Сегодня я буду наблюдать за собой

буду наблюдать за собой

With All of Life – touch drawing by Deborah Koff-Chapin

For English version click here.

Когда я занималась Шагом 29. Сегодня я буду наблюдать за собой, чтобы познавать Знание, я отдала себе отчёт о том, что я этим занимаюсь регулярно, это для меня привычка, так сказать. В общем, я радуюсь тому, что Шаги к Знанию часто предлагают заниматься тем, что является для меня обыденным, привычным делом. Я уже много лет наблюдаю за собой, замечаю какие настроения возникают в течение дня, какие мысли всплывают в голове, какие чувства и эмоции мной овладеют, чтобы пересекать негативные мысли или эмоции и менять их на позитивные. Часто говорю «Стоп» или «Нет» особо бесполезным или даже разрушительным мыслям, мысленно поднимая руку перед ними, чтобы их препятствовать, блокировать их продвижение.

Однако спешу добавить, что я не всегда довольна тем, что я замечаю про себя. Значит, я наблюдаю за собой не без осуждения. Шаги к Знанию предлагают развивать способность наблюдать без осуждения. Когда я наблюдаю за собой с осуждением, я препятствую прилив Знания. И чтобы отдавать Знание, сначала надо учиться тому, как его получить. Я стремлюсь к тому, чтобы свободно выражать Знание в мире, быть его проводником, к тому, чтобы искренно отдавать то, что мне щедро дано.

Я буду наблюдать за собой сегодня

В тот день, когда я занималась этим Шагом, я уделила особое внимание тому, чтобы наблюдать за собой каждый час и записывать текущие мысли и чувства в это время. И это приносило плоды. В какой-то момент, я писала о том, как более остро ощущаю присутствие Знания, как будто Знание руководило мной и моему самочувствию. Я ощущала покой и равновесие, несмотря на некоторые трудности, проблемы и раздражительные моменты, которые возникали в течение дня. Я сумела наблюдать за своими эмоциями и их переправлять в позитивное русло, когда необходимо. Почасовое наблюдение и записывание того, что наблюдала, оказалось очень полезным и продуктивным.

А этот шаг предлагает не только наблюдать за собой, но и делать это, чтобы познавать Знание. Мне удалось это сделать. С помощью той связи, которую я ощущаю со Знанием, я сумела следить за мыслями и эмоциями, поправив их когда надо и получив, при этом, благотворные результаты.

Когда я наблюдаю за собой и, тем самим, укрепляю свою связь со Знанием, жизнь становится более полноценной и сглаженной.

Постскриптум: о Шаге 28. Обзор я не писала на русском из-за отсутствии русского материала. Можно читать о нем на английском тут.

*

* * *

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 Observe Myself Today

I will observe myself today

With All of Life – touch drawing by Deborah Koff-Chapin 

When I was asked to observe myself in Step 29. I Will Observe Myself Today To Learn Of Knowledge, I was happy to realize that this is something I practice on a regular basis. In general, I am very happy that Steps to Knowledge asks me to engage in things that are within the realm of my normal behavior on any given day. I am already in the habit of checking in with myself regularly to see how I am feeling, noting the thoughts that arise, reflecting on my shifts in mood, recognizing any negative emotions and choosing positive ones instead. I have a practice where I say “Stop” and “No” to any unproductive or downright destructive thoughts and feelings that come up. I mentally raise my hand to them and bar their way.

I hasten to add that I am not always pleased with what I see when I observe myself. So that means my observation is not free of judgment. Cultivating the ability to observe without judgment is something Steps to Knowledge encourages. If I observe myself with judgment I am blocking the flow of Knowledge. And I need to be able to receive Knowledge in order to learn how to give it as well. Step 29 says that “giving must be genuine, born of the overflowing receptivity that you have cultivated within yourself, within your relationships with others and with life.” Often I do not feel genuine, I feel stymied and contrived.

I will observe myself today

The day I did this Step I made a special effort to observe myself every hour and write down what I was thinking and how I was behaving. During one of my hourly observations, I wrote that I felt the presence of Knowledge more acutely. I felt at peace and balanced despite some problems, difficulties, and irritation that surfaced during the day. I was able to keep on top of my emotions and found the hourly practice profitable.

