Turning Points

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W4TVQ
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Turning Points

Postby W4TVQ » March 24th, 2008, 12:27 pm

Quote, from "Anna's Blog": "We run from the leaping off points in our lives, primarily out of fear of change, but frequently out of stubbornness and hubris. We think we are the director of our lives, we think we are in control, and we do everything in our power to maintain that illusion, thereby obstructing the grace and light by which we were originally destined to live."

Ouch.

This rings all sorts of bells with me, so I thought I'd hijack it to a new thread just to "ventilate" and stand by for input.

I sense the coming of such a point ... not the first, by any means. Like the frog sitting in a pot on the fire, I usually won't leap until the water is just about hot enugh to induce paralysis, because that's how I am. Such a leaping point occurred about 5 years ago, when we figured out that Unity was no longer of any value to us and "leaped" into East Naples United Methodist Church. We found there a Master Teacher, and we've both been content there for all these years. However, Methodist ministers get moved about every 5 or 6 years, and we know that another "leaping point" is coming, because very little else about Methodist Christiahnity is appealing to us.

This holy week, we were in church a lot. Thursday: Maundy Thursday eucharist at St. Paul's Episcopal church. Friday: I was a speaker at the noontime Good Friday service. Saturday: Easter vigil at St, Paul's. Sunday: sunrise service (Methodist). I learned in the process that being in the Episcopal services felt a lot like coming home after a long journey. I grew up in the EC, a very high-church cathedral in Orlando, and never got over it.

I'm perfectly aware that denomination is irrelevant: denominations exist only because we are psychologically diverse. I do not despise or reject Unity, or Methodism, or Catholicism, or Hindusim, or any ism in the realm of the spiritual. A week we spent at Unity Village stands out as one of the highest highlights of our lives. One evening, seated on a bench, looking at the Prayer Tower and enjoying the fireflies lighting on our hands and clothes, was a moment that qualifies for the term "magical." We have had some happy experience and made some good friends in the Methodist community. But My spirit is restless, and find I crave the Book of Common Prayer like a kid craves candy. Eventually, of course, you and I and all of us will return to the Light "like a drop of rain flowing to the ocean," but for now I'm "embodied" and subject both to DNA and personal psychology. As much as I resist change, I see it coming, and wish I didn't.

I do find that I am unsuccessful in any attempt to live beyond whatever maturity I have achieved. To ignore the call of (for example) the Anglican ritual and pretend I am "liberated" and can exist in the rarified atmosphere of pure spirituality is to deceive myself, at this point, and set myelf up for tension and anxiety. "Don't be what you ain't" seems like good advice to me at this point.

I guess I face the problem of impulse vs. inertia, and the balance has not tipped one way or the other at this point. In any case it helps just to share it with someone who will in all likelihood understand, and not respond by advising me to "seek salvation" or "be delivered from the demon of confusion."

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: Turning Points

Postby Speculum » March 29th, 2008, 6:38 pm

I expect that Anna, who, you say, initiated this idea, will join in the discussion in her good time (as I hope will others).

You wrote, "I do find that I am unsuccessful in any attempt to live beyond whatever maturity I have achieved".

Please permit me to suggest that it is impossible to live beyond whatever maturity we have achieved!

Of course, I know what you meant, but the tone of it makes me a little uncomfortable, because I hear a bit of self-bashing there, and that never does a seeker (or anyone else) any good. Yes, we have to be self-aware, but always with affection.

Consider that there is NO where on the spectrum of existence that is better than anywhere else. Thus, everywhere is as spiritual as everywhere else. The difference is, at any given time in life, I (or you or whoever, but I will speak here only for myself) might feel more at home, more appropriately situated, more nourished, at one point or another on the spectrum. And I will know that, when my presence on whatever point I am on now begins to feel a little less comfortable than it has done, a little less nourishing, a little less appropriate. I and I alone can be the judge of that, of course. When I begin to sense that, it behooves me as a seeker to let go the moorings precisely so that I can BE MOVED as necessary and appropriate along the spectrum to the next appropriate (and probably temporary) learning and resting place for me.

Thus, each of us is in a Divine Tide that is washing us Homeward. Our responsibility is simply to allow ourselves to be moved along with the tide.

