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9.05.2005

Developing a new bottle to hold new wine


One way you increase your capacity for new understanding is to engage influences that (a) are above your current level of understanding; and (b) are outside the boundary of your current interests.

What are these influences in question? Higher influences. Not worldly influences. World level influences require no effort to be engaged. They just come at you. Everything regarding money, sex, survival, food, shallow entertainment, diversion, gossip, mother-in-law. These are not influences you have to make an effort to move towards to engage.

Higher influences are:

History
Imaginative Literature
Philosophy
Art
Music
Science
Religion

Anything else that is a higher influence falls into one of the above categories in some general way.

Influences also reside in a hierarchy. People not awake to influences take everything at the same level. A genre novel, the Iliad, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, a Beatle's album...they are all taken at the same level. Everything is filtered by vanity and pride and reduced to the same level. Why? Because when you are in the control of your vanity and pride you don't recognize even the existence of hierarchy. Recognition of hierarchy is the death of vanity and worldly pride. Vanity and worldly pride recognize no level higher than themselves. Iliad, whatever. Bible, whatever. God, whatever.

Once, though, you get out from under the control of your vanity and worldly pride (and self-will) and you begin to pursue Wisdom herself you then not only begin to recognize the very existence of hierarchy regarding influences, but you begin to see it.

Higher influences can be identified by two distinguishing traits: the higher the influence the rarer it is (there are many western genre novels, there is one Iliad); and, the higher the influence the more effort and directed attention is required to engage the influence (pop music is easy to listen to and hear; great works of classical music require effort and directed attention, if you are really hearing them and not zoning out as they play in the background).

If you demand of every novel you read that the story 'move' or you set it down, you're not going to provoke and extend your limits and increase your capacity for new understanding.

There is a parallel area of development that increases capacity for new understanding which involves activities. Doing activities that are new for you and/or outside your interests. Activities associated with intellectual, creative, and physical aspects of being. Learning a musical instrument, for instance. Learning - doing - mathematics. Engaging in some athletic or performing arts activity that you've never engaged in.

To truly become a 'new bottle' that can hold new wine you have to develop yourself in a balanced way. Some people are more intellectually-oriented; some more emotionally/creatively-oriented; some more physically oriented. The intellectually-oriented person may never consider doing anything of a physical nature, or creative nature. The creative person who doesn't think of himself as 'bookish' may never develop himself along those lines; the physically-oriented person avoids anything intellectual or creative. Each individual has a center-of-gravity, or type, in one of the three. To develop you have to make the effort to develop in areas you are currently undeveloped in. Then the 'new wine' will have a container that can hold it. I.e. your capacity for holding new understanding will have increased.

Provoke your limits, extend your limits. Discern hierarchy in influences. Engage influences that are above your current level of understanding and outside your current interests.

(I havn't mentioned it, but this big subject is also an aspect of fearing God and not fearing man. The fear of man and what man desires of you and thinks of you keeps people from engaging influences and activities that are outside and beyond their natural type and societal 'place'.)

Matthew 9:17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

To develop new understanding you have to develop (increase) capacity for new understanding.

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