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This is a transcript of a workshop with a group who are studying the Science of Man's Conscious Self-Evolution in Austin on November 6, 1999. No attempt has been made to modify the grammar -- it is transcribed as it happened -- only names have been removed. Some editing has been done by the speaker to make things clear that were only clear in context at the actual talk.
So is there anything you folks want to talk about this weekend? I don't have as much time as I usually do. I don't know if I'm going to do the whole song and dance that I normally do. Anything you want to talk about?
I've had a question about confusion. You know, being on your web site. The topic is defensive confusion.
Okay. I don't remember that, but okay. Well, it's hard because I don't remember it. Remind me about it.
I go into a confusion.
Oh, I don't think you're alone. Who else goes
into confusion? No, it's not just you.
Doesn't that happen when you're trying to decide what the right thing to do is?
Yes, but like in coming here, it's not so much deciding, but I'm like -- even talking to you now I'm going into confusion.
I think I can't be clear.
And it's not about trying to say the right thing?
Yes, it is.
So isn't it pretty much about trying to find the right thing? If you look at the instances of confusion, isn't what's going on that you're trying to do something right?
Okay. Can you think of a contradiction? Some time when you get confused and it has nothing to do with, ``I want to know what's right?''
No, I can't think of one.
Okay, there might be one but you can't
remember it. So we'll deal with that part because that seems probably what's
true to me, okay?
So when are you going to get that you don't know what the right thing to do is? When you try to see what the right thing to do is, what happens is you get confused, which I guess means you don't know. Isn't that about the way it is? ``I don't know.''
So your mind goes crazy trying to figure it out. When are you going to just get, ``I don't know what the right thing is?'' When is that going to happen?
You think there's something wrong with a person who doesn't know what the right thing is?
Part of me does, yeah.
Well, I guess you'll never get it then, eh,
because you don't want it. Why would you want something that puts you in that
little category called wrong? Don't want to go there, do you? It's a
terrible place. ``Something wrong with me. I don't know what the right thing
So you're not going to just admit the obvious. ``I don't know what the right thing is.'' So you're going to keep trying, eh?
Don't like this? What's wrong with it?
No, my intent is to get it, but I'm just allowing that I'm confused now. You know, I don't know how. Even now I want to respond right. You know, I just feel my blood pressure, my heart. I'm just ...
Yeah, it's called fear. You're going into a little state of being called fear. So what happens if you can't respond rightly, if you can't do the right thing? What happens to a person who can't do the right thing? What's the outcome?
For me it's just very uncomfortable.
Well, I think it's more than just
uncomfortable, isn't it? I think terrible things happen to somebody who can't
do the right thing. Isn't that the way it works? If you can't get the right
job, then you're going to be miserable for the rest of your life. If you can't
find the right mate, you're going to be miserable with whoever you do pick and
be swapping every three weeks.
Isn't that about the way it works? If you don't know what the right thing is, your life is going to be hell, isn't it? Isn't that the threat?
You're going to be in hell. Well, what
exactly do you call this? Sitting there, your heartbeat's going up, sweat's
popping out on your forehead and under your arms. What exactly is that? Is
that like the suburbs of heaven? I'm a little confused now. I can't
tell your heaven from your hell.
You're being threatened inside your own head. You walk around with a constant, ongoing threat. If you mess up again, it's all going to fall apart and you'll have nothing. Well, what exactly have you got now? What do you have to lose?
I doubt if you believe that, because most
people I meet possess everything. Yeah, hell, as I was walking through the
airport I was just looking at folks, okay? They've got 15 electronic gadgets
on their belt. They're on the phone. They've got enough possessions.
I was just realizing, I am way behind the times. I still don't have stuff all over me when I go out. Just completely behind the times. I still actually think phones are kind of disturbing part of the time. So I somehow have a suspicion that isn't true that you don't have anything.
Maybe we can answer that question a little more honestly. What is it that you're afraid of losing? I don't think the answer is nothing. You think the lady is going to walk out on you, and you won't have a job any more, and all your customers will disappear, and the bank will come and get the house and the car?
That never happens? Those ideas never pop into your head? ``What if I lost all this?''
I don't just get it once. I'm almost ...
I don't just get it once. I'm almost -- you know, I think it's going to get worse next time.
Oh, okay. So they actually get to threaten
you with something you've already done once and it was horrible, and this next
time it will be worse. So I'll ask you the question again. Why would you want
to be wrong with that kind of threat hanging over your head?
And is it really any surprise that you're having all sorts of little secondary fear responses? And we didn't even mention probably one of the worst things. You'll look like an idiot. Isn't that right? You'll look like an idiot.
Now with that kind of threat hanging over your head, I don't find any of this particularly surprising. Do you? I don't think most people can get clarity while they're facing losing everything. Do you? And looking like an idiot?
And yet it really is just that simple. You just realize, ``I can't be right; I don't know how.''
No one else does, either. No one knows how to be right. You look around you and you see a whole bunch of people doing everything they can to be right all the time, and all it really does is make life very unpleasant here.
And then you stop trying and you won't be confused any more, okay? You just won't know. That's a real different thing. Instead of being confused you'll say, ``I don't know.''
But I've kind of noticed that there are two sentences that people just don't like saying, all right? I think they're maybe two of the neatest sentences in the human language, but everybody else hates them: ``I don't know;'' and ``I'm wrong.''
Okay? You're never allowed to say either of those two things. Isn't that true? ``I don't know.'' And ``I'm wrong.''
So we keep going through this thing over and over again. All right?
Why don't you give it a shot the next time you start to get confused and just say, ``I don't know.'' And if a bunch of ideas come into your head -- ``Well, if you don't know then it's all going to go to hell'' -- you might consider: ``Well, I didn't know yesterday, either, and I didn't know a week ago, either. When's this hell coming?''
Does that make sense? Get out of this trap. That's all it is. It's just a trap.
``You'll be in a terrible position if you don't know.'' Okay? I don't think that's true. What do you think?
I don't know.
You don't know. Does that make any sense at
all? Stop trying to be right. It's a thankless job.
You know what happens if you're right, folks? Few will like you. That'll be the real outcome. Few will like you. Because if you're right you're going to make everybody else wrong. Don't you get that? Unless they happen to agree with you on everything. Now what's the likelihood of that?
You're going to be one hell of a lonely person if you're right. Few will want to have anything to do with you.
You might try a little experiment sometime, just for the heck of it, since I imagine just about everybody in this room wants to be right all the time, okay? You might try as an experiment -- don't worry about whether you actually are right or not -- just for three or four days go around telling everybody you're right about everything and see how much they like you. Because I'm sure you've got this dream that if you were just right all the time, everybody would flock to you and be asking your opinion. And it doesn't occur to you that they all think they're right, too. And, in fact, they're more likely to hate your guts.
Try it out, just for a few days. Everybody you meet, wait until they say something and insist that you're right in a different way than what they just said. And don't argue with them. Just tell them they're stupid because they can't see the obvious thing. You just tell them how right you are.
You don't even have to tell them they're stupid; because you are implying they're stupid, okay? Every time you have an argument with somebody else about how you're right and they're wrong, you're implying that they're kind of dumb, isn't that about the way it works? So you don't have to actually come out and say it. You just act like they're kind of dumb because they can't see this thing -- just like you do when you know you're right. And you see how many people like you. Take a look at this illusion, and get it: ``This is not going to make me a well liked person.''
I suspect that if you ever get to the place where you really do know a whole lot -- if you want to enjoy the company of others -- you'll shut up and never let on that you know. Because they're not going to enjoy being around you if every time they say something, you say, ``I know something about that, and it's like nothing you know.'' Most are going to be real unhappy with you, okay? And they're not going to lead you to a safe and secure position in life, no matter what it says.
You check that out. I think you'll just be very alone and very unhappy. Okay?
I'm not confused very often for a simple reason: I don't try to figure out what the right thing is. I don't know what the right thing is. I have never figured out what the right thing is.
It's a defect, apparently. I never know the right thing. Everybody else I meet always knows the right thing except for me. I never know what the right thing is, and I gave up on it a long time ago. I don't even try. I don't know what the right way to talk about things is. I don't know the right way to do anything. So I'm never confused. I'm often wrong, but I'm never confused.
I can deal with being wrong real easy. I just don't do that again. It's really simple. If I try something, I don't know whether it's true or not -- and if it turns out that I just have a terrible outcome, I just look at it and say, ``Well, I guess I won't do that again.''
I don't mind being wrong particularly. That means I've learned something. Every time I say I'm wrong, it means I learned something, doesn't it? So I can deal with that. But I can't deal with trying to be right ahead of time. I don't even know how to do that. That just drives me crazy.
I live in a horrible, horrible world by trying to do that. And it's interesting, because one of the things that I did consider talking about today is about having to be right all the time -- and here we are.
This is the most unconscious behavior ``I'' has, folks. [Speaker begins to write on board.] I can't spell today.
It is the most unconscious thing people do, and they do it all the time and they don't even know they're doing it. That's what unconscious means. Not even aware of it. It happens continuously. In fact, people do it right after they tell you they're not doing it. That's how unconscious it is. They'll sit and look you right in the eye and say, ``I am not doing this'' while they're doing it. And that is: ``I'' am always right or in the right.
So we live in a world full of people all of whom are right all of the time, or in the right. In other words, whatever they did is justifiable by some circumstances that are going on right now. Isn't that about the way it works?
Do you know anybody who walks around being wrong all the time? Have you ever met anybody like that? I never have. Everybody I meet from the stupidest moron to the most brilliant genius is always right. Isn't that about the way it works?
``I'm always right or in the right. What I did is perfectly justifiable.'' It is the most unconscious behavior that ``I'' has.
Now a lot of people sit around and think about how dumb they are. They think about how bad they are at things, and they would swear to you this isn't true. But you look at how they act and see if they're not acting like they're always right. I said behavior; I didn't say thought.
And while they're sitting there acting like they're just the most righteous person on planet Earth, they may be thinking about what an idiot they are inside. I don't know. But what happens if you point out that what they just did was pretty damn stupid? Do you think you're about to be attacked? Or does it work different for you? You point out to somebody, ``That was a really dumb thing'' and they look at you and say, ``Yeah, I know. I planned it that way.''
If I do that, I'd pretty much expect that I am going to be attacked. If I point out that something that you did wasn't such a brilliant idea, I expect to be attacked: because they know they're right. And they know what happens to people who are not right. It's horrible. They look terrible; they smell bad; nobody likes them; they have no money; they have no friends; they probably live in an alley somewhere. That's what happens to people who are wrong on planet Earth. They maybe push a little cart around with all their belongings on it, eh? That's what happens to people who are wrong here. Everybody knows that.
Now all this does is just makes it unpleasant to live here. And very dangerous. You realize that? It just makes it extremely unpleasant to live here, and downright dangerous. Because you never know when you're going to be attacked, do you? All you have to do is give a point of view. Say, ``I like such and such'' and you could be attacked for it, because you're making somebody else wrong, because they don't like such and such.
