This posting is part of a series on my book Sifting. If you have not read the previous postings, please visit the menu above (click on Sifting) for a chronological listing of any previous chapters. Thanks!
Chapter 8: More About Sift
Bob: Where have you been, Sift? Why haven’t I heard you before?
Sift: I’ve been wherever and whenever you have been. You didn’t hear me before because you were not tuned into my domain.
Bob: What do you mean, “Tuned into your domain?” What are you talking about? Are you saying my body or mind works like some sort of tuner?
Sift: Thinking of your mind as a tuner is a very good analogy to explain why you haven’t heard me before. Your tuner, or mind, was not tuned into the frequency of my voice before. I have been here all along; you just needed to tune in by adjusting your mental state in order to hear me. It is similar to tuning in to different stations located at different frequencies on your radio. The stations are there all the time, available and active. However, in order to hear a particular station, you must tune into the specific frequency of that station.
Bob: But my mind is not a tuner! I don’t have a knob, dial, or search button that allows me to adjust the frequency of my mind.
Sift: No, but you can tune your mind to different frequencies in many ways. Today, you used three techniques: stillness, quietness, and curiosity. In general, stillness and quietness helped you adjust to the higher frequencies where I exist. Your curiosity gave me permission to connect strongly with you and focus on how I can best help you.
Bob: What do you mean when you say stillness and quietness?
Sift: Interpret those terms literally. It is all very simple. You and I can only establish a good connection when you are in a state of serenity. When you are busy or in a noisy environment, our connection is extremely weak, so it is very difficult for us to communicate effectively. Also, when you are very busy and absolutely certain of things, the signal that allows us to communicate is almost non-existent. The signal grows stronger in direct proportion to your level of serenity and child-like curiosity. And I am only allowed to intervene and establish a strong connection with you when you invite me to do so. You invite me to intervene by asking the questions that are motivated by your curiosity. Think about it, the opposite of asking questions and being curious is the feeling of certainty. When you feel absolutely certain of things, the signal between us is so weak, we cannot effectively communicate.
Sift: What did you not understand about what I said, Bob?
Bob: I understood everything you said. This is just weird! I’m not sure what to think about all of this.
Sift: In this situation, your uncertainty will serve you well. Ask questions, Bob. What do you want to know?
Bob: So, you are saying we are always connected and have always been connected?
Sift: Yes. In your case, it has not been unusual for you to ask questions. And I tried to communicate with you and answer them; however, for quite a few years, the connection between us has been very weak due to excessive noise and activity in your life. Remember our tuner analogy; all three conditions – stillness, quietness, and curiosity – must exist in order for us to establish a strong connection and effectively communicate. It is also important for you to understand that the stillness and quietness factors apply to both your external and internal world. We communicate most effectively when you are calm and in a calm, quiet environment.
It is all designed to be a very simple communication system. When you understand how it all works, I think you can also understand why so many people have difficulty tuning in. Speed, activity, and certainty are highly valued by most people in your circle of influence, as it is with most people in your society.
Bob: Why don’t you just knock some sense into people’s heads and get them to slow down and listen to you?
Sift: The overriding principle of free will does not allow me to do that. Remember, I must be invited in order to intervene. Also remember, I am a non-intimidating source of knowledge. I am both unable and unwilling to, as you say, “Knock some sense into people’s heads.”
Bob: Where are you right now? Where are you physically located?
Sift: We’ll have to continue using analogies to address that question. I am an internal source of knowledge, very similar to your feelings or emotions. Your emotions, such as joy, sadness, anger, fear, and affection, are your direct sources of knowledge. They are designed to give you ongoing guidance about the quality of your choices and actions. Most everything else you know came from an external source, such as a parent or teacher. Therefore, right now, I am inside you in the same place your emotions reside.
Bob: Are you in my stomach, my brain, my heart, my lungs, my liver, or what? Do you have some sort of an analogy to explain your physical location?
Sift: The answer to the first part of your question is yes, I am in all of those places. As for an analogy, say you put some sugar in your coffee and stir it thoroughly. After you finish, where is the sugar? You might say the sugar is located throughout the coffee, and the coffee and the sugar are for all practical purposes inseparable. The answer to the second part of your question is…
Bob: Sift, hold on! I’ll ask more about that later if we have time. You said I could ask questions about anything, so I want to stick with some of the more practical issues related to my life before we run out of time.
Sift: That’s fine. However, we will not run out of time. We may temporarily run out of stillness, quietness, or curiosity, but once you make a connection as strong as the one we are now enjoying, it typically gets easier to make such connections in the future.
Bob: What’s in this for you? Why are you spending all this time with me?
Sift: As a human, you are designed to be a meaning-seeking creature. It is in your DNA, or nature, as you say. Just as you must eat to satisfy your physical hunger, learning satisfies your intellectual hunger. Therefore, learning is like eating and knowledge is like food. The purpose of knowledge, in turn, is to help you more joyfully participate in life. The way I am rewarded would not be meaningful to you in your present form; however, I am rewarded in ways you cannot imagine when I appropriately assist you.
Bob: So you only get rewarded at the end of all of this?
Sift: There is no end of this. The process we are discussing is ongoing. I am rewarded immensely anytime you have an aha moment, or an epiphany. Since, as we discussed, I reside within your being and we are connected, we both feel the positive effects of any rewards that arise from your moments of profound understanding.
Bob: Do you feel the negative things I feel at times – the frustration, anxiety, restlessness, and sadness?
Sift: I know they are present and that you are feeling them, but no, I do not participate in those feelings with you. I operate at a frequency where such things no longer exist for me.
Bob: Once again, Sift, that sounds a bit weird! However, some interesting thoughts popped into my mind when you said that.
Sift: I know some of the things we are discussing must sound strange. Pay a lot of attention to words and thoughts that pop into your mind when you are thinking about the kinds of issues we are talking about now. They usually offer some great clues to the mysteries of life.
Bob: Sift, you know about the call from Mr. Dawson, don’t you?
Bob: Then you know that instead of being selected to head up the global project, I got fired?
Sift: Yes, is that not what you were asking about when you said, “What happened?”
Sift: Do you still want to talk about that?
Bob: Yes, give me a minute. I want to think about something.
Sift: Okay, Bob, whenever you are ready.
End of Chapter 8
Main takeaway: The combination of stillness, quietness, and curiosity can activate some very interesting aspects of your mind.
- Does it make common sense to you that excessive and sustained busyness can inhibit your ability to examine your life…and that stillness, quietness, and curiosity can help you examine your life?
- What are some advantages and disadvantages of the concept of “having free will?”
- Why do you think it is important that Sift points out that she is a “non-intimating source of knowledge?”
- What do you think it means to be a “meaning-seeking” creature? What are some of the consequences of ignoring this aspect of human nature?
- How can increasing your knowledge help you joyfully participate in life?
- Do you think Bob’s getting fired will end up as a positive, or a negative, event?
- Can you think of events in your life that you initially viewed as negative that eventually turned out to be positive?
- Consider reading this interesting article on busyness: Beware the Busy Manager
The entire book will eventually be posted on this blog. However, if you want a copy for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, you can find it at this link: Sifting