Yesterday I listened to step 4 of the 67 steps. I heard something… and turned the audio off. I didn’t want to forget what I heard.
He uses language as an example.
Every human has the capacity to learn their mother tongue so they can communicate with the people around them. But there is no separate gene for English and Serbian, for example. There is the capacity to learn language.
And so is with hundreds of abilities.
Now, stop for a moment a look.
I know people who never learned to cook. They eat out or eat takeout every single day, every single meal.
I know people who “sport” one capacity activated… and that may be language, for all I know.
Your DNA has hundreds, maybe thousands of capacities encoded that only turn on when the environment and your actions trigger one into being “expressed”.
- Singing. Playing an instrument.
- Musical notes reading.
- Reading, being able to comprehend without effort, being able to immerse yourself into what you are reading, so your reading can change who you are.
- Seeing the big picture…
- seeing the consequences of your actions before you do anything.
Tons of capacities.
Some allow you to develop more than one ability.
Turned on when your activity needs them to turn on.
Your environment may be one that needs you to be a lot smarter. The nurture factor.
But your parents’ activity doesn’t activate your capacities: only your own. And only the ones you need or you’ll sink.
Most people have no other capacity fully open than language.
What is another determinant? Your TLB.
If your parents, or if a parent was protective, if a parent tried to shield you from pain, disappointment, and keep you safe, your DNA decided that you should become a sissy.
I am not saying that to offend you. Sissy is a behavior. Shying away from hardship, shying away from anything you don’t like. Food, taste, sound, activity, people, thoughts… limiting your exposure to only what you like.
And the things you like… they hook you, pull you, cheer you on…
You try to live a life on a narrow path: engaging only with the things you like.
And the result is: you remain a one-capacity human… and the whole beautiful and enormous world is not available to you… you are not even interested…
But your hoped-for happiness isn’t coming.
You thought that doing what you like will make you happy. But you have a pesky part, the soul, the spirit, that is telling you that you are missing out.
And you have that other part of you, the Opponent, the voices, that tell you to shrink more, to avoid anything hard, anything challenging, anything that doesn’t taste right, anything that doesn’t compliment you, that doesn’t say that you are already great.
Not permanently, mind you, or not necessarily.
But to get yourself unscrewed, you have to start seeing what is running your life. See it and see it and see it.
It is clear that it’s not you. It is forces outside of your control. It is forces that jerk you left and then right…
And it is true: there is nothing there. This is another way nature is allowing you to be born as a blank slate.
You either will create who you are, or you’ll allow the Opponent to create you.
Here are a few ways the Opponent does it: slimy, cheater, slacker, cowardly, angry, hateful, spiteful, belligerent… want more words? Just listen in.
Your self is not that… but you need to be able to hear that because you cannot control the Opponent, you can’t control what it says, you can’t control the voices, it has to be NOT-YOU.
With the Amish Horse Training Method, where you listen into the voices, and listen until it becomes noise, you’ll end up with that empty space, the Self, that you can now define.
It is a matter of awareness, and a matter of diligence. Also it is a matter of you actually doing it right… not easy.
But eventually, with some help from yours truly (me), you’ll get to a place where you’ll hear the voices and they won’t grab you, at least not often.
I have a person who is obviously paid to spook me with her comments. She calls me names, and it is getting more and more violent.
She succeeds to hook me, and occupy some of my bandwidth for an hour or so. It used to be longer.
Someone spewing hate at you can do that to you… just like the Amish horse would still get spooked if you shot a gun next to his ear…
But most normal noises of life won’t spook you. You’ll get as near being impervious to the voices as humanly possible.
You can become a producer instead of being a consumer.
This is the biggest change you’ll make. A fundamental change.
A world view change… where it is up to you to create, instead of finding it, and taking it.
And then you’ll become a human being… I think.
My favorite story from Werner Erhard, the founder of est, says:
Every child is born the same way. If you peel the layers, like the layers of an onion, what you find in every child is the desire to make a difference. The desire to leave his mark on the world.
When this desire is blocked, refused, or thwarted by the adults or society, the child has two ways for himself:
1. he can choose to be a criminal or
2. he can choose to be a “forever teenager”.
