What Am I Trying To Prove?

Cirque Mechanics Birdhouse Factory. What am I trying to proveStep 91 of Steps to Knowledge is a review of the steps from Step 85 “I find happiness in small things today” to Step 90 “Today I will make no assumptions.”

What am I trying to prove?

During this series of steps, I noticed that Step 88, “My Higher Self is not an individual” is the only step in Steps to Knowledge which uses the phrase “Higher Self.” The Step 91 Review also contains a word which appears only once in Steps to Knowledge. That word is “showmanship.”

“Learn how to learn. Learn about the process of learning. Do not use learning as a form of showmanship. Do not use learning to try to prove your worth to yourself. You cannot prove your worth. It is beyond your efforts to prove it. Your worth will demonstrate itself when you allow it, which you are now learning to do.”

What am I trying to prove? In earlier steps, students have been challenged to develop listening without preference and seeing without preference. Can I learn without preference? Can I learn without enlisting my learning as a foot soldier in my quest for your appreciation? I surmise that the rebuke of showmanship is giving an indirect reminder of the conversation about worth started in Step 24, “I am worthy of God’s love.”

Here is the word cloud for steps 85 through 90:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 85-90 Word Cloud. What am I trying to proveOn further review, I believe there are better uses of my time than separating out the words in the word cloud so that they can be remixed the way I like.

What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to prove it to? Can I justify your love? Should I justify your love? Would it be progress to just abandon the whole enterprise?

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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.

How Deep Is My Commitment?

How deep is my commitment

How deep is my commitment I ask myself as I do the Step 28 Review. This is the fourth review so far in Steps to Knowledge and begins with a prayer. The prayer asks me to do a lot of accepting. And much of what I am asked to accept requires a mind that is willing to throw off old, hackneyed thinking and embrace higher, more enlightened thoughts, to say the least. The prayer has been presented in full before in this space, but I think it is worth repeating.

“I accept my Knowledge as a gift from God. I accept my Teachers as my elder brothers and sisters. I accept my world as a place where Knowledge can be reclaimed and contributed. I accept my past as a demonstration of life without Knowledge. I accept the miracles of my life as a demonstration of the presence of Knowledge and I give myself now to cultivate that which is of the greatest good within myself to be given to the world.”

Am I ready to accept these things? Just how deep is my commitment?

My notes for this review say: “I don’t think I am deeply enough involved yet. I am motivated, but still I feel I am expecting results without doing the work. I am not spending enough time on exploring my experience, although I feel the practices offered by the Steps are uppermost in mind as I go about my normal activity. But still, I need to delve deeper and devote more time to searching and investigating.”

This describes me to a tee, expecting results without doing the work, thinking I am progressing without making a deep commitment. But I am not doing this for myself, for my own benefit alone, but for those whom I will serve in the future. For after receiving the benefits of reclaiming Knowledge, I will wish to give in whatever context and in whatever form is appropriate for me. So if my commitment is not deep enough, if I am not motivated enough in penetrating the barriers that exist, I am not doing those who follow me a very great service. I am not cultivating that which is the greatest good within myself to be given to the world.

How deep is my commitment?

However, the flip side of commitment is hesitancy and doubt. And this review did not bring up those things for me. This review helped me to see where my practice needed more dedication and direction, it made me realize I needed to deepen my commitment. It is one thing to be so hesitant that I shun commitment and quite another to see the value of what I am doing and wish to deepen my commitment as I move on. I trust that as my mind studies the tracks, Knowledge will move the train, and my commitment will deepen.

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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.

Some Small But Substantial Successes

Some small but subtantial successes

Step 84 of Steps to Knowledge is a review of the steps from Step 78, “I can do nothing alone” to Step 83, “I value Knowledge beyond all things.”

Some small but substantial successes

There were some seeds sown during this period. One seed that was sown was the idea that if I am going to advance, I’m going to have to be more accountable as to what I am practicing. This seed was sown in Step 80, “I can only practice.” Another seed that was sown was the idea that if I am going to advance, I’m going to have to have a certain awareness of my craving for social rewards. I’m going to have to develop a certain indifference to social rewards. This seed was sown in Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today.”

There were also some seeds that were sown earlier, but watered during this period. Step 78, “I can do nothing alone” is a watering of the seed sown in Step 45, “Alone I can do nothing.” Step 82, “Today I will not judge another” is a watering of the seed sown in Step 76 “I will not judge another today.”

