Renew and Rejuvenate

renew and rejuvenate

Renew and rejuvenate is a call to release the mind from its clutter and unproductive thoughts.

There are many places in the teachings and revelations of the New Message from God that speak of the value of having an uncluttered mind. The practices in Steps to Knowledge call for having a still mind and entering into stillness to enhance and gain deeper insight into the idea presented in the particular Step for the day.

One of the New Message books I find particularly helpful and inspirational is called Greater Community Spirituality (you can download it for free at this link). It is a new revelation for the new millenium. It is a doorway into a greater universe. It provides the greater context for realizing the purpose that brought you into the world at this time. It contains 27 chapters, each answering a fundamental question about the meaning of life, our relationship with God and our destiny, all from a Greater Community perspective.

Part of the recommended reading for the new November/December session of the Free School of the New Message called “God, Cosmology and Creation” just happens to be Chapter 13. What Must Be Unlearned? from Greater Community Spirituality, and it directly addresses this dilemma of having an uncluttered mind.

“Stand within your mind and it will seem to engulf you. Stand outside your mind and you will be able to see through it, direct it and use it.”

It goes on to say that in order to renew and rejuvenate the mind, it must be emptied, it must be opened, it must be free. The analogy is given of a house stuffed to the ceiling with all the possessions you have ever owned—everything. You have never thrown anything away. You say that you want to bring new things into your house, but there is no room. You want to create new feelings and a new atmosphere in your house, but there is no space for it. Everything is cluttered and you feel cramped and increasingly uncomfortable. It is as though you are imprisoned there and spend all your time maintaining everything you have accumulated.

Just as you can only bring new things into your house if you throw out the old things, free up space, renew and rejuvenate, so it is with your mind. You can only embrace new experiences and thoughts after you clear your mind of its accumulated clutter. Just as old possessions that no longer serve any purpose fill your house, so old thoughts clog up the space in your mind, but you are loath to let them go. They are part of the past you so dearly cling to without even realizing how unproductive and even detrimental they now are. You cannot be free to embrace the new if you are clinging to the old.

The following struck me deeply as I read this chapter: “How can you release something if you are holding on to it? The only way to release something is to go where it is not needed, where you cannot take it with you and where it has no relevance and no importance.”

It is really as simple as that.

Renew and rejuvenate

If I do not renew and rejuvenate my mind, allow it to become uncluttered, not only will I not have enough space for new thoughts, my mind will become hard and brittle.

This is also pointed out in the chapter in Greater Community Spirituality mentioned above:

Here you are frozen in the past and bound to reinforce it at all times. Without a greater authority in your life, this is what the mind will do. It will calcify and become hard and brittle.

This is confirmed by other great writers such as Johannes Wolfgang von Goethe who said:

“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.”

Practical advice also comes from a leading expert, who said it is no good just moving the mess around. In order to clear the mind, unwanted items must be thrown away to free your “internal world.”

I wish to renew and rejuvenate my mind 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.

A Place Deeper Than Thought

A Place Deeper Than Thought

Artwork by Paul Foreman at Mind Map Inspiration

In the current turbulent times of conflict and contradiction, I am relying on a place deeper than thought as my compass and guide. In any conflict there are always at least two sides with dramatically opposing views, while the truth may lie somewhere in between.

I do not know what the truth is in the current conflict in my part of the world (Russia/Ukraine) and I am not claiming to hold a particular view, or saying that I am thinking certain thoughts, or confessing to agree or disagree with what is written or said in the multitude of different media sources available. I wish to operate from a place deeper than thought, the place where Knowledge resides.

Stillness is a practice offered in Steps to Knowledge and hailed as a place where all things can be known. I can vouch for this practice and recommend it for anyone caught in the buffeting winds of doubt and confusion, conflict and contradiction. Stillness is a place deeper than thought where Knowledge resides and can be tapped into.

A place deeper than thought

Marshall Vian Summer’s book The Great Waves of Change also speaks of stillness and a place deeper than thought where things may be known.

In Chapter 12. Your Purpose and Destiny in a Changing World, I read:

You practice stillness not to get anything, but to learn to be still. You learn to be still so that you can feel and listen. You listen to develop the ability to listen so that when you are out in life, Knowledge within you can speak to you, guide you and hold you back when that is necessary.

