4 - Transformation personnelle & sociale Fondamentaux Transformation personnelle & sociale

The Twelve Suggestions – Paul Chefurka

Un commentaire récent m’a ramené vers ce « chantier » en cours … Désolé, mais je n’ai pas le temps de tout traduire correctement … et les commentaires sont toujours à venir. Mais ce texte, comme tous ceux de Paul Chefurka repris sur volte-espace, est important.

« The Twelve Suggestions »

« People love lists.  We’re always creating our own and eagerly reading those of others.  Lists of things, places, people, ideas, best, worst, oldest, newest, do, don’t : we love them all.

The most famous list of all is, of course, The Ten Commandments.  That list of admonitions, attributed to the Abrahamic God, has served as a measure of morality and a touchstone of hypocrisy for centuries (0).

As a new eco-spiritual consciousness blossoms across the world, however, many people are revisiting the values that define their lives.  As a result, we are living by a new set of core principles.  This article is my attempt to set down the principles by which I live my own life — principles I believe are widely shared within the stream of people awakening to the true state of the world and their own nature¹.

These are not commandments.  The reality in which we live is far too complex to be mediated by such a simple mechanism.  Instead, these are truly suggestions.  I suggest that if you consciously adopt any of these principles you will move into better alignment with yourself and your world².  Improving your alignment with reality cannot help but make your life easier, more fulfilling, happier and more productive.

You may click on each suggestion to read a short meditation about it.

0 – Think

« Each of us thinks between 12,000 and 50,000 thoughts on an average day.  Given this enormous amount of thinking (that we can’t seem to stop under any circumstances), identifying thought as a crucial factor in awakening our consciousness may seem a bit superfluous.  In fact, becoming aware of how we think is the first crucial step along that path.  Here’s why:

Very early in our childhood we are all imprinted with perceptual filters and programmed responses, from parental teachings and our reactions to childhood traumas large and small.  Later in life those filters and programs cause us to respond to events through imprinted interpretations from the past rather than in terms of the events themselves  To the extent that we can recognize that imprinting we will be able to respond to events more appropriately.  Being able to perceive and respond to outer and inner events as they truly are is the key to awakening our consciousness.

Every thought we have is shaped by those programs and coloured by those filters.  This involuntary re-shaping causes us to respond to the world more or less inappropriately.  The filters and programs that influence our thinking were formed in response to past events that were quite different from those we are responding to in the present.

As a result, what we usually experience as thinking bears as much resemblance to conscious thought as walking to the kitchen does to running a hundred meter dash.  When we walk to the kitchen, the motions of our feet are instinctive – control of them is delegated to unconscious mechanisms in order to reduce the effort as much as possible.  When we run a race however, every aspect of their motion is brought into our awareness so that we can exercise maximum conscious control over them.  It’s precisely the same with thought.

The vast majority of our thoughts are the result of our minds running on automatic pilot.  Some outside event or an internal feeling occurs, and it prompts a thought.  Because the thought is a response to a stimulus, it always emerges through pathways that are cluttered with learned patterns.  Most of us put absolutely no effort into intercepting that thought in its infancy, recognizing the influences our past have had on it, and trying to reduce those impacts to a minimum.  While that effort might allow the thought to more accurately reflect the stimulus that created it, frankly, we’re talking about up to 50,000 thoughts per day — that’s way too much work, and most of us would rather just think than think about thinking.

Fortunately, there is another approach that works much better.  Rather than walking blindfolded down the cluttered hallway to the kitchen, desperately trying to regain our balance after tripping over each piece of clutter (aka the filters and programs we all have lying around), why not just clean out the hallway and walk down it with our eyes open ?  With compassionate, persistent inner inquiry, supported by just a touch of courage and encouragement, we can do just that.  The following twelve suggestions are signposts on that path. »

1 – Awaken

« We spend most of our lives asleep. By this we mean living not in accordance with our own perceptions, but according to the interpretations and values given to us by others. Even when we feel we are making conscious, adult choices we are largely reacting according to programs that were imprinted on us in early childhood. Such an unconscious guidance system reduces the effort it takes to navigate through life. Unfortunately, it also means that our responses to events will often be inappropriate. This is because pre-programmed responses are inflexible, unable to take into account different circumstances or changing values. Our responses will be imperfectly aligned with the events we are responding to, and this lack of alignment creates some degree of discomfort within us, which can vary from a subliminal uneasiness to overt feelings of anger, resentment or fear.