It just makes life here really yucky. All these people walking around having to be right all the time. Doesn't it?
[Addressing someone present] You have employees, don't you? Last I heard you have employees, don't you?
Oh, you don't. Okay. I thought you did.
It's hell when you try and tell somebody who works for you that they did something in a way that's not acceptable.
You got to put on quite a dance to look and
say, ``Hey, you know what? That's not acceptable around here. You can do it
that way anywhere but here. But here I'm paying you and you've got to do it
``Well, what's wrong with it!!!''
``Well, nothing. I just don't feel like paying you to do it that way.''
But see, you make him wrong. You've got to go through this big song and dance to say, ``Don't do it that way no more.'' You don't even have to say it's wrong. Just say, ``It's not the way we do it here,'' and you're going to get attacked. You're going to be a horrible monster. You're going to be the worst boss that ever was.
You get this? It means we've all got to walk around on the defensive all the time. We know we're about to be attacked at any given moment, and we don't even know how to plan for it. We can't even tell when it's coming.
There's only two ways I know of to be safe in this circumstance, okay? Never say anything. Just keep your mouth shut and don't ever say anything. Because whatever you say it will probably contradict somebody; and you won't know in advance. So just don't say a word. Take a vow of silence.
And never, ever, ever have an opinion or express a point of view about anything. Don't tell anybody what you like and don't like. Just keep your mouth shut, and that'll probably work.
The other way is to be willing to take the blame for absolutely everything that happens. Those are the only two ways I know out of living in a world like this.
I would recommend you knock it off yourself, by the way, so that you don't have to attack people. If you want to be safe attacking people, it's not a very good way to do it, is it? You think that's a great way to be safe? ``I know how I'll be safe. I'll attack everyone who comes along. They're all weaker than me.''
Living this way is pretty amusing from people who want to be safe, isn't it? Attacking everybody that comes along who disagrees with you. That's real safe.
There are a lot of people out there that are better at fighting than me. I don't attack too often. I've kind of always been that way ever since I was a little kid. I don't attack too often because I know I'll probably lose if it comes down to a fight, so I just don't do it.
But I bet most of you do. Somebody suggests that you're wrong about something, don't you really try to set them straight and get into a nice little battle over the subject? It's a weird way to be safe.
I don't know how to never express a point of view and have anything to say at all, so I don't know how to be safe that way. What am I going to talk about if I don't talk about my own point of view? I'll just sit like a lump most of the time listening to everybody else, I guess. Eh?
So the only way I can really climb out of this is to be willing to take the blame for everything. So every time you say something and somebody gets upset and they attack you, you say, ``It's all my fault. You're right.'' And they don't fight.
It's always kind of interested me: how is a person in this position ever going to learn a damn thing if they're always right? Eh? It seems to me that this particular behavior kind of blocks all possibility of learning, growth, development. All the things people like to talk about, that they're doing all the time, of course.
I guess the only thing you can do is to play self-improvement for the rest of your life, eh? I don't know how you're going to learn anything when you're always right. Would someone please explain this to me, how you learn something when you already know everything?
That particular thing seems like one hell of an obstruction to learning. I think it's going to make it about impossible. What do you think? As far as I can tell, being unable to say these two sentences and mean it.
Now a lot of people say these two sentences inside their head and whine about it constantly, about what's wrong with them, don't they, but they don't actually mean it. They don't look at it as a real situation: ``I don't know and I'm wrong.''
When I say the words, ``I don't know,'' it means one of two things: I don't care enough to find out, okay? Sometimes that's what it means. Who cares? But most of the time it means, ``Give me a few moments and I'll come back and tell you. I will know shortly.'' It means I've run up to a place where I realize there's something I don't know, and if I'm really interested in it, I've got my work cut out for me and I'm going to be doing a few things. And you give me a few minutes or a few weeks or a few months or years or whatever it's going to take, and I'm going to come back and know something about the subject.
It means a call to action, as far as I'm concerned. I've got some things to do, okay? It doesn't mean sitting and groveling in misery about what's wrong with me that I don't know this. It means I got something to do.
So I like those words actually. I think they express a wonderful thing. When I look at something and say, ``I don't know,'' it means I've got a whole bunch of stuff to do for a few weeks. That is great. I won't be bored, which is one of the worst thing that can happen as far as I'm concerned, okay? Everybody else thinks the worst thing that can happen is they could lose everything and be friendless and not have all those gadgets hanging from their belt.
To me, the worst thing that could happen is I'd be bored. And if I did actually lose everything like that, I suspect I would not be bored. What do you think? I'd probably be really occupied.
So that's not the worst that could happen as far as I'm concerned. It just means I'm going to be real busy for a while, and probably very interested. It's not the worst thing that could happen. The worst thing that could happen is that I look around and say, ``I can't find anything interesting to do.'' Now to me that's hell.
So ``I don't know'' is an exciting little sentence to me. It means I'm going to have something very interesting to do for a while because I want to know about this. It's not something to me that you just say and then forget about, unless you really just don't care. That's acceptable, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with saying, ``I really don't know and I don't give a damn. It doesn't interest me.'' That's fine.
But most of the time that means, ``Well, then go find out,'' doesn't it? Do something to know: experience that thing. So what's wrong with that? If you want to learn, I would think that this sentence would be one of your best friends, eh? Admitting that you don't know and then you can learn.
How do you teach someone who already knows everything? I'll tell you, I don't know the answer to that question. I've tried everything under the sun. I've been doing it for decades now: trying to teach people who already know everything. It's horrible. They don't hear a word you say. And if they do finally hear it and it makes them wrong, then they attack you and try to explain to you how they were right all along.
What do you want to do? If you want to learn; if you want to find out about yourself; if you want to find out about the world that you live in; if you want to find out about realizing the potential you came with here and haven't touched since you arrived; then I would heartily recommend that you knock off being right all the time: because I don't think it's going to happen under those conditions.
How are you going to move from a position of ``I'm always right?'' Where you going to go? It really means that all this talk we do about growth and development and self-knowledge and knowledge of the world that I live in is just a joke. It just makes a joke out of it, doesn't it?
I've got to start from a place of ``I don't know'' in order to learn, and if I already know things -- which I think is true for all of us, isn't that right? -- we come to all of this already having a whole bunch of stuff we know -- then unless you're absolutely right already, I think the next thing you're going to have to do is be willing to be wrong.
Doesn't that sound about the way it's going to work? You're going to have to admit you don't know. And if you want to learn something new, you're going to have to admit that what you already know is wrong. And we can't do that, can we?
I get asked all the time, ``How do you do this?'' I don't know why. I tell people continuously how to do it because I only have a couple of methods when you come right down to it.
And the number one method is going around looking for things that contradict what you believe. Except people can't use that method because it would make them wrong. So they ask me how, because I tell them how and they don't like it.
Look for things that prove you're wrong. Look for contradictions. You come here with a whole mess of beliefs -- all the things you know -- and what you're asked to do is to spend a short period of time going through that stuff and seeing if you can prove it wrong. If you can't, then keep it. If you can, then throw it away. It's useless, isn't it? Because we've got to start somewhere, and we can't start from being filled up with a bunch of stuff that isn't true.
Well, the first thing you got to do is put down what you came here with so you can move on; and you don't want to. So the teaching kind of falls on deaf ears. It's just heard as a lovely ideal: ``Why don't you act this way and then everything will be lovely? It will be wonderful.''
And the teaching has never been a way to act. It's an inner thing. And, yeah, a lot of interesting action comes from it. But it's always been an inner way of seeing, not an outer way of behaving.
I've never yet seen anything that leads me to believe that the teaching has been, ``This is how you should be and act.'' It just talks about, ``Let's get to the point where we can see clearly.'' And action will take care of itself from that point on, won't it? Nobody has to tell me how to act when I see clearly.
Now I won't be right all the time. It's impossible for a human being. There's no way a human being can always be right. As long as you have human perceptions, you're going to -- if nothing else -- just make little errors in perception every now and again. You're not going to see the situation absolutely the way it is. And you're going to do something pretty stupid because you didn't know what was going on.
But you don't have to do that 24 hours a day -- it's going to happen occassionally. There's no way to stop it.
It's kind of screwy, okay? Our percetpion is a neat thing, but it isn't 100% foolproof. And it has one heck of a pitfall in it. Once you make up your mind you're right about something, you will never know that you're wrong. That's the way it works. Once you decide you're right, your perception is distorted from that moment on and you never see what contradicts you. And if somebody points out a contradiction, what you do is -- you attack them and tell them they're wrong, eh?
That's the game, isn't it? That's the way our perception works. Once you decide you know, you're not in a safe and secure position like you believed. You're actually kind of screwed because you'll never, ever, ever see a contradiction to it from that moment on. Your perception is distorted now.
As far as I can tell, the only reasonable position to be in as a human being is walking around saying all the time, ``I don't know.'' So you have to find everything else out this time because otherwise you're going to pretend like it's what you already know. You're not going to see the differences between what you know is true and what's really going on, and you're going to act like a buffoon and never know it.
That's one of the really tough things about our perception, isn't it? Once you decide you're right, you will never see contradictions to that fact.
[Addressing someone present] I used to see kids doing that when I went to school.
Writing things on their hands. Kind of funny.
Brought me back to kindergarten. You play with finger paints, too? [Everyone
laughs, including person being addressed.]
I got lost there, that was so funny, to me. I remember what I was talking about, but not where I was going with it right this second.
Oh, yeah: because you think you don't believe what I just said. Because you've had the thought many, many, many times in your head ``I'm wrong,'' eh, and ``I don't know.'' It runs through your head incessantly, doesn't it? It bothers the hell out of you, doesn't it? Every time that thought comes up, you freak out and you say, ``No, I've seen contradictions many times.''
I suspect that's not true, by the way. I suspect, if you really look at it, what you'll find is that other people have pointed them out to you many times. I don't think you saw them.
I think you've seen them on rare occasions, but, of course, other people have been more than willing to point them out to you many times, haven't they? Because, after all, they're right. And it really bugs them that you think something different. And boy, they love pointing out things that contradict what you say, eh? Did it ever change your mind?
Now if we're going to be honest and we're going to look at all the times that someone has pointed out a contradiction to me to what I know; and we're going to look at the times that I actually changed my mind as a result of that; how big do you think this list is going to be compared to the one of -- you know -- ``I changed my mind?''
Or, in fact, does it work out that you sit and you look right at the contradiction, and you sit there and say, ``Oh, you're right. I was wrong.'' And then you continue acting like the original idea was right for the next 20 years. Isn't that the way it really works? You forget all about it a week later.
What do you think? What do you think is the way it really happens, as opposed to the way that you dream it happens?
I think the only time I've really seen, really knew that I was wrong, is when I almost died.
Yeah, that'll get your attention, eh?
Unfortunately, I bet that's about right. But for most people, that's all
that gets their attention. And even then I watch people go to their deaths to
be right. They don't even get it then.