In this video, Marshall says, “While the world becomes more chaotic, it is time to pull in, to listen deeply to the power that is within you, a power and a presence that is greater than your intellect, greater than your mind. It dwells within a deep well of silence, a great space within you that exists beneath the surface of your mind. Here you will find clarity, here you will escape deception, confusion, fear and anxiety. You are entering the deep well of the mind now.”

Marshall goes on to say, “This must be your compass and your guide for the difficult and turbulent times ahead.”

In the turbulent times of the current Russian/Ukrainian conflict, I am arming myself with this compass and guide and relying on Knowledge which resides in a place deeper than thought.

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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 True Core of My Being Is Pure, Unsullied

the true core of my being

Step 16 tells me that “beyond my mind is Knowledge.” Beyond my mind is also the true core of my being, my True Self. Where is this place beyond my mind? What are its qualities? A vast expanse of infinite possibilities opens up.

However, listening seems to be the key. I am to listen more carefully than the day before in Step 15. I am to listen for deeper inclinations. I am again to listen without judgment. I am to listen deeply so that I may learn to hear. I need to be still and develop the necessary refinement of listening and discernment.

This learning to hear and ability to listen carefully requires some application. I understand this to mean inner listening, listening for cues, inclinations and direction that come from within, not from external sources.

I picture this place beyond my mind as a vast dark void. Knowledge resides there. Knowledge is luminous and bright, so it lights up this dark expanse.

The True Core of My Being is Pure, Unsullied

When I think of listening, I think of music. I discovered Kristina Train recently, a singer with a soulful voice. I love certain music, songs that speak to my heart, melodies I listen to that open up the vast dark spaces inside me and show me the light. Kristina sings that she knows there’s somewhere everything is bright and one day [she’ll] call that life [she] dreams of, this life.

I want to say that this somewhere is the true core of my being, pure, unsullied.

I wrote in my notes for this Step: “I am trying to hold onto this truth and when I meditate on this Step, I can see this purity deep in my mind, my True Self.”

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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.

Listening To My Experience

Listening to my experience is not an activity I normally engage in on any given day. In fact, I am hard pressed to know precisely what this means and what is expected of me.

Step 15. I Shall Listen To My Experience Today begins with an affirmation: “Today I will listen to my experience to find out the content of my mind.”

Hmmm, a tall order, you may be thinking. And I did too. Even as a student of Knowledge, I have little to go on so far. I was told in the previous step, the Step 14 Review, that “Throughout your study plan, you will be investigating the content of your own experience.”

Alright, but please show me how, I hear myself saying.

I am given some clue in the last sentence of the Step: “You are listening for something deeper than the mind, but you must go through the mind to get there.”

I took this to mean I needed to engage in some serious meditation. However, I cannot say that meditation comes easy to me, especially when it entails “going through the mind.”

I did make some attempt, however, which my notes testify to. They say:

I am not sure I am doing this right, but this is what happened when I did this step today.

It was as though I travelled out into space beyond the confines of Earth, through the starry expanses until I found myself in a dark, dark place, so dark and dense that I thought I would be unable to stand it, I would suffocate. But I let myself sink into this space, feel its denseness, feel its pitch blackness, like soot or black velvet, dense and impenetrable, accept it and even be prepared to stay there if that’s what was meant to be.

Then in the distance I saw a crack of light, a door slightly open, first very faint, but then the light becoming stronger, breaking through the dark with ever brilliant rays, until I stepped through it, blinded at first, but then finding myself in a beautiful landscape. A landscape so familiar, so luminous and fresh. And I knew I would always return to this place.

Listening to my experience

Does this pass for listening to my experience to find out the content of my mind? I do not know. All I know is it felt true at the time, it felt familiar and comforting. It enabled me to see things and know things I might not have otherwise seen or known.

There are more pointers on this practice of inner listening here.

Listening to my experience and the very act of listening as such are open to a variety of interpretations. I find what Ronald Barthes, a linguist and philosopher, had to say about listening illuminating. He claimed that listening can be understood on three levels: alerting, deciphering, and understanding, whereby the third level requires turning off your judgment while listening.

I smile since this is precisely what Step 15 calls for: “you must listen without judgment to allow your mind to open.”

Today I understand listening to my experience to mean feeling and trusting what I know to be true.

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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.

Practicing Stillness

Practicing stillness is building a road to where things are known

Between Step 8, “Today I will be still,” and Step 69, “Today I will practice stillness,” Steps to Knowledge directs students to practice stillness on 13 separate occasions. My mind has a hunger to know, “Am I doing it right?”  Did I pick the correct internal point on which to concentrate?  Am I using the breath in the correct way? How do I know if I’m doing it right?  What am I supposed to experience?  But all these questions contain words or phrases related to judgment, such as “right,” “correct” and “supposed to.”

