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We relate to that which can leave us
When it seems there is no other choice
The only one possible Hellos that sadden
When time passes, things change,
And they become Goodbyes.

How else could it be in a world of absence
Where we’ve lost the presence of that
Which won’t leave us
In a fog of never Now, never light, never visible,
Never Here with us where we are
If we are anywhere at all.

Yet the Hello of Love that lasts forever finds us
Somehow connects us to a state of Mind
Where there is only Good, and it can never end
Whose connection cannot be broken
Because it established itself.

Because we did not go to it, we went nowhere
It came to us of its own accord
Just as it can leave of its own accord
If we imagine that it’s an object to be possessed
To be ruled by arbitrariness and abuse.

The Hello of Love that lasts forever
Needs no choosing if it’s chosen us
So gentle and tender that it slips by awareness
So harmless that it opens and occupies
our most vulnerable space, unnoticed.

Our Heart, as though it had been there all along
And why not? This is its Home where it belongs
The Soul of Oneness whose door is open
To hearts everywhere when we get out of the way.

When we do what is asked of us and let it go
Set it free – the Good that we do when we share it
Touching one another with Love
Hellos that won’t become Goodbyes.

 

Reflections to share with adolescents

Reflections to share with adolescents who may be wondering about affect: its role in relationships, in adolescents’ future, in mythology, and in all of Creation. How does it figure in the choice between what is Real and unreal, True and false, Good and evil? Why does it matter?

The usual poetic content is heavy with subjective thought and feeling. Grief and romantic Love are common types of feeling but there are others. Many are related to the values listed in my piece on adolescence [Thirteen: Reflections on Character and Values at the Beginning of Adolescence. 08/28/21]  T.R. Hummer’s non-rhyming poem, “My Mother in Bardo” (New Yorker 01/24/22 p. 50), is an example of a poem infused with grief. But if I’m assigned to compose a rhyming poem and I have no particular talent for lyrics, I might produce something lifeless, without affect.

Literature and poetry in particular say a lot about who we are and what’s important to us. For adolescents coming into their own it can be an effective way to gain self-awareness. If they feel a sense of loss, say, for a deceased grandparent, they might express it in a non-rhyming poem. It might be strikingly different from a poem whose search for originality, beauty, or other effect is through rhyme.

Before the Big Bang

Absence of affect in subjective, creative expression is a red flag. For an adolescent it might or might not have implications for character development, but, if so, they can run deep. Star Wars mythology is based on it. What turned Adam Skywalker toward the dark side and service to Palpatine, the galactic emperor? What made the galactic empire evil? Absence of affect.

Explaining Why requires theorizing with Logic about the antecedents of our material universe -- what I call “Reality-Creation.” It preceded the Big Bang, exists in parallel with our material universe, and heavily influences our behavior and its consequences beyond our awareness. It holds sway over the origin and fate of the universe and the meaning of life. Its context is Mind-Love, not spacetime-matter. I use initial caps to set terminology that is of this other Reality apart from the lower case of our un-reality.

The “Child” is the One we were in Reality before the Child lost Consciousness and became the many. While unconscious, it mis-identified with its shadow-reflection, went into a dream state corrupted by its shadow-code, dreamed our un-reality, replicated itself in isolated-separated human bodies, projected the material world detected by their bodies’ senses, and continues to replicate itself within its dream world under the influence of its shadow-reflection. An explanation for all this is the subject of my book-in-progress with the working title, The Story of the Child.

Affect is feeling -- emotional sensitivity. Feeling is value or Worth – things cared for. Gifts with talents the Child was given at birth with which to exercise Free Choice in Creation. Affect is rooted in Mother-Love, the source of all feeling in the Child’s phase of Reality-Creation.

The dis-integration of Love from Mind

The Child has Free Will or Free Choice because the Child is Free Choice, its role in Reality-Creation. In the Child’s phase with Free Choice, the loss of Consciousness produced a dream-world of un-reality where all ideas-thoughts and their associated feelings have opposites. Opposites are the reverse mirror-image shadow-reflection of the Child and all of its values, all of its gifts including its talents.

The code that defines all opposites is derived from the Child’s Being. The code is non-being. Which means it’s insane. Nuts. The appearance of a “system” which is the opposite of system. A system ruled not by laws but by chaos -- arbitrary rule where “rules” apply to everybody but the ruler. The reverse mirror-image of sanity, what we know as the “dark side.” Everyone and everything in our un-reality has a shadow-opposite. A dark side. No exceptions.

What makes the dark side “possible” in the dream state is the separation of Love-feeling from Mind-thought. The marriage between Father Mind / Logic-Choice and Mother Love / Freedom-Creativity not only produced the Child. It’s what holds all the Implications and Interconnections of Reality-Creation together. In our un-reality that integration is gone. Science’s search for a perfectly ordered, perfectly integrated cosmos ended over a century ago and now it’s even giving up on a cosmos that just makes sense. Because it doesn’t. Meanwhile, the judgment we need to manage human affairs, to maintain order in harmony, is equally dis-integrated. It needs to be constantly re-integrated, constantly pieced together, in all our choices.