This Step asks me to do more than just observe myself, I am to observe myself to learn of Knowledge. I felt I accomplished this. Knowledge prompted me throughout the day. I kept tabs on what I was thinking and doing and adjusted my thoughts and actions accordingly to yield the most satisfactory results.

When I observe myself and, during this observation, strengthen my connection with Knowledge, I find my life becomes more integrated and productive.

*

* * *

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.

Glory Be To God For Small Things

Glory be to God for small things. I find happiness in small things today.The poet Gerald Manley Hopkins wrote “Glory be to God for dappled things.” As someone with freckles, I consider myself included in his song of praise. As I contemplate Step 85 of Steps to Knowledge “I find happiness in small things today,” I say “Glory be to God for small things.”

Glory be to God for small things

The word happiness is mentioned more times in this Step than in all the previous 84 Steps put together. Even though happiness hasn’t been addressed to a great extent by Steps to Knowledge so far, happiness is a result of some of the things Steps has been stressing. Things like being still, as taught by Step 8 “Today I will be still.” Things like observing more and judging less, as taught by Step 29 “I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge.” Things like engaging with my mission in life, as taught by Step 33 “I have a mission in my life to fulfill.” Things like unwinding my emotional investment in my judgments, as taught by Step 55 “I will accept the world as it is.”

The Step said that small things can carry great messages if you are attentive to them. I don’t remember receiving any particular great messages from small things when I did this Step. I do recall slowly backing away from judging small things as insignificant or unimportant because they are small.

On further review, perhaps my individuality, my body and personality, is a small thing. Even though my individuality is to express life itself (Step 12). it will be gone after a while. Therefore, as I contemplate Step 85, as I contemplate finding happiness in small things, I rephrase myself, and say “Glory be to God for small things. Like me.”

*

* * *

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.

Judge Not The World

Judge Not The World

Some of the teachings of Steps to Knowledge challenge the habits of a lifetime.  Steps to Knowledge seems to recognize this, and repeats certain teachings from different angles from time to time.  Step 60, “I will not judge the world today” is an instance of this.  The idea of observing without judgment was introduced in Step 29, “I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge.”  Where does judgment come from?  Reality is weighed against our ideals and found wanting.  Therefore, to escape judgment, I need to become less invested in my ideals.  This is the idea behind Step 55, “I will accept the world as it is.”

Judge not the world

I do not consider this to be a novel teaching.

I consider this teaching to follow from the teaching of Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, New International Version)

I consider this teaching to be a confirmation of the words of Mother Teresa (“Blessed Teresa of Kolkata” to you), “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”  In my mind, putting Matthew 7:1 and the words of Mother Teresa together yields “Love, and you too will be loved.”

I consider this teaching to confirm the teaching of Lesson 352 of the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles, “Judgment and love are opposites. From one come all the sorrows of the world.  But from the other comes the peace of God Himself.”

When someone tells a lie, they have to go to substantial efforts to keep the rest of their testimony consistent with that lie.  When someone judges someone else, it is a certainty that someone else will have the opposite judgment.  It therefore follows that people go to substantial efforts to justify their own judgments.  I know, for I have made these substantial efforts.  I had to find out the hard way that it wasn’t worth it.

*

* * *

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.

Patience Is Power

Patience is Power by Dennis Montera

“Patience is Power” by Dennis “Sio” Montera

I have a dim memory of one of my elementary school teachers writing on the blackboard, “Patience is a virtue.” (Would she be allowed to do that today?)

There is a gospel story about a women with an issue of blood, who touches the border of Jesus’s garment, and is healed.  In the King James Version, Jesus says “Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luke 8:46) In the New International Version, Jesus says “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Patience is power

Catholic Archbishop Fulton Sheen (1895-1979) (declared “Venerable Fulton Sheen” by the Catholic Church in 2012) has something to say about patience that I find helpful:

Fulton Sheen said that patience is power“Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is ‘timing,’ it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.”

Why are our minds impatient?  Step 59 of Steps to Knowledge, “Today I will learn patience” says our minds are impatient because they are tormented, they are restless, and they seek their worth from temporary things.  Our minds are tormented by our judgments of ourselves and others.  Our minds are restless because they devote themselves to the care and feeding of the animal soul.  Our minds are restless because they think dying with the most toys constitutes success.

