Featured

A psycho-spiritual role for logic


I’m not an overly enthusiastic fan of reason, logic, rationalism, scientism, physicalism, thinking, etc. But I am absolutely an enthusiastic fan. What does “overly” mean to me?

When you put all of your eggs — all of your big questions — in the basket of rationalism, you cheat your humanity. The height of reason is not the height of humanity {see endnote for more}.

Logic — no matter how pure — is simply not a person’s only way of “knowing.” Let’s take up the question of, “Who am I?”

Mire your self in as much logic as you wish about the question, “Who am I?” You stumble quickly into irrational grandiosity which inflates your self-importance, like Mushu presents himself as The Great Stone Dragon to Mulan (voice, Eddie Murphy): https://youtu.be/zn_nM7x7Lcw.

At the opposite end of the Logic Pendulum‘s swing is that you are but a speck on a tiny planet in the universe, bound to be wormbait and dust.

We each sense that we are something special in the universe, but that sense does not, and cannot, come from our faculty of reason isolated from the rest of our life experience.

“Who am I?” leads us to ponder both the universal and the specific. Neither seems to make sense alone. I am part of something big, and I am an individual. Let’s play further with another question logically…

“What is my potential?”

Here, I think logic has a deep and profound psycho-spiritual role to play for a person. You are NOT the ideals and values you espouse. That’s illogical grandiosity. Yet most of us live our lives thinking and acting this way. We wish to be something we can never be. Consider it logically. An ideal is an ideal and cannot be entirely embodied by… well… a body. Neither ANY-body nor EVERY-body.

Objective truths are unreal. They objectify us. And something within us tells us that we are not mere objects, in reality. So poo-poo on your idolization of objectivity. We are each subjects—agents of action.

“Who am I? What is my potential?” Logically, I am Neil. Logically, my potential cannot exceed Neil’s theoretical potential. Logically.

Why do we get so easily tempted by lures of achievement? By promises of becoming something we wish for? Because we live in a materialistic culture with expert marketing! And those forces are not founded on logic! They appeal to “something” in us far beyond our faculty of reason. At their extreme, they are imaginary realms, outside the realm of logic.

Our imagination lures us, logic be damned!

This propensity, proclivity, impulse, and compulsion for imagination is evoked when we hear platitudes like…
Be all/the best you can be.
Be your best/full self.
Self-actualize.
Know thy-self.

So, set aside your imagination as best you can, and apply here some brutal logic. And remember that psychology informs us by unequivocal consensus that Comparison is a lethal practice for The Self.

You cannot be “that” in its imaginary entirety. You cannot be “this” at every moment. You cannot be this or that by choice, by will, voluntarily in every circumstance.

This is the fullness of logical honesty.

In the sense that you deny each of these truisms, you are logically ill. You become *mentally* ill when you rely exclusively on logic. Because “you” are so much more than an engine for reason.

A human being is much more than a thinker.

A human being is also a feeler.

We try to sort out those two, but that is an exercise of logic! Can you peel an orange with an orange peel?

Anytime we consciously exercise logic, we sense that it is incomplete. And so have the greatest minds in philosophy throughout our history.

Today’s brilliant thinkers have an imaginary hope that we haven’t YET figured out how to subsume our faculties of emotion into our faculty of reason, but will in the future—like scientific discoveries remain incomplete and point to paths we should follow for further discovery. Of course we should do that, but if the aim of those pursuits is a fantasy that we will detangle our thinking faculties from our feeling faculties, and reduce the mystery of the human being, well, then, what are we left with?

Anyhow, that may seem to have strayed from my purpose here. I have drifted into talking about universals, and not the specific You, or Me.

Stop being so hard on yourself because you do not perfectly embody ideals, which were never meant to be perfectly embodied. Be content with valuing them. You are unique in the universe, even outside of time: Never has there been, nor will there ever be, another you.

To “do You well,” practice some logic about who you are, and, especially, who you aren’t.

Then practice some more logic: The full You that you just conceived NEVER remains static.

You are this and that… sometimes.

That’s *honest* logic.

“‘Neil’ is a name which should never be spoken.” Or only spoken as a whisper. Or whatever. Why? Mystery.

