Intuition and Intellect,
Consciousness' Tools and Teammates
INTRODUCTION TO TOPIC
A simpler treatment of this general topic, a little essay on Being Naked in the Garden (click to read it), was posted in a Compuserve library several years ago, stemming from the experience I relate at the end of this essay. It is something I still believe to be useful, but just didn't suffice in terms of satisfying my need to try to understand the nature of consciousness and being. The attempt to understand these things is reported here in this, and the linked, essays.
The more I read on the topic of consciousness, however, the more convinced I become that the topic is insurmountable, intellectually. The more one comes to understand, the more one then understands that the topic is either larger, or just more elusive, than previously thought. In the aggregate,learning more about consciousness means learning more about your own ignorance. But thanks to the intuitive side of us all, we can forget the intellect's question, relax, and happily enjoy just knowing others, and trusting ourselves being conscious beings. Nakedness is the answer. Well, a balanced nakedness: late in 2000 I go and read a book called "Awakening Intuition" by Mona Lisa Schulz, and it says to not be too naked, in so many words. That advice reminds me of Jesus' telling his disciples to be "wise as serpents but harmless as doves." In other words, the intellect plays a role in your life, but there is also the need to be vulnerable as a white dove, naked in the garden in my parlance. Balance is the key.
But what follows is, I believe, a useful and insight-promoting discussion of the roles of intuition and intellect. It is a very different discussion from the Mysticism, Good or Evil? page. That page enters into an argument against a faction of society that despises mysticism and its tool, the intuitive side of the human mind, as being profoundly primitive and evil. That faction is named on that page,and a link is provided so interested readers can verify that there is indeed such a faction. I didn't make them up. I cite several works in opposition.
The faction that is so negative on the intuitive faculties, and that sees mysticism as a dangerous throwback to a more primitive state of being, a devolution of human nature and of society, is solidly based on a rather literal acceptance of Julian Jaynes' speculative book on societies at the dawn of history being both severely autocratic and universal. Such governments existed before a notion of individual dignity or rights existed,because the consciousness of humans was less developed than it is today. I take that notion to task in the Mysticism,Good or Evil? page. If you are unfamiliar with Jaynes' work,and want to do a quick review of what some others (outside the controversy engaged in on the Mysticism, Good or Evil? page, I tried to help by giving a set of excerpts from web pages on Julian Jaynes' The Bicameral Mind.
I was very much surprised to see Jaynes' work approvingly cited in a book by Dr. Melvin Morse on Near Death Experiences (NDEs). The linked page is a copy of a letter I sent to Dr.Morse suggesting he was wrong to cite Jaynes in the context in which he had done so. I also cite many Christian mystics' experiences of oneness with the Divine, throwbacks to a bicameral mode according to some. Quite inspiring accounts of intuitive insights received by minds of exemplary power and clarity, expressed by persons with a gift for linguistic expression,according to me. Dr. Morse replied that he appreciated the additional insights.
Now to the page at hand: This page also starts out with a warning, but one that does not invalidate the desire to join the intuition and the intellect into a more whole way of being.
A strong voice warning against trusting intuition is that of the obviously brilliant Marilyn vos Savant. She voices a very strong warning in her book "The Power of Logical Thinking, Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning. . . and Hard Facts About Its Absence in Our Lives," St.Martins Press, New York, 1996.
She begins the main text of the book on page 3 with this dramatic warning from history: "The war was started as the result of a mistaken intuitive "calculation" which transcended mathematics. We believed with a blind fervor that we could triumph over scientific weapons and tactics by means of our mystic will.... The characteristic reliance on intuition by Japanese had blocked the objective cognition of the modern world, Nyozekan Hasegawa, The Lost Japan, 1952." Vos Savant continues: "Although we shouldn't underestimate the damage caused by reliance on intuition, our personal experience with it often takes a more prosaic form."
She then proceeds to give example after example of errors in judgment based on what seemed like logical evaluations of facts. Later, on page 40, she observes:"When we lack knowledge, most of us operate on 'gut instinct' or more enigmatically,on 'intuition.' But for math purposes, they're worth about the same--not much!"
