Over the past few years, I’ve become quite habituated to watching Major League Baseball (MLB) during the day and evening. It’s hard to describe my level of fandom as it’s not particularly passionate nor focused on any single team all that much. When the Seattle Mariners are playing AND winning, I’ll watch them. When the Yankees are playing I’ll watch them. My form of watching is rather neglectful as the sound is low, and time can really pass between moments when I’ve tuned into a play. I appreciate the extraordinary plays. And, every day brings a few. One reason that I’ve developed an interest in baseball during the same time that I’ve become an active Michael Student is that I can monitor “Young Soul Age” without disliking all participants.
Watching ambitious competitive greedy business men just riles me up. Watching politicians doesn’t make me feel much better. I’m not really into other popular culture icons of music and entertainment. But, baseball fulfills the bill of being highly competitive, very physical, excelling in both team and individual coordination, working with negative poles over a season, watching the growth and development of individuals over years, watching the big fails, etc. It’s easier to watch people whom I generally like. Naturally, some are far more likable than others; but, still, most aren’t jerks, at least on a regular visible basis.
it’s quite poignant to see the fears that overtake individuals and teams. All of a sudden a top notch player loses his ability to hit or pitch. One day it’s just “gone.” The timing is off just by an infinitesimal millisecond, and their game falls apart. The harder they struggle to regain what they had causes further deviation. The frustration visibly builds over days. This is one reason many baseball players have “good luck” clothing, charms, habits, etc. When a winning streak is regained, it’s not uncommon to see a baseball player or even a team attempt to hold that moment in time — whether it’s shaving or not shaving, wearing the same clothing, washing the same clothing, etc. Even fans get into it, by turning their caps inside out during the final innings of a close game — called “rally caps,” an attempt to rally the home team to winning.
One can never forget that all of the competitivity, the egos in search of records, the wins and losses, the name recognition has one thing driving it all: money. Team owners and stadiums bring in more fans, sell more overpriced hotdogs, the more the home team wins. Similarly, more show up if there is great fame and name recognition to some of the players on the home team or even on the visiting team. There are always more seats sold during any visiting Yankee game. In turn winning players and even managers have contracts that rival movie stars.
This drive for money underlies one of the biggest corruptions to the game — the use of enhancement drugs or “steroids.” It’s not surprising to see one of the preeminent players, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod), to be one who has had several bouts with doping. His fear of both wanting to be the “best” and to recover quickly when in a slump or injured has led him down a path that will probably destroy his career. His arrogance has made him a lightening rod for unfavorable publicity for years. It is quite likely that he’s played his last few games over the upcoming weeks and will never achieve the Hall of Fame. His statistics are too suspect and marred by doping use. The funny thing? He had a “free pass” after the doping scandal some years back and was able to dodge the bullet of suspensions, etc. But, he simply could not resist doing it again. His fear of losing his competitive edge was simply too great.
But, for every A-Rod, there is a player who plays for the joy of the game. It’s all they want to do, such as Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox. He’s the poster boy for if you want something badly enough, are willing to give it everything you have, you will succeed. He always plays at 110%. Right now, part of the comeback of the Red Sox is in large part due to his enthusiasm and energy. Most of the team is sporting look-alike beards to his. Even the big black Dominican, David Ortiz has a finely clipped version.
You can find every aspect of the Overleaves, Negative vs Positive Poles, Chief Features, and totally engaged Young Soul behavior in baseball. You can watch highly competent players start careers straight out of high school, or “overnight successes” who are in their 30s and have bounced around in the minor leagues. It’s easier to see the positives, along with the negatives, of those in Young Soul Age when following a major league sport. This is important because it’s very easy to pick up a sneer and bigotry about “Oh, that’s Young Soul.” I like the vitality and energy of baseball and its players. They are some remarkable people in full Action center. And, I see enough evidence about some to know that they’ll finish their 4th IMs in Positive Poles, too.
One of my themes over the past few years of introspection is that as I’ve accepted that “true” beliefs and “true” truths weren’t very true. At the very most they were partial truths and some were outright untruths. This was all a part of examining Michael’s statements about the differences between Absolute, Global, and Personal truths. It has also been a part of the introspective examination that we do to complete the 3rd, 4th, and 5th Internal Monads. It’s provided me a framework to work on my primary existing Self Karma of “to always be right,” and then for my Life Task of “to draw soft conclusions.”
