Seminar on Direction and the Aphorisms
This seminar lasts one day; participants arrive in the morning.
Ceremony of the Service
First Part: Introduction (1 hour)
Overview: We will work with the text on the Aphorisms (from The Book of the Community) and carry out a number of guided reflections. This work is organized to help us experiment with each of the Aphorisms and, from our own personal experience, understand the differences between them. We will then focus on forming a personal Aphorism that corresponds to the basic direction of our lives.
The best way to work together is to be relaxed and in theme, focuing on the work at hand as if we were doing research, hoping to understand, paying attention and letting go of any expectations. This is a simple work, to be carried out with appreciation.
What are "The Aphorisms” and why do we want to work with them?
We know that when we are going to do something important, we need clarity in our thoughts and images, as well as faith and the conviction that what we are doing will turn out well, and that we will be able to carry out all the tasks we must in order to achieve what we want. This "something" we are doing can be very internal. It could be looking for a job; it could be helping another person; it could be a project with others; it could be starting a new Community of the Message; it could be the general construction of one’s life. Whatever it is, we need to be as coherent as possible with our thoughts, feelings, and actions. The Aphorisms work precisely on these points.
Our Aphorisms are formulated on three levels, as follows:
(1) Thoughts produce and attract actions. (2) Thoughts with faith produce and attract stronger actions. (3) Thoughts repeated with faith produce and attract the strongest actions.
A Personal Aphorism is a phrase, an image, or a simple mental formulation that moves my thoughts, feelings, and actions in a certain direction. The function and power of a good Aphorism is exactly that: it clarifies my ideas and feelings and transforms them into conscious and intentional actions. It gives me energy and opens the future. An Aphorism can also be collective. In any case, an Aphorism is well constructed, in correspondence with inner truth, if it opens the future and increases our personal coherence. In this sense, internal work with the Aphorisms can help us understand the way we work internally.
A personal Aphorism can obviously also be something more specific, not necessarily just related to a central aspect of one’s life. In this seminar we have taken the direction of our life as our object of study. If we go deeply into this work we will surely develop a new personal tool that will be useful in many situations, and possibly fundamental in the construction of the life to which we aspire.
The positive energetic potential of a personal Aphorism is determined by its closeness to the central direction or meaning of my life. This is important because my life will grow in coherence or in suffering, both for myself and those around me, according to how well my daily actions coincide (or do not coincide) with my mental direction. There is a direction within me that is pushing me forward, or is guiding me one way and not another (regardless of how things have sometimes turned out). I can feel this direction as if it were a sort of magnet pulling me from the future, or an internal motor propelling me forward in different ways. In any case, it is there, operating.
For some reason, our lives have brought us here together today. Even though the details of our lives may be very different, we have something in common in our direction. Each of us may feel this "something" in a different way, it may be expressed in a different manner, but somehow the aspirations of Silo’s Message coincide with our own aspirations, both for ourselves and for others.
For all of us there is an internal image operating that has certain common characteristics: on one hand there is a search impelling us toward the profound and sacred within us; and on the other hand there is centrifugal direction moving outward toward others, an interest that opens communication and goes beyond discrimination and violence. There is a suspicion or certainty that life does have a meaning, that not everything ends with death, and this determines how I build my life. There is a desire to overcome suffering in myself and in others. This direction is what is important to us. It might be thought of as the rudder of a ship. You don´t see the rudder, but it is what enables the ship to reach its destination. Without a rudder the ship just goes around in circles, at the mercy of the tides and the currents, of external forces. Our interest is to understand this rudder, to make it explicit for ourselves and evident in our lives.
How can we know what our real aspirations are? Surely we have many different things that we want, desire, and need operating at the same time, from the most mundane to the most exalted. Some of these lead us in a valid direction and others lead us toward suffering. The key to discovering our deepest aspirations has to do with the positive emotional charge we feel when we make contact with them. There are many things we want or would like to have happen, but without this emotional connection they are just reveries, good ideas, lacking the profundity of what is most important for our lives.
In the measure that I feel that my internal coherence and unity are growing, that my life is taking on a valid meaning (at least for myself), then I know that I am on a path of profundity and truth within myself. There is an experience of recognition when I get in touch with this profound aspiration that is operating, even though it may not be completely clear, manifest, or explicit.
Our interest in working with Aphorisms is to try to approach this deep aspiration - something that is operating within me like an underground current, guiding my life in a certain direction – so that we can learn to guide our daily actions with greater coherence.
