Get Your Hand Out The Flame

Wookiefoot sings "And if you cant stand the pain, then get your hand out the flame"In my experience, the band Wookiefoot is a 21st century Minnesota version of the 1970’s Anglo-French band Gong. I’ve never quite been able to figure out whether Wookiefoot is really a religious group that just happens to make music, or a band that just happens to traffic in paleo-hippie spirituality. They seem to like Rumi, so they can’t be all bad. For reasons I don’t fully understand, enjoying the music of Wookiefoot is a rite of passage for my children.

Get your hand out the flame

I’m telling you this because Wookiefoot recorded a song that had a sympathetic vibration to my study of Steps to Knowledge. It was on the album Make Belief, which had the singular misfortune of being released on September 12, 2001. The song is called Out Of My Way. I’m including the lyrics because someofthelyricsaresungveryquicklyandtendtoruntogether.

and if you can’t stand the pain then get your hand out the flame
and if you don’t like to lose get your ass out the game
and if you don’t like the cold then you had better fly south
and if you don’t like the taste then get the shit out your mouth

get out of your way

how come every damn time i get it but i never get it right
cuz my pants get caught on fire or a needle in my eye
i think i’m gonna hit rock bottom but i fall right through the floor
i hear the opportunity knocking but i never get the door

no i don’t really know
why this place fucking sucks but i don’t want to go
this place fucking sucks but i just can’t leave here

how come every damn time i get it but i never get it right
just a victim to my vengeance anger bitterness or spite
i sabotage myself almost every single day
i can’t get out of my way

and if you don’t like my touch you can hide in your shell
and if you want to eat shit you had better get used to the smell
and if you leg bone is broke then you can learn how to crawl
and if you can’t stand up you better get ready to fall

how come every damn time i get it but i never get it right
cuz my pants get caught on fire or a needle in my eye
my blessing or my tragedy both living in the same beast
hiding underneath the bed with a double sided blade to cut me

i can’t get out of my way

 

Would you like to stop feeling the burning? Then get your hand out the flame. Steps to Knowledge has been addressing self-destructive practices in Step 80 “I can only practice” and Step 81 “I will not deceive myself today.” The person singing this song is at least aware of his self-destructive practices, which puts him ahead of a lot of people. I recently told two of my children that the students of Steps to Knowledge are people making significant efforts to get of their way, to get out of the way of Knowledge, their true self which is not apart from life.

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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.

Some Small But Substantial Successes

Some small but subtantial successes

Step 84 of Steps to Knowledge is a review of the steps from Step 78, “I can do nothing alone” to Step 83, “I value Knowledge beyond all things.”

Some small but substantial successes

There were some seeds sown during this period. One seed that was sown was the idea that if I am going to advance, I’m going to have to be more accountable as to what I am practicing. This seed was sown in Step 80, “I can only practice.” Another seed that was sown was the idea that if I am going to advance, I’m going to have to have a certain awareness of my craving for social rewards. I’m going to have to develop a certain indifference to social rewards. This seed was sown in Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today.”

There were also some seeds that were sown earlier, but watered during this period. Step 78, “I can do nothing alone” is a watering of the seed sown in Step 45, “Alone I can do nothing.” Step 82, “Today I will not judge another” is a watering of the seed sown in Step 76 “I will not judge another today.”

Steps to Knowledge has mentioned the value of having a beginner’s mind, an attitude of humility, curiosity and enthusiasm toward the study of Steps to Knowledge. One of the good things about a beginner’s mind is not having expectations as to what kind of experience will occur in the study of something. It is as if Step 84 is answering the student’s question, “Is this how it’s supposed to look?”

“Review the practices and the instructions for the preceding week.Review your progress objectively. Realize how great your learning must be. Your steps now are small, but substantive. Small steps lead you all the way. You are not expected to take great leaps, yet each small step will seem like a great leap, for it will give you so much more than you have ever had before.”

