Out in the cold too long?

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Speculum
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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby Speculum » January 14th, 2008, 8:24 pm

Could you expound on your idea of Relationship, as you used it in your post?


There is an article at TZF’s Consider This! called Marriage as A Path which offers in some detail my take on relationships between and among humans.

In this thread, I mean to raise relationship in its broadest sense. When, as seekers, we find ourselves able to raise our sights above the separative perspective that is an aspect of the human condition, we begin to see that a fundamental truth of the physical universe (by which I mean everything, tangible and intangible, perceived by the mind) is that it is all about relationship, that carbon-based units (to use the great term from Star Trek, wasn’t it?) are able to exist only in relationship.

We believe we are unique individuals, separate and distinct from one another, from the landscape in which we live, from the images and thoughts in our head, but that is an illusion. In fact, if the reality of relationship were erased from the universe, we and everything we know would – POOF! – vanish.

In the book In The Beginning, I recall the tree in the Garden of Eden whose fruit imparted the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”, and I suggested that what was actually meant by that image is that the fruit created “the knowledge of and”. That is, not just the knowledge of “good and evil” but the knowledge of “anything and anything else”: up and down, back and forth, tall and short, happy and glad, heaven and earth, you and me.

Thus, it was that fruit which created the word “and”. Before that, everything was (is) One. Before the fruit, everything is “I”. There, there is no need for the word “and”. How would it be used? “I” and “I”? That makes no sense. And there is no relationship there. If “I” is all there is, whom is there to have relationship with?

The fruit created “and”, and “and” created Relationship. Now, in this condition, everything is in relationship with everything else. Up with down, happy with sad, rich with poor, man with woman, and so on. Nothing exists self-independent. Everything is dependent upon some other thing(s) for existence.

In the Garden of Eden, the first significant – shall we say archetypal – use of the word “and” is in “Adam and Eve”. The phenomenon “Adam and Eve” is the One Itself appearing to Itself as two (many). But in the context of this thread, the important point is that “Adam” is meaningless without “Eve” and likewise “Eve” is meaningless without “Adam”. To the egoic perception, they look like two separate and unique people (“you and me”), but in fact neither can exist without the other, precisely because they only Truly Exist as One, as the One, just as they were in the Garden before the creation of the word “and”.

In the book, I suggest that when Adam and Eve first perceived one another, he said to her, "I am Adam", and she replied, "Yes, I know. So am I." (It is a nice coincidence that "Madam, I'm Adam" is a palindrome -- reads the same backwards and forwards.) Likewise "you and me" is one whole. You think that you exist independently of me, and I (me) think that I exist independently of you, but that is an illusion. Indeed, that is the illusion.

In Taoism and Confucianism, this concept is presented as Yin and Yang, two opposite and complementary aspects of everything that exists. Yin and Yang are constantly in relationship with one another, and we are that relationship, at every level. Yin and Yang are at play in every cell in every body and every thing, and simultaneously the entirety of every body and every thing is also Yin and Yang in relationship. And so is the universe itself, in whole and in part. Just as with “Adam and Eve”, there is no such thing as “yin” independent of “yang” or “yang” independent of “yin”. If you dissect yin from yang, the result is POOF!

When we seek to avoid relationship (to use DFJ’s nice phrase), either within ourselves or among the apparent others of our life, we put ourselves into stress, and suffer accordingly. Why? Because to avoid relationship in any aspect of our life is to seek to divorce Adam and Eve, and it cannot be done. That's what the Gospels Teacher meant by "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder". It isn't that we shouldn't put asunder what God has joined; it is that we cannot put asunder what God has joined, and to attempt to do so will only bring us pain.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby Neo » January 18th, 2008, 9:43 pm

If you dissect yin from yang, the result is POOF!... "What God has joined together, let no man put asunder"


When we split atom we get POOF!

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby Speculum » January 20th, 2008, 10:38 pm

Here’s another way to look at relationship.

Many traditions refer to creation as a dance. With that in mind, try this practice: Step back and out of your life, and instead of being the person living it, become an observer of it. That is, for a day, watch the person you call “me”, and observe his/her activities.

If you look closely, you will see that every activity involves at least one other person or one other thing besides “me”, that "me" never does anything absolutely alone, free of any other person or thing. Also, we see that whatever is taking place, whatever the activity, it is a product of some kind of backing and forthing, some kind of give and take, some kind of movement between the two, between "me" and some other.

