The Luxury Of Self-Condemnation

You can't afford the luxury of self-condemnation

Step 80, “I can only practice” of Steps to Knowledge, gives the idea that what passes for normal life contains a number of unexamined, habitual, detrimental practices. Practices such as confusion, judgment, projection of blame, guilt, disassociation, inconsistency and self-hatred.

The luxury of self-condemnation

Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today,” continues on this path, adding more detrimental practices to confront in one’s self.

“Do not be comfortable with assumptions or the beliefs of others.” As early as Step 4, “I want what I think I know,” we were told that assumptions are rarely founded on experience. The word “assumption” has been used a number of times so far in Steps to Knowledge. It has been consistently described as something too weak to take you to the great mystery of your life. It has been consistently described as something to examine and penetrate.

“Do not accept generalities as truth.” Generalizations have been known for some time to be impoverishments of experience. This is the only instance in Steps to Knowledge of either “generality” or “generalities.”

“Do not accept appearances as representative of the reality of another.” As I thought of this, I recalled a couple of Bible verses. Paul wrote to the Corinthians “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16, New International Version) John wrote “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2, New International Version). What is the reality of another? The great mystery of their life. The mission they have in their life to fulfill.

“Do not accept the mere appearance of yourself.” See above.

There is one detrimental practice, the practice of self-condemnation, to which an entire paragraph is devoted.

“You must enter uncertainty to find Knowledge. What does this mean? It simply means you are giving up false assumptions, self-comforting ideas and the luxury of self-condemnation. Why is self-condemnation a luxury? Because it is easy and does not require you to examine the truth. You accept it because it is acceptable in this world, and it gives you a great deal to talk about with your friends. It evokes sympathy. Therefore, it is easy and weak.”

As someone who has engaged in a good bit of self-condemnation over my errors and disappointments, I bear witness to these words. Examining what actually happened takes some work, work that is not required to engage in the luxury of self-condemnation. I believe most people will not freely admit that they are just a little bit scared of people who are showing strength and courage. I believe most people will not freely admit that in their strongest and most fearless moments, they notice that other people are just a little bit scared of them.

«Alisa writes: I think that the last two sentences of the paragraph above contain a very potent thought. Apart from it being true at the personal level, I think our world leaders would do well to consider this in their dealings with other world leaders.»

It takes a certain mental rigor, a certain strength, a certain courage to even search for what Steps to Knowledge is offering. People who are comfortable with being safe and weak, for whatever reason, have quit by now, or are thinking about 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.

How Great Is My Need For True Knowledge?

how great is my need for true knowledge, Kema River, Leningradskaya Oblast, Russia

How great is my need for true Knowledge?

After embarking on this journey known as Steps to Knowledge, I quickly became aware that my need for Knowledge is indeed great. Knowledge, as it is presented in these Steps, resounds like a distant but clear bell somewhere deep inside, speaking down the Ancient Corridors of my mind, beckoning me to reclaim it, for it is the center of my being and my presence in the world.

This awareness did not come in one fell swoop, mind you, and I am still plumbing its depths, but as early as the first week of Steps, I was certain beyond the shadow of a doubt that my need for true Knowledge is great.

Step 7 of Steps to Knowledge offers a review of the first six steps, suggesting that I look at each step covered so far and also consider the entire sequence of the steps together. This review does not require that I have any conclusions, but it does require that I realize the extent to which I need true Knowledge.

This Step prompted me not only to look back over the Steps covered so far, but to look back over my entire life so far and engage in some deep thinking about what motivates me, what moves me to make one decision and not another.

I wrote in my notes for this review: upon reflecting on my life up to this point, I realize that I got to where I am today not through analysis and conditioning, but through going with my gut feeling, as though I were being guided by something deeper, something more mysterious. If I had allowed my analytic mind to make the decisions, I would not be where I am today, since it really defies all logic.

I can say “I wanted to do what I did because I thought it was the right thing, it suited my preferences,” but perhaps what was really happening was I needed to do what I did because Knowledge was prompting me.  I was unwittingly following its guidance without even being consciously aware of it. In other words, if I substitute “I want” for “I need” in many situations, it puts things in a very different perspective. And now I am thinking that perhaps it is in fact Knowledge that has brought me to where I am today and not my personal beliefs and preferences.

How great is my need for true Knowledge?

My need for true Knowledge is great. This is very evident to me now, it is evident beyond the shadow of a doubt. It has brought me to where I am today, and it is what spurs me on to reach an even higher vantage point in the future.

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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

Если 32 Мая Никому Не Нужно

А если 32 мая никому не нужно—именно с таким предварительном замечанием с уст Барона Мюнхгаузена хочется начать эту запись, ведь я себя чувствую так, как он наверно себя почувствовал, стоя на ковре перед членами высшего общества. Тем не менее, предлагаю вашему вниманию следующий Шаг к Знанию.

