Archive for the 'interpenetration' Category

Taking something back, or sharing?

March 19, 2014

There’s this spiritual story about an adolescent who really feels strongly that a grown man has stolen from her her jewels.  He feels equally convinced she has robbed him of something equally valuable, namely, something required to maintain his stature and status in the community.

So how to restore equilibrium?

There’s an attempt, which doesn’t succeed, in which he returns something and she returns something, but they both accuse the other of returning a false approximation of what was stolen.

There are attempts at partial returns, there are empty promises, there are claims nothing was stolen — lots of adversarial attempts to restore without actually completely participating.

In the meantime, they are each using some “ill-gotten gain” from the other to try to maintain themselves.  They each end up in situations in which they are ill-equipped in some way, and this does not serve the greater good, either.

A lot of the trouble reconciling was probably a trust issue — “If I give to you, will you really give to me or will it just be throwing good money after bad, as they say?”

So here’s how it got resolved:  they both were agreeable with sharing with a disinterested third party, and through something like the mathematical transitive principle or something like a concept of mixing cooking ingredients, eventually they both ended up with a portion of what they felt they were missing.  What they shared with the intermediary included the “stolen good,” and through sharing with the intermediary, they had access again to what they considered the good stolen by the other.

Footnote:  disinterested third party did not have an easy time of it, as they were often treated as if they were actually the other person in the dispute.


Touchy subjects

June 23, 2013

Today’s daily meditation from Richard Rohr quotes John 20:17’s “Do not cling to me” and interprets it in the realm of mysticism:  “Why? Because you can’t! He is no longer bound by this one body. Christ is consciousness itself pervading all things—waiting and hoping for its inner yes!”

But how about a more literal interpretation, as well, here:  Don’t cling to the souls of people who have died.  And if you die, don’t cling to people left behind.

I suspect we leave behind pieces of ourselves in our loved ones whether we’re aware of it or not, and that state of affairs can make it difficult enough after the death, but clinging wholesale to the whole person — that really gums things up, I think, and that situation I think we can be more aware of and do something about.

[An aside here is that I think a very well-developed soul will leave whether we cling to them or not — their more rarefied substance slips through our grasp willy-nilly.  They’re just “Gone, gone, gone, really gone.”]

Yes, to answer Art Garfunkel’s question, space men do pass dead men’s souls on the way to the moon, so to speak — the ones that have not made their journey.

So I think it’s a good idea to disentangle ourselves from our loved ones before death and to keep ourselves from emotional behavior that would lead to a re-entanglement after their death until the dust has settled.  I suspect it takes about a year for the dust to settle in that regard.

No one listening

March 25, 2013

I can’t say I have no one listening to me, but I can say that I have a limited audience of people who make it their business to listen to me in person, to read what I write, etc.

There are other people who have a similar message to mine — I don’t pretend I am a unique source — so in that regard it doesn’t much matter whether people listen to me in these ways.

But I think the real action comes through other means of taking up the message, through the subconscious, because that’s the means through which the subsequent learning itself will come.  How do we reach people in their subconscious?

I think it may actually involve mechanisms that are considered dysfunctional in other contexts: enmeshment, lack of appropriate boundaries, interpenetration, etc.  People affected by the disease of alcoholism are particularly good at this.  If you do it with the wrong person, however, you just get somebody else’s garbage, and that’s not helpful.  But throwing out the method entirely I think is like throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

The further goal is for people to be reached in their subconscious by forces beyond ourselves, but people who already have been reached in this way can sometimes share a little of something helpful through the subconscious themselves, I think.

Hearing or knowing

March 14, 2013

I think adults are counseled not to confuse children by using the analogy of going to sleep for dying — makes some kids scared to go to sleep.  I’m thinking that using “hearing” for how we pick up internal guidance may be a similarly counterproductive misnomer.