All of which means to me that, if you feel nourished in the Methodist Church, then what's the problem? My advice is, here and everywhere, don't dig in. Don't pour concrete. Be there, wherever you are, as long as you are there; all the while, remaining sufficiently unattached so that when the Wave washes over you, you will be loose enough to go with it.

In a word, Mother knows when it is time for you to move. And She will tell you, and She will move you, with or without your cooperation. So, wherever you are, is where you belong. Just always be ready and willing to move.

And never forget, nothing can interfere with God's Will.

Where will the next wave take you? Who knows. Who cares. That is God's Worry, not yours. Your job is just to enjoy where you are, and be ready to move when movement happens.

At least, that is the way I see it.


Re your experience at Unity Village. I can relate to that. Umpteen years ago, Anna and I spent a couple of weeks at Unity Village (knowing virtually nothing about Unity, we stopped off while driving across the country), and took some classes, one of which was taught by Wayne Manning. Well, we spent the whole time we were in his class shedding tears of joy! We couldn't stop. As I say at Wayne's item at Ampers&nd, I think our reaction was simply an "expression of joyful relief at hearing someone openly, not to mention beautifully, articulating a perspective we had privately come to discover in the sanctuary of our Maine woods. In effect, Wayne Manning convinced us we were not insane, and we have loved him ever since".
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Turning Points

Postby anna » March 29th, 2008, 7:28 pm

First, I am moved to ask "who" is it that feels an "ouch" in response to the "jumping off" suggestion? Was it the resistor to change? Was that resistor resisting its resistance, ad infinitum? Only the thought that "I must not resist", or its opposite "I must resist" can create the ouch, no? Who is it that judges oneself? And why do we do that? We all do. Keep in mind that this point of mine was a personal reflection on my own outsized fear that I could not control my life, and which frequently obstructed my ability to see clearly. And that fear was draped in hubris and stubbornness because facing the fear is much harder to deal with than strutting about thinking I am in control. We are buffered people. It is a wonder that we can see anything through all of that layering.

With respect to change, change can be simply living within the moment, not necessarily a physical leap. It can be a psychological leap, and that can occur within the Anglican Church during communion, perhaps, or anywhere else. Or looking at a stained glass window. Or digging in the dirt. Or lying in bed staring at a wall, or whatever. You are the leaper, in every way and your very life is full of big and little leaps. And in the end, they only matter to you, and no one can judge or critique whether you are leaping or not, and thus, it is nobody else's business...including the internal judge that we carry around on our backs, put there by who knows what.

Said another way: do we not all perhaps, have too much expectation laid on ourselves, by ourselves. (I call this ambition, and if you want to find one of the foundations for misery, ambition would fall into that category.) Who is to say that inertia is bad? And where did that expectation/judgment come from? Surely not from God? There is a time for everything under heaven - right? A time to sow, a time to reap, etc., etc., a time for rest and inertia. (Indeed, activity can be a huge barrier to insight and understanding if generated by desire for distraction or out of obligation, and, interestingly enough, often is generated by resistance to that very state of inertia.)

I guess what I am saying here is that we all meet moments in our lives that open doors, and we often refrain from walking through them because of fear of the unknown and lack of knowledge about who we truly are. That said, this does not imply that those who don't walk through doors are necessarily less than those who do, or that they are not actually walking through internal doors. Some of us live in the same room for most of our lives and virtually do the same thing year after year after year, lifelong - monks do, and some of the greatest mystics are monks. :uhh: I try to remember that we are only human, after all, so long as we consider ourselves to be only human, and even AFTER we understand what we truly are, we are still only human. I have found that it is okay to be invisible and non-significant, indeed, it may for some, (dare I saw all?!), be essential. And I have personally found as well that invisibility and insignificance actually assists in the way out of my self-imposed prison. Or perhaps it is inevitable along the way? :shock:
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Re: Turning Points

Postby jenjulian » March 29th, 2008, 8:38 pm

I try to remember that we are only human, after all, so long as we consider ourselves to be only human, and even AFTER we understand what we truly are, we are still only human. I have found that it is okay to be invisible and non-significant, indeed, it may for some, (dare I saw all?!), be essential. And I have personally found as well that invisibility and insignificance actually assists in the way out of my self-imposed prison. Or perhaps it is inevitable along the way?:shock:


YES!
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Re: Turning Points

Postby W4TVQ » March 30th, 2008, 7:40 pm

"Yes, we have to be self-aware, but always with affection."

