Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

Alejo

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I finished the first one of the Wescott Series, Someone to Love by Mary Balogh a few days ago, and was going to post but I had another book on my list that I wanted to finish before posting as I felt they were connected, and oh boy they were.

I felt that Mary Balogh spent a bit of time world building on this first book of the series, that did not make the story any less enjoyable, actually it made me really want to start the second one. The protagonists of this story were very likable characters and their story was somewhat formulaic, until the very end where there was a very nice moment between them that I think contained the most valuable message of this book. Let me elaborate a bit on that:

So, Anna Snow is thrown at the Ton overnight as it is discovered that she is the legitimate heir to her late father the earl of Riverdale, who had abandoned her at an orphanage when she was 4, as one would expect she grew up humble but determined to be equal, not better, to everyone and this is what makes her attractive to Avery, her future husband.

I think during the entire story the themes of dreams and honesty are very well explored, but I think Mary Balogh does this in almost all of her stories. But as you would imagine, an orphan growing to marry a Duke and thus becoming a Duchess sounds like a dream come true.

And I think this is the core message of the book, Dreaming. So, be careful what you wish for, as it may come true, but what does that mean? The book, to me, illustrates that dreams coming true, becoming reality that is, aren't 100% blissful and that it's ok, they will come with pain and difficulties and disappointments, but that such a fact is not a reason to stop dreaming.

Rather, I think Balogh invites us to dream in more detailed terms. This is then particularly well explained closer to the end, when Anna is talking to a few of her students and she is explaining to them the value of dreaming and why they ought to hold on to them.

She tells them that, more or less, you need the dreams to push you forward in life, to give you an aim, but that one ought to allow for flexibility as you may not end up becoming exactly what you dream of, but that your dream might manifest in different ways.

And I thought that was brilliant, having an aim, both personal and social perhaps, should not be rigid and fixed. It should move and one should trust and have faith in the universe, so long as one keeps on keeping on, who is to say that our dreams/intent won't come true, just might not be exactly in the way we think. One must keep on paying attention and carry on humbly but determinedly.

Maybe I am taking it a bit far, but it reminded me of when the C's described pure intent married with faith, and how that could create great opportunities. And it also made me think about the belief center. What one aligns oneself with, what one thinks and knows and works towards, being capable of, is sort of brought into ones existence by the universe coming in one's direction, but also by one meeting it halfway. I hope that makes sense.

The other lovely idea, which is what made me wait to post, was the idea of power. I just finished the book The leadership genius of Julius Caesar (and I plan on a separate post for that book), but the author opens his book with the idea of "Lead by power not by force".

Avery, in the novel, felt and certainly was powerless his entire life, until he met a Chinese teacher who taught him martial arts, from there on out, his life changed and he learned how dangerous he was, though he was missing someone to love, which was Anna. And by that, he was missing someone he wasn't afraid of being vulnerable with, someone that was his entire world, break down his walls of protection and create something a lot more powerful.

As he had learned martial arts as a way to protect himself, in response to a fear and a drive to not be bullied any longer. In that sense, despite all he gained and the proficiency for being dangerous, martial arts were still an unconscious choice.

But I digress, at the end of the novel, Avery is telling Anna what he learned about power, when one realizes one's power, one needs not advertise it by aggression, or loathe about it, one does not use force to intimidate and control others, one does not threaten, one acts when adequate.

And I thought this was a lovely concept, the idea of realizing your ability to be harmful and dangerous and turn that from unconscious survival programs into a conscious harmfulness that is at your disposal. But also, it follows the example that was set by Caesar, leading and living by power, that is by self awareness, creates deeper bonds, more sincere friendships, and it works as a way to protect you.

And even if it may seem contradictory, realizing this ability for harm and making it as conscious as possible, can work towards becoming more affectionate, kinder and more able to see the beauty of life.

Now on to Someone to Hold :)
 

seek10

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
We could add a column to the list for "emotional intensity/possible triggering" level and make it 1, 2 or 3, with 3 being intense and can possibly trigger.
Thank you Laura. For Display purposes, I shortened the column name as "Reaction Potential" with the following values.
1 - Mild
2 - Average
3 - Intense
I updated the recommended sheet and report.

For now, I will have to update the sheet manually for this column, if the members post it here . Soon, members can submit the "Reaction Potential" by themselves.
 

Keit

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I wanted to share something that is perhaps off topic, but still has to do with the romance novels. Or at least the effect they apparently have on me. :-)

Recently I started going to the local yoga studio. They have classes of "yoga for women". I was curious and decided to try it out. It is a combination of various yoga exercises with an emphasis on women's health.

In the end of each practice there is meditation with practitioner's guidance, where she says relaxing and balancing affirmations. And usually during the meditation we hear a light music with Indian or New Age motifs.

