Special Note: During October 1-3, 2010, the Self Inquiry Discussion Group will host "Becoming What Is: The Long, Hard Journey from Here to Here," a weekend intensive at Durant Nature Park, Raleigh, NC. Scheduled speakers include Michael Hall, Bruce Joel Rubin, Steven Norquist, Shawn Nevins, Paul Hedderman, Margot Ridler, Paul Constant, and Bart Marshall.
The Answer to How Is Yes is a provocative little book by Peter Block subtitled acting on what matters. That's why it is directly applicable to the spiritual search. Block contends that most How? questions, questions of method, technique, and data, are delaying tactics. Those questions spring from fear.
First, we must ask the hard question: is this worth doing? If the answer is "yes," the task truly aligns with our deepest desires, then the how? questions will answer themselves. When we follow our passion, we will find our way.
From The Child Within Us Lives! A Synthesis of Science, Religion and Metaphysics
A CONVERSATION FROM SOME YEARS AGO. I was speaking with a group of theologians and metaphysicians who were hearing of the Child within for the first time, as may be the case with the reader. The talk was intended to put a finger precisely on WHAT the Child is. My guests did not know that. I have often thought of this as the "incredulous group" because they were so astonished to hear what followed. One gentleman in particular was angered that he had come so far to listen to such "nonsense." The essence of that talk is printed here is some detail because everyone present eventually found the Child and the marvel that comes with it. Now, years later, I know that such agreement doesn't always occur so quickly. Perhaps this particular choice of words had something to do with it.
We were sitting outside under the loblolly pines of Alabama. Present were a physicist, a mathematician, a Christian Science practitioner, a venerable Roman Catholic nun with a scholar's knowledge of Christianity's origins, a young Buddhist monk and a Rabbi newly moved to this country from Europe. I was delighted to have such a diverse group, and not a little amazed that they had heard of this one hidden in the backwoods of the Southland.
The talk begins: Good morning, everyone. This morning, if we can, let's put aside all our studies of Truth. Let's put down our theology, doctrine and metaphysics for a time. There is something much simpler and more important I'd like to talk about; something much more basic; something that is absolutely fundamental if we are to go all the way with our spiritual comprehension.
All right? Have we put aside "religion" for the moment? Science? Physics? Our over-concern with those complex things causes us -- at least it caused me -- to overlook Something Wonderful. That Something Wonderful brings us to understand new things about time and space; to see that we aren't as bound by time as we thought. Are you ready?
Listen gently. There is a Child inside us. It lives. Vigorously. It is as youthful as ever and it hasn't lost a thing to time. What's more, that Child is capable of resurrection and emergence right out here into this world of trials, tribulations, space and time.
Let me say something about this. We all know how much the world wants to know of this wonder -- the Child within -- unable to find very much said or written about it. The Bible has something to say about "the Child," but the churches don't. The subjective groups don't mention it at all. But the Child I'm talking about is not solely a religious or theological child, but the very kid-we-are that is still deep within each of us, just as it was when we were child-children.
Yes, there is a Child still living in each of us. We've heard this before, but no one has gone into much detail. No one has written the really helpful things. For instance, who has told us that the Child is all that is real about us? Who has told us that all this grown-up, grown-old and grown-tired-of-the-world business isn't true and isn't the way things are? Most mention of this mystical marvel is poetic fluff and stuff that rings true in the heart but isn't sufficiently explained to grasp intellectually and practically. Ah, that's it. The intellect of us doesn't understand about the heart and the Child, so it relegates them to another world.
Well, since no one seems willing or able to tell of the Child within to the grown-up, grown-sophisticated and grown-old leaders of the world, I will. I have found the Child-I-am and I know what it is. Actually, so does everyone, deep within, but the trick is to reach that "deep within" and get to the Child so we feel it and know what it is.
(Pause) Hear his mystery: We are the Child first, then we are the not-child and then we are the Child again.
(Pause) We were Child-children first. Those were the days we dimly remember when fairy tales were real and Aesop's fables had their place in our thoughts of animals and forests, cabbages and kings, princesses, knights and frogs and first stars to make our wishes on. Do you remember how you felt when you were a child-child? Would it surprise you to know you can feel that way again? Well, you can!
(Interruption) Dr. Scott, you needn't look so surprised and shocked. You've come all this distance from your university to hear what I've found, so you may just as well relax and hear this old soldier out. You've listened for two minutes, and the look on your face suggests you know everything to follow. That's the way the intellect works in the world. We run our projections along a line and expect them to unfold that way. But, doctor, are you quite sure there might not be something new to come out of this? I think you will see there is.
