The Policeman & the Policewoman
Sometimes one can be lucky and make a discovery, or perhaps it is better to say that discoveries can turn up like America "appeared" to Columbus.
America was there even before Columbus went ashore. When we make inner discoveries the knowledge that has been "put into us" is playing a similar role than America did for him.
The story of captain Cook discovering Australia, which is also told in connection with Columbus and America, illustrates in a concrete way what happens in the outer world and our sense impressions.
Here is the story told by Joyce Collin-Smith in her book The Pathless Land:
"Captain Cook, who discovered Tasmania, had an interesting note in his diary about this question of what the eye is accustomed or conditioned to see. He left his sailing ship out in the bay and got into a small boat and rowed with a few men up to a beach. Some people came to meet him, Aborigines, very friendly and very willing to know him. Of course they had no common language but they managed to communicate by signs and the natives indicated that they wanted to know, 'where did you come from?' They saw of course that he and his men had come in a little boat and that he rowed up onto the shore. But they realised that he hadn't come from a nearby island or anywhere that they knew. Captain Cook indicated, lying out in the bay, the large ship, with sails furled. The Aborigines could not see it at all. They could not see anything there, because they knew nothing at all about great big sailing ships. Their eyes were not accustomed or conditioned to see something that they didn't know about at all. They could see the small rowing boat because they knew about small rowing boats but they could not see the sailing ship, which must of course have looked quite small because of the distance."
Like the Aborigines who could not see a big ship "because they knew nothing at all about great big sailing ships", I have discovered that if I had not known beforehand (and known for quite a long time), in other words, if the following knowledge had somehow not got into me:
This may all sound very simple and totally irrelevant! I can assure you, dear reader, that it is very simple, but also that it is relevant to my Work, inner Work.
Not to make this simple thing complicated I will only tell that I discovered the role of the head in this silly concept "policeman". I mean the role of my own head.
At the same time I found out that my policeman is not doing a very good job, in fact he does remind me of the driver in Mr. Gurdjieff's rendition of the Hackney carriage; often away, chasing skirts or just being idle and so on.
I wish for you the discovery of your own policeman/woman - he can be given the job of directing your inner traffic! There is use for him. Perhaps it is even time to become a conscious policeman or policewoman (this is still in our time dependent on the sex), but that is another story!
Valued Exposure: A London policeman on traffic duty at St Paul's Cathedral after a night of heavy snow. London, 1947. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images