On “Hypnotizing Maria”

•December 5, 2012 • 3 Comments

A caveat

I am a pilot (more accurately a “flyer” in Bach’s terms – for more on that see “Stranger to the Ground” and “A Gift of Wings”). Bach’s work helped me find myself at an early age.  I’ve read Illusions enough times that I can recite the journal section at the beginning from memory – “There was a Master…”
I am predisposed to embrace not only the message, but his approach to communicating it through flight-focused stories.
OK, that bias disclosed, here are some thoughts on Bach’s latest work.

Hypnotizing Maria presents all of Bach’s persistent themes – the ones that seem to represent his writing mission –

  • Shake off convention [Jonathan] –
  • All of our limitations are illusions – See your Empowerment to create/change your life against the social boxes of assumptions, restrictions, limitations and the habits of others [illusions];
  • We attract that which we most need [Illusions, One]
  • If we open ourselves to learn what we want and need from this life, we will find it in how we see the commonplace.

Bach’s early work seemed to be conversations with self about flight, confidence, challenge and life direction. They reveal high truths he finds in own search. In Illusions he uses parable to communicate all of these found truths very concisely.
“Hypnotizing Maria”‘s approach to communicating his truths is another Platonic dialog with a sage character.
Bach’s more recent fiction has used dialog between the student and enlightened sage fairly consistently.
“Hypnotizing Maria” presents the basic philosophy in a less religiously challenging approach than “Illusions” did. I think that may give it more general appeal.
Illusions took the interesting approach of making it’s sage the Messiah. In Illusions too, both the student and sage struggled with choosing their own fundamental direction in life.
This put Illusions in the very interesting position of simultaneously exploring the student’s direction and asking the question, “What if, when Christ asked that the cup pass, God said, ‘Sure.'”
I had great fun with that premise, but I can see the challenge it represents as limiting to an audience.
The “Hypnosis”-based approach is probably more widely relatable than the Illusions one, and it certainly works here. It allows a more subtle answer to our troubles.
Where Illusions asks us to consider that this life was created by Us to help us realize we are actually unlimited, “Hypnotizing Maria” says, more simply, don’t let everyone elses assumptions about reality limit you.
Don’t be hypnotized by the world. There is less to buy into before you accept the question and really consider it, and that may be a plus for some.
The origin of our sage/guide here is a bit of a stretch for some, and seems to be a more subtle attempt bind some of the aspects of “One” (infinite singularity – we are all part of a single continuum) into the other messages.

Concisely written, back to the core style of Jonathan and Illusions, it is an enjoyable, easy read.
Personally I prefer the depth and approach of “Illusions” and don’t find too much new here, but I enjoyed being reminded of the viewpoint once again. A bit of a prequel perhaps.
Perhaps I am biased having battered and twisted every angle and element of Illusions and Johnathan against my own view of the world until they both looked different to me.
I enjoyed the trip, and “Hypnotizing Maria” also encouraged me to circle back and have another lunch, under the wing, with my friend Don Shimoda, and for that I am always grateful.

See you there again soon Richard.

The worst part of last night is the best part of this morning.

•November 29, 2012 • Leave a Comment

No idea how common this feeling is, but what a great moment, to wake and realize as you come conscious – The collapse of last night’s plan was for the best, and you have surprisingly little new to regret.

Fragile

•November 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

“Within each of us lies the power of our consent to health and sickness. It is we who control these and not another.” – Richard Bach, Illusions

Health and illness are real, we can’t take health for granted or deny the unpredictable nature of most illness. I don’t think that Bach means to deny involuntary illness in this segment of Illusions.
The line in the book is inflammatory for the those who fight illness. They are not volunteers. It’s always bothered me a little.
I could certainly be wrong – he may actually mean that the illness is just another part of the illusion and that it truly isn’t real in his higher plane, but that is a difficult concept when you or someone you love is in pain, and too easily perceived as a lack of empathy when the speaker is well.
I find that interpretation too difficult to absorb in the daily life in which we engage.
Bach, actually says “to consent to” rather than to attract too. Wiggle room, maybe, but if we look at it more openly we can read it as the decision to fight or submit to the illness.

