01. Spirit
Spiritual Web Chat
Session 1: Sat 2 Aug 1997

Ben< Hello! I see I'm expected. (*smile*) For a quick sketch of what I hope to accomplish with these meetings, click on my name.

Ben< This is a public room. It's being used for a scheduled meeting, but all are welcome to stay if they wish.

Ben< Okay, to get started: There are many meanings of "spirit" in English, and in several other languages, and in many philosophies and religions. English-speaking people may be pardoned for talking past each other, saying the same words, but with different meanings.

Ben< For example, spirit can refer to volatile liquids such as turpentine or alcohol. It can mean an influence or an entity. So ... to make sure this is a seminar and not a lecture ... what does it mean to you? When you hear the word "spirit" what is the first meaning that comes to your mind? YOUR TURN

Saelach< I AM THAT ... ageless, formless, genderless, colorless, timeless. Who I AM.

SLIDER< Ben: Define your meaning of seminar -- and lecture.

Ben< SLIDER: In a lecture, one person talks and everybody else listens. A seminar is a guided discussion in which everyone can participate.

Miki< Spirit is that part of me connected to the All That Is.

SLIDER< For myself, spirit implies, me, who I am, what I am, and how I understand things.

Ben< Okay, we have three senses of the term: by Saelach, Miki, and Slider. Others?

Energie< For me, Spirit is that part of creation which is in a dynamic, living state. The part of creation which is inseparable from the moment and inseparable from the source, and cannot be divided up into separate pieces and claimed as personal property. Just like sunlight cannot be claimed as personal property, because it is a dynamic force.

FRAML< Just listening for now.

LEGS< I think of spirit as that indestructible essence of being that is same as your soul, but of unconfined area.

Ben< LEGS: Same as soul, though of unconfined area. Okay. Do you distinguish between "spirit" and "a spirit"?

Saelach< No, one inseparable web of relationships ... relationships of interconnectedness. *S*

LEGS< Ben: I think of "spirit" as capitalized when the Holy Spirit, and all lesser, as spirit/spirits.

FRAML< To me "spirit" is a general term: e.g., the spirit world, the spirit of God, and "a spirit" refers to a specific disembodied entity.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, as "spirit" in recognizing I am, and "a spirit" as recognizing you are also.

Ben< Okay. Good thoughts. Not all the same. One of the earliest understandings of the word spirit was: "That which is present in the living and not present in a dead body." (Greek *pneuma* meaning breath, or the breath of life)

Energie< The human spirit is that part of the person that is alive and conscious in the present moment, and cannot ever exist outside of the present moment.

greyman< "Spirit" is capable of creating; an uncaused cause. Self-aware energy directed by desire.

Ben< An angel may be referred to as "a spirit" and so, also, a ghost or a demon. These are all entities, rather than a force or a principle, although those are also senses in which the word is used.

Ben< Next question: How would you define or describe your understanding of the term "a spirit of fear"? Any volunteers? (As you may have noticed, there are no wrong answers in this seminar.) YOUR TURN

greyman< Oh, Ben, I had crippling fear as a child. The "Fear" caused excited awareness and energy drain.

Saelach< A prevailing attitude of fear as the sponsoring thought among individuals and groups.

FRAML< When you are overcome by foreboding that something is wrong, you are in harm's way. A sensing of danger that comes before the seeing of it.

SLIDER< Ben: Would that be a fearful fearless fearing? *S*

LEGS< A cognizance of uneasiness, panic, to the point that it seems to have its own substance and be oppressive, a spirit of fear

Ben< LEGS: Yes. Something (usually something unseen or unknown) that causes fear. So we often name a spirit by the results it produces, or attribute the results to an unseen cause which we call by that name. There can be an atmosphere of fear, or something that causes fear, in a group or a place.

Energie< Fear is simply a resistance to change. Something that is not familiar might cause such a reaction.

greyman< Ah, I never thought of fear as a spiritual weapon, as in an external cause.

Ben< Or one can walk into a room full of people, sense something about the non-physical atmosphere, and say "Brrr, its chilly in here" or "This feels like a warm and loving group."

Saelach< Ben: Yes. I have experienced the "chilly" feeling at Dachau and often in my workplace with the reorganization underway.

SLIDER< Fear would be not knowing the outcome of the action.

greyman< Connection, empathy.

FRAML< Fear is that within us that is a protective power, to warn us of danger so we can be ready to face it or flee. Partly learned and partly "psychic".

LEGS< A mere adrenaline reaction? More than that, I think, but many things to many people.

Miki< Fear was necessary in a third dimensional vibration (where we practiced separation) to protect us -- a function of the ego.

Ben< Biologically and psychologically, fear is a survival mechanism. If you see something about to eat you, it's a good time to be afraid and make many tracks in a very short period of time.

Energie< Fear is how the part of Creation that is STATIC, the part of Creation that has a past and future, stays in one piece.

gopi43< Fear is the perception of danger. Dictionary also describes fear as "awe or reverence."

Ben< People often attribute to spirit or a spirit feelings that they can't otherwise explain. But with experience comes the observation that it's more than that. How would you describe "esprit de corps"?

LEGS< Esprit de corps is organized loyalty.

Saelach< Esprit de corps? A concentration of Spirit which exercises like vision.

FRAML< Esprit de corps is the feeling of togetherness, brotherhood, willingness to sacrifice for others in the unit to accomplish the mission. That "feeling" permeated the Cavalry Squadron I was assigned to in Germany.

SLIDER< Esprit de corps is to be of same mind to accomplish a common goal -- a joining of minds -- to be on the same wave-length.

greyman< Attitude towards excellence.

Ben< Esprit de corps -- literally, "spirit of the body" -- in function, is something intangible that makes individuals a group, enlivens them, motivates them, energizes them.

LEGS< Common goal or group ideal. Organized loyalty.

Ben< And to expand the scope of discussion a little more, how about "spiritless"? What does that mean to you? YOUR TURN

Miki< Without a feeling of "life"

Saelach< Listlessness ... depressed motivation ... de-energized.

greyman< Burn-out. Drained.

Ben< Others?

LEGS< Gee, Ben, I try not to focus on the negative but that is what occurs to me. It is negative to be spiritless, a non-good condition, embedded negativity = a doormat.

7thstar< Oops! Just 2 cents from me ... without 'breath' ... spiritus. *s *

gopi43< Without joy.

FRAML< Lacking in enthusiasm. No desire to go on. To be empty of will.

SLIDER< Controlled.

Miki< Can we elevate our spirits a little bit?

Ben< Miki: Elevation of spirit is surely part of this seminar. It is important. Maybe we can get into it more next time. I'd like that.

Energie< In colloquial terms "spiritless" usually means not motivated. In technical terms it means the absence of the active or dynamic force, like when the Energizer Bunny's battery goes dead.

FRAML< Energie: Good example.

Ben< Okay, good! From your responses to the question on "spiritless" I am reminded that Jesus said "The spirit gives life; the flesh is of no avail." My hour of guided discussion is up. I hope to have explored some of the vast meanings of these concepts. The floor (?) is open.

LEGS< One more ... embodied disappointment.

FRAML< The opposite of the "spirit of will" is the "spirit of won't." Also negative.

greyman< Thank you, Ben. I enjoy the Socratic method! It opens up so many possibilities!

FRAML< God breathing the spirit of life into these clay forms gives us our life, thus the same as giving us our soul?

