NIRAA - A Summary of Accepting Self
The following are from the July 2004 through March 2005 newsletters. They form a comprehensive exploration of Elias' concept of accepting self and the method he outlines in which to directly experience this for ourselves.
One way to apply this material is to first read the entire series, then go back and spend several weeks focusing on the exercises in each section. This is not a quick-fix instant acceptance scheme, but follows the general outlines laid down by Elias over a period of almost ten years.
July 2004: Monthly Musings - Back to Basics: The Clarity Exercise
Last month we explored how to deal with the constant updates to the Digests. This month we’re changing gears, and in the spirit of this month’s gem and moving attention to self, we’re going to revisit the classic clarity exercise.
As mentioned in What’s New?, I’ve been working on both the ’95 transcripts and DVD archive projects of late. This work allows me to revisit the roots of the Elias forum as it emerged in Castaic, CA in the early days of 1995-96. I am struck, once again, at how much depth Elias brought to bear from the outset of the sessions, and how deeply he challenged everyone with his early information.
Now, when I finish duping a video to DVD, I usually catch the last minute or three of whatever part of the session is ending. And last week, I caught the end of a discussion on the clarity exercise, along another session in which Vicki Pendley asked about why there were repeated questions in the game (that explores the ability to recognize impressions). The overall effect was to return my own attention to the simple clarity exercise and how it sets the stage for other practices and adventures in consciousness.
Elias introduced the clarity exercise as a means to focus attention on the physical senses as a warm-up to engaging our inner senses.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that there’s an interesting similarity to Seth’s Practice Element 11 found in The “Unknown” Reality, Vol. 2. It is Seth’s version of a clarity exercise. So, for those who’ve been doing Seth’s Practice Elements over the years, this is another variation that can be very useful.
Finally, here’s a link to the exercise. Enjoy.
Exercises – see: | the clarity exercise.
In the clarity of sweet dreams,
August 2004: Monthly Musings - Back to Basics: Noticing Conflict
Last month we explored the clarity exercise to hone our attention to each physical sense. It helps to ground our attention in the now, in our body, which in turn, allows us to shift our attention elsewhere. This month we’re going to revisit the very first exercise Elias presented to the small group in Castaic, California in 1995.
Elias introduced the simple idea of “noticing” during these early sessions, which is very similar to practices like vipassana, zazen, and mindfulness meditation. The basic idea is to simply notice your attention, and what enters its focus in any moment. Then, we can apply that focus of attention to various aspects of everyday life.
Noticing self is thus another foundational practice in which to build upon, like the clarity exercise. So we can now turn our attention to conflict – a rich subject for our noticing. In this early exercise, Elias points out how noticing our emotions, impulses, and thoughts helps us begin to recognize and identify sources of conflict.
ELIAS: “As I have stated, your beliefs are incorporated into everything that you do. Before you can shift your focus in any matter you must deal with your beliefs. Each time you create a shift or – better terminology – allow a shift of your focus you affect an existing belief. In many of you – correction – in all of you, you have incorporated beliefs over many developmental focuses.
“You did not only acquire all of your beliefs in this particular present focus. When you feel you have a blockage in some area you look to your influences as a child. This is only very partially correct. As I have told you, your lifetime spans many developmental focuses. You develop an affinity with certain belief systems throughout many developments. You reinforce them through these many developments.
“An example, which should be easy for you to assimilate into your present focus would be that in the area of religious beliefs. You repeat Christian beliefs over several developmental focuses. Even when you attempt to move away from these concepts and beliefs they are incorporated into your physical focus so deeply that they do not just remove themselves from you. It takes much work. It takes much noticing of these beliefs. This is sometimes difficult when you are not even aware of how deeply you have incorporated these beliefs.
“Religious beliefs, while being easy to identify with, are not your only belief systems. Your beliefs in how you interact with each other in relationships is another obvious belief system. There are many beliefs that you incorporate into your physical focus. These are only a few.
“The first element is to recognize when a belief is creating conflict between thought and feeling. You will understand when this conflict occurs. The way you will understand is that you will have to choose between a thought or a feeling. When you are in harmony and your beliefs are not creating conflict you will not have to choose between thoughts and feelings. This occurs every day of your focus.
“You may consider an exercise this week, in your terms. Each time you experience an impulse or an emotion, no matter how small, notice your thought patterns. Notice if they are in harmony. If they are not you will experience a pull. This pull will show itself in a manner of excusing, or invalidating, or rationalization. Sometimes you will not experience what you feel to be an emotion. You will only experience an impulse. Do not discount these impulses any more than you would an actual feeling. Is this clearer?”
