How Did I Get Here?

David Byrne of Talking Heads, singing "Once in a Lifetime" How did I get here?And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful
wife
And you may ask yourself-Well…How did I get here?

Talking Heads, Once in a Lifetime

I do indeed ask myself, “How did I get here?” Did I come to this world? Was I sent into this world? Steps to Knowledge answers that question “Yes.” To elaborate, some variation of “you have come to the world” appears 20 times in 10 different steps between Step 6 “I have a true foundation in the world” and Step 92 “There is a role for me to play in the world.” Variations of “you have been sent” only appear twice in the same interval. One of those times is in Step 93 “I am sent here for a purpose.”

How did I get here?

The word “purpose” appears 21 times in 13 different steps between “Why am I doing this anyway?” and Step 92. Therefore, I believe that people who have come this far have accepted, at least as a working assumption, the idea that they have a purpose for which they are here in the world. Some people might be sincerely ignorant of what that purpose might be. Other people are thinking “Aha! I knew it!” and believing their purpose is some purpose they have imagined for themselves, or some purpose they have attempted to live for themselves. I have been at both those stations. The steps I’ve done so far have helped me to be suspicious of what I want my purpose to be. The point of the step is to hold a place for one’s purpose, without claiming to know what it is yet.

I find it interesting that the step uses the present tense “I am sent here for a purpose,” instead of the past tense “I was sent here for a purpose.” I believe there is an intention to bring this idea into my present experience.

How did I get here? While I’m a little shaky on the details, I say I came here for a purpose. I say I am sent here for a 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.

What Do You See When You’re Watching The Wheels?

John Lennon Park, Havana, Cuba What do you see when you're watching the wheels?
I’m just sitting here watching the wheels go round and round,
I really love to watch them roll,
No longer riding on the merry-go-round,
I just had to let it go

John Lennon, “Watching the Wheels”.

Many years ago, I heard a preacher instruct his listeners to “set their day in order” when they pray in the morning. In other words, mentally and verbally rehearse what you plan to accomplish that day, the things for which you hope to give thanks when you go to sleep that night. It’s possible that the preacher in question got this idea from Stephen Covey and baptized it, as I heard this right about the time that “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was published. The point is that I have adopted this practice into my family of practices, with the minor adaptation of writing down my plans for the day.

What do you see when you’re watching the wheels?

After a relatively active and stressful week, I resolved yesterday to not have a great deal of resolve to do anything in particular. I thought to myself “I might just sit and watch the wheels go round,” a reference to the 1981 John Lennon song. I then had a thought I wasn’t expecting. A voice in my mind’s ear asked “When you sit and watch the wheels go round, what do you see?” I thought that was an excellent question. This was my answer.

“I see people doubling down, practicing justifying judgments, justifying assumptions, justifying the detrimental practices of Step 80 [“I can only practice”], winding [as opposed to unwinding, their investments in judgments, assumptions, etc.], taking bigger investments in their contingent, concocted selves, no matter how far it takes them away from their true selves, from life, from the mission and relationships for which they came into the world, rushing deeper into a troubled dream with their fingers in their ears.”

Christian musician Don Francisco recorded a song called Adam, Where Are You? with the following lyrics:

Though the curse has long been broken
Adam’s sons are still the prisoners of their fears
Rushing helter-skelter to destruction with their fingers in their ears.

I was thinking about those lyrics as I wrote my answer. I make no claim that this is a correct answer. I only claim it’s what I see when I’m watching the wheels. What do you see when you’re watching the wheels?

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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 Dream A Life Not Lost In Time

The track "I Dream A Life Not Lost In Time" uses a track by DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid

Paul D. Miller records and performs under the nom de musique DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid. He may quite possibly be the only DJ with not one, but two books published by MIT Press (Rhythm Science in 2004, and Sound Unbound in 2008). He engages in collaborations with a vast galaxy of individuals and ensembles. I call him a musical version of Anansi, the west African trickster spider, possessor of countless stories.

