04. Which way is up?
Spiritual Web Chat
Session 1: Sat 25 Oct 1997

Ben< From "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach:

Fletcher Lynd Seagull was still quite young, but already he knew that no bird had ever been so harshly treated by any flock, or with so much injustice.

"I don't care what they say," he thought fiercely, and his vision blurred as he flew out toward the Far Cliffs. "There's so much more to flying than just flapping around from place to place! A ... a ... mosquito does that! One little barrel-roll around the Elder Gull, just for fun, and I'm Outcast! Are they blind? Can't they see? Can't they think of the glory that it'll be when we really learn to fly?

"I don't care what they think. I'll show them what flying is! I'll be pure Outlaw, if that's the way they want it. And I'll make them so sorry..."

The voice came inside his own head, and though it was very gentle, it startled him so much that he faltered and stumbled in the air.

"Don't be harsh on them, Fletcher Seagull. In casting you out, the other gulls have only hurt themselves, and one day they will know this, and one day they will see what you see. Forgive them, and help them to understand."

An inch from his right wingtip flew the most brilliant white seagull in all the world, gliding effortlessly along, not moving a feather, at what was very nearly Fletcher's top speed.

There was a moment of chaos in the young bird. "What's going on? Am I mad? Am I dead? What is this?"

Low and calm, the voice went on within his thought, demanding an answer. "Fletcher Lynd Seagull, do you want to fly?"


"Fletcher Lynd Seagull, do you want to fly so much that you will forgive the Flock, and learn, and go back to them one day and work to help them know?"

There was no lying to this magnificent skillful being, no matter how proud or how hurt a bird was Fletcher Seagull. "I do," he said softly.

"Then, Fletch," that bright creature said to him, and the voice was very kind, "Let's begin with Level Flight..."

Ben< At this point, Richard Bach's story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull jumps to another chapter, so I used my imagination to fill in some blanks, and I invite you to do likewise.

Suppose Jonathan says to Fletcher, "The first thing we need to know about level flight is: Which way is up?"

Fletcher points over his head and says, "That way is up."

Jonathan smiles and says, "Yes, that way is up, toward higher altitude above the surface of the earth. We need to know that direction every time we fly, and all the time we are flying. We need to be able to find it quickly, on bright days and cloudy days, day or night, no matter what attitude we happen to be flying at the moment. How do we do that?

Ben< ALL: Okay ... That's a lot to read, but what do you think Fletcher would say next? And what might Jonathan reply? YOUR TURN

Lor< He knows that aerodynamic lift depends on wind velocity, density and speed of flight.

Walk_In< What lifts us leads us?

FRAML< In an airplane, we check the altimeter and artificial horizon.

wonder< My heart will feel the LIGHTness of BEing and I will soar to the highest of highs!

FRAML< If you look up you will see light from the sun; if you look down you will see increasing darkness. (I haven't read JLS in 30 years)

Walk_In< The path of most resistance: if it is hard, we are not "Falling".

Ben< Walk_In: Interesting. Yes, it is easier to fall than it is to maintain level flight or to climb. Good point.

SLIDER< Fletcher might say "How do I know which way is up?" And Jonathan would reply "You must know where you are and where you have been and then where you wish to be going."

Jello< At night there is no light from the sun. I like the note about gravity --- the easy way is the wrong way.

LEGS< I'm like the king in "The King and I" ... It's a puzzlement!

Ben< ALL: I think Fletcher probably says, "I just *know* which way is up!" And Jonathan replies, "Okay, but *how* do you know?"

Cassandra< Does Fletcher have something inside him that will give him the direction if he searches for it?

Walk_In< It is a natural tendency. With practice it can be recognized. It requires no outside stimuli; it's internal navigation. *S*

wonder< We TRUST that we KNOW! TRUST and SURRENDER to flight! Don't worry about HOW.

Jello< It's natural unless you were raised in a centrifuge, like some of us. :-)

YOLDI< Perfect love and perfect trust. *S* This is an intriguing discussion. *S*

Walk_In< We are flyers; we have been given the tools!

Lor< I don't recall navigators depending on their instincts often arriving at their destination.

greyman< Jonathan is blessed with an inner ear and an area of the brain sensitive to the Earth's magnetic field. So he can "know" direction and up or down.

Jello< Even the best flyers get into trouble when the inner balance mechanisms are screwed up for whatever reason (disease, etc.).

Ben< ALL: To expand the analogy a bit: How do human aircraft pilots know which way is up?

SLIDER< Gravity.

Walk_In< Internal Nav aids, not seat of pants. *S*

Lor< Some use gyros as references.

LEGS< Then, as Walk_In suggests, for us, it can be internal guidance? Our learning is our gyroscope?

Lor< Even gyros need interpreting because they reference inertial space.

YOLDI< *perplexed look upon face*

Walk_In< A pilot is not One with his machine, and is often fooled. Jonathan is the machine. *S*

Ben< ALL: Humans have some built-in sensors: "seat of the pants" is a gravity sensor system -- but it gets confused by the G-force of a turn. We have liquid level sensors in our inner ears -- but they get confused by vibration and by G-forces in a turn.

FRAML< Ben: Yes of course, and blocked Eustachian tubes mess that up.

SLIDER< Ben: Are you saying that by going to extremes we can lose direction of purpose?

Kathleen< Good point, SLIDER.

Ben< SLIDER: I'm still working on the physical analogy. Bear with me for a moment more.

Ben< ALL: We use our eyes a lot, assuming that brighter is sky and therefore up, and darker is earth or sea and therefore down -- but this system doesn't work under all conditions or perfectly.

FRAML< Ben: OK. Cases of vertigo I guess disrupt orientation awareness.

Jello< Sometimes we just have to go by our limited data, limited experience, and do our best under the circumstances ... and sometimes we crash. :-)

wonder< Birds, too, crash as they are learning. *S*

LEGS< Ah yes, wonder, they do crash while learning, and they also fly into false horizons... window panes, for instance.

Lor< It does seem natural to think of up as being in the direction of light.

Jello< But light can be below, in cases of artificial lights. (Sorry if I'm stretching this metaphor way too thin, but isn't that what confuses moths?)

Lor< I meant to say that up usually the direction of our prime light source.

Cassandra< Guidance has to come from something built inside of us that leads us if we pay attention to it.

Ben< ALL: Why do aircraft have instruments like an artificial horizon, climb and dive indicator, and turn and bank indicator?

FRAML< Ben: So that you can keep you wings level and true. and your nose up in the blue. *S*

wonder< And if this is all an illusion, we must learn to TRUST our instincts -- the instruments are crutches that we have become dependent upon.

Walk_In< As a plane takes wing, it lifts off with its internal guidance set ... for reference. As we grow we are taught lessons we use later for internal guidance.

Ben< ALL: Aircraft have to have instruments because we cannot trust our own inner senses (sensor systems, feelings). Our sensors are good, but they are not good enough. If we rely on them exclusively, we crash and kill ourselves. (I helped bury a lot of my friends, during the years I was in the Air Force.)

SLIDER< Ben -- good point -- but there are many stories of planes without working instruments that pilots have landed by the seat of their pants, leaving us with a paradox to this analogy!

Willow< Seems that trusting only one 'instrument' would be the problem ... we must learn to read and understand the information we receive from all of our 'sensors' to keep from becoming confused ... thus a false reading from one would be identified by the others.

Ben< Willow: Yes, we must use *all* the sensor systems we have, and *all* the instruments, and we still need external help, such as ground-based radars, and sometimes, airborne instructor pilots.

Walk_In< Yes, but would a pilot choose to go up with a faulty set?

Ben< ALL: Seagulls are somewhat smarter than humans. They sit on the ground when conditions are too dangerous for them to fly.

Willow< hahahahahahaha ... wonderful!

Ben< ALL: My point, to this point, is that we have to know which way is actually up, regardless of how we obtain that information.

Ben< Next, I think Jonathan Livingston Seagull might say: "And what do we do with that information? When we find ourselves in an unusual attitude, we quickly find which way is up, level the wings, level the nose, and control the airspeed. These four steps are the most basic procedure for attaining and retaining Level Flight, but they always depend on our always knowing which way is up."

Ben< And I think Jonathan Livingston Seagull might also say: "There are other ways which are also up. We need to know them just as well, and be able to find them just as quickly, as we do the way up from the surface of the earth. What are some of these other ways? How else can you answer the question: Which way up?"

wonder< Let's say you are already in the air -- it's the opposite direction you are FALLING. *smile*

FRAML< Ben: Whether we are leaning forward or backward in our "seat" due to gravity and direction of flight?

Cassandra< Other ways ... We say we are feeling up. We are uplifted. Does he have an automatic pilot?

SLIDER< One must use intuition or faith in some cases.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, a pilot uses faith in his instruments because they are more accurate and more reliable than his inner sensors. What he feels is useful, but cannot be relied upon.

Lor< To get a good vertical reference probably involves having a lot of very carefully calibrated trial runs.

greyman< Lor: Or simply stop flapping. If you're not in a storm or hurricane or some air vortex, the air rushing up will give you the much needed up/down reference. But this technique also requires sufficient altitude -- flap, flap, flap.

Cassandra< If you aren't falling from the sky, then you must automatically be up -- whether bird or plane.

Lor< Side drafts, down drafts, etc., from mountains could be tricky and tend to mislead.

Bink< For me, the best/only way to maintain altitude is to learn the rules, then execute them in daily experience.

Walk_In< When one is quiet, you can hear the "singing" of one's feathers. *S*

[Ben < Walk_In: The song of the wind in one's feathers (or in the struts of an old-fashioned biplane or around the cockpit of a modern airplane) is an airspeed indicator. It sings of how fast you are moving but not which way you are moving.]

LEGS< This all convinces me that I am glad the good Lord didn't make me a gull or other bird ... but as for me and which way is up? I am waiting...

Lor< Up is radially outward from the earth.

Cassandra< Up is the opposite of down.

greyman< Cassandra: So, down is the opposite of up. *S* flap, flap, flap.

Jello< Isn't part of the current question "What are some of the other ways up?" Still chewing on that one...

Cassandra< Jello: Is that a pun? Current question or air current?

wonder< Cassandra: LOL! Good one! Which current? hehehe

Jello< Cassandra: Wish I'd thought of it as a pun. :) But are we going to expand to other considerations of what can be called "up"?

SLIDER< Ben: It seems the higher we go, the more easily we lose direction, or the means to distinguish direction.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I hope I've made a few points about the importance of knowing which way is up, and some of the problems involved. In the discussion tonight, and for the next two sessions, I'd like to see more of your thoughts in regard to the other ways that are also up. I'll add some of my own, but I want to see your ideas on this subject.

SLIDER< New case --- The stormier it is the harder to maintain direction.


SLIDER< Ben: That's pretty open, which up do we address?

Ben< SLIDER: What is upward ... mentally? How can we tell? What are the symptoms?

SLIDER< Ben: I find keeping a positive mental attitude and open mind on all subjects keeps me in an up mood, and by analyzing thought as a powerful force of the mind things come into perspective.

Jello< In a mental sense, Up would imply improvement ... better thinking, better insight. How one knows whether one's ideas and thoughts are really *better* is another issue. Many people seem to think they know exactly how to fix the gov't; not sure I'd agree. :)

FRAML< Ben: Are you now shifting to the Spiritual Up? Or still working on Physical Up?

Jello< This is slightly off the topic, but isn't the average seagull concerned about "up" only as it applies to not crashing? They are actually more concerned about getting someplace on roughly the same horizontal level, than going Up. And the same could be said of many people in a spiritual sense, too, if we want to switch to that kind of metaphor. :-)

Bink< Ben: 'up' for me is finding, knowing, and maintaining my relationship with our Creator.

greyman< Thank you, Ben. I'm gunna dust off my old copy of JLS.

