Learning and Remembering

"You want to talk about something deep, a well. But I will steal from others, and just remind you that when the waters of life are 70 feet below the surface, you will die of thirst with 7 10-foot wells.

"So many people dabble in many things, but don't delve in any. You have to have depth to get anywhere. That's why you can't major in liberal arts... but I tried. I have learned. Got to be an expert on something. So, that's it. There ain't no mo'." (4/26/2000 - Y#47)

"Truth is never measured by acceptance, but by meaning." (6/14/2000 - Y#48)

"Can you remember and then learn... hmmm. And the answer is: Yes, if it is a learning from another life that you suddenly remember and then, in this life, learn. Some flashes of insight are just that--finally getting it. Your entity experienced it, but did not integrate it until suddenly poof, and you think, 'Where did that come from.' Some things are true revelations, and some are just delayed reactions. And since time does not matter, both become part of the fabric of your spirit as if one and the same.

"Hey, the man talked about it (JC)... yep, about it not mattering if you came to
the vineyard at noon or dusk. It was not about accepting him, but about finding oneself. And here's the trick all the religious types forget: When you are looking for something, where is it always. The last place you look, because then you don't have to look anymore--same with spiritual fulfillment. What is the final thing you need to do to move on? Whatever you learn and remember last before you move on. Was it the magic last step, yes and no. It was the completing step but it was not the fulfilling step, since all of it is the fulfillment, and it could have been learned and remembered in any order. No, focusing on the destination doesn't work. And thinking there is only one path doesn't work." (10/10/2000 - Y#49)

"Don't forget inherent remembering--what you know just by being. Instinct is another name. Some even call it intuition. Play with that." (10/14/2000 - Y#50)

"You can't learn, and so can't remember, if you don't listen. Listening takes many forms." (10/17/2000 - Y#51)

"Overly moral peeps are always first- or second-timers. The rules are inordinately important. 'Hey look, I know the rules, so I can play!' Some third-timers, too... but some are beginning to create their own sense of things, so they look more conflicted than sure but act more sure than conflicted." (10/24/2000 - Y#52)

"Choices need to be choices, not remedies. And opportunities always look forward. If you think you need to fix something, that is not the same as creating something." (11/3/2000 - Y#53)

"Unlearn and forget. Many people try to forget, but don't unlearn. Forgetting is not the same as undoing the patterns of learning. So peeps try to forget, but the learning is still there, so they act on it. How do you unlearn. You can't just put yourself in a disk drive and hit Erase. You can only unlearn by replacement. No gaps, just a new building block, because what you had learned is embedded in a web of being. Take out a piece and plop. But change a piece, and a whole web changes with it. Are you with it. Same with everything.

"Mundane example: If you decide to quit eating meat, you'll die if all you is eating is the other stuff you had with the meat... unless, of course, you ate surf and turf. But why is it that we know this about physical stuff, and not about spiritual stuff. Don't take away, but give when you want to change others. Put the replacement in place first, then you can more easily unlearn." (3/8/2001 - Y#54)

"One will always learn more from the least of us than from the most exalted. Really. One is universal, and the other not. So all the greatest have always relinquished station and position before speaking the universal and eternal. The power of the exalted is about image. The clear cold pure water of the well is always found at the bottom, not the top. And yet, that is the hardest to get to. Easier to drop the bucket in only enough to get filled--even get filled with something less pure. Ponder that." (7/27/2001 - Y#55)

"Follow your gut. Don't try to over-analyze it. If
Dorothy had done that, she would still be asking if it were the goldenest road. Sometimes it is a Yellow Brick Road which is only a little yellow. But if you wait for the bright one, you may miss the right one. There are no leads that aren't worth following, and you can follow several at once." (8/7/2001 - Y#56)

"One can only be controlled by that to which one has given control." (8/11/2001 - Y#57)

"It will be interesting to see how many people come through this time changed, and how many come through unchanged. A quick guide to spiritual development: Those with the most to learn and remember, usually learn and remember the least. And those with the least to get and keep, get and keep the most. It is a cumulative process, and the learnings become tools in further learning. So watch how this unfolds for people. Might get some clues, which could help you adjust learnings and expectations." (9/23/2001 - Y#58)

"So yes, here's the scoop and poop: Choice does not determine outcome, but it does determine motion. So if you are moving and changing, you are choosing. And if you learn and remember from your choices, then they have meaning. Blind choice of the good is no better than conscious choice of the bad... not to mention the ugly.

