Recently, a friend wrote to tell me that he’s lost 22 lbs, feels better in his early fifties than ever in his life, is integrating his deep personal experiences and emotions at a level that seemed out of reach for him, in spite of studying meditation for decades. His relationships with his child, his family and his friends are transforming deeply.
He’s been reading each article attentively and repeatedly, following all the links, and applying what he’s learned, in action, to his life. He thanked me for the impact these articles have had, for him and his loved ones, which is very gratifying for me to read, but only because HE actually took the journey I pointed to. He is doing it.
He says, “Your articles are not just something to be read, they are an experience to be lived.”
He got it! HE is doing it. With traditional teachings, this is called “catching.” Tradition comes from the Latin, tradere: “to transmit.” Just like an electric wire transmits current ONCE YOU HOOK IT UP.
Traditional Teachings Are For Living!
You can collect all the little bits of wire from all over the world and never experience the current, like so many “spiritual consumers” do today, what with their Buddhist meditation beads, their feathers, their pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe, all the “cool little knick-knacks” they put on their “altars” and park in their minds but never hook up to the JUICE. Most people reading this are just adding more impressions to their mental frameworks.
Traditional teachings are not about doing things “the way they’ve always been done,” nor are they about “doing it your own way,” and they are not given to promote a better description or idea about the world.They are for making a new connection, for growing a relationship.
They are for connecting to Aliveness, and then learning how to care for and Offer THAT. It is not one more consumer event; it’s about becoming generative, life-giving, life-enhancing, and offering, in action, yourself and others what you have often expected others to provide for you. It’s far SIMPLER than the instructed, led-by-the-nose mind will allow itself to DO.
This friend is DOING it, and having an experience of health, inner and outer connection, that he’s searched for, for a lifetime. He invited himself into the experience of being a healthy human critter on a whole spectrum of his experience. His daughter will have the blessing of growing up with that QUALITY of BEING as her reference for the Beauty and Intelligence of what a Human Being and what a Man can be and do. I get an amazing THRILL from just contemplating that.
What did I contribute to his process? Clear trail markers to be traveled and that lead directly to health, improved relationships with self and other and a fundamentally transformed way of relating to the entirety of the world.
My friend caught what I pointed to. He connected HIS live wire to the JUICE of his own health, vitality and connection! He applied what he learned in Vital Health in Five Steps and has been doing the Process Michael Brown outlines in The Presence Process which I mentioned in Spirituality-Spirare-to Breathe. He’s read all the links in my articles. He went ahead and read Julius Caesar’s War of the Gauls. In the last six years of teaching, everyone I see take the steps and take the journey I point to in my articles has experienced profound, life-altering transformation. EVERYONE.
No one I know who just reads the words however, or takes a workshop, course or retreat, passively, passively agreeing or disagreeing with what was presented, but doing nothing on their own, experiences much of anything interesting as a result.
Many such people have told me that my workshops were “awesome,” as if they were some entertainment event. Because I’m far more intense and engaging live than most people expect, regardless of what my workshops are about, people have an intense time, feel challenged, stimulated and energized. Many think they can just passively “get” what I’m offering by being able to repeat what I said. But when it comes to THEM DOING something ON THEIR OWN, few will do it. Oh well…
You can’t experience the journey by reading the map.
The Zen Buddhists say:
Painted cakes don’t satisfy hunger.
Reading words will not make any profound difference in your life until you invite yourself into the experience of what it is that they point to , in your experience.
The difficulty so many of us have in leading ourselves into new, enlivening experiences beyond our already-set frame is the perfect, and intended, result of more than a decade of systematic, instructional abuse that leads to crippled intelligences and an amputated WILL, for a lifetime. Almost all of us need to work through this, step by step. If you need help with that, hire me as a coach. I’d be delighted to work with you and I’ve not only gone through the same process, I’ve also gone down a lot of dead-ends until I came back to LIFE’s Design, and not just another cosmic theory.
John Taylor Gatto’s The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher is a very clear outline of the nature of the permanent crippling of intelligence that modern instructional systems are designed to foster in people who will effectively become NON-students for a lifetime. Seeing this up-close and personally, while teaching physicians, dentists, and university professors over the last six years has been amazing.
The entirety of our experience is consequent. Nobody is right, nobody is wrong – we are ALL adapted. What we adapt to is our experience. That experience makes most of us permanently allergic to the whole vocabulary of apprenticeship and immune to its methods, which are almost 180 degrees contrary to the way we were instructed.
Student comes from the Latin studium: “application, care.” It is the precise opposite of what we learned to call “studying” in the externally-led and intelligence-destroying institutions we falsely call “schools” and “universities,” today.
