Sunday, September 14, 2008

And the Last Commandment Shall be First

I thought I should finish up with those Ten Commandments, rather than leave you hanging. Here's #10.

*****

Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that he neither has time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances. The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed.... Life passes away from him almost unseen, swift as a ray of light, and man falls engulfed and still absent from himself. --Boris Mouravieff

“Zoom!" What was that? That was your life, mate. Oh, that was quick, do I get another? Sorry, that's your lot. --Basil Fawlty

We conclude our little round trip of the inner meaning of the Ten Commandments with the tenth, “thou shalt not covet.” It is a fitting capstone to our journey, since the injunction against envy is really more of a reward for a life well lived than an ultimatum.

For envy is the most corrosive of emotions (or perhaps more accurately, “mental states”), in that it undermines any possibility of personal happiness or spiritual fulfillment. While it often takes the form of longing for what one doesn’t have, it is usually built on an unconscious foundation of being ungrateful for what one has, or even actively devaluing what one has, so that one constantly feels deprived. Thus, envy is often the residue of the inner emptiness caused by unconscious devaluation, "spoiling," and ingratitude. It is one of the primary reasons why liberals are on the average so much less happy than conservatives.

Ultimately envy is a self-consuming process that leaves nothing but itself standing, like Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather or Charles Foster Kane at the end of Citizen Kane. Both endings represent envy triumphant. All that is left of Kane is a huge warehouse of meaningless objects frantically acquired during a lifetime spent trying vainly to fill a psychological and spiritual void with possessions. It is appropriate that these empty consolations are consigned to the fire, as workers absently toss one after another into the flames.

Here we discover a certain confluence of Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian tradition, for Buddha is famous for his wise crack about desire being the source of our suffering. But actually, he was trying to make a point about attachment to desire. Desires will come and go, like smoke driven by wind. It is only when we attempt to cling to them that they become problematic.

But even then, as I pointed out in One Cosmos, I find it useful to draw a distinction between appetite, which is natural and usually legitimate, and desire, which is often artificial and mimetic, meaning that it is not spontaneous but prompted from the outside. Many people give themselves entirely over to this process, and lead lives of simply wanting what others seem to want. They are pushed and pulled around by fleeting desires, impulses and passions, but when one of them is being gratified, it gives rise to a spurious sense of expansiveness and “freedom,” when in reality this kind of ungoverned desire is the opposite of freedom. The "expansiveness" will only be temporary, and last as long as it takes for the impulse to return and fill up the space again.

It is very difficult to avoid this dynamic in a consumer-driven culture such as ours. It’s the kind of cliché that Petey detests, but we are constantly bombarded with messages and images that fan the fires of envy and mimesis. Sri Aurobindo wrote that this was one of the properties of the “vital mind,” and the fundamental problem is that it cannot really be appeased. In other words, it doesn’t shrink when we acquiesce to it. Instead, it only grows, like an addiction or compulsion.

Importantly, the vital mind does not merely consist of impulses seeking discharge. Rather, it can take over the machinery of the host, and generate its own thoughts and rationalizations. We’ve all seen this happen in ourselves. Yoga in its most generic sense involves a reversal of this tendency, so that we may consciously yearn for what we actually want, rather than mindlessly willing what we desire. This tends to be a constant battle at the beginning. But only until the end.

I am reminded of Peter Guralnick’s fine biography of Elvis. It is amazing how elaborate the vital mind can become if left unchecked, or if it is gratified before one has had the chance to develop one's soul and intellect -- i.e, to acquire wisdom and prudence. It seems that someone can become so wealthy and powerful that they lose the friction necessary to distinguish between fantasy and reality. A sort of hypnotic, dreamlike imagination takes hold, which can become quite elaborate and unnatural. I am sure this accounts for the general nuttiness that comes out of the typical left-wing hollywoodenhead. They are so far removed from what you and I know as reality, that they are both ontologically and epistemologically (not to say spiritually) crippled.

“Job one” of the vital mind is to foster a kind of I-amnesia, so that we repeatedly fool ourselves into believing that fulfillment of the next desire will finally break the cycle and bring us real contentment, but most of us know that drill. For in that gap between desire and fulfillment lies the hidden key. In that gap there is both anticipation and hope. But like the referred pain of a back injury that we feel in the leg, this hope is misplaced onto a realm incapable of fulfilling it. For, as it is written -- probably on a bumper snicker somewhere -- ”You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.”

