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More Getting There From Here

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Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. Albert Einstein

Einstein was famous for his thought experiments, so let’s do something of that sort for a moment. Imagine that you can hold the scope of existence in your mind, from the Big Bang to just now. Conceive of the billions of years of stellar and planetary formation, the hundreds of millions of years of life formation, and the millions of years of the development of the human body and mind that lead to this moment. You stand at the crest of that mounting wave that begins at the bottom of the depths and thrusts upward.

Ask yourself, “What am I doing with this moment at the crest, this moment that represents the labors of existence and the labors of uncounted beings for billions of years?” For all those labors, how do you exert yourself to give in return? This moment of self-aware cognition may not be happening anywhere else in the universe. We don’t know. Can we let it slip by? How do you spend these moments of existence? How do you use your mind and the vast sparkling gift of this internet that links us together? What do you express? Is it a gift in return for the gift? Only you can truthfully answer that for yourself.

In the last article I posted here, I stated the thought that the internet represented our collective unconscious mind with all the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’m going to extend the analogy into another thought experiment. Imagine you are a computer connected wirelessly to the internet, but with a firewall that doesn’t allow you to see the internet. The firewall also allows and regulates a flow of information. If it could truly think, the computer would think it was isolated and alone with little effect on other computers it might see, and no effect on computers it can’t see. The computer might see some random comings and goings of information from the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it could only see the randomness. The computer might have to invent words to describe the random comings and goings, words like imagination, insight, prophecy, and madness.

Now think of the human condition. Our own firewalls have a tricky job. Imagine as a child bearing the full brunt of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It would be a paralyzing or terminal information overload. For survival’s sake the firewall has to dole out access as the individual human mind grows, expands, gains strength. However in this conjecture, this thought experiment, the firewall is sometimes sabotaged, sometimes damaged. Horrors like war and sexual abuse and abandonment as well as the bad expression of genes, damage the regulator and new words enter our vocabulary, words like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and psychosis.

We believe we are separated but we are not. Every point is connected to another by the fabric of existence, the fabric of space-time. What we call the empty vacuum of outer space is still part of the fabric. Our minds share everything, the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you can really see this, can really grasp the nature of this conjecture, then it’s time to move on to the next steps. The trick is to learn to manage your own firewall, your own access to the mind-of-all, damaged regulator, or not. You become the regulator in an ultimate act of self-responsibility and being. There are deeper levels to this mind-of-all that go far below the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In returning to our original inquiry, I have to ask, what are you inputting to the mind-of-all? What thought forms, what energies do you put into the internet and into our collective mind that others will have to suffer for? Do you exert yourself to return a gift for the gift, or do you contribute anger, venom, attitude, and self-aggrandizement, the same-old shit? How are you spending your moment in the fabric of all this, this fabric of space-time and beyond?

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About John Spivey

  • duane

    John asks:

    In returning to our original inquiry, I have to ask, what are you inputting to the mind-of-all?

    Some good, some bad, and some ugly. No doubt.

    What thought forms, what energies do you put into the internet and into our collective mind that others will have to suffer for?

    Anti-religious sentiment.

    Do you exert yourself to return a gift for the gift, or do you contribute anger, venom, attitude, and self-aggrandizement, the same-old shit?

    A touch of the occasional anger, often in response to the other bad stuff you mention.

    How are you spending your moment in the fabric of all this, this fabric of space-time and beyond?

    Battling the eternal conflict of the everyday vs. the cosmic Big Questions.

  • gonzo marx

    oh my stars and garters, John…you don’t muck around, but go right for the jugular…

    I have to ask, what are you inputting to the mind-of-all? – reactionary rantings and primal screeds

    What thought forms, what energies do you put into the internet and into our collective mind that others will have to suffer for? – good one…sometimes a bit of reflection, a skewed view attempting to find the different Angle that may shed Light into the Dark…many times just wanting to bash Diogenes for being so slow with that damn lamp…

    Do you exert yourself to return a gift for the gift, or do you contribute anger, venom, attitude, and self-aggrandizement, the same-old shit? -umm…all of the above, i guess…but i do try an dmake certain my shit ain’t the same olde…mileage varies

    How are you spending your moment in the fabric of all this, this fabric of space-time and beyond? – in sheer frustration and futility for the most part, but sometimes the moon is indeed Blue and i get to read something like this article

    /golfclap

    Excelsior?

