12. Questions
Spiritual Web Chat
Session 1: Sat 25 Jul 1998

Ben< This topic could be called "The art of asking and answering questions." It is an art, not a science, because it isn't rigorously defined, and because it includes a lot of variations caused by personal intentions, motivations, styles, and habits.

Ben< For example: a rhetorical question is one the asker intends to answer himself or herself. (A catechism consists of rhetorical questions with dogmatic answers.) Some questions are hostile interrogations, motivated by dislike and/or disbelief. Categorical ("either-or") questions imply there can be only one of those two answers. A begged question is an assertion in disguise ("When did you stop beating your wife?" means "You did beat your wife." A leading question elicits and usually suggests an expected or hoped-for answer. But there is such a thing as an honest question, and that is where we will start.

Ben< ALL: Do you see a difference between honest questions and dishonest questions? If so, what do you mean when you say to yourself, "That was an honest question"? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: An honest question is one asked to get greater understanding or knowledge about the topic or person to whom you ask it.

Ben< FRAML: Yes, you're looking at the motive for asking. Good.

Poweress< I think that there is a difference between an honest and a dishonest question, but for the most part it is really the person to whom the question is directed who really has more power to determine the quality of the question than the person who asks, because it is a matter of perception.

Ben< Poweress: Yes, discerning honest and dishonest questions is a matter of perception. What about the one who asks the question?

Poweress< Ben: The person who asks the question has the power to imply a way that the question will be interpreted, by an inflexion in the tone, a facial expression, or by their phrasing; but ultimately the power of what spirit to receive the question lies with the person who is asked.

FRAML< Ben and Poweress: Yes, the perception of the person being asked the question is important to the answer they give; however, (imo) the way the questioner asks the question can influence the listener into forming that perception, rather than being a neutral factor.

Poweress< FRAML: Yes, this is true, but the power of how to perceive any action, ultimately belongs to the individual alone. It is one very important way of retaining power over one's own environment, when an individual learns not to allow another to overly affect their reaction, by whatever stimulus they attempt.

LEGS< An honest question is from one who seeks info from a source they feel can supply it, and has only the info in mind ... no hidden agenda.

Ben< LEGS: Ah, yes: no hidden agenda. Well said.

Polgara< To me, Ben, it might be a question which elicits an 'uncomfortable' or 'unsettled' feeling when I hear it, but it's accompanied by a sense that the person asking is merely seeking information and means no harm or disrespect ... their reason for requesting the information is for clarification or bringing us closer, etc.

Awenydd< I have no definition of honest or dishonest questions. I cannot see how a question could bear the weight of such attributes.

Lor< What is a dishonest question, if it is not asking a question while already knowing the answer? But this does not really make it dishonest, does it?

Ben< Lor: Your example could be from several different motives.

Poweress< Ben: There is often much under the surface, as to why the person asks a question. Do they really want an answer, or do they want a reaction from the other person? Also there is much underlying with the person who perceives the question. Often he brings his own "baggage" in when determining what is meant by the question.

Lor< I still do not understand what makes a question dishonest.

Ben< Lor: LEGS stated it nicely: a dishonest question has a hidden agenda, other than inquiry for information.

Lor< I am reminded of some questionnaires that limit your responses to answers that do not tell your real feelings or thoughts. I believe such to be unfair and misleading. One gets the feeling of being manipulated by such. Is this what you mean by a "dishonest" question?

Ben< Lor: Yes, questions that limit possible answers are dishonest in that they are pursuing an agenda other than inquiry for information.

Lor< Thanks.

Ben< COMMENT: People often (consciously or subconsciously) discern a person's motive by the type of question he or she just asked, and likewise, people discern a person's character by the types of questions that he or she habitually asks.

Willow< To me, an honest question comes from the Heart and can usually be discerned as such.

Ben< ALL: What does an honest question suggest about the one who asked the question? (That he or she is ignorant? naive? uncertain? curious? -- or what?) YOUR TURN

Polgara< Interested.

Poweress< Ben: To me an honest question suggests that the person who asked it is sincere in their quest for information, and it suggests a nature that is inquisitive and aware that others have knowledge to share that can benefit them.

Ben< Poweress: Yes, an honest question indicates the person is sincere. Also, it is interesting that "question" and "quest" come from the same word in Latin.

Poweress< Ben: Yes, observing the origin of words and dissecting words can often be very enlightening. *S* I like the point that you make.

FRAML< ALL: I have asked simple questions of folks I've met in here, such as "Why do you believe the beliefs you are saying?" I have gotten more charges that I am attacking them and their beliefs with that type of questions than I thought I would.

Awenydd< I'm not comfortable with the terms honest and dishonest questions. I understand the point you are getting at, but I feel the terminology is lacking. Furthermore, I don't think you can classify questions into just two groups.

Ben< Awenydd: Yes, terminology is lacking, but most people recognize the difference I'm pointing to. And of course, I don't intend to stop with just those two categories. *grin*

Awenydd< Ben: Why would you classify a question as honest or dishonest, and then immediately use that to judge the questioner?

Poweress< I guess I would say that asking an honest question implies an open nature in the person who asks the question.

LEGS< An honest question implies an honest questioner, seeking just that answer, expectantly awaiting the info. Trusting and sincere is the one who asks an honest question.

FRAML< ALL: Regarding my pervious post on "Asking why" -- that question usually came after following and participating in the discussion. And I usually prefaced it with: "I'm trying to understand better" or "If I may ask."

Ben< To me, an honest question suggests a combination of desire (I want to know about that), rational humility (I don't know that now), self-confidence (I can learn), and some degree of trust (I think he or she knows). The suggestion of trust is why being asked an honest question is a compliment.

blue_windy< How about questions that people ask you to find out information to use against you, such as "Will you be home tomorrow?" so they can break in your house while you are gone? ... honest or dishonest?

Ben< blue_windy: The type of question you described is dishonest to the point of being criminal, because the intent is criminal.

Juhli< Some questions can only be answered by going within.

LightGrrl< So, Ben, are these honest questions asked of the self, or of others, or of the universe?

Ben< LightGrrl: Honest questions can be asked of the self, or of others, or even "to whom it may concern."

Ben< The next question is a shift of emphasis ...

Ben< ALL: Have you been discouraged from asking questions? If so, by whom? And what did he or she do (or not do) that discouraged you from asking questions? YOUR TURN

blue_windy< I think people often discourage certain questions by interrupting you in the middle of your asking them. Or sometimes people just give one a sharp look and you just drop the subject ...

Polgara< Employers often would get surly, or flat out tell me that if I didn't just shut up and take their word for it, I could pack my things. Parents, "Because I said so" is the usual conversation stopper. Lovers, friends: "I just don't want to talk about it." You name it.

Ben< blue_windy, Polgara: Good examples. And descriptions.

Poweress< Yes, I have had this sort of situation, and I find that I have observed behaviors varying from the point of changing the topic, to menacing threats. To me the degree of the action to avoid the question indicates the degree of fear felt by the person attempting to avoid the answer to the question.

Ben< Poweress: Nicely illustrated, and explained.

Poweress< Ben: Thank you. *S*

Juhli< At times I found that some religious people get uncomfortable when asked questions.

Ben< Juhli: Yes, all too often "You must have faith" means "Don't ask questions."

blue_windy< Or people just give you an answer totally unrelated to your question ... like they didn't understand it or something.

Poweress< blue_windy: Yes, this can be the case, but do you think that it is sometimes difficult to be sure what their true cause for the answer is? It could be legitimate confusion as to the question, or manipulation. Hard to say for sure.

blue_windy< Poweress: Truly so, but I mean, given that isn't the case ... I usually pursue things ... but when someone keeps answering a plainly put question with something totally unrelated ... I have had employers do this, as well as people who evidently think they are being savvy in that they can then say they are answering your questions, but they really aren't.

Poweress< blue_windy: Yes, I know what you mean. I had a very infuriating conversation like that one time with a relative. Kept asking a very straightforward question, very simple, and got all sorts or complicated bizarre answers which answered nothing. Ending with "It's just not that simple". When the question was really very simple. *S*

blue_windy< Are there honest and dishonest questions when one is addressing the universe or God or the inner self? (as someone earlier referred to ... )

Ben< blue_windy: Would you want to hear a tape recording of one hour's worth of prayers from this planet? My guess is that it would contain a lot of dishonest questions -- agendas other than sincere seeking for information.

Yopo< I often wonder about the honesty of the questions I ask myself ... *sigh*

Lor< Yopo: That's a good one! It takes a bit of maturity to do that, methinks. I guess there are questions we would not dare to ask ourselves, even. But I suspect these would be the most revealing and significant (in the long run).

LEGS< Ben: Discouragement can be implied, if not stated, by a frown when you begin to speak, a "shush" ... a finger across the lips ... other gestures ... the index finger across the throat ... for dead silence is what is wanted from you, not a question. *G*

Ben< LEGS: Ah, yes ... and it is heart-breaking.

LightGrrl< LEGS: I agree, and I submit that all kinds of body language serve to discourage one from asking a difficult or honest question.

FRAML< Ben: Yes. Quite a few times when I was in the military. Often I was the one doing the discouraging. However my men knew there were times they had to do what I ordered because of time, and that I'd explain the "why" later. I studiously avoided saying "Because I say so" if it was within my power/knowledge to do so.

Lor< Yes, I have been discouraged from asking questions by people that pass over me to deal with trivia instead, or who just ignore my question or comment. I suppose we have all experienced such at some time, perhaps.

PANTHER< Lor: Oh yes. Don't you just hate it when they don't even have the courtesy to say they agree, disagree, or will deal with it later? Consider the source, I suppose.

Yopo< Yes. Employers. Often only want questions that don't suggest doubt about the answers they've already arrived at ... or the premises they're already working from.

PANTHER< Yopo: Employers have a list of virtually memorized answers, and if your question doesn't fit -- Boom! I asked a trainer about that once, and he agreed I was right. Ah, but I'm glad to be out of that. I'd had it with the nonsense, and set up my own mini-business. Now I get treated like a human, not a supplicant. Questions are surely loaded, no?

Ben< Now let's shift from negative to positive ...

Ben< ALL: Have you been encouraged to ask questions? If so, by whom? And what did he or she do (or not do) that encouraged you to ask questions? YOUR TURN

PANTHER< Ben: Most of my life I was DIScouraged from asking questions, expected to take life at face value. After all, that's how we're educated, isn't it? -- to become "good little cloned employees"? But a funny thing happened about 12 years ago. Having had no spiritual grounding whatsoever, I decided to investigate Christianity and took the instructions of the Catholic Church. I've moved past that now, too, in many ways, but what impressed me was that this was the first time a so-called authority figure actually invited questions. AND the priest wasn't afraid to say "I don't know" when he didn't have an answer. Amazing, I thought, from such a hide-bound institution.

Ben< PANTHER: Beautiful example! Thank you!

FRAML< PANTHER: Perhaps that priest was showing the true side of his faith, and honesty, in that he didn't hide behind "If you only had real faith you would understand" and thus representing that he did practice what he preached, and thus rose above the common perception of "church reality."

greyman< A good teacher may encourage questions.

FRAML< I can think of one person that has done this with me. Encouragement came through not criticizing or ridiculing my questions. Giving each of them merit of deserving the best/honest answer possible. (And I hope I have learned this trait.)

Yopo< I recall a favorite English teacher who was quite unpopular with the rest of the staff. He had turned a high school English class into a philosophy class, really. He would make a statement, often one that had a hidden element of absurdity, then stand there looking at us, eyebrows slightly raised ... like "Are you REALLY gonna let me get away with saying what I just said?" Very effective way of making young folks think.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I also had a good philosophy teacher who did that. The first time I challenged him, I thought I'd have to drop the class -- but he just smiled at me, looked around and asked "Now why didn't the rest of you catch that?" So I didn't drop his class. *grin*

Yopo< Ben: Yep. Best teachers know how to help us teach ourselves ... And you always see that they're still in the process of learning themselves ... A blessing on Mr. Vance, where ever he may be! *S*

Poweress< Ben: Yes, the most profound example I can recall was the first time I encountered a teacher who truly encouraged free thinking. This occurred in Junior High. I had a teacher who for the first time allowed true, open discussion on the difference between various political systems. All my previous teacher had said basically that Communism was the red menace and that Democracy was the only good free system. I was so thrilled to finally have an open dialogue. *S*

blue_windy< I know a few people (actually only one I can think of right now ... present company not included) that I can ask questions and truly feel comfortable in this person's willingness to answer questions. I find most people are afraid of or don't have the time for questions. (And I am rather a question person. I rarely am afraid to admit I don't know or don't understand something.)

PANTHER< I believe a lot, if not all, the resistance to questions is fear-based. After all, these people live in little boxes with sharply delineated lines -- cross over those lines and they're in shark-infested waters. So, from their view, no wonder they get out a harpoon. To some extent, I think WE have to think before we speak, too, and try to find SOME rapport with these people so they don't have this fearful knee-jerk reaction. Of course it wouldn't work all the time or for all, but ...

Poweress< PANTHER: So true! *S*

blue_windy< PANTHER: I agree totally ... fear-based ... or its little brother/sister insecurity. People are just afraid of being asked a question they don't have an answer to ... like it really does mean a person is stupid when one says "I don't know. "

blue_windy< A lot of you mention teachers ... probably the most well-known example of honest/dishonest questions. I mean, it is such a treasure to get one who truly encourages good discussion and isn't afraid of questions. I hate it when you are asked "Are there any questions?" and the person really doesn't want any questions ... and sometimes one even gets ridiculed for asking questions!

Poweress< blue_windy: You are so right. What I am noticing here that seems to be very consistent is that the true measure of a good teacher is the ability to make the student comfortable and confident enough to truly ask questions, and when they do, to treat the question and the questioner with respect. Then the inquisitive nature opens up in the student and the potential truly becomes unlimited. *S*

blue_windy< Exactly, Poweress. Respect is what seems to be most lacking in our world today. I always figure everyone deserves respect until they do something to lose it ... but nowadays the paradigm is that you have to "earn it" first.