This morning’s Neil is not the same as this evening’s…

Logically…


Related: Beware of therapy goals! (2) Envy and the Pitfalls of Validation

.
Neil D. 2021-09-01


{ ENDNOTE

The Enlightenment is a wonderful collective achievement, but it is not the end game. It was just a corrective swing of the pendulum away from the oppression of both the superstitious middle ages and the religiosity of The Renaissance. (https://slate.com/human-interest/2015/01/whats-the-difference-between-the-renaissance-and-the-enlightenment.html)

The Age of Reason and the Industrial Revolution have put us in the age of technology, biotechnology, information, etc. accompanied by political revolutions which have put the freedom of individuals on par with service by the power of the state.

If you are more interested in his characterization of European/western historical ages, I recommend reading about the aforementioned topics as well as “Deism.”

}


Featured

“How do you feel?” “I don’t know…”


“How do you feel?”
“I don’t know…”

I don’t think it’s unusual not know what we’re feeling. Nor even to be unable to feel.
What are you feeling now?
Are you feeling a mixture of feelings?
Are you feeling one shallowly?
Are you feeling one deeply?

If you aren’t sure, there are some almost universal triggers to make or help you feel.

I’m not at all a fan of the musical genres jazz, classical, or country. I can enjoy occasional hits from each, but rarely more than one or two at a time. Upon hearing of my disdain for classical, my sister challenged me.

I believe this 3.5 minute piece is one of the almost universal triggers that cannot be heard without a maelstrom of accompanying feelings (listen with space to move your arms through their full ranges, and fasten your headphones or earbuds securely, for your head will dance upon your neck, and, almost certainly, you’ll need to stand, and quite possibly dance):

If you are a classical music aficionado, don’t try to convert me, but please do share with me pieces like this one, which do not require an appreciation for the art form, and do not for the uninterested include wasteful bridges, interludes, and introductions. I wish to hear more brief pieces like this, in which every note has intrinsic value, even to the infidel.

Neil D. 2020-07-19


Featured

My love letter to me


My love letter to me
…from my mom,
…from my soul,
…from me.

[6 minute read]

My rational mind loves theology, and I can wrap many of my beliefs into tidy packages to delight my reason. But that’s horribly dangerous, just like this theology: “The wages of sin is death, and you need a savior.”

“Do you NOW see and feel, Neil? Despite the crown of thorns, humiliation, false charges, excruciating death, do I threaten my wrath? ‘Forgive them, Abba…’ He was not begging on your behalf because you are unworthy of Our love. He was vocalizing what flows inseparably FROM Our love. Our sadness that you ‘know not what you do…’ To your Selves.

“Do you NOW see and feel, Neil? When I, your passionate and personal God, say that I love you unconditionally, that means no necessity of forgiveness. Our acts of love are not to show you how sinful you are. They are deeds to show you the purity of Our love for you. There’s no need at all for forgiveness when all is love….

“Love does not originate FROM or BY forgiveness. Love is no hostage, contingent on redemption by contrition and absolution. There is NO requirement that forgiveness PRECEDE My love. Neither offense nor guilt affect pure love. Nothing binds love. Forgiveness is a coincidence of true love, NOT a prelude…

“Look at me, my son Neil. LOOK at me. Don’t be afraid. Look at my Son’s crucified, bloody face. Does He look angry?

“The sadness on his face is for you. His face is My face. I am not angry and demanding justice because you have hurt Me. I am the Lord your God, Who fears nothing. I do not fear being hurt. But I can and do feel hurt. I can and do feel sadness. They are part of love, and I AM love. So I am also Hurt. I am also Sadness. But hurt and sadness out of love, not out of fear. Fear is not part of love. Do not fear that you have hurt me, and need my forgiveness. For I love you already. Fearlessly, and fiercely.

“You only fear Me because you cannot feel and trust the fullness of pure love — yet. My Son’s passion is a show of love’s purity, not a message that you need to fear Us, nor that you needed His sacrifice…

“My Son’s passion is Our love story for you, Neil. Don’t corrupt it into a tragedy about sin and penalty and any sense of justice and consequences and conditions and laws and rules…

“His love is pure. My love is pure. Conditions and rules for gaining it are impurities.