It’s not really all that difficult to begin adding the mental caveat to just about anything that one focuses on, “I don’t know. I don’t know enough.” It takes that hard edge off of just about all thinking when one realizes that we simply do not have all of the facts. Anyone who has ever taken an ethics class knows how quickly very subtle differences can emerge about hard and fast absolute statements of morality when one realizes that extenuating circumstances will alter a stance.
One of the favorites is “Thou shalt not kill.” Seems simple enough. Jains take this maxim to extreme levels, including wearing breathing masks and sweeping the ground in front of themselves as they walk in order to avoid inadvertently killing an insect. But, it’s not so difficult to realize that to stay alive one MUST kill something else. It’s part of the ongoing argument that occurs between vegetarians and omnivores, as eventually one has to recognize that eating anything requires the death of something else. This is even true of those who only eat fruits and nuts, which are technically not the plant itself. But, each of these items is the “next generation” of the plant to give renewed life, too.
Michael has been very adamant that everything has consciousness, from an atom on up to a rock, to a plant, to an animal, even to a planet or a sun. If we use consciousness to define “life,” then everything is alive. Even if the lifeform is something that is killing itself in order to live — the sun. It is up to each of us to make rational choices and decide how extreme we want to take the statement of “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” but kill we must to live.
This is an example of a truth that can be personal or global, but it cannot be absolute. As all life is in a cycle of creation and destruction. This is an example that is easily comprehended as being part of something that is vastly more complex than initially thought. All of our interactions with others is similarly complex.
As a baby, we are taught a whole series of “truths” that are deemed to be absolute until we learn to examine them over time. But, no two people have exactly the same imprinting, not even siblings within the same family. This is because along with the verbal imprinting, we are also experiencing life. This overlays subtle differences to the verbal training, moving statements made by parents, relatives, schools, and communities into “knowledge.” Many comedians have made their careers out of examining these imprinted truths into laughter-producing statements that prove “untruth.” George Carlin was especially good at this.
One of my latest research topics has been in the world of politics, especially U.S. politics. I’ve been profoundly affected by all of the various revelations with regards to what I call the “secret” or shadow government. The one where laws are written so as to be secret–one is not even allowed to reveal the law exists. Therefore, if a congressional person wants to amend or change it, they cannot as they are not allowed to discuss it. Interesting dilemma. Similarly, a “secret” court was created, FISA, that hands out rulings with regards to those secret laws, but none of these rulings become public knowledge. Through this federal court, rulings have been made that have expanded the power of the USA PATRIOT Act, which means that we don’t KNOW what these powers truly are. Since both political parties have been involved in the evolving of these laws and policies, I deem them to be both equally culpable.
I just wish that ONE of the Senators had chosen to break silence on these issues prior to Edward Snowden’s revelations. I would like to see the highly public trial of a U.S. Senator over giving classified information to the press. Or even a H.R. member. But, the truth is, NO ONE did. Not even batty blabber-mouth Michelle Bachmann, or curmudgeonly Ron Paul.
An example of the level of the secrecy on the entire spectrum of Shadow Government would be the Texas Cryptologic Center. It’s located in San Antonio, TX. This is one of several “top secret” data gathering facilities that no one knows much about. There is one in Utah, Hawaii, George, Texas, and the rather well known headquarters of the NSA in Maryland at Fort Mead. All are attached to military facilities. Try doing a search on the TX Center and you’ll only get back 7 unique hits. That’s about as close to invisible as one can get on the internet.
What all of these ongoing revelations have done to me is that I’ve lost a major chunk of my belief system with regards to both the United States, itself, how it governs, how it handles the Constitution, and how two so highly partisan political parties who cannot even pass the most simple of legislation managed to create this monstrosity of secrecy and surveillance and not ONE has broken so-called “radio silence.” It took an idealist young man to blow the thing wide open.
My innocence took a major hit this past month. But, still, I would rather have the knowledge than not. Theory is only good in fairy tales.