First Work - Personal Aphorism (1 hour)
...I look for images with a register of something I aspire to... ...ideas or images of people and situations that mobilize me... ...I look for meanings... ... What do I feel when I make contact with this aspiration?... ...Can I feel that this aspiration is growing without limits?... ...Can I recognize when I’ve had this feeling at other moments in my life?… ...In different situations of my life?... …I sift through the different moments and situations in my life with this register, guided by this feeling... ...
Write down your conclusions (without talking). Take notes on your experience. If you do not feel you have made contact with this emotion, try working with an inspiring register.
Write down your conclusions.
Interchange in groups of three (1 hour)
Break - Lunch (one hour)
Part Two: The Aphorisms (The Book of the Community) (2 hours)
What does this mean, thoughts “produce actions?” It means simply that I act in life according to what I feel right now, what I remember from the past, and what I imagine about the future. Any activity I carry out will depend on what I have done previously, and on having a clear image or plan of what to do. If my thoughts are confused, it is very likely that my actions will be confused, and so on.
As for how thoughts "attract actions,” it is clear that if I have acted in a confused way, this will create confusion in what I do and in the people toward whom my actions are directed. As a consequence I will receive the same type of confused actions in return. For example, if my thoughts are resentful and I act resentfully, surely I will create resentment and attract resentful actions from others in return. All a person has to do is believe in their "bad luck," and their actions and those of the people around them will end up producing "unlucky situations."
Reflection: I relax my tensions... ...I connect with my personal Aphorism... ...I feel my Aphorism... ...I see the images that appear... ...Where am I in these images?... ...What are my thoughts?... ...What are my actions?... ...Where do my actions lead, where do they end?
Write down your thoughts and actions. What actions were produced, and what actions where attracted? Consider the consequences of these actions.Comments by the participants.
By "faith" we mean a conviction, strong feeling, or confidence that something is the way a person believes it to be. It is not at all the same to think something with doubts as it is to think something with strong emotions. When you see how much a strong feeling like love can do, you can understand what we are saying.
Reflection: I relax my tensions... ...I breathe deeply... ...Now I focus on the same images and on my Aphorism... ... the same feelings... ... I see them clearly... ... I see my thoughts… ... I see my actions… ... I feel this emotion inside me… ... I strengthen this feeling... ... I make this feeling deeper... ... I put faith and certainty in this feeling... ... what are my thoughts… ... what are my actions… ... I continue increasing my faith in my Aphorism... ...
Take notes on your experience. What differences do you observe with your thoughts from Aphorism 1? What were your actions and what were their consequences?Comments by the participants.
The more you repeat an action or a thought, the more it is engraved in your memory, the stronger your habits will be, and the more it will predispose you to repeat future actions in the same direction. If a person continuously thinks with faith that they are sick, it is more likely that they will actually become sick than if they only think this a little, or without conviction. The same holds true with the projects that I have in my life. I must think them out clearly, with faith, and I must think about them over and over again. Then, my actions will go in this direction, and they will also create positive responses from my environment and from the people around me in the direction that is of interest to me.
How do I repeat my personal Aphorism with faith? Through daily meditation, by having that intention, by making my Aphorism central to each day and by incorporating it into my daily activities. If I have an Internal Guide, I can ask the Guide to strengthen my Aphorism.
The Guide and the Asking: If I have an Internal Guide, then the best approach will be to incorporate my Guide (with their Strength, Wisdom, and Kindness) into my work with my Aphorism. I can call upon my Guide to accompany me, to strengthen my Aphorism and guide me in using it, to advise about the best way to proceed in different situations. In this way I "infuse" my Aphorism with the attributes of my Guide. I incorporate the strength of the Asking with my Guide into my thoughts and my actions.
Reflection: Again I see the same images and remember my Aphorism with faith… ... I see myself in daily life... ... I see my activities... ... I see my thoughts… ... I keep internally getting back in touch with my Aphorism... ... I am connecting profoundly with this internal truth... ... I observe my thoughts.... ... I see the strength of my actions.... ... I see the consequences of my actions… ...
Take notes on your images, your thoughts, your actions, and their consequences. Interchange in groups of three. Write down your personal conclusions and synthesis. Final interchange among the participants. Short break
Ceremony of the Service Closing with shared refreshments.
downloads: Seminar on Direction and the Aphorisms.pdf