This Sorry Scheme of Things… (R12+)


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This scheme of things is familiar to all followers of the 4th Way – The Ray of Creation depicted on the Octave… What are we to make of this? Unless we attempt to go beyond intellectual acceptance – to feel it on the pulse and take deliberate steps towards understanding – it will remain a dead & mysterious diagram. One way of going beyond Intellect with it is to pace it out physcally and sing the Octave; it makes practical sense to sing something like this (from the bottom up):-

Do…Eternal meaning (All in One)
Si…..Finding the archetypes
La….All possible thoughts on a subject
Sol…A train of thinking
Fa….Many possible ways of expressing an idea


Mi….Speaking one’s own (subjective) sense
Re….Making sense of the words
Do….Hearing the words

It is said that the majority never get beyond Do-Re-Mi which leads to the buttressing of one’s own subjective sense of things; it’s floating voter territory; the place where arms are taken up against opponents of all sizes and degrees of imagined or actual viciousness. The question becomes how to slide on the major scale semi-tone between Mi & Fa… To which the simple answer is the ‘First Conscious Shock’ of Self-remembering… Not so simple to put into operation. But we try (oomphantly).

I suppose it might help if we were aware first of all of something in the way of clarity about the 48 ‘Laws’ that are supposed to be trapping us into certain patterns of being on Earth; if there could be more of an attempt at definition it would help us to avoid the traps – otherwise we run the risk of doubling them up to 96 by ‘feeding the moon’ – I take this metaphor to mean being really (really) slave to all the ‘Laws’ we choose to be trapped, or programmed, by – even more bound by them than we are at the moment.

The intellectual Formatory Apparatus simply requires to know what the 48 ‘Laws’ are – but that’s not good enough. Re-reading Bob Hunter’s Pupil’s Postscript, I was prompted at page 148 to start thinking seriously about the ‘Laws’ which, as most people on the 4th Way seem to do, I had previously regarded as something of a sacred mystery – only for the initiated.

There are different kinds of ‘laws’. I take it that some Laws are essential because, for instance, they constitute the nature of the game – cricket would not be cricket without the lbw or no-ball law and so on. In England it’s quite a good law that traffic is encouraged to make its way along the left hand side of the public thoroughfare. Other laws are invented – to perpetuate the convenience of a political system, for example, or they become self-imposed restrictions to making some deal with life – getting dressed up in your Sunday best when you go on holiday is a ‘law’ that’s long since been repealed; having a cup of tea first thing in the morning is a conventional ‘law’ that I’ve gone along with for many years!

But what on earth (as it were) does it mean to go through the Mi-Fa semitone as the start of a process of getting rid of half the laws that we choose to bind ourselves by? And unless we have at least some rough idea of what the 48 Laws might consist of there’s not much chance of shedding them.

On page 148 of Pupil’s Postscript Mrs Pogson, secretary & assistant to Maurice Nicoll, is recorded as pointing out that there are 3-brain being restrictions that it is quite unnecessary to lumber ourselves with; we carry a lot of superfluous baggage around with us which is the result of long-term habitual identification with people, scenes, activities, things, events, and so on; she called this the Law of Identification which causes us to forget our selves. Another person’s anger or negativity can be catching; we forget that we don’t have to be like they are when we find ourselves in an argument. Currently; towards the end of May 2014, the UKIP crypto-fascist bandwagon is gaining momentum because a %-age of the populace is identifying with what’s called ‘protest’ or with the idea that the European Union is responsible for all the current ills which are in fact brought about by the Global Capitalist Conspiracy to defraud humanity…

Somebody said to Mrs Pogson, “When we’re identified, nobody is at home…” She pointed out that when that happens we are under the Law of Accident which means that things just happen to us beyond conscious awareness; but when you choose to direct attention you can go against the Law of Accident. Disidentification, deliberately holding people, scenes, activities, things, events, and so on, at arm’s length gets you to a place of relative safety. Just opening a book to redirect attention is a very simple useful strategy… But it requires continual practice.

Decide to Name the 48 Laws

Having introduced the concept of ‘Laws’ in a nicely roundabout kind of way, Mrs Pogson delivers a concealed imperative (as we might say in NLP), “Decide to name some of the 48 Laws. This is not meant numerically… but all these laws that are lower on the scale drag us down; the higher laws help us to succeed…” So now we need to have some inkling of what the ‘higher laws’ might be – to know, if ever so roughly, what we’re aiming at.

