Respond Ability


October 18, 2005 
A talk with Zakiyah / Justine / Tami 
[ Abridged ]
What I want to open up with you tonight has most immediate and deep  implications. It might also serve as an opportunity for others to re-view the basic issue of : what constitutes personal responsibility? 
There are all kinds of things going on in the world – internationally, nationally, community wise, with family, friends etc. – leaving aside for the moment all the busy-ness going on inside a person in reaction to it all. People are so busy… how to put it… keeping balance on their 'personal tightrope', that they don't have much alternative other than to react to it all. Within the usual dynamics of life nobody 'acts' –  everyone is just reacting! 
That's where the connection to 'responsibility' comes in. In the way the word is generally used it sounds almost 'miserable' – like something  someone 'lays on you'. "You've GOT to be responsible!", they say. But if you break the word down, as we do, to 'response-ability', then it clearly becomes an issue of your own unique 'response' to your own personal 'ability'. 
There is also 'responsibility' in the usual sense of the word. Society 'holds us' responsible in our relationship to it. 
So, it's got this double meaning. Yes, you respond with your ability and also yes, you are held accountable. And it's more than just subjective. That's the way things Work. You can call it the Laws of the Universe, or you can call it 'God', with the recognition of a Living Intelligence and not simply some 'laws of physics'.
Well, that's a good start for what I want to get to. If I manage to do this, oh my goodness, we're going to have such an important tape here. 
We now circle the question that everyone is struggling with all the time – 'WHAT SHOULD I DO?' It's seldom voiced so bluntly because that would take a high level of humility, an acknowledgment that, 'I DON'T KNOW !' And hardly anyone is ready to admit THAT.
So, what's the question?
Tami: The question of 'What to do?'
What to do, yes. So we'll circle that some more. There are obviously two elements here. One is the 'inner world' and one the 'outer world'. An 'uneducated person' – uneducated psychologically – would generally restrict themself to the outer. Get married or not, take this or that job, have children or not, answer their mother back or 'take it on the chin', whatever. They try to figure out 'what to do', relative to people or 'things'.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
What has FIRST to be established in regard to the outer, is : what does it stand on? It obviously stands on the inner! What a person is capable of doing or responding to on the outside is relative to where and what they are inside. 
It's totally individual with each person responding with their own unique mental, emotional and physical capacities. A good 'baker of bread' can't necessarily fly an airplane, and a pilot may not know how to make a loaf of bread. So we expect the pilot to fly the airplane and the baker to bake the bread and that somehow fits into some world dynamic. It's individual –  but whatever is done is bound to affect many things. 
People tend to think that their inner world has significance only to themselves. Actually, it affects a lot more. There are very subtle energies circulating there –  energies that affect the unseen. 
Just as the inner world of a person is unseen – the inner aspects of the Greater Reality are also unseen. And, as an individual acting in the outer world can affect a variety of things in the 'whole outer world' – what an individual does in their own inner world affects the 'Whole Inner World'. What ever you do, outer or inner, affects 'God', to some degree. 
Interesting, eh? When you look at it deeply and with common sense, it fits.   WE are lucky enough to have a LANGUAGE that deals with both worlds to quite a depth. Actually, as deep as deep can go. So you don't have to just float around in the Ocean of Emotion. 
Or as the poem goes: 
' The ocean of emotion
the raging of the sea
the little folks go sailing
on the storm
they hope to see
the bursting of the sun rays
the parting of the clouds
the island decked in flowers
their enemies in shrouds
Arise arise weak sailor
and set your paddle firm
deep within the water
as all within you burns
Burns to reach the sanctuary
burns to reach the shore
Burns to reach the promised land
burns to know the score
Burns to feel a gentle breeze
burns to fight no more
Burns to find an inner peace
burns to know the core
Burns to feel a real calm
burns to heal the sore
Burns to know tranquility
Yearns to burn, no more! '
People go drifting in the 'ocean of emotion', within the superficial aspects of life. Like with the plucking of daisies, 'He loves me, he loves me not'. Or, with my overdraft. Or, 'why am I so lonely?' Or, what am I going to DO with this person that claims I'm breaking their heart? All kinds of emotional issues. 