So how do we do this thing called the Teaching under these conditions? I'm really confused. How is this going to work? Help me out here.
You're always right, never wrong. And you know everything except the only thing that you really care about: which is how to get everybody else to leave you alone so you can be happy.
That's the only thing you'll ever admit to not knowing: ``I don't know how to get everybody else to stop bugging me so I can be happy. Other than that, I know everything.''
I've noticed that's the only thing people will really admit to not knowing: ``I don't know how to control others, and damn it, I'm trying. Because when I can control others, then I'll be happy. They won't bug me no more.''
And some people try it the sweetness and light way. They try it by being, oh, such a goodie-goodie little two-shoes; and other people do it by just beating the hell out of everybody. But that's the only thing that I've noticed human beings will admit they don't know: ``I don't know how to control you.''
Well, welcome to the club. I don't either. I don't even know how to control myself. I sure don't know how to control you.
Now, unfortunately, that isn't true. I do actually know how to control you. I just have this little handicap. Unlike everyone else, I'm actually moral and I can't do it. Even though I know how, I absolutely refuse to do it.
That's not a matter of good or bad, by the way: which is what we think morality is about. It's a matter of value. I value my own freedom so highly I can't take it away from you. I just can't bring myself to do it. It would go against everything that I value to take another person's freedom away from them.
So I am moral not as a good person or out of any sense of righteousness or anything; but out of what I value. I've been now decades doing everything I can to be as free as I can possibly be. I see freedom as one of the greatest values on planet Earth. And then I'm supposed to take it away from you so that I can have a little bit better time?
I can't do that, and as far as I can tell, that's the only thing that could be considered to be moral, by the way. All the rest of the crap that people talk about morality has to do with hurting, doesn't it?
Our morality is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. It says, ``It's okay to do anything you want as long as somebody doesn't get hurt by it.'' Isn't that basically what our morality says? ``Anything goes as long as nobody gets hurt by it.'' That don't seem moral to me.
The only morality I can see on planet Earth is to refrain from doing what everyone wants to do: controlling others. Leave them the hell alone. Stop trying to control them. That might be moral.
So we have a idea around this particular place that the only one who can be moral is somebody who knows how to control others. If you don't know how to control others, then the question of morality never comes up, does it? You're neither moral nor immoral. On the day when you realize you can control anybody you like any time you want, then morality will become a part of your life. But right now you don't know how to control anybody, do you, and boy you want to.
We've got some interesting, interesting roadblocks in front of us, okay? We want to know about a Teaching that it says leads to freedom and to maybe being able to do something interesting while you're here, and yet we won't admit to being wrong about anything. And we won't admit we don't know. And I'm not clear on how we are going to be able to make use of these Teaching ideas.
I'm going to take a break here shortly. I've rambled on enough. But I'd like to just leave you with this little thought for a moment: ``How am I going to learn under this condition?'' Please check this out. Don't just leave this as a thought. Spend a period of time watching yourself and everyone else, and find out.
It's harder to see in yourself because you're always making up an excuse. I'm serious. I have people sit and tell me, ``I am not trying to tell you I'm right. I'm just trying to tell you such and such and such and such and such.''
``Well, what, exactly, are you doing, then? See, you wouldn't be repeating it if I hadn't disagreed with you, would you? So, are you telling me I'm stupid and I didn't hear it the first time? Now the fact that you can put those words together doesn't make them true, does it?''
``I'm not telling you you're wrong. I'm not telling you I'm right. I'm just trying to tell you this.''
``Yeah, I got that. Okay. And I don't agree with it.''
``Well, then, let me tell you one more time!''
Now what else is that but trying to be right or in the right all the time? Acting like other people are stupid just because they didn't agree with you? I don't think they're stupid. They just don't agree with you. They heard what you said. They thought it was not for them and they didn't agree. But you're going to tell them 15 more times, huh?
And that is kind of the game, isn't it? If you don't agree with me, you're either poorly informed -- so I'm going to inform you over and over and over and over again -- until I finally conclude you're just stupid and give up. That's the game, isn't it? If you don't agree with me, you're either poorly informed or simply stupid. So I keep trying to inform you until I conclude you're too stupid to bother with, and then I stop.
How am I going to learn under these conditions? Please check this out.
You can accumulate knowledge and ideas, but it doesn't change anything inside. You're still just as confused and just as miserable and just as unhappy as you've always been, even though you know a whole lot more that you can repeat.
Please check that out. Ask yourself if that's what you want to do.
I don't want to be right. All that being right means is I am frequently attacked. As far as I can tell, that's the only outcome, okay?
I'm no more right than anybody else because there probably is no such thing as right. That's probably why it's so hard for us to know what's right. There is no such thing. It's a story.
It would certainly explain why it's so hard to figure out, eh? It's made up. It don't exist.
But trying to be right just gets you attacked all the time, as far as I can tell. You prove me wrong. See if you can prove that wrong. Don't just leave this as a funny idea you heard and think about it.
You go out and try to find a contradiction to it, okay? And then ask yourself what you're going to do now that you found out that may be the case, okay? Are you going to go on being one of the bumbling idiots here who's right all the time and yet whines constantly about what a miserable life they're having?
I have two difficulties here on planet Earth that I don't quite know what to do with, okay? One of them I pretty much worked out. One of them is boredom. I cannot stand being bored. It just drives me up a wall. But I pretty much figured out how to deal with that because that comes from inside, okay? I can deal with that one.
The other one is complaining. It drives me nuts. And I've known people that that's all they do. You ask them how they are and they complain. You ask them how their day was and they tell you everything that went wrong in excruciating detail. So we get to combine both of the things I can't deal with: boredom and complaining.
That's probably the only thing that -- well, no, there's two things. Violence is the other one, okay? The only thing that ever gets me to really end the relationship with a person is that they get violent or they complain all the time -- which, as far as I'm concerned, is another form of violence, okay? I can't stand it. If that's all you want to do, I probably don't want to be around you.
But that seems to be about all that happens, eh? Better get used to it, and experience it, eh? Because we're all right, and yet all we do is complain about what a miserable life we're having.
Please check this out. Don't leave it like this.
And if it turns out this is true for you just like everybody else, do you think that maybe you could try the idea of the Teaching that says you came here with a load of beliefs, a load of opinions, a load of knowledge? And you can actually make a little job for a while out of writing down what you know.
Get it out of your heads, folks. It don't do no good there.
All this stuff that runs through your head doesn't do a damn thing. Get it on a sheet of paper and check it out and look for contradictions to what you know. And see if you can make use of this Teaching, okay? Take everything you know, everything you believe, every opinion you have, and look for a contradiction for it.
And some of the stuff, you can't find no contradictions to it because it don't exist nowhere at all: like religious beliefs. You know all about God; you know all about what happens next; you know all about things that have never happened to you.
Some of it you're just going to have to look at and say, ``Who knows? I can't prove it wrong. I can't even find any instance where this ever happens in my life.'' Eh?
Do people go to heaven when they die? I don't know. People ask me, ``What happens when you die?'' I don't know. How could I possibly know that? I'm still kicking around. I have never experienced it, so how do I know?
``Well, you're supposed to know about these things.''
``Oh, okay. I didn't find that in the rule book nowhere. In fact, the rule book I was handed said, 'Don't talk about nothing you don't know for yourself.' ''
That's the rule book I was given when I decided to talk about this stuff. I was told quite explicitly, ``Do not say a word about anything you don't know from your own personal experience.'' And I took that very seriously; and I don't.
I don't know what happens when folks die. I haven't a clue. And my manual says don't talk about that because you don't know nothing about it. It doesn't say, ``Tell people stories. Make stuff up because you're supposed to know.''
Now could we take that part of the Teaching and use it? Go through everything you know, everything you believe, everything you have an opinion on, and see if you have any experience at all. And if you don't, by the way, just sit it on a shelf somewhere and say, ``I don't know. This is something I heard about once, but I know nothing about it. I have no experience whatsoever.''
If you can experience it, then please look for things that contradict it. Stop trying to be right all the time.
And that is very, very hard when you first try it. Our entire psychology and perception goes against it. Once you decide a thing is right, your perception is distorted from that moment on and you cannot see a contradiction to it any more.
So when you first start doing that -- looking for contradictions -- you'll swear you can't find them because you haven't got the knack of it yet. It is a knack. You get it when you start seeing one here and there. You know, something happens that contradicts some little pet belief, and you actually say, ``Oh, my goodness. This is not what I believe.''
And once you've done that three or four times, you start to get the knack of seeing contradictions instead of seeing proof -- which is what we all do, isn't it? Walk around seeing proof that I'm right all the time.
I always wonder when folks come here, okay, why they're working so hard to be right. If this is right, then why the hell are you here?
People rarely come here because they're happy, you know. They rarely come here because their life is so wonderful that they want to make it better. People show up here because they've tried everything else and nothing has worked.
That's really about the way of it. This is not like a mass thing, you know, where people can go to church every Sunday and feel really good about themselves for a few hours, then go on being an idiot for the rest of the week.
It's not like that, is it? People don't show up here unless they know something is really off somewhere and they're willing to listen to the most outrageous, bizarre, ridiculous things to try to figure out what it is, okay?
So why are you trying to be right, then? Right got you here.
Apparently, you don't want to be here. I can't say as I blame you. I totally understand. I was sitting in a room like this once upon a time myself. I didn't want to be where I was.
Then why do you want to be right? Don't you get it? Being right got you where you are.
And I'm not saying that where you are is just totally miserable. But obviously there's something about it that you're not real happy with if you're willing to sit here and listen to me. Okay? Maybe being wrong would be a neat thing under these conditions, don't you suppose?
Try that teaching idea out. Look for contradictions. Stop looking for proof that you're right. You'll find proof that you're right, and this is where you'll be for the rest of your life. Okay?
Any questions or comments? I said I was going to take a break and then talked for another 15 minutes, as usual. I'm a liar. Any questions or comments?
I guess maybe if you could just give a concrete example of a contradiction of an opinion or belief.
Sure. ``Nobody likes me.'' Ever had that
belief? Anybody here ever spent years thinking, ``Nobody likes me.?'' I find
that's a very common one of folks who show up in rooms like this. ``Nobody
likes me.'' You can believe that while there are lots of people around you who
You have no problems with this. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel! You're going to spend the rest of your life whining about how nobody likes you. Well, who are you whining to? People who can't stand you?
You know, no offense, but the people who don't like you: they don't want to listen to you whine about how unlikable you are. They can't stand you.
So who exactly are you complaining to? Probably someone who likes you -- who you are now making miserable. Isn't that about right? But you're going to go on doing it for another 20 years, aren't you? ``Nobody likes me.''
Well, look, folks, this would be an easy way to see the contradiction to that one, isn't it? The next time you say, ``Nobody likes me,'' and you whine about how badly your life is and how miserable you're being treated and so on and so on and so on, you look at the person you're with and you kind of say, ``You know what? You must really like me to put up with this crap out of me, huh? I don't have anything to complain about after all.'' You see?