Cassandra< If it's an analogy, it might be different paths of inspiration which bring illumination and an upward lift of Spirit, but is this supposed to be a physical up?

Lor< Is navigating the web a bit like navigating in other senses?

Enorah< Why so much importance on up?

Ben< Enorah: Good question. UP isn't very important for two-dimensional beings that stay on a surface, but it is vital for any beings who want to fly -- that is, to move into three-dimensional existence.

LEGS< Ben: Thanks for an interesting class. Like greyman, I think I'd better review JLS ... a long time since I read it aloud to my daughter ... didn't know what all I was missing, apparently. *G*

Cassandra< Yet when someone says "Shut up" it actually means to close your mouth. That's a different way of using up. And when you say something is used up, it means it is all gone. And mix-up can be chaos.

Ben< Cassandra: We also say "Wait up" and "Catch up".

Cassandra< And one means stop and the other means go.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I'll jump ahead to the opening line for next time. Maybe that'll help. "UP" is one of the most used words in the English language. However, the various senses of that word and its compound words tend to belong in one of two clusters: up generally means higher, or better, or both.

Jello< I didn't used to associate "up" with improvement, though. I always figured that was just a metaphor we humans get from being the type of creatures we are, in the physical environment we evolved in. :)

SLIDER< In one sense UP can't really exist, for the farther one goes up and leaves earth you may actually be going down or across, once you leave the atmosphere. How can you go up to the sun if it's night time? *S*

Jello< "Up" seemed so dependent on evolution in a world with gravity; the stronger are usually those who wind up sitting on the weaker; the birds higher up can see enemies better; it's safer up in the trees than on the ground.

Ben < Someone asked me, "Why do they say Heaven is up? Why couldn't Heaven be down?" How would you answer?

Cassandra< The kingdom of Heaven is within.

Jello< So, why not build on our instinctive thinking that up is better than down? Or maybe this is a case of physical world mirroring spiritual? I dunno; too deep for me. (And "deep" is an interesting exception to "up is better")

Cassandra< Jello: You're right!

Ben< Cassandra: Yes! You caught that... (smile) Very perceptive.

Cassandra< Ben: You have made my night. I have really been trying, but I thought you weren't reading me.

Ben< Cassandra: Sorry, my last post was in reference to your post about stop and go. I don't believe that the kingdom of heaven is within everyone.

Cassandra< Yes, Ben. I realized that. I really knew the one you meant. But thanks again.

Jello< I didn't know which one Ben meant! Thanks for the clarification. :-)

Ben< Cassandra: You're welcome. I'm feeling that I posted too much tonight and didn't let the dialogue develop, so I'm glad that you have wrestled with it and come up (smile) with your own thoughts.

Jello< Well, frankly, the dialogue was stumping me in places. :)

Ben< Jello: Yes, it was a difficult dialogue tonight. Perhaps because I have been an aircraft pilot and see the analogy more clearly than I conveyed it.

Jello< Come to think of it, though, when people refer to "deep understanding" or some sort of spiritual awakening from somewhere "deep," they mean *deep within oneself*... Perhaps something like one's center (to use a more planet-like analogy)

Ben< Jello: Good point. I do intend to build on our instinctive thinking that up is better than down.

Jello< My main introspective observation is that I can't describe or explain how or why I believe some things are "Up." It's like describing a sense of balance to someone who has never had it. (And I've been wrong about "up" before, too.)

Ben< Jello: Thank you! That type of introspection is what I was hoping most members of this seminar would do.

Jello< I hope that, in future sessions, you'll be going into what happens when a plane's instruments are out of alignment (or how to tell when that happens); i.e., false data about what's Up or not. Duh ... it's obvious *what* happens when a plane's instruments are screwed up, barring cases where (as someone else mentioned) the pilot is very good at compensating. :)

Ben< Jello: Yes, I hope to get into the analogy of what happens when the aircraft instruments screw up -- but far more often, the human sensors screw up and the pilot's reliance on the instruments is what saves the aircraft.

Jello< Ben: Ah, that's an interesting thought when applied to the different metaphor. Gotta think about that one....

04. Which way is up?
Session 2: Sat 01 Nov 1997

Ben< "UP" is one of the most-used words in the English language. However, the various meanings of that word tend to belong in one of two clusters: up generally means "higher" or "better" or both.

Ben< Here is one series of words that show something that means "up" -- quarks, atoms, molecules, compounds, cells, tissues, organs, systems, bodies, families, tribes, clans, nations, species. Can you label this meaning of "up"? Here's a hint: think of it as "up through" or "up toward"...

LEGS< Functioning? ... no ... hmmmmm

SLIDER< Ben: You got me stumped!

Ben< SLIDER: Up a stump? (Grin)

tori< Evolving?

Ben< Yes, up through higher levels of evolution is a way of looking at part of that series of words. Another?

poweress< Spiritual or spatial? Not sure?

Jello< Upward complexity!

SLIDER< Ben: Looks like "up" can be used in almost every application.

poweress< levels or vibrations?

Jello< Upward putting-together-ness. Building up of systems.

Ben< Jello: Yes! Building up. As opposed to tearing down.

FRAML< Jello: Yes, building increasingly complex systems. Also evolution (?)

LEGS< progressive series ... starting with smallest identifiable, up through the largest amassing thereof.

greyman< Toward direction of electromagnetic, strong and weak force, and of course, gravitation.

Jello< Each level has its own complexities, of course. In some sense a cell may be easier to describe than its component molecules.

greyman< Jello: And don't forget the intermediate vector baseballs.

SLIDER< Ben: If quarks are at the bottom, I guess they must have to move "up" and so goes it.

Cassandra< Up through creation.

Lor< How do species evolve "up" from nations?

Ben< Lor: Good point. Species are not necessarily the next step above nations in that series. You caught me!

Roanna< Life only evolves toward complexity when it is adaptive. That is why we have alligators or sponges. They are survivors, as are cockroaches. They don't need to be any more complex than they are.

Ben< I can see that you are thinking. Good! Anyone else?

poweress< Ben: So are you saying that these are progressive levels of higher and higher complexities of composition?

Ben< poweress: Yes, basically. Other labels for that series are: upward through higher levels of assembly, or higher levels of organization.

Roanna< As for electrons and other particles, they prefer (if they prefer anything) to be at the lowest energy state, the ground state.

greyman< Roanna: Yes, even after combining with other atoms.

Roanna< That evolution is goal-directed is part of the nineteenth century fable of progress. Evolution has adaptation and survival as its goal, and that means any which way but loose as long as it works, and the more ways the better.

Ben< Roanna: Survival of the fittest, yes, but something must come into existence before it survives.

Roanna< Seems to me nationalism or rather tribalism is alive and well. No way to beat it except by intermarriage.

Flutewind< I was under the impression that at the heart of all complexity was finite simplicity. Help?

windy< Ah, paradox, Flutewind. :-)

greyman< Flutewind: Ahhhh, but to find it!

windy< Increasing levels of complexity.

LEGS< As in, each word describes a component of the next word.

Ben< These are levels of organization, organisms, etc. This is apparently the path of creation and evolution. We build up a house, or anything else, by assembling and integrating parts into a new and more complex unit.

poweress< Ben: Okay, I think I'm following so far, but not really sure where this leads.

Jello< Though a house in some ways is less complex, as it doesn't do photosynthesis and doesn't grow and fend off diseases by itself, as a tree would. :) But certainly more complex than a piece of lumber.

Roanna< Sometimes complexity works. We big-brained creatures with opposable thumbs and the ability to reproduce offspring fifteen months apart are very successful but we still have a long way to go before we beat out the cockroaches in terms of survival.

Woodman< Roanna: Chuckle @ cockroach comment. They're not as specialized as we are, are they? We teeter on the edge of extinction, no?

poweress< Ben: Don't want to interject this prematurely, but don't we also evolve in a somewhat pendulum motion? Yin-Yang progression. We must sometimes tear down to rebuild.

Ben< In physics, synergy; in biology, synergism. The creative path. The process of organizing, as opposed to disorganizing; integration rather than disintegration.

Flutewind< If we peel everything away, wouldn't that which remains be the simple essence?

greyman< Flutewind: I like your analogy. I could use some infinitely small tweezers!

Flutewind< greyman *S*

Jello< If we humans did a better job of not ruining complex ecologies, I'd probably agree more enthusiastically. :-)

poweress< Ben: Are you making a distinction between physical evolution and spiritual evolution? Or the evolution of species and the evolution of the universe?

Ben< Poweress: No, not a distinction, a comparison.

Roanna< And atoms work together to form molecules only because it gives them completed orbitals more or less (organic stuff gets complicated). Once again if you can complete the orbitals you drop your energy level, end of story. Things will stay simple if they reach the ground state. Try breaking apart a salt molecule and getting it to do anything more complex.

Woodman< Roanna: You break apart a salt molecule (enough of them) and it'll kill ya! Sodium is bad stuff and chlorine isn't nice either, eh?

Roanna< Woodman: How do you break apart a salt molecule that is not in solution? Try it.

Woodman< Roanna: My eyes aren't up to it, molecules being such tiny things.

greyman< Woodman: Lithium Oxide is less nasty!

Ben< ALL: Okay, this meaning of UP through higher levels of assembly is a dimension or pathway that we can see wherever we look -- physically, biologically, psychologically, sociologically, spiritually. The principle is always the same: integration creates; disintegration destroys.

poweress< Aha! Okay, getting it now.

Woodman< Ben: What of entropy?

Roanna< Entropy is the tendency of complex systems to break apart, especially if it requires energy to keep them together. Everything likes to be at its simplest and lowest energy level. Frees up nutrients and raw materials.

Ben< Woodman: Entropy is decay toward destruction. The opposite of synergy.

Tigerlily< At least psychologically speaking, disintegration can be a step to integration.

Ben< Tigerlily: Disintegration is a step in the opposite direction, away from integration -- a breaking down, not a building up -- although it may be followed by reintegration.

SLIDER< Ben: So if you want to go "up" town you have to mingle?

Jello< You need a town, in any case. :)

poweress< Ben: Are you getting at the point that we must move together as a whole, as opposed to separate entities, in order to facilitate our next evolutionary step?

Flutewind< poweress: I, too, have heard the theory that humanity must progress the next step en masse.

Ben< poweress: Same principle, in our previous and our next evolutionary steps: entities drawing together and moving together in groups which function as units.

Roanna< Humans are generalists, too. Look at our teeth (a nice omnivore's dentition, just like a pig's). We still have a clavicle, a very primitive feature. My cat does not have one. We eat anything, and we avoided the K-selection trap that plagues large big-brained primates. Chimps have to wait three years between single offspring.

FRAML< poweress: The spiritual is the point here, good question. // Roanna: Evolution of species is not the point.

poweress< FRAML: Thank you. I've never done this class forum before. Trying to determine what we are trying to determine.

Woodman< Ben: So you don't think there's a general tendency for entropy to increase through time? Or do you?

Roanna< Very definitely, entropy increases over time. It's called aging, wear and tear, etc.. The reason that life survives is that the earth is an open system. Energy comes in from the sun. Keep putting in more energy and you sustain the system.

zamolxe< Maybe ... entropy tells us we are living in a finite universe/system. So... the old have to make room for the new.

SLIDER< Roanna: Entropy would still need a catalyst.

Roanna< Yeah, but the scientific makes a poor metaphor for the spiritual. The spiritual is weird. Science and spirituality are two separate fields, both good at what they do.

Woodman< Roanna: Well said! (Gargoyles hoot in respect and T-Rex opens a sleepy eye.) All: My carvings are with me tonight.

zamolxe< Maybe ... creation and destruction are human concepts. In the nature only transformation exist.

greyman< You can't take a pile of ashes and turn it back into a tree. But if you take a seed it once had and add the ashes, water and topsoil, you may get another tree with the gift of sunlight.

