Thoughts on Character

by Glen Ford

Character:  the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.  In relation to people it often is thought of as positive.  Being a person of character is thought of as a good thing.  Character assassination is perceived as a bad thing.  That is not necessarily true, it hinges on reputation and point of reference.  What does it mean if it is said, to “assassinate Adolf Hitler’s character?”

Character can refer to a role in a book or movie that displays a set of values for our entertainment or edification.  In the everyday world role playing is the robe our personality dons to present for and relate to others in the family, at work and in community environments.  It is said that living through hard times is good for you.  What does not kill you makes you stronger.  Trials and tribulations have value in that they build character.  Sad to say, from my point of view, the challenges I face do not build character they merely unveil it.

Character, I think of it as two words, Care Actor.  Just like a character in a movie, my actions display a set of values, my values, what I care about is what determines my actions.  Building character is an addition burden.  There are things that need to be done.  Mindfulness is needed.  It requires questioning, who, what, why, when, and where.  It requires of me the need to slow down and look around, become aware of my surroundings, what I am doing, and why I am doing it. Who am I doing it to or for?  What is the root cause of this behavior?  Where and when do I act this way?  I need to ask myself, “What do my actions reveal about my character – what I care about?”.

Finally,  I need to decide if I am satisfied with it.  If the answer is yes, then okay let it ride, maybe.  I am talking about building character, growing.  Do I care to take action to reinforce or expand the value exposed?  If the answer is no, the question becomes “What am I willing to do to change it?”.  Do I care enough about it to take action?  The key is awareness.  If I do not recognize an error, I cannot fix it.  For example, if I eat too much and gain weight, I care more about food than being slim and healthy.  If I desire to change that, it is simple, I know what to do.  All that is required is to burn up more calories than I take in.  Being simple does not make it easy.

I have been sending the wrong messages to my subconscious mind for years. It does not reason. It does not make judgments.  It works diligently to manifest what I tell it I desire.  My ego strives to keep me here, to maintain the status quo.  It likes the comfort and security of the known.  It knows how to behave here.  It does not want to risk the discomfort and uncertainty of change.  There is a tremendous amount of inertia to overcome.  Inertia, the tendency of an object at rest to stay at rest, or an object in motion to remain in motion, unless acted on by an outside force.  So what force is there apart from ego and sub-conscious mind?  Enter the self-conscious mind, which is a tool of the soul to have experiences in the manifest world.

I need to wake up the self-conscious mind. It has been asleep at the wheel.  I have been running on automatic pilot, going on a course that was input long ago.  If it is the way I always did it, even if was right at the start, it probably not right anymore.  If I always do what I have always done, I will always get what I have always gotten.  It would behoove me to start sending better messages to ego and sub-conscious mind.  Shut off the auto-pilot and tell ego and personality it is my (self-conscious) turn to drive.  My soul has had enough of this experience. Time to move on.  Time to eat a better diet, more nutritious, less calories.  Time to get more active, out walking or at the gym.  I accept that it will take some time to break the cycle and develop new habits.  I accept that there will be discomfort and likely some pain.  The weight thing is a simple personal example in the mundane realm.  The principles and agencies that can make changes in conditions are the same for all the circumstances of life, to know, to will, to dare.

Shakespeare wrote in Macbeth’s soliloquy:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth was a tragedy.  It is a tragedy because Macbeth’s character acted out of ego seeking only power rather than self-conscious soul seeking to express love.  This Character was very much self-centered.  His actions revealed he did not care about others.  Macbeth was speaking to himself describing his ultimate demise, though he did not realize there was an option or was unwilling to exercise the choice.  He failed in this journey along the path of return to unity.

I aspire to better roles.  I am seeking awareness.  What role am I playing?  Who is the director (ego, soul)?  Where is this play going for me, for me, for me?  It is hard not to be self-centered when considering my actions.  If I take anything from Macbeth, it is that it would benefit me to act out of love for others on this journey.  There is an apparent paradox here.  It is in my own best interests to care about others.  How is it then that acts of caring about others is not self-centered?

