Category Archives: words

Bags, Boxes, and People

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We think, in part, by using many labels, a necessary and useful process when done with care. These labels are rather like bags or boxes into which we neatly put our experiences, our reactions, our environment, and our fellow humans. But often our labeled-boxes mislead us because the specific people in time and space (what they actually do, value, and represent) may not correspond well to the label. So the generalizations arrayed in our minds, under associated labels, can mislead. Ironically, our mental boxes can box-us-in psychologically. When our quick firm categories lack thoughtfulness, they act as blinders. Then, it’s as if the boxes are not just in our minds but around our heads!

Image by Mendhak (modified)

Lifeless Gray Worlds

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Without energy and realization all the play with words and concepts is gray and colorless. Gray people can also talk of light and dark, of dualism and non-dualism, of Christ or Buddha, or cosmic consciousness. But in the gray world, it’s all the same, all illusions dressed in fancy words, no light, no life, no color, no realization.

Words Darkly Illuminated

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Words are useful and support community of understanding when those who use them are “on the same page,” as the cliché has it. Some language works against this through ambiguity or vagueness, which no doubt mirrors the corresponding weakness in human consciousness. Each person is free to spin words and concepts in a certain way, often without regard to the language of another or the confusion engendered. We can mitigate this Tower of Babble effect by paying close attention to the thinking and communicating process as mediated by words. One aspect of this pertains to the degeneration of terms and concepts.

Perhaps one of the most difficult word-meaning problems occurs in cases where the same word can mean opposite things. This sometimes occurs where unfriendly forces hijack a word with a benevolent tradition. For instance, a dictionary shows that the word “mystic” has suffered some debasement, having spilled over in its usage with the word “occult,” a term with some unsavory magical associations. So, a given word may point to it’s opposite where popular thought arrives at a strange mix of dark and light, of spiritual and anti-spiritual connotations.

Multiple-choice Meditative Semantics

Faith is

  • a. an emotional tendency to lean on nothing, believing it to be something.
  • b. verification by the heart
  • c. wishful thinking used to cover a multitude of sins
  • d. knowledge that is half in shadow and half in light
  • e. the passion of fools and persecutors
  • f. the bird that sings while the dawn is still dark
  • g. all of the above
  • h. none of the above
  • i. all of the above and none of the above

Loss of face is

  • a. social dishonor
  • b. a misnomer for loss of mask
  • c. gain of heart

When I speak of love, I’m usually referring to:

  • a. Dependency
  • b Idolization
  • c. Sentimentality
  • d. Friendship
  • e. Wisdom of the soul
  • f. Physical attraction
  • g. The worship of the divine through human
  • h The desire to love
  • i. The desire to be loved
  • j. Finding the right object of love
  • k. A relationship to a specific person
  • l. Selfless giving
  • m. Over protectiveness
  • n Consciousness of God
  • o Economics
  • p. Other

Most spiritual guidance is

  • a. from one’s own mind
  • b. personal delusions from one’s own mind
  • c. subconscious wish-life
  • d. aspirations from previous lives
  • e. communication from ordinary discarnate people
  • f. unconscious telepathic eavesdropping
  • g. misappropriation of thoughts floating in space
  • h. from one’s own soul
  • i. from a great spiritual teacher
  • j. tricky combinations of a few the above

Forgiveness is a sign of imperfect tolerance. True/false

Most meditation is selfish and is so not meditation at all. True/false

All people who have only two eyes and two years are blind and deaf. True/false

All true/false and multiple-choice questions are misleading oversimplifications. True/False

A Partial History of Attempts to Construct Interstellar Transport Using Small Pieces of Recycled Paper

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The teacher spoke. No one had a tape recorder handy or seemed to know shorthand. He used our words instead of his, adapting a little of what he saw we could grasp. Of the part we heard, we recalled a portion. In time, we came to understand, vaguely, a part of what our memory seemed to say. Of that portion, we wrote and spoke a little, and strangers with their own political agendas moved part of that to other languages. We heard, or thought we did—had we been women, we would have heard differently. No one in the chain thought much about the anomalies of retro-cognition, or vicissitudes of linguistic obscuration.

In the sky, sunlight in the air; on Earth, fragments on the ground…

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Fidelity in Transmission

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Everything transcendental is above the limits of external language. In direct realization we no longer need translation by linking words to meanings via external personal experiences. Yet fidelity of “reception” and “transmission” are still issues. We may catch a meaning directly, but there will still be limitations surrounding its embodiment on the personality level, that is in the form it takes in the mind, emotion, or physical world. Yet, in the depths of consciousness we can still sense the truth directly. And if the realization is revisited directly, it becomes apparent that the body we give it is inadequate. Words and images never fully embody the realities of spiritual life.

New Life, New Love, New Words

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There is a special power that comes from learning new words and from learning new meanings for familiar words. The eminent psychologist, Dr. Roberto Assagioli, wrote, “Words possess the power of stimulating and arousing activity associated with them. They evoke and make operative the meanings and idea-forces that they signify.” But I would add, they only do so when we tap into one of the deeper levels of meaning behind them.

Everything has a multitude of levels or dimensions, and our vocabulary is no exception; it evolves as we do. So we find new words for new experiences that come to us, and we find new dimensions that give deeper meaning to the words we now use. Words like “self” and “love” have many meanings, and the meanings we give them depend on our developing experience.

We can take any word our intuition underscores as important, and use it meditatively. It’s good exercise to proceed as if we don’t really know the meanings of important words we use. On some level this is always true. For instance, we might take the new word “spirit” into our vocabulary and see it in a completely new way, as if for the first time. Likewise, the new word “love” will have for us a spectrum of meanings not yet divined. We can always seek behind our words, going one dimension deeper into meaning. And when we have done that, then stay open for the next layer of meaning, and the next….

“But customs make one customary. Therefore, I urge you to look at the sky as if for the first time.”

Leaves of M’s Garden II, 191