And there, of course, is "the problem with Art." I'm forced to admit that self-appreciation is not a strong suit with me. Perhaps it is because the older I get, the more i look like my father, and the more i realize I didn't like the man, nor did he like me, and I resist (there's that word) becoming him, yet see an awful lot of him in myself. And so does Peg, and so do my remaining living relatives.

Appreciating oneself is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Walt Whitman notwithstanding, my "song of myself" is cacaphonic and more like Schoemberg than Mozart. I see myself usually as a vast lack of accomplishment in a T-shirt and sneakers.

And I know eveything you and Anna have said to the contrary above is true. I see it, I just don't reach it. I am a little more at peace with it now, as I have begun to see my purpose in life, not as being the Great New Age Author or Instant Guru, Just Add Congratulations ... but as given the job of "being there" for Peg after years of a previous abusive marriage, and now as the mother of a dreadfully difficult daughter. And that's a task I accept willingly and joyfully. She is one special lady. I can see that it's okay to be just that and nothing else, if that's how it works out.

However, to go back to my image of the frog in the pot, I feel the water geting hotter, and suspect that it was God Who lit the fire under it. If you hear a loud "ribbit" from down this way, that's me "leaping." Should be fun to see where I land. I haven't reached Alan Watts' "egoless state" yet, but each leap brings the destination nearer.

More as it developes

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: Turning Points

Postby Speculum » April 1st, 2008, 8:03 pm

Anna wrote,
I try to remember that we are only human, after all, so long as we consider ourselves to be only human, and even AFTER we understand what we truly are, we are still only human.


To that I say, it is enough to be human. Indeed, it is Divine. And it is beautiful.

Art, I think I am about to lecture to you. Please forgive me. And please know that I do it out of deep affection for you both.

Perhaps it is because the older I get, the more I look like my father


You have always looked like your Father. And you always will.

I know I nitpick on this issue, and have done for years, and will do for years. But taking it deadly seriously has served me well, and on this subject, I take refuge in the company of many Teachers. And so, dear friend, I urge you to read again the Gospels Teacher's admonition at Matthew 23:9 and my essay at Call No Man Father. And I urge you to be firm with yourself on this issue. It is my understanding (and my experience) that the sub-conscious does not know when we are joking or when we are saying things just for convenience or things that we don't really mean. When the sub-conscious hears us saying something, it believes it, and then it bubbles up, and our old ways of thinking are reinforced.

So, please permit me to suggest that what you meant to say was -- (and yes, I now how contrived it is to say it this way, and even sometimes how embarrassing and ridiculous sounding -- many others have so reminded and scolded me -- but to all I reply, (1) is it more contrived or more embarrassing or more ridiculous than the alternative, and (2) did the Teacher say "unless it is contrived or embarrassing or ridiculous"?): "Perhaps it is because the older my body gets, the more it looks like its father."

... and the more I realize I didn't like the man, nor did he like me, and I resist (there's that word) becoming him, yet see an awful lot of him in myself. And so does Peg, and so do my remaining living relatives.


To that I suggest that you make peace with the man. You do not need to do it in person, and it does not matter whether he is still alive or not. Because what you are actually doing is making peace with the man within you!

Here's what I would do: I would find a quiet spot where you will not be disturbed and where you will not disturb others, and (this is important) where others will not observe what you are doing, lest you become embarrassed, and give up. There, conjure up as alive and accurate an image of the man as you can, so that as nearly as possible you feel that you are literally in his company. And then tell him (speaking out loud, just as you would in person) exactly how feel about him and why. Be explicit. Be clear. Give details. Put as much energy and passion and emotion into the event as you can. You want to generate an atmospheric storm, if you get my meaning. And when you have gotten all of the accusations and anger out (and I mean all of it), forgive him. Tell him that you understand that, from his perspective, he was/is a product of his upbringing and environment and circumstances, and therefore behaved in the only way he knew how. Tell him that it is okay, that the harm he did you was only temporary, that the wounds are already healing, even healed. Then tell him that you are releasing all your memories of him to God's care, and do so. And then walk on.

Anna's and my experience is that this process, if done with honesty and enthusiasm, works. Really.