A clue might be found in The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, verse 5:

Lift up the self by the Self
and don’t let the self droop down,
For the Self is the self’s only friend
and the self is the Self’s only foe.

In this quote, the self (lower case s) represents the ego or personality, the Self (upper case S) being the soul or higher Self. This does not solve the paradox completely, but provides me a point of contemplation.  This is not a linear or rational train of thought.  Carl Jung said of paradox. “The paradox is one of our most valued spiritual possessions.” 1  He went on further to say that, “The paradox… reflects a higher level of intellect and, by not forcibly representing the unknowable as known, gives us a more faithful picture of the real state of affairs.” 2

When my ego is allowed to run amuck seeking only what benefits me me me, to the exclusion of all others, I can never seem to get enough.  There is no satisfaction, no sense of self-esteem and it appears that others are always conspiring against me.  On the other hand, when I treat others with respect, taking their interests into consideration, I feel better about myself and gain a sense of personal value while receiving the cooperation and regard of those individuals, in most cases.  For example, I worked some 39 years in surgery as a cardiovascular perfusionist.  I ran the heart lung machine in open heart programs.  I maintained relationships with people from physicians to nurses to technicians to housekeepers.  Over that time, I gradually developed the habit of going out of my way to help others when they were having trouble whenever I could, again, in most cases.

This is because I came to realize, if I did that, when I ran into trouble, I rarely would have to ask for help.  An extra pair of hands would just show up.  The paradox is, did I develop this from an altruistic desire to help others, or a tool for self-preservation. Well it is not the nature of paradox to be black or white.  It resides in shades of gray.

To stay in this mode of operation and develop and maintain character I can be proud of requires me to work at it. Remaining mindful, residing in the moment, being frequently vigilant is needed.  Returning to the questions; who? what? why? when? and where? on a regular basis.

Character growth in the Spiritual Garden is clearly a tough row to hoe.  If I do not keep after it, the weedy stuff creeps back in.  I have varying degrees of success and at times become frustrated.  I believe though that if I keep returning to the work it will pay great dividends come my harvest time.

I wish you all a green thumb.

glen

a penny farthing

Copyright © 2016 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

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Notes:

  1. Jung, Carl, Collected Works 12, ¶18 (1944), Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences. Accessed October 19, 2016. http://jungian298.rssing.com/chan-9129819/all_p3.html
  2. Jung, Carl, Collected Works 11, ¶417 (1954), Jungian Center for the Spiritual Sciences. Accessed October 19, 2016. http://jungian298.rssing.com/chan-9129819/all_p3.html
you know you want to do it:

Time and Our Relationship with It

by Glen Ford

“Being does not require time or space to exist.” — Rev. Dr. David Strickler

In spiritual reality, we learn ‘time is an illusion’ and that our personality’s relationship with time is purely subjective.  All around and within us we are immersed in a concept of time and space, and by consensus we are enculturated into the experience of the concept of time.   A day as a natural period of time is what the earth takes to make one complete revolution around its axis.  A year as a natural period of time is what the earth takes to orbit our sun, 365.2425 days.  The Fact that we round this off to 365 days means that in approximately 728 years summer would happen in December in the northern atmosphere.  We can’t have the seasons marching through the year so we are forced to add a day every four years, an artificial fudge factor to maintain the illusion.

The month also is a natural period of time, that the moon takes to make one complete orbit of the earth with respect to the fixed stars.  It is 27.32 days.  That would work out to Roughly 13. 36 months per year.  Who decided on 12 months for year and what their motivation is not within the current scope of this article.

