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Hey everybody
December 7, 2000
1:36 am
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Brenda
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love Deepak........

December 7, 2000
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Kitten.

You posed the question, "What if "meaning" needs to be looked at from a place that is free of CR's?" I think that the answer to that question is that the intellect is the last hope in doing just that. For example, in looking at the fairy stories offered by many religions, including christianity, as an explanation for the creation, sustenance and destruction cycles of life in general, the intellect can separate the rational wheat from the emotional chaff. The intellect is a wonderful 'crap detector'. The uni taught me that many years ago.

It is my belief that most christians are suffering from CRs. It is amazing how easily christians see the seemingly rediculous rituals, icons and beliefs in other cultures yet are blind to such things in their own. For example, the creation myths of our Australian Aborigines are regarded by christianity as heathen naivity, yet their regard their beliefs in virgin births, immaculate conceptions, parting of the red sea,raising stinking corpses to life, Mary's ascention into heaven, the supposed miracles at Fatima on, and on as real occurences. I believe that I broke free from all that conditioning by daring to rationally question the many flawed tenets and fairy stories of christianity.

Such questioning produces fear, fear of letting go of old ideas, old emotional life rafts. But then how else can one break free of the tyranny of blinding childhood conditioning. I abhor superimposing the image of a human father, with all the conditioning therein, onto the supreme life force and then trying to use a collection of ancient jewish tribal writings to somehow, by blind faith, substantiate that image as being real.

December 7, 2000
10:41 pm
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What if it's true?

December 7, 2000
11:04 pm
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Vr,
what if it is...would a whole lot change? I think the change would occur if everyone knew that it wasn't true! People would have to trust in themselves...rather than some supreme being and take responsibility for their actions. Just a thought, cause I do believe there is "something" there, just not something of a patriarchal form. After all, like the famous abolitionist Sojourner Truth said, religion has nothing to do with a man, it is not "man's" religion--the covenent was made between Spirit and a woman.

Tez,
I agree about the intellect...yet in some situations my intellect gets me into trouble. Especially when it comes to relationships. When things have a downward turn I have a tendency to catastrophize things and to pick apart my mate's behavior...to over-analyze it. I remove my heart and gut feelings totally. Intellect, just like a loaded gun, can misfire if handled inappropriatly.

To change the subject slightly...how do you feel about the subject of self esteem? How to get it...how to hold onto it...how to increase it? Is it possible some of our views are tied to that very issue? Only asking because I had to do a big research project on it (one that won't be finished until next semester). I have lots of data to collect! Ahhhh, and I am soooo tired. Two more finals and then break time!

December 8, 2000
2:08 am
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God is good, hey Joe cool/Dan, love ya! blessings Hazza, Cici - always knew your stomach would get better, hey guest, you'll get there, Hazza - so glad you are less fearful, Bel what a quiet, loving soul.........((((((((((((((((((everyone)))))))))

December 8, 2000
8:29 pm
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Kitten.

You said, "how do you feel about the subject of self esteem?" I think that it is a a highly misunderstood concept.

Self-esteem, according to Dr. Nathaniel Brandon: "...self-esteem is an evaluation of my mind, my consciousness, and, in a profound sense, my person. It is not an evaluation of particular successes or failures, nor is it an evaluation of particular knowledge or skills. Thus, I can be very confident of myself at the fundamental level and yet be uncertain of my abilities in specific social situations. And, conversely, I can outwardly revel in my social savoir-faire, yet inwardly be self-doubting and insecure."

I believe there are two fundamental components to self-esteem:

(1) a cognitive component and

(2)an emotional component.

The emotional component is a 'core' emotional memory, laid down in infancy, which when retriggered, is experienced as an ingrained and intrinsic 'feeling' of one's value or lack of same. It is my firm conviction that as infants we took on board a sense of our worth to our parents and other caregivers. We quickly learnt whether the care, love and regard that we received had to be earnt or was freely given. We quickly acquired a view of our world as being a very friendly, unconditionally supportive place or a very dangerous one in which abandonment was likely.