“I am sad, because you hurt your self, child. I, the Lord Almighty, BEG and PLEAD with you, Neil… I do not COMMAND you by any other power or authority except love… Fearsomeness is false power, and I am not false. Love holds no space for fear. And I am love…

“Your very Creator is begging and pleading for you to feel Our love in the story of my Son’s life. We do not wish for you to see some sacrifice to atone for your shame and restore your worthiness. Our love is NOT affected by your sin. It doesn’t stop just because you sin. Don’t be so conceited to think you can diminish Our love! Let this love story fly past your ego and annihilate barriers of shame, to touch your tender soul, sweet boy…

“The story of Yeshua is about Our goodness and YOUR goodness… Our and your OUTRAGEOUS capacity for love. Be outraged about that! Stop – STOP – making it about your badness and failure to love. You are hurting and saddening Us and your eternal Self by your ego-centeredness. Center the story on your WHOLE Self, as I made you. Be Self-centered about THAT story.

“Look at me, my son Neil. LOOK at me. Don’t be afraid.

“Let this story through your ego-self to your soul-Self. Begging… Pleading… In love… THAT is who We are.

“Know your shame, son. We do. Let it waft into your ego’s consciousness, and your whole Self can be compassionate with it, as We are. Your repression is keeping Our love from your soul. Even your ego, Neil, can love Us, and can love all of you, if your soul can embrace your whole Self tenderly, as We created it to do. You are made to love. Your soul can do its work, son.

“Imagine my Son’s face at the wedding in Cana, with a joyous smile crinkling his eyes. Imagine the fiery warmth of those eyes locked on the eyes of the woman to be stoned, ‘Nor do I condemn you…’ That is not a warmth that flows FROM forgiving; it is the fire of passionate love, from which forgiveness – like all things truly and purely good – cannot be separated.

“We hurt when those whom We love feel hurt. Just as you do. ‘I have become one of you.’ I have joined humanity because humanity is worthy. You are worthy of Our unconditional love because that love is Ours to give, NOT yours to earn. NO conditions. I am all-powerful. And I am in you. Our power is not rooted in meting out justice. Do not be afraid. Our power is love. I dwell in you: YOUR power is love.

“The moment I and your mother brought you to life, she held you in her arms, and adored you with unconditional love. You had done nothing to earn or deserve it. It was hers to give, not yours to earn. Your soul is no different from your mother’s. Your soul is no different from Me.

“You too have unbounded power to give love without conditions. Please, Neil, pour it out, unshackled by shame, with NO conditions. And, please, begin with pouring it onto my own infinitely lovable son, whom your mother named Neil…

Neil D. 2020-03-06

Related: My love letter to you, My love letter to you PS

Featured

Advent Prequel to Footprints


YouTube video of the poem’s text with Christmas soundtrack: https://youtu.be/fD1k_hfUDFE


(Read the preface to this poem here.)


Based on Mark 5:25-34:

A woman suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” She came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. Immediately she was healed. Jesus, perceiving that power had gone out from him, turned and said, “Who touched my garments?” His disciples said, “You see the crowd pressing around you?” The woman came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace…”

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened…” (Mt 11:28)


Adeste fideles. (Come, faithful).


Advent Prequel To Footprints

(Neil Durso)

Energy, misbalanced.
Self-centered lifetime.
Other-centered lifetime.
Tiresome battles lost.

Shameful failure.
Wasted toils?
No. Delivery to the now.

A curled, sobbing heap,
Writhing on sands of self-desertion.
A finger trembling, raised to an eye…
Tap its pool of tears, running them thin,
Glimpse through the blur:

A shadow over tears on dead sand
Shades the relentless brightness of scorching shame,
Revealing a garment’s hem resting on sandaled toes.

Stretch out of despair a hand.
Touch a finger to the coarse fabric.

From that cloak, a hand extends,
Re-flavoring tears that flow still.
From a spring deep within, never fully felt.
Feel it now. Don’t wrestle floodgates inside.

Epic struggle.
Ordained end.
Rivulets of tears baptize anew.
Every ounce of unrequited effort poured out has prepared the way

Enormous fruitlessness was the way.
En route to the quenching fruit of energy exhausted.

The garment takes you up, in its arms
So gentle, their power feels misplaced.
You tremble at tenderness so unfamiliar.

