Now on Bring4th.org
In the Now Episode #32
L/L Research Podcast In the Now
Copyright © 2016 L/L Research
Jim: Hi, everyone. This is Jim McCarty welcoming you to the L/L Research Podcast, In the Now, Episode #32. L/L Research is a nonprofit organization dedicated to freely sharing spiritually-oriented information and fostering community, and towards this end has two websites: the archive website, LLResearch.org; and the community website, Bring4th.org. During each episode, those of us at L/L Research form a panel to consider questions from spiritual seekers. Our panel consists of Gary Bean, director of L/L Research and Austin Bridges, assistant director of L/L Research, along with myself, husband to the late Carla L. Rueckert, scribe for the Ra contact, and president of L/L Research; each of us a devoted seeker and student of the Law of One. We will be discussing questions that are sent to us from spiritual seekers around the globe. Our replies to these questions are not final or authoritative; instead, they are generally subjective interpretations stemming from our own studies and life experiences. We intend this podcast to be a platform of discussion as we consider questions that often challenge us to articulate our own perspective. We always ask each who listens to exercise his own discernment and listen for her own resonance in determining what is true. If you would like to submit a question for this show, please do so; our humble podcast relies on your questions. You may either send an email to email@example.com or go to www.LLResearch.org/podcast for further instructions. Again, I'm Jim McCarty and we are embarking on a new episode of L/L Research's weekly podcast, In the Now. Is everybody here and ready to go?
Gary: I indeed am.
Austin: Yes, I am.
Jim: Okay, folks, we are starting with somewhat of an off-beat question. This is from AmariPaul via Bring4th:
Can you apply metaphysics and the Law of One to basketball? I do not know if you have ever played, but there is such a passion I have. It’s like you spill your heart into this beautiful work of art. I would like to know if it is possible to be service-to-others in a basketball game, or at least be able to play efficiently with your green ray open. I know the game can probably be a mixture of service-to-others and service-to-self, but what I really want to know is what advantage would you have in having an open heart, and then applying meta- and quantum physics and the Law of One in playing basketball. I think in basketball there is probably a lot of usage into the rays that are usually used in service-to-self entities. Thank you soooo much. I'm excited if you could answer this question. I also want to know what growth you can bring out of this, so that way you may apply the examination to a wider range of audience.
Gary, how about some round ball advice in metaphysics for us?
Gary: Hmm. Well, probably there is one of three of us that's most qualified to speak on this particular topic because two out of three of us aren't sports people, you might say. Sports to me—and I don't mean to minimize AmariPaul's question whatsoever—but I will start with a disclaimer and say that sports, to me, kind of sound like what I'm about to read to you in this four-panel comic. So, in the upper left panel of the comic there's two characters here: there's an interviewer and kind of a stick-figure sports player. And the interviewer says, ‘You were sportsing really hard out there. A lot of sports happened. Why do you think you lost?’ The football player says, 'We sportsed our best and scored points, but the other team was sportsing, too, and they scored even more points.’ ‘What's your strategy for the next match?’ ‘We need to stop the other team from scoring points while we ourselves score many points.’ ‘Now, back to the studio for ten hours of sports analysis.’ And then the football player concludes by saying, ‘My income is higher than most countries'.’
So, now to your good question, AmariPaul. I would think that polarity of consciousness in competitive sports is surely parallel to polarity of consciousness in other arenas of life. I would begin examining this question by asking of the sports player: Do you treat other players, regardless of whose team they are on, with respect? Do you see the Creator in them? Do you recognize your fundamental and underlying equality with those on and off the court? Or, do you seek to dominate or humiliate your opponents? Do you approach the game with a sense of virtue and ethics in terms of playing fairly and abstaining from cheating, doping, abusing your position, etc.? Or, do you play to win whatever the means necessary? Do you give gratitude for your ability to play, and do you give your best effort for the love of the game? Or, do you play hard for the fame, the money, the increased opportunities for sex, etc.? Do you operate as a team member, attempting to uplift and support your team, or even your city? Or, are you driven by what some call “ego,” and seek only your own glory?