Energie< Thanks, Ben. It's nice to have an organized discussion. We should do it more often.

gopi43< Thank you for the opportunity to join in this discussion. Do you all meet on a regular basis?

FRAML< Good class, Ben. Same time and place next week?

Ben< Yes, same time and place and topic next week.

7thstar< How to introduce this? There seems to be a rhythm of spirit, life force, in all things, even the atom ... much like a wave. If you entrain a thousand grains of sand with sound, you will see a wave form although each grain is essentially the same ... a vital energy entrained ... dynamic, universal, effects seen but unseen.

Ben< 7thstar: Yes, there are wave-form motions in non-physical reality. One can see a spirit (of joy, or fear, etc) sweep through a crowd of people like a gust of wind through a field of standing grain.

7thstar< Ben: Yes, exactly ... like a thousand waterbirds in startled flight, or a school of fish, appears simple but is as complex and beautiful as life itself. *s *

Miki< Ben: I would love to talk about elevation of spirit. There is a Prophets Conference in Phoenix this year Oct. 10-12. Some very interesting participants. Found it surfing last week and wondered if any of you heard about last year's.

SLIDER< Ben: My understanding of soul as to spirit is that the soul would be the accumulation of the experience of the spirit; therefore the spirit I feel must create a soul in order to continue to exist, and must continue to project thought to experience thought in a reality.

LEGS< Ben: When you said "There can be an atmosphere of fear, or something that causes fear, in a group or a place," were you saying that there is no such thing as an entity-spirit of fear, only that the feeling is given such title by the one/ones who fears/fear?

Ben< LEGS: Sometimes we scare ourselves by our thoughts. Sometimes we sense an entity that transmits a threat and we react with fear. Sometimes we sense a residue of fear (non-living stuff) that can linger.

LEGS< Ben: Is this residue of the type subject to removal by the cleansings and showers mentioned on your page?

Ben< LEGS: Yes, "spiritual shower" is designed to cleanse away dark residue.

Miki< Ben: Do you wish to share the location of your page? Sounds interesting.

FRAML< Miki: Click on Ben's name and you will be hot-linked to it.

Miki< Thanks, FRAML. I'm new to this!

Energie< "Soul" is the union of spirit and matter. Just like what we are doing now is possible because of the union between electricity and the computer. Without electricity, the computer couldn't do this. Without the computer, electricity couldn't do this. The union of electricity and computer creates the "soul" of the Internet.

Miki< Energie: Great analogy.

FRAML< Energie: Then what happens to our soul upon death of this vessel?

greyman< Software = soul. Body = hardware.

SLIDER< Energie: Soul = hard-drive?

Miki< HAHAHAHA, Slider!

greyman< Hard-drive = firmware.

FRAML< Thanks, greyman, SLIDER: Hmmm. Perhaps brain = hard-drive.

LEGS< Ha! Got you there! Brain is the software and heart is the hard-drive. Try getting there without it.

greyman< LEGS: Depends where you sit. Some sit just behind the eyes. Some sit in heart.

LEGS< Oh, greyman, you are the guy putting all those little bar-code labels on everything ... right? *LOL*

greyman< Part of brain = firmware, part hardware, part software.

FRAML< greyman: I am not familiar with "firmware".

greyman< FRAML: Silicon chip read-only memory & erase-write-read memory.

SLIDER< greyman: I think the brain is just a working part of the mechanism, letting the electricity make the connections.

greyman< Chemical release of energy through endorphins between dendrites and neurons.

Ben< In my vocabulary, brain = hardware, mind = software (programs and data), soul = operator. Spirit has too many meanings for me to use simply in this context.

Energie< If brain is hardware and mind is software, is Spirit the electricity that runs the whole contraption?

FRAML< Energie: Good question. Never have thought about that analogy.

Ben< Energie: Yes, I can use the word spirit for the energy that runs the whole contraption (smile).

Energie< FRAML: Energy or spirit only exists in the present moment. It does not have a beginning or end. You can't go outside with a jar and collect a jar full of sunlight and save it for later. Sunlight only exists in the present moment. Since "Soul" is conditioned energy, it too only exists in the present moment and does not have a beginning or end. The TV program is there whether the TV is on or off or gets broke and ends up in the dumpster.

LEGS< And it is true, Energie, that when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, there is sound and it goes on out in waves forever.

FRAML< Energie: OK, but to me the soul lives forever. It can rise above this plane of existence upon the death of our bodies. It can also choose to stay in this plane if it prefers "physical reality" to "spiritual reality."

LEGS< FRAML: When the soul leaves the body, is it not then spirit? A bit confusing to me. I just thought that as long as body is alive, soul has location to inhabit, but when body dies, spirit wanders.

FRAML< LEGS: At that point, to me, Soul and Spirit are two terms for the same concept or "thing".

Energie< What happens to the actor when the costume that was scurrying around the stage goes to the laundry?

greyman< Actor sneeze & catch cold.

FRAML< Energie: Cops show up and close down the show for indecent exposure. Or conversely, you know that it received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Energie< I have been to the place where people go when they leave this world. For the people who live there, it is just as "Real" as this world. Nothing much changes. In fact a lot of people there don't even know that they are dead.

greyman< No sense of time, Energie?

Ben< Energie: Yes, there are various places where souls go. Three of us in this room are involved in rescue of lost souls, some of whom don't know they died.

greyman< SLIDER: New evidence that brain cells actually divide and travel. New hope for Alzheimer's.

SLIDER< greyman: Where do they travel, to replace worn-out parts of the brain? Sounds interesting.

greyman< Yes, SLIDER, it's pretty neat. I saw a video of brain cell dividing and moving down the "daughter cell's" dendrite.

SLIDER< greyman: How do you have access to this technology? -- just curious.

greyman< SLIDER, I have access to one of our nations largest think-tanks: NASA. I have a lot of friends who are scientists. They kindly keep me informed with the latest and greatest.

SLIDER< greyman: Sounds great. You better grow some of them cells to store that extra info. **S**

LEGS< greyman: Is this why stroke victims are able to be re-taught to speak and do things after the area for that ability is destroyed from the stroke?

greyman< LEGS: It is thought that the control goes to a new undamaged area of the brain. Research based on MRI research.

LEGS< greyman: That is one thing that I feel is wonderful about our God, that he gives people, mere doctors and scientists, the wisdom and the ability to apply it for our common good. So many think it is wrong to seek help from the medical profession if you really believe you can cure yourself, but I believe he gives to us in these ways also ... as cures.

greyman< Yes, LEGS, many disciplines. Wouldn't it be neat if doctors could be trained in spiritual arts, and spiritual healers refer to doctors when needed?

LEGS< greyman: When you find a doctor who has such sensitivity, you should stay in touch with him. They are rare ... but I have run across a few.

Ben< LEGS: Some of those I'd like to nominate as "Hero of the Human Race" are Jenner, Lister, and Pasteur.

LEGS< Ben: And Salk

Ben< LEGS: Yes, Salk. And who pioneered anesthesia?

LEGS< Ben: I don't know right off. The science of anesthesiology goes back to the word being accepted in 1914. It is originally from the Greek, meaning insensitive, but how wonderful to have when needed.

Ben< LEGS: I'll have to look it up. It sure has reduced the suffering of humans and animals.

Ben< ALL: Okay, dear friends, time for me to go "toes up" for awhile. Shalom.