VICKI: “Yes, I think it is clearer. A question: then these impulses are basically the same as the emotional feeling?”
ELIAS: “No. I am apologizing for misunderstanding. They are not always the same. You may experience impulses without a feeling. When you have an impulse to do something you do not necessarily feel something about it. Nonetheless an impulse is an urging of your essence. Sometimes you will experience a physical impulse. This would not be equated with an emotion. This does not mean it should not be recognized.
“When your body experiences natural impulses of natural physical functions you automatically listen. (Smiling) If you are thirsty you will drink. You will have no conflict with this because you will recognize then you will act automatically without thought on this impulse. This is the division – when you allow conflict between thought and natural impulse or emotion. This is when you experience confusion and discomfort. Is this clear?”
VICKI: “Yes, that helps a lot.” [session 08, May 21, 1995 ]
Digests – see also: | impulses | noticing self |
September 2004: Monthly Musings - Back to Basics: NIRAA - Step 1. Noticing
Last month we revisited the very first exercise Elias presented to the small group in Castaic, California in 1995 on noticing. This foundational practice informs every one of his exercises. “Noticing self” is a tool in which to remember who and what we really are: essence or souls creating a human experience.
Digests: find out more about noticing self.
In 1999, Elias introduced a method that I call NIRAA (Noticing, Identifying, Recognizing, Addressing to, Accepting beliefs/self). I pronounce it “nigh-rah.” NIRAA is a simple mnemonic aid to make it easier to remember the four basic steps involved. And you guessed it, the first one is:
Digests: find out more about these four actions.
If you haven't made the connection at this point, the NIRAA method is all about learning to accept self and belief systems. And this process is not strictly sequential. That is, since we each hold many hundreds, even thousands of related beliefs, once we really assimilate the four actions, we will notice that we actually engage all four simultaneously in varying degrees.
This practice takes time to assimilate into everyday noticing. But with persistence we can use it as a powerful tool to help identify and address to what were previously automatic responses – invisible beliefs – that often serve only to perpetuate conflict, stress, and unhealthy behavior. Once we begin to notice what we are actually doing and choosing in moments of conflict, it gradually becomes easier to see that we hold additional choices that we were previously blind to.
An example of noticing an automatic response is to notice what you are doing the next time you utter something resembling the following phrases: “Jesus fucking Christ!” “God Dammit!” “Son of a bitch!” Etc. We all have variations of these mantras ingrained as linguistic habits, which in turn indicates an active set of beliefs, behavior, and automatic responses. Every time a geyser of anger, frustration, envy, anxiety, or fear erupts, it is accompanied by an automatic response that our minds have become conditioned to.
Simply noticing that is the first step in the process. It may seem simple, and it is. But it's also very powerful, because once we bring into awareness the conditions that led up to this response, then we can begin the next step, identifying them. And once we identify them, we objectify them, and we can reflect and observe them objectively for the first time. Then, we are able to recognize them when they repeat in our behavior, language, and beliefs. Recognition is crucial because, for the first time, it allows us to begin to address to them. And this takes time, but once we consistently address to them, we can ultimately accept and neutralize them.
The results are measured by increased balance, vitality, and health. This is the simple way to tell if NIRAA is working for you! We can thus apply NIRAA to family and work relationships, addictions, financial problems, or really anything that causes us conflict, stress, fear, anxiety, frustration, anger, etc. Remember, the idea isn’t to eliminate these emotions, but better understand how these communications from our inner selves are intended to point out how we limit our choices and fulfillment.
So, the next time you stress out, mentally remind yourself with the mantra – NIRAA. Simply say – “nigh-rah.” This will instantly shift your attention into noticing mode, with identifying coming next. NIRAA will help you to remember the order in the initial stages. Using NIRAA will make it possible to consistently address to automatic responses – long time patterns of behavior that blind us to new possibilities, choices, and fulfillment.
Finally, like any exercise, don’t go nuts, just use it for 5-10 minutes initially. However, the key is to be persistent during the next 4 weeks. This is a standard period in which research shows that we can effect permanent changes in beliefs and behavior. In time you will find yourself noticing, identifying, recognizing, addressing to, and even accepting automagically!
