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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/18/14

Focusing On Not Focusing

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Message Terry Sneller

I determined that in order to move myself and the new lady I was living with -- as well as all of what were mostly her possessions -- to Huntsville, Texas, I needed a van. Rather than getting out the newspaper and haunting the want ads, visiting car lots and/or just shopping around, I instead decide to just put that desire into what I came to call, Background Processing. I didn't keep focusing on it or spend much time visualizing exactly what I wanted or needed, I just "accessed" the general idea every-so-often, mostly during my meditations at night, as I drifted off to sleep.

Sure enough, about two weeks before the apartment rent was due and a notice to the landlord could avoid a penalty, one of our neighbors came by one evening and asked if I knew anyone who wanted to buy his Ford van. Of course I did and was even surprised to find that his price was quite a bit less than I had set aside for transportation. So, at the end of the month we packed up and drove about 60 miles north to Huntsville. On the way north, I started thinking about finding an apartment but actually began conjuring up a house.

Once we got to Huntsville, I stopped at a gas station to fill up. I casually mentioned to the attendant that I was looking for a place to rent and he said that he thought that the guy who owned the Chevrolet Dealership sometimes had rental places. So, I went down the street to the dealership, walked in, asked for the owner and was promptly ushered into his office. He explained that the only thing that he had available was an empty duplex, which was on the hill just above the dealership. He gave me the keys, I went up, took a quick look around, found it to be perfect, went back down the hill and told him I would take both sides of the duplex. We shook hands on it, I went back up the hill, started moving in and immediately began my Background Processing for a renter to take over the other side. At some point that afternoon, as I was attempting to unload a large bulky trunk, a guy who just happened to be driving down the road stopped to offer some help. Once we had deposited the trunk in our new bedroom, he asked if I knew of another rental place, in the area and I instantly became his landlord as well as fast friends with him and his likewise friendly lady.

As we settled into our new digs, I expanded my friendship with the guy who owned the dealership and our duplex. Within a few weeks, he hired me as his personal and business Financial Consultant, but frowned on me for driving around in a FORD van. So, I began Background Processing for a Chevy and within days I happened to spot one along the side of the road a few miles out of town. It was a beautiful, older GMC van which, at that point in time, was broadly considered a cut above the Chevy van. It ran like a top until, a almost a year later, I traded it in for a brand new, custom designed, Chevy van -- which I promptly used to move to Northern California.

And so it went, for several years thereafter. Background Processing happened so often and in so many unique ways, that it became almost second nature and eventually required barely any serious concentration to become activated. The last time I recall really using that technique, was many years later, in the Spring of 2004. I was attending a Spring Daffodil Party with roughly a hundred other sunlight seeking souls in the countryside some 50 winding miles north of San Francisco.

Of the many varied participants was a very old, European lady who was almost continually offering individualized, free, prophecies. One evening, at some point during a dance on the patio, she caught my eye and beckoned for me to come sit beside her. She immediately informed me that I should stop trying to find an American woman. Right up front, she told me that she KNEW I had already been married to four American women and that they would never fully understand my true nature. I was amazed, intrigued and seriously took her freely offered advice to keep my eye out for a woman in, or from, another country.

Something about her sincerity and the fact that she somehow knew about my previous wives, motivated me to decide to take some action. So I once again plugged her suggestion into my Background Processing mode and let it "germinate." Sure enough, within a month I was almost arbitrarily contacted online by an amazing woman from Spain -- who was living in Canada! I now live in Canada and we have been happily married for over nine years. However, since living here I haven't, until now, found a serious need to use my Background Processing method of manufacturing my reality.

So lately, I have begun to dust off my "secret skill" and have been meditating on the prospect of running a major Background Process on all of the crap that has been coming down around all of our heads. It is the largest request I have ever attempted! The other night, toward the end of my meditation, an old book that I had read sometime in the sixties suddenly came to mind. I couldn't account for what brought it up, as I swear I hadn't had a single thought regarding it for, well, maybe 45 or 50 years. However, it is the primary reason I've keyed in this rather long, personal narrative!

The book is called, Zen in the Art of Archery, by EugenHerrigel, it is free, online (follow the link) and in .pdf format. I downloaded and skim read it again, just to confirm that it contained the messages that I thought I originally imagined and was delighted to find that it was now even more meaningful than I recalled.

The book was written in the early fifties by a writer from the West who traveled to Japan and spent ten years learning how to use Zen techniques to master the art of archery. As he explains, there are many paths that one can take to gain an understanding of Zen. Archery is just one, flower arrangement is another, the Tea Ceremony is yet another, as well as swordsmanship, et al. In other words, mastery of Zen is a paradox that can be resolved using another paradox. One way it is explained in the book is that, "One knows it by not knowing it."

Here is another small explanation of the concept from that book --

" Should one ask, from this standpoint, how the Japanese Masters understand this contest of the archer with himself, and how they describe it, their answer would sound enigmatic in the extreme. For them the contest consists in the archer aiming at himself and yet not at himself, in hitting himself and yet not himself, and thus becoming simultaneously the aimer and the aim, the hitter and the hit. Or, to use some expressions which are nearest the heart of the Masters, it is necessary for the archer to become, in spite of himself, an unmoved centre. Then comes the supreme and ultimate miracle: art becomes 'artless', shooting becomes not 'shooting, a shooting without bow and arrow; the teacher becomes a pupil again, the Master a beginner, the end a beginning, and the beginning perfection."

For many reasons, this eerily sounds very similar to my Background Processing. I am drawn to the concept of focusing on not focusing. Not struggling to attain a "goal" but instead using subliminal will power to achieve an objective. Practice being aware of what I may need or want and then let the events of the world bring what is best for me, to me. Create no internal or external struggle for goals and achievements and, as a result, experience no tension or stress.

Here is another way that Herrigel puts it:

" Only, so we are informed, by the pupil becoming purposeless and egoless. He must be taught to be detached not only from his opponent but from himself. He must pass through the stage he is still at and leave it behind him for good, even at the risk of irretrievable failure."

Certainly problems abound and there is a large and growing barrage of concerned people, all around the globe, pointing them out. However, what is missing are not viable solutions -- those we have in abundance -- but viable and ACTIONABLE solutions are non-existent. The observable reality is that out-of-control, capitalistic greed can't, at this point in the history of mankind, realistically be stopped!

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