☉︎ in 02° Aries : ☽︎ in 12° Cancer : Anno Vvii

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

To my Unknown Friend: Greeting and health.

It’s been said that I write and speak in big words, that I’m difficult to understand when looking up from the streets to the ivory tower where I apparently write my missives. I was challenged some time ago to see if I could relay complex concepts within small words and with the use of images.

Fair enough. Let’s see how we do with a parable.

After being asked about the nature of Truth by an unruly Ox, an irritatingly clever Goat explained, “The paths of all Truth respond to the Four Questions of the Sages: ‘What do my hands teach me?,’ ‘What do my memories teach me?,’ ‘What do my Gods teach me?,’ and ‘What do my parents teach me?'”

There are several depths to this simple parable.

At some point in life, everyone—and I do mean everyone—asks themselves “who am I? why am I here? what am I going to do about it?” All kinds of religious and mystical answers can be offered, but by the time we get to that question we are covered up in programming. No, no; I don’t mean some kind of weird, conspiracy, Timothy Leary spouting, tinfoil hat nonsense. Go back to the parable. In order to answer these questions, we have to understand the nature of ourselves and the world around us. In other words, we have to be able to discern truth. 

The Four Questions of the Sages are quick references for four ways to approach what we call Truth. Without getting all technical about it, each is a specific perspective and yet each is necessary to the whole of our existential experience (that’s pretty much the only “big phase” you get today!). Each is a sliver that creates the totality of our truth every moment of every day.

Let’s take two of these first—What do my Gods teach me? and What do my parents teach me?—and briefly cover them.

The the latter—What do my parents teach me?—is really shorthand for the larger aspect of systems into which we are each born and into which we join or entertain. I like to call this friends, family, fraternities, and factions. While overly simplistic, if you can hug it,[1] it’s a system and it belongs in this category.

But the former—What do my Gods teach me?—is the underlying meaning to those systems (that can be, but is not exclusively, religious[2]), the cultural baggage that goes along with all those systems. Some of the behaviors in which we engage only make sense through the cultural environment in which we exist, the internal language we use for ourselves makes all the difference in the way in which we think and express ourselves. This cultural aspect—what I like to call meaning and morality—can shape those systems that make up “what do my parents teach me” for generations.

Looking at the last two of these—What do my hands teach me? and What do my memories teach me?—let’s briefly cover them as well.

These are fairly easy shorthand images as well. What do my hands teach me? is shorthand for anything I can sense: touch, taste, smell, hear, or see. Now, people get all kinds of upset about the empirical when it comes to things like dark matter and quarks. Let’s not split hairs. We’re trying to keep it simple, remember? The point is: if you can measure it in any legit scientific manner, it falls under the category of “objective.” Stop splitting hairs.

On the other end, What do my memories teach me? is the subjective. What do I feel? What do I know? What do I experience? This is the internal side of the equation. I have a brain (that goes with What do my hands teach me? because I can touch/taste/smell/hear?/see it) but it has all that stuff I cannot touch/taste/smell/hear .. like .. consciousness and memories and feelings.[3]

So, big deal, right? What’s all this mean? You have the four ways of understanding Truth in the world. The four paths of Truth offer the most complete manner of seeing the world.

Sounds far fetched, way out there, mystical even. But consider that you shape your body by the food that you eat, the exercise that you do (“your hands”). Consider that you shape your mind by the books that you read (“your memories”).

Consider that you shape your community by your participation. (“your parents”) You shape your immediate world through the activism you bring (“your Gods”—or “your ancestors,” if you prefer). All this is just a drop in the bucket of the change that you have on all four aspects of the Truth that shapes you just as much in return.

But did you notice one element of the parable? What did X teach … who? Me. What is me? I. Who am I that Truth should teach even moment by moment, experience by experience?

You are something else. Something unique, individual. Something far deeper, far more interior, shaped by—and shaping—all four of these aspects of Truth, moment by moment, experience by experience. Everything I’ve just described to you .. is a mask. Or, better yet, think of it as a robe. Or a costume, if you are of the dramatic type. You are not your body. You are not your memories. You are not the influences of your culture that rises up around you. You are not the systems that are formed around you. YOU are not these things. These are merely the things you have experienced, that have experienced you.

What is “you” then? Something .. free. Something free to experience Truth as it comes to you through all four paths. Something that does not have to be bound by that experience, however. The robe, the mask, the costume: it’s all something you are free to release at any time. Oh, right. Granted, that’s easier said than done, but it can be done. That’s the whole point of learning that such Truth exists in the first place and how to identify it. Start there. Then start to understand the ‘you’ that is under those paths. Then you start to determine the why.

What do your hands teach you?, What do your memories teach you?, What do your Gods teach you?, and What do your parents teach you?

Love is the law, love under will.



[1] I realize that I’m going to get in trouble for this, but the challenge is to use simple words and not be overly complex. The fact is this is a systems model, so community, religion, tribes, corporations, your job, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, etc all fit into this category of systems. Some of these things can’t really be “hugged,” but they still go here.

[2] These phrases of the parable itself are mnemonics. They are not to be taken too literally.

[3] But even the stuff that we have begun to “see,” like, memories and emotions and .. stuff .. are all still interior to the brain matter that is exterior. We cannot touch/taste/smell/hear those or, quite frankly, see them (yet) in any real way. We can only experience them personally. Hence the difference between “hands” and “memories” in this parable.