From this bottom, from this birthplace,
In His wake are one set of footprints.

At cool evening’s arrival,
You’re lowered lovingly
To your own feet.
Refreshed.
At His side.
He at yours.
Two sets of feet imprint the sands.

Onward in silence.
For a time.
Then,
The silence drips into distant song
On fleeting breezes.

Whispering beneath the rising chorus,
“Whither, Yeshua?”
“The City of David.”

A bright star draws your gaze.
And He is gone.

Shepherds appear.
On pilgrimage.
To Light.

Above the sonorous din of lambs’ bleating,
Lyrics grow clearer…

Carried by the parade, your heart then
Your tongue join the hosts’ song.
Reborn of unshackled brokenness,
The beckoned joins the calling:

“O… O… come, all ye faithful…”
(song)


(Read the preface to this poem here.)


-Neil D. 2019-12-16
(revised from 2018-12-24)

Featured

Green Shirt

The gently soft-spoken 20-something didn’t seem to ever stop talking except when he asked of me simple questions and waited for replies with earnestness that made me feel like my answer would be divine and resonate with profoundly undeniable truth and universal wisdom. He sat on a park bench with his beautiful, unthreatening, expectant, wide eyes open naturally enough to look up at me as I stood beside the bench on which he sat lower. His eyes weren’t bloodshot or distant, squinted or spookily wide. His pupils locked on my gaze, without blinking, without discomfort or shame. Without abiding by any conventions of time or rhythm familiar. Just natural, as anyone’s might be awaiting an answer, unconsciously exhaling the puff of smoke from a satisfying drag off the cigarette he just bummed off me…

He did that several times, awaiting several answers to several questions. Of me. Me. Me? Me!

Not hard answers to give. But not easy questions to ask. So, wait–maybe hard questions to answer, but not hard words to summon in answer: “Yeah.” “That’s true.” I know.” “I feel you.” “Right.” “Damn.” “I know.”

Know? Do I really *know* anything?

Now I know I do.

Green Shirt talked and asked about his joy and loss of waking next to her, whose name he didn’t remember. Of being anxious about how he would get eggs and bacon like yesterday. Would the nurses let him have the medicine he needed again?

He’s glad it’s warm today.

Hopes it will be tonight, wherever he winds up.

Wants to work on my car. She knows how to service bearings. He knows he has to clean up dog poop in the park before her company lets him collect cans. She’s not afraid to work hard. Why do they think their reality’s rules make more sense?

Yeah, I suppose Yeshua from Nazareth wore some shade of white fabric in the middle eastern form of that time. But I think, yesterday morning, He wore a green t-shirt.

If you see Green Shirt today, tell her I miss him. Tell him I said hello. Tell her I remember him. Say Hello to her for me. Thank him for talking to me about her own world. Tell her I love hymn… because he trusted me just to affirm her truth. And … loved ME too.

Neil D. 2019-07-25

For New Years, I’m re-solved to be me: “Choose” the secret to success


[80 second read]

My re-solution? My again-solution.

How have I arrived at this moment of resolve? Of overwhelm? How have I surrendered to all the evidence for believing that I am authentically and genuinely loved so deeply by others? What impossible combination of choices have I made to deserve and earn that? None. Or, one? The most impossible one?

Want to know my secret to success?

I tried to be someone I am not, for a long time. And now, I choose to be Neil. The Neil I am. The Neil I have always been. That’s what I have chosen, and choose now. Huh?

You’ve heard the same thing. Why can’t you choose to be who you are, instead of who you might wish to be? Or who others wish you were?

How do you get the freedom to choose to be you, in your fullness? How do you summon from inside yourself the freedom to choose to be you? I don’t think you do.

I think it has to be shown to you. I think you have to be slapped in the face with it so many times that you fall far, far down. To rock bottom. To the depth of a soul. To the darkest of darkness. And when you look up, you see no one postured above you to assault you. Instead, what you see, is nothing but loving faces. They haven’t walked away; the ‘act’ isn’t over. They’ve been there all along, and they will not go away. I haven’t chosen to be Neil. I have been shown who Neil is.

Didn’t need to solve anything. Re-solved, I’m solved again.

