Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

manitoban

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I've just finished the Huxtable Quintet, my 30th book. As I've gone along, the lessons in the books are starting to really sink in, it seems the more books I read, the better I can see myself and as the memories surface, where I went wrong . So many things are coming to light in this reading project, and many of them are not enjoyable. In a weird way, it's a bit like having an early life review, where I'm having to face some ugly truths.

For me, a lot of it has been about realizing how selfish I've been in relationships and all the times I thought of myself first, and the other person a distant second. I have also remembered some incidences when young where it was common for me to show a lack of inclusion, for want of a better word, basically I did not welcome people and try to make them feel accepted and wanted. As long as I was popular, I didn't care and never thought about how hard it might be for others. I wasn't cruel or mean, just indifferent.

I think that our current culture has become so focused on self, on making oneself happy, that somehow it has become completely normalized, even praiseworthy, to be solely focused on looking out for Number 1. And it is this cultural change that has fostered and encouraged selfishness to the extreme degree we see today.

And yet, there really is a new feeling of hope rising within, maybe it's clearing the decks of all my garbage! There is a kind of a flavor or mood, state, not sure what to call it, that the books at times induce in me, where I feel open to accepting love and joy, inspired to be a better kinder person.

So onwards with this marvelous project, for a change of pace from Gracie and Balogh I've just downloaded Jennifer Ashley's Mckenzie series.
 

A Jay

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Found another site that has some good explanations and pictures of the fashionable things of the era. I came upon it while looking for pictures of quizzing glasses and many-caped greatcoats.

cp1811-1133.jpg


quizzing4c.jpg
 

Laura

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At first, I mostly got the most out of the books where I could more or less identify with a character's story, but lately I came to realize that to get the full experience, I need and I can identify with those characters that on the surface have had a very different story than I! When you really get into them, it's possible to "share their journey" and feel their feelings. It's funny that I guess some of my own issues got in the way of identifying fully with those characters before. Maybe that's part of the reason why reading lots and lots of these books is so important.

Part of the work here is not only getting into the head of a character with whom you can identify to help sort out your own issues, but also to have an inside view of the thought processes of individuals who are very different from you so as to develop empathy.

As Gaby said here the other day when we were talking about it, a lot of us have a lot of knowledge, but we need much more BEing and this project promises to help develop that aspect. Recall what Gurdjieff said about the disparity between knowledge and being or personality vs essence...

It might be helpful for some to re-read chapter 12 of Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" on this topic, especially the second half of that chapter. The whole chapter, though, is revelatory; a lot to think about.
 

genero81

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It might be helpful for some to re-read chapter 12 of Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" on this topic, especially the second half of that chapter.

Wow, I've read that chapter at least a couple of times before but now in light of this project...

It's easy to forget just how intensive G is in describing things that otherwise remain out of reach from ordinary awareness.

Understood. Priorities will be arranged accordingly.

edit: missed a word in one of the sentences (least)
 
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gottathink

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As Gaby said here the other day when we were talking about it, a lot of us have a lot of knowledge, but we need much more BEing and this project promises to help develop that aspect. Recall what Gurdjieff said about the disparity between knowledge and being or personality vs essence...
Not sure if this is exactly what you mean, but for me I’m putting into practice basic manners and kindness that are exemplified by some of the characters. Like following a manual of manners and grace. Maybe I’m being a bit basic but I think getting the basics right is important.
 

primeaddict

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For me, a lot of it has been about realizing how selfish I've been in relationships and all the times I thought of myself first, and the other person a distant second. I have also remembered some incidences when young where it was common for me to show a lack of inclusion, for want of a better word, basically I did not welcome people and try to make them feel accepted and wanted. As long as I was popular, I didn't care and never thought about how hard it might be for others. I wasn't cruel or mean, just indifferent.
This is a great observation! Looking back on the whole of my life I realize that there was a dramatic shift towards MEism in the mid 60's. It was easy for me to stay in that selfish state rather than grow up and take responsibility for the needs and welfare of others. You are so right about these books as being a source of revelation not only about ourselves but the society that we have wallowed in.
 

Mariama

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So we connect back to our ancestors,do we take their resilience and strength of character and combine our knowledge/perspective and integrate it all somehow?
I think so. Interestingly, I was thinking about my grand-mother last night who had the courage to stand up to the authorities in the aftermath of WWII. She could have cowered and remained silent but instead she wrote a letter in which she expressed her needs and those of her family by depicting her future without her husband by her side. It was blunt to say the least and hadn't the authorities allowed to release my grand-father from prison she might have ended up even like Prissy in Mary Balogh's A Precious Jewel. She was the one who instilled these family values in me, although at the time I didn't understand why families were so important to her, because she never spoke of that time of her family's separation after the war, which must have been very painful and perhaps even shameful for her.