In Bob Hunter’s book there follows nothing systematic, exactly as befits 4th Way teachings – a piece-meal flow, just as things crop up naturally. But I was intent on obeying Mrs Pogson’s implied imperative; I attended to her clue by starting to list all the things that follow from the process known as Identification – they did begin to seem hidden away craftily in Bob Hunter’s text. In doing this and thinking about making the result into a Glob I was aware that I might be contravening Gurdjieff’s injunction to have things made as difficult as possible – there’s always the danger of over-simplifying which can lead to self-calming (“Got that – so what’s the next thing?” – no need for further chin-wagging…).

A judicious bit of Eriksonian Artful Vagueness is needed.

However, the nagging question is – What are the 48 ‘Laws’ under which we choose to labour on Earth? By ‘Laws’ I understand processes & events which we choose to take to seem to be inevitable: when I look out of the window right now at the drift of clouds and the gentle movement of silver birch fronds the act of looking causes me to forget my self in identification, the act of putting it into words even more so; in ordinary life this seems to be inevitable – it’s a ‘law’ of being – but I can extract myself by going into self-remembering which puts a gap between window-gazing and Gazing-I.

Things are Only Inevitable When You Choose to Have Them Be So

When you know this you can easily step aside from what you take to be the inevitable. You can decide to do things otherwise.

Concentrating before sunrise, I got very slowly to 27 possibilities before I started attaching numbers to each item – then I knew I only had 21 to go! Over halfway! What seemed like an impossible task to start with began to be achievable. Things on the list have undergone change as I realised that there was a lot of overlap – the ‘laws’ are not watertight containers. Bullet points are more appropriate since everything leads to everything else without numerical precision.

Without feeling all this on the pulse, getting it in the muscle, it will remain an inert list of things: a modicum of Understanding only comes about when we combine Knowledge with Being.

 

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48 Laws of Sorts

● Identification – whatever we identify with (tons of it – people, scenes, activities, things, events, and so on in a cumulative historical shower) causes us to forget the self (or all the selves). So we collect stacks of baggage and lay ourselves open to…
● The Law of Accident – we go off in all directions, directionless, attracted to every passing something or other that we choose to identify with, every passing fad or fancy that grabs our attention…
● The Law of Three – there’s one thing and then another opposed to it but we are Third Force blind; either/or thinking has us swinging on a pendulum
● The Law of Seven – we choose to be stuck in the first three stages, unable to build from the feeling of self as capable of initiating being
● This causes us constantly to ‘miss the mark’, lose any aim we might have developed had we stood firm
● We are never ‘at home’ – this leads to self-forgetfulness; the key is lost
● We are always content to do the easiest thing – imagining that self-calming is what’s important in life
● Law of Cause & Effect – the idea that there’s a set order to things & that it’s impossible to change the way things happen
● Law of Creation – as though it were a once & forever event
● We stick to what we imagine we know
● The Law of Denial, incorporating ‘liking/disliking’, making objections to what goes against our own beliefs
● Law of Habit which results in mechanical behaviour
● Law of Being Trapped in Time: choosing to be imprisoned by the ‘Past’ or mortgaged to the ‘Future’ – “I can’t help the way I am – it’s how I was raised…” – “It’s what I was told to do…”
● The Law of Internal Considering – only too absorbed in talking to ourselves & inventing the world we imagine we live in that we neglect to observe that things are never what they seem to be
● The Law of If-only: day-dreaming, falsely imagining a world that doesn’t exist
● Inventing pictures of oneself – acting as though they were the real thing
● The Law of Expressing Negative Emotion – bad talking
● Working out of False Personality
● Regarding life as a test – believing that we have to measure up to some hidden set of requirements
● Self-justifying: “What I really meant was…”
● Making accounts: “I’ll get even with you…”
● Storing up debts – bearing grudges
● Having requirements – impinging on other people’s freedom by requiring them to be & act in your own way
● The Law of Conformity – fitting into a mould created by others
● Evading the idea of mortality – imagining that you will live forever
● The Law of always Being in the Right
● Feeling of being hard done by – or being done to
● Feeling of being special
● The Law of the Mirror – what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves
● The addiction to fun/ambition/vocation (A Influences)
● Subscribing to a belief that nothing changes
● Being addicted to unnecessary suffering – “It’s not fair…” “They never listen…” “Things never work out the way I want them to…” “It’s all hopeless…”
● Living in separate parts of our selves while believing we are single unified-I
● The Law that Being attracts Life
● Relationships fail when people are not properly related to themselves
● Making the choice that no effort is needed to divorce oneself from the ‘laws’
● Dreaming of Perfection
● Being curious just for the sake of it – wanting to know precisely how things are (like craving to know what the 48 Laws are!)
● Making comparisons – “If only I could be as they are, do what they do…”
● ‘Truth’ becomes opinion: ‘…in the twilight world of change & decay there is only opinion…’ (Plato)
● Acquiring knowledge is enough – ticking boxes… Inability to notice the gap between Being & Knowledge
● Needing to possess
● Acting as though we were fully able to ‘do’… – to change ourselves, for example
● Acting out of vanity, for the sake of reward or acclamation of some kind (wanting praise)
● Identifying with single Unified-I
● Identifying with a single Centre – to the exclusion of the others
● Law of Inflexibility
● Imprisonment – we choose to be trapped in our patterns of behaviour

