Hello, Dear Reader:
Things have been a little quiet lately here in our little corner of the ‘net, but since we have three or four blog posts to do, let’s see if we can’t change that! This ‘He Says, She Says…‘ post is going to be primarily a ‘He Says’, but as always Marcia gets the final edit. I have an idea for this blog post but I’m having a little difficulty forming words around it; be patient and we’ll get there.
As the old saying goes, “You won’t recognize the house when you come to visit; we’ve moved.” Actually Sunday and Monday were primarily occupied in getting our ‘stuff’ over to the new house. Moving is nothing new for Marcia and me; so far, in the years we’ve been a couple we’ve occupied 17 different homes – together or separately. Last summer the folks at Victoria’s Boulevard magazine asked people to submit entries of 300 words or less on the subject of ‘home’; I wrote in and told them that Marcia would say I couldn’t write anything in 300 words to save my life, but the concept of ‘home’ has been an interesting one for us. We’ve each been planning to come here to Victoria for quite a number of years, even before we met, and we’re rather liking the idea that we don’t plan to move again. The editors at Boulevard were kind enough to include my letter (edited for length!) in their recent 2010 Home Design Annual.
So, what’s that about moving? Again? Actually, this particular move is a temporary one; we’re house sitting/ budgie sitting for a friend who’s on vacation and we’re still in Victoria. Still, it brings up some interesting thoughts.
“As you come into your body with all of its physical surroundings, so at birth do you emerge into a rich natural psychological environment in which beliefs and ideas are every bit as real.
“As you become more proficient at using your conscious mind, then of course you examine the beliefs that surround you, even as you question and often move out of your native environment. You may migrate to a climate in which the prevailing ideas suit you better, as well as the weather…” ~ The Nature of Personal Reality, session 649.
As I said, we’ve both wanted to come here to Vancouver Island for many years, and for several reasons. Originally it was the pull of the ocean and the mountains, and since we have family on the mainland, we can be close to them without having to live in the ‘big city’. In being here, we’ve also disovered that the temperament of Victoria suits us pretty well; the climate is moderate, the people are friendly, and there are some great coffee shops! We’re quite literally surrounded by ocean, and although we’re in the city one doesn’t have to travel far to encounter the forest.
There’s one other aspect of this last ‘move’ that has intrigued me though, from a metaphysical perspective. It’s been the ocean and the idea of living by the ocean that has played a large part in pulling us here, and yet our current apartment (blessed though it is), is at the north end of the city. We know the ocean is ‘out there’, and a short walk to the top of Christmas Hill for example brings it into view. But even though the ocean is only a few miles away from our place, we can’t see it and we feel, or at least I feel somewhat separated from it. Where we’re staying now the ocean is only six houses away and across Dallas Road. When I walk out the front door, from the front step I can see the mountains of Washington state across the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Yes, our stay here is temporary, but… Ever since I first read Seth’s suggestion of:
“You get what you concentrate upon. There is no other main rule.” ~ The Nature of Personal Reality, session 617.
I’ve really taken that to heart. I mean, it’s only twelve words, so there’s not a lot of possibility for misinterpretation, and yet an entire industry of books, CDs, DVDs, conferences, speakers and experts has grown up around these ideas, both offering to aid people in achieving what they desire and explaining why they haven’t been successful (and what they need to do next).
I’ve been playing with these ideas for a lot of years, and one thing that’s taken me a long time to accept is that reality creation is a developed skill. It may not be a ‘physical’ skill like learning to walk, and yet I believe it follows many of the same patterns. When infants learn to move, learn to sit up, learn to crawl and learn to walk, it’s an accumulated behaviour, built up over time with more than one mishap along the way. We accept that. When we learn a new skill, whether it’s how to dance, how to draw or how to write computer programs we start small and build up our knowledge and our skill set as we progress. I still remember when I was first learning t’ai chi. I felt like an elephant in ballet slippers, and I had a martial arts background. Still, I was asking my body to move in different ways than it ever had before. My favourite instructor approached the t’ai chi set like peeling away layers of an onion, starting with the gross movements and adding to the complexity as we went along. There are 108 movements the first time you complete the set and 108 movements in the set years later, yet there are layers of complexity built into those movements that the beginning student can’t grasp. When I was learning how to identify plants and animals in school, there were often very subtle clues that separated one species from another. Not only did I have to learn a new language (for plants there are several different words for ‘fuzzy’, including downy, pubescent, glaucous and hirstute), but I had to learn how to see in new and different ways.