It is hard to argue with the examples she gives where the obvious thing to do was selected without "doing the math." If there is math involved, do the math!
On her page 63, under the topic of "misunderstanding statistics," Ms. vos Savant points out that intuition works against us if we do not understand either the statistics or the meaning of the data being analyzed. That statistics are used to manipulate and misinform, there can be no argument. That intuition plays a role when there is no knowledge base, is also obvious. Facts and math are not the type of thing one should address with intuition which is based on other forms of knowledge and experience.
What forms of knowledge and experience are the basis of intuition? And interesting discussion on dreams by Montague Ullman, M.D. addresses this topic. That discussion is located in a book by Helen Palmer, Ed., "Inner Knowing - Consciousness, Creativity, Insight, and Intuition, ' Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, 1998. It constitutes chapter 13 of that book, pages 91-97, and is titled "Dreaming Consciousness."
Ullman describes the dreaming process as a very primitive one designed to waken the sleeping individual when danger is sensed. Animals still have this capacity for exactly this reason, but humans have moved from an environment of natural threats and dangers to one of societal threats and dangers, and dreaming has kept pace. "The ability to think in imagery seems to be carried over from our prehistory. That such imagery is so closely linked to the repetitive physiological stages of arousal during sleep, the REM stage, suggests that the imagery serves an alerting function. The need for this may have come about because from a phylogenetic standpoint, it may not have been safe enough, in the presence of predators, to remain unconscious for too long a period of time. Lower animals have the same periods of arousal during sleep that characterize the dreaming stage in humans . . . As primitive people evolved into social beings, their concerns shifted gradually from the possibility of physical danger from the outside to dangers inherent in maintaining the fabric of social existence. The problem of survival was transformed to what was happening in the social environment. This, in turn, was contingent on the quality and nature of ones connections to others. Social dangers become more manifest through the play of feelings and mood, contingent on the vicissitudes of social intercourse. To display concerns of that kind, the simple literal imaging mode, presumably possible for lower animals,had to be transformed into a more sophisticated use of imagery that ultimately led to the use of the image as a visual metaphor.Vigilance with respect to physical danger has been transformed into social vigilance."
Ullman continues this discussion: "This formulation stresses the underlying identity between waking consciousness and dreaming consciousness. Both are concerned with the effect of impinging stimuli. Both involve the challenge of novelty.Awake, we scan an external environment. Asleep, we scan an internal environment. When we are awake, perception begins with sensitivity to form and motion and is directed outward. When we are asleep and dreaming, perception begins with sensitivity to feelings triggered by recent intrusive events and is directed inward. Awake, we strive toward conceptual clarity as a guide to action in the world."
I have cut short this discussion to focus on the relationship between waking and dreaming consciousness: "dreaming consciousness serves the same function as waking consciousness with regard to laying the foundation for interconnectedness between members of the human species. It does so under different circumstances, deals with different content, and processes that content in a different way. In each of us, there is an incorruptible core of being, sensitive to the way we hurt ourselves or others and concerned with undoing the fragmentation that has resulted."
Ullman continues: "I regard waking consciousness as an evolutionary adaptation that enables us to move into the future as social creatures bent on shaping our own cultural and social destinies. At our disposal in this endeavor are the memories of our past; the free play of our imaginations; the range of our desires; and the energy, hope, and creativity that we bring to this task."
Dreaming consciousness is quite a contrast to waking consciousness, it is more primitive,but it is necessary: "Might dreaming consciousness serve our survival needs as a species by the way it cuts through illusions and, with considerable drama and a good deal of hyperbole, calls attention to both our base stand our loftiest attributes?" Ullman answers this question after some discussion:"dreaming is an unconscious ally in the struggle of the species to survive and an ally in the struggle of the individual to fulfill a role in society that favors species survival. That role goes beyond the purely biological to include cultural and social goals as well. The range of our personal experience is sifted through a "survival filter" when we dream in a way that highlights those aspects of that experience that are either strengthening or hindering our capacity for collaborative ties with others. Seen in this light, dreaming is an even more reliable ally than waking consciousness in that there are no spurious ego needs to pander to. It is more spontaneous,more insistent, more compelling."