The Reality-Creation of Consciousness knows nothing of shadows, reflections, or opposites. So, shadow-opposites played no part in the Child’s Conscious exercise of Free Choice in Reality. In un-reality it’s different. “Dark side” shadow-reflections very much represent a choice for us, the unconscious Child’s replications. The choice between Right and wrong, Good and evil, where good values-gifts are the product of Mind integrated with Love-affect and their evil shadow opposites are the product of Mind absent Love-affect. We choose correctly when we discipline our thoughts and feelings, our ideas and values, always to keep Love combined with Mind.

The pussycat “Lord Vader”

One of the traits that distinguish personality types is variation in levels of affect-feeling. In importance attributed to values because feeling is value rooted in Love, the Mother of everything cared for, everything of Worth. What distinguishes character is its values.

Adam Skywalker belonged to a personality type described in Isabel Myers’ Gifts Differing. He “went over to the dark side” because his type’s level of affect-feeling and therefore his character was relatively shallow. Absence of affect-feeling translates to a relatively shallow-weak connection with the Good-positive and therefore a relatively strong susceptibility to, or attraction for, the shadow-negative.

The choice posed by Good-positive – who we are in Reality -- and evil-negative – our shadow in un-reality -- pulls different personality types in different directions. The son Luke Skywalker’s character was relatively deep with feeling-affect, strongly anchored to values, and therefore less susceptible to the attraction of shadow-opposites. The character of Darth Vader – “Dark Father” – was relatively weak with feeling-affect, loosely anchored to values, and therefore more susceptible. Adam Skywalker, who became the mythic “Lord Vader” feared by trembling subordinates, was a personality weakling -- a pussycat. Captives of shadow-reflections can impress with the appearance of strength but their reality is weakness.

Lack of values rooted in affect-feeling translates to a weak or missing internal moral compass. To a weak sense of right vs. wrong -- a lack of conscience. To insensitivity and therefore to predilection for cruelty. What defines the galactic empire and its emperor Palatine as “evil” is an absence of affect-feeling. It’s defined by Mind-thought without Love-value and therefore as character without conscience: insensitive and prone to cruelty. It becomes a universe where harm is done and pain inflicted because it is not felt, because character and values don’t matter.

Guidance from Isabel Myers’ Gifts Differing

Isabel Myers’ Gifts Differing intuits clues from personality types to differences that can account for and predict relative attraction for the dark side. The ESFP type with relatively weak feeling-judgment is a type that, if it’s not disciplined by its social culture, can be misled into shadow-opposites and wrongdoing. It happens to be the type exhibited by the current idol of the Republican party, a body-matter idolater, serial wrong-doer, and a menace to democracy, civilization, and world order. But any type weak on affect-feeling and character-values is a candidate.

My piece about adolescence listed both positive values and their shadow-opposites – the dark side. What an interest in the opposites might indicate about an adolescent’s developing personality type we don’t know. We do know that an ‘S’ (sensing) in preference to an ‘I’ (intuition) would fit an engineer or craftsman working with material objects. Sensing would account, say, for a poem engineered rather than intuited. Intuited, that is, from psyche or soul, from thoughts-feelings stored in humanity’s collective Memory.

We also know that Gifts Differing can help predict choices that different types tend to make and therefore where on balance they may be headed: To promoting humanitarian kindness and freedom (the Jedi Knights) or engaging in inhumane cruelty and oppression (the galactic empire). Definitive conclusions can’t be drawn by outside observers. They can only be drawn by subjects themselves who monitor their personality types – the building of character through their preferences.

While Isabel distinguishes between the light and dark sides the distinction is indirect. It’s implied, for example by reference to “wrongdoing,” inadequate consideration of costs, shallowness, insincerity, and other tendencies. But otherwise her “feeling” doesn’t account for dark side opposites. The difference between thinking (T) and feeling (F) isn’t necessarily what she’s intuited. Nevertheless, the difference is significant and deserves reflection. All of the differences – between introvert-extravert, sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perceptive – are relevant for types’ tendencies toward positive values and their opposites and therefore toward their subjects’ ultimate ending in fulfillment or disappointment.

The turning point: adolescence

Adolescence is a critical phase in establishing these tendencies. It’s the phase when Luke Skywalker committed to the cause of the Jedi Knights after the loss of his foster parents. It’s the phase when his father, Adam, started to part with Obi-Wan, his Jedi trainer, betray the Jedi cause, and go over to the empire. For many, our personal fortunes literally hang in the balance when we are adolescents.

May Affect be with you!

Overview: Is there any real reason why we need the answer?

If the measurements of science / quantum gravity, DNA genetics and molecular biology can't explain the origin and fate of the universe or the meaning of life without philosophy, psychology, and theology doing their part, and the dominant paradigms in every field of inquiry are still manifestly not getting it right, then there is "reason why we need the answer."

If the material universe, everything in it, and everything desirable and undesirable about humanity's and all life's experience of it traces back to an event or events in the state of immateriality or mind that preceded it; If it is but a mirror-image reverse -- a perversion -- of another Reality whose dynamics preceded it, caused it, and continue to influence it, then in the name of science's "quest for knowledge" and material "facts," in the name of philosophy's order and ethics, psychology's self-Worth and Understanding, religion's healing and "salvation," there is "reason why we need the answer."

