The Unexpected Treasure

Step 15 and Step 16 of Steps to Knowledge link to each other similar to the way Step 8 and Step 9 link to each other.  People doing Step 8 ask “Is this stillness thing important?” and Step 9 replies “Indeed yes, for in stillness all things can be known.”  People doing Step 15 ask “Is this inner listening thing important?”  Step 16 replies, “Absolutely, because beyond your mind, beyond the turbulent surface that most people identify as their minds, lies Knowledge.”

Step 16 declares that Knowledge, the great mystery of a person’s life, a person’s True Self, which is not apart from life, has things to communicate; thoughts, impressions, inclinations and direction.  As I think of this, I recall the words of King Solomon in the book of Proverbs regarding the benefits of receiving and striving after wisdom:

Then you will understand what is right and just
and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
and understanding will guard you. (Proverbs 2:9-11, New International Version)

Near the end of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his disciples, “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.” (Matthew 13:44, New International Version)

Many people fail to find the treasure because they are deceived by the ordinary appearance of the field in which the treasure is buried.  People wonder, “Can there be anything of value in that cacophony of restless, wandering thoughts which is my mind?”  The answer of Steps to Knowledge at this point is “Yes, but it’s going to take some practice to be able to sort it out.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

The Other Side Of The Stillness Coin

I’ve been told that if I can be still, I can know, I can experience things as self-evident in a way which inspires consistent action.  But how can I be still when the thought that I have to change the kitty litter is right there in front of my mind’s face?

Step 15 of Steps to Knowledge is cultivating a new mental skill/habit/attitude, that of examining/listening to the content of one’s mind.  The step seems to anticipate that many of the thoughts that are encountered in this practice are little bits and pieces of the “shadow,” little bits and pieces of the animal soul.  I say that because the practice instructions say almost the same thing in two consecutive sentences.

“This will require that you listen without judgment of yourself, even if the content of your thoughts is disturbing. Even if the content of your thoughts is disagreeable, you must listen without judgment to allow your mind to open.”

The practice is to observe without judgment, which may be a little…tricky. Judgment has a certain survival value, so we tend to get a little attached to it.  Inner listening, being aware of the content of our minds, is the other side of the stillness coin.

At this point, I’m recalling a passage in the book of Proverbs that doesn’t get preached on all that often…

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants. (Proverbs 27:23-27, New International Version)

If you develop the ability to give careful attention to the condition of your mind, it will serve you well in the future.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Oh, What Did You See?

“Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin’
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin’
I saw a white ladder all covered with water
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall”

Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Step 14 of Steps to Knowledge is a review of all the previous lessons.  (Someone wondered, “Including the Step 7 Review?”  Yes.).  A new component which is being introduced is the examination of one’s practice, and the examination of the results of one’s practice.  Did I have a preference or an aversion for a particular practice?  Did I follow the directions as given, or did I fudge and smudge them?  What happened as a result of my practice?  On the one hand, I believe I followed the directions as given when I did these steps.  On the other hand, it didn’t even occur to me to start writing anything down about my experience of a given step until I got to step 22.  I suppose you and I will just have to take my word for it.

Here is a word cloud of the first 13 steps.

I am amused that “KNOWLEDGE” and “assumptions” are on opposite ends of the cloud.  I see this cloud saying “If you want Knowledge, practice today, think today, understand today,” in much the same spirit as Kabir’s poem which opens with the line “O, FRIEND! hope for him whilst you live, know whilst you live, understand whilst you live, for in life deliverance abides.”

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

“Ye Shall Be As Gods”

For reasons I don’t understand, the Bible decided not to elaborate on the thought processes of Eve, between the serpent’s temptation in Genesis 3, and the time Eve and Adam ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

For reasons I don’t understand, the Bible decided not to elaborate on the thought processes of the Prodigal Son, between the time he first heard there was even such a place as the far country, and the time he said “Father, give me my share of the estate.” (Luke 15:12, New International Version).

I believe Eve entertained the thought, “If I ate the fruit, I’d be different than any creature in the garden.  Different from any plant, different from any animal, even different from Adam. I would be something that never before existed in the universe.  I would be special.”  I believe the Prodigal Son entertained the thought, “No one in my family ever been to the far country, not my father, not my older brother.  I’d be different from everyone in my family if I traveled to the far country.  I would be special.”

A Course in Miracles describes the human condition as having separated ourselves from God in pursuit of an experience of being special. Furthermore, because this experience of being special is an unreal illusion, we go to great lengths to defend the value of this experience, engaging in relationships (“special relationships,” either special love relationships or special hate relationships) for the purpose of reinforcing the idea of being special.

Step 13 of Steps to Knowledge, “I want to be separate to be unique,” recaps a good bit of the material in A Course in Miracles in a remarkably few words, in my opinion.  I consider the word “unique” to be but a synonym for “special.”

While being special has a certain buzz to it, our choice of it has had much greater costs than the benefits.  Eve must have thought “Maybe I should have asked God to elaborate when he said ‘Ye shall surely die.'”  The Prodigal Son recognized this as he was doling out the husks to the swine. I’ve been told that if I realize my motivation for separation, I will know that I want to come home, just like the Prodigal Son did.  Let this comment on Step 13 from a fellow student supply the exclamation point:

OK OK! I admit it. The whole thing of wanting to be God in my own life didn’t work out so well. I’m sorry for throwing that temper tantrum and storming out like that. It was brash and childish. Thank you for letting me experiment until I made a fool of myself and was forced to face the inevitable. I was sufficiently distracted for a few billion years and tried to pretend that I could manage on my own but I’m over it now. A better plan for Creation has failed to present itself to me. I have a hard enough time with the shopping list.

Can I come Home now? I miss my bed.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.