This pattern of desiring what we don’t really want or need is well beyond merely affecting our spiritual lives. Rather, it is starting to seriously compromise even our physical well-being. At some point in the last 10-15 years, affluence became a much more serious threat to health than poverty. The levels of obesity, type II diabetes, and other related health problems have become epidemic. Why? Because people are able to wallow in the vital mind as never before. The Western world is increasingly full of “poor” people whose bodies look like the most prosperous and decadent people of the past. They are still impoverished, but it is a spiritual impoverishment that causes them to try to fill the void with food and meaningless sedentary activities, such as television and video games. In a way, they are more poor -- not to say pathetic and lacking in dignity -- than the poor of the past.

Natural appetites can be satisfied, but the gods of abstract metaphysical desire are insatiable and require constant tribute. That is one of the paradoxes, for one might think that the spiritually developed person lives in an “abstract” world, while the vital person lives in the concrete world, but it is quite the opposite. The spiritual person becomes very concretely aware of subtle and fleeting little concrete joys on a moment-by-moment basis, where as the vital types are only tuned into the most gross forms of sensory overload, whether in music, entertainment, or food (and I imagine the porn industry taps into this same dynamic as well; it is really an attempt to "wake the dead," or to arouse passion in someone who has become totally jaded).

Here again we must bear in mind the limitlessness of the human imagination. We can always imagine something better, something that we don’t have. Any clown can do that. Much more tricky is being grateful for what we do have. Thus, the cultivation of humility and gratitude actively counter the vital mind and its constitutional envy. This may initially feel as if we are being deprived of our horizontal liberty, such as it is, and this is true. However, the whole point is to replace that with a more expansive vertical freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstances, excluding the most dire cases.

And, just as in my absurcular book, the commandments circle back around to the beginning, back to where we started, with the holographic first commandment that contains all the others: “The secular left turns the cosmos upside down and inside out. As a result, instead of being conditioned in a hierarchical manner from the top down, it is conditioned from the bottom up. This results not in true liberation, only in rebellion and pseudo-liberation, for there can be no meaningful freedom outside objective Truth. The left rejects top-town hierarchies as intrinsically repressive, but the opposite is true -- only in being conditioned by the higher can we actually elevate and liberate ourselves from contingency and relativity.”

Or, as Will put it “Like any physical attribute, if the human intellect is not yoked to and governed by the Higher Intelligence, it runs amok and eventually goes crazy. It's taken some time to get there, but currently, the spiritually bereft intellect is basically in charge of most of the world's influential institutions, which of course means the world is in deep stew. As far as definitions of the Antichrist go, I think this would do OK.”

On the spiritual level, there is simply nothing more satanic than envy. The sword of gratitude is our only defense.

53 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post, like a guided missile, hit home on my central dilemmas of the day; my decision to read it early is an example of "flow" or grace, probably.

My life is very good, yet still I have trouble with envy and cannot easily feel grateful. My spiritual consciousness is such that it does not dominate or control my vital mind. It is somehow weaker than the vital influences.

By a focused effort I can move myself into a grateful state but it only lasts until the next annoyance causes a fall into ordinary vital consciousness and I become resentful or envious again. Then the process has to be repeated. It wears me down.

The problem areas tend to be sex and money. I don't think I'm getting enough or of the right kind of these items. Ultimately, what do they matter? They are tied to legitimate appetites, but my expectations are beyond what is necessary, I guess.

Yet, I'll never give up trying to be grateful and to let the vertical dimension become more important than the horizontal. The correct choice is clear and I thank you for your blog which shows the reasons with such clarity.

9/14/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger shoprat said...

Perhaps envy and its twin resentment are the source of bitterness which in turn drives hatred. Sadly envy is rooted in our fallen nature and I don't know to completely eradicate it from myself, let alone all of humanity.

