gRt: goals, responsibilities and time
This circle emerged, when a friend, while returning home together, expressed a sense of overwhelm working with To-Do lists, dealing with Financial and Left Brain Matters. As I shared a simple framework I have been practising since a decade, her exclamation about its simplicity caught me off-guard. Yes, it is obviously simple! Simple things are easy to learn and share. So.
Yoga is the union between two levels - gnosis and praxis | Evolution of knowledge and being. As we sit in meditation and practise Letting Go, clarity arises, one perceives forms, connections, relations, patterns, gains insights and may probably enter wisdom. However, on arising out of meditation, this experience also seems fleeting. For sometime, mundane reality might have a different glow to it, however full HD is soon lost. The mind again gets caught in reacting to material reality. Having had a glimpse, the heart desires to sustain such experiences and create a supportive environment for the same. How can we devote more time to inner work, despite an unending list of mundane responsibilities?
Meditation - Letting Go, creates space for Movement
Our Praxis, supports inner practices in which we can find Ground to Move On
Is This for Us?
Woody Allen - 80% of success is Showing Up | 80/20 Principle | 20% is Waking Up
Ursula Guin - It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end
Movies for Getting Inspired (To connect with a sense of Silence and the Timeless)
While meditation continues, for the mundane tasks of life, we can do the following practice
1. Make an exhaustive list of to-dos, wish lists, bucket lists, desires, wants, needs, responsibilities, duties
2. Categorize these into 2 categories - Far from Doing Now (FDN), Not Doing Now (NDN)
3. From the NDN list, create a list called Doing Now (DN)
4. Schedule the Doing Nows (DNs) into your Scheduler / Calender
5. The moment you miss a DN, reschedule it or move it to NDN list
6. Use a Noting Tool, throughout the day (You thought you had exhausted all there was to do?)
7. At the end of each day, sit for 15 minutes to review your day, transfer NOTES to FDN/NDN and create DNs from NDNs
8. Once a week sit for 30 - 45 min, reviewing your FDNs and moving some to NDNs
9. Reflect on Intentions, Concerns, Cause-Effect, Relations, Leverages, etc using Frameworks
The greatest hindrance to flow in life is Dis-Tract-I/On. We can engage with our tasks with full attention and mindfullness, however, our culture has become one in which we improperly multi-task (did Grandmother ever become hassled about cooking up a meal? It was multi-tasking right?). Our sense of self has gotten so overly inflated, we assume that if we are not available to the world it will come to an end.
A few months back, I lost a phone while walking on the beach with a friend. We searched for sometime, but since dinner time was approaching I said let's Move On. After 3 hours, as we were passing by, the phone was still ringing. So out of curiosity, we walked towards the beach. Just when we were about to reach, the phone went out of coverage area. Reaching we saw the tide had come in. For a few days, I was without a phone, used someone's old phone. On getting a new phone too, it took me time to build up contacts again. I let this progress with ease. I am still here.
We should begin to see the physicality of life and that it is lived among'st real people communities rather than online social networks. If the calorific energy dissipated (food, body, mind, machines) was invested in simple well being of sentient life - health, wealth, relations, everything could be different
No global warming, just local bonding
Workshops from which inspirations have been drawn ~ $299 (Rs. 21,000)
It's clear the body/earth needs healing. An energy shift is occuring within and without US
Valuation mechanisms prescribed externally somehow give a false sense of security
The intention is to awaken to our fundamental needs, habits, compulsions, unease with uncertainity
Let us together evaluate how to value this offering, so it may benefit all
Schedule & Flow
10:00 AM (Settling In, Sitting and Reflecting on Questions in Silence)
• Settling in may involve, tea, snacks, checking in on feelings, expectations, any needs or concerns, challenges, personal areas of discomfort, things the facilitator should be mindful of, things to be mindful of as a group, sharing personal experience not theories, realizations of the past can be dubious (If IT were realized, U and I would not be here)
• Sit in silence for 10 minutes
• Guided Reflection
◦ Become aware of the breath and gently ease into the body. As you may begin to feel relaxed and whole, recall experiences in life when you might have been in the FLOW / NOW / TOTALLY PRESENT / FULLY ATTENTIVE to what you were doing
◦ Select one of these experiences to focus on
◦ We do not need to share the story at the end of this. So do not focus on the storyline, flow of events, verbal realizations etc. Instead connect with the sensations and whole body experience that occured at that time - in the zone.
• Group Sharing (2-3 simple sentences situational setting. More on the mind-body experience at the time)
• Reflection Questions
◦ How are you feeling now? Does recalling make you feel in the zone?
◦ Did the conscious mind recall the situation and you noticed a shift in body or a shift in the body and then the emergence of the story? No need to answer it, just becoming present!
◦ What do you believe about that experience of flow? Was it random, luck, the right tools, perfect conditions, suitable environment, life context, age or is it something else?
• Group Sharing (2-3 simple sentences on cause-effect understanding)
Without being able to trace the origins of the experience, this much is clear that sitting here in an alien context, the body is able to relive the experience. So there is definately something else. Much of our life journey is around becoming aware of the special something else through building Mindfulness (Sati), which helps establish a Continuity/Flow
This continuity maybe of the Memory/I or Awareness/Self
10:30 AM (Processing)
We all, have had bodily experiences of change and at times also been aware of it, as it really is - Impermanance. At a gross level, one day we are well, another day sick and the third day well again. On a subtler level we can sense, our irritability increase if there was excessive salt and spice in the food. Impermanance is not random. It is based on a cause-effect relationship. The Buddha has advised to constantly stay alert and exert effort towards the arising of wholesome mental states and prevent the arising of unwholesome mental states (Not suppress, but prevent the Arising. Once arisen, one practices equanimity with the wisdom that whatever seeds were planted in ignorance, have borne fruit and will diminish according to natural law. No need to amplify or dampen them. Observe them with the 4 UnLimited Minds and do the 10 Practices)
Mindfulness is remembering the instructions that keep one on the path. Imbibing the process. Process : Pro-cess : Pro-cessation. So all processes are designed towards cessation of suffering and unmindful exertion, exhaustion. However, they may differ in their ability to take us all the way to the end goal - Total Cessation.
• Sit in silence for 5 minutes
• Guided Reflection
• Example - Imagine you are dreaming. In the dream you wake up in a desert. What would be your thoughts or reactions?
• Anyway, after all of these pass, you fundamentally realize you are thirsty. You look around and all you can see are tall palm trees. They are really tall and at the top you can see a few coconuts. You know from experience that the coconut contains water, yet till now you have always bought a coconut from a shop. This is new, this is different, this is unchartered territory. Your first impulse is to shake the tree. You only end up shaking yourself, badly. Next you see a few rocks lying about and try to throw stones at the coconuts, hoping desparately that maybe you hit the target and maybe the target falls down. After many attempts nothing much has happened other than a really sore arm and increased thirst. You sit under the tree for sometime, hoping to rejuvenate yourself. Soon you fall unconscious and begin to dream about your past lives. In one of them, eons back, as a little monkey you used to climb trees, jumping from branch to branch, plucking succulent fruit, taking a bite and throwing them away. The moment one desire was fulfilled, another took over. You jumped from fruit to fruit, relishing the sweetness on your tongue and drunk in the rush of hormones through your system.
• This memory has a instaneous effect on your body and energy. Driven by unconscious, unbridled instinctual desire, you jump up from sleep and try to rush up the tree. Once, twice, thrice...each jump brings you flat back on the ground. Pretty soon, the bhoot that took over you is exhausted and leaves your body. Now you are sitting on the ground, thirsty, tired and miserable. Everything seems hopeless. You feel you are going to die all alone in this desert and no one is even going to find your bones. Soon you are caring for nothing other than the quenching of your thirst. All other thoughts leave your mind, you are suddenly blank and experience a heightened awareness of everything around you. The sand, the wind, the burning sun, the shadows, the trees, their nodes, their leaves, their coconuts. While you are fully conscious and attentive, a loud voice booms in our head - 1,2 Cha Cha Cha, 1,2 Cha Cha Cha. You have your answer.
