Here we are worrying about family and friendship splits over political issues and we face another obstacle in communication: People communicating on two different levels and just not getting their ideas across.
For the first time in my life I became aware, mid-conversation, that I was having one of these discussions with another person. The other person was talking from the intellectual level and it was all about right/wrong, good/bad.
I was talking from the experiential level and it was all about how does it feel? Does that feeling work for you? And there seemed no way to make the two ends meet, so to speak.
Again and again the other person recounted the grounds upon which they said they were right. For everything that was questionable, there were self-serving excuses. You know. The ones we all have?
We always seem to want to appear to be right in our own eyes, until we don’t. Until we discover the benefits of personal responsibility rather than settling for appearing right. Then a great weight falls from our shoulders.
Until then all is image management and the most we can hope for, I think, is the ephemeral satisfaction that comes from being right. In terms of relationships, all we can hope for is shifting alliances. She’s good. Now she’s done something and so she’s now bad. Now I hang out with these guys, who are good. Now they did something….
We settle for alliances of the good and right, as we define them, with daily updates. That’s all life becomes, it seems to me.
I’ve compared the intellectual level (by itself) on occasion to eating dry oatmeal. The best it seems to get at the intellectual level is sharing between friends where we trade our likes and dislikes and deep secrets (usually gossip). Not much nourishment there.
We use our conversations as opportunities to hone our story so that we have “all our ducks in a row.” Never mind the truth. Once we have our story where we want it, it becomes set in stone.
Life at the experiential level at least has more juice. It’s like hot oatmeal with milk, berries, cashew nuts and maple syrup. There’s much to like.
Life at the realizational level is indescribable. At least to my pen.
At Cold Mountain Institute in 1975-6, we resident fellows spent three months in an encounter group, living from the experiential level, and, in my opinion, it was as good as it gets on Planet Earth – at that time or since. (1)
We cleared the decks of everything between us and stood there without armor. I guess I hunger for that degree of transparency and harmlessness again. And all the clearing of vasanas or core issues I’ve done since then is only to have that state of beingness – like a hollow bamboo – back again.
I know that, once this … I love Kathleen’s word … “disarray” is over and we’re blessed by the Ring of Fire, (2) we’ll be living from that state as a society. The more we are, the more the world will work for everyone. (3)
And, within days or weeks of gaining that state, we’ll probably just accept it as normal. And largely forget that only for a few brief moments in our history (like the early Fifties) and in a very few places has a state of public peace – even if it was illusory – ever really been “normal.”
(1) The est Training had the better technology for eradicating “records” or vasanas/core issues, but the space of the Cold Mountain Resident Fellowship was exquisite. If you had three months and a few thousand dollars to get there.
(2) See Ring of Fire, Wave of Love at https://goldenageofgaia.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/Ring-of-Fire-Wave-of-Love-R7.pdf
(3) The phrase originated with Werner Erhard.