Unit 3: Frameworks of Insight & Attention
After a little warm-up in the first segment of this session, Orland drops into another whole octave of depth starting in the second segment. Much of what he says admits to multiple interpretations, and communicates at least as much on a feeling level as it does on a semantic level. As you listen, notice if your mind has a tendency to latch on to the things you already have a framework to understand, and skip over the things that seem opaque.
Orland says that we are in a critical time in which beings who want to interact with us, and who are beyond our traditions of knowing, can be engaged with. But to do that, he says, we need to come from a place of non-judgment; that is, not preemptively fitting things into the one. I’d like to make the meta-level comment here that Orland is one of those beings; likewise, our ability to understand him depends on stepping out of our personal traditions of knowing. Non-judgment, then, is the key to “giving attention to what is not yet in the world” (one’s personal world, or the collective world).
The material on attention, intention, and will may be difficult to understand at first, and will reward multiple listenings. One way to interpret it is that through superconscious agreement with beings of will, which may be accessed through ceremony and meditation, will can operate in the world much more powerfully than through our own doings, just as our will to live operates through our bodies without us doing anything effortful. It is as if the world operates around us as automatically as the body does, in the direction of our intentions.
In a way this should be obvious, because, as I am fond of saying, we humans are not discrete, separate individuals. We are relationship. As Orland puts it, “Alone, we cannot experience reality. We experience isolation, as a kind of exile, even from our own sense perception and our capacity for communication.” No wonder it seems, in this year of social distancing, lockdowns, and the isolating effect of masks, many people seem to be losing their grip on reality.
The relationship of being/reality goes both ways. Just as my being depends on others, so also does theirs depend on mine. Orland applies this, in the third segment of this session, to the relationship with earth as well as with other humans.
Ceremony, which, remember, includes meditation and even sincere conversation and authentic listening, is a means to expand these relationships and thus expand one’s being. For this to happen, Orland names three requirements: (1) that the ceremony have that intention. (2) that one be observant of what new thing wants to come, and (3) “The crucial thing is the commitment to be willing to change. If I am not willing to change, a tradition will kill me.“ Nothing is static.
In the fourth segment, Orland says, “Truth is more than what something is. It includes what it wants to become. The truth of a conflict is that there is peace in it.” With attention, facts become future. Attention is a creative act.
This whole session culminates in this, which I invite you to apply to some current situation. Instead of observing and merely accepting what is, we know that our observation will change it provided we are willing to change along with it. Self and world are inseparate. This goes for any situation in life. What does it want to become? Who must I become, that the situation may become what it wants to become? Who must I become, for the other person in the conversation to be free to become what they want to become? Whether it is the “ceremony” of meditation, conversation, or an endeavor, enter with an open, humble mind, being willing to drop any preexisting answer. Enter with a willingness to change. You are welcome to share the results in the discussion forum.
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