Every error, every defect in what self-deluded minds experience in this illusory "life," even this "life" itself, traces back to the Child's archetypal mistake: the objectification of its own shadow, the projection of its self and its sovereignty onto its imagined "other," and its activation of its shadow-reflection's code or "thought system," a mirror-image reverse -- the opposite -- of all that is Real, True, and Good. All for the purpose of substituting another reality for the Reality that was lost with the loss of Consciousness. The illusion, everything about it and wrong with it, is a replication of this same mistake. The "reason why we need the answer" is (1) to stop the replication; (2) to restore Consciousness;  (3) to correct the mistake.

The main barrier to minds being guided to the answer is the misperception-misjudgment that they don't need to seek it. That even if they do they're not self-deluded; they don't misperceive and misjudge; the status quo is satisfactory; and therefore they don't need guidance. The main barrier is opposition and resistance from a mis-identified shadow-reflection -- an imagined "other." The "reason why we need the answer" is to regain self-awareness. To understand the Truth of who we are: the host, not our shadow-reflection.

Preface

Michael Strevens, in The Knowledge Machine (Liveright 2020), tells us that in their public truths scientists don't trouble their audience with other truths they may be harboring privately. Adam Becker's confession, in February's Scientific American, that quantum gravity is so baffling that physicists wonder if spacetime-matter is "somehow illusory," may be a truth that could no longer be kept private. Not if the profession is to retain any shred of honor or credibility.

Logic takes this astounding about-face from science and asks simple questions:

  • If our bodies and their physical surroundings -- the universe -- are "somehow illusory," what could cause the illusion?
  • If illusions can be caused by dreams, what mind is dreaming?
  • If unconscious minds produce dreams that are illusions, whose unconscious mind is dreaming this particular illusion?
  • What caused this mind to lose consciousness?
  • How did we come to "exist" inside an illusion being dreamed by a mind that's unconscious?
  • What is the story of this mind? Can it be told?
  • If we owe our "existence" to a mind's loss of consciousness -- a calamity on a scale equal to at least one universe and maybe many universes -- shouldn't we at least try to tell its story? Won't this help us fix what's broken? Shouldn't we try?

My metaphysical theorizing is an attempt to answer these questions. With Logic. My latest post was prompted by the scientist Adam Becker's astounding public confession. It offers insights from Logic into how and Why the Mind that produced our world lost consciousness. How and Why the illusion of spacetime-matter "happened" as a result.

The whole story is coming into focus, but it's still writing itself. Understanding may yet have a long way to go. It can't be pushed. It can't be hurried. It reveals itself at its own pace, in logical sequence, one implication, one insight, at a time.

Who is the “Child?”

The Story of the Child is about a character who existed in another Reality before the Big Bang and who exists in the same other Reality now. A character referred to in mainstream philosophical and religious mythology as the offspring of divine beings who willed our universe into existence and populated it with their offspring and its progeny. In this telling, the universe and its inhabitants are unreal, an illusion made by an unconscious-dreaming Child that could not have been Created by Logic-God or by its Parents Mind-Love.

In A Course in Miracles the Child is a he, and he is the Son of the Father. He collectively, in this world, is the “Sonship.” In my telling, it’s the Child, and “it” is both masculine and feminine, he and-or she. It collectively, in this world, is the Child’s “replications” – the many derived from the One. The Child was given birth by Father Mind and Mother Love because in my telling, following the implications of ACIM, the Child is Free Choice, and Free Choice requires that marriage between Mind-Choice and Love-Freedom be its Parents.

Opposite worlds: The Child and its shadow-reflection

The Story of the Child has not one but two dimensions: one Real and the other unreal. There is its own story, the story of its unreal shadow-reflection, and the relationship between the two. A relationship that developed in error. That should not have developed because “relationship” between what is Real and what is unreal – between contradictory, mutually exclusive “realities” – is illogical. “Relating” in this context is a logical impossibility. Because it was illogical, the “relationship” took the Story of the Child seriously off track, onto a siding where it goes round and round, nowhere. Where all that’s wrong and painful, frustrating and calamitous with our world, has settled in, waiting for the Story of the Child to get back on track.

Alternating between two “realities” with the same terminology throws Understanding off track. Terms given initial caps, like “Reality,” refer to the Reality of Mind that preceded the Big Bang and parallels our material universe. The same terms without initial caps, or in quotes, relate to the Child’s state of unconsciousness and all things imagined by it. This includes the unreality of the material universe, bodies and sensory perception, all organic “life” and inorganic matter. In short, everything illusory.

Two mutually exclusive planes of Creation

The Child is profoundly unhappy. It’s not satisfied with the substitute reality its delusion has produced – the delusion that its reflection is an “other” endowed with its own capacities, capable of saving it from the situation its loss of Consciousness put it in. It wants to return to Consciousness, to go Home, reconnect with its Parents, Father Mind and Mother Love, in its Sanctuary of Creation. It yearns to get back to work. It wants to reclaim its powers of thought and feeling, its Free Will, its sovereignty. To bring itself back to Reality and Truth, to Logic, with the Guidance of the Holy Spirit. To be Loved, useful, and happy again.

It doesn’t want “saved” or “saviors” who compromise Free Will. It’s dependent on the Holy Spirit for Guidance, but the Holy Spirit and all of Creation are dependent on the Child for Free Choice. For without Free Choice, the Creation, Affirmation, and Reciprocation of Worth is impossible. So critical is Free Choice that it must occupy its own plane in Reality-Creation where the Consciousness of the Child’s Parents cannot be present.