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    duane-
    Thanks for coming back.
    religious/anti-religious–flips sides of the same coin. go deeper.
    everyday vs. Big Question–they can become one, even while sweeping floors.
    from Gary Snyder,
    -become one with the knot itself,
    till it dissolves away
    -sweep the garden.
    -any size

    gonzo,
    Thanks for the link. It provides a companion to this piece.
    Yeh, Diogenes. Tough task he had.
    You know from martial arts that force is usually only met with force in response. The soft arts absorb and redirect force. I’d say lead and redirect. The style is your choice.

    I want you both to know I wouldn’t raise these questions if I hadn’t explored them myself and explored the other side, or I should say explored the place beyond the opposition of two sides.

    I do value your taking the time to post your own thoughts. It provides more worth for continuing.

    John

  • SonnyD

    Most interesting, John. So now I’m a computer with a wireless connection and a firewall that allows random bits of information to get through. Isn’t language frustrating when you have a mental concept you are trying to communicate by comparing it to something people can understand? “It’s like this, sort of, only different.” That is an apt description, though.

    Here is a question for you. What would a man do if he had a firewall that let through more than the good, the bad and the ugly? What if he had mental abilities that most people didn’t? There is a reason for this question. I started writing a story about a young man who was raised by his mother and paternal grandfather. Most of his time was spent with the grandfather. After the grandfather died he started finding out things about this ability the older man had. It seems the grandfather had spent the early part of his life locating other people who had similar abilities and bringing them together for some purpose.

    The problem is, so far I don’t feel like I’m the one who is writing the story. I’m just hearing it and writing it down. I have a vague idea of where it might be headed and I’m not sure I even want to go there. In fact, I put it aside and started planning another story that I’m in control of. But, it won’t go away. What would you do?

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    Sonny,

    As I said, there are much deeper levels than the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    There are different kinds of writing. Most of it is an expression of ego and we can delight in our cleverness and control. Sometimes we are a scribe for something else and it becomes an act of giving back. We cannot control the wave that rises from the depths, but we can become great surfers and skillfully, gracefully express the wave.

    The grandfather thing is interesting. Mythologically, the grandparents represent the spirit world, and to be raised by a grandparent is to be introduced into the spirit house without developing the ways of the world. It is the way of the seer. The grandfather figures in our culture include Merlin, Obi Wan, and even Dumbledore. Spiritually we crave that wisdom, but realistically we’d rather watch TV or play computer games. We would rather watch it, than be it.

    There may be deep spiritual reasons for the grandfather to gather others together. He may also be just plain lonely for others to whom he can really speak. Having a power is in and of itself merely interesting. Finding the real self that can gracefully express that power is the real challenge. How did the grandfather handle the challenge?

    Why be afraid of the exploration? Something beyond your sphere of control may be trying to teach you, reveal itself to you. A dream teacher once told me that even nightmares aren’t there to frighten us, only to get our attention and point toward some valuable deep knowledge.

    Knock, knock. Answer the door.

    John

  • SonnyD

    John: Well, you have certainly given me some things to think about. I knew about the elderly, wise man archetype, but wasn’t aware that grandparents, in general, represent the spirit world.

    In the story, the grandfather says he comes from a line of men who all sire one son and die peacefully in their sleep at the age of 97. The story starts on the second day after he dies. It is slowly disclosing bits of his life that the grandson knew nothing about. It seems this line of men are all born with the knowledge of a connection to some form of intelligence that exists outside the physical world. He is not what you would call a seer, but he knows of other people who are. They are all part of a group that is not a formal organization of any kind, but have inherited different types of abilities that they have been using for generations to gather other similar people to them.

    The grandfather’s job was to make contact with these people and escort them to one of the communities that were established as safe havens. These are located in areas least likely to be subject to armed conflict or natural disasters. The purpose of the communities is to compile a record of the knowledge and abilities of each person since each one seems to differ in some way from the next.

    The grandfather retired from this occupation when he was around 50. He married and had a son and settled down to raise cattle on a ranch in one of the communities where many of the people he had gathered and their children were living. He assumed his son would carry on the tradition of his line, but the son rebelled. He wanted nothing to do with it and mentally blocked out the abilities he had been born with. The son enlisted in the military and was killed in battle. The grandfather was devastated and blamed himself for his son’s death. When his son’s widow and his grandson came to live with him, he was determined not to make the same mistake again. So, even though he could tell the grandson had inherited some of the same abilities, he did not attempt to push him to develop them.

    As the story starts, someone has just tried to kill the grandson, and he has no idea why. The other men from the community who were the old man’s friends know they will have to tell him about their history for his own protection. So far, I don’t know why someone wanted to kill him, either.

