September 7th, 2006

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Good Morning!

The moon was amazing last night.  The kitties and I could not sleep.  We went out on the deck and danced in the light of the moon.  It was playing peek-a-boo with the fog.

Jane's writing of this morning reminded me of the four dignities of man, as seen by the Chinese.  They are walking, standing, sitting, and lying.   I give you an excerpt from a   Sensory Awareness newsletter, where Charlotte Selver explains honoring everything with our inner attention, honoring walking, standing, sitting and lying.

 Check it out at:

Honoring Everything With Our Inner Attention

Charlotte: When once you see—really see—somebody who has sensitivity, you can never miss it. I remember a Hindu dancer doing a temple dance. He was standing. He drank out of a cup. And then he sat down. That was all! I will never forget what happened to me while he was sitting down. He didn’t do anything else . . . nothing . . . and I suddenly realized what sitting means. Nothing else but this simple movement of coming to sitting. One felt that this man was absolutely there for it.

There was a real electric quality in it, . . . at the same time the greatest peace and the most beautiful movement you could imagine. The whole big auditorium of people were absolutely breathlessly following this one motion. He came to sitting and sat. There was a dead silence. Then a kind of tumult started. Everybody was delirious with excitement, and rushed forward, wanting to get near this dancer.
Such things happen. What we allow of sensitivity is closely connected with love, and innocence. A person who is self-conscious cannot allow. It must come out of the direct contact of our real inner connection, without breaks.

I don’t know whether any of you is so far as to feel what actually is happening in these classes. I give away the secret: it is to allow everything one does, really. We have chosen the most simple things which we do all the time, to feel out to which degree we honor everything with our inner attention.
In China there’s a saying which calls lying, sitting, standing, and walking the four dignities of man. When we are babies we do them all fully. You know, when you see a child sitting, it’s perfect. It is sitting. When you see an adult sitting usually it’s no sitting. He has thrown that away. It doesn’t concern him.

We have this marvelous ability to sense, this wonderful equipment of sensing. And we don’t have to think about it; we have it all in us. Every person has gone through the stages of sitting, of standing. The discovery by a baby of standing is one of the most wonderful things to watch. How often he falls, how often he cannot come completely up. And in each time the same delight . . . and struggle. He is trying to get up until at last, when he is standing, he beams with delight. This satisfaction of arriving at something which is really ‘it’ is inborn in us. We feel it immediately when we come into the neighborhood of ‘it’. That’s ‘it’!

Now, what has impressed me so exceedingly with my teacher, Elsa Gindler, was that whatever she did she did fully. And whatever was being done was subject enough for her feeling it out and fulfilling it. Not thinking about it but actually permitting it to happen. For instance, Elsa Gindler would sit and turn a page in a book which was lying before her—without that she would pay any attention to it consciously, and the way she turned the page was one hundred percent. It was so beautiful to see. It was not what we usually call graceful. It was just ‘it’. She was fully in the moment, and when she let the page come to lying there you had the feeling that she took care of it—without thinking about it—in the same way in which she would take care of the most precious thing she had.

We cannot judge things, dividing them into two kinds: one which doesn’t concern me, doesn’t interest me, that goes without my paying attention to it. The others—the so-called higher things or deeper things—which I think are interesting, and devote myself to. When this judging gradually stops, and instead we would give each thing we do the same honor, then it would be quite different.

In Zen they say, “When I drink, I drink; when I’m angry, I’m angry; when I sit, I sit; when I sleep, I sleep.” You know? Undivided. Just it. And in this way I would like you to understand what we are doing here. In the moment in which the orchestra of the human being—our many-dimensionality—would give itself in a united way to action, then we would function. Who realizes that sensing has a right of its own? You can simply follow it.

I like always to speak about how ‘it’ wants to be. In other words, the message comes from inside without that you have any idea in your head about how it should be. For instance, when you are interested in a person, you don’t have to think about it—you feel it, you know? You don’t have to think about whether the water is cold or warm; you feel it. You don’t have to think about whether a situation is difficult or not, you feel it. So, is it possible to simply react immediately, spontaneously, to what’s happening? So that the whole living person is automatically reacting to what’s happening? Then it’s easy. Then it makes fun. Then you begin to trust your own sensations, and can simply follow your perceptions.


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More of Charlotte Selver -

Charlotte would say there is a place to know enough.  I have not had enough of her this morning.    Here we go!

This article can be found at:

Spring 2002

Gravity, Energy, and the Support of the Ground
By Charlotte Selver

The following text is an edited excerpt from the newly published audio tape Coming Back to Experiencing, recorded in Santa Barbara, CA, on April 2, 2000.

