I Strive To Scratch The Itches Of A Ghost

There is something I find curious about Step 95, “How can I possibly fulfill myself?” of Steps to Knowledge. The word “possibly” is used a total of five times before Step 95, and the context is usually to cut off hope of something. For example, in Step 87, “I will not be afraid of what I know,” I am told that my personal mind cannot possibly understand my greater purpose. This is the first time the word “possibly” appears in the step itself. Steps to Knowledge frequently uses rhetorical questions, but this is the first time that the step is in the form of a rhetorical question. It is as if Steps to Knowledge is spending some of the capital it has accumulated with me by reducing my suffering in previous steps. Steps to Knowledge is questioning something that it didn’t occur to me to question, claiming that I strive to scratch the itches of a ghost.

I strive to scratch the itches of a ghost

When Steps to Knowledge says that Knowledge is my True Self in Step 10, “What is Knowledge?”, it’s not claiming that my individuality, my body and personality is a false self. Rather, it is claiming that my individuality is an incomplete self, a secondary self, a vehicle for my true self. If this is true, then the efforts I make to fulfill myself are equivalent to making efforts to fulfill a suit I wear, or a house I live in, or a car I drive.

Someone is reading this and thinking “But Douglas, that’s, that’s…” Crazy? We prefer the word “confused.” This state of affairs is the consequence of living in a world where people believe what they want to believe. This state of affairs is the consequence of living in a world where people want to be separate to be unique. I strive to scratch the itches of a ghost.

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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.

Trusting My Inner Guidance

Trusting my inner guidance

This beautiful painting called Healing Presence is brought to us courtesy of Bruce Harman at Harman Visions

In practicing Steps to Knowledge, I am trusting my inner guidance. This is confirmed in Step 22. I Am Surrounded By The Teachers Of God.

Step 22 states in no uncertain words:

You are surrounded by the teachers of God. They are here to love, support and direct you.

As always though, I cannot write about my experience and practice of Steps without mentioning my doubt and skepticism.

My notes for this Step say:

“As far back as I can remember, I have always believed in angels, in a benevolent power looking after me, and even hoped there might be a personal angel just for me. I can visualize this presence, these Teachers of God, when I meditate, and even feel their love and support, but unfortunately, even here, doubt creeps in. Am I not just believing what I want to believe (Step 5)?

“My mind is an amazing thing, I can convince myself of anything I want, but is this the Truth?”

Today I realize again that I have no trouble feeling the presence of these Teachers of God, I can even see them in my mind’s eye and feel their support. But I also ask the same question as Douglas, are they merely a mental construct?

When I did this Step, my attention was drawn to a New Message teaching called “The Rays of Initiation.” 

This is a very powerful text that begins:

The Power and the Presence watches over you
And all people in the world
Waiting for those
Who are ready
Waiting for those
Who are ready to awaken
From their deep sleep
Of desire and disappointment
Watching over the world
Waiting for those minds
That seek freedom.
Not just an outer freedom
But an inner freedom
Waiting for the moment
Of readiness
In the individual.

Trusting my inner guidance

My notes continue after reading this teaching:

The Power and Presence – I am wondering if this is the same as the Teachers of God? I have been reading and rereading the Rays of Initiation. My first reaction was that I feel I am missing some vital point, I am not ready, I am still asleep, and this was a very humbling thing to feel.

“Then I wondered ‘How can this be?’ since I have had many ‘awakening’ experiences, although not born of despair and frustration, but rather from seeking for something more real, more authentic, more permanent and more essential – that has certainly been my experience in the past, until I moved to Russia . . . Now all those things I sought are present in my life. So I am wondering, did I respond to my greater calling, greater purpose back then, before I was conscious of all that is presented in the New Message? And now I am living my real life, the life I was destined to live at this time? Or am I indeed missing some vital point?

“I am thinking that it must be possible for people to respond to their greater calling unconsciously.”

Today I feel more certain, more confident. I still have questions, but I am trusting my inner guidance.

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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 Gift Of Gratitude

my-gift-of-gratitudeI am rummaging through various online logs, reflecting on the year 2013.

My gift of gratitude

At the beginning of the year, I was on Step 202 of Steps to Knowledge.  Today, I am on Step 320.  I had only done 98 steps between October 2012 and October 2013, so I would like to think this is an improvement.