Sports, at the professional level, involves incredible skill and years of discipline and training and a high intelligence for the activity. Wanting to excel, to win against an opponent in the context of a game, I don’t see this as inherently service-to-self. So much depends upon the attitude and orientation of the one playing. Just like in other areas of life, the same activity could be used to polarize ones consciousness in either direction. Ultimately, service to others is compatible with competitive sports, I believe. Being genuinely spiritual, however, may be challenging in sports. Upon the positive path of spiritual evolution, one seeks not to become attached to outcome, but to give ones best and to allow the cards to fall where they may. In sports, absolutely everything is hinged upon the outcome of a game, or a season, or a tournament, or a performance, most especially the fans’ blood pressure and mental well-being. To say, “I am going to try my best, but I am not too concerned about whether I win or lose,” is not a recipe for success in sports. That's my thoughts, AmariPaul. Back to you, Jim.
Jim: Well, Austin, what have you got to say about the round ball competition versus cooperation?
Austin: Well, I am not the one of the three that Gary is referencing.
Jim: Oh, I thought you were.
Austin: No, I've always said that I'm just missing the part of my brain that allows me to appreciate sports in the same way that a lot of our culture does. But I do think that there is this similar correlation to something I do have experience with, and that is competitive multiplayer video games. It's not as front and center in our culture as sports are, but I do think that they engage a similar competitive spirit. While sports engages people in a much more physical way, I think that the mentality behind the two are very similar. It's all about engaging a particular skill or power in order to outperform and/or subdue another person or group of people. And I was really into competitive gaming at one point in my life, and I have to say that the type of rush that you get from this overpowering of somebody and beating an opponent of equal or greater skill when you have practiced and honed your own skill, it's unlike any other kind of rush that I've experienced. You can kind of taste the power, and kind of get high on it, and you want more of it. So if I am right, in that this rush of competitive power is similar between the two, I think that AmariPaul's comment was insightful when he said: ‘I think in basketball there is probably a lot of usage into the rays that are usually used in a service-to-self entity.’ And there's actually a Q & A where Ra talks very closely about this subject. In 34.12, Don is asking about positive individuals interacting with gadgets, toys, and inventions, and Ra responds:
In this particular instance we again concentrate for the most part in the orange and in the yellow energy centers. In the negative sense many of the gadgets among your peoples, that is what you call your communication devices and other distractions such as the less competitive games, may be seen to have the distortion of keeping the mind/body/spirit complex unactivated so that the yellow- and orange-ray activity is much weakened thus carefully decreasing the possibility of eventual green-ray activation.
Others of your gadgets may be seen to be tools whereby the entity explores the capabilities of its physical or mental complexes and in some few cases, the spiritual complex, thus activating the orange ray in what you call your team sports and in other gadgets such as your modes of transport. These may be seen to be ways of investigating the feelings of power; more especially, power over others or a group power over another group of other-selves.
So when talking about having feelings of power over others, this seems to be pretty clearly a negative-leaning sort of power. But I don't think that necessarily means that, in playing any sort of competitive sport or video game, that it is inherently negative and is not part of the positive path. And I may be taking the video game to sports correlation a little far, but Q'uo once spoke about playing competitive games online. And what they said has helped me shape my own understanding of the nature of this type of competition in general, including sports (and this is from March 28th, 2006). Q'uo said:
Many of your computer games, whether played by the self or played with others, involve a great deal of dramatic action in which the online characters are embattled. There is a good deal of destruction and mayhem that is a part of the game. It is necessary, in order to play the game, to move through the patterns of aggression, warfare and the concept of winning over one’s enemies.
Games such as this have a mixed polarity in terms of their effect upon the people who play them. In one sense, there is something to be said for a person who is aware that, within the heart, she has many hostile and aggressive feelings which she cannot, in good conscience, express in the normal course of everyday life. Such a seeker may consciously choose to play such an aggressive game in order to express the shadow side of the self in terms of negative emotions like anger, impatience, judgment and resentment in a way that does not infringe upon anyone’s free will. [When] played in a conscious way, where the time is dedicated to expressing such feelings in a non-harmful manner, such an entity may experience a psychological release from the opportunity which has been taken to unload the harmful and toxic emotions and remove [them] from the interior emotional system of the self.
