I'd never watched Heroes until a few weeks ago when I saw a few episodes of Season 1. (Mostly I was curious what producer Tim Kring had done before his latest "fictional experience using interactive theatre, mobile and alternate reality gaming (ARG), music and physical participation ‘to do good in the world’..")
Anyhow, there's a scene in Heroes, where Nathan has just won the Congressional election. He won't allow his wife who's now completely healed from her paralyzing injury to walk on stage of her own accord. So she carries on with the facade of being strapped in the wheelchair because Nathan tells her behind the curtain, "People don't believe in miracles."
How many times do we hang behind the curtain, resist rocking anyone's illusions (including ours) and pretend we're paralyzed (i.e. unaware) on the stage of life?
[Veronika:] 'And why do they?’
[Eduard:] ‘Because the Virgin equals female energy and is the mistress of the snake, which signifies wisdom. If you look at the ring Dr Igor wears, you’ll see that it bears the physician’s symbol: two serpents coiled around a stick. Love is above wisdom, just as the Virgin is above the snake. For her, everything is Inspiration. She doesn’t bother judging what is Good and what Evil.’
‘Do you know something else?’ said Veronika. ‘The Virgin never took any notice of what others might think of her. Imagine having to explain to everyone that business about the Holy Ghost. She didn’t explain anything, she just said: “That’s what happened.” And do you know what the others must have said?’
I don't have any concise, articulate reason (although I may just have a rhyme), yet I've been nudged to form a peer group of 25. Maybe it's for the same reason that Ernest Shackleton or Meriwether Lewis (Lewis chose Clark as his co-captain) sought a crew for those expeditions--uncharted terrain isn't necessarily a solo pilgrimage.
Below is the legendary advertisement that Shackleton placed in a 1912 London paper that drew an influx of 5000 applicants.
"We don't hold ourselves back for fear of being confronted by something that's unpleasant, uncomfortable, or overwhelming. Rather than close down and try to protect ourselves, or drive ourselves forward through fear of missing out on some valued experience or opportunity, we face everything that arises in our experience and avoid nothing, without resisting it or believing it shouldn't be happening.
Opening up in this way--accepting what is without any resistance--is heroic because we risk losing everything we're attached to. In order to open up to what's happening, we let go of our sense of self-control. "True fearlessness comes from the knowledge that we will never lie to ourselves, that we will never evade a single moment of our lives," says Shyalpa Rinpoche. "We will be fully present for every moment and every consequence." - Radiant Mind: Awakening Unconditioned Awareness, by Peter Fenner
As best I can see there's only space for 25 total (and that includes me). I can promise if we're sincere, that we will inevitably lead creative lives that spring from the infinite fountain of Intelligence moment-to-moment rather than re-creating and re-acting from memory and conditioned extrapolations of the past. Paradoxically, we will be pushing the edge of known human experience (in form) by not pushing against or pushing away. (It may appear like "pushing" the wave, but the surfer is cooperating with the inevitable motion of the ocean.)
We will be on a journey together for possibly two years, although it doesn't necessitate any geographical treks. Most of the space we may transverse is vertical. This is not a class. This is not a workshop. It's more akin to an experiment, and an adventure. We'll communicate online via a role-playing interactive mixed-reality game+group blog, via dream and telepathy. You have a option to bail after about six months, but it's best to simply commit wholeheartedly once and for all.
"The game is tailored specifically to each participant. Think of it as a great vacation, except you don't go to it, it comes to you." - The Game
I'm purposefully not making this a sexy or exciting announcement. Perhaps, we shall time travel and bilocate and chat up rutabagas, and perhaps not. So often expectations can obscure what we don't know we don't know. Expectancy is okay; expectations, not so much.
"One way to begin to accept our experience is to simply say yes to it when we realize that we are saying no to it. When we hear ourselves objecting to what's happening, we can think, "Okay, I will be present to this experience.
It's easy to think that in order to let go of our resistance, we need to change and become a different type of person. But when we let go of our resistance, nothing needs to change. In fact, that's exactly what we're doing in letting go of our resistance. We're letting go of our need for anything to be different.
