Seminar on Profound and Essential Change
The seminar lasts one day and participants arrive in the morning.
Ceremony of the Service
This work is put together with questions based on the main ideas in Silo´s letter responding to David Roberts, which circulated in January of 2008. These questions aim to create a condition of deep individual reflection and group interchange on the issue of profound and essential change. These questions can be answered through reason or through intuition. Next, we will try to formulate a personal intention, meditating and taking as a connecting reference the theme of “The five states of meaning in life,” an excerpt from Note 4 of the original Book of the Community.
The letters and the Note are below so that all participants will have the text study.
Exercise 1 - Individual written work
Profound and essential change, the change of mental conditions, is possible through an intention of human consciousness.
1. What do I understand or intuit by profound and essential change?
Essential change is not possible without a clear intention in that direction.
5. What do I understand or intuit by an intention of the human consciousness regarding itself?
Converting one’s life according to a profound mental change.
7. What does it mean to me to convert my life in accordance with a profound mental change?
Exercise 2 - Work in groups of three
Interchange about individual work. Take notes.
Exercise 3 – Work with the whole group
Open interchange about the theme in relation to the individual and group work. Take notes.
Exercise 4 - Formulating personal intentions
First, one should try to meditate about the internal "place," that is, from where one should formulate intentions for profound and essential change, if they are not clear. In this sense, we must consider that the most deeply felt aspirations that move us toward that Conversion are not born from illusory compensations, which could subtly and unnoticed be conditioning us. Take notes.
Second, it is recommended to study Note 4 (below) from the original Book of the Community in order to reflect and be more clear about the internal state one may currently be in with respect to meaning in life. Take notes.
Exercise 5 – Work in groups of three
Interchange about the individual work.
Exercise 6 – Work with the whole group
Interchange about comprehensions gained in the individual and group work.
Exercise 7 – Individual summary and synthesis
Write a summary and synthesis of all the personal work carried out.
In the Hall (if at a Park), we give thanks for the understandings we have reached, and we ask for progressive reconciliation.
Excerpt of Note 4 from the original Book of The Community
…7. The recognition that not everything ends with death, or what is the same, of transcendence beyond death, admits the following positions:
8. These four positions and a fifth, which denies all possibility of transcendence, are called "the five states of meaning in life." Each state, in turn, allows different degrees of depth or definition. Both the states and the degrees are variable, but in any given moment of life they allow one to define the coherence or contradiction of one’s own existence, and therefore the level of freedom from or being subject to suffering. This is, moreover, a practical point, because you can examine any moment of your life and locate it in the corresponding state, verifying how your life has been organized in accordance with this state. Logically, this examination can be used for understanding the present moment.
9. Whatever state and degree a person finds themselves in, they can advance or deepen in it through sustained work in the direction the Doctrine proposes.
Summary: The doctrine of the Community explains that true meaning of life is related to the affirmation of transcendence beyond death; that the discovery of this meaning transforms life, influencing it through the three pathways of suffering, and that every person can reach or perfect this meaning, no matter what state and degree they find themselves in with respect to it.
Letters from David and Silo (Negro) - January 14, 2008
I send you a warm greeting from Sacramento.
I am writing to you today because something is troubling me about comments that I had heard that you had made recently. As it was reported, these comments were made around 10 days ago. And since nothing of clarification has circulated, to my knowledge, I thought I´d ask you directly.
The matter is that, I was told (albeit second hand) that in a certain conversation you had with a few people – I believe it was at a dinner in Manantiales – that you had said that human being could not (really) change. And that you made a few statements to that effect which negated the possibility of "true change" within humans. I took this to mean that you had reached a NEW conclusion in which you now say that Humans are not capable of an essential and deep level of change. How different it is to think this! And such a departure from what has been our current of thought over many years.
Well, I suppose you did say what was reported... but what I wonder is WHAT DID YOU MEAN? And how am I/we to understand?
Thinking to myself I say that if I must face the fact – if it is a fact – that we humans are not capable of the type of truly Humanizing Change (transformation) – a situation which we have all worked to propagate over many years... then this makes me STOP ... and search and wonder what is it then that I am working for (for others) and what is it that I am to have faith in?
Since I have heard this and thought about it, I have put all of my projects on hold including my "Siloisms" series until I am able to UNDERSTAND. We all rely on your thinking and on your judgment to a very big degree and so I must ask you if the whole Narrative/Story has changed (?)
Thanks, Negro, for considering my questions....... and just to say once again that you are always in my thoughts.
a big hug,
Yes, approximately 10 days ago there were some wonderful dinners in Manantiales, and at one of them we touched on this theme, which seems to me important to consider.
Is profound and essential change possible in the human being? Yes, I believe it is, but I distinguish between that undeniable but slow change that began in the first hominids, and the possibility of essential change that is not due to simple evolutionary mechanics, or to "natural" accidents, but to a direction, an intention of the human consciousness regarding itself.
The point is that peripheral changes are making a lot of people believe that those are the changes that must be aspired to. We have to go beyond Science and Justice in order to understand this change. Indeed, as we have pointed out on several occasions, whoever works for the advance of Science and Justice is making the best of efforts to promote the overcoming of pain and suffering, facilitating the conditions for change. But it is clear that today even Justice and Science are being twisted into a pressured parabola in which the search for change is being oriented objectally, ignoring what is most important in essential change. This forgetting of self, this ignorance of the overcoming of one’s mental mechanics, leads us to question the possibilities of change...
And here we arrive at the point of this disquieting but healthful evening, in which we were able to say: Essential change is not possible without decisively moving in that direction. And the epoch is closing the horizon of that mental direction.
Whoever has followed our trajectory over the years has observed that our works have been oriented in the direction of "simultaneous change" [personal and social], and in Humanism this took on great strength. However, the effort toward changing our mental conditions has sometimes been weak and sometimes intermittent.
I put the arguments in a way that is somewhat harsh: Everything that has been done up to this moment has great meaning, but it will not be enough until the people (even the nicest and most kind) decide to Convert their lives, realizing the need for a profound mental change. It is of this that our work speaks in its last phase; it is of this that the Message speaks.
I believe that in the current situation in which Humanity is living (and of course ourselves), if we do not work to overcome all censure and censorship, including what is self-imposed, throwing ourselves into the meanings and works of the Message, then essential change will not be possible. The direction must be toward the Profound of the consciousness, to connect with the meanings that have been slowly driving forward the evolution of the human being. Now it is urgent and we have no other way to make this impulse known.
When we spoke at that dinner of the difficulties that the human mind is facing, disheartenment blew like an icy wind through those present. The sensation remained, that as things are, submerged in our humanity, we are not penetrating into the Profound, and if that doesn´t happen, Change is not possible. That was the saddest part of that talk, to which people responded with a certain stoicism: "...What you say is not very hopeful!"
However, beyond the anecdote I believe that we have some inner connection that can be communicated, and this is possible because in each of us is the unfathomable source of the Profound, from whose waters we must drink.
My dear David, I believe that many grasped the gravity of the current moment, and your letter is a reflection of that which happened and has not yet stopped.
I send you a most affectionate hug,