21. Going within
Session 1
Spiritual Web Chat
Sat 27 Nov 1999

Ben< ALL: The subject of this seminar is "going within". I selected it because I have so often seen instructions such as "Go within" and statements such as "I go within" and wondered if they mean to other people what they mean to me. Ready? Here we go.

Ben< QUESTION 1: If someone says "Go within" what do you think they mean? Or if you say "Go within" to someone else, what do you mean? Or how would you explain this two-word instruction to someone who asked you what it meant? YOUR TURN

Bee49< If I "go within", I am seeking the light and peace within myself.

Ben< Bee49: Okay. How do you do that? Or how would you explain what you do, so someone else could do it, too?

Bee49< Ben: I quiet my mind through meditation and prayer, concentrating on breathing until I feel not part of this world in total silence... then I listen.

Star12< Meditate and thus find the answer within your own heart. Or just being quiet for a bit... and calming down. Your human mind will think in a logical manner.

Ben< Star12: Being quiet for a bit, calming down. Yes. Some have great difficulty being quiet or calming down. What would you suggest to them?

Star12< Sit still and breathe slowly through the nose... stomach breathe, if you know how. As Bee said, concentrate only on your breath.

greyman< Ben: To find your center. To compose self control in a stressful situation.

Ben< greyman: Yes. Going within implies motion toward center. To compose something means to draw or place or get it all together.

FRAML< Ben: I guess I'll agree with greyman about finding one's center.

SLIDER< Ben: If I go within, it is to listen to nothing around me, and to quell all my thought, so as not to hear, feel or see that which is stimulating my five senses. And that is how I would explain it to someone.

Ben< SLIDER: As I read you, you withdraw your attention from all five somatic (bodily) senses, and you quell your own thoughts. This is a set of inner disciplines.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes. I hope I worded it right. *s*

Ben< Comment: Going is a type of motion that implies a change of location. Within is a location (inside of something). Thus "going within" literally means moving from the outside to the inside of something, so the first question for tonight could have been "Going within WHAT?" But I didn't ask that question, because most people answer "Going within oneself, of course."

Ben< QUESTION 2: "Go within" can mean "Pay attention to your own inner feelings." But then what? Suppose you do it and notice that your stomach feels "all tied up in knots". How do you interpret this visceral sensation? What might it signify to you? YOUR TURN

Yopo< I guess I would use "going" in the sense of "changing focus"...

SLIDER< Ben: Could we call "going in" a withdrawal from the earthly senses that let us know our carnal body exists, in order to listen to our spiritual self?

Ben< SLIDER: Yes. I think that withdrawing attention from the five external senses and paying attention to one's inner feelings is going within physically but not spiritually, because one is still paying attention to sensory inputs.

Yopo< I would interpret internal sensations as another layer of "somatic" input that is still between myself and what I am trying to connect with.

Ben< Yopo: Yes. Well said. More concisely than the way I said it. *S*

FRAML< Ben: To me that would be taking counsel of my fears. It also implies that all the answers lie within me, and I don't need any outside source of knowledge or power. I don't believe that, but think that is what many I've heard use the term mean it to be.

Ben< FRAML: Yes, many use the expression "going within" as I just described it. Taking counsel of one's fears is part of the problem. Taking counsel of one's pleasant inner sensations is the flip side of the same problem, in my opinion.

greyman< I shall light a candle of understanding in thine heart, which shall not be put out. -- from The Apocrypha

Ben< greyman: Yes, a candle of understanding. Inner light. Often hidden by sensory inputs (external and inner perceptions).

Bee49< If I experience what you described, Ben, it would probably mean that I have allowed my thoughts to focus on my fears and problems.

Ben< Bee49: Yes. A nice, precise response to my second question.

Ben< Comment: "Going within oneself" could have raised the question, "What is oneself?" But I didn't ask that question, either, because it leads to voluminous assertions and counter-assertions -- and I only have a week to edit this transcript.

greyman< What do they call a comedian who doesn't get any laughs? A philosopher. -- Phil Proctor

Ben< QUESTION 3: "Go within" can mean "Look into your own mind; observe yourself thinking; investigate your feelings, memories, qualities, character, conduct, actions, reactions, motives, etc." This is introspection. I call it homework. Have you been surprised at what you found this way? If so, please give an example. YOUR TURN

SLIDER< Ben: I find it hard to explain to someone that has not been able to recognize an inner journey, what an inner journey is, until they have actually experienced that type of journey so they have something that can be compared with what I say.

Ben< SLIDER: Good point. And yet it can help, some, sometimes, if those who have explored their own inner space(s) do try to explain.

Bee49< Investigating my feelings, qualities, etc, usually leads me to remember an act (or usually a fault in personality *S*) that I have to forgive myself for in order to release it and grow.

Yopo< I've been unpleasantly surprised sometimes, to find pride and vanity at the root of things I thought a bit more noble. Some childish component of me, that still sometimes takes satisfaction in thinking itself more "spiritually advanced" than someone else. Not pleasant to recognize such a thing in oneself. Nor sufficiently humbling, when the recognition IS made.

Ben< Bee49 and Yopo: Yes. Though I've often seen it said (or implied) that self-realization is a major accomplishment, I've found it to be a lot more like weeding a garden. And like planting a garden, too. *smile*

Yopo< HA! The childish component even tries to take satisfaction in the "self-knowledge" such a confession implies. (Like the-devil-as-a-lawyer says at the end of a recent movie, smiling: "Vanity... One of my FAVORITE sins!")

FRAML< Yopo: Sometimes folks who are spiritually 'advanced' in some ways are blind to the possible pitfalls. Perhaps your own level could be called experienced and mature, thus slowly going where others rush in.

greyman< Yopo: When you're swimming in the creek and an eel bites your cheek, That's a moray! -- Fabulous Furry Freak Bros.

Yopo< greyman *LOL*

5foot2< I find that going within is the place I find peace when the chaos of the world has me swimming. It helps to center and evaluate/determine priorities and motivation.

[Ben< 5foot2: Yes, to stop and get quiet instead of sloshing around in a whirlpool. And what we do with (or about) what we find when we look within or go within is another good point.]

FRAML< Ben: I never thought of your homework assignments as 'going within'. I found that inward study and practice led to an outward source of spiritual contact. I was learning what I could and couldn't do, but also how to increase my 'could do' through inner connections upward.

Ben< FRAML: *smile* How about the homework assignment "tread water for awhile"? That's an inner self-discipline. It may help with divine connections (by reducing the inner static) but the purpose is spiritual hygiene.

FRAML< Ben: Isn't that what I'm currently doing?

Ben< FRAML: Yes. And it is part of the process of going within (centering), because it is part of the quieting, the calming, that was mentioned earlier.

SLIDER< Ben: As for FRAML's last post on outward sources of help on an inward journey, I feel that one has to face their progress or regress with one's own comprehension of the subject matter at hand to qualify it as a true inner journey. If I'm off base here, please put me back on track. I liked Yopo's post on the same question.

FRAML< SLIDER: I was referring to getting a connection to God as the outward source while on that inner journey.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes. The controls for self-control are inside the cockpit, including the radio controls.

SLIDER< Ben: Yes, and the difference would be, thinking about facing that which you seek, or facing it head on.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, there is a big difference between observing and thinking and doing.

FRAML< SLIDER: GAD!!! I am tired, I didn't even notice your puns. *S*

SLIDER< FRAML: I didn't mean any puns by that post. I feel an inward journey is personal, as in taking inventory of one's self, and I know God sees and hears all. Sometimes we just have to be alone, though. *G*

Ben< QUESTION 4: Is there a difference between looking within and going within? If you think there is, how would you explain that difference to someone who asked you? YOUR TURN

Yopo< I gotta believe that whatever that "inner candle of wisdom" is, it's maybe inside of me, but it's NOT me. Gotta discern where I stop, and it begins, to avoid the pitfalls. This is the main reason that the "I am God" line of thinking seems more than a bit dangerous to me.

Ben< Yopo: We will look at the candle within during this seminar, and consider the merits of various interpretations concerning what it is.

greyman< Ben: Perspective: looking within implies observation from a fixed point outside center, into center. Going within implies movement towards center.

Ben< Yopo & greyman: Good points. Thank you.

FRAML< I guess I'm too tired to understand the metaphor (or five) of the 'candle within'.

Bee49< Looking within would be the visualization from outside yourself, and going within would be the conscious act of seeking.

Ben< Bee49: Yes. I agree with greyman. Looking implies observation but not motion. Going always implies motion. Thus, there is something like a point-of-view that can look within oneself and/or go within oneself.

Yopo< Hmm. I am a bit confused by the distinction between "looking" and "going" within. Unless maybe it would be the process of discriminating between what is me and what is the holy thing within. "Going" might mean you are passing by and through the interference to get to a point where nothing separates your essential self from that inner light. "Looking" might imply you're still holding yourself at a distance, with all that intervening stuff sorta distorting your view?

Ben< Yopo: Yes, going within also includes identifying whatever you find there.

Joyboy< Yopo: I feel going within is more of centering one's consciousness at the point within the heart rather than looking at it from outside.

Yopo< Joyboy: I think that also.

greyman< Good night dear ones. Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too self-ful to seek other than itself. -- Kahlil Gibran

FRAML< I'll follow greyman on the exit ramp. Good night all. Ben, perhaps this will make more sense to me when I re-read it later.

Ben< FRAML: The "candle" metaphor (or metafive) refers to the inner light.

FRAML< Ben: DAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I shouldn't have missed that one. // ALL: Remember to count your blessings before you sleep.

SLIDER< Peace be with you FRAML, and Blessings

Ben< SUMMARY: In spiritual usage "going within" implies moving from outside to inside oneself. By extension, it suggests motion toward the absolute center of oneself. Therefore, the entire concept of "going within" is meaningless unless one thinks of oneself as an object or entity having some type of area or volume and a boundary that separates everything inside from everything outside oneself.

Ben< (Webster's Dictionary) self -- 1. the identity, character, or essential qualities of any person or thing. 2. one's own person as distinct from all others. 3. one's own welfare, interest or advantage; selfishness (obsessed with self). [This definition is followed by 140 hyphenated words: the list is from self-abasement to self-winding. I think this whole list of 141 definitions is well worth reading for insights concerning what people mean when they use the word "self".]

Ben< /topic Discussion of "going within"

daCrone< I walk into a store and the clerk says: "Ma'am, can I help you?" I can answer: (1) no, just browsing or (2) yes, where are the socks? If I answer (1) I'm looking, not necessarily for something. If I answer (2) I am on a mission.

Ben< daCrone: Yes, one's purpose for going within (a store or oneself) can be either exploratory or specifically focused.

SLIDER< Ben: This is where I start to compare spirit and soul, and the connection of where spirit resides. Which is the wanderer, and where is home base, even if both are in constant motion?

Ben< SLIDER: Yes. Another way of expressing that is the question: "What moves when one goes within oneself?"

SLIDER< Ben: Well, I can only hypothesize on that one. *S*

Joyboy< From the absolute of Oneness, "Going Within" is senseless, I agree. For me at this point, I'm not feeling the Total Oneness of All that Is. I feel going within takes me out of the illusion of separation and sits me more in the Oneness.

Ben< Joyboy: "The total oneness of all that is" is an absolute assertion (a theory), and so one counter-example disproves it.

Joyboy< Ben: Are we playing with words here, or am I not getting what you're saying? "The total oneness of all that is" -- why is this a theory?

Ben< Joyboy: Think of what it would take to establish the statement "all is one" to a high degree of confidence. Everything in all dimensions and universes would have to be examined and found to be part of or connected to everything else.

Joyboy< Ben: OK, I feel I see where you're coming from. For me, I'm not there yet but have a Knowing of it, that all that we see or think of as "things" or "beings" or separate stars or planets or whatever are all illusion. For me they are all Energy and the form is the illusion. The energy has no concept or boundaries, so there is not many energies but only one! That's my feeling anyway! *smile*

[Ben< Joyboy: Suppose you take a handful of clay and shape it into the form of a cup. It is still clay, or energy in the form of clay. But is the cup an illusion? Does it only seem to be real, like a mirage? I say the cup is real as long as it exists.]

Yopo< Ben: For me, anyhow, the "look within" suggestion refers to the idea that humans are most often so focused on sensory inputs and their thoughts and feelings about them, that they overlook their own spiritual natures and the fact that this spiritual aspect of the self can connect with some other higher spiritual presence. Within/without is metaphor -- just a way of talking -- to my way of thinking. Comes mostly from strongly identifying with the physical body and thinking in terms of physical location?

Ben< Yopo: I agree with the first half of your comment, but I think inside and outside and boundaries are more than metaphors in spiritual reality. Together, those terms describe an entity, a unit, a one -- as in "one self". Some say that separation is an illusion, but the evidence often supports it as fact. I have found some entities connected to some other entities, but many that are indeed separated, lost, and difficult to find.

Yopo< Ben: This is a difficult thing for me to sort out. I mean, I wouldn't argue that spiritual entities are not in some sense or on some level localized in time and space. Too obvious to take issue with. But then I have this nagging intuition that on some level they're non-localized. Can't get a grip on this. God, for example, seems both localized and non-localized. I wonder if maybe it might depend upon the way WE are looking, or something. (Sorry. I KNOW the foregoing is vague.)

Ben< Yopo: Much of the difficulty is in trying to localize a spiritual entity in physical time and space. That only works for the incarnate and the earthbound. But spiritual entities are (by different degrees) separated from Source and from each other in spiritual space, as I tried to illustrate in "Paradigm".

Yopo< Ben: I'd better read that again, I think.

Thur< Greeting ... Listening

guitarist< Hello, everyone. I don't have much to contribute on this point, but I'm enjoying catching up on what's been said. I'm sorry to have missed FRAML, and Greyman, whom I haven't met yet.

Yopo< Something I have thought about, with regard to the within/without distinction, is that it is not only when I am "looking inward" that I feel connected to something higher than myself. Oftentimes that sense of connectedness seems to draw me out into the surrounding world, and the "higher presence" seems to shine within the things of that outward world. Guess this is why I think more in terms of a sort of "non-directional focus".

SLIDER< Yopo: We all look at the bigger picture most of the time; maybe we should be looking at what we can't see with the human eye. After all, how much info is stored in DNA? We as a race of people have only started breaking the codes.

Yopo< SLIDER: I'm just getting to where I "see" sometimes, but most often have trouble integrating what I "see" into a coherent "big picture". Understanding what I see is often a long time coming.

guitarist< Yopo: Understanding what I see is one of my biggest problems, too, when I do see it.

[Ben< Yopo: I'm reminded that you sometimes feel connected to specific living things in this world, but do not always feel connected to everything. I think this pattern points to an insight concerning how spiritual reality works.]

SLIDER< Ben: From what I understand of the writings, we are sparks of the one, trying to become individual personalities with an identity as an entity. We are probably still connected to the flow of the universe until we become competent enough to start a new universe that won't conflict with what is already created. Just some thoughts. *S*

Ben< SLIDER: As we get farther into this topic, the question of spiritual substance (sparks of spirit-light) may make sense. However, "going within" a spark doesn't make sense if a spark is merely a point without some type of area or volume.

SLIDER< Ben: A spark as we know it in scientific terms expands until it burns out or collects fuel to expand into a flame, etc. It may be just that simple.

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, the light from a spark (as a source of light) can be shown to occupy a volume of space that extends radially outward in all directions, with an intensity that decreases by the inverse square of the radius. SOURCE and Sources can be described this same way. *smile*

guitarist< SLIDER: If it is a spirit-spark we're talking about, where is it getting its fuel?

SLIDER< guitarist: Anything with the will to survive will find a source of subsistence if it's available. The universe abounds with all kinds of energy from a multitude of sources.

Thur< ALL: Have we established a specific meaning for the process of "going within" or are we looking for a meaning?

Ben< Thur: We looked at three meanings of "going within" tonight. And there are others.

Thur< Ben: Thanks. Is there one meaning that has been established for discussion?

Ben< Thur: Nope, no one meaning has been established for this discussion. I'm just trying to clarify several different meanings without eliminating any of them.

Yopo< Thur: I think maybe it is a matter of Ben having led the horses to water, but some of us not yet having drank. *LOL*

Thur< Yopo: Are you saying we ain't thirsty enough? (:-)

Ben< Yopo: It just occurred to me, you might also take a look at "astral levels" in "Glossary" -- it describes in words the clairvoyant vision that I tried to illustrate in "Paradigm".

Yopo< Ben: I will do that. A lot of my definitions are woefully indefinite. *S* I have trouble too, separating perception from imagination sometimes. Oftentimes events in my life seem oddly meaningful when they happen; then I'll have doubts once I reflect on them more. Sometimes I find I just have to rely on my intuition, look for patterns. Logical consistency is not a thing I have complete faith in, these days.

Ben< Yopo: Logical consistency is a requirement for deduction. Pattern recognition is a requirement for induction. But logical consistency can only raise the validity of deductive conclusions up to but not beyond the validity of the weakest premise. So, that's a long way of saying I don't trust logical consistency as a complete indication of truth.

Yopo< Ben: *weak grin* I was sorta steeling myself for that observation after I thought more about my "distrust of logic" comment. *S* Yeah. The fault was no doubt with my own limiting premises. (Not to say that my logic isn't sometimes faulty.) Not so long ago, I was locked up in a very materialistic world-view. Materialistic assumptions. So the logical construct that grew out of them was like a cage. Like a filter, that kept bits that wouldn't fit from even reaching my consciousness. When some undeniable experiences broke through, my first response was to question the logic process itself. Probably seems odd to you. An old response, that still tricks me sometimes.

Ben< Yopo: That's a beautiful illustration and explanation of the inherent limitations of a materialist world-view, and what it automatically does to one's perception filters. Thank you.

guitarist< Ben: As I'm thinking about your question, I'm seeing "going within" as my mind turning inward to inside my spirit, and looking from there to G-d, whence comes my help. "Looking within" might be more like thinking about an issue or situation I might be facing, based on my knowledge alone.