Ben< There is an ancient Greek word for this path. Heraclitus named it "The Logos" -- the logic or principle that governs the processes of creation and destruction. In more modern terms, whatever brings order out of disorder, cosmos out of chaos, is a creative process in action. Likewise, whatever reduces order to disorder, cosmos to chaos, is a destructive process in action. Thus, creating is "up" and destroying is "down" at each level of organization. I believe this is a valuable insight in terms of one's orientation in spiritual space.

Roanna< Ben: That evolution of life involves progress is a nineteenth century fallacy. Evolution has one goal, adaptation. Individuals or social groups (in the case of social organisms) have one goal, survival, passing on their genes. No master plan. If you want to propose one, you have switched over to prophesy, but science does not support you.

Ben< Roanna: I didn't say "progress" or "master plan" -- I said something about the directions "up" and "down" in terms of existence at every level of organization.

Jello< In our world, at least, both creative (up?) and destructive (down?) are needed for life, as others have already said.

Flutewind< Ben: If order comes from disorder, what is the governing/controlling factor?

zamolxe< Flutewind: You are close to an answer...

Jello< Individuals have other goals, other than just passing on genes, as seen in altruism where the individuals are not even related, or of the same species. (Arguably this may be to help the whole ecosystem, but who knows?)

windy< destructive ... or perhaps that of stoppage/blockage ... blocking the natural flow of energy throughout the universe can result in disorder and chaos.

Cassandra< Is this logos the same as the Sanskrit Logos?

Ben< Cassandra: Logos is a Greek word.

poweress< Ben: I am confused, did you not just acknowledge that from disorder comes order? If that is the case, all is intertwined, everything is creation in one form or another.

Ben< poweress: Order does arise out of disorder, but it takes a creative process to do it. Building up is not as easy as tearing down.

poweress< Ben: True. Creativity is very powerful.

LEGS< However, we are working toward or upward to the spiritual analogy of "up" here tonight, aren't we?

FRAML< LEGS: Yes, this is working on the spiritual upside. We are getting lost in the physical evolutionary weeds, though.

Ben< LEGS: I'm working toward an understanding of spiritual UP.

Jello< Actually, sometimes destruction can be considered *constructive* -- when the thing being destroyed is faulty, and clearly in need of being re-built. So we can still call it "construction" (if we keep the end in mind, which is dangerous sometimes. :)

Ben< Jello: Destruction is often labeled "constructive" or "good" or "necessary" or "expedient" (depending on one's point of view), but it is still destruction.

zamolxe< Jello: Tara is an Indian deity. She is looking scary with skulls on her waist and weapons in her hands... but is the one destroying the ignorance.

Jello< zamolxe: Ah yes, destroying hurtful lies and laying a solid foundation of useful truth.

Ben< QUESTION: Second posting for tonight (and no, I haven't forgotten about that first one. We'll tie back to it.) Another use of the word "up" is in "Look up to." List a few of the characteristics of people you look up to. YOUR TURN

Cassandra< Purity of mind.

poweress< Loving, secure and calm in their beliefs, respect for others, carrying on and finding positive in all situations.

Jello< I'm sure Ben knows these words, but I like 'em anyway: "kinder, wiser, more gracious".

tori< nurturing, kind, gentle, loving, insightful.

Cassandra< Truthfulness.

poweress< Growing with the spirit in all circumstances.

Ben< Good thoughtful inputs. More?

Jello< I think something I value greatly is "Wise". Flaming fundamentalists can be truthful, or even "pure of intent." But I don't admire them in many ways.

Woodman< Ben: Are we talking science, or of spiritual things?

Ben< Woodman: We're working on spiritual things now.

Roanna< Science is a wretched metaphor for spirituality.

zamolxe< science is spiritual...

Roanna< Science is not. Science is material.

Jello< A true scientist is very spiritual (sorry, slightly off topic).

greyman< Jello: Not the ones I've seen. I would like to agree, however.

FRAML< Roanna: We are not talking science here. Everyone is getting wrapped up in the example and missing the target of spiritual orientation. Do we go up, down or sideways?

Roanna< We go in circles, FRAML, stay in ruts. If you know what you want that's half the battle because then at least you have a direction. That is as far as I have gone with certainty. What people want is often strange but at least they have a goal.

Jello< Roanna: Yet science is a search for "Truth." What is "Truth" (really)? Why is there a search to begin with (what is calling)?

Roanna< Yes, but the philosophy behind good science is not what is being talked about here tonight.

Jello< Roanna: Sorry, just replying to "Science is not. Science is material." Sorry if I misunderstood.

[Ben< The areas of the Philosophy of Science that I'm talking about are inductive logic and empirical inquiry. This is how the creative principle works in the mind, by gathering data and building up a body of knowledge. The horizontal component of induction is synthesis. The "inductive leap" is an act of creation -- of a concept in the mind. Deductive logic and rational explanation apply existing concepts, but they do not create new knowledge.]

zamolxe< Science is not material. It is using information in "substance" and meditation in "procedure". The adhesive is made by judgment.

JamesRD< Spirituality in scientific terms depends on it's point of demarcation and whether it is soft or hard core points. Hard core requires definitive proof. Soft requires only what makes sense. Einstein's theory of relativity, even though it could not be proven, was considered a breakthrough in scientific method.

Roanna< JamesRD: Parts of Einstein's theory were provable with the Michelson experiment, using mirrors and light.

poweress< A truly kind, gentle, soul is usually very strong in faith and very admirable.

Lor< Awe-someness -- like with more wisdom, understanding, etc. than I have.

poweress< In a way, don't we really look up to people with the traits we aspire to?

Ben< poweress: Yes. That's why this question is relevant to our own orientation in spiritual space.

Flutewind< Ben: What controls the creative process bringing order from disorder? Please?

Ben< Flutewind: Oftentimes we ourselves control the creative process, and thus bring order out of chaos. Look at what human beings have built up, physically and non-physically.

Woodman< Ben: Ahh. Thanks. I was getting confused. Not that it is an uncommon event, mind you. (G) So, are we discussing growth and development on a spiritual plane, or what? // Roanna: Yes, the conflict of science and religion is a difficult one that I would have the fundamentalists leave the heck alone.

Ben< Woodman: Okay. You build -- create -- beautiful things that would not exist without you and your work. Thus, to that degree, you are creative and a creator.

Woodman< Ben: Agreed. Of course some people think my gargoyles are just TOO weird, but I don't care, I love 'em. I am in NW Oklahoma after all. Southern baptistville. Fine place for a lover of science. Yes, to create you have to see a thing in something else. You have to see the potentials in the wood, and then you must have the skills to bring it out.

Flutewind< Woodman: Well said regarding "focus". Most important. (((Ben))))) so then you are talking about the power of the mind, i.e., holding focus, intent, etc.? If this is the case, where did the first order out of disorder come from?

zamolxe< The Initial creation was in laws. The substance preexisted in Chaos. Logos is the form.

Woodman< Flutewind: I am an artist of sorts (I carve wood), and I've found that my best creative times are when I am at peace and totally focused on what I'm doing. When time passes unnoticed and nothing exists except my carving.

Lor< I've thought that creativeness takes a special kind of drive to bring a kind of order from what could otherwise be just a jumble; but destruction can happen without willfulness.

zamolxe< What is soft from outside, is strong inside... and vice-versa.

poweress< zamolxe: Interesting.

Cassandra< Love. Unselfishness. Working with others.

Ben< Cassandra: Okay, is love more constructive or more destructive? Is it's usual result to build or to destroy?

Cassandra< Ben: Unselfish pure love is the most constructive thing I know. Not this thing so many people call love, but an unselfish love.

Ben< Cassandra: Yes. And what does love build, or create?

Cassandra< Compassion, honor.

Jello< Love builds up just about anything! Love a tree --- take care of it, water it, prune it, and it will (probably) do very well. Families, quality homes, businesses, friendships, nations.

poweress< Jello: Very nice post about love building up everything. *S*

zamolxe< We are bound to this world equally by hate and love. Buddha had compassion. Loving without being hurt is not very easy. Probably it is the last step.

poweress< Love builds a foundation, on which we can release fear and create even more love, and eventually true knowledge.

Ben< Cassandra, Jello, zamolxe, poweress: Yes. Among people, the kind of love that you have described builds friendships, teams, groups, families, by drawing individuals together in mutually-supportive little organizations. Love builds. Fear and hate destroy.

poweress< Ben: So true, and as I see it, true love is of the spirit and fear is of the ego. Don't mean to get off on other tangent, though.

Jello< Though sometimes fear protects, by keeping people from getting into dangerous and/or stupid situations, yes?

windy< Love builds unity, a feeling of togetherness, oneness.

Ben< windy: Yes, love builds unity. It makes groups of people into units that are stronger than the sum of the parts. This is synergy, the opposite of entropy.

greyman< Ben: Yes, a colony of cells is more fortified than just one in the murk.

poweress< greyman: Very good, bringing us back to original point. Not just talking about the unity of our spirits, but how the unity of individual cells also creates a whole which is greater than the sum of its parts.

Woodman< Poweress: I believe that our souls are like God's cells.

poweress< Woodman: I agree completely. *S*

Roanna< How about self-interest? We are social animals. It is in our self-interest to work in groups.

Jello< Humans who are raised with a lack of love, however, usually show that they have no idea how to work in groups.

Roanna< Greed... if you increase the total take of food, shelter, money, your cut increases. That is incentive to work in a group, the so-called invisible hand.

JamesRD< In theory only, Roanna, thus the need for soft core point of demarcation.

zamolxe< Working in groups is mostly silence. So each can feel the group, without being disrupted by himself. So the cells are working.

LadyV< zamolxe: May I ask, if one of the cells in the group is sick or weak, how do the other cells treat it? Do they kill it? Protect it? Or ignore its existence?

poweress< LadyV: In my opinion, if a cell is sick, we give it what it lacks, most often that is love.

LadyV< poweress: Thank you.

poweress< (((LadyV))) *S* I actually see you do this very often. Give love when you see someone acting out in fear.

LadyV< poweress: I try to return what helps me to survive. Yes, I do try to do this. Thank you, poweress.

zamolxe< LadyV: So this is the first question of the Sphinx! The group is acting as an inertial system. You cannot go too high or too low. So that's why working in a group is safe and very productive up to a point when you give up the group to find your own way. But until then... is still more to come.

LadyV< zamolxe: (smiling) Thank you. I liked what you said about "Science is not material" etc. I understood the statement. I am wondering, however, if these are your words or those of Buddha? I have not heard this before.

zamolxe< LadyV: We all can be Buddha or "J" or... but only for a limited time. They were for their whole lasting life.

FRAML< zamolxe: In groups I have found it possible to go very high, to reach the spiritual pinnacle of connections.

zamolxe< FRAML: As I said: up to a point. We are all unique, so there is not a common way to touch the Absolute. But that last detachment is still far for many of us... to the horizon.

FRAML< zamolxe: Yes, each of us is unique, but there is a spark of life that is common among us. We can use that spark to get ourselves and it oriented to the highest light and thus have it go there when these carbon shells wear out.

zamolxe< FRAML: There is no wrong way, if leads to Absolute... is the same like Mahayana and Hinayana. Just different strategies. Work with whatever you will find useful.

FRAML< zamolxe: You seem to follow Buddhism. You might be interested in reviewing the three sessions Ben held on Karma. They are on his site.

zamolxe< FRAML: I don't follow Buddhism. (I am not fit enough. I rather follow... ZAMOLXE.

FRAML< zamolxe: And what is that?

LadyV< zamolxe: Who is zamolxe?

zamolxe< ZAMOLXE is coming from old times... from Europe, Dacia. Let only say that was the deity of "Blue Sky".

FRAML< zamolxe: Thus one of the "old ones"...

Jello< Ability to work with others, and see the usefulness of working with others, seems to have to be taught. I suspect this is also true in other highly intelligent social animals.

zamolxe< Jello: Your "suspicion" is very deep.