That one's easy for me because I've lived that one for longer than I want to think about. ``Nobody likes me.''
And one day, that's exactly what I thought about. ``Well, then, who are the people who listen to me while I whine?'' Because I know when I don't like somebody and they start whining, I can't wait to get away from them. I don't even like listening to my friends whine who I like. I just sort of deal with it. Isn't that right?
These things happen all the time. We just completely believe things and we never look at the contradiction that says, ``But it's not true. It's only partly true.''
Now I will agree that there is a truth in this statement: ``Some people don't like me.'' Duh. So who on planet Earth can't make that statement, huh? ``Some people don't like me.''
So what? Everybody has to like you? You won't admit anybody likes you until everybody likes you? That's kind of the game, isn't it? When you really look at the facts, you come up with, ``Some people like me and some people don't.''
That's really the facts, isn't it? That's all there is to it. ``Some people like me; some people don't.'' And the people who like me sometimes don't like me. They don't like everything about me.
That's the facts, isn't it? These sweeping generalizations that we believe are just lies. They never happen in reality. But, boy oh boy, do we believe them. There's no such thing as a generalized thing, okay? Doesn't exist.
Now the simplest ones to see contradictions to are the ones that, in fact, are generalizations, all right? ``Everybody -- they -- nobody.'' The things that are absolute. I can pretty well guarantee you if you look at those, you're going to find a contradiction to them because there's nothing that's true everywhere all the time.
Any other questions or comments?
I have something.
Do you know where self-pity comes from?
Sure. Dead anger. When anger dies and turns into a zombie, it's called self-pity.
Instead of dying it turns into what?
Self-pity. Self-pity is the Night of the
Living Dead for all the angers you never dealt with. ``They treat me so
shitty. They're just horrible monsters. They don't understand me. They don't
like me. They ...''
Well now, see, if you'd gone ahead and just got pissed at them at the moment and not held it inside for fifteen years, you wouldn't be feeling sorry for yourself. You'd be mad.
Now I'm not recommending that you go around screaming and yelling at everybody just because you're mad at them. I'm just telling you that if you don't deal with it, if you don't experience the anger, if you hold anger inside -- what happens to it is that one day it dies and it comes back and haunts you as self-pity. Okay?
How do you get rid of that? What do you do to get rid of it?
Well, you might try admitting that it's
really not that your life is so miserable. It's that you hate everything.
That, in fact, what you are is angry. You're mad as hell and you won't
express it because you're afraid of the outcome of expressing anger. So you
let it die every time it comes up.
You might deal with the facts, which is -- it's not a fact that you're a pitiful, miserable person. That's just a lie. It's a lie. Everybody I've met has at least one friend. Well, how many do you need? All right? You only really need one or two.
Everybody is doing well enough, all right? Sure, they can go and do better if they want to. But you know that you are the most miserable, pitiful thing that ever happened on planet Earth is just a lie.
I can't deal with that lie. But I can try and deal with the fact that I'm really angry that other people keep bugging the hell out of me and that everything just doesn't come easy.
Boy, that ticks us off, doesn't it? ``I have a right for everything to just happen with no effort on my part.'' That's what most people think, okay?
So you could deal with the anger. But once it dies and becomes self-pity, there's nothing you can do but just stop, because it's not even about anything real any more, okay? You've lost the real event a long time ago, which is you're mad at somebody or some thing. And now you're dealing with something that isn't even real, all right?
So I'd just walk away from self-pity and say, ``Aw, forget it. I'm not doing that, but I am going to try and watch how every time I get mad, I just stuff it instead of dealing with the circumstances.'' Okay? And then wonder why I start feeling sorry for myself a few days later. Okay?
Deal with the anger. It's difficult to deal with once it becomes self-pity because it's not about an event that's happening on at that point. It's not even about a real event any more. It's about something that happened some time ago that you got mad about and just stuffed the event down, okay?
Any other questions or comments? Ready for a break?
Any questions or comments? Yes, ma'am?
Are you going to talk about regret and guilt?
Sure, I'll talk about anything you want
today. I have no plans whatsoever, so we'll talk about guilt, okay?
Guilt is an interesting word. Regret, same word, all right? It means fear of future pain. That's all it means, okay?
When you're sitting and feeling guilty, you're saying, ``I am such a mess-up that I'm going to make things worse tomorrow.'' Okay, whatever you want to believe. I don't think that's true.
If I were not afraid of pain, I would never feel guilty about anything that I did, okay? That's really the heart of the whole guilt game. ``I am afraid of pain. I can't experience pain.'' That is the one place where most of us have no freedom whatsoever. We cannot experience pain.
And, of course, one of the things we think causes pain is ``me,'' so I sit around saying, ``If only I could change, I would never hurt again.''
Do you think that's true? Do you think if you become the best person that ever was, you will never hurt again? I think that is just ridiculous.
I dealt with an interesting little guilt many years ago: ``I hurt others.'' Now, of course, honestly that doesn't matter to me. I don't care if I hurt you. But every time I hurt you, you insist on hurting me back. Isn't that about right? That's what I'm really concerned about. I hurt you and then you insist on hurting me back to stop me.
And I didn't like that part too much. It took me a long time to admit that that's the part of hurting others that I really didn't like. I don't like the fact that they hurt me back.
Okay, I'm not as good a person as I thought I was. I'm not as self-righteous as I thought I was. I thought that I, you know, had great moral inner anguish when I hurt others, and now it turns out that I just don't like being hurt back.
All right, I can deal with this one. Seldom pleased with it, but there you go. That's the facts, all right?
And then I started looking at this: ``Okay, I hurt you and it's all my fault. I am a bad person. I've got to find some way to live so that I will never hurt anyone again, and then they'll stop hurting me and I'll be okay.''
Now that's really what the guilt is about, isn't it? Whether you're willing to admit that you are as bad as me and you really don't care if you hurt others is immaterial, okay? It's still the same game, isn't it?
``I feel really bad about having done this, about having hurt you. I don't like feeling bad, so I'm going to be afraid that I'm going to do it again. And I'm going to obsess -- worry my little head off -- about how I can get better so it will never happen again.''
And that's called a little guilt fit, isn't it? Obsessing over my worry about how am I going to stop doing this so I don't hurt again. All right?
And I decided to check it out just a little bit. And I kind of watched life for a period of time. And I noticed people are getting hurt all of the time. They go to the restaurant and it's a little too noisy and they're hurt. Or the waiter doesn't treat them quite right and they're hurt. Or somebody frowns at them and they're hurt.
And I kind of noticed that everybody is pretty much walking around being hurt all the time without me. They don't need me to be hurt. They just do it over everything.
And I came up with this really bizarre point of view: ``If it hadn't been me, it would have been somebody else two minutes later.'' Now how can I take this seriously?
``I hurt you.''
Well, it's true. I did, isn't it? I'm not going to argue it right this second, although I will in a moment. But we'll take that as a fact right this moment: ``I hurt you.''
``Okay, all right, I did. So? Somebody else would have in a couple of seconds. Everything hurts you!''
It's true, isn't it? Watch folks for a little while. If it hadn't been me, it would have been somebody else. It's hard for me to feel really bad about that.
If I was the only one doing it, I could really get a little guilt thing going here, okay. But it looks to me like everybody's doing it all the time. So it just sort of seems to be, ``So what?'' I can't really get all worked up about it any more.
``You really hurt me!''
``Eh, big deal. If it hadn't been me, it would have been somebody else in a few minutes or days or weeks.'' Okay? So I decided I don't have to worry about it any more.
It occurs to me that being hurt -- and I don't understand this really, it just occurred to me -- being hurt is involuntarily being wrong.
Many times. There are lots of ways people can get hurt, I think. So, yeah, a lot of the times that's exactly right. Somebody pointing out that you're wrong is what it really comes down to, eh?
Why exactly that hurts you, I am not clear,
okay? Why did I hurt you? Because I pointed out you were wrong.
Which comes to the next part of the little thing, is, I looked into this a little bit more because I loved feeling guilty at one point in the life. Ooh, I just thought that was great.
``I'm just a real fuck-up, you know. Everything I do hurts somebody.'' I spent many an hour worrying about how to get better so this wouldn't happen any more.
So as I looked into this a little bit further, I realized a bizarre thing: most of the time the hurt that I did to others was completely inadvertent. It wasn't planned. I wasn't trying to do it. The most you could accuse me of was maybe thoughtlessness, okay?
It's true. I did not always consider ahead of time whether or not it would hurt you before I did it. I just did it. So you could accuse me of thoughtlessness.
But most of the stuff that I did was inadvertent. I just said something that I thought was interesting; I did something that I thought was interesting. I did what I wanted to do, in other words, and it hurt you.
Well, I don't buy this. I think you hurt you by wanting me to be somebody else. Who told you who I was supposed to be? If you get hurt by what I do, I think that's your problem. Just like if I get hurt by what you do, I think it's my problem. Who am I to be saying who you ought to be? Okay?
And it turned out that all this hurting that goes back and forth that we so happily blame each other for -- ``you hurt me'' -- isn't true. Actually, I hurt me by expecting you to be someone else.
Now that's the facts, isn't it? I expected you to be someone else, and you weren't, and now I'm hurt by it. Well, that's my problem, isn't it?
So a friend once said -- let me finish one thing on this and then move on, okay? -- a friend once said, ``If you're having trouble with guilt, I can give you a surefire cure.''
I wanted a cure for guilt. I didn't want to feel guilty any more. I did not want to sit around being afraid of the pain I was going to cause myself and others tomorrow, because as far as I can tell, that pain is going to come whether I believe that I cause it or not. It's just a part of life.
Now I can sit in the imaginary belief that it's all my fault if I want and feel guilty, but I didn't want to any more. After I looked into it a bit, I said, ``You know, I don't want to play this game no more.'' Pain just comes. It's part of life, and the way most of us behave, it comes a lot; a lot more than it needs to, okay?
So I decided if I could know a surefire cure for guilt, I would prick up my ears and decided I would try this whatever it is.
And he said, ``Whatever you feel guilty about, go do it to it three more times real quick and you'll never feel guilty about it again.'' And I tried that and it works.
So if you feel really guilty for hurting somebody, do it three more times real fast. You'll never feel guilty about it again.
So what? Am I somebody who walks around hurting you people all the time? I'm just cold and callous and uncaring? Nope. That has nothing to do with it.
You don't need to be controlled. You could actually live a free life. You're not a horrible monster that has to be controlled: because that's what this is, isn't it? By living in this fear, I'm hoping to control me tomorrow so I'll never do that horrible thing again.
You think that's preferable to learning how to live freely as a loving being? Living in fear of the harm that you can do? Caged in by rules and regulations lest you do one more harm? You think that is a preferable form of life to learning how to be a free, loving being?
Now the great joke is that if you give up all that fear that's supposed to control you and you start living freely, you find out you really don't want to hurt people. It's really obnoxious, because, like I said, they do hurt back and you don't just hurt them for the hell of it because you know they're going to hurt you. So just a little bit of selfishness means you don't go around hurting people no more, except for the inadvertent stuff you can't help, all right?