01. Spirit
Session 2: Sat 9 Aug 1997

Ben< /topic What are we talking about? (Meanings of "spirit")

Kathleen< Ben: Do you keep transcripts of your classes? I may have to leave early and I do want to get the full impact of your class.

Ben< Kathkeen: I have the transcript of our meeting last week, and will post it with my "seminars" page. Basically, we looked at some dictionary definitions of "spirit" and "a spirit" and some personal preferences in the use of these terms. This time we will consider some insights from other traditions.

Ben< Tonight, I'd like to look at the meaning of the Hebrew and Aramaic concept of spirit. Their word for spirit (ruach) actually means "wind." What do we know about wind or a wind?

gordon< Wind is moving air.

Kathleen< You can hear it, feel it, smell it, but not always do you see the wind.

gordon< Just the effects of the wind.

FRAML< It is a force you can feel but can't see directly, yet you can see the effects of it.

Kathleen< Wind is energy in motion.

Hasteen< Wind is made up of air that you know is always there, but you can't see it. It keeps you alive, but most people don't think a lot about it.

Ben< Okay. We can't see a wind, but we can see what it does. It moves things. How do we describe a wind?

greyman< Temperature between -100F to 140F. Speed 0 MPH up to 300 MPH.

Kathleen< By it's force or lack of force.

SheWolf< I think that wind can play a part in a persons life if people are willing to hear what it is saying.

SLIDER< A force that awakens our senses.

Hasteen< People only think of wind when it does a lot of damage; they don't think about it when its doing good things like carrying seeds.

LEGS< Whenever the wind blows in my part of world, you can see it, for it carries the pulverized quartz crystals of sand with it. We moved to Louisiana when my daughter was three. She stood at door peering out; finally said, "I hears da wind, but I tan't seeeeeee it?" Are we supposed to see the wind of which you speak?

SheWolf< Wind can be bringing change or enlightenment.

Trudy< We describe a wind by it's force -- what it's capable of doing -- soft and flowing, or strong and destructive.

SLIDER< Wind can also affect our emotions.

Hasteen< The human sprit is the same thing as wind that way, always moving, sometimes making things happen, sometimes tearing things down. I saw this big tornado once. It was right over our house.

Ben< Okay, wind is air in motion, a current in the atmosphere. We describe a wind as a force. Strong or gentle. Warm or cold. What else?

FRAML< An "ill wind" being in the "lee of the wind" or "being windward" -- attributes of wind that sailors depend on to move them.

greyman< Difficult to predict long term flow exactly.

Kathleen< One of the forces of the elements ... wind, fire, earth, etc.

Trudy< We can't see where it comes from, or where it goes when it leaves us.

SLIDER< Winds of time, the flow of the universe.

Ben< Because the Hebrews use the same word for "spirit" and "wind" the implied concept is: "Consider what you know about the wind. Spirit is like that."

serena< Wind is energy is Life is cleansing; it moves stagnant odors, is Breath.

Hasteen< Without the wind, the weather would change real slow, if at all, because nothing would be moving, so I guess without the spirit, humans would never want to grow or change or move.

Ben< If I ask you about the wind where you are today, what do you tell me?

Hasteen< Light or heavy, fast or slow.

serena< It is like a touch of a feather; as say, a Spirit when it comes to visit. It can even tickle.

Kathleen< To imitate the wind.

serena< There were no breezes today, so it was still, quiet.

gordon< Strong wind with stronger gusts.

LEGS< Today, stirring the heat waves around the houses, trees, people. Gentle but persistent.

SLIDER< Moving ahead about 8 knots.

FRAML< A gentle breeze, one that kept the heat from being oppressive.

gordon< Ben: Are you describing a person's spirit or spirits (as in ghosts)?

[Ben< gordon: Right now, we're looking at the word "spirit" as a force. Later, we'll look at the use of this word in reference to entities such as ghosts.]

Ben< The Hebrew word "ruach" is used in reference to the wind that ruffles the grass, and it also can refer to something having to do with God, other gods, angels, ghosts, demons, men and groups of men.

Ben< Any airplane drivers here? If you called the control tower and asked for the wind, what would they tell you?

greyman< I'm not an airplane driver, but wind speed and direction.

gordon< Direction, strength.

greyman< And visibility.

gordon< Good, greyman.

LEGS< Knots and direction?

FRAML< Whether it is a head, tail, or cross wind.

Hasteen< Ben: You mean a pilot. The tower would say, "It's moving blah blah kilometers (or miles in the US) due east or west or whatever. "

Bink< I would imagine they would give me the wind direction and velocity.

Ben< Yes. That's what I was fishing for. Wind is described by its *direction* and by its speed or strength or power. This we need to remember about "spirit" also.

Ben< Last time, we noted that "a spirit" can refer to an invisible force (as well as an entity). When we say "a northeast wind" what do we mean?

gordon< Wind coming from the NE.

SLIDER< The direction from which the wind blows.

greyman< Colder air mass.

FRAML< The direction a wind is blowing.

Ben< Yes, we understand the direction of a wind by where it's coming from. We could describe it the other way, according to where it's going, but we don't.

Awenydd< Ben: That makes sense, because we are judged by our deeds, not our potential. The same way we label the spirits of the air.

Ben< Last time, we spoke of "a spirit of fear" and "the spirit of truth". What do we mean? Something that moves us toward fear, or toward truth. What other uses of "spirit" are like that?

gordon< Spirit of cooperation.

FRAML< The spirit of the time or public spirit, a sensing of which way to go based upon societal norms or forces.

gordon< Good, FRAML.

greyman< Spirit function: similar attraction of desire.

Ben< We can know spirits by their fruits, their results, the directions in which they move us. To close the loop on this line of reasoning: What do we imply when we say "a holy spirit" or "the holy spirit"?

greyman< One who takes direction from God.

Trudy< A spirit that moves us in the direction of the holy, or good.

Bink< God, IMHO.

Energie< Where I come from "Holy Spirit" has a very specific meaning.

greyman< Oooopse, God of creation and kindness, not Shiva.

serena< The PURER energies, the more Loving ... closer to Spirit.

Ben< Holy means dedicated to God or a god. So by saying "holy spirit" we imply something or someone that comes from God or a god -- or something or someone that moves others toward God or a god. This is one example of the directional sense of the Hebrew concept of spirit.

SLIDER< I feel the 'holy spirit' is singular and we create our own wind in the direction we choose.

K'am< If you ask "What does The Holy Spirit mean, rather than "What does holy spirit mean" then the meaning is completely different.

Energie< In the higher regions of being "Holy Spirit" is the planetary energy that a being who comes from the Sun uses in order to be visible in time and space.

SLIDER< Holy Spirit = Divine Wind. A holy spirit is that which seeks the Divine Wind.

Ben< Okay, all I wanted to do tonight was to highlight the directional concept of spirit: "Where is this coming from? Where is it going? Where will it move me if I yield myself to it and go along with it?" These are relevant questions, for the living of a spiritual life.

greyman< Ben: Strongly agree.

gordon< Excellent, Ben.

serena< Ben: Thank you very much. Very poignant questions. May your evening be ever so filled with Joy, Light & Love

Trudy< Thank you, Ben. Good stuff.

greyman< Yes, Ben, Good I-N-P-U-T.

Ben< /topic Open forum discussion of "spirit"

Bink< Ben: Is that concept implied in the Bible? Or can you give some sources for that meaning of the Hebrew word?