Polgara< I had a boss who became and still is one of my mentors ... she never discouraged a question and always made time to 'show me the ropes'. I have many times thanked God for bringing her into my life.

Ben< My mother encouraged me by treating my questions with respect: "That's a good question" and by not answering all my questions herself: "You can look that up for yourself in the Encyclopedia" -- or, quite often: "Well, think about it. You know some things about this ... "

blue_windy< Lucky you, Ben ... my parents were like that a lot of the time, too.

PANTHER< I don't know why it's so hard to say "I don't know" except that in employment situations not knowing (which almost equates to not having some form of ESP!) can be "deadly."

Ben< PANTHER: Yes. "I don't know" is often the only honest answer I can give, and I also wonder why people go to such extreme effort to avoid saying it when it is true.

Lor< PANTHER: I learned early on to "express my ignorance", so to speak, by asking lots of questions, as it helped me to really get into what the teacher was talking about and to learn. I also learned from the questions other students asked that I just hadn't thought to ask. Such is the advantage of class discussions vs lectures - alto both have their place, but are best when used in the reverse order.

blue_windy< I think a lot of teachers discourage questions, also, because they take up time, and most teachers are on a schedule. I think that's a pity because it results in shallow instead of deep learning, and shallow learning is often soon forgotten. :-(

Lor< blue_windy: "Shallow learning is often soon forgotten" is a truth that all too often pervades our schools, methinks.

Poweress< blue_windy: Yes, I am still an optimist, though. I like to believe that there are far more out there with a respect for their fellow man, than those who look to others with skepticism. After all, look at this lovely room. *S*

PANTHER< Poweress: We may still be in the minority, but our numbers are increasing exponentially!

Poweress< PANTHER: Indeed! And isn't it a glorious thing to imagine each new day bringing more and more understanding and respect of others. *S*

blue_windy< Poweress: It's best to be optimistic. Often I believe that humanity is just trapped in some hypnotic mist ... but as MLK said, "I have been to the mountain-top ... "

Poweress< blue_windy: What a wonderful example. He is definitely one of my great role models. His love and compassion for his fellow man, in particular his ability to display love to those who demonstrated hate towards him, and his wisdom in knowing that they needed love the most, still overwhelms me when I think of his life. Thank you for the reminder of such a beautiful spirit who taught us all so much. *S*

Lor< However, I suspect that MLK's role model, who he preached about and who espoused the same principles, is still the best one for each of us to try to emulate -- particularly when it comes to "His love and compassion for his fellow man, in particular his ability to display love to those who demonstrated hate towards him, and his wisdom in knowing that they needed LOVE the most".

Poweress< Lor: Indeed! There is truly plenty of inspiration out there to emulate.

PANTHER< I've "always" maintained -- and taught my kids -- that there is no such thing as a stupid or silly question, even if it looks like one, but that the supposedly inane question will just open the door to other questions and solutions, and ultimately to more knowledge.

Yopo< PANTHER: So true. Our whole culture is far too "authority based", IMHO. One is expected to believe that the hierarchy of authority somehow reflects a hierarchy of wisdom. So doubts expressed are seen as attacks on the structure of power.

Polgara< PANTHER: I have a boss who makes fun of me when I say "I don't know" and then makes less than helpful, or practical, suggestions. I pray for her. It has helped me. Now I often am curious and sympathetic about what is behind her behavior ... and the more time passes, the easier it gets for me to ignore her and focus on my own integrity.

PANTHER< Polgara: She's just pointing a spotlight on her own inadequacies, and Homo Sapiens is so prone to find a victim to share its misery, even if they have to create one from those they believe are weaker than they. Good for you. You're better than me that way: I'd just get out of there and she could sink or swim.

Polgara< Thanks, PANTHER, but it took a lot of pain, anger, and wallowing before I remembered that I had the 'power' unless I chose to keep giving it away! I had friends here that helped KEEP me reminded!

Ben< ALL: Here's a little something you might like. This definition recently emerged during an email dialogue: "Curiosity is the exuberant, joyous admission of ignorance -- plus faith in one's ability to learn, and eager anticipation of delight in discovery."

Poweress< Ben: Yes, it really is a wonderful definition. I do like it very much. *S*

greyman< Ben: Yeah!

blue_windy< Great definition, Ben. :-)

PANTHER< Ben: Love it! It's so apt! My family and I are sooo curious and tease each other sometimes with the phrase "Curiosity K.O.'d the feline."

FRAML< Hmm, perhaps PETA should call for the ending of curiosity because it is harmful to felines.

Juhli< LOL! FRAML!

blue_windy< FRAML: I was born in the year of the cat ... maybe that's why I am so curious ... ain't dead yet ... and that's not to say there haven't been opportunities (if one can call them that).

Ben< SUMMARY: The art of asking and answering questions is part of the art of learning and teaching, whether formal or informal, and thus the path of respect for the truth and for each other. In my opinion, the question mark could be and should be a holy symbol -- the icon of all inquiry motivated by the Spirit of Truth -- but I don't know anyone else who thinks of it that way now.

Ben< /topic Discussion of the art of asking and answering honest questions

Poweress< Ben: I love your summary. It reminds me of something I read recently by Deepak Chopra about the true "quest" for the Holy Grail. This quest should be symbolized by the "?" *S*

Ben< Poweress: I wouldn't know what to do with the Holy Grail if I found it ... *S*

Poweress< Ben: Yes, that post was actually rather cryptic if you had not read the particular book, but in the story "The Way of the Wizard" Merlin explains to Lancelot that the Grail is truly an inner search, and not a search for an object.

Yopo< Ben: Do you think our culture will ever be so honest and enlightened, that a question mark will be imprinted on the coin of the realm? *LOL*

Ben< Yopo: I hope so, but I doubt it. Present trends don't seem to point that way ...

Yopo< Ben: A more serious question ... maybe a topic for some other evening, so if you want to let it go, fine ... Do you think a person should have some central collection of "answers", no longer subject to further questioning? Certain issues that should sort of come to a final resolution? I ask this, because in the past I have been one of those persons who was for a long time boxed in behind a wall of big questions.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I do think we should have a growing inner collection of answers -- not that our answers are perfect, but that they are "close enough for government work" (that is, well enough substantiated to act on and live by).

Yopo< Ben: Ah. Sort of highly probable, non-absolutes. *S* Problem with my own collection are a few logical inconsistencies. Probably stemming from the intuition vs. logic modes I've used to collect 'em. But not so much a cause for discomfort as such things once were for me.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, logical inconsistencies among our inner answers (beliefs) are something I'd like to bring into this series. (I intend to address answers next week or the week after.)

Yopo< Ben: I'll be looking forward to that session. Maybe some discussion about the distinction between irrational and non-rational modes of thinking ...

Ben< Yopo: I look at two basic modes of reasoning: inductive (empirical) and deductive (rational). Irrational is often used as a prejudicial term. Non-rational can mean intuitive or inspired.

Yopo< Ben: I guess by non-rational, I usually mean things intuitive or inspired ... though I've sometimes thought there might be some sorta meta-logical process at work. Maybe an unconscious but logically consistent train of thought too swift to follow, that only becomes visible when it presents us with an answer. But then, sometimes such processes imply access to pieces of the puzzle we were lacking. We go back and deduce the missing piece after the answer has presented itself. Maybe the inspiration factor resides in jumping over the gaps ... Or maybe, as I suspect you might think, the inspiration factor is what provides us with the missing bit from some totally external source? Pardon ... Guess it would be best that I save these thoughts for the designated time and place. *S*

Aqua< Yopo: I believe the non-rational thoughts are of our brain activity but truly some messages were blocked by our emotions/ego/prestige sense so they could not get through our brain reception center for immediate processing ... but then later on, in a more relaxed environment, we can suddenly say: "Hey I got it! Why didn't I think of it earlier?" *S*

Yopo< Aqua: Perhaps it is all a matter of how we prefer to interpret the world ...

Ben< Yopo: Most of what our minds do is at the subconscious or unconscious levels. What appears to the conscious mind as intuition is probably unconscious induction. Some years ago I led a series of meetings called "Inner Life Laboratory" where we looked at some of this and tested some of it. I have started to write up that series of laboratory-seminars, but haven't finished it.

Yopo< Ben: I would enjoy reading this on your website someday. It might shed light on the creative process. I am half convinced that creativity is at times an open channel to some external source. When a story suddenly begins to write itself, for example. Or an odd experience some weeks back, late one night, when a picture I was working on began speaking words in my head ... But such things of course could be from some deeper level of the mind.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, I should finish and post that "Inner Life Laboratory". I wish I already had. Creativity is often inspired by an external source. Handel's "Messiah" is a classic example.

Aqua< Ben: If we have to tell a lie in our answer for the sake of keeping the recipient happy, then is it a good answer to the recipient? *S*

Ben< Aqua: Good question. I hope to get into the morality of asking and answering questions sometime in the next two sessions.

Ben< /topic OPEN

Awenydd< Ben: I had an interesting revelation of an analogy to spiritual whole yesterday. I think it may fall in with what you talked about last week and I want to run it by you to see what you think of it ...

Awenydd< Take a bit of water, and pour it on your counter, making a puddle. This is the collective consciousness. Next, take a pencil, and pull lines of water out of the puddle. These are the spirits incarnate in body. Since their focus (point) is away from the mass (puddle), we have the perception of individuality and disconnection, while we are in fact still connected though by a much smaller stream. Next, notice how when you draw the line of water out, if you look closely, you will see the water moving back towards the puddle. When it reaches the puddle I see that as the transition from body back to spirit. Note there is still a "residue" of our water trail left behind. Also note the drops of water which are not connected ... Lost souls?

[Ben< Awenydd: That is an interesting analogy. Unstructured spiritual substance has been compared to liquid light, because it flows. Some of those outlying droplets are connected to the central puddle by a thread-like stream, and some are not. Rescue of lost souls restores that connection. However, when a droplet flows back into a puddle, it dissolves and thus ceases to exist. When souls return to the Light, they continue to exist as individuals, but they work together as individual cells work together in a living organism without dissolving -- very much like individual brain-cells work together to the degree they are connected with other brain-cells.]

Suzanne< Hi Ben! I am sorry, did not mean to bump your thoughts. Forgive me please...

Ben< Suzanne: No problem. We were finished with the seminar.

Suzanne< *S* Thanks, Ben. What are we talking about now ?

Aqua< Ben: Do you believe in coincidence answers ... that suddenly pop up in one's mind ? *S*

Ben< Aqua: Coincidence is usually a word people use when they don't know how something happened. Thoughts that suddenly pop up in one's conscious mind can be from one's subconscious mind (intuition, subconscious induction, conditioned response) or through one's subconscious mind from an external source (inspiration, telepathy, mediumship, etc.)

Yopo< Ben: One of these sessions, we GOTTA talk about synchronicity ... *S*

Aqua< Ben: Excellent ... then there are no miracles ?

Suzanne< Aqua: No miracles, only TRUTH being revealed. *S*

Aqua< Suzanne: Then those miracles performed as quoted in bibles?

Ben< Aqua: Oh, yes, there are miracles. (We had a whole seminar on that topic awhile ago. The transcripts are on my website, under "seminars")

Carl_Saigan< Interesting.

Elf< I'm sorry that I missed the seminar. How does one find out about seminars and/or workshops?

Yopo< Elf: Regarding this particular one, ended for the evening but an hour back, you can click on Ben's nickname for a nice listing of transcripts.

Suzanne< Illusions dispelled seem like miracles. The Bible is to me a series of archetypes that tell us each of our spiritual journey. The miracles are simply illusion dispelled by standing in the absolute, by the revelation of TRUTH, such as 2+2=5 is an illusion, and understanding 2+2=4 dispels this illusion ... and may seem to be a miracle. The simplicity of it is a mathematical elegance based on axiomatic thought ... ohhhh, boy! sorry. Psychic1 and Ben please simplify. LOL

[Ben< Suzanne: The axiom 2+2=4 is true (independent of opinion, replicable, and reliably predictive) but it does not necessarily imply divine design or intervention.]

Carl_Saigan< Pseudo intellect? Anyone heard of it?

Yopo< Carl_Saigan: A favorite term of George Wallace, as I recall. *S*

Carl_Saigan< Pseudo isn't a great saying! It's a definition.

Yopo< Pseudo-intellectual always carries an element of off-handed dismissal ... Usually implying folks are inflating their egos by pretending to be somethin' they ain't ...

Carl_Saigan< Something like that. The X-Files is a good example. People believe they're being intellectual. But there is no science in the show. And no meaning or solid plot.

Yopo< Carl_Saigan: That's entertainment! *S*

Carl_Saigan< Not to everyone. And it gets serious when people don't know what's really going on around them.

Yopo< Carl_Saigan: Well, tastes vary. I sorta like it, because it is so odd. If I have a criticism of it, it would be that it burns lightly through so many topics, tying them together in nonsensical ways. May even be sort of a non-intentional smoke-screen ...

Carl_Saigan< Ya, it's entertainment. But when everything is like this anymore (Philosophies) it starts to seem hopeless.

Yopo< Carl_Saigan: The world is a vast sea of input one must constantly evaluate, not just let it flood in. At least, or especially, when one is letting in pre-formatted ideas, like with X-Files or the evening news. *S* I only open myself without filters when I am dealing with pure sources ... Say, the natural world ...

Yopo< Ben: I forgot to thank you for another great session tonight! Wouldn't want you to think for a minute I take 'em for granted. *S* Or that the time you put in isn't known, and appreciated ...