I never even know whether somebody's going to get hurt by a compliment. You ever had somebody get hurt by a compliment? You compliment them on the wrong thing and they didn't want to be complimented by that and they're hurt by it.
You know, usually that works pretty good to get people in a good mood. Compliment them on something. Always look for something you can compliment somebody on. It gets them in kind of a good mood and we have a lot of fun together, but every now and again I pick the wrong thing and they get hurt.
I compliment them on their new hairdo or something and they didn't like it. They thought their hairdresser did a bad job and now they're hurt. I've had that happen. I'm not making that up. So I don't know how to live so I don't hurt anybody ever, okay? I just don't know how. But I'm not afraid of it. If I hurt you and you hurt me back, I'm going to shrug my shoulders and say, ``Well, there you go -- that's life.''
I have absolutely no fear of pain. It happens. So I don't have to play this game any more, okay? It really is fear of pain when you come right down to it. And I looked into it and there's no way to avoid the pain you're afraid of.
Now you think you can avoid it, so you're willing to play these emotional games. I have never found a way. If you find one, I'd love to hear about it. Boy, I looked hard for a period of time. I couldn't find a way to avoid pain, so I decided not to be afraid of it any more and just call it part of life.
So I took that little cure for guilt. When I felt guilty about something, I just went and did it a few more times until I just didn't care no more.
I don't enjoy sitting around in guilt. Of all the emotions, I think that's one of the most horrible. Because then I hate me. I'd much rather hate you. I can get away from you. You see, if I hate you, I can get away from you, but what am I going to do when I hate me?
I've tried running from me. I am so obnoxious, I follow me everywhere I go.
When I brought that up, I was thinking more of guilt like [inaudible] but amusing myself doing things that still benefit me or that hurt me.
So you feel guilty if you take care of yourself? Is that what you're saying?
Well, I guess.
Oh, so you feel guilty because you do fun things and leave off the unpleasant chores?
I must not have heard part of what you said.
No, I'm just trying to find a way to explain this. I guess, like in the form of addictions and stuff where you do things -- it's not even enjoyable.
Oh, yeah, I understand. I've had a few of those in this life, yeah.
It's not like it's fun, you know, because you know you're hurting yourself. Or I know I'm hurting myself, and yet, you know, it's not like I'm escaping because, you know -- does that make sense?
I understand. So how well has your guilt worked at stopping you from doing that?
Oh, yeah, that's why I asked, because it doesn't work at all.
Then what's the point? I don't get it. Why use a method that is so ineffective?
What method do you replace it with?
I have gone over this more time than I care
to remember. I don't know something that works, so I'll do over and over and
over again something that is unpleasant as all get out and doesn't work.
And, I'll claim to be an intelligent being.
Sweetheart, you've got an addiction. I don't know what it is and I don't want to know. It's none of my business, okay? But you've got an addiction, okay? Live with it. Stop trying to escape the pain of that addiction.
People get addictions because they can't deal with pain. You think that being in pain because you have an addiction is going to help you get rid of the addiction that you have because you can't deal with pain? This is just too twisted and convoluted logic for me. On the day when you say it's okay to experience pain, maybe the addiction will go away. Okay?
Addictions: that's what they are. There's some pain in your life that you will not deal with, so to save your life, you do some crazy-ass thing that, as you say, doesn't work for very long. Because whatever the things we get addicted to, they only work for a short time and then they're just horrible, hellish trips we go on every now and again uncontrollably. They are uncontrollable, you know.
You're treating a symptom as though it were the cause, and you can't heal symptoms in this world. It doesn't work. You've got to deal with the real event, all right?
There is something, some pain in your life, that you're not dealing with. And I've noticed most people who have addictions, self included when I was playing the addiction game, the thing that I couldn't deal with was my own self-hatred. That sort of ring a bell?
Now explain to me how sitting around thinking about what a fuck-up you are is going to help you like yourself better. It seems to me you are adding fuel to the fire.
But almost everybody I've seen so far who's got an addiction, the real difficulty is, they can't stand themselves. There's something about themselves they don't like. And instead of learning to like themselves, or at least give themselves a little slack, which kind of makes sense to me, they try to escape it in something.
Feeling guilty about that, I would really recommend a cure: whatever your addiction is, go do it three more times in a row when you feel guilty for doing it.
I said, whatever the addiction is, go do it three more times in a row real fast, whatever it is, if you feel guilty about it. Do it again. Three times.
Is there something about doing it on purpose?
Yeah, it works because you're doing it freely
now. And when I'm free to do a thing, I'm also free not to do it. And I'm sure
free not to hate myself for doing it, okay? I'm free on that subject.
Now with an addiction, that may not end the addiction because it's out of your control. You can play all the games you want about how this is in your control, but you're lying. It's not.
That addiction is an adaptation that is totally out of your control, due to the fact that you have some emotional thing that you're not dealing with, okay? You can't stop the addiction. You can only deal with the emotional thing, which is its source, okay? But you can't deal with the symptom. You cannot stop the symptom of something, okay? Nobody can do that. It's out of your control.
So the only real thing you can do with something where it's a symptom is deal with the real thing, all right? There is an emotional thing in your life that you're not able to freely experience. That's really what it comes down to, okay?
If it's the same one that I had -- and I'm not saying it is, I'm just saying if it is -- ``I don't like myself'' -- well, you might sit around freely not liking yourself. ``I can't stand me. I'm just a bum.'' Okay? And then it don't hurt so bad any more when you can do it freely. It actually starts to get kind of funny. And then you don't need the addiction so much.
Can you be addicted to emotions and stuff?
Sure. You can be addicted to just about
anything in this world.
What? What's the question? There's still something you're not free to experience.
So if you want to deal with an addiction,
there are only two ways that I personally know to do it, okay? One is to
replace it with something else. That you can do. The next time you want to do
whatever your addiction is, go do something else instead. That's partly how AA
works, you know. All those 12-step programs, one of the things about them
that's so effective is they tell you, whenever you have the urge to do it, do
something else instead: like call us or go to a meeting. So you replace one
addiction with another. You become addicted to meetings and calling your
Well, who cares? Compared to destroying yourself with chemicals, it sounds pretty good, doesn't it? So I'm addicted to calling people on the phone and going to meetings. So what?
So that's one way to deal with an addiction, okay? Replace it with something a little more innocuous that isn't quite so destructive.
The other way is freely experience whatever the thing is that you're trying to escape, okay? I don't know what that is in your life. You'll have to look and say, ``What part of the life am I not free to experience so much? And I hate that part of life so much, that now I have to live in this addictive thing.'' Okay?
It's up to you to find out what that is. I'll be more than pleased to talk to you about it privately. I won't do it obviously in a group like this. It would mean you would have to reveal things, and I don't think you'd want to do in a group, all right?
Or work it out yourself. Either one. But if you want assistance, I'd be more than happy to help you find out what the real thing is, okay?
I'm just touched by -- A little while ago in the first hour, I tend to think that I look on learning as --
connected with self-improvement somehow.
Yeah, yeah. No, learning things don't make me any better than I was two minutes ago, okay? If I know a new thing today, how am I better? It's got nothing to do with self-improvement to me.
No. I learn because I am fascinated by the
way things are, okay. It's just the way I am. Everything fascinates me. How
things work is a fascination of mine. Plus, I'm a lazy son of a bitch. All
right? That is one thing I know about this one. He is lazy.
And I discovered a long time ago: when you work with things the way they are, you can be really lazy, okay? Because you don't have to do as much. All the stuff you folks know just means you work harder than I do, okay? Because much of the stuff you know isn't true. So you try 20 things and two of them are the things that actually work, but you think you got to do all 20 because you don't know which ones are really doing the thing. You see what I mean?
So part of my learning is just because I am incredibly lazy and I like to get things done with as little effort as possible. And what I found out from living here is that the more you know, the easier it is to be lazy. Okay?
I guess that's an improvement from my point of view. I don't know if that makes me a great person from most people's point of view.
The more you learn, the lazier you can be?
That's what I found. That's very attractive
to me, okay? I get things done with a lot less effort than most people do
because I know what actually works.
And I don't go against the way things work. Most people do. They actually work against the way things are because they think it ought to be some other way, and it bugs them that it is the way it is. So in their stubbornness they work against it, then wonder why they have such trouble.
That's what most people are doing I know. They work against the way things are because they don't like the way things are.
Well, that's effective. You can not like it all you want, but it's not going to change it, okay?
Can you imagine if people did that with gravity? ``Why, I don't like gravity. So I'm just going to walk around acting like things don't fall. I'll just leave things laying in the air, and then I'll get really pissed off when they fall and break. They shouldn't. If I'm on top of a building and I want to get down, I'm not going to take the elevator. I'm just going to jump off. There shouldn't be gravity.''
But people do that. They really and truly do that with a lot of things.
``I don't like the way it is. It should be different.'' And then they wonder why their life's so hard. I'm too lazy for that.
Any other questions or comments? Okay.
I'd like to hear you speak some more on the seventh decision. I have a hard time holding on to what I said my decision is to be. And I'll settle all my energies, maybe, and in 20 minutes ...
Are you making a decision about something that you should care about?
I wouldn't do that if I were you. It doesn't
work well. You see what I mean about people doing things that don't make any
sense because it ought to be that way? If you're going to make a decision
about a way of living, don't you think you're going to have to want it? I
don't think you can replace desire. So, instead of deciding about something
that you think you should want, why don't you look and see what you actually
want -- and see if any of those would make a good seventh decision?
What do you want? No more of this right and should stuff, okay? Do what works. Do what's real. Don't try and do the right thing, okay?
I'm sure there's something that you've always wanted. I've noticed [with] most people, that's true. There were things when they first arrived here that just fascinated them, and they got so beat up over the years that they gave up on a lot of stuff. Why not resurrect one of those? Something you really care about, and stop being beat up. Pretend like you're a little kid again and you got all the energy and desire and interest in the world to live, okay? You're not a beat up old lady no more. (I'm not saying you're old, but you understand what I mean, okay?)
That's what it's trying to do. It's trying to
replace desire with force and violence. It doesn't work, does it? So stop. If
you don't want to do it, you don't want to do it.
If it would be good for you to want to do it, then look into it until you do. But don't try and pretend like you do. It won't work. It wears off in a matter of seconds, doesn't it?
I think it's probably about time for lunch and then I'll -- well, actually this been kind of fun, this freeform thing. Maybe we'll just keep it up.
Yeah. But you folks want to break for lunch? It's about that time. Okay.
You folks get that? We were talking about
conclusions, okay, which I said you can't come to without dying.
``Conclusion'' means the end of the matter. Isn't that what conclude means?
End. Right? It's over.
So an idea is what? When you form a conclusion, what you're saying is, ``This is the end of all inquiry into this subject ever again. I'm done with it. Now I know. From now on I simply believe.'' That's what a conclusion is. It is the end of inquiry into this subject. I have decided I know.