Practical Relationships with Time

Now emerges the Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, it is internationally the most widely used civil calendar; an artificial, synthetic adaptation of earlier such calendars by the Catholic Church and accepted now by most of the world as consensus opinion.  It is named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in October, 1582.  The church had their reasons that can be discovered by researching the Gregorian calendar.  It is maintained today by most of the world so that our interactions with other people politically, socially and for business can run smoothly.

Then somebody had the bright idea of clocks (Hours and minutes and seconds. Oh my)!  Twenty-four hours in the day seems rather arbitrary, why not 20?  And then minutes… why 60 why not 100 and the same for seconds…go metric.  That would make sense in a world who’s counting is in base ten.  Earlier cultures used base 12 for counting.  Hence 12 hour days and 12 hour night.

There is no need to cast this all away and reinvent the wheel so to speak; the system works pretty well in the physical world.  What is relative to the purpose here is to recognize these things are artificial constructions conceived and implemented by other people.  Just like we build relationships with people, places and things in our space, it is beneficial build a relationship with time.  What does time mean personally?  How does time alter the perception of space and events?  Time flies when engaged in enjoyable activities and drags when doing drudgery.  Reverend Strickler encourages everyone to establish relationships with both time and space and to use these mechanisms of the mundane world to keep the body, our vehicle, alive.  He also advocates becoming aware of and developing a personal relationship with time spiritually.

Esoteric Relationships with Time

Pay attention to the cycles of the moon, the rising and setting of the sun.  Take note of how they affect us.  One exercise that he has recommended is to carry a timer, many watches have them built in or you could carry a little electronic one and set it for an hour and reset it every hour through the day.  When it goes off just take note of what you have been doing for that hour and reflect on the who, what, why, when, where, and purpose of doing that activity.

The point is to act, have experiences, learn from them and grow.  This is not an efficiency study for productivity, although that could be an added benefit. What it is about is to measure the time spent on different activities.  Are the things being done reactive or proactive?  Is it the ego or the soul being promoted?  Is time being consumed by simple sensory gratification, intellectual learning, or spiritual growth.  These aren’t the only options but rather a place to start.

“We never really know until we act” or in other words, nothing can be known until there is action, observations made and measurements taken.  This is not to say that pleasure is necessarily a bad thing nor that spiritual growth is the only good thing.  All things in moderation, balance and proportion and that requires metrics, measurements.  Then armed with that information decisions can be made about how best to pursue our desires.  What is good use of time, how can it be used more wisely.

So much of the time we can get frustrated, overwhelmed and feel like; “hey what’s the point.”  Well, the point is to have experiences for the self to grow in knowledge of what really is.  To do that we must grow in awareness of what is happening in our consciousness inside and out.  Try the timer thing.  It is a good exercise and will increase awareness.  It will not always be good stuff that comes to light, but once there is awareness adjustments can be made.  Take note of what you do in the mundane world.  Take note of what you do in the spiritual world.  Realize that they are both threads in the tapestry of life, not mutually exclusive.  Then you can begin to self- consciously participate in how your experiences are weaving into awareness and perhaps, just perhaps, to participate in the conscious weaving of your events.

Remember too, that the vehicles (our bodies) we use in this lifetime are finite in time, barely a blip on the scope in the larger scheme of things yet so intense within the levels of self-consciousness.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed to any-body:  Tick Tock, Tick Tock – time, though synthetic, waits for no one.  Through these musings I am beginning to agree with Aristotle who stated, “Contemplation is the highest form of activity.”   One day I may wake up from the space-time dream only to  find that I am a being that just finished contemplating the process of birth-to-death of this current life called “Glen Ford.”

a penny farthing

— the End of July’s 2016 Spiritual Climate Newsletter —

Copyright © 2016 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

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you know you want to do it:

Identity versus Idensity

by Glen Ford

I am a recently retired cardiovascular perfusionist.  For some 39 years I operated a heart lung machine for open heart surgery.  This equipment takes over the function of gas exchange for the lungs and the blood pumping function of the heart so the surgeons can work on the heart.  It was who I was, or more correctly, it was what I did among other things.  Now that I’m retired, I have become aware of how much I identified myself with the job.  Since I retired from perfusion I have felt a little lost.  Is that all I was?  Well that can’t be.  I am not that anymore and I’m still here.  I’m a husband, on May 22 this year I am married to Wendy for 40 years.  I think she’s going to keep me.  I am a student of Dr. Strickler.  I am a brother, by blood and by law.  I am an American, a man, an uncle, etc.  but these are not identities these are roles I play, these are the experiences I have.