[Ben< guitarist: Going within implies that the point-of-view moves, from outside to inside, and then looks at everything from there. Looking within implies trying to see what is (or is happening) inside, from an external point-of-view.]

Ben< guitarist: Yes, many go within and then look from there to find their God. Some, however, go within and find their God there. That difference is part of what I hope to explore in this seminar.

Thur< Ben: re your post to guitarist: obviously, that depends on *where* or what part of the within you go to.

guitarist< Ben: Do I understand you to be saying that "going within" is turning one's mind toward their spirit, and from there to G-d, and "looking within" is turning one's mind toward their spirit, and treating it as g-d?

Ben< guitarist: Nice distinction. However, it is still important to identify what one finds when one goes within. There's a lot of stuff in there!

Yopo< guitarist: I don't think Ben defined terms that way, but those definitions and the possibility of the latter error came up in the discussion tonight.

guitarist< Ben and Yopo: I think I understand what you mean; and in my case, I think you are right. I sense that there's a lot in me I can't identify. My first priority is my own spirit connection with G-d. When others get in the way, I need help with getting them out of the way.

Thur< Ben: There are various "opinions" on how to *identify* what one finds within. Have you/we established which we will use?

Ben< Thur: Again, no, we haven't established one opinion on how to identify what one may find within oneself. I'll be taking an exploratory approach to that topic next week. As you said, there are various opinions.

animalspiritwalk< hmmmm... to Ben's statement

guitarist< Thur and Ben: Maybe we need another walk in the *swamp* (reference to the previous seminar on discernment of spirits). More details on identifying the creatures in it. Ben, I found that somewhat helpful, but I need more.

Thur< guitarist: Seems there are many creatures in the "swamp" and they vary with the individual. I found we each have to sort out our own.

SLIDER< guitarist and Thur: Many times one will find exactly what they are looking for when they go within. The mood of thought when one makes a wish can take you within your mood, and if in anger it's easy to loose control of self and the thoughts that self projects. After all, thought is the beginning of all action. Looking at it from a different perspective.

Thur< SLIDER: I think you're quite right. Seems we should be very cautious about what we look for, because experience indicates there is also chaos and darkness within.

Ben< guitarist: When we explored the Maya Swamp, we used the working metaphor of wading through it and getting ourselves out of it. Now maybe we could invert the metaphor and look at identifying and removing chunks of the Maya Swamp from our inner selves. And planting something substantive there.

guitarist< Thank you, {{Ben}}!!! Yes! Like being able to take the boy out of the country, but not being able to take the country out of the boy! I feel like that *all* the time.

Ben< guitarist: I am one of those who needs to understand what I believe and have some facts in support of my faith. To me, faith is like a bridge built out over a river: the farther it is extended from its foundations, the shakier it gets. It helps to find something solid and put down some pilings, so the bridge becomes more like a causeway.

guitarist< Ben: So, are you suggesting that I should seek to see/understand/have more facts? That would be nice indeed. I recognize that I don't have *all* the facts right now, just some. What I have are facts and faith barely enough to get me through the present moment, and maybe to the next. And your bridge does have another side, with pilings and foundations. Again, maybe I'm missing the point. Please help me get a clue.

SLIDER< guitarist: Knowledge is a great thing; understanding knowledge is greater; the clue is going after it. Don't stop looking.

guitarist< Slider: Thanks. I won't stop looking. Ever.

Ben< guitarist: I am suggesting that you continue. I see spiritual life as an open-ended process.

animalspiritwalk< Ben: I agree with your input to guitarist. It is not good to be spiritually bankrupt; it can be very lonely. Peace to you, guitarist.

Ben< guitarist: BTW, I don't say that often or lightly. Did you see my extension of "The Parable of the Ring"? It's at the end of the paper "It's a Secret".

guitarist< animalspiritwalk and Ben: I don't know what to call it. Spiritual bankruptcy may be correct, but I have been through several pretty heavy swamps, and come out of them. My problem is that I find myself carrying a lot of these swamps around with me and don't know how to stop. Fortunately, I've learned something along the way about controlling what gets out to other people. Or maybe some of the swamp cleared, enough that I could function to the extent that I do. I will look at "It's a Secret." Under which section is it?

Ben< guitarist: "It's A Secret" is linked near the end of "Contents".

animalspiritwalk< You know, as I'm reading the latest postings, I feel very honored to be in the presence of individuals that have substance within, and can't help but wondering one question as I read. I know I'm reading between the lines of statements that I've read, but my question is this. If we have our faith, which might I add, no one can take away from us, why look at our faith or perhaps even spirituality in an analytical concept, and focus on the materialistic vision we can see, touch, and feel, when all we have to do is simply believe and not question. Am I out of line for such a thought?

Ben< animalspiritwalk: Your observations are in line with Yopo's, with which I obviously agree.

animalspiritwalk< Thinking of a response to Ben's statement, coming up with something to share, just looking for the words.

Yopo< animalspiritwalk: I suppose I feel a need to be analytical in order to "reality test" what "feels right". I'm afraid if I didn't do that, I might wind up believing stuff just because it "feels good". Don't think I'd want to be where that would take me.

animalspiritwalk< True, Yopo, sometimes things have to be viewed at various angles, but does that include or own faith?

Thur< animalspiritwalk: It depends on what you mean by "faith". It seems to me we use "faith" for trying to believe what we know is not true.

guitarist< Thur: With all due respect, I disagree. If we knew that something were not true, I don't think we would have faith in it. Rather, I believe that faith is knowing something to be true but just not having seen it. Yet.

Thur< guitarist: Perhaps we misunderstand each other on "faith". Example: for me, it would take a great deal of faith to believe in "the resurrection" of the body.

guitarist< Thur: I think perhaps we do. But on this point, I agree with you. I haven't seen any resurrected bodies anywhere lately. *g*

Thur< guitarist: It seems to me our problems with understanding each other and all the issues/words involved result from "looking within" from the outside. Once we get "in" it should be easier.

guitarist< Thur: I think you may be right. *s*

Yopo< animalspiritwalk: Faith means a lot of different things to different people. I guess to me, it refers to a certain assortment of those premises Ben was talking about. Some I have, that I no longer question or analyze, 'cause they now seem self-evident to me. That love is best orientation in dealing with other creatures and spirits. That God exists, and relates to creation in that way, in spite of apparent evidence to the contrary. That the meaning of our existence extends beyond the span of our physical lifetimes. I accept that stuff on faith now, and no longer question it.

Ben< Yopo: Well said. Describes a step-by-step escape from materialism without leaping blindly into any other ism.

Shaman13< Spiritual realizations from the holy spirit fill your innermost thoughts if love is your guide in your meditations.

animalspiritwalk< Ben, and of course to all... is anyone familiar with the 12 steps of recovery, AA, NA, CA, GA, SAA, etc.?

Ben< animalspiritwalk: Yes, I'm familiar with the 12 step programs. They are very pragmatic and often effective (industrial grade) spirituality, in my opinion.

animalspiritwalk< I'll give you an example. I've been in recovery for alcoholism, drug addiction, and recently with the help of the other two, sex addiction (not the act of sex, but the compulsive dysfunctional behaviors), for six years. Before that my idea of god was simply, I thought I was it. Spirituality was BS, because of all of the hell I was going through. When I sobered up, I had to learn that (1) I was powerless of outcomes, but could contribute to them. (2) That there is a higher power other than myself that could restore me to sanity, and (3) I could live a better life if I had a strong spiritual base (not to be confused with religion) that I can believe in. Personally, I believe my spiritual belief (Native American) is what I need to survive in my world that I share with everyone else. Now, I could have just one hell of a day, someone can take all of my possession, money (which I have none, LOL), even my family could be taken from me, but no matter what, no one can take my faith in the spirits that are around me, no can take my belief away, and the faith that my spirituality can save me from hard times.

Yopo< animalspiritwalk: *S* Best evidence of the truth of one's faith is that it WORKS.

SLIDER< animalspiritwalk: It is a good feeling to believe in something, and one must first believe in themselves to enable them to hold faith in other things. I am happy for you that you have found faith. Bless you.

animalspiritwalk< Thank you, Yopo and Slider. Honestly though, LOL, this journey into spirituality was a struggle for me. Since being human, perhaps it's just nature for self-preservation that makes us turn a blind eye to spirituality. LMAO, wow! I don't know where that came from, but I need to remember that.

Ben< animalspiritwalk: Thank you. You have also described a path out of the swamp. And you have first-person experience as evidence that you are now on higher ground than you were.

Thur< animalspiritwalk: I have no problem with that. As Yopo says, "faith" seems to mean different things to different people.

animalspiritwalk< I think we can get strength from whatever we allow. I had to and still do use music for strength; it can bring passion when I have none, anger when I have to vent, serenity when I can't calm down.

guitarist< animalspiritwalk: May the Great Spirit continue to bless you always. I stand with you, even though I haven't been through quite all you have.

animalspiritwalk< Thank you ((guitarist)).

Yopo< animalspiritwalk: Maybe we wouldn't value something enough that came too easy to us. Has been a struggle for me, too, though of a different sort. For me, it was as if I had to make a conscious decision to believe certain things. Then I had to hang on tight for awhile, so it didn't slip away. And even now I have to constantly remind myself that I'm trying to get on further. All the things of the world sorta try to hypnotize a person, and pull one back down into a less aware way of living. I know I need help with that, and I ask for it often.

animalspiritwalk< ((Yopo)): I heard something you might like: There were three frogs on a log. One made a conscious decision to jump off. How many frogs are on the log?

SLIDER< animalspiritwalk: We reap the seeds that we sow. If (when the time comes), we are in an understanding of who and when and where we are at the time of passing from this carnal life, the passing will be joyous. But if we are not able to accept that the spirit leaves the body, we can become mired in the swamp of our own creating and never know the difference.

animalspiritwalk< Wow, I'm really finding this conversation so rich, I truly enjoy this. Is anyone from Minnesota, here, where we could build even a stronger friendship?

Yopo< animalspiritwalk: Nope, I'm way down in Indiana. *S* One thing about SWC, though... distance doesn't seem to be a barrier to friendship.

animalspiritwalk< Yopo: Splendidly put; I couldn't agree with you more. *S*

Shaman13< Yopo: I'm also from Indiana.

SLIDER< animalspiritwalk: Northern California here.

Ben< animalspiritwalk: I'm in Maryland, near Washington DC.

animalspiritwalk< Ben: My heart aches. I miss Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Used to live in VA but I wasted time being there due to my addictions. (sigh)

guitarist< animalspiritwalk: I agree with Yopo. I'm from Delaware, and I'm new to this group. Yet, I am always warmly welcomed. I extend this to you also.

animalspiritwalk< guitarist: Thank you, my friends. Now I'm being requested to converse with a friend from Australia. I look forward to seeing you again, if I don't see you later this eve. Bless you all, and may light guide you on your paths.

guitarist< Goodnight, animalspiritwalk. I'm honored to make your acquaintance.

animalspiritwalk< guitarist: *S* stay away from the swamps. c-ya.

Yopo< I'm suddenly having trouble keeping my eyes open. Think I'd best call it an evening. Ben, very glad the seminars have returned from that mysterious State of Hiatus. *S* Looking forward to the next! You probably don't really know how much you're appreciated here. Good night, ALL! Blessings...

Ben< ALL: Since my last post, my clock buzzed, which means it's time for me to go to bed, and the dog decided he had to go outside NOW. Having taken care of the latter, it is now time to take care of the former. Peace and blessings to each of you. Good night. *poof*

SLIDER< Well folks it's time for me to hit the sack also. Ben, thanks for continuing on with the seminars, I enjoy the get-together when I can make it. Blessings to all, till next time.

Session 2
Sat 04 Dec 1999

Ben< ALL: The subject of this seminar is "going within". Last week we noted there are several ideas concerning what that means, and that's Okay. This week and next, we will look at some ways to identify and interpret what one may find this way.

Ben< ALL: Many people say "Go within" when they mean "Look within -- pay attention to your inner feelings." And that is a potentially useful thing to do. But then what? Let's look at some examples of identification and interpretation of inner feelings. Ready? Here we go.

Ben< SCENARIO 1: A young couple living in Texas received notice that they would be moving to better jobs in Maryland in two weeks. The next day their four-year old daughter came home from day-care looking dejected and said "I feel bad." If she were your daughter, what would you say, do, ask, try to ascertain? YOUR TURN

WindFire< Does the child know about the forthcoming move?

Ben< WindFire: Yes, she heard her parents talking about the move.

bluestar< Ask her more questions to find out, a) if the problem is physical or emotional, and b) what more specifically she feels bad about.

SLIDER< It would depend if the child was reacting to the move, in which case I would try to talk to the child about the pros of going somewhere else. And if it were not a reaction to the move, I would try and find the underlying problem.

Yopo< *S* Ask her. But you probably already know. She's thinking about leaving someone or some setting she likes, for an unfamiliar place.

LEGS< Yes, moving is traumatic for all ages ... and it should be explained with hope for new friends at the forthcoming location and a way provided to keep in touch with the old friends.

guitarist< I guess the first thing I'd do is try to get more details on why my daughter feels bad. Question her gently. Think through exactly the words I'd use to help her express herself. Perhaps she's feeling left out of things, or maybe something happened with one of the other kids. Or maybe she's sick with a tummy ache. I would try to get to some specific explanation. If she can't help, maybe call the daycare center and find out what happened.

daCrone< At four, descriptions of feelings are not completely possible. I would hug her and commiserate for a brief time. Then I would try to get her involved in something she liked a lot -- probably a type of play or make-believe. I would start listening for key words and watching for key actions. Once she was into the game, I would attempt to present a situation that would reflect the move, so that she would volunteer what she might not or could not say if she was asked directly. I would look and listen because words would be insufficient, I think. I would give lots of accepting reinforcement during this ... sounds manipulative as I write it.

WindFire< I would start by asking the little one what was wrong; assumptions are sometimes lethal, and that's a great way to address the issue.

Ben< Good responses. Thanks.

Ben< ALL: They found nothing physically wrong with her. So they asked her "Why do you feel so bad?" She said "I hate that school!" Now what would you say, do, ask? YOUR TURN

Caelum< We need to have the child discuss her feeling, but not make an issue out of it. We need more information on this one.

WindFire< I would then be honest and explain that it is sometimes hard to make such drastic changes, and we would then talk about how she could keep in touch with her friends, and most of all, talk about all the new exciting opportunities our new life might bring.

Caelum< I would say "Why?" Again, no need to create anything.

spirit57< I would say "How come?"

SLIDER< Ben: What school? The one she's going to, or the one she will be attending?

Ben< SLIDER: She was speaking about the school she was presently going to.

SLIDER< Ben: If she hates the school she is attending, I would say that solves a whole bunch of problems. Now the parents can prepare her for the school she will be attending. Change is sometimes a good thing.

Yopo< Hmm ... Somebody said something about the danger of making assumptions? *S* Not having had a child, I'm uncertain if a four-year-old would try to tell herself she doesn't like something to take the sting out of losing it. "Why don't you like the school?" would probably come next.

daCrone< I would be inclined to use a parallel story, one in which there is change and relocation. And, as WindFire noted, one which built toward a fun and good-things-to-come scenario. I would also reassure her that her life was with my husband and myself; we are a family and we stick together; we go places together; we have adventures together.

bluestar< Give her an opportunity to vent. Then ask her "why" which probably wouldn't bring much more than some more emotional responses, but they might give me some clues, and then maybe something like "Did something happen today to make you feel this way?" And then maybe "Did you feel this way yesterday?"

LEGS< Ah, the "I hate that school" comment ... wish I had a nickel ... *s* ... OK ... specifically, and most usually, the child has not realized what she expected of someone at the school, but she is not ready to condemn that person or group, so it must be the school. The inanimate object of such hatred is more easily addressed and is more likely to be forgotten sooner when one of the disappointments is replaced with new expectations or is belatedly 'filled' as expected or in a similar manner. Jumping to conclusion ... maybe she expected a little more 'sadness' when her classmates learned she was leaving ... ????

FRAML< Ben: I'd say "Gee honey, I'm in the military, and it is time for us to move to a new assignment."

guitarist< I would ask her who her friends were, if I didn't know. Then I would probably commiserate with her, as daCrone suggests. I think that self-expression depends on the four-year-old. A couple of my cousins could talk intelligently with adults at age three. Then I might exchange addresses with her friends' parents that night, and show her that we can indeed keep in touch.

WindFire< Exactly. I'd want to determine if there was a new conflict at the school, or if it was a common anger response of feeling out of control ... i.e., not being able to have a say-so in the move decision.

peachrose< Actually, for me, I wouldn't open up dialog about what was or wasn't hated about school. I think a different topic needs to be discussed ... a hug and then spend a little time doing a happy/fun activity and then go into what the child likes and what is different now. Then it isn't so much anger and hate and the school, but what actually has brought such a feeling of sadness and anger.

Ben< Good, thoughtful responses. Thank you.

LEGS< I do believe we often under-rate the info the young ones have. It is the rare child who is unaware of such an issue as change of residence, much less change of location, town. Impending moves take a lot of discussion and planning.

WindFire< This happened to me. I was a bit older and decided I wasn't GOING to move, and I didn't.

Ben< ALL: In the case I have in mind, her father asked her "Do you want to stop going to that school?" She said "NO!" Her mother asked her "Are you feeling bad because you don't want to move to Maryland and leave your friends at school?" She sobbed and said "Yes." Then both parents gently explained to her: "That kind of feeling has a name. It is called feeling sad. And it's Okay to feel sad. You don't have to say you hate that school to make yourself feel better about moving away. You can just say "I'm feeling sad because I like my friends and don't want to leave them." The little girl brightened up and smiled. Her parents hugged her, and she went out to play. Next day she told her friends and teachers why she was feeling sad, and they all hugged her, too.