Ben< Bink: Yes. Jesus used the double meaning of the Aramaic word *ruach* when he said "The wind (ruach) blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the spirit (ruach)." There is a footnote in the text, explaining to Greek readers that the Jews use the same word for wind and spirit.

Bink< Ben: Yeah ... just looked up that reference, and it's a deep one, much to ponder there, eh?

Ben< ALL: A good concordance, such as Young's Analytical Concordance, gives the basic meaning of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words such as ruach and pneuma.

Energie< There are seven different levels or densities of "holy spirit". Each level makes a solar being visible on one plane or another of the material world.

greyman< Where is that from?

Energie< greyman: That definition is from personal experience.

greyman< Energie: Neat. Personal experimental development. Maslov would be proud!

Awenydd< For me, Spirit and spirits are the energies that make up everything. Though all connected, they each hold their individuality as we do. We are one, yet we are apart, partly due to ignorance. For me, all spirits are holy.

greyman< Awenydd: Even the spirit of Adolph Hitler?

K'am< greyman: Do you believe that Adolph Hitler's spirit is still here?

greyman< K'am: Hitler was born April 20, 1890. Strong probability he is out of his physical body from last life. Do not know if he has taken a new one.

Awenydd< greyman: Hitler was an evil man, but even he had some good ideas, and he followed his heart and dreams, no matter how horrible they were. I only hope that mankind never has to suffer that kind of evil again.

greyman< Awenydd: You mean, if an entity is 99.999% evil, that entity is holy?

Trudy< Awenydd: Are you saying that since Hitler was following his heart and dreams, it didn't matter that they were horrible? What "good" ideas did he have?

Awenydd< Trudy: There is nothing OK about the horrible deeds he committed. You missed my point.

Trudy< Awenydd: Perhaps so. But this is a discussion of spirit and direction, and inferences about what makes a spirit "holy." Hitler's "direction" -- his deeds -- indicate a very different direction for him. I sense that it bothers you to call anything or anyone evil. Certainly we must be careful with this.

SLIDER< Ben: Give us a little more input.

Ben< SLIDER: Okay. Last week we noted that "spirit" can refer to something that energizes, enlivens, animates, motivates. Tonight I pointed to the questions, "Motivate to do what? To what end or purpose?" Thus, I'm using the concept of vectors (direction and power) to understand spirit and spirits.

SLIDER< Ben: Thanks. That completed the circle of wind as spirit, at least for me.

Ben< I have heard it said that "There is only one Holy Spirit" and that may be true in the sense of direction toward God. However, there are many holy spirits. For example, Moses and Elijah were holy spirits when they spoke with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration.

Bink< Ben: In my understanding, there is one Spirit, the creator of the universe, the Source. Everything else is spiritual. God is Spirit, man spiritual.

Energie< Spirit is what makes things move; good, bad or indifferent. Just as electricity makes things move; good, bad, or indifferent.

Bink< Not in my understanding, Energie.

Energie< What any driving force does depends on the intentions of the user.

Awenydd< greyman: I believe there is equal good and evil in all, though some prefer to express more of one than the other. I have evil thoughts all the time. I think we all do, but there is something that stops us from going through with it. It's not physical. You can call it morals, upbringing, guides or whatever, but we are all physically capable of all the evil or goodness there is. Look at Hitler with an open mind. Look at some of his less notorious acts. I am by no means sticking up for him at all. Frankly, the things he did make me quite ill, but I learned that no one is 100% good or evil.

greyman< I know what Awenydd is speaking of. We have choices in life. I try to choose the kind path.

Awenydd< On a lighter side: Hitler is alive today, incarnated as Bill Gates, taking over the electronic world.

greyman< Awenydd: Tee hee ... Billie more like Genghis Khan.

Bink< greyman: or Attila the Hun? :-))

greyman< Joe Steel {Stalin}? Or Lenin {not John}? Evil genius.

FRAML< Lest we forget, Stalin killed more Russians than Hitler's people killed during his rule. Similarly, I find nothing holy in his spirit, even if he did attend seminary for a couple of years.

Awenydd< FRAML: I can see your point. If you choose to assign a hierarchy to various levels of holiness, then I would have to agree, they were not holy spirits, and neither am I. I am no saint (mortally named). I am no priest. I am but a lowly serf, clinging to my masters robes, begging for crumbs.

FRAML< Awenydd: No, no hierarchy. Just a personal thing. Everyone condemns Hitler, and many of the same people praise Stalin for his "enlightened communist rule of USSR." Sorry, it just hit a historical-geo-political hot button of mine.

Trudy< FRAML: You are right. Stalin was much worse. Butchered half his army. He was unbelievably paranoid.

Bink< Awenydd: What is the source of thoughts? Where do they come from? If a thought 'occurs' to you, is it necessarily yours? I used to think I was a horrible person as a kid, because horrible thoughts 'occurred' to me.

K'am< U'all, I am new to this discussion; however, to me "The Holy Spirit" is the comforter that Jesus left for us when he went back to heaven, and holy spirits are those who are sent to do God's will with those of us who are believers in God.

FRAML< K'am: Good point. Those other spirits are also called angels.

K'am< Thank you, FRAML. Yes, I agree that angels are considered to be holy spirits sent to us by God, for a variety of reasons, to help us choose that path and avoid the pitfalls of evil and self, greed and sin ... if only we are open and listen and are aware and feel their presence with us.

greyman< K'am: Yep, yep, yep.

Bink< yep, K'am ... except I wouldn't call them 'spirits'.

Energie< All living beings have two poles, just as a battery has two poles. What any living being is or does depends on how these two poles are combined. Polarity is the principle that runs through the whole of creation, and is in fact, the basis of manifestation. Polarity really means the flowing of force from a sphere of high pressure to a sphere of low pressure; high and low being always relative terms. Every sphere of energy needs to receive the stimulus of an influx of energy at higher pressure, and to have an output into a sphere of lower pressure. The source of all energy is the Great Un-manifest, and it makes its own way down the levels, changing its form from one to another, until it is finally earthed in matter. (Kaballah)

Ben< From the same directional concept, a good spirit is one that produces good results. An evil spirit is one that produces pain and hardship. A holy spirit is one that produces the fruit of The Holy Spirit.

greyman< Ben: Yes, yes, yes.

Energie< Good and bad, evil and holy, are just emotional interpretations of natural forces.

SLIDER< *question* If God is spirit and all other is spiritual, is all other of the spirit of God? If so, then even all that is evil is of the spirit of God.

Bink< SLIDER: If you're asking me, the first chapter of Genesis says God made everything, and 'behold it was very good'. Therefore, yes, all is spiritual 'of God' and God did NOT make evil.

SLIDER< Bink: It was a general question. *S* But as for your reply: where did evil originate?

Bink< SLIDER: In my understanding, it *didn't*! It is a false supposition, an illusion. Simple analogy: good and evil are equivalent to light and dark ... light is *something* but darkness *nothing*.

shiana< May I add a thought here? ... that without our "dark" side we would not have the "back-bone" to get through the tough stuff.

Ben< SLIDER: "Evil" translates the Greek word *poneros* which means "causing pain or hardship". Thus, evil results come from the misuse of free will.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, I understand. As to my comment, I feel that all that came from the spirit of God was good, but when we as spirits of the creator were granted free will, our personal spirit created that which was not as God wished, but all has come from the original spirit.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, my understanding is: In terms of basic substance, every spark of life comes from the same Source. However, in terms of their effects, some help others and some hurt others. So it is by their effects that we know them as good or evil.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, the power of the wind.