"If we take the trouble to permit those nocturnal reflections to find their place in our waking world, they provide us with a starting point in the continuing struggle to transcend our limitations. The nature of our interdependencies such that, as personal connections evolve more solidly, there are effects that reverberate upward toward ever-larger social units. Dreams can point us in the right direction. They reveal our strengths, acknowledge our weaknesses,expose our deceits, and liberate our creativity. They deserve far greater attention than they now receive.".
Concerning the symbolic language of the dreaming state, Ullman says: " No one taught us this language, but we all speak it fluently. Our dreaming self has never lost sight of the fact that we are all members of a single species, and it makes use of this intrinsic capacity to keep reminding us of that fact."
Ullman's entire essay is much broader than indicated in these excerpts, of course.The important points were, however, that symbolic language is something inborn,and we use it in dreaming to help ourselves see our place in society and where that place can or should be redefined. It is a form of intuitive knowing.
One of the more cogent books on this general topic, I have found, is "The Natural Mind, An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness," by Andrew Weil (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1986 revised edition). Weil observes on his page 36 that: "It is noteworthy that most of the world's highest religious and philosophic thought originated in altered states of consciousness in individuals (Gautama, Paul, Mohammed, etc.). It is also noteworthy that creative genius has long been observed to correlate with psychosis and that intuitive genius is often associated with daydreaming, meditation,dreaming, and other non ordinary modes of consciousness.
"What conclusions can we draw from all this information? At the least, it would seem, altered states of consciousness have great potential for strongly positive psychic development. They appear to be the ways to more effective and fuller use of the nervous system, to development of creative and intellectual faculties, and to attainment of certain kinds of thought that have been deemed exalted by all who have experienced them."
This book is an exploration of altered states of consciousness, and the thesis of the book is that drugs can bring one to the exact same state as more acceptable spiritual practices can, and the key is that while in those states it is the individual, not the drug or technique that determines the nature of the experience, whether destructive or instructive.
"Straight thinking"is what Weil calls the normal. intellect based way of spending our waking time. On page 120 he explains: "A person using his mind in a straight way tends to forget that his intellect is only one component of his mind;therefore,he thinks he knows something when he understands it intellectually.The counterculture in contemporary America violently opposes this attitude and insists that direct experience is the only valid source of knowledge."Weil continues to discuss the fact that he approves of the latter in its positive manifestations, and sees it as "a breath of fresh air that is beginning to dispel some of the stagnation of intellectual life in our society."
As an intellectual, however, Weil confesses (p. 121) "I have found it difficult to accept the fact that my intellect is a hindrance to the kind of development of my mind I now wish to undertake. But I now understand that the intellect is merely the thought producer of the mind and that thoughts are not realities.In order to perceive reality directly, one must sooner or later learn how to abandon the intellect and disengage oneself from the thoughts it produces incessantly."
Weil cites another with a similar opinion, and continues with (p. 122): "Perhaps the most effective stratagem of the intellect is to convince its owner that it is equivalent to the mind; if one accepts this notion, abandoning the intellect becomes equivalent to losing one's mind. . . . "Being able to abandon the intellect at will in order to experience certain things directly does not mean losing the intellect permanently. It is always there, always producing its endless chain of associated thoughts, and always available for use. And thoughts can be useful. . . . But once the intellect leads us to the brink of an experience, it has served its function, and we must let go of it; otherwise we never (p. 123) have the experience and never come to know what we are talking about."
On his pages 124-125, Weil accuses the intellect of the same unreliability that intuition is accused of by Marilyn vos Savant: "If a wrong hypothesis is used as the premise of subsequent intellectual activity or behavior, that activity or behavior will also be wrong, and the wrongness will increase the further one goes from the erroneous hypothesis. This significant risk of building wrong hypotheses into one's conceptual framework is the trouble with straight thinking:identification of the mind with the intellect and acceptance of intellectual descriptions of reality as true without submitting them to the proof of trial by actual experiment. This false identification is itself an aspect of a more general false identification: the confusion of the mind with ordinary, ego-centered waking consciousness. In fact,all of the other characteristics of straight thinking follow from this ultimate confusion because they are really characteristics of the ego and its thought-producing component, the intellect." The next 24 pages are devoted to developing and illustrating this topic.
