SmogOps Canteen
Workshop - 02 Opening Address

The theme of this workshop is "The Man on the Cross".

I'm not prepared to lecture you about "The Man on the Cross." 

First of all E.J. has provided us with excellent source material on the subject. Second of all, even though I can be rather shameless on occasion, I'm not shameless enough to lecture about "The Man on the Cross" as if I know what I am talking about.

Rather I would like to address something else. Something related.

How did we come to be here today?

I think it is safe to say that for most of us the answer is basically one formulation or another of the same response "Something brought us here."

Some chain of event drew us here.

Someone called and told us about the workshop.

We were invited.

We heard about it on the web.

We were here last month so we came again.

All of these answers have one thing in common.

People and events outside of ourselves conspired such that "here we are."

Specifically it was not a result of self-invocation. We did not arrive to be here as a direct and sole result of our presence, attention and will -- outside of the contrivance of circumstance.

If any of the circumstances leading to our being here were altered we most likely would not be here.

If Yanesh hadn't sent an email.

If you weren't here last time.

If you didn't have a buddy that reminded you about it.

If your computer was functioning differently.

If any of the events leading to this moment were different what is the chance that you would be here?

That is not the kind of self-initiated effort that allows one to actively ascend "The Cross".

Why would you want to ascend "The Cross"?

You wouldn't.

The more you know about it, the less you would want to.

At least not for any reason that would be self-serving.

It is so not for you that you don't even enter into the equation.

In fact to do it you have to be "all but not there".

So where does this leave us?


Where else....

We are here.

So deal with it.

Are we prepared?

The fact that most likely when presented with the question "Are we prepared?" your answer was "Prepared for what?" tells the tale.

We are not prepared as we are.

That is a no brainer.

Any idiot that has been paying attention can tell that.

But have you being paying attention?

Up until this very moment when I used the word "attention" in a sentence could you really say you had what could be laughingly called "activated attention?"

Oh, well now that someone mentions the word attention in a sentence is suddenly comes streaming back to you.

Where was it before it came back?

Where are you, now?


There you go.

Suddenly you are present.

"Hey! I'm here."

Yes, at the mere mention of the word presence you get some.

That trick will work once or twice.

But it is still something from outside yourself.

You, left by yourself are way to subject to the laws of willy and nilly to even dream about "The Man on the Cross" for very long in a row.

Let's cut to the chase.

Let's admit that you can't afford to wait until you are no longer subject to the Laws of Mr. Willy and Mr. Nilly before you begin work.

And yet if you act under the laws of these two pinball wizards no matter what direction you start, you will eventually be looking back at where you started.

So what is to be done?

Well, one thing you can do....and here is the can attach yourself to someone that is not acting under the laws of Mr's Willy and Nilly.

Then while under his or her umbrella of directed attention, self-invoked presence and self-initiated will you might have a chance to......

to what?

Well, we are here in a weekend workshop that had as a theme "The Man on the Cross."

So we could play with ideas about what "The Man on the Cross" might be about.

Or, if you have the wit to grab for the brass ring, you can maybe address the question: "How can I attach myself to someone that is not acting under the laws of the aforementioned Mr's Willy and Nilly?"

The choice is your.

To do that you will have two tools at your disposal.

The same two tools that you always have at your disposal -- if only you have the wit and will to use them. These are attention and presence.

So, yes, the actual nature of this workshop is "Attention and Presence" -- in preparation for next month's "Man on the Cross" workshop.

So, in one sense we are starting the "Man on the Cross" workshop this month; because until you address the questions of attention and presence there is nothing, nothing at all, to be done in relation to the "Man on the Cross".

So, throughout this workshop I strongly recommend you hold the mutual questions:

"What is this thing about attaching one's self to someone not under the Laws of Mr. Willy and Mr. Nilly?

And "hey, let's do something, something practical, about this attention and presence stuff."

That should be enough for any one day workshop.

Even if it is all day long.

Don't you think?

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