That’s 48 possible ‘laws’! This was a groping forward – and remains so; I’m left wondering how these things constitute ‘laws’. Is it that, when we choose to go along with them, they hedge us about, constrain action, make it impossible to envisage other ways of doing things? They seem to elaborate just how we are ‘asleep’ to other possible ways of being; we imagine that this is how life is. “That’s just the way it is…” A Law of Being. A mechanical acceptance of the idea that there’s no other way. In NLP terms, a hopeless subscribing to the way we’ve been programmed down the ages instead of taking deliberate steps to re-program ourselves with a bit of help from our friends perhaps.

I’ve become aware that this ramble through the ‘laws’ is, in short, another way of going round this circuit which I invented some years ago as a guide for myself of the unsystematic System called the 4th Way:-

 

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Having grasped the idea of something about the ‘laws’ that put us to sleep and keep us there, the next question is: How can we live with fewer pre-suppositions about the way we imagine things are?

It’s perhaps necessary to get one’s mind and its emotional substructures round the idea that the pre-suppositions we entertain are only ‘laws’ because we choose to go along with their processes and the consequences; it’s easier to suppose that they are inevitable – that comes under the Law of Self-calming! We don’t have to disturb the brain-cells over it.

We could, daringly, make the decision to fly higher towards the whole planetary system (24 ‘laws’), towards the sun (12 ‘laws’) & the Milky Way (6 ‘laws’) and onward & upward in the expectation that we’ll get to the one law of the Absolute. What might that be?

§

How to shed ‘laws’? I’ll tackle this in a subsequent Glob.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “This Sorry Scheme of Things… (R12+)

  1. Another thought provoking glob Colin. I don’t know about the 48 laws, I’ve only read about them. Fear and deceit can be placed along every bullet on your list, those two seem to operate along every line in society today. They are so dangerous because we can’t see them in ourselves. I’m just now beginning to understand (and this is on a small level) the value of questions and how questions can bring us back to the present and at the same time reveal how much control the slightest tensions in the body have over us. These muscle tensions and other unknown forces continue to serve our habitual positions, keeping us locked in to our enneagram fixation. These vibrational currents are like a river that for some reason, we attached ourselves to believing it would keep us alive. This belief is hell bent on staying alive inside us. Our early survival depended on it, or did it, and now the same river works against us. We must discover a new river because “I” can’t change or Do anything to change my mechanical flow. So now what? Like Gurdjieff said, a man who knows he can’t remember himself, already knows a lot, or something like that. This is the beginning of liberation, although it doesn’t feel that way, not to me anyway. The questions we ask each day and at all times: Who am I?, Why are you here?, What are you doing right now?, What is your aim?, can begin to become something different. These questions can begin to feel like small prayers, and they can also open up areas of the body that are sleeping. In this sense the word sleeping means tied to a prison of fear and deception where the flow of habitual associations keep the brain believing that its doing something. These tensions flow up and down our spine all day long, and respond to each external event. It seems to me there are thousands of laws if we think of it this way, but maybe the 48 laws are cosmic properties of this planet. In order to survive the harshness of this planet, we are given a planetary body, and this body is fragmented, and thus under the same laws, but I don’t understand this. I think that when we get to the place where, “There must be more to life than this” something inside us (a higher emotional trigger) is sending us a signal, something sacred is waking up.