All this might sound like it's for someone else, but until you clear it up in yourself you'll continue 'breaking your teeth' on such issues. We're floating around in a lot of stuff in both the inner and outer worlds. So the 'what to do' surely has these two elements. 
Okay, we'll leave that. No, we won't leave it yet. Let's look at the 'inner world' from the angle which triggered this discussion. 
Someone could hear this and say: "What are you talking about, 'discussion'? You're doing all the talking, it's a monologue! " And, I'd say, "Oh no, that's not true." I'm talking to someone who RESPONDS with the obviousness of understanding. There's really a dialogue going on. I'm just pointing out things already known,  only I've got the words that she doesn't at the moment. She has enough to understand what is being said, but I'm kind of doing some 'packaging'. We're joined in our linguistics and checking our understanding as we circle the issue. I think that's pretty well put. 
This is not a monologue at all. It's not only at a deeper level than the usual dialogue, it's – I don’t know if there's a known word for it – a 'universeologue'. What we're dealing with here includes the two people talking, and everything else. We're trying to get our consciousness ELEVATED above the whole field, for a birds eye view, holding each other's hand so no one falls off the mountain, and saying, "HEY, what IS our response-ability?" 
Now, how not to neglect the 'superficial level', the outer world of people and things? Is it possible to encourage and take advantage of others' response-ability, separate from our own? How to relate to the lethargic, 'dragy' relationship that most people have to this issue? There's generally a DRIFTING in the 'outer' and the 'inner' that has such a deadening force to it. 
In this place people already understand enough where they can ATTEMPT moves utilizing the 'best of their ability' relative to both the outer and the inner worlds. But how to underline the issue? How to get more focused for the TOTAL USE of our Intelligence. 
'I'll take care of my own inner world'. Okay! But, 'there's no way you can bypass humanity on the road to freedom.' 
The closer I get to the center of this question, which ultimately has EVERYTHING in it, the energy gets high, the wind starts blowing, so we need words that are more 'refined'. 
A jet airplane SHAKES as it goes through the sound barrier – there's a strong resistance to breaking through. The closer you get to the speed of sound – moving into a new vibrational field – the whole vehicle starts to shake. I don't feel like I'M shaking so much but the vehicle that I'm using, which is 'words', certainly are. Like horses racing around a track – they're always 'jockeying for position'. The position they want is right in the lead, but they have to relate to the horses alongside. So now our words are like jockeying for position. A cosmic racetrack. 
Today is October 18, 2005, the Jewish holiday of Succoth. Maybe this  conversation has something to do with that. We're like trying to build a sukka (shelter) in the desert, with words. To protect us from the desert elements. And, we're trying to hang the choicest 'fruits'. Where do you find fruits in the desert? That's a good trick, eh? Well, in the desert there's also fruit, cactus fruit, wild berries maybe. Manna from heaven? That's also 'food', ENERGY ! 
In the desert you're not busy 'cooking-up' wealth and reputation – so you're open to Manna. God is in fact feeding us all the time – air, energies that keep us from falling over, that keeps our hearts beating, whatever. 
That's a little too poetic for me at the moment. I want to get down to the 'nitty-gritty'. How to respond with our ability – wherever and with whatever is available. First of all, we make the effort to REMEMBER our SELF. We know that nothing real can be gained unless we're awake and fully PRESENT. 
The pictures and vibrations from the 'Land of Egypt' are still in our heads and hearts. Can we observe that non-critically? It really doesn't make any difference what 'it' does, says, thinks or feels, because it is all totally subjective. We can more than afford to pull back from that confusion. 
The Work can help nudge us up to another level, loosening the grip of mechanical devils inside or outside. To BE, free to ponder and think through an issue, free from all fear and pressure, free to remember, free to look. 
