A wise guide once said that the whole of spiritual teaching and practice could be boiled down to one simple phrase: “Keeping the mood up and not making anything important.” This is the essence of THE WAY of Intelligence. And it certainly could be one good way of defining adults and children.
But the image below is more than just a map of annoying and pleasant behavior. It’s actually a diagram of living and dying. We’ve put above words that describe feelings, in an ascending/descending list that also defines the tone of a person. With practice and lots of attention, you can begin to feel the tones in others (and yourself), no words are even needed. Diseased people are sunk in the lower realms of tone. If you’ve been around death as much as [Christine had been in her] hospice work, you will recognize the lower tones as precise stages at the end. If you’re lucky enough to be around an adult occasionally, you can learn to recognize (and emulate) the higher tones as well.
The really clever thing about our guide’s little catch-phrase is that if one gets the mood up, one sees (and feels) that nothing is really important. [See article below for an explanation about importance and value.] And if one makes the effort to get to the place where nothing is important, one’s mood is automatically way up there. And “effort” is a watchword here, because the strength attained in making the effort, or working at it, makes it easier and easier to be KTMU & NMAI. Check it out.
From The Way of Intelligence (No 15, Summer 2005, Page 11)
NOT MAKING ANYTHING IMPORTANT
I had a really nice chat today with a woman who's new to The Way of Intelligence. She was having trouble with the principle "Don't make anything important."
She thought it was just about impossible, and I can certainly understand that. I asked her what, for instance, might truly be important. She said, "My kids." Most parents would probably feel the same way.
I asked her, "Are they valuable? Are they so valuable that you would even give your life for them if it came to that?" Of course she said yes.
The work principle "Don't make anything important," does not mean, "Don't make anything valuable." The whole function of Awareness is to determine what IS valuable and to what degree, and what is absolutely worthless and can be utterly ignored (anything derogatory, for instance).
How long would it take you to write a list of things you value? Probably longer than you think, if you included, for instance, your vision, hearing, the view out some window somewhere, the nice woman at the check-out counter and so on.
I value my books, and to different degrees. I value my Rhondell books with his notes very much, and I value my next project even more. None of it is important. It is interesting to various degrees, valuable to various degrees, not important.
Some people would say, "Well, this is just a matter of semantics," and in a way it is, and in a fundamental way it is not. It is all about feeling. Think of something right now in the medium range of valuables in your life. Are you slightly smiling? Feeling quite nice?
Now think of something "important," such as not getting on the IRS's hit list. Feeling is quite different, hmm? Whenever we make anything important, we become anxious. And that is the distinction in The Way of Intelligence between "value" and "importance." It is a tool, yes, merely a semantic tool, to make us aware of what triggers feelings and how to be in charge of them.
"Importance" suggests a possibility of loss, "value" can acknowledge and accept that things change. There was a day when I couldn't have dreamed of selling Rhondell's books, they mean so much to me. Today getting The Way of Intelligence "out there" in a pleasant or even amusing format means even more.
Rhondell said, when asked to boil The Way of Intelligence down to its simplest components, it could all be said: "Not making anything important and keeping the mood up." Anyone who values that enough to really check it out will find that both phrases really, in the end, mean the same thing. When we keep the mood up, we are not anxious, nothing is important, lots of things are valuable, we can bask in the lovely feeling of cherishing, leading only to appreciation and love (and beyond) -- or we can sit and fret and worry and grieve and make things important. It's about feeling and we really do have a choice.
I appreciate my new friend asking about what she didn't understand and hope you are free to, as well.