I dream a life not lost in time

I’m telling you this to tell you that two weekends ago, I purchased a used copy of the CD Songs of a Dead Dreamer, recorded in 1996. This CD has been called electronica, but it contains occasional acoustic instruments. This CD has been called ambient, but it’s not as ambient as other ambient music, in that it has some beats and rhythms wandering in and out. I consider the spirit of this CD to be ambient, a little bit like Minnesotans who talk to you without looking at you.

Eldon Tyrell tells Roy Batty he can't have more life. I dream a life not lost in time.

I’m telling you this to tell you that last weekend, I felt an inclination (as in Step 72, “I will trust my deepest inclinations today”) to create something. I have added music to poems I have liked before, like this poem by Antonio Machado. This time I started with the track “Thoughts Like Rain” from Songs of a Dead Dreamer, and added some lines from the 1982 science fiction classic movie Blade Runner. Why Blade Runner? Because the exclamation point of the movie is the line where an almost-human android is facing the end of his artificial(?) life, and regretting that the amazing moments of his life will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

I’m telling you this because I feel a connection between this creation and the Steps to Knowledge sidebar “Why Am I Doing This Anyway?” between Step 9 and Step 10. It says “Without Knowledge, you are unaware of your purpose. You are unaware of your origin and your destiny, and you will pass through this life as if it were a troubled dream and no more.” It is as if Steps to Knowledge is saying “Why are you doing this? Because you want a life that is more than a collection of moments that will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Because you want a life that is more than a troubled dream.”

I’m telling you this to share with you this combination, this mashup, which I call “I Dream A Life Not Lost In Time.” It is a valentine of sorts to DJ Spooky, to everyone involved in the movie Blade Runner, and to Steps to Knowledge.

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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 Time Has Come

the time has come The time has come for me to follow what is offered in Steps to Knowledge: The Book of Inner Knowing.

There are different times in life for different things. The trick is to recognize when the time has come for each particular task.

At this point, I am hearing the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” in my mind’s ear.

To every thing, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time to every
Purpose under heaven.

When I reached the text between Step 9 and Step 10 of Steps to Knowledge which asks, “Why are you doing this anyway?”, my initial response was, I am doing this because I want to know. And it is indeed a very good question, one that deserves some probing.

The text goes on to provide its own answer, saying, “You are doing this because it is essential.” This answer sits very well with me. I feel the time has come to know more than I can know with my intellect, the time has come to delve into the deeper mind, the mind of Knowledge. For me this is essential.

This, what we can call a sidebar in Steps to Knowledge, opens with a series of questions. After asking the first thought-probing, “Why Are You Doing This Anyway?”, it continues with “Why are you asking such questions?”

I am asking because to every thing there is a time, and for me the time has come to ask such questions.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

Then it asks, “Why do you seek for greater things?”

I seek because to every thing there is a time, and the time has come for me to seek for greater things.

A time to build up
A time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

And “Why are you exerting the effort?”

I am exerting the effort because to every thing there is a time, and the time has come for me to exert the effort.

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

The text then tells me, “There is a greater gift awaiting you, but you must prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and physically.”

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time of peace, I swear
It’s not too late.

For me, the time has come, I wish to prepare myself mentally, emotionally and physically, for even though it may still not be too late, the time has come and will not wait (rhyme not intended).

For me this interim text in Steps to Knowledge comes right where it needs to come and is essential. It allows me to pause before I have gone too far and take stock of where I am going. If I feel this is not essential for me right now, if I feel the time has not come, I can bow out graciously, I can choose a different task to pursue at this time.

However, I choose to go on, I choose to accept the challenge Steps is posing. The time for me has come.

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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’s Been A While Since I Thought About Step 8

This is the second posts in a series of seven posts describing my experience of Step 49 of Steps to Knowledge, where I am instructed to review my engagement with the first 48 Steps.  I am writing what I wrote when I did the Step, sometime in January of 2011, with any additional commentary if needed.

Step 8 – Today I will be still – “I thought ‘You don’t need to tell me how to be still, buddy.’  So while I didn’t do the Step exactly as instructed, I did the Step”  I notice my breathing becoming both slower and shallower as I enter stillness.  I also notice a certain inner brightness, unrelated to the amount of light in the room.