Over the past couple of years, two words keep reappearing in answers to questions I’ve had about either my own fragment’s life to date, or even Essence’s evolution to date: Reveal and Revelation. Today, I went in search of several postings I’ve made on TLE and on VM, and each led to another as a pattern was “revealed,” which appears to be highly relevant as a theme to me/Essence specifically. Even so, I think I’m still nibbling around the edges of it more than understanding its implications; although, I may be on the edge of understanding something far bigger than any single lifetime. And, I suspect this type of pattern is true for all of “us.” Finding the key word(s) for a theme that has been part of the entire Grand Cycle.
That opening paragraph was written two days ago with a specific intent on what I planned to say; however, I was sidetracked into a whole series of articles on mythology and this lay dormant. Tonight, it all came together, but in an entirely unexpected way. I had one of those epiphanies that tied material I’d read back in the 60s with material I studied at the University of Washington with channeling I received from Michael on Monday. It is all part of one big theme for me, a synchronicity that transitions nearly 50 years of what was once totally unrelated subjects and now is simply the “why” of the Project. The pattern that’s become my Life Task.
Back in the 60s, I was dabbling around in what was then called “the Occult” in terms of what was in that book section in bookstores. We’d now call it New Age. This is where I found the slowly growing offerings of everything from Astrology to Numerology to Psychic Phenomenon, books about Edgar Cayce, the Urantia Book, Oahspe, James Churchward’s books on Mu, Ignatius Donnelly’s reprint on “Atlantis, the Antediluvian World,” Jeanne Dixon’s books, and even eventually that’s where “Chariot of the Gods” showed up, too. I found both two-volume reprints of the Theosophy Society’s Helena Blavatsky’s “Isis Unveiled,” and “Secret Doctrine,” both of which are also available with many other works on the Theosophy Society website. That’s where books on non-Christian religions were also kept, such as Buddhism and Taoism, and the books on I-Ching. In short it was the grab-bag section where anything that didn’t fit any traditional category was placed. Eventually, that’s where I found Jane Roberts’ Seth books, too. At the time, very few of these types of books were collected by libraries, but the Occult section steadily expanded as what became the New Age movement took off in an explosion of interest. It’s where I would have found “Messages from Michael,” if I’d not veered off into mostly Science Fiction.
As I mentioned on a TLE discussion earlier today, the Blavatsky books were both profoundly intriguing to me; although, so dense that I couldn’t just sit down and read them from beginning to end. I did my usual hop around, read a chapter until something caused me to use the Index and veer elsewhere — rather like using the internet today and links. If I were to give her books a description it would have been a mix of comparative mythology and religion; although, at the time I really had no idea what incredible scholarship was involved in creating those books. She and the organization she helped found has left a major legacy for me to utilize now that I’m doing the Project.
When I made the decision to “go back to school” during the mid-80s, once I got through my various survey and mandatory classes, my interest in history became one of my majors. However, and this is really weird, because my husband, George, was very interested in his Norwegian heritage, I took a whole series of Scandinavian classes once I hit the UW, such as Scandinavian history, mythology, literature, folk tales, etc. In large part because I would then tell him about it. He’s dyslexic and really cannot read well at all. I didn’t think I had a personal interest in the subjects, but I thoroughly enjoyed them, nonetheless. I also took classes on religions, too, along with parallel history of those cultures, i.e., Medieval European history along with the History of Christianity, Indian history along with Hindu religion classes, Chinese History along with a class on Taoism, etc. Looking back, I see that my inclinations for knowing something more in depth on a broader theme was well in place. And, once I received my BA in History, I went to Library School for a Master’s.
And, then, it all seemed to come to a screeching halt. For a variety of reasons once I received my MLS, I wasn’t able to actually work in libraries and became a modern quilt artist — go figure. And went on to work in tech support for an internet provider.
Then, I met Michael in 2006. The more I read everything Michael, the more I dealt with a much bigger spiritual picture as well as one that stabilized me emotionally. I became more involved with Troy and as a result of that small topics that interested me became bigger topics that interested me until I’ve been focusing almost exclusively on a history of humans that spans 6 million years of development: The Project. My most recent channeling session revealed the following:
[MEntity] The concept that we refer to as a “template” helps to carry forth the stories that package the Truth, Love, and Energy.
[MEntity] For example, “the Sun God” was referred to by many names, and various non-physical teachers used those templates for teaching, but that can only be done if in compliance with the core of that template generated by an Infinite Soul.