"Stoned thinking," the "bright alternative" (p. 148) to "straight thinking," is defined beginning on page 149. The parts that interest me for the purpose at hand begin on page 149 under the very important heading: "Reliance on intuition as well as intellection" and include these statements:
"Intuition is something known to all of us by experience: to the intellect it is a mystery. In fact intellectual speculation about the nature of intuition is in the same muddle it was when it started, many years ago. Contemporary educational theorists recognize that intuition is the most important intrinsic factor governing the acquisition of information in the (p. 150) growing child," . . .
"Intuitive flashes are transient, spontaneous, altered states of consciousness consisting of particular sensory experiences or thoughts couple with strong emotional reactions. But -and this is the distinguishing feature- the intellect cannot explain the association; there is no logical reason for the feelings we get on meeting certain persons, places, things, or ideas. Such real experiences being non ordinary, challenge the logic of ordinary consciousness." . ..
As to where these associations come from, Weil postulates that they "originate in the unconscious mind, and the strangeness of intuitions is the same strange feeling we experience whenever a portion of our unconscious life breaks through to our waking awareness."
Weil observes, in keeping with the section heading, that: "Learning to be stoned (or unlearning to be straight) does not mean rejecting the intellect ( a mistake made by some persons who wake up to the nature of straight thinking, then devote all their energies to fighting it rather than developing a positive alternative).As a machine for producing thoughts, the intellect has a useful function if it is put in its proper place. And that place is coordinate with the intuitive faculty. As we become aware of our intuitions, learn to trust them, and then feed them into our intellects as premises, (p. 152) we begin to come up with very interesting and very useful ideas to guide us - useful because they lead us toward reality rather than away from it."
Weil's book is a much more comprehensive discussion than is reflected in just these excerpts. One item of great interest in Weil's book that I won't go into here is the experience of the collective unconscious, on pages 181-186.
I appreciate that Weil places the intellect side by side with the intuitive aspect of human nature, and says they belong together in a healthy life. Together they fill the toolbox for rich and effective living.
However,it seems prudent to remember Marilyn vos Savant's very practical warning that if intuition is used as a crutch to support mental laziness, is used for making uninformed decisions about fiscal, especially, and perhaps also physical,processes that need to be and can be understood and quantified with some effort,we are likely going to face head-on collisions with reality!
If there is math involved, do the math, don't intuit your way through the problem.If statistics are involved, know the limits of your statistical knowledge,and become aware of the meanings and the limits of the figures being manipulated,or you may be lied to and accept the lie happily. There is a delicate balance to be struck in life, and I suspect that a good rule of thumb is that anything dealing with science, engineering, applying technology, or finances is inherently non-intuitive. Filling out tax forms is an intellectual process,not an intuitive one by any stretch of the imagination. Intuitive feelings about winning a lottery is more than likely an unconscious desire bubbling into the waking state, not an example of intuition providing "a source of information about reality quite apart from . . . [the] senses" (Weil,p. 185).
I am not going to write a manual for learning how to tap intuitive knowing. Others have done this, and the whole series of currently popular books by James Redfield is about this exact subject. One of the books in that series, "The Celestine Vision, Living the New Spiritual Awareness," (Warner Books, New York, 1997) has as its stated purpose teaching the reader to hold firm to the new,intuitive awareness, and putting this new awareness (p.11) "into effective practice." On that same page it is stated that: "Living the new spiritual awareness is a matter of passing through a series of steps or revelations.Each step broadens our perspective. But each step also presents its own set of challenges. It is not enough to merely glimpse each level of expanded awareness. We must intend to live it, to integrate each increased degree of awareness into our daily routine."