Conversely, Child / Free Choice cannot logically occupy the same plane of Creation as the Parents. They are connected but their functions must logically be mutually exclusive. The Child’s Consciousness is not defined by the same attributes as the Parents’ Consciousness, and their Free Spirit is not defined by the same attributes as the Child’s Free Choice. Explaining all of this, and more, through The Story of the Child, is meant to expand Understanding and shorten the time to awakening.

The decline and fall of sensory perception

The self-delusion that converted the Child’s shadow-reflection from a dormant code, the mirror-image opposite of the Child’s Being, into the illusion of a self-motivating “other” capable of making its unreality real, is composed of attributes that block the Child and its replications – humanity – from awareness of the Truth that lies behind our material world’s appearances. The main barrier is the assumption that bodies are real and anything detected by bodies’ senses must also be real – the paradigm that today dominates mainstream science, philosophy, psychology, and theology.

Its domination shows signs of being weakened, however, by the findings of experimental and theoretical physics. Adam Becker, the physicist-historian of quantum gravity and author of What Is Real? (Basic Books 2018) has authored the lead article in the February issue of Scientific American (pp. 28-33). Entitled “The Origins of Space and Time: Does Spacetime Emerge from a More Fundamental Reality?”, the article reviews progress toward quantum gravity and concludes with “a question of whether time and space are somehow illusory.” A question raised by an ancient Greek philosopher, Parmenides, 2500 years ago, “an unsettling prospect that has haunted Western philosophy for over two millennia.”

Unsettling, I would add, because science is being forced by its own logic to consider, for the first time, another Reality. The Reality of Understanding that doesn’t depend on the circular, self-referential “reasoning”’ and subjectivity of bodies and sensory perception. That depends instead on Logic – the Order of Mind instead of the chaos of matter. The objectivity of another perspective not of this world, the perspective that led Parmenides to conclude that Mind is Real and matter is not.

Body-centered or Mind-centered: which shall it be?

Parmenides, relying not on experimental physics which had not been invented but on Logic, reasoned that time and space are illusory. The theory and practice of metaphysics, which he invented, influenced Plato, whose mind-centered idealistic philosophy helped to define Western thought. Under the influence of his pupil, the biologist Aristotle, its orientation shifted toward body-matter centered “realism,” and thus did science start.

Then, centuries later, a unique breed of metaphysicist-practitioner appeared. Jesus upended all speculation with astounding departures from familiar “reality” -- miracles that flouted the “laws” of physics. His message of Love, Innocence, and Forgiveness flouted the norms of relationships to equal astonishment. He was a tour-de-force of Logic, a simple itinerant teacher with no connection to officialdom, his only “authority” the power of what he taught, felt, and expressed. The power of Connection through gentle loving kindness. It was, all told, an electrifying, mind-bending introduction to the possibility of another Reality. An upheaval meant to part minds from this “reality.”

But while a few were convinced, like Valentinus, the second-century Gnostic Christian teacher, that material reality is unreality -- an illusion, – the body-matter centered paradigm soon reasserted itself. It did so not under the influence of philosophy but under the dominance of organized religion. The Church, claiming legitimacy from Jesus that Jesus could not have intended, obliterated all opposition as “heresy” and the true intent and legacy of Jesus along with it. Mainstream philosophy flirted with Parmenides from time to time – Bishop Berkeley, for example, -- but it was rare.

The world, for now, remained unchanged. For what are mainstream science, philosophy, psychology, and theology, after all, but waystations of trial and mostly error in the time it will take for the Child and its replications to attain maturity? Accidents and mistakes in the evolution of organic and inorganic matter that Sean B. Carroll chronicles in A Series of Fortunate Events (Princeton 2020).

The self-delusion of an imagined “other” and the train wreck of evil

A Course in Miracles could be the explanation, the book Jesus couldn’t write two thousand years ago, because his audience wasn’t ready. Channeled last century, it explains the psychopathology of the Child’s interaction with its shadow-reflection that produced the illusion: a self-delusion that set an unconscious Child to dreaming a world of spacetime and matter. The dream replicated in our own self-delusions with our own shadow-reflections.

What, then, is “good?” The host. That is, the Child who hosts a shadow-reflection that is its mirror image opposite, a lifeless, mindless, loveless code that, when it’s mistaken for an imagined “other,” behaves as one would expect the opposite of Being to behave: like a virus. Not interested in Life or Freedom but only in taking its host’s mind captive and replicating itself.

What, then, is “evil?” The host’s shadow-reflection mistakenly “recognized” as an imagined other. That is, a part of the subject host that’s been objectified into an imagined other that the host then tries, through projection, to enable and empower with its own capacities – an impossibility. For the only “capacities” a shadow-reflection can activate, that’s only a coded opposite, is its own viral code.

The final step in the self-delusion that gives it – and the imagined “other” – its misperceived capacity to torment the Child and its replications – humanity, the “many” – is the captivity of the Child’s mind and self-identity by the code. That is, by the Child now imagining that it is its reflection. By the Child and its replications – us – no longer distinguishing between captor and captive. In extreme cases this means the disappearance of the self into the imagined “other.”