Jello< zamolxe: Suspicion? Of?

zamolxe< Jello: Regarding "animals".

Jello< zamolxe: I admit I'm a little confused about what you're saying.

zamolxe< Jello: You said something before about animals. Animals are not what we learned to be. If you will be interested we can talk more ... but is a wide theme in itself.

Jello< zamolxe: The context I used animals in was in a more "scientific" context, not a spiritual one. I have a great respect for animals as spiritual beings.

Cassandra< Strength.

Jello< Neat stories about all sorts of animals who protected and fed and cared for the weakest, the deformed, the lonely among them.

IMI< What is termed love is often fear, social forces of cultism, and the denial of mortality... but I could be wrong.

Ben< IMI: Yes, our terminology is often misleading. That's why it may help to look at the results, to look at what happens, in order to see which way is up.

IMI< The agreed-upon drama takes on many forms; love often comes in the form of dishonesty and hiding the shadow from the object of love. When young we see life concretely, we then learn to abstract ... love being one of these powerful abstractions. We can then lose ourselves in these worlds. Genius and humanity is to become solid again, to make shareable and verifiable to others what is known or felt to us. The clear pond is still but contains no life; the foul smelling pond reeks with the multitude of forms, a feeding frenzy not for the faint of heart; this is spirituality and love.

poweress< IMI: I find this often happens in what we call love relationships, but I think we are referring to a higher and truer love here. The love contained in the spirit.

Ben< ALL: Okay, to summarize: I believe the same principle that governs the creative process in the physical universe also governs the creative process in the spiritual universe.

SLIDER< Ben: That theory is sound in principle, but getting people to understand it is difficult.

FRAML< Ben: If we don't orient ourselves toward the light, then all we do is muck around down here in the evolutionary, scientific soup.

Ben< FRAML: Peace, friend. The mind needs this light in order to see.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion of Creative and Destructive

IMI< Mind buzzes in infinite abstractions, caught in a narcissistic loop of moral digression. This is consciousness, hopeful and social.

LEGS< Point of Order is what we need here tonight. *smile* Next post, Ben?

poweress< Ben: In progressing toward the light, though, don't we first have to look inward to our own souls?

Ben< Poweress: We need to look both inward and outward, regardless of which we do first.

Flutewind< Ben: Either I am confused or I missed it. What is the governing principle that you speak of?

Ben< Flutewind: My one point tonight was that creative processes draw things together and organize them into a higher level unit that is stronger than the sum of its parts. This principle is found in both the physical and the spiritual, at all levels of organization.

Flutewind< Ben: But how does it draw things together? What is the directing agent?

Ben< Flutewind: The spiritual forces that draw individuals together are often summarized by the word "love" and include or imply trust, confidence, kindness, graciousness.

Woodman< Ben: So it is with this room, eh? Spiritual people get together, and by doing so bring themselves a little closer to truth?

Cassandra< The logos.

zamolxe< "logos" in Greek = "word". But "Logos" can be the same with Dao, Do, Dharma or the Sanskrit "paravac".

[Ben< Logos has more than a dozen meanings in Greek: "the word by which the inner thought is expressed" is one of those meanings, derived from a more basic meaning: "the inner thought or reason itself". The most basic meaning of logos is "reason" or "rationale" -- as shown by the words "logic" and "logical". The logos of a necklace is the thread that holds the beads together. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said The Logos is the one basic principle of all creative and destructive processes, and thus of existence. By giving it this name, he implied that the basic principle of existence is logical, reasonable, and therefore understandable.]

Cassandra< The Light of the Logos?

Ben< Cassandra: Yes. To see both material and spiritual things more clearly in light of the principle that Heraclitus called The Logos.

Jello< Ben: Too bad the destructive sometimes seems so overwhelming! Scientific pessimism would point to the eventual destruction of the earth ... and of course the universe. Entropy, etc.

Ben< Jello: Destructive processes are easy to see, because they operate in and on things that already exist. Creative processes are not easy to see until one learns how to look for them. Photosynthesis is one of the creative processes.

Jello< Ben: I guess it depends on what timeline one uses. If one looks at the short-term, then destruction might seem to prevail. But how long is "the long term"? :)

Ben< Jello: It doesn't matter whether we use a timeline of nanoseconds or eons, the principle is the same.

Lor< Woodman: Isn't there a spirit behind your carving -- a driving force that perceives what is to be created?

Woodman< Lor: Huh? (Still got the flu bug and head's a little addled.)

Lor< Woodman: See Ben's post to Flutewind - my point is that there seems to be some kind of driving force that chooses to draw things together and carefully organize them, whether it is physical or spiritual. Isn't there a constructive insight or drive behind what you do when you are not just whittling but creating some interesting shape?

Woodman< Lor: Yes, there is a need I fulfill by carving. I don't really care that much if people like my stuff (although it's nice when that happens!) but whenever I do something new, I am directed by inner forces to create it. Usually I just think it'd be a real neat thing to do, or a challenge, or something completely new for me. I'm still on a pretty steep learning curve. ... I would be a flute for God to play, and if I'm really, really lucky I'll get there someday.

Lor< Woodman: Sounds like you'd make a great song!

Woodman< Lor: (blush) At times yes, at times no. The world can be a weary place, and I am caught up in illusions of this life. At my best, I can only hope to be a channel of God's love for all. At my worst... well, let's just say I can be a SOB at times. I contain multitudes, eh?

Lor< Woodman: I kinda understand, but God's love is channeled to you, too.

Woodman< Lor: Yes, I am blessed, but at times I have not the eyes to see or the ears to hear with.

IMI< Each whole is part of another. These holons have been described eloquently in the work of Ken Wilber and in the poetry of Rumi, Buddha, Ramana, Blake... each description framing the whole/part in subject/object modes of awareness. "Do not the petals flutter down, Just like That?" And death gives rise to new forms... sometimes more "integrated" than the previous incarnation... politically, spiritually.

Ben< IMI: Many have pointed out that every object or unit or entity is actually a complexity, an assembly, and when it disintegrates, it no longer exists. It has also been said more simply: "That is the way that leads to death." What, then, is the way that leads to life?

IMI< Life need not be sought after, need not be maintained or integrated or transcended.

Woodman< Ben: I would point out that the overwhelming majority of observed matter in the universe is of a high order of sameness, i.e. hydrogen. All life is a variation from that point and is, I sincerely hope, very common throughout the universe. God help us if we are the only intelligent life in the whole bloody place, huh?

LEGS< So, is it foolish, Ben, that when I consider life and the ones that I love, I feel a distinct warmth and glow of love, a reaching out to them that will wrap them in protection and surround them with God's help with those who will "show them favor" as was Daniel, and thus they will walk their days safely and extend to others such love as I have unto them? Mere foolishness if all is going to be demolished, if mass destruction is to take place, if entropy is not only organic but endless and spiritual as well? Where are the promises to bank upon? Leave us with a word of help here.

[Ben< LEGS: No, it isn't foolish. Synergy is stronger than entropy. If creative forces were not stronger than destructive forces, nothing would exist, not even atoms. If life was not stronger than death, we would not be here and this planet would be sterile by now. Likewise, the same principle applies to discarnate life in the spiritual universe.]

Cassandra< LEGS: The Spirit never dies. Eventually we may all go back to the Oneness and go through a Pralaya but we will wake again in Spirit. Spirit only rests, it doesn't disintegrate.

LEGS< Thank you, Cassie.

Jello< I think there is some evidence that the universe isn't a closed system. (I forget where I heard this.) And isn't it profound if we can consider God the boundless source of energy, by which entropy is forever vanquished? Somehow seems a powerful thought.

IMI< When one is ecstatic, hope is irrelevant, the self that would hope has been forgotten, made obsolete.

JamesRD< I personally don't believe in death as most perceive it. I believe it is passing to another form of life.

wonder< JamesRD: I believe the soul is immortal. It is indeed only our bodies that go through death, and the time is near that even that need not happen any longer.

JamesRD< My point, wonder. The soul, energy force, resides in all things.

zamolxe< All things in Universe are simple in shape and complex in structure.

IMI< Realizing that you need not survive, that life is unnecessary, you may find that you want to survive, that your choice is to engage this drama creatively.

Ben< ALL: It might help to review the earlier seminars on spirit and soul. Where spirit is a force (rather than an atmosphere or an entity), the spirit of love is a constructive force, and so is the spirit of truth. Hatred and fear and falsehood are destructive spiritual forces.

LadyV< Ben: Thank you.

Jello< Although, isn't it true that fear can be a protective "force"? I mean reasonable fear, like: "If I do X (where X is something not wise), I'm afraid I'll become Y."

Flutewind< Ben: So, are you saying that Love is the governing principle behind creating order out of disorder, and that without Love we are destroying the established order of the universe and creating disorder and chaos? And perhaps that these are accomplished through thought and word energies?

Ben< Flutewind: I am trying to show that love is a creative spiritual force within and between souls (incarnate or discarnate) without which clusters of souls disintegrate and individual souls fragment.

SLIDER< Ben: Is that from lack of giving or receiving love?

Ben< SLIDER: Children need to receive love. Adults need to give love. Regardless of chronological age. (smile)

SLIDER< Ben: This would make a good topic. I'm just wondering about those soul clusters?

Ben< SLIDER: I hope to close that loop in the next session. I'll see how it goes.

Woodman< Flutewind: I think that whenever we ignore love, we ignore God. I think God and love are the same thing, or at the very least love is a predominant manifestation of God's existence.

Flutewind< Woodman: Agreed. Love and God are one and the same. However, unconditional love is very difficult to manifest on a continual basis. I believe, for me, it requires the complete merging of ego into spirit's design.

wonder< Woodman: I agree with you that LOVE is the predominant energy throughout the universes. However GOD is EVERYTHING at this time -- all the dualities.

IMI< Flattery and impression management are creative tools of self-deception, dramas of fear and hope. Critical intelligence does little better saying "Thou fool"... "No way out," said the spider to the fly.

Lor< IMI: re: your perception that there is no way out for a fly, someone wiser than I once said the Truth will make you free. I sense that is what we are all trying to discern here. Perhaps we can break free of this web of confusion!

Cassandra< I should have mentioned that one characteristic I like is humility. Not the walk all over me kind but genuine humility, the little "i".

IMI< Framed by predation and death, man internalizes these forces and deems himself unworthy to eat peacefully... this paralysis is both heaven and hell.

Cassandra< Also, Wisdom is a handy characteristic.

Jello< Here's a possible next step of discussion. Spirit of love builds up. Up to what? What is the destination? :)

IMI< The most creative force is not love but fear. Recognizing our separateness we create dramatic forms of union.

wonder< I feel FEAR is the destructive force and LOVE is the creative force. :-)

IMI< To a being without other, full of bliss, separation and suffering are astounding creations. Man is pollinated by pain and separation, by longing and lack. Such goals as he would make to satiate these become his personal drama, his destiny.

Ben< IMI: In the last seminar, I stressed the importance of knowing which way is up. Wonder has seen it. Have you? [I received a thought at this point: "Here is one who is trying to fly upside down."]

IMI< Confusion is a creative act, a choice of not being comfortable with what is already the case. To be comfortable with our ignorance takes little leaning to the left or to the right. Speaking the truth to set you free means you have been bound. YOU are NOT.

Jello< Ah, the quote I was looking for! (A bit late): "If we seem to be scattering destruction broadcast, we are but preparing for the erection of a nobler edifice, a holier temple to a Diviner God."

Ben< Jello: In my opinion, that quote is wishful thinking. If we seem to be scattering destruction broadcast, we may actually be doing precisely that, in which case, we are far more likely to be headed for extinction.

Jello< Ben: It would depend on who said it in what circumstances, wouldn't it? (The quote) I meant it as sort of part of the "destruction may be necessary to construction." What C. S. Lewis terms going back to the fork in the road where we went wrong, even if it means going back a long way, and then taking the correct path. Undoing an error (in belief) so we can move forward.

