An Indecent Preposition

Dec 28 20:25 2005 Jean-Claude Koven Print This Article

An Indecent Preposition discusses the difference between perceiving things happen for you instead of to you. This helps to explain the nature of fear and the sense of separation most people feel.

From Conversations With My Dog

Zeus mysteriously materialized in my life a few years ago. He's a very complex,Guest Posting wise-cracking, irreverent dog with some serious attitude. However, he is arguably the most highly evolved being I have ever encountered. His great delight is in turning my world (and yours) inside out and upside down, with the soul purpose of revealing forgotten knowledge. For example:

Zeus and I were on the Del Mar cliffs watching the sun sink into the Pacific. Cloudless sunsets have never been my favorite. No kaleidoscopic pyrotechnics, just a big fireball, the source of life itself, getting swallowed up by the sea. I could see why the ancients worshiped their primitive gods, never completely certain of the next dawn without their divine intervention.

"Fear's a funny thing," Zeus said. That dog has the uncanny ability to read thoughts and doesn't subscribe to the human courtesy of respecting privacy. To him, my thoughts are his thoughts, only more naive. "Ever wonder what causes you guys to go into fear?"

"They say that when we humans feel threatened, physically or psychologically, we go into fight-or-flight mode or some other behavior meant to protect us from pain."

"Not bad," Zeus said, "but you're simply describing the surface. Go deeper. What lies at the root of all human fear?"

"Well, if fear is the opposite of love, it must mean that... " I stopped, obviously confused.

Zeus chuckled. "It's really not that difficult. Imagine you have two bar magnets. Fear is what you experience when you try to put the two north poles together. Love is what you feel when you turn one of the bars and the two magnets spring together."

"Oh, you mean fear is like repulsion and love is like attraction?"

"That would be true in physical terms," Zeus responded, "but let's go deeper still. Ultimately, the underlying force of love is unity, and the root cause of fear is separation."

"Like people seeing themselves as separate from God?"

"Exactly so!" Zeus said. "But here's the real zinger: They see themselves not only separate from God and Creation and all other humans and life forms but, because of one seemingly insignificant word, also separate from themselves."

"Now I really am confused. How can I be separate from me?"

"Why is there a Band-Aid on your left index finger?" Zeus queried.

"What a stupid question! You were there when I cut myself trying to pry open the coconut."

"Thank you. I couldn't have said it better myself."

"What are you talking about?" I asked.

"Who did what to whom?"

"I cut me."

"Then can we safely assume that, in your little mind, I is separate from me?"

"You can assume no such thing," I stammered, "it's just a figure of speech. Or is it?" I wondered.

Zeus chose to ignore the rhetorical question. "How did you feel when it happened?"

"I was pissed. As I recall, I made a few derogatory remarks about my lack of coordination, attention, and intelligence."

"Quite a show, as I remember it," Zeus said. "A vintage humanoid reaction if ever I saw one. Now, let me repeat my last question but change the preposition. Who did what for whom? What if you revisited the circumstance of your accident from this new point of view?"

"That's semantic gibberish. What's the big difference between to and for?"

"Oh not that much, if you're into counting letters," Zeus quipped. "But their energies are as different as love and fear—as you'll see once you open your mind a bit. What can you tell me about forgiveness?"

"It seems to be a major religious and psychological buzzword, urging people to turn the other cheek or take the moral high ground when some injustice has been inflicted on them," I offered in reply.

"Actually, forgiveness is an impossibility. Simply can't be done, no matter how hard you try."

Zeus saw the stunned look on my face. "Relax, kiddo. You were tricked into believing a lot of things that aren't true. This is just one of them. The concept of injustice, or right and wrong, is held in place by judgment. As long as there's judgment, there can be no forgiveness. But as soon as judgment is suspended, everything dissolves and there's nothing left to forgive. So you see, forgiveness is not an act. It's simply what appears to happen when judgment is removed from any situation."

"I still don't get it. What do to and for have to do with forgiveness?"

"You puttin' me on?" Zeus chuckled. "Don't you ever bother listening to yourself? They've got nothing whatsoever to do with forgiveness, but they have everything to do with judgment. Now pay attention, little one. This could be one of the most helpful pieces of information you'll ever receive.

"To implies separation and distance. For, on the other hand, conveys inclusion and oneness. This is no meaningless subtlety. Words are insidious filters that distort your perception, leading to the endless dramatizations that trigger the pain and suffering of human experience. Try this simple exercise and watch your life change in an instant.

"Assume two simultaneous points from which to view. The first is easy; it's your common everyday one, in which you subconsciously assume everything is happening to you. The second is a bit trickier. It's the place outside of yourself that observes you as you experience. >From there, you perceive that everything happens for you—and for everyone you interact with as well. From this perspective, what would you call the opposite of judgment?"

"Nonjudgment!" The word slipped out before my mind could disengage from my tongue.

"Pearls before swine. Sometimes I wonder why I bother," Zeus mused. "I reckon I relish the challenge.

"Judgment is akin to catalepsy—that's suspended animation. When one judges, the events are so completely filtered through the lenses of preconception that the conclusion is foregone. Nothing is accomplished except the reinforcement of preexisting beliefs. Rather than embarrass you further, I will answer for you: The opposite of judgment, dear one, is intense curiosity!

"Just imagine that instead of opining on all you see, you become insatiably curious. You take the view that nothing in Creation happens by chance; everything—however trivial—is carefully orchestrated. Every experience now becomes a valuable lesson.

"Once you master this in real time, you can go back and review any past incident that still carries an emotional charge. It's amazing—everything takes on a new light. You become an avid appreciator instead of a bigot."

"Isn't that a bit extreme?"

"Only to bigots."

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Jean-Claude Koven
Jean-Claude Koven

© 2005. Jean-Claude Koven is a writer and speaker based in Rancho Mirage, CA. He is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense.  Selected by both Allbooks Reviews and as the best metaphysical book of the year. See: For more information, please visit This article may be forwarded, distributed, posted, or published without limit, but please do not alter the text in any way. For easy cut and paste, this article has been posted at For additional information, contact the writer of this article, Jean-Claude Koven, at Please notify of intent to publish.

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