Recently I took a part-time job working with a company here in Phoenix providing support to adults with developmental disabilities and their families.  The purpose of this organization is helping this population to realize maximum independence, meaningful employment, significant social relationships, and full participation in their community.

For decades families of many of these people did not have the knowledge or resources to take care of them.  There were no support programs to help them.  Consequently, many of these people were institutionalized, stuffed in boxes out of sight, neglected, forgotten, often abused, removed from society as a whole; many never came to adulthood.  As late as the 1970’s these conditions were prevalent;  as shown in this documentary done by Geraldo Rivera in the 1970’s.  I should warn you, this video is disturbing.

Things started to get better as people became more aware of what was happening.  Early attempts to get these men and women more integrated into the community were group homes. These were better, but still had their own issues.  Over the years since, the situation has continued to make gradual progress.

Today here in Arizona the Department of Development Disability (DDD) 1 provides support through the state to help families keep these young men and women at home.  The DDD provides funding for families to get the assistance they need from individual providers and organizations such as the one where I am currently employed. The DDD also has established rules  that providers must follow to be eligible for such funding. Article 9 2 provides assurance that Programs that receive funding from the state are providing for the safety and respect of the clients they serve.

In the morning Monday through Friday I drive a van and pick up as many as six members at their homes and take them to the program.  In the afternoon, I return them to their homes.  During the day I am usually off the clock.  Occasionally, as staffing requires, I will stay during the day to help the staff and work with the members.  This has been a good experience for me and I hope to increase to full time involvement.

I interact with the members, trying to help them assimilate into the community around them, pointing out what is socially acceptable in personal interactions and making corrections when needed.  As this experience progresses, my awareness increases.  Their behavior, whether good, bad or indifferent, is a reflection in varying degrees of my own.

In the occult world, likes rather than opposites, attract.  This raises the question “Why did the life power put this into my path?”  Likes attract, it is said one can neither love nor hate anything in another person that one does not first recognize in oneself.  I hear the life power saying that is how I appear.  I should practice what I preach.  Words aside, what I practice is what I preach!  Actions speak louder than words; lead by example.

In trying to work out in my head what to say, what to do, how to explain and demonstrate what is acceptable, a mirror dialog is helpful. Saying things out loud to the guy in the mirror, they often sound very different than they did as internal musings.  Sometimes I hear my own voice, sometimes it’s my mother’s voice, sometimes I hear a teacher’s voice, sometimes hear a mentor’s voice emanating from my mouth.  Sometimes it rings true; sometimes it’s a load of crap. Sometimes it’s harsh; sometimes it’s kind, sometimes it’s gentle.  This is what makes the exercise of value to me. I get to see and hear what I sound like. What I hear causes me to adjust what I say and temper how I say it based on my reaction to what I am observing.

I don’t know what the members hear, how they perceive me. Going forward I will continue to make adjustments based on their reactions in the ongoing dialog and behavioral dance.  Then perhaps we can together take another step along the path and both grow a little and each of us come into our own.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things, I cannot change;

The Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Wisdom is exercising good judgment. Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. In order to learn, to grow, I must be willing to be wrong.  That is required. I must act in the absence of certainty; Dr. Strickler teaches I can never know until I act.  I can learn by argument or experience, both of these are active processes.  Live and learn; everything that lives moves.