The dog is being wagged by its own tail

To encounter an individual in this condition would then be to encounter an individual unaware that they have become their own shadow-code, that they are, therefore, evil incarnate. Such appears to be the case with the current leaders of the Republican party and Russia, two demented autocrats who have been taken captive by their shadow-reflections and seem to have lost all awareness of themselves, their shadows’ host.

The pattern in all of humanity’s train wrecks originates with a host’s delusion that its shadow-reflection is a separate, autonomous “other.” A dog deluded into imagining that its tail is another dog, being wagged by its own tail. This is how humanity goes about managing its affairs, and we see the results: train wrecks all the way from individual relationships to relations among nations, ethnic groups and races on a global scale. Replicating the Child’s archetypal mistake, never getting it right. A pattern that will continue unabated until we do get it right. Until we apply Logic to an Understanding of our context, to an Understanding of the mistake and correct it.

How and Why did this happen?

Why was the Child not forewarned of the misperception and misjudgment to come when it was given birth in Reality? Why did not its Parents simply reach into the illusion, restore Consciousness, and rescue it? How could Logic – Logos, God -- have failed to design Creation with a failsafe process and structure? Why do the Child and its  replications, though illusory, nevertheless experience suffering that’s real?

The long answer requires The Story of the Child and its subtext, the story of its shadow-reflection, the Joker. The short answer is Reality-Creation is not one but two distinct parts, and, though connected, they are mutually exclusive. The idea-premise that “launched” the sequence of Logic at the “beginning” – in quotes because Logic and its sequence are Being by definition, their own definition as they are their own Source, and none of this can have a “beginning” – was something on the order of the Word, which roughly translates to Possibility. The Consciousness of the Child’s Parents-Being that gave birth to the Child “Knows” or recognizes only Reality. For this is its function, to bring Reality into existence by Knowing it, i.e. being Conscious of it, and at this phase of Creation only Consciousness and one Reality are logically possible.

The phase of Creation marked by the birth of the Child, who is Free Choice, had a very different beginning. It wasn’t launched by an idea-premise that expressed itself in Consciousness with the capacity – the ability and Force – to move Reality and Creation toward Being by defining and recognizing it, by designing its process and structure.  It was launched by another kind of Consciousness with another function: the capacity to Choose. That is, by the capacity to reason, evaluate, and judge among different choices.

It was launched not by Possibility alone, which poses no choice in Reality, but by Choice between Possibility and its opposite, impossibility -- between Reality and unreality. The attribute of the Child’s Consciousness that requires its own plane of Creation, that cannot blend with its Parents’ Consciousness on their plane of Creation, is the possibility that, with Free Choice, the Child will choose illogically, incorrectly. That the Child will thereby lose Consciousness. And once Consciousness is lost, unconsciousness will be overtaken by illusion and make unreality – the dream of an alternate reality -- real. 

Mind with Free Choice that can lose Consciousness, dream an alternate reality, and thereby make (not create) unreality “real,” performs an essential role in Creation – in Creating, affirming and reciprocating Worth. But it doesn’t belong on its Parents’ plane of Creation. The Consciousness of Parents-Being, that establishes what belongs in Logic-Reality, i.e. Possibility, Existence, Truth, doesn’t belong on the Child’s plane of Creation where only one Consciousness can function and it must allow for Choice between Possibility and impossibility, Reality and unreality, i.e. between the consequences of Consciousness and unconsciousness.

Why was the Child not forewarned?

Why was the Child not forewarned of the misperception and misjudgment to come when it was given birth in Reality? Because its Parents Knew nothing of the risk of unconsciousness and its consequences and could not Know, by definition. Because in Logic there must always be sequence: what precedes and what succeeds – before and after. In Creation and evolution what is Known is before, what is unknown is after. Even if the Child’s Parents could have Known of the risk they could not have Known of the event itself in advance. In the end, they did not Know because they could not know.

Why wasn’t the Child rescued by its Parents?

Why did not the Child’s Parents simply reach into the illusion, restore Consciousness, and rescue it? Because to do so they would have had to “Know’ the illusion and thereby make it Real. Because to do so they would not only have disabled their Child’s Free Will, they would have willed their Child out of existence. Why? Because their Child is Free Will. Is Free Choice. It’s who their Child is. Because they, its Parents, are Father Mind-Choice and Mother Love-Freedom, incapable of giving birth to any other Child.

How could Logic have failed to design failsafe Creation?

How could Logic – Logos, God -- have failed to design Creation with a failsafe process and structure? Because it is in the very nature – the Logic – of Creation that it advances into the unknown. Logic, the Free Spirit of Mind-Inquiry and Love-Creativity, governs and protects from the bottom up, from circumstances that are constantly changing and evolving from one context to another. Logic, the definition of Everything, is constantly defining and redefining Reality in response to Creation. Logic, subject itself to the laws of cause and effect, to Necessity, evolves. Evolves in alignment with Creation that advances by experience. By experiment. And because the Creation of Worth must advance by Free Choice, it must advance by trial and error.

The possibility of error is built into the Logic of Creation. Logic, which cannot rule arbitrarily and still Be what it Is, cannot rewrite the rules to guarantee success. Cannot design Creation to be what it is not. Cannot design the process and structure of Creation – the functions of Mind and the planes where they operate – to be failsafe. Logic cannot design Free Choice to be what it is not: always the right choice, always the logical choice. Logic and the Child’s Parents cannot control the Child and its choices, for to do so would deprive it of Free Will and sabotage Creation’s purpose: the Creation, affirmation, and reciprocation of Worth. They must allow the Child to choose freely and to learn from experience, to expand its Consciousness, to acquire Knowledge – to grow and mature -- from trial and error. With their guidance but never their control.

