In Shaw’s St. Joan, the miracles were no use to the main leaders, who took advantage of them and then explained them away as luck. They themselves did not change. The powers of grown-ups are miraculous to the child; but they are not granted as the child’s demands. He wonders why not. As he grows up, he can perform more and more of them himself, but also gets to know their limitations. If they do not conduce to inner growth they are of little use. To do the child’s homework for him produces a miraculous result, but it has no lasting value; in fact in the slightly longer run it holds up his development.
The attractions of the world are like stage characters – a creation of lights and make-up and stage props (e.g. money, power etc.), on top of the real character of the performer. To fall in love with a stage character means that when we get close we see the artificiality and ugliness of the stage make up and artificiality of the stage props etc., and become disillusioned and often angry. Love is only real when it is for the performer under the make-up – i.e. the one under the personality.
Occam’s razor – on sunt multiplicanda entia praeter necessitatem
This is a principle of recommended procedure, not an indication of truth. It corresponds to: look for the lost coin first where the light is good. It is not that the coin is more likely to be there, but only that this is the sensible place to begin the search, and it is sensible to exhaust that area before moving on to the darker areas.
Before the wind is slowest; it uses only the direct jet that fills the sails. Across the wind is fastest (directly abeam); an entirely different principle, the inclined plane, using the whole breadth of the wind over the distance covered. You need a keel to keep upright and prevent leeward motion You can go up to ten degrees from the direct eye of the wind, using the wind to go into the wind largely. So using the passions by employing a quite different principle from running before the passions; faster and strong when across them
Freedom through detachment
With pacific rollers, you can dive beneath them till they have passed, and be unaffected by that one. So in life, to be able to dive, give up all connections and ties for the time, gives freedom. Someone who has to be always on the surface, looking after home, reputation, health, etc., can be completely crushed by the rollers of life.
Think and re-think
It is annoying when Zen people give the analogy with a sneeze and so on – ‘you don’t need to think to sneeze, so why think when you have to do other things?’ etc. But to book a railway ticket, one has to think to get the right train at the right time and stopping at the station (not an express which goes through) and so on. Yes. But think those points, and then book the ticket. Don’t then RE-THINK ‘that’ll be all right so long as there isn’t a strike. There’s no threat of one yet, but there might still be’ and so on, about possibilities that are not foreseeable so as to do anything. Sorry, anticipation, revenge (‘that will settle them!) and so on are all re-thinking. So think, but not re-think. It is annoying to have one’s actions compared to a sneeze. You don’t plan to sneeze, you just do it. So with other actions. But if you have to book a train for Winchester, you don’t you have to think. Yes think, but don’t re-think. There isn’t a strike. ‘‘I would have thought the station before Winchester would have been closer to their place … but perhaps they are shopping in Winchester … Anyway they said they’d pick me up in Winchester…’Think but don’t re-think; act but don’t react. Similarly act, but not re-act.
The Teacher and Early planes
In the early planes there were poles connecting floor to ceiling. Nervous passengers were told they could hold the pole for support, and this did calm them. So the teacher. He is part of Brahman so to say – brahma-nishtha, grounded in Brahman. He is near and visible means of support and seems to give support even when plane is rocking. Moreover he is actually attached and firm, whereas a passenger is loose in his seat.
Size and meaning
The library building complex can be analysed in detail, the books themselves can be analysed in detail, the letters, print, and finally molecules similarly. They have no meaning outside themselves. But at a certain level – the text – there is an entirely new meaning, not found in the others. Similarly the astronomical analysis, and the sub-atomic analysis, has meaning for themselves, but at the human level there is a particular NEW significance, different from analysis of the human being. Cosmic purpose is seen clearly. Finally it can be seen, though not so clearly in all the others, as in the case of the library.
There is a saying: the great obstacles can be wrestled with and finally cast aside. But not so with trivialities, because there is nothing to get hold of. In another tradition a teacher (HPS) put it: It is not so much great passions that hold you up as your silliness.
Worship and self-realization
The supreme self has to be woken in man, but it is hard for him to accept that there is any supreme Self. It contradicts his direct experience. Whereas if it is considered to be an external God, there might be one. The idea does not contradict his direct experience. So it is recommended to worship the Self, unavoidably considered as external at first and perhaps for a long time, till it stirs in himself.