Awakening involves a deliberate, conscious choice to perceive both our inner world and the outer world as they truly are. To accomplish this we need to recognize the unconscious filters through which we see those worlds, and to understand the unconscious programs by which we live our lives. As our awareness and understanding of these programs grow we may be able to discard the ones that cause us the most discomfort, and replace them with consciously chosen responses that are more in tune with the situation.

As we work to awaken, our feelings about the events around us, both positive and negative, become stronger and sharper. At the same time, the constant sense of unease that most of us live with diminishes. That gives us a new sense of confidence and control that paradoxically allows us to relinquish control, to « go with the flow », since we are now moving with the current of our life rather than constantly fighting it.

Awakening to our true nature as conscious beings and to the true nature of the world we live in is a lifelong journey. It leads us to unexpected realizations and a constant stream of new wonders. It is the jewel at the center of our existence, costing nothing but of infinite value. »

2 – Trust

 « Trust in its broadest sense (also known as Basic Trust) underpins our entire relationship with the universe, including the other people it contains.  Like so many of our core traits, basic trust is formed at a very early age.  Young children who have secure attachments with their parents have a general sense that the world is predictable and reliable. This basic trust is formed by loving, sensitive, care givers — not from our immutable genetic makeup or from having a continuously positive early environment.

If our early holding environment is damaged (and it’s always damaged to some extent due to our inevitable separation from our parents as our egoic selves develop), we lose some of that basic trust.  We may begin to feel that the universe is an uncertain place, where random events threaten our security and people respond to us unpredictably or even negatively.

All of us experience some loss of basic trust, no matter how well-intentioned our parents might have been.  That’s just the way life works, it seems.  Fortunately, some of that lost trust can be regained later in life.  A large part of the sense of undependability comes from the fact that the unconscious programs and filters we absorbed in childhood cause us to react to the world inappropriately.  These misaligned actions generate unexpected outcomes, as the real world reacts to us differently than we expected.  This mismatch between our filtered perception of the world, our programmed behaviour, and the real world’s response to it reinforces our feeling that the universe is fundamentally untrustworthy.

One of the key benefits of awakening as a conscious being is that we come into better alignment with ourselves and the world.  As that happens, we can respond to life’s events more appropriately.  As our responses gradually begin to reflect the true nature of our world, the world’s responses to us in turn become more predictable.  As the predictability grows, we can feel some of our lost trust returning — the universe begins to seem less capricious and threatening.

Inner inquiry into the nature and origins of our implanted perceptual filters and our programmed behaviour is essential to this process.  Going back to our earliest childhood memories to find out how those experiences formed our sense of self with all its intricacies and quirks will reveal the filters and programs, and that revelation will give us control over their influence.  As that inner journey progresses, the true nature of the universe we are living in gradually clarifies.  As we begin to see it as it truly is, it stops seeming so threateningly random, and basic trust is gradually restored.

Our ability to trust is the underpinning of our greatest glory as conscious beings — our ability to love. »

3 – Love

« There is only one happiness in life — to love and to be loved. »

George Sand

« You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly. »

Sam Keen

« There is no other human experience about which so much has been written, yet so little is understood.  Just when you think you have it figured out, the comprehension slips out of your grasp like a wisp of smoke.  We all know about it, but most of us have the sneaking suspicion that we don’t actually know it.

All too often when we try to look at it closely love seems to dissolve into something else.  I feel love for my partner, but on closer examination it may resolve into equal parts of need, pragmatism and a fear of being alone.  I feel love for my country, but a more dispassionate inspection may reveal tinges of pride, exceptionalism, xenophobia, groupthink and deference to authority.

And yet …

Most of us have come close enough to love (whatever it « really » is) to appreciate the intensity, the devotion and the sense of loss of boundaries that it invokes.  We all understand that love truly is what makes life worth living.  What is it, then, that keeps us from actualizing this noblest of states within ourselves ?