It does not matter where we do this practice – whether standing in line at the supermarket, driving a car on a road, eating a meal, reading a book, walking along a sidewalk, typing at a keyboard, listening to music – there is always “me” and some other person or thing, and the two – “me” and the other – are always in actual or virtual movement of some kind together.

Always dancing, always in relationship.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » January 20th, 2008, 11:54 pm

How cool that you suggest this little experiment to better understand the idea of relationship. It is exactly what I've done the last few days since reading the last post about relationship...stepping back a bit and seeing this constant interaction and interconnectedness that is always happening, and have discovered that there is no such thing as alone, the whole universe is moving together and it is the lie I tell myself that I'm somehow sitting here, detached from it. Except when we are sleeping?
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby W4TVQ » January 28th, 2008, 8:29 pm

Ah, yes, the question of sleep ... and dreams. I pay little attention to "dream interpreters"who can give me a list of symbols that appear in dreams and what they mean. My dreams are so bizarre and random that I can make absolutely no sense out of them at all -- or of what little I can remember of them. Yet dreams cannot be simply an unexplainable or pointless phenomenon.

Of dreams, Suzanne Langer observes, "the mistakes of dreams are harmless, since they have no motor terminals, though they enter into waking life as memories, and we have to learn to discount them. But why does the central switchboard not rest when there is no need of making connections? Why should the plugs be popped in and out, and set the whole system wildly ringing, only to end with a universal 'excuse it, please'?" She goes on" "The love of magic, the high development of ritual, the seriousnes of art, and the characteristic activity of dreams, are rather large factors to leave out of account in constructing a theory of mind. Obviously the mind is doing something else, or at least something more, that just connecting experiential items."

Her conclusion, and I tend to agree with it, is that the brain is simply, solely and only a symbol-making device. It does what it does because that is what a brain does, not necessarily because so doing will serve a purpose. That is what it is doing at night when we sleep: continuing with its function of making symbols, nothing else. If and when those symbols cohere into a message, or convey to us information about, for example, God, it would be because God has acted to use that natural function of the brain to some end of His own. Perhaps one could say, in such an instance the Christ nature has pre-empted the human nature, or that Spirit has pre-empted Body. It is rather hard to come up with analogies to ideas like this!

Certainly this idea sheds a lot of light on they development in human history of myth, fantasy and fable. The studies of Wittgenstein, Cassirer, and Langer have pointed us in a new direction -- indeed, Langer's book is entitled Philosophy In A New Key. It opens up a new way of thinking. As Langer says, "Most new discoveries are suddenly-seen things that were always there. A new idea is a light that illuminates presences which simply had no form for us before the light fell on them."

I suppose this is really off-topic, but your reference to sleep set me to thinking and then to writing. It is important to us in finding new ways to think. Langer quotes Whitehead in saying that "There will be some fundamental assumptions which adherents of all the variant systems within the epoch unconsciously presuppose. Such assumptions appear so obvious that people do not know what they are assuming because no other way of putting things has ever occurred to them. With these assumptions a certain limited number of types of philosophic systems are possible, and this group of systems constitutes the philosophy of the epoch." This explains to me the hard-core loyalty to the Tribal God that I find on the other message board. Even in a day when science has simply blown all previous philosophical assumptions away like tissues in the wind, the "philosophy of the epoch" maintains an iron grip on the minds of any who have not studied and grasped the implications of current scientific knowledge. The finite God out there, the deus ex machina who intervenes from beyond to trade "salvation" for cringing and self-effacing commitment, is a creature of the "philosophy of the epoch."

I myself find it extremely hard to relinquish that God to whom, as to Ghostbusters, I can "turn." It's a constant battle for me. And at times, I feel very weary in the running and fighting of it. As I do, even today.

Namaste
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » January 29th, 2008, 2:40 am

I still need to process a lot of what you said, but I definately relate to this statement:
"I myself find it extremely hard to relinquish that God to whom, as to Ghostbusters, I can "turn." It's a constant battle for me. And at times, I feel very weary in the running and fighting of it. As I do, even today."