Суть этого шага- заставить человека задуматься и осознать тот факт что практически все его знания- субъективны. Именно с момента признания этого факта и начинается познание реальной истины.

32 мая никому не нужно

Шаг 4. Я хочу то, что я думаю мне известно.

Ты стремишься к тому, о чем, как ты думаешь, тебе уже известно. Именно это и составляет основу твоего понимания себя и своего мира. Более того, на этом основано твое самовосприятие в целом. Однако при беспристрастном рассмотрении ты обнаружишь, что твое восприятие основано прежде всего на предположениях и что эти предположения в очень малой степени (если вообще) основываются на твоем жизненном опыте. 

Сегодня, в течение трёх коротких практических занятий, в ходе которых ты должна полностью посветить себя анализу своих предположений, думай о тех вещах, в которых ты абсолютно убеждена, в том числе и о вещах, которые ты никогда не подвергала сомнению, — о вещах, о которых, как ты думаешь, тебе известно. Таким образом, сегодняшнее занятие вытекает из предыдущих, и ты начинаешь видеть разницу между тем, что, как ты думаешь, ты знаешь, и самим Знанием, а также начинаешь понимать взаимосвязь между тем, чем Знание является в твоём понимании и твоими собственными предположениями, убеждениями и надеждами.

Поэтому, в ходе каждого упражнения, тебе необходимо рассмотреть всё, о чем, как ты думаешь, тебе известно. Когда ты поймешь, что всё это по большому счёту основано на твоих предположениях, ты также поймешь, насколько хрупка, непрочна твоя жизненная основа. Осознание этого факта может тебя расстроить и огорчить, но именно это осознание является крайне важным для того, чтобы дать тебе стимул и пробудить желание найти твою истинную основу в жизни.

 Практика 4: три практических занятия по 10 минут каждое.

For English version click here.

Заголовка Шага 4 звучит «Я хочу то, что я думаю мне известно» – да уж, пойди и разберись! Этот Шаг фактически дает понять, что мир, который я для себя строила и строю по сей день, такой хрупкий как карточный домик, который рушится по первому стуку пальца или легкому ветерку. Не только то, что я думаю, что знаю, не имеет под ним прочной фундамент, а ещё стремление к нему лишь показывает на то, что я окончательно заблудилась. Тем не менее, за словами «Когда ты поймешь, что всё это по большому счёту основано на твоих предположениях, ты также поймешь, насколько хрупка, непрочна твоя жизненная основа» следует такая утешительная оговорка о том, что «jсознание этого факта может тебя расстроить и огорошить». Ещё бы!

Что каcается меня лично, однако, с радостью сообщу, что это осознание меня ни расстроило, ни огорчило. С радостью сообщу, что я уже была готова принять тот факт, что то, как я думаю, мне известно, то есть, мои предположения, имеет мало общего с реальностью и основано на непрочном фундаменте. Я даже осмелюсь сказать, что к этому выводу я пришла намного раньше. Так, что когда я стояла перед фактом, что да, мои предположения не основываются на моем жизненным опыте и являются хрупкой жизненной основой, я ничуть не удивилась.

Вместо того, чтобы отчаиваться, я беру на вооружение последние слова Шага. Они гласят, что «это осознание является крайне важным для того, чтобы дать тебе стимул и пробудить желание найти твою истинную основу в жизни».

Вот почему мне так нравятся эти Шаги—они сначала обращают мое внимание на мое ошибочное восприятие, а дальше дают мне стимул исправить эти ошибки и даже намекают на то, что я на это способна. Вслед за осознанием, что у меня есть хрупкая жизненная основа, я получаю стимул и во мне пробуждается желание обнаружить мою истинную основу.

Не здорово ли?

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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.

My True Foundation Is More Than I Think I Know

My true foundation is not a card house

Step 4. I Want What I Think I Know is a real humdinger to be sure. It basically implies that the reality I have been building all this while is as flimsy as a house of cards that will fall at the first flick of a finger or puff of wind. Not only does what I think I know have no basis in reality, wanting it just shows I am headed up the wrong creek and will soon be left without a paddle. The Step kindly follows the statement “When you realize [the things you think you know] are based primarily upon your assumptions, you will realize how weak is your foundation in the world” with “Understanding this may be upsetting and disconcerting.” Indeed!

Speaking for myself, however, I am happy to report that I did not find this realization to be upsetting or disconcerting.  I am happy to report that I was ready to accept that the things I think I know, that is, my assumptions, have very little in common with reality and rest on a weak foundation. I will even go as far as to say that I had reached this conclusion earlier. So when confronted with the realization that my assumptions have not been based upon my experience and are a very flimsy foundation on which to build my life, my first thought was “no surprise there.”