October 2004: Monthly Musings - NIRAA and the Ten Belief Systems - Step 2a. Identifying
Last month we revisited the NIRAA (pronounced nigh-rah) method of accepting self. This month we’re going to expand that basic technique to incorporate the ten foundational belief systems. But first, let’s briefly review the basic steps of NIRAA:
To extend the reach of this process, Elias has identified ten foundational belief systems, but adds that there are many, many, many beliefs within each belief system. However, these are not concrete, separated parts, but primary aspects nested together seamlessly in the conscious and subconscious minds. For example, aspects of the belief system of duplicity are present in varying degrees in each of the other nine. Therefore, the belief system of duplicity houses our moral and ethical beliefs – values we use daily to judge self and others. On the flip side, this belief system holds the key to accepting self and others, and in my view, doesn’t mean doing away with morals and ethics (i.e. belief system of duplicity) at all. It means taking them to a whole new level, where preferences and opinions exist but black and white absolute judgment of right/wrong, good/evil, etc. no longer exist.
Here, then, is a summary of the ten foundational belief systems:
These belief systems develop in relation to our over all life conditions: intentional, behavioral, cultural, and social factors. They also form a typology – a general “worldview roadmap” – that we can trace through the various stages of life. For example, all the above belief systems emerge during infancy and continue to develop as we grow through childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and seniorhood.
There are no guarantees, either, that our belief systems will all develop at the same rate. They don’t. But they do complement each other and are nested together. For example, someone can have wide spiritual experiences and understanding, and yet have rather narrow moral beliefs. Or someone can have wide scientific understanding and very narrow, even arrested emotional or interpersonal beliefs, and so on. Together, they cover a wide matrix of potential experience.
Given all the above, the basic practice for this month is to simply begin noticing and identifying which of the ten belief systems some inner communication is attempt to draw our attention to. For example, if something flares up with the family or workers, simply notice and identify that this is the relationship area. That's one out of ten! Or, if you have a deep emotional event, simply notice and identify that this deals with the emotional belief system. On the other hand, if you're exploring the how, why, or what of creating your reality, simply notice and identify that this is the perception belief system. And so on.
So, for this month, just get used to noticing and identifying which of these ten belief systems is in play. Don't worry about the rest of NIRAA, if you've done the basic practice long enough, trust that some aspect of you is already beginning to apply it. The idea of this practice is to simply get used to the ten belief systems. Hey, you learned the nine families right? Well, this is just one more, and may open the door for deep, important connections down the road as your practice deepens.
We’ll explore this further next month. In the mean time, happy noticing and identifying!
November 2004: Monthly Musings - NIRAA and the Ten Belief Systems - Step 2b. Recognizing
Last month we revisited the NIRAA (pronounced nigh-rah) method of accepting self, and added the ten basic belief systems. The idea was to begin to use our noticing practice to help learn the ten basic belief systems. Our entire worldview, all our beliefs, fall into these ten basic systems. So if we learn this basic map, then we can begin to see more clearly how these ten belief systems constantly affect everything we choose and do. They are just a map, and the map is never the territory itself. It’s only as useful as we make it. At some point we may discard it, but in the meantime, when exploring the territory of Self, it helps to have a good map to begin with, and Elias provides a useful one.
I don’t know about you, but last month I found myself going great guns for the first 5-6 days. Then I began to slack off a bit, but once I noticed that, I regained my momentum and did the exercise for a few minutes each day. Once I felt comfortable with all ten, and found examples of each one, I began to slack off again. In the second week, I began to notice how I connected with two or three related belief systems. For example, at first when I got dressed in the morning, I identified that with the belief system of sexuality, the way I looked and presented my self to Joanne and my neighbors. But during the second week, when I got dressed I also noticed my emotional state, and even noticed my noticing, identifying those with the belief systems of emotions and perception. Which then led to additional noticing. By the third week, since I had slacked off a bit, it took a couple of days to regain my focus. The reason I mention this, is to share one example. There’s no absolutely right or wrong way to learn or do NIRAA.
This month we’re going to build on our noticing from the last two months. Though the idea last month was simply to notice, then identify specific belief systems, some of you probably began to move onto the next part of step 2, recognizing, because you can’t really notice and identify something without recognizing it the next time we bring it into our attention. The reason I’m stretching the second step into two parts, is that this step can last for years, as marked by continued chronic issues and conflict that still aren’t being addressed to, much less accepted.
So by recognizing, as part of the second step, we become more objectively aware of what we’re actually choosing and doing in each moment. As Elias points out over and over, this is something that we’re not used to noticing. We’ve learned to notice what others are doing and choosing, and that often doesn’t meet with our approval. Belief system of duplicity alert! Hopefully some of you noticed your own duplicity over and over again. I noticed it particularly in the political debates and campaigns here in the USA.
