Poetics of Light #5


 Birth of a galaxy

 Chapter Three…Part 2

Boot Camp ….  Rules are rules


The beginning of this series starts here….


         Since I was engaged in the dialogues for over a decade, they became less like a spiritual event and simply became an ongoing relationship in my life. In their beginning I was immersed in family life. We are a fairly close knit family and this unusual relationship was accommodated within my day to day routines. “Where’s Mom”? “She’s talking with those guys”. And so it was that those guys became more or less part of the immediate family. 

         During these first few years I would sense an intuitive prompting or a desire to engage. Later when our work in the dialogues had been established (although not exactly defined) and I was living on my own, the dialogues became almost daily work and I initiated contact commensurate with my ability and schedule. However, each time I opened in dialogue I was directed whether it was appropriate in that moment to engage.

          These two inquiries… Do I have permission? and Is it appropriate?… were actually the two questions I had asked that immediately preceded the beginning of the dialogues. In their simplicity and respectful acknowledgement, they became the foundation of our relationship and prefaced each prayer required during any given part of a dialogue, formalizing the relationship and keeping me ever mindful of every shift in conversation.

          I was expected to have thoughts related only to the subject at hand and that I used language entirely descriptive of the present moment, since references to a possible future were inappropriate and cause for stopping and acknowledging that I had done so. Specific references to the past were allowed, but only within context and they had to be relevant to personal experience. I was to be careful to respond with balanced emotion no matter what occurred. I was never to make a verbal reference, or even have a mental thought of another living person, their ideas, or their work. This was by far the most difficult rule to maintain.

          There were formal prayers required when ever a rule was broken. When I had a question of my own I was instructed to verbally formulate it before engaging which I found difficult to remember in my early enthusiasm or long disregard of formality and of strictly following rules. Then beginning a session I was to ask if it was appropriate and if I had permission to ask my question.

          Aside from the continual practice of deep and responsive listening, I began to see that the discipline requirements, the rules of Contemplative Resonance itself, required me to be consistently mindful of the language I was using, since it was required that I speak primarily in the present tense and never relative to anything in the future. This inevitably led to a deeper consideration of my regard of both the past and the future. The past just is. The future, though not certain, is a distinct possibility. So it wasn’t the existence of either but how I regarded them. Was I reading circumstances solely through the filter of the past? Or was I only seeing what would provide me with what I desired, or keep me from what I feared, in a projected future?

          The inability to reference other living human beings or their ideas showed how fluidly other people’s concerns and ideas passed through my thoughts almost unbidden, of how much I relied on all human relationship for validation of simply being and belonging. I came to see that every relationship, even the most simple, acts as a cord anchoring or grounding me in the world I live in.

          I also could clearly see how alive ideas are in the mind and how I automatically build my own concepts by referencing the thoughts of others. It was not easy to understand why referencing others was inappropriate. When the material in the dialogues was the most difficult, the most challenging to witness and integrate, having to hold to this rule often made me feel very alone. I was told it was a matter of respect but it wasn’t until well into the dialogues that I was to understand that all relationship is profoundly creative and immediate. We may inevitably build on the ideas of others but our own response in relationship must come from the solid ground of our own being. We may also care deeply for the welfare of those we love and care about, but without their explicit permission and the express permission to do so, it was a disrespectful interference to make reference to anyone besides myself in Contemplative Resonance. Since thoughts are usually able to roam freely and even my thoughts were known, this rule was extraordinarily difficult to hold to.

          But there was something else, something that was being slowly uncovered. As I held to the rules in this relationship I was to personally witness another deeper, more hidden side of human perception. Perhaps it was possible for me to witness only within the dialogues…and of necessity entirely alone. Despite my trusting, the rules of relationship felt like a tenuous cord holding me in place and enabling me to withstand the riggers of witnessing and recording the human archetypal perception of trauma, denial and indifference.

          However the “boot camp” I am describing here was early in the dialogues and I was learning that it also became essential to closely investigate how I regard new or challenging information, how to venture into unfamiliar territory that may not be expressed in references I was more familiar with. The rules pointedly showed that I habitually connected new ideas with a full personal mental reference library collected over a lifetime. I used these stored references automatically for connecting bits of information and for confirmation or judgement of the value of new information. It was also challenging to remain open when concepts that I was familiar with, consider possible but had already more or less dismissed as irrelevant, were being introduced into context.

          It became apparent to what extent I relied on the world of thought… a vast landscape of memory, acquired knowledge, collective agreement and relationship. This thought patterning of continual referencing was so natural, so pervasive, that in order to hold to the strict discipline, I eventually found it necessary to refrain from any research or reading other than factually relative to the content of the dialogues.

          I was aware that there was also the distinct possibility that in following my own “referenced” trails I would fail to see the complexity of the perceptual paradigm being introduced, especially when confronted with a small part that I didn’t understand or had already previously dismissed. It also became a hindrance to seek comparison with any structured belief or philosophical system to validate my experience. I came to appreciate this offered poem…

Imponderables measured falsely are delusions

Each moment has no measure

          So as simple as the rules were, like keys in a locked box they have become essential tools for perceptual comparisons and deeper, and then deeper again, considering…..


To be continued…..on Sunday, October 2nd after a short hiatus. Off to the Coast  on the 24th!!!!


© Jana H. White

Artist: Max Ernst


14 responses

  1. The idea of rules tends to cause an almost imperceptible tensing in me. A quick or cautious raising of the guard. Reading this… the necessity of the rules is crystal clear. A single step forward in your journey would be impossible without them. How quickly the dialogue could be monologue hitched to thought rather than a communion through perception. How easily it could be lost. Thank you Jana. Enjoy the coast!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Chris….really. I am hugely grateful for the feedback. Although, I am still entirely up in the air if conveying this experience is possible. There were, and are, so many parts to it. I have to admit though, that the attempt in itself is proving to be a worthy adventure….especially now that I know, at least within the realm of my experience here, who I am talking with. Who might be listening. It’s lovely …. believe me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • “She’s talking with those guys.” Your telling follows me. Surfaces. Slips away. Resurfaces. Like a subtle current. Or a thin stream that disappears into the forest floor and then reappears at another spot beneath the canopy. Disappears again. Creates a hidden wetland that nourishes surface growth. Something like Dharma movement maybe. Anyway. This morning I recalled this line and I couldn’t help but wonder what or how you told your children. In the simplest terms (or so I imagine), but in a way that they understood and accepted as part of life. A window.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Well, your question had me thinking about this all day, Chris… I wonder that the simplest answer has to do with the girls themselves…their capacity for flexibility, difference and “not having to know”. They were both nearly adults when the dialogues began. Since they were little girls though, we had talked about “reality”, as it’s presented, simply being something that is agreed upon. That they had to somehow form their own relationship with this, but which also left room for a vast amount of life we have no idea about.

          There hasn’t really been any “explaining”. I’ll converse about certain aspects I find fascinating to see what they might think about it but it seems we’re leaving it in the realm of mystery. Thanks Chris. It was a great question. xxoo

          Liked by 2 people

    • Ah Brian! This is very good to hear. It means to me that the choice to bring this here “in relationship” is working…(what ever that means) It can only make a difference when entering the work itself by doing this together. We’re going deep into the mountain Brian. There is stale air and little light. I’ve been a scout, but as of yet, not taken anyone with me. This time I wonder that the inside might look different….more headlamps to shine some needed light in the large cave we’ve dug. Thank you, my friend. xxxooo

      Liked by 1 person

Leave your thoughts....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: