A practical course…

“…am I missing something?” The frantic voice on the phone made it quite clear that he really hoped he was…
“There’s a grey ring with symbols on it. Turn it to the one with parallel lines.”
“Okay, done that.”
“Then, above where the ‘U’ shaped bit of red plastic is, there is a red slider. Push it to the right.”
“Whew… That’s got it. Thank you!” He hung up to deal with the piscine emergency and, while I threw on some clothes to go and join him, it occurred to me that this was a really useful example of one of the exercises we use in the Silent Eye to build awareness.

The gadget in question is nothing interesting, nor is it one I own, but it isn’t something I have to think about either; operating a hosepipe is just one of those things you do on autopilot. I cannot recall ever having particularly examined the fancy nozzle-that-does-everything-except-feed-the-cat, but I was, thankfully, able to conjure its image in sufficient detail to be of use.

I am lucky in this respect; my imagination and memory work with visuals and, while I may be utterly useless at remembering anything to do with numbers these days, what I have seen I can usually picture with clarity. Part of that is just down to how my mind functions; where some people remember the spoken word accurately and others have a gift for recalling numbers, I tend to remember what I have seen. Except numbers. But part of it too is down to training.

I have been working with the Mysteries for nearly half a century. Early in my studies, it became evident that there were two basic choices open to anyone seriously following that path… study for knowledge or study for application, and it seemed to me that the two needed to work in tandem.

While you cannot put into practice what you do not know, and therefore knowledge is necessary, the acquisition of knowledge alone serves no purpose unless it is used, except to satisfy the hunger of the inquiring mind and foster understanding. But as real understanding comes only with experience… so the most practical course would be to learn all you can, extrapolate the practical uses and apply them. And, as the lessons learned studying the Mysteries must be applied to life, it is through your own life that you learn.

Right from the very beginning of my own studies,there were exercises in awareness, even though, ironically, I did not realise it at the time. From simply visualising your room as you drift into sleep, to noting new details in familiar places, or playing memory games with yourself… they were simple enough exercises. It is difficult to gauge the cumulative effect, especially if your mind works best in pictures, until something makes you take note.

The hosepipe was an insignificant example, but the clarity with which it was brought to mind was striking. Places I have visited once, maybe thirty years ago, are still very clear. I drive thousands of miles on obscure roads and seldom look at a map… and if that kind of thing is a practical result of my studies, then I am happy to have spent so much time on ‘awareness’ exercises.

When the Silent Eye was founded, we wanted to create a distance learning course that was, above all, of practical use to the seeker, so it is no surprise that amongst the earliest exercises, we included those designed to stretch the unused mental muscles of simply noticing. They seem such simple exercises that most students approach them lightly…and yet, without exception, those same students find them a revelation, either through how many physical details they have been overlooking or how what they discover connects with other areas of their own experience. Almost all the journals about these exercises contain one common phrase… “I never noticed that before.”

Deliberately taking notice of something is only one step on the journey to awareness though. It goes much deeper than that, or there might seem little point in chasing this elusive state. It extends beyond the obvious, through an awareness of oneself, to that awareness of others that we call empathy. It opens you to emotion, and you may laugh and weep more readily, especially at the touch of beauty. It opens you to the natural world, so that its details are not missed and its creatures are seen in all their amazing complexity. Beyond that, too, until all you know of creation joins in a single, magnificent, delicate web of life. It opens you to life.

27 thoughts on “A practical course…

  1. I am so glad to read this as I have been wondering where I am going with what I am learning. I keep trying to put what I think I am learning into practice, but to be truthful, a lot of it still alludes me. After I typed this, I stopped to look up the word, because suddenly things I have understood and taken for granted are now causing me to feel as I am walking on jello. When I looked up the word ‘alludes’ once again, I saw some quotes, and this one particular gave rise to the sort of not being sure that I am talking about.

    “As alluded to previously, the entire universe may actually exist in a higher-dimensional space.” —Clifford A. Pickover, Surfing Through Hyperspace, 1999

    Now when I read this sentence, I can neither prove nor disprove it. I guess I can accept it at face value, but it seems as though what we are talking about in this wonderful post is to NOT to just accept what we have known perhaps or accepted at face value, but to re-examine it in more depth, and to see what comes from that.

    When we talk about observing, I was thinking how some of the plays, etc. that are discussed and written about very decently, also cause me to feel unsure of what I know, for I am not making a connection say in “Jewels in the Claw.” I did read all the posts about it, and I looked up words, references or people I did not know, but I felt bad as I didn’t really quite understand any lesson that I think I should be coming to understand. I didn’t really feel bad, per se, but I did feel confused some, and I think it is just that this philosophy/spirituality/ethics/history/geography/cultural study/and other related issues that are connected does not come to me overnight, and perhaps I am pushing too hard as we do when we attend school, somewhat with a feeling that I need to “keep up,” and if anyone were to ask me honestly, I would have to say that I don’t know what “keep up” means in this instance. Perhaps I am understanding more than I think and I have just not put it all into any sort of order. I seem to be continuing to make comments when I read a post, and I would think that in order to do that, I must understand something.