These core emotional memories, in my opinion, being continually retriggered, largely govern how we feel most of the time. Being largely ignorant of the nature of emotional memories, we cognitively seek rational explanations for why we feel as we do. This brings the cognitive component of self esteem into the picture.

Within our cognitions, we have a self-image, an ideal image and an image of how we think others see us. These cognitive images are not static but change over circumstances and time. We are constantly evaluating our self image, and how we think others see us against our ideal reference image. Negative self-estimations then trigger off these previously mentioned emotional memories and the result is feeling worthless and feeling fear of abandonment, etc. That is we feel that we have 'low self-esteem', then we back up the felings with negative thoughts about the self.

You asked, " How to get it...how to hold onto it...how to increase it?" Self-nurture, self-nurture and more self-nurture....

The forms of self-nurture are many, varied and person dependent. Praying to a God, conceived as an all powerful, all loving and all knowing 'parent' in the belief that this God values and loves them is one way people seek the 'nurture' that they crave. I found this external nurture seeking fraught with pitfalls.

It's all about placating the tormenting emotions... I think.

Negative infant emotional memories are set in concrete. Sob!! However, our cognitions, beliefs etc are not. If we are very cognisant of the nature of our own personal set of infant emotional memories, we can set about nurturing and mothering ourselves as we ought to have been as an infant. Whilst such self-nurture will not erase the emotional memories, it will certainly lull and pacify the negative emotional arousals - and thus the feelings of low self worth - into inactivity. Other positive emotional memories, though somewhat more scarce, will then be aroused and we will feel good.

If we are not aware of the above cognitive/emotional interactions and processes, then the danger is that we will seek to raise our self-esteem be turning outwards in futile pursuits of external possesions and attributes that we deem to improve our self-image.

It is my contention that a perfectly parented person would never feel the need to make any estimations on their self worth in the first place. Since no such person exists, we are in varying degrees compelled to compensate for feelings of low self worth.

I hope I met your needs in answering your questions. And I hope my self-esteem is not involved in expressing that hope. šŸ™‚

December 8, 2000
8:40 pm
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Vr.

What if it isn't true?

If there exists a God who is unconditionally loving, all powerful and all knowing, it won't matter either way. You see Vr, we all are finding our way through the maze of life the best way we can with our own ignorance largely affecting what we believe about 'truth and reality'.

If on the other hand there exists a conditionally loving, all powerful, but not all knowing god, then.... he /she doesn't qualify for the position. šŸ™‚

December 8, 2000
10:33 pm
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Tez,
Hope...no,unless of course you are struggling with anxiety? Because after all, hope is just another part of anxiety--if there is the need for hope, there is also the expectation of failure. Ah, I think I've read too many of the "Conversation with God" books.

As for self-esteem...I don't really believe you can develop positive self esteem through the worship of a god. It is, at least to me, and I guess to Brandon, one's own work on those six pillars of self-esteem. We are alone in that work...it is our responsibility to process our knowledge about self, not to use it as an excuse to continue behaviors. Some people may have poor social skills, blaming it on their childhood parenting. Okay, now deal with it and change. That is the big piece of self esteem--the ability to cope with the challanges, working towards achievement. In context of my question...I guess I was looking for something I didn't already know...maybe how the issue affects you.(I have done so much research on this topic in the past year, I dream about old Nathaniel). What I'm looking for, really, is how a successful person over a certain age (shall we say 40) deals with the self-estem issue. Do they hide behind what it is they do for a living, not really looking at their growth emotionally anymore. Is the role they play a definition of self, character, motivation--some sort of reinforcement schedule? Guess I've just seen too many men ( a few women, too) who are comfortable in their PhD's. Like that somehow gives them the opportunity to stick out their tongue at little Joey who beat them up in the fourth grade. But does it? Or does that PhD merely give them the excuse to hide from self-esteem issues and self-discovery?
Et vous?