    When we try and not give in to our negative emotions for a day, we realize we can’t Do it. When we try to remember ourselves when we walk through a door, we can’t Do it, so why do we think our brains are any more than receiving organs, receiving impressions from outside, and inside that are at best false. The impressions we are receiving inside flow without any interference, involuntary and constantly feeding our heads with some story that is being created by subtle tensions, this is called Abnormal. Mathematics and all the sciences are also partial in the hands of us human beings.

    Where is my attention? Where is my attention? Where is my attention?

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  2. Colin,

    Your guide above, depicting the ways in which we are asleep and the ways by which we might awaken, parallels the constant striving of all practitioners of Buddhist meditation. We are aware that we are often not mindful (asleep), and are likewise aware that in those moments when we are not being mindful we are, by definition, lacking the awareness to become mindful. So how do we ever become more mindful (how do we wake up)? This conundrum came up for discussion at my meditation session this morning, and our teacher’s response was that we just need to keep practicing meditation, and gradually our moments of awareness will increase. I think that Patrick’s closing line, “Where is my attention? Where is my attention? ….” expresses this response perfectly, and adds an appropriate measure of urgency that was perhaps lacking in that response (thank you, Patrick!).

    I look forward to your next blog on how we can shed these laws.

    Tom

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    1. Hi Tom

      My attention has certainly been elsewhere for a while; I’ve been focused on the mundane issues of life & death…

      It does seem rather strange to me that meditation is promoted as the be-all, as happens. In The Fourth Way ‘meditation’, as I understand it, is assumed to be a lifetime pursuit and one ought not to have to take specific steps to put oneself in a ‘meditative state’. Doing internal STOP! is all that’s required. The Circuit system model in my Glob was an attempt to depict the snags and the opportunities that one has to address.

      Hubert Benoit on Zen and Psychological Transformation suggests that satori is all the time – we just get distracted from it. What if Mindfulness is all the time and we just get distracted from it? Then the task is to figure out what the distractions are and how to overcome them. Maybe…

      While I was writing the subsequent Glob, I came across Gurdjieff’s statement that shedding the laws was about ‘becoming a law to yourself…’ As simple as that?

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      1. Unfortunately for me, Colin, my experience has been the reverse – distraction is all the time, and mindfulness is always a too brief and too transitory respite from the distractions. So much of my practice is about performing what you call the internal STOP! again and again, and yet again some more. The only thing I’m truly mindful of all most of the time is how rarely I am mindful. My teacher says this in itself is mindfulness. Still practicing, still wondering ….

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      2. Hi Tom
        It sounds a familiar story! At least we realise mindfulness should be every-minute-mindfulness and not just something you do when you ‘sit’ to do formal meditation. Taking awareness into everyday situations is no small task! 🙂

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  3. Hi all – Sorry for being late – I’ve been absent for a while for one reason and another – and there in lies the rub. (Also for some reason or another I stopped getting these, not until I searched them out did I find this one and re-subscribed).

    Thanks to all for some thought provoking writings.

    Referencing back to Mrs Pogson; “when we are identified, nobody is at home” an 8 word sentence that says so very much.

    In reading some of the works of Thich Nhat Hanh recently I was reminded of the thought that there is perhaps a kind of perpetual dichotomy in being human.

    That as humans we are forever accompanied by Fear and the drive to survive (of which perhaps deceit could be considered a part), which he calls Desire

    He holds that both these drives become present within us at the moment of our birth. He calls Fear & Desire (sees them as combined) our originating fear,

    His thinking goes something like this.

    At the moment of our birth, after 9 months of “being” a part of another person, having our very basic needs happen to us without any requirement on our part for this to be so, sharing and hearing another’s heart beat; floating and being in a watery world where there is a feeling of warmth and comfort and ease, where sounds are muffled and where we need do nothing for ourselves; we are thrust quite violently into a world of noise and bright lights and are literally cut off from the source of our being. We are for the first time separated from the means of our survival.

    This is a frightening experience and leaves such an imprint that we spend the rest of our lives trying to reconnect and re-identify with those around us.

    As far as I can see this might be relevant when considering the laws we live by. Perhaps it is that our drive to do reconnect and re-identify as a matter of survival directly and perpetually conflicts and competes with our drive to “be” ourselves. Even though the originating fear took place when we had no resources of our own and were dependent on others for our survival and “rationally” we could have moved beyond it.