My true foundation is more than I think I know

Instead of giving up in despair, though, I am arming myself with the Step’s concluding statement. It tells me that this realization is “absolutely essential for [me] to give [me] the impetus and the desire to discover [my] true foundation in the world.”

See, this is the beauty of Steps, although they first bring my attention to the flaws in my perception, they go on to inspire me to rectify these flaws and even imply that this is something within my capability. After realizing I have a weak foundation in the world I am given the impetus and desire to discover my true foundation.

Now how superb is that?
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Welcome to Mystery of Ascension! Добро пожаловать в Тайну просветления! We document the study of the New Message from God in general, and the book Steps to Knowledge in particular. Мы тут делимся своим опытом изучения Нового Послания от Бога, в общем, и книги Шаги к Знанию в частности. Find out more about us here. Узнайте больше о нас здесь. Find out how to contact us here. Узнайте, как связаться с нами здесь.

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.

True Or False, Right Or Wrong, They Mean It

This Time I Mean It Day

A new idea was introduced in Step 22 of Steps to Knowledge, the idea of the Teachers of God, whose presence can be felt, who are here to love, support and direct their students. Some people may read this and think, “Ah, well, this is a useful, empowering construct, a helpful metaphor.”  But Step 23 is the first step in Steps to Knowledge where all the words of the previous step “I am surrounded by the Teachers of God” are present in the next step in the same order “I am loved, surrounded and supported by the Teachers of God.”

The first two sentences of the step suggest that there is some awareness that this is a challenging idea:

The truth of this will become self-evident as you prepare, but for now it may require great faith. This idea may challenge existing ideas or beliefs, but it is true nonetheless.

I am amused by the use of the word “self-evident” in this step, because I have used that word in working definitions of Knowledge here and here.  The word “true” is used many times in Steps to Knowledge, but relatively infrequently in the context of saying “x is true,” where x is a proposition.  This is the second time this has happened in Steps so far.

Therefore, if anyone is going to go forward in the study of Steps to Knowledge, the idea of the benevolent presence of the Teachers of God is an idea to seriously consider.

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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.

This Stillness Thing Is A Big Deal

If Steps to Knowledge were to be considered as an educational text, I believe it would be seen as introducing new ideas with a certain degree of subtlety.  For example, the final sentence of the final paragraph of Step 4

Understanding this [that there is a difference between what I think I know, and what I know] may be upsetting and disconcerting, but it is absolutely essential for you to give you the impetus and the desire to discover your true foundation in the world.

…contains a reference to Step 6 “I have a true foundation in the world.”  A similar thing happens in this step, where the final sentence of Step 8 introduces Step 9 “In stillness, all things can be known.”

Another piece of evidence about the importance of stillness is the association of stillness with not one, but two Uncommonly Capitalized terms in one sentence.

Stillness of mind allows a Greater Mind to emerge and to reveal its Wisdom.

This Greater Mind might emerge during the practice of stillness.  The Greater Mind might also emerge while doing some prosaic task, like dicing onions.  Each time of practicing stillness is building a pathway, building a bridge, between the surface of the mind, where all things are deliberated, and the depths of the mind, where all things are known.  I don’t know that this is so, but it is as if this Greater Mind required an unguarded moment to reveal itself.

Perhaps if I put this step together with the working definition of knowing something that I wrote about in the post on step 4, then perhaps this sentence makes sense: “In stillness, I experience things being self-evident, and receive inspiration for consistent action.”

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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.

Knowing And Its Hindrances

On the one hand, no one, if asked, would like to get to the end of their life and wonder “What was that all about?”

On the other hand, many people go dancing through life, anesthetizing themselves to their own experience, rejecting the idea that they have a greater purpose than individual and species survival, and have the above experience when they get to the end of their lives.

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like the good and faithful servant in the 25th chapter of the gospel of Matthew, who said to the master who entrusted him with five bags of gold, “See, I have gained five more.”

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like Simeon said in the gospel of Luke, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace.” (Luke 2:29, New International Version)

I think people, when they get to the ends of their lives, would like to say something like what the apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7)

So what keeps this from happening for people?  While there are a number of different answers, the answer that Step 4 of Steps to Knowledge offers is “assumptions unfounded in experience.”

“You want what you think you know, and this is what constitutes the basis of your understanding of yourself and your world. In fact, this constitutes the basis of your whole identity.You will find, however, upon honest examination that your understanding is based upon assumptions primarily, and these assumptions have not been founded upon your experience to a very great degree, if at all.” (Steps to Knowledge, Step 4, “I want what I think I know.”)

A commenter on the previous post pointed out that experience was an important part of knowing.  And while I consider the signers of the Declaration of Independence as being an excellent instance of people knowing something, perhaps a less dramatic definition of knowing something might be “an experience of something being self-evident which inspires consistent action.”

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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.