Another guide, in this case specifically to enhancing creativity in the artistic sense through cultivation our intuitive nature, is Judith Cornell's "Drawing the Light from Within, Keys to Awaken Your Creative Power" (Quest Books,Wheaton, IL, 1997). The book has practical exercises galore, but my favorite statement, because it fits my experience and hence my prejudice, is on page xxvii: "Unconditional love is a state of non judgement and respect for the divinity of the human family. . . . Unconditional love and nonjudgement support the unlimited creative development for the highest good of the individual."
Another resource for those wanting to be more creative through tapping their intuitive knowing is Silvano Arieti's "Creativity, the Magic Synthesis" (Basic books, Inc., Publishers, new York, 1976). The part of that book of interest to this discussion is on page 12, where Arieti labels the intuitive processes as primary and the intellectual as secondary. He then postulates a merging of the two as being a tertiary process. A way of being that enhances creativity.The longer version of this is:
"The primary process, for Freud, is a way in which the psyche functions, especially the unconscious part of the psyche. It prevails in dreams and some mental illnesses, especially psychoses. The primary process operates quite differently from the secondary process,which is the way of functioning of the mind when it is awake and uses common logic. Primary process mechanisms reappear in the creative process also,in strange, intricate combinations with secondary process mechanisms and in syntheses that, although unpredictable, are nevertheless susceptible of psychological interpretation. It is from appropriate matching with secondary process mechanisms that these primitive forms of cognition, generally confined to abnormal conditions or to unconscious processes, become innovating powers.. . . I have proposed the expression tertiary process to designate this special combination of primary and secondary process mechanisms. .. . For accuracy's sake, I must point out that in a certain number of creative processes the matching is not necessarily between primary and secondary process mechanisms, but between faulty or archaic and normal mechanisms,all of which belong to the secondary process. For these combinations,too,I have used the name tertiary process."
Arieti points out that Freud never connected the two processes (pp. 12-13), . . . "he insisted that the two realities must remain distinguished, lest psychic reality be used as an escape from external reality." This was a good hunch on the part of Freud, given Marilyn vos Savant's hundreds of examples o persons not doing their homework and intuiting their way into expensive blunders.However, the point is to marry these two forms of knowledge,not to allow one or the other to take over who you are. Arieti continues(p. 13) by taking exception to Freud's fear in the specific case of fostering creativity: "The tertiary process, with specific mechanisms and forms,blends the two worlds of mind and matter, and, in many cases, the rational with the irrational.Instead of rejecting the primitive (or whatever is archaic, obsolete, or off the beaten path), the creative mind integrate sit with normal logical processes in what seems a 'magic' synthesis from which the new, the unexpected, and the desirable emerge."
A similar eloquence is found in a unique New Age cyber-book where it describes the union of intuition and intellect. In this cyber-book (obtainable through the email rather than as a bound volume) the idea of love and intuition and intellect are all nicely connected as above. This New Age-oriented cyber-book was written by Thea Lipp, a Reverend, or minister, of the New Age. The book is called"Spiritual Psychology." Of particular interest is Chapter 7 (a),"The Tools of Self Transformation" where the following discussion is located:
"The more love you can bring into yourselves -- the more light that you can hold within yourselves -- the clearer you become in the light. The cloudiness, murkiness, darkness within your energy systems and your deep bodies are your fears.Love heals fear. Love is the opposite of fear. Only love can move these blockages into consciousness for healing and only love can transform these blockages into clear light.
"Your true and highest essence is that of the divine crystal emanating a radiance of unconditional love throughout the universe. This is you, at the godhead,your highest state in which you are perfect, whole, complete.
"In your current focus into the realms of the intellect, you have lost the remembrance of this highest essence of who you truly are. You cannot know yourself through your intellect, for intellect is a focus into the realms of the physical.Intellect asks that everything be proven, that everything have a reason,follow a pattern of logic and must be able to be sensed by the five senses.
"It is a left brain function. Your right brain, on the other hand, is open to the flow of both intuition and imagination - - those faculties of the higher mind which flow to your right brain freely, but which are blocked from coming into your consciousness and therefore your reality because of your focus into the jabber of the intellect.