Elias also points out that extremes more often get our immediate attention than more middle-of-the-road creations. However, you don’t have to be in the midst of serious trauma to do this practice. In fact, if that’s the case it may be better to back off for a while and deal with the immediate situation. But for those of us ready to deepen this practice, then we simply notice, identify and now recognize our automatic responses, those knee-jerk reactions to whatever issues we’re working on. It could be our diet and nutrition, relationships, workouts and exercise, meditation practices, political activities, jobs, issues with food, drugs, smoking, and so on.
What ever it is, simply spend 5-10 minutes a day, every day, noticing, identifying, and recognizing which of the ten belief systems is being drawn into objective awareness. This is a crucial step in the practice, and may be the most stressful. Again, we need to be sensitive to our own situations, there’s no need to be overly obsessed with any practice, but to keep it short, focused, and consistent. Daily practice is important. Remember, we get what we concentrate upon, right? And if we’re really interested in making those invisible beliefs visible, and shedding the light of objective noticing on subconscious shadows, then this can be a stressful period of the practice. The good news is that this also means NIRAA is working!
There may be a natural tendency to back off if things get too intense. It all depends on what issues we draw to our noticing. But here’s where trusting self, that you shall never betray you, becomes paramount. This stage eventually leads into the addressing to, or third stage. But don’t concentrate on that for now, don’t engage a thought process in which you ask yourself, "am I addressing to this?" Even if it’s painful, notice just that, and simply be present with just that. Explore your feelings, recognize that this is the belief system of emotions, one of the most powerful of all, and a baseline along with the belief system of sexuality. Also, relationships, perception, and duplicity are wrapped up in the mix. Then, just let it go.
Simply notice, identify, and then recognize for this month. Hopefully, with persistence, you may discover that anxiety, physical discomfort, even mild depression will dissipate naturally on its own. The addressing to stage often happens this way, it doesn’t always require a thought process. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, but I point this out in advance only to assure those of you who really get into this part of the practice and dig up some unpleasant shadows know that help in on the way. You shall not betray you! Give it time, and as always, be persistent with the practice.
Our goal, down the road, is accepting and neutralizing those shadows and even the light. That’s the reason we’re doing this, but it takes time. And at some point there may be some rain on our parades. Elias has said many times, that his methods don’t promote quick-fixes or instant gratification. These are long term practices that once normalized help us deal with the complexities of every day life. If you need to, back off for a while. If you need someone to talk to you can always check out the NewWorldView discussion forums. There are a lot of Elias readers who hang out there these days who can provide additional support.
December 2004: Monthly Musings - NIRAA and the Ten Belief Systems - Step 3. Addressing To
Last month we continued our NIRAA (pronounced nigh-rah) method of accepting self by recognizing the ten basic belief systems. The idea was to learn the ten basic belief systems. Our entire worldview, all our beliefs, fall into these ten basic systems. So if we learn this basic map, then we can begin to see more clearly how these ten belief systems constantly affect everything we choose and do. They are just a map, and the map is never the territory itself. It’s only as useful as we make it.
This ties in nicely with the gem of month, because many times we do these practices for weeks and weeks and think we're getting nowhere, while all the while, we are actually shifting – widening our awareness to include new choices and possibilities.
Elias uses the analogy of a bird cage to represent each belief system, and the birds within to represent the many different beliefs. As we begin the addressing to, we may actually release some birds from the cage! The idea with accepting a belief system, then, is to empty the cage. By emptying the cage, we still hold preferences and opinions, but no longer as absolutes or truths. So the birds represent those beliefs we hold to be Absolute Universal Truths that create limits and narrow, black and white, either/or thinking.
Now to return to NIRAA, the “addressing to” stage may or may not include a thought process. The idea is that when we make noticing, then identifying, then recognizing a habit, we automatically shift – we widen our objective awareness. As such, the addressing to may or may not occur in objective awareness. It can also occur subjectively. Either way, this stage is marked by a lessening of conflict and tension in relation to any particular issue or set of issues that we've turned out noticing, identifying, and recognizing toward.
The proof of the pudding, so to speak, is when we encounter one of our shrines, all decked out in its magnificence from all the energy we’ve fed it over the years, and we recognize the automatic, kneejerk response before we express it! This is a big step, because now we have a new choice, and possibilities for doing. Once we’ve identified and recognized that the old familiar automatic reaction doesn't get the results we truly desire, then we can objectively, for the first time, choose a different action. Again, the measure of success is simply reduced conflict and tension. Additionally, we may even experience physical, mental, and/or spiritual healing as a natural outcome of the NIRAA process.
