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.

Parting The Clouds To See The Stars

I am parting the clouds to see the stars when Step 44. I Wish to Know My Strength of Steps to Knowledge asks me to know my strength and utilize it on my own behalf.

It suggests that the obstacles that prevent me from claiming my strength are vaporous things that cross my mind like clouds. Beyond the clouds of my mind is the great universe of Knowledge. So I am parting the clouds to see the stars beyond. I am to seek my strength and I am to use it to find my strength.

When I reached Step 44 on December 22, 2012, I thought that my strength might lie in writing. I had written a book charting some of the journey that led me to return to Russia in 1990 and felt the urge to go back and do some major revision on it. I was obstructed by clouds of doubt, clouds of unworthiness, clouds of self-deprecation. I wished to release them, to pass through them, parting the clouds to experience something greater beyond. The call to express something (Step 12. My individuality is to express life itself) was the greater something I valued.

I wrote in my notes:

“This Step speaks to me in a very authentic way today. I feel called upon to return to a writing project I began several years ago and refashion it from my new vantage point, after recognizing and claiming my strength and directing it in a manner that truly regenerates me and brings forth my true abilities. Let the clouds of my mind part and dissipate so that I can see the stars beyond and use Knowledge to guide me where I need to go.”

Parting the clouds to see the stars

I remember particularly appreciating Douglas’s reference to the Wizard of Oz in regard to this step on the Free School Forum. And today my attention returns to that story again, to the part where Dorothy is told that she always had the power to go home, only to believe it, she had to learn it for herself.

I have always had more strength than I claimed, only I have been unable to believe it. Now I am parting the clouds to see the stars, to see the strength I do indeed possess. Steps to Knowledge is teaching me how to learn it for myself.

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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.

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.

Праздник в Душе

Праздник в душе

For English version click here.

Когда Знание открывается внутри себя – это настоящий праздник в душе. Мы приближаемся к одному из самих главных Христианских праздников по григорианскому календарю – Рождеству. Это светлый праздник – именно в это время года происходит зимнее солнцестояние – самая длинная ночь, самый темный день – а сразу вслед за ним начинается восхождение снова к свету.

В это время года, уместно ссылаться на другой текст Нового Послания от Бога под названием «Смысл Рождества». В нем, я читаю:

Только Знание может способствовать добром и благим намерениям. Только Знание может противодействовать страху и враждебности. Только Знание может благословить мир.

Твой посул – стать мужчиной или женщиной Знания — проводником Знания; человек, через которого Знание может говорить, действовать и двигаться; вестник благодати , но также и человек действия, который может способствовать переменам; кто может сказать правду, но с большей уверенностью; кто может выявить заблуждения, но с большим состраданием. Только Знание внутри тебя может сделать это, потому что оно является источником этих великих выражений.

Кстати, о выражении. Это о чем идет речь в Шаге 12 – Моя Индивидуальность – Выражение Самой Жизни. В нем написано, что я присутствую в этом мире для выражения чего-то определенного, для выражения своей индивидуальности. “Шаги к Знанию” часто гласят о том, что у каждого человека есть предназначение, о том, что есть определённая цель для каждого из нас. Только как бы его разузнать? Вот в чем вопрос.

Праздник в Душе

Есть ещё один текст Нового Послания от Бога “Провозглашение”, в нем гласит:

Оно говорит о глубокой духовной потребности человека—о нужде иметь цель, смысл и направление.

Оно говорит о глубоких взаимоотношениях, которые люди могут создавать между собой, взаимоотношениях, представляющих их высшую цель в жизни.

Как я понимаю, у меня есть цель, предназначение, которое относится к себе, к своей индивидуальности, но без взаимоотношений с другими, я вряд ли смогу это предназначение выполнить.

Пришел на ум образ картинки-загадки, где есть многие составные части, отдельные компоненты. Они как бы существуют по отдельности, сами по себе, но только имеют смысл, когда они все вместе соединяются, чтобы составлять одно целое, одну большую красивую картинку. Мое определённая цель только чего-то стоит, когда я соединяюсь с остальными, сделаю свой индивидуальный вклад в целом.

И тогда возникает праздник в душе.

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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 Am Here To Express Something

I am here to express something

Step 12. My Individuality Is To Express Life Itself of Steps to Knowledge tells me that I am here to express something.

I am very drawn to the thought that what I am here to express is the emergence of Knowledge. And I understand I can do this by being a vehicle for Knowledge and allowing Knowledge to emerge.

