Federica wrote: ↑Mon Jun 13, 2022 11:22 pm
Well, I see a clear difference between thinking and willing (as it’s called here) on one hand, and feeling on the other.
What I am trying to say is that love, gratitude, seem to be part of the fabric of the universe, like an omnipresent grace. In our most ideal state we should be constantly able to feel these, for everything and everyone, not because we produce the feelings but because we are open to them, and so we nourish them and relay them to others, to ourselves and to the world.
By the way, we will and think very specific and peculiar gestures that are extremely differentiated, especially thinking, whilst we simply ‘feel gratitude’. There seems to be only one gratitude. When I feel grateful I haven't cooked the gratitude, like I am cooking and serving these thoughts right here, I have simply accessed it, by seeing it, by being open to it. But the opportunity for feeling grateful was there regardless. The opportunity for gratitude is everywhere. Not that this openness does not require much work to be enabled and maintained. But the work is not on gratitude. It’s not about finding the recipe to make it from within ourselves. It's on openness to gratitude. As soon as we are able to see it, gratitude embraces us. Love is the same.
This soul plumbing work is certainly under our responsibility, I speak from experience, I have been working hard on that. On it depends the openness that allows us to feel gratitude and love and to relay them - on it also depends our ability to disconnect us from infective negative feelings relayed by others, so we can help them heal instead of being captured by their same ailment.
When these exact same plumbing skills allow us to relate to others in a way that stops the spreading chains of negative feelings, replacing them with graceful ones, we say that forgiveness has happened.
I would like to explore together with you two things.
The first is related to the fact that, as you say, we don't cook the feeling, we don't create the water. We can really see this more clearly in thinking and then move on to feeling.
If we're very precise in our inner observations it wouldn't be quite truthful to say that we create out of ourselves the perceptions of the thoughts. In certain sense they are something independent. As you say, we feel involved in the thought but then we see how its tail recedes away as a memory picture. If we're careful we can't say that we somehow produced the 'substance' of this memory picture ourselves. We would be much less pretentious if we simply say "Somehow my thinking gestures, my willful weaving in meaning, becomes impressed
in the field of consciousness (the World Content), like a seal becomes impressed in wax. I don't perceive the seal because it is the invisible meaning that fills my being as pure intuition
. I only perceive the effects
of this weaving in meaning, which are reflected in the 'substance' of the World Content". Of course all this should be grasped as imaginative artform expressing first-person living experience, and not as some theoretical model of the mind. I believe that you have no problem with this kind of inner expressing, as you've already showed. The same can't be said about others who simply can't see words like this as living testimonies for inner realities. Instead they try to imagine some floating seal and some wax and say "Well, that's a nice theory but such a seal and wax are nowhere to be found in my experience."
So we've established that our inner experience justifies us to differentiate between what we do
through our spiritual gesticulation in meaning, and the perceptual effects in the World Content. In a similar sense but about feeling, you say that what we invisibly do with our spiritual activity as plumbing is different
from what we perceive as feeling atmosphere in the World Content. And that's quite correct in the exactly same sense as it is about thinking. But we should also be aware that there's a potential trap
here. I tried to illustrate this in the Central Topic series with the hysteresis image, where the meaning that we think most of the time is about something which is not the thinking itself. We think about the weather, the dog, the table but the wax impressions of these thoughts do not directly reflect anything back about the fact that there's a thinking process which impresses them. That's why we say that thinking is in the blind spot almost all of the time. When we do something like the vowels exercise or we simply move a light dot in our imagination and try to feel as closely as possible how the thought-tails reflect our inner activity, then we become conscious of the fact that the wax impressions are not only about the vowels or the light dot but also about
the living process that impresses them. This was metaphorically illustrated as the hysteresis process spiraling into unity - meaningful intent and reflection come together. Of course, this unity is not perfect. We can still clearly distinguish between the meaningful gesture and the impression. So we still have no right to say that we create the wax out of ourselves.
That's all good. But the abovementioned trap is that if we overemphasize this differentiation, we practically forcefully open the hysteresis again. We want to emphasize the distinction and say "These thought perceptions have nothing to do with the activity I'm performing, they are of completely different nature. What I innerly do doesn't look like the thought perceptions. What I do is the plumbing in meaning. This only creates the circumstances for the thought to be perceived." And as said, this is technically correct but let's ask ourselves for example: what do I do if I want to think the sound 'aaaaa'? Do we find ourselves doing some plumbing which has nothing to do
with the sound 'a', yet we perceive precisely that sound? As an exaggerated example, do we try to weave in the meaning of, say, a circle in order to hear the sound 'a'? Or when we want to hear 'a' we simply think 'a'?