Why is our suffering unreal yet experienced as real?

Why do the Child and its replications, though illusory, nevertheless experience suffering that’s real? Because while the switch from Consciousness into unconsciousness is a switch into illusion, the switch itself is Real. It happened. Made Real by the Child’s identity and capacity for Free Choice. While separation is not real and the Child remains connected to its Parents and Reality, its awareness of the connection has been lost. The cause of the apparent separation is illusory but, with the loss of the Child’s awareness, its effect seems real. Has been made real by the dream of unreality. It is therefore experienced as real. We in our world of illusion, dreaming of unreality and untruth, experience the alternate reality “promised” by our reflection, our imaginary “other,” as very real. We suffer.

The Real “Good News:” the freedom to choose again

The bad news is that the Child has mistakenly and inadvertently chosen to suffer in unreality. It did so in circumstances explained by A Course in Miracles and elaborated by The Story of the Child, that disposed it to mistake its reflection for an “other.” To imagine that the “other” was a substitute parent, an external “savior” who would save it from its trauma and restore Order. It was a colossal misjudgment that produced the absurdity of the Big Bang, a universe of organic and inorganic matter whose origins and meaning the “laws” of science have not explained and can never explain.

The good news is that the Child can choose again. And we, by empathizing with the Child instead of prolonging its agony, by Understanding our situation, by choosing to align with Logic instead of foolishness, can help it Choose correctly. To choose Peace, Truth, and Sanity. To rid us of our nightmare of conflict, deception, and insanity. To awaken and return Home.

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We cherish our friends.
How can we be there for them?
How can we make them happy?
How can we be close to them and stay close?

By being interested in them, curious about their stories
By listening to them and responding to what’s on their minds
By hearing what they need from us and how they’re feeling
By letting them know we are with them.

What can tell us what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling?
What they need from us?
What can we offer them that will make them happy?

Here are gifts that are valued by everybody
Gifts to be shared
Our best guides to what make us best friends
With thoughts on how our guides can show us the way

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Friends need the gift of Love

We can speak the Five Languages of Love:

• Make time for friends and be accessible
Give them our respect, our undivided attention, and our trust
Connect with them by being open --
By sharing our thoughts, our feelings, our lives

• Be there for them when they need help
Do things for them that let them know they can count on us

• Show our love and appreciation by being affectionate
Let them know that their friendship touches our hearts

• Reward their kindness with generosity
With gifts that let them know we appreciate them

• Encourage them by admiring their talents and achievements
Let them know that they matter, they are important, they are the best

Friends need the gift of Community

We can make friends feel welcome in our lives, so they know they belong
Welcome them into our circle of friends and family
“Treat friends like family and family like friends”

Friends need the gift of Health / Wholeness

We can have fun with friends that’s wholesome and disciplined
That makes happy without risking abuse, injury, or sickness
Without pressuring, or being pressured, to do things that aren’t good for us

Friends need the gift of Freedom

We can give friends space to think and choose for themselves
To express themselves as they are
To reciprocate (return) our kindness or not
Without judging them, blaming them, or pressuring them to be more like us

Friends need the gift of Worth

We must always practice good manners and be polite, to show respect
We can respect friends for things they do well but also for just who they are
By giving them our attention, our gratitude, and encouragement
By letting them know, when they are with us, no one is more important

Friends need the gift of Empowerment

We can let friends take the lead and be in control sometimes – take turns.
Let our friends win sometimes if we’re better than they are
Learn from our friends if they have something to teach us
Let everyone in on the fun and make it fair for everyone

Friends need the gift of Abundance

We can share the fullness and joy of life that’s in our hearts
The wealth that wants and needs to be shared
Let it join us in happiness when we are both feeling it
Or lift us up by sympathizing and caring for one another when we aren’t

Friends need the gift of Safety

We can make it safe for friends to trust us and play with us
Where it’s warm and welcoming
A place of tenderness and gentle loving kindness
Where they can be themselves without fear of being blamed and attacked
For who they are – personalities that aren’t like ours

Friends need the gift of Hope / Purpose

We can share what we see that leads the way forward
That renews our friends’ faith in themselves, their work, and their futures
Friends don’t let friends give up!

Friends need the gift of Beauty

Share the moments, the passion, the beauty, that inspire and move us –
Our triumphs against adversity, our discoveries
Stories, images, and music that make our spirits soar
That express the beauty, the spirit, of friendship

To all my shining stars, my friends
Who have the gift of Love and Abundance in their hearts
Doing their very best to share it
Thankfully.

The five languages of love are acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and affirmation.
Thank you Gary Chapman: The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts (Northfield 2015).
My favorite is affirming a person's worth, because the world keeps trying to take us down.

Quality time means intimacy, sharing lives.
• Being accessible mentally and emotionally, being honest and truthful.
• Being spontaneous, which means being with your friend-partner in the moment where they're at
• Being in their circumstances subjectively as well as ours
• Being always subjective, never objective, always intimate, never social.
• Letting "social-group" be the servant-protector of the individual rather than the other way around. I.e. rather than subordinating individual intimacy to social-group control / insincere superficiality.

