferson’s and Madison’s administrations, yet they are having their effect on me, 100 years later.
No one on earth – that is, no one’s 3D component – knows or can know the effect of his or her thoughts and actions 100 years hence. The fact that the interactions are invisible is not the same as saying they are non-existent.
Well, there’s our hour, but it seems a bit unshaped. Have we been merely rambling through the grass?
If the theme of “the importance of self-observation” be merely rambling though the grass, yes.
Smiling. Okay, till next time.
This excellent article from The Guardian spells it out. My own experience confirms what the author says. Oddly, when you stop paying attention to what is called news, you realize, there really wasn’t much there. Certainly no analysis, certainly no consideration of long-terms effects or present term context.
(And at this point, I can imagine someone saying, “But what about National Public Radio?” To which, I’d respond, “Well, what about The Guardian, or the Christian Siience Monitor?” But even the exceptions aren’t entirely exceptions. The hazards of external rather than internal focus remain. I gave up listening to NPR years ago, and I must say, I don’t miss it.)
I am informed that Bruce Moen, author of five books, creator of the afterlife knowledge workshops, presenter and workshop leader on three continents, and, not least, longtime friend of so many people at The Monroe Institute, completed his transition from 3D to All-D today at 3:20 in the afternoon.
Bruce’s and my mutual friend Ed Carter had a tradition in his family: When someone died, they lifted a glass in their honor and said, “Bon voyage.”
Same here. Also, well done.
[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.]
.20. The Question of Trust
The question of verification bothered me more than ever after my session with psychic (and psychotherapist) Karen Storsteen on December 29, has described here in Chasing Smallwood — 15. I know that people think that psychic investigators are willing to believe anything and everything, and are so eager to connect that they fooled themselves routinely, never doubting that whatever they fantasize is true. No doubt some people are like that, but I am not. If anything, my need for verification has often stood in the way of obtaining the experience that would eventually provide the verification. Clutching in the face of uncertainty often has the effect of stepping on the air hose, cutting off the flow. One doesn’t want to be a fool; one doesn’t want to cut off the flow. It makes for a delicate, often uncomfortable balance.
Friday, December 30, 2005
I feel particularly down and out this morning. Last night’s session with Karen seems to say that much of what I thought I know knew about Joseph isn’t so — and much that he said isn’t so. Damn it, I’m tired of cat and mouse!
Very depressed; no way to end an old year.
Alright gentlemen, I guess I’ve been putting this off. As Bruce Moen says, trust is always the issue. You know what is bothering me. Why in 18 years have I been unable to find one shred of physical evidence to support any of the stories I’ve been given or have fabricated?
The validations have all been internal, and they have changed you. But you wish something external and have not gotten it. How much effort have you made to obtain it?
Every lead that I have been given has come up negative. Don’t tell me that it is my fault that I — faithfully recording Smallwood’s stories — have been unable to find him where he now says he is not.
You know as well as I that I do not need a tenth — a percent — of one scholar would need as evidence. I, knowing that I am not perpetuating a hoax, need not prove that I am not doing so. Therefore all I need is some concrete thing — a historical record, a book, something — to say “here you are, as promised.” Instead I get nothing.
And do not tell me that this is so I can tell others of the difficulties in the path. Fine! I’ve had 18 years of it, some of it in public. There is enough already on the record to demonstrate the point. Now I want something concrete.
You have the Army records to be found.
Maybe. And maybe no David Joseph Smallwood is to be found there. To this point I don’t have one slightest point to lean on, and I’m getting mighty tired of it.
And another thing — those stories from Smallwood. They seemed real enough. They were just stories, apparently. I notice they stopped dead when it came time to look at facts that could be checked.
I don’t know why I bother with this, and I don’t know what to do. I have so much of my being tied up in the into this. My god what will I do?
Trust. You live in trust. Keep living in trust, and all will be seen as well. It is well; it will be seen to be well.
Yes, well — what is your answer to my question? Why have I been unable to find evidence?
We answered the question. You haven’t really looked. Your efforts have been halfhearted and cursory. You have not even made up sheets of information to check! Never have thought of doing it, or of asking us how.
Say that’s true. Why can’t you just give me where to find a thing? “Yeats” gave me the publisher of David’s book, but no trace, no idea how or where to find it, or even if it exists.
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Each time I come to this, except when I know I will pose somebody’s question, I wonder, what today? So far there has always been something, and even when the result seems to me the most personal, I see that someone posts a comment saying that the session hit home with someone besides myself. Not that everyone draws the same conclusions I do, or interprets the information the same way, but – since I was given the notion that words are sparks rather than precision implements – I have ceased worrying about that. We’re all on our own, and we can only each do our best.