But to prove something wrong only takes one incident that proves it wrong. That's all that's required. It can look true a thousand times, but if it's ever not true once, then it's not true.
Now I'm sure you're sitting there saying, ``What about the first thousand?'' Well, something was going on you didn't understand that it appeared to be true a thousand times.
It's not true. You don't know enough. You need to inquire some more. That's why we don't form conclusions, you see.
Obviously, you had insufficient information. Look into it a little bit further and you'll find something that accounts for the thousand times it seemed to be true. And the one time when it didn't seem to be true, you'll find something more. A bigger idea that includes that apparent contradiction that actually is the fact, okay? Do you get that?
If something appeared to be true a thousand times, but wasn't because it was part of a bigger thing, then I need to find a bigger thing and stop believing the little thing. Do you get that? That's all it takes is one contradiction and something is wrong. But to prove a thing true I have to know every single incident, and I can't do that. I'm incapable of it.
No conclusions. We just keep looking into things for the rest of our life. What's wrong with that? Okay? It's just a different way to live, I guess. If you want to live by conclusions, you're more than welcome to. I notice it don't work too good. It just doesn't work too well.
I conclude that this is the right way to do things, and somebody else does it another way that works just as well as my right way, and now you got two people arguing over nothing. That's not my idea of working out well, but it happens a lot, doesn't it?
Two people have two different ways of doing something. Both of them work and they argue about which one is right. Well, that's a weird definition of right to me because the word right, as far as I'm concerned, can only mean it worked. Isn't that what the word means?
I don't know whether it fits some idealistic principle somewhere of right and wrong. The only workable, meaningful definition of the word right and wrong is, this works and that doesn't.
Then one's right and the other one's wrong.
It's not a moral issue, which means that there's lots of rights and even more wrongs, huh? Anything people do, there's about five ways to do it. I don't know which one's the way it ought to beas long as they all get the job done. Then they're all right.
And there's millions of ways not to do it. Isn't that about the way it works? Maybe five that work. And you'll have people sit around and bicker about which one of the five is the right way. Who cares? I guess it's a matter of taste if there's five ways to get it done, okay? Pick the one that suits you.
I do know that there's a whole lot more wrong ways that won't work than there ever are right ways. There's usually a few ways that work, eh? But no one of those ways that work is any more right than any of the other ways that work.
That's the only definition of right and wrong that makes sense to me. It's not a moral thing or an idea thing. It's just: you're looking at the outcome and you ask, ``Did it do what you wanted it to do?'' Then it's right, okay? What other definition makes sense?
So the one God said is right, is right? We'll let Him be the arbiter? If there's five ways to do it, we'll go to God and say, ``Which one is the right way?''
Somebody's going to have to pick the right one, aren't they? Who do you want to trust to pick the right way out of five ways that work? Pope? You? Maybe they're all right, okay? It's just a matter of taste which one you pick, as long as they work.
Wrong is really easy. It's all the ways that didn't work.
That's the only idea of right and wrong that makes sense to me, and it takes it away from the idea of good and bad now, doesn't it? This is no longer about, ``Am I good or am I bad?'' It just means, ``Do I know things that work?''
And I'm willing to admit that some of the things that I thought would work, don't. What's the big deal? I try out certain things. I say, ``I think this is going to work.'' And, boy, it don't. And I say, ``Well, I was wrong. It didn't work.''
Does that make me a bad person? Does it make me broken because I can't always guess whether something's going to work or not? This is not about good and bad any more, you see? It's just about: did it work or not? And whenever I try something new, I don't know what's going to work until I've tried a few things. So in any new thing, I'm going to be wrong for a long time until I find some things that work, and then I'll be right.
Could we redefine the words right and wrong to mean that? ``Did it work?'' Not ``good and bad.'' I can see a use for the idea of right and wrong, okay? That means: did it work or not? I can't see any use in good and bad. I don't know what that means.
I don't know what a good person is, and I don't know what a bad person is. And I don't know what a good thing is, and I don't know what a bad thing is, okay? I don't know about that. I can't find anything in experience that fits that idea.
You believe that there is nobody on planet Earth that hated Mother Theresa? Most people would agree she was a pretty good person, huh? Anybody you know that would think that she was a bad person? Everybody pretty much was in agreement on that one. So she's good, huh?
But don't you suppose that every now and again she really ticked somebody off, and they thought she was a bad lady and thought she just had good press or something? You think there's any one person on planet Earth that everybody would agree is good and nobody would say, ``No, they're bad?'' I bet there are some people right now telling stories about some nasty thing she did once when she was 26 or whatever, okay? "Well, she wasn't always a good person, you know. I remember one time --
I don't know what good and bad means. I think that's just something people made up. But I can understand whether or not something works, okay? If I want to get a thing done, some things work and some things don't. So I can deal with right and wrong, if we mean it works or it didn't. But I don't know about that good and bad stuff, okay?
Are you bad because you hurt others? I don't know. I just don't know. Like we talked about earlier, I suspect it's going to happen whether you do it or not. I don't see that it makes much difference one way or the other.
Are you bad because you have so many beliefs about what works that you can't do anything that works? I don't know. I just ...
Well, a lot of people do, you know. They got all these ideas. Boy, they'll just list -- ``This is how you do this, and this is how you do that, and this is how you do the other thing.'' And you look at their lives and you say, ``But your life is a mess. It's a shambles.''
``Well, I know, but I know how everything ought to be done.''
Don't you know people like that? I do. They know all the right things to do. But -- ``Your life is a mess. I don't want to take advice from you.''
That's the only definition of right and wrong that makes sense to me, okay?
Well, they're perfectly right. They just live in a mess because nothing actually works. Are they a good person? I don't know. Are they bad? I don't know. I think they just never bothered to find out if any of their ideas actually work. Kind of sounds like a politician to me.
That's what politicians do. They sell you that some idea they have is going to work, and you elect them into office and they try it and it's a mess, and they get elected into office next year so they can do it all over again. I don't know if they're good or bad, okay?
I'm not sure I quite followed you. You said that, even if you don't hurt somebody, that they're going to get hurt anyway. Is that what you said?
Uh huh. The way most people live, that's
going to happen because they're actually hurting themselves. I had nothing to
do with it. Not a damn thing. I didn't hurt them. It's just a lie.
Now look, folks. I take responsibility for my own feelings, okay? You can't hurt my feelings. All you can do is tell me something I didn't want to hear. All right?
Now you can certainly do that. You can find something I didn't want to hear and you can insist that I hear it. Does that mean you hurt my feelings? No. I'm the one who's got the problem because I didn't want to hear that. Why am I blaming it on you? I don't want to hear this, so I expect the entire world to never say it around me. Now is that a little insane? Doesn't that seem crazy to you?
``I don't want to hear this so none of the rest of you can ever talk about it.''
Now that's a stupid way to live if you ask me. I can't expect that of people. That's insane.
So you talk about something I don't want to hear. I think that's my problem, not yours. You didn't hurt me. I hurt me by having things inside that I don't want to deal with, and you insist on bringing them up. Or inadvertently bring them up.
You see what I mean? That's my problem. Not yours. So as long as we've got a world full of people who don't want to hear things, and don't want to experience certain things, and are resisting so very much of life, being what it is, I suppose I'm going to see a lot of people hurting. What do you think?
If they decide to be responsible and say -- ``This is my thing that I don't want to hear this. I'm going to learn how to make it okay if I hear this. Then it doesn't hurt me to hear it.'' Then I can't hurt them, can I?
Does this include physical violence?
No. That's harm. That's not hurt in my definition. I divide those two words up into two things, okay?
Well, yeah, give me ...
There are only two ways I can harm anybody. I
can incapacitate them physically, or I can incapacitate them psychologically,
okay? That's incapacitating them.
Hurting them is just, you know, I touch their feelings and [speaker screams as if hurt]. And that's not me doing it. It's them doing it to themselves. I can't hurt you. It's impossible. Only you can do that.
Yes, I can harm you. I won't argue that. But I can't hurt you. That's your job.
And you do it quite well, I might add, if you're like everybody else I know.
Okay? You do that job very well of hurting
yourself all the time, and you blame it on everyone else. But, at a certain
point, I got tired of being hurt. Aren't you folks sick of it? I got tired of
I got tired of wincing every time somebody said something I didn't like about me. And I decided to look into it. And I realized it was really my responsibility, not theirs. And then, I had a lot of trouble taking it seriously when people told me I hurt them when I found out that I was the one responsible for hurting me. So how come I'm responsible for me and you?
If I see that I'm responsible for taking care of my own feelings, then how can I believe that I'm responsible for yours, too? Because I can't do that. I can actually take care of mine. But I can't take care of yours.
If you want to beat yourself up, you know, psychologically, there's nothing I can do about it. I can't stop you. Can I? I can stop you for a short period of time -- but I can't stop you. I can't stay with you 24 hours a day, and every time you start to beat yourself up psychologically, stop you. Can I?
I sure as hell don't want to. That's your job, isn't it?
That's what I saw in self. I don't want to walk around being hurt any more by every little thing that people do. I'm sick of it. I'm tired of being hurt all the time. And I found out there's something I can do about it. That if I were free to experience anything, nobody can hurt me any more.
They could still psychologically incapacitate you?
I sincerely doubt it.
Oh, they can't harm?
I didn't say that. They can harm me physically, but they probably can't do it psychologically. Sorry. I won't even let you do that. I can't stop you from doing it physiologically, okay? You can hide behind something and shoot me and there's nothing I can do about that, although even that I can do some things with, okay? I'm real good at seeing things that are hidden: so you might not even be able to get away with that one. Okay? But psychologically you can't harm me.
What's the difference then between psychological incapacitation and hurting someone?
Psychological incapacitation is that you add on to what they have already done to themselves, okay? They had to do it to themselves first.
And you recognize that?
And you add to it. So now it makes it even
more incapacitating: because they have agreement, don't they? So they say, ``I
am psychologically unfit.'' And you say, ``Yeah, that's true.''
Then I have harmed you: because instead of either walking away or disagreeing with you no matter how unpleasant you make it for me to tell you that you're actually okay when you insist that you're a pile of crap ...
You see what I mean? I've added to it by agreeing to it. And agreement is very important to people. If they can get a whole bunch of people to agree that the sky is green, then by god the sky is green, isn't it? It doesn't matter what's true.
But haven't they hurt themselves? Your agreeing with it -- I don't see the difference between your agreeing with somebody and saying they're shit, or if you tell somebody but they shouldn't...
All right, then let's put it into the terms you might understand. I know that you're an alcoholic. We'll forget about the fact that you're not any more. All right? But we'll go back a few years when you had trouble with drinking, and I leave every liquor bottle in the house right out in front of you and invite you to the house. I have now contributed to your delinquency, as far as I'm concerned. And I'm as much to blame for the harm, or as much responsible for whatever harm you do to yourself, as you are for drinking the crap, okay?
Because, because ...
