Please Give Me A Slice Of Cottleston Pie

Every so often people in two unrelated corners of my world recommend a book to me. I consider this a small nudge from the universe. The universe recommended “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff to me in this way. A particular chapter in this book spoke eloquently to my condition.

Please give me a slice of Cottleston Pie

The chapter that resonated with me is the chapter titled “Cottleston Pie,” a song that Winnie-the-Pooh sang in the 1926 children’s classic “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A. A. Milne.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can’t whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don’t know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Please give me a slice of Cottleston Pie. A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly. That’s asymmetrical. It sounds a little unfair to the fly to me. But people have different abilities. Steps to Knowledge, the book of spiritual practice of the New Message from God, addresses this subject. Step 12 of the 365 steps of Steps to Knowledge is “My individuality is to express life itself.

“This distinction does not elevate you above or place you below anyone else. It merely pinpoints the real purpose behind your individuality and its great promise for the future. You are here to express something.”

Please give me a slice of Cottleston Pie. A fish can’t whistle and neither can I. If a fish judges itself by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. Step 83 of Steps to Knowledge asks:

“What has disappointed you but the misappropriation of your abilities? What grieves and angers you but the misappropriation of other people’s abilities.”

Benjamin Hoff connected this song to a passage from the writings of Chuang-tse:

Hui-tse said to Chuang-tse, “I have a large tree which no carpenter can cut into lumber. Its branches and trunk are crooked and tough, covered with bumps and depressions. No builder would turn his head to look at it. Your teachings are the same–useless, without value. Therefore, no one pays attention to them.”

“As you know,” Chuang-tse replied, “a cat is very skilled at capturing its prey. Crouching low, it can leap in any direction, pursuing whatever it is after. But when its attention is focused on such things, it can be easily caught with a net. On the other hand, a huge yak is not easily caught or overcome. It stands like a stone, or a cloud in the sky. But for all its strength, it cannot catch a mouse.”

“You complain that your tree is not valuable as lumber. But you could make use of the shade it provides, rest under its sheltering branches, and stroll beneath it, admiring its character and appearance. Since it would not be endangered by an axe, what could threaten its existence? It is useless to you only because you want to make it into something else and do not use it in its proper way.”

These words are an open window to me. People have had beautiful dreams of making me into something all my life. They have all failed. I have felt utterly uncooperative in not responding to their efforts to make me into something. I sometimes feel like I have been like Hui-tse’s crooked, tough, bumpy tree, not good for being made into things. But in the world of Knowledge, it is as if people rest under my sheltering branches, and stroll beneath me, enjoying the bumps on my branches. In the world of Knowledge, I find things to be good for, and they find me. I trust my deepest inclinations, and it seems to help. Steps to Knowledge makes such a promise in Step 231, “I have a calling in this world.

“You have a calling in this world because you were sent here to do something. It is for this reason that your mind is the way it is and that you have a specific nature that is distinct from others. As your calling emerges, you will realize why you think and act the way you do, and all of this will be brought into true balance and harmony. This will erase all cause you have for self-condemnation, for your nature represents a usefulness that you have not yet realized. In other words, you are made specifically for something that you have not yet comprehended. Prior to this you will resist your nature, thinking it is a limitation upon you. In time, you will realize that it is an invaluable resource for accomplishment, for you have a calling in the world.”

I’m not quite there yet at realizing my nature as an invaluable resource for accomplishment, but I’m working on it. Please give me a slice of my inner nature. Please give me a slice of Cottleston Pie.

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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.