Ben< Comment: I posted this scenario as an example of why we need to be able to identify (name) specific inner feelings and understand what causes them. Next scenario shortly. (It starts with a long series of inputs)

bluestar< I often find myself pointing out to kids that anger is often the result of not wanting to feel "bad" or "sad" when somebody does something to hurt them. I suppose a lot of adults could use this information as well ... probably would result in a more peaceful world.

daCrone< Goes to show I make mountains out of molehills ... what could be accomplished with two questions I made into a theatrical presentation. *sigh*

bluestar< Kudos to the parents who zeroed right in on the situation, and helped their little girl before her "sadness" got out of hand.

guitarist< I'm glad I'm getting the chance to see what all of you would do, too. I'm a step-mom who acquired my son when he was nearly 13, so I haven't encountered this situation. I might have made a mountain out of a molehill, too.

Ben< SCENARIO 2: If you will bear with me for a few minutes, I would like to post a fairly long story (10 paragraphs) from my archives. Then I'll ask you to analyze and evaluate what I did in this case.

Ben< My cousin Chuck was a big boy, several years older than I was. His room was at the top of the stairs in Aunt Mary's house, and he had some very nice model airplanes. I was looking at one when he came up the stairs and into the room.

Ben< He yelled, "Put that down! That's mine!" He snatched the model airplane out of my hands, laid it on his bed, turned back and hit me full in the face with his fist. When I got up off the floor, blood was running down my shirt and all over the place. He went to the top of the stairs and yelled, "Ben's got a nose-bleed!"

Ben< Mom and Aunt Mary came. Mom took me down the hall to the bathroom and showed me how to stop a nose-bleed. She put a wad of cotton under my upper lip, a cold compress on the back of my neck, and told me to tip my head back just a little. While we were there, I overheard Aunt Mary ask Chuck what happened. He said, "He was messing with my airplanes." "Oh," she said, and that was the end of that.

Ben< Mom and Aunt Mary went back downstairs, and I sat by myself, halfway down the stairs, out of the way. My nose had almost stopped bleeding, and it didn't hurt much anymore, but my stomach hurt. That was strange. He didn't hit me in the stomach, only the nose, so why did my stomach hurt?

Ben< I sort of looked inside myself to see what hurt, and was surprised to find there was something in there that wanted to cry. Then I remembered a little girl who was crying when nothing seemed to be wrong with her, and one of the adults said, "She got her feelings hurt."

Ben< "Oh," I thought, "This must be what they mean by feelings. I've got my feelings hurt. How did that happen?"

Ben< When I thought about Chuck, my feelings quit hurting. That was interesting. He didn't hurt my feelings, just my nose. When I thought about Aunt Mary, my feelings hurt a little, and when I thought about Mom, they hurt a lot. So Aunt Mary and Mom hurt my feelings. How did they do that?

Ben< Oh ... because they didn't do anything to Chuck for hitting me, or even scold him. They let him get away with it. That was not right. Mom and Aunt Mary let me down -- especially Mom.

Ben< Should I tell Mom she hurt my feelings? No, she probably can't do anything now, to make it right. She'd just get in a big argument with Aunt Mary. And I can't do anything to make it right, either, so I guess I'll just have to let it go.

Ben< I heaved a big sigh -- and the hurt in the middle of me vanished. I sort of looked for it again, but it wasn't there. "That was interesting," I thought. I looked inside to see if my feelings were hurt several times that day and the next day, but they weren't.

Ben< ALL: Okay. What did I actually do in this case? Can you describe it as a series of steps starting with "(1) Pay attention to an inner feeling" -- so it might be offered to someone else as a potentially useful checklist of mental tools? YOUR TURN

Caelum< (2) Decide what the appropriate action is. Adults have trouble with this. It is a lot to expect out of a child.

WindFire< (2) Initiation of self-analysis rather than emotional-based physical reaction; i.e., "Ben" could have snuck up behind him later and gotten "revenge". (3) Self-Inventory -- Identifying the "what" and "how" and "where" of the pain of the experience, so as to understand the situation in full. (4) Identified the root of the emotional pain. (5) Made a response DECISION, which ended in conflict resolution. In this case, "Ben" decided it was more mature to let the issue go, learn a lesson in the process, and not complicate a typical family problem scenario.

peachrose< shock, denial, betrayal, grief ... surrender = relief

pippi< I guess the first thing you did was actually look at what it was you were feeling. And then you were able to feel it in its rawness without the conflict of mindfulness.

Yopo< Uh, (1) Take note of inner feelings; (2) Try to correlate 'em to external circumstances; (3) Decide on an appropriate response to external circumstances, or decide not to respond; and (4) Try to take stock of what you've learned. (Keep away from Chuck's airplanes, or be prepared to block a right jab.)

bluestar< (1) Recognize inner feeling. (2) identify it was feelings hurt. (3) figure out how/who/what was cause of hurt feelings. (4) think of ways to deal with feelings. (5) decide on way to deal with feeling. (6) let feeling go.

guitarist< (2) identified the thing as a feeling; (3) identified what feeling it was; (4) thought about each of the people involved; (5) identified from whom the feelings came; (6) the degree of feelings from each person; (7) asked yourself what to do; (8) reasoned out each option; (9) eliminated all options, for one reason or another, and (10) let it go. By the way, how old were you when this happened? This seems sophisticated for a very young boy. And it seems to me that this process is not quite as clear-cut for girls, IMO.

Ben< guitarist: I was 7. Chuck was 12.

WindFire< Oh, this is really you, Ben! Wish I could have handled situations in that manner when I was younger! I too have learned that some people take their boundaries VERY seriously, and today I don't touch anything that doesn't belong to me without an understanding first!

SLIDER< Ben: First of all I give you thumbs up for not holding a grudge against Chuck, and I think you were very fortunate to recognize at that young age how to search your soul and rectify the situation.

Ben< SLIDER: Thanks for the thumbs up. As to Chuck, I did wonder why my feelings stopped hurting when I thought about him. I thought that was because I didn't expect any better of him, as I did of Aunt Mary and especially Mom.

daCrone< introspection, related internal feeling to external example, evaluated relationships, judged possible actions to be detrimental, accepted lesson, re-examined internal feelings in light of lesson. // I am wondering if this was Ben's first experience with violence, and what kind of a man did Chuck grow to be?

guitarist< Slider, daCrone: I too admire Ben's reaction. I would ask the same questions about the experience and Chuck also.

WindFire< I think that is a great example of looking within ... on a less than esoteric scale, though a very practical one!

verge< Ben: Did you really look within, or just respond to your emotions which have their most impact upon the solar plexus?

[Ben< verge: I paid attention to the hurt feeling in my stomach and wondered why it hurt -- then focused my attention on it and sort of got into it.]

Caelum< Ben: How do you know your Mother overheard what you did?

Ben< Caelum: Mom didn't overhear what I was thinking while I sat on the stairs. (At least, I don't think she did. *smile*) I was just considering telling her that she hurt my feelings, and then decided not to do that.

Caelum< Ben: Did she overhear your Aunt and Cousin, silly.

Ben< Caelum: Oh ... (sheepish grin). I don't know whether Mom overheard that bit of conversation between my aunt and cousin or not.

Caelum< Ben: Your Mother can't fix what she doesn't know about. You just said she can't read your mind. You are displacing anger. I wish I had a nickel for every time I had to say to one of my kids "If you had only told me, I would have taken care of that!"

WindFire< I beg to differ, Caelum. His mother was QUITE aware of the situation. People are not stupid, contrary to popular belief. She was there, he was bleeding. If a parent can't pick up on that, then perhaps the parent needs some reality therapy.

Lor< Ben: It's curious that you did not resent Chuck popin' you one for just looking at a plane, but had your feelings affected by just the adults.

FRAML< Lor: The adults didn't punish or admonish Chuck for hitting Ben. Their actions basically condoned it. Ben's gut said "Mom will defend me" and she didn't.

pippi< Yes, I agree, we as children believe our mums will protect us and believe in us in times of need, and when this does not happen, we feel very much betrayed and our stomachs hurt to tell us our pain.

peachrose< Here is something similar, Ben ... and I don't usually share so personal. When I was growing up, my older brother had done something, and so I went inside and told my mother what he had done. By this time my brother had reached the kitchen where we were talking, and he punched me in the mouth and I flew across the room. My mother sent me to my room. The end. And it wasn't' tattle-taleing, it was something that needed to be stopped. But it never stopped... and I never could tell anyone for years.

daCrone< (((peachrose)))

peachrose< But I didn't learn to keep my mouth shut. I learned to share openly with myself and to not hide what I knew ... that they were not able to handle violent or abusive situations ... it made "them" feel uncomfortable ... so I only felt sad. I tried to liberate myself, not realizing at the age of 9 that just because they are big and are family and are adults doesn't mean they can fix all or heal all.

guitarist< ((((peachrose))))

SLIDER< Ben: Guess that's like getting chased out of the pasture by the bull and having everyone yell at you for being there in the first place. As for the way you described how you coped with the situation, I would say perhaps preschool counseling to make children aware of the impact that feelings carry. But I guess in today's world we have to start with the over 30 group.

Caelum< Ben: Your stomach hurt because you felt all alone.

[Ben< Caelum: I chose to go sit by myself, out of the way. I wasn't feeling lonely.]

Lor< Ben: It seems you have identified something related to your hurt feelings as having something to do with your expectations.

[Ben< Lor: Yes, my hurt feelings were related to my expectations.]

pippi< Ben: I feel you were able to recognize that Chuck was behaving as only Chuck could at that time, and were feeling the hurt of your mum not being able to identify with you, as we expect our others to be able to do.

bluestar< In all fairness to the moms, it's possible they didn't even know Chuck hit Ben (especially Ben's mom). All Chuck said was that Ben was messing around with his planes. Ben could have slugged himself in the nose with the model airplane or some other weird thing ... and sometimes people get bloody noses for no apparent reason at all.

WindFire< Ben's response was much healthier than going to the current power paradigm for solutions. First, you run to your parents, then the government, the police, always looking for someone else to protect you. This leads to a feeling of powerlessness. If one can rely on oneself for answers, at any age, one builds more and more confidence and strength. I'm not saying that, in some situations, outside intervention is not excellent -- I'm saying that Ben did what was in his power for a resolution; he obviously sensed that there were more complex issues involved with Aunt/Mother/Family.

peachrose< Ben: The thing that comes to me is that Chuck went and rang out for help for your bleeding nose as if he had full confidence in the strike he blew you ... as if when he hit you it was all he needed to express and so then you needed help ... so he didn't want to actually hurt you per se, but make a clear point across ... which (no offense) but in some cases are masculine. Boys are taught aggression to get the point across ... maybe. It's an idea.

guitarist< Ben: I was the older sister (by 8 years) than my brother. I was rebuked regularly for doing far less than Chuck did to you. Then it escalated. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking that maybe the adults were thinking of the future, that if you learned the boundary lesson right away, there wouldn't be future problems between you and Chuck. However, I think that someone as much older than you as Chuck was should have been shown a better way to handle it. He, too, IMO, was out of control.

Ben< ALL: A couple other bits of memory: I thought, "Chuck didn't need to hit me, but I should have asked him first." And "Mom would surely scold me and probably spank me if I ever hit a kid smaller than me like that." So there were some semi-conscious principles of right and wrong involved.

daCrone< There is also the very masculine tendency to 'shoulder' responsibility and keep a 'stiff upper lip' to consider. In women, this can make martyrs.

WindFire< Chuck knew that if he took the first action after he hammered Ben, he would have much more control of the outcome of the situation -- and he was right. Obviously, Chuck's not the kind of kid that is going to take a "naughty, naughty" from Mom, and let by-gones be by-gones. Ben probably prevented black eye number one and bloody nose number two.

SLIDER< WindFire: You must be good with kids. *S*

WindFire< Only ones I like, SLIDER, and that is very sad to say. I see them as little people with no experience, not as national treasures to be groomed, guarded, and programmed.

Yopo< I'm sorta thinking the adults in this scenario failed Chuck maybe even more than Ben.

WindFire< What's nice is that Ben, ultimately, could not be let down -- he didn't let himself be let down. He experienced his sadness, and learned a lesson about the nature of people, his own mother included. I'd bet that Chuck, on the other hand, eventually got 10-20 years for assault and battery.

peachrose< Ben: I think possession is nine-tenths of the law (so they say) and so the prized airplanes were one of your cousin's loves at that age. I would have noticed your attraction to them, and if I was "mom" I would have asked you if you wanted a hobby or had any new ideas to express and then spend the afternoon going for what was fun ... for you. Would have had a talk out in the yard with old Chuck, expressing his views on boundaries and objects, and maybe shed some help for his younger cousin on learning that you appreciate his attention and admire his respect, but he doesn't want his things touched. And maybe as mom I would have asked Chuck if he would like to teach Ben how to build such fine craftsman planes.

guitarist< peachrose: I like your advice on this one. *s*

pippi< Ben: You were a very fortunate little person in that you were able to find the strength in yourself to say OK it hurts to feel, but it is OK. You acknowledged your pain and then you decided to let it go, and hence it was no longer there to hurt you.

Ben< Comment: Sometimes we can identify and interpret our own inner feelings; sometimes we need help with it. And we can continue to learn how to do it better. The causes of inner feelings can be grouped in three general categories: physical, psychological, and psychic -- and it is usually appropriate to consider the possible causes of an inner feeling in that order. One technique is to ask oneself "Where is this feeling coming from?" The subconscious mind often presents information to conscious awareness by popping up a memory related to the question.

Yopo< "Physical, psychological, psychic" *S* Seems maybe making the distinction might become more difficult, left to right ...

WindFire< Ben: How does clinical psychology make the distinction between psychological and psychic these days?

Ben< WindFire: I'm not sure whether Clinical Psychology distinguishes between psychological and psychic. But I do, and I'll be addressing some of that distinction next week.

WindFire< Great Ben! I'd love to hear it! The closest I've seen is Jung.

Ben< /topic Discussion: Identifying and evaluating inner feelings

pippi< Identifying these inner feelings is the hardest part ... especially as we become adults. We have covered up so much of what we have felt over the years that it can be a slow process of peeling the layers back to get to the true feeling ... and then we are able to work out how to deal with them.

bluestar< It does seem as though Ben got the most out of the whole scenario, even though he was the one who got hit. It does seem odd that an older person would condone a 12 year old slugging a 7 year old. On the other hand, it seems odd that Ben never brought it up with Mom at a later date. But certainly dealing with (as opposed to running away from) emotional situations independently has got to make one a stronger individual.

SLIDER< Ben: In times gone by, there was more of a pecking order in families than there is today. Some kids could do no wrong, and others were blamed whether they were present at the time in question or not. I feel this incident helped build character in you at a young age, but it may have taken some "looking inside" to realize it. *S* Been there.

peachrose< I also think that to help unfold a child is all about creativity; not so much black and white (unless its abstract art ... LOL). One incident like that in our household, and it won't happen again, and it wouldn't take abuse to get it to a level of understanding. The situation I would bet came up again ... maybe not the bloody nose, but the neglect and blind eyes happened again. So it builds character and self awareness ... it is about the unity ... in a human world we need human contact in all forms of interaction ... maybe.

LEGS< I'm not a tattletale, but I wouldn't have let Chuck get by with it. I would probably have told my mom that, if I weren't afraid I'd get another fist in the face, I'd tell her what really happened. But then, I'm not in favor of violence, and I don't think he should have gotten away with it.

WindFire< Any action against another is a violent action, LEGS ...

LEGS< Doormats are non-violent, too ... *s*

animalspiritwalk< {{LEGS}} Bet me, some of those damn doormats are mighty quick, and I've been tripped by a few in my life. *LOL*

peachrose< But they are victims, these door mats. They collect all the unwanted "soot" so to speak of others. LOL

pippi< And they have very little option to change their environment. They have to find some way to protect themselves.

WindFire< Ben did the only non-violent action; in this case, the only other non-violent choice was to sit down with Chuckie and talk it out. I wouldn't have done that either. Not worth it. I'd just seek out more companionable people to play with.

guitarist< WindFire: You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your family. *wry smile*

peachrose< WindFire: I most definitely would agree. So any solution when there is more than one involved includes taking care of the inside for each individually, pushing the responsibilities and how to flow with others and into society. And then creating absolutely beautiful expressions helps each child find themselves whole and with integrity and with -- most of all -- a profound knowing or feeling of LOVE ... to handle anything, to go for any dreams, and to comfort self when "it" failed an outcome expected.

pippi< If a child is allowed to feel their feelings in all that it contains, they are more likely to be able to identify these feelings as they grow into adults ... especially if we as adults allow this to happen and not put our interpretations on what they are feeling. They can decide for themselves as only they know how they are feeling. We are continually told we feel this and we feel that and accordingly we are categorized into groups and labeled and not understood as individuals. It is no wonder we are seeking more and more our individuality today.

guitarist< pippi: I agree with you. IMO, too much pressure to feel as others expect can land one in the loony bin sooner or later.

LEGS< Ben: I do find it interesting that this violence you didn't escape led to you going within, where in many cases of children being abused, they learn to escape by going OBE or becoming split personalities so they do not suffer the hurt in self, but create another self who can take it.

pippi< LEGS: I don't know if this case constituted abuse. Ben obviously was able to learn not only one lesson but many. I do know what you are talking about, though. People who do have split personalities resulting from trauma is usually from long term abuse.

WindFire< To keep it in topic -- Ben let his feelings flow, rather than allow them to force a hasty action. Mental attack, emotional attack, physical attack -- they are all forms of violence.

LEGS< WindFire: I think you must be looking at this from an adult's perspective. I misunderstood, and tried putting myself in the similar situation at a similar age to see what I would do. And knowing myself, at that age, I would have been righteously indignant enough to seek justice.

WindFire< *grins at LEGS* Oh, I agree on that! At that age, I'd probably have made my own justice ... which, sadly again, would have been no real solution.

LEGS< WindFire: I suppose I agree with the comment that Ben gained from this. But Chuck came out the loser because he 'got by' with it ... and it became a secret ... 'til now. One wonders how this influenced him in future situations.