[Ben< SLIDER: I think of good and evil as directions of the wind: i.e., toward good or evil results. Both good and evil winds can be strong or weak in terms of power.]

greyman< Bless trees, trees sing. Curse trees, trees get sick and die. Bless a pet, pet comes up to you. Scold pet, and pet scrams.

Bink< Jesus said that evil is "a liar and the father of it. There is no truth in him."

Ben< Bink: Yes, Jesus said the Opponent (Satan means "opponent") was a liar from the beginning, and is the father of lies. Jesus also said the Holy Spirit, "the other counselor" is the Spirit of Truth (which is the only antidote for lies and liars).

Bink< Right on, Ben! "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"!

Ben< Bink: I am reminded of the prerequisites just ahead of his statement, "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free."

Bink< Ben: Most assuredly! That is why I have been led/directed to re-study the Sermon on the Mount, with a view to making its precepts more practical!

K'am< I doubt if any of us are going to be visited by an angel that will set fire to a bush to get our attention!

Bink< K'am! Why *not*? If we are receptive, 'willing to be as a little child', *why not* !

greyman< Bink: Expectation of little child. No preconceived perceptions.

Bink< Agreed, greyman! Sometimes hard to take that view, though ... eh?

greyman< Bink: greyman is like a 10 year old boy.

Bink< greyman: Bink is me - my inner child -- but sometimes he hides and cowers in a corner when others are contemptuous or disapproving.

greyman< K'am: Remember the quiet voice. Angels have much light. Blow away dark. Kind Angels only give what you can take.

FRAML< K'am: Some are sent as counselors to our souls, to stay with us however long they are needed. Others may be as a sentinel, watching out to call for additional help when a person is in deep need.

K'am< When K'am thinks of "spirits" it is in the traditional manner of those who have died but not left our plane of existence; those who have lingered to be with someone, to try to attend to unfinished business, or to help in a situation. K'am feels that those who are evil are immediately punished and go to purgatory, hell (whatever) and spend eternity atoning for their sins. K'am does not feel that the truly evil persons who have lived in our past are able to be reincarnated into another body, for their souls have been taken from them and will not be returned to them to live again!

Energie< It is most helpful in considering these things to have some understanding of the basic nature of the two "Poles" of Creation.

greyman< Energie: creation/destruction.

Bink< Energie: Like Yin and Yang, eh?

Energie< The two basic forces that are the cause of Creation are those universal forces that are STATIC and opposite universal forces that are DYNAMIC. All possible dualities such as spirit/matter, particle/wave, male/female, yin/yang are only examples in nature of this fundamental static/dynamic duality.

Bink< Energie: IMHO, the Yin/Yang theory of existence is just one way to attempt to explain the way things seem to be.

Energie< If a person understands how this basic duality works, then they can work intelligently, and according to law, towards a conscious integration of spirit and matter.

greyman< Energie: Ahhhhh, duality. I am trying to meditate beyond that paradigm. Not much success. Still trying.

Bink< greyman: Yes! The actual spiritual absolute fact is that there is just ONE universe, created by Love. We need only learn to REALIZE this, and *perceive* this real universe in which all is harmonious.

Energie< Bink: So is the spirit/matter duality of religion and the particle/wave duality of science. At a certain level of "enlightenment" they all mean the same thing.

K'am< Thanks for allowing K'am to express thoughts, and to know each of you better for having expressed yours. Until we meet again ... love, light, and peace!

Trudy< K'am: Blessings, dear one! Sleep well.

LEGS< Ben: Thank you for another enlivening class.

Ben< LEGS: You're welcome, as always. *smile*

greyman< Bink: May the Lord, Mighty God, bless and keep you forever. Grant you peace, perfect peace, courage in every endeavor. Lift up your eyes and see his face and his grace forever ...

Bink< greyman: What a lovely prayer! *thank-you!* and He for sure *is* doing just that! *smile*

01. Spirit
Session 3: Sat 16 Aug 1997

Kathleen< /topic Ben's Class on the Meanings of Spiritual Terms meets tonight at 11 PM Eastern

Miki< Waiting patiently ... zzz ... cosmic nap.

Kathleen< This should be quite interesting. Let me take another pause and make sure I have everything I need close by so that I do not miss a thing.

Miki< Hello, Ben, been looking forward to your seminar.

Ben< Hello.

Walk_In< Ben: The floor is yours. *S*

Ben< I think I'll leave the topic just as it is. Thanks, Kathleen. Ready to go?

Ben< Last week we looked at the idea that spirit is like wind -- an invisible force that can be described by the direction and the power of its observable results.

Ben< This week I'd like to do two things: first, look for the largest or most general concept of spirit; and then focus on one of its more specific meanings.

Ben< So ... how would you define or describe the most general meaning of the word "spirit"? YOUR TURN

Miki< Energetic force in all living beings.

LEGS< The essence within us that does not have a mortal life such as we.

Kathleen< Soul substance.

FRAML< That which gives life.

SLIDER< Energy with Identity and thought process.

mrtoad< Spirit is a manifestation of Divine Awareness on the mortal plane.

Ben< Okay, we're on the right track ... these are more general concepts than "a spirit" as a specific entity.

Walk_In< All is spirit ... spirit is All.

dancer< It is the energy of God which breathes life into all.

Ben< To all those who have just arrived -- Greetings. You're welcome here. Any other large concepts of spirit?

starcat< The essence of all.

Arturo< Good evening Ben & Class members. I think Miki got it pretty good. With one small change -- energetic force in all things; i.e., everything that is has spirit.

starcat< freebird is also here. He says that life is one big goulash. We all walk up to the pot, open the lid, and try to see what's inside, but only the cook knows what's really in it. Therefore, we cannot describe it.

Ben< Okay. Those who have said that "spirit is all" or words to that effect have expanded the envelope of definition as far as it will go. Next question, to back off from that concept a little: is there anything we consider "not spirit"? YOUR TURN


Arturo< No, everything is spirit. Spirit is energy, and everything is energy.

Walk_In< Nothing!

starcat< I agree with Walk_In. Since all is one, then nothing can NOT be.

mrtoad< There is no place where spirit "is not." Matter, when examined in its minutest observable dimension is actually energy ... energy set in very high oscillation. Spirit is simply intentional energy.

GreyHE< Ahowaton, all. If I may, Ben ... The term spirit has become too liberal in today's society. Truly what is always classified as spirits should be broken down into ghosts, entities, natural spirits, and spiritual beings.

Kathleen< Well ... in some Indian beliefs, everything has a 'manitu' or spirit.

starcat< Are we discussing spirit as entity, or as "soul"?

Ben< GreyHE: I agree that the word "spirit" has become very broad and general. Right now, we're working on concepts of spirit as an atmosphere or a force. Later we'll look at spirit-entities.

FRAML< In this context, Jack Daniel's is NOT spirit.

Praxus< Disagree. Not spirit is absolute spirit.

Arturo< Jack Daniel's is spirits, however it is also spirit.

Night< Everything has energy ... therefore spirit.

Walk_In< Nothing is capable of uncaused cause.

[Ben< Walk_In: No *thing* is capable of uncaused cause, but a spirit can be.]

greyman< Not spirit ... mmm, anything that does not possess the ability to effect change in any realm.

starcat< greyman: Define change.