[MEntity] The same is true of “Jesus” now.
[MEntity] Templates are very difficult to use since they come plagued with projections, but those projections are from the stories handed down, and while it may be difficult for a teacher to work through those, it does keep the stories alive for carrying forth the core Truth, Love, or Energy.
[MEntity] In your case, or in the case of your Essence and various Personalities (and of others who shared in the Task), the Task was taken on to carry these stories forward through various methods that included the very things represented by these literal Muses: through epic poetry, archiving, love stories, song, drama, reverence, comedy, looking to the “stars.”
[MEntity] The “myth-building” is done through teaching one’s own teaching within the templates.
[MEntity] Your inclination was for history and archiving, so it was easy to include the details of the other Muses/Infinite Soul themes.
[MEntity] For some who had an inclination toward the dramatic in life, only teachings related to “tragedy” could really be functional, but history was inclusive.
[MEntity] It was not described as “history” in the same way that one might think of it now, but more in terms of “remembering.” Your teachings emphasized remembering. This was far more meaningful and personal, rather than a matter of revisiting the past.
[GeraldineB] Comment: I was researching old myths, religions, and history when I came across the information for the Michael Teachings in Wikipedia back in 2006.
[MEntity] We are not surprised.
[MEntity] This continues to be true of the current incarnation, in that “history” is explored in terms of its meaningfulness, not just for the sake of data.
[GeraldineB] yes, very much so
[MEntity] There is a subtle process of matching memory with details.
[MEntity] These memories are not necessarily of the brain, but of the Instinctive Center, and can be ancient.
[GeraldineB] Two of my favorite online chat nicknames have been Metis and Inanna — neither of which is particularly well known or popular in current mythic knowledge
[MEntity] This was the point of “Clio,” and part of the point of the Infinite Soul incarnations that included the teachings regarding history and archiving. Data is meaningless without context, meaning. “You” taught that true history must go beyond the perspective of those who have archived it, shared it, etc, but must be measured against the subtle intuitions of the Instinctive Center.
[MEntity] This is why the Arts are so important: they help to activate the holistic state of the mix of data, memory, and meaning. Or Math, Memory, and Meaning.
[GeraldineB] Is this type of history fairly true of all of the other Essences who were involved in the earliest beginnings and transfer?
[MEntity] No, Geraldine, this inclination toward the teachings personified by the “Muses” is a matter of personal interest of you, your Essence, and the various other Personalities.
Tonight, I was reading on the Theosophy site and came across The Masks of Odin: Wisdom of the Ancient Norse, by Elsa-Brita Titchenell. This is a very key piece of work that translates the Edda with the insights of Theosophy and the biggest picture of all — a Grand Cycle. This is part of the mythology that Michael was describing that is far older in time that has carried the same message across the generations.
There is no way at any point along the way that I could have said that all of my various interests could be summed up so neatly as to “who I am.” Perhaps, it’s a good illustration that no matter what you think you are doing, what you think you are planning, there really is a bigger picture that is influencing you in ways you simply will not recognize until you get much further down the path. Hundreds and thousands of choices later you suddenly know: this is exactly what I need to be doing. The revelation happens. How can I not validate Michael? I validate myself.
Today’s topic is going to incorporate three different perspectives about “reveal vs hidden.” Recent revelations from Edward Snowden about some very Top Secret NSA and government programs have caused many of us to think of personal privacy from an entirely different perspective and have evoked a fair amount of fear. Additionally, privacy, as a concept, as been receiving more scrutiny from a Mature Soul Age viewpoint. And, then, there is my own theme with my concurrents of Revelations.
I’m going to start with a Michael concept — a loss of need for privacy as one moves into Mature and Old Soul Ages. The primary reason we keep secrets and hide past incidents is due to a sense of Shame. We may hide a secret from someone else due to their sense of shame, or hoard our own secrets due to shame. All shame derives from the fears found in the Chief Features. On some deep level we feel we will lose love from others if they were to know of our past. Plus, we don’t love ourselves while feeling ashamed, either.
As Essence evolves, its fragments or Personalities are able to move past shame more easily. Fewer secrets are maintained. Many of us feel we’re open books for the most part, as long as we trust those who are within our circle. Of course, we open to more vulnerability and intimacy the further along we move into the Internal Monads and positive poles. The fears are triggered less often and less intensely the more we’re in a conscious connection to Essence. After all, Essence does know all about us.
