November 11, 2018
From Heaven Into Earth
Volker Brendel: It is lovely to be with everyone again. Those of you who are connected by video will see that I have invited you into my living space. It is not my living room, but is my space, physically, but of course mostly in consciousness. It is a shared space; we share it this hour, and as I think you will see, it is shared beyond that. It is a space that can be shared without a clear physical or electronic connection. It is a very powerful space, the space from which originates out of the invisible space that which manifests in physical space. That there should be such a space is obvious. Maybe not now but at some later point in the afternoon, we may have the thought that we should get up and take a walk; or, I should make myself a cup of tea. The possibilities of taking a walk or preparing a cup of tea originates in the invisible space in your head beforehand. You get the thought of doing this or that, and sometimes you act on it, and sometimes you change your mind and do something else.
We acknowledge the sequence of thought to action much more when there are dramatic outcomes. Take for example celebrated musical compositions, magnificent large-scale works consisting of thousands of notes, orchestrating dozens, possibly hundreds of musical instruments, players, and voices—and all coming together as one orchestral or choral work. Some of these celebrated pieces are still being played hundreds of years later. Where did they all come from? There were obviously some composers for whom this creative expression emerged very quickly and fully. They were extremely prolific composers, though they likely could not explain very well where all that music came from. Maybe they'd say they heard it in their heads, but how did it get into their heads then in the first place? The same considerations hold for some pieces of literature. There are many magnificent works, great storytelling, which in many cases, came together from a few ideas and a current of inspiration. Similarly, poems are short pieces of work in terms of the numbers of words, but are often extraordinarily powerful, conveying much feeling and meaning. Think of scientific discoveries, spiritual insights, and your own experiences. Wherever you look: acts of creation begin in invisible space.
In that invisible space, which we could call our subconscious minds, is a reservoir of the material with which we can work. Creating a piece of literature or a piece of poetry requires there to be a reservoir of words, grammar, and figures of speech that can be put together in new meaningful ways. A musical composer must know the instruments, must know musical theory, and draws on many patterns of pleasant sounds, dramatic rhythms. The composition brings all of these elements into a coherent whole.
The same principles that are at work in magnificent artistic creations that endure over centuries, are also present in our daily living. Most of us don't pay much attention consciously to these creative cycles. In fact, on the whole, people pay more attention to anything they perceive of as intense. This is an interesting consideration. I think we might ask whether we observe (or at times ourselves act as) intensity junkies. In that state, one's behavior exhibits almost an addiction to intense experiences, whether these are actually one's own or vicariously experienced. For example, there are those who feel that their day is not complete without following the world and local news.
What is portrayed in the media, for the most part, is bad news, things gone awry: murders; fires, car crashes, war, and tragedy. Intense experiences certainly for the people in those situations but rehashed for the observer to enable them to participate emotionally. This goes beyond so called real-world news programs. There are many movies made that "entertain" with car crashes, murders, explosions, and all sort of tragedies. In fact, screenwriters follow formulas that guide them as to how often such events need to appear: every few minutes to keep the audience's interest, with a crescendo at the end. For comedy, shows the standard is you must evoke moments of laughter every 30 seconds to be successful in the business. It is not hard to see that, at least to some extent, we all are addicted to those sorts of intensities. If we meet a friend on the street, they may ask: "What's new?" Most of the time they're really not interested in you saying: "I don't know. I woke up this morning. I had breakfast. I'm walking to work to do my job. Then I'll go home and maybe rake some leaves. Go to sleep. Tomorrow will be another day." That is apparently not very interesting. But there are a lot more moments in our lives spent in these everyday activities of low intensity. These are gestation periods that prepare us for the more intense experiences that are likely to come in the natural cycles of things. In my experience, if we take care of those calm periods with great attention to detail, doing the right thing in moment-by-moment living, then the so-called intense birthing cycles, dramatic events, are handled quite easily, and in some cases, they are not really all that dramatic. Is there the need for drama in the universe?
Obviously, much of the drama of human experience is self-created. One illustration of this relates to how people handle deadlines. Everyone has experiences of looming deadlines of some sort, even if it only relates to paying taxes. A good approach is to be clear about when the deadlines are, to prepare for them in advance, and so handle things on time. Yet I know many people, and I've been guilty of this myself, who procrastinate and build up intensity before the looming deadline, and then with great pain and effort and weeping finally get things done. For some people, this may well work and may be the right path, but I think you can see the principle: the perceived intensity is self-generated. I think it behooves us to correctly read the ordinances of heaven. This of course refers to much larger cycles of creation with which we should rightly be participating.