9/14/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Since envy is ultimately an effect of the descending cosmic winds, one must consciously counter them by ascending in the opposite direction. It helps to be somewhat detached from the whole system, so you're not as easily seduced and hypnotized. I never bought into it to begin with, so that made it easier for me. In addition to having a sense of eternity and therefore proportion, I was always susceptible to random bouts of ecstasy, and I knew that it had nothing to do with the world. Now it's more like a calm light which is preferable to the centrifugal distractions of the world.

9/14/2008 10:38:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In other words, be in the world, but not of it.

In Walt's comments yesterday, he left this quote:

"Their world seemed to me at first to be very small, but soon I became interested in their devotions and discovered how the Brahman, nameless and formless in manifestation, interpenetrates life in an active way, makes everything the senses allow us to perceive divine: the wind, a perfume, a song, a tree, a fruit, an animal, and particularly the husband and the child. Anything that could become the logical support leading to the undifferentiated Divine. While the men had spoken to me of the Vedanta philosophy, unconnected with everyday life, the women, through their Tantras, perceived every single thing as animate."

(excerpted from To Live Within, by Lizelle Reymond)

If you can perceive life through such a lens, which is kind of what you're doing when you cultivate humility and gratefulness, it becomes easier to let go of envy. Next to my computer is a door to the sideyard. It's scruffy (Walt would be appalled, I'm sure), with a couple of scrappy trees that manage to thrive in my benign neglect. At times I think that I should hire some landscapers to come and keep it all tidy back there (and probably, eventually, I will). But daily, this little space is a source of joy. Hummingbirds stake out a space in the orange tree, and occasionally butterflies dance in the narrow aisle of light that passes through. My dogs run in and out incessantly, chasing lizards and birds. It is at once both timeless and constantly changing. And the most amazing part is how completely ordinary it is. There's nothing special about my sideyard. Nothing at all. It's just that I notice it, and I'm glad it's there.

Find your own version of this space. It doesn't matter where it is or what it is. Notice it. Get up close and see the tiny, amazing details, and take a step back to look at the big picture. If it's too scruffy for your taste, care for it. Do this for a little while each day, and you will find that you are grateful for a great many more things than just this little space. Envy? Who has time to be envious, when the world is so wonderful?

(See also any of Walt's post on cultivating awareness)

9/14/2008 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Hey, Bob - one more reason to like Herb Alpert!

9/14/2008 10:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think this is their best track, although it sounds much, much better in the newly remastered version, especially the drums. Look how happy everyone is!

9/14/2008 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Why is no one on TV this happy any more?

9/14/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Another happy tune. You have to imagine driving up PCH with the top down and not a care in the world.

9/14/2008 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

You know, Austin Powers style...

9/14/2008 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Why is no one on tv this happy anymore?

Cuz they don't wear happy shirts like Al's. Clothes do make the man.

9/14/2008 11:25:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of great instrumentals from the '60s, The Lonely Surfer.

9/14/2008 11:26:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Cultivating Virtue

Graced by light and wind
beauty lingers in my sight
patience rewarded

9/14/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Anon at 9:10:

My life is very good, yet I still have troubles...

Me too. And although raw willpower isn't too helpful in in the battle against mind parasites, this is one demon that can be beaten back with deliberate conscious effort.

(Are you ready for a sweet sticky cloying cliche?)

Count your blessings.

(That wasn't so bad, was it?)

Cultivate gratitude. I have learned to make a continual conscious effort to keep gratitude as a first principal. I forced the habit on myself years ago. I train my brain to look for blessings like coins on the sidewalk. I list them, recite them, roll 'em around in my head. It has served me well.
I posted about my own recent plunge into a firestorm of anger. I was buried. Lost in a zone of very bad thoughts (to put it mildly). The first thread of light in that dark place was the habitually enforced recollection of the many things I am grateful for, and in this context, the many things I had to lose. That was the clew that I could follow out of the maze.
Gratitude, like cigarrette smoking, is a habit that can be acquired with a little effort. The first few puffs kind of make you choke, but you get used to it, and before you know it you're doing all the time. But unlike cigarrettes, you do it in restaurants and bars.