So, from the poetic we move back to the more practical. The Work allows us to establish a specific BASE, before we attempt to consider the outside world. If we don't have that base in BEING, nothing else can be done, other than react.
I'm now going to assume that we're well enough centered on our chair, on our tachat, in our Being, so that we can get a clearer look at what we're AIMING at. I hope we have enough energy to get to the real issue. It takes considerable energy just to participate in a 'universeologue' like this. 
There's the essential esoteric truth that REAL LEARNING is always relevant to time, place and company. The whole world is actually a School and Reality could be teaching us all the time, if we just knew how to PAY attention. You can learn anywhere, but it is most useful to have a consistent reminder that THAT IS THE ISSUE. 
Until understanding has reached a certain level, we're like frightened little children, in a dark forest, with all kinds of things jumping out at us, or tempting us, poisonous berries even. The more you understand the more you can know what to do on the basis of who you are and what's going on around you. 
Within the When, Where and with Whom, learning takes place, where understanding can grow. That's as far from the abstract as you can get! People tend to talk much about the 'now'. NOW has time, place and company. It’s a Dynamic Now. 
"You cannot do for another person what they must do for themself / That doesn't mean at all my friend that there's no such thing as help." 
But you have to have things in the right proportion. The whole Universe can help in one way or another. Someone once said that they learnt most about PATIENCE while watching a cat trying to catch a mouse. And how many have claimed that their child was their best teacher. Everything can be! 
The INNER WORLD is one's own responsibility, first and last. The quicker you understand that the better. It's not having your mother relate to you in the way you think she should, or whatever : 'If circumstances or people changed, everything would be fine.' That's the usual mechanical response to irresponsible self-pity, actually. It's NOT intelligent. 
The issues we're talking about here are for people who haven't been completely 'wrecked' – their boat is still afloat. Assuming a 'commonality of interest' between people, like you and I, and whomever else, the hope is that we might GET something here, and be able to GIVE something from what we get. 
In short, we are trying to develop a certain UNDERSTANDING connected with our common intentions. Something based on The Work, or its equivalent. It could be that someone never heard of 'The Work' but has a momentum towards the INTELLIGENT through parallel activities: Yoga, Emen, this or that meditation, or school, or guide, from a book, whatever. So this conversation might touch people at different levels or with a different vocabulary. 
We can also speak other 'languages', but with those who have the refined language of The Work we can be most direct. 
ALL-WAYS it's an issue of time, place and company. And, it's THE vital issue in the times we're now living. Society is moving into something RADICALLY NEW. It might very well destroy itself, or at 'best' turn into a regimented god-knows-what. 
As with the analogy of the airplane breaking the sound barrier, it's ALL SHAKING. The whole world is shaking now as NEVER before.
Reflect on that one! Who can deny that truth? It's ALL shaking. Not that it didn’t shake in the past, but now, what ISN'T it shaking with? 
When a person watches television, what a massive-mess of impressions are absorbed. God, I mean, how they don't go totally crazy, I don't know. Fire-hoses send out a powerful shot of water, right? Now it's like hoses that don't shoot out water, they shoot out FIRE. It's burning peoples' brains to a crisp!
Ultimately everyone will have to pass the barrier of the speed of light – the barrier of TIME. But that's a subject for a post-doctoral course. This is just 'doctoral', that's post-doctoral.
I'll take the chance again and jump right in : what INTELLIGENT THINKING can be done around the question of 'what to do'? WE certainly do not run the risk of trying to 'by-pass humanity', but in these days things are moving at such a pace that should you turn your head for a moment the 'Christian' already became a 'Jew' became a 'Buddhist'! 
Time, Place and Company are things constantly to keep aware of for the sake of whatever, high or low. But questions arise as to where to place the attention. ENERGY IS ALWAYS A LIMITATION. Money doesn't grow on trees, and also not energy. Like money, you've got to EARN it. And you can only spend what you've got. 