Ben< Yopo: Thank you, my friend. It is a pleasure. And as an old German friend once said, "Vee usually find time to do vat vee really vant to do." *smile*

Yopo< *S* Yeah ... From V2s to moon-shots, in the course of twenty or so years. *LOL*

Tracey< ***Ben*** Vat is why I made time to come here ... anyway ... LOL

Ben< Yopo: For some of the German rocket scientists, at least, V2s weren't what they really wanted to do. One night at a party, I said to Dr. Eber, "Please tell me if I'm out of line, but now that I know you, I don't see how you were ever a Nazi." He said, "Vell, I vas never a member of the party. But I vas known in Germany as an aerodynamicist, and the men from the party they came to me, and they gave me a choice. It vas Peenemünde or Auschwitz." I said, "I'm sorry I asked." He smiled and said, "It's Okay." He was not only brilliant; he was also gracious.

[Dr. Gerhard Eber designed the V2 airframe at Peenemünde, the German rocket base on the Baltic. He came to this country after the war, and was the Technical Director of the laboratory at Alamogordo, NM, where I was stationed in 1966-69.]

12. Questions
Session 2: Sat 01 Aug 1998

Ben< Tonight, the topic is "The art of asking questions." (We'll look at "The art of answering questions" next week.) I'd like to take a deeper look at some points that one or more of you raised last time. Then I'll add one. Most of my questions will be stated two ways, so they can be answered in general, or more specifically, or both.

Ben< Ready? My next post is the first question ...

Ben< ALL: In general, what might be some possible motives for asking a question while already knowing the answer? Or more specifically (and personally), to whom or under what circumstances might you ask a question while already knowing the answer? YOUR TURN

kats< To help another see their answer from a different perspective.

Ben< kats: Okay, that might be part of the Socratic method of teaching.

FRAML< Ben: To one of the contractor personnel I am training in document declassification.

Ben< FRAML: Training, as an instructor ... yes. Or perhaps giving a trainee a quiz.

FRAML< Also, to see if my answer makes sense to another, or is tactically sound (military creeping out).

Ben< FRAML: Ah, yes ... thinking you know the answer, but asking the question as a way of checking out your answer. Very good.

5foot2< Seeking confirmation, establishing the position of another ...

Ben< 5foot2: Yes, to see if your answer and another person's answer match.

Zarastan< Ben: I've noticed that this is a classic interrogator form of interview -- asking a question that one thinks he knows the answer to. Any answers that deviate from what the questioner (interrogator) thinks is "right" earn a negative response. This is the old paradigm but still you encounter it.

Ben< Zarastan: Yep. The interrogator -- or inquisitor -- has all the answers in advance, and any other answer is wrong. Perhaps suicidal.

Zarastan< You do see this form of question even in interviews on TV news programs. The other night, I saw a woman interviewing children. She asked if they agreed with what their parents were doing (some form of that idea). When the kids said "yes" the interviewer went after them with "Are you SURE?" At that point they became confused and didn't know what the "right" answer was -- what she expected of them. This business of "right" answers is a very western idea.

Lor< Ben: To check whether they know the answer, possibly or to help them think it out for themselves.

Ben< Lor: Yes, to help the other person think it out. That is a Socratic method.

Lor< Ben: To confirm that your understanding matches theirs, as well.

Zarastan< Even as a teacher-trainer, asking this sort of question can bring new light to a subject if the questioner is open. Usually that is not the case, although the Buddha did say, "Be aware, the teacher is also the student."

LAGONE< Ben: Sometimes I don't trust my own answers and would like to get someone else's opinion.

Ben< LAGONE: The motive for asking that sort of question is what I call rational humility. *smile*

Ravanne< Ben: I agree with LAGONE, especially where intuitional things are concerned. I find that readings and such for self are skewed due to dependence on outcome; therefore an objective viewpoint is more desirable.

LEGS< Ben: Perhaps to see if the person's perspective is near or apart from your own... a way to explore other perspectives of the answer.

Zarastan< Ben: Isn't that the basic format of your classes? Asking questions you believe you know the answers to?

Ben< Zarastan: Well, I think I know some of the answers, but I'm often surprised and pleased by others' answers. And I consider my own surprise to be a symptom of learning.

Zarastan< Ben: I hoped that was true -- that's why I keep coming here! You surprising guy, you! hahaha!

Ben< ALL: In general, what types of questions do you ask of yourself? Or more specifically (and personally), please give some examples of questions that you can (or could) answer only by going within. YOUR TURN

Ravanne< Self perceptional questions ... i.e., motives, expectations, goals ... true instinctual knowing ...

Ben< Ravanne: Yes, I ask myself questions about my motives: "What do I really want? What is my purpose in this situation?"

Ravanne< Ben: Yes ... I am learning that one has to be clear with oneself about such things before one can allow that energy to manifest.

FRAML< What is the right action to take in this situation, rather than what is the easiest path?

[Ben< FRAML: Yes, to consult with one's conscience, ethical axioms, standards of personal morality, etc. Very good.]

LEGS< Ask ourselves if we can be objective? if we are in a position to answer without bias? ... to deepen our conception of the circumstances surrounding the answer as we perceive it.

Yopo< Am I kidding myself? (Both general and specific issues seem to bring that one up.)

Ben< Yopo: I like your question "Am I just kidding myself?" and often use it (often!)

Yopo< But do you ever nail down the answer? *S* Sorta ties in with LEGS's last comment ...

Ben< Yopo: Yep. More than a few times, I have to say to myself, "You're just kidding yourself" or "That's wishful thinking."

kats< Within is where I connect with God for periods of time. My questions are answered there concerning ongoing events.

5foot2< Ben: I heard one that rang true to me ... "Go within or go without."

Zarastan< Probably my most common self-question is "Why is this happening? Where is it coming from (within me)? What is this symbolic of that I must outpicture to understand it?"

FRAML< Zarastan: I don't understand your phrase "I must out-picture". Could you please define it?

Zarastan< "Out-picture" means to manifest a symbol in the physical reality to represent my inner conflict. For instance, if I am having a problem with my dad, I may see conflicts in my immediate environment with authority figures. That sort of thing.

Yopo< Zarastan: Ah! I was wondering how you meant that "out-picture" term. "Manifest" clarified for me. I was thinking you meant a sort of psychological projection.

Zarastan< FRAML: "Out-picture" relates to archetypes trotting around in my life.

FRAML< Zarastan: Thanks. I understand now, and it makes sense to me.

Ben< I often ask myself, "What is this feeling? Do I have a name for it? Where is it coming from?" I find that helps.

Zarastan< Ben: Yes, labeling the states of mind is useful as a stage of awareness. Becoming more conscious of what is this being I am.

Ravanne< Ben: I do that, too. Especially since I deal with empathy ... although I shield when I come across an emotional element I can't readily recognize ... so I make sure first of all that it is my own energy, and then I try to find the cause.

LEGS< Very good technique, Ben... solidifies the feeling by naming it, relegates some importance to it so the mind will treat it seriously as it determines what action it requires.

Zarastan< Incorrectly labeling a state of mind, a feeling, can also contribute to denial. Thus your question, "Am I kidding myself?"

LAGONE< Ben: Does one really put faith in one's own answers to the questions they ask themselves? Does one listen to the angel on the right or the devil on the left? I prefer to ask the question and put it into God's hands. He definitely knows more than I do.

Ben< LAGONE: Your precognition is showing. I'm going to ask about questions addressed to deity in a few minutes. *smile*

LAGONE< Ben: I told someone today that I wasn't born with precognition, just common sense, but no one listens to me.

Ben< ALL: Lor said, "I guess there are questions we would not dare to ask ourselves, but I suspect these would be the most revealing and significant in the long run." Although this area may be too tender to touch, can you think of a case in which someone didn't dare ask himself or herself a significant question? YOUR TURN

Zarastan< Huh? Missed the point on that one ... "someone didn't dare ... " ???

Ben< Zarastan: Lor said that in our last session. I'd like to look at it more closely in this session.

Zarastan< Ben: Look more closely at incorrectly labeling states of mind leading to denial? ... or questions we are afraid to ask? I must be behind here. Sorry!

Ben< Zarastan: Looking more closely at questions we are afraid to ask ourselves.

FRAML< Ben: Are you referring to questions one has about their self and are afraid to ask of another to try to find an answer? As I once was afraid to do?

Ben< FRAML: Yes, I recall there were some questions that you didn't dare ask yourself.

shiana< Ben: Would that be like something has occurred in your life and you are afraid to ask the question "why" for fear of what the answer would be?

[Ben< shiana: It could be, especially if one fears the answer may point to oneself.]

shiana< Actually ... maybe I worded that wrong ... instead of "why?" perhaps asking "What is behind something occurring" because we would be afraid of taking responsibility for our part in it or afraid of finding out we are not operating from as high a level as we would like to believe we are.

[Ben< shiana: Yes. Fear of possible self-condemnation is a powerful inhibitor.]

Zarastan< Ben: I can be sure that if the answer involves "It's (someone else's) fault" I know I've either asked the wrong question or I am lying to myself.

Ravanne< Zarastan: I have tried to change that looking for fault energy to asking why I have chosen this energy in my life. It isn't necessarily easier ... but more personal responsibility.

Elfar< To me this is like running into the ocean and getting swept away, when you could have checked the flow of the water and been aware enough to save yourself. We can all drown in our own lack of awareness until we begin to take a serious look at what we do and why.

kats< I know a lot of people who won't ask themselves significant questions, myself included, yet when we do ask, we "clean house" and that opens our spirit up to more growing and learning.

LEGS< Ben: Would it be when you fear the outcome the answer will portend?

Ben< LEGS: Right! Whenever we don't dare, it is because we fear something or someone -- or because we don't know what it is we fear. Fear itself is the barrier.

Yopo< This is speculative, of course, but there must have been a moment when Bill Clinton asked himself if he could be totally honest, and survive.

DragonWitch< Hmm, maybe sometimes we don't ask ourselves the significant questions because in our hearts we know we are not ready to deal with the answer.

LEGS< Yes, DragonWitch, too true. Not ready ... the pattern of non-confrontation, even or mostly with self.

Lor< I sense DragonWitch has grasped the point I was making last week. My question now is: How do we prepare our hearts, etc., to open up these hidden areas to our conscious mind(s)?

[Ben< Lor: Perhaps one of the best ways is to instruct one's subconscious mind: "Whatever this hidden area may be, I can go through it, and not just into it."]

donoma< I know many who do not question their spirituality, period. It's as if all questions must lead to a certain answer, or else one's own core is in danger if the tough questions are asked. And if the necessity of one's own spirituality is the foregone conclusion, then the question was never truly asked.

Ben< donoma: And there are questions that some religious people are afraid to ask themselves because their particular brand of religion forbids it.

Yopo< donoma: I was thinking along those lines, too. Folks whose spirituality is based on an extremely literal interpretation of scripture, for example. They sometimes dare not question any aspect, any detail, afraid that the whole thing will come tumbling down.

Ben< Yopo: Hah! Again, our minds seem to run in similar circles!

donoma< Yopo: I see that very much in the new age, too.

Yopo< donoma: Yes. I had a taste of it last night, at my local Friday gathering. Someone played a tape for all to listen to. The speaker was tossing about all of these scientific terms, saying stuff that was simply absurd to anyone with a sound eighth grade science background. A couple of us pointed that out, and a major argument resulted. Like we were taking sides with the godless materialists, or something. *LOL*

donoma< Yopo: Yes, don't question some of the philosophies, or else you are among the unenlightened. *S* Been there. *S* I always felt that if you have faith in your conviction, you welcome the chance to discuss it and explore the nuances.

FRAML< donoma and Yopo: The phrase "If you only had true faith/salvation, you would know the answer" or "you wouldn't have to ask" usually (actually) means "I don't know and I am to scared to think about it."

Zarastan< The hardest times for me to own up is when I am being emotionally wimpy -- lingering in the doldrums. Asking myself "Is it time to be OVER this?" is the worst. My inner answer -- from the little voice -- is usually "NO!" emphatically. The more emphatic and strident the inner voice, the more likely that I am wallowing. It may be a Cancerian thing. *S*

LAGONE< Ben: I'm sorry, but I'm lost. Why would anyone be afraid to ask their self any question? Our thoughts are really the only thing that we really own.

Ben< LAGONE: Apparently you aren't afraid to ask yourself any sort of question. *smile* However, many are too afraid to ask themselves deep questions -- so they pay a counselor or psychiatrist to help them ask those questions.

Ben< COMMENT: When I notice I am angry, I ask myself, "Where is this coming from? Which of my buttons are being pushed?" That tends to keep me from blaming others for "making" me angry.

FRAML< Ben: The key is getting out of the anger to remember to do that, and if you don't ...

Elfar< Ben: Yes, That is a cycle I am working on dissolving at present, and it works when you can come to terms inside yourself. The feeling is a really good one when you overcome your anger cycle or mechanism.

Ben< ALL: In general, what kinds of questions do people ask of deity (God, Goddess, the universe, All-that-Is, or even "to whom it may concern")? Or more specifically, please give some examples of questions that you ask of your deity. YOUR TURN

Zarastan< It's in extremis that I ask "Which way now, GOD? I'm doing your work, God. If I'm headed the right direction, smooth the way for me." Then if it continues to be HORRIBLE, I assume that I've got the divine guidance (it's not WORKING so it's unlikely this is the right direction), and try something else. But I usually wait to ask for guidance until things are already rough.

FRAML< How can I help this person? Lord, how can I help you? What can I say that this friend needs to hear? HELP!!!

Ravanne< I still find myself saying "Oh please God" when I am panicked, but then I try to ground myself and say "Okay, I brought this energy to teach me to trust myself and my connection with the universe to manifest what I need" and try to go from there. I have given up asking why bad things happen, as I know I always learn from them. So I try to take on an attitude of gratitude ... really grateful for my life, knowing that I experience god/dess's love every day. I'm still practicing this, though ... it takes time.

dancer< Mostly I ask for guidance. At times of choice in my life, I seek guidance as to which path is the right one to take. I ask also for Father/Mother God to open my heart more fully to the light of truth.

kats< I ask Him things that relate to others in problems. I thank Him (most times) in advance for things He already knows I will need.