    Our passage through life as an infant through to adulthood is variable in it’s quality and as such affects our relational selves; that is to say our relationship with others and ourselves; how much we can love and trust our selves or others.

    Only when we have a secure sense of attachment (John Bowlby) to our primary care givers, and we have come to know therefore that it is safe to explore beyond the limits of our parents, can we safely venture beyond this basic need to be attached. (to almost anything)

    If our passage through life has been rocky, in the “outside world” perhaps we seek to attach to other things to give us a feeling of safety, familiarity, security. Sometimes these things are people, other times they are material things, or substances or at other times they are rules and self imposed limits. all coming from and are seen through the lens of our original fear and desire for survival.

    So it would seem to me that to return home, one must first identify where home is, and to find out who is returning and likely to inhabit home, one must first shed any exterior notion of who one “should” be. Only by stilling the external “noise” and internal “chatter” of laws beliefs or whatever one likes to call it; can we begin to achieve stillness required for getting to meta I and knowing ourselves.

    He speaks also of habit energy (Gillighan would refer to it as neuro-muscular lock) – where each of us has a habit of replaying old events and reacting to new events as if they were the old ones. Each of these events has an energy – when we other than consciously notice a similarity of experience we employ the same thoughts and the same energy – a habit energy. By becoming aware and noticing the habit energy (what is happening inside our bodies (and minds) – what Damsio calls emotion; or as some others might say e-motion = energy in motion ) can we recognize that we have a choice. We can stay in the habit energy and suffer or we can chose to look at each moment as it is; a fresh moment, a new experience and not tarnish it with memories from the past. When we shed the habit energy we can rid our bodies of the tension that causes our thinking to go awry.

    Thich Nhat Hanh’s advice with reference to past experiences that we perceive as harmful is to leave those to a time when we can look on them with compassion.

    It would seem to me; that by employing the technique of attempting to be present with each moment (as ourselves) we can begin to distinguish how we actually respond to life, what we believe; what we feel; what we think; rather than basing this in anything outside of ourselves either past or future oriented.

    Perhaps this is life’s challenge to simply find out who we are; remain home and act accordingly.

    So how to shed laws – would it be as simple as choosing to do so; take each moment as new and remain with ourselves in each moment in order to have meaningful dialogue with ourselves and the experience?

    Another perspective might be – to employ both/and thinking – by both being aware of our rules for living and examining them and taking steps to be free of them, we can appreciate the value of both – without the laws – there would be no perception of the need not to have them or the need to examine them?

    Perhaps – Anyway, my somewhat late thoughts for the day.

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  4. It was well worth the wait Pat. Your comments connect like the birth of consciousness. Meta I opens a canvas, or a panoramic view of I’s that offers something new for us each moment. If we can pull back far enough and with enough energy so that we don’t become trapped in identification, then the possibilities just happen. Meta I works to open consciousness and within this new awakening, or self-remembering, our fears become what they are, some buggered up I’s that are still hanging around, waiting to be reconciled. This also allows us to step into someone else shoes with compassion, and not sympathy, which can spread out into empty dreaming. In many ways we are returning home, feeling it on the pulse, working with our whole being,

    Perhaps this is life’s challenge to simply find out who we are; remain home and act accordingly. Thanks Pat!

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    1. “This also allows us to step into someone else shoes with compassion, and not sympathy” So apt. – I’ve seen this working with clients, often – they cease to judge themselves or others harshly and start to be able to treat themselves with compassion purely as a consequence of becoming more self aware. Magical when it happens.

      And I concur completely about the fears when seen for what they are – “our fears become what they are, some buggered up I’s that are still hanging around, waiting to be reconciled”.

      Also very succinct – when viewed from Meta I life becomes so much simpler!

      Thank you Patrick

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  5. Just two brief echoes of Patrick’s reflections on your comment, Pat. First, definitely well worth the wait to read your elegant response to Colin’s post. And second, I too was struck by your definition of life’s challenge – “find out who we are; remain home and act accordingly”. What a succinct bit of wisdom. Thanks!

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  6. Thanks Pat & Tom, and of course Colin, who sits somewhere with a cat in his lap wearing a straw hat igniting his dancing muse.

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  7. Well, here I am! Back home! In Meta-I for five minutes… After being identified with so many distractions. They were useful, I suppose, in that they gave me a real insight into the identification process. One needs that. As Pat said ‘…without the laws – there would be no perception of the need not to have them or the need to examine them…’ !