I find a lot wrapped up in this issue of running back to the God of my past. I have realized from the post I've made recently about fear that there is only a void and no God and the yearning for groupness is all part of this time of 'slaying the dragon' as Joseph Campbell put it. This is the stuff I'm holding onto, just as the dragon with the gold in the cave, it stuff that I can do nothing with. It is time for it to go and to step into the new spirituality that is blossoming in me right now. There was a few posts today, on the other board that did it for me. As you said Langer stated, when the light shines, you see what was always there. S Weil says that when you see something your mind has known, but see it with your heart, or your whole being, it is like seeing for the first time. I think maybe there is even some mourning that may have to happen for this old God, for the ego part of me that worshiped him. I truly have this feeling of needing to burst out of my skin right now. It is as though I'm on the brink of breaking through something, and the fear of letting go is losing its grip on me.

I'm babbling...

Another thing Joseph Campbell stated is that trouble begins when a religion becomes attached to the metaphor. That is Christianity, in my eyes.
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby W4TVQ » January 29th, 2008, 1:12 pm

"It is as though I'm on the brink of breaking through something, and the fear of letting go is losing its grip on me."

Yep. Me too.

Reminds me of the story -- I know you've heard it before -- of the fellow who had fallen from a cliff and was hanging on to a branch ten feet down the side. Looking upo, he called out, "Is anybody up there?" Suddenly a deep voice out of nowhere said "I'm here, and I'll rescue you." "What sshould I do?" the man asked. "Let go of the branch." At which the man called out, "Is anybody else up there?"

Sometimes I feel like I'm holding on to that branch for dear life, while voices from within are saying to let go of it, and I'm waiting to see if other voices are in there with an easier set of instructions.

Lately I am reading the Upanishads, with their continual insistence on "This is That," and they are part of the voices saying "Let go of the branch." So will I lose Jesus if I let go? Yes, but I will gain the Christ. So here goes...


AAAAAAAAAAA


Namaste
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » January 30th, 2008, 1:05 am

Perfect story! I had to chuckle, and also recognize how true this is. I spent years trying to find an easier way to get sober before I surrendered and allowed sobriety to happen to me, which it did, once 'I' stepped out of the way. Why would I be any different now? It is as though I'm doing exactly this, hanging around, waiting for someone to convince me that I don't have to let go of the branch.

Lose Jesus and gain Christ. If we look at it as Jesus the human/finite part and Christ as the God/infinite part, then that is exactly right. (although I know around here, it is understood that it is all God, I just can't function out of that yet, even though I believe it to be true.)

I've read only a little of the upanishads, how lucky you are to be doing this. I'm still working on ACIM, (the evil book that it is :wink: )There will never be enough time for all the spiritual books I want to read. It is my true passion, what I love to do, what brings a skip to my step. It is nice when life allows more time for this. I have much more reading time now, and I feel the happiness in my soul.

What story is it where the God is sleeping and the lotus plant is growing out of him, and the God in the lotus opens and closes his eyes, and this is our reality? It was on the Joseph Campbell docu and I can't remember what this was from and I already sent it back.
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » February 11th, 2008, 2:43 am

In regards to the comments from Stephen on relationship. I had a 'moment' with kiwi in the grocery store today... :? Seriously, I was picking one up and then another to pick the right ones and I suddenly felt 'in relation' with them. The aliveness of them seemed to radiate from each one and they seemed happy that I was touching them. I felt honored to be invited in this way to pick them up. I don't know how long I spent with the kiwi in the store, but the glaring lights of 'reality' returned and I moved on. Do I sound a bit fruity???
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby zoofence » February 14th, 2008, 8:24 pm

Do I sound a bit fruity?


Not the least bit. If God is Infinite, then God is every bit as much a kiwi as a human being or a tree or a cloud or an idea or ...

That's why I define ahimsa so freely.

Consider that you and that kiwi are ultimately, fundamentally, one and the same, the One Itself. The distinction each of you perceived ("I am me, and this fuzzy thing is a kiwi" and "I am a kiwi, and that tall thing is a person") is an illusion created to provide the sense of separate self and relationship, to enable the Dance.

Our species makes distinctions (animal/vegetable/mineral, secular/religious, spiritual/material, heavenly/earthly, etc.) because our separative perspective is based upon definitions and boundaries. We need them to survive as "me". And, let's face it, they are necessary to keep Stefan from stepping in front of a moving train. But that doesn't make them Real, and as seekers we need to remind ourselves of that ... frequently. That's one of the functions of mantras, isn't it? To keep the Truth in mind.

Increasingly along the path, we will encounter the Real in the wordly, the Infinite in the grocery store, until the distinction simply dissolves.