Each of us has put together a construct by which we explain why what we do is necessary and good. This is the specialty of the ego, the small or false self that wants to protect its agenda and project itself onto the public stage. We need support in unmasking our false self and in distancing ourselves from our illusions. (https://cac.org/how-difficult-it-is-to-see-clearly-2021-02-28/)

Neil D. 01-01-2022


An Origin-all meaning of Christmas


All but the most distracted people are stopped in their tracks when encountering a sweetly contented baby.

Figurines of shepherds, animals, three magi, Joseph, and Mary… All gazing at the centerpiece.

And now imagine a time you’ve approached a group of live human beings gazing at that scene of gazing. Most eyes eventually settle on the focal point and rest there for some moments in wonder. Perhaps, in remembering.

With the power of our full being’s experience, it does not matter whether the baby is a figurine or real. Our conscious brains may be focused on that baby, but our wider soul is connecting outside of our conscious brain in a moment of communion and unity with each person gazing at that same centerpiece.

When we encounter an unsettled baby, our caregiver instinct within us longs to soothe. Sure, that involves some involuntary biological instinct to preserve and propagate our species. Psychology too can tell us that, when you behold an infant, you may be stirring your very own longing to be cared for again as a pure, innocent, dependent, as-yet-uncorrupted baby. Unto such as these belongs the kingdom…

For us to gaze upon that figurine baby lying atop manger hay requires nothing special about the figurine itself.
That baby is you.
That baby is me.
That baby is each of us.

The nativity’s context implies that this baby is divine. Now imagine any baby in *any* context. We act like every baby has some special power. They are all divine. Undistracted and oblivious of the confusions we accumulate and endure as we age. Infants are contented – and quite fearless – to be dependent on loving caregivers.

That baby is you.
That baby is divine.
You are divine.

Isn’t that the central message of Christmas?

Incarnation is another of innumerable signs from our ever-patient Origin about the divine goodness of human beings like you and me – an Original Goodness remains mixed in with our complex reality as human beings. It remains, because it’s incorruptible. The biological parents from whom we originate cannot be changed; that truth is incorruptible. Same for our Origin and our nature.

Pick your babyself up in your divine arms and pour your loving care out – your divine care – on your babyself. It needs it. Because that’s how we’re made. Our nature. O, holy night… he appeared – the same way you and I appear in this world – and the soul felt its worth.

Your birth was an incarnation of your very own divine spark.
Long lay your (inner) world in error - pining, till you appear and your soul feels its worth - once again.
Death, rebirth. Loving care showered on the fully dependent baby-you, who does nothing to earn anything. That boundless love is in you to be poured out onto your own babyself too, an image and likeness...

You are an originall. Your ego – fundamentally good – tells you this. You are an independent and autonomous individual in creation, 100% unique. And, you also “know” you are a part of something much larger.

In-divi-dual = not di-visible. You are not visible as a “di-” (two-part) being. That you are both – an original as well part of something larger – cannot be actually seen as separate. To imagine those trees is to lose awareness of the forest. The ‘parts’ of you are not real being. They’re conceptual illusions for the sake of discussion that informs us they are not real. A human being is the indivisible individual.

In-dividual. You have a dual nature that cannot be divided.

The conceptual ‘part’ of you which senses your participation in some larger whole is your soul. It is that suchness and thisness which bestows your individual being. Your existence. You can’t doubt it. It’s impossible. To exist is to “know” you have a soul – knowing involuntarily, with no action of will.

When you, in the company of others, stand before a nativity scene, and you experience communion with that figurine baby and onlookers, your ego senses your separate originality while your soul senses connection with those of other 100% origin-al human beings. Our common Origin, in carne. In the very flesh of our being.
“God is in us
God is with us.”

God is in, for, with…
“Love is raining down on the world tonight
There’s a presence here I can tell
God is in us,
God is for us,
God is with us,
Emmanuel”
[God Is With Us – Casting Crowns]

This beautiful song is one of a dozen in this 12-video playlist assembled by a daughter of God named Beth. She often sits atop a stool strumming her six-string, and a dozen of us wait to be moved by her courage and faithful confidence in us, then join. She is a being larger than herself and us, and our souls fall into connection with one another because our egos remember they don’t have to dominate our being to be part of the celebration in, for, and with us. She unfolds creation by doing what she seems to love irresistibly; we cannot resist what she unfolds also in us.