And I think that the "aggressive" nature of games isn't necessarily the correlation to basketball, as the game of basketball is not violent in the same way that video games can be violent. But Q'uo talks about the concept of winning over one's enemies, which is exactly what I think when I think about basketball and other sports: it's all about winning over your opponents. And so Ra talks about these things being a way "of investigating feelings of power." I think that an investigation of these things, especially when played out in such a safe and regulated outlet such as sports or video games, can be a part of the path of the positive entity. If we were investigating these feelings of power over others through real violence or real warfare, then I do think the consequences on our polarity would be much greater. But as a society, we realize that these things are a part of human nature, but also not something that we should allow to run out of control and cause harm on other people just to let them play out. It's something that needs to have an outlet to be explored; otherwise, it would probably stay repressed and likely express itself in much less healthy ways.
And beyond that, while I think that many may grow beyond sports once the investigation and expression is satisfied, like Gary was saying, I think there is still a potential for athletes to grow positively within a sport. A conscious recognition of the feelings of power over others can grow to maybe a more healthy compassionate competition, where there's a comradery between the two opponents. Two people competing against each other may see each other as less of an enemy and more as friends who are helping each other grow in their passion and helping them to express their feelings of power—not necessarily over others, but a power of inspiration that comes when you do something that you love. But I do think it can go the other direction as well. A person may be indulgent in the feeling of dominating others through sport, and in their sport successfully polarize negatively through this means. And perhaps this is more common, as I think the tendency of having power over others isn't one that necessarily lends itself to positive polarization. And like Gary said, there is a lot that hinges on needing to win a game. You can't really let go of expectations in sports. I don't think it's seen as a sportsman-like attitude to just be like, "I'm happy whether or not we win or lose.” So I think that it might tend more towards a negative skew, but it's definitely potential for both if you are conscious about it. And those are my thoughts. How do you feel, Jim?
Jim: Well, I appreciate what you all had to say. There were some very thoughtful remarks that you all have made. I think it was Vince Lombardi, the pro football coach back in the 60's and 70's at Green Bay that said, ‘Winning isn't everything; it is the only thing.’ That gives you an idea of the traditional view of sports in the country and probably around the world. I think we've come some distance since then. When you watch a game now—even in college, especially . . . I think it started in high school—after the game, both teams line up and shake each other's hand and wish each other “good game,” or maybe a little hug or something, or a pat on the shoulder. And that's something that didn't happen back in Vince's time. I'm sure he would not have appreciated that at all. But as far as making a basketball game more Law of One friendly, I think we would have to change it around a little bit. Most basketball games are played by the half, and I think we would need to go back to the way the football games are played by the quarter.
I had a couple ideas. One of them was, at the end of each quarter, one person from each team would switch teams so that the teams, as you went through the game, would begin to change and there would not be the competition of one team against another team. And then I had another idea. I was thinking, “Well, let's just put everybody on one bench, the two teams, and they're all going to be going in and out on either team.” So that what's really focused upon, then, would be the game itself, and how well you play the game and the teamwork to see where you got. And by the end of the game, then, there wouldn't really be a winner or a loser. There would be people who had played the game for the joy of the game—as AmariPaul says: the great beauty of the game. And there is a lot of beauty in basketball. I mean, in any sport where there is movement, it is a type of a dance, and in basketball there are all kinds of opportunities for doing some really great steps. So that would be what we focused on. It wouldn't be which side scored the most points, because you wouldn't know which side was there. It would be one side: “all is one.” So, I think that we would have to remodel the game a little bit in order to make it a cooperative event.
And regarding his last part of the question here, ‘I also want to know what growth you can bring out of this so you may apply the examination to a wider range of audience,’ I think the whole idea of what I was talking about there is [you can] try to make the game more cooperative. We live in a competitive society. Capitalism is supposed to be quite a competitive culture. Although, as we go further along into capitalism, we find that the big and the rich get bigger and richer, and the small get run over, so that there's really not that many competitors in a lot of different fields any more. There's the major ones, and there's the minor ones that struggle along and try to make it. But the whole idea of capitalism is to be competitive. If we had a more cooperative type of culture and a more cooperative type of mindset, I think that [the] “all for one and one for all” idea—I think it was the Three Musketeers, wasn't it?—would probably be what we would want to focus on. Because if we're wanting to get the best possible effort out of everybody, everybody has to be able to receive a benefit from it. We can't cut people out just because they're not efficient or stronger or smarter or richer. Everybody's got to be in. So in order to do that in our society, we'll have to elect a socialist—or worse, a communist like Jesus—where everybody shared what everybody had, and if you needed something, people provided it, and if they needed something, you help provide it. So I don't think our mindset in this culture just yet is ready for all of this, but I think that is the direction we'd have to go. You really have to change the mind if you want to change the game. But if you're able to change the game a little bit, you might help change the minds some. But the mind and the heart really have to be changed first. So, any last thoughts on basketball and the Law of One?