• You standup slowly. Mindfully, taking one step at a time you approach the tree. Reaching it you give it a big, tight hug and express your silent gratitude. You contemplate on how you are going to reach the top and then drink of the cool waters. The energy that it will give you and the way back to your home. You see the smiling faces of all your loved ones. You already feel happy inside. You know deep inside, that till now, you were behaving madly. There are steps, a process to be followed. Still hugging the tree tight. In a flash you lift up both legs together and encircle them around the tree. Firmly bound at the feet, you loosen your arm grip slightly and straightening your back, slide it upwards, tightening again at the end of your reach. Again the legs, then the arms. In the background, very softly, like gentle swaying music - 1,2 Cha Cha Cha, 1,2 Cha Cha Cha. Soon, you reach your goal. Having quenched your thirst for now, you return back to the ground. There is a different awareness now. You look at all the tall trees in a different way. You are no longer afraid or perplexed. In your heart you know, the process has led to cessation. Each and everytime, this will work. Soon, it will become automatic, settle into your subconscious. The voice will no longer be needed. Yet you remind yourself of it from time to time, incase you meet another in the desert.
• There is a constant movement in life between conscious and mechanical movement. With consciousness, there is an aliveness, inner movement happening, observation, some sort of reflection. Consciousness is the force that brings order to the free energy in the universe. Once ordered, the consciousness is free to contact and engage with something else. Hence, through conscious attention, we can develop any skill till it becomes mechanical for us. We are then able to layer different ordered, mechanical flows on top of each other to build complexity. Yet, nothing is ever final and perfect. Conscious energy is constantly required for evolution. Mechanical energy, works best in small bursts, till a temporal task is complete. This is the basis of all the material reality around us. Everything that is man-made, made by the mann (consciousness), has evolved from it. From life as animals, it evolved to humans and from there to machines. Yet machines are not the final stage. Because machines, represent an externalization of temporal mechanical flows. Consciousness cannot be externalized. It has externalized us and we are trying to connect back with it.
• Reality is impermanent. Everything is changing. Mechanization may get out of sync with the change. What was once harmonious, may become disharmonious and vice-versa. Hence over reliance on mechanization and machines leads to amplification of suffering. Working instead on raising consciousness may have long term benefits. Anyway since we already are where we are, we must make best use of the time we have.
• Once we understand a ProCess : ProCessation, we don't have to deal with the rawness of flows again and again. Once ordered, the struggle with doership ceases. There is cessation of suffering. The knowership can gain prominence. Finally there may just be knowing. When we look at artifacts of ancient empires, monuments, tools, culture, we briefly sense the consciousness that might have gone into building them. Nothing could have been achieved by drunk, angry, random beings. It is this quality of consciousness, attention, awareness that one may feel called to awaken within oneself.
• Group Sharing (5 simple sentences)
Understanding ProCesses, we exert for the arising of wholesome states and be alert to the arising of unwholesome states
Mindfully we enter the zone
11:00 AM (Noting ProCess)
• For the next 2 hours, we will be engaging silently with thoughts about our own lives
• Every 30 minutes, we will take a 5 - 10 minute collective break to share questions or reflections
• Emptying the Mind (Doing, Having, Being)
◦ Take a sheet of paper / diary and begin to make a list. The following may become part of the list
▪ To-Do's, Needs, Wants, Desires
▪ Future Goals
▪ Things to Have
▪ Person's I want to Become
▪ Things people in Family need to Do
▪ Things people in Family need to Become
▪ What Friends should Do
▪ What Friends should Become
▪ Things to learn
▪ Things to Practise
▪ Things to Express
▪ Things to Avoid
▪ Things to take Care Off
▪ Changes on wants in the World
This is the most crucial part of the entire ProCess. It requires a kind of faith and surrender to be willing to bring it all out. There may be emotions that arise, but just observing them is enough, to tell us how we feel about that item. Just like we observe sensations with equanimity, do not get caught up in the juicy story of what you want to do and all the micro tasks and related possibilities. If that begins to happen, pause, breathe and come back up. Sense how you are feeling. Then start from there again, continuing with the micro notings. Do not be averse to put down things you know you are responsible for. Everything that may ever lurk behind and drive you unconsciously, try to bring to front. This is all that you are generally dealing with. Once on paper, you don't have to take it back in. There is freedom from carrying it around. Now you only need to learn, how to deal with it. Where and how to start.
If you are stuck, start by listing Macro / Gross things. Whatver comes to mind, then go subtly deeper and deeper. Slowly.
Noting gives us the freedom to reflect on everything as a glance and find relations, patterns etc
Once the list is exhaustive, we may choose to categorize them in some basic buckets (family, work, self, friends, home, future ...) and make a Mind Map, to get a complete picture.
We may never have done this to such an extent in our life before. Like I said, all kinds of emotions will come up, but let them come up, we are allowing them to come up and are making a note of them as Things-To-Do. In general they are always calling attention to themselves, but we have learnt to ignore them.
• How did Doing this make you Feel?
• How are you Feeling Now?
Just like computer RAM, during mundane operations, consciousness has limited capacity to remember / process / hold onto things. Man-age-ment soft-ware gets designed based on realizations. It makes RAM efficient (Operational speed depends upon man-u-facture). As it realizes, man/mann-is-meant-to-age, it begins to wear-a-softer expression. There is a movement towards subtlety. It can no longer to continue to take body-mind for granted. No longer can the status quo continue or life proceed addictively, groping blindly, on auto-pilot. Going with the flow takes on a whole new meaning. It begins to observe what's flowing through it, taking up space and whether it has any business being there. If not, it is gently requested to move on, with compassion and generosity of heart.
Doing meditation we clear up consciousness. With Metta and other contemplations, we plant positive karma and water the seeds through our actions. However since we are still here, from time to time things keep coming back, habits still continue. While walking on the road, we see a pothole and start to react mentally. Now unless some action is taken, no mental activity is going to solve the problem. If our thinking is contemplative, neutral in energy and of the kind trying to figure cause-effect then it may have fruition (please look where you walk). However, even, if a new object draws our attention, the old energy still lingers. Somewhere it is trying to resolve itself. Then in our dreams, we become super-heroes trying to solve problems in the world.
Our intention is to be present to reality, regulate our actions and use mindfullness to make life meaninful.