Steps to Knowledge has mentioned the value of having a beginner’s mind, an attitude of humility, curiosity and enthusiasm toward the study of Steps to Knowledge. One of the good things about a beginner’s mind is not having expectations as to what kind of experience will occur in the study of something. It is as if Step 84 is answering the student’s question, “Is this how it’s supposed to look?”

“Review the practices and the instructions for the preceding week.Review your progress objectively. Realize how great your learning must be. Your steps now are small, but substantive. Small steps lead you all the way. You are not expected to take great leaps, yet each small step will seem like a great leap, for it will give you so much more than you have ever had before.”

Here is the word cloud for Steps 77 through 83:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud by Wordle. Some small but substantial successes

I have been using the website Wordle for creating these word clouds. I don’t know how Wordle creates these word clouds, but I don’t believe that Wordle makes any effort to put related words next to each other, or unrelated words far away from each other. Shortly after I made this word cloud, I felt an inclination to separate the words from each other, so that other people could arrange the words as they saw fit. Here are the separated words:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud with words separated. Some small but substantial successes

And since I am inviting people to do something, it seemed like a good thing to accept my own invitation, and make my own word cloud for Steps 77 through 83:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud Rearranged. Some small but substantial successes

I believe someone is reading this and thinking “I say, Douglas, you have a lot of time on your hands, don’t you?” Maybe, but I definitely thought about the Steps from which the words came as I rearranged the words. Who knows, maybe one day this will be a standard practice for engaging with the significance of a certain text. I can imagine my grandchildren saying “I have a clouding assignment in Language Arts class.”

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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.

I Am Building The Bridge To My Future

This bridge is over the river Dulnain in Scotland. I am building the bridge to my future.

An old man going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm, vast, and deep and wide,
Through which was flowing a sullen tide.

The old man crossed in the twilight dim;
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned, when safe on the other side,
And built a bridge to span the tide.

“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim, near,
“You are wasting strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day;
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide-
Why build you this bridge at the evening tide?”

The builder lifted his old gray head:
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followeth after me today,
A youth, whose feet must pass this way.

This chasm, that has been naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be.
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.”

“The Bridge Builder” by Will Allen Dromgoole

Step 77 of Steps to Knowledge is a review of Steps 71 through 76. There are the usual sort of things you might expect in a review. Students are instructed to examine the qualities which forwarded their practice, and the tendencies which hindered their participation. It is very much in the spirit of Step 73, “I will allow my errors to teach me.”

I am building the bridge to my future

But there is another thread in Step 77 in which I took hope. It is a thread of the necessity of learning from both truth and error, so that I can be of genuine and effective service to others:

“You must learn of truth and you must learn of error. You must do this to progress, and you must do this to serve others. Unless you have learned of error and can look at it objectively and understand how it has arisen and how it can be relieved—until you have learned these things—you will not know how to serve others, and their errors will anger you and frustrate you.”

I take hope in this, because I really would like to be helpful. In the past, well, let’s just say that I haven’t been as helpful as I would like to have been. I take great hope in being able to be more helpful in the future.

Here is the word cloud for Steps 71-76

Steps To Knowledge Steps 71-76 Word Cloud. I am building the bridge to my future.

I am building the bridge to my future. What is the bridge I am building to my future? I am the bridge I am building to my future. Who am I building this bridge for? The youth who must cross in the twilight dim. Good friend, I am building this bridge for him.

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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.

I Will Practice Today. And The Next Day.

This is the third post in a series of three posts regarding the Step 70 review of Steps to Knowledge, where Steps 50 through 69 are reviewed. I am sharing my notes from when I actually did this Step (sometime in the summer of 2011) with some commentary.

I will practice today. And the next day.

Step 64 – “Today I will listen to another” – “I was hoping for a greater communication, but I didn’t get one.” The Step said “Allow others to express themselves to you.You will find that they have a greater communication for you than you might at first have anticipated.” Even though I didn’t experience a greater communication at the time, I felt good at having followed the directions. I felt good at having practiced listening.

Step 65 – “I have come to work in the world” – “I got it, but I’m still mystified.” I don’t remember what I was mystified about. I might have wanted more details about my work in the world. I might have been mystified as to how I could be somewhat autistic and accomplish anything the world actually needs.

Step 66 – “I will stop complaining about the world” – “The kids said ‘Yeah, right’ when I told them this step. More ‘observe without judgment.’ I’ve got plenty o’ nothin’ and nothin’s plenty for me.

Step 67 – “I do not know what I want for the world” – “I spent three days on this, thinking about the uniting world, the intervention, and the degradation of the environment.” The “intervention” is a shorthand term for a complex of phenomena described in much greater detail in the New Message book series The Allies of Humanity.