It is the Christmas season and in one of the New Message revelations, The Meaning of Christmas, I read:

Only Knowledge has the strength to move other minds. Only Knowledge has the potency to create a lasting impact. Only Knowledge can foster good and good intentions. Only Knowledge can counteract fear and hostility. Only Knowledge can bless the world.

Your promise, then, is to become a man or a woman of Knowledge—a vehicle for Knowledge (emphasis mine); a person through which Knowledge can speak, act and move; a bringer of Grace, but also a person of action who can effect change, but with a greater spirit; who can speak the truth, but with a greater authority; who can reveal error, but with a greater compassion. Only Knowledge within you can do this because it is the source of these great expressions.

I Am Here To Express Something

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

I am here to express something and this “something” relates to the part I play in the whole, not something that relates to me personally, as an individual, but something that relates to the part of me that contributes to all that is.

And can this not be only something that comes from Knowledge, is an expression of Knowledge, I ask myself now?

I read further in The Meaning of Christmas:

At whatever level your contribution may be given, whatever small part you may play in this great evolutionary change and emergence, let this Christmas be a reminder that there is a calling for you and that you seek to respond because this is the only means for fulfillment and satisfaction in life. This is the only basis for real and lasting relationships.

I am drawing attention to this revelation about Christmas because it is the season. However, I am more inclined toward what Scrooge had to say in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

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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.

Are Limitations Underrated?

If the Mona Lisa was painted on a grain of rice instead of a canvas, would it be less beautiful, or more beautiful?

If words of wisdom were written on a human hair, would they be less wise?

Step 46 of Steps to Knowledge “I must be small to be great,” declares “Recognizing your limitations allows you to work in a limited context very successfully.”  What I’m seeing at this point is that part of the mission of my life, part of the constraints of that mission, is working within the limitations of my own individuality, an individuality which is to express life itself.

But some people have issues with their individuality.  Some people wish they had a different size.  Some people wish they had different shapes.  Some people wish they had different colors, and so forth.  They are like the clay pot complaining to the potter “Why did you make me like this?”

There must be millions of effective and useful chemical and electrical interactions that go on in the human body every day.  Do we think about them?  I, for one, am thankful that I don’t have to think about making my heart beat, breathing, digesting, etc.

The same idea applies to the mind.  Some people wish they had some different kinds of intelligence than the ones they have.

I join in with David in giving thanks for the limited context in which I work.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14, New International Version)

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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 A Group Effort

What’s a group effort?  Everything.  Everything that matters.  Everything that helps someone.  Step 45 of Steps to Knowledge declares:

“Alone you can do nothing. Nothing has ever been accomplished alone, even in your world. Nothing has ever been created alone, even in your mind.There is no credit to be received by doing something alone. Everything is a joint effort. Everything is the product of relationship.”

We were told back in Step 25 that great truth is the product of great relationship.  This step makes a stronger claim, that everything is the product of relationship.  A conversation between Albert Einstein and Michele Besso in 1905 led to the theory of relativity.

We were told back in Step 12 that our individualities are to express life itself.  In the light of Step 45, it would seem to me that our individualities are for forming the relationships which lead to certain truths and certain accomplishments.  Individuality has a purpose.  But we give it tasks beyond its capabilities.  And when we do that, it hurts.

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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 Dissolving Individuality Overrated?

There are faith traditions in the world that teach that our individuality, our bodies and personalities, are sources of human suffering, and as such, are things to be overcome or transcended.  For example, Buddhists refer to the five factors or the five aggregates of individuality as root causes of suffering.  They encourage people to stop saying “This is mine” and “This is not mine.”  They encourage people to contemplate what their faces looked like, before their parents were born.

The temptation to look at other individuals and think “I’m better than that person,” or “That person is better than me.” lies at every turn.  As soon as someone starts going down that road, they will suffer sooner or later.  But what if individuality has a noble purpose, a godly purpose, the expression of life?  What if I was here so that life could squeeze something out of me that just wouldn’t get squeezed out any other way?

On the other hand, the temptation to look at other individuals and think “I like what life has expressed out of them better than what life has expressed out of me,” or vice versa, also lies at every turn.  It seems to be important to get out a lot, to experience a wide variety of expressions of life, to have full appreciation for its infinite variety.  It also seems to be important to experience the suffering that comes from yielding to the temptation to judge various expressions of life, so that one thinks twice before judging.

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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.