It is a truism that you cannot love another without first loving yourself.  If you do not love yourself then the love you feel for anyone or anything else will be coloured, reshaped, corrupted and ultimately blocked by your inability to love the core of your own universe – yourself.  And the key is that loving yourself is possible only if you are aligned with yourself and your world.

As was the case with Trust, love must be based on a true perception of the person you love and the ability to relate to that person authentically.  If we see them through filters, and respond to them through programs, love is simply not possible.  We may experience a convincing facsimile of it, but real love is possible only when you are in true relation to the one you love.

Since all love must start with the self, it follows that the inner explorations described above in the thoughts on Awakening and Trust will lead almost inevitably to the ability to love.  First we rid ourselves of filters and programs, so that we may relate authentically to the true object of our love.  Once we can do that, love blossoms automatically — the human heart appears to have the drive to love as its Prime Directive.

We can not « create » love.  We can, however, easily prevent it from blooming. If we wish to have more love in our life our best chance lies in removing the impediments to it.  Fortunately, those impediments lie within ourselves and are surprisingly amenable to compassionate and persistent attention. »

4 – Connect

 « Connections are the fabric of the universe.  Connections at every level form the very stuff of existence.

Human connections between parents and children, between lovers, friends, co-workers and even between strangers on the Internet serve to keep us all sane.  It’s no coincidence that the ultimate punishments involve the removal of connections, whether though ostracism, banishment or solitary confinement.  At a very deep level, we need connection in order to remain fully human.  When we want to improve our mental health, the counsellor’s first advice is, « Get out and make some friends. »

On the physical level, forces such as  gravity and the strong and weak atomic forces connect the material objects in our universe.  Without those connections the planets, stars and galaxies could not even exist.

On a more abstract level, the connections between ideas drive the growth of civilizations.  Connections between states of being are required to make the slightest action possible.  And since both ideas and states of being can represent or involve physical matter, in an indirect way they too involve the physical connections mentioned above.

At a deep philosophical level, every connection in the universe is at least faintly represented in every other connection, no matter how real or abstract each connection may seem to be.  Given that understanding, it is but a short step to the idea that every element of the universe, whether physical (like atoms or galaxies), emergent (like civilizations or human institutions) or abstract (like scientific theories) is connected to every other element of the universe.  The fact that those connections may not be obvious or measurable, or may seem unimportant to our present needs, does not vacate this fundamental truth.

Continuing down that chain of reasoning, the next stop is the realization that the universe itself should be thought of more as a set of connections than as a set of objects.  Objects within the universe may change, but if the infinite lattice of connections is not broken, the universe itself remains intact.

As human beings, it is our privilege to become aware of, and consciously participate in, this infinite lattice of connections.  In fact it is in the web of connections that all creativity is rooted. Every human action creates new connections or changes existing ones.  As human beings we can choose to create connections that are harmonious and fulfilling to us.  By creating or changing the connections that bind us to the universe, we participate in the dance through which all the elements of the universe co-create this existence.  In that sense, we each share in the powers of God.

If we think of God as the infinite sea of connections that underlies our reality, then it’s possible to see a single connection as the quantum unit of the sacred.  Every time we consciously create or change this fabric of connections we have the opportunity to become aware of the infinity in which we participate, and through that to touch the awareness of God. »

5 – Detach

« One of Gautama Buddha’s great contributions to understanding the human condition was his teaching about attachment.  Simply put, the teaching is that since all suffering springs from attachment, reducing your attachment to the world (or detaching yourself from it) will reduce your suffering.

In order to understand what this means, we must understand what is meant by « suffering », « attachment » and « the world ».

According to Buddhist teachings, attachment springs from our separation from the world.  This separation prompts us to cling to the world — to its people, ideas and stuff — as a way of warding off the anxiety of that separation.  Unfortunately, since everything in the world is impermanent, attaching to it doesn’t help.  In fact, clinging to impermanent aspects of the world increases our suffering rather than alleviating it.  And it’s not just attaching to things we like about the world that does this, either.  Even an aversion to some aspect of the world — for example the dislike of a person, place or idea — is an attachment, since the aversion itself binds us to the thing we dislike.

When we detach from the world, we free ourselves to heal that separation, as the boundary between inside and outside is no longer being reinforced by our attachments across it.  As the separation is healed, the suffering it causes is likewise diminished.

