An idea that I've found useful is something I'll call the High Ground metaphor.
Partly because of the way our brains are structured, and partly because of the structural flaws imprinted into our personalities by our society, it's very easy for we humans to get "lost" in the details of our lives. I'm calling it lost, here, in the sense of losing one's way, becoming confused, uncertain of one's location, uncertain of direction, and distressed, even frightened. This is a universal human experience, part of the price we pay for having such powerful brains and minds.
Universal, but still pretty unpleasant. We feel bad and anxious when we feel lost, and we feel better when we feel oriented, "found". When we know where we are and where we are going.
Survival experts teach a rule to be followed when you are lost; "Seek High Ground, and Look for Landmarks". Climb a hill, climb a tree, climb a rock, even climb on a friend and look for guides, signposts, recognizable features. Get your bearings from the landmarks you see, and then climb down and get back on your way.
"Seek High Ground" is just as useful a rule when you are psychologically lost as it would be when lost in deep woods.
How do you seek the psychological high ground? With focused attention. With focused intention. By concentrating your thoughts and behaviors.
Holidays and celebrations are an example of focused attention and intention, Christmas and Easter, Fourth of July and Thanksgiving, weddings and graduations. Rituals are also, from the huge popular rituals of elections, superbowls, and wars, to the smallest individual acts, knocking on wood and crossing fingers. Immersion in a hobby, in a family, in a love affair can also be a form of focused attention and intention. And most importantly, focused attention and intention is a type of mindset, a feeling of mind, that each one of us as individuals can learn to turn on and off at will, with training and practice.
What does this mean, in a practical way? When you are feeling lost, seek the psychological high ground by concentrating, by thinking strongly about, well, pretty much anything... Whatever is around you that you can concentrate on, that you feel able to concentrate on, focus on that and ask yourself "What can this do for me? What does this show me? What does this mean?".
If that type of concentration doesn't help you feel less lost in the details of life*, then try ritual behaviors. Light a candle, burn some incense, ring a bell, listen to some uplifting music, and you will feel better. Don't laugh, don't scoff, these things work. Our brains are powerful but they're also very primitive in a lot of ways. Physical behaviors and symbolic actions have profound and clearly demonstrable effects on consciousness and mind.
"Seek High Ground and Get Your Bearings"; it's been a useful, no, it's been, and is, a vital psychological tool for me.
*This is actually something of a bad joke on my part, because the reality is that it takes years of work to be able to get your bearings by mind concentration alone. While the effort of mental concentration we make is a critical success factor, 99.999999999% of us need ritual behaviors in order to effectively focus our attention and intention minds. What this means is that you have to make the mental effort for it to work (for you to feel "found" instead of lost), but you also have to perform your personal rituals, even if those rituals are subtle or even unconscious. It's the combined effort that changes our consciousness, allows us to see from the vantage point of the psychological high ground, and to get the benefits of flashes of insight that increase our sense of self-confidence and self-knowledge.
I'll go into greater depth into this and other ideas in future Telesterion Letters.
Peace for all we beings,
Good for both
|This is a fine, fun book, excellent illustrations,
brilliant color plates, a good basic introduction to traditional thinking about kundalini,
and quite good comments attached to the illo's and plates to help the reader understand
the ideas and the culture which produced the ideas. I've pored thru it many times, and
find new juice in the images every time.
Watch this space for "The Angel and the Dinosaur" comix.
Feeling "lost" to the point where it is seriously scaring or sickening you?
This is actually pretty common. It is our modern version of the Shamanic Illness, the crisis of meaning and ego which forces the ordinary person into the Vision Quest, the journey of self-development.
This book , The Stormy Search for the Self, has some useful stories and ideas for dealing with the shamanic ilness.
This is an intermediate level book.
I reviewed this book for Gnosis magazine when it first came out. I was judging it from the perspective of it's esoteric relevance, and I was unfairly harsh in my review; unfairly, because it wasn't a book written for esotericists, but more of a suggestive manual with case histories for psychologists and ordinary persons undergoing the spiritual crisis. If you want to read my review you can find it here, Grof & Parfitt.
|Looking Back on the Eclipsed
Click this link, this picture is amazing. Come right
I like to visit my own site just so I can click on that great link:
Here are the Polish Count Alfred Korzybski's classics, both of which are absolute must-reads for the advanced practitioner. These books transformed my practice, and if you read them at the right time, they will transform yours. (We all have to deal with different issues at different times in our lives; I read these after about fifteen years of immersing myself in much more occult and mystical pursuits, and Korzybski allowed me to re-understand what I'd learned from years of exploring the irrational/a-rational from a much more rigorous and science-based viewpoint.)
Korsybski's topic was the nature and power of words, especially the power of words to shape reality, to shape the experience of the individual and the group.
His thesis, in part, is that we are deceived about the real nature of the world by the flaws and limitations of words. At the same time, he demonstrates, thru concepts such as time-binding and orders of abstraction, that words and language, and the semantic rules that make words work, are the ultimate creation of humankind, and the true source of all our wealth and potential.
A similar stream of teachings about the importance of words and language is nearly universal to all the esoteric systems of this planet, east and west, north and south, ancient and modern. All have their versions of teachings of the Word, the Name, the Book, the Symbol. When we see a universal, that is, more specifically, a planetary pattern of similar teachings, it's reasonable to theorize that those specific repeatededly-occurring ideas are more objectively accurate as descriptions, or "real".
Korzybski will open your mind about words.
In "Manhood of Humanity" Korsybski waxes a bit more philosophic, speculating about future societies in which humans are free of the current unconscious superdependence on inaccurate fictions like "I", "God", the "is" of identity, and all that type of thing. A people who had the power to control their own words, both in their heads, and in their communications with others. Controlling their words, rather than being controlled by them, and able to use and create new word-tools at will, and turn them off as well.
This is a critical part of enlightenment. The ability to control your words, rather than being controlled by them. They don't have to be controlled all the time, but the enlightened person can control words, subjectively and objectively, at will.
Check out this new shelf in the bookstore, TANTRA.
Check out this new shelf in the bookstore, Robert Anton Wilson.
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