Kathleen< Move a grain of sand ... and you have made a change.

mrtoad< "Thou canst not stir a flower without the troubling of a star."

greyman< Yes, mrtoad, we are star dust and more.

FRAML< Inanimate objects are not spirit. I have questions about animals -- the type of spirit/soul they would have.

starcat< I believe inanimate objects also have spirit. As for animals, even the masters don't doubt theirs -- simply if they have individual or collective spirits.

Ben< Okay. Does anyone here draw a distinction between spiritual and material? Several do not, and that's Okay, but does anyone see a difference?

Walk_In< All is made of the same building blocks. I do not look down on my brother because I happen to be more animated. *S*

LEGS< I do not mean this as argumentative, but I fail to find sympathy with the thought that my sidewalk or other concrete has spirit. I know how it feels to be walked on, and this would make me very sad to think of the concrete in this manner.

starcat< LEGS: Everything in nature has a purpose and is most happy to be used for that purpose. I consider it to be like a talent. How sad to have a purpose and everyone ignores that purpose!

Arturo< LEGS: When concrete is walked on it is fulfilling it's purpose. It is verry strong and can be proud to be walked on

Ben< LEGS: You didn't sound argumentative. Many people do not attribute spirit to rocks and other such inanimate objects. Expression of personal preferences is legitimate in this seminar.

greyman< LEGS: I guess that we have spirit and body. Some beings are just spirit, and thus can be anywhere.

Praxus< Material is the realm in which we now exist. Life, experientially.

starcat< Right! If there is a rock in your path and you step over it or around it, hasn't it affected a change?

FRAML< Spiritual is when I pray for others, when I do soul rescue work. Material refers to those items I use in daily life: car, books, computer, food.

Walk_In< All the world's a stage. The material is the stage. I've often felt like a set dressing. *S*

starcat< If you can see it, taste it, or touch it, it isn't real.

SLIDER< I would look at spiritual as seeking to understand the material.

Miki< Material is thought-forms manifested in the physical originating from spirit.

starcat< Miki: Yes.

Kathleen< Very good, Miki!

starcat< It is much easier to ignore spirit than material. Case in point: there are so many people walking through their lives completely ignorant of spirit, yet they function materially.

Ben< How about the study of physics and chemistry? Is the subject matter of these disciplines considered "spirit"?

Kathleen< Yes.

Miki< Study of interactions and reactions (spirit in action).

greyman< That is interesting. We are mostly hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon. Yet we came out of the mud.

starcat< I am woefully ignorant of physics, but the more I hear about it, it seems quantum physics is absolutely dealing with spirit. Now I would think chemistry is more of the material?

Praxus< Sorry, never studied physics or chemistry, so don't feel qualified to give an answer on whether these studies/issues are 'spiritual' in nature.

mrtoad< All matter is energy. All energy is connected. Spirit is not compartmentalized. ergo, all matter is spirit.

Walk_In< Spirit is all, but without another ... unknown to itself.

Praxus< Walk_In: I agree about spirit being all but unaware without another.

Arturo< I do draw a distinction between spiritual and material. There are different manifestations of spirit. This is where the term starts to get tricky!

Ben< Arturo: Yes, this terminology *is* tricky! That's why we're having this seminar, to compare notes on how we (and others) use these words. I consider such an exercise important, because words are tools for thinking as well as for communication.

Arturo< Ben: Does science consider anything spirit?

starcat< I find it very disturbing that so many people believe that science and spirituality are oxymoronic. Or is it the belief itself that makes them oxymoronic?

Walk_In< Oxymoronic? ... they are ONE! *S*

Ben< Modern science is mostly materialistic, and usually denies that there is any such thing as spirit.

starcat< Ben: But this is not true of quantum physics?

Kathleen< There are some scientists who are changing that. Richard Hoagland, for one; Dr. Fred Bell for another. They are proving that they are one and the same.

starcat< I've had the pleasure of meeting Gary Zukav, and the spiritual energy emanating from that particular physicist was the strongest I've ever experienced.

Arturo< starcat: I think that science and spirituality will eventually lead to the same place. But science has further to go.

greyman< Arturo: I believe that true faith comes from "the method". Much area to cover.

LEGS< greyman: "When you were a tadpole and I was a Fish / in the Paleozoic time and side by side on the ebbing tide / we sprawled through the ooze and slime / or skittered with many a caudal flip / through the depths of the Cambrian fen / my heart was rife with the joy of life / for I loved you even then." (Langdon Smith on Evolution)

Walk_In< Science is like heat on the spectrum of light. It's easy to understand because you can feel it. The spectrum of light has much more to it!

starcat< Walk_In: So true! I understand that the nature of science is that theories must be proven or disproven, but that leaves out so much anecdotal information. For instance, how does one prove consciousness? Science ignores so much valuable information because it can't be independently measured or observed.

Yopo< How does consciousness relate to the matter/spirit issue?

starcat< Yopo: Good question! I was going to say that spirit is what makes us conscious, but that's not true of concrete, is it?

Arturo< starcat: Maybe the spirit of concrete is conscious in another realm.

starcat< Arturo: I so agree! For instance, freebird and I argue that perhaps dolphins have a higher intelligence than we do -- we simply cannot define it in the same terms.

Yopo< I am uncertain what it is to be concrete. Does consciousness rise out of the complex interactions of matter, or does matter arise from consciousness? I am uncertain if I am one thing and the sidewalk another. At times, I am "the perception of sidewalk".

Ben< Okay. Good responses. As I mentioned last time, there are no wrong answers in this seminar. In my own vocabulary, I use the concepts "spiritual reality" and "material reality" as separate dimensions that intersect in biological life. Thus, non-living things are material but not spiritual; living bodies partake of both material and spiritual; discarnate entities are spiritual but not material. Those are my preferences for the use of these terms.

starcat< Ben: Then by that definition, rocks are not spirit?

greyman< starcat: Without a doubt.

Ben< We previously looked at the Hebrew concept that spirit is like wind (ruach). Now let's look at the Greek concept that spirit is like breath (pneuma). What is similar, and what is different, between wind and breath? YOUR TURN

starcat< In traditional Judeo-Christian terms, wind would be circumstantial while breath is deliberate?

greyman< starcat: Yes, breath deliberate. Neat.

starcat< greyman: Except that I believe the wind is as deliberate as breath, which blows my whole statement to h*ll.

SLIDER< starcat: We all seem to be repeating, only the vocabulary changes. *S*

Walk_In< The vanity of spirit one-ups-man-ship. We are but one. *S*

FRAML< Wind is something that blows across the planet. Breath is when we inhale and exhale, an action that shows life and also how we give life to others through our words.

LEGS< FRAML: A beautiful statement about giving life to others with our words ... evangelical justification!

Ben< More on spirit = wind versus spirit = breath?

Energie< Both "wind" and "breath" are caused by a difference in pressure.

Yopo< Guess the spirit/wind/breath metaphor escapes me, on some fundamental level.

Praxus< Coming from a 'blowhard' -- wind and breath are the same?

Arturo< Breath is caused by the life of an animal. Wind is caused by the life of the planet.

greyman< Arturo: I like that analogy.

starcat< Arturo: Yes. Does that make one more important or stronger than the other? or just different?

Arturo< Starcat: Just different. Although I believe the lives of all creatures help to make up the life of the planet!

starcat< Arturo: I LIKE the way you think. :)

Energie< It is the same air that is in every breath of everything that breathes. When the breath is outside of the breathing being, it is called "air."