Back to our youth in time. That was the time of our closest encounter with the Original Child. We were Child-children then, and the inmost Child of us was happy even if the human view of childhood was miserable. The human view at this now-moment includes a nearly infinite number of possibilities, and we are not stuck to just one line of unfoldment in time and space as most of us think. The Original Child's view may seem lost to us today, but it isn't.
"William, we all know of the advantages of childlikeness and the foolishness of childishness."
Please hear this: I am not talking about childlikeness. I am talking about the Child itself. I am certainly not talking about childishness -- this is the furthest thing from that. The Child we are speaking of right now is the inner Child when we were young, lived by the outer child, by this husk of flesh. Now we are to find that inner part of ourself again because it plays the final, integral part in our search for the Real. At the moment, just take my word for that. We are not searching for childlikeness and humility. We are looking for the Child itself. That Child is the Real of us and is capable of taking us consciously back to Reality. Nothing else can. Nothing else will.
Subjectively speaking, I've found that the inner Child includes this body, this old bastard, within it -- for good and perfect reason. We will talk about that later.
Now listen gently. As children we heard about adulthood and learned the advantages that growing up and growing old were supposed to proffer. Like everyone in the world since the beginning of time, we bought that bill of goods. We longed to be big children because they could stay up late and go places and do things little folks couldn't. Furthermore, the thing called "time" assured us, we believed, that the adult would come and the child pass away. So, quite by divine plan, we locked ourselves into a sequential, unfolding world "time," and the burying process began. With shovel after shovel of adulthood and adultery, we buried the real Child under a mountain of worldly sophistication, education, judgmentalism, self-importance, guilt, age, debility and thoughts of approaching death.
Now, here we sit under the loblollies and look around. We groan, rub the stiff joints and wonder where the years have gone. Whatever happened to that little child's view of things? It has gone, we think, without our really finding the Truth, without having done much in the world, and without even thinking there might be Something Else besides the relentless march of time that buried the Child in the first place.
We seem to think the Child we were lives only in memory, don't we? Oh, but the wonder is, Dr. Scott, the ageless Child still lives within us, untouched by those accumulated experiences and pains along the slopes of Da Shan, great mountain of seeking and finding. The Child doesn't give two hoots in hell about physics, metaphysics, theology, cosmology and the various schools of whatever the world gives us to study in and about. The Child is untouched by guilt or by the suffering of age. He hasn't lost his memory. She hasn't lost either her grace or energy. There are no years lost to the locust and that original little boy and girl of us is untouched by time. The Child within us lives, by God. Lives!
Doctor, you are watching my old friend Abraham wipe tears from his eyes. Do you wonder if perhaps the Rabbi, with all his years and scholarly knowledge of the Talmud, isn't hearing and feeling Something deep within himself this moment?
Listen, listen: Where do those tender feelings come from? Can you guess? It is the Child that brings tears of insightfulness to our eyes. The Rabbi feels the Child! THAT Child we feel within us is our faithful Guide up the final worldly slopes of Da Shan's peak. That Child brought us together today to hear of Himself. But the Child of us must be recognized, acknowledged as living, and called for if we are to feel its presence returning within us.
Some of the goop heaped on our human backsides is guilt. Most is the anguish of time and what time is believed capable of doing -- and expected to do. Much of our consternation has to do with lack or lost faculties -- the dimming vision, slow reflexes, empty pocketbook, failing memory and zip; but all of that is the great pile of lessons learned which we have allowed -- via Divine Plan -- to hide the Original Child whom we have been deluded into believing we left behind years ago in time! Yet it is that same Child within that gives us the lessons of time and space and makes them bearable. The injuries of those lessons aren't real in the absolute sense of non-time. It is the CHILD that is real -- and the Child that is miraculously untouched. What's more, and what's important here -- the very purpose of our gathering -- the Child can return! It can make a comeback! We give it a hand and lift it up and put it back where it was before the burying began. The Child lives and is still present to live US and walk with us through the events of the world -- straight home to full Self-discovery.
Ah, yes. What seems so interesting is that the simple, the troubled and uneducated are going to find the Child and believe
Ah, yes. What seems so interesting is that the simple, the troubled and uneducated are going to find the Child and believeIt before the sophisticated and religious folks do, before the metaphysicians do.