Well, maybe not know all about us, but we can hide nothing from Essence permanently. We may refuse to have a conscious connection during the lifetime; but, that false security is gone once we pass over. Nor can we really control our dreams all that well. Dreams are one of our connection points for contact with our Guides and Essence.
Once we accept that we are loved unconditionally and can do nothing “wrong,” at least with Essence and Guides, we are on the way to accepting ourselves with clarity.
Edward Snowden’s revelations weren’t 100% “new” for many; however, the sheer level and volume of the surveillance by the NSA was a bit overwhelming for many of us. We’re not all that trusting of “government” in its many guises. This lack of trust is based on experience, not just outright paranoia. Especially for those of us who are history or political buffs, we know of enough instances where the unfettered power of government has turned around and bit its citizens. And, some of it quite recently.
Personally, I mistrust any LAW that is deemed Top Secret and cannot be discussed in any form; nor the warrants issued against citizens by a Federal Court being deemed classified so that the person(s) being scrutinized under that warrant have no idea that they are the object of surveillance.
I don’t want any of my private documents to be open to government surveillance, whether it’s emails, medical records, tax records, etc. Privacy has some very clear lines drawn on what is unacceptable. Similarly, I doubt that banks and financial institutions are willing to open their networks up to government surveillance, especially as a general ongoing practice.
I’ve not forgotten J. Edgar Hoover and his dossiers, the ones he kept on public figures and elected officials and used quite frequently to blackmail them. The excuse was “communism.” Today it’s “terrorists.” Tomorrow, it may be non-Christians. I’ve not forgotten the lynch mob mentality of the 50s about communism: the trials, the blacklisting, etc. I’ve not forgotten the segregation and Jim Crow laws throughout the South. Those citizens were deeply abused by the unfettered power of their governments.
Race or ethnic clothing/dress has no privacy. And, our country has a long history of mistreating those who are different. The LGBTs know this. That’s why many have been or are still “in the closet.” So, fear of too much governmental scrutiny has real roots.
Perhaps, I’m more affected and interested by these revelations due to the theme of Revelations for my concurrents and me. Michael said:
[Geraldine] I would like you to expand on the meaning of the term “Global Revelation,” and how, in particular examples of how it has shown up in my life.
[MEntity] Though there are no dates, and no specific shifts, there are certain pivotal experiences that any sentient species will experience together as a revelation, and this has been anticipated as being a part of the transition into the 21st Century by most fragments for a long time. This is part of the reason for the peak in population, which would most likely show a drastic drop between 2050-2100. [06/05/2011]
[MEntity] This anticipated drop in population tends to indicate a pattern of revelation before 2050*. [06/05/2011]
True, they went on to discuss that the revelation might be:
[MEntity] The most “obvious” revelation that we can see as having the highest probability is “disclosure” of your species’ “alien” heritage and contact, which has come close to being clarified on a number of occasions for the past 200 years or so.
[MEntity] In that regard, you, along with your concurrents, share a fascination, interest, and study regarding origin of species to some degree.
However, I think that current events of our time as the turmoil of changing Soul Ages for the Global population occurs, that there will be MANY revelations about the secret doings of organizations and governments. I wouldn’t be surprised that my interest in the various conspiracy theories, the Anonymous Occupy/hacking movement, and people such as Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are part of “revelations.”
As Michael has said on several occasions, there is a pitched battle going on between those refusing to let go of their traditional paradigms and those pushing for change, or recognizing change. We’re going through an extended tipping point between the cultural excesses of the Young Soul Age and recognition that our planet is in deep trouble due to these excesses, part of the impinging Mature Soul Age.
While I don’t believe in Biblical “Revelations,” I do accept that I have a deep and abiding interest in revelations.
*The last date I know of that’s been given for the manifestation of the Infinite Soul is for around 2034. This would not only cause revelations, but would likely expand the turmoil already present. Hence 2050 being a pivotal time.