"If you accidentally stumble on good without intent, it will not inform you. You might experience it, but not learn from it. Choice and learning always go hand in hand. And no external moral code is a substitute for choice. If you act without thought, you act without choice. And without thought, it just doesn't count... at least at your level. In greater complexities it is not a matter of counting, but of not mattering. Choice becomes transcended in greater spiritual complexity. But now we are at the level of choices, and hence, also the level of fear.

"And no, faith is not--at a more complex level--the equivalent of choice now. It is the forerunner of choice at a simpler level, remembered in the spirit as a remnant of existence gone by. And in other news, some peeps got it and others don't. What's new." (10/25/2001 - Y#59)

"Time for
turkey, and the answer to why. Why always contains its own answers; for every such question is framed in context, and the context contains the answer. It must be so. For if the context does not contain the answer, then there is no answer, and so the question is meaningless. So one either finds the answer in the setting of the question, or one dismisses the question... or one reevaluates the perception of the context until an answer is contained.

"Sometimes one has to broaden the context to get an answer, but getting an answer in this way is not conclusive because the one you get may only be partial. You may have stopped broadening too soon. A quick relief at a possible answer may obscure more complete responses. If the answer to why is evident, then you have it. But if it is not evident, you must search and open, not simply to an answer, but to one that then becomes evident in the new broader context.

"The answer to why ultimately, then, is always a step away, because that which is truly evident does not elicit a why. The very question calls for moving to new evidence. So the answer to why is a process question, not a factual one. Whoa." (11/20/2001 - Y#60)

"Here's a lesson as well: When you attend an event, try to sit so there is at least 1 vacant spot, so the unexpected can sit with you. Or, at an event, sit first at a table, and let others come to you. Meet more peeps that way." (12/14/2001 - Y#61)

"So, learning and unlearning. I realised that I made a transcription error. It's about leaning and unleaning. Just prop yourself up. And after a while of leaning, unleaning will seem like leaning. But you know the same is true of learning! Like this: Bob is a nice guy, but his neighbor Ned kills Bob's favorite bush. Bob is not happy; he is angry with Ned. And since Ned is of a certain unnamed racial group, Bob begins to hate all of Ned's kinsmen. Bob has a daughter Jane and a son Dick... but that's
another story. Jane learns early that she should mistrust all Neds and Neds' offspring. But when Jane grows up, one of Ned's nephews... or was it a niece... planted a special bush for Jane, and she had to unlearn her hatred. But to her, it felt more like learning love than unlearning hatred. And Spot loved that bush! Arrrrrrr.

"Sometimes we learn, to just get back to where we were... and back and back and baby back ribs, yuuuum, finger-sucking food. I doz lov me ribs with some pone and dat watermelon. And fruit punch, made out of delicious red and fruit and sugar... and sugar... not to mention sugar. But when you can distinguish between the two, you are learning. When you can't, you're just unlearning. And why is it called a rebate when you never bated." (2/19/2002 - Y#62)

"Suicide erases any gains from this life, but does not set spirits back unless it relates to something in past lives. If you are feeling depressed because of some unresolved issue from before, that issue will still need to be dealt with. If the issue is from this life, then all one has to do is deal with it in some way other than depression. And if it is
physically related, then another bodkin might do the trick. In this life, you are depressed because this adrenal system is all fucked up, but in a new body you get a good one. Just as if a spirit came to experience the joy of art, but was born blind, they might have to come back again to do it. The spiritual issues remain when the physical systems get in the way. You can still learn and remember, but the learning related to the causative factors....

"And not everything is as it may appear. Many so-called natural deaths are suicides, and many suicides are not suicides. People kill themselves in different ways, and people are killed--even by their own hand--but are not their own agents of death. An abused teenager is murdered by the abuser, even though they do the actual deed. The question is of outside or inside agency. Not always easy to sort out." (5/4/2002 - Y#63)

"So, let's talk timers. There are windup ones and electric and sand... e. But seriously, the question of what I said were timers was, of course, an abstraction to communicate with
little brains. I tried to share some inherent qualities that exist at our spiritual level, and which, indeed, do appear often in the sequence of the first few times here. But there are always exceptions. For example, some second-timers are more like third-timers because they skipped second--got it all the first time by not acting like total first-time dweebs (that's a technical term). But those qualities infuse all of our lives at this level. And it is our job to find the balance of elements by which we can learn and remember.