My point here is to guard against inserting
abstract fillers between our gesticulating in meaning and the perceptions, in order to emphasize how unrelated the two sides are. While this is exaggerated in the case of thinking, it is much easier to be taken as a matter of course in feeling. The reason is that feelings are elusive for the average person of today. Most people can hardly, for example, summon (this is the inner gesture) the actual feeling of joy. In theory it seems logical to be able to do so. If we can will the impression of the sound 'a' with our activity, why shouldn't it be possible to will something which reflects to us as the actual atmosphere of joy? Yet this doesn't seem to happen for the average person. They might be able to summon a vague degree of the feeling, through the inner gesture of trying to remember
how joy feels like, but most people wouldn't be able to intensify this feeling to the degree that it fills the soul content. This is not limited only to feelings. If we close our eyes and try to remember how red looks like as vividly as possible, most people wound barely see anything. Please note that even though we say "try to remember" the goal is actually to fill our soul with the quality of redness through and through. Remembering speaks only about the fact that we try to utilize an inner degree of freedom of our spirit. That's why I spoke about memories as creating new degrees of freedom. For example, if we want to remember how green feels like, we'll have to exercise a different degree of freedom. Somehow we know what 'button' to press with our spirit in order to summon the quality of redness or the quality of greenness. What about remembering that color which we have never seen in our life? We don't have the 'button' for that yet, we don't have the degree of freedom. If at some point we behold the quality of that exotic color, then we'll also attain to a new degree of freedom, new 'button', through which we'll know what to innerly do if we want to remember that color and once again fill our soul space with its quality (even if very dimly). If we have extraordinarily vivid imagination then we might be able to remember colors with such intensity that they feel no different that a color impressed through the senses or in a dream. The same holds true for feelings too. Through spiritual training we can increase the vividness of this 'remembering' tremendously.
Now everything we said about the plumbing and the perceived effects still holds. My goal here is only to protect from the trap to imagine that our inner activity is bound to remain completely dissimilar from the actual feeling. It's true that this holds true for feeling to a greater extent than in thoughts. If we want to think about a dog we simply think about a dog. It makes no sense to say "I want to think about a dog but I can't", because we already
thought about it by saying this. With feelings we have one more level of indirection. When we first experienced joy in our life it was possible to condense the feeling into the concept
of joy. Now the word 'joy' (or we could use a gesture, picture, color, etc.) symbolizes
the feeling of joy. It is a holographic token. As we saw, it is easy to remember the token. We simply have to think about it. To remember also
the feeling of which the token is conceptual condensation, we need much greater inner strength
. If we have that strength innately or we gain it through training then we can not only remember the concept (the token) but also fill our soul space with the quality of joy.
Of course, in order to attain to that strength, we need a lot of plumbing, which, as you say, may have no immediate relation to joy. We may need to develop our ability to concentrate, to let go of some habits, recurring feelings and so on. All of these are hinderances for our ability to remember joy with great intensity. But when the path is cleared and we've gained the strength, it no longer makes sense to say for example "If I want to remember joy, I have to do some completely different plumbing, I have to remember, say, pain". No, if we want to remember and fill our soul with joy we need to focus directly on it, just like when we want to fill our soul with the sound 'a' we focus our thinking directly on it. I repeat that the distinction
between the inner gesture of summoning the feeling of joy and the actual feeling of joy is still valid. It's not like we produce joy out of ourselves, just like we don't produce the wax of thought perceptions, yet we certainly have a role in bringing it forward. As you said previously, we can imagine that these feelings are embedded in the background of existence but most of the time our inner atmosphere interferes destructively with them and they seem non-existent. In this sense yes - summoning joy is really manipulating the interference pattern such that joy can come forward and fill the soul. The point, though, is that once we have advanced with the preparatory plumbing, which truly may seem unrelated to joy, then in the end our final summoning gesture can really be called 'filling our soul with joy'. In other words, once we have gained the inner strength, our final action should focus directly on joy
in order to lift it from the infinite potential, and not in some other direction.
Of course there are many things for one to object here. It can be said that joy, even if we can remember it with great intensity such that it practically happens to us at the moment, is not 'real' joy because we ourselves bring it forward. Real joy should come only externally, otherwise we're 'cheating'. Well, we can talk a lot about these things too but my example with joy is once again arbitrary. We can substitute it with any other feeling.
As a side note, we can say that when we speak of will we have even one more layer of indirection. If I want to move my arm, first I can most easily summon the concept of moving hand. This is only the token. Then, if I have the inner strength I can imagine/remember quite vividly how hand movement feels like. I can move my imaginary hand. But then I need even greater strength if this imagination has to intensify to the level of what we call the 'outer' world. So our inner world has few rings (they are not really rings, they all fill the entirety of inner space and are superimposed, but let's call them rings). The most pliable is the ring where thoughts are impressed in the sound, color, etc. 'substance'. Then we have the ring of more substantial feelings which require greater inner strength to move. And finally we have the ring of the sensory spectrum which requires third level of strength. All these rings together form the spectrum of inner world as it metamorphoses from 'frame to frame' and we can be active in this metamorphosis by working in the three rings.
As usual the post turned out quite long so I'll leave the second topic for a separate writing. Please excuse any writing errors above because I'm already quite sleepy and don't have the energy to go through the text once more.