;)

JWM

9/14/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Here's a great pair of bookends for ya:

"“Job one” of the vital mind is to foster a kind of I-amnesia, so that we repeatedly fool ourselves into believing that fulfillment of the next desire will finally break the cycle and bring us real contentment, but most of us know that drill. For in that gap between desire and fulfillment lies the hidden key. In that gap there is both anticipation and hope. But like the referred pain of a back injury that we feel in the leg, this hope is misplaced onto a realm incapable of fulfilling it. For, as it is written -- probably on a bumper snicker somewhere -- ”You can never get enough of what you don’t really need.” "


"Here again we must bear in mind the limitlessness of the human imagination. We can always imagine something better, something that we don’t have. Any clown can do that. Much more tricky is being grateful for what we do have. Thus, the cultivation of humility and gratitude actively counter the vital mind and its constitutional envy. This may initially feel as if we are being deprived of our horizontal liberty, such as it is, and this is true. However, the whole point is to replace that with a more expansive vertical freedom that is relatively unconstrained by material circumstances, excluding the most dire cases."

The limitlesness of the human imagination enables us to always imagine more and better, and unanchored in reality and truth, what is there to prevent it from drifting lightyears away from the center? Nothing. Like you said, it's easy to imagine what you don't have, it's much more difficult discovering what it is you do have, it takes digging. And without that gravity to keep your feet on the ground... away you go....

A good coonclusion to the 10.

(And Alpert and Armstrong together didn't hurt.)

9/14/2008 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JWM said "Cultivate gratitude. I have learned to make a continual conscious effort to keep gratitude as a first principal. I forced the habit on myself years ago. I train my brain to look for blessings like coins on the sidewalk."

Generating Gravity, one G-force at a time.

9/14/2008 11:39:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

Jack Nitzche! One of the industry's most um, entertaining characters. Crazy dude made some great music.

9/14/2008 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

s/b Nitzsche, btw.

9/14/2008 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

the first shall be last
as shall the last be the first
thou shalt not covet

9/14/2008 11:41:00 AM  
Anonymous dilys said...

From the personal coaching perspective, there are certain simple thought experiments that address gratitude and envy.

For gratitude, imagine how it would feel to be unexpectedly deprived of one's home, good appearance, reputation, friends & opportunities, education, mobility... the list is near-infinite. The relief at re-entering what, after all, remains, can be the beginning of gratitude.

N.B. It all depends on who you're comparing yourself with. Someone could be envying you, wondering why you're not grateful.

For envy, there are two ways to begin.

A serious thought experiment on the subject of "Can I really know I would be happier with [the envied object]?" Not just the first impression, enter that imaginary world and play it out, the costs, the habituation, all the implications and obligations. Would the core sensory experience be different from what you now have, apart from the story you tell yourself?

Or, start thinking clearly about the object you feel you want -- beauty, money, relationship, prestige -- and start building some of your very own in the Actual Inhabited World. A fruitful first step often distracts and encourages.

While waiting for Enlightenment to strike and dilute the vital mind, these can sharpen and purify the otherwise vaguely acquisitive impulse, as well as act out your keeping faith in full view of the Vertical Watchers....

9/14/2008 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous chandler said...

.....ENVY?...I believe the ego has its uses, like when it insists that the Dodgers have Manny Ramirez for the stretch run...things like that...but ENVY is NOT one of them...envy has no usefulness whatsoever, so therefore "having a problem with it" is like having a problem with moderating my heroin use...it should be a red flag that something is seriously wrong with how I practice.

9/14/2008 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Speaking of happy music, I love the new Brian Wilson CD. Here's one of the tracks on you tube.

9/14/2008 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

we love that Jack also!
see
http://www.spectropop.com/JackNitzsche/magazines.htm#crawdaddy

Performance soundtrack ruleth, director Cammell gave Jack carte blanche: "Here it is, Score it!"

9/14/2008 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

This collection of Nitzsche productions is quite diverse and interesting. There are a couple of clunkers, but overall, a very good listen.

9/14/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Anyone know how to access Bob's archive of posts. I've looked at all the links to the right but can't find where to go.

Thanks

9/14/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

Knowa's Arkive is not available at this time.

9/14/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks Dupree - any heads up as to when the renovation will be completed?

9/14/2008 01:15:00 PM  
Anonymous cousin dupree said...

I don't know. It seems to come and go based upon the whims of "the maestro." At least I haven't been able to discern any pattern.