December 9, 2000
3:46 pm
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Conversations of God, isn't it curious that many participants here question the existance of god and those that heal, find god in one shape or form.
Society, in most part, is losing the opinion that god is a fearful outside entity and coming into the collective awareness that god is in fact within all of us and everything that is manifest and unmanifest.
The conciousness of this planet is raising as we as "individuals" raise our own beliefs. Some of us, I am one of them, KNOW god, one can not KNOW god until one has truly experienced the conciousness change that takes place with that "knowing"..to KNOW and to BELIEVE are truly different ways of living within divine conciousness.
If you are in fear and do not even believe, believing is doable, if you believe and do not truly KNOW, knowing is coming.....to know is to truly transcend SELF and this is when all suffering and struggles let go because you are no longer acting from the ego state but from the sacred self that connects to the divine.

December 9, 2000
6:21 pm
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Kitten.

You posed the question, "...Or does that PhD merely give them the excuse to hide from self-esteem issues and self-discovery? Et vous?" If you would like a subjective, personal answer, I can truthfully say that I haven't felt that self-esteem is an issue with me at all, today. This was not always so. At one time, I was preoccupied with the subject. When I realised that low self esteem was really about a conditioned response to the retriggering of an emotional memory, then I realised that it had little to do with how many PhD's I might attain or how big my biceps and pecs were. No amount of power, prestige or money, etc can really eradicate that core emotional memory that lies deep inside my amygdala in my mid brain. No amount of forebrain development in me can erase one instant of emotional memory. Only a lesion in the amygdala can do that. But... with such an unethical lesion comes the willingness to cuddle a crocodile. šŸ™‚

Thus, as I said earlier, I deal with feelings of low self worth as symptoms of an old emotional memory recalled, I smile at them and quickly go into self-nurture mode. My negative feelings in this regard then quickly subside. I see clearly that those feelings have nothing whatsoever to do with my present reality; they are emotional ghosts, phantoms and boogey men from the past. Thus, when they reoccur, I ensure that they are short lived by self-reassurance and self-nurture. After all, they are all about infant survival drives and I am no longer a helpless infant.

Do you see how poor the emotions are in interpreting real threats? Are you aware of the LeDoux shortcut, the pathway by which emotional arousal is triggered before sensory input signals even arrive at the cortex, let alone begin their cognitive processing?

I see it as critical to incorporate this knowledge into the cognitive processing of sensory input. Else, cognitions become a subservient slave to the emotions in trying to make sense out of phantom threats by locating imagined threats of rejection, abandonment, and 'being sent to Coventry' in the present. Cognitions ought in fact to speak to the emotions like a gentle, loving mother and a wise, protecting, supportive father would - rather than like a stern judge, a severe critic, a military commander, or a sycophant, etc, as they sometimes do.

I see low self-esteem as primarily an emotional condition. I see it as a fear of rejection as a person of no worth and a fear abandonment, a fear of being cut loose from one's survival network, and in the ultimate a fear of insignificance, non-existence and death. This is the emotional legacy of loveless parenting in infancy and in childhood, bequeathed to us long before cognitive development enabled any defenses against such conditioning. To loosely quote the bible, the sins of the fathers (and mothers) are indeed visited upon the sons (and daughters) for six generations (a lot more too).

December 9, 2000
6:36 pm
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Tez, I disagree with your hypothesis regarding "low self esteem being primarily an emotional condition" I feel that you are correct in saying that painful ( i choose painful rather than negative ) emotions can pull our concept of self down, but I feel emotions are so much more than then one dimensional primitive energies that you portray them as in your last post. Emotions are not to be seen as negative, but as always positive, whether they hurt or bring joy, they are pathways to our true selves, our bodymind and our identities......

December 9, 2000
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Ah, Tez, I am awed...how profound...

K

ps I have more thoughts and questions but will get back to you as soon as I check out LeDoux.

December 10, 2000
3:41 pm
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skye:)

Well... We'll just have to agree to disagree. šŸ™‚

December 10, 2000
3:55 pm
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Kitten.

Thanks for your last response. I'll await your next posting.

Dr.Joseph LeDoux has a web presence at NYU Labs. His book The Emotional Brain (1996) is an eye opener into physiological workings of the human brain. His primary focus is on the emotion of fear and it's physiological location of its centre in the amygdala. He looks closely at the efferent pathways into the rest of the fear response system including the cortex. LeDoux is a pioneer in this field and, if not already, he will soon be recognised as one of the great men of science, I suspect.