Ben< ALL: There probably were a number of things Mom could have and would have done if I had spoken to her about that incident. But I was pretty self-reliant most of the time. The main lesson I learned from all this was that I could look within myself, find what was going on in there, and oftentimes do something about it by changing what I was thinking about. In retrospect, I think that lesson was worth a bloody nose.

guitarist< Ben: if I had your skills when I was 7, a great many bad things would not have happened to me, and I would have had much more control over my own life. You are a most unusual individual.

Yopo< Ben: Trouble is, life grows increasingly complex as we get older. Oftentimes, we've got more than a single source of external difficulty and stress in our lives, and more often than not stuff accumulates on an ongoing basis. Makes it hard at times to sort out the cause and effect of our inner feelings. I've even found myself wondering on occasion if I was becoming physically ill, or if I was reacting to this or that happening in my life. Very confusing sometimes, even when one is trying to pay attention.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, our lives do get more complicated as we get older. And a lot of the causes of stress aren't as straightforward as a poke in the nose. This is why I need (and take) some quiet time every day, to re-center myself and do whatever introspective homework is on my plate.

Yopo< Ben: I'm not sure if it's 'cause I'm getting older, or because the world is. *S* (Alluding to some vague, culture-wide malady here ... )

peachrose< Ben: Can I ask a question of you? Silly, but here it is: When Chuck hit you, did you feel his anger towards you or towards his planes? Just a question that came to mind. ... If I was hit by someone and didn't feel personally attacked, they were just containing all that aggression, I would say "Hmmmm. Not a person I want to be around." Then it not only would give me help with this person, it would help me and serve me my whole life, because it taught me non-judgment and to be impersonal towards others.

Ben< peachrose: When Chuck hit me, I didn't feel his anger at all, or anything else for a moment. Next thing I knew, I was picking myself up off the floor. I think he almost knocked me out cold.

guitarist< peachrose: You too must be unusual. I never was hit and didn't take it personally. I'm still learning how to not take things personally. *s*

peachrose< Thank you ... can't wait to see you again ... new ideas to share on. I didn't take the physical actions personally. I spent a great deal of years with just myself ... so I learned to think.

Ben< LEGS: Mom missed a trick once in awhile, but emotionally, she was my rock and safe place when I was little. I always knew she loved me.

LEGS< Ben: That is the important thing that mothers do. I know I've tried to be certain my loved ones know they are loved. I wonder if the posed situation has become the elephant and each of us, like one of the blind people, trying to describe it ... to KNOW what it means ... from our own perspectives. What this does point out to me is that we find it very difficult to look at something without using our learned perspectives. *s*

guitarist< LEGS: I second that emotion.

pippi< Ben: And this is why you were able to look at this pain and let it go ... you were able to see that your mum can make mistakes, too, but you felt the love and security she gave. This I think is the basic distinction between being able to feel and let go ... and feel and stuff it away ... a secure sense of who we are as a child which is reflected in how we feel our parents feel about us.

Yopo< My mother has always been like that for me, too. Can be a bit of a shock as a child, though, when a parent first fails to live up to a child's unrealistic expectations. *S*

LEGS< Yopo: Yes. I overheard a remark (a stereotypical mother-in-law remark) from my beloved grandmother concerning my mom, which as an adult I now recognize for what it was. My grandmother, who was over-worked and over-tired, was venting to a friend, but it took many years to get over the feeling that I had of being abandoned when I heard grandmother tell her friend that if she didn't take care of us kids, no one would. (Mom and Dad were working in the shipyards.)

guitarist< pippi and Ben: I agree with pippi. My mom did not offer that security, and was indeed quite insecure herself. *She* often looked to *me* for it, and I was not good at giving it to her. I think my experience correlates with what you are saying.

Ben< pippi: Yes. I believe that every child needs an emotional rock and safe place, at least one person they know always loves them. Adults also need such a person, but even more, adults need to become such a person.

pippi< I suffered no violence of any sort when I was younger, and always thought I had the most idyllic childhood when I grew up, although I was always seeking recognition and comfort in the way my father viewed me, hence I became a very needy little person forever seeking confirmation that I was doing the right thing and feeling the right thing ... am still learning.

LEGS< pippi: I still seek confirmation that my mom does love me and want me around. *s*

Yopo< LEGS: *S* They say we all still have the child we were inside of us. I think maybe that is so.

pippi< LEGS: I am not so concerned or driven about my father anymore. I have grown into accepting him with all his faults and am able to converse with him as an adult and am able to express to him who I am ... well, who I think I am ... but I understand now why it is that I took the paths I did as a result of this neediness inside.

guitarist< Ben: What about a parent who says they love the child, but then it doesn't feel that way to the child?

Ben< guitarist: Actions speak louder than words. Some parents say they love their children, but their actions deny it. As Mom used to say, some people treat their farm animals better than they do their kids.

guitarist< Ben: Both my parents are good with words; but actions, as you say, tell more. My father claims to love me, but was AWOL when I was little. Mom had few emotional resources. Neither had farm animals. ;-) It's taken me a long time to see them from a distance, and to begin relating to either of them without so much emotion.

pippi< Thanking you all for the chance to open up here and for your insights. *S* Will leave you to chat on.

LEGS< pippi: Thank you for being here tonite. I always feel we are where God needs us to be ... at any given moment ... we should see what it is He has for us to do where we are. So again, thank you for your presence and your comments.

animalspiritwalk< {{Everyone}} Here is a quote that I PM to Ben, uncertain if it was appropriate to your discussion. He said it is OK to post it for all, so here is the quote: "What you live with, you learn. What you learn, you practice. What you practice, you become. What you become has consequences. Whatever you would make habitual, practice it; and if you would not make a thing habitual, do not practice it, but accustom yourself to something else"--Epictetus.

guitarist< animalspiritwalk: Accustom yourself to something else. Now, there's a key for me!

animalspiritwalk< {{guitarist}} When I first read that quote, I was totally sucked into the book. Another quote (many others from different people) that is powerful, is also by Epictetus: "First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do." *S* These particular quotes have shaped my life tremendously. Actually, when I first read the book, I ended up throwing it across the room. *S*

Ben< ALL: I asked animalspiritwalk to post that quote because I see it as relevant to the question: "What can we do about our inner feelings?" It outlines one aspect of self-control and self-discipline (intentionally establishing or changing a conditioned response).

LEGS< *LOL* Ben: That quote puts the ball in our court. *s*

Yopo< Ben: I have hesitated to ask, but keep wondering ... how did Chuck turn out in the long run? (A question you may of course ignore, if it isn't appropriate that I asked it.)

Ben< Yopo: Chuck turned out Okay. (Kids often do that on their own, with or without exemplary parents.) He lived in a different city, so I didn't see him often, and haven't seen him for many years, but from what I hear, he's a decent sort of chap.

guitarist< Ben: I'm glad Chuck turned out OK for your sake and for the rest of the world. *g*

Yopo< Ben: Thanks. I was wondering about ol' Chuck. *S* You think that model airplane experience had anything to do with your later military career? *G*

Ben< Yopo: Nah, Chuck had nothing to do with my love of airplanes. I started building wooden model airplanes when I was 3 or 4 years old. He had some nice rubber-band models that came in kits. I carved mine out of the wood from apple boxes.

guitarist< Ben: Sounds like you were talented as well as sensitive.

Yopo< Ben: Hmm ... 3 or 4? Pretty early to show such a clearly defined interest, not to mention building models.

guitarist< Ben: One of my abiding problems/blessings (can't decide which) is that I've never been able to pick just one interest, even to this day. So many things to do, so little time. *sigh*

Ben< Yopo: We lived on a farm. Tools and wood were always available. That's why I so often think in terms of tools (mental tools). I was interested in airplanes from the first time I heard of one.

Yopo< Ben: *S* Your tool kit. Quite a handy assortment in there. And your penchant for navigational metaphor ... I have always appreciated the clarity that has come from the way you present difficult material in such terms.

Ben< Yopo: Thank you. As you know, I'm intentionally addicted to thinking clearly. *S*

Yopo< Ben *LOL* I'm afraid my addiction is to patterns in clouds and such, and it has carried over to my thinking about the world. My training is in Art, not Science ... fuzzy logic sorta guy. *G*

Ben< Yopo: I loved pattern recognition for about 30 years before I knew there was a name for it.

Yopo< Ben: My problem is not always knowing what is really out there, and what it is that I have projected. Complex issue. I often see patterns that have personal meaning. Even have a theory of connections that resonates with some newer scientific thought about a "holographic" quality to reality. Think often of omens and portents, and then recoil from my own comparisons with superstitious thinking. But I also feel that if I tried to bring things into too sharp a focus, I might lose something valid.

Ben< Yopo: I usually know fairly well what I have and haven't projected, but as to what's really out there, I'm often working in fuzzy grey areas at the edges of my perception and understanding. I also watch for and try to avoid wishful thinking and superstition. I focus on one thing very sharply, and then back off to look at it in a larger perspective, and look around to see what else might be in the area.

Yopo< Ben: I have almost split into two separate modes of perception, and alternate between them. One is decidedly non-logical, the other excessively grounded in logic. Sometimes seems like a heart/mind division. I admire your ability to integrate the two so well. Not at all certain I'll manage that. But for me, it might not be desirable that I do so.

guitarist< Ben: Thinking in terms of tools. I'm grateful that I found a guy to marry who is very much like my father, but without all his meshugas (craziness). Both are highly gifted in electronics and mechanics, and I inherited some of this, but didn't get a chance to develop it in childhood. Maybe being a girl had something to do with it. Living with my husband has helped me with this. *g*

Ben< guitarist: Mom learned carpentry from her father and taught it to her children. My sister is an excellent carpenter, and was for many years the head of medical computer development for the Mayo Clinic.

guitarist< Ben: Well, there you go. Some families include women in their skill-teaching classes!

JamesRD< Namaste, friends. I do well, and I thank you. Today is blueye's birthday and tomorrow is our first anniversary. Feeling whole and loved. :) On your subject ... I was beaten severely with an oak cane my entire childhood, and as a result became a very violent and ignorant man. The only friends I had were those who were with me out of fear or for my protection from others. Until my awakening I never really knew me.

guitarist< JamesRD: Hello and Namaste. Nice to meet you. Congratulations on your anniversary. How romantic to get married on your wife's birthday.

LEGS< JamesRD: Hello dear beloved friend, and love to sweet blueye also. Wish her a happy birthday from me, please.

JamesRD< She said thank you LEGS. :) I got her a dozen red roses and candy for her birthday, and an emerald and diamond necklace for our anniversary. :)

LEGS< You have such good taste, Jim ... your wife proves that, and your gifts for her underlines it. *S*

Yopo< JamesRD: *S* I congratulate you both twice. And wish you both many happy returns! NEVER woulda guessed you'd ever been as you say.

JamesRD< Yeah, I was 210 lbs with no neck, and crushed any who even appeared to look at me wrong. I was a bouncer/bartender and I am an alcoholic. When I awakened 6 years ago I had to begin with the mentality of a 12 year old, for that is when I began to drink. Now I have a great deal to thank the Lord for, and do daily.

Yopo< JamesRD: I was talking to a fella last night at our local gathering, who'd once described himself as a "recovering conservative". Nice thoughtful guy, who's been coming to our Friday spirituality discussions for some months. I never asked 'til last night what he does. Surprised me by telling me he is a local cop. He said he'd been a mean, violent guy until a couple of years ago, when something suddenly clicked ...

JamesRD< Same here, Yopo, but on the other side of the street. :) Would have been six years completely clean on Oct. 30th, but when I was fired from my job of 25 years because I have MS, I bought a bottle of brandy and got drunk. Didn't like it at all, thank God ... Only amplified my self remorse.

animalspiritwalk< {{JamesRD}} Do you ever get a chance to come to Minneapolis, Minnesota?

LEGS< animalspiritwalk: Some of our other chatters are either in Minnesota or travel there. My friend Lagone is from there ... and ragsii ... and billsqd ... several others.

animalspiritwalk< {{LEGS}} Way cool. *VBS*

guitarist< JamesRD: I don't know how much it would help, but there is the American Disabilities Act ... it says one can't be fired for having a disability.

JamesRD< The EEOC is already investigating, and will most likely sue, though I have never sued anyone before. Then again, I must now claim bankruptcy, and have never done that before, either. I felt and still feel no negativity from the occurrence and feel it is simply another step upon my path.

Yopo< JamesRD: Hmm ... Maybe that bottle was to remind you what you weren't missing or something. So far as litigation goes, sounds like a righteous cause to me, and more power to you!

SLIDER< JamesRD: Pick up this months Discover magazine, there's an article in it that might interest you.

JamesRD< Will do, SLIDER. Thank you ...

LEGS< ((((((JamesRD))))))) Having met you, I can testify that you are such a sweet and loving man, gracious and quite handsome, not to mention slim and talented. (((((((((((MaryHugs))))))))) I'll always remember yours and blueye's hospitality.

JamesRD< LEGS: You met me after I awakened, and I will never forget the warmth of our meeting. I thank you for your kind words. I went down to 140 lbs. when I got MS. I am back up to 170. :) I wouldn't change a thing now, though, even for all the health in the world. I have much to be grateful for. I am humbled by the Lord's gifts. I think the MS might have been his way of saying "Enough!" LOL Well if it was, it worked. :)

LEGS< {{{{{{{{JamesRD}}}}}}}}

guitarist< Thank you, Ben, for another great class.

LEGS< Ben must have gotten bumped ... and without a proper goodnite. When you review, Ben, thanks for the seminar ... and your patience learned stands us all in good stead. (((((((MaryHugs))))))))

Ben< guitarist: Thanks for being here. *S*

LEGS< *blush* There you are, Ben ... didn't want you to go without some hugs ... much love to you and yours.

guitarist< Ben: I'm glad I've been coming these past couple of weeks. I finally found your current site tonight; for a couple of posts, FRAML had his nic connected to it. Before, I was using the site pointed to by Dr. Melvin Morse; the seminars on that page haven't been updated since June. I'll probably never stop reading, because we add all the time.

Ben< guitarist: Oh, yes, that's my old site. I can't get into it to update it. For my new site, just click on my name on this page, then bookmark it so you'll have it.

guitarist< Ben: Been there, done that. Bookmarked. *VBG*

Ben< JamesRD: I've been following your posts with sympathy and appreciation. Namaste, friend.

JamesRD< Ben: You and I have never really talked, but every time I come into a room that you are in, I feel your warmth, understanding, and wisdom. I always find your posts to be intelligent and respectful and you have my praise, my friend.

SLIDER< Ben: Not to get philosophical or into psychology, but what's your opinion on some people being the exception -- say, for retaining inner knowledge from previous lives, to enable them to cope with situations such as you made us aware of tonight?

Ben< SLIDER: I think human souls arrive here with a wide variety of skills and abilities from their previous lives, not consciously remembered (or half-remembered), but much easier for them to re-acquire. Some of those skills and abilities are spiritual.

SLIDER< Ben: I am of the same thought on retaining some of that info. Seems some things you just seem to know. During my spiritual quest this time around, I keep finding things all around for confirmation. *S*

Ben< SLIDER: Yes, I believe that some of the things you have done so quickly, you did before. *smile*

SLIDER< Ben: *s*

LEGS< btw, Ben, my comment beginning with the blush was because I jumped to the conclusion that you had left already and didn't get a good-nite or a thank-you for the seminar from me. So again ... I do appreciate your time before, during, and afterwards ... when you get them online on your site, they are a blessing for so many of us. *Thanx*

Ben< LEGS: I didn't post for awhile because my server is very slow tonight, and I had a few private messages to answer. Thank you for your appreciation. (You blush very nicely).

SLIDER< LEGS: Are you leaving?

LEGS< Not yet, Slider, though I wonder why I'm still here. My eyes are quite on their own schedule ... blinking closed right while I'm trying to read something. *LOL* ... couldn't be a bit sleepy, I don't guess. *G*

Yopo< LEGS *S* I've got some time off work now. Gotta watch myself, or I turn totally nocturnal.

JamesRD< As have I, Yopo! LOL :)

Yopo< JamesRD: Yeah. I know. Perspective about work is decidedly different when one is working. For me, it often seems my job dominates my life, often to the exclusion of more important things. *sigh*

JamesRD< Well, Yopo, I have no job and haven't for 2 months. I wore out the tractor and made about a 4 acre yard, fixed everything I could that needed it, sealed the basement floor with epoxy resin and am going to build a bedroom and another bath. I'm getting cabin fever pretty bad. Used to working my butt off from dawn till dusk. No other plants in the area will hire me as somehow the word that I have MS has spread like a virus. May have to go out of state?

LEGS< My, JamesRD, you will have to get another job to rest up, dearheart. *s*

Yopo< JamesRD: Either that, or start your own business. Know that's a tough route, with insurance concerns and such.

JamesRD< I do have my own business and it is called DTECH. I build, upgrade and repair computers. :) Just finished refurbishing a new neighbor's Packard Bell. Put about $900.00 into it, but I have this problem ... I keep doing it for free. :) Even wrote Merry Christmas on it. :)

LEGS< JamesRD: Why am I not surprised? *smiling*

Yopo< Ah, James, you are maybe TOO kind sometimes. Skill at refurbishing computers is a valuable thing! We often tend to under-value our most valuable talents. Do you have a business page on the net? Haven't seen any links to DTECH on your poetry pages.

JamesRD< Oh, I also play acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, was a percussion major and played in a couple of bands and have an unnerving thirst for quantum physics. Go figure. :) Oh, and of course, the poetry and channeling. We don't have much money anymore, but we do have a great deal of love, and with love one can never be poor. blueye went to the reservation today and got me a peace pipe, a dream catcher, and a lighter with turquoise embedded in it for our anniversary. When I held the dream catcher I wept ... it was made by native Americans ...

Yopo< JamesRD: You're right on THERE. No amount of money can buy the least amount of love. *S* Would like to see that pipe. I've been looking for pipe stone (catlinite) to carve a bowl in the form of a crow. Hard stuff to find.

SLIDER< Well folks, time for me to hit the hay. Ben, it's been a pleasure again as usual. I do appreciate the time you dedicate to these seminars, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Thank you. // LEGS, Yopo, JamesRD, daCrone: Night all and Blessings to everyone -- 'till next time.