So, it is extremely helpful to maintain a small pocket diary (enough for 1 month) in which we NOTE anything that pops-up and has the potential to linger in our consciousness as a to-do, wishlist, desire, want, need, plan etc. This noting habit over time gives us a sense of faith that we can operate with an open consciousness in daily life. We need not hold onto things in memory. As we meditate and support it with this habit, soon we begin to gain insight into our thinking habits, fantasies, degree of awakening etc. Over time we may design life in a way, that even the noting tool is no longer necessary. But that is not the goal. Even in old age we might need a stick (Lets not try to be-superheroes. Simple effective ordinary folk is great). The goal is a progressive experience of mindfulness, awareness and freedom
One may experiment with a Noting System, personally paper-pen have been beneficialin long run
• Our thoughts are faster, than our writing; typing is much slower, than writing. Ideally the noting tool should complement our speed of thinking as one does not want to feel suppression or anxiety that thoughts have flitted by. We are noting them because we believe there is some importance to them, some meaning, some benefit or functionality to derive. As we begin Note Taking we will become more aware of our thoughts. We become aware of their speed and can then consciously have an add-on or separate practice of regulating the speed of thoughts. We begin to see patterns in our thinking (how many times to I keep thinking about calling up people, how many times am I thinking about fixing something, am I thinking too much about the future, am I trying to solve problems of the past, were are my actions oriented). Soon we begin to ignore useless patterns. Initially we note them down in the FDNs. Then over time remove them from there. Done a few times, next time a similar thought pattern pops up, we simply watch it silently, letting it dissipate its energy (do you keep looking at Instagram and building fanatasies?) As you stop feeding our compulsive thoughts, giving them no new energy, they cease. Hence, done along with meditation we begin to go deeper into the mental makeup. We find our own balance between Noting and Letting Go. Our ultimate goal is to Let Go of Everything and experience total, uninhibited flow and abandon. The way to test the balance is ease in the body-mind. If you observe a thought and let it go without noting and then realize it is lingering and still popping up, honor its current need. Note it down. Giving respect to thoughts is part of caring for oneself. A thought cannot be killed by will-power. It transmutates in the sub-counscious and creates knots in the nervous system. It has to find resolution within you. Just like genes grow, memes grow. They want to be part of a wholesome network. Let them come and help them progress on the path of enlighten
ment. Everytime you find yourself stuck, ask yourself, how can I help this thought grow, transform. If you have Noted a thought and realize over the week, that you are repeating yourself, becoming OCD about it - thinking about the same thing, then maybe you need to Schedule it or sit quietly and reflect. Often it may just be seeking your acceptance and recognition of it. Breathe and let it go. Stop noting it down. Keep working both ways to find the real nature of what is happening with your mind. Over time if both ways have been tried and still there is a knocking on the mind-door, seek support from someone walking ahead!
• Having a Delete button, is regressive as our consciousness is constantly moving back and forth. We become OCD about perfection. As a teacher in school, I used to encourage students not to worry about mistakes. Make them. When you realize its made, simply go back, strike it through the centre and re-write above it. If we cannot accept mistakes and failure, we cannot move towards improvement. That's why in good schools, even erasers are not allowed. Sharpners were also not allowed. Only in the breaks could you chisel your pencil with the blade. During writing, you even had to adjust words, pressure etc to ensure your point lasted till the break. One may view many of these practices as mind-control by external agency etc, but they build the mind. One can reflect on where we have come. Moving away from simple training, to material freedom and yet kids are scolded for loosing the eraser, finishing the pencil by sharpening it all the time, competing on pencil-box, colors, etc. When the mind is left unharnessed it creates all kinds of troubles for itself. Rightly said child is the father of man
• Ultimately it is your practise, balancing slow and fast thinking. If typing on mobile, helps you slow down your thoughts then that is good. If however, you sense that a greater degree of freedom is experienced with physical experience of paper-pen and there are other experential benefits of it, then use that. Feel free to experiment, shift, change, but the goals is not experimentation, the goal is to be able to use the system for life goals (don't get stuck playing with your tools, create something meaningful with them)
• Nowadays we sometimes cannot read our own writing, however, the act of putting pen-to-paper is a sub-conscious support and even if our conscious mind cannot read at any moment, sitting in silence and then seeing will allow the muscles that wrote it to remember. We begin to connect and establish relation between conscious and sub-conscious. Soon we find balance
• Though this may seem contradictory, paradoxical, yet saying it, because of the inherent nature of the mind - more important than the noting, accumulation, collection, organization is the awareness that develops with following the process. We are not here to become storekeepers and caretakers of our thoughts. They too are impermanent. So don't get lost in them. One wants to train in mindfulness, flexibility and agility. We want to note and forget. Yet observation of emotional states is very important. Are we forgetting out of fear/stress or from belief/faith? Staying with the later enables sustaining the practice.
Once we begin to note our thoughts, actionables etc in the Noting Tool, at the end of each day, we transfer them to 2 categories - FDn (Far from Doing Now) and NDN (Not Doing Now). This is very important step. At end of each day, your capture tool must be emptied into the right buckets. Just like one pot empties into another pot in the morning, we keep the pot on top empty throughout the day by noting externally and transfering at night. If the nightly step is missed, the Noting Pot stagnates / overflows and the pot on top (head) will begin to fester. It hardly takes 5 minutes to transfer (will become sub-conscious in no time). Its like Tinder - Swipe Left (FDN), Swipe Right (NDN). From the NDN list create your DN (Doing Now) and then schedule them. Ease!
Empty yourself of everything.
Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature.
The way of nature is unchanging.
Knowing constancy is insight.
Not knowing constancy leads to disaster.
Knowing constancy, the mind is open.
With an open mind, you will be openhearted.
Being openhearted, you will act royally.
Being royal, you will attain the divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
And though the body dies, the Tao will never pass away.
1:00 PM (Rejuvenation)
2:00 PM (Bucketing, Scheduling, Usage)
• Sit in silence for 5 minutes
• Group Sharing (Check-In)
• Now we will try to gain insight into the things we have to deal with, where to begin, how to start, why this and not that, etc. We make use of 3 Buckets
◦ Far from Doing NOW (FDN) - HDD - Arrive at sensing of your own capacity - You look at this weekly
◦ Not Doing NOW (NDN) - RAM - Arrive at sensing of your own bandwidth - You look at this daily
◦ Doing NOW (DN) - Processor - Arrive at sensing of your own speed - You look at this hourly
We are doing all of this to arrive at a Sense of Balance. There is no attainment at all, other than practicing this ProCess, to enable you to flow through your day, mindfully give attention to each task, over time achieving your goals, fulfilling your responsibilities and having time for inner development.
Personal Schedule @ https://bit.ly/praxis_kapil
The above can be used as a template. In one sheet it allows for storing all the buckets - DN, NDN and FDN. Without a password, this sheet can be easily shared with anyone, so common/collective reflection, buddying, mentoring is possible. This maybe used on a daily basis for planning. As one progresses to planning further ahead, one may make use of a Monthly Monitor or Weekly Planner. My personal experience and belief for today's times, is that we need to bring increased mindfulness in all our activities. Especially planning. Physicality demands that and having a physical planner is very helpful. Digital tools bring challenges of having the phone charged, if on the cloud then internet, speed of access, user interface issues, size of reading. If we understand ourselves to be the sensitive creatures we are, then looking at a screen flickering at 60Hz, with blue light and tapping on keys, does not use the same pathways as writing. So essentially the digital world disconnects from the body and emotions. The plan no longer lives in our body and we simply become followers of our externalized mind.
Now, do not plan throughout the day. One should look at their NDN, FDN and shift DNs only at pre-determined, deeply personal and relaxed times. The energy we carry into the planning process, is the energy that will come up during the action time. During the day, be slow, mindful and delibrate. Spend the buffer time between DN's in reflection. Create the habit of action-reflection. 50 minutes of doing, 10 minutes of knowing.
Chunk your time into Action Units (NOWs) of 30 - 60 minutes, based on your ability to maintain ease of attention. Keep some time for reflection within the Action Unit (NOW). As you begin to flow through your day, you will build awareness and increase your physical and mental stamina. The propensity to get stuck in external things and happenings will reduce. The ability to note with ease should increase.
If using digital scheduler, there are some points to discuss from the ScratchPad: Configuring Technology section
The whole purpose of the process to experience emptiness while operating in the world. As the mind remains free from holding onto to-do items, desires etc, we can begin to sit more in meditation and see subtler and higher truths. There is no sense in being stuck in gross thoughts of Asset Management (whether ones own, another's or mother earth's) all the time.
Emptiness means no compulsion to act one way or another. However, certain guiding principles always exist. Following them depends upon realization. Eg. In the domain of decluttering, there is no compulsion to throw away something or keep it. If there is doubt, it is better to give it away for utilization now, then storing it for a possible future use which may not arise. Things become obsolete, technology changes, fashion changes, tastes change, body size changes, everything changes. Attempt at stability can exist only in human relations. For that to happen, there must be generosity amongst people. It is better to give away than to hold on. Holding on, eventually chokes. The more one gives away, let's go, the more one will be able to take up if necessary
3:45 PM (Buddying, Journaling Flow)
• All journey's involve having another to support in times of need. Even on spiritual journey's we may undertake alone, we keep faith either in God, the Universe, the Earth or Masters.