Currently here in southern Indiana, we are experiencing the last few days of fall colors. Particularly on sunny afternoons, the display around our house is absolutely magnificent. The green colors of the leaves have faded, and yellow and orange and dark red and brown have come into vibrant prominence. But as the afternoon goes on and the sun sets, the color display dims and eventually disappears. Suddenly then it gets dark. Where have the colors gone? Well, the molecules that have certain absorption spectra, which make these colors when light is shone upon them, are still there. It is the fact of the outgoing radiation, in this case from the sun, and its reflection received by us that makes the colors visible. And so it is with every creative cycle. We have a role to play, but it's something in our radiation outward that makes us see and makes us able to participate and have impact.
We have a vibrant group on the phone lines today, and there are others reading our transcripts, but we are a very small group. What can we possibly do? What can I as an individual do? That is a question that comes up over and over, particularly when there are challenging world events, when we might feel that we are being buffeted by larger forces that take over and threaten to determine our experience. But is that actually so? I would suggest that a first response in any instance of feeling powerless would be to take an internal survey of what it is that we are putting out. Can we increase our outward pressure and increase the radiation we express? How about doing that in the ordinary course of things? We know that as this is being done, our perception of the world changes, often dramatically so.
There is a beautiful analogy about this that goes back to something the philosopher and inventor Buckminster Fuller said many years ago. I found his words referenced on an interesting website called "Brain Pickings" (https://www.brainpickings.org/). The site was created by a woman named Maria Papova and in it she writes many interesting articles highlighting beautiful writings and insights from a wide diversity of sources. In an article entitled "Buckminster Fuller's Brilliant Metaphor for the Greatest Key to Transformation and Growth," Papova writes:
"No one has articulated the machinery of transformation more succinctly and powerfully than architect, inventor, and philosopher Buckminster Fuller (July 12, 1895–July 1, 1983) — a man of timeless wisdom and prescience so extraordinary that he envisioned online education, TED, and Pandora decades before these ideas became a reality.
Fuller, who served in the U.S. Navy during WWI, offers a brilliant naval metaphor for how we transmute the minute into the momentous in transformation and growth, both as individuals and as a society. In an altogether fantastic 1972 Playboy interview, Fuller introduces the "trim tab"—a small mechanism that helps stabilize an enormous ship or aircraft—which would become a central metaphor in his philosophy.
In response to the interviewer's question about how we can live with 'a sense of the individual's impotence to affect events, to improve or even influence our own welfare, let alone that of society,' Fuller offers his magnificent metaphor:"
(source: https://www.brainpickings.org/2015/08/21/buckminster-fuller-trim-tab/; and now Buckminster Fuller's words)
"Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth—the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, 'Call me Trim Tab.'
"The truth is that you get the low pressure to do things, rather than getting on the other side and trying to push the bow of the ship around. And you build that low pressure by getting rid of a little nonsense, getting rid of things that don't work and aren't true until you start to get that trim-tab motion. It works every time. That's the grand strategy you're going for. So I'm positive that what you do with yourself, just the little things you do yourself, these are the things that count. To be a real trim tab, you've got to start with yourself, and soon you'll feel that low pressure, and suddenly things begin to work in a beautiful way. Of course, they happen only when you're dealing with really great integrity."
As we take action in small ways, we affect the ship of humanity. Initially, we might think of our efforts in terms of physical impacts, for example in finding ways to take care of the environment. Maybe you have replaced old lightbulbs in your house with more efficient ones, an enormous saving of energy, achieved with very little effort. Or perhaps you have become more conscious of your driving habits, and have figured out ways to combine trips, to do without as much driving as you once did. Or perhaps you decided not to use plastic bags and limit their damaging impact on the oceans. Each individual action may seem very small. "What about just one gallon of gas used? Look at this old truck passing by—that's the gas-guzzler that needs to change! Or think of all those full-sized SUVs using more gas than my little car for the same distance. They should change!" And on it goes: we can always point the finger elsewhere for what needs to change. But, in the end, where is your influence? Right with what you are doing.