    The strange part about this is, I was 1500 words into it before I realized I was writing in first person. I never write in first person. Have never felt comfortable with it. Yet, there I was telling the condensed version of the life of a 21 year old.

    I’m curious about where this story would go if I continue it, but it is nothing at all like anything I’ve ever thought about writing before. It is really a strange feeling, I started this because I had a picture of a scene and one sentence in my head and thought I’d just make a note of it and maybe use it some day.

    Sonny

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    Sonny,

    Sorry it’s taken me a bit to get back. I was thinking of this story overnight and into today. I’m trying to draw people together in some form of comradeship here that unites different strengths and forms of awareness, so your story has some resonance for me.

    Of course I can’t tell you where to go with the story or what it might mean. I can only say that being a fatherless boy or young man who touches the spirit world is an important thing symbolically, mythologically. In my examples of grandfathers in my above comment, Luke, Harry, and Arthur are all fatherless.

    It’s up to you to plumb the depths of this story and see where it goes. Many famous writers say they don’t know what will happen to their characters. The writer has to wait for the character to reveal him/her self. I’d be interested to see what happens for you. You can always email me directly with the link in my bio above this. If you keep returning to the story, it will reveal itself, if not for publication, then for your own knowledge and enlightenment.

    John

  • troll

    the future is a tale we spin – now is all there is…so it’s safe to say (and I’ve always wanted to find an appropriate occasion): you can’t get ‘there’ from ‘here’

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    troll,

    The now that most people deal with is a very narrow band of perception. They care nothing about how this “now” impacts what is to come and it many times becomes an exercise in narcissism. My experience of now bows to all that has come before and thoughtfully considers all that is to come, all while being as aware as I can in this present instant.

    John

  • troll

    John – my experience is that narcissism raises its ugly head when one takes his concoctions concerning the past and speculations about the future too seriously – not out of limited views of the now

    you and I see things differently: you describe interaction with force as leading and directing – I see it as sticking and yielding…and if Gandhi taught us nothing else it was that one can’t teach anybody anything

    …so as I see it folks don’t need gurus and leaders or lessons in etiquette…they need self respect

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    troll-

    After reading your comment, I sat with it awhile and rolled it over in my mind, examined it a bit. I have wondered some about the nature of self-respect. What self am I to respect–the intellectual part, the athletic part, the craftsman part, the writer part. Or is there something deeper, more profound, beyond pride of achievement?

    As I sat and held your comment in mind I realized that I neither respected, nor disrespected myself. There was just a sense of beingness. Self respect yields to self disrespect in varying waves of the coming and going of opposites. The question to explore is the nature of that state beyond those opposites.

    I have had my share of bad teachers and a few treasured good ones. I’ve had to learn to finely distinguish between the two, without giving up my openness to and enjoyment of learning. You make a blanket statement about not being able to teach anyone anything. That leads to the question, are you capable of being taught, or do you gain identity from being unteachable? Whatever the answer, it is indeed your choice.

    Leading is sometimes sticking, directing is sometimes yielding. Always sticking and yielding leaves me as old gum on the bottom of somebody’s shoe.

    John

  • troll

    so John…(while gum generally has trouble with the yielding part) following the image: what’s the problem with being that old gum – ?

    one garden path is to *explore the nature of that state beyond those opposites*…does that make it the garden path as your comment seems to imply – ?

    couldn’t another be to explore creative energy and harmony within the multiplicity of opposites for example – ?

    …and [bracketing the question of the identity of the self for now] yes there’s more to self respect than pride – ‘respect’ also carries a sense of circumspection

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    troll,

    I don’t say there is one garden path. My phrase to describe it is, “one eye on the polestar, the other on where the foot falls next.”

    My occupations–carpenter, furniture maker, middle school teacher (both classroom and on extended trips into the outdoors)–have carried heavy penalties if I wasn’t fully present within the multiplicity of opposites. So yes, I do draw great amounts of creative energy from being present in the mix. That presence however, is always informed by the polestar at the center (from our frame of reference) of the circling heavens. I choose to explore a path of sharp tools and honed words, not to go down the path of a Bukowski-like existence. As best I can, I choose to return a gift for the gift rather than to bring more degradation into the world. I have witnessed enough of the degradation firsthand to carry no romantic notions about its freedom

    Possibly the only way to live beyond the opposites is in a cave somewhere, but that’s not my life. I wouldn’t want it to be. There are terrible politics even within spiritual communities. The school where I taught was housed in an old seminary where unspeakable things happened to a number of the boys.