I am so proud of my paternal grand-mother now that I know what she was made of. She always gave me the impression that she was somehow sheltered and pampered (encouraged by my mother), simply because my grand-father had done well for himself, rebuilding a career after having lost everything after the war. But perhaps she was just trying to keep these old demons at bay.

I now also understand the reasons of my maternal grand-parents for moving to Indonesia (a Dutch colony at the time) during the Depression, instead of blaming them for the life they built over there at the expense of the Indonesians, being the libtard that I was. I am learning that my family history wasn't as black and white as I thought it was. My respect for my maternal grand-father has also increased dramatically for he and his family also lost everything after their incarceration, forcing them to move back to the Netherlands, which must have been very hard on all of them. It's amazing what happens when we start integrating our family history. They were just wounded people, trying to survive and build a life for their families. It is teaching me humility and respect for the family I come from who once were my adversaries.
 

thorbiorn

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I'm afraid I will have to strongly disagree here. :-) I've been an avid reader since childhood, and after I began to have my eye issues in 2013 and became unable to read more than a dozen pages of print without my eyes starting to hurt, I gratefully turned to audiobooks which I've "read" exclusively ever since and don't know what I'd do without.
Have you experimented with visualizing the text, as it is spoken? In a different context, I have sometimes used this approach to assist language learning.
I will say though, you cannot be trying to clean house, or drive a car, or work on-line, or do whatever, while you are listening. Your focus has to be totally on what you are listening to and not partially elsewhere. I find listening with my eyes closed works for me.
The way you do it with your eyes closed should assist the imagination. If one combines visualization of the audio to text and adds the visualization of the scenes it would appear for the inner eye and ear as similar to a texted movie.

Almost three weeks ago, I wrote a post that included notes on the mental processes that take place during the reading of fiction including visualization. It was a dry even boring post. What I did leave out was my own impression of the information, which left me in surprise and uncertainty as in OMG, what is this, where is this leading? In the following days, I realized I have had hesitations involving my imagination of the settings, the dialogues and the characters. I discovered there were scenes in some novels, where I could stay with the characters, their choices and the results of these in a more full and honest way. I imagine it might be a bit like being in 5th density and being assigned as a guide to a soul going through 3rd density experience. What I am finding by involving my imagination more is that I have more actively been looking around and within for dynamics that are similar to what I'm reading. To read with imagination, I need a library of experiences, and to recognize patterns in my experience I can draw on the characters and the settings I have read in the novels. It works both ways.
 

Chu

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It might be helpful for some to re-read chapter 12 of Ouspensky's "In Search of the Miraculous" on this topic, especially the second half of that chapter. The whole chapter, though, is revelatory; a lot to think about.

Here is just a small excerpt for those who don't have the book at hand, but like Laura said, try to read the whole chapter!

"There are," he said, "two lines along which man's development proceeds, the line of
knowledge
and the line of being. In right evolution the line of knowledge and the line
of being develop simultaneously, parallel to, and helping one another. But if the line of
knowledge gets too far ahead of the line of being, or if the line of being gets ahead of
the line of knowledge, man's development goes wrong
, and sooner or later it must
come to a standstill.

"People understand what 'knowledge' means. And they understand the possibility of
different levels of knowledge. They understand that knowledge may be lesser or
greater, that is to say, of one quality or of another quality. But they do not understand
this in relation to 'being.' 'Being,' for them, means simply 'existence' to which is
opposed just 'non-existence.' They do not understand that being or existence may be of
very different levels and categories.

[...]

And they do not understand that knowledge depends on being.
Not only do they not understand this latter but they
definitely do not wish to understand it. And especially in Western culture it is
considered that a man may possess great knowledge, for example he may be an able
scientist, make discoveries, advance science, and at the same time he may be, and has
the right to be, a petty, egoistic, caviling, mean, envious, vain, naive, and absent
minded man. It seems to be considered here that a professor must always forget his
umbrella everywhere.


"And yet it is his being. And people think that his knowledge does not depend on
his being. People of Western culture put great value on the level of a man's knowledge
but they do not value the level of a man's being and are not ashamed of the low level
of their own being. They do not even understand what it means. And they do not
understand that a man's knowledge depends on the level of his being.

"If knowledge gets far ahead of being, it becomes theoretical and abstract and
inapplicable to life, or actually harmful, because instead of serving life and helping
people the better to struggle with the difficulties they meet, it begins to complicate
man's life, brings new difficulties into it, new troubles and calamities which were not
there before.