"Again I refer to
astrology. Everyone has influences from all signs and aspects, just in differing measure. And how those work out on any day is both chance and choice... hey, I remember them, Chance and Choice, Inc. So, there is always some first-timer in all of us. And remember, first time is both bravado and innocence. There is also some second-timer, etc. And once one has experienced all the spiritual options for understanding oneself... or one's elf... then one can try out an infinite number of lives to see what combination and emphasis works best for being oneself... or.... And all of those elements are there, and some repeatedly prominent until we, literally, get our act together and move on.

"So if fourth-time issues keep claiming you, it could be because you are a fourth-timer, or because those issues are needing attention, or because you need to find good ways not to give them attention. Focus can mean you haven't figured out how to focus where you should. It's like something that suddenly becomes obvious to you and you say, 'Why didn't I see that before?' And too often we say, 'Because we were focusing too much on something else.' But maybe we were focusing too much on something else because we couldn't yet see it, but once we see, the old focus becomes nearly--if not totally--impossible. Phew, got that off my soul. Ponder your elf." (6/9/2002 - Y#64)

"Sometimes one has to go back to discover how far ahead they have traveled.
Two life vectors diverged in a reality, and I chose the one I traveled by, and that makes all the difference. Too many choose lives that are not theirs. Wisdom is to know beyond the pangs of the heart what is the reality of one's path. Too many get stuck on someone else's path. Ponder that. It's a big one." (6/13/2002 - Y#65)

"Have you ever noticed that sometimes islands allow you to look beyond boundaries that you could not see on the mainland. Just a thought... or not." (6/16/2002 - Y#66)

"You know, when you know where you are going, even mistakes can take you there. But if you don't have a destination in heart, even the right path takes you astray (
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles... farts, carts, and indigestion).

"Look for a reality that could only happen with your presence. If it is already, why go there. One wants a place that faces right, not one that seems to have arrived. Do you want to take a cruise that is headed to the Caribbean, or one that is docked there. Ponder all this. There will be a test, ha." (6/23/2002 - Y#67)

"Sometimes, acting like one has his act together--especially when it's an alternative act--means simply that one doesn't have a clue what one's act is. Those who really have their acts together, are constantly exploring and expanding what that means. Life is not about arrival, but about journey... oooo I said that before... and after.

"Those who appear to have arrived are most often lost, and afraid to show it. And you can quote me on that. ©Rikkity 472819. Send royalties to Sandy at ARF.com." (9/26/2002 - Y#68)

"Living in transition, if you keep your spirits open, could be a great time of learning. Remember, you learn more when things are unsettled--lots to examine, what really matters really matters. And, if you can be as conscious as possible in the transition, there is much to see.
And miles to go before... ooops." (10/22/2002 - Y#69)

"Hey, let's have some planned spontaneity, organized serendipity, and some orderly randomness. And here's today's deep thought: Whenever a new understanding arrives to place spontaneity and serendipity and randomness in a pattern, new forms of spontaneity, serendipity, and randomness will always appear. It's like herding cats.

"And an infinite universe will always have more outside its theories than in. And that's just the tip of the iceberg... what white blob on the horizon do you mean. Don't be seduced by the illusion of systematics. Every system excludes more than it includes... except, of course, when All That Is is one. But even then there is something more, and I suspect that more is infinite. Just a hunch." (11/22/2002 - Y#70)

"This is a time for high resolve. Now, more than ever, live according to one's values. Be a living incarnation of what you hold in deepest faith. Only that reality which is faith made real will be our future.

"Those who let discouragement take hold of their spirits become as zombies of faith. It is one thing to become discouraged, and quite another to find encouragement again. Nothing should be valued which does not offer the promise of encouragement even in the most discouraging situation.

"If what you value leads to dead-ends in certain circumstances, it's time to change values. Sustaining values never lead to dead-ends, but always hold the prospect of new vision. Ponder that." (3/14/2003 - Y#71)

"Here's a tidbit. When the going gets tough, some choose to act according to circumstances, others according to principles, and others according to values. Usually we are taught that there are only two choices: either circumstances or principles. So we had the big fight between
situational ethics and the more traditional ones based on principles. But listen carefully. There is a, or maybe several, other choices... one would be rice, and the other baked potato, but that doesn't really matter now.