And so during one of the meditations, and while hearing the usual music, suddenly the next track was of a classic variety. Afterwards the practitioner told us that this is one of her favorite composers, and she likes to use his music during body work sessions when a patient has to work on something internal. His name is Kevin Kern, and wikipedia actually also categorizes his music as New Age.

Anyways, when I heard this music, it really moved me and had a very strong effect on me. I stopped listening to what practitioner was saying and got immersed in the music, even if the volume wasn't very loud. And the images and the emotions that came up were from the romance novels. It wasn't anything concrete. There were images of an idyllic country side. Green pastures and a female and a male riding, or strolling through the grass. There were emotions of longing and tenderness, like a gradual growth of love through gentle approach and mutual discovery. And these emotions evoked goosebumps and tears.

I realize that music back then was probably different, and it's not like a recognition of that exact time. But for some reason this melody takes me to this specific emotional place.

Here's the melody:

 

lilies

The Living Force
In Promise of Spring Balogh writes:
"If any of those present still felt dismay at the age difference between bride and groom and at the disparity of their personalities, then they hid those feelings well and in all probability pretended even to themselves that they felt no such misgivings."
Reminded me of the life-long reaction I got from people of all ages, mainly young adults. Whenever I was walking the streets and they spotted me, they made a sound like a cross between a grunt and a neigh. Thus I became a 'sarcastic laughter-magnet' especially in the capitol moving in hystericized crowds. The origin of feeling hurt was, I realized, in light of this romance book project, that while walking among crowds, I was running negative personality programs just the same as them: Under the surface I was identified with vanity, self-conceit and pride. I became dependent on their automatic mechanical opinion of nonsense!

The protagonists in the beginning of our romance books are similar targets of derision and malignant rumor. Attacked and strongly reacted upon by mechanical people. But in the end our protagonists get out of it! They find true love and acceptance from their spouses. They become whole. No longer identified with negative I's, but ruled by their positive I's. They become a better version of themselves: They acquire strong wives, establish an unbreakable bond of love. They find strength in each other, change internally and grow up.

Apparently becoming a single adult is only a half-grown tree.. In the mirror of the Romantic Ideal. It appears to me that building an unbreakable bond with the recognized Polar Other Half in mutual complete acceptance and mentally seated in true love, is the achievement of finally growing up!

Through battling internal and external conflicts, gradually our favorite protagonists begin to practice selflessness and chivalry: with great effort in heroic combat they overcome their negative I's. Via True Love their minds become whole: an unseparable, unbreachable unity. As a result: incoming malignant attacks of old, via the old rumor-mongering route of derision and sarcasm become rendered ineffective before their eyes and cannot find their target anymore..

Its almost as if - if I'm not mistaken here - by changing their FRV's the Polar-Couple, united in True Love, ceases to become Food for the Moon! Mechanical people who are still at their usual low level, still 'Feeding the Moon' now all of a sudden cannot feed off of such a Complete Couple anymore in these stories.

In these books, how ideal couples become Romantic Examples of Unity in Love, I think, the "Muse" / the Source that these romance writers are inspired by, shows us the final step in transformative development: these polarly-compatible couples become the seeds for a new world, a positive reality.
 
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Jenn

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thank you Laura. For Display purposes, I shortened the column name as "Reaction Potential" with the following values.
1 - Mild
2 - Average
3 - Intense
I updated the recommended sheet and report.

For now, I will have to update the sheet manually for this column, if the members post it here . Soon, members can submit the "Reaction Potential" by themselves.
Wow, @seek10 thanks so much for putting that site together, what a fantastic resource. It makes it way easier to find everything and it's all in one place! Good job:clap:
 

herondancer

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Every now and then you find a gem on social media. This story made me cry, because it was so like the books we have been reading, yet come to life. I believe it happened in Serbia, so the translation is a bit stilted, and it is broken up into multiple posts. I will try to smooth it out.

"There was once a Stana. There was once a Peter. That was a hundred years ago. But Stana was not intended for Peter. They intended her for her friend. His name was Milovan. And the day came for Stana to marry Milovan. The rifle fires. Pour the wine. The bride and groom sang, ate, drank and night fell.

The first one, married, most beautiful. Milovan undressed and lay down. He lay down and waited for Stans, who was still sitting on a chair. "Come over," he said. But Stana looks at the floor. Silence. "Maybe she made a mistake with someone," Milovan thought. "But I will forgive her. Nobody will even know. " Come free. He repeated. I can't. - replied the bride. Have you been with anyone before? No. No…

What is the problem then? The groom asked. "I love another," she began to cry, "but I had nothing to do with him." I'm sorry. Please, I'm sorry, I had to tell you that earlier. But I thought I could. Now I see I can't. Can not. [My] Heart will not come to my senses…

- said Milovan. - When did you meet him?

