Let’s Face Our Fears, Shall We?

FearWhat do people fear the most?  The Book of Lists reports the top ten human fears as

  1. Speaking before a group
  2. Heights
  3. Insects and bugs
  4. Financial problems
  5. Deep water
  6. Sickness
  7. Death
  8. Flying
  9. Loneliness
  10. Dogs

Shakespeare’s Hamlet wondered why people keep living and suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.  He concluded that the prospect of what happens after death terrifies people to such an extent that they put up with the troubles of life.

Step 51 of Steps to Knowledge, “Let me recognize my fears so that I see the truth beyond them,” is the first step where the word fear is contained in the step itself.  The word “fear” is mentioned in passing in earlier steps, and I plan to describe those passing mentions in another post.

There are many ideas in our culture regarding fear, what it is (or isn’t), where it comes from, how it works, and what to do about it.  Let’s just say that some of these ideas are more helpful than others.  Just as Step 26, “My errors give birth to my Knowledge,” addressed a number of ideas in our culture regarding error, Step 51 addresses a number of ideas in our culture regarding fear.  I’m feeling an inclination to unpack this in a series of posts.

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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.

What Happens If I Fail At My Mission?

What happens if I fail at my missionI’m thinking that if someone has been reading carefully, they might be thinking the following: “Douglas, you have described the New Message from God practice of observation without judgment.  You have argued that the New Message from God practice of observation without judgment is a confirmation of the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  But then you turn around and reject the New Age belief that everyone is where they need to be in terms of their awareness and development.  Surely there is a judgment for a person not being where they need to be, not living the life they were meant to live!  If you don’t believe in this judgment, then you want to have your cake and eat it too!  If you don’t believe in consequences for not living the life you were meant to live, then you’re working both sides of the street, buddy!”

What is my answer to this challenge?  My answer is “Ah, but we do believe in consequences for not living the life we were meant to live.”  We do believe in consequences for failing, for whatever reason, in one’s mission in life.  This particular answer comes from the book Greater Community Spirituality:

“There are no Heavens or Hells.  There is only work to be done, and there is only success or failure in this regard.  If you succeed, you advance and you progress. If you fail, you set yourself and your Spiritual Family back.  Failure is not always a matter of neglect.  Sometimes it is circumstantial.  In this, there is no blame. However, realizing the importance of achieving success in finding your purpose in life as it truly exists and not as you would have it be is a great accomplishment.  This guarantees a satisfaction and a sense of meaning that can never be found in any other way.”

What happens if I fail at my mission?  What happens if I fail, for whatever reason, to meet the people I came into the world to meet?  What happens if I fail, for whatever reason, to give the gifts I came into the world to give?  I set myself and my Spiritual Family back, and I have to try again.  Yes, this is sympathetic to certain teachings in Hinduism.

Did Adolf Hitler succeed in his mission in life?  I believe he did not.  What was Adolf Hitler’s mission in life?  I don’t know, but I don’t believe it was what he actually did.  What is Adolf Hitler doing now?  Trying again, or preparing to try again, like everyone else who failed, for whatever reason, at their mission in life.

I realize some people may find this line of thought to be unsatisfactory.  But I believe I have successfully answered the challenge that I’m having my cake and eating it too, or working both sides of the street.

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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.

Mulla Nasrudin Conducts A Focus Group

Mulla NasrudinIt is a common practice for businesses to conduct focus groups, asking groups of people about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs and attitudes regarding a particular product or service.  Sometimes the focus group is about a product or service which is not yet available to the public.

Mulla Nasrudin conducted an imaginative variation on this practice, conducting a focus group for a series of products which have never been available since the dawn of time, and may never be available until the end of time itself.  I believe he found his research to be illuminating.

Nasrudin stood up in the marketplace and began to address the throng.

Konya Marketplace

“O people!  Do you want knowledge without difficulties, truth without falsehood, attainment without effort, progress without sacrifice?”