    I was reading one of the companion’s web sites the other day and noted that she talked about a (hope I am remembering correctly) 3rd level school of consciousness. So then I was wondering about different levels, for I have seen others mention various levels. Now I have not come to this study totally tabula raza, for I have studied philosophy, albeit Nathaniel Brandon and Ayn Rand (their coverage of other philosophers), which now I seriously question, and I have studied many different forms of religion and spirituality, and a lot of the New Age thinking, and I continue to read and study different things I come in contact with in some manner.

    Now sometimes, as when I read Gilgamesh, I thought perhaps I understood some of the symbology, but then I read that it depends on which version we read. So now, and please believe that I am not at all trying to be facetious, but honestly seeking to have a better sense of what I am working to accomplish. I know that we don’t want to just try to believe what our supervisors post, for I do remember that is not at all the purpose of our learning. Well, I apologize for the extra long post, and I don’t intend it to be disrespectful of anyone or any of the teachings. I guess I am actually looking within, and trying to perhaps understand my own thinking process. Thank you one and all kindly.

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    1. Dear Anne, no apologies needed for an excellent response. We really do need to question everything before deciding to accept or discard…and especially ideas we are being taught. If we blindly accept the word of another where spiritual ideas are concerned, we are creating dogma, not challenging it. We may still come to the conclusion that an idea is correct, or simply right for us at this moment in time, but we are approaching it in a conscious manner and taking responsibility for our own beliefs.

      No teacher should ever mind a question… and when we question spiritual or philosophical beliefs, to my mind at least, we are showing more respect for the idea, for the teacher and for ourselves than when we simply swallow everything whole 😉

      If the meaning of something in our studies eludes us, ‘asking the question’ is the best thing we can do. We can ‘ask’ by further researching or asking someone who ought to know, by searching in our own minds and hearts, or by offering the queston ‘to the universe’, for want of a better word, and letting it answer. But without questioning, we are in the same position as the very small child who learns multiplication tables by rote without yet knowing how mathematics can be applied to real life.

      The comment you mention from anther Companion’s website about a third level, probably refers to the initiatory degrees within the school (I cannot be certain without seeing it for myself) . These are akin to end of term graduations, but without the academic exams. All such examinations take place within one’s own consciousness and instead of marking the acquisition of a particular level of acquired knowledge, they mark the passage to a new level of personal understanding and an evolving awareness of one’s relationship with the universe.

      Evolution is an ongoing process… no matter many decades we have walked this path, there are always new realisations and reveleations, always moments when things we thought we understood click into place and open a new door for us. Realisation in spiritual terms is not just about a’light-bulb moment’, it is about understanding with enough clarity to be able to make a belief a reality within our own lives and consciousness.

      Unlike academic studies, there is no pressure or requirement to ‘keep up’ with anyone. We can only walk this path at our own pace. The Silent Eye’s main course is designed to be studied over three years. We do not allow it to be studied at a faster rate as each monthly lesson needs time to be explored. But it doesn’t matter if it takes ten years… we are each working with our own being, and we cannot force its growth, only encourage it.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I so appreciate you taking the time to respond to this so well. As I noted, it is just my own inner reactions to things I have learned (and sure need to unlearn) from the past. I appreciate your full response. Yes, that was Alethea’s web site. I visited both of those and defintely are in keeping with things I already believe about nature, the earth, etc. It is all good it seems. I just want to understand symbolism that I am not quite sure of sometimes, and I struggle with that because it is just unfamiliar, but I am sure as I discuss it more and it becomes more familiar I will understand better. I know that we don’t learn everything quickly in life, and there are likely things we will never learn in this trip. But it is OK as I noted. And the keeping up was my own perception from having attended the university online recently. Life is short, and sometimes I get impatient, feeling as though I am “on the clock” with how long I have left, but that is my issue, and one I definitely need to learn to overcome as it affects a lot of decisions I end up making and then I feel ridiculous for being so silly. Life lasts just as long as it does, and no amount of thinking one way or the other will make that fact any different. Once I stop running and just relax in my thinking, I am quite sure things will be very different for me. It is an inner thing, and I so appreciate your thoughts. It does help me a lot to keep remembering all these good lessons we get often. Hugs, Anne

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        1. Thanks, Anne. We have the time we have… and in the end, what is finished r unfinished when we go will probably not matter as much as how we have lived. To live in a state of wonder at the world is not a bad way to be.