I am a little more at peace with it now, as I have begun to see my purpose in life, not as being the Great New Age Author or Instant Guru, Just Add Congratulations


I cannot tell you how many "Great New Age Authors and Instant Gurus" Anna and I have come across in our three decades along this path, who are as phony and/or unhappy and/or suffering from marital/family/social/medical/financial disarray as can be. I know it is hard, but I urge you not to compare yourself with others. Trust me, they are not what they look like on TV. Besides, you do not know how many people you are helping simply by being who you are. When you stand in line at the bank or at the supermarket or at the post office, the people standing at either side of you are resonating with you. That is normal, natural, and inevitable. That means they take something of you home with them. The more ordered, uplifting, pacific (spiritual?) are your thoughts, your focus, your intentions, the more that is what they take home. You will almost certainly never know who they are. They will probably never know what hit them or where it came from. Likewise, you will almost certainly never know how you have affected them. But, believe me, affected them you have. And the same is true for every word you say in church or anywhere else, every word you write here. You do not know who is listening, who is reading. Again, you may never know. But again, you are affecting others.


the job of "being there" for Peg


As you know, I am convinced that the fundamental Purpose of Creation is Relationship (leading to Self-Consciousness). If that is the case, then there is no greater "job" than "being there with and for" another.

I haven't reached Alan Watts' "egoless state" yet


Alan Watts is one of my favorites. But I do not believe that he himself had reached his "egoless state". It is clear he knew what it was, even that he had glimpses of it. But I do not get from his writing that it had anchored.

But, even so, please try to remember that the "ego state" is every bit as Divine as the "egoless state". Just different. If God is Infinite, there is nothing else it can be. The job of a seeker, as I see it, is not to get out of the ego state, but to embrace it with enthusiasm, joy, and love. As you say, it is our resisting the ego state that bogs us down and makes us miserable. When we let go of trying to get out of it (when we are still), bliss ensues. Once again, it is enough to be human. Indeed, it is Divine.

Again, dear friend, please forgive me my lecture. We have been friends a long time, and so I trust that you will understand.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Re: Turning Points

Postby W4TVQ » April 1st, 2008, 9:01 pm

No need to apologize for the "lecture," my friend. I'm thinking, "thanks, i needed that." Your advice will be followed, because I recognize that until I can achieve that "peace" with the man I called "father" as a kid, i'll still be comparing myself to him.

He died ten years ago, but as you say, that is irrelevant. I'll lay the ghost to rest.

Once again, thank you.

Shalom aleichem
Aret
"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: Turning Points

Postby jenjulian » April 1st, 2008, 11:00 pm

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Last edited by jenjulian on April 12th, 2008, 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Turning Points

Postby Gulliver » April 2nd, 2008, 2:21 pm

I'm thinking, "thanks, i needed that."
Me too, the part about making peace with a decesed family relative especially. I am going to do that. Thanx.

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Re: Turning Points

Postby Speculum » April 11th, 2008, 4:51 pm

On the general subject of relationship addressed in this thread and others --

Here are a few lines from Rumi I have come across in a book of his poetry that I am re-reading once again for the first time.

Human beings are discourse. That flowing moves through you whether you say anything or not. Everything that happens is filled with pleasure and warmth because of the delight of the discourse that's always going on.

And

To watch and to listen to those two
is to understand how, as it's written,
sometimes when two beings come together,
Christ becomes visible.

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Re: Turning Points

Postby jenjulian » April 13th, 2008, 4:12 pm

Speculum, those are beautiful and revealing words by Rumi. I thought this page fom tolle's book makes this idea of human nature and relationship quite clear. It is addressed to relationships with children, but is universal.

"You are a human being, What does that mean? Mastery of life is not a`question of control, but of finding a balance between human and Being....

In the human dimension, you are unquestionably superior to your child. You are bigger, stronger, know more, can do more. If that dimension is all you know, you will feel superior to your child, if only unconsciously. And you will make your child feel inferior, if only unconsciously. There is no equality between and your child because there is only form in your relationship, and in form, of course you are not equal. You may love your child, but your love will be human only, that is to say, conditional, possessive, intermittent. Only beyond form, in Being, are you equal. and only when you find the formless dimension in yourself can there be true love in that relationship. The Presence that you are, the timeless I Am, recognizes itself in another, and the other, the child in this case feels loved, that is to say recognized.