"The reason for this is that knowledge which is not in accordance with being cannot
be large enough for, or sufficiently suited to, man's real needs. It will always be a
knowledge of one thing together with ignorance of another thing; a knowledge of the
detail without a knowledge of the whole
; a knowledge of the form without a
knowledge of the essence.

"Such preponderance of knowledge over being is observed in present-day culture.
The idea of the value and importance of the level of being is completely forgotten.
And it is forgotten that the level of knowledge is determined by the level of being.
Actually at a given level of being the possibilities of knowledge are limited and finite.
Within the limits of a given being the quality of knowledge cannot be changed, and
the accumulation of information of one and the same nature, within already
known limits, alone is possible. A change in the nature of knowledge is possible only
with a change in the nature of being.


"Taken in itself, a man's being has many different sides. The most characteristic
feature of a modem man is the absence of unity in him and, further, the absence in him
of even traces of those properties which he most likes to ascribe to himself, that is,
'lucid consciousness,' 'free will,' a 'permanent ego or I,' and the 'ability to do.' It may
surprise you if I say that the chief feature of a modem man's being which explains
everything else that is lacking in him is sleep.

"A modern man lives in sleep, in sleep he is born and in sleep he dies. About sleep,
its significance and its role in life, we will speak later. But at present just think of one
thing, what knowledge can a sleeping man have? And if you think about it and at the
same time remember that sleep is the chief feature of our being, it will at once become
clear to you that if a man really wants knowledge, he must first of all think about how
to wake, that is, about how to change his being.

"Exteriorly man's being has many different sides: activity or passivity;
truthfulness or a tendency to lie; sincerity or insincerity; courage, cowardice; self
control, profligacy; irritability, egoism, readiness for self-sacrifice, pride, vanity,
conceit, industry, laziness, morality, depravity; all these and much more besides make
up the being of man.

"But all this is entirely mechanical in man. If he lies it means that he cannot help
lying. If he tells the truth it means that he cannot help telling the truth, and so it is
with everything. Everything happens, a man can do nothing either in himself or
outside himself.

"But of course there are limits and bounds. Generally speaking, the being of a
modem man is of very inferior quality. But it can be of such bad quality that no
change is possible. This must always be remembered. People whose being can still be
changed are very lucky. But there are people who are definitely diseased, broken
machines with whom nothing can be done. And such people are in the majority.
If
you think of this you will understand why only few can receive real knowledge. Their
being prevents it.

"Generally speaking, the balance between knowledge and being is even more
important than a separate development of either one or the other. And a separate
development of knowledge or of being is not desirable in any way. Although it is
precisely this one-sided development that often seems particularly attractive to
people.

"If knowledge outweighs being a man knows but has no power to do. It is useless
knowledge. On the other hand if being outweighs knowledge a man has the power to
do, but does not know, that is, he can do something but does not know what to do.

The being he has acquired becomes aimless and efforts made to attain it prove to be
useless.

[...]

"In order to understand this and, in general, the nature of knowledge and the nature
of being, as well as their interrelation, it is necessary to understand the relation of
knowledge and being to 'understanding.'

"Knowledge is one thing, understanding is another thing.

"People often confuse these concepts and do not clearly grasp what is the difference
between them.

"Knowledge by itself does not give understanding. Nor is understanding increased
by an increase of knowledge alone. Understanding depends upon the relation of
knowledge to being. Understanding is the resultant of knowledge and being. And
knowledge and being must not diverge too far, otherwise understanding will prove to
be far removed from either. At the same time the relation of knowledge to being does
not change with a mere growth of knowledge. It changes only when being grows
simultaneously with knowledge. In other words, understanding grows only with the
growth of being.


"In ordinary thinking, people do not distinguish understanding from knowledge.
They think that greater understanding depends on greater knowledge. Therefore they
accumulate knowledge, or that which they call knowledge, but they do not know how
to accumulate understanding and do not bother about it.

"And yet a person accustomed to self-observation knows for certain that at different
periods of his life he has understood one and the same idea, one and the same thought,
in totally different ways. It often seems strange to him that he could have understood
so wrongly that which, in his opinion, he now understands rightly. And he realizes, at
the same time, that his knowledge has not changed, and that he knew as much about the given
subject before as he knows now. What, then, has changed? His being has changed.
And once being has changed understanding must change also.
 