I would like to speak about the main natural forces we are exposed to as we live on this planet. There is this force of gravity. Gravity is a very attractive force, and everybody is constantly exposed to its influence. The pull of this force makes us all stay on the ground. It even tries to pull us under the ground. But fortunately there is another force in us which does not permit that. That is energy. Each of us is able to allow energy to counteract the pull of gravity. So this would be the second very, very important force there is, to which we are constantly exposed. And then, of course, this energy manifests as breathing too. The possibility of constantly getting new air - can you feel it right now as you are reading? Are you open for this possibility of the energy source breathing to go through you or are you collapsing? Are you open to this coming and going of air and the possibility - whether we sit, or stand, or lie - to allow this exchange of air through us?

The third very important force, which we constantly are exposed to, is the support of the ground. That means, as you are sitting right now, there is something under you which supports you. Can you feel it? It is very solid and reliable; it is there at all times supporting us - the support underneath your feet, underneath your whole self, when you are lying, underneath your behind when you are sitting. You cannot go wrong trusting this support. Are you enjoying it? How wonderful that is!

Gravity, the support which the ground gives you, and energy - can you really experience these three forces?

- Can you feel that there is always something which invites you down?

- Can you feel something going through you which gives you the strength to stay upright?

- Is there really something which offers itself under you?

You may feel how easy it would be for gravity to become overwhelming, pulling you down to the ground and how the earth even wants to swallow you. But no, there is something under you which supports you - and something inside you which reconditions you from moment to moment.

Could you be open in your bones and other tissues for that which supports you? Be grateful for that support - grateful in every cell, grateful in your skin, and in your bones!

Can you feel the air which goes through you? Can you feel how it comes into you and how it goes out of you? Could you become sensitive in your muscles and skin and all tissues for the air which goes through you and leaves you? Are your tissues awake enough to let the air through and receive what is needed and let out what needs to go out? Can more and more of your inner be open for this wonderful process? We call it breathing.

To talk about these forces is quite dangerous. We have to be very careful not to follow ideas about gravity, energy, and the support of the floor. In German the word for 'learning by heart' is 'auswendig lernen.' The literal translation is something like 'learning from the outside.' But to learn by feeling from inside is completely different (Unlike the German, the English expression 'learning by heart' seems to encourage that. slg). It is important that we give this learning from inside a chance. When you feel what is, what occurs, what calls on you, your sensations, then you are in touch with life, which is always better, always deeper, always new. Wanting to know something is usually outside. Real experience is always surprising, is nothing which you know beforehand. And there is a difference between talking it - speaking from direct experience - and talking about it. When we speak about something we are not in it. It is important to feel what we say. Very much of our daily living is not experiencing, is not this warm-blooded being there for what we are doing.

As old as I am, all these moments of a new reality, of a new experiencing make everything so alive and full. I feel how it affects me when I'm only in my head, with my thoughts, and when I really feel in my tissues, in my nerves, in my bones. When I am really sensitive from moment to moment I live a completely different life.

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Becoming a little more normal -

Here is a little more of Charlotte Selver.   I am missing her today.   I studied with her for many years, and perhaps, needed the reminder of today to "become a little more normal."

Happy normality to you.

To See Without Eyes, To Hear Without Ears, To Taste Without a Mouth
by Charlotte Selver

Remarks made by Charlotte Selver in 1962 during a joint seminar with Alan Watts. This text appears in our new Bulletin Charlotte Selver. Vol I, collected writings.

When we do not function naturally anymore but instead use our senses, we do something. We do something in seeing, we do something in smelling, we do something in hearing and tasting. Actually, this is how we are educated. When the mother says to the child, 'Doesn't this taste good!' (lipsmacking sounds) or 'Listen to the airplane!' (looking up strenuously), etc., etc. - this mother, with the best will in the world, begins to disorient and distort the sense perception of the infant. And this distortion is increased when educators force a child to answer immediately and as correctly as possible. Much pressure is put upon the child to respond as people want him to. We come into the world and soon learn to feel we always should be doing something instead of simply being open for what presents itself at the moment. You may understand now how important it is that we learn to give up this doing. But how can one bring this under the skin of a person?

It is not so easy. For the organism has become accustomed to this 'doing' while perceiving and has built up effortful habits which block this very openness. This is one of the ways we create resistance within ourselves to the organism's very own ways of functioning. Let me mention just a few of such natural functions: breathing; circulation, digestion, organic functioning, movability and soon. We usually call these hindering manifestations 'tensions' or 'strain'. It often goes so far that we become numb in such blocked regions, or that pains develop.

Sometimes you see in the circus a man with overdeveloped biceps who throws a sharp knife at his arm. The knife strikes and jumps back. In other words, it does not penetrate. Now imagine that we become aware of such restrictions which come from hard effort. We say: 'Oh, I am working too hard. I am making too much effort. I have to let go. This is the answer: I have to let go!' We call it relaxing. So we let go, if we can. But it isn't done by just letting go. We often let go too much. We not only give up the unnecessary doings, but also the very necessary healthy tensions, our vitality which we dearly need in living. We become limp, lifeless, heavy. And this is often worse than before, when inner restrictions were still there.