We never said a word. The bride replied. I do not understand…
I only know that his name is Peter and that he lives in the neighboring village. He comes to the market every week on horseback. And the market is under my window. For weeks, in the same time, I go out on the balcony and we look at each other.

Just that? Enough… - Stana sighed and cried even harder.

Good, - said the unhappy Milovan. - Sleep, we'll talk when dawn. I understand. Everything is fine. At dawn, when the first rooster announced the day, Milovan was already riding his horse. He headed to the next door village, to look for that lucky Peter.

Come in, sit down, just to wash myself… - said the man who Stana loves, tall, black and handsome. They sat across from each other. Two glasses knocked. What good, my friend? Peter asked. It's not good for me, but it is for you. And I am your friend. – - said Milovan, drank, then continued - I, as you may have heard, married Stana yesterday…

I heard.

Peter looked out the window at the canopy, through which the rain was pouring. - But why so early, after this storm, [you are] with me?

Do you love her? Milovan asked. Peter sighed. Another one of ours. can not to answer that question. It's [She is] your wife and it's over now.

Nothing is over. - said Milovan. - I didn't even kiss her. Neither do you. If you love her, come with me and lead her, untouched.

"Man," said Peter, feeling sweat. - How do I run it… It's not fair. What [will we] tell the world from both villages?

It's fair. And let the world say what it wants. It would not be fair for her to suffer. You don't suffer either. Nor should I love what God [has not] intended for me. That would not be fair. Anyway, do you love her?

I love.

An hour later, two men on horseback made their way through the downpour and arrived in front of Milovan's house. And after two hours, Stana entered her new home.

Who is this son? - Peter's mother asked, looking at the beautiful Stana, sour, sleepless, confused and happy. Sit down - Peter said to the astonished parents and slowly told everyone. Everyone was silent. The mother folded her arms. In the end, she said: That man, that Milovan, he is not a man. He is a knight, my son.

Yes, mother.

Now [you?] wake up too.

How, mother? Asked the happy Peter.

Do I have three daughters? Do you have three sisters? Ride on horseback again, my son. It is a sin for such a knight to be left without a wife. Go and bring them. Let him choose which one.

After two hours, two men, one of whom was a knight, rode through the sun, which suddenly shone. That is how Milovan chose the beautiful Goddess and took her to [his] home, where the bedding still smelled, uncrumpled and clean. Both lived happily ever after of life.

This story was told to me by my brother (third generation) Boro Boskovic, a knight from Tivat, an inspector of the SUP, who refused, when Montenegro separated from us, to serve the regime of Milo Djukanovic and consciously lost his job.

The event took place in a village near Plav, in the north of Montenegro, from where is Borov and my great-grandfather. And you, who do not believe in love, know that it still exists. The grandchildren of the heroes of this story are wandering this world and maybe they are looking for you.

Nedeljko Popadic


love story.png
 
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anartist

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Not a romance novel. It's a book about possession and exorcism by Malachi Martin

You can find Hostage to the Devil in the Recommended Reading list. It's been discussed a bit in other threads. If you use the search function you can find mentions of it.
OK. I thought it sounded familiar, but since this was the Romance thread I'd thought it was on the Romance list initially. my mistake.
 

pecha

Jedi Master
I finished the first one of the Wescott Series, Someone to Love by Mary Balogh a few days ago, and was going to post but I had another book on my list that I wanted to finish before posting as I felt they were connected, and oh boy they were.

I felt that Mary Balogh spent a bit of time world building on this first book of the series, that did not make the story any less enjoyable, actually it made me really want to start the second one. The protagonists of this story were very likable characters and their story was somewhat formulaic, until the very end where there was a very nice moment between them that I think contained the most valuable message of this book. Let me elaborate a bit on that:

So, Anna Snow is thrown at the Ton overnight as it is discovered that she is the legitimate heir to her late father the earl of Riverdale, who had abandoned her at an orphanage when she was 4, as one would expect she grew up humble but determined to be equal, not better, to everyone and this is what makes her attractive to Avery, her future husband.

I think during the entire story the themes of dreams and honesty are very well explored, but I think Mary Balogh does this in almost all of her stories. But as you would imagine, an orphan growing to marry a Duke and thus becoming a Duchess sounds like a dream come true.

And I think this is the core message of the book, Dreaming. So, be careful what you wish for, as it may come true, but what does that mean? The book, to me, illustrates that dreams coming true, becoming reality that is, aren't 100% blissful and that it's ok, they will come with pain and difficulties and disappointments, but that such a fact is not a reason to stop dreaming.