Laura

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Thank you, Chu. Exactly so. And here, many of you have the opportunity to develop your BEING. It's fairly simple as an exercise, but indeed, it takes time and application. You must inundate your sensory apparatus again and again and again, taking many different points of view, stirring the cauldron until it boils over. If you are lucky, you will achieve something.
 

loreta

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To me read a book makes me always very happy and present and grateful. Today I felt how good are these romantic reading. I was in the bus. You know, to be in a bus when it is very hot and surrounded by masked people it can be a scary situation. :lol:. I always read in busses but today I read my romantic book and suddenly I felt good, I forgot completely the masqued beings and the situation of horror where we are all immersed, and everything. I entered literally in the story (one of Mary Balogh) and started to put myself inside the story, the beauty and also the conflict. It was like taking a pill where time does not exist anymore, space also, where I am loreta in a strange bus but also loreta outside in a park with people that are becoming my friends and walking under a blue sky. Finally the bus disappeared, the strange beings with masks also. This little trip gave me energy and joy.
 

PERLOU

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J'ai terminé "Daniel Mackenzie, un sacré coquin" de Jennifer ASHLEY Tome 6, ce matin, après quelques difficultés pour entrer dans cette histoire c'est un bon roman que j'ai apprécié...
J'ai commencé cet après midi "La Folie de Lord Macquenzie" Tome1 du même auteur qui m'a tout de suite plu car il parle de "IAN" (qui semble un peu autiste)...
N'ayant pas lu les tomes dans l'ordre, je me suis aperçue que mon imagination l'avait incarné dans un corps plus petit que ses frères et plus rond or ce n'est pas du tout le cas car il est décrit dans le Tome 1 comme un homme grand et costaud...

I finished "Daniel Mackenzie, a rascal" by Jennifer ASHLEY Volume 6, this morning, after some difficulties to enter this story it is a good novel that I enjoyed...
I started this afternoon "The Madness of Lord Macquenzie" Volume 1 by the same author which I liked right away because it talks about "IAN" (who seems a bit autistic)...
Not having read the volumes in order, I realized that my imagination had incarnated him in a body smaller than his brothers and rounder, but this is not at all the case because he is described in Volume 1 as a tall and strong man...

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
 

Bluefyre

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Grace Burrowes's The Laird has been the toughest read for me so far. It seemed to bring up a deeper level of the betrayal and fight or flight body response from sexual abuse. I knew within the first chapter that that was the issue. Grace Burrowes being a family law lawyer no doubt has given her keen insight into the whole issue and is so well written. After years of therapy and working through stuff, it seemed to bring a deeper level to the surface resulting in old patterns of bad bouts of insomnia and waking up in panic mode. I woke one day with the circuits feeling fried the way they used to feel as a precursor to missing time. I couldn't remember what time I started work, had to ask my roommate. Thank goodness I realized what was happening, did the trauma release on the floor, shook and shook and then did an NO session. It only took a couple of days for my nervous system to revert back to my "new normal". Thank goodness for all of the tools in my tool kit now. I was quite shocked, thought I'd finished dealing with it.

On a less dramatic level, when I started reading the first series, Mary Balogh's Survivor's Club series all kinds of cynicism programs came up. Had the internal dialogue, like, "Yeah, in my dreams there are men like that, who embrace their suffering, support each other and treat women with respect as they battle through their own demons." It has been a slow and gradual process to shake loose some of these deeply rooted programs and start to open to new possibilities and yet not go into that "longing" mode.

I get the sense that there is something really deep going on here although I can't put my finger on it. In a meditation a couple of weeks ago I had the impression of kudzu roots, the depth of the body programming of despair/betrayal/powerlessness/hopelessness and realized a lot of it is karmic. It's a relief to feel the shifts without the drama, a slow progression of changing the direction of the locomotive and heading it in a new direction, a direction of my choice, choosing a new future. The peaks and valleys are interesting these days and relief that they're more "pastoral" rather than a rollercoaster ride.

I also realize these books are helping me to see and feel the struggle that men go through with their emotionally damage, stunted by child rearing, the trauma of war and struggles to make connections with others through the strictures of the time period. The bonds between the Survivor's Club series really made my heart ache with happiness for them, how they continued to work through their suffering together with honesty and compassion for each other.

I'm currently reading Julia Quinn's Smythe-Smith series and love her wicked sense of humor. I find myself laughing out loud at the antics of the sisters, especially the ridiculous plays and musicales. She paints such vivid pictures I have no problem visualizing the scenes in my mind. No spoilers here.
Thank you to Laura for starting this project and to everyone who has posted their experiences and insights.:lkj:
 

gottathink

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It has been a slow and gradual process to shake loose some of these deeply rooted programs and start to open to new possibilities and yet not go into that "longing" mode.
I’m really getting pulled into the”longing mode”. Did you just keep reading and it brought up things to examine? I feel like I’ll never get out of the longing for something more. Will this change?
 
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