I am grateful to Marshall Vian Summers, his family, and his associates for the many efforts they have made to make Steps to Knowledge and its related materials available to the world.

I am grateful for my fellow students of Steps to Knowledge.  You can meet a few of them here. I have met a number of these people in person.

Someone reading this is thinking “But Douglas, what has this quest accomplished for you?” I believe I’m suffering a lot less over the things in the past that didn’t go as planned.  Why?  Because I’m taking my own medicine about idealism and judgment.  I believe I’m using the phrase “That is a possibility…” more, and using the phrases “That’s wrong…” or “That’s just pure evil…” less.  I’d like to believe I’m a little bit less opinion-possessed, and a little more open to not believing everything I think.

At the beginning of this year, I was blogging on Step 5, “I believe what I want to believe.”  I recently blogged on Step 67, “I do not know what I want for the world.”  Some people have made some nice comments.  It definitely has been helpful for me to write about the Steps.  It has caused me to think things I haven’t thought before.

I have great gratitude for Alisa’s contributions to Ascending Knowledge.  I don’t have the money right now to hire a marching band to perform at half-time at the World Cup Final, and spell out “THANK YOU ALISA!” in big block letters, but maybe you can see the picture in your mind’s eye.

As I offer my gift of gratitude, I recall the words of Dag Hammarskjöld: “For all that has been, Thank you. For all that is to come, Yes!”

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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.

Оно Само Совершенство – Тогда Сомнения Нет

Само совершенство

For English version click here.

С этой записи прекращается моя попытка поделиться своим опытом прохождения Шагов к Знанию, пока не будет полноценный перевод книги «Шаги к Знанию: Книга Внутреннего Познания» целиком. Так будет правильнее, так будет честнее. Ведь я сама только начинающий ученик, я только начала прощупать это Знание – оно пока и для меня – Великая Тайна.

А всё-таки поделюсь с вами вкратце как всё было с мной, когда проходила 5-и Шаг, который приблизительно звучит, «Я верю в то, во что хочу верить».

В двух словах – полное недоразумение и ошеломление. Тут продолжается, как в предыдущем шаге, то оторопевшее открытие о том, что всё, чему я верила до сих пор, не имеет под собой истинного фундамента. Это всё мои личные желания, предпочтения, выдумки, собственные идеи, надежды, а не познаваемой реальности. Поэтому я вывела итог, что всё это надо смести и начать с чистого листа: перспектива несколько обескураживает, не правда ли?

На вопрос «Во что ты веришь»? пришлось ответить «Я уже не знаю».

А в этот момент я отвлеклась и начала читать другой текст Нового Послания с названием «Пробуждение».

И следующий кусок затронул меня.

«Много людей ждут Нового Откровения, ибо они не нашли этого Посвящения в религиях прошлого, в традициях мира. Они не нашли этой более глубокой связи через любовь, через работу, или с помощью любого другого занятия. Настолько долго они ждали Откровения.

Для них, это не просто учение или феномен. Для них, это не просто то, над чем можно размышлять или против чего бороться, или отвергать, или отбрасывать. Для них, Послание не является возмутительным или экстраординарным. Оно само совершенство (жирный текст – мой). Оно – их Пробуждение. Оно содержит их призвание, уходя вглубь по Древним Коридорам их ума, обращаясь к той их части, с которой они еле знакомы, и которая является центром их Существа и их присутствия в мире».

Оно само совершенство! Конечно же! Когда ты вдруг поймешь, что это так, когда ты просто «знаешь», потому что ты слышишь отклик, который уходит вглубь по Древним Коридорам твоего ума, тогда больше сомнения нет. Я тому верю сегодня, я тому слежу, потому что для меня оно само совершенство.

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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.

It Has To Be The Perfect Thing

The Perfect Thing-A Burst of Knowledge

Step 5 of the Steps to Knowledge “I Believe What I Want To Believe” set my mind buzzing in all directions.

I could tell you about my confusion and doubts when I did this Step. I could tell you that I was dumbfounded when I realized that I am most likely basing my beliefs on things I hope for, not on what is real. And I could tell you that I did not know what to make of the sentence “What you are and what you have today must be your starting point.”

At the time I thought, logically what I am today is the beliefs I have built for myself that justify my reality. So what does this mean, where does this take me?