Now you might be asking yourself, « Before, he was talking about connecting as a good thing.  Now he’s saying that detaching is a good thing.  What gives? »  The key to resolving this apparent paradox lies in understanding a subtle distinction.  Attachment is not the same as connection.  In fact, attachment is pretty much the opposite of connection.  Attachment is our response to dualistic separation, and reinforces that separation.  When we detach, we reduce the separation, and therefore increase our level of connection.  If separation causes suffering that is relieved by connection, then by detaching (and thereby increasing our level of connection with the world) we can reduce our suffering.

Here’s an example.  When I am detached from the outcome of an election, I am more able to accept the outcome (no matter who wins) as well as the individual supporters of any of the political parties involved.  That acceptance increases my level of connection.  It doesn’t mean that I will have no opinion about the election or the parties involved.  As a social human being, I could hardly help but have opinions.  However, if I recognize that even election outcomes belong to the world of impermanence, I will be less attached to any particular outcome, and thus will suffer less regardless of who wins or loses.

The essential beginning of any journey from attachment to connection is to discard the perceptual filters and behavioural programs that were implanted at a very young age.  As long as those remain in place, we respond to the world as though it was an extension of our inner state.  In other words we remain attached to it.  The journey to detachment is exactly the same as the journey to trust, love and connection. »

6 – Accept

« One of Michel Cimino’s great lines in the movie « The Deer Hunter » was delivered to the character Stanley at the beginning of the hunting trip after the wedding. Sitting on the hood of their car up in the mountains, Cimino pulls a rifle cartridge from his pocket and holds it up to Stan, saying, « Stanley, see this?  This is this.  This ain’t something else.  This is this. »  That line captures the essence of acceptance.  This is this.  Things are what they are, and no amount of pretending will make them otherwise.

As long as we remain under the spell of the filters we were given as young children, it is very difficult to see things as they are.  The filters mask the real nature of things, and we see them largely as reflections or projections of our own internal states.  Discarding  the filters helps us see outside objects, events or situations more clearly.  Of course, in order to discard our filters we must first understand what they are and how we acquired them.  The inner inquiry into the origins of our filters as described under « Trust » is the key to this process.

Clarifying our perception is only the first step in acceptance, however.  In order to truly accept the universe as it is, we need to respond to it authentically.  It is of little use to understand that « This is this » if we then say, « Yes, but I it should be that, because the fact that it’s this makes me uncomfortable. »  That reaction comes from the programmed patterns that we inherited at the same time that we got our perceptual filters.  To complete our journey of acceptance we must be able to respond to the clearly seen universe as it is, not as we would prefer it to be for one reason or another.  Fortunately, the same journey of inner inquiry that reveals our filters also allows us to investigate the origins of our programs, and becoming aware of them likewise loosens their hold on our behaviour.

The ability to see things for what they really are, and respond to their true nature is true acceptance.  For example, imagine being stopped by a red traffic light.  It helps our acceptance if we can realize that it’s just a traffic light rather than something put into the universe by malevolent fate to impede our personal journey.  It helps even more to then realize that our impatience is an automatic response that stems perhaps from a fear of being late that was generated by a traumatic incident when we were three years old.

Out of such mundane stuff comes our ability to accept things as they are.  This ability to accept is yet another manifestation of our improving alignment with the universe. »

7 – Forgive

« Forgiveness is an essential part of reducing our attachments to the world and increasing our alignment with it.

When directed toward others, forgiveness is the process of ceasing to feel resentment or anger for a perceived offense, and ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.  When we forgive someone we reduce the separation and attachment that is caused by our feelings of hurt.  Those feelings are what bind us to the other person, and this is precisely the sort of attachment that causes suffering.  Anger and resentment are terribly hard on the body’s endocine system, especially if we nurse a grudge over a long period of time.  In that case the suffering caused by the attachment can even be severe enough to cause physical illness.