Rather, I think Balogh invites us to dream in more detailed terms. This is then particularly well explained closer to the end, when Anna is talking to a few of her students and she is explaining to them the value of dreaming and why they ought to hold on to them.

She tells them that, more or less, you need the dreams to push you forward in life, to give you an aim, but that one ought to allow for flexibility as you may not end up becoming exactly what you dream of, but that your dream might manifest in different ways.

And I thought that was brilliant, having an aim, both personal and social perhaps, should not be rigid and fixed. It should move and one should trust and have faith in the universe, so long as one keeps on keeping on, who is to say that our dreams/intent won't come true, just might not be exactly in the way we think. One must keep on paying attention and carry on humbly but determinedly.

Maybe I am taking it a bit far, but it reminded me of when the C's described pure intent married with faith, and how that could create great opportunities. And it also made me think about the belief center. What one aligns oneself with, what one thinks and knows and works towards, being capable of, is sort of brought into ones existence by the universe coming in one's direction, but also by one meeting it halfway. I hope that makes sense.

The other lovely idea, which is what made me wait to post, was the idea of power. I just finished the book The leadership genius of Julius Caesar (and I plan on a separate post for that book), but the author opens his book with the idea of "Lead by power not by force".

Avery, in the novel, felt and certainly was powerless his entire life, until he met a Chinese teacher who taught him martial arts, from there on out, his life changed and he learned how dangerous he was, though he was missing someone to love, which was Anna. And by that, he was missing someone he wasn't afraid of being vulnerable with, someone that was his entire world, break down his walls of protection and create something a lot more powerful.

As he had learned martial arts as a way to protect himself, in response to a fear and a drive to not be bullied any longer. In that sense, despite all he gained and the proficiency for being dangerous, martial arts were still an unconscious choice.

But I digress, at the end of the novel, Avery is telling Anna what he learned about power, when one realizes one's power, one needs not advertise it by aggression, or loathe about it, one does not use force to intimidate and control others, one does not threaten, one acts when adequate.

And I thought this was a lovely concept, the idea of realizing your ability to be harmful and dangerous and turn that from unconscious survival programs into a conscious harmfulness that is at your disposal. But also, it follows the example that was set by Caesar, leading and living by power, that is by self awareness, creates deeper bonds, more sincere friendships, and it works as a way to protect you.

And even if it may seem contradictory, realizing this ability for harm and making it as conscious as possible, can work towards becoming more affectionate, kinder and more able to see the beauty of life.

Now on to Someone to Hold :)

This was my first romance novel that I read and it blew me away to say the least. Like you, I was engrossed by the world building that she does. Each book in the saga has a chance to further expand on each of the characters and their growing relationships. The following contains spoilers.
The fact that Anna is such a kind and giving person right from the start and that she did not lose herself after inheriting such wealth shows how strong she is in her service of others. They say that money changes people, but not her! The orphanage has taught her lessons to care with love to orphans who are left bereft. Avery is also a great character in that he holds a deep power that exudes as a presence or "aura" that others feel around him. His character is also strong in that he does not misuse that power in any way to hurt others. Just because he has that power, he shows great restraint and will only use it to protect others. The time he does use it, he withholds a great deal of it as he holds a much greater power than what has been shown.

The sex scenes are also tastefully done. Rather than focus on the carnality, it shows much higher principles in play, such as opening up and sharing with one another at deeper levels. Avery is also driven spiritually as a person, which says a lot about Mary Balogh as writer.

I've also finished reading the second book of the series and it also was great to read the dynamics between the main characters there.
Mary Balogh really expands her lore and characters in the Westcott Series. The main character's at the start have certain flaws. Joel has insecurities when it comes to love, which impacts his manly presence. In the beginning, he apologizes a lot to Camille, which eventually leads to a predicament to them. Later on he grows as a man after also inheriting great wealth. He shows restraint to the great wealth, but later eases in to it. Later on, he learns the meaning of wealth in that with great wealth comes great responsibility in sharing that to enrich the lives of others.

Camille on the other hand also shows great character development from being the analytical, perfect person to a woman who opens up and allows herself to be loved. She knows its alright to make mistakes and that humans by design are not always perfect.

What Mary Balogh shows in her Westcott Series (books 1 & 2) is that of the exceptional quality of character that one's past is not something to brood over, but one to grow and learn from. The characters are left fuller after their experiences, and that they use their pained pasts to help improve the lives of others. The main characters exude empathy in that they use their pained experiences of the past to help others who are going through similar paths.

I look forward to reading the rest of the series!
 