I know, you see. When I know that you are delinquent in some matter and I contribute to your delinquency, I'm as much responsible for it as you are, as far as I'm concerned. I don't see any way out of that. If I don't know, that's one thing. But if I know that that is something you can do nothing about right now in your life -- okay -- and I go along with it and even help you do it, I might as well have done it to you myself. Isn't that right? Even though, yes, it is ultimately your responsibility. I don't see any way out of that.
Teach you awareness.
If I know something and I contribute to it,
then I am responsible for it. How else can I see that?
Well, I know how people harm themselves psychologically. I'm stuck with it. I can't forget that. I know because I did it to myself. It's very simple. You decide that you're a victim. That's all you have to do to incapacitate yourself psychologically, is decide that you're a poor helpless victim who can do absolutely nothing about these terrible things that happen to you. And now you are down on the floor dead for all intent and purposes, instead of standing up and saying, ``Oh, hell, I can do something about this. I don't like these circumstances, but I can do something about it.''
But any time you agree with a person that they're a victim of anything, you have harmed them psychologically because you have helped turn them into a cripple. You have agreed with them that they're a cripple. You are contributing to their delinquency, instead of standing up like an adult human being and saying, ``I will deal with this no matter how hard. I am not a cripple. I am not helpless.''
You see what I mean? They have been incapacitated psychologically when you think they're a victim.
Victim means, there was nothing I could do. Isn't that correct? There was nothing I could do about this. I was victimized.
I have never been victimized in my entire life except during childhood. That's the only time in my life when I was truly helpless and there was nothing I could do. But the minute I became a man and I walked out that door, which was as fast as I could get out of the hellhole I grew up in (sorry mom and dad, but there you go, okay), I was not a victim any more, because anything that came my way -- if I didn't like it, all I had to do was take a hike.
Now, if I stick around for abuse, that's my problem. I'm past childhood, okay? The only thing you can abuse on planet Earth is a child or a willing adult, okay?
You can't abuse an unwilling adult. Not for very long. You can do it for a short time. You can tie him down or something, but sooner or later they're going to figure out how to get away from you.
So if I agree with anyone that they are a victim of anything -- circumstances, fate, their own psychological problems, their own lack of skills, whatever it is -- if I agree with them that they are a poor helpless victim, I might as well have taken a knife and stabbed them in the heart. Because I've helped them destroy their life. What can a helpless person do?
I don't do that, and people hate me for it. That's not an easy thing to do: to be harmless. It's actually easier not to hurt people than it is to be harmless. Because people often hate you when you try not to harm them. They demand that you agree that they're a poor helpless victim.
Is that a form of control, like when you were saying earlier that you could control somebody? Would that be [inaudible] of them, by agreeing with them?
There's a way to control people by doing that, yeah. Fortunately, I'm not interested in controlling them because, boy, that would be a horrible way to do it.
But yeah, yeah, there's a way to do it.
But people do get mad when you won't commiserate with their misery, won't they? ``Oh, poor me, and there's nothing I can do and it's so terrible.'' And you say, ``Oh, grow up.'' Well, that's a way to win friends, isn't it?
``No, you have to agree with me that I'm helpless!''
``I don't want to. I think you're perfectly capable. Quit the job if your boss is an asshole.''
``Then what will I do? How will I eat?''
``Well, I suppose you'll get another job.''
``No, there are no other jobs!!!''
I've had this conversation.
``Well, then, just roll over and die, I guess.''
Haven't you had that conversation with people? You keep pointing out things they could do, alternatives. And they keep saying, ``No, that one's impossible, too! You just don't understand!''
``You're right. I don't. I don't understand. I don't believe there is nothing you can do. Now I will agree there is no pleasant thing you can do. Yes. You're in a rough spot, and the only way out is probably going to be rough. But that's not the same thing as nothing you can do, is it?''
So don't come to me if you want sympathy with your problems. I don't have it. I'll just look at you and say, ``Then walk away. Get out. Do something.''
``Well, I can't do that. I love them.''
``Well, then, you're kind of sick. Now I understand loving them fine. You're more than welcome to love them, but could you like do it from a distance? Because apparently loving them up close isn't too good for you. I'm not asking you to stop loving them.''
We've all had these conversations, haven't we? People get really annoyed if you don't help them harm themselves, okay? It's hard. It's very hard work to be harmless psychologically, because you have to be willing to hurt someone to do it. You see that? You may need to be willing to hurt them -- to disagree with one of their pet little theories that's going to hurt the hell out of them -- in order to not harm them. Ain't that a hoot?
Or you can go to one of those new 12-step programs for, ah, what do they call that, now that the co --
Co-dependence, yeah. You can go to a 12-step
program for co-dependents and you can stop helping people hurt themselves.
They have something for everybody on planet Earth now, eh? Me, I just don't do it, okay? I just don't do it.
You want to tell me you're a victim. I will hurt you before I will harm you.
I don't have a problem with hurting people, okay? I know you folks got one, but I don't. Because I know you've done it to yourself. I can't do it to you. I can only harm you, but I can't hurt you.
And if you don't like being hurt, I'd highly recommend that you take responsibility for these things and say -- take a look for yourself and see if it isn't true that everything that hurts you is a place where you are not free. You look at the things that hurt you and say, ``If I were free to experience this, would it bother me?'' Eh, maybe for a moment.
We'll take a common hurt, okay? You look at someone and you just think they're wonderful, and you want to spend a whole bunch of time with them. And they agree that you're pretty neat, too. And they spend some time with you, and then one day they look at you and say, ``You know what? I don't like you.''
That's going to hurt a little bit, isn't it? It's called rejection. I never found a way to not get that little moment where it hurts.
But if that's all it is, you just say, ``Well, okay, I'm free to experience being rejected.'' Then it lasts for a little moment, and then you go on about your business. Because you're free to experience it.
``It's okay. You can reject me. I don't mind.''
It hurts for a moment. I'm not going to pretend like it didn't hurt for a second there, maybe even a few days. Then it goes away, kind of like stubbing your toe or something, you know. It hurts for a little bit, and then it goes away.
Keep that around for a long time and I think you got to really work hard at resisting the experience, don't you? You got to hate the experience. You got to make a big deal about it. You got to whine about it for the next three years. You got to say that it ruined your life. You got to do all this stuff -- anything but just sit there and say, ``Okay, this hurts. It's okay. I can hurt for a moment.''
Now that's really what all hurt is about, isn't it? You get a little momentary pain and you resist it, and you drag it out forever.
I learned this when I was something like 16 or 17, okay? I am one of the world's clumsiest people, I suspect. Over many years of effort, I have learned to be a little less clumsy. So you can't see just how clumsy I used to be when I was a kid. My mom called me a bull in a china shop. That was her favorite nickname for me, okay?
``If you invite him into the room, make sure you pick up all the breakables before you let him in, because he will break them.''
I'm very clumsy, all right? I don't mind that. It's just the way it is. Except I got a job as a fry cook. And one of my favorite things to do was to be constantly spraying grease everywhere. That hurts. But it was very difficult for me not to do that, so I spent a lot of time with old blisters on my arms from grease, okay?
And, of course, when it first started happening, I hated every second of it. I bitched and moaned. I said, ``This is a terrible job and I'm no good at it, and I'm always getting burnt.'' And I hated every moment of the pain.
And finally one day I said, ``I'm tired of this. I do it every day; day in and day out. I've got blisters on top of blisters. As long as this is the job I have, I guess I'm going to get grease on me.''
And the next time it happened, I said, ``Oh, poor me!''
And I just said, ``Oh, I've had it with that. It hurts.'' And I went on about the business, okay?
And you know what I found out? It hurt for less time and the blisters healed faster. It was the weirdest damn thing. When I didn't care that I had been hurt, I noticed that the blisters went away in about a day. When I made a big deal out of them, they lasted a week. I thought that was the weirdest thing, but it sure got the attention.
I didn't know about all of this psychological stuff at that time. I was just a little 17 year old kid who was sick and tired of complaining about getting hurt when it was inevitable. And I found out that if you don't make a big deal about it, it goes away really fast. And if you make a big deal about it, it will last for a long time.
What if it's all like that? If you say, ``This is just another experience. Big deal.'' It hurts, all right? I can experience some pain -- just like I did with those blisters on my arm, okay? All right, I can live through a little moment where the arm goes [speaker indicates pain].
That's fine. It just hurts. I don't have to go running, looking for something to put on it. I'm just going to go on doing my job, all right? It's just a little pain. I'm free to experience this.
It goes away, because all pains do. And when you resist it, it lasts for a very long time, doesn't it? You ever noticed that with stubbing your toe? It's my other favorite example.
You stub your toe. You say, ``Damn, that hurts!'' And you stand there for a second saying, ``Ouch!!!!'' Inside, maybe, you know. ``This hurts!'' Then you go on about your business and forget all about it.
But if you make a big deal about it, it will hurt for hours, won't it? You'll never forget how much it hurts. But if you just stand there for a second and say, ``Boy, this hurts.'' Then you walk off and you forget all about it.
You have that experience of both ways? One time you just stand there and you agree to hurt, absolutely freely. ``Boy, this hurts!'' Then it goes away, and you forget all about it. And then another time you make a big stink out of it and it throbs for hours. Isn't that right?
So you really do have to acknowledge that it hurts? That's an essential part of being free to experience it.
Well, I don't know. Actually, that's what I do because it does hurt me, okay?
But I also know that there are people in this world who can choose whether or not they even want to experience the sensation. So maybe they don't have to do even that much.
All right? I don't do that.
I have no problems with standing there experiencing that particular thing, okay?
I don't know if you have to or not.
It's one of those conclusion things, you see?
That's what I do. This is my experience. Why should I deny it?
It's my experience. Now another person might say, ``Aw, that's nothing.'' We all have different pain thresholds, you know.
Right. I've just noticed that sometimes when I think I'm being free to experience something, often I find myself suspecting that actually what I'm doing is pretending to myself that it didn't really happen. It's actually a subtle form of resistance to it.
It ain't so subtle to me.
To me it is. Just not to look at this, it's subtle.
Lying and saying this never even happened -- this is a subtle form of resistance to you? That's not so subtle. You might as well put up a sign: ``Why, it didn't even occur! I'm not resisting it! I'm perfectly free to -- Why, what were we talking about?'' That's kind of
pretty glaring resistance to me.
I never made any effort -- thank the Lord, I hope I never have to learn how to do this -- but I never made any effort to do that pain thing. I know some people can do where they can apparently just turn the sensation off. I've heard about this, okay?
I don't have much experience of it. The only experience that I can share with you that works for me is very simple. I experience the pain, and look at it with the idea: ``This is not my pain.'' I would have no problems with the whole thing. It's just that simple.
``Not my pain. It's the body that's hurting right now. I'm fine.''
I was fine. The pain did not go away for me as I've heard some people say. I just didn't go crazy with it, okay?
``Not my pain. I just live in this body. It's hurting.'' It was the most interesting thing.
I don't know if that's how everybody does it who says that they can deal with great pain, okay? But that certainly is not resisting it. You understand that?