Happiness in individual intimate relationships is sharing, empowerment, affirmation.
• it is never wealth-possession, power-control, competition / dominance-winning.
• It is never superimposing our circumstances-facts / agenda on our partner-friend's.
• it is subjectifying, never objectifying.

Love is one part coupling-connecting, one part uncoupling-letting go.
It is one part binding embrace, one part liberating freedom.
It is never any kind of predatory entrapment, coercion, or captivity.

Personality types who excel at love-intimacy and happiness are introspective, intuitive, and thoughtful.
They are also conscientious and disciplined, endowed with a strong sense of universal values.
They have an internal moral compass that doesn't need social norms for guidance.

Personality types who prefer superficial social relationships crave belonging that absorbs the individual into the group.
Not the kind of belonging that provides a safe sanctuary for individuals to experience intimacy.

Practice an intimacy of openness that fosters honesty and trust and happiness will follow.
Allow rules of possession, control, competition, dominance and winning to intrude and happiness will vanish.

Further reading: the gold standard is A Course in Miracles.
And a little something I wrote for kids: "Creating Great Friendships", my next post.

Be assured that anyone who takes the time to read this has the perfect personality type and the wisdom to achieve intimacy and happiness.

Go in peace with my blessing.

To my two shining stars,

Learning

Our world is a laboratory where we have to figure out how to make things work, including relationships. Families are laboratories for figuring out how to get along when everyone has their own personality. It helps us get along at school, at work, and at play when we’ve learned to get along at home. When we understand that our differences can be our friends that show us how to grow. How to unlock abilities we didn’t know we had. How to experience pleasures we didn’t know were there to be enjoyed.

Different personalities that seem to make our lives more difficult may actually be teaching us how to be happier. We just have to be aware that we have our personalities and others have their personalities. Respect the differences, let others be our teachers, and learn from them.

It’s what I’ve been doing with you: learning from you. One of many reasons why you make me happy, because you’re my teachers and you’re good at it. I don’t have to be like you for us to get along. I can be myself and you can be yourselves. You’re very good at it. Thank you for being my friends. Thank you so much for being my teachers.

Adapting and growing

What did I do when my wife left and took my boys? I went to work, came home to empty rooms, and cried. Then the day came when I stopped crying, moved away, and began a new life. I reconnected with old friends and made new friends:

* Sally, who became my mentor and led me on a journey of personal growth to what I could do to make my life better.
* Judy, who led me on a journey of spiritual growth, to a Guide who would help me from within to make every life better.
* And Larry, who threw open the doors to professional adventure, to a world of friends and acceptance I never knew existed.

I went from being a solitary life in an empty room to a life of abundance and purpose. To being blessed and thankful and wanting to share. To never looking back.

The Why and the Who of Easter

Our world is a laboratory for figuring out Why to make things work. The story that made Christmas and Easter part of our lives is the story of one life, a brother who tried to help us with that. He was born on Christmas and on Easter showed that no matter what he will always be trying to help us. He is here now, a presence to share with everyone because he set a good example. He is the Guide that I was led to and he is the nicest.

He helps me understand every day Why it’s important to learn: to change and grow. Because our personalities aren’t supposed to lock us in. They’re opportunities to open up. To unlock. To be more than who we are. To be stronger and freer, more creative, more imaginative. And happier. By being who we are and allowing others to be who they are. By teaching others and allowing them to teach us.

What does Easter mean to me? Faith, Purpose, and Hope. It’s what it means to everyone touched by its story. It’s what I would like for it to mean to you.

And, by the way, he was also a she. In our minds, that is, where she belongs, now and forever.

Happy Easter!

David Clark Harrison
In memory of Owen Clark Harrison
March 31, 1970 – March 2017

Not long ago, I asked a friend for a favor. It was a bit unusual and I knew it would require some thought, but not so unusual that it could upend a friendship. But it did, at least for a while, quite emphatically. The way my friend and I interpreted what happened was a study in contrasts. It was as if we lived in two separate realities, spoke different languages, and transacted business with different currencies, hers as worthless to me as mine was to her.

It was one of those things, a train wreck in a relationship we’re all familiar with. And yet it turned out to be very interesting. It revealed that my friend and I, who have been close over the years, are exact opposite personality types. I’m an INTJ and she’s an ESFP: INTJ for Introvert-Intuition-Thinking-Judgment, ESFP for Extravert-Sensing-Feeling-Perception. These are from Isabel Briggs Myers’ Gifts Differing, not as “scientific” as other theories some might prefer, but my Intuition trusts her Intuition.

The holidays are all about one universal value: everything that makes us family. Forgiveness is one of those things, and let me be the first to admit: If you’re reading this it probably means you’re a big nuisance but you’ve been forgiven – many times. “I love you in spite of your many faults” my dad liked to joke, usually to a good laugh. But it’s no laughing matter, because real forgiveness is beyond reach. At least it is for me. Especially if the big nuisance happens to be my exact opposite personality type.

My instinct in this case was to bail for good. I was on my way out the door. Then I read Gifts Differing and discovered that Isabel’s theory doesn’t stop at showing us how opposites wreak havoc with relationships. It shows remarkably how opposites can be used to bring us closer together and, in the process, promote personal growth and self-awareness. What philosophy, what faith, couldn’t use an analytical tool like this to bring about peace and forgiveness!