Persephone

Jedi Master
I wanted to share something that is perhaps off topic, but still has to do with the romance novels. Or at least the effect they apparently have on me. :-)

Recently I started going to the local yoga studio. They have classes of "yoga for women". I was curious and decided to try it out. It is a combination of various yoga exercises with an emphasis on women's health.

In the end of each practice there is meditation with practitioner's guidance, where she says relaxing and balancing affirmations. And usually during the meditation we hear a light music with Indian or New Age motifs.

And so during one of the meditations, and while hearing the usual music, suddenly the next track was of a classic variety. Afterwards the practitioner told us that this is one of her favorite composers, and she likes to use his music during body work sessions when a patient has to work on something internal. His name is Kevin Kern, and wikipedia actually also categorizes his music as New Age.

Anyways, when I heard this music, it really moved me and had a very strong effect on me. I stopped listening to what practitioner was saying and got immersed in the music, even if the volume wasn't very loud. And the images and the emotions that came up were from the romance novels. It wasn't anything concrete. There were images of an idyllic country side. Green pastures and a female and a male riding, or strolling through the grass. There were emotions of longing and tenderness, like a gradual growth of love through gentle approach and mutual discovery. And these emotions evoked goosebumps and tears.

I realize that music back then was probably different, and it's not like a recognition of that exact time. But for some reason this melody takes me to this specific emotional place.

Here's the melody:

Thanks Keit for this post. The way you put this and especially the music had an unexpected effect on me.

While listening to this piece of music I was glued to the spot. I was not overwhelmed by an emotional wave, and there were no images popping into my mind,
It was more like my chest was a very deep well and a growing feeling was slowly descending deeper and deeper. During the whole piece everything else stopped and only there was this feeling that was digging into my chest and taking me far away in time/space to a place I can only feel.
At the moment I can't relate this to anything else and yet I know that it has opened up something remote in me, something which is even not related (at least not directly) to the trying time I am going through.

It has also reinforced my motivation to dive into this novels reading projecs that I've just started (with The Survivors' Club Series by Mari Balogh) and in which I struggled to enter for reasons I'll probably discuss in a future post.
 

Redrock12

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Finished The Captive. The library copy I have is a paperback with the typical cheezy cover, which I'm not going to bother describing. I don't think these authors and publishers realize how, imho, a cover, which is the initial presentation of the narrative can, like it or not, influence readers' judgments. Personally, I found it difficult to initially take this story seriously with the image of that cover in the back of my mind. Nevertheless, it turned out to be a good read, (more like a good mystery, with some intrigue and tension), although it didn't bring forth any deep-seated emotions or memories. The three protagonists have all been damaged by violence to their persons, but rise above their victimization and commit to a relationship based on trust and love. Oh yeah, and the villain gets his just desserts.
FWIW
 
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Persej

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Every now and then you find a gem on social media. This story made me cry, because it was so like the books we have been reading, yet come to life.

I can tell you another true story that happened in my village. There was a man who wanted to get married. He heard that there was another man who had three daughters that he was willing to give for marriage. So the man came to him and asked him for one of his daughters. The father of three daughters said that there is no problem, he only has too choose which one. But the man said that it doesn't matter which one, they are all the same to him.

When the father heard that, he told the man that if that is the case then he cannot get any of them. Because for him it was a sign that this man has no romantic interest in any of his daughters. He just wanted somebody to work for him.

The man left the house, never got married and lives all alone now.
 

zak

Dagobah Resident
sometimes reading the novels is actually more difficult because they often expose me to painful truths about reality, humans, past, present, future lives and more.

French version:

Up to a certain point through this reading work, I took a lot of pleasure in reading and the bird will make its nest or not and fly from book to book and so on...
A few months ago I came across some old seedlings, and without further thought, I put them in the ground in boxes and stored them in a small greenhouse, I took care of them every day, until I realised that the only plants that sprouted were those that came from outside carried by the wind.
Then I tried again, leaving the seedlings bathed overnight in water, two weeks later still the same result, not a green shoot.
Then, finally, what I should have done first, the germination test, the germinative power of these old seeds were more than extinguished.
And so to get back to the novels I read, reading yes, sorting out, and putting all that mess away properly so I could use it consciously was another matter.
Hence I was very happy to find this following a recommendation of another kind of reading by Laura:

Philosophy before the Greeks: The Pursuit of Truth in Ancient Babylonia​

Marc Van De Mieroop​

Diviners proceed like the world-famous fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes. They explore small details for clues most of us would not recognize as pertinent in order to make inferences about what has happened or is about to happen. It is not the large picture that counts, but the minute trace—the speck of cigarette ash for Holmes, the little blemish on the liver’s upper lobe for the diviner.¹ There has to be a logic in the move from the observed detail to the conclusion, however. Sherlock Holmes’s alleged deductions had to conform to contemporary rationality or his adventures would be unconvincing...

