On topic, though a bit tangent to it, I've been working up a 'periodical' sort of thing that I'm calling Irv's Scrapbook, that some of you may be interested in. It's something that's going to serve me in several ways: To begin with, as a 'staging area' for a book I've been trying to complete . . . it's well-begun, but I haven't been able to pull it through a year-long lethargy problem. So I had this brilliant idea for a way to kick-start it, and before I knew it the kick-start took on a life of its own. It will be several things besides, including the vehicle for a kind of 'kick in the pants' that I think this country needs. No, not really political, but calculated to deal with how the political scene has been beating us down. Hard to explain, without getting a bit of running room for it, and it's actually quite a bit deeper than that.
So what I'm going to do, here, is LJ-cut one of the key articles in the first issue, that is going out this weekend. You can take a look at it and see if you feel it might be worth getting from me. It costs nothing, and will arrive by email. Irregularly, as is my style. But I think I may be able to keep up a 4-6 week frequency with it. Maybe!
The only requirement is that I'd need an email address from you. So if you happen to want it you can send me an address at email@example.com rather than publicly through a comment here. I know how antsy everyone is about that. And if it doesn't quite satisfy you, provision will be right there for unsubscribing yourself.
It has begun to feel, in what I've written thus far, that I've been dancing around the edge of what this Scrapbook thing is all about, putting it into so many encircling words but never quite saying it.
I'm reminded of how I was recently describing someone who once picked me up as a hitch-hiker, many years ago, who had a peculiar style of conversation: he'd sort of hover over what he was trying to say, without ever coming right out with it, like a great bird in the sky circles – endlessly, it usually seems – over some undetermined point below. When he ultimately told me that he'd survived some sort of brain injury involving his left hemisphere, I put the two circumstances together and realized that he was conversing with me in a right-brain mode: by inference, rather than hard specifics that leave no room – when you stop to think about it – for the imagination to play with.
So maybe I've been encouraging you to let your mind play with the possibilities of where I could be going with this. Or . . . maybe I'm truly not sure, myself!
I think it's a bit of both. But let me try to spell it out a little more clearly . . . it might do us both some good, for I'm still on the lookout for greater clarity from the morning revelations concerning it, as I earlier noted. I don't mean that to sound religious, as it possibly does, but it's really the most accurate term I can apply: I start my day with at least twenty minutes of meditation, and these insights just settle in on me, and I have to believe that they are arriving from somewhere. Hence: revelations.
God knows – if you'll excuse the expression – I was a confirmed rationalist in my maturing years. The closest I ever came to a 'belief' (in anything I couldn't see with my own two eyes) would have to be agnosticism. My most passionate commitment, in those days, was to looking at both sides of just about everything (until the day I realized, with no small degree of chagrin, that the two sides of everything I looked at invariably left me in a region of continuing uncertainty — a morass like the fabled Sargasso Sea, where becalmed waters were said to trap and hold sailing vessels forever).
So I started believing in things, but recognizing at the same time that it was a choice I was making, and that my belief – any belief – had no more substance than that. No firmer ground of assurance. But that was an extremely valuable awareness, as it turned out, because it was the basis for a later realization that belief creates reality!
This is still hard for a lot of people to grasp — that reality isn't just "everything we experience or know about" in the world around us. That's only the grist that belief works with; it's the two together that create our reality. Even when you understand this, it's hardly very useful information until it can be put to good use. So I plan to incorporate a lot of material in this Scrapbook that will help demonstrate it, clarify it, and further it for you.
It was once true that a somewhat common reality was shared by everyone in whose midst we lived — certainly the family, most often the community, and to a reasonable extent the entire region. You knew, vaguely, that other realities existed in other locales — the key word, there, being 'vaguely', for we were always sure that 'they' (who lived differently) were somewhat weird, somewhat warped, or at the very least misguided. And we were pretty safe, pretty secure in those assumptions, for they seldom came back to haunt us in the narrow confines of what life used to be like, even so recently as a couple of generations ago.
Societally, those assumptions persist. Our own society, as a unitary whole (a pure fiction to begin with, despite the implied unity in its name), is still monolithically run, as if it (we) were a small community. Our national government, in this sense, is totally anachronistic . . . yet we attend and cater to it as though it were running our lives. The actual fact of it, however, is that we – individually – allow it to do so . . . we believe that it's actually doing so, and we tend to think it's unavoidable! But if you take a good hard look at your life, you'll realize that the government governs you no more than you actually put yourself in a position to be governed by it.
Now, admittedly, there are a lot of good reasons for doing so. But these all boil down to choices we've individually made. And those choices, when they were made, all boiled down to things we believed in . . . ways of life we chose to pursue, responsibilities we chose to assume, defaults we were willing to put up with (for what we were getting in exchange) . . . one kind after another of go-along, get-along co-opting that we were willing to sit still for, probably because we thought at the time that we had no choice . . . and maybe still think so.
Your reaction, quite likely, is that I'm only stating the obvious, and so what? But stop and think for a minute...
Of course it's obvious! Obviousness is always the mask that the illusionist creates his most incredible tricks with ...that the make-up technician employs for the most effective disguises ...that is invariably our surprise when we discover a path or a resolution which is practically in plain sight for the mere focus of attention on it. The simple fact of obviousness is what keeps the blinders in place until any kind of seeming magic dissolves them.
All that is required to deal with 'the obvious' here, is to begin thinking from a fresh premise: that a solution might actually be this simple! If you're not open to the possibility, one thing is sure: it never will be!
What makes me so confident that so much weight resides in choice and belief?
Personal experience, for one thing. Good, hard, very solid experience in having once turned my entire world around by changing the reality assumptions that had gradually led me into a life I no longer wanted. And in the outflow of that major change followed a string of smaller ones . . . it was a fluid, living truth that I was exploring, and it belonged to no sect or religion, it was all my own. It has held up, now, for close to forty years.
And I'm hardly alone in having done that, in case you think it a unique anomaly. In fact, I've just received the latest installment from another such 'explorer' who has been nearly seven years along the trail of his own 'belief-created reality' – even more spectacularly 'unbelievable' than mine – and I'll say more about it in the article that follows this one.
But: this is no recommendation that you should follow the course he and I have pursued. I speak of our paths only as instances of proof that the reality we appear to be in, that seems so confining perhaps, or disturbing or critical . . . or however it may distress you, is not one that you are necessarily trapped in. All I am bringing out, by way of our experience, is that you have a say in it. Whatever that 'say' will be is yours to decide.
I could reference many others whom you've undoubtedly heard of. The society-at-large tends to dismiss them under a variety of categories: misfits, saints, frauds, or idiosyncratic oddballs — whatever catch-all shelf will sufficiently distance you from any possibility that you might find some personal inspiration among them. Never are they seriously portrayed as the living proof of what I'm claiming here.
Yes, they exist all around us, and have been there all through history. But the time is now, that we need to start paying attention, and understanding what they are really all about.
Why now? Because things taking place in the world around us are plunging both the country and the globe into areas of unusual hazard; and the 'powers that be' (again: to the extent that we validate their power — which is almost total, as of now) show no indication of being able to cope with any of it. In fact, they appear to be exacerbating it, if not outrightly generating it. Therefore it is becoming – progressively, and at a pretty fast clip – OURS to deal with! And it is paramount that we get going on a realization of how much we actually control the shape and detail of our personal reality. Because it may come down to being the dominant influence on the lives we lead, both individually and collectively.
That's about as close as I can come, to what this is all about. ##