It’s done by accessing the opposites of your weak personality traits – mind-Intuition, for example, if you’re a body-Sensing type, -- preferably in consultation with someone who’s your opposite. You “pool your resources,” and at the end you’re both more fully developed, better balanced personalities, more sympathetic, more adaptable to change, and better equipped to forgive. That's the theory and, so far, it's working for me.

Isabel’s theory is inspired, not least because the metaphysics of A Course in Miracles calls for its practical application to individual circumstances, and students of the Course intent on practicing forgiveness will find that it’s a big help. If my friend is reading this she might be incensed that I’m talking about us, but not if her Feeling has accessed Thinking, and Perception has accessed Judgment. You see, what this is all about is making everyone more like me. Proof that what I've learned from her is the joy of spontaneity and laughter. Pity the poor INTJ Scrooge who never learns it!

Wishing you the Joy of Life and laughter for the holidays and all through the New Year.

The warmth and light from time
The fire that consumes all evidence of my being
Draws me to it in my grief

As if its embers home to my tears
Could bring us back together again
As if the dog curled up by the fireplace
And those of us still living

Could summon forth those who are not
Could restore the tenderness
That flickered in my child’s soul

A moment of having and touching
Before it was taken away

Our values are what really matters – love and family; friendship and community; health and healing; freedom and free will; self-worth; purpose, learning, striving, growth and achievement; abundance; protection and trust; beauty, purity and innocence; empowerment and control. Whenever we’re in doubt, these are our conscience. These are our best guide to avoiding mistakes.

Grandparents know all about mistakes because they’ve seen and made lots of them. They know a lot about values, too, because experience has taught them what’s important. Kids might do fine without a grandparent. But it’s possible they’d do even better with one. Grandparents want kids to have this resource: helping them with values so they avoid mistakes.

This is how grandparents want to be there for their kids. They applaud kids' performances and cheer them from the sidelines. But when kids are ready for more, grandparents are ready for more.

Grandparents don’t tell kids what to do. Setting a good example, standing up for their values – that’s their job. If they follow the wrong example they won’t be role modeling their values. They won’t be role modeling the values they want their grandchildren to have.

What kids need from their grandparents is good role models.

Here are some thoughts about grand-parenting, relationships, and role modeling based on one grandparent's experience:

Respect and affection between friends can never be taken for granted, because that would be telling our friends their needs and feelings don’t matter. That they don’t matter. It would tell them that they’re worthless when friendships should tell them the opposite.

Differences between people can cause serious problems. Our reading and entertainment tell us that every day. Our minds work differently. Our personalities aren’t the same. We value different things. Our priorities are different. We present ourselves differently. We try to connect and communicate differently – the list goes on and on.

Our circumstances are always changing. And our needs and feelings change with them. Because everyone’s circumstances are different, no one has the same point of view.

Our physical, biological, and social environment is a dynamic system driven by powerful forces. Understanding these forces is the purpose of every field of learning -- physics, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, social science, political science, ethics, theology, biology, and more. We are brought together in one great human enterprise: learning.

One of the great lessons of life is the need for continuous improvement -- for learning and personal growth. This is as true for groups as it is for individuals. It is our purpose. We can’t stand still. We must move forward.

Learning takes effort. It takes thought, and kids are capable of that. If grandparents didn’t believe in their kids they would say, “They’re just kids” and ignore them. Grandparents don’t ignore their kids. They think their kids are worth a whole lot more than just one birthday gift. They're worth a million birthday gifts! They're not “just kids.”

As Vince Lombardi would put it: What’s best for our kids isn’t everything: it’s the only thing. Being useful to their kids is why grandparents exist. A good grandparent will try to be useful even if it means doing without the affection, kindness, joy, and laughter that their kids bless them with. Their kids are worth a trillion birthday gifts!

Relationships usually survive misunderstandings and hurt feelings without too much damage. But when we don’t respect our differences it can have more serious consequences. It can cause wounds that take away trust and safety. It can even bring close friendships to an end.

In the end, there is only one way to save a friendship and that is to earn it. To have strong values, share them, and to stand up for them even if it takes work and may not succeed. What is friendship worth, anyway, if it doesn’t ask something of us? If we don’t risk something?

Living a truly good life and doing what’s right aren’t things to be casual about. They require thought and deliberation. They require care and concentration, because it can be very easy to lose sight of what really matters and make a mistake.

It’s up to each of us to determine for ourselves what’s right. It’s everyone’s duty to affirm the truth about who we are and what we believe in everything we do. It’s all about Character. It’s all about Purpose.

Modesty is being aware that a higher power knows what’s best and letting this awareness guide our conscience. Anyone can find fault with what’s wrong, but who really knows what’s right? This is modesty, a virtue that is everyone’s duty to share, and grandparents would share it with their kids.

Miracles happen when power that we’re not aware of works quietly through our minds and hearts to overcome barriers to change and lead us forward. The barriers to change necessary for friends to move forward may not come down without a miracle. This is as true for brothers and sisters as it is with fathers and sons.

“Happy endings” aren’t a given but neither is disappointment. What we think are “happy endings” may also lie beyond our understanding. We should be prepared for both, because whatever comes may be for the best – we don’t know.