What’s the remedy?  Focus on long-term development. How long a term?  They didn’t say, but I get the idea that it’s something I could spend the rest of my life working on. Observe one’s self more. Criticize one’s self less. This sounds to me like a recap of Step 29, “I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge.” Strive to be more objective, so that we can be more certain.

What we’re headed toward in Steps to Knowledge might take some time.  It seems to be part of the process to learn to enjoy the journey, or at least not suffer from it.  Patience is a virtue.  Patience is timing.  Patience is power.

*

* * *

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.

Idealism Is The Mother Of Judgment

The Idealist by Luke Hillestad. Idealism is the mother of judgment

The Idealist by Luke Hillestad

Suppose your beloved were to say “Here’s what I really love about you…,” but instead of describing you as they know you really are now, they described an idealized version of you.  It might be a person you may wish to be someday.  It might be a person you are working toward becoming.  But it’s not you as you are now.  How would you feel?  Would it bless you?  It might be interesting, but would it be love?

Idealism is the mother of judgment

It’s as if I weigh other people in a pair of balances.  In one balance, I put the person as they actually are.  In the other balance, I put my ideal of the person.  The person as they are is invariably found wanting in comparison to my ideal. The person as they are is then the subject of judgment.

And worse, I do the same thing to the world.  The world as it is now is wanting in comparison to my ideal of the world.

A gentleman shared an opinion with me that all advertisements reduced to the generation of discontent, saying that people don’t measure up to a certain ideal, but they will if they purchase a particular product or service. Marketer Seth Godin concurs when he writes “Marketers trying to grow market share will always work to make their non-customers unhappy.

Steps to Knowledge doesn’t say this, but I do.  Idealism is the mother of judgment.  Idealism is the fertile soil in which the noxious weed of judgment takes root.  Idealism is the Petri dish which the bacteria of judgment consider an all-you-can-eat buffet.  You get the idea.

If idealism is the mother of judgment, what remedy does Steps to Knowledge propose for this predicament?  Step 29 “I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge,” and Step 30 “Today I will observe my world,” address the practice of judgment.  Step 29 offers observation as an alternative to self-judgment, and Step 30 offers observation as an alternative to judging the world.  I consider Step 54, “I will not live in idealism,” and Step 55, “I will accept the world as it is,” to operate in parallel to Steps 29 and 30, except that Steps 54 and 55 are addressing the cause of judgment instead of the practice of judgment. Step 54 encourages the student to drop her ideal of herself.  Step 55 encourages the student to relinquish his ideal of the world.

Some people find the idea of accepting the world as it is to be unacceptable, as it would imply accepting the world’s errors.  That concern is addressed in the Step:

“Therefore, in your two 30-minute practice periods today, concentrate on accepting things exactly as they are. You are not condoning violence, conflict or ignorance in doing this. You are merely accepting the conditions that exist so that you may work with them constructively. Without this acceptance, you have no starting place for true engagement. Allow the world to be exactly as it is, for it is this world that you have come to serve.”

If you are a biological accident, if you have been born here against your will, if you’ve been thrown into the world, you might have reason to hate the world, and to cultivate that hatred.  But if you’ve come to serve the world, that whole complex of idealism and judging and hating is something over which you’re going to have to get.

*

* * *

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.

*

* * *

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 Make My Soul A Little Bigger?

This is the fifth post in a series of seven posts regarding Step 49 of Steps to Knowledge, where I am directed to review my practice of the first 48 steps.  I am sharing what I wrote at the time I did this review, with additional commentary as needed.

Step 29 – I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge – “I remember I started exercising the day I did this Step.  When I’m doing more observing, less judging, Knowledge sneaks in in an unguarded moment.  I didn’t do very well in practicing exactly on the hour, but I practiced a good bit.  I commented on this Step.”  Starting to exercise was definitely a positive development.  Yes, I consider unguarded moments to be valuable.  I now use the alarm on my cell phone to remind me of hourly practice.  It’s a great conversation starter.  I don’t believe my private commentary on this step will be all that helpful.

Step 30 – Today I will observe my world – “Again, like the day before, I didn’t do the Step hourly, but I did it a lot, I considered the possibility of looking on the collapse of America without judgment.”  If you either know me, or read this blog, then you have observed or surmised that I have a certain amount of fondness for, or attachment to, the United States of America and the ideals it seeks to embody.  Contemplating the possibility of looking on the collapse of America without judgment took a great deal of stretching my soul beyond its previous dimensions.