So, we use our energy with as much care as possible. Like good businessmen we try to put our profits back into the business. That's the way a business GROWS. Not to make a profit and then squander it. You invest it back IN again. That's wisdom in the world of business, and in our business as well, for sure. 
It's a real problem. Energy is gained and PERSONALITY immediately goes OUT and spends it. Oh, that's a big one! The gained energy is NOT generally put back into the business, into the Work. 
It's like the story of the fox and the priest : The fox that goes to the priest feeling very guilty about eating all the farmer's sheep. He's having pangs of conscience and wants to repent. The priest takes him into a room and starts talking to him – and talks, and talks, and talks, and talks, and talks, until the fox begins to SQUIRM. The fox then starts gazing out the window, and spots a line of sheep going by! You remember what he came there for? Well, the fox turns to the priest and yells: "IF YOU DON'T HURRY UP I'M GOING TO MISS MY MEAL ! "
People are full of words, and they're chewing on them all the time. This effort might, at least, open-up some space, in some heads. I record an 'evaluation', trying not to leave issues floating around in a lot of loose impressions. 
Whom am I doing this for? Someone else? Myself? And, who is 'someone else'? THERE IS NO ONE ELSE. There is ONE GOD, One Being –  and we are all elements of THAT ! 
Tami: I wanted to ask you about the 'what to do' when you said that it can be looked at in two ways, outer and inner. In the last few days thoughts came to me on how to use what I like, what I'm good at. How could it be useful? How to think about it? Can I use it wider, do what I'm good at in a way that could also be useful? Like I thought of relaxation that I feel so much in need of. If I learn to do it well it could be useful for me and maybe I can even...
Alan: It could have use wider than yourself – that's what you're saying? 
Tami: Yes, or by passing it on. I also thought of it in connection with doing art works or little works with the kids. It's like good for concentration and learning. So I also saw it can be very widely looked at – like therapy, work therapy.
Alan: Yes, they do that in mental hospitals. They have a special term for it, 'therapeutic-art' maybe. But the point you're making is…
Tami: So maybe you could see if it would fit, maybe the kids need…
Alan: You studied that when learning to be a kindergarten teacher?
Tami: No, I'm learning through doing it with Eliya, Daniel and Tom. I see how it is for them. It's needed, some focus.
Alan: Yes, yes. Well, what you're saying is pretty much in the area that I'm talking about and trying to encourage. But in my approach to it - I don't know quite how to put it – I'm called on to look at the widest possible picture relative to the double issue of survival, both physical and psychic. Survival for life and survival for what is larger than life. What choices do I have, and to what extent can I have any effect? 
Any individual I might be considering as a possible partner in these kinds of considerations have their own capacity, experience, type, background etc.. There could even be elements larger than those of this particular lifetime – connections and inspirations more extensive than what we usually consider 'rational'. So everyone is of potential value in this extended picture. How not to neglect the input of any responsible person, whatever their capacities. 
You just mentioned the experiences you had in working with the children. What is useful and needed for a healthy child? How could it be encouraged? How to do more or help others become more effective in that area. Many people wish for that.  
This place has a unique dynamic to it. Anybody who comes here and doesn't catch the spirit, bounces off. If they're not connected to a level of responsibility larger than their own personal pains, they don't stay. 
But here we're not just talking about those that 'bounce'. And, what we're driving at can only develop in time and with the best of intentions. 
"You can understand the parts from the Whole, but you can never understand the Whole from the parts." 
At first you start experiencing 'parts', but you must have some CONCEPT of the WHOLE. If not, the parts that you come to see can't make a connection. It all has to lead to a 'balanced conclusion' where the parts connect in harmony within the Whole. The Whole is a Unity and a Harmony – THAT which we call God, the Universe, Higher Intelligence. 
And that's where the 'religious mind' comes in. A basically religious person has a natural sense that we're living in a TOTALITY which is GOOD. In ITS terms, not necessarily ours. 