9/14/2008 01:20:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

When it comes to dealing with negative emotions, I think it helps to remember a couple of things. First, almost all emotional negativity, envy obviously included, is based on fear - and I'm fairly sure that 99% of all human fear amounts to our fear of what other people think of us, how we appear in the public eye. And this kind of fear is 100% ego-based.

None of us is immune to negative thinking/imaging. We all have our personal challenges, our personal foibles of which we need to be as conscious as possible so that we can consciously subdue them over time. However, I've found that, when dealing with the onset of negative emotions/images, it helps to remind ourselves that negativity springs from a *frame of consciousness*, which itself is illusory. If we are completely seduced by this illusory frame of consciousness, our resistance to the negativity it spews forth in our minds can certainly prove to be a wheels-spinning frustration. I think this is because we are attempting to resist evil on its own terrain.

Not saying that simple awareness of this encompassing negative frame of consciousness will allow one to completely dissipate the negativity. It can and does help, though, if only to give one just enough "breathing room" to remember that in many ways the attack on one's consciousness is actually external - there are forces which are heavily invested in keeping you unconscious and dancing on a string.

Of course, if you do become more conscious that negative thoughts/images rise out of a completely false frame of consciousness, then the dark forces are really going to throw some serious negativity at you - and in the compensatory ways of the Divine, this intensity can actually help you to distance yourself even more from the usual mind-forged manacles.

9/14/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Bulletproof Monk said...

I ran across this interesting interview today, which seeks to debunk, scientifically, the reductionist notion that mind = brain.

"The dogma used to be that the adult brain was a rigid, unchangeable organ, but that pessimistic perspective is now being radically revised. Psychiatrist Dr Norman Doidge journeyed into the labs and lives of the 'neuroplasticians' -- once scientific mavericks, they're challenging the old neurological nihilism. Professor Jeffrey Schwartz is one. They both join Natasha Mitchell in discussion to reveal how the human brain has underestimated itself! Next week, plasticity on the couch..."

http://www.abc.net.au/rn/allinthemind/stories/2008/2359328.htm

What is interesting to me is how closely these findings on brain plasticity and our ability even as adults to use thought to rewire our physical neural-circuits, jibes with traditional approaches to spiritual development.

For example, in Orthodox Christianity, there is the concept of logismoi, or intrusive thoughts (i.e., mind parasites), that seek to control us, much like someone with OCD. The recommended healing path is not to engage such thoughts, but rather to detach from them, ignore them, and allow them to eventually wither away. Neuroplasticity provides a scientific explanation for the wisdom of that teaching.

Anyway, enjoy.

9/14/2008 02:34:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"...consciously yearn for what we actually want, rather than mindlessly willing what we desire."

"Christian hedonism" is based on the recognition that what the spirit truly longs for is God, but the darkened mind settles for far, far less pleasure than can be found in the presence of its maker.

As you said, Bob, this rolls right back to the first commandment. God in his supreme goodness and rightness "commands" only what is truly for our best, and he knows that our full devotion (heart, soul, mind and strength) will bring about pleasures we cannot even imagine (though not unmixed with pain in the here and now). As you said:

"The spiritual person becomes very concretely aware of subtle and fleeting little concrete joys on a moment-by-moment basis, where as the vital types are only tuned into the most gross forms of sensory overload, whether in music, entertainment, or food (and I imagine the porn industry taps into this same dynamic as well; it is really an attempt to "wake the dead," or to arouse passion in someone who has become totally jaded)."

This entry, so very insightful! Well, aren't they all?

Indeed, the source of authentic joy is gratitude.

9/14/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

Oh, and wanted to add that gratitude must be directed *higher* than ourselves to be authentic. (There's that hierarchy again.) Little help to say "thank you" to the birds, bees, flowers (as horizontal dwellers do). One must recognize the Source to have real gratitude for what he's given. "This is my Father's world...."

It's like my Theology Guy has said, after his conversion the scales fell from his eyes and the ordinary earth suddenly looked so beautiful and he looked on the green grass with wonder and awe.

9/14/2008 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Robin Starfish said...

What, no Neil Young / Buffalo Springfield tunes on the Nitzsche disc? I know they had a falling out, but still, that's a big omission.