    For some reason, Patrick, your Whitman quotation seems to have been disappeared. It would be nice to have it reposted! He was certainly a man awake.

    For the moment (now that my five minutes in Meta-I is more or less up…) I’d just like to isolate Pat’s three points:-

    ***So it would seem to me that to return home, one must first identify where home is, and to find out who is returning and likely to inhabit home, one must first shed any exterior notion of who one “should” be. Only by stilling the external “noise” and internal “chatter” of laws beliefs or whatever one likes to call it; can we begin to achieve stillness required for getting to meta I and knowing ourselves.

    ***So how to shed laws – would it be as simple as choosing to do so; take each moment as new and remain with ourselves in each moment in order to have meaningful dialogue with ourselves and the experience?

    ***Another perspective might be – to employ both/and thinking – by both being aware of our rules for living and examining them and taking steps to be free of them, we can appreciate the value of both – without the laws – there would be no perception of the need not to have them or the need to examine them?

    These seem so important to me.

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  8. Tom said: Unfortunately for me, Colin, my experience has been the reverse – distraction is all the time, and mindfulness is always a too brief and too transitory respite from the distractions. So much of my practice is about performing what you call the internal STOP! again and again, and yet again some more. The only thing I’m truly mindful of all most of the time is how rarely I am mindful. My teacher says this in itself is mindfulness. Still practicing, still wondering ….

    This is also my experience: ‘distraction all the time’. And I think it’s a master-stroke to assert that the very awareness of this is mindfulness!

    Perhaps what Hubert Benoit is saying is something like, “What would happen if we took the view that satori-mindfulness is the natural state of being?” We can define that as a model and then the task is to fend off the distractions in order to become ‘a law unto ourselves’.

    But we get distracted from the task.

    Pat said: If our passage through life has been rocky, in the “outside world” perhaps we seek to attach to other things to give us a feeling of safety, familiarity, security. Sometimes these things are people, other times they are material things, or substances or at other times they are rules and self imposed limits. all coming from and are seen through the lens of our original fear and desire for survival.

    So it would seem to me that to return home, one must first identify where home is, and to find out who is returning and likely to inhabit home, one must first shed any exterior notion of who one “should” be. Only by stilling the external “noise” and internal “chatter” of laws beliefs or whatever one likes to call it; can we begin to achieve stillness required for getting to meta I and knowing ourselves.

    ‘Home’ might be a state of recognising that ‘satori-mindfulness is the natural state of being’ then the task becomes to get into the ‘I’ that can committedly go along with that. Maybe.

    Patrick said: We must discover a new river because “I” can’t change or Do anything to change my mechanical flow. So now what? Like Gurdjieff said, a man who knows he can’t remember himself, already knows a lot, or something like that. This is the beginning of liberation, although it doesn’t feel that way, not to me anyway. The questions we ask each day and at all times: Who am I?, Why are you here?, What are you doing right now?, What is your aim?, can begin to become something different. These questions can begin to feel like small prayers, and they can also open up areas of the body that are sleeping. In this sense the word sleeping means tied to a prison of fear and deception where the flow of habitual associations keep the brain believing that its doing something.

    Onward!

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  9. Musicophilia by Patrick Lowery
    (after Oliver Sacks)

    We use what is there for us to use
    a pick, a shovel, the weather, time,

    all manner of celebration contained
    in an old man’s eyes,

    as he leans into another story,
    the dog’s wagging tail, the cat’s dispirited yawn,
    the caterpillar’s ascent,

    the voice from a loud-speaker,
    the base stealer’s grin, shaking off the dirt,

    the scent of cigars and perfume,
    her shapely neck, the scattering of blackbirds,

    the young lover’s kiss, a blissful reminder to all
    fading kisses,

    the groceries, the forgotten block of ice, the restless wait for dinner,
    the child’s bleeding knee, the wet towel, filled with chips of glass,

    the ride in the family wagon, the driver’s pensive brow,
    the conversation of dreaming,

    dreaming and dreaming of daughters and sons,
    the morning work with or without company,
    or the slightest notion,

    the continuation and elusive proposition of the poet’s last pause…
    the mandolin, the cello, and the strings of things alive,

    the addition and subtraction of a swallow’s feathers,
    the tractor’s view of landscapes,
    the coming winter,

    the momentary stop of a farmer’s plow,
    the work and ache contained in rain,

    resting in our bodies and in the curtains,
    where a breeze lifts us along the way.

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