Ben< I'm not working the issue of whether creation or destruction is necessary or desirable or justified. [But compare that entire quote with the way Hitler justified his destruction of the Jews.]

Jello< Ben: I still think something related to last time is that most people only want to know "UP" as far as it keeps them from crashing. (Especially since in our world, if we went up, we'd soon run out of air. :-) Do you think that's relevant to this orientation discussion?

Ben< Jello: Yes, several would like a quick answer to "Which way is up?" to keep themselves from crashing. But a quick answer will not suffice, because any one-word label is subject to distortion. I believe it must be understood functionally, so they can see and know how it works. Then they may be able to actually do it.

Cassandra< I think I may see it by the Light of the Logos. But then again, as my life is chaotic, surely out of the chaos should come order, and that will straighten things up.

IMI< Two man stand on a circular track... ben cries out to imi, do you see what I see? Which is ahead and which is behind I do not know. I sit down and relax.

Ben< IMI: You say two men are on a circular track. I say, speak for yourself. The track I am on is not circular. I know how to get off the Wheel.

IMI< And I know how to keep the wheel going.

Jello< I am sick of the wheel. Same daily grind. :) And it's not decaf! (ducking)

wonder< Ben: Getting off the wheel is really not as difficult as they would like you to believe, huh? LOL :-)

Ben< wonder: True, getting off the Wheel isn't as difficult as some have portrayed it. But many get off the Wheel and then don't go anywhere. They are called earthbound ghosts.

SLIDER< Ben: I think knowing when and how to ride the wheel is preferred.

IMI< So many trying to get off the wheel, and few have incarnated down to their toes as yet. The force of life has been turned upward far too long.

[Ben< IMI: The force of life is always upward. The alternative is extinction of life.]

Jello< Ben: I guess I'm saying it's hard to convince people why Up is the way to go.

Ben< Jello: I'm not trying to convince anyone that UP is the way to go. That is their own choice, based on their own desires. I am trying to lead some to think about which way is up, spiritually, so they may choose for themselves.

Jello< Ben: Yes, you're right. I guess my point of view is that many don't know what's at the end of Up. :)

Ben< Jello: Yes, many don't know what is at the end of UP. And it doesn't help much to just label it.

Jello< Ben: Yup!

Flutewind< Ben: Since I live with a slow server and a slow computer I shall thank you now for tonight's class in case you decide to poof before I can post my thank-you. I apologize if I seemed pushy with my questions, but I can tend to have a one-track mind sometimes. Thank you for your patience. Much Love and radiant Light to you!

Ben< Flutewind: No problem! Namaste.

Jello< Most of the time (like for me), UP is just a convenient thing to keep us on that wheel, and not sliding down the spiral. The wheel is a "known" thing, something we are familiar with (well, usually). It's inertial comfort or laziness (in many ways).

IMI< Seeking release, the ego cannot vanquish itself; seeking fulfillment the ego cannot achieve but momentary release... and then Ben ... no Ben?

Ben< IMI: No. Not so. It has been done. Many have found the way up.

IMI< Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. The game is afoot... and there is no getting a head... hehe ... is knowledge liberation? or is liberation from presumed knowledge?

SLIDER< IMI: When you make the rules of the game, things change.

Ben< ALL: Goodnight. Peace and blessings.

IMI< urgrund, gestalt, sunyata, tao, god, process theology. Where can "I" go when "I" is but a show?

SLIDER< Goodnight, Ben. Peace and Blessings to you and yours. Thank you for your patience at these sessions.

Jello< Yes, definitely a big thank-you for your patience.

IMI< Patience? Does this take patience? The fundamental attribution error is to assume a feeling or thought of someone from evidence which can be mistaken easily. This seems a constant reminder of man's inability to reason. Ben, does this take patience for you, or are you interested and choosing this? What is patience to you?

Ben< IMI: Although you may not believe it, there probably is a central spark (soul) behind the show that you call "I". Therefore, I say, Namaste. (smile) *poof*

04. Which way is up?
Session 3: Sat 08 Nov 1997

FRAML< Does everyone here know how to use the private message function? I recommend using it to send greetings to new arrivals and to "whisper" in class once it starts. That way the text is easier for Ben to clean up and post afterward on his site.

FRAML< Hmmm, the lights were blinking here an hour ago when the thunder storm went through. I wonder if Ben was affected, because he has been coming in early lately.

Ben< Hello! I'm almost late.

Ben< (1) Up usually means higher or better. When we say something is better, we imply three questions: better than what? better for whom? and why?

Ben< (1a) Here are three words: kindness, cruelty, indifference. Look at them in pairs, and rank them in order: "x is better than y, and y is better than z". Then consider the other two questions, better for whom? and why?

Ben< Okay, it's your turn. Please try to keep it fairly brief, as I have rather a lot I'd like to cover tonight.

FRAML< Indifference is better than cruelty for the person receiving. Kindness is better than both for both the giver and the recipient.

Ben< FRAML: Okay, a good logical explanation. Others?

Sophia< Indifference is the worst cruelty of all.

LadyV< Sophia: I agree.

Ben< Sophia, LadyV -- Yes, everyone does not rank these three words in the same order. Others? [But would you rather be beaten than ignored? By whom? The cab driver? Or the lady behind the cash register? Or is it a specific person such as a parent or spouse or lover? From whom do you want attention that much?]

Trudy< Sophia: That's an interesting idea. But faced with a choice between indifference and overt cruelty, please give me indifference. Being the brunt of deliberate cruelty is much worse.

LadyV< Indifference dehumanizes both the giver and the receiver.

SLIDER< Kindness or cruelty show feelings, whereas indifference is blank.

FRAML< SLIDER: And at times I'd rather be ignored than to receive cruel treatment.

SLIDER< FRAML: Cruelty and kindness need emotion to get them started, whereas indifference shows no emotion except possibly selfishness.

Jello< What do we mean by indifference? If the indifferent one simply hasn't "gotten it" that an oppressed person is really suffering, maybe it's just ignorance.

Walk_In< All three actions have purpose ... all three lead us up. Therefore all are good for all concerned.

Jello< Personally, having seen cruelty and indifference, indifference is easier to tolerate by itself.

Sophia< Both kindness and cruelty are forms of energy being exchanged. Indifference is not acknowledging existence and can be the most damaging.

Jello< Then maybe: 1. For the victim, indifference is better than cruelty (well, for me it was). 2. For the doer, indifference is more deadly than cruelty. (Of course these are very general guesses.)

[Ben< Jello: Yes, for the doer, indifference is more deadly than cruelty, because indifference is boring, and one can be bored to death (spiritual death). Those who practice cruelty often do so because they are bored. It gives them a "kick" -- that is, a perverse enjoyment that momentarily makes them feel more alive. However, for the doer, kindness is a better antidote for boredom than cruelty, because receivers of kindness tend to come back for more, whereas receivers of cruelty tend to run away and stay away if they can.]

Ben< (1b) Here are three more words: ignorance, falsehood, truth. Look at them in pairs, and rank them in order: "x is better than y, and y is better than z". Then consider the other two questions, better for whom? and why?

Jello< Deliberate falsehood I'd say is worse than ignorance. Ignorance *can* be remedied if the ignorant cares about truth.

HopToad< H-m-m-m. Truth is subjective and could at times be too painful for the recipient to receive. Then there is the axiom that ignorance is bliss ... ??

[Ben< HopToad: Yes, kindness sometimes withholds a truth to avoid inflicting unnecessary pain. And many prefer ignorance or falsehood if they fear a truth will be painful, but full statement of the axiom should be: "Ignorance is bliss until reality intervenes." Many things we don't know or don't believe *can* hurt us.]

poweress< x=truth y=ignorance z=falsehood. Because truth is always the highest form of understanding. However, must be open to allowing others their truth. Ignorance would be next only because it is not a deliberate action against truth but rather an error in evaluation. Falsehood would rank last because it would be an out and out denial of truth.

FRAML< poweress: Well stated.

poweress< FRAML: Thanks.

Jello< Perhaps "lying" would be more apt than "falsehood," since one can unknowingly think "falsehood" to be "truth"?

SLIDER< Ben: Ignorance can be used as the mask for falsehood or truth.

greyman< In purity, truth is better than ignorance, and ignorance is better than falsehood. When it is kind to deceive, the reverse order is called for.

Ben< (1c) Now look at those two lists of words in light of the Logos. Kindness and truth are creative in purpose and practice; indifference and ignorance neither create nor destroy, but lead to stagnation; cruelty and falsehood are destructive in purpose and practice.

Jello< Though there can be a connection between indifference and ignorance, to tie the first set with the second.

poweress< Then ignorance and indifference would rank last in each situation. Reminds me of a statement from the Bible. Can't quote exactly, but I believe Jesus said he would rather have a sinner or a saint than someone who was just mediocre. Does this sound familiar. Anyone know the quote?

hawk< poweress: "Be ye cold or be ye hot ... be ye lukewarm and I shall spew ye out from my mouth" ... paraphrased as not remembered exactly.

greyman< poweress: Yes, I vaguely remember something about God spewing from the mouth under such circumstances.

Jello< poweress: Are you touching on the idea that at least the other extremes (kindness and cruelty) show some *will*, and that the middle (lukewarmness) shows little? Where *will* would indicate energy, purpose, aliveness.

poweress< With truth and with falsehood there is passion, just as with kindness and cruelty. With ignorance and indifference there is no passion, no feeling.

Ben< (2) In the last session, I mentioned that clusters of souls can disintegrate and thus perish (cease to exist). Consider what you have seen here on earth: how can families disintegrate and cease to exist as a unit? What characteristics did you observe in some or most of the members while that destructive process was happening? YOUR TURN

FRAML< When they are led astray by others who convince them that down is up.

poweress< FRAML: Yes, that's it, being your own self, or being one of the sheep. That is the question here. Yes, no? Sorry, I got excited there.

Ben< ALL: A technical comment: this is way too fast for me to review, keep up, and answer thoughtfully, so I'll insert some replies when I edit the transcript. I had to do that last time, too.

STARX< Ben: Juxtaposing the triads with your last question, I can see that indifference and ignorance would contribute to disintegrating families the quickest.

LadyV< STARX: I agree with that statement.

SLIDER< Ben: Are you trying to tell us that we all must believe in something, be it right or wrong, good or bad?

Ben< SLIDER: No, I'm not telling you that you must believe in something, or what you must believe. That isn't what I do. I'm just trying to help stimulate your thinking.

HopToad< I imagine that a disintegrating family may experience rage, hostility (cruelty), accusations (falsehoods), and even physical violence. Although indifference and ignorance may fuel these manifestations.

[Ben< HopToad: Yes, cruelty and either true or false accusations do manifest in emotional and physical violence, and thus cause a family to disintegrate as the members flee. And a family can quietly disintegrate from indifference alone.]

Ben< (3) Another brief physical analogy: Suppose you were a scuba-diver, 100 feet below the surface of the ocean but nowhere near the bottom, with your weight-belt adjusted for zero buoyancy. How would you know which way is up? YOUR TURN

Walk_In< Follow your bubbles. *S*

greyman< Watch where the air bubbles go.

Ben< And what would you see, as you watched your air-bubbles rise?

Walk_In< A growing separation.

LightGrrl< Here's to the divers!

poweress< OK, so what you are saying is that our orientation is established by our understanding of our environment and conditioning.

Trudy< Without a point of reference, one would need to look for things that would indicate which way is up. Like the bubbles floating up from ones oxygen tank.

Jello< What if it's dark and you can't see? You can still sense gravity?

LadyV< Well, if I had just jumped in the water, I would hopefully have enough sense to know what I just did, and I would look up where I came from ... the boat ... up there.

HopToad< LadyV: It would be dark at 100 feet and you couldn't see the boat.