When we’re learning something new we expect to progress. We understand that at times there will be frustration and at times there will be breakthrough. It’s part of the process, and the process is really what it’s all about. There is no endpoint, whether or not the activity produces a tangible product. It’s not only that there’s always more to learn, but that the value is in the experience. Value is built in to every moment.
Now, when it comes to activities and skills expressed in the physical, I’ve been willing to accept and work within those parameters, but for a very long time I haven’t been willing to accept the same ‘learning curve’ when it comes to the metaphysical. Part of this has been tied up with ideas of ‘perfection’ and part of it was simply from the perspective that I didn’t see it being necessary. I mean, since we are essentially infinite beings, what is there to learn? I could accept the learning as a necessary even essential part of being physical, but I didn’t think the same rules should apply to the non-physical as well. But there’s the kicker… since we are infinite beings who are focusing a part of our essence in this dimension of reality, then everything with which I’m involved comes from that infinite Source. By definition there is only one All That Is. Therefore, this process of ‘experiencing’ applies to non-physical as well as physical aspects of my existence.
But I haven’t seen it that way, and so while I’ve had desires for objects, events and experiences, I’ve been pretty rigid in my ideas of what should happen, how, and when. I still remember one of my teachers telling me, “There is no ‘how’, there just is.” I wasn’t willing to accept that at the time, because I had an idea that if I could learn ‘how’ to manifest the reality I desired, then the rest would be easy. I mean, once you know how to walk, you can walk anywhere. The process is the same even as the environment changes.
Recently, those who guide me have been reminding me that “When you change how you perceive, what you perceive changes.” And so with that, I’ve been looking for different ways of perceiving what I’ve believed to be. Years ago, if I set a desire for a house on the ocean and was asked to housesit for a friend, I’d have been disappointed, even angry. From my perspective, since staying in a house by the ocean and living in a house by the ocean are both equal possibilities in an infinite future, why create one when you want the other? Whenever I had something come to me that wasn’t exactly what I’d asked for I’d be grateful for it but I’d always circle back around to, “Why this and not that?” Was the Universe dense? Not listening? Intentionally obtuse? What did I need to learn from disappointment that I hadn’t already learned? Old ideas…
Sitting in the office of ‘my’ new house right now, things are not exactly as I wish them to be, but a different perspective tells me that here I am closer to my goal than I have ever been before. When I woke up this morning it was with a thought that the purpose of existence is not to learn, but to experience. Right now I am experiencing life in a place that’s very close to my desire. Not perfect, but close. And in accepting it for what it is, appreciating it, I create a new pivot point whereby I open myself to even more possibilities. It may be that in a few weeks we’ll go back to our apartment in the north end of the city while we continue to look for new possibilities. Right now it’s equally possible that we won’t, that our stay here is a bridge to something even better, if we dare allow ourselves to look for it. Whatever the case, all I have and all I will ever have is right now. Right now I’m sitting in an office in a beautiful home with Bushtits and a White-crowned Sparrow sitting on the branches outside the window, and a view of the ocean from the front porch. Life is good.
“Nevertheless, I feel myself growing out of myself in a certain fashion. My adopted characteristics are becoming too small and cramped to contain my new growth and development and I will move on most certainly to larger psychological quarters. It is not only the physical body we outlive, but the psychological house we have chosen.” ~ The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher, The World View of William James, March 29, 1977.