Step 68 – “I will not lose faith in myself today” – “This is such a challenge for me, but I remember grasping while journaling that I’m part of a much larger enterprise than me.”

Step 69 – “Today I will practice stillness” – “The instructions were ‘Be still, and get off on it.’ I did.” Those weren’t the exact words, but was the general idea. The Step did include the words “Allow yourself to bathe in the luxury of emptiness.”

Here is the word cloud from Steps 50 through 69.

Steps To KnowledgeSteps50-69WordCloud

I will practice today. And the next day. And the next day. And the next day.

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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.

I Practice In The World Today

Made the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight
Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side

The DoorsBreak On Through (To The Other Side)

Step 63 of Steps to Knowledge is another review step, reviewing Steps 57 through 62.  What do these steps have in common?  They all have hourly practice.

There is a point to having a week’s worth of hourly practice.  I am not just a student, I am a practitioner.  Practice isn’t just something I do one time, then go back to my everyday interpretation of myself.  Practice is an attitude to be cultivated.  Practice is an attitude of having one’s eyes and ears open for a chance to develop myself.  The world is my rehearsal space.

I practice in the world today

In the course of a week, some moments are happier moments, and some moments are less happy.  It seems to be part of the purpose of hourly practice at this point to arrange times to practice when I am at a number of different emotional states.  Another part of the purpose is to arrange for me to observe my emotional state on a regular basis, to step back from it on a regular basis.

Some moments are more convenient than others for practice. It’s a great conversation starter when the alarm on my cell phone rings. Someone asks, “Do you have to take that call?” I say, “Oh, no, it’s not a call, it’s part of my practice in Steps to Knowledge. I’m supposed to listen and be present to the world every hour.” “It’s part of your practice in what? And you’re supposed to what-what every hour?”

I recall that even though I was not very consistent with hourly practice when I did these steps, but at the end of the week, my “consistency muscles” were a little stronger.

Here is the word cloud for steps 57-62

Steps To Knowledge Steps 57-62 Word Cloud - Practice Today

Practice today.  Practice within the world today.

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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.

I Will Accept My Studenthood As It Is

“Am I hard enough?
Am I rough enough?
Am I rich enough?
I’m not too blind to see” – The Rolling Stones, “Beast of Burden

Step 56 of Steps to Knowledge is the first review after the big review of Step 49, where the previous 48 steps are reviewed.

We are now 15% of the way into the program. A number of remarkable things have been said about Knowledge.  Some people might be wondering whether any of those remarkable things are supposed to have happened by now.  I’m sure some people at this point look back at Step 10, “What is Knowledge?” and ask “Have I had any instances of profound intuition?”  Any times of inexplicable knowing?  Any new insights about the past?

I will accept my studenthood as it is

In other words, some people are putting their experience in one balance, and their ideal of what they think should happen in the other balance.  In other words, they are not accepting their studenthood as it is.  Step 54, “I will not live in idealism” and Step 55, “I will accept the world as it is” are about confronting and penetrating one’s idealism.  It is not a big surprise that the Step 56 review has some material about not comparing one’s studenthood to a non-existent ideal:

“In today’s review, review the past week of lessons and your involvement with them. Try to understand that though progress may appear to be slow at first, that which is slow and even will progress greatly. Involvement that is consistently applied will give you the straight line to your accomplishment.

In your review, we again remind you to refrain from self-judgment if you have not met your expectations. Merely realize what is required to follow the instructions as they are given and involve yourself with them as fully as possible. Remember that you are learning to learn, and remember that you are learning to reclaim your self-worth and your true abilities.”

At this point, Steps to Knowledge seems to me to be disabusing the student of mental habits which lead to suffering.  Mental habits such as believing things not founded in experience (Step 5, “I believe what I want to believe”). Mental habits such as cherishing specialness (Step 13, “I want to be separate to be unique”). Mental habits such as justifying errors (Step 26, “My errors give birth to my knowledge”).  Mental habits such as judging others (Step 30, “Today I will observe my world”). Mental habits such as neglecting relationship (Step 45, “Alone I can do nothing”). Mental habits such as maintaining ideals (Step 54, “I will not live in idealism”).  Anyone who has reached Step 56, and has followed the instructions, has a fighting chance to be suffering less, other things being equal, than they were when they were on Step 1.

