directs a process which, of the myriads of processes he directs,
captures my imagination as the one which gets to the heart
of the matter of what it is to be a human being.
To be sure, the heart of the matter of what it is to be a human being
is like an infinitely-faceted jewel, each facet refracting infinite
possibilities. So to assert one process gets to to the
heart of the matter of what it is to be a human being is certainly
constraining the creative license. Yet for this conversation, citing
just one process, indeed citing this process specifically,
good enough for
The process goes something like this:
What's going on?
Tell me what you're experiencing right now.
The wind in your hair, the temperature on your skin, the different
textures of your clothing, the tastes in your mouth, the damp smells of
autumn in the air, the sounds of the evening traffic, what you're
seeing, what you're hearing, what you're feeling (ie what you're
emoting), what you're thinking (ie what thoughts are passing
through), the entire multi-level multi-sensory gamut of your experience
Tell me about it.
Here's something to confront: if you told me what's happening with you
right now, if you told me what you're experiencing right
now, then you didn't do the process as I requested. Really!
Not doing the process as I requested doesn't mean you didn't listen to
my request clearly. It doesn't mean you didn't get my
request. It doesn't even mean you didn't follow my
request. With regard to you saying what you're experiencing right now,
I want you to get it's notpossible for you to do
By the time you tell me what you're experiencing, it's after the
fact. By the time you tell me what you're experiencing, you're not
experiencing it anymore - it's over. By the time you tell me
what you're experiencing, the experience you're describing is in the
past. When you tell me what you're experiencing, you're not
describing what you're experiencing. You're describing a
concept of what you were experiencing,
or you're describing a belief in what you
were experiencing, or you're describing a
memory of what you were experiencing.
Or you're describing all of the above. But when you tell me what you're
experiencing, the only thing you're not describing
is what you're experiencing. It's not possible to do that.
So you can never tell me what you're experiencing when you're
experiencing it. All experience de-evolves ie
devolves quickly, immediately in fact, to
concept, belief, and memory.
This pull of devolution is at the heart of the matter of
what it is to be a human being. Knowing it won't enable you to survive
better. You can't use it to make yourself into a better person. You
can't change it ie you can't change that experience devolves this way -
you can't stop it. And it's sheer
to think you can fix it.
There's nothing to do about
There's nothing you
can do about it.
Distinguishing devolution is as useful as distinguishing trees. If you
don't distinguish trees, you collide with them when you run in the
forest. Colliding with trees fills running with trepidation,
reluctance, and the dread of powerlessness over
as well as giving rise to that certain look on faces which
results when chins, lips, cheeks, noses, and foreheads intersect
suddenly, surprisingly ie hard with trunks, bark, and
What there is to get from distinguishing devolution is
secondarily the awareness of how your most cherished concepts, beliefs,
and memories were laid down in the first place. Primarily, what there
is to get from distinguishing devolution is the clarity of who you
really are. That's the real value of this distinction.
That's this distinction's true worth. Distinguishing devolution (then
setting it aside) reveals who you really are: senior to,
the context for, the space of concepts,
beliefs, and memories, into which every one of your experiences
(including this one you're experiencing rightnow)
quickly and immediately ie unavoidably and
It's been said the experience of transforming your life ie the
experience of what it takes to transform your life, is characterized by
distinguishing who you are as distinct from your concepts, beliefs, and
memories ie by distinguishing who you are as distinct from the products
of devolution. When you've distingished your concepts, beliefs, and
memories, they're still your concepts, beliefs, and memories - only
now, they can be clearly seen for what they are.
Living, analagous to running in the forest, gets much easier when
you're no longer colliding with the trees.