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          1. Thank you so kindly, Sue. You know, it never seems to amaze me as things come into our consciousness just at the right time in our lives. I do a lot of thinking back over my life-long journey and some of the lessons that came to me like that. I am thinking at the moment about how at one point when my life seemed to be going off in a lot of different directions, that suddenly I had a thought about signposts in our lives. What I thought about those signposts was that we are perhaps provided with symbolic signposts to help us on our journey or not. The signposts can be physical things, or they can be emotional (which they are mostly) and in our minds like in a dream.

            One day when I was living in a small apartment in Long Beach, CA, I can remember that I had been “looking for love in all the wrong places.” Now we all likely do this to some extent at some point in our lives, but I was going overboard in my hunger to feel loved and treasured, and it was not in my best interests to do as I was doing.

            So on that day, I happened to open a closet door, and something very heavy fell out of the closet and hit me in the head, knocking me over and nearly knocking me out. Everything that happens has a special meaning for each of us, and for me, it was a wake-up call. And I pretty much stopped after that. Who does not want to be loved and treasured as a human being among us?

            Now the next thing that happened was that I remembered something I once read by Jo Coudert in Advice from a Failure, and in the book she says, “Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose. To the question of your life, you are the only answer. To the problems of your life, you are the only solution. ” My eyes were opened, perhaps forever, though it is definitely easy to slip and fall back into the soft sand once again when we tend to take responsibility for things that we could not have possibly been responsible for or try to find answers to the challenges of our lives. One thing I have definitely learned is that my challenges that I have from day-to-day, year-to-year are gifts to me, because without them, my growth and development philosophically and spiritually as an adult could not take place without them.

            Yes, at this point in my life, I understand very well that the time I have is what I have, and that no amount of wishful thinking or praying or even my belief systems will change that. When we are too hungry – for sustenance, for love, or for anything, we are living in the now, but not in a way that will help us to live in that state of wonder. It is as though we are caught in the web of a spider, and about to have at least a large part of our lives literally sucked from us, and once gone, it is not something we can replace. I love these posts that the three of you – Sue, Stuart and Steve – give us because it opens new doors and windows every day. Thank you all, and to those who share also, thank you too.

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  2. Interesti8ng post Sue, reminding us that we don’t ‘see’ much at all as we race about doing what we must. I have always tried to remember that it is so important to stop and ‘smell the roses’ sometimes, before we forget why we are here…

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I am guilty of this too, so busy trying to do everything at once. But this week has taught me a lesson. I am not indestructible and will never be able to catch up with my dreams, not that I will ever stop looking for a way!

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  3. When it comes to roses, I have NO trouble stopping. I absolutely LOVE roses, and look for every chance to perhaps get a cutting or find an abandoned one to dig up and rescue! One of my passions is plants of all kinds. I don’t even have a clue at how many I have rescued, but they must be happy as they have taken over the yard. Once there was a little tiny path through it, but the violets I rescued from an old abandoned mobile home that was destined to be moved and thereby kill everything in its path, and ever since, they have taken up root even in places where I never planted the ones I saved, and far from the existing ones too! Life is so bizarre sometimes!

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  4. I never thought about it before, but that’s what I did for a living. Watch everything. Notice everything, even tiny little things. Then, explain everything as simply as possible. Too bad I can’t remember anything these days. I’m on a 30 second forgetting everything mode.

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  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Sue Vincent writing on The Silent Eye… are you good at noticing and remembering things, events, places and people?

    “While you cannot put into practice what you do not know, and therefore knowledge is necessary, the acquisition of knowledge alone serves no purpose unless it is used, except to satisfy the hunger of the inquiring mind and foster understanding. But as real understanding comes only with experience… so the most practical course would be to learn all you can, extrapolate the practical uses and apply them”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is wonderful. Yes, I often learn from observing nature and how it functions. Why does one plant thrive and the one right next to it not seem to want to live or not at least try when they both have the same environment, the same amount of water and plant food, etc. So many things I have seen and learned from. Even plants, water, and things we often think of as having no consciousness likely do in my mind anyway. And I think what I believe is not hurting anyone else or trying to change how they think. So it seems a good way to learn as you are saying. Thank you kindly for sharing this.

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      1. Nature is not separate from us, though we treat it as if it is and have een learned to think of it being something ‘other’ than we are… in observing Nature, we observe ourselves.

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      1. You know, you reminded me of something about dreams. Sometimes we wonder where our dreams come from, for they might seem so bizarre. But I think all the stuff we have stored away, when our minds are at rest, are able to be used in new and creative ways to help us to resolve challenges we face in our awakened minds. I know I have dreamed things, and then when I thought back on them later on, they made a lot of sense to help me resolve an issue that seems to be something difficult. So when we meditate or focus on being in a clear thinking place, the same things can happen too. Thank you kindly, Sue.

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