So much of the Michael Teachings are focused around negative poles, which are fear-based. Or, perhaps, I should say, we are constantly evaluating how to move out of fear into at least “neutral,” if not a feeling of being safe of the positive poles. Fear is not bad, per se, but it is smothering. The need to protect settles over one like a large blanket, a “security blanket.” One of our Primary Needs is Security. Our Chief Negative Features, Obstacles, or CFs are all about fear. And, it’s not that fear is not justified in some cases, it’s just that it becomes a habituated kneejerk reaction to very small or minor events, too. Fears are also imprinted on us by others — Mom and Dad’s fears are transferred to us, even if we never have direct knowledge of them as genuine experiences. Community and global fears are added similarly. There are even medical terminologies that apply to fear: paranoia and obsessive compulsive disorder.
I know many of my own everyday types of fears, the things I live with and attempt to alleviate in some way or other. My Primary and Secondary CF is Arrogance, a fear of “being too much.” It’s based on vulnerability and intimacy issues. Add in Discrimination as a Goal, and the negative pole of Rejection comes into play rapidly. It’s far easier for me to react and reject than it is to take the next step of thoughtful consideration — evaluation. Put me in a new social situation and shyness takes over. Have something go awry and embarrass me, and I’m “outta there!” Add to that a fear of heights or a fear of snakes, neither of which I’ve got a whole lot of control over. This group of known fears of Geraldine have rather little usefulness and have eased up as I’ve dealt with them over a lifetime; however, they are still here.
Then, we could add fears that have been learned about others. The way people look, the way people act, etc. Who knows where imprinting and indoctrination left off and personal experience kicked in? Violence would be one. Perceiving angry violent people in near proximity causes full adrenalin reactions: increased heart rate, rapid breathing, sweating hands, etc. I’ve gotten to the point that I can’t watch most types of violent entertainment — it’s not fun for me. Fear of violence was a major factor in ending a 30-year marriage. Earlier violent episodes had created a trigger mechanism that kicked in with full fear reactions over known preliminary behaviors. Years could go by and the fear was back in a heartbeat.
Major violent news events trigger most of us. There have been the pivotal events of the past 60 years, such as the John F. Kennedy. Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King assassinations, and far more recently, what we call 9/11. For those who live in certain areas, there have been major tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and even exploding volcanoes. Between humans and the earth itself, there are dangerous events that happen regularly that become part of our fear “package.” Add in wars of all types, and much of the planet lives in a state of fear just from that alone. For those who have been deeply affected by economic events since 2008, that’s been added to many others fear package.
I’ve been reading various conspiracy theory websites for a while now, and I can see consistent patterns of people who have literally just given up on feeling safe. Does it really matter if it’s “God” punishing us, crazy people, crazy weather, the Illuminati, the Reptilians, terrorists, or whatever that is blasting our sense of safety apart? No matter what we attribute it to, it’s beyond our own personal ability to control or avert.
During the past week, the news has unveiled a series of “events,” that have triggered the fears of many ordinary people: 1) The IRS focusing on certain political groups; 2) The revelation of all telephone records being collected by the U.S. government; 3) The revelation of the PRISM project that is collecting all internet activities; and, 4) The building of the huge Data Center in Utah to collect items 2-4. Everything but the IRS was classified as “Top Secret.” This has triggered the Orwellian literary references to Big Brother and 1984. Since many of us have memories of the NAZI regime in Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s People’s Republic of China, and an awareness of many other repressive governments, this particular fear has some basis in reality. We’ve been watching repressive governments throughout the Islamic world from North Africa through the Middle East to Central Asia going through political turmoil and wars as people have been revolting against existing governments.
But, and here is the irony of these revelations: Do we feel safer due to the government “taking action” to work to prevent terrorist events, such as 9/11, or cyber warfare designed to take out infrastructure, OR do we fear 1984 concepts more? Each of us will be grappling with kneejerk reactions to both ideas over the coming weeks and months. And, they are mutually exclusive. Based on my reading of the political climate, I think the public will go along with the intensive invasion of privacy easier than they will over possible terrorist attacks.
For one thing, most of us won’t actually be affected by the invasion of privacy. It’s an idea more than a reality. When push comes to shove, and we know we’re not breaking any laws, we will choose “safety” over privacy. However, I do see the fear ratcheting up several notches, too. The Conspiracy Theorists will have found their “smoking gun,” and will hardly be allayed. Fear and vulnerability is part of our worldview. It’s not going to be going away.
We do live in interesting times.