By criminal I don’t mean a murderer… a thief, not even a pickpocket… but I do mean getting the mindset of a criminal, where you need to get, steal, what you want…
I was that thwarted child, and looking back, I did choose the criminal path.
I am, still, somewhat on that path. I don’t see that the society given opportunities, that the societal norms allow me to teach what I want to teach, to take you where you ultimately want to go.
So I steal you into heaven.
Another of my favorite stories is a story of the famous rabbi, Rambam. Or was it Baal Shem Tov? Same guy, different haircut… Who knows, the story is a good story, and answers my question in the title. 1
One evening a man knocked on his door and begged him to save his son, who the doctors said cannot be saved.
Rambam went into deep meditation, and saw that the child was indeed going to die, the gates of life were closed on him.
He sent the man home and gathered his students and asked them to go out and find criminals and bring them to him.
The students did as were told and came back with a bunch of criminals in tow.
The rabbi, who even criminals revered for his access to higher wisdom, asked everyone in the room to meditate with him.
And hour or so later he sent everyone home.
In the morning the man came to report joyfully, that the child will live. That he was recovering.
The students didn’t understand. Why didn’t you ask for pious, god-fearing citizens to join you in meditation? they asked.
Rambam answered: criminals needed to pick the gate of life to allow the child in… I needed their skill, I needed their consciousness.
I am that criminal… finding ways to pick the gate. So you can get into life, the good life, the life worth living, in spite of the every strengthening voice of society to deaden you, to make you sheep.
Here is another version of the story of saving the child:
They tell the story of the Baal Shem Tov, that a young widow once came crying to him. “I recently lost my husband. Now my young child, my only child, is lying gravely ill. The doctors have given up hope. Please, Baal Shem Tov, please do something to save my child.”
The Baal Shem Tov, whose heart was always open especially to the needy and oppressed, soothed and reassured her saying that she should go home and her child will be fine. He then proceeded to gather together ten (a minyan) of his holy hidden Tzaddikim, to pray for the child’s welfare and immediate healing.
But to no avail. As much as they tried opening their souls and in turn opening the gates of heaven, they sadly had no success. The Baal Shem Tov sensed that the decree in heaven was sealed and could not be reversed by the Tzaddikim’s prayers.
The Baal Shem Tov, however, was not one to take no for an answer and give up. He feel upon an idea. He asked his wagon driver to prepare the wagon and the horses. They were going for a trip to the forest. He directed the driver to go to a particular spot, which surprised the drive, being that this was known to a be a dangerous areas where thieves lurked, and everyone would avoid.
They arrived at the designated spot. The Baal Shem Tov climbed off the wagon, and within a few moment he was, to the chagrin of the driver, surrounded by several thieves. When the head of the band of thieves saw that it was the Baal Shem Tov, he put down his weapon and with wonder and astonishments asked: “Baal Shem Tov, what are you doing here in the wild?”
The Baal Shem Tov replied: “Listen, I need to speak with you. I need your help.” All of them wondered what possible help could the Baal Shem Tov need from lowly thieves. The Baal Shem Tov continued speaking to the band leader: “I need you to gather ten of your thieves and come with me to pray for a sick child.” The head thief didn’t understand, but since the Baal Shem Tov was requesting he complied. He gather a minyan of his partners in crime, and they prayed with the Baal Shem Tov.
The child miraculously recovered.
Later, when the Baal Shem Tov was asked by his surprised students, “how were you able to accomplish with ten thieves more than you could have accomplished with the ten Tzaddikim?!” the Baal Shem Tov replied: “Simple. I saw that all the gates in heaven were locked. And I needed someone to break in…”
So, even a thief has times when “the sun shines on him” and “he has blood.”
This does not condone theft or any other crime. It teaches us, that once a person has transgressed, he has the power not only to correct his ways, but his very crimes can teach him and all of us new ways to “break in” and reach heights that honest people can never reach.
And this is the ultimate redemption of our past wrongs, and also the ultimate expression of the Divine Image in each human: The power and ability to transform our pasts. To use the newfound knowledge and methods that came from illicit sources to open up unprecedented channels of holiness and sanctity.