    Knowing where to let the foot fall next is a practiced art, like playing a piano or practicing a martial art. After a while one just knows where to step or place the hand. In the end we may be talking of nearly the same thing, but words fail us.

    John

  • SonnyD

    John: Well, I’m certainly teachable. Could you explain a “Bukowski-like existence” for me?

    Troll: Gandhi taught us that one can’t teach anybody anything? I always thought he taught millions by example. Maybe you were referring to a different kind of teaching.

    I’m not sure I’m following what the two of you are saying, but I’m trying. But, for the time being, the here and now is calling. Tiger Woods is playing today.

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    sonny,

    Sorry for being perhaps too abstract. Anyway, I think troll is concerned that I’m trying to define one true path. In actuality I believe there are many, anywhere from gardening to martial arts to painting and writing. What I also believe is that the path should point to and serve the larger vision of being here, of serving life, and not merely be an act of self indulgence. I use the word polestar to stand for that larger vision of being here, the vision that guides us. Great athletes could use their sport as a path to understanding themselves and true nature, but instead choose to simply exalt themselves.

    About Bukowski–Charles Bukowski was a writer from LA who has gained a huge cult following for his stories of a bloated drunken life. Some people find a romance, a freedom of expression in his writings and life and see it as a form of path. For myself, I grew up with a drunken father who sometimes slept in his own vomit. He found no enlightenment in his life on this path, only continual self-torture and destruction. I certainly found no romance in the lifestyle, no heroic quality.

    Many things can be a path, but few really are in practice.

    John

  • SonnyD

    John: Thanks for the info on Bukowski. No wonder I didn’t recognize the name, that would not have been my cup of tea.

  • troll

    John – we have no fundamental disagreement except perhaps that imo vitriolic interaction serves as ‘pure’ and productive a function as any other approach…depends on intension

    …and that imo as soon as one sees himself as a leader he has inserted just enough ego to derail the cosmos

    as a farrier I share your perception of praxis and ‘being here now’

  • http://crowscry.blogspot.com John Spivey

    troll-

    There are different types of leadership. We are mostly governed by the leadership of imposition. There is also leadership by stimulus and example, which we rarely encounter. Leadership by imposition always has to make excuses for its shortcomings and mistakes by making new rules and exceptions for power. Leadership by stimulus is always examining its own flaws and correcting them midcourse.

    To be perfectly transparent, my reason for writing these pieces is to stimulate and awaken people so they truly understand for themselves what they need to do for themselves and for the larger arc of life. I have no personal interest in telling them what to do. In large part that is what has gotten us into this mess. We are always acting like children and are looking for someone to save us rather than growing up and learning the skills of truly being here in order to save ourselves. There are responsibilities to being here, but we’d rather be irresponsible.

    The cosmos IS derailed. What do we do about it?

    John

  • Nancy

    Mmmm…this sounds a lot like a story I once read titled “The Guardians”. If you wrote something similar, it’s a confluence of ideas, for sure.

    I would hope I’m humble enough to say & recognize that I’m not smart enough & don’t know enough to run the whole cosmos. Hell, I have enough trouble handling my own infinitely miniscule & pissant part of it, let alone anyone elses, let alone the whole shebang.

  • SonnyD

    Nancy: Haven’t you heard what happens when a butterfly flaps its wings? Everything you do affects the whole shebang. At least that is one theory.

  • SonnyD

    John: In #18, first paragraph, last two sentences. If I were writing that, I would change the word “always” to “usually.”

    A basic example would be a parent. As a parent, I would prefer to lead by stimulus and example, but there were times when, for the safety of the child or others, I had to demand obedience. That never kept me from assessing the results of my actions and making changes in the times I chose to use force. On the other hand a person may try to lead by stimulus or example and be wrong in the example they are setting. They could also be blind to their own mistakes and never make corrections.

    This same example could apply to any position of power from family leader to world leader.

  • troll

    SonnyD – I don’t mean to ignore your #14…just trying to come up with a more satisfying response than ‘open your eyes and look around’

    I’ll get back to you

  • http://chantalstone.wordpress.com Chantal

    When your eyes, heart, and mind are open, the Universe always knows what to give right at the exact time you need it…not a minute too soon or too late.

    I’m sorry I missed this article when it was first published, but thankful that I found at the exact moment I was ready to receive it. Which is why I am patiently awaiting your next book, John :)

    The question you ask, I don’t believe require a direct answer, but they do demand deep reflection. The idea of connection is certainly a comforting thought.

    Thanks again, John!

    Chantal