So what I'm now trying to encourage is more understanding of the surroundings – how to develop a very large sense of life. Generally people try to figure out what the hell is going on, but with no CONTEXT to contain it. They end up with doctors throwing pills at them or offering them a little 'art therapy'. 
What does any 'thing' mean? How does it fit the Whole? Why am I on this earth? I'm going to be gone soon! Am I doing anything for my own deepest understanding, or useful for the Whole? Wouldn't THAT be nice – a satisfaction with something larger than my 'own' little self? 
What are we if we're unrelated to the rest? What is an individual, unrelated? Just a pretentious little ego that is going to dissolve in the grave? Pride in 'personal accomplishment', isn't where it's at.
To put it crudely and bluntly, we are currently surrounded by close to TOTAL MADNESS. Such confusion! We talk about it, we think about it, it's no secret. Everyone has to make tremendous efforts just not to get crushed or blanketed by all the things coming at them. Just look at the energy it takes to deal with a complaining this one or that one. The pain of it all ! 
I hesitate to use names : everyone is so afraid of being insulted, or that others might take something in the 'wrong way'. But within this field of total confusion – WHAT POSSIBLE DIFFERENCE COULD IT MAKE?  
Is everyone dealing with their own confusion? Hopefully. But to maintain  a reasonable connection you try to understand them, for their sake and for your own sake, for the future, for the present. Also, just to keep in touch while they're doing… what? Probably what they have to. More probably the only thing they can do. Hopefully they are learning something of value along the way.
Everything is so…! Even in areas that seem to be going reasonably well, like places where you're sometimes employed. Just look what you have to face. Everyone there is, as if, okay. So okay that they can afford to hire you. But you have to absorb their pain and confusion, somehow. You are learning a lot from it all, but nonetheless. 
We look at life from as close to a conventional way as possible. The conventional way is the way in which things are moving outside. You know, there's the conventional way that the  banks work, or the way people try to organize their homes. There's conventional ways that people do all kinds of things. Should you get down to the 'parts', with a sensible love for the Whole, then you have a reasonable chance of seeing clearly. 
We're going to be out of all of this soon. Anyone of us could be gone tomorrow. So let's USE our time to advantage. Even if we go on to a natural end it's still all very quick. We're on the water's edge.
As the poem goes :
'I see a lot of shipwrecks
hanging from a cliff
I see a lot of shipwrecks
listing in the mist
I see the tide go to and fro
I see the waves
that roll and grow
I see the choppy waters dance
those ships
they hardly had a chance!'
We're talking about the 'choppy waters'. Everyone would like to go with the Gulf Stream, with the wind, go anywhere, ride a wave. 
So, what could you DO for the people? Basically they're bouncing on choppy waters, saying 'ouch, ouch, ouch, thank you, thank you, ouch, ouch', to whomever for whatever. They're people, human beings. We like human beings, the most interesting beings on earth, no? 
For your own sake you have to understand them, and for your own sake you want to see them ALIVE. So, for your own sake you would even like to help them to BE, if you could.
Okay, you study the situation, make tapes, record songs, prepare books, move on to the Internet. Why not just say: 'here, it's yours, that's my experience, use what you can of it',  and just leave it at that? Now you lovely people, collect your OWN marbles, and go with it!  There's the question – go, and do what?
This conversation we're having is an inspiration. I have an excellent feeling about it just as you do. All relationships within such a context are strengthening. I must say that I wonder about you, and others, as to what your future holds. That's really why I'm digging into all of this. For me the future has already arrived, so to speak. 
But I do have some sense of other people's options. I can look at them through 'my sense of options', not being limited to their view. And it can be looked at from more that one angle, not the least of which is the WHY of it all ! 
You've heard about 'charisma'? Well, whatever my 'package' is, certain people might and do get attracted,  whatever the implications. Is there something basic in that, or is it just superficial? Is the attraction proving USEFUL? Where is the point when an attraction that might have been useful is no longer so? 
