• July 8, 2024

    Early in childhood, we learn the pleasures of being liked. From that moment, it becomes more difficult to be free to follow our conscience.

    Because we want to be liked, we do not want to offend. If we offend someone, we think we are responsible for their reactions. We may therefore decide not to speak our mind and lose access to our own sincerity. We risk becoming social creatures, molded by prevailing customs and the thinking of our friends and neighbors, not to mention media.

    All things being equal, it is generally preferable not to offend other people. Apart from the ethical issues involved, the reactions may be dangerous, hurtful, costly in terms of valued relationships and wasteful of time and energy. Unless the other person has agreed to be challenged, it may be better not to risk offense.

    But there is also a deeper issue of following one’s own conscience. The easiest way to deaden conscience is to lie, or to practice insincerity, in order to avoid conflict and get along. Our power as individuals, to do and to reason independently, depends upon our integrity. It can too easily be compromised by the desire to be agreeable and liked.

    I do not propose a resolution of the conflicts that may arise between our integrity and the relationships we have with others. You must find your own way which enables your conscience to flourish.

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  • June 21, 2024

    Sensing is in the nervous system in response to a stimulus. Feeling is not.

    Sensing is the basis for emotion. An emotion, whether we consider it positive or negative, is a body state usually with a thought pattern to go with it.

    Anger is an excitation of the nervous system with thinking that identifies why I am angry. The sensations are localized, including adrenals, pulse, breath and so on, much of which we may not be conscious of but all of it within reach of our awareness.

    Pleasure is also an excitation of the nervous system with quite different physical effects but also with associated thinking. Pleasant emotions have physical benefits, negative ones have negative effects.

    Sensations not only affect us individually but also communicate beyond the body to other humans, plants and animals. So, curating sensations has value and real consequence.

    What is feeling? Enquire. Is it not something received? Is there not a range of thousands of different feelings? Consider freedom, purity, beauty, elegance, truth, loyalty and so on. These are qualities known by their feelings. They each have a particular vibrational or tone. They require us to be open, receptive and attentive. They are gifts of the unseen.

    As we enquire we may find that feelings have associated sensations such as sorrow and sadness, joy and happiness.

    To make way for feelings to enter, whole body attention is most useful. Allowing attention to fall directly on all the sensations of the body clears the palate, removing the localized, locked in sensations of ordinary emotions. Submission encourages feeling to enter. Humility is the most beautiful inner gesture we can make towards the realm of feeling.

    A whole human being has sensation, thought and feeling working together in body, mind and heart. Each domain has its organ of perception. How rarely do we use them to fully perceive.

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  • June 6, 2024

    Question from reader: What does it mean to be impartial?

    To be impartial is not to be in parts. Mostly we observe by one part observing another. We comment on what we see. This is what we call self-observing (rather than observing itself). We have opinions. We have preferences. We have reactions. These phenomena intermediate, separating attention from what is attended to. To be impartial is for attention to have no observer to separate and label experience.

    The observer enters the observed and is thereby silenced.

    To be impartial is to be without like and dislike, clinging and averting as the Buddha said. Impartial is between them and not them.

    The opposite of impartial attention could be called headbrain attention. This attention is managed by thinking, funneled through thinking. In this way, it loses its force.

    Impartial attention is a direct connection of the source of attention to what is attended. Perception is united to will.  A bridge.  An enormous amount crosses this bridge if not interfered. Real knowing, the real nature of a thing, comes immediately over this bridge without the limitation of our past-determined opinions and reactions.

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  • May 27, 2024

    We run on energy. Our primary source of energy is sensation. Without sensation we die. We are sensing creatures, beings with bodies.

    The five externally triggered physical sensations of seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting (really at least seven with the sensations of movement and location in space) are neutral in their normal functioning. There is another set of sensations which are internally generated reactions to external phenomena, ranging from euphoria to irritation, anger to depression. These we call emotions.