All of our understanding is less-than-perfect on the physical level. As I am trying to help the members integrate into a community that they have limited understanding of, I can’t help but draw analogy to Dr. Strickler as a spiritual teacher trying to integrate me into the spiritual world of which I have such limited understanding.

That reverberates in my being.

We are alive in a material world but we are not material beings.  It was a struggle for me to come to the realization that I am not a material being.  Understanding the full ramifications of what that means is an ongoing project.  I am not a material being capable of spiritual experiences, but rather a spiritual being having experiences in the physical world. I want to believe. When Dr. Strickler has classes, or as I am drifting off to sleep at bedtime this concept is viewable tonight.  Out in the world, when I get into the thickness of things, this truth becomes harder to see and that is what we as occultists are tasked to do, see what is hidden, see beyond the dance of the physically manifest world to the truth that lies beyond.

The Emerald Tablet   instructs us:

7.  Separate thou the fire from the earth, the subtle from the gross, sweetly with    great industry.

My task as an occultist is to separate, the I-dentity (the spiritual being) from the I-density (the vehicle in the manifest world), the subtle from the gross.  It is to lay bare the truth of who I am, my connection to the source and what my being is becoming.

It is not about destination.  It is about process.  It is nowhere I am going to get to.  It is uncovering what already is.  It is laying bare the now-here.

Copyright © 2016 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

 

Notes:

  1. https://des.az.gov/services/disabilities/developmental-disabilities
  2. accentonfamily.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/articleix.doc 
you know you want to do it:

The Production Company – Subconscious Recorder

by Glen Ford

The intent here is to use the video recorder as an analogy to express the workings of subconsciousness.  The subconscious mind is the production company for my time upon the stage of life.  It is the servomechanism of conduct and behavior in much the same way as the autonomic nervous system regulates bodily functions.  The autonomic nervous system takes care of breathing, heart rate, and the like.  I do not have to remember to take a breath, contract my heart or tell my pancreas to make some insulin or any other of the myriad of bodily functions.  If I did, I would never get anything else done.  I would likely mess something up and not live very long.  These types of functions are taken care of on automatic pilot.  In fact, I have very little self-conscious control of these.  Sure I can hold my breath.  If I possessed exceptionally strong use of will, I could hold my breath until I passed out.  When I did, the autonomic nervous system is there to rescue me from my folly.  It is hardwired into the system.

The subconscious is like software for the behavior of my system.  It is shaped by nature and nurture.  Some of the software is rigidly preprogramed by nature.  It is genetic, instinctual.  For example, a newborn baby does not need to be taught to suckle.  That behavior is already programmed in.  Put something against the baby’s lips and the child suckles.  This is instinctual.  Much of subconscious behavior however is dynamic and malleable.  It can be nurtured.  It is constantly being cultivated by thoughts and actions.  It has been at least since birth.  These kinds of behaviors are learned.  Here intellect and emotion are the drivers.  All through my life the process continues.  The program is altered by experiences, thoughts and emotions, (pleasure/pain, risk/reward, love/fear, nurture/neglect).

In my earlier years, I did not have much say in what nurturing I received. Those decisions were made by the adults I encountered, my parents, teachers, etc. There was a transition period though high school and college where my peer groups had sway.  These all can still have some effect but I am the adult now!  Now my self-conscious awareness allows me to select the curriculum as I proceed if I choose to do so.  The subconscious mind is the repository for all experiences and is the servomechanism for much of behavior.  It is always running in the background, quietly and proficiently creating for me what I think I want; good, bad or indifferent.  What I think about all day long expands in my life.

There is a record button, but for the purpose of this analogy it is stuck in the record mode regardless of any other buttons being pushed.  The subconscious is always running in the background.  Subconscious records everything, and builds human proclivities from the data input, again good bad or indifferent.