If I’m getting guidance from somewhere significant, it comes to me as “knowing” — I don’t actually “hear” something internally.  The thing may make little sense to me — as in, bringing my checkbook with me on that errand, and then while I’m running the errand, something unpredicted presents itself for which having the checkbook is really handy — but I understand I should do it.  (I could also refuse, of course.)  Hearing my own thoughts, or even someone else’s, sounds different.  (Yes, I know, we’re not supposed to be able to hear other people’s thoughts, but here’s an example, maybe I’ve used it before.  I was at a concert, sitting in the way back, and the opening act was on stage.  And while I did notice it was going on for longer than opening acts usually do in such a venue, I started hearing this thought, “Who does she think she is?  She ‘s acting like she’s the main event, in her stage manner as well as the length of her set …  I guess you can sing like that but why would you want to? She’s so young …  What is it she’s wearing?  I guess that’s a look …”  It went on.  It really wasn’t in accord with what I was feeling — which was more like, “She playing a lot of songs and I really did come to hear the main act” — more simple, succinct, and superficial. Then I turned my head, and standing against the back wall a few feet away from me was the main act herself.  And I thought, “Well, if those are her thoughts, she’s hides her negativity well in her performance persona.”)  Once I was in a health foods store and I heard “selenium,” so I asked the clerk about selenium, and it actually seemed suitable for me at the time.  I’m not sure I even knew what selenium was before that.  So thoughts I would say I “hear” as words;  guidance wells up as an idea or concept, an “understanding” or perception.  At least, that’s how I would describe the two different phenomena.

Guidance wells up when I’m quiet inside.  If I’m rushing around or thinking constantly about to-do lists, I’m not in a frame of mind to notice a perception.  They tend to well up when I’m walking, when I’m showering, when I wake up briefly in the middle of the night, when I go up to my study in the attic (which is not visited by many people other than myself).  And when I pray.  But I also get what some people call spam, apparently because I take in stuff at lots of levels and through lots of apertures.  I’ve been advised that a well-trained person doesn’t do that, they focus on their inner core and take in information, and only information (not the emotional window dressing), and through a high aperture.

I ask for guidance, but I also just am pretty open to it much of the time.  But if I’m angry, I am also not in a frame of mind to notice a perception.  A discreet and passing eruption of anger isn’t a problem, but if I’m feeling constantly irritated, that gets in the way.  Intermingling with irritated people can be an impediment here.  I do try to clear myself of that sort of thing, but I have developed a healthy respect for hermits — it’s sometimes a lot easier just to be alone.

So maybe the concept of “hearing guidance” needs to be put into less confusing language, so people realize I’m talking about concepts and ideas that may then be put into words (or not), not sentences of words, or individual words, to be parsed.  And that I don’t “hear” them, they well up and I discover that now I know something I wasn’t aware of before.

Let me just close by saying that I am thinking I need an equivalent to Paul Krugman’s warning on his blog that a post may be “wonkish” (or slightly wonkish) — because I suspect some of my posts on subjects like this one are received by some with skepticism, an eye-roll, or worse, and I’d like to have a way of acknowledging that such posts may not be for everybody.  But I also feel a responsibility to put them out there nonetheless, even if they put some people off.  I think we need to broaden our sense of what’s “normal,” kind of like Our Bodies, Ourselves did for female health and related issues years ago.


More on floating

October 19, 2012

I was driving home from somewhere recently and saw a hawk floating high up in the sky, having one of those moments when it looks motionless but easily aloft.  I thought, “Maybe that’s why I’m so taken with hawks, I am trying to figure out how to float (metaphorically).  How to hover easily above or in or otherwise with regard to the moment.”

For me, having a sense of how to arrange my mind to do that has not come through someone telling me about it; that may have set the stage, but actually “getting” what the note sounds like (to mix the metaphor) has come through what has felt like an empathetic experience with someone who has the skill or well-developed ability already.

When my mother was working with me to overcome my mispronunciation of Ks and hard Cs and hard Gs when I was about five or six, I didn’t get for a long time what I was doing differently.  Suddenly I realized it was where in my mouth or throat the motions or contractions or whatever were being done — in the floor or back of my mouth, not behind my teeth as I had been doing.  With this floating and not pressuring the moment it’s a similar issue of figuring out what it entails.

The other day I was waiting in my son’s dentist’s waiting room and there was a baby in a caregiver’s arms (my son thought she was a nanny) drinking a bottle and falling asleep.  I got this really peaceful feeling inside myself and starting feeling sleepy, too.  It was quite lovely.

It was similar when I shared the feeling of floating through a same sort of vicarious experience of someone else’s experience.  The other person may have learned to do this floating through prayer and meditation, I don’t know.  I do know that what was encumbering me was basically anxiety and its sequelae.  But anxiety can be a mindset that seems real, that crowds out all other, non-anxious ways of interfacing with the world.  So changing it through wanting to doesn’t always work, I think, whereas having a “pace car” of somebody else’s floating can.

That’s I think what I did.  Not that I’m doing my own floating continously and wonderfully now, but at least I know what it feels like.  I wrote before about how for me it helps to think about not applying so much pressure to the moment itself and letting the natural rhythm of the situation establish the beat for me to follow.  Having experienced the experience, I can practice it myself, kind of re-find the note to sing after having heard it, and matched it, from somebody else’s pitch pipe.  (Well, at least the last couple of metaphors were both musical, even if I am mixing them.)