Forgiving ourselves is slightly different.  As we mature and gain perspective on our lives, we may come to feel that we have committed a wrong against someone else.  Our feelings of shame and self-judgment for this can be very strong.  If the wronged party is not available, we may not be able to ease our emotional burden by apologizing to them directly.  In that case it may be useful to formally forgive ourselves, perhaps in the presence of someone we trust, in order to make the act of forgiveness more real.  We might speak the forgiveness out loud, or write ourselves a letter.  Doing this can remove what otherwise would be a serious barrier on our journey to trust, love and acceptance.  It’s important to remember that even though the person we feel we wronged may not have perceived any offense, the important matter is our own judgement of ourselves.  The feeling of having wronged someone can be every bit as strong whether the offense was real or imagined.

No matter whether we are forgiving ourselves or others, one crucial thing to remember is that the event for which we are seeking or offering forgiveness is in the past.  We cannot reach back and change history, in the same way that we cannot reach into the future to arrange a desired outcome.  All that is available to any of us us is the present moment.  The act of requesting or granting forgiveness is always for our benefit right now.  What we really seek though these actions is a change in the way we feel right now, and a change in how well we are attuned to the world right now.

Called « emptying out » in personal development circles, forgiveness processes are very powerful tools for quieting the inner voices that  constantly judge our behaviour (and always seem to find it wanting). When those voices are quieted, we can continue our journey in peace. »

8 – Wait

 « Don’t just do something!  Sit there !!! »

« The ability to wait is one of the most under-valued attributes in our modern, fast-paced world.  We are expected to be problem-solvers, men and women of action, self-starters, go-getters, quick off the mark, always prepared to give 110%.  Our workaholic culture leaves no room for quiet contemplation, no time to let the experiences of our lives integrate and coalesce into wisdom.

One area (among many) where this frenetic need to act may work to our long term detriment is in the field of environmental remediation.  It is becoming ever more obvious that we are near the limits of the earth’s ability to support us in the style to which we have become accustomed.  Global warming in particular has seized the imagination of the problem-solvers.  Their frantic need to Fix It Right Now! has resulted in some truly outlandish proposals that violate the Precautionary Principle and could easily  cause more damage over the long run.  Examples of this include: seeding the oceans with iron filings to increase the growth of carbon-sequestering algae; orbiting giant mirrors to reflect some of the sunlight back into space before it enters the atmosphere; releasing huge clouds of sulphate particles into the upper atmosphere to act as artificial volcanic dust and slow the warming of the surface beneath; and that ne plus ultra of short-sightedness, turning food into biofuel to run our cars..

Of course some of these proposals may have some merit, but it’s impossible to tell because so little time is being set aside for calm reflection.  It might turn out after due consideration that some entirely different approach would have better prospects over the long run, but we may never know.  Voices advocating time for « sober second thoughts » are being drowned out by those who feel compelled to act, no matter what the consequences.

Waiting has great benefits in all areas of life, from business and government to our personal lives.  Wisdom takes time.  Deeply understanding the world takes time.  Thinking through problems from a number of different points of view takes time.  Time to reflect is one of the great gifts we can give ourselves, and if it means we (or others) have to wait, so be it.

When you run into those little delays in life, like red traffic lights or a lineup at the checkout counter, rather than seeing them as roadblocks on your journey to somewhere else think of them as opportunities for reflection.  Use those moments to remind yourself that the present is the only time you have, and that waiting is important too.

When the time is right, act.  Until then, wait. »

9 – Respect

« According to our traditional use of the term, respect is esteem for or a sense of the worth of a person or some personal quality.  In other words, respect is reserved exclusively for people.

One of the things that has made it easy to withhold respect from non-human entities has been our core dualism — the one that has allowed us to thoughtlessly ruin our planet and drive millions of other species toward extinction in the process.  This dualism is the one that sees the world as composed of only two classes of things: people and resources.  In such a bi-polar world, only humans are deserving of respect, because it’s obvious that iron ore, oil, wheat and cattle only need to be useful.  In this world-view, if a non-human entity is not being used as a resource by humans at the moment, then there is really no reason for it to even exist.  If we can’t remove it to make way for something more useful to us, it would be best if it stayed out of our way.  Respect doesn’t even enter the picture.