• Here too, a basic discipline is required of Noting and Transfering Notes each night. Yet we may begin to slip. Having a party one night, returning late and falling asleep, then the next day goes for a toss, not only because of internal energy fluctuations, also because we can't grip ourselves with what to do. The body is stuck and reacting to an energy and the mind is wanting to do something. No cooperation, lots of confusion, struggle etc.
• Buddy (Can you see Buddha in the Buddy) : Budd-i = The buddies job is to help us take one step at a time. To constantly remind us that we are small buds and require gentle love, care and attention. Ignoring ourselves, is the first step to slipping. So the buddy constantly encourages us to keep at it, listens to us, empathizes and sometimes make shake us up, when they sense a lack of energy to open up.
• Becoming someone else's buddy enables us to practice care, which helps us care for ourselves. It binds both together in a positive emergent relationship
• So look around, if there is someone who you feel like buddying with, approach and make a request
• If you need to turn down someone's request, reflect on what basis are you doing so. The universe, has a way of dealing out cards. Learning to play with the cards we have, enables real growth. Yet, we can always draw more cards. So engage with mindfulness
• Journaling about your flow experiences is also another way to find Best Practices and what works for you. It helps gain competence with the ProCess. Soon, your mind develops the capability of reflection and you will find yourself doing this more often. This is called contemplation and is another form of meditation. The object of meditation is not the breath, but the experience itself. This too can give rise to concentration and insight
4:00 PM (Silent Creative Reflections)
Use any of the laid out material to spend time with yourself and sense what is emerging. One can use pen-paper, instruments, body, non-verbal sounds, movement to be with oneself, yet with the entire group. At times we may disconnect with ourselves and need to connect with others. While doing so, be soft, gentle and curious. No speaking. Our observation someone, may have the potential to shift their expression and energy. The space is sacred. Our observation, may shift our own energy and being mindful of that is self-awareness. We observe, shift, sense and move back internally and try and express the shift or flow
The intention is to hold space together for 30 minutes. Lets allow time to flow naturally, without having to look at our watches. Sense the rise and ebb of energy and space and the gradual collective emergence out from the zone
• Sit in silence for 5 minutes
4:30 PM (Closing Reflections)
• Sit in silence for 5 minutes
• Group Sharing
Framework @ https://ibb.co/Ht72Rcr
He who has a Why to Live for, can bear almost any How - Nietzsche
• In Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge, talks about Tensegrity. The Integrity of Tension. Looking at the diagram vertically, one sees certain polarities. The Gap between these provides a certain Tension. Just like in a musical instrument, if it is too loose, it won't play, if it's too tight it may snap. If the Gap is large, there is Dejection, if it's close there is Motivation, if it's just right there may be Spontaneity. One has to find the right balance in each situation, a homeostatis.
• Concern - At rest, the entire structure will be collapsed. The moment a Concern pop's up, the structure stand's up. It won't return to rest till the Concern is ReSolved. Reflecting on our Concern's helps us achieve Clarity. The right concern, provides the right motivation to take action. Working through with our Concern's will eventually lead to Flexibility & Spontaneity.
• In the Mandala of Samsara, there are Hell Worlds and Godly Realms. The Hell's are hot, overcrowded and burning with energy. The Godly realms are cool, gentle and swaying with music. Sometimes we may be so caught up in the HOW of things, we forget to connect with the Godly realms and figure out the WHY? With a connection establised, the energy has a flow channel.
• Whenever we feel stuck in life, we can simply PLAY between the WHY & HOW of things. Often we are stuck either at the HOW or the WHY. In either case, we may move to the other polarity and find flexibility there.
◦ Imagine you are cooking in the kitchen with an elder woman. You are an excellent chef, yet she has a particular way of Doing things. Now you are stuck in the HOW of the ProCess. So instead of fighting, you can conveniently, reconfigure the WHY of the situation. You may be wanting to do it creatively in your own way/style and impress and receive acknowledgement, yet acknowledgement is given when people receive what they value. So by changing the WHY, you allow the stuck energy to move.
◦ Imagine hungry guests are arriving at your house in 45 minutes. They are your wife's boss and she wants to impress them for a promotion. Now the WHY is very clear, yet time is short. You are stuck. You don't like this last minute surprises and don't want to do it. Yet you must. So instead of being stuck at WHY you must do it, move to HOW and find flexibility there. Instead of a 4-Course Meal, prepare an awesome Khichda with Raita and Salad and Masala Papad. Instead of chopping things fine, use the time well and try something different. Change the HOW!
• Hierarchy - Because of the way our human body is built, we have various perceptions. Yet all sentient beings have their own perceptions of reality. One way to sense Freedom and Equality is to see from the perspective, that there is no Hierarchy, no Higher-Archy. Instead of imagining Vertical Arch's on a building, imagine expanding concentric circles. In such a way, the ARCS are simple expansive. There is nothing good or bad about it. There is simply the possibility of movement.
• Something mysteriously formed, Born before heaven and earth.
• In the silence and the void, Standing alone and unchanging, Ever present and in motion.
• Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things.
• I do not know its name.
• Call it Tao.
• For lack of a better word, I call it great.
• Being great, it flows.
• It flows far away.
• Having gone far, it returns.
• Therefore, "Tao is great; Heaven is great; Earth is great; The king is also great."
• These are the four great powers of the universe, And the king is one of them.
• Man follows the earth.
• Earth follows heaven.
• Heaven follows the Tao.
• Tao follows what is natural.
• World: It may be a multi-dimensional world as well as UniVerse. As we begin to move, slowly in one direction, then another, finally in all directions, we may experience Shunyata.
• The Tao begot one.
• One begot two.
• Two begot three.
• And three begot the ten thousand things.
• The ten thousand things carry yin and embrace yang.
• They achieve harmony by combining these forces.
• Men hate to be "orphaned," "widowed," or "worthless,"
• But this is how kings and lords describe themselves.
• For one gains by losing, And loses by gaining.
• What others teach, I also teach; that is:
• "A violent man will die a violent death!"
• This will be the essence of my teaching.
How & The Balance - Is it Teachable?
Duke Hwain of Khi, first in his dynasty, sat under his canopy reading his Philosophy. Phien the wheelwright was out in the yard, making a wheel. Phein laid aside his hammer and chisel, climbed the steps and said to the Duke: 'May I ask you, Lord, What is this you are reading?' The Duke said 'The Experts, The Authorities' and Phein asked 'Alive or Dead?' The Duke said 'Dead a long time' Phein said 'Then you are reading only the Dirt they left behind' The Duke replied 'What do you KNOW about it? You are only a wheelwright. You had better give me a good explanation or else you must die.' Phein Said 'Let us look from my point of view. When I make wheels, if I go easy, they fall apart, if I am too rough, they do not fit. But if I am neither too easy, not too violent, they come out right. The WORK is what I want to BE. You cannot put this into WORDS, you just have to know how it is. I cannot even tell my own son exactly how it is done, and my own son cannot learn it from me. Here I am 70 years onld and still making wheels. The MEN of old, took what they really know with them to the grave. What you are reading here is only the dirt they left behind them'
Heaven and Earth are impartial; They see the ten thousand things as straw dogs.
The wise are impartial; They see the people as straw dogs.
The space between heaven and Earth is like a bellows.
The shape changes but not the form; The more it moves, the more it yields.
More words count less.
Hold fast to the center.