Practicing stillness

I believe that for many students, the experiences of these 13 different occasions of practicing stillness will vary greatly.  I think that is a good thing.  If students are observing their practice, they will notice when they were more devoted and when they were more ambivalent.  That’s a good subject for investigation.  Some stillness practices might have been disrupted by the physical environment.  Sometimes the mind is particularly insistent about something. Sometimes a number of things came together, and a small vacation is successfully taken from one’s mind and its concerns.  Getting from Step 8 to Step 69 involves discovering that stillness takes away a great deal of suffering and drama, and is thus a worthy enterprise.  Getting from Step 8 to Step 69 includes collecting data on what helps stillness and what hinders stillness.

Someone is reading this and thinking, “Well, what’s your stillness practice, Mr. Student-of-Steps-to-Knowledge?”  I’m happy to tell you, but I make no claim that it will work for you.

I sit on a comfortable couch.  If I am practicing stillness at night, I keep the room dimly lit with indirect light from outside the room.

I program the session by mentally saying once at the beginning of the practice period, “With each breath, I become more still, for I am worthy of stillness.” When my mind insists that I think about something, I mentally say “I will consider this later, but for now I will be still, for I am worthy of stillness.”  This is using the idea from Step 32, “The truth is with me. I can feel it” of taking a small vacation from one’s mind.  I imagine these thoughts floating up to the surface of my mind, as I sink further down toward the depths.

I steal a couple of pages from the playbook of A Course in Miracles.  Somewhere around Lesson 50, there are a number of Lessons where the practice is to “find the light within you.”  Another direction is to “sink back within the mind,” as if I am headed for the depth of the mind where things are known.  Therefore, what I consider to be stillness appears as an inner brightness to me. As I become more still, I regularly see my body in my mind’s eye, stretched out straight, my arms pointed to my left and right, rotating in all three dimensions, as if I was attempting a fancy 10-meter platform dive down to the depths of my mind.  I don’t understand why this is the case, but there it is.

I believe the fruit of a stillness session is being a little less unhappy about whatever I was most unhappy about the most before the stillness session.  I believe the fruit of a stillness session is being a little bit more open to different solutions to the problems I face. Practicing stillness is a good way for me to become a little calmer and more rapidly adaptive in 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.

Stillness Is A Place of Knowing

Stillness Is a Place of Knowing

Step 8. Today I Will Be Still and Step 9. In Stillness All Things Can Be Known first introduce the concept of stillness that continues to grow in significance as Steps proceed.  These two Steps go hand-in-hand, Step 8 leading the way with a gentle nudge, telling me not to be discouraged if early attempts prove difficult. It suggests that I begin by focusing on an internal point, either imaginary or somewhere in the physical body.

When I did this Step and first attempted to enter stillness, I chose to focus on the place we call the Third Eye, looking inward from that spot and picturing an entire galaxy opening up inside my head, vast and quiet. There was light and some form I might call a Teacher. As I entered deeper into stillness, I would penetrate further into this galaxy of heavenly bodies, walking slowly along an illuminated path.

Stillness is a Place of Knowing

Step 9 takes up the baton from Step 8 and carries the physical practice of being still a step further to embrace what happens when the mind attains the capacity to be still.

It says:

Stillness of mind allows a greater mind to emerge and to reveal its wisdom. Those who cultivate stillness with a desire for Knowledge will be preparing themselves for greater revelation and true insight to emerge. The insight may emerge during practice or during any normal activity.

I recall being highly happy with the suggestion that insight might emerge during any normal activity. I wrote in my notes: I realized it is important for me to be able to practice stillness wherever I am and whatever I am doing, without making special preparations and being in what I consider the “right” place. In other words, I strive for stillness being my normal operative mode. Perhaps this is a tall order, but I am aware that insights do indeed emerge as I go about my normal activity.

I wish to show a graphic example of how stillness is a place of knowing in my next post.

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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 Wish To Know The Truth

Sunset of Truth on the Upper Volga Reservoir, Tverskaya Oblast, Russia

I often ask to be shown the Truth, I often wish to know the Truth, in fact this is a permanent, constant desire of mine. But how can I really know?