"Living according to values is between the two. You see, in one case you look at a situation and say 'Boy, I don't know what to do,' and you let the situation tell you. And in the other, you look at a situation and ask 'What do I do,' and say 'I know without thinking.' But the values way requires that you consider--at the same time--the situation as it is and those things you value, and then find a way to respond to the situation in which your values are honored. What you do looks highly principled in any given situation, but if you look at a number of situations, you might see that different actions were taken. Action is not independent of the situation, nor dependent on it. And over time, while the actions would not reveal consistent principles, they would begin to reveal consistent values.

"Principles are like mores, while values are more like something independent of culture. Ok, here's a concrete example... ouch, I dropped it. Heavy, dude. Ok, you are on a world tour and you stop in Mali, and there is a social function going on and it is taking place in a different language. And you notice that some of the people are doing what appears strange to you. And then one of the people slaps another really hard on his head... ouch. Now, in the situation one might say 'Hey, I guess we need to hit one another.' And a principled person might say 'It isn't nice to hit.' But the values person would try to determine what is going on, because their value is to respect and honor all people. So maybe this slap is a sign of honor or humility, or maybe it's just meanness.

"With principles and with situationals you could get it wrong, but with values you would always be expressing yourself. And hey, what more can we ask." (3/18/2003 - Y#72)

"And now, the question we have all been debating: Which are the aliens... hmmm, by whose perspective. Or to play with the language, the only true aliens are those who can cause alienation. And since alienation is a construct of the perceiver's mind and psyche, then those who are alienated are the aliens themselves. Ponder that!

"Those who can perceive otherness must be other. And those who perceive only connection can never be alien, no matter where or how they go. Deep thoughts for shallow people." (6/6/2003 - Y#73)

"I am constantly reminded that, at this spiritual level, the great question is if we will in courage reach out and find larger connection, or in fear retreat behind the walls of difference. It keeps coming up... just like a bad bologna sandwich.

"The test is not knowing, but believing, because too many people know, but by their actions show they don't believe. And here's a challenge for
UUs: how to live, such that if you were to die right now, it would be ok. We haven't found a substitute for Heaven which is compelling enough. But I've given hints... hell, I've given blueprints. So I want you should ponder that for awhile. Ok, time's up... no, just kidding. I tell a joke.

"Did you know I'm black on the inside, too? It goes all the way in... but only here. Oops, I'm chartreuse... ecru... teal... periwinkle... mauve... scarlet... mango... key lime... aubergine. It's fun being other colors, but only if you aren't wedded to one for identity. I have fun sometimes saying to KKK members 'My, you're looking yellow today (or red, or brown).' They turn white as sheets... or dark as shit. We have a game with newcomers: Guess the Race. Most of 'em are off balance.

"You think a balanced person uses physical properties for identity? I don't theeenk so. Male, female, child, adult, brown, big, black, deaf, red, short, yellow, fat, white, stupid... I don't theeenk so. We identify with those things until we get our act together. And in the last go-round at this level we see beyond it all, and seeing beyond it all, we have two choices: To proclaim the vision or to fall into despair. But if one falls into despair, then one doesn't have their act together anymore.

"It's like climbing to the top of a mountain and seeing the view, and finding it so beautiful that one desires the valleys again, when one could just as easily have stood atop the world and shouted the truth. That's why the only way forward is to proclaim the truth you sense, even if that be perilous. We often think that such proclamations of faith are all fundamentalist or conservative. But that's only because they dare to speak out, while the ones seeing the more courageous, wider view think it arrogance to speak, when it is actually fear to keep silent.

"So when you get a vision that takes you to a new and more generous place, speak it! Write it! Share it! Live it! Dream it! No, don't just dream it, be it! And that's all I have to say about that!" (6/13/2003 - Y#74)

"Too often, people think the psychological profile they see is the spiritual one, too. But nooooo, it is often in contrast to, or even competition with. If we are alive to learn, then exploring what already is isn't much of a learning. Ponder that." (9/6/2003 - Y#75)

"If regime change doesn't work, maybe you need regiment change. It might not be the office holders, but the offices.

"In the Nazzi (just like in
The Producers)... in the Nazzi regime, it didn't matter who was doing what; same, maybe, in Iraq. Saddam is gone, but is the system really going to be different, or will international oil interests still call the shots. And you have to wonder about the U.S., which hasn't done much good since about '63. Just ponder that.

"Our revolutionaries knew it really wasn't King George III, but King anybody. Maybe in a media age, we need some changes, too. That's tonight's pith.