What follows from it:
‘I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands on it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend uon it – there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.’
Sherlock Holmes Quote
-A Study in Scarlet
Chapter 2: “The Science of Deduction”

For this a good dose of discipline and auto-discipline/self-discipline is need and here's how it might play out:
Discipline is the only deterrent. But by discipline I don't mean harsh routines. I don't mean waking up every morning at five-thirty and throwing cold water on yourself until you're blue. Sorcerers understand discipline as the capacity to face with serenity odds that are not included in our expectations. For them, discipline is an art: the art of facing infinity without flinching, not because they are strong and tough but because they are filled with awe." "In what way would the sorcerers' discipline be a deterrent?" I asked."Sorcerers say that discipline makes the glowing coat of awareness unpalatable to the flyer," don Juan said, scrutinizing my face as if to discover any signs of disbelief. "The result is that the pre- dators become bewildered. An inedible glowing coat of awareness is not part of their cognition, I suppose. After being bewildered, they don't have any recourse other than refraining from continuing their nefarious task. "If the predators don't eat our glowing coat of awareness for a while," he went on, "it'll keep on growing. Simplifying this matter to the extreme, I can say that sorcerers, by means of their discipline, push the predators away long enough to allow their glowing coat of awareness to grow beyond the level of the toes. Once it goes beyond the level of the toes, it grows back to its natural size. The sorcerers of ancient Mexico used to say that the glowing coat of awareness is like a tree. If it is not pruned, it grows to its natural size and volume. As awareness reaches levels higher than the toes, tremendous maneuvers of perception become a matter of course. "The grand trick of those sorcerers of ancient times," don Juan continued, "was to bur-den the flyers' mind with discipline. They found out that if they taxed the flyers' mind with inner silence, the foreign installation would flee, giving to any one of the prac-titioners involved in this maneuver the total certainty of the mind's foreign origin. The foreign installation comes back, I assure you, but not as strong, and a process begins in which the fleeing of the 'flyers' mind becomes routine, until one day it flees perma-nently. A sad day indeed! That's the day when you have to rely on your own devices, which are nearly zero. There's no one to tell you what to do. There's no mind of foreign origin to dictate the imbecilities you're accustomed to
The active side of infinity/Carlos Castaneda

JonnyRadar:​

Something to add... this is from page 40:

[Our point here, however, concerns the wrong dichotomy between belief and reason that has gradually established itself in the Western approach to both the meaning of religion and, indeed, the meaning of life itself. The message of Tradition, in this respect, is that there is in man a force that draws him toward Truth. This force is neither the thinking function nor the emotional function as they are commonly understood. The word "faith" may be introduced here. But this word simply cannot be equated with "belief," in the sense of a conviction that is emotionally charged but opposed to intellectual explanations.]

[
This internal force or impulse is "opposed" to the whole of the ordinary mind, including both reason and belief as they are conventionally defined. A far-reaching error thus seems to have crept into the understanding of Christianity when one part of the ordinary, or "fallen," mind, the thinking function, was distinguished from another part of the ordinary mind, the emotional function, and when this distinction was presented as exhaustive and central to the human condition. Man was asked to choose between belief and reason. But, from the present point of view, the enemy of faith is neither belief nor reason as such. The real enemy is man's tendency to give his trust to what is only a part of the mind or self, to take the part for the whole, to take a subsidiary element of human nature as the bringer of unity or wholeness of being.]

This struck a chord with me, as I've been going through something recently - seeing the distinction between what I understand intellectually and what sinks in emotionally. I've observed many times a recurring pattern where I "understand" something, and can repeat it to myself and say "yes, that makes sense." Only to have it hit me like a wall about a week later when the emotional impact of that understanding finally sinks in, or at least begins to sink in.

In short, I could say my intellect understands things, but my heart doesn't yet. It seems, and I don't know if this is just because I'm a 3D human, or a man (gender) with all the programming of a man, but emotional understanding seems to follow intellectual understanding - at which point a seemingly new type of understanding emerges, where I feel and know something at the same time. to be clear, this has only happened a couple times, this dual sense of understanding...

It's a strange sensation, something I've never seen clearly before or been able to articulate. There's a lot of sorrow involved, perhaps melancholy, but not dark and depressing... just a sense of emptiness, perhaps the feeling of missing illusions that before this time made their home in me. I don't think all my illusions are gone, but something is definitely changing... it reminds me of something else from Lost Christianity, page 24:

[He gently waved aside what I was saying, and I stopped in mid-sentence. There was a pause, then he said: "No. Emotion must be destroyed."]