Austin: I just like your rearrangement of basketball. I like that idea, in that it becomes more about the beauty of the game and less about the competition. But I'm imagining how all of my sports fan friends would react if they all of a sudden changed the rules of basketball to that, and I would imagine riots in every street in the country. It seems like the way that sports are set up right now, it's a strong appeal to a sort of tribal identity. Because sports fans, they don't really, like they— There are many [sports fans] who appreciate the beauty of the game and like seeing the game played, but more than anything, they want to see their team win. So I do think, like you're saying, this country is not ready for something like that. Our society's not ready for something like [it], and we can't just force it through changing the rules of the game. But it is an interesting idea; I liked it.
Jim: Well, you know, your last statement there made me think. It said that people want to see their team win because they identify so much with their teams. If people had a better idea or concept of themselves of self-confidence, maybe they wouldn't have to be so competitive. They wouldn't have to feel like, “Well, I've got to go out and prove that I can beat this person,” [but rather], “I know that it's really not necessary for me to beat anybody; I'm whole and perfect the way I am.” So maybe we need more study in our schools in meditation and in metaphysics before we can really get to the cooperative consciousness we're pointed towards in the fourth density.
Austin: Yeah, I think so.
Jim: Okay, well, shall we take on Jeremy's question from Bring4th?
Austin: Yeah, sure.
Jim: Okay. Jeremy says or asks:
Confederation contacts always emphasize the importance of meditation, but my understanding is that Ra, at least, did not provide any real guidance on how we should meditate. This gives us a lot of room to do many different activities under this broad rubric of meditation. Where do you think the boundaries are? How do we recognize when we're doing meditative work as opposed to just thinking or just being still?
Austin, how about you, what do you think?
Austin: Well, to me the focus of Jeremy's question is in the words, “doing meditative work as opposed to just thinking or being still.” I'd first phrase the question: What is the difference between contemplating and thinking? Obviously, contemplation involves thinking, but what I think makes it contemplation is the focus of your thoughts. It is one thing to jump from thought to thought, to think about the bills you have to pay one second, to think about what's for dinner tonight, to wonder if the moon is made of cheese, then, “What's that noise over there? It's probably a raccoon” and “I can't wait for the next season of Game of Thrones to start.” So sitting and going through thoughts like that certainly isn't contemplation or meditation, I think. But to focus on a particular subject, to keep your mind within a certain groove and allow inspiration to move your thoughts within that groove, I think that is contemplation. We could contemplate pretty much anything. You could work through all possibilities and ramifications of the moon being made of cheese. But the subject matter, then, is what hones contemplation to being spiritual in nature: examining how interconnected everything in this world really is, how amazing all of the odd coincidences are that put you where you are today, considering the idea that we are all an aspect of the same great consciousness. You could say that you are just thinking about those things. But I know that when I think about them, I'm placed in another mindset completely, and I am filled with inspiration and a certain type of energy, [an] appreciation for my experiences and life. And that is how I think I am "contemplating" rather than just thinking.