Very soon a large crowd gathered, everyone shouting “Yes, yes!”

enthusiastic crowd

“Excellent!” said the Mulla. “I only wanted to know. You may rely upon me to tell you all about it if I ever discover any such thing.”

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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 Boulder Flood Wasn’t Just Another Flood For Us

Massive flash flooding in Colorado, USA, September 2013

Photo by Daniel Snyder, Outside magazine

The devastating flooding in the Boulder, Colorado area was much more than just another flood for the New Message from God community.

First, a person could stand at the front door of the offices of the New Message from God, and throw a stone into Four-Mile Creek.  On normal days, Four-Mile Creek is a tiny trickle.  But during the Boulder flooding, Four-Mile Creek was a raging, twenty-feet-by-eight-feet torrent.

Everyone in the Boulder New Message community is accounted for, although I’ve heard some reports of property damage.  Everything in the offices were moved to two feet off the floor, but Four-Mile Creek didn’t overflow its banks in the area of the offices.

Second, the Boulder floods didn’t happen at just any time, but shortly after the time of the 2013 Encampment, the annual global New Message gathering. Some attendees were just leaving Boulder as the flooding started.

It is the general opinion in the New Message community that the Boulder flooding was not just another catastrophic flood, but part of a series of events including the recent 500-year flooding in Europe, the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and the Queensland, Australia flooding of 2010-2011.  The New Message from God includes a prediction, a prophecy, that humanity will face a number of wrenching adjustments, including climatic disruptions, in its present and future developments.  These adjustments are described in greater detail in the book The Great Waves of Change (downloadable for free at the link; go ahead, I’ll wait)

The 2013 Boulder flooding wasn’t just another 100-year flood for the New Message from God community.  It was a time where we were confronted by our message’s prophecy.  We will remember the 2013 Boulder flooding as the time the Great Waves of Change came (almost literally) to our front door.

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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.

Reconsidering Perfection

Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata

This sentiment has been around for a long time, and many people would like it to be true.  If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.  Step 5 of Steps to Knowledge (“I believe what I want to believe”) tells us that any connection between what we believe to be so, and what actually is so, is strictly coincidental.  Just as I should be suspicious of what I want, maybe I should be suspicious of what I believe.

Do you sincerely believe that everyone is where they need to be?  Let us conduct a thought experiment.  Suppose there was a law saying the idea “everyone is where they need to be” was not allowed to be true, with serious consequences for violation of this law.  Suppose this idea was arrested by the authorities, and charged with the crime of being true.  Suppose you were the prosecuting attorney, and it was your task to prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this idea was true.  How might you proceed?  I will let you think about that.  What would the defense attorney say?  She might say “Do you believe that whoever used the chemical weapons in Syria are where they need to be?”  The defense attorney would bring forth one example after another where it would strain credibility to believe that a certain person is where they need to be.

What if, instead of a criminal case, this was a civil case, where the idea “everyone is where they need to be” is being sued for being true.  In this case, the standard isn’t “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but “preponderance of evidence.”  As the plaintiff’s attorney, it would be your job to present evidence that this idea is more likely than not to be true.  But I still don’t know how you would respond to these words from the defendant’s attorney:

“People are suffering because they aren’t where they need to be, doing the things they need to be doing, living the life they know they must live.”

Everyone is where they need to be?  Perhaps we need to think this out again.

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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.

What Am I Being With? Why Am I Being With It?

MeditationI took a brief vacation from blogging about Steps to Knowledge after the lengthy Step 49 review of the first 48 steps.  But I am now refreshed and ready to resume the ascent.  Step 50 is “Today I will be with Knowledge.”  What have we been told about Knowledge so far?  We have been told, among other things…

  • I brought Knowledge with me from my Ancient Home. (Step 1)
  • Knowledge is something I greatly need (Step 7)
  • Knowledge is my True Self, a self that is not apart from life (Step 10)
  • Knowledge must be distinguished from my thoughts (Step 15)
  • The Teachers of God assist my discovery of Knowledge (Step 23)
  • My life up to now is a demonstration of life without Knowledge (Step 28)
  • Reclaiming Knowledge is part of my mission in life (Step 33)
  • There is a particular pathway to Knowledge which works for me (Step 38)
  • Reaching Knowledge, like everything else, is a group effort (Step 45)
  • Knowledge works in the limited context of my individuality (Step 46)

After all the amazing things that have been said about Knowledge, to say that I can be with Knowledge is another amazing thing.  Can that really be so?  There seems to be some awareness that I would wonder things like this, as the step instructs “Do not argue with yourself about the reality of your pursuit, for that is wasteful and meaningless.”

I still struggled with the idea of practicing feeling something when I did this step.  It helped when they said “relax and be present.”  I could do that.

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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.

“Secrets of Heaven” Published

Secrets of Heaven Book Cover

During the 2012 Encampment, there was a time when we read sections of messages received by Marshall Vian Summers during the early days of his work, starting in 1983.  A microphone was passed from person to person, and each person read one of the sections, while the rest of the room both listened and read the section on a screen at the front of the room.  As we read these sections, there was a warm presence of happiness and encouragement in the room.  These sections are now available to the general public in the form of the book “Secrets of Heaven: Mystery Teachings of the Angels

This book is currently available in paperback, and I believe it will be available as an e-book soon.  I ordered my copy last week.  I’m told I should receive it by tomorrow night.  I haven’t been able to browse through it yet, but there are already a number of reviews at Amazon.  Here is the review with the most helpful votes so far:

“I find this book to be so very inspiring.  It is not something you pick up and read in one sitting.  Each page contains a quote that make you stop and contemplate on.  It makes no difference which page you start, you can start in the middle & work your way back or forward.  Just open it up & any page you read, it is something that speaks to you.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone.  It speaks to all people of all nations, race, creed or color.  You will not be sorry you picked it up.  It is something you can read any time and many times again & again:*)”

I believe that when people read this book, it will help them to understand the enthusiasm of students of the New Message from God (like me).  I believe it will give people another avenue of engagement with the New Message from God, without having to make a large commitment of time, energy and trust.  I believe this book will provide evidence to corroborate the claim I have made about the internal consistency of the New Message from God.  I will write my own review in the near 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.

Distinguishing The Mushrooms From The Toadstools

Orange-cap boletus, Mushrooms in the Moscow Region, RussiaI was out in the forest gathering mushrooms yesterday and found myself taking immense satisfaction in how adept I now am at distinguishing the true mushrooms from the false. And it’s about time, I’ve only been doing this for twenty-odd years!

Step 37. There Is A Way To Knowledge says, “There is a way to Knowledge. It requires skill and desire. Both will take time to develop. You must learn to value the true and not to value the false, and it takes time to learn to separate the two and to recognize them.”

I could not help but compare this to my mushroom-picking experience. Distinguishing mushrooms from toadstools can be difficult, both look so alike, toadstools often being more colorful and attractive than genuine edible mushrooms, so how can you tell them apart? Separating the true from the false also poses a dilemma, how do you know which is right?

Honey agarics, Mushrooms in the Moscow Region, Russia
Distinguishing mushrooms from toadstools frequently requires close examination, although I have also found that I can now spot a good mushroom from a distance. I take almost pride in the fact that I have the skill and desire, and that I have had the time to develop these attributes. Over time, I have learned to separate the two (the true mushrooms from the false toadstools) and recognize them.

I am applying this to my Steps journey and taking comfort in the fact that with diligence and perseverance I will find the way to Knowledge, the epitome of the Truth. I will learn to value the true and not to value the false. At this point, I am reiterating to myself, based on my mushroom-picking experience, that this requires time and practice, the main emphasis being on practice.

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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.