LadyV< HopToad: True, but yet if one is vertical ... I do know vertical ... logic would tell me I was not horizontal ... doesn't make sense to me.

Somber< LadyV: You are weightless in water. Would you still know which is Vertical and which is Horizontal if you couldn't feel gravity?

LadyV< Somber: Without gravity ... no ... except for the physical sensations. Don't they teach the people that go into space in these special tanks how to listen to their bodies? Good point there ...

SLIDER< Ben: Each of us is at a particular stage of development, some go up = ahead, some go down = back, and some stagnate.

LightGrrl< Ben: We'd be following a principle of physics which we believe is true, which tells us that air rises. That is, according to Newton.

poweress< If you were at a true center, would there necessarily be an up or down, wouldn't it be circular, as the universe?

Somber< Meditate ... you'll then know which way or direction to go, to go back up.

Jello< If one can't sense the bubbles, and if one can't figure anything out, then the last thing one should do is stay there ... (unless they know help is coming).

STARX< Ben: Well, I don't know where you are headed in this discussion, or if you are headed anywhere, but having grown up in an indifferent and ignorant family, I can tell you from experience that it really messed with your "point of reference" ... whereas in the other opposite extremes, there would be a particular direction to pursue, or one to avoid, but with indifference and ignorance, it would be like being 100 feet down with no way of being able to even see the bubbles.

FRAML< STARX: You have just stated the purpose of this discussion. How to figure out which way is up, away from cruelty and indifference, and toward kindness.

Ben< ALL: What I was trying to point to with the scuba-diver analogy is this: there is light up there. Up is toward the light. This is a major way for clairvoyants (and discarnates) to orient themselves in spiritual space. Look for the light, and know that way is up.

greyman< Interesting, even your garden variety fish seems to know what is up.

Walter< Ben: In the "truest" sense, "dark" is up. Light comes from galaxies, so "up" with reference to centers of mass is away from them, out into the darkness.

Ben< Walter: That is what I meant when I said incarnate souls living on the surface of a spinning planet tend to point over their heads and say "That way is up" when it is actually out, away from the center of the planet. A good analogy for the usual human spiritual condition.

poweress< Ben: This is so true. I was really over-thinking that one.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, light is good. :-)

Jello< Light is good, but what if it's night out? (Oh well, I guess this has already gone past what Ben was thinking of :-)

[Ben< Jello: I plan to get to that question later in this session. What do we look for at night, to orient ourselves when we can't see the sun?]

STARX< Assuming that you are putting "light" and "up" together ... for me the direction is towards FREEDOM.

Somber< There is no light without darkness, so wouldn't that mean darkness is good also?

hawk< Somber: Ai ... within the brightest light exist the darkest shadows.

Jello< Darkest shadows exist in light only when there's something that blocks it and doesn't radiate on its own.

Walk_In< I say, remember the "weight belt" -- kick it off and soar. *S*

Jello< Walk_In: Yeah, I was thinking that earlier, but that's the best statement of it yet.

Ben< Walk-In: Yes, we do need to get rid of the "weight-belt" of our earthly desires (attachments and attractions) so we can rise. [However, releasing that weight only helps us rise if we are naturally buoyant or trying to swim upward.]

Walk_In< And heavy, cold bodies, too ...

Trudy< Walk_In: A good point. Lose the weight-belt and go up. In the spiritual realm, that would mean to let go of the things that are weighing you down and tying you to this plane of existence -- like desires -- and go "up" toward the light.

greyman< Can we not just tie a line to the "weight belt" and observe direction of fall?

LadyV< Divers are put into training, and they are put into complete darkness. Some hack it and some don't. To be disorientated leads to madness unless one is sure of the center. The center is within the self.

[Ben< LadyV: People who are placed in a well-designed sensory deprivation tank don't necessarily go mad, but they don't know which way is up; they float in every possible orientation ... and they very quickly lose track of time. ]

FRAML< LadyV: Yes, we center our soul and then shed the weight belt, and rise to the light.

LadyV< FRAML: Thank you.

Jello< But I still think the lost need to seek. Even if they go the wrong way, at least they tried.

STARX< I suppose when, in a situation, we get to the freedom in that situation, it is like a light bulb going off, a relaxing, a deeper trust ... more like an aaaahhhh.

greyman< Light in Gamma frequencies is quite toasty.

SLIDER< Ben: I don't know if this is out of context, but what if you want to experience more of earth than one life allows?

[Ben< SLIDER: That is why souls reincarnate.]

FRAML< SLIDER: If we desire to have more earthly experiences, then we just go up a short distance after death and wait for a new carbon-based life form to get into, and rejoin life on this level.

Trudy< SLIDER: Come on back if you want. As for me, I'll get off the wheel.

SLIDER< FRAML, Trudy: I follow your reasoning, and know when I'm ready I'll leave park. The knowing of where the light trail is, I think is more reasonable than just following it.

FRAML< SLIDER: Yes, there are some things I'd like to enjoy more, but I wonder if in the next time I'd still be interested in them? Also, if I learned how to go up now, will I remember that then, too?

SLIDER< FRAML: We must learn in our passage to continue the upward motion as we learn from all experience.

Ben< (3a) Here is a relevant passage from the Christian Bible that New Age people should be able to agree with (I John 1:5): "This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is Light and in him is no darkness at all."

Somber< Ben: That is from a Christian standpoint. Some love and worship the god of light and dark, the god of all.

Jello< Somber: Well, theoretically the Christian God is a god of all. The mystics have perceived God even in the darkest regions of the (spiritual) universe.

Somber< Jello: But can the Christian God be a god of "all" if he has no darkness?

questor< Somber: A passage in the Bible says, "I create darkness and form light" (pretty sure that's how it's worded?)

Jello< Somber: I think we need to define what it means to be a god of something!

SLIDER< Somber: The old testament tells us from God, that "Ye shall worship no gods before me." Does this mean they exist? ... or do we create other gods?

Somber< SLIDER: I'm not a Christian. I do not for fact know if we create our own or if they have always been. Something I think everyone would like to know. Good question, though. :-)

Walk_In< God is like "white" coffee, so white in fact there is no coffee (dark). God is milk. As we add coffee to the milk we darken it, but it is never black until we remove the milk! *S*

LEGS< Walk_In: Your white coffee message is very deep and thought evoking.

Walter< All: re: light and dark; good and evil ... ALSO from the "christian" Bible: "God saw ALL that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning." Then along came humans to whom he commanded, "You are free to eat of EVERY tree in the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." They did, and we still do, violate that original command ... why?

Yopo< Hmm ... I have never understood the story about the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I have always held it suspect. Taking that bite of the apple, it seems to me, was our first step upward.

Somber< I think I may have to agree with Yopo's last post.

LEGS< Walter: That tree of knowledge gave God the final proof that we are not divine, that we could not be infinitely trusted ... and it is still the message there, that we are not of ourselves Gods, we are in the image only, and Grace is what forms any divinity we can claim.

Jello< Though more than once in the bible it does say "ye are gods" :-)

Walter< LEGS: Among those who claim or believe the Bible to be God speaking, I very much wish they would stick to what it says. According to the book they call God's word, it was NOT the tree of Life that did us in. We were given free access to it, along with ALL else in the Garden, EXCEPT the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. That one prohibition, we violated (and still do today), and that ONE violation (according to Christians' Bible) is what got us thrown out of Eden and kept us out for as long as we continue violating it. I am not one of those who believe that ALL in the Bible came from God, but for those who do, it seems to me, they should pay better attention to what it does say, especially if they believe it to be from God.

hawk< Why does the Great Mystery have to be defined in human terms as a god at all?

Somber< hawk: Society has made it that way.

hawk< Somber: Ai, and look at that which such has wrought. *S*

FRAML< hawk: The Great Mystery and The Great Spirit: are these the same?

hawk< FRAML: No ... The great Mystery is that which you would speak of as the Creator or the "christian" god. The Great Spirit is that which your words might call an intercessor ... perhaps akin to the "christian" holy spirit?? ... merely as is "known" within ... from the teachings of the GrandMothers ... is my opinion only.

FRAML< hawk: Thank you for the explanation. It makes sense to me. I think if we continue to discuss the meaning behind our language, we may end up closer rather than farther apart on several spiritual beliefs.

Jello< Re: Orientation (trying to stay on topic): Maybe "inward" is the same as "upward" for some people, but most people can't see "in" any better than any other direction. :-)

STARX< I don't like to associate truth with "up". It seems to give rise to spiritual materialism. For me there is no "up" It is more deeply "in" ... to the source of who we are.

HopToad< STARX: Agreed.

poweress< STARX: I understand what you are saying. I find much of our communication is muddled by words and different peoples definitions of them and their perceptions from them.

Jello< I guess what poweress said: our communication is muddled by words. :-)

LadyV< poweress: That then would be the reason we come together to understand different people's definitions and perceptions. To me that is communication. That is progress. I would feel so.

Somber< poweress: Without people having their own definitions and perceptions of things, wouldn't it be true that one also could hold no beliefs of their own?

poweress< LadyV and Somber: Jello is correct: what I am saying is that words muddle our conversation. I oftentimes find spiritual things very difficult to describe in words.

LadyV< poweress: I see now what you are saying. Thank you.

Somber< LadyV: Sorry ... I must have misunderstood what you were saying. I guess that goes along with what you said, huh? (smile)

LadyV< If we did not have words, how would we understand each other? Seriously now ... if we were unable to speak, how would we know each other then? In a social interaction.

poweress< LadyV: You misunderstand me. I am not saying we should not use words. They are the medium we use in the physical realm to communicate, and that is indeed a good thing. What I am trying to say is that in spiritual matters, sometimes they fall short, and often confuse. Every once in a while, don't you connect with another person on a level which transcends words? That, I believe, is what we will all experience some day in place of our current mode of communication. However, I am not at all saying we should not use what is available for us at the time. *S*

Somber< LadyV: Telepathy ...

LadyV< Somber: I am in agreement with poweress: spiritual words are not so easy sometimes. Some are trained to say them; others choke on them, and most of us consider them very private. It is a little difficult at times, but we are working on it.

poweress< LadyV: Sorry, my last post went up before I saw your post. *S*

questor< The story of the 'tower of Babel' may have been one of 'misunderstanding one another's definitions', creating confusion. All towers tumble that are built on confusion, even the New Age Movement? Definitions are important, I think.

Jello< Definitions are very important! I think this applies to the posting about not knowing which way is up. People have been told that white is black, bad is good, good is stupid, evil is interesting, good guys are shallow ... it's amazing!

FRAML< ALL: At the beginning of these seminars, Ben's classes were on understanding how each of us define a word. They are on his website. So much turns on how we understand what each other is saying. We must not be afraid to be asked or to ask one another to define what a term means to them. Additionally, as St. Murphy said: Let sleeping dogmas lie.

Ben< (4) In the last session, we talked about entropy, the process of decay toward destruction found in a closed system. Jello pointed out something with profound implications. Functionally, as the Source of the Spirit-Light, God is in fact the eternal antidote for entropy in the spiritual universe. And the Light does not only come from one entity; every radiant soul is a source of energy and thus an antidote for entropy in his or her immediate vicinity, just as every radiant star is a source of energy and an antidote for entropy in its immediate vicinity.

Ben< As I see it (mentally in light of the Logos, and also clairvoyantly): Any soul who chooses to love and not hate, to help and not hurt, to give and not get, to heal and not harm, to build and preserve more than he or she destroys, to serve rather than be served, is in fact a radiant star in the spiritual universe. Such a soul is very easy to see, and therefore is not a lost soul that someone has to search for. And as I understand it, by these seemingly little choices as each of us live our life, moment by moment, day by day, we can overcome entropy within and around us, and thus become a source rather than a sink, a radiant star instead of a black hole. However, as free-willed beings these choices are always our own to make.