Ben< Okay ... wind and breath are both air in motion, currents in the atmosphere. But wind is an external force, whereas breath moves into and out of a living being, and the source of the breath is internal rather than external to the living being.

LEGS< I see breath as a privilege granted, for we know not how long ... though some argue we choose the length of time before we arrive here.

Miki< Is wind the breath of the planet?

SLIDER< Wind is the collective conscious of many spirits moving the perceived reality of material existence. Breath is the means by which a spirit using that type of body to experience it's reality must obtain life-sustaining oxygen.

starcat< I think the danger here in the definitions is hubris. Is spirit a gift bestowed by our creator, or do WE embody spirit and therefore direct causation?

Energie< Energy and Life and Spirit and wind and breath are all motion that is caused by a difference in pressure.

Ben< To summarize why I brought this up: as living beings, each of us is influenced by spirit-winds external to ourselves, *and* each of us is a source of spirit-force. We do not merely blow with the wind like inanimate objects.

starcat< Ben: Of course ... you said it much better than I did.

Walk_In< We are spirit. We are One. All is spirit. Perceived as external to us. It's a closed loop.

starcat< Walk_In: Yes.

Ben< /topic Open discussion of the meanings of "spirit"

Ben< From the concept that spirit-entities are sources of spirit-force comes the opening for discussion of free will and individual responsibility and attachment or non-attachment.

starcat< Ben: How does the concept of spirit move into the concept of free will? I don't understand the natural progression from one to the other?

Ben< starcat: There is one more concept to be considered, between "spirit" and "free will". In English and the Germanic languages, it is labeled "soul" -- but some of the other languages are more enlightening as to what it means.

Arturo< Ben: Is the question then how do we balance the spirit within and the spirit from without?

Ben< Arturo: Yes, we need to be aware of external spiritual influences (winds) and our own inner source of spiritual power (breath) in order to select which winds we will go along with, and which we will tack across or steer against, or whether we will simply hunker down and wait for them to subside.

Arturo< I like the way you put that, Ben. It really speaks to my current situation. Thanks.

FRAML< Ben: But in today's society, no one is responsible for what they do, "everyone" is a victim.

starcat< FRAML: So true! at least in America. I don't think other countries have gotten so far off the edge as we have.

shiana< FRAML: We can choose to either be a victim or we can choose to be who we truly are.

Praxus< (((SHIANA))) right on hon! FREE CHOICE!

greyman< shiana: I think FRAML is referring to liberal law of United States.

FRAML< starcat & shiana: Yes to both of you. For me, each person is responsible for their words and actions. Also in that "the reality they create" affects others for good or bad.

shiana< FRAML: Agreed. I'm sorry if I mis-interpreted your words since I have just arrived. It's just that I see so many people playing the "poor me" drama, and to me it is all about choices.

SLIDER< FRAML: That's only the ones that won't take responsibility for their actions. *S*

starcat< SLIDER: But that was the point. So many people refuse to take responsibility for their actions these days.

SLIDER< starcat: Yes, those that are willing to be led for mere crumbs, when they can follow their own lead and have steak.

Energie< Energy and Life and Spirit and wind and breath are all dynamic forces that only exist in the present moment, and cannot be separated from the source.

starcat< One should not exercise the privilege of free will without accepting personal responsibility. They walk together, or not at all. At least that's how I believe it was meant to be, IMHO.

shiana< We have the choice of how we re-act to each challenge placed in front of us. If we choose to play the role of victim, then we will become the victim. However in my experience, by choosing to not become victimized, I will still experience the pain that may go with the situation, but I can also see how my actions and previous choices put in the place that is causing me the pain.

Arturo< You are responsible for your actions whether you accept it or not. Please define victim.

greyman< Arturo: Very true. USA law set up such that evidence of external cause releases plaintiff: e.g., He is not at fault, he was insane.

starcat< greyman: My point exactly. We give up so much to our gov't that we don't see that they're using this opportunity to take our freedoms away.

Yopo< Each is responsible for his or her own choices and actions, whether one realizes it or not, whether society affirms this is so or not. Each must live with the consequences of his or her own actions. They cannot be escaped.

Energie< Life and Spirit, wind and breath, cannot be claimed as personal property and saved for later.

Yopo< One does not have the option of refusing to take responsibility. One may ignore the responsibility for a while, perhaps, but it does not go away.

Praxus< We have free choice; ergo, we are free to choose a life of creation or one of reaction. See the difference?

starcat< Praxus: But free choice is also a misnomer. Can one truly make a choice without having all the facts? SHOULD one? Isn't it our responsibility to be completely informed before making any choices? Shouldn't we consider all the possible consequences before exercising our free will?

shiana< starcat: Facts can be interpreted a thousand different ways by a thousand people. One must learn to listen to spirit to know what it is they need to do. This oftentimes differs from what others feel you should do. What is right and true for one may be judged by another to be wrong.

starcat< Too many people don't understand that by giving up your responsibility, you give up your freedom!

Praxus< Thank you, (((SHIANA))). Starcat: Free choice has been given to us, but if my understanding is correct, we should choose according to FEELINGS (god's communication to us). Therefore, facts ignored, if something FEELS wrong to us, perhaps we should not be going in that direction?

starcat< Thunderstorm coming. Namaste all. Thanks so much for the much-needed substance in conversation!

greyman< starcat: See ya at the revolution.

starcat< greyman: LOL When are they going to invent surge protectors that really protect?

Yopo< starcat: When pigs fly? But even when they do, I'll bet the pigs won't fly in thunderstorms. (*smile*)

greyman< Peace, starcat.

windy< starcat: Responsibility and free choice: well worded correlation. 'tis so true. *S* Stay warm and dry.

SLIDER< Ben: Would you get us back on track?

Energie< What happened to the ringmaster?

FRAML< I think the "server Gremlins" struck Ben.

Energie< Who's going to get this jar full of flies going in the same direction?

Ben< By the way, having answered some messages, one of them should be posted: the comparison of physical wind to spiritual wind is by analogy. The spirit-winds that move people like wind moves inanimate objects are external influences such as doctrines, dogmas, fads, etc., and the influences (breath) of discarnate beings.

SLIDER< Ben: Thanks

Miki< Thanks to leader, Ben.

greyman< Yes, thank you, Ben.

Yopo< All of this makes sense to me so long as I see myself being apart from what is not me. So long as I cling to duality. When I loosen my grip on my ego and move away from duality, it is harder to make sense of free-will, moral responsibility, etc. The spirit/matter distinction seems to become less distinct. Yet I suspect that duality is an illusion, a creation of the mind. Whatever the heck the mind is! (*smile*)

greyman< Yopo: A ring of truth.

Arturo< Yopo: I see it differently. The more I feel my spiritual connection with all that is, the easier it is to understand what is right, fair and morally just.

Yopo< Arturo: I understand what you are saying, and also feel that. I always find these apparent contradictions at the heart of things. Ultimately, perhaps, nothing matters ... which is why I care so deeply. It makes no sense, yet seems true.

Arturo< Yopo: I believe everything matters. Regardless of how inconsequential it may seem.

Energie< Yopo: The spirit/matter duality of living beings is the same as the positive/negative duality of a battery. Both "poles" must be present in order for anything to happen. Without polarity, there can be no motion.

Arturo< Duality as the belief that I Am separate and apart from all else. Is it an illusion?