Elfar< I like to ask for guidance and protection.

donoma< It can be anything from "Which way is a worse traffic jam" to "I am throwing you out of my life now -- if you are my truth you'll be back" which is my way of questioning the cosmos and myself.

kats< I ask for peace within.

Yopo< Hmm. I never ask for specific answers. Only for better understanding. For some reason, I don't feel like it is proper to do otherwise. Maybe a personal thing.

LEGS< Yes, Yopo ... always knowing the Almighty is The Word and thus trying to phrase my query so it is perfectly understood ... so as not to effect/tempt a literal solving of an accidentally inferred request.

FRAML< Yopo: I think each of us has our own "comfort zone". I will admit that I thought any prayer for myself was a "selfish gimme God" prayer, and I had no idea how to pray for others; i.e., I thought there must be a "God's little book of formats for prayers" and if I didn't use the proper one, I'd be ignored.

AQuAtiC< Yes, asking questions is one of the only ways man thinks that he can evolve. If we ask questions, we feel better about ourselves and what we are doing. Whether we get the answers to the questions or not, it gives us a sense of control over the situations in our life.

LAGONE< God gave us the freedom of choice. It is up to us on how we answer.

AQuAtiC< I don't think asking is completely necessary. If we were meant to know, we would find out whether we asked or not. Although God said "Ask and I shall give thee, knock and I shall open" I don't think he meant ask a question in the literal terms, but more like feel the need to know and you shall know, feel the need to knock and it shall open.

Ben< AQuAtiC: Yes, I recognize that instruction: "Ask, seek, knock".

greyman< "Can entropy be reversed?" *g*

Ravanne< I look for guidance, too. I usually get it in dreams. *S*

Zarastan< When asking for guidance for other people or for my own "minor" issues, I don't ask "God" specifically, I ask guides and Angels instead. Hmmm wonder why that is ...

Yopo< Zarastan: Maybe a "chain of command" issue? *S*

Ben< Zarastan: A lot of folks in any large organization ask those in their immediate vicinity instead of the CEO. *smile*

Yopo< Ben: *LOL*

Ben< Yopo: *LOL*

Zarastan< Ben & Yopo: LOL! Yeah, I guess I see God as sort of the Eagle and the rest of the crew as the Ravens, Sparrows, Hawks, etc., and do in fact talk to each of the bird spirits in a hierarchy. I must look at that one!

Ben< ALL: Please give some examples of the types of questions you ask (or would ask) of a discarnate entity such as a ghost. YOUR TURN

donoma< Ben: The only times I have contact with such entities is when they need something, so the question is "What do you need?" Usually it is a message for one of the living.

kats< I would ask if they were in discomfort. Would try to get them to turn to the light and go to it. But sometimes they are scary enough that I just tell them to go away. Chicken!

FRAML< Ben: Why are you here? Do you know you are dead? May I help you join with your loved ones?

Ben< FRAML: Sheesh! You got my attention! I wish you hadn't put my name in front of your last post. *grin*

Elfar< Can you illustrate how healing looks? Can you show me how thoughts effect us and others ?

Ravanne< Well, let's see ... If it was a spirit I knew, like my mom or my soul-sis ... probably validating the love between us. I still deal with some emotional issues with both of them, so that can come up a bit, especially around key dates. I ask them to guide me. I thank them for their contributions to this lifetime. I ask them to remember until we meet again. Sometimes I just look up at the sky (especially when it is something either of them would have been proud of) and just think that I am sharing that moment with them.

Zarastan< Discarnates -- what do they feel (in all ways)? and what/who do they think/feel about? Also what was the transition like -- if they could describe or give impressions of it somehow. How could we pass that knowledge on to others who yearn to know.

LAGONE< Ben: I would ask the entity what he was doing on this plane, and if I could help. I also think that I would ask if he saw the other side, and what it was like. Very selfish of me with that question ...

Yopo< Re: the discarnate: Much would depend on whether I thought I knew that being. I suppose there would be the initial "reality testing" questions. Then, "How can we help one another?"

Zarastan< Oh sorry! I thought you meant spirits, not discarnates who are stuck between ...

kats< I usually keep a shield around me to keep them at bay. Tend to ignore them, because of a bad experience. Not sure who to trust.

FRAML< kats: Yes, that is important for self protection; however, once shielded, one can ask for angels to come to the ghost and take them home, provided it wants to go. If it is reluctant, especially feeling of unworthiness, etc., ask for counselors to take care of it.

Ravanne< Here's a good prayer for unwanted spirit visits: "In the Name of Jesus Christ and in the white light of His power, I demand that you leave this place." It really works for those that are pesky.

FRAML< Ravanne: That is an "exorcism" type of prayer. I was talking about how to rescue the discarnate and get it to Heaven/The Light. IMO to chase a ghost away is merely to send it to someone else.

Ravanne< FRAML: This is also true. That prayer is for an experience that is frightening you, and you wish it to end right then!!! *HUGS* ...

donoma< Of course, my first question is "Are you my imagination, or some wishful fantasy?"

Ben< Good responses! Thank you. As for myself, I ask ghosts such questions as: What is your name? What year is it for you? What do you do? Whom do you serve? Do you know about the Light? Why haven't you gone to the Light?

dancer< Ben: The obvious questions would seem to be: Who are you? What keeps you here? Are you ready to go Home?

FRAML< dancer: Yes, the last question -- Are you ready to go home? -- is the most important for me.

dancer< FRAML: "Are you ready to go Home?" is the most important question for me as well ...

Ben< /topic: Discussion of the art of asking questions

LAGONE< Ben: I would really like to know if there is a purgatory. I have a feeling that if there is, I might be there awhile.

dancer< LAGONE: I think what we term as purgatory is the astral plane, neither here nor there ... lost somewhere in between, trying to let go, trying to heal ... not knowing, remembering, or wishing to return into the Light for whatever reason.

Ben< LAGONE: I believe the key thought about Purgatory is the verb "to purge" ourselves of whatever we need to release, rather than a place.

LAGONE< Ben: Thank you. I know that we will all have to go through a purging. Isn't that what they mean by their life flashing before them?

FRAML< LAGONE: Regarding Purgatory experience, click on my name and see my first person experience "Some Good Catholic Ghosts".

dancer< Ben: To purge ... that term is very appropriate for the conditions that leave one discarnate, floating on the astral plane. A need to purge? Is this correct? It has always seemed so to me.

Ben< dancer: Yes, we do need to purge ourselves of earth-binding desires, so they don't keep us from rising to the Light. And also of unfinished business, and the good projects we didn't get done.

dancer< Ben: Leaves a lot of stuff to make peace with, doesn't it? The one that especially caught my attention in your post was "the good projects left undone."

Yopo< Do many of us think that a prayer or a question for another is somehow inherently worthier than a prayer for oneself? Guess I sorta feel that way ...

donoma< Yopo: Yes, I also have been uncomfortable asking for things for myself. Like, its a misuse of the connection somehow. I grapple with it.

LadyV< Yopo: Albert Schweitzer in Africa said, when asked why he did not question God with all the sorrow around him, "God is a gentlemen." I think that is probably your feeling as well.

Yopo< LadyV: Your comment made me think of "God" as depicted in that Albert Finney movie, "The Green Man" ... quite the proper English gentleman ... shared a glass of Scotch during the visitation. *LOL*

LadyV< Yopo: I think God and her Grace would enjoy that comment ... I have!! (laughing)

Lor< Yopo: I guess I feel that a prayer or a question for another is indeed somehow inherently worthier than a prayer for myself. But I'm not sure just how God looks at that, though!

Yopo< Lor: Probably with understanding. *S* I've been asking myself why I should feel as I do. I think it is because I suspect my Ego, and its petty wants, needs, and desires, is one of the main things standing between myself and an open view of Creator. Asking for myself might be like asking for that barrier to be strengthened. (?)

Zarastan< Yopo: If you accept that we are all ONE, then a question of God for self is the same as for "another" and equally as healing for All.

Yopo< Zarastan: I understand that last comment, about Oneness. When I said prayers for myself, I guess I was really referring to my rather annoying, everyday self, not my SELF. *S*

Zarastan< Yopo: If you are asking for specific outcomes for yourself or another, the "little self" is still engaged. I wonder at your description of your self as annoying. Hmmm. Are we wandering away from the current question? What was the question again?

Yopo< Zarastan: I'm not such a bad fella ... But I do sometimes get annoyed with myself. *LOL* Comes from watching myself, with a certain detachment. Getting angry in traffic. Being lazy, when I should be busy. Maybe I should work on being amused, instead of annoyed.

Zarastan< Yopo: Maybe you "should" work on dropping "should" from your vocabulary and just let yourself Be. A thought to treasure yourself.

Ben< Yopo: Praying for another works better than praying for myself, because it takes my self-interest and anxieties out of the loop, and therefore makes my reception clearer.

Yopo< Ben: *S* I will remember that last comment ...

Ben< Yopo: I'm reminded of something my son said when he was a boy. We were working in the garden. He stopped, and sighed, and said "Dad, I'm just like our garden. Full of weeds. And it isn't that I like weeds. It's just that I don't always know the difference." I said "Me, too, son. Let's go get some lemonade."

Yopo< Ben: That's a wonderfully insightful comment from a child. *S* And a very good response.

Zarastan< Ben: A beautiful story and a nice outcome. I love lemonade!

Yopo< Children sometimes seem to carry a light with them into the world. Makes me think of the opening lines of that Tennyson poem, "Intimations of Immortality"... He caught a bit of Truth there, I think.

Ben< Yopo: I'll need to look up that poem by Tennyson. I have it, but I haven't read it in ... a long time.

AQuAtiC< I feel that if you have to put a shield up to protect yourself from evil demons, etc., then you are already too weak for the demons' power. The fear you put out is only feeding the demon that wants to break in. It is very counter productive. If you feel too weak to fend off the demon without a shield, bubble or whatever you call it, then you have already lost, my friend. What do you feel about this?

Ben< AQuAtiC: I agree that fear doesn't make good armor. However, in expelling or rescuing demons, there are situations where armor is needed.

AQuAtiC< Ben: I agree with you, in certain situations it is needed. As a light-warrior, I have been thrown into battles without my own shield and had to improvise. Rather amusing, actually. I actually used one of the demons as a shield once, hehehe. This other demon was trying to use some sort of a medieval weapon on me, so I picked up his little demon buddy and used his body to shield me ... Bye-bye demon buddy, haha!

Ravanne< AQuAtiC: Shielding for me is like magick 101 -- it is important to have a barrier to separate energies, whether of another person or a spirit wishing contact. It's like saying "This is my space" -- not a matter of weakness or strength.

donoma< AQuAtiC: Since I believe all is an eternal ONE, I really don't feel the need for shields. To me, it is me, shielding me ...

kats< AQuAtiC: I don't think it is a matter of being afraid; it is a matter of knowing you can keep them away because you are God's child and you can't lose.

AQuAtiC< Ravanne: Do you feel that without the shield you would be susceptible to their powers?

Ravanne< AQuAtiC: As an empath, if I did not shield, I would be open to all the emotions around me. That would not allow me to help myself or others, as it would be a jumbled mess. I use a shield that lets me be aware of all the energies but gives me a distance from those that are not mine ... for objective clarity, etc.

dragonWitch< I agree, Ravanne, you cannot open to all always and at once, or you would loose yourself or sense of self.

Ravanne< dragonWitch: Thank you ... sometimes the term [empath] is difficult to explain and easy to misunderstand

dragonWitch< Ravanne: Yes, I know. :)

Blueray< Ravanne: To me, who you are in each moment creates your energy; to hold yourself separate is an illusion. There is no separation, and my intention and choice are my 'protection'. *S*

Ravanne< Blueray: *S* I am not holding myself separate as unique and special ... just respecting my own personal space and that of others.

donoma< Blueray: You articulated my feelings well. *S*

Ravanne< Blueray: Are you understanding shielding to be cutting oneself off from other's energy? That's not what I am talking about. I am just saying that everyone has their own space and energy, and while we connect on some levels, there is always that place that is the individual's.

kats< Ravanne: Yes, being an empath, you must shield yourself at different times from various energies. They would only be counter-productive.

Blueray< ((Ravanne, dragonWitch))): I simply meant that you are automatically yourself, existing within the All. There can be no separation from the All, and that with your intention and expression you move through this All, who you are is your protection IMHO. *S*

Ravanne< Blueray: Oh, definitely!

AQuAtiC< Ravanne: I don't want you to mistake me. I would like to state that using a shield to block out unwanted forces is great, but do not fear that without your shield you would be totally susceptible. For instance, if you wake up one morning and forget to put up your shield, are you doomed? No, of course not. The shield is just a part of your self that is always there if you recognize it. It will get stronger just like any other part of yourself.

kats< AQuAtiC: Like not putting on a raincoat in a storm. You won't melt, but you will get wet.

Ravanne< AQuAtiC: As a matter of fact, once I learned to shield, I have let it be completely unconscious.

AQuAtiC< DragonWitch: Are you a real witch? I would like to find a few people in these chatrooms that have partially mastered "REAL" magick.

Ravanne< AQuAtiC: I have been a practicing witch for 7 years ... blessed Lamas to you!!!

Lor< AQuAtiC: I know one person that mastered "REAL" magic during a former incarnation, and learned from that experience to leave it all behind in this incarnation. It is fraught with many perils, methinks.

Ravanne< Lor: Well, that is dependent on one's ethics ... 'real magick' is only the focus of one's will to manifest in the 3rd dimension reality ... healing, divination ... invocation ... all these things are 'real magick'.