December 10, 2000
10:22 pm
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The human mind is not located in the grey matter that we call our brains......
the science of neuroimmunology proves this....:)

December 11, 2000
12:01 pm
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Tez,
I found something at http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/rese.....otion.html. Still in the process of reading it. (I'm one of those who prints research for further use!) But will check out the NYU site, ASAP.

In simplistic terms...I asked a friend of mine why he was able to push emotional hurt away in order to get tasks at hand done. He told me he had to learn it. I do not understand that. In my family we were trained to react to trauma with a cool head--whether that be death, accident. or illness. Do not fall apart until in the safety of your own bed, and then only to a small degree lest you impact on the situation itself. We never learned how to apply that to love-sickness, however. I am over-run often with passions which would be better placed in a secure spot for the time being. Instead, they manage to color everything I am doing. My question is...is this a genetic weakness on my part. Was there a time frame (in infancy) where I was to learn that, but because of my mother's/father's indifference and primary care from another(someone who gave me unconditional love, but who left my life at age 3) I never learned the lesson. Again the fear factor...in my case people leave and never come back. Isn't that what we are supposed to learn...separation is okay...people return or we adapt with another??? Okay, so I have too many thoughts in my head and I should be studying Personality Disorders at the moment. Gee, I wonder which one I have??? Tee hee. Had to post, just so I get some response...I appreciate your firey answers. Somehow I see you balanced over your keyboard, eyes bright in their ferver, becoming one with your PC...for a brief time passing across all boundries of past, present, and future...all for the sake of enlightenment. Have you ever thought of being a Shaman?

December 11, 2000
4:57 pm
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Kitten.

Starting with the last first, a shaman, me? I have too much of an ego for that. šŸ™‚ Secondly, I have not reached anything like the prerequisites for the first step towards shamanhood. šŸ™‚ But thanks for the highly undeserved and unearnt compliment.

You said, "I asked a friend of mine why he was able to push emotional hurt away in order to get tasks at hand done. He told me he had to learn it. I do not understand that. " - Your friend sounds like he might be 'suppressing' his feelings, but without a lot more info I really don't know this for sure.

I see 'suppression of feelings' as synonomous with disowning the 'emotional self'. It never works. When we 'disown' the 'emotional self', it has a habit of rearing up at the most inappropriate moment and venting pent up feelings on those whom we love and would not hurt, yet do so. We choose these people because we know that they are the least likely to retaliate. The song says, "You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn't hurt at all..."

And,about unbridled passion, you said, "is this a genetic weakness on my part. " I doubt that it is. As current members of the animal kingdom, (a compliment) we naturally respond to our emotions. It is only the artificial veneer of 'civilisation' that has socialized us to behave otherwise, and that veneer is mighty thin.

Evolution has bequeathed us our emotions as a survival mechanism for instantaneously responding to danger. Our cognitions, being as yet very young in evolutional time, have generally not yet developed to the point where they can override inappropriate emotional responses in appropriate ways. Self-nurture is an appropriate way, suppression is not. Self-nurture has to be learnt. Unless we have been parented extremely well and have a fortunate genetic inheritance, it doesn't come naturally to most of us. On the contrary, as children a lot of us were taught that our own feelings should conform to socially desirable 'standards', usually those of our parents. This leads to denial of the 'emotional self' and the consequent feelings of low core worth. Having a feeling of low core worth usually means that, in order to maintain cognitive consonance, our assessment of ourselves is usually low; i.e. low self esteem.

You also said, "...someone who gave me unconditional love, but who left my life at age 3 ..." It would seem likely to me that your emotional memories have been set up to:

(1) make you prone to powerful feelings of fear of abandonment and rejection every time you meet a guy that you 'really like'and he has an 'off' day(dependency).

(2) Your emotional memories of infant unconditional regard, when triggered, would likely set up a painful yearning for a 'Mr Right'(assuming he is not around at that moment).

