The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Mastermind and Spirit

I love the "Mastermind" concept for so many different reasons, and think it a wonderful window in on the process of "Self Directed Human Evolution."

1) The most important level: alignment with Self (Heartbeat Meditation can be wonderful here)
2) Second Level: grounding in physical reality. (I.D.E.A.---development of instinctive action and intuition through feedback from balanced goals)
2) Third level: Alignment with the Divine. In truth, there are ways I consider this more important than #1 or #2, but the problem is that without first connecting with your own heart, and without having some way to error-check with the world As It Is, you will be vulnerable to persuasion from outside yourself. For instance: what if you are a Christian? But there are hundreds of translations of the Bible, hundreds of denominations major and minor, and thousands and thousands of churches. Each is at least slightly different, and sometimes SERIOUSLY different on what some consider core issues. Combined there are hundreds of millions of members, each of whom has a slightly different interpretation of what "Christianity" means. No one, repeat NO ONE can obey every single rule, law, and principle in the Bible, every dictate from every pulpit, every judgement by every member. Everyone edits, prioritizes, picks and chooses, and then justifies their choices. It is fascinating to watch the process. The sad thing is when people are unaware that they do this.

Unless you have a "conscience", can hear the "still small voice" within your heart, how will you know what path is best for you?
Unless you observe your results in the external world, how will you know whether you are in alignment with the rhythms and tides of natural law?

I had an extensive conversation with a devout Christian recently, talking about the difference between prayer and meditation. I tried to avoid facile comments like "prayer is you talking to God. Meditation is God talking to you." Rather, I discussed the view that meditation is a tool for placing your consciousness on whatever "frequency" of the consciousness spectrum that is appropriate for a given task, or for overall generative growth. Raising or lowering stress, "white" or "black" dot meditation, whatever. Seeing consciousness as a spectrum from near-sleeping to hyperactive...and that is looking at things as a linear, two-dimensional spectrum, and that is trivial and woefully incomplete. Imagine "tuning" your mind to whatever part of the spectrum you need to write, exercise, make love, sleep, have patience with a screaming child, spar, defend yourself from a knife attack...each has unique combinations of focus and release, external and internal attention.
An infinite spectrum. What I told my friend was that she should discuss this with her priest or spiritual counselor, tell him that she wishes to reduce stress, and doesn't wish to violate any of the principles of her religion. There are many forms of, and teachings concerning "Christian Meditation" and I suggest that she seek one out. It is, I believe, safest to find your Truth within whatever path you were given before you reach the age of puberty--certain perceptional doors slam shut pretty hard at that time, and it takes dynamite to open them back up.

I will coach people about certain things, but the safety of their soul ain't one of them. But until she has come to some conclusions I will go so far as to recommend "Heartbeat Meditation", the safest powerful meditation I know of, as non-sectarian as you can get, a practice which is "spiritual" or "religious" or simply a "relaxation response" with no spiritual content at all. It's up to you.

I gave Jason the third of Musashi's Principles today: "Become acquainted with every art." For a martial artist, this is obvious: throwing, punching, locking, weapons, tactics, and so forth. In general, however, this would be music, dance, writing, art, etc.--the ways human beings find of expressing their inner world verbally and non-verbally. I placed my hand on his chest and said, "every bird in the forest has his own song. Unique to that bird. You have to find YOUR own song. The things that are unique to you. A unique combination of your heart, your mind, your physical energies."

First principle: Do not think dishonestly. This means to have an accurate map of the universe. To seek to know what is true. This is primary. But we must ask: how do we do this? How do we learn what is true?

Second principle: The Way is in Training. Whatever you wish to do with your life, aim at being the very best you can possibly be. We know what is important to people by what they spend their time doing. For me, this is my family, writing and teaching, and movement arts. This is who I am, and I don't try to be anything else. But if you go deeply enough into the specific, you emerge in the Universal.

Third principle: Become Acquainted with Every Art. The interesting thing about arts is that there is almost never an objective measure of success or quality. No way to simply develop a linear capacity and master it. It isn't how far you hit the ball--it is how loud the crowd roars in response. The vagaries of this can drive artists insane. We need the "mastermind" of a public response in order to know if we are on the right path, but if you invest your ego there, you'll be inauthentic at best, torn to pieces at worse. It is SO hard. You have to care passionately...and not give a damn. Be "in the world, but not of the world."

Jason is just beginning his path in life. I am beyond the half-way point, the point at which it is critical that I empty myself out and prepare for death. I have to give him everything I have, everything he needs that I can offer, or I've failed my task as a father.

Today, we sat in Seiza position (I sit cross-legged, so that our eyes are level), holding each other's gaze, holding each others' hands. One breath at a time, he counts, and we Om. And about three breaths in, I feel the hard edges of reality fall away, begin to enter the Flow Tunnel. My office disappears. Time disappears. Only Jason and I exist. And then...we are gone, and It is there. A truth. A melding. So long as he holds my eyes, and his hands are soft in mine, I can take him with me.

I cannot teach him the most important things in life, but as one of his primary "Mastermind" partners, what I can do is create a context in which he can learn and experience them for himself. That is my commitment. Finding his center, his heart, is one of his primary tasks. Then...learning how to set and achieve balanced goals, that he may discover I.D.E.A. for himself, in his own time. extend his truth into the external world, to learn to master the internal/external feedback from other human beings that will allow him to create relationships, and Mastermind groups, to accomplish the things he cannot do alone.

Spirit? Well...if you master body, mind, and relationships you have given roots to the living garden of your heart. The plants will grow as high as they can. If you have the capacity and drive to awaken, to become Adult, and to connect with spirit, then you will, and as safely as such a momentus thing is possible.

But if least he'll have a good dream. His actions will be in integrity with his values, hopes, and dreams. And he won't walk alone. And in many ways, that's the most anyone outside him can ever provide.


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