My friends, this isn't dream stuff we are talking here. At this late stage in the world, too much is at stake for metaphysical word games, philosophical and religious half-truths and psychological upmanship. We haven't much linear time left to stand atop Da Shan in conscious living fact. So we are talking absolute reality now. Truth. Fact. More than that, we are saying something that everyone is going to find is true for himself, all alone, if only when this physical body stops responding to his every whim and is put aside in the experience the world calls death.
I'm here this day to declare for a fact that one doesn't have to await the death of the body to find the Child-heart within himself, lift it up from the distant path and out of the binds of time, and become that one again. That gentle Child within is quite willing to reanimate and revitalize the present body we seem to think we are struggling and dying in -- and bring the Child's wisdom and knowledge of Reality back to our conscious recognition once more.
LISTEN to me carefully. We are still quite capable of seeing and feeling with all the unencumbered joy and delight we felt as children. Absolutely! Still. Right here in the world. No matter how old and how lost we think we are.
Pollyanna must come to mind as one hears words such as these, as if this were her final stand in our affairs. This time let's grab her. If she's the Child, catch her quickly. "The wise man will not hesitate to ask a small child seven days old about the place of life...." Those were the words of Jesus. Isaiah told of the Child; Jesus identified as the child he found himself to be. We are to do the same.
(Pause) I doubt that many will want to understand these things until all their attachment with self-importance and adulthood has passed. Just as a soldier who has thrown grenades and fended bayonets understands what fear is and what peace is, youth doesn't understand the Child until it has put it aside, buried it and lost all trace of it for a time -- thence to miss it and need it -- then, fortuitously, at a moment like this, come home to it again. Do you hear that? Come home to it again! Indeed, this is the purpose of adulthood, the struggling human experience and irrevocable move toward death in time.
It's like the old man who went back to his home in the hills of Tennessee after working in a mill town during the hard days of the war. When he returned to the mountains, he knew what blue sky really is and what a frisky thing a squirrel is and what beauty actually is. When he got back to his clean, unspoiled hills, his "was beautiful" memory turned into an "is beautiful" now again, and he began living the beauty that had gone unrecognized until he lived the ugliness of war.
Well now, listen closely again. We've lived our adulthood to total frustration for nearly eleven thousand years of human time, time and time again, to no avail. So now, finally, we look within, find the child still alive, uncover it, listen to it, follow it -- and that Eternal Child of God within, the Christ of us, takes us straight up the mythical mountain to the peak where we become that child beyond time, in living fact for all our world to see and understand and do likewise.
No. This is no Pollyanna tale being told here. This is a truth for everyone, old and young. These words sound one way to the intellect, but they feel quite another way to the listening, non-judgmental heart within us -- and then, sooner or later, perhaps this day, the feelings come to confirm that it's true and to make it alive and real, despite our sophistication and human importance, despite the gnarled fingers, stiff joints, dimming vision and painful memories. Despite them and despite the world of time and space. Ah, then -- a miracle for some of us who choose -- instead of them.
You see, religion has missed the mark ever so slightly. It has us awaiting a linear Christ in time, but the Christ Light is closer than that. It is not only within us. It is us. (Pause) Did you hear that? It IS us. When we find that out, we comprehend clearly that the linear Christ of time CONFIRMS the Child that we are.
Metaphysics has said nothing about the Child whatever, has it? Subjectivism, for all its looking within, misses the Child entirely -- and the Child's Equation. There is a good reason for this, as we shall see later.
Learn more about William Samuel at William Samuel & Friends.
Is the cure.
Life turns against me.
I turn against her.
What we have been concerned with all through this book is the bringing about in ourselves, and therefore in our lives, of a total revolution that has nothing whatsoever to do with the structure of society as it is. Society as it is, is a horrifying thing with its endless wars of aggression, whether that aggression be defensive or offensive. What we need is something totally new -- a revolution, a mutation, in the psyche itself. The old brain is Asiatic, European, American or African, so what we are asking ourselves is whether it is possible to bring about a mutation in the brain cells themselves?
Let us ask ourselves again, now that we have come to understand ourselves better, is it possible for a human being living an ordinary everyday life in this brutal, violent, ruthless world -- a world which is becoming more and more efficient and therefore more and more ruthless -- is it possible for him to bring about a revolution not only in his outward relationships but in the whole field of his thinking, feeling, acting and reacting?
