Наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой

Наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой

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Я продолжаю заниматься «Шагами к Знанию» и радуюсь тому, что можно наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой. Как часто студентам приходится сказать, что можно наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой? И что на самом деле представляет собой необременительная учебная программа?

Необременительная учебная программа – это когда можно изучать предмет, а не надо прийти к заключениям, не надо сделать выводы. Наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой означает расследовать обширные пространства вне моего ума (Шаг 16), чтобы заниматься внутреннем слушанием (Шаг 15), слышать истину (Шаг 17), познавать истину (Шаг 18), развивать умение видеть (Шаг 19) и не позволять сомнения омрачить продвижение (Шаг 20).

Когда я дошла до Шага 21, третий обзор в программе, во время которого предлагается пересмотреть вышеупомянутые шаги и замечать как развивается процесс и как я продвигаюсь, я чувствовала несомненную радость. Я радовалась тому, что мне не надо было прийти к никаким заключениям, не надо было сделать никаких выводов. Я помню, как я радовалась возможностью наслаждаться необременительной учебной программой.

В моих записях написано:

“Как хорошо знать, что не надо сделать никаких выводов на данном этапе, что я иду по течению, следуя за Знанием, которое ведет меня туда, куда нужно, без всякого усилия с моей стороны. Принимаю этот факт с вдохновением и облегчением. Жизнь становится легче и радостнее. Всё идет по высшему плану.”

Вот в чем прелесть Шагов к Знанию, и это только начало. Наслаждаясь необременительной учебной программой, принимая тот факт, что я начинающий студент, от которого не требуется обременительных усилий, я свободна двигаться дальше с легким сердцем, как беззаботная стебель, греясь на солнце и кивая в ветерке.

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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.

Delighting In A Burden-Free Curriculum

delighting in a burden-free curriculum

As I continue my practice of Steps to Knowledge as a beginning student, I am happy to say that I am delighting in a burden-free currriculum. How often can students say that they are delighting in a burden-free curriculum? And what exactly is a burden-free curriculum, exactly?

A burden-free curriculum is one where judgments and conclusions are unnecessary, a burden-free curriculum allows students to engage in deeper inclinations, to explore the vast expanses that are beyond the mind (Step 16) in order to listen to their experience (Step 15), hear the truth (Step 17), feel the truth arising (Step 18), cultivate the ability to see (Step 19), and not allow doubt and confusion to cloud their progress (Step 20).

When I reached the Step 21 Review, which calls for looking back over the steps mentioned above, I remember feeling very happy. I felt very happy that I did not have to make conclusions. I remember feeling that this took the pressure off, I remember delighting in the burden-free curriculum offered by Steps to Knowledge. All that was required of me was to recognize the line of development and note the progress I had made thus far. I call this delightfully burden-free.

My notes say:

“It is so good to know that I don’t need to make any conclusions or judgments at this point, that I am just going with the flow, allowing Knowledge to guide me without even making a conscious effort, just going with it and allowing it to take me where it will. This is so refreshing and such a relief! Life has taken on a new lightness and joy. Everything is in perfect and divine order.”

This is the beauty of Steps to Knowledge, and we are only three weeks into the course. Delighting in a burden-free curriculum, accepting I am a beginning student freed from the burden of making conclusions and judgments, I am free to go on with a light heart, like a carefree stalk soaking up the sunshine and nodding in the breeze.

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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.

When Doubt Clouds The Horizon

When Doubt Clouds the Horizon

There will always be times when doubt clouds the horizon and I am not a true student.

I have already posted on my practice regarding Step 19. “Today I Wish To See.” I shared in that post my journal entry for that day, November 20, 2013. I have to admit that I was rather lackadaisical about picking an object to look at. I was thrown off course by having to pick an object that has little meaning for me. The objects on my desk and immediately before me all have some special meaning, so I did not know what to choose. I don’t recall actually choosing anything, I only thought about what might go through my head if I did gaze on some object for 15 minutes. Like it’s going to miraculously turn into something else before my eyes if I look at it long enough. Huh?

Step 20. “I Will Not Let Doubt and Confusion Slow My Progress” asks me to practice the same practice that I attempted the previous day. I don’t think I did as asked on this day either, I have no record of the object I picked to gaze at. Nor was I feeling doubt and confusion, since my journal entry is too flippant, implying that I have this “doubt and confusion” thing nailed.