FRAML< AQuAtiC: I shield for protection, keep a line open to the Lord, and then act as a forward observer to direct the rescue teams to the discarnate/ghost. I let the team leader make the call as to whether warrior angels or children angels or others are needed for the mission.

LAGONE< FRAML: There are a lot of saints in the Catholic church who were psychic. I recently discovered that a church close to me was named after a woman psychic.

FRAML< LAGONE: I didn't know that.

dragonWitch< LAGONE: And many of them were burned as witches because they saw visions and were psychic.

LAGONE< dragonWitch: I think that they were called martyrs because they kept their faith in the one true God ...

AQuAtiC< The counter-productive shield I was speaking of is merely based on fear. For instance, you're walking down a dark alley, you hear something and think, "Uhhh-ohhh! I HAVE to put up a shield or something's gonna jump out and attack me." This way of thinking is already making you weak enough for attack. Shield or no shield, you're bait, sister!

Gracie< AQuAtiC: Next time you are standing in an elevator and get someone's headache, then you will understand what she means.

greyman< Gracie: Empathetic question: Is the sum of our spirits greater than the whole?

Gracie< greyman: What is the difference?

greyman< Gracie: Synergy. *g*

Gracie< greyman: *S* Perhaps. Seems a semantic differential to me ... ~S

greyman< Gracie: Calculus at this late hour? *G*

Gracie< greyman: Statistics, my friend!

dragonWitch< greyman: Would not the sum of spirits be the whole?? :)

greyman< dragonWitch: Wonderful beautiful synergy. *g*!

[Ben < Webster's Dictionary: synergy, synergism (1) the simultaneous action of separate agencies which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects; (2) the combined or correlated action of different organs or parts of the body, as of muscles working together.]

Zarastan< Ben: Have we tapered off to end the session or are we going another round?

[Ben< Zarastan: I forgot to change the topic to OPEN when we got to the end of the scheduled time. However, this discussion is germane to spirituality.]

kats< Shielding is drawing God's energy to yourself.

FRAML< kats: Beautifully said.

kats< FRAML: Thank you.

LAGONE< Ben: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me. Some things are way over my head, but others I understood. I don't delve too much in many things. I just leave them to Faith.

[Ben< LAGONE: You're welcome. *smile* ]

AQuAtiC< FRAML: Can you find out some information of a semi-recent mission I went on for me?

FRAML< AQuAtiC: Spiritual or military?

AQuAtiC< FRAML: Recent mission -- I was thrown into terribly bad odds, no weapons, no shield. Although I know my purpose in the mission, and in the end I fulfilled it, it seems I was terribly outnumbered. I do realize that (they) knew I could do it. Was it another test? I would also like to know the overall outcome of the mission -- what happened after my mission was over and I came back to the physical?

FRAML< AQuAtiC: I don't have the ability to get that information. I am neither clairvoyant nor clairaudient. I just call for teams and am 'blind' after that.

AQuAtiC< FRAML: That's the thing: I had no visible team; I was completely solitary. Felt like the only light-warrior there, against maybe 100-1000 darker forces. These Dark forces can be really weak and don't forget STUPID sometimes, but still ...

kats< AQuAtiC: What was your mission?

AQuAtiC< kats: I won't explain my mission because the missions always have a hidden agenda/meaning other than what it seems.

dragonWitch< AQuAtiC: Sometimes fear is a natural warning. It is your body warning you of danger ... to accept and acknowledge it is a sign of wisdom.

Yopo< AQuAtiC: A wise warrior carries a shield whenever he or she ventures into unknown territory. I don't think it is out of fear, but an acknowledgment that there are situations where it might be needed. And there is no shame in fear ... All must sometimes face it. IMHO

Ravanne< AQuAtiC: Fear actually attracts the unempowering energy to one.

Zarastan< Yopo & Ravanne: We all carry "shields" that take different forms. My shield is usually words laced with humor, quick and incisive, cutting through anything that threatens. Others use physical force, or their sweetness, or sexuality. Remember Melanie (Olivia DeHavilland) in "Gone With The Wind"? Who could possibly harm that sweet, kind lady? It is for each of us to bring to ourselves that which is most appropriate. Of course, beefing up the white light around us couldn't hurt! hahaha!

Ravanne< Zarastan: *S* Yes ... I use light. Sometimes if I am really wanting my own space, I actually craft constructs ... or if I feel that energy is coming at me vindictively I construct mirrors so that energy bounces off... it is a natural thing. *S* *HUGS* Love to you sis ... hope to see you again soon!

Zarastan< Guess I would label "threatening" anything that invokes a fear response -- for instance, someone who shouts angrily at me or who runs toward me waving a weapon. Also a threat would be feeling my energy being drained by a known or unknown source. These would stimulate a desire to "cloak" or set a boundary until it is further determined whether they can be let it as is or need to be neutralized in some way -- i.e., surrounding them with white light.

Yopo< Zarastan: Sometimes I feel threatened without feeling fear. For example, I sometimes encounter folks who seem to shine with a sort of dark energy. Something that might infect or contaminate, on a level I don't quite understand. Know what I mean? I sometimes consciously raise my shields when I must deal with them. Again, I don't understand the process very well, but can feel the difference.

AQuAtiC< Zarastan: I have the Armor of Wisdom and hold the Shield of Knowledge. OHHH MY GOSH! just realized I did have my shield and armor after all! I can't believe I didn't see that! THANK YOU ZARASTAN you opened another doorway for me! Bless you, light being!

Gracie< Ben: May I ask you a question?

Ben< Gracie: Sure, go ahead.

Gracie< Ben, et al: What is a miracle?

Ben< Gracie: A miracle is usually understood to be a rare or unexpected event that implies divine intervention. We held a series of sessions on that topic awhile ago. You might enjoy looking at the transcripts under "Seminars" on my site.

Gracie< Ben: I will do that ... thank you.

Ben< ALL: Thank you for another fine session. Now I need to leave, because I have a long day tomorrow. Peace and blessings. *poof*

[Ben< I just couldn't delete the following bit of advice...]

greyman< Gotta go to the pet store now. Oh, by the way, never use a vacuum cleaner when your parakeet is still in the cage. ~~poof~~

Yopo< greyman: Sound advice, I'm sure! *LOL* 'Night ...

kats< greyman: Does that go for cockatiels too? *LOL*

Yopo< Hmm ... This pet shop guy was explaining to me about his rare featherless Mexican parrot. Bird seemed awfully nervous ... Now I'm wondering ... *LOL*

kats< Yopo: Yes, beware of bald birds! *LOL*

LAGONE< Yopo: One last comment ... be careful of that parrot, he was plucked crossing the border ... *S*

Yopo< HA! The poor bird was thoroughly strip-searched?

12. Questions
Session 3: Sat 08 Aug 1998

Ben< The topic for tonight is "The art of answering questions" -- and just for fun, I put together a partial list of words that may precede and modify the word "answer" such as, "That's a *good* answer".

Ben< Here's the list: brief, clear, correct, credible, cryptic, curt, cynical, deceptive, direct, dishonest, dissembling, dogmatic, false, gentle, good, gracious, harsh, honest, illogical, incorrect, incredible, indirect, laconic, lawyerly, logical, [loving], polite, profuse, reasonable, right, sardonic, sensible, sharp, short, skeptical, snotty, soft, tactful, terse, thought-provoking, thoughtful, trite, true, truthful, vague, weak, wrong -- and there are others. (No, I'm not going to ask you to illustrate all these types of answers. *S*)

Terry< jeeze, Ben ... I didn't see *loving* answer in there ... just an observation.

Ben< Terry: Good point. I'll add it. Thanks. [I added it to the list during editing.]

Ben< ALL: Ready? My next post will be a question ...

Ben< ALL: It has been written that "A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger" (Proverbs 15:1). Though I know it isn't always true, can you think of an example in which either part of this proverb is (or was) true? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: When one's reply is openly insulting, which would stir up anger.

Polgara< Tonight, my mother made a joke to my sister about unloading the truck they borrowed today. My sister didn't see it as a joke ... and a small war ensued. It really was a joke!

Ben< FRAML, Polgara: Thanks. Those are the type of example I was hoping for.

Terry< Ben: I see examples of that proverb daily, and the truth is, it applies to all interactions in some degree.

LadyV< Ben: The proverb is true to the reader?

PeachRose< TRUE

LadyV< I agree with PeachRose ... I feel it is true.

Ben< LadyV: Many readers see that proverb as true. Some don't. I see it as true in some cases but not all cases.

LadyV< Ben: OK

Tracey< Ben: Yes, I agree with you ... in most cases it does apply ... however if the person receiving the harsh answer is very in tune with their spirit, it may not stir up anything ... only be observed as a reaction from the person who is being curt or whatever.

PeachRose< When I speak to another person, they will reflect back to me exactly the way I have shared with them. Defensiveness.

FRAML< Sometimes a gentle answer can anger a person because he is trying to provoke a fight and gets mad because you won't.

LadyV< Well, maybe some may feel that a gentle answer is patronizing ... for example, if a commanding officer does it ... in the military.

Ben< LadyV: Sometimes I used to surprise my subordinates by a gentle answer when they expected me to ream them a new one. *grin*

LadyV< Ben: Figured that! (laughing)

Ben< Any examples of a soft answer turning away wrath?

Yopo< Ben: Yep. In my work. Many times, I've had to tell people "NO". They want something the law doesn't entitle them to, but it seems unjust personally. Soft words usually are the best way to respond. Otherwise, I've got to deal with their anger as well as their disappointment.

Tracey< Ben: Yep. I can think of one just tonight. My sister was in a hurry to get to work ... we have both been under a little pressure taking care of mom and all living together ... and she asked why I did not hang her uniforms in the right place (clearly irritated). I just said ... while laughing ... well, I guess I am just stupid ... and she laughed and said she was sorry ... just in a hurry.

Polgara< Yes, sometimes when someone is very raw emotionally and they start to angrily berate you for something that you said, a soft response 'brings them to their senses.' They remember who they're talking to and calm down.

FRAML< Hmm, 'defusing a dangerous situation' -- my mind is blank, but know I have examples lurking in there somewhere.

PeachRose< Sure, just come and watch me play with new-found "friends" in one of the other chats ... you can see it in demonstration. Yes, I have been soft in thought and words, and it defused the anger of another. Yet here is another example that isn't a true answer. My former fiancé: I couldn't have added more honey to me if I wanted to; it didn't stop his anger, it only led to violence. So you see, no situation can ever be a straight yes or no answer for everything ... nothing is the same ... so we find unity within duality.

Ben< PeachRose: Yes, that's why I think answering questions is an art and not a science. *S*

PeachRose< Ben: I was thinking about whether you looked at things objectively, scientifically, or as an art form.

Ben< PeachRose: Some things I look at objectively, scientifically, and some I look at as an art form.

Ben< I've heard this gentle preemptive answer many times in the hills of Arkansas: Two men are talking to each other. One starts to get angry. The other sees the anger in his face and says something like, "Oh, no, John ... I wasn't sayin' what you was hearin'." Whereupon the one who was getting angry relaxes and says, "Huh! Well then, what was you sayin?" (Conversely, "You wasn't hearin' what I was sayin'" would be a harsh answer, and very likely to have the opposite effect.)

FRAML< Ben: Yes, I've used, "I think we are talking about different ideas but using the same words. Here is how I define _______, what is your definition?"

Yopo< Sometimes I'm dealing with unbalanced folks, who are on the verge of a physical explosion. Soft words can put the fuse out.

LadyV< Yopo: Good point. One does not become harsh with a mentally unbalanced person ... soft firm replies are better ... I agree.

Ben< ALL: During the meeting before last, Aqua asked, "If we have to tell a lie in our answer for the sake of keeping the recipient happy, then is it a good answer to the recipient?" How would you answer Aqua's question? YOUR TURN

LadyV< Ben: How do you define lying compared to sidestepping? (grinning) Good point Aqua made ... better to be honest ... got to be something nice about the person ... if you say that, most people are defused. If you can't say anything nice, better to remain silent, I feel.

Tracey< Ben: I don't think it is a good answer if you have to lie ... you are doing both parties, yourself and the recipient, an injustice. There are many gray areas, I agree, when it is better for all concerned to at least smooth over the answer, but I honestly feel if you answer truthfully with tact, it is much better.

Ben< Tracey: "truthfully with tact" is a good answer, IMO

Tracey< Ben: Thank you ... it sure saves a lot of time, too. *S*

Polgara< Ben: I would have to tell Aqua "No" -- depending upon the nature of the deception. If someone is proudly showing me a new rug they saved for months to buy because THEY adored it, and they asked me, "Isn't it just awesome?!" I could smile and say, "It suits you well, and I am so happy for you that you got what you wanted!" But the other day a friend asked me to tell her that her marriage would be fine (it's in serious jeopardy) and her life wouldn't fall apart. She got angry when I gave her an answer that didn't include those elements, but I felt it would have been a horrible dishonor to tell her something less than honest about so serious an issue.

PeachRose< Water seeks its own level. I have been creative with how I have responded to someone. I don't have to lie to them, or hide my own way of thinking. I just remember that not everyone will see things the way I do. I practice the art of reflecting back what they say. Whether they choose to see it is up to them. I don't try to attempt to disagree with someone; then I am telling them they are wrong and I am right.

FRAML< Ben: The only time I can think of doing that was with the occasional customer when I was selling hardware at Sears. When they were coming in complaining about something breaking, and I discovered that they weren't using it correctly, I said it must indeed be defective, took the item back, and when giving them a new one, got in a word on how to properly use it.

Yogi< I had an experience recently with an individual ... she was going through a situation that I was able to see more clearly, yet I felt that if I spoke up about what I felt, it would hinder her learning on her path. Was it better for me to have remained silent or should I have expressed my opinion?

