From World to World
Q. After reading your last article I have to ponder the fact that there is something in this kind of work and in your writing and thinking I don't understand. I feel there is so much training and background that I never took part in, and although I can sniff at it, I don't know it. So different from the contemporary non dual consciousness market of today, indeed.
I do remember the shift you describe in the meditation house very clearly. It stayed with me. I wonder why this kind of shift never happens in the same way when I meditate? Not even on the long courses have I felt anything similar to that. But surely that shift into rhythm happens on the long courses?
A. The same difficulty afflicts you and I both, from different angles. I can't figure out a good way to convey anything much from that training 'out into the world', as it were, except through writing, and that not very satisfactorily or regularly. So the bottom line must be that 'conveying it' is not the task in the usual 'Flow' way. We do live in a different Age. Former accepted Flow-patterns have been interrupted.
As I described in that article, there is a gap or leap between the World of Flow and the World of Rhythm. ( Four traditional hierarchical Worlds named Surface, Flow, Rhythm, Field.) Flow covers all our normal psychological world: the familiar processes of sensing, thinking and feeling etc., whether everyday experience or heightened to a non-ordinary degree, and including how people see, experience and crave 'spirituality'. Most common spirituality is Flow-directed.
Everything about our Work pulled in a different direction (from Flow). It was always unsettling; I was never comfortable in myself. Would you have enjoyed that? But the excitement and buzz was there too: bewilderment and wonderment cycling alternately, and one's 'I' never able to get a hold of itself.
But in the reality that is Now, we have to accept that It works through us however It does, not that we need to work through It in a way that we determine.
The shift into Rhythm on a long meditation course is that quiet impersonal peace, of the rhythm of the meditating session after session, when thoughts have died away, and there is just the rhythm of the meditating. Then knowledge can creep in like a shy forest animal from the edge of the trees round a still pool.
Note that impersonality is largely quiet, spacious. You don't have to 'work at understanding' or 'grasping this or that state', as I rather assume happens on many meditation retreats in which participants involve themselves. In my view, that type of approach is not towards Knowledge. Achievement always depends on, and subtly promotes self-hood. However refined and sophisticated the striving towards understanding, it is all within the world of Flow.
Also, note that using the word 'Rhythm' to describe the second world is just nomenclature. It has been named many ways (creative, mystical, metaphysical, creation etc), but naming it 'Rhythm' opens up a whole lot of unexpected and interesting angles which I feel get at the Real in new ways.
You need not fret at not having the opportunity to follow the same path. Your path is your path. It's not necessary to practise ritual or magical activities, but to understand and be able to recognize the principles behind. These you have endeavoured to acquaint yourself with. True 'Ritual contexts' are rare. Should one arise, I think you'd know very well what to do! Something in you recognises beyond Flow, and you are holding to that, even though it has no particular form.
However, I think it's true that meditation alone is not enough. Abstract principles are the seeds of the other worlds, the gateways out from the dominance of Flow, and recognising this is to move on. The first step is simply to know these Abstracts are there, which is not too popular nowadays!