Here is the word cloud for Steps 50 to 55

Steps To Knowledge Steps 50-55 Word Cloud - I will accept my studenthood as it is

To recognize Knowledge, practice today. And the next day, and the next day, and the next day…

I will accept my studenthood as it is. It’s what I’ve been told to do, and besides, I suffer less that way.

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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.

I May Need A Cup Of Coffee (Or Two) For This Step

Step 49 of Steps to Knowledge, like the other Steps evenly divisible by 7, is a review.  But it is a review of the all of the Steps done so far.  Steps 1 through 6 will therefore be reviewed three times, as they were reviewed in Step 7, Step 14, and Step 49. All the other steps will be reviewed twice, as they were reviewed in their own review step, and in Step 49.

This step contains the first instance of the word “Congratulations” in Steps to Knowledge.  I don’t consider this a word of idle flattery. I say anyone who has arrived at this point has demonstrated some openness of mind and some resolve.

The current plan is to write a series of posts, sharing what I wrote when I did the Step 49 Review, seven posts at a time, and adding any additional comment if needed.

Step 1 – I am without Knowledge now – “Nothing particularly controversial, although I have no idea what they mean by ‘Ancient Home.’  Maybe the Mormons were right all along.  As I have gone along, Knowledge has gotten bigger, greater, wiser.”  The Mormons speak of a premortal existence, and their missionaries show a picture of a beautiful parklike place when they speak of it.

Step 2 – Knowledge is with me.  Where am I? – “Where am I? ‘Flopping about on the surface of my mind, imagining that’s all there is.’  I want Knowledge to make me non-autistic, but Knowledge seems to have other plans.”  I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a mild form of autism, in 2006.

Step 3 – What do I really know? – “I seem to recall thinking there were some things I knew at the time, but now I’m not so sure if I know anything.”

Step 4 – I want what I think I know – “I think I know that the world needs a hero, and that I want to be one.”  On further review, maybe heroic ambitions are part of the problem.

Step 5 – I believe what I want to believe – “I recall thinking when I did this step ‘I believe what I want to believe in order to survive, reproduce, have power, have pleasure, and avoid responsibility.’ I am screwed, humanity is screwed, living in a world of delusion.”

Step 6 – I have a true foundation in the world – “Steps bounce back and forth between confessions of the current state of bewilderment, and the alternative good news.  Telling me that I haven’t come to the world empty-handed was/is a great consolation, as I have been a problem for the past 30 years.”  Ok, ok, that’s definitely overdramatizing things. I’ve had many happy moments, but I’ve also had many issues and disappointments.  Some of them might have been because my unknown-at-the-time autistic tendencies, and some of them might have been because of prosaic poor choices.

Step 7 – Review – “Whatever I think Knowledge is, that ain’t it.  Furthermore, what I think I know is part of the problem.  I feel the way I think, I think the way I believe, and any correspondence between what I believe and what is so is purely coincidental.”

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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.

Chinese Steps To Knowledge Sudoku

Chinese Sudoku 1 Final

This is part of my desire to get out more, to become more aware and literate of other nations and cultures.

Sudoku puzzles usually have the numbers from 1 through 9 in the boxes.  But there is no compelling reason why numbers have to be used instead of symbols.  I have selected certain words from the first few steps of Steps to Knowledge and looked up Chinese versions of these words for the symbols.

The words are 知识, Zhīshì (“knowledge,” as in “I am without Knowledge now“), 知道, Zhīdào (“know” or “I know,” as in “What do I really know?“), 要, Yào (“want,” as in “I want what I think I know“), 认为, Rènwéi (“think”), 相信, Xiāngxìn (“believe,” as in “I believe what I want to believe“), 复习, fù xí (“Review“), 还, hái (“still,” as in “Today I will be still“), 寂静, Jìjìng (“stillness,” as in “In stillness, all things can be known“), and 神秘, Shénmì (“mystery,” as in the sentence “It [Knowledge] is the great mystery of your life” in the step “What is Knowledge?“)

I have created puzzles like this in the past, as I have been curious as to how much the symbols would increase the difficulty of the puzzle.  I would like to think this puzzle has a nobler purpose.

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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.

I Did My Best, It Wasn’t Much

I did my best, it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Leonard Cohen – Hallelujah

Step 42 of Steps to Knowledge is another review, a review where the student is asked to examine the depth and care of his practice.  If the student is changing or adjusting the lessons to suit preferences or aversions, tastes or expectation, she can’t really expect what is promised.

Here is the word cloud for steps 36-41:

Steps to Knowledge Steps 36-42 Word CloudStep 39 declares the power of God is within your Knowledge.

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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.