There is a play button, this is the usual mode of operation for most of my daily life. This is the playing out of activities and relationships with family, friends, colleagues and adversaries at home, at work, or out and about in the community. It seems as if it is all brand new, but much of my reactions to situations is scripted in the subconscious by previous experiences and what I have told subconscious in repeatedly in the past.

There is a pause button.  A good practice is to pause each morning and occasionally throughout the day.  Freeze time for a few moments to reflect on what I am doing and why I am doing it and consider the consequences of the actions I am about to take.  What am I telling subconscious?  Assess how it is going and make adjustments as needed.  This is a very difficult sticking point for me. It is a work in progress.

There is a rewind button.  At the end of the day I have the option to rewind and review the events and reactions that transpired.  I can ask myself:  How did the day go?  Was it what I intended when I started out in this morning?  If the answer is yes, then okay.  If the answer is no, then was it better or worse?  I have an opportunity to plan adjustments or corrections going forward.  I also have the ability to build on any successes.  If I pass this opportunity, it will be business as usual.  This is also a struggle for me.  Journaling is a help.  When I write thoughts down then read them out loud, they sound very different from when they were rattling around in my head.  Also, when I record the events of the day for my self-conscious I have tangible metrics to review and identify problems and measure my progress toward solution.  This also is a work in progress.

There is a rapid rewind button.  I can go back in memory and ask where this behavior came from?  What was my reaction at the time?  Is it still appropriate? How is that working out for me now?  I have chronic behavioral issues that stem from way back.  The first step to correction is becoming aware.  The memories may not be clear or may be unavailable for the moment to self-conscious recall.  The subconscious running in the background remembers all and is well scripted by parents, teachers, our previous experiences.  The problem is accessing those memories.  This back story is crucial in rewriting the script and improving reactions and outcomes. I cannot do it alone; dialogs are needed with family members, trusted friends or a spiritual mentor.  For deep-seated problematic issues, I have had to overcome my fear of stigma in seeking psychological assistance by coming to the realization that the real stigma lies in not have the courage to do so. It has proven very helpful in bringing distant events that have been effecting my behavior into self-conscious awareness. Now I have the opportunity deal with the issues rather than just continuing the reactive behaviors they produce. Awareness is required first.  I cannot mitigate let alone fix a problem I do not recognize.  It is not possible to be rid of old crap but I can acknowledge it.  It can be overwritten after a fashion. Instruction can be given that the problematic old memory is no longer relevant.  I want different responses.  I desire different outcomes.  Then in similar situations more effective behavior can be scripted in.

There is a fast forward button.  This is the button that allows me to become proactive, if I use it.  This button is for projecting where my actions and behaviors are going to lead.  Given the human beings survival drive for pattern recognition, I should be able to make a pretty good estimation of the probability lines. Then I can make adjustments.  This skill gets better with practice, if I bother to try.  ‘G.O.D.D.’ helps those who help themselves (Goals, Optimism and Daily Doing).

Growth is not easy; change is not always comfortable.  I should expect some discomfort.  I should expect some pain.  Any development requires work.  In the physical world, athletics, wrestling, football and at the gym, there is a saying; “No pain, No gain.”  My father in law had a plaque on his wall that read; “Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness,” author unknown. If I am not actively pursuing physical activity, pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone, stagnation and atrophy set in.  Neglected long enough more serious consequences will ensue.

These concepts apply just as well to my spiritual endeavors.  If I am on the path I will run into some friction, discomfort and pain.  I need to remember, there will also be rewards along the way.  The rewards will be proportional to the extent I have been willing to do the work.  If I seek to avoid friction, discomfort and pain they will be stored up for me and my reward will be their return to me at a later date with interest.  On the other hand, if I am willing to work through these things I can reap different rewards for my effort; the satisfaction of participating in the direction of the unfoldment of my future, growth in knowledge, spirit, self-consciousness and physical wellbeing.