In such a lifeless condition the fine self-directing and renewing process of the organism cannot start up because we have given up too much. The change demands something quite different. As we very gradually give up the restricting tendencies, we feel how with the diminution of this inner straining and tensing the wells begin to flow and fill up the gaps. And there where restrictions hindered, gradually the life activities start filling in. And so recovery, recreation, begins to happen.

Can you go with me? Does this make sense to you? This 'letting go' stuff is just something which we have figured out in our minds. Because if we really would sense, really would be present in what happens, we would feel how lifeless, how depleted of energy, we have become. When one has 'looked' in order to see, has 'listened' in order to hear, has 'sniffed' in order to smell, has made an effort in order to think, one does not know at all that one is constantly hindering the innate capacities of the organism from coming into play.

So when I come to you with an invitation to allow more ease here or there, I do not mean that you simply let go, but that you enter a way, a path which you can only take step by step. In this work of transformation, when you follow anything at all, you follow only your sensations, the natural tendencies of the organism. And to be able to follow these inner needs we have to be awake.

There is a kind of awakeness, a boundless awakeness, in which we don't go around and around with our thoughts, but which arises from quiet, in which we really can experience. When our mind is full of effort and thoughts, it's like when you want to go to a lavatory and there is a sign which says 'occupied.' You can't go in; it's occupied by somebody else. The trouble is only that our mind does not say 'occupied,' but we press our thoughts one after another into the space which is already occupied with something else. You can see how un-fulfilling such an attitude must be.

And so when an invitation reaches you to permit the thoughts gradually to come to more rest, and you allow that, then a process can start and restore you while your efforts begin to decrease. Then your head gradually clears, and at the end you are awake and feel wonderfully released, and everything in you can function.

I would like to finish this little explanation with a remark that Elsa Gindler, my teacher, once made. When we would say: 'Ah, I feel so marvelously light,' or 'Oh, I could run and do anything in the world' - and I would say, 'What a deep awareness!' and 'How one can grow with something like that!' she said, 'Charlotte, don't make such a fuss. You simply function a little bit more normally.'

So what I have to offer you is nothing but that you begin to give up what is hindering you, and you become 'a little more normal.'

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Excitement -

Tonight is the bachelorette party, and I feel like the celebrating began on Tuesday with Jeff's birthday party.  Jeff has matured so much through all this, that, as Elaine says, he is now crowned Lion King.  Jeff has always been mature, but this is the full enrichment of his being. 

In high school, Jeff and Jan took a pottery class together.   They loved the class, and Jeff made a wedding pitcher, a pitcher with two spouts.  It has been waiting here for the wedding.  Traditionally, the son's family keeps it as we have.  I have now handed it over to Shirley, the woman who will marry them, and, soon they will drink from the same pitcher.  I am as excited as I can be.  I bought Jan some sexy things for the bachelorette party, and that was fun.  Somehow, all of it just seems so fun.

Her parents still have not said if they will come, or not.  My sense is that they will.  I do not see how anyone could not be unhardened in the presence of so much love, but, just in case, on Sunday, think of rose petals and Love, Love, Love!!   I want her parents to see that there is nothing more lovely, precious, and real as two people coming together in love, and drinking together from a pitcher that has been waiting for all these years.  
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from Heron Dance -

TODAY I WANT you to become aware that you already possess all the inner wisdom, strength, and creativity needed to make your dreams come true. This is hard for most of us to realize because the source of this unlimited personal power is buried so deeply beneath the bills, the car pool, the deadlines, the business trip, and the dirty laundry that we have difficulty accessing it in our daily lives. When we can’t access our inner resources, we come to the flawed conclusion that happiness and fulfillment come only from external events. That’s because external events usually bring with them some sort of change. And so, we’ve learned to rely on circumstance outside ourselves for forward or backward momentum as we hurtle through. But we don’t have to do that any longer. We can learn to be the catalysts for our own change.

Sarah Ban Breathnach, from Simple Abundance

GOD CHANGES APPEARANCES every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises. One moment he is a glass of fresh water, the next, your son bouncing on your knees or an enchanting woman, or perhaps merely a morning walk.

Nikos Kazantzakis

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More Life - Surprise!

More of Charlotte Selver -

    We have been thoroughly deprived of trusting the inner wisdom
                    which each person has in him or herself.

                There lies a great unused richness in us,
                which we gradually have to dig out and develop.

       When you get to it, you will be astonished
            by what comes into the open which you didn't know was there.