Yopo< Ah! (*smile*)

questor< Ben: Beautiful words, and beautifully offered. Thank you. *S

HopToad< **beautifully stated, Ben!**

Somber< Ben: That was very, very nice ... beautifully stated.

greyman< Yes, thank you, Ben.

SLIDER< Ben: Good paragraph,

greyman< We choose the world which we inhabit.

Ben< greyman: Yes, we choose the world (or realm) which we inhabit. And little by little, we choose what we become.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion of Orientation in Spiritual Space

poweress< Ben: Again, thank you for a thought provoking session. Very enlightening. *S*

Belet< questor: May I ask what religion or beliefs you follow?

questor< Belet: I have no religion, but I am a follower of the Christ.

Belet< Thank you, questor: I was wondering if I would ever talk to someone.

FRAML< questor: Yes, too many let their Christian denominational dogma and doctrine obscure the basic message of Jesus.

Ben< ALL: I'm so far behind in reading what you posted, I won't catch up until this time tomorrow, and I think that's great! My purpose was to stimulate your thinking, and in that I seem to have succeeded. (grin)

Yopo< Ben: Indeed you have, as always! (*smile*)

Walk_In< Envision all of the souls hand in hand in a large circle ... some facing to the front and some behind, being a circle. The souls facing outward see no others and believe themselves alone. The souls that face inward see that they are not alone ... and they see many that believe they are alone. *S*

LadyV< Walk_In: Now that is interesting analogy. Never thought of it that way.

Walk_In< We are connected; that is, we all feel some sort of connection (we are all holding hands). We feel the basic connection. It's when we see (remember) the larger connection many things become clear. We search to Know ourselves. *S*

LEGS< Walk_In: Yet, your analogy of holding hands is that truly we are all one, but some are searching outward on lonely paths, not seeing the connections ... the road map as it were.

LadyV< Somber: Regarding telepathy, Yes! or as Ben has said (I hope I am saying it correctly), clairvoyant or perceiving ... all of which is in and from the heart ... right? Comment please ... I would like to know what you think.

Somber< LadyV: Yes, I believe we all have the power to communicate with "ourselves" and not our "words". One day, we shall all remember how to do it.

LadyV< Somber: Thank you.

Jello< Ah, but not all "leaps of insight" -- even those that seem to be true -- can be trusted. Even gut-level feelings can't all be trusted. They can be false. (i.e., telepathy is not infallible.)

Somber< Jello: True, good point. I know I've been wrong with some of my "gut feelings" before.

LadyV< Jello: True, but I would trust the instinct first. It is primitive but effective ... and it is for survival. The spirit will throw in reason as we think. Depends on how much you have had to use your instincts to survive. Animals do this as a matter of course. We have lost much of this.

Jello< Yes, but animals' instincts are routinely used against them by human hunters.

LadyV< Jello: Good point. You are thinking, and fast on your feet. That is true.

Somber< Animals' instincts have always been used against them, not only by humans, but by themselves also. (Or am I taking your post the wrong way?)

Jello< I was basically saying that instincts can work, but they are too easily manipulated by those with more cunning: i.e., no, I don't think you were misinterpreting me.

LadyV< Jello: That is why spirit is needed. (smiling)

Belet< Humans take animals for granted, and treat them as if they were stupid creatures without the ability to think and feel, when we are the ones who can learn from them.

SLIDER< Jello: When one learns to listen to inner instinct, self, or whatever you would call it, and no matter how trivial the message, life seems to get better.

Jello< I do think that we *can* trust some messages of inspiration or perhaps "gut feeling" -- but I think I'm trying to say it isn't necessarily that easy to figure out which ones we can trust.

Yopo< Jello: I certainly agree with you there.

LadyV< Jello: It is not always so easy ... you are right. In the case of mind over gut, I would choose the gut myself ... that would be my way. Most feelers do. Thinkers prefer the mind. It depends on the person and the personality type, I suppose.

SLIDER< Jello: It's kinda like learning to trust yourself. :-)

Jello< I have learned how far I can trust myself ... it's not that far. But it's like climbing: you have to try in order to learn.

LadyV< Jello: Yes, that is wise.

Jello< Thinking and intuition are both very valuable, and I bet most people who have leaps of logic don't realize the leap came from an external source. :-) But logic perhaps should be one of the last filters we apply to any gut feeling: Is this very *obviously* a bad move? Yes? Then let's not do it. :-)

LadyV< Jello: Love your logic! (smiling)

Ben< ALL: Okay, I've fairly well cleaned up the private message file. Does anyone have a particular comment or question for me?

Yopo< Ben: Yes. Regarding the earlier triads: truth, ignorance, falsehood; and kindness, indifference, cruelty. Do you place some "absolute" value on these qualities? For instance, that truth is best in all circumstances?

Belet< Yopo: The truth is always the way but not always the most comfortable.

Ben< Yopo: Those triads are relative values, not absolutes. That's why I work with the word "better" instead of "good".

Yopo< Ben: I thought perhaps that would be your answer. Mine, too. My last formal religious training was in an era of situation ethics. Do you think these values remain relative only on this material plane, or does relativity continue upward into higher levels of being? (Won't continue to plague you with questions, after this one. )

Ben< Yopo: I believe relative values are more realistic in any realm of existence. They are not as easy to work with as absolute "black or white" dualities and dichotomies, but I find they have much more explanatory power once I understand them.

Yopo< Ben: My thought, too. Seems absolute values leave the doer's motivation out of the equation. On some level, the why is as important as the what, if not more so.

FRAML< Yopo: I remember the beginning of "Situation Ethics" in college in the late 60's. I avoided the class, something inside me said it didn't make sense. And I read today that the founder of it was the Humanist man of the year in 1974 and is still being touted as a founder of the humanist movement (and the Unitarian-Universalist church).

Yopo< FRAML: Still makes a great deal of sense to me, though I wouldn't wanna wear the humanist label. (*smile*) Got my dose in an Episcopalian high school. I still have my absolutes. For me, situation ethics is a sort of tool of interpretation.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I also have my absolutes, but I usually find them at the ends of a distribution of relative values, such as "best - better - good - neutral - bad - worse - worst". Such distributions are rather powerful tools for thinking.

FRAML< Yopo: Well, I have never adjusted to the basis of the reasoning that there are no absolute truths.

Ben< FRAML, Yopo: Truths are not the same as values. Some statements of fact can be absolutely affirmed or denied by the relevant evidence.

LadyV< Yopo: Are there absolutes? I have given the notion of absolutes up. Except for one: to me, God is the only absolute ... after that, nothing is. Took me awhile to do it , but I have almost succeeded.

Magi713< LadyV: You are part right and part wrong. Yes, God is the only absolute, but beyond God ... if god is everything, how can you go beyond god? He is part of everything ... and to be part of everything you must also be part of nothing.

Somber< Magi713: Good point ... hmmmmmm?

Walter< Ben: A fascinating discussion, with much thought provoked. I wish to thank you for what you are doing here, and the most hospitable environment for such discussions I've seen. Thank you, sincerely!

Ben< Walter: Thank you very much for your kind words. // ALL: I really appreciate all of you for keeping the environment for these discussions hospitable.

LadyV< Ben: Thank you.

LEGS< Ben: It was a good lesson tonight ... a good windup of the three ... but what is our next class to be on? It is good to get this many so stimulated ... and seeing that in many ways they truly do believe the same ... with only different words. Thank you dear friend. (((HUGS))))

Ben< LEGS: Thank you, friend. The next seminar is on spiritual discernment. It starts next Saturday, November 15th, and may take more than three sessions.

LadyV< Ben: That will be interesting.

Jello< Ben: Seems like the conversation has come right up to the doorstep of discernment. Neat!

SLIDER< Ben: As a spirit in a carnal body, if oriented toward the light, after leaving the carnal body, would that spirit stay oriented toward the light?

Belet< SLIDER: If I may ... I feel it may or may not, depending on the will of that spirit and its soul.

SLIDER< Belet: Sure you may -- and can you expand on that?

Ben< SLIDER: Souls don't change their spiritual orientation or direction very much just because they leave a physical body: i.e., we don't become saints or sinners just by dying.

SLIDER< Ben: I don't mean to pick, what about the spirit? Or is the spirit the essence of the soul?

Somber< A spirit only moves forward ... never backward.

Ben< SLIDER: I usually use the word "spirit" in reference to an atmosphere or a motivating force, rather than an entity. For spiritual entity, I use the word "soul".

SLIDER< Ben: Thanks for the clarification. And excellent conversation tonight.

Walk_In< Bye, ALL. We are known by how we act upon others. Touch them LIGHTLY, and leave them smiling.

Jello< All with whom I was talking: Thanks for the neat conversation! I have to apologize for falling behind. :)

LadyV< Jello: It's been my pleasure.

Jello< LadyV: Many thanks!

Walter< Ben: Very much liked your post re: not dichotomies ... looking forward to hearing more of your views. Goodnight, All.

LadyV< Ben: Yes, I like that answer also. I will remember that.

LadyV< LEGS: I am amazed and humbled by the intelligence in these chat areas. I wonder sometimes where these people come from and what they do. It is amazing. Many of them could do well in Think Tanks! I enjoy sometimes just sitting back and listening.

LEGS< LadyV: As do I ... listen mostly here, that is. *grin* I well know my propensity to chatter on and on. ((((HUGS))))

Trudy< Ben: A good seminar tonight. I like the analogy of the scuba diver.

Ben< Trudy: I thought you might like the scuba-diver analogy. I also might have added: that's why the souls of whales and dolphins are found in the Light. They rise to the Light instinctively, from their earthly conditioning. Too bad human souls aren't conditioned like that.

Trudy< Ben: What's also good about the analogy is how closely it resembles what I see sometimes ... the pools of light surrounded by darkness ... as if I were far below the surface of the water.

Ben< Trudy: Yes. As I said in my summary, I see this both mentally in light of the Logos principle, and clairvoyantly (either in or out of the body).

LEGS< Ben: I'm not following what you said about the souls of whales and dolphins. Is this experience you have had??

Magi713< LEGS: Here is a dolphin quote for you: it was the last thing they (the dolphins) said before the earth was destroyed: "So long and thanks for all the fish" ... hahahha ... LOL

Ben< LEGS: In addition to myself, several people I know have been surprised to find the souls of whales and dolphins in the Light high above the earth-plane. Dr. Baldwin, whose work is mentioned in Resources on my site, was one who has reported such cases among his clients, though he himself is not clairvoyant.

Jello< I guess it makes sense. But we'd find some dolphins below us, too; some of them are known to be hurtful to each other.

Ben< Jello: I didn't say whales and dolphins are saints! It just seems that they ascend and descend in spiritual space as they do in the ocean, instead of going around and around in horizontal circles on the Wheel, as the souls of terrestrial animals do.

Trudy< Ben: Oh! That's what you meant about dolphins and whales! Yes! Why wouldn't they do it that way! They spend their entire earthly lives ascending and descending ... it makes sense.

Jello< Ben: Descend and ascend for what sort of purposes? If they just cycle, then isn't that another wheel?

Ben< Jello, Trudy: One thing about whales and dolphins: they often rescue others of their kind, and sometimes even humans. I believe they learned that in the Light.

Yopo< I have often wondered about cetacean co-dwellers on this planet. We like to equate dominance with superiority, but I've always suspected we are wrong there.

Jello< Ben: But seriously, if they go up and down, and keep going up and down, isn't that just like another cycle? (Unless they do it on commission?)

Ben< Jello: Sure, up and down is another type of cycle: it is the same as one of the paths described in the Bhagavad Gita. [The cyclic path of those who follow the Scriptures in formal observance: I posted that passage in the seminar on Karma]. But I think up and down is better than a flat horizontal cycle because the soul gets rested and refreshed and cleansed in the Light before returning.

Jello< I can see that, though doesn't Bill Baldwin tend to assume most people go back to the Light after death? :-) Ah well ...