Neil D. 2021-12-22


Whether you’ve ever heard any songs in the playlist or listened for the first time, if something moves you, please share it with all of us in a Reply below.

Share your feelings about any Christmas songs; here’s a series with Neil’s.

Another Christmas playlist – all one song “Do you hear what I hear” – best online versions. Preface: Awesome Dad

More FeelWithNeil holiday thoughts


What’s your story? (Vision boards – Part 1)


What’s your story?

Formulate it. Narrate it. Compose your personal narrative.

This is often too difficult, for various reasons. So therapists use methods that more gently approach it, like trauma eggs and vision boards.

I believe we find it difficult because we crave simplicity, and abide mystery discomforted, with unanswered questions, craving validation from persons who will never give it. Maybe because they themselves haven’t composed their own narrative either. What’s interesting is how ready we are to simplify *their* narrative, while, at the same time, avoiding our own.

So, instead of writing our story, we just *pray* for it: For serenity about the things we can’t change. For courage. And for wisdom.

We celebrate examples of courage among ourselves, Though I wonder how much courage uninformed by wisdom is true courage.

We seek serenity by lambasting our transgressors as examples of “things we cannot change.”
“They’ve always been addicts, weak, manipulators, narcissists, cheaters…”

Sometimes we do turn that mirror on ourselves. “We always did what *they* wanted, like we were doormats.” Yet, there is no serenity in accepting that we cannot change our victim status.

In relationship crisis, we face outrageously complex and mysterious failures. Every impulse to simplify ourselves or our adversaries stems from what psychology calls cognitive distortions and biases (more in Part 2). We therefore should be cautious about identifying “things we cannot change.” Without deeply exploring your own distortions and biases, wisdom remains distant.

Authentic wisdom is outrageously difficult to come by. It is never fully achieved, nor is it static. Not authentic wisdom. It is not a holy grail you can possess and keep in your possession. It is as fleeting and ephemeral as all things authentic, like authentic love, compassion, the different mode by which divinity is known – Sophia, the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, your narrative should not be static. And that makes it difficult. So we oversimplify our failure, and share platitudes as substitutes for on-boarded wisdom, because authentically internalized wisdom is too elusive for us amidst our suffering. The gentler approach to the runway of wisdom is less abrupt and sharp in our tender, wounded state.

We seem to often lack enough courage to pursue wisdom wholeheartedly, which conterproducrively keeps serenity at bay. That’s what a victim mentality is. That’s where, why, and how blaming our transgressors keeps us stuck.

Enter: Vision boards.

Vision boards come with two indispensable instructions. Neither is optional. Both are required. It must be something you want for yourself, and it must be possible. Now, recite the serenity prayer in your mind, and think about those two requirements.
Serenity.
Courage.
Change.
Wisdom.
Difference.
Possibility.
Wish.

You will not accidentally get the courage to change the things you can. You have to want the change, and believe the change is possible. Both. You can’t just want it accidentally, like mana falling from heaven. But you also don’t have to chase it rabidly, like a possessed madman.

I am convinced that if you can internalize these two motives harmoniously – aspiration, and imagined possibility – you are already on a wisdom path.

But in the wake of relationship failure, it’s hard to believe in the possibility of harmony between possibility and desire. They are seen as the ground from which our current suffering was born.

In many senses, vision boards turn out to be trauma eggs also. The things we imagine as possible tend to reflect the wounds we have suffered. But not entirely.

For example, say you’ve always wanted a dog. But an ex-partner forbade it, explicitly or implicitly. Now you can imagine the possibility of having one.

There’s a twofold effect in the story you tell about that board. [1] You are imagining something that is possible – and remember, you don’t have to chase it doggedly:-) [2] You are telling your narrative as an imprisoned victim. Notice how that is a gentler approach to what you can’t change, and it lowers the challenging steepnesss of a directly honest personal narrative.

An approach to wisdom – gentle or not – is only an approach. It does not put you on the path of wisdom. You’ll have to do the hard inner work – to look at your failed relationship with eyes that do not divert blame elsewhere. That’s hard.