I wrote: Doubt and confusion are natural every now and again, and I have certainly allowed them to slow my progress in the past. The trick is, however, to recognize them as precisely that – doubt and confusion – which come from somewhere else other than Knowledge. When I see this, I have the strength to go on, always certain that Knowledge is leading me precisely where I need to go.

When doubt clouds the horizon

Recently, however, doubt and confusion have been looming large and ominously in my life. This week I did Step 271 and wrote in my journal and on the Free School Forum about how I was doubting my ability to get with Knowledge. Another student responded by pointing me directly back to Step 20. I was blessed with some clarity and made aware of the empowerment that is inherent in Steps to Knowledge.

I did not give myself truly to my practice the day I did Step 20, I was not a true student, but today, as I move forward in my Steps practice, I am brought around once more to what I failed to grasp that day and given the opportunity to contemplate my doubt and confusion again. I find this ultimately encouraging.

The same student also pointed me to a passage from Wisdom from the Greater Community. Volume 2 Chapter 27: Self-Doubt

“While you have a self that you need to doubt and that you need to understand, you also have a Self that you can learn to trust—completely and wholeheartedly. This Greater Self is the source of certainty, guidance, strength, courage and Wisdom. It is what we call Knowledge. It represents the immortal part of yourself—the part of you that came into the world fully intact and fully prepared to carry out a mission in life. You carry it like a secret cargo. It is within you at this moment. You can doubt its existence. You can doubt its value. You can doubt the depth of its Wisdom and the limits of its strength, but until you know it, you will not understand what it can do or what it is for.

You are not in a position to doubt it.”

At this point, I am recalling Marshall Vian Summers’ words “never doubt what you have always known.”

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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.

Listening For A Melody

Makrokosmos by George Crumb - Listening for a melody

In Step 62 “Today I will learn to listen to life” of Steps to Knowledge, we were told to listen, to be present, to listen without judgment.  After the review period of Step 63, Step 64, “Today I will listen to another,” goes a little bit deeper into the nature of listening.

The step doesn’t seem to be asking for what the therapists call “active listening.” I’m not being asked to share what I believe I’m hearing.  The step doesn’t seem to be asking for what the neuro-linguistic programmers call “matching” or “mirroring.” I’m not being asked to do anything in particular to build rapport.

Listening for a melody

I feel I’m being asked to not just listening to the words someone says. I feel I’m being asked to listen to the total package of what they saying by their manner.  I’m listening for a melody.  Sometimes people say things as if the words they were saying were the last words of a patriotic song.  Sometimes people say things as if they were confessing their failure to protect their children.  When I did Step 19, “Today I wish to see,” I recalled this quote from American botanist George Washington Carver (1864-1943):

George Washington Carver was listening for a melody by silently communing with people

“Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also – if you love them enough.”

I consider Step 64 to be a listening version of Step 19.  I consider Step 64 to be a listening exercise in loving people.  The step considered the possibility that the person I was listening to might be taken by surprise, and give up one of their secrets. “You will find that they have a greater communication for you than you might at first have anticipated.”

If I am listening for a melody, will I hear the bending of the musical staff in Makrokosmos by American composer George Crumb, the music shown above?  I don’t know, but I know I’m going to try.

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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.

Can I Follow Instructions? Can I Take What I Get?

This is the third post in a series of seven posts regarding Step 49 of Steps to Knowledge, where I am instructed to review my practice and experience of the first 48 steps.  I am sharing what I wrote when I originally did this step, with additional commentary as needed.

Step 15 – I shall listen to my experience today – “I don’t remember doing this step very well, but I’m sure I did it.  Listening without judgment is good fer what ails ya.”  What I meant is that I didn’t have much of a memory of my doing this step.  I consider “good fer what ails ya” to be the only correct spelling of this idiom.

Step 16 – Beyond my mind is Knowledge – “I did the Step, but I don’t remember hearing any deeper inclinations at the time.”  Does this mean I failed at the Step?  Not necessarily.  The Step 49 review states:

“You will find as you proceed that some of your failures will lead to greater successes, and that some of what you thought of as successes may lead to failures. This will underscore your whole system of evaluation and will lead you to a greater recognition. This will make it possible for you to be compassionate towards yourself and towards others whom you now judge for their successes and their failures.”