"Intuition, inspiration and imagination are the components of the universal genius mind. Each of you is perfectly capable of linking with the genius mind when you learn to quiet the intellect -- or engage the intellect -- and so become able to complete the circuit of synchronicity, balance and harmony between your left and right brains.
"Your intuition is more than a hunch about what is good or not good. In its highest vibration, your intuition is the light around that which is for your own highest good. In learning to trust your intuition, you simultaneously learn to trust your heart, Soul and Spirit, for it is that part of mind linked with these higher centers of self, and is the knowledge contained at the level of Spirit of that which will bring you aliveness, growth, love, joy and peace.
"Your imagination is that part of the mind with which you are making choices about what you will manifest before you in all you will experience. You are looking at thousands of choices in each moment, for you are truly co-creative beings manifesting on all 144 levels of your consciousness. It is, in fact, the mind of your own spirit which is constantly attempting to guide you toy our own highest good.
"Your capacity for creativity is infinite. Only your penchant for focusing into limitations of thinking in terms of past and future rather than present set out before you in the mindset of the collective keeps you from the most stimulating and exciting experiences of your life.
"Self-mastery, in this case, means your ability to monitor your own thoughts so that you are constantly bringing yourself back to the present moment. Reality happens only in the now.
"Making choices and creating your future can only happen by being in the present moment.For only in the present, the now, in this precise moment can you view the choices of the imagination and intuition with your right brain, train those thoughts across to the left brain and have the left brain create the image sand symbols which can then manifest with the clarity of love and light into the physical.
"This synchronous, co-creative capacity of linking your two brains so that you can experience your higher mind leads you easily into states of clarity. For, you see dearest ones, as you begin to live more in the present, you become your Soul and your Spirit.
"These higher unconditionally loving parts of yourselves are the healers that lead you into spiritual growth and to that state of higher consciousness. By allowing yourselves to integrate with their vibrations, you learn to enlarge your capacity to hold light or to shift your beings into those of light.
"With each shift of your awareness, you bring yourselves closer to your totality of being. You free yourselves to see and be Who You Are. Your patterns and vibrations of form and light will also shift into higher states. Your light will become very clear. And thereby, your minds will become very clear.
"The confusion which surrounds you in this moment will dissolve, for as you learn to bring more light and love into your lives, you simultaneously bring more higher wisdom, knowledge and understanding to yourselves. Living in fear blocks you from attaining these higher mental states."
This is a very nice restatement of several of the points also made by others already cited.Lipp's book is more than an eloquent summary, however, it presents a very clear, step by step guide to personal transformation. It is a very usable and practical handbook for self-transformation. (See Source Note,below).
One of the reasons I like it is that I received my copy just a few years after learning many of its themes from personal experience, and so was able to read along recognizing steps in a struggle for wholeness I had personally experienced. She prescribes the steps I was prescribed, and followed, and it brought me into a wholeness heretofore unknown tome. I have some distance to go, but will get there, I am not worried or anxious. The present is very good. The future will be too,and if better, well, all the better!
I recently attempted to help someone see a need for embarking on this path for themselves. A person apparently overcome by a painful past, projecting that pain as a fear into the future, and making herself unable to enjoy the present except at rare times of being occupied with and by her growing children. This was a story of a life posted in the form of a poem in a Compuserve discussion group, and I felt compelled to answer this publicly posted, poetic life story with a story from my own experience:
First the poem (used with permission):
"No New Beginnings
"Looking through eternity as I'm sitting here ,
Wondering if the things I did this year were right,
Pausing to reflect how should I have handled things,
Eternity and hope slipping from my sight.
"Holding gently in my hands a crystal ball,
Peering where I hope to find my way,
Should I have stayed incompassed in my own little world,
Or I saw the hope, the light a brand new day.
"Should I have held my heart in my open hand,
Was it wrong to dare to dream a dream.
My sight and view in my crystal ball,
Fades from my mind or so it now does seem.
