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.”

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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 Non-Acceptance As It Is

Step 70 of Steps to Knowledge is a review, but not a review of the past seven steps, as Step 56 and Step 63 are.  Step 70 is a review of the past three weeks worth of practice.  Step 70 is a review of Steps 50 through 69.  One could call it “the little big review,” as Step 49, a review of Steps 1 through 48, is “the big review.”  Steps 1 through 7 are reviewed a total of three times (Step 7, Step 14, Step 49). Steps 8 through 48 are reviewed two times (once in the weekly review, and once in Step 49). Steps 50 through 62 are reviewed two times (once in the weekly review, and once in Step 70). Steps 64 through 69 are reviewed once, in Step 70.  This is the first of a series of three posts on the Step 70 review.

Step 70 is one of three steps (49, 70, and 140) which use the word “Congratulations!”  I’m not exactly sure why congratulations are in order, but anyone who has reached this point realizes that Steps to Knowledge means what it says.  Therefore, I will accept the idea that a certain accomplishment has taken place.

I wrote more about my experience in the Step 56 and Step 63 reviews than I did in the Step 70 review.  But I believe it might still be useful to share what I wrote with a little bit of commentary.

I will accept my non-acceptance as it is

Step 50 – Today I will be with Knowledge – “I seem to recall that I did the practice, but I have no memory of any particular experience.”

Step 51 – Let me recognize my fears so that I may see the truth beyond them – “There is truth beyond my fear that I’m going to **** it all up, fail to reclaim Knowledge.”  In the Step 56 review I wrote “I recall the Bible verse about how the devil, through the fear of death, keeps people in lifelong bondage. Fear reduces to the fear of death, when the chain is followed long enough.  I considered the truth behind a laundry list of fears.”  I am pleased with myself that I wrote a number of posts about this Step.

Step 52 – I am free to find the source of my Knowledge – “I am free to receive God.” In the Step 56 review I wrote “I didn’t get this Step. God is the source of my Knowledge. Does this step mean I’m free to find God today?  I took a vacation of a couple of months before completing this step in the midst of my bewilderment.” On further review, I consider that an error. Don’t do that.

Step 53 – My gifts are for others – “I am mystified by my gifts.  I don’t even know what my gifts are. Child said my autism is a gift.” In the Step 56 review I wrote “This Step was not controversial to me.  I have had a lifelong desire to contribute, but it has been thwarted, mocked, stomped on till it don’t move no more.”

Step 54 – I will not live in idealism – “I have an ideal to be normal.  I have an ideal to be useful.” I wrote in the Step 56 review, “I only have 70 trillion ideals, be a super-missionary, end world hunger, enlighten the planet, etc.”  Between the time I did this step and now, I have given up on the ideal of being normal.  I would like to fulfill my mission in life, though.

Step 55 – I will accept the world as it is – “So this is the world I came to serve.  Talk about your fixer upper.”  In the Step 56, review, I wrote “I accept that I don’t want to accept the world as it is, not even a little bit.”  Acceptance has to start somewhere.

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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.

Let’s Get To Business, Shall We?

Let's get to business, shall we?  These men will.  Well, after lunch, that is.

Let’s get to business, shall we?  Steps to Knowledge does.  Steps to Knowledge, as early as Step 6, “I have a true foundation in the world,” describes the world as a place to which we have come.  The world isn’t merely the scene of a biological accident.  The world isn’t just a karmic prison which we don’t escape until we have paid the last penny.  I wrote about this in more detail here.

But why have we come to the world?  In Step 18, “Today I feel the truth arising within myself,” we are told we have come into the world to find certain individuals.  In Step 34, “I am a beginning student of Knowledge,” we are told there are specific things we have come to do.  I consider it most pertinent that that statement comes in the step directly after Step 33, “I have a mission in my life to fulfill.” In Step 55, “I will accept the world as it is,” we are told we have come to the world to serve.  Step 65, “I have come to work in the world,” adds another clue to the mystery of why we have come to the world.  Step 65 is also the first step to use the phrase “I have come” in the step itself.

Let’s get to business, shall we?

Step 65 is the first step since Step 33 to directly address the idea that there is a mission to fulfill, that there is work to do in the world.  It is as if Steps to Knowledge sowed a seed in me in Step 33, and came back to water it in Step 65.  Are we told what the mission is, what the work is?  No.  We are only told what it is not.

“Your work is greater than your current employment. Your work is greater than what you are currently attempting to do with people and for people. Your work is greater than what you are attempting to do for yourself. Understand that you do not know what your work is. That will be revealed to you and it will evolve for you, but understand today that you have come to the world to work.”

I have a thought that if I had a direct experience of my work which I came to the world to do, at the time I did Step 65, then I would be terrified out of my senses.  I would run screaming from wherever I was, knowing full well that there was no place to run screaming to.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.