The same would apply to close friends, too.

And you said, "Again the fear factor...in my case people leave and never come back." This happens to every human being alive. But... in your case, I suspect that you relive the terrible emotional experience of the 3 year old separation all over again. It's a built in emotional memory - a time bomb - that is sitting there just waiting to be retriggered into arousal. Self-nurture is, in my view, the only recourse at such times. You can with much practice bring about this emotional memory's virtual extinction (but not eradication)

And, "... Isn't that what we are supposed to learn...separation is okay...people return or we adapt with another???" Yes, if we were securely attached as a child, such learning comes easily. In your and my case, I suspect that we were very insecurely attached as children. (Ainsworth, Bowlby, et.al.)Our painful separations are, in my opinion, caused by the emotional recall of infant separation experiences without the advantage of the normal pairing of contextual memory recall to make sense of our feelings.

Take the case of a Vietnam Veteran: every time he hears a chopper he has a panic attack. However he probably has images of Nam coupled with his terrible emotional recall that make sense out of his terror for him. He is able to pin point the source of his terror in the past emotional memory bank. Yet, childhood trauma, for various reasons (hippocampal inhibition, etc), has the the habit of dissociating any explicit(contextual) memory from the emotional one. Thus we erroneously associate our painful separation experiences with the present separation experience. We thus believe that it is the event of the present separation that is the cause of our pain, rather than being only a stimulus/trigger for the recall of a long past, yet emotionally remembered experience. The truth shall set us free. That bible again šŸ™‚

December 11, 2000
5:01 pm
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Kitten.

PS. Here's LeDoux's URL.
http://www.cns.nyu.edu/corefac.....eDoux.html

December 12, 2000
9:58 pm
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Tez,

Merci! Well, yes, and maybe to your thoughts. In my case, I have more than infant separation anxiety. Every four years years I have lost someone, including my mother (at age 20) and my husband from suicide (5 years ago). So, this anxiety is teetering on the edge of PTSD. Sometimes I struggle with it...often I am at peace with it. I guess it does get stirred up mostly when my "man" has an off day or week. Then I hear the footsteps of doom and gloom behind me. But I actually have gotten much better in the past year...evolving into the woman...letting go of the child. Although, I think it wise to hold onto some of our child-like traits. It gives one a sense of "joie de vivre"!

As for my friend's ability to push aside feelings...no, I doubt if it's supression. I prefer to think of it as the ability to deal with things in an appropriate time and place. He has learned not to go off "kilter" when he has an important task. Often, I remain hysterical even though I might have to perform brain surgery (a metaphor, in this case). Someone once told me not to make life decisions while feeling angry, sad, or helpless. They might be unrevokable. This is a bit of wise advice, for in the past I have reacted and dealt with the fall-out later.

As for the shaman comment...One of my grandfathers was a Shaman. He dealt with many of the mystical aspects of life. He was, by no means, perfect. He did have a willingness to listen to his intuition. In many of society's criteria, he was a failure--he went from occupation to occupation. In reality this only added to his vast experience. He helped many people because of this. In fact, I like to believe he took on many traumas or situations in order to help others through the same thing. Being a Shaman does not make you better than another, but only open to the evolution. Many are only willing to go somewhere if the know where the destination is...Shamans just go.

ps. thanks for the address...
k

December 13, 2000
2:38 pm
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There was once a young candle which did not understand his
purpose in being a candle. He thought his only need was to
illuminate himself, so he hugged his flame as tightly as he
could. As a result of this his light did not reach the other
parts of the room, which made him afraid of the shadowy shapes
out there.

Later, growing tired of being afraid, he loosened his light
to let it illumine the whole room. Then the shadowy shapes
disappeared and he was no longer afraid.

Fear arises in the false belief of a separate self, so fear
departs with the understanding of Oneness."

December 13, 2000
8:19 pm
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Kitten.

Do you think that your 'feelings' can remain 'stirred up' without being sustained by negative thoughts? In other words, do you think that your state of emotional arousal is dependent or independent of the nature of your thoughts? I'm referring to sustenance of emotional states here, not their initiation.