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » February 16th, 2008, 5:30 am

I watched The Primacy of Consciousness, a lecture by Peter Russell. It brought everything together for me, so many ideas that I've read about on Zoo Fence and am reading in ACIM that I have struggled with. Letting go of the idea that space, time and matter are constant and real, and realizing that consciousness is what is real, in fact is all that is real. He speaks of the idea that everything has consiousness, even rocks and plants, so this goes along with this conversation. Beautiful blending of science, refusal to change our views, the mystics and seers and finally I AM at the end. And spelled out perfectly for us slow learners!

This was one of those right messages at the right time, for a door has opened and I see so much clearer now. I recommend this video! I watched online from a website, http://www.sprword.com.
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby Speculum » February 16th, 2008, 6:11 pm

everything has consiousness, even rocks and plants


Living at the end of a very rural road where we built our home ourselves, tend the soil for nourishment, fell trees for firewood, drink tea together for recreation, Anna and I are thoroughly convinced by experience, inner and outer, that there are no boundaries to consciousness, none whatsoever, except those we impose (essentially and fundamentally voluntarily) in order to inhabit the reality necessary to be "me" (or, as I wrote earlier, in order not to step in front of a moving railroad engine).

Ten years or more ago, we attended a talk given by a group of Tibetan monks. As you know, Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism (I believe), frequently uses the term "sentient beings", and, just so, the expression came up several times during the talk. During the Q&A period, I asked how they defined "sentient being". The answer was "people and animals".

I am fond of Buddhism (well, come to that, I have not yet encountered a spiritual tradition I am not fond of), but that answer was not satisfactory then, and it is even less so now.

If we define "sentient being" as "like me", and "me" as what I seem to me to be, then of course the universe of "sentient beings" is going to be limited and small.

In sum, the only change I would make to the quoted line above is to replace "has" with "is", thus --

everything is consiousness, even rocks and plants


and from your description of his work, I suspect Peter Russell would accept that.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » February 19th, 2008, 2:30 am

I ran into the term sentinent being in philosophy classes and had the same question as you, and equally unmoved by the answer.
I recently joined netflix and am ordering lots of documentaries. I watched Deepak Chopra in God and Buddha: A dialogue this weekend. My favorite part was when he was discussing the different levels of consiousness and he talked about the plant in the room. He said that you reach a stage where you can look at it and see the sun, the rain, the earth, and everything wrapped into this one plant. Then you come to the point when you realize that you and the plant are one and the same. I have had a similar experiences with trees. They are so majestic and every curve and direction of their branches tells a story. I have had moment with them just as with the kiwi, when all separateness dissolves and an underlying level of connection happens. It is always a magical moment. It is a glimpse, that w4tvq talks about. I cannot even imagine the glory and joy of living in that state all of the time.
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby W4TVQ » February 19th, 2008, 1:18 pm

I had one of those glimpses last evening. Pastor had asked me to stand in for him "teaching" the Monday night bible class, topic being mark 7. We were discussing "spiritual busywork," all the little "laws" and superstitions we manufacture to separate ourselves from everyone else. The image came to me as follows:

There is an aggregation of buildings, some rather ornate and elegant (Taj Mahal class) and some ordinary townhouses and some dinky little shacks. Below the surface of the ground on which they stood lay a great, clear, silent aquifer. Each of the buildings had a well drilled into the aquifer. The inhabitants of each building thought they alone had a well, and kept trying to offer water to their neighbors, if the neighbors would move into their building. And of course, the obvious interpretation -- even the class got it, to a degree. Multiple denominations; only one source, All That IS. I didn't quite get them to go the full distance and see the buildings as not just Christian denominations, but all spiritual paths, and I was not interested in pushing it and risking undermining someone's faith. "We'll understand it better by and by." It gives new meaning, for me, to the image in the bible of the great "river" flowing out from the throne of God (Psalm 46, Ezek. 47, Rev. 22). It is much clearer and easier to grasp as presented in the Upanishads, where the image of the Tribal God does not impinge on the message as strongly.

Namaste
Art
"I can at best report only from my own wilderness. The important thing is that each man possess such a wilderness and that he consider what marvels are to be observed there." -- Loren Eiseley

jenjulian
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Re: Out in the cold too long?

Postby jenjulian » February 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm

I like the example given by john travolta in The Phenomenon too. That the largest living organism is the aspen trees. They look like separate trees, but underneath they all share the same roots and are all connected.
"I am what I am."--Popeye


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