Сегодня я буду наблюдать за миром

For English version click here.

Шаг 30. Сегодня я буду наблюдать за миром предлагает наблюдать за окружающим миром, и наблюдать без осуждения.

В своих записях я написала: «Наблюдать за миром без осуждения очень достойное занятие, и я этим занимаюсь по мере способностей». Ну чтож, похвально, а легче сказать, чем сделать. Дальше я писала, что легче наблюдать за более широким миром без осуждения, нежели за миром непосредственно вокруг себя.

В широком мире, мой взгляд стремится к красоте, я останавливаюсь на вещи, которые радуют глаз. Сегодня, пока я гуляла по лесопарке, я наслаждалась тем, как утренний солнечный свет освещал распускающиеся березовые листья. Они сияли изумрудным цветом и плясали на ветру. Я наслаждалась свежим воздухом и радовалась тем, что уборщики убирают мусор. Одни мусорят, а другие убирают. Я тоже убираю чужой мусор, когда увижу и есть урна по пути. Трудно не осуждать других за то, что они мусорят, особенно когда этот мусор портит вид прекрасного пейзажа. Я очень желаю, чтобы люди более бережно и внимательно относились к тому миру, где они живут. В широком миру, я могу наблюдать и пойти дальше.

В мире непосредственно вокруг меня, однако, труднее наблюдать без осуждения. Ежедневные заботы, семейные отношения, проблемы по работе часто выводят меня из колея и я отношусь воле-неволе к ним с осуждением. Чем уже мой мир, тем труднее наблюдать за ним без осуждения.

Сегодня я буду наблюдать за миром

наблюдать за миром

Однако, как я понимаю по Шагу 30, я не должна себя осуждать за это, за свое осуждение. Я должна просто заметить свое поведение, отдать себе отчет, и двигать дальше.

Тем не менее, мне cдается, что наблюдение за миром без осуждения требует приложения намного больше усилий, чем я прикладываю. Мне cдается, что осуждение настолько прочно укоренилось в человеческой психике, что понадобится аж очень много усердной работы, чтобы избавиться от него.

Занимайся этим шагом, я имею представление о том, что требуется. Когда я наблюдаю за миром сегодня, я вижу мир, который занимается своим делом по меру своих сил, с учетом обстоятельств. Как я могу осуждать такой мир? Это равносильно тому, что осудить новорождённого за то, что он не умеет ходить.

*

* * *

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 My World Today

 

I will observe my world

When Step 30. Today will observe my world asks me to observe my world, observe my world without judgment and observe what I am doing in the world without judgment, I cannot help but feel the enormity of this task and want to break it down into more manageable chunks.

I wrote in my notes for this Step: “Observing my world without judgment – this is a worthy practice and I am committing myself to it to the best of my ability.” This may seem like an exemplary approach, but easier said than done. My notes go on to say that I find observing what I will call the larger world without judgment easier than observing my immediate world without judgment.

In the larger world, I look for beauty, I look for things that please the eye. Today I took delight in seeing the morning sun shine through the new birch leaves as I took a walk in the woods. They were like dancing emeralds glistening in the sunlight. I took delight in breathing in fresh air and was glad to see the park attendants gathering up the garbage. People make a mess, others tidy it up. I pick up other people’s garbage too when I see it and there is a garbage can on my way. It is hard not to judge others for the mess they make, especially when the mess is an eyesore in an otherwise lovely landscape. I pray for others to become more aware and more solicitous of the world they live in. In the larger world, I can observe with as little judgment as possible and move on.

In my immediate world, however, it is harder to observe without judgment. My daily tasks, the people I live with, the situations I encounter often cannot be observed without my judgment. I find judgment creeps in whether I want it to or not. The narrower my world, the harder it is to be non-judgmental.

I will observe my world today

observe my world

However, I understand from Step 30 that I am not to judge myself for this judgment. I am merely to observe what I am doing, take stock, and move on.

Nevertheless, I get the feeling that this task of observing without judgment requires a lot more than I am putting into it. I get the feeling that judgment is so ingrained in the human psyche that it is going to take quite a lot of diligent work to free myself from its clutches.

Step 30 ends with:

Do not think that you have seen the world the way it really is, for what you have seen is your judgment upon the world. The world you will see without judgment is a different world than you have ever seen before.

Practicing this step gives me a preview, however. When I observe my world today, I see a world doing its own thing as best it can under the circumstances. How can I judge a world like this? It would be like judging a new-born infant for being unable to walk.

* * *

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.

*

* * *

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.

Less Judgment, More Observation

Less Judgment More Observation

On the one hand, many people are familiar with the teaching of Jesus, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”  (Matthew 7:1-2, New International Version) On the other hand, Christians are instructed to “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11, New International Version)  There is some fine print about the “Do not judge…” passage.

The word “judgment” has already appeared multiple times in Steps to Knowledge, and in all the instances so far, the context is that it is a hindrance to one’s knowing.  Judgment could be thought of as a habit of mental or moral sloth, a refusal to further examine the context or motivation of someone or some action.

Error exists, and it is something to avoid, because it has painful consequences.  Is judgment an error?  It looks that way from my perspective.  Someone will ask, “Then what should I do instead?”  The answer given by both step 29 and step 30 is to observe.  In step 29, I’m observing myself; in step 30, I’m observing the world.  The phrase “without judgment” appears 4 times in 7 sentences in step 30.  I surmise from this that I’m not supposed to observe so that I can come to a more informed judgment.  I’m being asked to cultivate observation, and starve, de-cultivate, the habit of judgment.

*

* * *

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.