About Shamanism, I guess it gets down to what the word means. From my understanding of the word, I hardly fit the bill. Mystics have always fascinated me and I doubt that mystical experiences can be adequately described by words. I have had several experiences that can be loosely classed as 'mystical'. But... the one great mystical experience that I did have in deep meditation, I could not recall. I only know that I had a glimpse of absolute reality and I remember little else. However, after the meditation, I could recall the heightened ecstacy that I 'felt'. My understanding of shamanism is of having the ability to transcend the body completely and to see beyond the facade of the material world to what really underpins same; of being able to accurately read other's thoughts, independent of distance. Australian Aboriginal Jadika men come to mind.

December 14, 2000
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Tez,
On the way out...have a Theories final. For some reason could not get on the net last evening. Have yet to find the time to check out that site you gave me, however, will attempt to do so tonight (my term break starts).

Perhaps the definition of Shaman depends on the culture. In my grandfather's case he was of Germanic stock. In his village he was known as the "healer". Well versed in potions and lotions, he helped to heal others with herbs. Many of these same herbs are found in health food stores today and are the bases of quite a few prescription drugs. Willow, lobelia, nux vomica, etc. As he got older his own health started to fail...his ability to "dose" himself didn't seem to work (he died of diabetis induced heart failure). I often wonder if people in the healing professions end up much the same way: they help until all the energy has been drawn out of them? Humm? As for you...Shaman might mean teacher. And in many ways a teacher is a healer--healing the torn parts of self in order to regain the lost memories...to remember that which we already know. I guess I want you to be aware that sometimes we touch more people's lives than we realize...and in a healing fashion!

Will post more later, g'day!
k

December 14, 2000
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Tez,
I guess being a shaman is somewhat like to being a musician. Some people would call themselfs musician after they play their first piece of music on the piano, and you sound like you still wouldn't srictly call yourself a musician if you were able to play all Beethoven sonatas and Chopin walzes fore- and backwards. I think that everybody has some basic shamanic skills. These can be neglected and willfully eliminated (because such things aren't "real") or used. Very few people seem to have a real talent in this area, which they honed to perfection.
Eve

December 14, 2000
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Kitten.

All the best with your finals. I agree that we are all both teachers and students. I'm not exactly sure what the curriculm contains or when the finals are. šŸ™‚ I suspect that it's all a giant sandpit. At the end of the day, I suspect that it is all about building the sandcastles, not the achievement of completing the final product.

I was somewhat impressed when I read that Myer Baba ordered his followers to tear down the ashram that he and they had labored so hard to built for so long. The followers were aghast, but they complied with Myer Baba's wishes. When asked why they should do such a wasteful thing, he replied that the value of the edifice was in the building of it. He pointed out that the edifice(outcome) would replace the message(process)and fatally institutionalise his way of life into becoming another sterile religion.

He asked his followers to abandon all their possessions except what they needed for just that day and to follow him in his trek on foot throughout India. Only six of his many followers were able to do this. The 'grasping and clinging' of the rest was too much to overcome. Meyer Baba spent years trusting in the universe to meet his needs and it did. Now there's a shaman; an avatar extraordinaire. I very much doubt that I would have been one of the six. I see that Christ was of the same school; maybe somewhat more advanced but I don't know that for a 'fact'.

December 14, 2000
5:26 pm
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Eve.

Yes, I tend to be somewhat focused on the small piece of missing icing on the cake of life's experiences. šŸ™‚

However, I am very aware that the more I learn, the more I become aware how little I know. I honestly believe that if the learning was not terminated by my death, I would come to the point of supreme wisdom of realising that I know absolutely nothing. I suspect that for me this is the journey of my ego from the arrogance of youthful ignorance to the humility of wisdom of old age.

I think it was Einstein that said that the sum total of all man's knowledge is but one grain of sand on all the beaches of the universe. How much less do I know than all of man's knowledge! Yet I still am arrogant enough to think that I know something. Isn't the extent of my ignorance extraordinary. I am but a child playing in the sand, without any real knowledge of what each grain contains.

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