There is a very critical dimension in what Buckminster Fuller describes as the trim tab. First he says, it works every time. But in his last sentence, he says that of course things begin to work in a beautiful way only when you're dealing with really great integrity. In other words, this beautiful principle is based on the condition of "really great integrity." What does that phrase mean? Let's go back to our consideration of the invisible space in which everything originates. Where do thoughts come from in the first place, the thoughts that are then translated into physical action? There's an invisible space, you might say higher or further upstream of thought. I think that space is rightly called spiritual space. That is the space in which the ordinances of heaven come to us. We want to be connected to the creative force operating in that space. In our thinking and feeling that will be reflected through something we might call integrity. But it is integrity—integration—with what is higher than us that makes the critical difference.
There is something we need to give out from ourselves into the physical world. That changes our conception of what is around us. But we also need substance that connects with that which is invisible. We have experience of that, but we don't necessarily have adequate words to describe this in the same way as other aspects of our experience that are further downstream in the physical world. That is probably good, because everything downstream in the physical world is subject to human manipulation. But upstream, that substance is generated by our own open, pure heart; our attentiveness to the spirit of love and truth.
Interestingly there have been attempts to describe this subtle range of experience in words, using terms like "attunement" and "pneumaplasm." For example, in the early days of chiropractic, this emerged from the experience of a group of chiropractors who found that the physical action of their chiropractic practice was not necessarily the main influence in the healing process. Nowadays, a quick web search will provide some historical notes and links to current uses. With respect to "pneumaplasm", the word comes from the Greek "pneuma" for air (referring to spirit) and "plasm" (translating to matter). Pneumaplasm, or sprit matter, is what connects us with spirit. In attunement that substance is used not to manipulate, but to connect the person in the role of the healer with the person seeking healing. In the process of positioning their hands over a patient's endocrine glands, for example, a healer exerts a peaceful-feeling current, and many people have experienced the benefits of this.
The principle at work here goes beyond any specific healing activity. It is actually what gives us life. It is what connects us to life in the entire universe. I'll give you one example of that. Larry Krantz has often spoken about his experience with a thought coming to you, maybe a thought of a particular person, and then a few moments later, that person gives you a call or somehow shows up. Now, I had this experience this morning (with Larry as it turns out)! I was putting some thoughts together for our meditation, and as I looked at my computer, there appeared an email from Larry. I would like to read to you what he wrote. Larry and Joyce had been on a trip, and this is what he said:
"On the trip, I was impressed by the buoyancy of spirit, the lightness when one is in the flow. Everything felt so easy, one thing leading to the next, no worries, just taking one step at a time, trusting the over-arching movement; if things worked out one way, fine; if not, also fine. So easy and natural. When we were with others, feeling their heaviness and cross currents at times, I almost shouted at them to let it go, that life is meant to flow and be easy and light. But, I said nothing, which likely would have been met with denial, insult, or confrontation. My presence and radiance was enough—an attunement, our secret service, the flow of spirit, offering a way up, for those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Everything we do is service, and it works out so easily, it is amazing. Magical."
Well, magical is the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this. Here was a whole section of my meditation, articulated more beautifully than I would have been able to, but capturing the entire meditation! Now, is that a coincidence? Maybe. But I say to those that have ears to hear and eyes to see that what we consider magic is actually the way of Life.
There is an invisible space in which the ordinances of heaven originate. As our heart is pure and our mind uncluttered, we hear and we see. One manifestation of that is specific thoughts derive from the ordinances of heaven, and if we are in tune with that, it is not in fact surprising that we find ourselves meditating along the same lines. It is a consideration that is underway; I am open to it, Larry is open to it, and I suspect many of you have had a similar experience, as have others with whom we may not be so directly connected.
This is a vital consideration because as we begin to trust the process, that heaviness that people experience fades away. And that is the invitation: life, the creative process, can be trusted and can be experienced as easy, flowing. It is not just for our benefit to feel good about life, but it is an invitation for us to participate in the generation of pneumaplasm, the substance that can connect everything in our environment to the creative flow. That surely is part of the design of life. While we are here in physical form, we provide that connection point. Our thinking provides the initial point of connection to the thoughts of the universe. Let them flow in, and then translate this into your daily life. And, lo and behold, you are acting with really great integrity, the trim tab is activated, the rudder changes position, and the whole ship is turned. That's how every advance in world-wide human experience occurs, starting with individuals. There is no booming voice coming from above and ordering us around. It's the small voice within individuals, and as we listen to it and express the consequences of what that voice is calling for in our daily living, it gets magnified, and just like that we participate meaningfully and powerfully in taking care of this beautiful life and planet
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