Out on paper, Life's To-Dos may seem overwhelming (compared to just a shopping list). Whatever we have been able to put out in front of us, is what may be unconsciously driving us. That's why often our homes, rooms, spaces or lives do not give us a sense of comfort and ease. We often live in houses, not homes. Whenever we look at the peeling paint on the wall, a dripping tap, a torn bed-sheet, reducing bank balance, bills, friends facebook post, whatsapp message absolutely anything related to survival of the body or mind, a sensation manifests. If we don't catch it, it turns to thought, that also passes by without awareness. Sensations and thoughts are energies that continue to linger and can continue to feed each other. Before we know it, our sensory experience has converted itself into a whirlpool of energies, with no fixed direction. Little wonder then, we feel lost, confused, unable to prioritize and seek answers in the spiritual realm (Yes, its good to go there, but after en-enlightenment, we do have to return don't we?) Observing thoughts, noting them and categorizing them can break their addictive nature (if done mindfully) and gives a certain sense of relief. The overwhelm changes to ease, that nothing seems to be lurking in the background. It is quite similar to the experience of sitting down with eyes closed. Hand-in-hand, mindfully done, both the practices may be liberating.
Dopamine is one of the happy hormones (Oxytocin, Seratonin, Endorphins - Science of Positivity). It is released in proportion to expectations. Its purpose is to cause movement towards expectations. It's dip happens just when we are close to meeting the expectation. It has done it's purpose and depends on momentum to finish of the task. Other happy chemicals are meant to be released on task completion (Seratonin when we compete, Oxytocin when we feel part of a group). Body is optimising all the chemicals. So here is the part to have awareness about:
If we keep very high expectations, the amount of dopamine released may be very high. It gives us a kick. But the fall is also of the same degree. So we beware of high fluctuations. Often the tendency to come out of a low, is by planning something more grandiose. The jump in dopamine.
We may not have high expectations, instead we may have a diversity of expectations. We spread out the dopamine over multiple things to achieve. Gives the same result of overall high summation of small dopamine spurts. So to keep the same high we spread our energy to many things.
Planning itself can become addictive. The creation of expectations/goals works on the same pathways as the attempt at action. That is why this process works. We should feel good about planning, but not go overboard. Be-aware of compulsiveness that arises to keep checking the plan, refine it every moment, keep rescheduling your day etc. Once scheduled, practice Equanimity and flow. If a DN is missed, simply Note the miss and move the DN to NDN or if clarity exists, reschedule it. Do not create anxiety that something has been missed, now what?. Time has already passed, come into the NOW. What is coming up, focus on that. Get ready for that. Align your system for that. Let go and flow into the next moment. The fact that what was missed, has been noted and moved to be looked at later, should give faith that things will be dealt with later. At night reflect on the day and your experience with the system, note what refinements are needed.
Reflections on Experience (Testimony: Test-I-Mon-i, I have tested it, it takes me back into Silence)
Q & A: Questions and Answers
Read below ONLY after completion of Circle
Happy to explore these as and when
Please do not Delete, simply Add your points/comments in appropriate places
• Mission Control
• Concerns Workshop - Why do we do what we do? Do we use Mirror Neurons optimally or are we trapped aping externally?
• Getting Things Done
• Landmark - Futures (Starting when imagining your death scene and moving backwards in time, till today)
• Mind Mapping
• Fitting Domain Patterns into Tables
◦ Bhrama, Vishnu, Mahesh(Shiva/Kal Bhairav | Kal = Samay = Time)
◦ Creation, Maintenance, Destruction
• Levels of Mastery
◦ Unconscious Incompetence
◦ Conscious Incompetence
◦ Conscious Comptence
◦ Unconscious Competence
• Sustained v/s Racing Thoughts
• Multi-tasking v/s Single Tasks (ProCess Knowledge. Focus on a single task, to be exposed from start to end. Children learning to cook or in crafts etc first start as peripheral observes, they then learn to play imitate, finally the take on small tasks and gain expertise and move on to next steps, gaining mastery in all, finally becoming independent. Multi-tasking becomes a problem when we don't understand the process. Pro-cess, pro-cessation. How do we get our heart beats to stabilize). What should the ideal speed of processes be? Example. While washing hands, if one is working towards building mindfulness (instructions) and awareness, then are we in today's world able to reconfigure the speed of the water so that it allows us that time to become mindful. In the event that we initially slow it down, then when we feel we have leart everything that we could, we speed it up. But when living in nature, without trying to control it, speed of processes cannot be changed. A child will be born in 9 months. So, we learn to contemplate. While any one action and the whole of physical life has the capacity to teach us, since in today's world we are beings with a lot of thinking (ThinKing) who are all trying to get back to good health, we need to slow down our thinking too and contemplate. Meditation helps. But then what about life processes should they not change, what use of running and sitting constantly. So while washing hands we may use the 4 foundations of mindfullness. We begin to use the slowness of washing hands to take attention to what our thoughts are. We do not try to suppress anything. Contemplate - ConTempleAte - What consciousness, is eating our temple. What are we reacting to? Running towards or running away from?
• Mechanization v/s Consciousness (As we get adept at things, we shift them to unconscious, mechanical memory, muscle memory. Our consciousness has limited buffer capacity. So the need for mechanization through repeated/routine body patterns or machines. The Art of Living is to balance these two forces within us. To get faster at something we actually need to learn to relax, both the mind and body. An tension, will only cause the ability to snap and break. Example. If you try to do fast hand rotations around each other, you will find that it becomes important to fix one. It provides a grounding around which the other hand can play. Even in dancing either the hands are moving or legs. We are always needing a reference point. That is the purpose of the framework and schedule. By scheduling mindfully, you give yourself the creativity and flexibility in your experience. Else the experience becomes mechanical, if left too fluid. You will try to find grounding in your experience, where actually none exists. Experience is just a flow of emotional flow, impermanent. It is not to negate experience, just to share, that it cannot be held onto. Grateful for where we are. Everything we do, we externalize. So the time is for practise.
• Nature, Consciousnes, Mind, Body, Consciousness - Hard Disk, ROM, Processor, RAM, Body -> Tensegrity, Mind -> Computer, What came first? Turing Machines. Neutralize/Nullify. Eventually we connect with self and realize that don't even need to bother about doing that. Move beyond them. This machine is not me, but I am the energy that keeps this machine going.
• Reactionary Words - Reflecting on how we learn them. What are words actually carriers of? Empty vessels. We fill meaning into them. Breaking them down allows for the release of energy. Freedom from the emotion. We see the buildup. Once we do that much of our attachments to words will break down, we will not get caught up in debating over meaning. We will be free to take action in the world, knowing well that things are impermanent, yet its is simply the values that last. We will begin to work based on the well-being of the body in the physical world, yet not be attached to the well-being knowing very well, that too is impermanent. One will begin to care for all of life.
• Assimilation v/s Dissipation. While going about our day are we assimilating energy or dissipating energy. Sleep is supposed to refresh us. Rest the mind and body. Ideally most have tea to awaken + sugar for energy + breakfast within 1 hour, so there is enough energy. Then lunch. We have enough to eat, there is no longer, the need to hunt, climb a tree. Physical energy is not being expended. Then why is that we feel exhausted, tired. What are sensations? A tree cannot move. It's outer bark is all hard. What about us? How hard are we on the external? Energy Management!
• Voices in the Head - How to listen to each? Who might you recognize these voices to be? Do we negate any of these voices. What does that negation do? Resistence causes persistence. Finding calmness with these. Allowing them to be and finding a way to accompalish our goals, despite them. What writing can achieve? Ability to see the voices for who they are and where they may be coming from? Sharing the journey of the voices, drawing out memories from the journey's. Sharing of resources. Equality of speaking. Let all the voices speak. Let them take their time. Speak on their behalf. Support them to learn. In the day, mulitple voices may come up, if they don't do not go looking for them. If a real person stops you, listen, understand, then do what can be accompalished by your efforts without getting tired. That which is not in line will Dhamma, will eventually dissipate energy and dissolve. The Dhamma maintains that which needs to be maintained. These voices will indicate, areas of life that need addressing. Why these voices arise, because we love listening to stories. As children, stories help us build a personality. Story, Store-i. We are actually interested in being immortal by passing on the I. Whatever level of I we believe in physical, emotional, mental, spiritual we want to pass it on. We want continuity. But, it also feels that as we grow up, we need to let go of things. The body wants to let go and relax. When things are left the body feels joy. That is why sex is pleasurable. The release.
