Essays

Tastes

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The Work uses some interesting words to help convey what cannot be conveyed in words. Recently, in our Course in Miracles classes, we talked about how many opportunities we have to gladden ourselves and how few of those opportunities we seize. Of course, not every opportunity is the kind that can be seized, that is, taken hold of suddenly and forcibly. There is a certain force involved with seizing an opportunity to gladden ourselves that is not needed with other types of opportunities. When we need to gladden ourselves it’s often because we’ve allowed ourselves to slip into a negative state without knowing what it was that soured our inner state. If we allow it to remain we will become waterlogged with it and it will be much easier to become more negative. It takes a specific effort to seize an opportunity to gladden ourselves in the same way it takes different tools for different tasks. Once the flow of energy has begun its downward spiral it picks up speed and a kind of internal inertia is established. The laws of the physical world are a reflection of the universal laws that brought it into manifestation. All this is theory and empty words until you realize it experientially for yourself, but then you know that already. It’s that kind of knowing that blocks our internal development.

Traditionally in the West there are five tastes, bitterness, sourness, sweetness, saltiness and umami. Umami is a distinct, difficult to describe flavor caused by the interaction of glutamates, a naturally occurring amino acid, with receptors on the tongue. It is distinctly not sweet, sour, hot or salty. In addition to having a unique standalone flavor, umami appears to enhance foods it is combined with, making other flavors richer and more intense. Every time someone puts ketchup on fries, they are using the principle of umami. Both potatoes and tomatoes have high amounts of free glutamates, which interact with each other to create a distinctive flavor. Interestingly, some cultures recognize more tastes than others. In the Indian Ayurvedic tradition there are six tastes, sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent. The difference between the two traditions is instructive. The Western approach is more familiar to most of us as a scientific approach and therefore more easily trusted by the Western mind. The Eastern tradition may seem to the Western mind more suspect because of its so-called unscientific methodology. Though all this is a fascinating study it’s not my purpose so I’ll leave it to you to read further on the subject if you so desire.

For our purpose it’s enough to say there are different ways of approaching taste which is further complicated by the fact that there is a blending of the olfactory sense with the taste receptors on the tongue. We could liken it to being able to increase our awareness using two centers instead of only one. Taste is subtle and so the Work uses the word to give us a taste of certain states of consciousness that are not easily described with our usual limited arsenal of Western words. If you’ve ever watched a cat smell something that emits a strong odor you may have noticed the cat open its mouth strangely as if it was taking something in through the mouth as well as the nostrils, which is the case. Many animals have a vomeronasal organ commonly called Jacobson’s organ or Jacobson’s gland located in the roof of the mouth of some animals. Another example is the snake. Each time a snake’s tongue is flicked out molecules are deposited on the tongue and then the tongue comes in proximity or touches the gland and taste occurs.

Perhaps you’ve heard me speak of tasting states in ourselves. It makes sense to call a sour state sour doesn’t it? We can have bitter states, sweet states. It’s a very good way of saying what can’t be said. When you deal with applied esoteric ideas you begin to get a feel for how to say things, taste things. You develop your sense of inner taste, inner smell, inner sight and inner touch. If you observe yourself properly for a while you begin to see how negative emotions sour our inner state the way lemon juice curdles milk. We can be moving along smoothly until some unexpected outer event touches us. We take in the impressions unconsciously, mechanically and our inner state is suddenly curdled, soured and lumpy. Once we’re negative it’s more difficult to find our way out of it. Unfortunately for us, it’s not easy to avoid falling into bad states. We become so accustomed to them we no longer taste them, smell them or feel them inside. We take them for granted and remain at the effect of them rather than exercising our right not to be negative. A right may be given but it must also be exercised. It’s a right that takes force to exercise. Negative states have a way of capturing us like a neurotoxin paralyzes its victim. We remain under their influence unable to get out of them into better states without help. The Work helps us to go with better I’s so we can reach better states and pull ourselves up to where we can receive influences from above. This is where self-development begins in the process we call transformation of our Being. It’s not enough to know we can work. We must work to reach the state where we can receive help from above.

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About Esoteric Talks

"No good deed goes unpunished."

The person most frequently credited as the originator of the phrase is playwright Clare Boothe Luce. Also credited have been playwright Noel Coward, writer Oscar Wilde, journalist Walter Winchell and the late Washington Post writer Bill Gold. The original idea is probably an ancient proverb.

Appearing cynical on the surface, a closer examination of human nature reveals the False Personality to be incredibly vengeful and petty due to its hubris.

Plato has Socrates say, "An unexamined life is not worth living." The reason no good deed goes unpunished is because most people are living lives not worth living. If you feel a sting that probably means you.