OK, that caveat out of the way, I think he is referring instead to a temptation to submit to a fragile nature.
At a different level of personal responsibility and empowerment, we are in control of our well-being, at least to a certain extent.
We all know particularly fragile individuals. I can’t help but wonder if there is some internal error, whether by nature or nurture, that links illness to some positive spin on ‘special’. Again, I’m not talking about serious illness.
Maybe its just the attempt at unique identity through illness. There are certainly those whose identity is the sum total of their illnesses. Ask how they are and hear the litany.

We all at an early age determine whether we will define ourselves by our illness or whether we will define ourselves in spite of it.

Whether we are fragile.
But within a certain range of human experience there is a tendency to overcome or submit to everyday issues. There are people who compare illnesses and pains like medals, and those that don’t.

The lesson, I think, is to avoid the limitation of identifying with illness.

Still, no matter how indestructible we think we are, there are those moments when the other car doesn’t turn as expected, ropes slip, or footing fails, and once recovered we hear that echo – “not now, but someday.” and we are reminded of the narrow edge that we struggle to inhabit.

“Argue for your limitations, and they are yours.” – Bach

“The original sin is to limit [your being] – Don’t” – Bach

Quote for the Day – Friends

•November 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

 A friend is one before whom I may think aloud. 
 Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes 

Sleep

•November 20, 2012 • 4 Comments

Sleep deprivation is a useful self-analysis tool. Bringing emotions and issues to the surface.
I don’t mean sleepy here, i mean pushed past the shakiness and spots and hallucinations and back to nervous functionality.

“OK, no choice but to see if I can pull this task off in this state.”
At that point you can find yourself surprisingly relaxed. I find I am more civil with strangers, and less tolerant of those I know that have been on my nerves.
That feeling in your gut that tightens when you want to say something but hold back, those come right out in this state.
Kind of liberating – “Wow, I said that out loud, well too late now, may as well finish the thought. Felt pretty good.”
Just being in the state once in a while makes you aware of the little voice that says “You need some sleep before you make any important decisions.” Puts you in touch with your humanity, your capabilities and your limitations.

1000 Words

•November 17, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The base concept of the movie was intriguing for me. Wasted in the slapstick plot, the movie itself had only a few brief glimmers of its philosophical potential.

The concept in the trailer was very interesting. What would you save them for if you only had 1000 words left to say.
We all start with the same answer – that we would speak only of our love to those close to us, but let’s think past that.

It would obviously force us to be more non-verbally expressive. We might be more willing to use the “It’s OK, I understand” look. I think we would be generally more thoughtful. In our more common, thoughtful moments we might also tend to show more positive energy more often just in our expressions. Reassurance in the silence.
We would certainly waste fewer words on those we cared less about. If words were precious we would certainly use fewer in anger.

Bullets should be so precious.

I’m sure we’d perfect the look that said “I wouldn’t waste a word on you.”
People would just disappear when offended, you would never find out what you had done that was offensive.

I like to think we would spend some of those precious words working the important things out. Clarifying only where there was profound doubt. Finding creative ways to express ourselves.
We’d certainly pay attention when words were spoken.  Speech would hit us like unexpected rain – Someone found something important enough to speak out!
Maybe we would all speak like Lincoln, having spent years working on precise and yet meaningful phraseology. Or like brief Shakespeare, full of double meanings and depth.

The silent retreat is certainly an interesting experience, but even more interesting to me is this level of limited communication. Like the lost art of the telegram.

Try it for a day. Listen, think, consider whether any response at all is really necessary, then speak. See if, and how, people’s reaction to your words, and even to the silence between them, changes.

Instead of 339 maybe I should have used only 3 –

Experiment – speak concisely

“So , … ” Vent

•November 16, 2012 • 2 Comments

“So,” is NOT the beginning of a sentence.

It is just as bad as a misplaced “like” or “Um…”

or maybe I’m just too easily distracted from the message…