• Forms of Capital (We Do to earn Capital, so we can sit and Do Nothing! Integrating forms other than Monetary brings Freedom)
◦ Spiritual / Subtle
• Spontaneity v/s Randomness - Spawntaneity - Spawn. Ready to reproduce. Re-produce. To re-produce, one has to die. Dieing means a certain threshold has been reached. So essentially what spontaniety is that a certain amount of planning of what has been done. One has gone over the how, the process. Mentally the effort has gone to reflect on the possibilities. De-tachment is necessary and arises from knowing that one can never map all the possibilities. So when the moment arrives, the HOW to go about is free. Will be dictated by the conditions of the moment. Yet, have done the necessary homework, allows one to traverse in freedom. Fear and negative emotions are more managed and positive ones experienced with gratitude. Some may have a problem, with this high level of awareness. They may think spontaneity is a state of no-thoughts. Not true, that is randomness, RANdomNess. When one is not-having thoughts, one is like an animal. Reactive. If good, wow, happy, run towards, if not, running away. The feeling of being surprised, by something good is at a gross level. But with planned spontaneity, it is subtle. The fun is I know I will get it. But will it be now, here, with this person, in these conditions. It is eternal optimism.
• The Fifth Discipline - Tensegrity - Tensional Integrity - Floating Compression - Isolated Elements under compression do not touch each other in a prestressed tensional structure.
• Sati - Memory/Awareness - Hisenberg Uncertainity Principle - Velocity/Position. We get a sense of time, when we think about the past or future. Both exist, because we carry sense impressions (mind is also a sense) and project things through imagination. The same process is involved in observing and understanding reality and creating dreams and imaginations. Ultimately, the imagination is a function of desire. We sit under a tree, we discover a apple, we eat it. The tongue evaluates the taste and creates a like/dislike. If there is a liking, then craving arises. It begins to observe. Soon, it sees the apple fall. It understands more. It can then eventually begin to imagine and project. Just a process, without any personalization. So we get a sense of time, movement, when there is past and present. Memory exists. There are unresolved things. Desire/aversions have not been digested. Something is still left. Awareness, is knowing where the sensation is happening. The exact position of the sensation. There is just the present moment. Here, then there, then there. No evaluation, just tracking. Again tracking may carry certain underlying energies. Negative, Positive. Learning to see as they are. Tracking without Naming. Ceasing of Nama-Rupa. Primal Awareness. No stopping anywhere. Just taking it all in. Earlier language was much simpler. It is difficult to understand the depth that a simple thing could convey, because the depths were accessible to consciousness. Today's language is complex and the energy is taken from the senses to the verbalization center. This is creation of language out of fear. Bhashya. BhaeKaShai. Over naming things to get a sense of control. Hence the same in our tracking of life goals, do we go overboard. Need to constantly be aware of feelings and sensations.
◦ History of Email
◦ Why Gmail Sucks?
◦ Zoho as IMAP interface
◦ Zoho Dark Mode. Mainframes. Focus and eye comfort. CS and hackers use Dark Mode. Matrix. Darknet. InnerNet. TOR. White Light - Freeze, Shock, Cold. Red - Warm. Black - Free.
• Tele-Marketing - DND 1901
• Using Firefox
◦ Configuring Private Mode
◦ Configuring Dark Mode
◦ Signing Up for Do NOT Track
◦ Home Page - Blackle.com
◦ Extension - Notes By Firefox
• OpenSource Collaboration
◦ Sheets - https://ethercalc.org/
◦ Docs - https://beta.etherpad.org/
◦ Docs - https://pad.riseup.net/
• Gotul: Anonymity + Buddy System + Online Commitments
• Spotify Music - Labeling according to body(task), emotion(mood) and thoughts(reflection) and Sharing Song List
• Mobile App (Productivity) + OpenSource Excel
• Expenses App
• Different Calenders
• Different Measures of Time - Kalp
• Vedic, Upanishads, Buddhism, Tao Te Ching, Koans, Poetry
• Don't Get Tied Up in Time(Tie Me)
• Tribal Consciousness - Story (Jumping into the River)
• Time As Change
• Personal Experience Matters - Breathing from Mouth Story (Fish, Running, Wind Instruments, Labor)
• How much time do we actually have left (calculation), reincarnation?
• Realistic v/s fantasy: How much energy goes into building up fantasy? FanTastic - Fan's The Taste, the Desire. We Salivate, make efforts towards achieving these fantasies. Even when achieved, they give us no satisfaction.
• DN, NDN, NVDN
• Community, Self(Physical, Emotional, Mental, Spiritual), House, Work, Money, Skills
• Macro / Micro
• Goals (Go with All of U, Sitting and Meditating. How much Desire exists towards that Goal. Will be shown by fantasy about it, story you make and tell yourself, this can happen, then that etc. May want to stop and check. What are the expected outcomes, in terms of materiality, values learnt while doing, service to others. Check the reality of the Goal)
• Responsibility (Response Ability v/s Capacity. You can do something, but are the conditions right. Is just the doing important or you need to plant seeds, that will grow and provide the right conditions that will sustain your efforts. Should you be doing everything, is responsability about doing or building capacity at the highest level)
• Duty (Due To I, reflect on the past, what knots do you need to untie. What karma will bear fruit and what needs to be planted for the future)
• Getting attached to form
• Doubt, Second Guessing, Blaming Self. Blaming, Be-lame (Story)
• Beliefs about our actions and a deepest desire to return to back to paradise. The sense of I, when it is very strong, creates an illusion that our actions can turn back things or cause a disruption in the fabric of social life. Our actions are evaluated based on the passage of time. Our consciousness seems to be omni-potence. We respond to life, wondering if I do this, what will others do. There is a constant tug-of-war in our minds. Our values, systems, disciplines etc are based on our belief that we need to project a certain way, which can be adopted by everyone and then we can seek refuge in that false self. The false self tries to propogate itself, either through force or religiosity. I think we can do anything in life, if we follow dhamma and evaluate actions based on the it and bhramaviharas. Example - Was making tea and it overflowed on the gas. Now I was busy in something and saw what happened. There was no reaction to what had happened, but the question was cleaning up. In that instant I became aware of my impulse. Why did I want to clean? Out of habit. What does this habit bring? In a social context certain things, what about in a personal alone context. No one is watching, no one will comment. I can carryon my work peacefully, knowing very well there will be a more meaningful time to clean later while making lunch and do everything together. Do we do things as rituals? Are we social policemen, caught in our own traps? Many thoughts went through my head. If I leave it, it will become dirty, unhygenic, if everyone was to do this, we will return to the time of savages, what will someone think about me, if I don't do it, I might become complacent. We must set a good example. Most of these habits are based on the hallucination of me and mine. However, what would it be like to operate from a context of love. Like a mother, who lets her child play in the muck. Child can always be given a bath. A mother could immediately clean up the child's play or leave it for later.
• Is Mother Earth not like that? If she wanted cities could be wiped out immediately, bad examples struck by lightening. Look at how tribals live. There is a certain - acceptance of reality. They see certain material reality, that often we city bred, religious minded, upright cannot see. On what basis do we justify it? Nomads, No-Mads. Rarely do simple people do mad.
• Understanding Distractions
• Cleaning Up Clutter
• Spring Cleaning
• Asset Management Triggers
• Digital Cleanup (Cost of digital memories)
• House Maintence Schedule + Processes (Task completion by lowest common denominator)
• Professionalizing Home Management with Personalization, Love and Care for All
• Ghar Ek Mandir (ManKaDwar) - (Candle Thought Experiment, Sensitivity, Subtleness, Color, Length) - Do you feel safe in your home? If not, is there any chance for peace in the world? Start with body and home.
