Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. Second Week. The Past.
Last time: a new cycle begins. This time: King Canute
Principle 1. The Principle of Adaptation. Second Week.
“To Go Against the Evolution of Things is to Go Against Oneself”
Last week we focused on the general structure and implications of the principle. This week we’ll investigate how this principle played out (or didn’t) in our past. Can I discover situation where I applied, or violated this principle? What were the consequences? How would I characterize these results?
Daily Meditation and a Guide to the Inner Road:
On many occasions we’ve given tips and suggestions about a short twice daily meditation to complement our weekly work. This consists of a reflection on the particular aspect of the principle we are focusing on this week (past, present, future, etc). The evening reflection combines this with a review of the day in the light of the principles, and in the morning an anticipation of how I might apply my insights in the coming day, as well as the setting of the tone I want to reinforce.
Simply carrying out these reflections for a few days in a row will demonstrate how this practice changes things in a surprising and effective. Nonetheless, its very easy to forget to do. Why does that happen, even when the results are so positive for such little effort? If you are like me you have discovered that much of the day is ruled by habit and daydream not by intention or self-awareness. As it says in the Guide of the Inner Road (Inner Look Chapter XlV “…your life weighs, your memories weigh, your previous actions impede the ascent”. That is true in this as much as everything else. Don’t be discouraged. Attend to your “failure” clearly without judging it. That also is part of your daily mediation. Perhaps a key part.
In its poetic fashion The Guide to the Inner Road goes on to recommend a particular attitude to cultivate in front of our (repeated) “failures”: “Reject startling fears and disheartenment… Remain in internal liberty, indifferent to the dream of the landscape with resolution in the ascent”.
Here’s some raw material that I hope you will find useful in your own reflections.
Last week I mentioned the idea that the Principles of Valid Action are anything but straightforward. They require a lot of thought, meditation and even experiment. I also said that, it seemed to me that it is precisely thanks to this “wrestling” with the principles that I’m able to transform them into guidelines toward greater internal unity (and away from contradiction). Otherwise they remain as platitudes, and dubious ones at that.
In the case of the Principle of Adaptation the first thing I find myself “wrestling” with is how do I know when a tendency really represents “the evolution of things,” and when its just a possibility, an accident, a fashion? How can I tell when my acceptance of this tendency is just weakness, laziness, or simply a mistake on my part, and when it is really the appropriate course of action?
Birds hatching out their egg; The course of a raging river; A child growing, and becoming increasingly independent’ Aging and death; The great cycles, like the inevitably of day following night, and being followed again by day; The moon waxing and waning; The tides rising and falling. These are all examples that come to my mind when I think about the “evolution of things however, if I believe every momentary trend or little breeze is a hurricane or the inevitable “evolution of things” I will be passive in many situations in which I should take action. It’s like Rafael Edwards’ “silly” illustration of a chick hatching from an egg and then trying to go back into it.
It seems there are these two serious potential errors here: How can I know if something arises from a greater situation and it makes sense to just get out of the way — or, maintaining our sea-side metaphors, learn to surf those waves? On the other hand, perhaps it is just a passing situation which I can and should confront, or work to change. This principle also lead me to rethink the meaning of the famous story of King Canute usually told as an illustration of his piety and humility. There are other lessons that one might draw from this familiar tale.
The great king Cnute (or Canute), irritated by the incessant flattery, and ass-kissing of his courtiers, had his throne brought to the seaside. Surrounded by the members of his court and other hangers-on, he commanded the waves not to touch his shores. Ignored by the water he (apparently) pointed to this as proof that Earthly power was nothing and that “God in his heaven was the only king worthy of the title.” There are many other interpretations of this tale. But, as you might guess from my watery metaphors earlier, reflecting on this principle gave this old story new meaning for me.
A little research will lead to some other interpretations of what this story is about.
This week we’ll consider this principle and how we could have applied it in the past. All of this is not just in order to deepen our understanding this particular principle, but also to begin to reflect more rigorously about our daily behaviour. Over the next weeks we’ll look at how it might apply in my current situation, and how I imagine it might in the future.
Can you sit with eyes closed and go deep inside to discover the source of inner peace, vital force and and real joy?
Can you open your eyes and discover how to transform your daily life into your spiritual path?
Have you wanted to join us for these meetings but the timing doesn’t work for you? Why not start another one? It’s easy, just invite one or two interested friends (neighbours, co-workers, family members) over and follow the steps of the experience detailed in the Book of Silo’s Message. Not comfortable with all that? Feel free to get in touch and we’ll help you get started.
These notes have been posted on Facebook and sent to our email list.
A slightly different version is available on instagram. Look for silo_toronto
We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts, considerations, artwork, etc about any of this.
General information about, the principles, materials, parks, etc can be found at www.silo.net or www.silosmessage.net
There are currently two 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 respective websites.