This section of the website includes ideas for discussion and practical tasks relating to the Stone, Threads and Stick. These are just suggestions which you can replace or add to.
By way of introduction, place a stone, a bundle of wool and a straight stick in front of you. If you are working as a group ask each person to come to the group with their own version of these objects and place them on the floor in the centre. Look at them as a threesome. What do they bring to mind? Stones, threads and sticks were the first tools used by Man. Our ancestors chipped stones to make axes and knives, plaited grasses to make cords for binding and used sticks as spears.
Then consider them individually. Pick up each one in turn, hold it and let it evoke associations in you. Stone is associated with gravity, grinding, gravestones and mines; threads with nets, pathways, and veils; sticks point the way, probe, hold things aloft and make holes to plant seeds. These are just examples.
Can you think of ways in which these instruments are used in pairs? A spindle combines the stick and threads. A net is weighted down with stones. A pole needs to be fixed into the earth to stand upright. Outside the UN building in New York banners are held aloft on flagpoles bedded into concrete. Wire strung between fence posts driven into the ground keep sheep in fields. These are examples of all three instruments supporting each other. The fact that we still use these objects today reflects their enduring value.
The body. Bedrock. Foundations. The land and its life forms. Instinct. Sex and survival. Physical awareness. Movement.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSIONS
Medical intervention can help to alleviate the pain of childbirth. Will it benefit women if ‘labour’ becomes of thing of the past and childbirth completely pain free?
The trend in all modern societies is for increasing numbers of people to live in cities. Does urbanisation mean we lose our connection to the land?
What is the relationship between archetype and landscape?
Can we civilise ourselves free of our base instincts? What, if anything, would you kill for?
Have a massage. The kind that relaxes you and gives sheer physical pleasure rather than a pummelling. What does it mean to be completely ‘in one’s body’?
Separate the physical senses. Take one of the senses each day and focus on it. For example, for one day focus on sound. Listen to external sounds as far away as possible and sounds that are close to you, including the sounds you make yourself, the rustle of clothes when you move, the sound of your own breathing. Listen to the tones and textures of sound. The next day focus on touch etc.
Observe creatures. Animals, insects, birds. Really observe them. Go to a zoo or farm and watch the way creatures move. Smell them. Touch them. Try moving like them and see if it helps you to know them. If you have a pet observe its’ mannerisms. Watch flies move around a room. Watch a spider spin its web.
Pay attention to ‘elemental’ sounds. Just listen without labelling. Sit by a stream or the sea and just pay attention to the sounds of the water moving. Listen to the soughing of wind through grasses or the movement of leaves. If you live in a city, listen to raindrops against your windows, traffic, footsteps and voices. Whenever your attention wanders away bring it back. Is it possible to experience physical sensation without labelling?
Muck out a stable.
If you can guarantee privacy and safety, and are comfortable doing this, spend some time each day (excluding the time you have a bath or shower) without any clothes on.
Culture. Conditioning. Community. Ancestry and lineage. Language. Cultural Narrative. Myths and legends. Bonds and attachments. Psychology.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
Is it possible to view conditioning from within conditioning? Is there an objective standard, superseding the conditioned, by which one culture can assess the merits of another?
The body of a baby girl contains at birth all the eggs available for fertilisation through her lifetime. This creates an unbroken chain through the female line. How does this inherent connectivity affect female psychology, and how does it compare to the male who constantly creates new sperm?
Myths are clothed in a cultural form but can give access to the universal. This suggests they speak to something common to humans. What is it that mythology clothes?
How does technology affect psychology?
In Nine Ladies we distinguish psychology from Psyche. Why?
Some of the topics discussed in meetings will raise passions. Observe the physical effects of strongly help opinions. Let go of the physical effects completely before speaking. What difference does it make?
Research your family tree. Visit a place where a relation lived in the past and interact with the people who live there now.
During the week be aware of your hands touching things. These are the objects that you connect yourself to. Observe the way that you hold things. How tightly are you bound to them? Do you grip them? Try holding things as lightly as possible without letting them slip through your fingers.
Wear clothes you would not normally wear, including clothes you ‘would not be seen dead in’. Observe the effect it has on you and on other people.
Change some of your daily routines. Change what and when you eat. Go to bed at a different time. Rearrange your kitchen so that the objects usually kept in one drawer are moved to another. Observe the relationship between repetition and conditioning. How long does it take for a new way of doing things to become familiar?
Learn another culture’s traditional dance or song.
Choose one thread from a pile of wool. Sit quietly with this thread and a pair of scissors. Choose something from your life which you feel bound to and would like to be free of. It could be an attitude, a memory, a person, or whatever. Bring it to mind as clearly as possible. The thread represents your connection to it. Take the scissors and cut the connection.
The Creative. Will. Choice. Abstract Thought. Psyche.
TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION
Thought is generally associated with the mind. What is the mind and can mental be separated from physical?
When is will at its most powerful, when it goes directly for a goal or when it is flexible?
Every moment of our lives we are making choices. All choices have consequences. Given that we are conditioned beings, are we responsible for what we bring into being?
The human body is organised around the spinal column. This is divided, like the Stick, into 5 sections (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal). We divide space into six directions because of our physical structure. How does this affect our psychological structure? How does it affect our value system and ultimately our view of reality?
How do we tell the difference between what we want to do, what is appropriate to do and what is necessary to do?
Is belief the same as faith?
Make your own five-fold Stick. Do this from scratch. Start by going into a wood and finding a stick of a suitable length and shape. Bring it home and use a sharp knife to strip the bark. Once the bark is stripped use sandpaper to smooth the stick. Then divide it into 5 equal sections. Pay attention to what you are doing so if your mind wanders away, bring it back.
Set time aside every day to perform a simple, manual task. It should be something you don’t find very interesting and have no useful outcome. Pay attention to what you are doing and every time your attention wanders bring it back to the task. Keep to the time you have said yourself (20 minutes recommended). If something distracts you, hold to the task and observe the effects.
Humans orientate themselves spatially in relation to 6 directions, forward and back, above and below, to the right and the left. Once a day stop what you are doing and spend 5 minutes attending to these directions. Attend to them in pairs. Be aware of the space ahead of you and simultaneously the space behind you and extend those spaces into infinity. Do the same with above and below. Then the spaces to the right and left of you. When you have finished go back to what you were doing.
Study sacred geometry. There are good introductory books on the subject. You may need to work on this for some months. Work as a group and individually so you can help each other if need be.
As a group study this passage from Plato’s Parmenides.
At the centre of each of the external lines of the Tetrahadron there is a point at which two of the instruments meet and link with the central triangle. On the base line it is the Stone and Threads, on the left side the Threads and Stick, and on the right side the Stick and Stone. What is the significance of each of these points and how does it relate to Knowledge? You may find some of the Topics and Tasks belong to these points rather than the triangles.