Sabre Tooth Curriculum - Harrold Benjamin
The first great educational theorist and practitioner of whom my imagination has any record was a man of Chellean times whose full name was New-Fist-Hammer-Maker but whom, for convenience I shall hereafter call New-Fist. New-Fist was a doer, in spite of the fact that there was little in his environment with which to do anything very complex. You have undoubtedly heard of the pear-shaped, chipped-stone tool which archeologists call the coup-de-poing or fist hammer. New-Fist gained his name and a considerable local prestige by producing one of these artifacts in a less rough and more useful form than any previously known to his tribe. His hunting clubs were generally superior weapons, moreover, and his fire-using techniques were patterns of simplicity and precision. He knew how to do things his community needed to have done, and he had the energy and will to go ahead and do them. By virtue of these characteristics he was an educated man. New-Fist was also a thinker. Then, as now, there were few lengths to which men
would not go to avoid the labor ad pain of thought. More readily than his fellows, New-Fist pushed himself beyond those lengths to the point where cerebration was inevitable. The same quality of intelligence which led him into the socially approved activity of producing a superior artifact also led him to engage in the socially disapproved practice of thinking. When other men gorged themselves on the proceeds of a successful hunt and vegetated in dull stupor for many hours thereafter, New-Fist ate a little less heartily, slept a little less stupidly, and arose a little earlier than his comrades to sit by the fire and think. He would stare
moodily at the flickering flames and wonder about various parts of his environment until he finally got to the point where he became strongly dissatisfied with the accustomed ways of his tribe. He began to catch glimpses of ways in which life might be made better for himself, his family, and his group. By virtue of this development, he became a dangerous man. This was the background that made this doer and thinker hit upon the concept of a conscious, systematic education. The immediate stimulus which put him
directly into the practice of education came from watching his children at play.
He saw these children at the cave entrance before the fire engaged in activity with bones and sticks and brightly colored pebbles. He noted that they seemed to have no purpose in their play beyond immediate pleasure in the activity itself. He compared their activity with that of the grown-up members of the tribe. The children played for fun; the adults worked for security and enrichment of their lives. The children dealt with bones, sticks, and pebbles; the adults dealt with food, shelter, and clothing. The children protected themselves from boredom; the adults protected themselves from danger. "If I could only get these children to do things that will give more and better food, shelter, clothing, and security," thought New-Fist, "I would be helping this tribe to have a better life. When the children became grown, they would have more meat to eat, more skins to keep them warm, better caves in which to sleep, and less danger from the striped death with the curving teeth that walks these trails by night."
Having set up an educational goal, New-Fist proceeded to construct a curriculum for reaching that goal. "What things must we tribesmen know how to do in order to live with full bellies, warm backs, and minds free from fear?" he asked himself.
To answer this question, he ran various activities over in his mind. "We have to catch fish with our bare hands in the pool far up the creek beyond that big bend," he said to himself. "We have to catch fish with our bare hands in the pool right at the bend. We have to catch them in the same way in the pool just this side of the bend. And so we catch them in the next pool and the next and the next. Always we catch them with our bare hands." "Thus New-Fist discovered the first subject of the first curriculum--
fish-grabbing-with-the-bare-hands. "Also we club the little woolly horses," he continued with his analysis. "We club them along the bank of the creek where they come down to drink. We club them in the thickets where they lie down to sleep. We club them in the upland meadow where they graze. Wherever we find them we club them." So woolly-horse-clubbing was seen to be the second main subject in the curriculum.
"And finally, we drive away the saber-tooth tigers with fire," New-Fist went on in his thinking. "We drive them from the mouth of our caves with fire. We drive them from our trail with burning branches. We wave firebrands to drive them from our drinking hole. Always we have to drive them away, and always we drive them with fire." Thus was discovered the third subject--saber-tooth-tiger?scaring-with-fire. Having developed a curriculum, New-Fist took his children with him as he went about his activities. He gave them an opportunity to practice these three subjects. The children liked to learn. It was more fun for them to engage in these purposeful activities than to play with colored stones just for the fun of it. They learned the new activities well, and so the educational system was a success. As New-Fist's children grew older, it was plain to see that they had an advantage in good and safe living over other children who had never been educated systematically. Some of the more intelligent members of the tribe
began to do as New-Fist had done, and the teaching of fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger scaring came more and more to be accepted as the heart of real education. For a long time, however, there were certain more conservative members of the tribe who resisted the new, formal education system on religious grounds. "The Great Mystery who speaks in thunder and moves in lightning," they announced impressively, "the Great Mystery who gives men life and takes it from them as he wills--if that Great Mystery had wanted children to practice fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger-scaring before they were grown up, he would have aught them these activities himself by implanting in their natures instincts for fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger-scaring. New-Fist is not only impious to attempt something the Great Mystery never intended to have done; he is also a damned fool for trying to change human nature." Whereupon approximately half of these critics took up the solemn chant, "If you oppose the will of the Great Mystery, you must die," and the remainder sang derisively in unison, "You can't change human nature." Being an educational statesman as well as an educational administrator and theorist, New-Fist replied politely to both arguments. To the more theologically minded, he said that, as a matter of fact, the Great Mystery had ordered this new work done, that he even did the work himself by causing children to want to learn, that children could not learn by themselves without divine aid, that they
could not learn at all except through the power of the Great Mystery, and that nobody could really understand the will of the Great Mystery concerning fish, horse, and saber-tooth tigers unless he had been well grounded in the three fundamental subjects of the New-Fist school. To the human-nature-cannot-be?changed shouters, New-Fist pointed out the fact that paleolithic culture had attained its high level by changes in human nature and that it seemed almost unpatriotic to deny the very process which had made the community great.
"I know you, my fellow tribesmen," the pioneer educator ended his argument gravely, "I know you as humble and devoted servants of the Great Mystery. I know that you would not for one moment consciously oppose yourselves to his will. I know you as intelligent and loyal citizens of this great cave-realm, and I know that your pure and noble patriotism will not permit you to do anything which will block the development of that most cave-realmish of all our institutions--the paleolithic educational system. Now that you understand the true nature and purpose of this institution, I am serenely confident that there are no reasonable lengths to which you will not go in its defense and its support." By this appeal the forces of conservatism were won over to the side of the new school, and in due time everybody who was anybody in the community knew that the heart of good education lay in the three subjects of fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger?scaring. New-Fist and his contemporaries grew old and were gathered by the Great Mystery to the Land of the Sunset far down the creek. Other men followed their educational ways more and more, until at last all the children of the tribe were practiced systematically in the three fundamentals. Thus the tribe prospered and was happy in the possession of adequate meat, skins, and security.
It is to be supposed that all would have gone well forever with this good educational system if conditions of life in that community had remained forever the same. But conditions changed, and life which had once been so safe and happy in the cave-realm valley became insecure and disturbing. A new ice age was approaching in that part of the world. A great glacier came down from the neighboring mountain range to the north. Year after year it crept closer and closer to the head waters of the creek which ran through the tribe's valley, until at length it reached the stream and began to melt into the water. Dirt and gravel which the glacier had collected on its long journey were dropped into the creek. The water grew muddy. What had once been a crystal-clear stream in which one could see easily to the bottom was now a milky stream into which one
could not see at all.