I am extremely grateful to whoever shared with me their floating.  I don’t know whether that happens as a gift or an exchange; if the latter, I hope they got back something equally helpful from me, although I’m not sure what that would be.  (Maybe I helped someone else similarly and this is part of a bigger and more complicated system?)  If the former, that too is an ability I would like to develop.

I suspect my recent extra-awareness of things that float, like islands and hawks, is related to my working on learning to float myself.

Keeping difficult situations unresolved

June 11, 2012

I’m not sure it’s terribly original to notice that a situation that is difficult to handle or bear is not necessarily “wrong,” in the sense I should be looking for a way to change it or I should be critiquing it.  After all, I do always have the option of accepting the situation as it is and naming that I find it difficult, even very or too difficult (I’d like to use the superlative in the way some other languages do, to use the same form of the adjective to communicate both “very [adjective]” and “too [adjective]”).  That would leave me open to the liberating possibility that nothing is wrong, that I’m just experiencing something difficult and painful, or rather, as difficult and painful.

Sometimes I think my experience of a situation is more difficult and painful than it would be if I were experiencing it purely from my own point of view and with my own tools.  I think if I am interpenetrating with people who have other ways of parsing the world and I use their tools to interpret my life, it keeps me from re-framing situations so they are okay, because the other person doesn’t do this.  And of course, they don’t have to.  I think awareness by itself that this may be going on is helpful to me.

Like a melody that wants to resolve to the tonic, I have this desire to try to resolve situations I find difficult and painful.  But maybe I should just let them be, accept that I find them difficult and painful, and not try to “fix” them.  Maybe just observing them dispassionately will be a way for me to make progress.  Maybe somehow allowing the situation to remain unresolved serves the greater good.  I can see that if I just accept it then I don’t have to keep trying to get anyone else to do something different from what they’re doing, and I’m beginning to think that that’s actually a path that’s more draining to me than this other I’m considering.  “Working it out” with another person may for me actually involve not working it out.

Mourning customs

June 10, 2012

At a monthly meeting last week where I volunteer (at a visiting nurse and hospice agency) we were given some hand-outs, and one of them was about customs for different religious and ethnic groups surrounding terminal illness and death.

I read it through with a view to patients and their families, but I was also struck by how my template for mourning seemed to match best with what was described under “Portugal,” at least the pull if not the implementation:  “The traditional widow is expected to remain unmarried and to wear black clothing for the rest of her life.  She visits the grave frequently and has a picture of the deceased spouse evident in the home.”

I’ve had the urge towards a contemplative spiritual life since becoming a widow, and if I subscribed to a set of beliefs that coincided with a religion that had  convents, I would be tempted to try to enter one.  The black clothing thing I have struggled against — I did manage to get out of black and into multi-hued drab, and if I make a concerted effort I can do colorful from time to time.  The grave thing has worn off over time, and when I got negative feedback from a guest about (still) having a wedding picture in the foyer, I replaced it with a family photo, until I realized a couple of years later how dated even that photo had become and I put it elsewhere in the house.

I also became interested again, a couple of years after Willy’s death, in my Visigothic Widows research from long ago, especially in a law code provision about widows and support through property relinquished upon remarriage.

I was wondering why I might tend in this direction and I was staring out my front door thinking it over, and it suddenly occurred to me to wonder whether I had picked up something from the folks across the street — a multi-generation family from Portugal.  Who knows …

Compound accidents

June 5, 2012

I found an interesting spiritual story about the sort of accident I was beginning to understand in my last post.

In this story, there’s a pair twins, boy and girl.  They share a consciousness.  The boy is sent to religious school but not the girl even though it is she who had those nascent skills.  He struggles there.  She has him bring home his learning and she understands it better than he and tutors him.

This arrangement works fine until it’s time for the student to do a particular exercise, and then the impediment of the boy causes him to have a negative experience of it.  The warning signs to his teacher that he was not ready for the exercise may have been obscured by the fact that he had learned the previous skills through the facilitation provided by his twin sister, through imitating her on the surface and having her performance of each skill interpenetrated within him providing the depth of the learning.

The teacher then tries to help the “boy” take flight spiritually, not realizing he is actually trying to help a pair of people who are intermingled.  The weight of the boy makes him crash, the lightness of the girl sends her way too far up into the spiritual realms.  The boy ends up with spiritual acrophobia, the girl ends up with great difficulty reentering her regular consciousness.