Here is the word cloud for Steps 77 through 83:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud by Wordle. Some small but substantial successes

I have been using the website Wordle for creating these word clouds. I don’t know how Wordle creates these word clouds, but I don’t believe that Wordle makes any effort to put related words next to each other, or unrelated words far away from each other. Shortly after I made this word cloud, I felt an inclination to separate the words from each other, so that other people could arrange the words as they saw fit. Here are the separated words:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud with words separated. Some small but substantial successes

And since I am inviting people to do something, it seemed like a good thing to accept my own invitation, and make my own word cloud for Steps 77 through 83:

Steps To Knowledge Steps 78-83 Word Cloud Rearranged. Some small but substantial successes

I believe someone is reading this and thinking “I say, Douglas, you have a lot of time on your hands, don’t you?” Maybe, but I definitely thought about the Steps from which the words came as I rearranged the words. Who knows, maybe one day this will be a standard practice for engaging with the significance of a certain text. I can imagine my grandchildren saying “I have a clouding assignment in Language Arts class.”

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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.

Should I Care What You Think Of Me?

Nancy Pelosi doesn't care what people think of her. Should I care what you think of me?

I have never been a great admirer of the American politician Nancy Pelosi. She is currently serving as the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives. But she said something in July of 2009 that started a certain thought process in me. It was pointed out to her that she was experiencing a season of unpopularity among the general public. Her response was “I don’t care.” She elaborated on this, saying “I certainly want to be trusted. I’m not particularly concerned if I’m liked.”

Should I care what you think of me?

I recall some people taking offense at these remarks. I might have been one of them. But I also had a thought that loitered around, even though I had no desire to entertain it. The thought was “If Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care if she’s unpopular, that makes her more powerful than most people.”

Most people are afraid to tell you who they are, as they fear that you won’t like who they are. It seems to be a positive trait to have a certain indifference to what other people think. Rumi tells us to not let the opinions of others make us into spiritual window shoppers. The motivational speakers of our day tell us “What you think of me is none of my business.”

I mention this because I recalled this thought process during the time I did Step 83 of Steps to Knowledge, “I value Knowledge beyond all things.” I thought that if I really did value Knowledge beyond all things, I would be more powerful than most people. I thought that if I really did value Knowledge beyond all things, some people might be a little scared of me, even if they wouldn’t admit it.

Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today,” examined the social rewards of self-condemnation. Putting together Step 83 with Step 81 results in “I value Knowledge beyond all social rewards.” I value Knowledge beyond being one of the cool kids. I value Knowledge beyond being the leader of the pack. I value Knowledge beyond getting a larger share of pleasant attention from my group.

Should I care what you think of me? Don’t get me wrong, I do. It’s just not at the top of my priority list.

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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 Practice Being Still And Knowing Today

I will practice being still and knowing today.

Some people might think that Step 82, “I will not judge another today” of Steps to Knowledge is merely a recap of Step 76, “Today I will not judge another.” It is more than that. It is more than that because of some things that happened between Step 76 and Step 82.

I will practice being still and knowing today

In Step 79, “I will allow uncertainty to exist today,” I considered the possibility that I wasn’t entirely certain about my judgments. I considered the possibility that my judgments weren’t worthy of my betting my life on them.

In Step 80, “I can only practice,” I was told that judgment was one of a number of unexamined, habitual, detrimental practices that I was going to have to slowly back away from if I wanted to advance.

In Step 81, “I will not deceive myself today,” one particular type of judgment, self-condemnation, was examined in detail. While self-condemnation has certain social rewards, it is yet another unexamined, habitual, detrimental practice from which to slowly back away. I get the idea from this that the other detrimental practices mentioned in Step 80 most likely have certain social rewards as well.

Therefore, if I put Step 82 together with what has happened since Step 76, I get that judgment is a practice of not knowing. Judgment is a practice of not looking. Judgment is a practice of not listening. Judgment is a practice of not being still. Judgment is a practice with certain social rewards. Judgment is a practice I must slowly back away from if I want to attain to what Steps to Knowledge is offering. I must strengthen the practices of knowing, looking, listening and being still.

While Step 82 is “I will not judge another today,” it seemed good to state it positively, saying what I will do instead of what I won’t do. In the light of Step 80, it seemed good to state Step 82 in terms of what I will practice. When I stated Step 76 positively, it came out as “Today I will keep looking and wondering.” The total package of not judging involves looking, listening, being still and knowing. Therefore, the positive wording of Step 82 should be taken together with the positive wording of Step 76.

Today I will keep looking and wondering. I will practice being still and knowing 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.

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.