JamesRD< Love and light go with you SLIDER ...

LEGS< {{{{{{{{{{{Slider}}}}}}}}} sweet dreams

Yopo< Fare thee well, friend SLIDER.

Ben< SLIDER: Good night, friend. A pleasure, as always. // ALL: My alarm clock just buzzed for the second time, so I'd better go to bed, too. Peace and blessings to each of you, as always, for always. *poof*

Session 3
Sat 11 Dec 1999

Ben< Last week we looked at some examples of identification and interpretation of inner feelings. I said the causes of inner feelings can be grouped in three general categories: physical, psychological, and psychic -- and it is usually appropriate to consider the possible causes of an inner feeling in that order.

Ben< To expand on that comment: If my stomach hurts, it may be caused by something I ate (physical), or something I'm thinking about may be making me tense or worried or angry (psychological), or I may be picking up someone else's feeling by telempathy (psychic).

Ben< Now let's look at some other things people have found within themselves, and consider how we might identify and interpret such experiences. Ready? I have 6 questions tonight.

Ben< QUESTION 1: Many people have found something like a voice or voices within. If you have done this, what do you think these inner voices are? How do you interpret them? Or what do you think they might be? YOUR TURN

champ< I think the inner voices are many things -- ego, conscience, indoctrinated teachings ...

Ben< champ: Okay, thank you. Reminds me of the "Parent, Adult, Child" of Transactional Analysis a few years back. Also in "Games People Play".

Tracey< Ben: The one who speaks to me the most and has identified herself is my childhood guide. I feel she has come back at this point of my transition of leaving the family farm. She is much more clear than other voices or thoughts I listen to.

Yopo< Not entirely sure. I have sometimes heard a voice or voices just as I've fallen asleep. On occasion, a voice has said my name then. I have wondered if I might be hearing voices external to my mind. Have also speculated that they might be a dream-like hallucination. On another occasion, wide awake, I didn't so much hear a voice, but suspected the thoughts appearing in my mind were from someone else, who is no longer living. I had been thinking about this person, just before ...

FRAML< I've been noticing them and paying attention after I evaluate the message. Last week I got the thought, "You need to replace the timing chain on your car." I thought for a moment and decided, No, I did that less than 50,000 miles ago and chains are to last 60-70,000 miles. On Wed my timing chain broke on the way to work. I have had others where I got a need to call a specific person, and found out that person had indeed been wanting to talk to me about something that was important. I guess they are inspirations from God and his messengers and/or via caring connections I have established with those I care about.

guitarist< After a very tumultuous first 3 plus years of life, having separated from my father and spending six months with my grandparents, my mother and I went to live in an apartment. It was there that I kept hearing people screaming inside me. Music was one of the only things that helped me not hear them; particularly classical music. As for interpretation, I guess at least some of it was the screaming and yelling I remembered from having been at my grandparents' house and before mom and I separated from dad.

Lor< I've never actually heard voices although I've received thoughts that were not my own.

5foot2< The voice(s) I hear within I often attribute to conscience, though I have twice (that I recall) heard another voice -- that seemed to be from a different level (for lack of a better term). This voice was male. It was a little startling ...

LEGS< I only know that sometimes answers come for questions others ask, and these answers embrace subjects I may not be entirely familiar with myself.

guitarist< The voice of conscience is another I can think of that speaks all the time. A funny thing happened when I left home: my mother's voice began to speak inside of me. Sometimes it was good; other times not. (She's still very much alive, BTW.)

[Ben< guitarist: One may receive telepathy from incarnates or discarnates.]

Lightdreamer< I have more than one voice within. The voice of social ego, the one of self ego, the voice of others' influences, the voice of the heart, the voice of guides, the voice of higher self, the voice of Spirit. For me, the question is one of discernment in focus so that I'm open only to the voice of higher self, spirit, and guides.

FRAML< Lightdreamer: Yes, discernment is a key to which voice to listen to, especially in deciding if it is leading you to hurting or helping.

champ< Yes, Lightdreamer -- being able to distinguish the voices is the hardest part. It's that leap of faith that requires one to just surrender.

Lightdreamer< champ: Surrender is a step I consider only after I have a Knowing of what I'm surrendering TO. **chuckling** I've been known to surrender to a voice that was of less than pure intent. It can be a fine line, and one that I examine very, very carefully now that the lesson has been pounded in. *s*

champ< Lightdreamer: I try to believe that there is a reason and a purpose for everything. When those times come around that cause me to question the reasons and purposes (especially if they're painful), that faith is what I surrender to -- to get me thru. :)

Lightdreamer< champ: For me, faith and trust are two different things. *s* I have no problem with having faith in myself and Spirit. But I have to make choices as to who/what/where I place my trust. I thought that was what you were referring to in your last post.

Ben< Some people believe their inner voices are an oracle (messages from God, or the god within, or their Higher Self, or their spirit guides) and interpret them as such. Others are more skeptical. I believe such voices are telepathy (comparable to a telephone), some are from good sources and some are not, so I always try to discern who is calling and what they want.

Tracey< Ben: That is a wonderful point. There are many voices, for many reasons, and some are not from good sources. Those are easy to recognize as they make you feel uncomfortable (or do me anyway) and I just ignore them or say "Bye now ... have a nice flight." *S*

Yopo< Ben: A good point. There IS one "voice" that occasionally puts ideas into my head that are of a sort that are totally unlike what I think of as myself. Generally suggestions that are SO uncharacteristic of ME and my behavior, that I am both horrified and amused. I sort of know the tone of that voice now, and quickly "hang up" on it.

Lor< Ben: I agree with your interpretation, too, but applied to the thoughts I receive.

AMILIUS< Ben: It is most important to discern who the voice is really coming from. Oftentimes there can be deceitful and mischievous voices pretending to be someone else they are not.

Ben< AMILIUS: Yes, as deceitful as some voices on the telephone: "Special one-time good deal for you only, no down payment!"

AMILIUS< Ben: The best way I have found to deal with the deceitful pretenders is by telling them or sending them a stream or coil of light. What do you suggest besides this method ?

[Ben< AMILIUS: That is a large subject area. However, one of the best defenses is simply to disbelieve everything that deceitful pretenders say or do or pretend to be. They may try a few bits of truth to gain some credibility, but it isn't wise to argue with them. If you just keep on disbelieving them, that frustrates them a lot.]

Ben< QUESTION 2: Week before last, guitarist said, "I sense that there's a lot in me I can't identify. My first priority is my own spirit connection with G-d. When others get in the way, I need help with getting them out of the way." If you have gone within and found something that was blocking your connection to your God, were you able to identify it? If so, what did it turn out to be? Or, what do you think might block such a connection? YOUR TURN

champ< IMHO Ben: Being grounded is a conduit to connection with Spirit. If you are grounded, you can remain protected from (generally speaking) most of the negative energy 'other' gives off. Getting caught up in things that draw us from love is what blocks that connection.

Yopo< Hmm ... I have figured that no one but my own self does the blocking. I don't blame that on anyone but ME.

guitarist< Yopo: When you're (the general 'you,' not Yopo) an adult, of course, you are responsible for your own openness. I've been very open to G-d for many years ... more than 25. Sometimes, though, you know you used to be a different person. You know you *are* a different person than what people think you are. Somehow, you've got to find out why. These things, I believe, can originate with vulnerability as well as with sin. It is so with me (not that I never sin, either).

FRAML< Yopo: Yes, I have to admit that I am usually the cause of allowing the blockage to occur because of getting in a bad mood. But then I've had the blockage from attack when I've tried to help someone and didn't connect upward before I connected to them.

guitarist< Ben: Recently I was thinking about those screaming, yelling, crying voices I kept hearing as a little girl. It occurred to me that some, or a lot, of that was spirits blocking my way. Looking within became frightening. I created a 'foxhole' for myself, and that scared a lot of people around me. They saw this as withdrawal, and sent me to a children's hospital for diagnosis. I couldn't explain this to anyone, and it did affect my psychological development.

Tracey< Ben: I have been lucky in that regard, perhaps because I am basically "bull-headed" (if you will) in my sense of spirit and who I am. I have not encountered much in the way of the "bad" voices ... but ... I had a wonderful childhood and sometimes wonder if they find their way in when we are vulnerable as children, which may make it easier to come again. Just a thought.

[Ben< guitarist, Tracey: Yes, some discarnates do attach themselves to children if they can. In one case I saw it happen as it happened -- the child's entire posture, expression, attitude and behavior suddenly and remarkably changed into another person -- and I have seen discarnates removed from children, including that one.]

5foot2< I have found the biggest block to my connection of God is my ego -- desire for self. When I release that and think for the good of all -- a lot less selfish -- my relationship and hence the direction/answers become clearer.

obsidian< I have heard *voices* but how do you get guidance when you know you are able to listen but you don't know how to discern them?

Lightdreamer< The voices that block my way to connection with Spirit rather than opening me up to it are any that I find whispering or urging thoughts/action that lie outside of healthy, balanced Self Love. Not 'ego love', but that love for myself as a soul and a woman which sustains my self respect and asks that I treat Life, Spirit, and Self with equal respect and love in all ways.

FRAML< I've found that the blockage sometimes came from a discarnate that attached to me, or I let myself get so emotionally wrapped up in something and depressed that I became a beacon for dark beings which wanted to keep my connection blocked. It took quite a bit of re-focusing and remembering the blessings I've seen, given, and/or received, to get myself elevated. I have a friend whose connection was blocked for several years because her deceased fiancee attached himself to her and apparently unknowingly blocked her channel to God.

obsidian< What do you mean blocked her channel to god, FRAML?

FRAML< obsidian: She had been connected to God very much in her life. It was easy for her to pray and get inspiration/answers. The channel 'being blocked' was that she could pray but no longer received answers/replies 90% of the time. She also felt as if she was not getting through as before, sort of like when you are on a phone line and there is a lot of static and you don't know how much the other person is hearing.

obsidian< That is sad, FRAML, but if was someone close to her in her past, wouldn't he let her be open to light?

FRAML< obsidian: He was a good Catholic, believed in purgatory, so thought he had to be there before going to heaven. He chose to stay with her to protect her. Inadvertently, he clogged her connection to God. When I connected to her, he attached himself to me and wanted to use me to take care of her, even though we are 1200 miles apart. I noticed that I was getting all these thoughts about her that weren't mine, and did a soul rescue of him. (see Ben's site about that topic.)

Ben< ALL: Good answers. Thank you. I can identify with each type of inner block you have mentioned.

Ben< QUESTION 3: Week before last, Thur said "Experience indicates there is also chaos and darkness within." Have you gone within and found chaos (disorder, confusion)? If so, what do you think causes it? Or what do you think inner chaos might be? YOUR TURN

LEGS< Ben: Someone told me the multitude of voices (like static, just as I am falling asleep) can be narrowed down by firmly requesting that only one speak at a time. I've never tried that ... partly from fear, partly just slipping on to sleep.

obsidian< I have been told I have too much chaos and I am loud. What does this mean?

[Ben< obsidian: I don't know what the person (or people) meant who told you that, but the people in this room will describe what "inner chaos" means to them.]

Lightdreamer< I consider the darkness and chaos within to be the duality from which we experience our Light and wholeness. We all have free will, and it's up to us to define our experience of individual Beingness from that which is offered for exploration.

Tracey< Ben: Seems to me that my inner chaos comes from not listening to what I might need ... what is RIGHT ... for everyone. I have a tendency to give 'till it hurts, as they say, but then I feel a depression if I have done it in excess. I think this is what Lightdreamer was talking about ... to balance spirit/self and our own needs. I don't attribute it to other beings, only to neglecting myself.

Yopo< Oh, yes. I have sometimes found chaos and confusion inside. Again, I think that is usually ME. Most often, some level of my own mind, dealing with unresolved and emotionally charged issues that my conscious self has also been wrestling with. (Though I also know what LEGS was just referring to.)

guitarist< The disorder and confusion within that I've spoken of above was caused by a number of factors: my parents' fighting and breaking up, and the drug Phenobarbital (I was found to be epileptic at age one-and-a-half; I haven't experienced this since age four, thank G-d), and the tense time I spent at my grandparents'. Summary: no peace at home. Then, no peace within, either.

Tracey< ***guitarist*** if I may, I would like to say I think your music has saved you from a lot of pain, although there is pain there. As you mentioned, it quiets some of it and allows you to create ... to be. Bless you, dear one.

guitarist< Tracey: Thank you, dear. It's true. I think that someday, when I become unblocked, I'll be able to use music to help others also. Bless you for seeing this.

Tracey< guitarist: Honey, I think it is your path to lift people with your music. By feeling the pain, you will put your heart and soul into your work and reach many.

5foot2< chaos and darkness I feel comes from outside of me. Inside there is peace, and only when I "forget" to CHOOSE to leave it on the outside do I find it within. Then it is time for a bit of house cleaning. *grin*

Ben< When I find chaos within myself, I call it inner noise. Static in the receiver. Some call it turmoil. In me, it is usually caused by strong conflicting emotions. Or formless anxieties. Or even plain old worry will do it.

LEGS< I heard a preacher say that worry itself is a sin, that we are not trusting God when we worry. But, yes, I can admit I do a lot of worrying none-the-less, and maybe it is the root of my 'static' as well. Thank you, Ben.

Yopo< It can be a punishing experience, getting stuck on the "noise" level. Have had that happen with fevers before. Felt like the sound of my own inner wheels turning was gonna drive me crazy. *S*

FRAML< Ben: I guess mine is inner convulsions of being angry at a person or situation.

obsidian< If you have no choice but to be around people who are constantly dysfunctional and you are a sensitive, what can you do?

Tracey< obsidian: Try to love them and not let it affect you. This takes a lot of time and patience to not allow it to bring you down. IMHO (((HUG)))

obsidian< Thanx Tracy.

LEGS< Oh, obsidian, good question. I am anxious to hear Ben's answer to that also ...

Yopo< obsidian: Gotta learn to put up a shield, I think.

[Ben< obsidian: If you must be around dysfunctional people, the first thing is not to waste time and effort and energy by trying to change them or by wanting them to change. The second is not to take it to heart -- let what they say and do run off of you like water off a duck's back. A duck stays warm and dry inside its feathers.]

Lightdreamer< Dealing practically with darkness and chaos is really a matter of discerning where we've over-turned the applecart (stepped outside of balance) emotionally and begun choosing that which we don't feel defines Who We Are. Time, then, to ask ourselves "What do I want from this experience, and how do I best gain it for Love's sake?" That's not a panacea for always being happy. It's a formula for growing -- not always a painless process, but one that always contains joy if we care to look for it amongst all else that is offered.

Ben< Technical comment: I've dropped one of the 6 questions I had, because my server is so slow (60-90 seconds refresh).

Ben< QUESTION 4: Have you looked within and found darkness? If so, What do you think causes it? Or what do you think it might be? YOUR TURN

Tracey< Ben: Not within, but trying to get in a couple times. When mom was passing there were lots of spirits in and out, some of them not welcome. At that time, I did feel that there was darkness around me. It was quite obvious.

FRAML< Ben: Yes. It is usually regarding a desire for vengeance against someone who has caused me hurt or pain. That is when I am most vulnerable. And also when a person has caused someone I have caring connections with to be hurt. Example, a person who took a friend into a semi-trance to help her, and then brought her quickly out of it and did nothing about the anguish she was feeling. Anguish which should have been dealt with by him before bringing her out. Actually he should never have convinced her she needed his "help." I haven't forgotten or forgiven him yet for that.

Tracey< FRAML: Honey, not forgiving will only hurt you. I hope you can release it, for your soul is kind and loving. *S*

Lightdreamer< I think I treated 'darkness and chaos' as all one thing. For me, they are. I'll let my responses to question 3 serve as answers to question 4 as well.

Lor< I have long sort-of considered that "going within" was like listening to the thoughts of one's heart -- but clearly there may be other sources for the thoughts one has.

obsidian< Ben: I have chaos that stems from fear without any guidance, and I am struggling to get help, but I don't know where to look because I get so ashamed of the chaos.

guitarist< obsidian: I have been waiting for many years for the right opportunity to deal with these things properly. At last I've found a forum that discusses such matters and isn't totally off the wall. Thank you for your comments as well.

obsidian< I am very judgmental even though I try to meditate on being more open to light and peaceful, but I am cursed in that I constantly see the chaos in people over the light.

Lightdreamer< obsidian: I have found that knowing/wanting something is only a first step to attaining it. Meditation helps and lends focus and intent. Consistently practicing that which we desire to manifest in ourselves is the way to integrate it into Being. If we can, at first, simply learn to recognize 'judgment' then we can choose to consciously set it aside and search for another view. That's enough at first. And with consistent practice, it gradually becomes our nature to see the Light first, because we have used Spirit's support of our intent to support our effort to grow.

obsidian< No, when I mean darkness in people, I mean that somehow when I meet people they are automatically deterred from me because I guess I carry baggage, but because I can sense this doesn't mean I am clairvoyant; it is just that I have tried to be friendly with certain people that in fact I can see how they really feel towards me and it hurts on some level.

Tracey< obsidian: Perhaps some of it is from other times as well ... a feeling from another place in time. I have met people that I automatically know to stay away from, and I know it is not about now ... hard to explain, but it is so. *S*

obsidian< I have connected with angels of light, and I know I have love looking after me, but I still have a lot of pain to work through and I find it tough to deal with.

Ben< Many people who are not clairvoyant think they see darkness because they don't see anything. However, darkness can be caused by dark moods or attitudes or purposes.

Tracey< Ben: Oh, I have dark moods, and depression and those things, but that is not darkness ... not to me. That is just a spirit in a human situation *S* trying to cope the best we can with what we know and what we are learning. *S*

RunningRiver< The only darkness that is within me is what I perceive to be there. I see not darkness per se ... I see lessons ... some that take me longer to learn. I am light, therefore there is no darkness. Maybe that is the trick.