Because wisdom is ever dynamic, you need a draft to reread periodically as you tread the dissonance of the Serenity Prayer applied to you. Successive editions narrate less about your transgressor and your victimization, and more about your shortcomings and contributions to the failure. You cannot get to the final, happy chapter about wisdom, without first writing an earlier chapter about hypocrisy.

The tango took two. Even if you don’t repeat that dance with a different partner, there is always that other partner you cannot escape. Inside. Your ego and your soul are custom-tailored partners in the ever-dynamic dance of wisdom. Your glee as a witness to the wisdom dance is only as large as the eyes that can first imagine the boundless possibilities of your soul, and see how that divine dancer can embrace its ego partner and sweep it off its illusory terra firma.


(“Terra firma” is my fanciful reference to the “firm ground” on which an ego thinks it stands. Part 2 explains how unconscious you likely are about the illusions of this fantastical firm ground. There is NOTHING firm about the wisdom path. Authentic wisdom is the opposite of the certainty that’s nothing short of passionately misdirected LUST. Authentic wisdom is never situated in any belief system that values the simplicity and fundamentalism comfortable to the ego; it is instead the realm where complexity – aka mystery – is the supreme value. Part 2 expands on several of these steps toward the self honesty which can be sideshows on your wisdom journey that fortify your passion to remain on your path for your own sake, all else be damned.)


.
Neil D. 2021-12-16

Biological evolution…to love?


[2 minute read]

Who/what are we? Where did we come from, and how? What is our ancestry and origin? And what is our trajectory – our “why”? How have we survived as fit? What are our defenses? On what strengths are we built?

Remember learning in biology class about endoskeletons (like ours) and exoskeletons (like insects, lobsters, snails)? Our vulnerable tender flesh lies exposed, so we survive by moving away from environmental threats, and toward nourishment, minimizing competition.

Our psyche, mind, hearts, and spirits reflect this evolutionary pattern, don’t they?

Evolution has not fashioned us as sedentary animals with a hard outer shell like oysters (though our pearl, too, lies within). We have evolved by survival as highly mobile (animated) animals.

Our structural form and support comes from the inside, and is moved by contractions that pull on our support system from outside it.

Our firm foundation and strength are inside of us. Sages throughout ages have called it the soul.

Unlike the protective outer shell of cockroaches, our protection and strength come from the inside.

Sedentary clams rely on currents of the ocean to nourish them. Currents outside them dictate their fate. Our origins lie in ancestors that evolved out of the ocean, taking a piece of the ocean in their insides. That ocean moves around inside of us, and the current is supplied by the beating of our heart. That is how we are energized and nourished. That is our fate.

When the heart stops beating, our embodyment is dead. The ocean currents inside of us are no longer animated (“anima” is Latin for “soul”).

When alive, and our ocean container is pierced, we bleed because of our beating hearts, and others see the piece of our inner ocean pour out from inside us, exposing our vulnerable and tender basis for being. And so it is when we authentically love.

.
Neil D. 2021-12-10

Related: We harden our shells… Like turtles, not cockroaches


We harden our shells… Like turtles, not cockroaches

Your fingernails are not alive, don’t hurt when you cut them, but protect the living tissue of your fingertips, which is where contact with a nail is sensed.

The shell of a turtle is alive and can feel. Turtles cannot live without their shells; it is part of their skeleton and their skin.

The shells of most smaller animals are not alive. As insects grow larger, they must molt, replacing their old shells for a larger one, or they suffocate and die. A snakeskin is also shed by a growing serpent.

This is biological development, anatomical growth.

What about your psyche, mind, heart, and spirit?

Those too require shells as you grow. To advance from one phase and grow into the next, you need protection. Yet, these are inseparably continuous developments, not dramatic events – except traumas.

If you leave a stage too early, and expose your soft vulnerability before it is ready… you’ll dry up, or predators will traumatize you… uh-oh. But too much protection, too thick a shell that you cannot escape, and you suffocate and die if you don’t shed or molt? Not really…

We do not molt anatomically like insects and crabs, nor shed as dramatically as snakes.

Our emotional shells are like a turtle – alive.

So they hurt.

Just as we would die biologically without our skin and skeleton, a turtle dies without its shell. Whether wounded and scarred – or not – it must carry its living protection on its back, and all around its Self.
Or, no more living turtle.

Neil D. 2021-12-08