We let go of what we think is happening, and we let go of what should be happening, in order to allow ourselves to be present to what is actually happening." - Radiant Mind, by Peter Fenner
BONUS: Since I've two Asian-American characters in our role-playing "game", I decided to consult the I Ching about the motivation for the group of 25, and got Hexagram 8. A beautiful explanation below by Brian Donohue written on January 1, 2010 (nutshell, Hexagram 8=Union: "...this is the message of Hexagram 8, that “holding together brings good fortune.”):
"Numerologically, the year we have entered is a 3, in contrast to the 2 we have left (you simply add the numbers in the year until you have one digit: 2010 adds to 3; 2009 adds to 11 which in turn adds to 2). As unnecessary as it might be, there is too much potential for opposition and conflict in the binary; this is one reason why Pirsig, in his classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, proposed that Nature operates according to a trinary code (I have a full quote of the passage here).
I tend to agree with Pirsig, and I think that much of the more mature wisdom of the world, from both past and present, is in tune with the value of the trinary. The I Ching speaks frequently of a third presence, of a helping third, of the value of three. Three is the number of beginning, of opening, of two being joined and supported, nourished, by an invisible but genuine third presence. As they often do, Anthony and Moog vibrantly express this natural dynamic of completion, in their commentary to Hexagram 8, Holding Together:
"All unity between two people is made possible by their recognizing and respecting each other’s boundaries; this being the prerequisite, the Sage then makes their harmonious connection possible. An image of a harmonious relationship between two people is the horizontal figure eight. The two circles of the eight represent the respective spaces of each person. It is their seeing the true self in each that enables them to connect. The point at which their two circles connect is love (mutual respect)."
Perhaps another association has occurred to you as you read that selection: the figure eight laid horizontally is, of course, the mathematical symbol for infinity. A successful and natural relationship — a friendship, a love relationship, a marriage, even a professional relationship — partakes of and connects with the infinite, even as it operates amid the realities and vicissitudes of daily life. The two are not, however, the source of the infinite touch to the relationship: the noumenal energy that flows through them, connects them, and guides them is the invisible third that nourishes their union of form (the dark) with light.
As with most of what we teach here, this phenomenon has to be experienced, or else it is a mere stream of words across a page, easily brushed off as New Age fluff. For most of us, however, it is fairly easy to turn inward and look back on our relationships to discern those that were superficial and coldly pragmatic from those in which you could feel that third presence, the pulse of light, inspiration, or love that gave it an amazing vibrancy, a depth of meaning and a sense of endurance.
I’ll mention once more that I do not ask anyone to believe in this third presence, this Sage. It is better, in fact, that you do not believe. Personal experience is a far better teacher, a far truer guide, than belief or faith. So I’m merely suggesting that this year of 2010, this year of three, may be a good time to explore your relationships — those of the past and your current ones. Examine them, ask questions of them, and let your feeling response to them flow freely through and around you. Even the most skeptical of us can try this much: your beliefs (and certainly your anti-beliefs) will be easily recoverable after you’ve tried this experience. But if it goes well, perhaps you won’t need them all back, or have to grip them so tightly as you did before.
For many of us, myself included, 2009 was a year of reversals — outer misfortunes, losses, and stagnation. But it was also a year of contemplation, realization, and a sense of a burgeoning recovery. The coming year may be one of inviting that third presence into our lives, our relationships, our paths of healing and growth. It is not a god or some magic or other esoteric, religious miracle: it is simply a wave-form, an energy of the universe that is always there for those who will open themselves to its refreshing and restorative flow. The Chinese called it chi, the Japanese ki, and it is referred to as prana in the Sanskrit. In our human relationships, it may even be called quantum gravity, because it is, as Anthony and Moog indicate in the passage quoted above, a principle of attraction that honors each individual as it joins them with an energy that enhances them both. It is the completion that overcomes separation and dissolves division: this is the message of Hexagram 8, that “holding together brings good fortune.” "