Yopo< I think maybe my own inner places of darkness are things I've walled off from my consciousness. Memories I don't want, maybe. Hopefully things that have been thusly "inactivated". Things it wouldn't do me any good to look at again, anyway. My whole recollection of Viet Nam, for example, has some blank areas. I know that from having compared notes one evening with a friend.

Lor< I sense that a perception of darkness implies a lack of being connected to the "light" associated with good spirits such as the angels who serve God. Negative thoughts make it difficult to remain connected, it seems. Positive, joyful, reverent feelings seem to help make/keep the good connection.

RunningRiver< Lor: Yeah, in a sense, I guess it's what you make out of that darkness. I have met dark people ... bad people ... OK ... verging on the evil side. Their spirit is dark ... that is what that choice is, in a sense. I verve away. I have met those with dark auras ... chaos ... pain ... anger ... suffering ... unforgiveness ... bitterness ... etc.

Thur< All: There is a credible theory that "going within" requires analyzing dreams, since they are the language of the "within".

[Ben< Thur: Yes, recording and remembering and analyzing one's own dreams is a valuable method of introspection. However, the symbolism in dreams is very much one's own inner language and only slightly cultural. That's why books that assign meanings to the pictures in dreams aren't worth anything. For example, one book said, if you see a rabbit running, that means you are afraid of something. But that isn't what it means to anyone who has ever hunted wild rabbits or tried to catch domestic rabbits that got out of their cage.]

Ben< QUESTION 5: Many people have looked within and seen a little point of light, like a star. If you have done this, what do you call that point of light? What do you think causes it? Or what do you think it might be? YOUR TURN

Tracey< Ben: I have seen this just before I feel asleep a few times. I just thought it was God or Spirit Father waving, "HI! We are here. You can communicate anytime ya wanna." *S*

RunningRiver< That is my higher self ... that is me. That is God ... that is my connection to all that is divine ... which is everyone and everything. It is also a reminder when you forget who you are ... that spark of hope ...

FRAML< Ben: That inner light is the spark of my soul. The basis of my link to God. A reminder that I am a child and servant of his, and that I need to connect to Him. And to do his bidding.

Lightdreamer< I don't see a 'point of Light' within unless I've chosen to experience my darkness and changed my mind so that I have to hunt for the Light to find it. Most of the time, when I go within, Light just IS. It's everywhere -- what I see and feel and Am.

Yopo< *shaking head* I can't recall seeing a point of light such as you describe. Arriving in bright places, lit from within, yes. Maybe I fly with my eyes closed.

Ben< ALL: Here is an example of looking within by clairvoyance, and identifying and interpreting what is seen. [I borrowed it from Dr. Bill and Judith Baldwin.]

INNER LIGHT EXERCISE: Look inside your self. After a while, you will probably see a little light. Let it grow. Let it build. Let the color change from whatever it was into white. Let it continue to expand and fill all the dark spots and empty spaces. Let it continue to grow until it extends outside your body, an arm's length all around, above your head and below your feet. Then affirm: "This is what I am made of. I am light. I am a child of the Light. This is my lawful space, and nothing but light may enter here."

LEGS< Ben: Yes, the point of light is there. *s* I've never mentioned it to anyone. As a child I thought it was a personal fairy, like Tinkerbell, and since have told myself it was residual light from just closing my eyes. Yet, in the really lost periods of despair, once I focused on that light, it would grow and envelop me with peace ... no explanation here ... is there from you?

FRAML< LEGS: Now you know. (((((VBS & HUGS)))))

Tracey< Ben: *S* Thank you ... will try that exercise ... sounds wonderful.

Yopo< Ben: *S* Printed that last post about the exercise to look at again later.

FRAML< Yopo: It took me a while to find it and get it to grow. It was part of the learning I did as I crawled out of the spiritual briar-filled ditch I had been in for several years. I learned that to see it in my heart & soul. But still do close my eyes in doing that exercise because it helps me concentrate.

Yopo< FRAML: *S* I think maybe we each see the spiritual dimension in slightly different ways. Clothe it in different ways. But I rather like the point of light, the little star. I will definitely read that a few times ... Will keep in mind, too, that what I take to be metaphors aren't always meant as such. *S*

Lightdreamer< Ben: Good exercise. I used to do that one a lot -- especially when invoking protection. I guess I've just done it so much now that it's automatic and so I no longer need the exercise to 'see' what is already so. I only do it now when, as I said, I have chosen to turn away from myself for some reason and have to get deliberate about coming back to Who I Am.

Ben< I identify my self as that spark of light within my spiritual body. I call that type of spark a soul. I am a child of God by inheritance, but not fully a child of God by obedience. This is my self-realization: I am a prodigal son of God, presently on my way Home.

FRAML< Ben: "Prodigal son of God on my way home." I'm going to use that one. So I'll give you thanks for it now, and will give you authorship credit as appropriate. *S*

guitarist< Ben: In answer to questions 4 and 5, I experience a phenomenon that may or may not be common. When I close my eyes at night, I see all kinds of scenes rushing by. In a completely dark room, I can see them best. When I was small, I could see all kinds and colors of light, like little Christmas tree bulbs. Sometimes, even sparks of yellow or white light. Now, the colors are darker. The scenes enlarge as I drift off to sleep, until, when I am asleep, one or more of them turns into a dream. My husband doesn't experience this, and he couldn't even picture what I was talking about when I tried to explain it to him.

LEGS< guitarist: I was very surprised to learn that everyone doesn't dream in color. I always do.

guitarist< LEGS: I don't always dream in color, but I often do. Around 2 am is, I've discovered, my most intense dreaming time. I was talking about when I first go to bed and I'm just closing my eyes for the night. I'm not even half asleep at that point.

Ben< /topic Discussion of what can be found by going within

FRAML< Ben: I found lunch and good conversation when I went within a restaurant today to meet friends. *G*

Lor< I have had a good teacher who explained that the inner light one can perceive within oneself is somehow tied to your soul. I sense that FRAML had it right when he identified it as being related to one's connection to GOD. In my case, I find I am blocked from seeing it, and this disturbs me a good bit.

Tracey< Lor: Honey, I wouldn't worry too much about what light you see or don't see. We are all on a path. When we work through our pain, the light gets brighter. Does not mean we all have to be there at the same time. Mine looks like a night light right now cause of 3D stuff and that I am letting it get to me. Are you happy with you, hon? With who you are?

Lor< Tracey: I am reasonably rather happy with my life-mate (a generally all-around nice person) and fairly happy with who I am. I have reasons to believe my problem has something to do with shielding my thoughts from some previous lifetime's probably traumatic experiences.

Tracey< Lor: Very possible, honey. I have a few of those other life issues as well ... one in particular where I saw someone I love killed in front of me, and I feel I owe them this time around 'cause I could not save them that time. It all gets very complicated sometimes. You are fine, honey ... don't worry ... you just have issues to work through like we all do. *S* And ... IMHO ... No one is right, and everyone is ... if that makes sense to anyone. *S*

obsidian< Tracy: If people with chaos are looking for people with light to help, but get turned away, where can I turn to? I do not seek to cause anyone pain; I just suffer from depression and other various maladies, and it seems that others are automatically closed off when it comes to talking to me because I notice that my ego can be a bit irritating even when I am trying so hard. One girl even went so far as to accuse me of causing her mysterious bad luck just because I was stupid and told her I was Wiccan.

Tracey< obsidian: Honey, some people sense depression, and they only want to be happy, so they walk away from it. Other people sense it and know its pain and welcome you as a friend. I am one of the latter, honey. Anytime you want to get into it. (((((HUGS)))))

guitarist< obsidian: Others may be turned off by your being a Wiccan, among the other things. I don't fully understand it myself, either, but I do not reject you for it. Just stick around, you might learn something. There are many kind people here. ;-)

Tracey< obsidian: Wiccan ... *S* I have many good Wiccan friends. I do not judge another's beliefs. When we go to bed each night, we all rest in the arms of our own truth; that is all that matters. *S*

Lightdreamer< obsidian: Honey, even those of the Light are very human, and they carry their own baggage and frailties, too. I think what you are seeking is 'compatibility' here. Someone who is strong where you are weak, so that your 'stuff' doesn't get their 'stuff' all stirred up and create defensiveness and lack of trust between you. This is how we assist one another in Light -- each giving strength where the other is weak and offering a safe place in which to explore ourselves outside of judgment and/or recrimination.

Tracey< Lightdreamer: *S* and that assisting is what walking the path is all about IMHO *S* "without judgment and/or recrimination" being the best point of all. ((((HUGS))) dear heart. *S*

Lightdreamer< Judgment is just another form of control, Tracey. I gave it up when I turned the steering wheel over to Spirit. **chuckling and {{{{{hugging}}}} you back** (And don't think I'm not so bull-headed as to try to yank that wheel back on occasion and get my hands spanked, either. *g*)

Tracey< Lightdreamer: I am still having trouble with that steering wheel, too, honey. One of these days, perhaps I will learn. Was good to be in your light, dear soul. *S* Peace and love to you as always sista. *S*

guitarist< Tracey, Lightdreamer: You both have said it: helping is best of all.

Tracey< guitarist: Yes, darlin', it is, and even though I am repeating myself, that is your path as well. *S* I honestly feel the pain you experienced before will help you help others more than if all went well for you earlier. I admit, it kinda ... well ... er ... bites ... but that is many times how it works. *S* (((HUGS)))

guitarist< Tracey: Thank you. I am working on it! A solution is on the way.

Tracey< guitarist: You are a beautiful soul. Your need to help shines clear over here, hon ... it is what will make you feel full inside. *S*

guitarist< Tracey: Thank you. And I will help as I can. You are beautiful, also, dear. You help a lot, you should know. I've been reading those past seminars ...

AMILIUS< Ben, FRAML, LEGS, et al: I use in my work with those seeking and/or in need of help the following as it was conveyed to me from the Light: "God Creator of the Universe, God my creator, thank you for having created me from your Own Light. As I am light, pure light from your Own Light, I am ONE with you. I am light pure light from your own light ... thus I AM THAT I AM ... I am ONE with you. I am love of your love, peace of your peace, understanding of your understanding, kindness of your kindness, and wisdom of your wisdom ... for I am ONE with you. I AM THAT I AM." It is a very powerful invocation for those that really feel it from their very soul.

obsidian< This is a really good forum, and I want to thank everyone because I am feeling less ashamed, and I will try the light exercise. I have to go. Goodnight everyone.

Yopo< obsidian: Blessings! *S*

guitarist< obsidian: Goodnight, and sweet dreams. I hope you will come back. (((hugs))) May love, light and G-d accompany you.

Lightdreamer< Goodnight, obsidian. May love light your dreamtime, sweetie. **smiling**

Tracey< obsidian: Love light your path and peace be your companion. ((((HUGS)))))

FRAML< obsidian: In choosing whether to associate with a Wiccan who helped others and showed kindness, or a Christian whose life demonstrated selfishness and hatred, I'd choose the former.

Ben< FRAML: Well said.

Tracey< FRAML: *S* That is a wonderful statement ... as hanging titles on people, like what they are or are not, is no different than my name being different from yours. And each time we decide to judge before we know the soul, we lose. *S* Ya know ... *S*

Lightdreamer< Good class tonight, Ben. Thank you. **smiling**

[Ben< Lightdreamer: I thought so, too. You're welcome. *smile*]

Yopo< Ben: Pardon me if I have missed a point somewhere over these last three sessions, but ... This business about God being within ... Do you think that literally true? Not that we are each a god, or anything like that ... But do you think that some spark of Creator actually exists as an integral part, at the heart of each soul?

[Ben< Yopo: Yes.]

Lightdreamer< Yopo: I believe that we ARE all an aspect of "God" in light of the knowing that I Am One and a part of that All That Is All we define by that name. How can "God" BE "All That is All" if God is not Me too? I don't reside outside the "All That Is All".

Yopo< Lightdreamer: *S* Part of my confusion, too. Uh, but Ben has said that we are in some sense created as independent beings, to the extent that we may CHOOSE. I sorta had a moment of insight regarding that a session or two back. We are independent -- as Creator has WILLED that we may be. We may choose which path to follow. Toward the light, or away from it. Or we may sorta orbit the Source endlessly indecisive. *S*

FRAML< Yopo: An excellent insight.

Tracey< Yopo: And I think we all do that from time to time ... like kids ... seeing how much we can get away with before our soul feels bad about it ... rather than our parents giving us the rules now ... it gets to the point where we are our own "regulators" of rules, and therein lies the path we follow.

Lor< Yopo: I do believe that God is available from within -- especially adept at influencing our thoughts and conscience. Somewhere I've been told that God is potentially closer to us than anyone else can be. It apparently depends a whole lot on our attitudes.

Yopo< Lor: I think that, too. I guess my question was really whether a spark of Creator is in me, a part of my very being -- or whether instead there is just a sort of window at my center, that I can look out through and see Creator. Maybe a pointless distinction, but I keep wondering. The issue is my true nature, maybe.

Lor< Yopo: My perception is that our souls are like rays emitted from the burst that is GOD -- gradually learning how to grow up and live so as to be acceptable in the company of others in heaven sometime; and therefore, being of the same "substance", we have free will just as He does. It's just that we are like fledglings in this business of behaving in a godlike manner! So is it any wonder that He cared enough about/for us that he sent Jesus to put us straight?

Lightdreamer< Yopo: Free will is, to me, the gift that creates our individuation. If God is All That Is All, then that includes everything ... the Light, the Dark, the Gray, and every shade in between. Spirit, indeed, experiences Self at every level of manifestation through the multitudinous array of unique individuation We Are.

Tracey< Yopo: I guess I see that as, is there a spark of your parents in you? Dig?

Lightdreamer< Tracey: **lol**

Ben< Yopo: I think those who say "Seek the God within" or "I am God" or "claim your divinity" are partly correct, because I believe that every soul (spark) is a child of God by inheritance -- but not necessarily by obedience.

guitarist< Ben: IMO, the sparks are from G-d, but are not actually G-d.

FRAML< guitarist: Yes, your distinction is good; sparks are from G-d, that link us to him. Perhaps it's sort of like He gave a seed from his 'body' to be our center around which we grow. Thus we are His children, and not literally Him.

guitarist< FRAML: You put something into perspective for me: that you'd rather be with Wiccans who help than with Christians who don't. I don't know much about Wiccans except that my father is one, and he wasn't very helpful at all. However, I should not let this affect my attitude toward the Wiccans I meet in this room. I don't meet many in 3D, so I don't get a chance to observe them or know them.

FRAML< guitarist: You're welcome. It is a version of comparing what a person practices with what they preach. Some act better than they preach; others preach "helping" and yet do "harm", and then there are those who practice what they preach. (Those who practice and preach evil, I can do totally without.)

guitarist< FRAML: I hear you loud and clear, buddy! I want nothing to do with those who practice and preach evil, either!

Lightdreamer< Ben: For me, it isn't a matter of "obedience" so much as surrendering to my Highest Knowing in each moment. I've found no ultimate knowing authority that satisfy me as to their clarity on knowing all the 'rules' yet, so how can I obey what no one fully comprehends? **twinkling eyes**

Ben< Lightdreamer: I believe the basic rule is very simple: do what you can to be a blessing to those around you.

Lightdreamer< Ben: I believe in the "do unto others" rule as well. Ever notice the statement of equality inherent in the thought as a whole? You must have a high degree of self-respect and Love in order for your actions to serve another wholesomely if you live by that rule. "Do unto others as you would have them DO UNTO YOU". You have to desire action based in Light rather than baseness for Self before the rule serves another in Light when you practice it. **smiling**

Tracey< Ben: So then it is back to the Golden Rule ... after all. *S* Do unto others ... We learned it all in the sandbox and still don't always do it. Stubborn bunch, us humans, don't ya think? *S*

Tracey< Lightdreamer: Honest, I did post that at the same time you did. LOL

Ben< Lightdreamer: Yes, the Golden Rule assumes and implies equality of respect. Not of estate or esteem or condition or circumstances. Equal respect. And this means that self-respect is necessary. But unearned self-esteem is just a euphemism for baseless pride or arrogance.

Tracey< Ben: Good point ... the pride and arrogance deal ... of making us a legend in our own mind. *S* But still the basics of it ... the Golden Rule ... if we go with that, many things would change, don't ya think? Like war, for instance.

Ben< Tracey: Yes. I believe many things would change, and do change, according to the percentage of the human race who actually practice *both* aspects of the Golden Rule. ("Do not do to another" is self-restraint. "Do for another" is personal initiative.)

Lightdreamer< Ben: My self esteem rises from my knowing that I Am. I didn't earn that. It's my birthright and part of my Beingness. I deeply believe that to be true of us all. *smiling* That knowingness lies so far outside pride or arrogance that I don't know how to put them in the same sentence. My self respect/love arises from outside judgment of action. In fact, it is my self respect that GUIDES my actions. When I lose my self respect then my actions reflect that. It takes me embracing myself again to change what I create in experience for myself through action. For me, outer reflects inner. As Above, So Be It Below -- if we choose it.

[Ben< Lightdreamer: Hmm. Yes. You have a very good point there. Now that I see how you are using the words "esteem" and "respect", I like the distinction you are pointing out. All souls are inherently valuable because they are children of God, and this is (or should be) the unchanging basis for esteem and self-esteem. The results a soul produces vary according to what that soul is doing to or for others, and this is (or should be) the variable basis for respect and self-respect.]

Tracey< guitarist: Maybe someday you will write a song of peace that will solve the world's hatred, dear one. *S* Nothing is impossible, ya know. // (((All))) Love and peace to you. I have enjoyed your love and light ... bless you and quiet dreams take you to your slumber. Namaste. *S*

guitarist< Tracey: From your mouth to G-d's ear. I have enjoyed being here, too. Namaste, friend.

Lor< Yes, it IS getting time for the eyelids to close down for the usual daily needed respite for me, too. May God's blessing be with you all 'till next time. It seems to have been a rather good session tonight. Thanks all, especially to Ben. *poof*

Yopo< Lor: Blessings ... *S*

FRAML< Bells of St. Sealy's are sounding. I'm poofing now. ALL: Remember to count your blessings before you sleep.