But then what about when he says, 'just being still?' I think that's a tougher one. There is a difference between silent meditation and contemplation, and I think they both serve a particular purpose. It's hard to convince somebody, who isn't familiar with meditation, that sitting silently and allowing their thoughts to pass them by, and attempting to keep their head clear, is anything more than just being bored while you sit. I don't think there really is much of a difference between silent meditation and just being still. But that stillness, to me, offers a balance to the constant movement of our lives, and not just physical movement, but mental movement. I think that contemplation is still a sort of movement: just sit and be, and pretending you’re just a tree or a flower, no mind to burden us with attempting to grasp our surroundings, no need to consider the past or the future, no responsibilities, nothing calling us to action. It can be hard for a lot of people to reach that point where they can actually experience this type of silence, but it is attainable. And when I plan for silent meditation, I do my best to set everything in my life aside for that time, and the only thing I have to do is be. Every other single thing that makes up the illusion of life is allowed to fall away and I am just existing, just pure and simple existence. And I do think it takes some time and practice to feel like you're doing anything more than just being still. But the practical benefits of meditation, like physical benefits, they come pretty quickly and then the spiritual benefits will come with some practice. And you will get to that point where you feel like things really are falling away and you are allowing yourself to just be, and I think that doing that balances the motion we have in our lives. So, back to you, Jim.
Jim: Good job, Austin, and I'll pass the ball over to Gary.
Gary: I thought that was an excellent answer, and I think—when Jim passed the ball back to me, it occurred to me that we're one example of cooperative sports here, in a way.
Austin: No one told me I'd be playing sports today.
Gary: Yeah, Austin's answer was excellent, especially regarding contemplation. And so much hinges on the sustained, intended focus, but also the topic of the focus, the material upon which the focus is trained. And that brought to mind Ra's statement in 52.11 where they say:
Let us remember that we are all one. This is the great learning/teaching. In this unity lies love. This is a great learning/teaching. . . .
And they go on to describe the fundamental teachings of all planes of existence: unity, love, light and joy. Then they say:
At some point the mind/body/spirit complex is so smoothly activated and balanced by these central thoughts. . .that the techniques. . .[like meditation and service] become important.
And I think contemplation on these central thoughts is what Ra was describing and what Austin was talking about when he said [that] when [he] thinks about these, this category of thought, he's put into a different mindset and uplifted even. And I don't know if you said this specifically, but when I contemplate on these thoughts, I think sometimes I can sense that there are deeper gears beginning to turn within me and— But even if I don't sense that, I trust that, by thinking on the central thoughts, there is an activation within the subconscious and the deeper self and the soul identity. It's like hitting those chords, with which the universe resonates, and maybe dormant energies, or maybe unconscious energies begin to move in concert with the conscious mind that has picked up the baton, if you will, and begun its conscious journey of seeking the truth, which has thus far been hidden or out of view from it. So, how do we recognize we're doing meditative work as opposed to just thinking or being still? Q'uo, in the past, my impression (and this is fuzzy and it's an old memory and it may be inaccurate), but my impression was that Q'uo always began with intention and didn't progress too much beyond intention. They just placed importance there and said it's the intention, just if you're sitting down with the intention to meditate, regardless of how you feel you have . . . how well you have done. Then that is most significant, because you're sending a signal to your deeper self that: you want to cooperate; you want to gain deeper understanding; you want to engage the gears of spiritual evolution, and so forth. And I think that is absolutely at the base of it, that it is fundamental and that never becomes unimportant.
However, I'd felt that that was somewhat of an incomplete attitude, because to me, it's like saying, “So, you want to be an artist.” Well, approach the canvas; get some paint brushes and some colors and just work on one's intention. Of course, intention underlies every effort and needs to be nurtured and developed. But there is a lot to be said for learning the craft, for discipline, for becoming better, which isn't a suggestion to judge one's self for meditating. I think we should never attempt to judge or rate our performance per se, but there are deepening degrees of skill in that regard that do become important. Once, Ra said in 52.11, [that] the entity is smoothly activated by the central thoughts of unity, love, light and joy. And so far as how do we recognized when we're meditating, I would offer a disclaimer to you, Jeremy, that I’ve been practicing meditation for some years now, but not consistently enough to make progress, at least the progress that I desire. Personally, I’m hoping that will change soon with new life circumstances.