Steps to Knowledge infers that I can refine the faculties of my mind to hear, feel, and see the Truth. And I must confess that I felt a certain amount of delight when I reached the following Steps; they spoke to something deep within.

Step 17. Today I Want To Hear The Truth tells me, “Developing the ability to hear and the desire to hear will yield to you that which you seek.”

Yes, I seek, and Yes, I want to hear the Truth, this is an ongoing need for me.

Step 18. Today I Feel The Truth Arising Within Myself develops the concept, saying, “It is something you must feel. To have a feeling orientation, your mind must be still. Truth is something you will feel with your entire body, with your entire being.”

Words I used to try and describe this feeling in the past are “I just feel it in the core of my being,” “I feel it in the marrow of my bones.” It has to be experienced, felt, and then you just know. That is how it is with me.

Step 19. Today I Wish To See poses a trickier task since it calls for looking at a physical object, but also says, “The desire to see, then, is the desire to see a greater truth. This requires a greater honesty and a greater openness of mind.”

I wish to know the truth

When I did this Step, I wrote in my notes:

Frankly, I have been having trouble with this step because it calls for looking at a physical object and I am wondering “okay, so what’s supposed to happen when I do?” Like it’s going to miraculously turn into something else before my eyes if I look at it long enough. Huh?

But I realized just now that this is not the point, the physical object is just a solid reference point for starting off. This Step is rather an exercise in impartiality, or flexibility, if you will. It’s not the physical object that is the key, but the way I look at it, my ability to look without preconceived notions or expectations. And then this extends to everything else in the world around me–situations, other people, my own self and the way I perceive things, allowing me to go beyond what “seems” to be on the surface, to some deeper truth within.

I feel that this Step is directing me toward learning how to see with my inner eye, beyond the physical as it seems to appear before me. 

All of this brings me back to one fundamental axiom for me in life—if you feel a persistent tug, go with it, for there you may find the Truth. I felt a persistent tug to return to Russia after studying in Moscow for a semester in 1981. I felt this tug for nine years, until I returned.

And here I have found the environment where the Truth is slowly being revealed to 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.

Stillness Has Quite A Lot Going For It

Mist in Stillness on Oka River, Russia

I am writing this post to ponder some more on my understanding of God. In Step 38, I was very drawn to the words “God is very still, for God is not going anywhere.” This sentence is preceded by “In stillness and quiet everything becomes apparent” and followed by “As you become still, you will feel the power of God.” Step 9. In Stillness All Things Can Be Known tells me, “Those who cultivate stillness with a desire for Knowledge will be preparing themselves for greater revelation and true insight to emerge,” and goes on to say, “The insight may emerge during practice or during any normal activity.”

Morning fishing on Oka River

A normal activity for me every summer, and fall too, for the past twenty odd years is fishing. Let me hasten to add that the attraction of this activity is not in the fish as such, I am by no means a fisherman, rather the attraction is in the environment in which these fish are caught. It is very conducive to stillness. Sitting by still waters as they reflect the glory of the elements has a way of evoking a deeper stillness within that allows true insight to emerge and things to be known. And these things are permanent, for God is not going anywhere.

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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.

What Does The Truth Feel Like Now?

Great waves

I have a number of things to say about step 32 of Steps to Knowledge “The truth is with me.  I can feel it.”

The practice of this step is a recap of the practice of step 18, “Today I feel the truth arising within myself.”

This step offered two separate strategies for getting past the constant restlessness of the mind.  One is using the breath.  There are much more sophisticated breath techniques that people use, than what is being offered here.  The other strategy doesn’t have a formal name that I know, but I call it “consoling one’s mind.”

“If something permeates your mind and you have difficulty releasing it, tell yourself that you will look at it a little later, but that right now you are taking a small vacation from your mind.”

I don’t know whether this works for other people, but my mind finds this comforting.

This is a step where I wrote down something about my experience of doing this step in December of 2010.

“What does the truth feel like?  I can only speak for myself.  The truth doesn’t feel like the truth value of any particular proposition.  The truth feels enormous, far greater than anything I could feel at any given moment.  The truth feels in motion, up to something, purposeful.  The truth feels like it will take me to other parts of the truth, if I am in its motion, if I am in its current.  The truth bears witness to itself, supports its greater purpose.  So I am seeing the image of the ocean currents, as my image of the truth.  I haven’t seen these words in this order, but I grasp, ‘In stillness, truth is felt.’  And a very comforting feeling it is indeed.  The feeling that truth can be felt is a very comforting feeling.”

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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.