Somber< Ben: If we go in a circular type cycle, then we also get cleansed before we return ... the point of light must be somewhere in the "wheel".

Ben< Somber: The Source of Light is up (vertical), whereas the Wheel of Karma lies horizontal in the earth-plane, like a millstone.

Somber< Ben: If that is so, I didn't know. My apologies. :-) Maybe I should try to learn more about Karma.

Jello< Ben: But isn't one of the key assumptions by Baldwin (how to diagnose an attachee) that we go to the Light after death?

[Ben< Jello: He assumes that souls who didn't go to the Light after their previous death are attachees, not the soul who owns or should own the body. Functionally, this leads to a very interesting process: he detaches and rescues souls who didn't come from the Light, and allows those who did come from the Light to remain.]

Somber< ALL: Who is Baldwin?

Jello< Ben has a few articles by Dr. Bill Baldwin at his site. Check his Resources section for some of them. Ben learned spirit detachment therapy from Baldwin.

Ben< ALL: Thank you. I have enjoyed this evening. And now I need some rest. Peace and blessings to each of you. Goodnight.

Ben< /topic Open Discussion

LEGS< Ben: Like a millstone ... if all thought of reincarnation as that, so many might not wish to be tied to it ... but sometimes the perfection hasn't been reached. Then the leap past the process of perfecting by reincarnation is accomplished by the belief in Christ Jesus? Becoming perfect, and then not as apt to choose the millstone?

Jello< LEGS: The line from Ben's "Conversations in Silence" comes to mind: "We stay because Jesus stays."

LEGS< Oh ... perfect in belief, but not perfect in living it? Or in choices ... right? Thank you, Jello. You see what I'm asking, then?

Jello< LEGS: I'm not sure, but you seem to be asking about how to avoid the cycle. (Tell me if I am mistaken.) What can keep us out of the cycle? And the spirits that Ben has spoken with imply that it is love of those in the Light: God, or Jesus, the highest that we can love. (Which ties neatly into the commandment to love God with everything we've got.)

Yopo< Sometimes I suspect I misunderstand talk of "avoiding the wheel" and such. Figure if I am here, it is 'cause I am supposed to be, and if I return, it is 'cause I need to. Avoiding it seems like trying to figure out how to avoid needed lessons. When the lessons are learned, you get to graduate.

Somber< Yopo: Agreed!

Jello< Yopo: Maybe. Or maybe you were suckered in by a slick travel brochure from someone who just wanted your hotel and airfare money.

Yopo< Jello: Ha! Wouldn't be the first time.

Jello< Yopo: Seriously.

Yopo< ... and all I've got to show for it is stolen little bars of soap and a few towels and ashtrays.

Somber< Yopo: (laughing!) :-)

Somber< Jello: There is a reason one is reincarnated and brought back. If it happens, it is supposed to be.

Jello< Is it? We have free will (or so I believe). What we do is not necessarily "destined" to be, if we have free will. Maybe we have a reason for coming back, but that doesn't mean it's supposed to be. Perhaps there was a better way that we could've found, if we'd been better tuned to God.

LEGS< Yes, Jello, and I will share the message Ben sent in reply to my question after he left the room tonight. He said, "Those who follow Jesus into his kingdom which is not of this world thereby rise straight up out of the Wheel of Karma. That is why and how reincarnation is one of the things Jesus saves us from."

Somber< LEGS: I believe that is the case in all religions, not only the Christian.

[Ben< Some religions are capable of releasing souls from reincarnation, but not all religions, and not only the Christian religion. Souls are led to reincarnate by their own earthly desires. Some religions teach precepts and values which, if assimilated and implemented, tend to lead souls out of the Wheel -- and some religions do not. Therefore, in terms of cause and effect, the important part is not the name of the religion, but what it does to the desires of those who adhere to it.]

Jello< I like what Jesus said about superiors: they should be like servants. If we were really the masters of the planet, then we should be serving it. Imagine if corporations' CEOs followed that philosophy when dealing with underlings!

Yopo< Do you folks think consciousness arises out of the material universe, or is it the other way around?

Jello< Yopo: I used to think that. :-)

Yopo< Jello: Used to think which? (*smile*)

Jello< Yopo: That consciousness is a product of the material world. The evidence I see these days is totally against it.

Yopo< Jello: OK! Our cosmologies overlap, at least on that point.

Jello< The greater the soul's abilities, the greater the potential for good or evil? I recall C. S. Lewis saying that once.

Somber< Jello: I can see how that would be true.

Jello< I wonder what happens with earthworms? I like them, but they aren't very attracted to light.

Somber< Jello: Actual physical light ... I'm not attracted to it either. Prefer the night much more than the day, but my spirituality continues to grow ... as theirs must also (?)

Jello< Somber: Yeah, at some level I think physical light must be separated from spiritual light. They are not the same thing.

Somber< Jello: I never thought of that ... good point. :-)

LEGS< Yopo: I am one who has many recollections of other times and fragments of other lives. Today when KEI was here visiting in Stonehenge, I recalled a "memory of Russia in the days of the Czar" ... not as a royal family member, to be sure, but of more average or common roots. When KEI asked what I recalled, and I responded, the answer was quite satisfying. We touched souls in that moment.

Yopo< LEGS: I've occasionally had stuff like that well up, but never know where it comes from ... forgotten dreams? the imagination? past lives? Who can know?

Jello< I hope Ben forgives me for quoting him (and I think he may have been quoting someone else): There are those who ride human souls the way humans ride horses. They ride human souls back to the reincarnation cycle. And the souls aren't always aware of it. And so, not all past life memories are really your own.

LEGS< Yes, Jello, I also remember something about the entities that cling and invade, not willing to be born and have the total responsibility of a body to grow and manage, but cling to someone else's and whisper directions so their desired "pleasures" can be enjoyed vicariously ... and that is where the cleansings become necessary.

Jello< LEGS: Yes, definitely!

Somber< Jello: I am only speaking in the ways that I believe. I believe things are predestined, but yet we also have the freedom to change it as we see fit. I believe if throughout all our choices and decisions in life, if we didn't learn all we needed, then we come back and do it again. (It's not something I have completely figured out, so I'm sorry for being vague.)

Jello< Somber: I sort of see what you're saying. But I picture it this way: Many of us are looking for a way out. If we can't find it, we tend to come back. But that doesn't mean that we should keep coming back once we find a way out. If you see what I mean.

Somber< Jello: I don't think we come back if we find our way out.

Jello< Once we have found the way (or what we think is the way), it is up us to leave behind what we can't take along, and go that way. I think lots of people find hints of the way, but don't follow through.

Somber< Jello: I don't think I understood your last post. (sorry) Could you try to say it differently for me??

Jello< Somber: I think many people hear that there's a way to get off the cycle, but they perhaps don't care, or think they're guaranteed Heaven or what-not, and forget to keep seeking and striving. Or people get misled, or waylaid, and they forget what they were looking for, and go down the wrong paths (as Yopo says).

Yopo< Jello: I never discount the possibility that may be true. A traveler is wise to listen to what others have to say, or his journey will likely take him down paths leading to places other than his true destination.

LEGS< Jello: It is surprising, however, that the ones who most need to leave things behind seem to cling to those very things that either pull them or even defile them ... like the abused child clings to the abusing parent.

Jello< LEGS: Yeah, though for some it's a matter of figuring out what is pulling and what is defiling. It's not always obvious what's good for a person or not! Too many salespeople saying, "Really, it's good for you!" when it isn't, for example.

Somber< Jello: Once we have found our "way" we should not have a desire for anything, and should not feel like we are leaving anything behind.

Jello< Somber: I don't know about desires. I am not sure that the old Buddhist or Taoist "Desire Nothing" is best. Even Krishna taught against desires, yet said "Those who are devoted to me come to me." Is devotion akin to desire? I don't know. Words! Semantics!

Somber< Jello: I believe that one can do anything they want, so long as it doesn't hurt anyone else (act out your desires if you want, just don't hurt anyone). I believe that by acting out your desires in this fashion, you gain the lesson that was meant for you.

Jello< "Do what you want, as it harm none" -- but it takes active research to be relatively sure that you won't be harming another. Too many just say, "Oh, I'm not hurting anyone" (say by smoking), and later find out it was hurting not only others, but themselves. It takes much care to really live up to "harm none."

Somber< Jello: Yes, you are right. One must think things through. I also believe that people don't necessarily make wrong decisions or go down wrong paths. I believe all is right for us, so that we may learn the lesson that is needed from it.

Jello< "Wrong paths" may ultimately produce wisdom, but the damage is still done. I prefer to avoid doing damage where possible. There are Better Paths.

Somber< Jello: One must learn to understand and accept the so-called "damage" as knowledge. I don't enjoy being hurt while it is hurting, but I have learned a great deal from the times that I have been.

Jello< But Somber, if you believe all paths are OK, then why not go down the path of "Do what you will, no matter who gets hurt"? Are not some paths better than others? (i.e., if you don't believe in "go ahead and hurt others" then aren't you saying that is not a good path to go down?)

Somber< Jello: Because I am a creature who cares and loves all things, I have no desire to hurt others.

Jello< OK, but it's OK for others to go down that path?

Somber< Jello: I may not enjoy watching them go down that path, but that is what is meant for them in that life. I am dealing with something like this in my family right now. It's very difficult to watch someone go down one of those "I don't care about anything but myself" type paths, but I have to keep in my mind that, on the whole, this is what is meant for this family member to go through. Not only for him to learn what he needs, but for me to learn what I need from the pain he is causing me.

FireEagle< Jello: Once you realize that you do reap what you sow ... in my case, the law of three ... what's the point of using your free will to hurt, if you are only hurting yourself? I am a big picture kinda guy.

Somber< FireEagle: The law of three, I agree! (and rhyme, too) :-)

FireEagle< So nothing is forced ... you can't force it ... but you can know.

Somber< Here is a quote for you guys. I hope it doesn't offend anybody, but since we are talking of desires, I thought I would add it: "Better murder an infant in its cradle than nurse an unacted desire" QUOTE: William Blake.

Yopo< Ah, but the error is not in failing to act on the desire, but in nursing it ... in clinging to it, rather than in letting it go. He was not suggesting one should act on it. In my interpretation.

Somber< Yopo: Just thought it might make for an interesting addition to the desire topic. :-)

Jello< Yes. I am asking about this in the context of the question, "Do all paths ultimately lead to the same place?"

Somber< Jello: I don't know if all paths lead ultimately to the same. I think that maybe, yes (?)

Yopo< Jello: Was reading an article in a back issue of Gnosis that suggested just that ... That even actively pursuing a selfish path into pure evil ultimately leads to the same destination. Didn't much care for the theory, though it was well thought out.

Jello< I agree that we can learn from everything, but there are better ways to learn than others. It is up to us to choose the best way that we know of (or are capable of) for any particular circumstance. There are many paths. But some are better than others. (And no, I am not sure that all paths lead to the same place. Ben writes of souls that are inert ... essentially dead. It was their choice.)

Somber< Jello: I think I've been basically saying that all along. We all choose which way we want to go. We make our own decision, etc, etc. We choose what we feel to be the best way to handle things.

LEGS< Jello: I believe that all the paths can lead in the same direction, in the case of a soul. It may twist and turn and return to the wheel making its path longer than another soul's which may just breeze right through to Glory ... ah, excuse that ... the hard-shell Baptist hymnal slips such words into your mind to stay apparently ... but to the Light ... and the words mean the same place. *G*

Somber< I have to agree with you, LEGS.

Jello< If you burn out and are essentially spiritually dead, though, your path has ended. You do not arrive at the same place the others do; i.e., *if* this is true, not all paths go to the same place.

Somber< Jello: Like I said, about leading to the same place, I don't really know the answer to that one. But it is something definitely worth trying to figure out. (smile)

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