This accident leaves the twins unable to remain in each other’s company comfortably, but unfortunately, being in each other’s company actually contains the resolution to their situation.  Because now when the two are together, the boy hears all the spiritual transmissions of the universe, many of which he can no longer hear on his own.  His presence provides her with stability to stay happily anchored in the physical world.  But he pushes her away, because he doesn’t realize that the very thing he finds unnerving about her presence is the very thing that can help him, that his hearing all these spiritual transmissions in her presence overwhelms his capacity for thinking — he can’t think his way out of a paperbag when she’s near him.  He can’t stand that, in the aftermath of this accident they had together, he has become overly fond of thinking and not using other parts of his mind, especially the part he was using when they crashed.  When they are together he is forced not to think, he is forced to use that other part of his mind, and if he stayed in her presence, he would learn to sort out the signals and work his way out of his regression.  She is bringing him something he cannot do on his own.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to want to give it a try, at least that’s her impression.  And she knows enough to know it’s his choice to take an affirmative action, that she can only leave the entire situation but cannot actually dance this step in the interaction — taking the step to spend time in the same room together — because it involves his willingness.  He seems to think that some day the time will seem right to him, but she worries it’s just a story that he tells himself and that “in the meantime” may be too late.  I think she feels a lot like someone on stage trying to temporize while she waits for another actor to come on stage.  If he isn’t going to emerge from his dressing room or his cab or whatever in time, maybe he should allow his understudy to take the stage.


June 1, 2012

A couple of the other issues Gita and I discussed yesterday were what other people consider “fantasies” and other people’s worldviews.

The fantasies issue I’ve already mentioned in the context of talking about how different people consider their relationships on the astral plane.  Gita was rather more forceful about the harm people can cause through what they think are harmless fantasies, how thought forms projected outward have consequences.

We also talked about bandwidth issues — how some of us can pick up a lot of chatter out there and how we need to develop a spiritual practice that allows us to discern and tune out the noise.  It’s tricky for an empath, because the other person’s reality becomes mine, temporarily, and I need to be able to “spot” myself, to have a point of reference to my reality as a healer in order to maintain a more helpful worldview.  So for a while I may be experiencing the noise as the only signal if that’s what the person I’m interacting with does. I have met people who clearly prefer listening to the noise and interacting with it in ways to gratify themselves in a way that I find dangerous — like cruising or voyeurism or crank phone calls, to take a few examples.  It’s easier for these people to hide what they’re doing, but for people like me, there’s no significant difference between what they’re doing on the astral plane and if they were standing on street corners or planting bugs or placing calls with a telephone.

Then there’s the issue of different worldviews.  My own worldview allows me to travel much lighter than the worldviews of most of the people I interact with.  It’s not about happy and sad, optimism or depression, it’s along another axis.  This is where the problem of not having physical help enters in: if I have to get my help through going higher up into the cloud, then I need to travel very light.  If I’m interrelating and interpenetrating with people who have a worldview I experience as heaviness (a lot of ego issues, a lack of getting the self out of the way; often manifesting as a lot of defensiveness, bitterness, or judgmentalness), that makes my going up into the cloud more difficult.  To those people I want to say, “Either lighten up at your end or help me out here on the physical plane, if that turns out to be an acceptable option for both of us, or let’s agree to disengage — this isn’t working for me as things are.”

Gita pointed out that relationships can be conditional even when (my) love for the other person is unconditional.  I think I needed to hear that.

Vines and hybrids

May 31, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned how I have a couple of plants that were hybrids on which the fancy specimen part died back and the root stock grew out — a Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick and a Pink Dawn Rose.  Then I’ve got this vine issue I mentioned in my previous post.

Host and guest is the theme, it seems to me.  In hybrids we encourage the relationship, even preferring the guest at the expense of the host plant.  With vines, especially when they become too exuberant, we see a negative parasitic relationship and see the host as victimized, perhaps.

Maybe every plant should have its own space, including roots — that would avoid finding a balance between the needs of the intermingled plants.

Somebody brought up to me a number of years ago the issue of “roots.”  Not genealogy but this kind, plant roots.  For him they were mysterious and somehow threatening — like for me the way the tops of the trees were when my mother read us that Robert Louis Stevenson poem “Windy Nights”.

I sometimes wonder whether the real lesson here is overcoming that fear of roots (or vines) and seeing that it’s all a matter of balance, that neither host nor guest need be deemed harmful if everyone’s needs are being met and balance is achieved that keeps the system sustainable; that’s it’s balance that is the real issue, not hidden roots, climbing parasites, or even intermingling through a lack of boundaries.