So, Bruce Moen died yesterday, apparently peacefully, after many months’ slow approach to his transition. I presume that he was as well prepared for it as anyone could be. My friends, any comment on that?
You are finding it more difficult, these conversations being neither private nor public, but a mixture of the two.
Indeed I am. I presume my difficulties are no greater than others may experience.
Each person’s experience will be slightly different from anyone else’s, as they [the individuals] are slightly different. Each will be similar, as you all have many things in common. This is so in all aspects of life, so of course here as well.
Very well. A sus ordenes, as always.
Well, not noticeably! That is, yes, you are very willing and cooperative; however, we should not care to predict the result if we were to try to give you orders.
It isn’t your place, after all, to give orders to 3D personalities. We may labor at some disadvantage vis a vis those not 3D bound, but we are no less immortal and self-sustaining (if you want to put it that way) as you. I know you know I know this; it is for the studio audience.
And, you see, part private, part public.
I don’t see what is to be done about it.
Who said anything is to be done about it? Be aware of it, make the adjustments as the need for them indicates. What else could you (anyone) do?
Very well. So, today’s theme? [Pause] Yes, I get that. I will center.
You must now learn to express a deeper part of yourself. This means letting it well up within you, thoroughly mixing with what it finds as it does so.
I get almost a visual metaphor, but I can’t quite find words for it. Quite simple words they will be, I suspect, when I find them. The image is of something boiling up through a liquid, roiling and mixing as it rises, sort of tumbling things in waves. Can’t find the words for it yet.
It is a good image, conveying process, steadiness, disruption becoming transformation, injection of additional energy, plasticity of form.
I keep thinking “ice cream” but that doesn’t have any of those characteristics. Strange. It is a fermenting, slow-boiling process that is just out of reach.
Not everything that may be perceived or conceptualized need be named. The important point is that they be followed. Fingers pointing to the moon, not the moon itself, not even the finger itself.
Yes, I get that. Life precedes understanding.
Well, sometimes. Like most such couplings, it is a reciprocating process, sometimes one leading, sometimes the other. But this is an example of the fact that the work can proceed even in the absence of clear understanding, certainly in the absence of precise description.
Another image that comes is of a river rapids. It’s all water; it is all water of the same salinity, chemical composition, etc. The difference is in what happens to any given part of the water as it is tumbled. Some gets aerated; gradually I suppose it all gets aerated.
Wild ride, sometimes; perhaps even [wild] for water.
We have now fooled around to not much effect for half an hour. If there is a theme here, I don’t see it. We have mentioned expressing a deeper part of ourselves, but the mention is all we’ve gotten to.
You are also painting a self-portrait as we go along, and all the better since it comes out in asides and unconscious allusions. It is well for anyone doing the work to remember it is not only okay to be a normal human being, it isn’t even avoidable. Only, normal doesn’t necessarily mean typical, and typical doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all except a vacuous abstraction.
Stirring is another image that comes to me. Stirring one element into another, producing a new homogenous liquid that is neither the one nor the other. I’d say it could be solids stirred, too, only there isn’t the sense of transformation that liquid has.
Stirring will do, so will boiling or churning. The general idea is more important than the specific clothing.
There is something I intended to ask or say, and it keeps almost appearing, then disappearing again. Presumably you know what it is.
We do because you do, on an equally non-3D level. But if you cannot receive it through your own internal channel, why would you expect to be able to receive it from an “external” channel still internally received? That may apply in cases where you have not been paying attention, but scarcely when you are.
Well, you tell us. That is a puzzling aspect of things, come to think of it. It applies to the whole process.
You must remember not to fall into the habit of thinking yourself in control of the process, merely because necessarily the material must come through your mind.
It is a temptation, that’s true. Sometimes it is obvious that I am interacting with a different intelligence; sometimes obvious that it is me; and sometimes not clear at all. Despite that, there is the unconscious tendency to over-reach, to think it is or ought to be under my own control, when of course, that is the last thing I’d want, and the last thing any genuine interaction could be. But. We’re all interconnected. You and my mind are at least temporarily linked, or we couldn’t be having the conversation. So why wouldn’t you be able to tell me things like what it is I am forgetting?
The question expresses a certain lack of clarity, if we may say so.
No doubt. Abstract reasoning is not my best thing. But I am presuming that you know how to bring more clarity to the question.
Not at the moment.
That’s puzzling in itself.
Never mind. You’ve been at this 50 minutes and there isn’t really time for more.
Nor much point in it, I guess. Well, I suppose not every session can be expected to be first-rate.
You do the best you can. Besides, remember always, you don’t know, nor need to know, who will get what from any of it.
True enough. Okay, then, I guess I’ll sign off. Thanks for being there.
We could say the same thing.
Till next time.
Till next time.