Hopefully, during this past month as you learned the ten belief systems (bird cages), in your recognizing practice you began to get 4, 5, 6 or more hits on any particular issue. For example, once I got comfy with all ten, something as simple as putting on my shoes resonated with the belief systems of sexuality, emotion, perception, relationship, senses, and the ever present duplicity. By sexuality, I simply connected with how I look within my culture and present my self in public, which blurred into the belief systems of relationships (who might see me/self and other), emotion (how I felt about that/happy, excited, anxious), and duplicity (whether I would look good and be liked or not).
Like any practice, at some point the noticing, identifying and recognizing becomes automatic, but it takes practice. And at times, we may need to brush up, and learn to see what other connections we can make. So, this month in the spirit of the holidays, we’re going to focus on the action of addressing to. Pick a single belief system, say relationships, and continue to notice, identify, and recognize, but now focus upon the action addressing to whatever issues are pressing.
Notice the power and affectingness of whatever belief system you choose in relation to all the others. Remember, we’re dealing with systems, the bird cages as a means of introduction, so we don’t want to overwhelm ourselves or get too obsessive. Five minutes a day is plenty. It’s important to do the practice every day, and you can do it 2 or 3 times for just a couple of minutes, perhaps morning, noon, and evening. The idea with any practice is to be consistent and persistent.
The addressing to is a critical aspect of the practice because it leads to the goal, one of the key actions of this shift in consciousness, namely, accepting self, and accepting belief systems. And once we learn to accept self, it becomes possible to truly accept others, but we’re getting ahead of the story once again. For this month, just notice how you lessen conflict and tension in whatever belief system you choose to focus upon. That’s further evidence that you are finally addressing to an issue, finally releasing some birds from the cage.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Sometimes we overeat during the Holidays, and we don’t want to create indigestion. Have a Happy, Wonderful, and Joyous Holiday Season!
January 2005: Monthly Musings - NIRAA and the Ten Belief Systems - Step 4. Acceptance
Last month we continued to explore the NIRAA (pronounced nigh-rah) method of accepting self and belief systems by concentrating on the third step – addressing to. The idea was to learn how periods of conflict always lessen when we finally address to whatever belief systems we've previously noticed, identified, and recognized. I suggested that you pick one of the ten basic belief systems and focus upon that for the month. For example, relationships provide fertile ground for NIRAAing during the holidays. The following excerpt shows some of the rich possibilities and aspects of the belief system some of you may have explored.
This leads us to the fourth and final step of the NIRAA process – acceptance. This process may seem very Zen or contradictory during the initial stages of practice, but in time it becomes clearer just how simple it really is:
However, “it matters not” doesn't mean that nothing matters! Elias is clear that we will still hold preferences and opinions. The true metric of the “it matters not” is no conflict. This does not include a lack of compassion and empathy or denial and dissociation from our needs or those of others, but a state of equanimity, balance, and harmony that affects those around us.
This also means that the action of acceptance can help us to widen objective and subjective awareness, and even engage the remembrance of essence while physical. These are all potentials within the action of the shift in consciousness.
So, for this month, in exploring step 4 we will incorporate whatever belief system we worked with last month during the holidays. If you managed to work through and lessen conflict, that is, the addressing to, then you may continue toward complete acceptance, neutrality, lack of conflict. Let's say you have a family member, and you've been engaging conflict over dealing with a parent or child in failing health, family finances, or political views. If you're entering a state of acceptance, then you will be able to engage them with little or no conflict while still holding differing opinions or preferences. Interacting with them simply won't set you off, even if the other person gets in your face about the same old crap. It simply matters not, that's the true test that you've entered a state of acceptance.
This month simply notice how often you are able to create or enter into this state of acceptance on the same difficult issue you've been practicing with last month. As always, it's important to do this every day for 5-10 minutes. In time, you should notice that you actually accept something or someone that you've been having great conflict with. If you don't have immediate results don't give up. We didn't learn to speak, ride a bike, or play the piano in a month. The NIRAA practice builds over time. In the mean time, we learn in step 4 that the action of acceptance occurs within the Now, and that action is more often than not a temporary state.
Finally, in step 4 we begin to realize we will still hold preferences and opinions, and may disagree with others, but they no longer create conflict, anxiety, or dis-ease. Eventually, the belief system of duplicity, which affects the other nine so strongly, must be addressed to and accepted as well. The rest follows from there.