To love is to recognize yourself in another. The other's "otherness"then stands revealed as an illusion pertaining to the purely human realm, the realm of form. The longing for love that is in every child is the longing to be recognized, not on the level of form, but on the level of Being.

When another recognizes you, that recognition draws the dimension of Being more fully into this world through both of you. That is the love that redeems the world.

It is said that God is Love but that is not absolutely correct. God is the One Life in and beyond the countless forms of life. Love implies duality: lover and beloved, subject and object. so love is the recognition of oneness in the world of duality. This is the birth of God into the world of form. Love makes the world less`worldly, less dense, more transparent to the divine dimension, the light of consciousness itself."
( A New Earth/ Eckhart Tolle/ pg104-6)
"I am what I am."--Popeye

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Re: Turning Points

Postby W4TVQ » November 2nd, 2008, 4:34 pm

It seems to me that I have come to a genuine turning point. For anyone else, it would seem like a non-point, a "who cares" issue, but for me it is a "big deal."

I grew up Episcopalian. High church Espicopalian, with bells, incense, gregorian chant and all that. The venue was the elegant stone gothic Cathedral of St. Luke in Orlando. I would get up every Wednesday morning (this was in middle school) at 5 a.m., be at the bus stop at 5:30, and head downtown, walk from Orange Ave. to the cathedral and serve at the altar for Wednesday morning eucharist. There would be the Dean, one old lady, and me, and occasionally the sufragan bishop. I still recall that as one of the high, high points of my life.

When the Episcopal Church with wisdom I would not acknowledge at the time, said I should not enter the priesthood, I shifted crab-like to the side and entered the Lutheran ministry. 3½ years later it was clear that the EC had been right, and I turned by back on the church, Christianity, Jesus, and anything or anyone having to do with any of that. Since then I have been an astrologer, a witch, a Roman Catholic, a New Ager (Unity), and an atheist, not necessarily in that order. For the last 5 years my wife and I have been attending the United Methodist Church. At no time in all those years have I ever felt settled, complete, "here I belong."

And we all need to belong somewhere. If it be in this denomination or that, if it be in the Maine woods or in the Arizona mountains, if it be in America or Fiji, we each (I think) have aplace we belong and will know when we are in that place. I have found that, if I am not where God wants me to be, He will make me uncomfortable until I agree to go where He does want me to be.

Recently we have moved again. I felt that "itch" that God gives us when He wants some sort of compliance, and last Holy Week went to Easter Vigil at the St. Paiul's Episcopal Church. The very moment I walked into the church the itch stopped, and so I have been there ever since. I gues it is time to "come home", full circle, to where I began. Perhaps it is an old man seeking something, or some psyhological wackiness that makes me do this, but I don't really worry about that. I walk into St. Paul's, see the white candle burning at the front of the church that says "He's here," and I am at rest, certain He is indeed there. Of course, He's everywhere; of course, He's in my living room and my bedroom and my car when I drive and all that, but He's "there" is a special way in that church, and I welcome the stillness I haven't felt for 55 years.

I think there is that in liturgy/ritual that conveys the numinous regardless of the words spoken. When the words are spoken to us each Sunday, "This is my body, This is my blood," it doesn't make any difference whatever what "doctrine" you attach to it, whether the elements "change" or do not change; the message is, "I am all things and in all things, and in these simplest of things I convey myself to you. Do this in remembrance of Me." In any cae, it works for me, just a living in the Maine woods works for you and being a Hindu worked for Gandhi. I think the real point I have gleaned form all of this is that God knows exactly what "works" for any one of us and knows how to manipulate us into the place whre we will be at home. How cool is that?

Shalom Aleichem
Art



To me, that is a turning point. I can only wonder what He has in mind now, having finally gotten through my thick fog of "duh," what He is going to do with me now. Shold be intersting.
"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: Turning Points

Postby Speculum » November 2nd, 2008, 9:39 pm

Beautifully said. Please know that Nancy and I could not be happier for you. I mean that. Know too, as I know you do, that every moment, every experience of your journey ("astrologer, a witch, a Roman Catholic, a New Ager (Unity), and an atheist") was essential to the "return home" you have now experienced.

What a Wonder is our God.
"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust


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