Yopo< ... and to you too, good FRAML

LEGS< Ben: I thank you for the blessing that you are to us who are around you. It is good to be here for your seminars. And what of next week? Not quite Christmas yet, but close ... what is the schedule for these get-togethers? ((((((maryHugs)))))))

Ben< LEGS: I'm not sure about next week. I think we fairly well covered this subject, though we just scratched the surface. I could do one session on going within to mine one's memories.

LEGS< Yes, Ben, that would be a helpful seminar ... sounds good to me. I encourage you to do it for our development of 'within abilities'

Yopo< Ben: *nervous smile* Ah. Turning over dark rocks, hoping a snake doesn't jump out ...

LEGS< Yopo: The 'window' thought you put forth is fascinating. Perhaps those of us who perceive not the spark, but darkness within, haven't learned how to open the blinds to see God for ourselves. *S*

Yopo< LEGS: A window or a door at my center is something I think about. As I retreat from my senses and the external world, I surely retreat toward SOMETHING. Maybe the window I will finally jump through. *S* But I like the idea of an indwelling spark of Creator at my center, too. Something that might shine so brightly, that it shines OUT into the world I live in. If I could just get my own shadows out of the way ...

guitarist< Ben: I just finished reading your seminars on spiritual healing, part of which ties in with mining the memories. I'd like to be with y'all on this one; I've been doing my best to keep my memories intact so I can deal with them properly, when I learn how.

Ben< ALL: Okay, I'll see what I can cobble together for next week. Mining memories can be fun. I think I'll work more on the techniques I use than on the contents of memories.

guitarist< Ben: Ah, the tools and techniques again. Gotta love 'em! I'm looking forward to it.

Ben< It has been a long day for me, and now it is time for bed. Good night and great morning! *poof*

guitarist< Ben: Thank you ever so, as always! This was a pretty intense one, and so many showed up after all!

Yopo< Ben: A good night to you! Thanks, as always! Blessings ... *G* I shall come next week equipped to deal with snakes.

guitarist< Yopo: I've never dealt with snakes, but I understand that grabbing them behind the head is the best way to keep them from biting you. ;-) I think I'd be nervous, too, if I saw things like that inside. (Who knows, there probably are.) But, Creator is greater than these things. I believe that all who want to, will win over them. Love and light to you, friend.

Session 4
Sat 18 Dec 1999

Ben< This concluding session of the seminar on "Going within" could be called "the art of remembering." There are many books and courses on techniques to improve your memory, but I haven't seen many on how to use your memory, so that is what I'd like to explore tonight.

Ben< Rather than discussing concepts or definitions, I plan to post four small exercises. I hope we can get to all four of them in an hour. Ready? Let's go...

Ben< EXERCISE 1a: Say or sing the words: "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air" and then remember the line that comes right *before* it. (I'll wait a couple minutes for you to do that, and then post the second step of this exercise, so you don't need to reply until after I post the next step.) YOUR TURN

Ben< EXERCISE 1b: Assuming that you found the previous line "O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?" ... how did your mind do that? Can you describe that data-search process as a series of steps? YOUR TURN

guitarist< I had to go back to the beginning of the song and sing it through to that line.

lauratamar< So did I, but I couldn't get that far, couldn't remember.

Yopo< *hehehe* I had to start from the very beginning, to get to the line you quoted ... I apparently lack the *pause, back* function.

guitarist< Yopo: Oh, oh, your tape recorder's broken! (LOL)

FRAML< Ben: Nope, I kept going forward; couldn't find reverse.

donoma< I had to go back to beginning, then was able to skip to where I needed to go.

Yopo< donoma: At least you have *fast forward*! *S*

Ben< Okay *smile* I'll post what I did in a moment. Others?

greyman< Yes. Observe those moments that cause intense emotional reactions, and use that energy to develop a bridge to that emotion/experience.

Ben< When I tried to remember the previous line, my mind went to the title of the song, then to the first line of the song, and then sequentially through each line until it came to the one I was looking for -- which I recognized in retrospect as soon as I started the line "And the rockets' red glare."

Ben< From this and similar exercises, I believe most people's minds can do several things at the same time. In this exercise, I held the line or phrase "And the rocket's red glare" in memory while my mind searched by association for the title of the song and then went sequentially through each line of the song. I also held each line in memory long enough to recall it again if the next line matched the one I was searching for. And I also watched my mind as it was doing all this, and remembered what it did -- the sequence of steps it went through.

Ben< This is also a way to remember what you want to say while someone else is speaking. Hold what you want to say in a separate little area of memory, off to one side (so to speak), like opening two windows side by side on your computer monitor. If you need to, flick your attention back and forth from one window to the other, so you don't lose track of either of them.

Ben< EXERCISE 2: Memories are stored sequentially but can be accessed either sequentially or by association with other memories (words, sights, sounds, smells, feelings). One way of playing with this function is to enter a keyword and then watch what your mind does with it. Ready? Okay. The keyword is FROG. Please describe the first, second, and third things that come to your mind when you think of that word. YOUR TURN.

Yopo< Ben: I had trouble closing the window where a baseball game was about to start. *s*

guitarist< Ben: I find the "split-screen monitor" a hard thing to do.

FRAML< Ah, Ben, the human computer.

lauratamar< Picture of green frog, frog hopping in pond, frog being dissected in class.

Ben< lauratamar: You apparently have a file-folder labeled "frogs"

lauratamar< LOL No, just the first images in my mind.

Yopo< Hmm... pond. sunlight. ripple.

greyman< Small amphibian. Zaps flies. Kermit.

guitarist< Frog = green, slimy, water-based. Legs taste like chicken! *G*

donoma< Our friend Froggy who hangs out in SWC; the little animal; a plate of frog legs I thought was gross. *S*

FRAML< FROG = Soviet Army tactical rocket (Free Rocket Over Ground), green amphibian, and Kermit. Hey folks, I'm former career Army guy who did Soviet tactics and equipment for a living for 20 years.

donoma< (((FRAML))) Well, THAT was an image to remember! *S*

Ben< Usually, left to its own devices, the subconscious mind drifts from one memory to another along lines of association, and pretty soon is presenting data far removed from the original subject. When you notice your mind has wandered, you can choose to gently put it back on the original subject, or you can let it go on wandering just to see how your data-base is organized. Sometimes the lines of association are rather amusing -- like "I didn't know I associated that with that!"

lauratamar< Your word brought to my awareness a 2D picture image first, then a 3D image of living frog jumping in pond, then my memory of dead frog I dissected in class with formaldehyde smell.

FRAML< Ben: Sort of like the briefing I recently did, I had a map with arrows and unit names, and all of the information flowed from my memory based upon associating units and locations. (Did a briefing on the Battle of the Bulge in WWII)

donoma< Ben: That is very true. there is a book "thinking in pictures" by Temple Gradin who is autistic; it describes that thought process -- that is how autistics think always -- picture to picture, and it sometimes seems illogical

Yopo< donoma: Interesting. Maybe when we start with a word that has strong visual associations, we go down a trail of visual connections? Hadn't thought about that before...

Ben< donoma: Placing one's mind back on the original subject is one of the disciplines in Ghana Yoga, Raja Yoga, and most of the mind sciences. However, I also like to let my mind drift sometimes just to see where it goes.

Ben< EXERCISE 3: Suppose you are remembering a party you attended, and your mind starts to drift off to other associated memories. You place it back on the memory of that party. Now, as you get into that scene, what can you ask or say to yourself in order to explore that memory more fully? Hint: you might ask yourself "What was I thinking at that moment?" YOUR TURN

lauratamar< Whose eyes were on me.

donoma< I think of the scenes (the pictures) or the emotions involved.

FRAML< Again, my briefing. But on the party, who was I talking to? What would I have been talking about? Business or social chat?

donoma< Yes, and as FRAML says, the conversations.

guitarist< About the party: I can ask myself, "Do you remember what so-and-so was wearing? Do you remember any perfume in the air? Music playing? A particularly interesting, nasty, or embarrassing thing someone said to you (or that you said to someone)?" and many other questions along those lines.

greyman< Examine those elements specific to the memory of the party. Examine "carrier" information such as emotions. When all else fails try going to a party. It works for me *g*

Ben< Those are good mental tools. Others? Feel free to add to what you have posted if you wish.

Yopo< I'd probably have to think of some particular thing that happened at the party, or some particular thing that was said, then pick up the thread from there.

Ben< Yopo: Yes, find a significant something and then go sequential from there.

greyman< Some "record" easier with a developed sense: visual, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. For some, perception not belonging to the above set.

lauratamar< I remember things associated with emotions much better.

Yopo< lauratamar: Yep. Strong emotion leaves a strong print.

lauratamar< Did I laugh? Did I cry? Did I ... etc. I remember things that are emotionally charged more strongly.

Yopo< lauratamar: Or maybe, strong emotion makes the mind more sensitive to being imprinted. Curious thing. Emotionally charged moments seem to make us remember what we saw, heard, thought, etc, ALL more clearly.

guitarist< I can agree about the strong emotions, especially the negative ones, unfortunately.

FRAML< I need to remember people and discussion topics and situations. Like "What happened during that operation?"

guitarist< I find myself wrapped up in my own emotions a lot, and so can't 'look around' in my memory. I'm finding this difficult to say, but parties in particular have some strong negative associations for me.

Ben< Here is a partial list of tools: What happens next? What am I thinking (moment by moment)? What am I feeling (moment by moment)? What happened just before that? Move ahead (or back) to the next significant event. Stop (freeze frame) and look around: what else is happening? what is in the background? who else is here? Go back and replay that scene again (it helps make notes each time you do this; keep a pencil and piece of paper at hand).

Ben< Memories tend to be like the tips of mountains sticking up out of a fog, because some bits of memory are coded as more important, significant, pleasant, painful, etc., than others. The average, run-of-the-mill events are more difficult to recall. However, if you go back through a memory again and again, like replaying a video-tape, more and more details will emerge. Eventually, this process of going back through a memory again and again can recall an amazing amount of detail.

Ben< EXERCISE 4: When I was a little boy, I lived on a farm in Wisconsin. During the month of June, I went to bed about the same time the sun did. I remember one of those sunsets better than any of the others. This is why. As I lay in my bed looking out the window at the sunset, a nursery rhyme popped into my mind: "Now the sun is softly sinking down behind the wood, and I am very happy, for I know that I've been good." Whenever I remember that moment, I still feel the glow of quiet peace and contentment. Does that story remind you of anything similar in your memories? YOUR TURN.

lauratamar< Ben: Yes. When I was little and scared, I would run and crawl into my older sister's Tina's bed (she is 4 years older) and snuggle against her and she would turn and hold me in her arms and kiss my forehead and I would sleep unafraid through the night. I would be warm, and happy, and safe.

FRAML< Ben: I've had a couple of traumatic things that I remember in that way.

Yopo< *S* Ben: It does, actually. When I was very young -- maybe 3 or 4 -- I was taken to a circus and saw my first lion. Made a big impression. Where I lived then, there was a factory not far away that made strange noises at night. Night of the circus, I was falling asleep, thinking of the lion, and there came one of those noises from outside. When I think of a lion now, I often think back to that night, and how the sound frightened me. *G*

guitarist< Ben: That is a nice nursery rhyme, and I've never seen it before. A short memory: I was 10 years old, in a boarding school-like place, and sitting alone for breakfast before going to class. An instructor came up to me and complimented me on my table manners and said, because of the fact that I wasn't trying to impress anyone, that they were internalized and therefore natural. I felt pretty good about that.

greyman< "Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen."

guitarist< Are you saying goodnight, greyman? If so, sweet, light-filled dreams.

greyman< Naaaaa ...

guitarist< Now, that prayer I have heard ... and prayed.

Yopo< greyman: Ah... *s* I said that little prayer most every night of my childhood, together with my little brothers.

FRAML< I never cared for that prayer, even though I said it. I thought it odd that my parents would want me to pray to die before I woke up. Or that anyone would want to do that. I guess I focused on death, which I was familiar with, rather than soul, which didn't mean anything to me. I just wanted to wake up in the morning.

guitarist< FRAML: I always thought that, since the prayer goes "IF I should die" it meant that I was asking G-d to take me, rather than leaving me alone... or with the devil, as I learned later.

FRAML< guitarist: I guess that is right, but I thought it strange to be thinking about dying. Oh, well -- and other deep subjects.

Yopo< FRAML: I am most curious where that little prayer came from, since so many shared it. I know what you mean, though. It became a sort of "ritual of protection" after a while, which maybe wasn't what it was intended to be.

frozen_moon< *rocking to TubThumping* For some strange reason, I tend to cry whenever I hear a small music box playing.

Ben< frozen_moon: My wife will stand and listen to a little music box and smile softly and sway slightly, just as she must have done when she was a little girl. I've never asked her about it, but those are apparently happy memories for her. (I have bought her several little music boxes.)

frozen_moon< Ben: Yeah ... I think what it is -- when my parents wanted me to get out of their hair when I was younger, they would make me stay in my or their bedroom and force me to lay down. Then they would wind up some music box to try and calm me. It reminds me of all that pain I went through, unconsciously, I suppose.

Yopo< Had a little bear, with a music box inside. Remember it played Brahm's lullaby. Haven't thought of that in -- uh -- over 40 years? *LOL*

guitarist< I like music boxes, too. My mom had a sewing box that had a ballerina on it and played "Fur Elise" long before I knew what its name was. The ballerina broke off and the music box broke, but I still have the box. I also have a broken box that played "Fiddler on the Roof."

Ben< ALL: Now I would like to post three summary comments, and then open the meeting for discussion.

Ben< COMMENT 1: I believe it is worthwhile to explore, not only what we have stored in our memories, but how our personal data storage-and-retrieval system works. Like a personal computer, we don't need to know all about neurons and binary arithmetic and such, but it does help to understand some of the things our own subconscious mind does in the process of storing and retrieving data.

greyman< (but I do) *G*

Ben< COMMENT 2: I believe this saying is significant: "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." Therefore, I think it is a good idea to practice the art of remembering just for the fun of it, rather than only using our memories for tasks that we view as work.

Ben< COMMENT 3: The healing of painful memories is very good therapy, but if we suspect that a memory is likely to be painful, our subconscious mind doesn't want to go there and may persistently skitter away from it. Therefore, I think it is a good idea to practice the art of remembering by recalling pleasant memories.

FRAML< Ben: And if we reach back to times of living as farmers in medieval Europe, are we recalling *peasant* memories? *G*

greyman< FRAML: As a child, I would fly around my room and at night I would fly high up in the sky, weeeeee!

Ben< /topic Discussion of the Art of Remembering

Ben< I may be weird, but I think remembering is fun. I enjoy remembering. If I thought it was hard work, or expected it to be painful, my subconscious mind would automatically resist doing it. Thus, over time, I have found that my own self-conditioned responses can make remembering easier or more difficult.

guitarist< Ben: I don't think that remembering is fun, but that it is something I must do for my own sanity. I have a lot of things to resolve, many of them painful, but I must remember anyhow, for the time when I can deal with them.

Ben< guitarist: If you take some time to recall things that were good, true, beautiful, holy, you thus condition your mind to work more easily when you put it to work. As FRAML says, count your blessings -- and that makes it easier to recall stuff such as you described.

Yopo< guitarist: I suppose we all have both pleasant and painful memories stored away. Maybe part of healing is to consciously pull up the good ones now and then, to keep 'em stronger. Maybe that strengthens the past in a positive way, creates more positive perceptions of the present, and a more optimistic vision of the future? ... And negative events of the past aren't really cast in stone, I think. Sometimes when we look back on unpleasant events, we find we can understand them better than we did at the time. We can make peace with our past. But not if we avoid looking.

guitarist< Ben, Yopo: Thank you both. I also think I may have a tendency to put memories in the "sort of bad" category that don't belong there. Tonight, I was at my best friend and her husband's 25th anniversary party. While it wasn't a black tie affair, it was, after all, a silver anniversary, and I was one of the only older people to wear jeans. The rest of my attire was acceptable, but the jeans just didn't belong. Also, we forgot to get a gift. (However, my husband has an idea for a gift that I haven't asked him about yet.) Otherwise, the affair was lovely, and no one chastised me at all.

lauratamar< I think that the art of forgetting is important. The elimination of painful memories is important. I also find that my memories are not always accurate, that with time they are changed in some ways.

guitarist< lauratamar: I agree that memory, over time, can become inaccurate. But, I think, eliminating painful memories can hurt more than heal, especially if the memories in question are not properly processed or dealt with. They can sometimes come back in strange ways through our words and behavior without our quite realizing it..

frozen_moon< Something rather interesting to 'remember' sometimes (hehe) is that the past is only the past. It is not the present, yet it is our psyche that makes it feel like it is the present. :-)

lauratamar< May I ask, gently of course, why it is so important to remember, anyway? I try to live in the now rather than the past. Life seems to be just a series of nows tied together in a string-like manner. To remember or recall the millions of nows that existed once seems to be too much to do ... or even unnecessary. I can barely live in the now I am experiencing at times.

FRAML< lauratamar: To remember where I've been, to find out if I've found or forgotten a better way of doing something. To realize that the formerly painful experience was a key turning point for the better in my life. And to recall old friends and good times shared together.

frozen_moon< lauratamar: Living in the now is high-priority (or IMHO should be). But remembering the past (things that people/experiences/places taught you, etc.) is equally important. The link is recognition that the past IS only the past. :-)

Ben< frozen_moon: Good point. Staying in the observer position is a useful tactic in many cases. If we can watch our memories with some detachment *and* remember "That was then" emotional loading may be easier to deal with and resolve.

frozen_moon< Ben: Could easily bring a higher understanding of all things between then and now, too.

lauratamar< Why is it important, frozen_moon? How will it effect me if I don't choose to recall? Will I be less? Saying the past is the past is one thing. Experiencing that is another thing all together. History is important and learned in school, but those things really did not happen as written. Rather they were experienced as real by people who no longer exist and never recorded. Our history is but history of ghosts, and our memories of the past are the same, just ghost memories we try to bring back to life.

frozen_moon< lauratamar: *chuckles* A very good point. *fantasizing of what it would have been like to be 19 years old in the 70's* ... ahhhh, how I do dream ... LOL. Unfortunately, though, I'm 19 now in 1999. (born may 1 -`80)

Ben< lauratamar: Now would have very little emotional loading if it weren't for association with memories. Much of our present pain is conditioned response. Remembering and re-evaluating conditioning events is a major way of healing in the present. And recalling the good stuff is emotional food in the present.

frozen_moon< lauratamar: Memory is an inductor of evolution. :-) It is a key object that allows a species to evolve and grow beyond problems that previous generations had a difficult time handling.

lauratamar< frozen_moon: How are we handling our species problems better? The 20th century is the bloodiest in history. I look away when I see a homeless person as I drive the streets where I live.