February 2005: Monthly Musings - The Straight Little Sapling
Last month we concluded a five month exploration of Elias’ NIRAA (pronounced nigh-rah) method of accepting self. The idea was to learn how periods of conflict always lessen when we address the belief systems we’ve previously noticed, identified, and recognized. I suggested that you pick one of the ten basic belief systems and focus upon how often you were able to actually accept and neutralize its affects.
This month we’re exploring Elias’ sapling aphorism. He presented this early in the sessions, and it quickly became a favorite of the group. Like all great pointing out instructions, it’s simple and to the point.
ELIAS: “My story incorporates two saplings, both exactly identical, both newly growing; one growing naturally and reaching towards the sun and basking within its rays, and drinking naturally of the rain and resting to the moon. The other is looking around and is viewing the sky and is seeing the sun and is saying to itself, ‘Maybe I should be growing at night. The sun is very hot. It may burn me or it may sap my energy, and the rain is very wet and it gets all over me and I am not sure I am liking of this rain and I am not sure that it is making me grow properly, and maybe I should be investigating where this rain is coming from and I should be analyzing the sun rays to be sure that I am incorporating the proper vitamins, or maybe the moon is more friendly to my growth and I would grow taller if I am growing at nighttime, while this idiot sapling next to me is being stunted by the sun.’ And in the morning, the one sapling is stretching its newly formed branches and uncurling its soft leaves and growing within complete trust, and the other sapling in the morning is viewing the same sun and is looking at the beautifully formed other sapling and it is looking like this: (Here, Elias twists his body and face into a grotesque contortion.)
“Now; this story is about belief systems and the noticing of these belief systems. It is also about trust and connection. It also incorporates proper personal responsibility. The one trusting sapling incorporates a genuine personal responsibility in not trying to change or help the analyzing sapling, but as it grows true and strong and trusting it radiates an example.
“It shines in its essence as an example to the other sapling, and as the other sapling unconvolutes itself throughout the day, it notices the straight sapling and it chooses the focus of effortlessness and trust as being easier, for it has been shown an example. Therefore, be all the trusting, straight saplings, radiating your example.” [session 37, September 13, 1995]
ANON: “You discussed, it seemed to me, a lot about conflict – conflict that’s been arising in other places, as well as with us individually. I guess what I was wondering is, when an individual experiences conflict in another individual, and their belief is to want to help that individual to neutralize their conflict, is it possible to do that, or are you intrinsically placing a judgment on their engaging in conflict as not being right somehow?”
ELIAS: “Let me express to you that this is a common thought process within individuals in this physical focus. You lean in the direction of wishing to be helpful to each other. You place judgment upon the expressions of conflict, and you wish to be eliminating of conflict.
“Now; in one respect, I express to you that conflict in itself is neither right or wrong. It is an experience, and it is a chosen experience. But I may also express to you that conflict creates a thickness in energy, and this be the reason that you move in the direction of not wishing to be creating conflict. You naturally magnate to pleasure, for this offers you less thickness within energy and more of an ease in your creation of your reality. If you are creating within any of your expressions within pleasure, you shall experience an ease. You shall express to yourself that you are noticing that your movement flows freely. If you are creating conflict, you shall also be noticing a thickness in energy. It shall appear to be more difficult, and you shall move more slowly in your direction within conflict.
“You all hold an agreement objectively within this physical dimension that you do not appreciate conflict. Underlyingly, subjectively, you hold a knowing that conflict creates this thickness. Therefore, you also move in the direction of choosing to be noticing conflict and expressing to yourselves and to other individuals that you wish to be eliminating of these expressions of conflict, therefore providing yourselves with more of an ease in creating your reality.
“You do this with yourselves and you do this with other individuals. If you yourselves are experiencing conflict, you wish to be eliminating of your own conflict, that you may be experiencing less thickness and more of an ease in your creation of your reality. As you witness and view another individual experiencing conflict and creating conflict, you also move in the direction of the expression that you wish to be eliminating of that expression also.
“In this, as I have stated, in one respect you are creating a judgment upon the choice of experience of the individual which is creating conflict, but within another respect you are recognizing that the individual is creating thickness, and they themselves wish not to be creating thickness. Therefore, you choose to be helpful.
“Now; I have expressed to you many times, you may not be creating another individual’s reality, but you may be influencing. You may be influencing if the other individual is accepting of your expression. If the other individual is NOT accepting of your expression, which is their choice, you shall not be influencing, for the point is not to be concerning yourselves with other individuals and their creation of their reality, but to be concerning yourself with yourself and your creation of your reality, and that creation which offers YOU less thickness and less conflict and more of an ease, for in your creation of this within yourself, you are automatically lending energy to other individuals in their discovery of their ability to be creating of the same action.