"An empty heart, and no place to go,
Eternity is far away from view,
I watch my life unfold its many pages,
Yet still I find there is nothing new.
"No happiness no contentment or peace of mind,
But boundless love in eyes of those who care,
My crystal ball constantly tells me,
I have the love and dare I dare to share.
"My children have the hope that lacks in me,
That's the price I pay to become free,
I watch them live, in life they instill a hope,
They see the hope my eyes and heart cannot see.
"My hands gently round the crystal ball I peer,
I see the love of life that shines in them,
The glint of life they hold so very dear,
I wonder if one day I will feel the same.
"Hoping for a light or just a sign,
In my world I look through crystal eyes,
I am alone and will always that way remain,
To the ends of boundless endless time.
"I step a step into a new era here,
In front of my eyes are people living life,
I look and search and hold the crystal there
An endless pain that cuts like a knife.
I'll live and smile and find solace in watching you,
Memories of past and happy time
Each touch, each word, each phrase encompassing
Each written word, each painful line.
"My crystal ball is my eye on the world outside,
I watch from the safety of my soul,
My own counsel I keep in me I confide,
But this year has taken its own painful toll."
This was a part of a message from a woman who simply signed --me--, and will thus remain anonymous here.
Next my reaction to it, as posted except for some minor edits for clarity:
"I reacted negatively to one of your poem's declarations, a declaration made in several parts that together say "I'm alone and always will be and that is so tragic." By now you know, however, that being married is no guarantee of not being alone, that an abusive relationship is far worse than being alone, and that being with children who are a very real part of you is not exactly being alone. Plus the associated idea that you grab snatches of happiness and delight here and there, implying the rest of the time is a dark night for your soul, caused me some anguish,because there is more to life than that.
"My own experience has been one of being quite alone in a marriage in which my wife was quite alone, and we were slouching toward divorce. Then along came a soul mate who declared herself to be just that, named my problem, turned me around (and educated me about soul mates -- they are just close relations from before and after and not necessarily a romantic thing, although they could be) and set me on a different course. My wife and I are not nearly as alone as we were five years ago, although we still have some distance to go to be together again as in times of yore. Hey, I have spent more than half my life with her, 30 out of 55 years,and the relationship has been different things at different times.
"So what did my soul mate do to me? Taught me that my state of moroseness and unhappiness that I blamed on the marriage was my own mental creation. I projected, intellectually, my interpretations of what was wrong into the future and magnified them, taking all hope away, and creating no ability to change. Plus I was completely living in the past and future, with only an occasional snatch at life in the present where it is really lived!!! (You admitted doing the very same thing in your poem!!)
"So did she talk me out of a divorce? No. She later got a divorce herself. She said whether I was married or divorced was neither here nor there for her, but what was important is that I stop living in the past and regretting things, and living in the future and fearing things. I needed to learn to stop that whole intellectual dialogue that was like a spotlight of blackness and negativity shining on my path in an otherwise light world. She taught me to answer my life questions 'in the moment' and to derive answers from the real me,the intuitive one that exists in the present, not the fearful one that lived only intellectually,and only in the past and future.
"So one day I was really upset with my life and wife and I called her and said this is it, today I ask for a divorce. She said she didn't care about that, she only cared that months of long distance coaching had come to naught, she could see me back in my intellectual fortress of past darkness and future fear. She talked me down until I was again in the moment, and then let me go home.
"Next day I emailed her that a strange thing happened, I was accosted with sour words on arriving home and simply said from deep within myself that we would work things out, I was not abandoning her. Tears came to her eyes and she said my name had been in the temple and my kids were holding a prayer vigil because she knew that all was finally coming to a head. I told her what happened and she said she didn't care how her prayers were answered, although she resented like hell that it was another woman that God used to bring me back to life.
"The point is NOT about my marriage. Some marriages, like the first ones of both my older kids, are so destructive to the partners that they HAVE to end to save each of them. The point is that this person that coached me intensely for a while and then drifted back to the margins of my life as a loving acquaintance saved my life by having me actually see and experience life as an ever flowing moment. Stopping the intellectual fear of the future that I saw reflected in your poem's lack of hope in yourself allowed me to move into the moment and be alive in it.