Tracey< Yogi: *S* That is difficult to say. You know the situation, but I think we are all co-creators and learning as we go ... so maybe your insight would just get her back to center ... tough call, dear one. (HUG)

Ben< Yogi: Your precognition is showing. *S* I'll ask about silence as an answer.

Juhli< I think it depends who the recipient is. I recall a time when my employer asked me to fill out a questionnaire honestly. It basically was about the employer's strong/weak qualities. Well, I was honest and paid dearly for it! Life at work was not pleasant! Also, I was most diplomatic and tactful!

LadyV< I think people know if they are being stinkers on some level ... runs down hill ... takes a bit of patience to understand that maybe they forgot you have feelings also ... so very human that is ... and in us all, I feel.

Yopo< Ben: I don't think there is but one answer there. A "white lie" for the sake of another, when the matter may be trivial, sometimes seems appropriate. "Well, how do I look?" a lady friend with a new hair color asks. *S* On matters of import, I think one should always try to tell the truth so far as possible. But even then, one must be aware of harmful truths.

PeachRose< Here is an opposite example of how I used to behave. My lover would ask something. If I tell the truth, would he harm me? If I lie to him, will it save me from having to justify who I am? So I lied. That is why today I don't choose unities where I can't be who I am. One day I ended up lying to myself, and found it difficult to be in my own skin.

Ben< PeachRose: Yes! Lying to oneself is very dangerous.

Surya< I agree with PeachRose. If I felt I had to lie to someone for their sake, I would be inclined to want to sever the relationship.

PeachRose< If am in fear, then the easiest reaction is to lie.

LadyV< PeachRose: I would like to salute you for your openness ... that takes courage.

wem< So if I have just pronounced someone dead and while talking to the loved one or family, can I tell a white lie ... skirt around the truth? Silence has often worked well ... with a well-placed hand and expressions of genuine concern and caring.

Ben< wem: In cases such as you described, "Skirt around the truth" is what I would call "Soften the answer". It is often justified, IMO.

wem< Ben: Softening the answer is a good thing. Sometimes very difficult to find the way and the words.

[Ben< wem: Yes.]

Ben< ALL: In the last twenty years or so, I have heard it said, "There are no right or wrong answers." And I believe that is sometimes true. But I have spent a good part of my life in situations where there are right and wrong answers -- like flying airplanes, for example -- where even one wrong answer can be lethal. Therefore, I'd like to address this issue in two parts.

Ben< ALL: (1) Please give an example, from experience or imagination, of a question or a type of question for which you believe there are no right or wrong answers. YOUR TURN

LadyV< Ben: That's tough ... have to think ...

Yopo< I can think of no such question. But all questions are like that. Sorry. Can't get a firm grip on this one. I'm thinking there is always a right answer to ANY question, but it is often beyond our power to see it ...

FRAML< Ben: Answering a spouse's question about new hair style or dress.

Tracey< Ben: Each individual's own belief system ... that one really has no right or wrong answers, as it is all within our soul and from our experience. I guess the question would be "What do you believe?" Hard to have a right or wrong answer there I would think.

Ben< Tracey: Yes, asking someone for their subjective experience presupposes no right or wrong answer -- if it is an honest question.

PeachRose< What are you thinking? What are you feeling? Right or Wrong is about morals.

wem< To resuscitate or not resuscitate a person with terminal illness??

Polgara< Good response, wem ... that one would depend entirely on information you often don't have at the time!

wem< Yes, information does help! I would say do not resuscitate, yet my "orders" and legislation require me to do that which I think is wrong to do.

Tracey< wem: That is one of those times when telling the whole truth serves no purpose. You are right.

Surya< I believe that everything is perfection, so in that respect, there are no right or wrong answers, ever ... even in the case of flying an aircraft -- in a world where everything is perfection, there are no accidents. (MHO)

FRAML< Surya: I have found that in combat, there are definitely right and wrong answers. The right ones keep you alive, and the wrong ones get you and your men killed.

Tracey< FRAML: Yes, I agree ... in many situations, there are right and wrong answers.

LadyV< FRAML: I wanted to say in reply to your comment, I was in the company of children and they were asking me about war. I remember seeing in a very old LIFE magazine in a dusty library the killing of a man for treason. I told them that, and it got them to thinking. If you are a structured machine and it is a unit one obeys ... right or wrong ... better for a man to choose his choice of fighting or not fighting, I feel.

Surya< FRAML: Right and wrong seems to only apply when one is attached to outcome. When looking at it from a life or death situation, it appears that there are "wrong" answers because we are so attached to living; perhaps yours or your men's time has come? Again, just my opinion ...

[Ben< Hmm. This suggests that we should have a care-less attitude toward our own and others' lives. But I have seen the results of that attitude. I cherish my life and the lives of others. I believe physical and spiritual LIFE, here and hereafter, is a valid criterion for discerning right and wrong answers and courses of action.]

summer2< Surya: I totally agree with you. I don't think it should be looked at from a right or wrong perspective, only what can I learn from this choice.

wem< Surya: I am very attached to outcome in paramedicine. Do I resuscitate because it is my job to save lives, or do I not by knowing that there is no point in prolonging suffering? How do I make that choice?

Surya< wem: I thought a Paramedic's job was to do whatever is necessary while in route to medical facility ... do you have a choice?

wem< Surya: Yes, there is always choice. I function with much of the equipment and expertise of an E/R.

Yogi< I think that right or wrong actually comes down to a higher good, although it isn't seen at all times. It's difficult in a situation that you are involved in to choose such a path. Something that may feel right may not be in a higher good ... and in the same breath, something that may feel wrong may be for the higher good. It's a matter of situation, and how you can "stand back" and look at it. It's the overall picture of things ... am I babbling? LOL ... sorry

Tracey< Yogi: You never babble, dear. *S*

Yogi< Thanks, Tracey. Felt like I wasn't saying what I was trying to get across.

LadyV< I am thinking, "Doctor, am I going to die?" -- that would be a tough one.

PeachRose< A child is crying, in serious sadness: do you spank the child to "shut them up"? NO! But yet, I have seen that kind of answer to a problem. Then the child has two reasons to cry.

Tracey< PeachRose: Yes ... two reasons to cry, and because of that action, they are taught that violence is an answer to pain. Not a good choice on the part of the parent ... but we are all here learning.

Ben< I think questions about personal preferences usually have no right or wrong answer. For example: Which is prettier, red or blue?

Tracey< Ben: Exactly ...

Yopo< Ben: But maybe questions like that aren't valid questions at all?

[Ben< Yopo: Questions seeking information about personal preferences can be valid. The problem with my example is that categorical ("either-or") questions presume there can be only those two answers. While we were shopping for a car, I asked my wife "Which do you think is prettier, red or blue?" She said "I like that metallic green one over there." Guess which car is now in our driveway. *S*]

Ben< ALL: (2) Please give an example, from experience or imagination, of a question or a type of question for which you believe there is one right answer and one or more wrong answers. YOUR TURN

summer2< Can't think of any ...

Yopo< Is one ever justified in causing unnecessary pain? Surely always a "NO".

summer2< We are forgetting free will here. No one allows anything to happen to them without their consent ... as difficult as this seems.

Yogi< summer2: That is so true. *S*

PeachRose< So, in honesty, I think if it is outside yourself, then we have an obligation of right and wrong by being in society; what we do with our own bodies, lives, thoughts, feelings; that is up to us. But when it comes to another human beings and how we treat them, we step into their boundary space; therefore and only for myself do I feel right and wrong applies. Morals are for how humanity interacts; but not for how we live inside ourselves. Go to a restaurant: if you hit the waiter, you go to jail, and it is wrong to be violent. Someone is sad, one doesn't walk away, you entered the streets amongst another human, you take the right action and ask if you can help. So if I am in society, out in public, then there are rights and wrongs.

summer2< There is nothing outside of us. Everything is part of the ONE, so what I do to myself, I also do to everyone else and vice versa ... the domino effect.

PeachRose< But my answers aren't for others. It's subjective to how I live and when I entered life, even if at times I don't like it; I agreed to go along with some order of structure. Richard Bach wrote "When you buy your ticket to a certain show at a movie." I thus already bought into the illusion, or realness, or the outcome of that particular show.

Polgara< When a client asks me, "Will I ever get better?" There is generally a right answer to that ... and to many that would be a bad idea.

wem< Do I give my life for another? It would be the ultimate expression of giving (as society deems life), but what of all those I leave behind? ... Sorry for being so death oriented here, folks. *S*

LadyV< wem: If it helps any ... allow me to say to you that at the last few minutes, especially in severe trauma, the brain throws out endorphins ... and that helps. Do you know that with your hand there they are not alone? To be alone and die is not what one would want to do ... or most folks perhaps. What is the question asked of you? Consider "Did he say anything?" or "Did he die peacefully?" Better that you to say to the grieving one "I held his hand all the way." Were it my parent, I would bless you many times.

Ben< wem: "so death oriented" isn't a problem to me. Obviously you have to make life-or-death decisions, and you take them seriously, so it isn't easy. It never is, for anyone who is conscientious.

wem< Thanks, LadyV and Ben.

Tracey< Ben: For me personally, the question would be "Will you help me?" The answer IMHO should be YES ... in whatever way you can ... and the wrong answer would obviously be NO ... or I do not have time. If this is asked out of true need and not a "using" situation, to me there is only one answer to that one.

summer2< Tracey: Why would the wrong answer be "No"? Isn't it up to the individual to make that choice without judgment or pressure from anyone else? If it's their preference not to help you, then to them it's the right answer.

FRAML< It sounds like "situational ethics" -- do whatever feels right at the time. Or "How far can I go before getting caught?"

Tracey< summer2: hon ... I said, in my humble opinion ... from my personal point of view ... not for the world to live as their way.

summer2< Tracey: My point exactly. Everyone has a different perspective, so how can there be right and wrong? *s* I know we could round and round on this subject, but that's the fun of it. *VBG*

Tracey< summer2: Yep ... you are right. That is the fun of it, and there are no right or wrong answers as long as you are true to yourself. *S*

FRAML< summer2: You are asked, "Are we out of milk?" You look in the refrigerator and see that the jug is empty. Is "No, we aren't" the right (correct) answer to the question asked?

summer2< FRAML: There could be many responses. You could say "Yes, we are." You could say "Only for the moment," etc..

FRAML< summer2: IMO "Yes, we are" is the only correct answer. "Only for the moment" is an evasive answer.

summer2< FRAML: But it's still a correct answer, isn't it? It isn't incorrect so it must be correct. *s*

FRAML< summer2: Not if the person asking the question is the one who is going to have to go out and buy more milk.

Blueiris< FRAML: *LOL* ... guess we know who would be going out to get the milk, aye?

summer2< FRAML: *LOL* ... so true ...

Ben< Here is an example of the type of question for which I believe there is only one right answer: Is that gun loaded?

Yopo< Ben: As opposed to "Is a loaded gun better than an unloaded one?" *S*

Tracey< Ben: *S* Yes, there would be only one right answer there. I think we were going for the emotions and spiritual aspect. Seems simple now ...

PeachRose< Ben: What if you had the gun to protect yourself, and the burglar asked you if the gun was loaded? You say, "No, it isn't, please take it and beat me up." LOL ... or "Yes, you bastard, and I will shoot you" ... gives you the upper hand and maybe spares your life.

summer2< PeachRose: hahahah, yes, good one ...

Ben< PeachRose: If a burglar was dumb enough to ask me whether my gun was loaded, he should go into another line of business. *LOL*

Ben< Here's another example: Have you seen my car keys?

greyman< Ben: Roger! A question that maps into a Boolean expression for truth, or fuzzy logic for false statement construct.

Ben< COMMENT: In general, I find that factual questions have right and wrong answers, whereas value-judgment questions often don't.

Ben< ALL: Silence can be an answer. Although silence may be called "stone-walling" or "ignoring the question" I think there are situations in which it is appropriate. What do you think? Do any examples come to mind? YOUR TURN

PeachRose< Ben: agreed, when someone has asked me to play -- which means to tell them a made up story on the spot -- I get silent only in physical speaking. Inside I am allowing myself to be at peace and to answer them. But if one is silent too long, like I was this evening with a friend, he lost interest and left.

Polgara< When someone is grief-stricken, sobbing their heart out and asking questions over and over without really listening to any answer, silence and hand-holding are perfect responses.

Ben< Polgara: Excellent! I totally agree. I've been there, done that.

wem< Polgara: aaaaaaaaaahhhh, yes, unconditional support!!

Blueiris< Polgara: I was going to say, when someone is using you as a sounding board, it's better to just let them bounce the questions off you until they receive the answer from themselves ... very similar to what you said. *S*

Tracey< Polgara: Yes ... exactly. When someone is not listening anyway, and only wants to "get it out", silence and your presence is the best gift to give.

summer2< Tracey: So true. I think the hard part is listening to ourselves instead of listening to everyone around us about what we should do.

LadyV< Ben: Stonewalling in man/woman relationships is no reason to be cruel. If he looks bad with the haircut, admire the tie and ignore the haircut. Nothing is gained by speaking all of the mind. Words hurt sometimes.

Tracey< LadyV: Yes, very true ...

Ben< LadyV: Yes, IMO, silence is appropriate where words would hurt someone unnecessarily.

wem< When confronted with a loaded answer that surely would wreak havoc, periods of silence can help the person form and prepare their own answer. This can reduce the impact. Also, when the receiver of the answer has a history of repeatedly ignoring or twisting what they hear ... is it worth applying the energy to answer them?

Ben< wem: Yes, I agree. I think it is appropriate to remain silent in a situation where anything you say is likely to be turned against you.