Well, as Bob Dylan sang so many years ago, « The times they are a-changin’. »

One of the seditious ideas that is finally creeping back into the global consciousness is the notion that perhaps all that other non-human « stuff » out there isn’t just stuff after all.  Maybe it’s all part of the matrix in which we live, a web that we are part of in the same way as whales, honeybees, oak trees and ragweed.  Just maybe we are a part of life rather than apart from it.  Maybe all that other life out there has its own intrinsic worth and value, independent of its usefulness to us.  Maybe all that life has a right to the resources it needs to live, just as we do.

Healing that dualistic separation, recognizing the fundamental equality and interdependence of all life on this fair planet requires a dramatic change in our use of the word « respect ».  If we recognize the worth of non-human life as being commensurate with our own, then we must extend our respect to it as well.  This respect requires that we give non-human life room to grow, that we honour its need for life-sustaining resources and habitat, that we not destroy it unnecessarily, and that we begin to treat it as our partner in the great dance of existence.

The glory of life is that it is the manifestation of the universe’s creative nature.  Together, human and non-human life in all its uncountable forms co-create the living reality we take for granted every day.  Respect seems like such a small repayment for that sacred endeavour.  Paying respect to other life is a form of meditation or prayer.  Each time we do it, we bring ourselves into closer alignment with the world we live in, this exuberant and generous world that nurtures us and gives us a home. »

10 – Create

« The universe we live in is the largest, most complex, most fertile creative act it is possible to imagine.

Whether you adopt a naturalistic, philosophical or theological perspective, the universe can be understood as a single, unified creative field.  This field emerges from all the infinite individual acts of creation and change that occur every moment..  Speaking naturalistically, the continual transformations of energy, matter and form create the matrix of change that enables the creation of new life and its emergent qualities.  Speaking philosophically, all creative acts and the entities that enact them work together to co-create the reality that we perceive.  Speaking theologically, the totality of this creative universe is God.

Seen in this light, we sapient human beings are in a very privileged position.  We not only get to participate in this majestic yet playful dance of creation, we get to be aware of it as well.  If we choose to, we can consciously choreograph our part in the dance.  By choosing to create we shape the dance itself, give it personal meaning, support others in their own choreography, contribute to the unfoldment of reality on many levels, and have enormous fun in the process.  For those with a transcendental sensibility, creation is indeed a sacred act.

It doesn’t matter what the creative act is.  Planting a seed, giving birth, writing a poem, building a house, playing music, making a new friend, knitting a pair of socks — all these creative acts are on an equal footing in the universe.   Even designing a new  pesticide, bomb or exotic financial investment instrument is a legitimate act of creation — there is no  universal law that says only acts with good outcomes  count.  All creativity contributes to the unfoldment of the universe.

In honour of this universe, no matter how you perceive it, set your creative spirit free.  Every act of creation is a moment of grace. »

11 – Nurture

« To nurture something means to supply it with support, nourishment and protection. It doesn’t matter what sort of « thing » we’re talking about. You can nurture a child, an animal, an idea, a connection with a friend, an attitude, a feeling, a social movement or an organization. If you are inclined to see the universe as a living organism, you can even nurture the universe itself.

The full value of nurturing lies in the fact that it doesn’t just benefit whatever is being nurtured. It returns equal benefit to the one who does the nurturing. As Newton observed, « To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. » The act of nurturing also nurtures us in return, in a deep and profound way. Nurturing increases our degree of connection with the world. It helps break down the barriers that separate self from other, that separate each of us from the world we live in. Each nurturing act reminds us of the interdependence of life. If we allow them to, those acts will reinforce our understanding that nothing exists apart from the web of life, and that each of us plays an important role in creating and maintaining that web.

As we nurture, a great sense of responsibility and protectiveness can rise within us. If we use our developing awareness of connection to extend those feelings out to the rest of the world, they will meet and link with our feeling of respect for life. That linkage allows us to create a net of compassion that we can then cast over all life, human and non-human alike.

A great reciprocity rules the universe — as we nurture, so we are nurtured in return. »

12 – Play

« When we contemplate the world we live in, a world of jobs, family responsibilities, environmental threats, war, financial instability and endless politics, it can be difficult to give ourselves permission to play.  We know that « All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy, » but somehow we have convinced ourselves that we should only play once all the work is done.  What a terrible, stifling, soul-destroying, dehumanizing restriction to put on ourselves!