At once the life of the community was changed in one very important aspect. It was no longer possible to catch fish with the bare hands. The fish could not be seen in the muddy water. For some years, moreover, the fish in this creek had been getting more timid, agile, and intelligent. The stupid, clumsy, brave fish, of which originally there had been a great many, had been caught with the bare hands for fish generation after fish generation, until only fish of superior intelligence and agility were left. These smart fish, hiding in the muddy water under the newly deposited glacial boulders, eluded the hands of the most expertly trained fish-grabbers. Those tribesmen who had studied advanced fish-grabbing in the secondary school could do no better than their less
well-educated fellows who had taken only an elementary course in the subject, and even the university graduates with majors in ichthyology were baffled by the problem. No matter how good a man's fish-grabbing education had been, he could not grab fish when he could not find fish to grab. The melting waters of the approaching ice sheet also made the country wetter. The ground became marshy far back from the banks of the creek. The stupid woolly horses, standing only five or six hands high and running on four-toed front feet and three-toed hind feet, although admirable objects for clubbing, had one dangerous characteristic. They were ambitious. They all wanted to learn to run on their middle toes. They all had visions of becoming powerful and aggressive
animals instead of little and timid ones. They dreamed of a far-distant day when some of their descendants would be sixteen hands high, weigh more than half a ton, and be able to pitch their would-be riders into the dirt. They knew they could never attain these goals in a wet, marshy country, so they all went east to the dry, open plains, far from the paleolithic hunting grounds. Their places were taken by little antelopes who came down with the ice sheet and were so shy and speedy and had so keen a scent for danger that no one could approach them closely to club them.
The best trained horse-clubbers of the tribe went out day after day and employed the most efficient techniques taught in the schools, but day after day they returned empty-handed. A horse clubbing education of the highest type could get no results when there were no horses to club. Finally, to complete the disruption of paleolithic life and education, the new dampness in the air gave the saber-tooth tigers pneumonia, a disease to which these animals were peculiarly susceptible and to which most of them
succumbed. A few moth-eaten specimens crept south to the desert, it is true, but they were pitifully few and weak representatives of a once numerous and powerful race. So there were no more tigers to scare in the paleolithic community, and the best
tiger-scaring techniques became only academic exercises, good in themselves, perhaps, but not necessary for tribal security. Yet this danger to the people was lost only to be replaced by another and even greater danger, for with the advancing ice sheet came ferocious glacial bears which were not afraid of fire, which walked the trails by day as well as by night, and which could not be driven away by the most advanced methods developed in the tiger-scaring courses of the schools.
The community was now in a very difficult situation. There was no fish or meat for food, no hides for clothing, and no security from the hairy death that walked the trails day and night. Adjustment to this difficulty had to be made at once if the tribe was not to become extinct. Fortunately for the tribe, however, there were men in it of the old New-Fist breed, men who had the ability to do and the daring to think. One of them stood by the muddy stream, his stomach contracting with hunger pains, longing for some way to get a fish to eat. Again and again he had tried the old fish-grabbing technique that day, hoping desperately that at last it might work, but now in black despair he finally rejected all that he had learned in the schools and looked about him for
some new way to get fish from the stream. There were stout but slender vines hanging from trees along the bank. He pulled them down and began to fasten them together more or less aimlessly. As he worked, the vision of what he might do to satisfy his hunger and that of his crying children back in the cave grew clearer. His black despair lightened a little. He worked more rapidly and
intelligently. At last he had it - a net, a crude seine. He called a companion and explained the device. The two men took the net into the water, into pool after pool, and in one hour they caught more fish - intelligent fish in muddy water - than the whole tribe could have caught in a day under the best fish-grabbing conditions.
Another intelligent member of the tribe wandered hungrily through the woods where once the stupid little horses had abounded but where now only the elusive antelope could be seen. He had tried the horse-clubbing technique on the antelope until he was fully convinced of its futility. He knew that one would starve who relied on school learning to get him meat in those woods. Thus it was that he too, like the fish-net inventor, was finally impelled by hunger to new ways. He bent a strong, springy young tree over an antelope trail, hung a noosed vine therefrom, and fastened the whole device in so ingenious a fashion that the passing animal would release a trigger and be snared neatly when the tree jerked upright. By setting a line of these snares, he was able in one night to secure more meat and skins than a dozen horse-clubbers in the old days had secured in a week.
A third tribesman, determined to meet the problem of the ferocious bears, also forgot what he had been taught in school and began to think in direct and radical fashion. Finally, as a result of this thinking, he dug a deep pit in a bear trail, covered it with branches in such a way that a bear would walk out on it unsuspectingly, fall through to the bottom, and remain trapped until the
tribesmen could come up and dispatch him with sticks and stones at their leisure. The inventor showed his friends how to dig and camouflage other pits until all the trails around the community were furnished with them. Thus the tribe had even more security than before and in addition had the great additional store of meat and skins which they secured from the captured bears. As the knowledge of these new inventions spread, all the members of the tribe were engaged in familiarizing themselves with the new ways of living. Men worked hard at making fish nets, setting antelope snares, and digging bear pits. The tribe was busy and prosperous. There were a few thoughtful men who asked questions as they worked. Some of them even criticized the schools. These new activities of net-making and operating, snare-setting, and pit-digging are indispensable to modern existence," they said. "Why can't they be taught in school?"The safe and sober majority had a quick reply to this naive question. "School!" they snorted derisively. "You aren't in school now. You are out here in the dirt working to preserve the life and happiness of the tribe. What have these
practical activities got to do with schools? You're not saying lessons now. You'd better forget your lessons and your academic ideals of fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger-scaring if you want to eat, keep warm, and have some measure of security from sudden death." The radicals persisted a little in their questioning. "Fishnet-making and using, antelope-snare construction and operation, and bear-catching and killing, they pointed out, "require intelligence and skills--things we claim to develop in
schools. They are also activities we need to know. Why can't the schools teach them?"
But most of the tribe, and particularly the wise old men who controlled the school, smiled indulgently at this suggestion. "That wouldn't be education," they said gently.
"But why wouldn't it be?" asked the radicals.
"Because it would be mere training," explained the old men patiently. "With all the intricate details of fish-grabbing, horse-clubbing, and tiger-scaring-the standard cultural subjects-the school curriculum is too crowded now. We can't add these fads and frills of net-making, antelope-snaring, and--of all things--bear-killing. Why, at the very thought, the body of the great New-Fist, founder of our paleolithic educational system, would turn over in its burial cairn. What we need to do is to give our young people a more thorough grounding in the fundamentals. Even the graduates of the secondary schools don't know the art of fish-grabbing in any complete sense nowadays, they swing their horse clubs awkwardly too, and as for the old science of tiger-scaring--well, even the teachers seem to lack the real flair for the subject which we oldsters got in our teens and never forgot."
"But, damn it," exploded one of the radicals, "how can any person with good sense be interested in such useless activities? What is the point of trying to catch fish with the bare hands when it just can't be done any more. How can a boy learn to club horses when there are no horses left to club? And why in hell should children try to scare tigers with fire when the tigers are dead and gone?" "Don't be foolish," said the wise old men, smiling most kindly smiles. "We don't teach fish-grabbing to grab fish; we teach it to develop a generalized agility which can never to developed by mere training. We don't teach horse-clubbing to club horses; we teach it to develop a generalized strength in the learner which he can never get from so prosaic and specialized a thing as antelope-snaring. We don't teach tiger-scaring to scare tigers; we teach it for the purpose of giving that noble courage which carries over into all the affairs of life and which can never come from so base an activity as bear-killing." All the radicals were silenced by this statement, all except the one who was most radical of all. He felt abashed, it is true, but he was so radical that he made
one last protest. "But--but anyway," he suggested, "you will have to admit that times have changed. Couldn't you please try these other more up-to-date activities? Maybe they have some educational value after all?"
Even the man's fellow radicals felt that this was going a little too far.
The wise old men were indignant. Their kindly smiles faded. "If you had any education yourself," they said severely, "you would know that the essence of true education is timelessness. It is something that endures through changing conditions like a solid rock standing squarely and firmly in the middle of a raging torrent. You must know that there are some eternal verities, and the saber-tooth curriculum is one of them!"