But a couple ideas for markers of progress in meditation, or markers of meditating itself, [are] two concepts, the first of which is clarity and awareness. I think the more that you're able to be present in the moment with the mind focused and concentrated, the greater clarity and awareness you will begin to actually experience. In terms of how to understand that clarity, try visualizing smog-filled air versus [a] clean and clear and crisp fall, blue-sky, sunny day. There, I think that's a nice image or visual for what the interior environment can become when focusing sufficiently. It can clear [one’s mind], and one can gain a sense that there's a great inner spacious awareness that is not obstructed, you might say, by a tangle of distractions and thoughts and expectations and desires and regrets and thoughts on [the] past and future, like Austin was saying. And in addition to clarity, another marker is stability or stabilization of attention. There's less movement of the attention, you might say, less fluctuation or disturbance or distraction to attention, naturally and consistently and effortlessly—eventually, even rest in one place, in one point, without needing to run off with another thought. It can see a thought rise and fall, but it stays right there in the present, not because you're forcing it to, but through consistent discipline over time, you have essentially trained yourself, or learned how, to keep the attention in one place. And eventually, I think that is a much more natural state to us, as the attention learns how to be there and one doesn't need to hold it per se. And a great book that helped me understand these things, and that I would recommend, is Wake Up To Your Life: Discovering the Buddhist Path of Attention, by Ken McCloud. And I think I will stop there and bounce the ball back to you, Jim.
Jim: Good job. You guys did a really good job. Well, I don't know how much there is left to say. Don always used to say that he felt he was always in a state of meditation, and I think what he was talking about is this “beingness” that we all have, and from which we— We use this as our foundation and we do what we do because first we be, and we know that we are and we exist. And I think that he was able to tune into his “beingness” much more than most people, even when he, say, was driving his car and going to work, or even flying the jets for Eastern Airlines. I think that there is a way of maintaining that sense of your inner self that you get when you have a really good meditation. When you do have that ability to focus one-pointedly for a while, after the meditation, that sense of expanded self, of sure self, of calm and peaceful and one-pointed self, can go with you for a while. And it changes the way you look at things. Things look much more harmonious; they look much more happy and helpful and the way that they ought to be. So I can understand how he would say something like that, and I think that he probably had a whole lot more experiences with meditation than he ever shared with anybody. He wasn't one for sharing really what was going on, but I think just looking at him as he sat around the house drawing those mysterious pictures in the air with his fingers— He would never tell Carla and me what he was drawing, but he would—usually lying on the couch—he would look up and he would be drawing in the air. And he always had this sense of— You could feel his serenity about him, that he was totally centered all the time and just enjoying being alive, although he wasn't saying a lot about it. So I think that, like Gary said, it is the intention that really determines whether or not we're contemplating or meditating, and sometimes even though we intend to try to meditate, sometimes there's thoughts that want to try to intrude and take our center away and run off with it and, I'd don't know, I imagine some of you also had the experience: you're meditating and all of a sudden there's a conversation going on and you're one of the people talking and you ask yourself, “How did that happen? You know, I don't want to be talking.” But life is mysterious. That's about all I have to say about meditation and intention. Final thoughts before we bring this episode to a close?
Gary: Just that you brought up a good point, Jim, about how Don felt he was meditating in everything he did, and I think, ideally, meditation is a way of life. It doesn't just happen within the confines of those fifteen or thirty minutes that you set on the chair in a lotus position. However, I think that meditation—at least for me, maybe it's different for other people—meditation is learned in a formal sort of discipline. I think that's really important. And then gradually one finds it is expanding out into every corner of one's life until, with consistent discipline and practice, one enters into what might be called the meditative state of mind and/or brings that meditative state of mind into anything and everything that they do. And that's all for me today. Thanks, Jeremy.
Jim: Okay, final thoughts, Austin?
Austin: Nope, I think I'm done.
Jim: Okay. I think we're all done, then, and it's been a great show. I enjoyed exchanging ideas with you guys, as always.
Austin: Yeah, it's always fun.
Jim: You've been listening to the L/L Research's weekly podcast, In the Now. If you've enjoyed the show, please visit our websites: LLResearch.org and Bring4th.org. Thanks so much for listening, and a special thank you to those who submitted questions. If you'd like to send us a question for use before the next show, please read the instructions on our page at www.LLResearch.org/podcast. We want you all to know that we love you very much, and we thank you for being with us. And we think about you during the week because we're thinking about what we want to do for our next In the Now podcast. So you are on our minds, you're in our hearts, and I hope that we're in yours as well. Have a wonderful week and we will see you in two weeks. Cheerio.
Thanks to Mary A. for transcribing this episode, and Nancye G. for editing!