Which goes to show, no compilation pleases everybody...

9/14/2008 03:40:00 PM  
Anonymous chandler said...

"Oh, and wanted to add that gratitude must be directed *higher* than ourselves to be authentic."

Susannah,

Agreed. Forcing yourself to be more grateful for things at this level, to count your worldly blessings, is to envy those with more gratitude and to play spiritual one-upmanship and comparison (competition)...it's an attempt to get the ego something at the horizontal level that can only sweep in with the vertical at a level where "gratitude" isn't forced or something you have to remember to "do." If I'm envying anything that right there is an alarm that thoughts are thinking ME and I have no liftoff and I'm going to go right off the end of the runway without some serious flying lessons.

9/14/2008 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Robin:

The compilers couldn't get the rights to any Buffalo Springfield or Neil Young (or Rolling Stones, for that matter) performances, but as a consolation, it has Young's Helpless by Buffy Saint Marie, and Sister Morphine by Marianne Faithful. Volume 2, which is not nearly as good, has a weak version of Mr Soul by the Everly Brothers.

9/14/2008 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Crazy Horse [first album] is a fantastic Nitzsche vehicle also, with able helpers too, including Tonight's the Night's D. Whitten. Like a U.S. Stones
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Horse_(album)

9/14/2008 04:14:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, Volume 2 has a track by Crazy Horse, I Don’t Want To Talk About It.

9/14/2008 04:22:00 PM  
Anonymous ximeze said...

Nick,

There are several ways to access Knowa's Arkive when Bob's links are not up, depending the results you want:

1) type keywords in the "search blog" field at the top-left of the One Cosmos blog page.

2) use Google Blog Search. It features Advanced Blog Search which permits you to set at this URL 'onecosmos.blogspot.com' and also set the date-range you prefer.

This second option can give you all the OC posts for any given month & year listed together, akin to the way Knowa's Arkive displays by month on Bob's sidebar.

9/14/2008 04:24:00 PM  
Anonymous terrence said...

All this talk about music makes this 50 second video all the more relevant. Crazy Raccoon House Party:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iPNwMXDJe8

Check it out. Boppin' raccoons.

9/14/2008 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Today's searches:

evil clown pants
cosmos clowns
drunk raccoon
my husband wants to be a feman
godwin truck bodies parts
life with a side order of cancer
what does it mean to dream with a snake that bytes your hand?

9/14/2008 06:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

Gagdad,...the sword of grattitude. That is powerful stuff, it is the perfect defense for a whole host of evils. One must be still and careful to keep it, it seems we must long for it to fuffill our hearts more than anything else. When grattitude comes everything feels so right, how could one even imagine going after the coarser things in life.

9/14/2008 06:41:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Heh - I wonder what post the feman search ended up on? And what they thought if they read it...

For the dream one, it would be interesting if "bytes" wasn't a typo. Sounds like it could be a modern-day version of Genesis, where instead of the snake encouraging Eve to eat an apple, it gives her a Mac and changes her hand into the flow of the information superhighway (and far too much knowledge of good and evil, especially the evil)...

Definitely more interesting than my usual bunch of searches, anyway.

9/14/2008 07:09:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I wonder about a relation between unwarranted Doubts (not to be confused with Reasonable questioning. Questioning seeks to discover and integrate, whereas doubting merely tears down and disintegrates), and unfounded Desires? Both have the limitlesness of the human imagination to, on the one hand corrode our grasp of Truth, and on the other hand lead us further away from the source of that Truth.

I havn't given it much consideration yet, but at first glance, it seems as if the doubting of what IS, is very often accompanied by extravagant or udopian hopes and desires for something out there, to fix what can only be fixed from within - a 'within' they doubt exists....

9/14/2008 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sra Scherzophrenic said...

I can look back into my youth and see where unchecked envy led to disastrous results and ultimately failure. It primarily kept me from looking at how hard someone worked for their reward and kudos, and kept me from working hard, myself. That is what is wrong with today's politics of envy. Seems like a catchphrase, but I saw an Obama ad this morning, where he espoused such a philosophy of envy.....equal pay for equal work. HE, the big HE was going to institute it as law, by fiat, perhaps. Now no one ever explains what equal pay for equal work means, or that when gubmint gets involved, equality is always a downward thing, til we are all equally depressed, demoralized, devalued.