Yopo< lauratamar: Maybe Now requires the perspective a remembrance of the past lends it, to be fully experienced? ... My father, for instance. He has Alzheimer syndrome. He lives in an eternal Now, with connections to the past falling away. He is not the same person, without his bad and good memories. The Now he is in lacks context.

guitarist< Yopo: Excellent example of why living in the "now" is not all we should do. My aunt's mother has Alzheimer's, and my mother-in-law died of it. Furthermore, the "now" they are in isn't the one most of us share (though some doubt we share reality at all -- but I think they're wrong, otherwise no one would attempt to communicate with another).

Yopo< lauratamar: To my way of thinking, at least, what we are is the total play we are actors and actresses in. Now is just the line we're reading at the moment. It is the whole play that carries the meaning of our lives.

guitarist< Yopo: "These are the days of our lives"? Now we're living a soap opera! *LOL*

Yopo< guitarist: *groan* I thought that sounded a little sappy and familiar after I posted it. *S*

guitarist< Yopo: Do you really have time to watch those things? I admire your time management. ***LOLOLOL***

Yopo< guitarist: Actually, I wouldn't if I did. I think I remember the line from a Saturday Night Live parody. *S*

guitarist< lauratamar: I don't think we need to go as far as frozen_moon was suggesting, to find reasons to remember. If you ever find yourself responding to a situation inappropriately (say, with too much anger or anxiety, as we all do occasionally), you might want to remember what happened before in a similar situation that would trigger such a reaction. From this, one can learn what *is* appropriate, and act accordingly.

FRAML< lauratamar: As a historian, I'll take issue with "those things really did not happen as written" as an "all" statement. Good historians will write history to show what happened as best we can by studying the records from the past. I work with interviewing WWII veterans to get their memories of their service during the war. Their memories are what is real for them, and will be for the future because I've captured them through interviews. Some memories may be fogged by time and not 100% correct, but each man is doing his best to remember what he went through and what he knew at the time.

lauratamar< FRAML: I know that good historians write history the best they can from the records they can find. It is a construct from the available records, but people lie, people justify, the victors have always written to make themselves look noble and good. Good historians know this and modify accordingly. The one major difference between man and the animal kingdom is man's ability to store information outside himself, in writing, story-telling and now, computers. That is a big jump in evolution.

Yopo< By the way... Just how long IS the present, anyway? How far down do we have to trim things, to be living in the Now?

FRAML< Yopo: Good question ... yesterday, last week. or month? I don't know, but can't think of when something of the past might not be of significance for the future. But being a historian, I live in the "now" and the past.

Yopo< FRAML: Moment by moment, like sand through an hourglass, time gets away from us. "Now" is a most curious place, when you think about it. Truth be told, given the time-lag it takes our senses to move impulses to the brain, and the brain to process the input, we're probably dealing with history by the time we know about it.

Ben< Yopo: One of the Yoga techniques for enduring pain, even torture, is to narrow one's perception of time to the smallest possible instant. For example, not remembering the previous stroke of the whip and not anticipating the next, only experiencing the pain of the instant as it occurs. But this is a special technique, and not a way of living and enjoying life.

Yopo< Ben: Perhaps that yoga technique might even make soap operas bearable?

lauratamar< Bye, everyone. Time for me to go and gaze at the stars. JJ in the Henge said I should do so tonight, and I would see something special. I hope I wasn't too much of a downer for all of you. Sorry if I was negative.

Yopo< lauratamar: In no way negative! Much enjoyed your thoughts. A good night to you. *S* (I enjoyed the slow beat of the bass I heard playing on your web page, too.)

FRAML< lauratamar: Remember that just because "some" have lied, that does not mean "all" have lied. That is an important point that too many people forget, or don't want to admit to. Blessings to you, and work on remembering the blessings you've receive, you've observed, and given to others.

lauratamar< Ah, FRAML, I have made you angry, I fear. Well, I apologize and thank you for inviting me here tonight. Hope to talk to you again. Thank you Ben. peace to all.

FRAML< lauratamar: Nope, not made me angry. I just have a sore spot for statements that "all" or "everyone" knows or does something -- it is a fallacious argument; one exception destroys it. Just a discussion tool. I hope to see you again. I've like your comments.

guitarist< lauratamar: Don't worry. You challenged us, and that's OK. I think we rise very well to such occasions: one reason I have been here nearly a month now, and I intend to keep coming back.

Ben< lauratamar: 'twas good to meet you. I especially enjoyed your response to my story about the sunset when I was a little child. *smile* Goodnight.

FRAML< I hear the bells of St. Sealy's in the background. It is time for me to depart for the night.

Yopo< FRAML: If I don't happen to see you before, I wish you a bright and joyful Christmas! *S* Oh, and don't forget that full moon, come Wednesday. Last seen by recent veterans of the Civil War.

FRAML< Yopo: Thanks. I'll try to remember the moon, though with all the street lights here, it isn't like looking up at the stars and moon when I was a kid in the farmland of Indiana.

FRAML< Thank you all for the discussion tonight. Blessing and bug-free beds to you all. & MERRY CHRISTMAS

FRAML< Ben: Will you be taking a break for Christmas and New Year's?

Ben< FRAML: Yes, I'll be taking time off until after the first of the year, century, millennium.

FRAML< Ben: Just the year. The end of the millennium isn't until Dec. 31, 2000. This year's hoopla is just mistaken timing.

Ben< FRAML: That's true. And drat! I've been writing on cards "Have a merry Christmas and a happy new millennium."

guitarist< FRAML: Thanks for correcting the "millennium" error ... again. I agree with you.

FRAML< *****POOOOF*****

guitarist< Happy holidays to all! Ben, you cobble well. Have you been a shoemaker before? ;-)

Ben< guitarist: Thank you. I haven't been a shoemaker, but several of my ancestors were cordwainers (shoemakers) so maybe it runs in the family.

Yopo< Ben: Maybe I missed the post... There WILL be Christmas hiatus??? *S*

Ben< Yopo: Yes. Holiday Hiatus starts tonight.

Yopo< Ben: *S* I figured.

Ben< Yopo: I remember you said you would be ready to deal with snakes tonight, so I thought my exercises might toss you a curve. Like: if you expect to find snakes in a hole, your subconscious resists any attempt to put your hand into it, whether there is a snake in there or not. Better to sneak up on those snakes. *smile*

Yopo< Ben: *S* I may not have seen the snakes in a while, but I've got a good idea which rocks they're under. No snakes I can wrangle, I think...

Ben< Yopo: I agree that it is a good idea to have yer trusty snake-whacker in hand before exploring certain caves and basements.

Yopo< Uh, no snakes I CAN'T wrangle! (I will NOT think of the flying monkeys. I will NOT think of the flying monkeys... *hehehe*)

guitarist< Yopo: The flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz? Now, you can't say that's from SNL.

Yopo< guitarist: Flying monkeys scared the bejessus outta me when I first saw The Wizard of Oz as a kid. Gave me flying monkey nightmares for a while. *G* No number of "now I lay me down to sleeps" made my dreams flying monkey-proof. I sorta associate that memory with anything that scares me...

guitarist< Yopo: What scared me the most was the witch, when she had Dorothy locked up in the castle and really got in her face.

Yopo< guitarist: *S* The wicked witch scared me, too. But for some reason I felt sorry for her after Dorothy threw the water on her.

Ben< Yopo: I didn't like the flying monkeys, either. As she tucked me into bed, Mom casually said "Of course, real monkeys don't have wings" and that helped.

Yopo< I think the flying monkeys bothered me so much because they didn't seem to have personalities. Just a manic evil energy. And they didn't change when the movie ended. The witch might be melted, but the flying monkeys were still out there somewhere.

guitarist< Yopo: And without a leader, the monkeys would go crazy! Better watch out! I didn't think of that, but now you're giving me the willies... NOT! ;-)

Ben< Yopo: The one character who fascinated me was Glenda, the Good Witch of the North (?). She came floating down in her bright transparent bubble, and I wanted to know how she did that!

Yopo< Ben: *S* There are witches, and there are witches. Glenda WAS interesting. The other polarity.

guitarist< So, Ben, what do you call it when everything seems negative to a person, and even the nicest occasions get spoiled by some (to the person) glaring fault or word or something?

Ben< guitarist: Since you asked, I call it the power of negative thinking.

guitarist< Ben: Yes, I did ask, with good reason. The other part of this question is, *whose* negative thinking? I think I perpetuate many others' negativity, and since I've been living with it so long, I really don't always know whether the wrong things I do are small or large. Everything has the same or similar priority when I'm not sure of what's happening.

[Ben< guitarist: Hmm... Well, one's own negative thinking may stimulate others' negative thinking, but it doesn't always work that way. Other psychological or spiritual dynamics may be involved.]

guitarist< Ben: Fortunately, my husband is a very loving and wise source of feedback. And so have been my last two bosses and my best friend, aforementioned above. But my mother is often a source of negative feedback, except when I do something for her. (I stayed in the hospital 3 days with her this week because she had an operation, and she was quite grateful.)

Ben< guitarist: A while ago, someone asked me what one can do if one must be with dysfunctional people. I suggested (1) don't waste energy by trying to change them, or even by wanting them to change. And (2) don't take it to heart; let what they say and do run off of you like water off a duck's back. Those two suggestions aren't a perfect solution, but they can help.

guitarist< Ben: Yes, I remember. It was Obsidian. (I missed him/her tonight. I thought surely this would be a good one for him/her to attend.) Even if she doesn't change, my mother's presence is quite palpable (others say she has a "strong personality"). Maybe I'm too open to her (and, hence, other negative people).

Ben< guitarist: I think your mother may have a psychic connection to you that she uses to yank you around (and maybe pop stuff into your mind). For example, ask FRAML about the harpoon, next time you see him. It's also in Baldwin's book. (Yes, I got your pm about that. Sorry I was too busy to answer it then.)

guitarist< Ben: My mother would be most insulted by the suggestion that she would try to yank me around and pop things into my mind by psychic means. She doesn't believe in it. However, my father observed at our first meeting after a long absence (when I was 13) that my mother stared at me for a long time until my face had the same expression as hers. Then, he knew he had to back off from trying to tell me anything she didn't want me to hear.

Ben< guitarist: That stare could be an indication of what I was talking about -- an act of obsession. (See Glossary on my site for a quick definition).

guitarist< Ben: I have no doubt that my mother is obsessed, according to any definition. She suffered great losses as a baby (grew up a foster child), and has never quite recovered.

Ben< Also see "fragment"

guitarist< Ben: Do you mean #4: part of the consciousness of an overbearing parent that can obsess a child?

Ben< guitarist: I think you're on the right track.

guitarist< Ben: In my last post, I was responding to "see fragment."

[Ben< guitarist: Yes. I was referring to your overbearing parent.]

guitarist< Ben: It sounds as though you're saying that someone can put out psychic energy unknowingly. I seem to be a receiver for this (others have commented that I, for some unexplainable reason, pick up on others' negativity). Does this make me psychic?

[Ben< guitarist: Yes, people can transmit psychic energy unknowingly or without calling it that, and you're apparently psychic enough to receive some of it, at least from some people. My two suggestions to Obsidian apply to such cases.]

Yopo< *sigh* Might have been helpful, if we'd had those two suggestions in mind last night. Local Friday discussion group became a sounding board for a seriously unbalanced young woman, who was in the presence of her mother. So much anger and pain, inside that one, and no resources to deal with it. It was strange. The entire atmosphere of the room seemed to physically change. Most everyone felt that.

Yopo< What I chiefly noticed was a sensation of heat. The entire room grew very hot, as she let all this stuff come pouring out... It was as if the temperature had gone up 10 or 15 degrees. It remained that way until she gradually calmed down a bit, and seemed normal again after she had left.

guitarist< Wow, Yopo, I can't imagine what that would be like.

Yopo< guitarist: I'm actually not sure how to interpret what happened. Several who are more sensitive to such things said it had been this outpouring of negative psychic energy. I really don't know. I wouldn't have really expected a physical manifestation.

guitarist< Yopo: I'm glad you and your friends were able to help her (or so it seems to me).

Yopo< guitarist: Ah, that's really the unresolved issue. Don't think we helped. If anything, the openness of the setting maybe allowed it to happen. She defends her negativity against any helpful suggestion, or offering of understanding. (This is not just a minor issue with our friend. Definitely she needs some very direct and professional intervention. We're talking about someone completely dysfunctional, and extremely delusional. Long history of repeated hospitalizations. Possibly very dangerous.)

guitarist< Yopo: I hope I'm not causing that same sensation now. I don't mean to pour out any overwhelming amount of negative energy. However, as was my stated purpose, I am learning a lot here. And I appreciate your role in that, I really do. This group is becoming most precious to me.

Yopo< guitarist: *G* Oh no! No parallels AT ALL, as you would instantly realize if you'd been there. We seemed to be about one degree below an episode out of The Exorcist. *S*

Ben< Yopo: I suppose you didn't have a thermometer. Best guess: the physical temperature didn't increase (not many can do that). The feeling of heat was probably psychic (transmitted) and psychosomatic (received, felt).

Yopo< Ben: I of course didn't, but it would have been an experiment wherein I wouldn't have had expected outcomes. If not an actual physical change, it was indistinguishable from one, so far as my perception was concerned.

guitarist< Yopo: I think you're right. Some professional assistance would be welcome in your situation, for your sake if not for hers. Shields up! Red alert! (I meant in relation to your friend, of course.)

Yopo< guitarist *s* Yeah, I figured you meant her. I am quite a harmless lunatic, myself...

guitarist< Yes, Yopo, you are a dear lunatic. I've visited your Web site, and I have noted your connection with Ms. Luna. *g*

Yopo< *hehehe* My granny always TOLD me it wasn't a good idea to fall asleep with the curtains open. Said it wasn't good to have the light of the moon fall on you while sleeping... I shoulda listened! Good night, ALL!

guitarist< Yopo: I wanted to thank you for your feedback. In a situation like this, without the feedback, I could easily think that I was like that woman. I have taken to testing reality at times like this.

Yopo< I'm getting a bit tired, so think I'll call it a night. Much enjoyed your company this evening. I wish you each a bright and merry Christmas!

guitarist< Thanks, Yopo, for everything. Sweet, light-filled dreams for you! No snakes or... flying monkeys. Begone, nasty creatures! ;-)

Ben< Sorry, my computer froze up and I had to reboot from scratch in order to say goodnight.

SLIDER< Greetings, friends. Had the Christmas shopping thing to do tonight. How is everyone?

Ben< Hi, SLIDER. Good to see you. Missed you. // Yopo: Goodnight, amigo.

Yopo< G'd night SLIDER! Sorry to exit just as you enter, but my eyes won't stay open. (Like I said before, guitarist, not even a vague resemblance. *S*) I'm outta here! *gone*

SLIDER< Well, good night to all ... I shouldn't have been tardy tonight.

[Ben< SLIDER: No problem. *smile* I appreciate your priorities.]

SLIDER< Ben: Will you be on an hiatus till after the New year, Millennium. *S*

Ben< SLIDER: Yep. Holiday in Hiatus. May drop in from time to time, though.

guitarist< Ben: Thanks for taking the time to say goodnight. You are so considerate. Thank you for your time. I'll get back to you when I'm done reading Baldwin's book. I expect it at the end of next week.

Ben< guitarist: Thank you. I think you'll find some things you can do in that book. And I'll look forward to talking with you about it.

guitarist< Ben: Cool. You should also know that I come back here every Sunday morning when I wake up, copy the transcript, and go over it, in addition to saving the edited pages as you post them, and reading them. It's the closest thing to a journal I've ever kept in any consistent fashion.

SLIDER< Ben: Sorry to have missed the last couple of meetings, but I will try to catch you between the holidays.

Ben< Okay, time for bed. Peace and blessings to you and yours. Have a happy holiday! *poof*

Ben< *unpoof* I hadn't seen your last posts. // guitarist: I'm glad you are getting so much from these seminars. Shalom. // SLIDER: I'll look for you, too. Give my best to abyss and flying wolf. *poof*

guitarist< Ben: As the Spanish say, Igualmente. (The same to you, or literally, Equally.) Shalom. // Hello, SLIDER! Well, that Christmas shopping will get you every time! It was quite interesting here.

SLIDER< guitarist: You will find Bill's book very informative.

guitarist< SLIDER: I think so, too. I look forward to reading it. Certainly like the idea of sending "attachees" to the Light better than some of the circus shows (The Exorcist) I have heard of and ineffective methods I have seen performed. Most people who do exorcism/deliverance/releasement have, IMO, no idea of what they're doing, and no immediate way of knowing whether what they did worked.

SLIDER< guitarist: Don't go into it with blind eyes; there are some pretty intense moments in doing this type of work, so know where you are, and who you are, and when you are, before trying to accomplish anything you are not familiar with.

guitarist< I understand your concern. But don't worry, SLIDER, I'm getting the best help I can find. Right now, that's Ben. Not to mention the Holy One, Blessed be He. :-) I think I'm going to call it a night too. Have happy holidays, new year, and new century; and best wishes to you and yours. // All: G-d bless us, every one!

SLIDER< guitarist: Goodnight to you, and Bless you and yours. Merry Christmas and Happy new Beginning.

guitarist< SLIDER: Thank you, and as Ben says, good night and great morning!


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