This week we begin our reflections on principle #12, “The Principle of Accumulating Actions” which says: “If you repeat your acts of internal unity then nothing can detain you.”
Take a look at the principle and this week try to discover at least one situation where you allowed small failures to accumulate and demoralize you. Find at least one situation where you can recognize that small efforts added up, or could add up, resulting in your being able to do something larger.
At our next meeting we can compare results. Since this is our first go at the principle this month I’m sending around a kind of overview. We can discuss it as well at this week’s meeting. In the next weeks we’ll consider how we’ve seen this in action in our pasts. We’ll look at how the principle could be applied to our present circumstance and what it might mean for us in future situations..
During the week we will try to apply it. It’s another thing we can discuss at the next meeting (or you can mull over as circumstances dictate).
The following examples, illustrations, etc are drawn from conversations with many people, and also from materials created over the years to illustrate various aspects of the principles. I’m sorry that in most cases I can’t credit specific individuals for their contributions, but where I can, I will.
We sometimes refer to the senses, memory and imagination as the three pathways of consciousness. These three pathways modify one another. For example, our actions are not just recorded passively in memory. The contents of your memory colour your perception and imagination just as they in turn supply the memory and shape your imagination.
Repeating your actions forms habits of behaviour that in turn reinforce your future actions. This is true whether these are acts that produce internal unity (i.e. agreement with yourself) or contradiction (internal conflict). In either case repetition produces a mental direction and forms habitual ways of facing life.
This 12th principle reminds us that what is being suggested is not a matter of acting according to one principle, or a few principles in isolation. To repeat acts of internal unity is to act according to all the principles. It’s about repeating a whole structure of actions that give internal unity.
The sustained attempt to apply the principles in this way turns them from catch phrases into an integral discipline capable of transforming our life into one of growing internal unity and therefore of growing happiness.
Sometimes an individual or group builds their entire life out of contradictory acts. This can apparently result in ‘success’ at least in the short term. A more careful observer will note that sooner or later the results will be catastrophic because the foundations of that life (individual or collective) lacks integrity. Many people, seeing only a moment in that process think that it is “successful”. Seeing it in process, observing how it evolves (devolves?) over time, reveals a very different situation.
The following legend is perhaps a less familiar variation of a well-known story. It illustrates the results of accumulating unifying or contradictory actions.
In his vanity a prideful prince decided to build a tower whose heights would reach into the heavens. So he gathered fully one third of the able-bodied men, women and even children of his kingdom and set them to work.
The people of the kingdom, with the exception of a few who could be called the wise or the compassionate, were corrupted in the same way as their ruler. In their greed they preyed upon neighbouring kingdoms and were vain about their wealth.
Over the years the immense undertaking grew. The building of the tower required more and more workers, and resources of all kinds. From the remaining population, that were not labouring day and night on this extraordinary construction, the prince raised a mighty army and sent it out to conquer more lands so that those people might be enslaved to work on the tower and so that their riches should refill his coffers.
And so it went; stone was piled on stone, and effort was accumulated on effort. The tower rose to astounding heights; taking with it all the wealth, effort and suffering. It was like those times that the waters rise to heavens but do not return as rain. Those times when only drought descends on to the sad earth.
So the wise people gathered and they asked their spirits: “What unites these people?” And their spirits answered: “Their pride unites them.” Then they asked their spirits: “What divides these people?” And their spirits answered: “Their pride divides them.”
Then the wise ones, carefully calculating the consequences of their actions went among the builders labouring on the tower. And they said to them: “This tower which will be gazed on in awe and submission by all the nations requires its builders be seen in the same way. It is only fitting that the leaders be raised to the heights so all may see the merit they have earned and the lesser ones should struggle below so that they may earn merit and so ascend.
Immediately the people started to push and shove and fight for prominence. With the architects, engineers and other leaders far above the others could not hear their instructions. Soon they were all shouting and since no one could hear above the din all guidance was lost and chaos ensued. Contradictory and misunderstood orders brought rope to where mortar was needed and mortar to where scaffold was required. Ropes frayed against projecting walls that were meant to be smooth. Baskets, tipped over. Ladders slipped, bricks and mortar were misplaced and soon the tower itself, no longer rising straight as a pillar, began to teeter. The building however continued without rest, until finally with a foundation that no longer anchored it the swaying tower crashed to the ground dragging with it all who had guided the work from the heights.
Then the wise gathered once more. They said: “Let us find some way to make use of all this so at least some benefit should return to our people.” And so the bricks and tools that now lay scattered were gathered and the people worked on new projects: homes were built, aqueducts were extended, and granaries repaired. The people laboured at peace with themselves and in friendship with their neighbours
Remember you can find The Inner Look and Silo’s Commentaries on the Message, along with the rest of Silo’s writings (in many languages) on www.silo.net
And along with other activities, materials etc of Silo’s Message at http://silosmessage.net
Some of the English version of his works have been published and hard copies are available. See for example: www.latitudepress.com
There are (so far) 2 Parks of Study and Reflection in North America. These are Red Bluff (www.redbluffpark.org) in California and Hudson Valley (www.hudsonvalleypark.org) in New York. The Parks of Study and Reflection are projects built and paid for by individuals inspired by Silo’s teachings. More information is available on their websites.
you can find a similar posting (and other stuff) on the Facebook Page for The Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex and as an email sent to those on the mailing list from this group.
We’d love to have your feedback on this or related themes.