[
He stopped, reflected, and started again, speaking in his husky Russian accent: "We have to get rid of emotions . . . in order to reach . . . feeling." ]

I'm wondering if the sorrow/somberness/emptiness I'm feeling is the sense of becoming separated from the old illusions. Part of me wants to intellectualize it, give it a formula or say "this is what this is." And another part craves silence and patience, no labels or associations to occupy my thoughts. Sometimes when I fight to keep a clear mind and not get caught up in looping internal dialogue, this place of peace emerges where there's just no need to label things, and I'm able to sit and watch calmly. As I said it doesn't happen too often, but it's happening with more frequency these days...

Just some thoughts from reading Needleman... fwiw...

Buddy:
Although I'm willing to wait until more people have read the book before we discuss it, there is something I need to mention now to make sure I'm on the right track. Something that has made an impact on my Work concerns the ideas between pages 155 to 165. The issue is presented as 'Attention of the Heart' and on pg 162 as 'Attention as Prayer'.

I'm still assimilating it all, but since reading this, I've noticed that my self-observation has been effected, possibly even having taken on an added dimension or depth. I want to make sure this is a good thing, or find out if I have somehow got lost in some fantasy or time-wasting subjectivity.

According to what Needleman wrote about Father Sylvan's view of St. Simeone's presentation of the three methods of attention, a person needs to always have "the Question" on his mind, in a sense. I'm assuming the Question is related to "Who am I, Where am I, Do I even exist?" in terms of a soul, or the authentic self, even if it seems there isn't one at the moment. This is what I have started searching for and asking in myself every moment as I observe myself and interact with others. This is like having attention on the "quietness within movement", or "looking within an area that is deeper than any word or concept can penetrate" for an evidence of an actual 'me' and for the 'soul' in others - the only thing that can matter.


["Having stated that this third kind of attention, the attention of the heart, is the primary aim of spiritual work, and then, having reiterated that everything else in one's inner and outer life must be subordinate to this aim, and having explained certain specific methods that may lead to error (omitted in the Russian and English versions), St. Simeon then writes:

"Keep your mind there (in the heart), trying by every possible means to find where the heart is, in order that, having found it, your mind should constantly abide there. Wrestling thus, the mind will find the place of the heart." ]

The narrative continues with the observation that we don't know the place of the heart, and that it is something we must find and not even assume is there, and that this is a point that is missing in all the Christian (mystical) literature. We falsely assume that we can find this place, or that we are already there. This third method of attention, then, is meant to lead us to the center of our being; it does not start from the heart; it leads to the heart.


[ "...the mind should be in the heart. It should guard the heart while it prays, revolve, remaining always within, and thence, from the depths of the heart, offer up prayers to god. (Everything is in this: work in this way until you are given to taste the lord). When the mind, there, within the heart, at last tastes and sees that the Lord is good, and delights therin (the labor is ours, but this tasting is in the act of grace in a humble heart), then it will no longer wish to leave this place in the heart...and will always look inwardly into the depths of the heart and will remain revolving there, repulsing all thoughts sown by the devil. (This is the third method of attention and prayer, practiced as it should be). ]


This is what has had the biggest impact on me so far. Of course, I understand to replace 'Devil' with the ego or false personality/attachments, etc., and 'God' with Divine Cosmic Mind, or Holy Spirit.

After having read the book (and I want to go back through it), I came away with a feeling of this same searching that is explained in the third method of attention. I felt like I had begun to look for the "heart", or "soul" in myself, others, the environment - all simultaneously - both inside and outside myself (and there is some doubt as to exactly where the dividing line is). I seemed to have started responding differently, and the best way I can describe it is the way Laura put it back when she remarked to a couple of forum members to stop doing the boy-girl thing; instead, try and see each other as souls. I understood the idea at the time, but that understanding was intellectual. Now, I seem to be feeling it. It seems it is now making more of a visceral impact, making it much easier to divide what I am perceiving at each moment, into what seems really important and what is not, along with the sense that this needs much practice.

In a nutshell, I think all the above, this searching for the soul as described in the third method of attention and within those ten or so pages, is another way of thinking about the singular 'I' one is wanting to fuse?

I think that this is just a different way of talking about what we already understand as the normal, daily Work. It's just being presented from a traditional christian perspective. Is that right? If so, I am surprised that this way of talking about the Work has had the impact on me that it has. Of course, it has been awhile since my first exposure and approach to this Work and my initial reactions were all intellectual and ego-based; so a lot of 'dumping' had to be done just to get me into a more receptive frame of mind - to prepare me, so to speak, to understand the Work properly. Does that make sense? If so, no time spent in this preparation was wasted, osit, it was just a necessary prerequisite in my case.

Reading this book has been time well spent (invested) and I hope everyone here gets a chance to read it too.