Every day we see or read of appalling things happening in the world as the result of violence in man. You may say, "I can't do anything about it," or, "How can I influence the world?" I think you can tremendously influence the world if in yourself you are not violent, if you lead actually every day a peaceful life -- a life which is not competitive, ambitions, envious -- a life which does not create enmity. Small fires can become a blaze. We have reduced the world to its present state of chaos by our self-centered activity, by our prejudices, our hatreds, our nationalism, and when we say we cannot do anything about it, we are accepting disorder in ourselves as inevitable. We have splintered the world into fragments and if we ourselves are broken, fragmented, our relationship with the world will also be broken. But if, when we act, we act totally, then our relationship with the world undergoes a tremendous revolution.
After all, any movement which is worth while, any action which has any deep significance, must begin with each one of us. I must change first; I must see what is the nature and structure of my relationship with the world -- and in the very seeing is the doing; therefore I, as a human being living in the world, bring about a different quality, and that quality, it seems to me, is the quality of the religious mind.
The religious mind is something entirely different from the mind that believes in religion. You cannot be religious and yet be a Hindu, a Muslim, a Christian, a Buddhist. A religious mind does not seek at all, it cannot experiment with truth. Truth is not something dictated by your pleasure or pain, or by your conditioning as a Hindu or whatever religion you belong to. The religious mind is a state of mind in which there is not fear and therefore no belief whatsoever but only what is -- what actually is.
In the religious mind there is that state of silence we have already examined which is not produced by thought but is the outcome of awareness, which is meditation when the meditator is entirely absent. In that silence there is a state of energy in which there is no conflict. All action is movement and all action is energy. All desire is energy. All feeling is energy. All thought is energy. If that energy is allowed to flow without any contradiction, without any friction, without any conflict, then that energy is boundless, endless. When there is no friction there are no frontiers to energy. It is friction which gives energy limitations. So, having once seen this, why is it that the human being always brings friction into energy? Why does he create friction in this movement which we call life? Is pure energy, energy without limitation, just an idea to him? Does it have no reality?
We need energy not only to bring about a total revolution in ourselves but also in order to investigate, to look, to act. And as long as there is friction of any kind in any of our relationships, whether between husband and wife, between man and man, between one community and another or one country and another or one ideology and another -- if there is any inward friction or any outward conflict in any form, however subtle it may be -- there is a waste of energy.
As long as there is a time interval between the observer and the observed it creates friction and therefore there is a waste of energy. That energy is gathered to its highest point when the observer is the observed, in which there is no time interval at all. Then there will be energy without motive and it will find its own channel of action because then the "I" does not exist.
We need a tremendous amount of energy to understand the confusion in which we live, and the feeling, "I must understand," brings about the vitality to find out. But finding out, searching, implies time, and, as we have seen, gradually to uncondition the mind is not the way. Time is not the way. Whether we are old or young it is now that the whole process of life can be brought into a different dimension. Seeking the opposite of what we are is not the way either, nor is the artificial discipline imposed by a system, a teacher, a philosopher or priest -- all that is so very childish. When we realize this, we ask ourselves is it possible to break through this heavy conditioning of centuries immediately and not enter into another conditioning -- to be free, so that the mind can be altogether new, sensitive, alive, aware, intense, capable? That is our problem. There is no other problem because when the mind is made new it can tackle any problem. That is the only question we have to ask ourselves.
But we do not ask. We want to be told. One of the most curious things in the structure of our psyche is that we all want to be told because we are the result of propaganda of ten thousand years. We want to have our thinking confirmed and corroborated by another, whereas to ask a question is to ask it of yourself. What I say has very little value. You will forget it the moment you shut this book, or you will remember and repeat certain phrases, or you will compare what you have read here with some other book -- but you will not face your own life. And that is all that matters -- your life, yourself, your pettiness, your shallowness, your brutality, your violence, your greed, your ambition, your daily agony and endless sorrow -- that is what you have to understand and nobody on earth or in heaven is going to save you from it but yourself.
Seeing everything that goes on in your daily life, your daily activities -- when you pick up a pen, when you talk, when you go out for a drive or when you are walking alone in the woods -- can you with one breath, with one look, know yourself very simply as your are? When you know yourself as you are, then you understand the whole structure of man's endeavor, his deceptions, his hypocrisies, his search. To do this you must be tremendously honest with yourself throughout your being. When you act according to your principles you are being dishonest because when you act according to what you think you ought to be you are not what you are. It is a brutal thing to have ideals. If you have any ideals, beliefs or principles you cannot possibly look at yourself directly. So can you be completely negative, completely quiet, neither thinking nor afraid, and yet be extraordinarily, passionately alive?