I’m sure that our short stay on this planet is supposed to be fun.  When you think of it, what sane person would choose misery over joy, burdens over lightness, or slavery over freedom?  It is a true testament to the perversity of the human spirit that our culture nurtures this monstrous imbalance.  Even worse, most of us have bought into this premise hook, line and sinker.  Past the age of 12 or so, play becomes somewhat suspect.  The message is, « Grow up, settle down, get a job, raise a family. »  They never seem to add, « but remember every once in a while to take off your shoes and run barefoot through a dew-soaked field just for the hell of it. »

To those whose god is Progress rather than Being, the very notion of play is threatening.  After all, if we were to decide that we wanted to devote more of our time to play, we might decide that we’ve had about enough Progress for now, thank you very much, and perhaps it is time to enjoy the fruits of our labour.  To those with inhuman agendas such ideas are heresy, and must be rooted out at every turn.  So they carefully organize our play, giving us professional sports where we can act as spectators, receiving a simulation of play while never straying outside the corporate hive, and all the while laying our admission fees on the altar of Progress.

Let’s do a little experiment.  Imagine a big grassy field.  On that field is one lone person turning endless somersaults. What is your reaction ?  For many of us it will be something like, « How strange !  I wonder why they’re doing that, there seems to be no reason for it. »  Now imagine that same field, but with a hundred people in it turning somersaults.  Now our reaction is different.  It’s probably more along the lines of, « Ah, there must be some kind of event going on.  That looks like fun, I wonder who is sponsoring it ? » Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with what those reactions say about the world we have created ?

Play reconnects us to our inner child, to that core of endless creativity, innocence and fun that ranks right up there with love as a reason for living.  Take time to play.  If it makes you uncomfortable at first, do it with your eyes closed so no one can see you.  Keep playing, and eventually you might think to yourself, « Hey this isn’t as bad as I thought ! »  With enough practice you might decide that an hour of play is more valuable than an hour of overtime, and why should you spend so much of your life doing things that aren’t fun ?  Be careful, though, that way lies sanity.

As a great sage once said, « Life is short.  Eat dessert first ! »

Paul Chefurka

October 22, 2008
© Copyright 2008, Paul Chefurka

This article may be reproduced in whole or in part for the purpose of research, education or other fair use, provided the nature and character of the work is maintained and credit is given to the author by the inclusion in the reproduction of his name and/or an electronic link to the article on the author’s web site.  The right of commercial reproduction is reserved.




NB : traduction partielle et commentaires à venir. Patience !

0 – Parmi les innombrables versions commentées de cette fameuse liste, en voici deux qui ne sont pas sans intérêt :

  • « Les Dix Commandements aujourd’hui » d’André Chouraqui
  • « Les Dix Commandements » d’Yvan Amar

Les listes … on les oublie en général rapidement après les avoir faites ! C’est pour cela que j’apprécie autant la Vision du Soi selon Douglas Harding : une seule chose à faire, Voir dans les deux sens, Voir Ce à partir de quoi je regarde, Voir que Je Suis cet espace d’accueil vide, illimité et inconditionnel qui contient tout. La Vision du Soi (Vision Sans Tête) convient à merveille aux … têtes de linotte !

Rappel : la Première Personne – et ici Paul Chefurka également – compte toujours à partir de 0, moyen habile (upaya) de, notamment, transformer les groupes de quatre personnes en groupe de trois … Et également de réduire à néant le concept erroné d’« environnement ». Essayez, vérifiez … n’en croyez pas un traître mot !

¹ –

principles I believe are widely shared within the stream of people awakening to the true state of the world and their own nature¹.

² –

I suggest that if you consciously adopt any of these principles you will move into better alignment with yourself and your world².

Par Jean-Marc Thiabaud

Jean-Marc Thiabaud, 65 ans, marié, deux fils, un petit-fils.
La lecture de "La philosophie éternelle" d'Aldous Huxley m'oriente précocement sur le chemin de la recherche du Soi.
Mon parcours intérieur emprunte d'abord la voie du yoga, puis celle de l'enseignement d'Arnaud Desjardins.
La rencontre de Douglas Harding en 1993 me permet d'accéder à une évidence que je souhaite désormais partager.

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