I have a tiny bit of mountain climbing experience, and from this I know that some paths which seem easy at the time result in dead ends, and some paths which seem unnecessarily difficult at the time are actually the paths with the highest probability of success.  Therefore, the ability to take what I get from following the directions is important.

Step 17 – Today I want to hear the truth – “The truth totally disrupted my ideals to be a hero, a hunger-ender, an apostle, a Jedi Knight.”  I’ve only been told all my life by people that they have great expectations of me.  They have quoted the Bible verse “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48, New International Version).  I have consistently disappointed both my expectations of myself, and other people’s expectations of me.  I managed to simultaneously flunk out and get kicked out of theological seminary.  I was ineffective at higher and higher levels of volunteering in the Hunger Project.  The disappointment of ambition is an important milestone.  Why am I telling anybody anything about anything?  It’s what I do.  I hope it helps.

Step 18 – Today I feel the truth arising within myself – “I did the Step, but I confess to be bewildered as to all the Steps that say ‘Feel this,’ ‘Feel that.’  The text [of Step 18] was helpful.  I have to become the better person I want Knowledge to make me, in order to approach Knowledge.  The whole Wizard of Oz thing.  I remember thinking ‘Yeah, right, like I know my true goal in life.'”  In the movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard gave a task to the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion which required them to bring forth the qualities they desired from the Wizard (intelligence, empathy, and courage, respectively).

Step 19 – Today I wish to see – “I did a hockey puck and a spoon, and I recall that I tried to imagine how the puck got its scratches, and that the light I saw reflected off the spoon was not the spoon.  Just looking at something is loving that thing.  Everything in nature (including me) will reveal its secrets to me if I look at it without trying to impose my thoughts and wishes on it.” I was improvising on the quote from American scientist George Washington Carver:

“Anything will give up its secrets if you love it enough. Not only have I found that when I talk to the little flower or to the little peanut they will give up their secrets, but I have found that when I silently commune with people they give up their secrets also – if you love them enough.”

Step 20 – I will not let doubt and confusion slow my practice – “I did a rock, and something else.  It’s as if they knew that at this point, doubt and confusion might arise.”

Step 21 – Review – “I did the review, and followed the instructions to chill out.”  Ok, ok, the instructions didn’t literally say to chill out, but they did say to avoid making conclusions and observe the line of development.

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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.

Songs May Evoke The Truth

Lyudmila Zykina, National Folk Singer of Russia

This song “Ivushka” (The Weeping Willow) written in 1957 by outstanding Soviet composer Grigory Ponomarenko to the words by Russian poet Vassily Alferov and performed by National Russian Folk Singer Lyudmila Zykina touches my heart-strings and opens up the deeper mind where I can hear, feel, and see the Truth.

Зорька золотая светит над рекой,
Ивушка родная, сердце успокой.
Ивушка зелёная, над рекой склонённая,
Ты скажи, скажи не тая, где любовь моя.

Были с милым встречи у твоих ветвей,
Пел нам каждый вечер песни соловей,
Ивушка зелёная, над рекой склонённая,
Ты скажи, скажи не тая, где любовь моя.

Но ушёл любимый, не вернётся вновь,
С песней соловьиной кончилась любовь.
Ивушка зелёная, над рекой склонённая,
Ты скажи, скажи не тая, где любовь моя.
Ты скажи, скажи не тая, где любовь моя.

I did not find an English translation of this particular song, so I will provide my own. This is not a word for word translation, but my personal interpretation of the meaning.

In the golden light of the setting sun, a weeping willow dips its green boughs over the river, bringing peace to the hearts of those who seek.

Its leaves whisper secrets of love, of amorous couples who meet under its branches to hear the nightingale sing. Love comes and goes, but the green weeping willow forever bends low over the river, whispering its secrets.

The video that accompanies the song depicts the Russia I have come to love, and I dream of living in a simple log cabin by a river where the weeping willow bends its boughs and whispers its Truth.

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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 Wish To Know The Truth

Sunset of Truth on the Upper Volga Reservoir, Tverskaya Oblast, Russia

I often ask to be shown the Truth, I often wish to know the Truth, in fact this is a permanent, constant desire of mine. But how can I really know?

Steps to Knowledge infers that I can refine the faculties of my mind to hear, feel, and see the Truth. And I must confess that I felt a certain amount of delight when I reached the following Steps; they spoke to something deep within.