    Our ordinary emotions are sensations with a gloss of associated thinking. The sensations are valuable as energy, information and motive to act. They are precious. More so than the thoughts by which they are named.

    Our emotions and their underlying sensations need to be curated so that they are food for our own evolution and not hijacked and used by others, human or not, to involve us in external or reciprocal feeding. To that end, we need to be able to see our emotions unfold in real time, tracking not so much the associated thinking but mostly the sensations.

    If followed by impartial attention, emotions are digested and transformed into conscious energy, leaving no ugly residue for wasteful reverberations. This is difficult to do and requires much practice. The secret is that attention is a catalyst that enables the transformation of sensitive energy to conscious energy, and like all catalysts, attention itself is not changed.

    You may ask…what is conscious energy? That’s a discussion for another day.

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  • May 16, 2024

    How do we serve the lesser gods? We feed them. What is their food? Our sensations of anger, hatred, jealousy, frustration, obsessive desire. These sensations are held in the nervous system and the muscles and their vibration attracts unseen minions who revel in them, encourage them and look for ways to provoke them. In our work, these sensations are known as negative emotions because they arise as an electrical charge in the nervous system and eventually discharge.

    Religions have developed rules to subdue the expression of these negative emotions but rules most often operate on the basis of suppression, which is ineffective. Our work recommends that these phenomena be impartially observed, held consciously and absorbed as energy. In short, whose food is your anger…unseen vampirish beings or your functioning as a real human being?

    The key to all this is wanting. Consider, what is wanting? To want is to have a desire for something you do not have, meaning a lack of something you desire. Wanting is a loaded gun. In a state of wanting, you are not satisfied with what you have. “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, says Psalm 23. Wanting is not intrinsically wrong but it is dangerous, meaning not only that in a state of wanting you may not appreciate what you have but also that you may be tested on the lengths to which you will go to get what you want.

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  • April 28, 2024

    It is said, in our work, that everyone serves someone or something, knowingly or not.

    There are extraordinary patterns of behavior arising around us. Governments are exercising growing control over their citizens. Nations are embracing and justifying war. Licentiousness and addiction are rampant. The innocence of children is being sacrificed; they are being publicly sexualized to a degree that would have seemed impossible a few years ago. Religious and family values are waning.

    Who do these trends serve? Can they arise with such speed and force without sponsors?

    Is there such a thing as objective evil…evil for its own sake?

    If you are seriously involved in work on self, these questions are likely to occur to you. I am going to offer you some tentative conclusions after more than 5 decades of observing and contemplating my behavior and the society I am part of.

    The Old Testament is a commentary on the battle between good and evil. I am learning to see it as a record of certain knowledge that has been lost. The people of Israel are continually falling away from the laws of Moses to serve other gods who promise them benefits to their liking. Prophets are sent to warn them to forsake these false gods they have chosen to worship

    These false gods are not imaginative, metaphorical or conceptual. The graven images that are worshipped are idols said to represent actual gods who demand service. They are non-physical beings about whom the ancients were very knowledgeable. They have names…Baal, he who wishes for power and dominion over others…Ishtar, she the seductress, who fosters wanton licentiousness and addiction…and Moloch, the destroyer who loves blood and death. When humans become incomprehensibly stupid, selfish and barbaric, are they serving them?

    It is said, in our work, that everyone serves someone or something, knowingly or not. If you seek power, indulge in pleasure or want the destruction of others, who do you serve?

    Those who have undertaken objective work for the world do not dedicate themselves to the ordinary motives of human beings. They become the psychoactive leavening of human society, making it possible for others to function in a more or less sane manner.

    There are three unusual qualities of those who truly work.

    First, they have a quiet confidence in God. He is for them an intimate Friend. Therefore, they know for whom they labor and it is not for themselves.

    Second, they work without the notice of the world. To be celebrated is to be at great risk of dissipation.

    Third, they perceive that there are intentional enemies of this work. They knowingly join a battle of good against evil.

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