Ben< Yopo: What I have been saying will make sense as long as one maintains self-identity and self-respect. If one abandons either of those two awarenesses, then none of it makes sense.

Energie< The cause of all the true dualities is the relationship between those forces in nature that are DYNAMIC, and other forces in nature that are STATIC. It is the interaction of these two basic forces that is the cause of all of Creation.

Ben< Energie: Upon closer inspection of the material world, I find that stasis is only apparent. Everything is dynamic, everything moves. An object apparently at rest is merely moving in the same direction and rate as the other objects in its vicinity.

Energie< Life is the result of the connection of spirit and matter. Just as the Energizer Bunny is the result of the connection of the positive and negative poles of a battery. Our challenge as human beings is to figure out how to make that a conscious connection. If a person figures out how to make a conscious connection between spirit and matter, they will know what eternal Life is like.

Yopo< Energie (*smile*): Yes. Where would we be without our opposites? Light/dark, hot/cold, good/evil. Yet this may have more to do with the way the mind conceptualizes than with the underlying nature of reality. For example, being/non-being may not be an actual pairing of opposites. Non-being may be a creation of the mind, a shadow arising from the mind's insistence on the existence of an opposite. What would a state of non-being actually, uh, be?

Energie< In the higher levels of being, Energy and Life and Spirit are literally all the same thing. It is only in the material world that they appear to be different things.

Yopo< Energie: Do you think of the material world as a place that is somehow separate from the realm of spirit, or is the material world more the result of a limited mode of perception?

Energie< Yopo: The material world is a conceptual fabrication. It is an illusion that is created because human perception can only "see" a tiny fraction of what is actually there.

Yopo< Energie: I agree with you. We see the world through a narrow slit in a dark curtain.

Energie< If a person could "see" and understand everything that is right in front of their nose, they could appear and disappear as easy as changing channels on a TV. For a person who is able to "see," reality is a verb. All of Creation is a Dynamic "living" process that only is happening in the present moment. What we see out there that appears to be solid and separate is really only motion in various states of density or intensity.

sultury< Yopo and Energie: Humans have a need for feeling integral in the world; do you think they also have a fear of opening "the curtain" because they would risk loosing the few things that give them security that they currently hold on to?

Energie< Good point, sultury. It is unconscious survival habits that keeps the door closed. For the survival mind, the idea of letting go or losing what has been acquired in the past is the worst horror there is. If a person wants to know what fresh breeze and sunshine are like, they need to leave their stuffy house and go outside. The survival mind does not know how to leave the stuffy room it has created for itself.

sultury< Energie: Love that view on the MOMENT!

Yopo< Energie: I have briefly glimpsed Creation as a static form of infinite multi-dimensional complexity, with time and motion arising as consciousness "moves" through it, illuminating with its passage. Perhaps that is a different way of saying the same thing.

Ben< Energie: I agree that chronological time is an artifact, a useful convention derived from human observation of relative motions, primarily of the planet in its rotation and revolution.

SLIDER< Ben: The concept and beginning of chronological time can open up a whole new can of worms. *S*

windy< Someone mentioned *soul* several posts back ... I would be interested in hearing some explanations/differences between *soul* and *Spirit*.

Ben< windy: I'm considering "soul" as the topic for the next seminar, starting next week. For a list and brief description of that and other proposed topics, click on my name.

SLIDER< windy: I consider "soul" as the collective identity of the experiences of the spirit. Others may think somewhat differently.

windy< SLIDER: Thanks. I think that pretty well defines how I think of soul as well. And how do you define spirit? (I know that's what this discussion has been all about but I just got here and missed all of Ben's teaching.)

SLIDER< windy: I consider "Personal Spirit" as the child of the great spirit of all that is, learning to become as great as the one.

windy< Do you see spirit something that is the same in all of us? Or does each of us have a unique spirit? I often think of spirit as the spark, the source of the Creator, or Great Mystery, within us, but I am often at odds as whether the spirit within us is unique or generic (excuse the term) in each of us.

SLIDER< windy: I would consider the personal spirit as an acorn from the great spirit creator, if that spirit were an oak tree.

Ben< windy: As to unique or generic: I tend to back away from the extremes in most dichotomies and look for the gradations between them. Thus, various spirits are not entirely the same, nor are they entirely different: i.e. spiritually, I am more akin to my dog than I am to my automobile. (smile)

windy< Ben: Well put! :-) I understand. When you put it that way, I guess I see it pretty much the same. And what of like beings? {{Slider}} Wonderful analogies. I see the similarities between the two spirit analogies. It is a good way of looking at it and probably hits home more than I care to admit. God bless you. *S*

SLIDER< windy: In our quest for knowledge, we often complicate that which is right there.

Arturo< Can I be part of all that is and separate at the same time? Indeed I must be to fulfill my purpose!

Ben< Arturo: Sure, we can be individuals and still part of larger groups, and part of the spiritual universe, and in connection with material reality. The apparent dilemma between individuality and collectivity is best addressed by the use of set theory and general systems theory. These are tools for thinking that our ancestors didn't have.

Yopo< Ben: Is there, perhaps, some truth that one should elect to ignore? Some contradictions that we should perhaps be content never to resolve?

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I believe there are some truths that I should ignore, some contradictions that I probably will never resolve, and vast quantities of stuff that I do not know. But that doesn't bother me. I just start where I am and try to expand the quantity and quality of my understanding from there.

Yopo< Ben: I bow to you. (*smile*) Yopo is still figuring out which are which.

Ben< Yopo: Fortunately, we don't have to figure all this out alone, by ourselves. Others have walked this earth before us, and right now we have access to thousands of years of study and thought by many different peoples. Indeed, this specific point in history is a feast of information for us to sort and sift and ponder and accept or reject. I like it!

windy< I totally agree, Ben ... a feast for philosophers. Wouldn't Socrates be envious?

Arturo< I must be going. Thanks, Ben & all, it's been surprisingly enlightening.

SLIDER< Arturo: Peace and Blessings.

Yopo< Arturo: For what it is worth, Yopo refrains from harming the smallest creature. They matter to me deeply.

Arturo< Yopo: All life is sacred. Peace, love and light to you. Good night.

Yopo< Arturo: Fare thee well, friend.

windy< Yopo: There is a lovely story about a boy who was destined to die young, but a short time before his fated death he crossed a creek during a storm. The creek was flooding and he helped a colony of ants stuck on a sand bank in the middle of the creek to safety (they would have surely been drowned otherwise). His life was lengthened due to this act of kindness/compassion/empathy and he lived well into his 80s. *S*

Yopo< windy: If there's truth in the tale, Yopo will likely survive to be a very old geezer. Hmm. Is that actually a reward?

windy< Yopo: I do not think it is a reward, per se. I think the long life was more like a consequence, an understanding, a lesson learned ... do unto others as ...

Ben< Yopo: In your case, long life would be a reward -- to other living things. // ALL: 'tis time for me to get some rest.

LEGS< Ben: Thank you for the clarifications and I am looking forward to the next one, but will have to get it by email as will be traveling then ... next two times, in fact ... but will see you before the second. *S*

Ben< ALL: It's been good. Thank you for your thoughts. Blessings to each of you.

Yopo< A good night to you, Ben. Greatly enjoyed your class and the discussion that followed. I'll watch for the next!

SLIDER< Ben: Peace and Blessings. As always, it's been a pleasure. 'till next time, good night.

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