“This is the point of our little sapling story, which offers no expression at all to the convoluted little sapling, but merely concerns itself with self and growing in the manner that it is growing and is most efficient for itself. It does not offer direction. It does not offer helpfulness. It offers merely the expression of being that may be viewed, and in this offers what you term in physical focus to be an example of a direction that creates no conflict and no thickness, but is recognizing that the convoluted little sapling is creating its reality, and may be creating and IS creating their own conflict quite purposefully.” [session 387, April 24, 1999]
MERRILL: “It seems to me that every major choice that I have made in this focus has drawn me into another teaching experience, and to me the information that you present in these sessions is so fantastically important that I am compelled to study it and try to completely comprehend it and experience it.
“In view of my draw toward teaching, I wonder if someday I might hold the knowledge and experience that I might help others assimilate this information. How could this be accomplished most effectively? And should I follow some particular path, or is it sufficient to just be the straight little sapling and make myself available to answer questions and interact with others? Is there some such particular role in all this for me? I am interacting now with a few people as pen pals around the Elias materials. Would you comment on that?”
ELIAS: “Very well. I will express to you, my friend, that this is the nature of redefining terms in relation to this shift in consciousness, and therefore also redefining your reality.
“For the term of ‘teaching’ within your reality is being redefined as you widen your awareness, and you recognize that you are not teaching, and other individuals, or yourself, are not learning. You are travelers, and you are sharing. You are dropping the veils of separation, you are turning your attention to self, and you are moving into the expression of genuinely becoming the straight sapling, and therefore offering an expression of example and a vulnerability or OPENNESS to be interactive with other individuals but holding your attention upon self naturally, and this offers a beneficial expression to other individuals. This is the nature of acceptance.
“For as you redefine your terms and your reality, you recognize that the expression of teaching, so to speak, is that which implies that there are individuals or essences that hold more knowledge than others, and this is incorrect; or that there are individuals or essences that are set apart or greater than others, and this also is incorrect. It also implies that the learner is less than, and this once again is incorrect.
“Now; this is not to say that you do not share information, knowledge, and experiences with each other, for you do. And in that sharing, you offer energy to each other in widening your awarenesses. You share experiences and information to be allowing yourselves and others a greater exploration of your physical dimension and an expansion of your participation within it.
“Now; in this, you may also view the analogy of the straight little sapling. It is not isolated unto itself only. As you allow yourself to visualize a sapling, saplings grow upon your earth in proximity to other trees, for there is no creation of a sapling independent of other trees. For in your terms, the sapling is born of other trees; there is no separation. Therefore, also, there is interaction, in a manner of speaking. It may not be expressed in the same manner that you interact with other individuals, for your species are created differently, but there is interaction. The sapling interacts, but it grows without instruction and without instructing.” [session 860, July 03, 2001]
AILI: “You told me earlier that we were in a transformation. I’m realizing that after 25 years in the field of education that I need to go and move on and express myself in other ways, that I have expressed myself as much as I choose at this point to express myself, and I think in some ways it’s an alignment with what we’ve been talking about. My second question is this: what attitude must I hold in order to increase my service to others through my private practice, workshops and presentations, upon my leaving education this year?”
ELIAS: (Softly) “Be the straight little sapling, my friend.”
AILI: “Help me with that. I’m not quite clear I understand it.”
ELIAS: “I have offered a small story nearing the onset of this phenomenon. In this, I have presented a story of two little saplings. One is a straight little sapling, and it merely is. It grows, and it radiates, and it merely is within its being. It accepts itself, it trusts itself, and it expresses no need to be creating any other expression but its mere being.
“Alongside of this straight little sapling is a quite convoluted little sapling, and this convoluted little sapling is continuously questioning its existence. It is continuously analyzing and questioning how it shall grow, in what direction it shall grow, whether it shall be incorporating too much water or too much sun, whether it shall be more beneficial to it to grow within the darkness and the moonlight or whether it shall facilitate its growth more within the sunlight. As it continues to question itself, it twists and becomes more and more convoluted, and all the while the straight little sapling merely continues to grow in its natural expression. In this, the convoluted little sapling notices the straight little sapling, and it questions how this straight little sapling is not bending itself and is not incorporating conflict and is merely radiating.