There is a stop button.  This button is actually for the self-conscious mind.  This is not the rest button.  This is not the sleep button.  Rest and sleep are necessary active processes.  This is the disengage button.  This is the end of participation button.  This is the relinquish any self-conscious influence button, to be assiduously avoided.  Buttons will always be pushed; it is a competitive field.  If I am not writing the scripts, if I am not pushing my buttons, someone else is there to write them and push at them.  Some in cooperation with my well-being like family, friends, mentors or teachers like Rev. Strickler.  Others do so with manipulative malice; many politicians and advertisers who have studied behavior become proficient at pushing my buttons to their own benefit, not necessarily mine.

If I am not participating, providing fresh input, future events/episodes of my life will be beyond my influence.  Self-conscious awareness is the gatekeeper.  Who is the author and who is pushing the buttons?  What plays out depends on who I allow to author the scripts that are read into my subconscious.  The subconscious production company is only as good as the script it is given.  If I as the gatekeeper repeatedly tell subconscious ‘this is too much work, this is too uncomfortable, I want to avoid confrontation,’ subconscious will dutifully manifest that in my life.  It does not care.  It does what it is told over and over again.  Reasoning and thinking are functions of the self-conscious mind.  I reap what I sow.  So, I need to be mindful of what seeds I am planting.  Mindfulness is hitting the pause button from time to time and taking stock.  It does not require our constant attention but if we are to have any measure of influence or control of our destiny it must be revisited on a regular basis at frequent intervals.

Reverend Strickler defines intelligence as the ability to do work.  This is all hard work.  My intelligence is being challenged.  I often miss the mark, but I am waking up.  I am becoming more aware and can take better aim.  In parting I ask you the questions I try to ask myself every day.

Who is writing the script for your life?

Who is pushing your buttons?

Glen Ford

2016 Christmas-NewYear


you know you want to do it:

Recognition

Berea Falls, Ohio. Copyright-Michael Shake
Berea Falls, Ohio. Copyright-Michael Shake

RECOGNITION
by Glen Ford

To give recognition, or to receive recognition, is generally thought of as a positive thing. Recognition is to acknowledge as by some reward or tribute. 1 It could be a pat on the back with a job well done, a trophy/plaque or some other token of acknowledgement conveying approval. That’s the first thing that comes to mind, at least for me.

There are other meanings though in other contexts. The formal act of acknowledgement of existence which can convey approval or sanction. Now sanction can mean authoritative permission, but the sense I am meaning here is a provision of law which enacts a penalty for disobedience to the law or reward for compliance.  Karma if you will.

I want to break this word down a little more, to work back to the root. To recognize is to know again, to perceive something as identical or similar to something previously known. Also in law it means to examine to discover the truth. Next step back is to cognize. This is to perceive; to become conscious of as an object of thought-it is an act of awareness. Let me take one more step back. A cog is a tooth or projection, usually one of a series, on a wheel/gear, for transmission of motion to or receiving motion from another wheel. This can be directly or indirectly. An example of directly is gear to gear like a can opener. Once I engage a can opener there is a gearwheel attached to handle I turn. It interfaces directly with a gearwheel on the cutting wheel which is the blade and a friction wheel to turn the can. After a little work, eureka, there be tuna fish or whatever the goal was. An example of indirectly is a bicycle. Here the cogs of the first gearwheel indirectly engage via a chain cogs on a second gearwheel. The first has pedals attached the second has the drive wheel attached. I push the pedals and off I go.

Whether the cogs engage directly or indirectly it requires work to make progress and it helps if I have some awareness of where I am going, what my intent is, what my desire is. Productive work requires intelligence.

1. The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations, reason, also the skilled use of reason.

2. The ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests). This second definition supports the occult definition as the ability to do work.

Now, I would like to relate a recent experience, then attempt to tie it all up at the end.