Step 9 – In stillness all things can be known – “Being still is building a bridge for Knowledge to emerge in an unguarded moment.”  An unguarded moment as in “a moment where I’m not guarding the idea that I am my body, or that I am my individuality.”

Why Am I Doing This, Anyway? – “‘a troubled dream,’ ‘a fever dream.’ I’m taking comfort that I’m not just waiting for the Reaper.”  A Course in Miracles uses the phrase “dreams of fever” to describe what passes for reality for most people.  It is my sincere hope that my study of Steps to Knowledge will be helpful to others, that it will help my life to be something better than a troubled dream.

Step 10 – What is Knowledge? – “Unlike my little self, Knowledge has no desire to be separate.  I think I’m trying to approach Knowledge, but it says here Knowledge is my True Self.  My True Self is calling my little self to ItSelf.”  I’ve heard the little self called the ego, the concocted self, the secondary self, the constructed self, the imagined self, and so on.

Step 11 – I am not apart from life – “A recap of ACIM [A Course in Miracles].  The Separation is unreal, unhappy perception, does not exist.  We consider perception as reality, but reality is far happier.”  The perception which passes for reality is that we are not included in life, the reality is that I am not apart from life.

Step 12 – My individuality is to express life itself – “Just as the body is a communication tool, my individuality, my little self, is to express life.  Thinking about expressing breast milk.”  Let me explain.  Nursing mothers occasionally express milk to be consumed at a time when they’re not available.  In the same way, life is expressed through my individuality.  Thinking of the body as a communication tool is one of the sections of Chapter 8 of the Text of A Course in Miracles.

Step 13 – I want to be separate to be unique – “The price of Separation is infinitely higher than the payoff of uniqueness, or what ACIM calls specialness.”  Everyone is at a different station of separation or prodigality: some are headed for the far country, some are coming to their senses in the pig pen, some are on their way back to their father’s house.

Step 14 – Review “As far as I know, I did the Steps as given.  I can so see myself in my mind’s eye moderating a group of people who are at various stages of Steps.”  This hasn’t happened yet.  I am not an early adopter by temperament, neither do I have a history of early adoption, but I believe I am an early adopter of Steps to Knowledge.

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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.

Is This A Sidebar, Or Something Essential?

In between step 9 and step 10 of Steps to Knowledge, there is some text that isn’t a step, gives no instructions for practice, comes and goes with no explanation.  The only thing it has is the title, “Why am I doing this anyway?”  It is short enough that I can quote it.

VERY GOOD QUESTION! Why are you doing this anyway?  Why are you asking such questions? Why do you seek for greater things? Why are you exerting the effort? These questions are inevitable.We anticipate them.Why are you doing this? You are doing this because it is essential. If you wish to live anything greater than a purely superficial and unstable life, you must penetrate deeper and not be confident based only upon weak assumptions and hopeful expectations.There is a greater gift awaiting you, but you must prepare yourself mentally, emotionally and physically.Without Knowledge, you are unaware of your purpose.You are unaware of your origin and your destiny, and you will pass through this life as if it were a troubled dream and no more.

This is the only time something like this appears in Steps to Knowledge, and I make no claim to knowing why this material is here in this form.  This is the only time that any material appears between the end of one step, and the beginning of another.  It could be important that the phrase “troubled dream” appears exactly once in Steps to Knowledge, in this spot.

It’s as if the authors of Steps were aware of the investment of time, effort and trust students were making by taking the Steps to Knowledge, and wished to reassure students that this was something essential, not just another spiritual pursuit before the next big deal comes along.

It’s as if the authors of Steps wished to make students aware of the awareness of the authors of Steps, by speaking to students in an alternate, less formal, more familiar voice.

I don’t recall getting the idea that studying Steps to Knowledge was essential at the time I encountered this sidebar (late 2010). I wasn’t even interested in contemplating the idea that I was doing something essential, as I believed I would not succeed if it was something really important.

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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.