Session 22 February 2020​

Q: (Artemis) So let's see what happens next.

(L) Things are getting nutty, ya know? It's getting really weird. So, just as a little reminder to myself about what it is that we're supposed to be doing... [laughter]

A: FRV modulation and synching!

Q: (L) So in other words, we're supposed to be modulating our FRV - i.e. our receivership capability - by work on the self, and synchronizing with all of the members of the group in order to... what?

A: Anchor the frequency of the new reality.

Q: (L) So in other words, there are a number of possible new realities and it depends on either... Okay, is it that a group can anchor a frequency and thereby determine the template of the new reality for all?

A: Not exactly. Determines which branch you will move to.

Q: (L) So anchoring a frequency as a group in a sense is not exactly like creating the new reality... It's more like choosing. Is that it?

A: Yes yes yes

Q: (L) So it's all a question of choice. What reality do you want to experience? And therefore you modify your FRV or you get into association with others of the FRV you think is the right one or desirable or whatever. And then you all start vibrating together. Well, in this Reality Transfer book we just read, he talks about these pendulums and what you are saying sounds sort of like what he describes as a pendulum. He doesn't talk about what they are, but he thinks that all pendulums are bad or evil .

A: He is wrong. Dead wrong.

Q: (L) So some of these pendulum-type attractors can be good?

A: Essential in fact. One must choose.

Q: (L) Well, choosing makes me think of what the Apostle Paul was saying when he talked about making... I mean, basically what it amounted to was making your choices based on the unseen world or on unseen realities. In a funny sort of way, today I had like a little realization because I was trying to understand why for Paul, the death of his Christ or the crucifixion was THE most important thing. For him it was the death, not the resurrection. It finally occurred to me that the reason it was so important was because - and this is according to Paul - his Christ went to his death with absolute faith even in the face of everything being wrong and against him. The way it's depicted in the Gospel of Mark, not only did the disciples not understand, not only is he abused, tortured, and rejected by literally everybody... I mean, everybody flees from him in the Gospel of Mark, which is the first gospel. Everybody. There are no women at the cross. There are no supporters. There's nobody. He did that willingly - the way it's depicted, and it's an allegory - because his faith in the unseen necessity and the other world and what would happen after the death was so strong he could and would do it. It was a matter of this faith that what was unseen was more real and lasting that the seen reality. Am I right? Seeing the unseen is the key?

A: Yes

Q: (L) So Paul was concerned with restoring humanity to the Edenic state. He uses the symbol as one man, the First Adam, and death came to all. And then by one man life came to all. It struck me that the possibility... Well, what the C's have said is that when the Fall happened, it happened to everyone. It wasn't just like one person. It happened to everyone. So it seems to me that this primal man that is Adam is a representation of all. It's not just one man that caused everybody to go kaflooey. And they've said that it was the female energy consorted with the STS reality. Is that what we're looking at here, only the reversal of the process? In other words, a group of people that have that kind of faith that in the face of everything being literally awful as it is in our world today, that they still have faith in the other reality, they still have faith in doing good, doing right, being loving, that they do not buy into the whole Darwinian materialistic thing, and basically they don’t believe those lies and by those means they are able to, at a certain point in time that Paul called the culmination of the ages, be restored to this Edenic state... in other words a 4D STO reality. Am I interpreting that correctly?


A: Oh that was beautiful!! We are impressed!

Q: (L) Well la-dee-da! So that's basically what the anchoring of the frequency is about. And that's part of the interior state that people have to be in in order to anchor that frequency - to have that kind of faith. It’s not where you are, but who you are and what you see? Even in the face of everything being against your ideas, against what you think, against what you've figured out.
..

(Joe) Even things inside you being against you. The internal fight. You have faith that doing what it doesn't like that you will kind of achieve something worth having.

(Andromeda) Right.

(Joe) It's internally and externally at the same time.

(L) So it's not faith IN Jesus as Ashworth points out. It's faith OF Jesus that sets the example. And the example was put in a metaphor of the story of this crucifixion or death, but the metaphor represents basically the crucifixion of every person. They're crucified inside and outside because they are faced with this reality that rejects their consciousness, their more or less divine connection, their spiritual connection. They say that everything is just random mutations and random evolution, and that's wrong. That's the Big Lie.


A: Yes. We can retire now!

That said, we don't need to understand everything to make the machine work, often we just need the right key, and without forcing anything, everything works like a charm:

This selection of novels by Laura is a bit like the Indian Love Call of Slim Whitman, that allows us to ride this wave of madness that ends up going around in circles, and then maybe the wave itself.

After about twenty novels, I'm at the first Rothwell Brothers by Madeline Hunter.
 
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