In a store parking lot last week as I was putting my cart into the cart corral, I heard someone just pressing on the horn and on and on. It turned out to be a dispute over a parking spot. The first guy (Sam) had passed a spot up against the building and was backing up to take the spot. The second guy (Harry) was coming down the aisle towards the store. The aisle was lined up with the open spot and Harry was on the move to pull right in. Sam was backing up to get spot and Harry was on the move for the same spot, horn just blaring away. They both stopped in time to avoid a crash. Then Sam edged back and Harry crept forward, horn still blasting.

Eventually Sam got back enough to turn into the spot but Harry pulled straight in first and jumped out of his truck to go tell Sam off for nearly backing into his truck, what was Sam doing? In such a rush was Harry that he missed putting his truck into park and only made it to reverse. As he is headed over to yell at Sam, he was knocked off his feet by the door he had also left open. Fortunately there was a woman passenger in Harry’s truck who managed to get a foot or a hand over to the brake before he got run over by his own vehicle. Sam and Harry exchanged heated words for a minute, then parted.

Once it was clear they were not going to come to blows, I stood there shaking my head and laughing. Harry saw me and said “Yeah, did you see what he did?”, apparently looking for confirmation that he was correct and had behaved appropriately. Trying to help him, I responded “Yes, I saw him, and I saw you too, you big dummy!” His face went from angry to confused and back to angry. He flashed me a hand gesture and walked away. He did not get that the only real danger to his vehicle came from his parking lot road rage, by jumping out of his truck while it was still in gear. I hope he gets it eventually. I guess his brain slipped a cog, which brings us back to recognition.

This quote I remember as coming from the late Wayne Dyer though I cannot find a citation. “You can neither love nor hate something in another person that you do not first recognize in yourself.” This Quote is from Hermann Hesse “If you hate a person, you hate something in him that is part of yourself. What isn’t part of ourselves doesn’t disturb us.” 2

The point is, my discomfort in what I witnessed stemmed from my recognition of that behavior in myself and how it made me feel afterward. I used to be that guy on a fairly regular basis. On this path of awakening, I am grateful I do not have to do that anymore. That’s not to say I do not do that anymore. I do still occasionally slip a cog in my brain, fail to pause and consider the options. That is the difference between proactive or reactive. Successful change requires vigilance.

Just recently I went off on my neighbor, four or so weeks new to the hood, over barking dogs and interrupted sleep. This was the first time I met them. By the time I got back in my house I was already regretting it. Within minutes I left them a note on their door apologizing and asking for a second meeting with them under better circumstances. Later that day they came over, we met appropriately and have since made nice. The dogs still bark during the day; they are brought inside mostly at night now. Had I gone and introduced myself when they first moved in, I would have had a foot in the door to speak with them civilly about the situation instead of imaging their machinations to disrupt my sleep until I snapped and embarrassed myself. On this occasion I caught it myself, if a little late, and made amends. I am grateful, however, to have people around me who will point things to me when I miss the mark.

When I spoke to Harry I truly was trying to help him see himself. The first step to solving a problem is to recognize that there is a problem.

Socrates said “The unexamined life is not worth living.” 3

I am here to express that the examined life is no picnic, no walk in the park. It is a lot of work, but work is required to gain meaningful experience, to think, to gain awareness, to acquire knowledge and increase consciousness. That is what it means to be human. Otherwise what is the point, it is a dog eat dog world, life is a bitch and then you die? I need to see this with better eyes.

If come judgement day recognition as referenced at the beginning of this article is desired, it would behoove me keep pedaling the re-cognition bicycle.

Keep Pedaling,
Glen Ford

a penny farthing




Copyright © 2015 by Institute of Spiritual Climate LLC

 


 

Notes:

  1. All definitions are from The Lexicon Webster Dictionary, Hardcover. Publisher: Delair Publishing Company, Inc. (1971), 2 volumes; Author: Kellerman, Dana F., editor, ISBN: T000002441.
  2. Wikiquote https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Hermann_Hesse
  3. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_unexamined_life_is_not_worth_living
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