"And being alive in it taught me several things not easily explained in words: (1) 'alone' is an intellectual construct, when fully alive you feel your innate connectedness with all others and feel their happiness and sadness and know that you are never really isolated,or alone, (2) 'hope' is a feeling that is part of your natural endowment(easily seen bubbling forth in and enriching the lives of children, isn't it?). It is a pleasant and useful emotion, almost, that lifts ourspirits. Faith hope and love are emotions, ways of feeling in the moment that allow you to shine and warm yourself and those around you with your own Divinity. But it becomes a damning construct when it is intellectualized into an abstract goal that you construct whereby you discourage yourself by always analyzing how far you really are from where you believe you want and need to be. You can see it in others but your intellect denies it to yourself!
"Well to hell with that sourpuss, reality-checking intellect that scares you by projecting your intellectual fears based on past realities into your future! Feel the freedom of the moment without that fear, it is that sort of moment that you were talking of when you mentioned grabbing a pleasant moment, a moment of love, when you can. It is your intellectual constructs of the future that keep you from finding joy in the moment,and life is but an ever extended moment! Happy in this moment, and the next, and the next ... a happy life!
"You know what my worst enemy was? My intellect. I lived in it. Hardest lesson for me to learn, really learn, is that "I am not my intellect, my intellect is a tool I use to be effective in the world." Had to repeat that over and over until I got it right,until I believed it and became it. Use your intellect as a tool to analyze and be effective, but do not confuse it with your SELF! Your Divine, lighted and warmed from within, connected to everyone else and all that is SELF! Once you get to know that is you and that you have the whole universe inside you, the concept of being 'alone' is a silly intellectual one from which you derive no fear and no blocking happiness.
"As to your driving by a church and missing it, well,that is again your intellect recalling all the bad things others have said and done and the intellectual interpretations that you made of allthat. Once you learn to be your SELF, and to be in charge of your life in the moment, and not let anyone else's bogus intellectual constructs tell what is what, in the insidious form of religious counsel especially,that church can't hurt you anymore.
"What it can do is provide you people to be close to,and with your new found SELF you will attract others to you who are also their new found SELVES. It is a completely different experience as long as you do NOT allow your intellect to put you back into the little boxes that you thought being in that church meant for you in the past.You don't have to go there, of course, but look how you described it: you projected your past misery associated with that place and belief system into the future and made yourself miserable in the present with longing for something you are denying yourself because of the projection from past to future!!!!! So my alarm bells went off and I said to myself: "hey,that is the old me!!!" Be your SELF, in the moment, every moment,please!
"When Jesus said to take no thought for tomorrow but trust in God to provide for you as he did for the sparrows he said the exact same thing: let go of your intellectual fears and live in the moment and be who you really are. Your effectiveness in life will zoom also,but that should not be a goal written down in a planner, it will be a very natural outcome of you becoming more and more your wonderful and Divine SELF!! Please accept my love --abe--"
Have I become my own wonderful and Divine Self? I feel that power within me and within my grasp. And I have hope. And as I said, the present is good. The future has promise, and if it is better, so much the better! It will take care of itself as long as I am my self, and am true to my self, in the ever lasting present.
Source Note:Portions of the cited cyber-book I do not profess to believe in a literal sense,such as the front matter on the role of angelic messengers suggesting the purpose and content of the book. But how can one quarrel with angels as messengers when, as Thea says above, if we are whole, perfect and complete we are the godhead? Part of learning to work well with the intuitive side of our nature is to not apply logic to it, and the fact is that I have no quarrel at all with the substance of the book: its objectives and its lessons.I recommend it as a very good guide. I believe the author is correct in seeing it as a unique work in the New Age genre of literature. A copy may be obtained from Thea by sending an email to her at BelleAnge@compuserve.com asking for information if you are interested. In 1999, I paid $ 15 for the email series that transmits the book. Three chapters come on approval,the rest after payment is made.
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