Серендипити – что же это за загадочное слово?

Серендипити

For English version click here

Сразу делаю оговорку для русскоязычных читателей, поскольку слово «серендипити» взято извне, не является «своим» русским словом. Кое-какие исследования предприняла, и вот, что нашла.

“Ни в одном русском словаре вы не найдете этого слова. А в англоязычном мире оно пользуется огромной популярностью, включено в наиболее известные словари, да и в обществе пользуются им довольно активно. Так что же это за загадочное слово, которое до сих пор нам неизвестно?”

Читаете дальше тут Странное слово «серендипити».

Так вот, в этом загадочным ключе, я могу описать свой опыт прохождения Шагов к Знанию не иначе, как ряд серендипных событий. Ну, очень люблю я это самое понятие “серендипити”!

Когда я дошла до Шага 26. Из моих заблуждений рождается Знание, это понятие серендипити проявилось во всей красе. В этом Шаге предлагается, чтобы я свои заблуждения не оправдывала. А если их взять, и без оглядки, посмотреть на них как счастливые открытия, которые меня вели в совершенно неожиданное направление? В то направление, где я стала познавать истину и таким образом ведут меня к Знанию?

Указатель поворота на Трассе 54 и непредусмотренную улицу

Я заблудилась летом 2012, шла туда, куда не стоило идти и чуть не оказалась во вязком болоте. К счастью, споткнулась, приостановилась, и впоследствии отправилась в путь, которое предлагают Шаги к Знанию. Можно называть это чем угодно, а я это называю серендипити.

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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.

It Can Take A Lot Out Of A Person

Exhaustion

It seems to have an impact on a person’s body and mind for them to receive a message from beyond their understanding and experience.  I don’t know why this is so.  I don’t know whether or not this should be so.  I only know there are instances of this.

Edgar Cayce

During the early 1940’s, American psychic Edgar Cayce received a large number of requests for “readings,” where he would address a particular person’s medical condition and recommend a treatment.  Sometimes the request was for information about a person who was missing in combat.  He said he could not refuse people who felt they needed his help, and he increased the frequency of his readings to eight per day to try to make an impression on the ever-growing pile of requests. He said this took a toll on his health as it was emotionally draining and often fatigued him. He even went so far as to say that the readings themselves scolded him for attempting too much and that he should limit his workload to just two readings a day or else they would kill him.  Edgar Cayce died of a stroke in 1945.  Was he doing the right thing to do eight readings a day?  Was it foolish of him to ignore the warnings his readings were giving him?  Or was he showing compassion for people?

Helen Schucman

Helen Schucman, the scribe of A Course in Miracles, died 9 years after receiving A Course in Miracles, 6 years after its publication.  The last two years of her life were a time of great suffering from both pancreatic cancer and deep depression.  Some people say “Well, if A Course in Miracles is so great, why didn’t it help Helen Schucman?”

Marshall Vian Summers

I recall Marshall Vian Summers saying that in the early days of his receiving messages, it would take weeks for him to recover from receiving a message.  I don’t believe that the time it took to recover had anything to do with the particular content of a message, but from the very experience of receiving a message.  I recall Marshall saying during the Steps vigil of 2012, that receiving Steps to Knowledge in 1989 was like being a kitchen stove, as if a great deal of energy was moving through him.  I know very little details of his experience of throat cancer and recovery in 2010. He is currently 64 years old, and moved fluidly through a T’ai Chi routine when I saw him in 2012.

When I wrote about how Edgar Cayce disregarded the instructions of his readings, I thought to myself “Marshall would never do that.”  At the very least, there was an inconsistency between what Edgar Cayce was receiving, and the choices he was making.  Why didn’t A Course in Miracles help Helen Schucman during the last two years of her life?  I don’t know.  I wish I did.  I don’t know what Marshall Vian Summers did to be able to receive the message he has received, without it taking too great a toll on him.  But I’m glad he did.

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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.