True Students know that Teachings are for Living them. True Teachers teach about Reality. Not some description of reality, but the reality you and I can both make sense of, with our senses, and have largely not been encouraged to do in the confusion of one grand theory after another. Before we go off on “what Quantum Theory says” consider what real understanding do you or I have of physics whatsoever? That’s a little bit like pretending to be in the stratosphere with neither a rocket nor a launching pad. Maybe there are actual reasons for being on Earth. Have a look around.
If we replace a black-robed priesthood with one in white lab coats, but still avoid the step by step process of leading our own understanding… well… we are bound for some painful detours. True under-standing starts right under where we are standing and with our attention noticing what is going on in reality. OUR lived experience is the only place where a True Teaching is realized. True Teachers teach about Reality.
But True Teachings are only realized once we take our real eyes to reality. The Teaching is in Reality, not the Teacher. We can thank a “teacher,” but that thanks rings true once we have actually lived it out, in our own experience and in our own lives. LIVING is the learning, when the Student offers application and care to his living.
It has taken me several decades to begin catching this, deeply, in my own life, in spite of having had amazing teachers. But amazing teachers don’t make the teaching come alive in us. We have to do that.
I only caught the teachings I was offered when I brought them to my living experience with application and care. Just discovering the nature of the shift of attention required to do this was deeply facilitated by SLOWING DOWN, literally, and spending MONTHS in a very small area, in Nature, and getting to know it intimately.
This is how we enter the Old School, the school of the consciously self-mastering functional adults who constitute a Free and Beloved, Capital-P People. School comes from the Greek skholé: “ease.” To study one must enter into one’s skholé, into one’s ease. Not laziness; ease.
Ease is seldom easy, especially for Westerners. It requires an inner, living structure that our externally-led, habitually-busy, never-at-ease and permanently-distracted attentions rarely slow down enough to allow ourselves to grow. All of Life unfolds at the speed of Life, and the speed of Life is the speed of cellular, living, connective, related GROWING.
One has to offer spaciousness and attention to our experience, and go DEEP. We have to invite our Aliveness with eased magnanimity, with greatness, generosity, curiosity, detail and depth.
My friend serves himself and those he loves WELL by his study. His application and care serves his entire ancestry, forward and backward. He is not only the seed of those who came before him, he has chosen to actively, creatively and carefully become a seeding of Aliveness.
Consider the newsletter I offer you, with my compliments in the blue box below. In the life of the friend I mentioned at the beginning, receiving this newsletter has had life-changing and life-enhancing impact, not only for him, but for his daughter, his friends and family. Receiving his grateful letter explaining what he had DONE with what HE learned from my offering here filled me with joy, not only because it affirmed the value of my efforts but, most importantly, because this is a friend from decades back who will not only enjoy a lifetime of physical, emotional and relational health. He will touch thousands of people who, in turn, will also touch thousands. A seed that I helped plant will bear fruit far beyond anything I could do on my own, because he watered the seed in his own experience, with application, with care.
Traditional teachings are not just for you or me. They are for our People, and all of Life, and they are in the Key of Life.
For the overwhelming majority, the impact my newsletter will have in their lives will be virtually ZERO. It might entertain some intellectually – but many of the articles are too dense and long-winded for that.
Why would receiving the very same thing transform the health, self-relationship, family and friendships of one person and perhaps do absolutely nothing for YOU?
What’s the difference?
The difference is YOUR Offering (NOT taking), inside of YOU, to YOU. I can offer you a Sacred Teaching – a Teaching that Makes Whole – but my offering is without effect until YOU offer it to yourself, becoming both Student AND Teacher.
When the Student is Ready, the Teacher appears.
Consider that, for any Teaching to be Realized, YOU have to Study, through bringing Application and Care to YOUR Experience, and YOU have to Teach, leading your Attention to that which concerns you, in new ways.
The value of any teaching is only made real in the application and care of the Student. True Students Bring the Teachings to LIFE, THEIR LIVES. They LIVE them. They WALK them. They TASTE them. They DANCE them. They WEEP them. They LAUGH them. They learn to SEE them, with their EYES, in their REALITY. And then they engage their EARS and their entire BEING in the same process. They Pay Attention. They make SENSE of a teaching, WITH THEIR SENSES.
In THEIR application and care, the Teachings come ALIVE, IN THEM! This is true learning; it’s very much like gardening. It’s a Natural process. It’s a GROWTH process. Our Aliveness and our neurologies literally grow new connections in application and care.
Many of you have received my newsletter for many months. What have you DONE with what has been offered to you here? Would you be willing to share your experiences with other readers in the comments section below? Thank you.
Gather Seeds, Of Wisdom,
Which is Way Finding.
Traditional Teachings are for Living.
Live them! Taste them! Try them on for size!