That state of mind which is no longer capable of striving is the true religious mind, and in that state of mind you may come upon this thing called truth or reality or bliss or God or beauty or love. This thing cannot be invited. Please understand that very simple fact. It cannot be invited, it cannot be sought after, because the mind is too silly, too small, your emotions are too shoddy, your way of life too confused for that enormity, that immense something, to be invited into your little house, your little corner of living which has been trampled and spat upon. You cannot invite it. To invite it you must know it and you cannot know it. It doesn't matter who says it, the moment he says, "I know," he does not know. The moment you say you have found it you have not found it. If you say you have experienced it, you have never experienced it. Those are all ways of exploiting another man -- your friend or enemy.
One asks oneself then whether it is possible to come upon this thing without inviting, without waiting, without seeking or exploring -- just for it to happen like a cool breeze that comes in when you leave the window open? You cannot invite the wind but you must leave the window open, which doesn't mean that you are in a state of waiting; that is another form of deception. It doesn't mean you must open yourself to receive; that is another kind of thought.
Haven't you ever asked yourself why it is that human beings lack this thing? They beget children, they have sex, tenderness, a quality of sharing something together in companionship, in friendship, in fellowship, but this thing -- why is it they haven't got it? Haven't you ever wondered lazily on occasion when you are walking by yourself in a filthy street or sitting in a bus or are on holiday by the seaside or walking in a wood with a lot of birds, trees, streams and wild animals -- hasn't it ever come upon you to ask why it is that man, who has lived for millions and millions of years, has not got this thing, this extraordinary unfading flower? Why is it that you, as a human being, who are so capable, so clever, so cunning, so competitive, who have such marvelous technology, who go to the skies and under the earth and beneath the sea, and invent extraordinary electronic brains -- why is it that you haven't got this one thing which matters? I don't know whether you have ever seriously faced this issue of why your heart is empty.
What would your answer be if you put the question to yourself -- your direct answer without any equivocation or cunningness? Your answer would be in accordance with your intensity in asking the question and the urgency of it. But you are neither intense nor urgent, and that is because you haven't got energy, energy being passion -- and you cannot find any truth without passion -- passion with a fury behind it, passion in which there is no hidden want. Passion is a rather frightening thing because if you have passion you don't know where it will take you.
So is fear perhaps the reason why you have not got the energy of that passion to find out for yourself why this quality of love is missing in you, why there is not this flame in your heart? If you have examined your own mind and heart very closely, you will know why you haven't got it. If you are passionate in your discovery to find why you haven't got it, you will know it is there. Through complete negation alone, which is the highest form of passion, that thing which is love comes into being. Like humility you cannot cultivate love. Humility comes into being when there is a total ending of conceit -- then you will never know what it is to be humble. A man who knows what it is to have humility is a vain man. In the same way when you give your mind and your heart, your nerves, your eyes, your whole being to find out the way of life, to see what actually is and go beyond it, and deny completely, totally, the life you live now -- in that very denial of the ugly, the brutal, the other comes into being. And you will never know it either. A man does not know what love is or what silence is.
Reprinted with permission, from Krishnamurti's "Freedom from the Known." See the Krishnamurti Foundation of America web site for more information on the teachings and on current activities of the Foundation.
"The Guiding Star"
When lost in the confusion of mind's complexity,
The inner emptiness,
What is the question that, if you had the answer, would set you free?
This is the mother of all questions. It is a question that can only be meditated upon. Each time you answer it, you begin a different conversation. While there may not be one answer that you can settle on, each attempt aims you in a good direction. It is like a laser beam into what matters. It brings the question of our freedom front and center. It carries within it the optimistic message that our freedom might be within reach. It confronts our illusions about what will set us free because the answer is a reminder of all the effort it takes that does not set us free, but further obligates us.
~From The Answer to How Is Yes by Peter Block.
From a high school reunion website:
I finished my BS in Computer Science in 93 at Minot State University (Minot ND). Spent 3 years in Italy following my husband and speaking mostly Fretalian, (Who knew I would need that 4th year of French?)- couldn't find a job in '93 so we cut our losses and decided to travel. I had a baby girl in Pisa, Italy....she's 12 now. We were relocated to San Antonio, TX in 97, after I nearly died, where I was finally able to use my degree. I spent 1.5 years making sure everyone's junk mail went out correctly. In 2002 we had our 2nd child, a boy who will be going to 1st grade in the fall. I'm currently in my 9th year at a law firm writing/maintaining tax office bookeeping & tax software & databases. If this is the "American Dream" someone Please wake me up!
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