PeachRose< Silence can be the end instead of a beginning. If in doubt, be silent. Chaos with words from the mind never help. And silence may mean I don't have an answer "Gee, I haven't thought about that" or "My brain cells are fried at this moment and need to regroup in thought."

wem< Silence is not necessarily about ignoring, but having the knowledge of when to talk.

summer2< My mom used to say "If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, don't say anything at all" ... right, Star-lite? *s*

Star-lite< You're right, summer2. *VBG*

Ben< Here's an example some may be wondering about: When someone posts a question to me in these seminars, I fairly often remain silent to see if others will answer the question -- and they often answer as well or better than I could.

Ben< SUMMARY COMMENT: The classic honest answers are simply "Yes" and "No" -- but perhaps the largest part of the art of answering questions is not feeling compelled to have all the answers. As I mentioned two weeks ago, "I don't know" is often the only honest answer I can give -- and I wonder why people go to such extremes to avoid saying it when it is true. So my basic answers are "Yes" and "No" and "I don't know." Gentler equivalents of these three answers are "I think so" and "I don't think so" and "I'm not sure".

Ben< /topic Discussion of the art of answering questions

Tracey< Ben: **VBS** and perhaps that is really the art ... only saying as much as you know ... as honestly and gently as possible.

wem< Ben: It is quite interesting the extremes people go to, to provide answers. Must have something to do with ego?

[Ben< wem: Ego just means "I" -- self-identification isn't necessarily a problem.]

Ben< ALL: Comment (and confession): I threw you a bit of a curve by asking about right and wrong answers. Right and wrong basically apply to value-judgments. True and false apply to factual answers. However, I'm meeting people who don't see any difference between matters of fact and matters of value, and I believe it is important to make that distinction.

greyman< Ben: Confession is good for the soul, and bad for the reputation. *G*

Ben< greyman: I seem to have heard that somewhere before. *G*

Tracey< HA!! BEN confesses ... and I stayed just long enough to see it. LOL Thank you, Ben. I think we needed to see the difference ... as you are right, many people see them as the same. NAMASTE

FRAML< Ben: That is where my comment on "situational ethics" fits in. And that has spread to: "It doesn't matter whether you get your math problem correct, just so you feel good about yourself while doing it."

Tracey< FRAML: And that does sum it up ... how we feel about anything we do and "our answers" *S*

Blueiris< Ben: Wouldn't value judgments change within different cultures, whereas factual answers would stay the same?

Ben< Blueiris: Yes, values are largely cultural and personal. Facts are objective and some are (hopefully) universal.

[Ben< Blueiris: That answer was too brief. Sorry. Perhaps we should have a whole seminar on the nature of facts and values.]

12. Questions
Session 4: Sat 15 Aug 1998

Ben< After reviewing what we have said about "The art of asking and answering questions," I decided to add one more session. First, I'd like to look at some of the ways we answer questions that we ask ourselves. Then I'll present two other types of questions and answers.

Ben< ALL: If we ask ourselves a factual question such as "Can I do that?" the inner answer may come from our memories of similar experiences (Yes or No). Please give an example of something you know you can do because you have done it, and/or something you know you cannot do because you have tried it. YOUR TURN

[Long pause with no inputs]

Ben< For example: I can speak in public. I can not carry a tune. Both of these I have proved to myself by repeated experience.

SLIDER< Ben: That question is easy to an open imaginative mind?

Ben< SLIDER: Often it isn't easy to admit there is something we cannot do. For others, it may not be easy to acknowledge what they can do. Hence this question.

FRAML< Ben: Can I go off a 60 foot rappelling tower? I convinced a dozen guys to go off, but not myself. Heights don't bother me, but the fear of falling does.

Ben< FRAML: Good example.

Ben< Others?

Cassandra< I know I can give my opinion even when I'm sure everyone is going to dislike it, but I can't resist giving answers that upset a fixed mind.

Ben< Cassandra: LOL! A tendency to stir things up ...

5foot2< I guess I am the type that has difficulty admitting I can't do something. I think its part of my basic philosophy. I view this more as things I haven't done YET ...

FRAML< SLIDER: I think it was you that mentioned you never thought you could jump out of a hovering helicopter until you took ground fire one day? Or was that another person?

Ben< ALL: If we ask ourselves a hypothetical question such as "Could I do that?" the inner answer may come from our relative degree of self-confidence. How likely are you to try something you haven't tried before? Is your inner answer more likely to be "I probably could" or "I probably couldn't"? YOUR TURN

lady_hawke< To believe something impossible is to make it such ...

Ben< lady_hawke: Yes, to believe "I can't" without the evidence of experience tends to result in not trying. I call that a lack of self-confidence.

Yopo< Hmm ... Must confess to self-confidence issues sometimes. I probably COULD sing in public, but maybe I shouldn't. *LOL*

SLIDER< Ben: Many may talk themselves out of the ability to accomplish things, simply because they feel they don't meet certain standards of the tasks that they attempt. If a person sets their own standards, then almost anything can be accomplished.

FRAML< SLIDER: Good point. I've had troops who didn't think they could until they saw someone, smaller, etc., than them doing it.

Dim-Glow< How about, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me?

Ben< Dim-Glow: I would call that confidence rather than self-confidence. *S*

Dim-Glow< No offense, Ben, in my opinion, this inner self without God is void.

FRAML< In applying for a historian job, the additional skill was doing map and photograph plans. I'd never done it, but figured that I could, based upon other planning I had done while I was in the Army.

kats< My inner answer is I probably could.

lady_hawke< I do not believe there is anything I cannot do. I believe there are many things I have not learned how to do yet.

kats< I can jump a horse four feet. I cannot play piano or sing in public.

5foot2< A line from a poem comes to mind "Somebody said that it couldn't be done ... but he with a chuckle replied that he would be one who wouldn't say so, at least not until he had tried." Me -- I'll pretty much try anything once.

FRAML< 5foot2: Let me discourage you from trying Russian roulette or jumping off tall buildings, though. *G*

Ben< I am relatively self-confident, and thus likely to learn things the hard way instead of taking someone else's word for it.

greyman< Ben: Ouch! I resemble that.

LEGS< Could I do that? Inner answers depend on the mood of the day, to some extent, but generally think I can do ... whatever ... if others have done it before.

Lor< I once was asked to visualize a spiritual light ball and to place it on my left foot, then to do the same on my left shoulder, and again in my left hand. I was asked then whether I could sense a difference between what I saw on the left side vs my right side with my eyes closed. I was startled to sense that the left half of my vision seemed illuminated with some kind of light that the other side lacked! WOW! I was surprised, to say the least. Is this the kind of thing you mean? I have tried many times to "see" things in this light, but have not been overly successful in seeing much more than what I just described.

Ben< Lor: Yes, we often don't know what we can do until we try. That was part of the point I was looking for.

Dim-Glow< Ben: How can one trust in his inner self?

[Ben< Dim-Glow: I see that most people trust their inner selves in many different kinds of mundane activities, and some also do likewise in spiritual activities.]

Dim-Glow< In the physical world, I lean towards empirical facts; in the spiritual realm, I walk by faith (Bible) in the word of God.

FRAML< Dim-Glow: I think we are addressing each realm here: spiritual and physical. I've been focusing on physical challenges. In the spiritual realm I have been able to accomplish things I once didn't believe in.

SLIDER< Self confidence comes with experience, and embarrassment at doing something in the wrong type of company can erode that self confidence real quick. Another example of when to use discernment.

FRAML< Dim-Glow: I have developed my 'trust of inner-self' through my years of living. Having to do things I thought I couldn't do, even at times I didn't even think God could help me to do them (and I learned that was a false idea). That is how I define it.

Dim-Glow< FRAML: I define it like this: without God, I'm lost, but I can do all things through him who gives me strength, insight, wisdom, knowledge, etc. I don't trust my inner self.

LEGS< Dim-Glow: More confidence reflected in your nickname would be nice. *G* Indicative of the Holy Spirit within ... perhaps a Steady-Glow ... *S*

Dim-Glow< LEGS: LOL ... the Holy Spirit is my steady glow ... thanks *S*

Cassandra< Ben: I listen to my little Voice, or when I don't, I get in trouble. And even though I did these things, my confidence did not develop until I met Ted and he kept telling me that I could do things. Then I even ran for School Board. He really believed I could do anything, and that helped.

[Ben< Cassandra: Yes, encouragement does help build self-confidence.]

LAGONE< Ben: What if you tell yourself that you can do it, but you remember someone from your past telling you that you can't? Like someone of authority.

[Ben< LAGONE: There is a tension between self-confidence and authority. In both cases, if the question is stated as factual -- "Can I do it?" -- the answer is found in reality testing.]

LAGONE< Being from the old school where children were seen and not heard, I believe that confidence is something that one develops when independence comes.

Ben< ALL: If we ask ourselves an ethical question such as "Should I do that?" the inner answer is often called a conscience. Do you have a conscience? If so, how do you know that you do? In other words, how does it work? What are the symptoms? YOUR TURN

kats< Ben: The symptoms are feelings/senses of good or bad. Instinct as well as learned response.

Yopo< Symptoms of ignoring my conscience include a sense of unease. Or a going back and rethinking an intended action. Feels a lot different than doubt about an ability.

Ben< Yopo: Yes! Conscience does feel a lot different than doubt about an ability or capability. That's why I put these two in separate questions.

lady_hawke< I believe in inner guidance in all things from God. Only God knows what experiences we need in order to learn the lessons that best benefit our growth.

kats< Yes, God must be at the center.

lady_hawke< Hence only God knows whether something is wrong or right in our particular situation, and judgment is no longer ours, other than to follow that which we know to do.

Dim-Glow< lady_hawke: My guide is the Holy Spirit ... LOL

lady_hawke< Dim-Glow: Mine is Jeshua... :-)

5foot2< Last Sunday, I found a new crisp $100 bill next to my car in a mall parking lot. First thought, "Yahhh, somebody is smiling on me!" Second thought, "Boy I wish that little voice inside my head would stop talking so loud." I turned it in ... that was tough ... the temptation to go and go quickly was great ... but I have had it demonstrated repeatedly in my life that "karma" will bite ya in the butt if you're not careful ... so I did the "right" thing.

Ben< 5foot2: Neat example. Illustrates a point: conformance to one's conscience is often costly in material or earthly terms. *S*

greyman< Ben: I once heard from a wise man: No virtue goes unpunished. *G*

[Ben< greyman: Don't forget the rest of that axiom: In *this* world, no virtue goes unpunished.]

SLIDER< I feel that the little voice inside, or the conscience, probably should be listened to even if it doesn't make sense, if it is a message that does not harm anyone or cause chaos.

lady_hawke< I think also, when we ignore what we know we should do, it effects the world around us physically. We can in fact even make ourselves physically ill. The spirit and body are connected.

Ben< I have a conscience. It reminds me again and again of things I should not have done, but did, and things I should have done, but didn't. It isn't nearly as reliable about reminding me of things that I should have done and did, or things I should not have done and didn't. Hmm ... maybe I need to look at that imbalance.

kats< Ben: Perhaps you don't have to look at things you did or didn't do right, because they were right. And it is a job finished correctly, so it doesn't have to be dwelled upon.

[Ben< kats: Hmmm. Yes, thank you. Apparently my conscience is an "off-course" indicator that doesn't flash its warning lights when I'm on course. That type of system is described very well in cybernetics and psycho-cybernetics.]

FRAML< My conscience of what is morally right and wrong is based upon my upbringing. In value judgments, I believe there is a right and wrong based upon absolutes, and not "situational ethics."

Dim-Glow< FRAML: What's right and wrong are based upon God's laws ... in my opinion, of course. LOL

SLIDER< FRAML: Even situations that arise which coincide with our upbringing don't always follow through with an honest conscience.

lady_hawke< FRAML: Could you give me an example of one of those absolutes that is always right or always wrong?

FRAML< lady_hawke: Killing a person just to do it. Stealing from others. Sleeping with the spouse of another person.

lady_hawke< Okay, I understand where you are coming from now. The question I have is, can we as a man know what the intentions of a man's heart were? Do we know that the reason for killing was just because? For an example: if someone would have seen Abraham for the first time when he had placed Isaac upon the altar, what would they have thought or judged of him?

Yopo< Sometimes my conscience is maybe a bit overactive. It turns most EVERYTHING into a moral issue, if I let it. Seems to think I should be a perfect creature, and doesn't like the little compromises one must make sometimes. But maybe it's best to be reminded it's always there.

5foot2< Conscience ... to thine own self be true.

Kathleen< I am seeing a lot of interpretations on what conscience is ... so what is the right one? I look at the word and see ... con(against)science ... so that tells me it is of a spiritual or soul nature.

FRAML< Kathleen: Mr. Webster says: Conscience -- A knowledge or feeling of right and wrong, with a compulsion to do right; moral judgment that prohibits or opposes the violation of a previously recognized ethical principle.

Kathleen< FRAML: Yes, that is Webster's interpretation/definition.

FRAML< Kathleen: Sorry, you gave me an opening. *G* I have never thought of it as you said it.

Kathleen< FRAML: Am good at giving openings. *S*

Ben< Kathleen: I'm dwelling on the topic of conscience because so many people say they go by their feelings, and conscience produces a lot of those feelings.

Kathleen< Ben: Understood ...

LAGONE< Ben: We do make our own choices, and right or wrong, they are ours.

5foot2< My conscience tends to function most at the moment of decision. I feel the choices I make result in the situations I "find" myself in. It's like my conscience has the ability to perceive the future and the ramifications of my choices.

[Ben< 5foot2: That sounds like your conscience is functioning very well. *S*]

Yopo< I wonder if a conscience can be acquired? I used to think that folks who did hurtful or wrongful things consistently chose to ignore the issue of right and wrong, but now I suspect in many cases they lack the tools to make the distinction ... Seems most who have a conscience had the seed of it planted early in life.

Ben< Yopo: There are people who seem to have no functional conscience. I'm reminded of a detachment therapy case, of a young boy possessed by the ghost of a vicious man. After the detachment, the boy's mother said that she had to take an entirely different approach with him, because "Now he has a conscience."