From what I understand, I have to sweep all this aside and start from a blank page. A bit daunting, wouldn’t you say?

So when I asked myself “What do I believe?” my response was “I don’t know any more.”

It Has To Be The Perfect Thing

And now I want to tell you what happened next for this is the message I want to bring to you today.

My attention was drawn to the New Message from God text called The Initiation.

I know it was because I wrote it in my notes for that day.

My notes say: I was reading The Initiation just now and the following passage jumped out at me:

“There are many people waiting for the New Revelation, for they have not found this Initiation in the religions of the past, in the traditions of the world. They have not been able to find the deeper connection through love, through work or through any other activity. So long have they been waiting for the Revelation.

“For them, it is not merely a teaching or a phenomenon. For them, it is not merely something to speculate about or to contend with or to deny and reject. To them, the Proclamation is not outrageous or unusual. It is the perfect thing (emphasis mine). It is their Initiation. It holds their calling, speaking down the Ancient Corridors of their mind, speaking to a part of them they barely know, but which is the center of their Being and their presence in the world.”

It is the perfect thing. It has to be to make sense.

This is how it was for me. This is not something I can preface with “I want to believe,” I do believe it, for it is what I am and what I have today.

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

I Will Accept My Studenthood As It Is

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

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

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

I will accept my studenthood as it is

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

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

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

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

Here is the word cloud for Steps 50 to 55

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

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

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

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

Reconsidering Perfection

Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be

“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” – Max Ehrmann, “Desiderata

This sentiment has been around for a long time, and many people would like it to be true.  If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride.  Step 5 of Steps to Knowledge (“I believe what I want to believe”) tells us that any connection between what we believe to be so, and what actually is so, is strictly coincidental.  Just as I should be suspicious of what I want, maybe I should be suspicious of what I believe.

Do you sincerely believe that everyone is where they need to be?  Let us conduct a thought experiment.  Suppose there was a law saying the idea “everyone is where they need to be” was not allowed to be true, with serious consequences for violation of this law.  Suppose this idea was arrested by the authorities, and charged with the crime of being true.  Suppose you were the prosecuting attorney, and it was your task to prove to a jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this idea was true.  How might you proceed?  I will let you think about that.  What would the defense attorney say?  She might say “Do you believe that whoever used the chemical weapons in Syria are where they need to be?”  The defense attorney would bring forth one example after another where it would strain credibility to believe that a certain person is where they need to be.

What if, instead of a criminal case, this was a civil case, where the idea “everyone is where they need to be” is being sued for being true.  In this case, the standard isn’t “beyond a reasonable doubt,” but “preponderance of evidence.”  As the plaintiff’s attorney, it would be your job to present evidence that this idea is more likely than not to be true.  But I still don’t know how you would respond to these words from the defendant’s attorney:

“People are suffering because they aren’t where they need to be, doing the things they need to be doing, living the life they know they must live.”

Everyone is where they need to be?  Perhaps we need to think this out again.

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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.

Obon: The Ancestors Are Coming To Visit For A Few Days

St. Paul Japanese Lantern Festival 2013

I recently discovered something that I didn’t know.  I discovered that my city of St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, and the city of Nagasaki, Nagasaki Prefecture, Japan, are sister cities.  There has been some form of communication between the two cities since 1955.  Another one of these sister city activities took place yesterday, the Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival

I’ve read that the Obon (お盆) festival has just ended in Japan.  It has been practiced in Japan for the past 500 years.  While it has its roots in Buddhism, other belief systems have contributed to the practice.  The idea is that the spirits of our ancestors come to visit us for three days.  Various things are done to honor the presence of the ancestors (offerings of food, ceremonial dances), and on the third day, floating lanterns are lit to guide the ancestors back to the world of the dead.

Anything that’s been done for 500 years works for somebody.  I was adopted at birth, and I don’t know my biological parents, or any of their family.  But they are all there, to greater or lesser degrees, in the form of my DNA.  Everyone’s ancestors were winners in passing on their genes, so maybe there’s something to this contemplation of the ancestors.

No one was killed during this festival in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I’m sure there are people reading this who reject the very premise of the Obon festival. It is my observation that just about everybody believes at least one thing that someone else, somewhere not only does not believe, but believes to be ridiculous.  I consider this a corollary of Step 5 of Steps to Knowledge, “I believe what I want to believe”

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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.