Archive for November, 2014


November 29, 2014

This is a reaction to Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation for today.

The Meditation includes some instructions for how to have a spiritual experience.  One of the steps outlined involves crouching at one level of perception in order to produce another.

This assumes everybody (a) is going to understand how to implement the instruction, and (b) has adequate and sufficiently intact and undamaged “hardware” to do this safely.

Hello!  We can produce regression this way, a regression in which people get very stuck.  I’ve seen it in individuals, and I could argue that I see it reflected in Western culture more generally.

I wish people wouldn’t do this [that is, try to teach what this Meditation attempts to teach, especially from such a remove from those whom it is addressing].

I’m pretty sure I’ve expressed that before.

No one has to listen.


Thanksgiving pics

November 27, 2014

We were waiting to check the meat thermometer to see if the turkey was done, and Jonas suggested we take some pictures:

mm & jm thanksgiving2014

My mom and Jonas

jm & dcm thanksgiving2014

Jonas and me

Happy Thanksgiving!

Different people

November 17, 2014

I had this conversation with my mother that started off about customer service departments and whether part of the hiring criteria and training focus is to keep customers at bay.  The occasion was the good news that finally her health insurance transition has been accomplished.  We were also noting that the same benefits department that had made this transition take about 6 weeks of intensive work had also made mistakes on other of her benefits.  I will note that the news of the health insurance accomplishment was relayed to me by a doctor’s office (which was trying to submit a claim), not by the employer benefits department responsible for arranging the insurance.

We ended up talking more generally about whether people who have caused damage but present an impervious demeanor really do harbor a sense somewhere of having done something they at least regret and a feeling of feeling bad about that, however much they may wall off such senses and feelings.  (If they are too successful, I think they may find it difficult to get back in touch with that part of themselves that handles such things.)

I mentioned that I have thought on some occasions when someone has caused me physical and/or emotional harm that it is easier to be me on the receiving end than I think it would be for me to be on the delivering end.  I would probably feel worse.  She replied that that thought had never occurred to her and that it never occurs to her to think about what it might be like to be them in the situation — she said she just feels anger about it, for years on end.  She also thinks more people really do not have that sense of regret and that feeling of feeling bad that I imagine almost everybody has somewhere at some level of their being, even if they are pretty disconnected from it.

Sometimes I think different people are in some ways living in different worlds, as if we are in a sense speaking very different languages of the psyche.


When technology takes on a life of its own

November 16, 2014

I had the disconcerting experience today of trying to abort a purchase online by removing the one and only item from the order, only to discover later that an order for the item was posted to my account.  I had not submitted the order.  Perhaps merely clicking on “remove item” had the same effect as “submit order”?  I don’t know.

My credit card company told me to place a temporary hold on my card, since the online vendor has no customer service support on weekends, so it can’t be straightened out at that end, and the request for authorization had not yet been received by the credit card company, so the hold will thwart an attempt to process the “order.”  I can try to clean up the mess tomorrow, when customer service is available at the vendor.

This may be the second vendor I’ve encountered in the past couple of months where it’s easier in the long run to place an order by phone than to use their newly idiosyncratic software online.  And my bank’s automated telephone line refused to recognize my password the other day, for no apparent reason.  I was calling because my monthly statement was missing — which turned out to be a casualty of their machine that produces them being broken for two weeks.

These experiences make me wonder whether hacking incidents have spurred companies to upgrade their software, in a quest for greater security, and not adequately tested the new software before implementing it.  Either that, or business infrastructure is deteriorating — and turning into a zombie some of the time.

Where’s the point of symmetry?

November 16, 2014

So a guru coerces his best student into helping him write a book.  His tactics in gaining her help introduce a lot of negative energy into the relationship.  She goes along with what she thinks the deal is, fearing the alternatives will be worse, and she believes that over the course of helping the guru with his project a relationship has developed.

She has helped him with his dream, or goal, if one prefers, and after his book is done and disseminated, she asks for her turn, with help with her dream or goal.  She could write a book, but that isn’t what she feels called to do.  In fact, she hears pretty clearly that she shouldn’t.  And she believes that out of the relationship that has developed, if not also out of the original arrangement, he will help her with her dream or goal.

For her, the point of symmetry was the dream or goal, not the specific form that took for the other person.

He says no, pretty simply and clearly:  “No, please go away.”

He doesn’t even notice that what she is asking for are things he has similarly asked others for and were extended to him, whether the help was earned, charitable, or some combination of the two.  He doesn’t want to do it for her.

“No, please go away.”

So she’s got a choice: write a book she thinks should not be written, in a life that does not support such an activity, or just accept that for him the point of symmetry was a specific activity, not actually meeting the other person’s needs or desires.

I don’t think it matters which she chooses, I think for her it’s always only been a lesson in discerning perspective — how different people can perceive so differently, and what is her perception of a situation and what is someone else’s.  How any particular situation is resolved is secondary to that.

My support for that interpretation is her being a student of a guru.  That suggests to me that her life is about orienting herself to her relationship with the universe, and that her relationships with particular other people fall into place when she keeps her focus on that.

She has learned that a person who sees trees and not forests will relate to someone who is focused on forests in a way that does not result in balance between them.

Unfortunately, the introduction of negative energy from the initial coercion of the student by the guru produces its own fallout.  That’s kind of like the splash in a dive, or the noise around a signal, but it can obscure the main event.  In some versions of this story, it does, and the guru and the student succumb to round after round of negative exchanges.

Outside the frame

November 11, 2014

I am still trying to figure out how the picture includes the camera too:

jm work CAM00346

Jonas sent it to me last night from his new job.


November 6, 2014

When I read something that suggests that I am falling short in my attitude and behavior, I can sometimes see clearly that the frontal approach of trying to change my attitude and behavior directly (and conform to what is being suggested) is not going to produce what’s needed.

Instead, I need to address a broader issue, and if I do so, then more helpful attitude and behavior will follow.

“Fake it until you make it” has never seemed to me a preferable method, I prefer to put in backfill and arrive at the surface after having built a foundation one step at a time.

This approach is also helpful if my task is not to arrive at the final goal but to go back and fill a missing stage of development.  (I think if one believes in reincarnation, this concept makes more sense.)

So I check in with my guidance:  I bring only my willingness, I open up my heart, and I listen (and I don’t mean “people pleasing”).

I’ve heard other women lament having given away their power and needing to reclaim it.  That is a Scylla I am aware of, as I am also aware of the Charybdis of following my own ego-driven ideas.

What I am called to do may also not look like what others recognize as being helpful in and of itself.  I think that makes sense if what one is doing is filling in a missing piece that isn’t very pretty and is an intermediate (ugly duckling?) stage in something larger.  That missing piece may involve learning to hear, trust, and follow one’s own inner guidance, for example, and not privileging another human being’s teachings over one’s own understanding.  One can be not only too rich and too thin but also too deferential to human guides, it seems to me.  Of course, there is a difference between oppositional defiance and independence as a part of personal development.

Sometimes what I need to do is to strengthen my spiritual practice;  that will fill in what needs filling in and attitude and behavior will organically change as a consequence.