Step 17. Today I Want To Hear The Truth tells me, “Developing the ability to hear and the desire to hear will yield to you that which you seek.”

Yes, I seek, and Yes, I want to hear the Truth, this is an ongoing need for me.

Step 18. Today I Feel The Truth Arising Within Myself develops the concept, saying, “It is something you must feel. To have a feeling orientation, your mind must be still. Truth is something you will feel with your entire body, with your entire being.”

Words I used to try and describe this feeling in the past are “I just feel it in the core of my being,” “I feel it in the marrow of my bones.” It has to be experienced, felt, and then you just know. That is how it is with me.

Step 19. Today I Wish To See poses a trickier task since it calls for looking at a physical object, but also says, “The desire to see, then, is the desire to see a greater truth. This requires a greater honesty and a greater openness of mind.”

I wish to know the truth

When I did this Step, I wrote in my notes:

Frankly, I have been having trouble with this step because it calls for looking at a physical object and I am wondering “okay, so what’s supposed to happen when I do?” Like it’s going to miraculously turn into something else before my eyes if I look at it long enough. Huh?

But I realized just now that this is not the point, the physical object is just a solid reference point for starting off. This Step is rather an exercise in impartiality, or flexibility, if you will. It’s not the physical object that is the key, but the way I look at it, my ability to look without preconceived notions or expectations. And then this extends to everything else in the world around me–situations, other people, my own self and the way I perceive things, allowing me to go beyond what “seems” to be on the surface, to some deeper truth within.

I feel that this Step is directing me toward learning how to see with my inner eye, beyond the physical as it seems to appear before me. 

All of this brings me back to one fundamental axiom for me in life—if you feel a persistent tug, go with it, for there you may find the Truth. I felt a persistent tug to return to Russia after studying in Moscow for a semester in 1981. I felt this tug for nine years, until I returned.

And here I have found the environment where the Truth is slowly being revealed to me.

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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.

A Certain Amount Of Resolve Is Necessary Here

Steps to Knowledge, Step 20. I will not let doubt and confusion slow my progress

The word “devil” does not appear in Steps to Knowledge.  However, there is a voice in my head, which would have a smug smirk on its face (if it had a face) commenting on my practice of observation in step 19, and saying “So, you’re going to become more whole, more consistent, more honest, more devoted, by staring at a hockey puck, eh?”

My comeback to this voice is “The staring at the hockey puck is only part of the practice of step 19 of 365 steps.  So mock my staring at the hockey puck if you feel like it.  Like I care. I’m going to follow the Steps and be a competent student with a beginner’s mind, instead of a know-it-all judge.”

The practice for step 20 “I will not let doubt and confusion slow my progress,” is the same observation practice as for step 19.  I used a small stone as the object for one of the observation practices.  I don’t recall what I used for the second observation practice, I only recall that I did it.

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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.

Just Seeing Is Trickier Than It Looks

Steps to Knowledge, Step 19. Today I wish to see

Left to my own devices, I don’t just see things.  The seeing of something for me is the blastoff point for a sequence of thoughts moving through my network of associations with quite a few twists and turns.  This inner dialogue of preferences, aversions, judgements and assumptions is a hindrance to looking at things objectively.

A new practice is introduced in step 19 of Steps to Knowledge.  The practice is to take a mundane object, and look at it.  Just look at it.  Just look at it without trying to come to any conclusions, without trying to make any inferences from what is seen.  Spend 15 minutes in as pure observation as possible.  Do that on two separate occasions.

There was a time when I took my children ice skating at a nearby hockey arena.  I happened to find a hockey puck there, which I kept for no particular reason.  I don’t play hockey, none of my children play hockey, and I don’t follow hockey very closely.  I’m telling you this to tell you the object I selected for the first just-look-at-it exercise was the hockey puck.  This hockey puck had a number of scratches on it, and I noticed that I tried to imagine how the puck got the scratches in the first place.  That wasn’t observation.

The other mundane object I selected was a metal serving spoon.  The observation was a little tricky, because there were objects reflected in the spoon, which I saw as I looked at the spoon.  If I observed other objects reflected in the spoon, was I still observing the spoon?  Perhaps I was observing the spoon’s reflectivity.  I recall being not entirely clear about this when I did the exercise.

What did I come away with?  Just looking at something is loving that thing.  Everything in nature (including myself) will reveal its secrets to me if I look at it without trying to impose my thoughts and wishes on it.

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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.