Ben< ALL: Does your conscience tend to produce more positive ("I should") answers, or more negative ("I shouldn't) answers, or are the answers more-or-less balanced? YOUR TURN

FRAML< Ben: I've never kept score. *G*

greyman< Ben: Lets see (should I answer that or not?) hummm. Ooooopse, I just did. *G*

LEGS< Ben: I used to believe that the conscience was only the no-no's we hear in our head ... and the positive urges were not conscience but inspiration. *G*

FRAML< LEGS: Nice insight.

Lor< I sense that my conscience tends to produce more negative ("I shouldn't") answers, than positive ("I should") answers. Is there some reason that I do not experience the latter more often, I wonder?

SLIDER< Ben: I seem to have a balance, and when things get boring, I use my thought process to create more challenging experiences.

Ben< SLIDER: Good! Boredom can be spiritually lethal.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes a wandering bored mind can open to other persons' conscious thoughts that may not be using a check of pro or con -- albeit (good or evil) discernment.

Yopo< I tend to get mostly "I should" prompts. I don't often find myself in "maybe I shouldn't" situations anymore. Years back it was different.

K'AM< Perhaps those who discern the difference between right and wrong LISTEN to their conscience more than those who have difficulty in knowing what is right and what is wrong?

Yopo< K'AM: There's a line in a song from the soundtrack of the movie Natural Born Killers: "When they said I must repent, I didn't know what they meant. "

K'AM< Yopo: Exactly ... the discernment is important.

Windfire< I personally have never been a big fan of the (as we're referring to here) conscience. I don't need my conscience to tell me if something is "right or wrong"; it has always seemed to me to be part of a control mechanism; like a pre-shadow to intuition.

LEGS< But, Windfire, that is a definition ... and a good one, of conscience. *g* A pre-shadow of intuition.

Windfire< LEGS: *SMILE*

FRAML< Windfire: Are you using "control mechanism" as an internal reference or something "forced upon you" from outside? I'm not sure if I am hearing what you were saying.

Windfire< FRAML: The conscience (at least mine) acts from within, but is still an attempt to "sway" one to act in a certain behavior; it acts as a compulsion. I don't consider myself free if I constantly act on any compulsions, regardless of whether it "right or wrong".

Ben< Windfire: Good point. Conscience can produce compulsions and inhibitions. It's like an auto-pilot. And sometimes we need to fly the plane manually.

FRAML< Windfire: Thanks, I understand now. I actually got your meaning when LEGS made her compliment to you. We are saying the same idea with different words.

Redhawk< For me, most actions are obviously right or wrong. It creates a feeling inside when you act 'wrong'. Raising my voice to my son makes me feel bad. Even if his behavior was undesirable. As long as I can remember, I just 'know' what is right and wrong. Doesn't mean I always do what I know is right! *laugh*

Ben< Redhawk: Yes, conscience functions at the subconscious level. But to calibrate our conscience, it helps to look and see what it is doing -- and where it's programming came from. That's another whole topic related to the conscious living of a spiritual life.

Ben< ALL: Does your deity (God, Goddess, All-That-Is, etc.) ask questions? Or, can you think of a case in which a deity is said to have asked questions of a human? If so, please give an example of the deity's question and the human's answer. YOUR TURN

LAGONE< Ben: I believe you are referring to Abraham. He was going to do what God asked him to do, even though part of him didn't want to.

FRAML< Ben: Jesus asks me if I can follow him and what he taught.

SLIDER< Ben: Can't say I've ever been asked any questions from a higher source. Just been given information that I've had to ask about in order to gain an understanding as to how and why this information was coming to me.

Redhawk< Ben: My Creator gives me 'puzzles' by placing situations in my path that challenge me to do the 'right' thing, when it is most difficult/costly/physically or emotionally demanding to do. I consider this a type of questioning. How much do you mean what you say? How much can you serve? How much can you love? How far will you extend yourself for another?

Ben< Redhawk: Good point: questions don't have to be verbal.

FRAML< Redhawk: Worthy questions, to challenge us to remember how far we need to go, or how close we are, to help others.

Cassandra< I don't remember being asked by my little Voice, but I remember having a big argument with God because I didn't know answers to give to some Bible people who were coming to visit in an hour or two. The result was, a wonderful thing happened inside my head, an explosive event, and I knew the answers to anything they would have asked. However, they said I was hysterical, grabbed the Bible they had just given me, and left. So you CAN have an argument but you may get more than you expected.

Ben< Cassandra: *LOL* If you printed up those answers, they would be welcomed by many people.

Cassandra< Ben: I am only speaking from my 71 years of experience of living with God daily -- through good times and bad, through disobedient times, repentance and reward -- the reward of knowing LOVE of GOD and the PRESENCE not only inside you but around you. I'm afraid I did it again. I spoke from my heart without thinking. *G*

FRAML< Cassandra: WELL SAID!!!

Cassandra< Thank you all so much. You make me feel like family. And it's such a good feeling. I thought I might have shocked you all.

Yopo< I don't seem to get much issue-specific feedback from Creator, except that Love is the right rule. Sometimes the harshness of Nature perplexes me ... I believe Creator manifests in Nature. Where is the rightness or wrongness in a hunter killing its prey? Love shines in ways not always obvious. I pray for clear vision, not specific answers.

SLIDER< Yopo: Good philosophy -- and a clear vision is what shows us the way to continue. *S*

Ben< I like the one where God asked Adam and Eve, "Who told you that you were naked?" Of course, Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the snake. There's nothing new about passing the buck.

Ben< ALL: Have you been asked questions by a discarnate entity such as an angel, ghost, demon, etc.? If so, please give an example of the entity's question and your answer. YOUR TURN

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, but the circumstance and question and my response would take me too much time to explain tonight.

FRAML< Ben: Asked questions or given impulses to do something you "knew" was wrong but they desired to have? Also I have been given inspiration to speak to people in chat rooms, whom I otherwise would have ignored.

Ben< FRAML: I was thinking of overt questions asked by discarnates, rather than subliminal suggestions and urges, although I think the latter are more common.

FRAML< Ben: Perhaps I'm too closed to voice input. I remember being "driven" one day to get help for some "Good Catholic Ghosts" (others, see my website for details.)

Ben< FRAML: Yes, not everyone is open to voice input, and not all discarnates ask questions -- and questions don't have to be verbal.

Yopo< Never questioned, that I recall. Perhaps in dreams. But I have been given messages in dreams that I am still trying to figure out. *LOL*

K'AM< As Yopo said, in dreams .. but can we be sure that what we dream is truly a message from an entity, or only our mind doing wishing/denying/etc.???

Yopo< K'AM: There seem to be many sorts of dreams. Their parameters seem to differ. I suspect many ARE just internal fantasy. Others seem to have a quality about them that suggest we are visiting some other place quite real.

K'AM< Yopo: True ... to both .. the internal fantasy and the other place.

Kathleen< I guess in a way I was asked for help from the ghost of a woman who had been murdered by a sailor. She had taken over my sister and was using my sister to write all the information down. The ghost basically wanted her body to be found and the person brought to justice ... that was 24 years ago. I think that is the only time.

Celtic< I have never seen an entity, but one day I did hear a voice tell me to call my Father. I called and talked to him, and then three days later he died. The conversation we had was about past wrongs we had done to each other, and we settled the past and forgave each other. I think it was something that had to be completed before he died.

Ben< Kathleen, Celtic: Thanks.

Lor< I do not recall having had a question posed to me, although I have received answers to questions I have posed.

LAGONE< To all of you, I wish I could express myself like you do. I'm just a true believer in God and he guides me.

SLIDER< Ben: I've had many messages that showed me the consequences of my actions if I continued on the course I was on. I think I've listened to advice from a higher source more than anything else.

Ben< The ghost of an American Indian shaman asked me, "Why do you disturb us?" I answered, "We're not here to talk to you; we're here to help you home."

LEGS< Ben: Within my head came the question, "Why do you think that these questions are not your own? Do you believe yourself so powerful or so important that someone from beyond would seek to communicate with you ... you, a weak vessel?" and at that point, it was clear to me that this was not my thought but the put-down of an attachee or a devilish suggestion to keep me torn up enough to seek validation from others for who I am. And at that point, in recognizing this fact, I became a better me ... one who could discern, not just listen.

Ben< LEGS: That was a nice piece of spiritual discernment. Good!

Ben< /topic OPEN

LAGONE< Ben: What about "What are false prophets?"

Ben< LAGONE: There are two types of false prophets: those who claim to speak for God or a god when they don't speak for anyone except themselves, and those who actually speak for a god or a spirit other than the one they claim to speak for.

LAGONE< Ben: Thank you. I think that there are a lot of them walking the streets right now trying to be others' consciences.

Ben< LAGONE: Good point. And there are a vast number of discarnates trying to be someone's (anyone's) guru, guide, or god. They try to set up a cult, just as their incarnate counterparts do.

Yopo< Ben: Do you think all who linger after physical death necessarily need to be helped to find their way? Have you ever encountered any who stay by choice, not because they're "lost", but with some specific purpose or "mission"?

Ben< Yopo: Those who hang around after death often do so for some agenda or purpose of their own -- like continuing to try to run the family business, for example. They don't think they are lost, and don't want to be helped.

FRAML< Yopo: I think there are ghosts who are here with unfinished business. Either they try to attach to someone, as the Irish guy looking for his fiancée was, or they decide that perhaps reincarnation is a way. One of the things we have to cleanse (purge = purgatory) is to let go of "unfinished business" (and other earthly links) -- then we are free to rise to Heaven/The Light. And about separating from the people we love, we can stretch those caring-connections all the way from them to the Light.

Yopo< Ben: Your comment about the shaman just got me wondering. Some of those folks may be pretty familiar with the territory they're now inhabiting. *S*

Ben< Yopo: Sorry, I didn't follow your last comment. With what territory are they familiar?

Yopo< Ben: Oh, uh, their imaginal realm. They commonly enter altered states in their practices, and deal with what I figure must be non-corporeal entities. Their healing operates on that level, as does their magic. I suppose that is how they see the world they enter after death. So, "familiar with the territory" ...

Ben< Yopo: Okay, now I understand what you meant. Yes, so it seems. However, their territory tends to be limited in the vertical dimension, between earth-mother and sky-father, thus neither higher nor lower. As he was rising, that shaman stopped at a level where the color is blue (sky), and I had to urge him to go above that level, to the Source of the Spirit Light.

Yopo< Ben: Is that account on your website? Would like to read it later.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, click "Sampler" and then scroll down to "Spiritual Rescue of a Tribe of Indians". And as a postscript to that event, try "Yes, We Also Do Houses".

Yopo< Ben: BTW ... Is there any simple way to determine if one has acquired an "attachment"?

Ben< Yopo: Not always simple, but there are some fairly common symptoms -- like voices in the head, and urges or emotions that seem to take on a life of their own.

Yopo< Ben: What about the sudden reappearance of habits long given up? I suppose that would fall under "urges".

Ben< Yopo: Yes, habits can be an indication. So can skills, or languages, if suddenly acquired with no practice.

Yopo< Ben: Well. If I suddenly pick up a knack with plumbing, I'll have solid evidence. *LOL*

Suzanne< Ben and Yopo: I have noticed in clients "an attachment" that often deals with out-of-the-ordinary memories or confused memories. Does this fit?

Ben< Suzanne: Yes, an attachee's memories may suddenly appear.

Suzanne< I have on occasion seen these. Also I have noticed when in deep therapy a client might actually have a slight facial change. Have you ever noticed this?

Ben< Suzanne: Yes, facial changes, and twitches and jerks and spasms, and howls and growls ... etc.

Yopo< Hmm ... Are things never on a very subtle level?

[Ben< Yopo: Symptoms of a discarnate attachee are almost always subtle. The physical symptoms I just mentioned are rare in my experience.]

Suzanne< Never noticed any howls or growls, but voice changes that were not memory age related. I also have felt that there are times when an attachment actually becomes a permanent part of the multiple personalities we all display. Does this settle with what you know?

Ben< Suzanne: MPD and attached entities are two different things. Different causes, and different indicated approaches to therapy. MPD needs reintegration. Attachees need to be detached and rescued.

Suzanne< hummm ... not sure I agree with you on this, Ben. In times of stress a MPD may appear. They do not need traditional therapy, in my opinion, (in all cases), but I am speaking of a time when an attachment becomes a part of the personality as a helper. Perhaps there is another term for this ?

Ben< Suzanne: An entity may attach to a sub-personality. And there are both entities and sub-personalities that function as helpers. But nevertheless, entities and sub-personalities have different origins and require different solutions.

Suzanne< Ben: I am not sure I understand much of this. I only recently allowed this to be approached in my practice because of something I recognized in my mother. I have always dealt with MPD, but much differently than others, so if you could explain the helpers it would be greatly appreciated -- or am I asking you to repeat here?

Ben< Suzanne: Differential diagnosis between MPD, an attachee, and a past life memory, is a *large* subject. In any case, "helper" is a purpose (to want to help) and a function (to act helpfully). But entities and sub-personalities don't always know what they are doing. Some "helpers" do more harm than good.

Suzanne< Thanks, Ben. Good night, everyone. *S*

Yopo< Ben: Does attachment require a certain degree of sophistication on the part of the discarnate? Hmm ... Let me rephrase. Is it likely that a spiritually unsophisticated individual could become a problem for one still living who has a bit more awareness of the spiritual side of life than the departed had?

Ben< Yopo: Sophistication isn't necessary for attachment. See "Stacey, the Cat" on my site for an example of unsophisticated attachment. [Also -- in the first part of "Spiritual Rescue of a Tribe of Indians" -- the insect spirits that attached to Carol.]

Ben< ALL: Okay, 'tis time for me to rest. Peace and blessings to each of you. *poof*

Seminars | Next |