"You shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water, but sometimes it's time for baby to go, so we can have a clean new bath." (10/5/2003 - Y#76)

"So, regiment change: It is not the same as systemic change. Systemic is when all the pieces of a system change. And it's not paradigm change, but closer. Both ask about how something will be delivered, but regiment change--as I am using the term--is different. If regime change is about who will deliver, and systemic change is about how it will be delivered, regiment change is about what is delivered and why. It is focused on the recipients as active agents in the determination of the dimensions.

"Ok, I give a metaphor... or maybe a simile. You go to the movies. Somebody else decides what movies are shown and when, and how much it will cost. If you change theatres or movies, that's the old way of change. But if you decide you want to watch your choice of movie when and where you want, that's a regiment change. The whole regiment changes: Every role is different. Reactive is replaced with active; control is replaced with cooperation.

"So think about addressing the present national and world scene with this in mind. Your first question is not who or how, or even when or where, but what and why. If we elect--or select--people to do things without a self-defined sense of what we want and why, we'll get either their crap or the same old shit or both or worse. So we need to once again do the work that
TJ and JM and JM did when they had to ask the what and why questions. America wasn't invented once; it is a continuing invention, but we all stopped being inventive long ago. And what sometimes passes as invention is usually a nostalgic return to past invention--which is about as exciting and relevant as the Pony Express. So, ponder.

"The answers should never precede the questions! But think of how much modern merchandising is based on living off that reversal: wanting before needing. So if you decide to replace your 2-year-old electric can opener with a new one, has anything changed. Even if the new one promises you the world, goddamn it, it's still a can opener. Same for politicians, especially actor politicians, in a media age. Ok, that's it. It appears as change, but it is only window dressing. Remember back in the '60s, when each year the auto folks would unveil the new models, and they all still had 4 wheels, doors, tires... but oooo those slightly smaller or bigger fins! Ok." (10/10/2003 - Y#77)

"So, what do you want? Think of
terminal values. Which ones do you prize highest. That's what you want. So, you need to determine what is valuable for you, not in terms of specifics but in values; specifics will follow. First step: values, because needs can be too contextually driven. I need a nap.

"Regiment change begins with value determination and, actually, value valuation. Just saying they are values doesn't cut it. You have to value your values to have them mean anything... ta-da. Ponder that." (10/14/2003 - Y#78)

"Now onto the next step: Make a list of what you want and go out and take it! That was
Mackey's idea. He's a prince among men. So I said to him, 'What if I want all your power,' and he got real silent. Aha, gotcha.

"Sandy will now do his badger imitation... grrrrrrr. Why he is doing a badger imitation is only known to him. But he's cute when he's vicious... wooof. His wittle chin hairs... snap.

"Ok, for real. Step 2: Look at what you want. But you've already done that, yes? But do it now with an additional criterion: 'Which of those do I think I have the greatest personal resources to effect.' Sure, we all want peace, but maybe we are not actually the best example of peace. So that value might best be left for someone else. And then, maybe honesty is a value, but that's
not terminal. But justice is, and maybe the same fire that disqualifies you for peace would be the right-on thing for justice. Mother Theresa might make a lousy advocate for justice, but she sure did a job for compassion. So don't become the poster child for a value that is hard won for you.

"It should be something that comes gracefully and effectively. And ultimately, it must be a value you intrinsically incorporate into your very being. It's a value you have learned and remembered. Some you value, some you learn and value, and then there are those values you learn to make you you. ARF. He's still learning to be a badger. But if he were to try and burrow like a badger, he'd get stuck very quickly. He may value badgers and badgering, but that does not make him a good badger... grrrrrr. Thank you, Sandy, for our object lesson... ARF.

"One of the reasons that many social movements fail, is that those who are most active are least qualified. If you go with qualification more than ardor, we might have a bit more progress, or should I say enhancement." (10/17/2003 - Y#79)

"Step 3: Wait. Step 4.... What I mean is, don't rush 1 and 2; otherwise you go and do, but don't do what you do well. It takes time to make enduring changes. And step 4: action plan. We will talk about that when you are ready.

"Looking back at one life, what do you hope will be one of the achievements: Salvation? National security? Great
Macarena dancing? Hey, it's not about absolute values, but about one's own values. What is already but not yet in you. It won't be new or foreign territory, and it won't be a recap of what is already finished, but a continuity of what your spirit has been working on, through, with, toward.

"If it were already resolved and achieved, you wouldn't be there, and if it is not yours, you can't make it be. And a hint: This is not a hard question. Meditate... or medicate. Let go and see what hangs on." (10/21/2003 - Y#80)

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