9/14/2008 07:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so confused! My mind's archive is now humming those Tijuana Brass tunes from my dad's 8 track player in his 1965 Pontiac Star Chief. Now I really want to buy some Tijuana Brass, but as the post says, I don't really need them. Should a raccoon resist, or should he buy?
MGH

9/14/2008 08:18:00 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

OK, I have overcome all the envious thoughts of my youth, can't think of any I have except, does wanting to marry Ann Coulter count? I mean she is the perfect female, after all.

9/14/2008 09:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will, I found your comments on controlling negative emotions quite helpful. I too periodically undergo "firestorms" of anger that are well nigh irrepressible and do trap me in what seems like a maze.

These emotional storms are fear generated. The fear, in my case, is the primal fear of loss of connection to a caregiver figure, however, and is not driven so much by the ego as by something more primal still. My survival actually feels threatened by behaviours that my fiancee does that do not actually threaten my survival; my reaction is always out of proportion and stupid. I am humiliated by how jealous and insecure I get to feeling.

And yet, I call myself a spirit person. I have equilibruim, but then I fall and I fall hard. I have been thrown off this horse many, many times.

I believe that I am, as you suggest, fighting the battle on the "terrain of evil." I need to reframe my perspective. I belive I need the woman, but paradoxically until I can feel that I don't need her, I'll have emotional disturbances.

I'll keep working on it. There has to be a safe harbor to found. I am blowing rudderless on this sea and it's no life to live...

9/14/2008 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I almost forgot; this post ties in quite nicely with Chapter 4.

Thanks!

9/14/2008 10:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am one f'd up mother.

9/14/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I not only call myself a spirit person, I lecture others on how they should live their lives or write their blogs. How messed up is that?

9/14/2008 10:45:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

anonymous -

Well, don't beat up on yourself too much. I think it helps to remember that we are supposed to face challenges, oppositional forces. Might as well see yourself as a mythic Odysseus trying to get back home because that's exactly what you are - a mythic hero in the making. Of course, the Creator could have eliminated the need for challenges, in which case we'd all be inert, semi-conscious flotsam.

And I think you're going about the right way, by self-examination, focusing on your own states of consciousness. In patient time, this will pay off.

And yeah, one of the bigger challenges is that of achieving "center-ness" so that you don't invest others with the power to hold an emotional sway over you.

9/14/2008 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I (or someone pretending to be me) said "I havn't given it much consideration yet, but at first glance, it seems as if the doubting of what IS, is very often accompanied by extravagant or udopian hopes and desires for something out there"

Strange I didn't recognize this as I wrote it in the context of Doubt and Desires, but it is near to the core of what I've been thinking and saying for years... feels almost as if the philosophical concepts went and got a full makeover, and I didn't recognize them when they walked in with the new 'do'.

hmmm...

Reminds me of the time I invented the sound 'frommm'... and then realized 'wait a minute, there's already a word 'from'...but ... then... that involved other embarassing things... which... there's no need to go into now.

(slinks out, closes door quietly. sheesh)

9/15/2008 08:15:00 AM  
Blogger Susannah said...

"Be filled with the Spirit," for the Spirit produces all the things that are in complete harmony with God and His Commandments. "...Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness meekness, self-control, faith..." to name a few. "Against such there is no law."

9/15/2008 08:16:00 AM  
Blogger Dougman said...

The True Servants Heart
Native American style:

"The true Indian sets no price upon either his property or his labor. His generosity is limited only by his strength and ability. He regards it as an honor to be selected for difficult or dangerous service and would think it shameful to ask for any reward, saying rather: "Let the person I serve express his thanks according to his own bringing up and his sense of honor. Each soul must meet the morning sun, the new sweet earth, and the Great Silence alone!. What is Silence? It is the Great Mystery! The Holy Silence is His voice!"
Charles Alexander Eastman
Santee tribe.

An (unsung) American Hero.
He was born the pitiful last,
who later became the first.
Then he went to college!

There be Mystery in the land called Isanti.
A Great Mystery.

9/15/2008 08:16:00 AM  

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