I can't afford NOT to put these questions to myself should I wish to maintain a self image as a legitimate human being. A person with integrity doesn't want to sin. 'Sin' being defined as : 'too much or too little of something'. That's really what I'm looking at – the critical line between too little and too much.
You can't really know what enough is until you know what too much is. Nobody wants 'too much', so they generally stop before something is enough. When you've touched the 'too much', then you've accomplished the challenge of knowing when 'enough is enough'. It goes for everything we're talking about. 
No one wants to see less communication, less opportunity for experience and growth. Sometimes however, 'less is more'. For instance, less imagination is more reality. 
Some time ago it became clear that you seriously needed a body-treatment. We passed through the acknowledgment of your physical reality. So, when does too little turn into too much? There is a real satisfaction in being an intelligent human being, no? That's a good example.
We're both getting tired now so the question arises whether or not to stop. This may only be the fatigue that comes with the 'breaking of the sound barrier'.
People are becoming more and more aware of the type of issues we are touching here. Mainly, that response-ability is totally in their hands and that fear is ignorance. 
In the material that Na'ama channeled, a piece referring to this place says : 'Your moments of self-remembering are your protection.' No doubt we have that advantage. With anger, irritation, jealousy, pride, vanity etc., people well understand that it doesn't at all fit the spirit of this place. When it does arise it's like pinpricks. And when something 'pricks', one backs-up from it, in an effort to REMEMBER. 
God-knows, atomic war could break out tomorrow. I'm not at all looking forward to those kind of things, but we're SURE to see a lot. What can a person do other than stay within their humility and self-remembering and from there RESPOND with whatever their ABILITY is, as we've been doing here. 
WORK is wide, not only deep. When you take aim at something through a gun-sight, you position your target in the 'cross-lines' : the horizontal line and the vertical line. The TARGET must be right where those two lines intersect. The Sign of the Cross, exactly : the Line of Time, and the Line of Eternity. One should always be aware where those lines meet. 
Nicoll wrote a book called 'The Mark'. Not to miss the mark. To maintain a clear aim – get it in the cross-lines!
This feels reasonably good as a summation to this whole conversation. And hopefully, eventually, I, and you, or whomever else, alone or together, here or elsewhere, will have something even BETTER to do – more critical, more timely, more right. But what has just taken place, even if nothing else happens to it, is a blessing in itself. 
We shall part for a short time, with a last thought in mind, which was posted  on the white-board downstairs : 
But lastly – let me put a question to you. Where do YOU think 'Alan' could be most usefully employed in times to come?
"Alan, get yourself some money, somehow, and get thine ass up to the Himalayas?" 
"Alan, sell the property, buy a little something in K'lil or elsewhere and then let's get a fleet of buses. Three, five buses, depending on how many friends – and start to travel. What the children really need is a wider exposure. Let's camp out for a time with the Bedouin in the Sinai, then move down the Nile, then go, I don't know where, what feels right at the time, moving, moving, moving... Ma ze?" 
"I heard the music you're doing – go to Nashville, you've talked about it, use the material. If more music came out that would be so good, helpful, I don't know." 
"You have a special connection with the females and children. Go to some Moslem country where you can have as many wives as you want. What have you got left, twenty years if you're lucky, unlucky? I don't know, you're not going to have a heart transplant, you're not the type. But you do have a love for this 'race'. Figure it out, twenty wives, in five years you could have a hundred children. If that would be useful for anybody it would be for you. So why don't you do that?"
"You expend more energy in one evening than most people do in six months, and then have to spend the next 24 hours in bed. Come on now! You're a nice guy, but it takes more than being nice. BE EFFICIENT."
"We've got some real good people here who could help raise a slew of children. Eliya talks about a little sister. If a bunch of kids don't come along quick she's going to get spoilt, maybe, maybe not, I don't know, it's all speculation!" 
So, you know what we're going to do? We're going to do our best, now! And that's what we've been doing for the past few hours, right? You've been very helpful, you've been very committed to this, it's a pleasure talking to you, a pleasure knowing you – it's one of the blessings I count.
See you later!