Step 31 – I wish to see a world I have never seen before – “I recalled the ‘Judgment and love are opposites…’ step from ACIM [A Course in Miracles].  I also recalled the John Lennon song ‘Watchin’ the Wheels Go Round.’  Again, I wasn’t good on timely practice, but I practiced a lot.”  Lesson 352 in the Workbook for Students in A Course in Miracles is “Judgment and love are opposites.  From one come all the sorrows of the world.  But from the other comes the peace of God Himself.”  This is more of what I mean when I talk about the overlap between A Course in Miracles and Steps to Knowledge.  The actual title of the John Lennon song is just “Watching the Wheels.”  I find it much less angry than many earlier John Lennon songs.

Step 32 – The truth is with me.  I can feel it. – “I remember mocking this Step, saying the line from 2001 ‘The truth is with me, Dave.  I can feel it.’  I believe there was a big gap between the day I did 31 and the day I did 32.  Holidays?  I commented on this step.”  When Dave Bowman is shutting down the HAL 9000 computer in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL says “My mind is going, Dave.  I can feel it.”  Did I need some comic relief? I shared my further commentary on Step 32 here.

Step 33 – I have a mission in my life to fulfill – “I remember not enjoying this step, because I was ok with the idea, but never seemed to fulfill it.  I remember thinking it could mean I would be a fanatic, my life organized around my great mission.  On the other hand, I might be fanatic, but normal about it.”  I seem to have issues with either being a fanatic, or being thought of as a fanatic.  Did St. Joan of Arc have a problem with people thinking she was a fanatic?

Step 34 – I am a beginning student of Knowledge – “I remember this Step taking away the pressure from the last Step.”

Step 35 – Review – “I did the Review.  Looking without judgment is the current answer to everything that stinks.”  I remember making the phrase “I will look, but I will not judge” into a little song that I sang over and over around the time I did this step.

*

* * *

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’ll You Do Now?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’m a-goin’ back out ’fore the rain starts a-fallin’
I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest
Where the people are many and their hands are all empty
Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters
Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison
Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden
Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten
Where black is the color, where none is the number
And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it
And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it
Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’
But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’
And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall

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

Step 29 of Steps to Knowledge “I will observe myself today to learn of Knowledge,” was about observing myself without judgment.  Step 30 “Today I will observe my world,” was about observing the world without judgment.  Step 31, “I wish to see a world I have never seen before,” was about affirming the intent of observing the world without judgment.  Therefore, I find it no great shock that the step 35 Review of steps 29 through 34 is an opportunity to review one’s practice without judgment.  There is a special phrase for the step 35 Review: “I will look, but I will not judge.”

Here is the word cloud from steps 29 through 34:

Steps to Knowledge Steps 29-34 Word Cloud
Feel the truth, practice today.  The world needs your practice.

*

* * *

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.

Thinking A Little More About Judgment

 

Caught in the trap

Some people struggle with the idea of observing without judgement.  Some people have difficulty with the execution of such an idea, as they have cultivated a habit of judging and are somewhat attached to it, somewhat invested in it.  Some people reject the very premise of such an idea, suggesting judgment is a necessity for survival.  But those same people usually affirm the teaching of Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, New International Version)

I have previously mentioned the Matthew Henry Commentary in this space.  Henry wrote that there are people whose job it is to judge (rulers, authorities, etc.) and Jesus didn’t come to abolish those jobs.  There was another occasion when Jesus told his disciples they would one day judge the twelve tribes of Israel, but that day is in a redeemed future.  To judge someone is to presume an authority I don’t have.

To judge someone is to declare consent to be judged according to the same standard by which I have judged someone.  Some people have not considered that consequence to be the case.

One gentleman I spoke with conjectured that, other things being equal, we tend to judge the people who we consider to be least like us.

After some pondering, I consider the command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” to be a particular instance of the command “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31, New International Version).  The command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” could also be considered as a special case of “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31, New International Version)

Could it be that this command “Do not judge, or you too will be judged” is a trickier command to keep than it looks?  Could it be that we really do love our neighbor as ourselves, but we have a certain degree of self-hatred, for we know we’ve fallen short?  Could it be we would like to judge others, so we don’t seem so bad by comparison?

*

* * *

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.