“The straight little sapling offers no advice; it offers no bending to the convoluted little sapling. It merely continues to be. And in its being, the convoluted little sapling views it and expresses to itself, ‘Ah, perhaps if I am incorporating like action to this little sapling, I may incorporate no more conflict.’ It shall straighten itself. The greatest offering that the straight little sapling expresses is to merely be, for it offers an example.” [session 937, October 27, 2001]
Finally, accepting self is where our NIRAA practice always leads. It is only from there that we can accept others as aspects of Self. It’s an ongoing process, and as always, a matter of choice and preference.
March 2005: Monthly Musings - The Straight Little Sapling Redux
Last month we explored Elias’ sapling story – the aphorism on accepting self and others. This month we’re going to explore the implications of the sapling story further, because its simplicity belies some of the more subtle ideas that Elias has presented to date. For example, is there just one way to be a straight little sapling? Is the straight little sapling some kind of goal, ideal, or what?
Becoming a straight little (fulfilled) sapling as opposed to a crooked (unfulfilled) sapling is the main point of Elias’ tale. But since we each have different intents, orientations, and desires, we each have different definitions of what is personally fulfilling. Seen in this light, there can be no single version of the straight little sapling, no single goal to be attained. For example, Elias talks about the nine essence families, three orientations, emotional/thought/political/religious-focuses, and so on.
Therefore, the straight little Sumari sapling may be quite different in its expressions than a straight little Vold sapling. Or a common-oriented little sapling may, in turn, express itself quite differently than a soft-oriented sapling. The same holds true for an emotionally-focused sapling in relation to a politically-focused sapling, and so on.
The permutations are truly astounding, and since there’s no single way to be a straight little sapling there’s lots of freedom to simply be who we are, and learn to work with our innate desires, intents, and orientations in relation to self and others. After all, saplings don’t live in isolation, but in relationship to other saplings, weather conditions, creatures, and the whole biosphere.
The straight little sapling is also a metaphor, and is symbolic of the idea of “it matters not” as the state of accepting self and others. However, it is easy to misinterpret the meaning of “it matters not”:
CURTIS: “I’ve been incorporating the ‘it matters not’ energy and trying to see things from a larger perspective, and it’s made me kind of wishy-washy and ambiguous about things, and not really...”
So how does our straight little sapling relate to a forest full of saplings? In other words, how does this metaphor scale up into interactions with others?
Will every straight little sapling necessarily agree, then, with every other straight little sapling, given the many permutations of intent, desire, orientation, and so on?
If there are things that really do matter, like purpose, experience, exploration, interaction and cooperation, then is it even possible to attain the perspective of “it matters not”? Or is this metaphor also a koan, an intentional paradox meant to force the rational mind towards a wider awareness, a transrational perspective?
Elias recently outlined what I believe to be a simple solution to this relativistic, Zen-like paradox. He talks about being accepting while holding to individual preferences and opinions. For instance, since the belief system of duplicity isn’t going away during this shift in consciousness, the nature of duplicitous preferences and opinions aren’t going away either. There will always be some perception good and bad, beautiful and ugly, true and false, etc. But these beliefs are being redefined, morphing into something else along a spectrum of narrow worldviews to wider, more inclusive, less marginalizing worldviews.
Since we are not doing away with the belief system of duplicity, conventional religious and scientific definitions of good and bad, beautiful and ugly, true and false are also being redefined. We can begin to see how the belief system of duplicity exists all along, but gradually widens its embrace to include diverse, relative definitions that aren’t fixed in stone tablets or based solely upon empirical facts. This is not a utopian vision either, but a practical view of the shift in consciousness, and how it may manifest more fully as enough people widen their awareness; we may well witness less conflict, dis-ease, war, crime, and other behaviors on an unprecedented global scale.
Again, as Elias points out, there will always be purpose, experience, exploration, interaction and cooperation that fuel our personal and collective value fulfillment. As always, it begins and continues within each of us in the Now.
“If you are inquiring as to, ‘What matters, Elias?’ – for I have expressed to you all so very often of what matters not! – I shall express to you, what matters is you and your perception and your viewing of self, for in this, as you allow yourself acceptance and trust, you offer yourself freedom, and within this expression of freedom, you are affecting of ALL of consciousness.” [session 683, August 20, 2000]
Thus, the shift in consciousness is also a process of collective emergence. It includes the birth pangs of new worldviews – integral worldviews – that are able to hold multiple, diverse perspectives in clear focus that see self and others, and all our choices, preferences, and opinions as unique and valid, though not as absolutes. As we straight little saplings widen our awareness, for the first time we grok that all our truths are at best true but partial – true for us in the moment, but subject to change with time and experience.
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