I experienced every second of it. I just sat
there and said, ``It's not mine. What do I care?'' Okay?
I don't want to own pain. ``That's my pain.'' You can't have it.
Now that's been this one's experience. When you don't resist pain, it's not that big a deal.
And now we get one of the real cruxes of the Teaching. Unfortunately, our entire life is about resisting pain, and it makes living into a joke. Because you can't live here without experiencing pain ever. It's impossible. So it turns your life into a joke.
You want a life free of pain. It's not going to happen. You don't have to live in pain 24 hours a day. Some people do.
Some people do get to live in pain 24 hours a day, but most of us are a little bit luckier, aren't we? It just happens occasionally throughout the day. Isn't that right? And sometimes you go whole days and you don't hurt at all. Isn't that about right? Maybe even days in a row you don't hurt at all.
But trying to live without any pain whatsoever turns you into a buffoon. It means you do ridiculous things to be safe. It means you have to be right all the time. It means you can't afford to be wrong again. It means you live in fear 24 hours a day. So your state of being is constantly one of fear that pain is going to get again you this time. And it means you make the entire subject of your life ``getting better'' so you won't hurt any more.
And yet it never occurs to you that if you're trying to get better, it means there's something wrong with you now. Which means you live your entire life in the perception that something is wrong with you. Now that's a great joy, isn't it?
That's my idea of a great life -- always looking to see what's wrong with me so I can fix it. And we actually think that's a great thing and tell people that there's something wrong with them if they don't want to get better.
I went through a long period of time where people would say, ``How are you, today?'' And I'd say, ``Couldn't be better.'' And they'd look at me and say, ``Oh, you can always make things better.''
I got so sick of hearing that, I stopped saying, ``Couldn't be better.'' Because I just got sick of the response, okay? Because that's our point of view: ``No matter how good it is, you can always make it better.''
So you can't just sit here right now and say, ``You know, this is pretty damn good. I like it.''
No, you got to say, ``This is pretty good. How can I improve it?''
What a miserable life. That means you never get to be content with anything for very long. Because the moment you like it, then you're going to make it better. So you're discontented again. All because you want a life without a perfectly normal sensation called pain.
Now look, folks. This is really the crux of the whole Teaching right here, as for as the beginnings of it. It ain't the end of it, but it's the beginnings of it.
When are you going to say, ``Pain is okay?'' And get out of this trap? You can't have a life free of pain. It doesn't exist. You can come as close as you can get. You're more than welcome at getting close, but don't even dream on your wildest days that you can get there. It doesn't exist.
Is working on getting close like improvement?
I don't know. I got to have an ideal of what
good is to know whether I'm getting better, don't I? I don't have an ideal of
what good is. I'm just doing like any other human being does and I'm arranging
things to suit myself. Okay? Isn't that what we all do? Why should I be any
Of course, I put out a certain amount of effort to arrange things to suit myself. Is it better? I don't know. Why do I have to make up rules that my idea of good is great and everybody ought to go along with it and think it's better, and so on and so on and so on? Okay? I'm just being selfish and I'm doing things to suit myself. That doesn't bother me at all. Who doesn't do that?
I live in a place: I'm probably going to decorate it to suit me, not you, okay? Wouldn't you sort of expect that? Now if you move in, then we can deal with that and probably make some changes. That's fine, too. Okay? But who doesn't do that, arrange things to suit themselves?
Is it better now? I don't know. I have no clue. It just suits me.
And the self-improvement thing is, ``I will eventually arrive at a place where everything suits me and nothing bad from my point ever happens.'' And that's ridiculous. I know that no matter how much effort I put into arranging things to suit myself, things are going to come along that don't suit me. And that's just the way it goes, okay? That's the way life is. I don't have control over the entire universe. Okay?
The universe does what it likes. I can work at it if I like, but I don't expect to ever arrive there.
And I only put as much energy into it as I feel like. I don't consider it to be my lifelong labor or the only thing worth doing. It's something to do in my spare time more than anything else, okay? And when I have nothing better to do, I'll re-arrange things to suit myself, okay? When I have better things to do, I just ignore the whole things and say, ``It's fine.''
I also check how much I'll pay to have things my way, too, by the way. Okay? I notice most of the rest of you don't. You'll pay any price to have your way. In fact, you don't even ask ahead of time what the price is quite often. And you're real disturbed when you find out that you can't pay it, eh?
I look at the price tag before I decide how much I want it my way. And if it's more than I can afford, I say, ``Eh, then it's fine the way it is.''
Kind of takes care of the addiction game, the bad relationship game, because, you know, we go into all of those things looking for an ideal where it won't hurt any more, and, of course, we end up paying a terrible price for it and then finding out it hurts anyway. So it kind of puts an end to all those games, okay?
If you play the relationship game, you sure as hell don't play it expecting to get no pain. Now when I go into the relationship game, I fully expect I'm going to experience a certain amount of pain. I've never been disappointed in that one yet. Okay? So since I expected it, when it comes along I don't sit down and say, ``Oh, look what you did to me.''
In fact, when it happens, I'm really a little grateful, and I look inside and say, ``Okay, what stupid thing did you believe this time? Who'd you expect them to be this time?''
I figure it's my problem if I got hurt, okay? Even if you try to do it to me, I figure it's my problem. I must have done something to get you that riled. I never had anybody yet just take such a dislike to me that they start persecuting me without even knowing me. Have you? Most people get to know me a little bit before they hate me that much. So I must have done something to rile you up, huh? I figure it's my responsibility, whatever it is.
This is one of the things we talk about a lot: can you see that your entire life is about the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of all pain, and say, ``What a stupid value system I have. This is dumb -- that I have said that pleasure is the greatest good and pain is the greatest evil.''
And say, ``Boy, was I wrong. I really missed the point of life here.''
And say, ``I like pleasure. Pleasure is a part of life. And I don't mind paying a little bit for it.''
I have no problems with saying, ``Oh, I have nothing better to do. I'm going to go pursue pleasure for a little while, and if it ain't too expensive, I'll buy it when I run into it.'' Okay? That's fine. That's as good a thing to do as any on planet Earth. But I'm not going to make it my whole life. It's an occasional activity.
And I don't run from pain. Period. When pain comes along, I just experience it. It's okay. That's part of life.
I like life. All of it. I like life's pleasures, and the pain's okay, too.
Can we look at this whole game that's set up to say that the greatest evil is pain and the greatest good is pleasure? I am just up to here with the saying, ``Well, as long as it makes you happy.'' I don't give a damn whether it makes me happy or not, okay? I have other values than whether or not I'm happy. I actually have some values that are based on things besides me. Isn't that a horrible shock? You know, I actually think there are some things that have value intrinsically, whether I'm here or not. And not everything makes me happy, and I don't give a damn.
And I'll tell you, as far as I'm concerned -- and I said this earlier when we were sitting outside -- one of the most irresponsible things you can do is suggest to a person that they do what makes them happy. And I gave some examples.
``Eat the food that makes you happy.'' Then we'll see how long you live. Because I've noticed most of us do not have tastes that say, ``What I would like right now is a really luscious salad,'' okay? A few people I've noticed have cultivated that taste, but I bet they weren't born with it.
How many of you folks who go to a restaurant wanting a salad were born with that? Huh? Mama put a salad in front of you and you said, ``Oh, goodie!'' And she put meat and potatoes and you said, ``Ee-yoo [sound of disgust]!'' How many of you, that was your original taste? Or did you culture the taste for food that was good for you, huh?
So if you just pursued what made you happy, you'd be eating junk food. That's about the way it is. Because junk food, that's what it is. It's food that has about no nutritional value whatsoever, but it is designed to please the taste of a child.
That's what it is. It has almost no nutritional value. A few empty calories. That's about all, most of it. You're lucky if you even get calories in most of it. It's just, fortunately, they have to put a lot of sugar in it for it to please your taste. You at least get some calories with some poison called sugar. And that's it. If we told people to eat the way we tell people to live their lives, I think we would be irresponsible murderers.
And no way I would tell a human being who is conditioned, ``Do what makes you happy.'' I know what makes them happy. Pursuing pleasure until it kills them and avoiding pain at any cost, even if it kills them.
I have a tendency to work with the people who have done that until it finally destroys their bodies and they come to me and say, ``Nobody else can take care of this body. Can you?''
``Well, I don't know. You've sort of beat it up at this point, but we'll see what we can do. But I'll tell you one thing. You can't go on living the way you are, because that's what got you here. You can't keep the lifestyle you've got and have somebody heal that body. No way. That's what got it into that mess.'' Okay?
I don't see that as a responsible act -- do what makes you happy. I think everybody's doing that and look where it's getting them. Do they look happy? Sometimes. I think we need to do what's intelligent.
Back from the first hour -- do you find that less pain and more pleasure come your way as you work less against reality and just cooperate with it more as you get lazier?
I didn't say I never made any attempt to, really -- you misunderstand. I don't give a damn about those things that much. They're just part of experience. I've never made any effort to even notice, okay?
So you haven't observed any difference?
But then I haven't been looking for it,
either. That's what I'm saying. It's not that big a deal, so I don't
exactly go out of my way trying to find that out. So I honestly don't know.
I'd have to really consider that for a while, or I'd just be giving you
something off the top of my head, because I haven't made any effort to find
out, okay? It doesn't interest me. It's not the point of this life any more. So
I never pursued it.
The thing that I certainly have noticed is there's a whole lot less pain. That would be hard not to notice, okay? Whether there's more pleasure or not I can't honestly tell you because I haven't paid that much attention.
But you have noticed there's less pain?
Well, yes, since most of my pain before was self-generated.
I'd be shocked if that wasn't the case. It's
the truth, you know. The great bulk of your pain you create yourself. You put
yourself into horrible circumstances. You say, ``Nobody can ever say this to
me.'' Well, that's like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
``Don't say this to me!''
That's not exactly intelligent, is it? You say to people, ``If you really want to hurt me, do this. So don't do that.'' And that's fine until they get upset with you, eh?
But how many times have you done that, huh? ``Oh, I really trust you. Let me tell you my innermost feelings and fears and secrets.'' And then a few weeks later, you know, they're really mad at you and they pull one of those out and they use it. Well, hell, you handed them the weapon. How can you blame them? Because they used it? Like you've never done the same, eh?
That's obvious stuff, okay? And then there's the whole thing about resisting pain makes it last longer. It is really, really remarkable how much of the pain that we experience in life is self-generated.
And you want to hear a really tasteless joke?
Okay. ``Most of the pain that you experience
in your life comes from your efforts to avoid pain.'' Now isn't that the most
miserable thing? You check that out. You start keeping track of your little,
you know, hurts throughout the next few weeks, and you see how many of them
wouldn't have happened if you hadn't been avoiding some other hurt when that
one came up.
So that I can tell you for a certainty, okay? There's a whole lot less pain when you stop avoiding it. Just because most of it you made up yourself by trying to avoid pain. Okay? Whether there's any more pleasure or not I'm really not certain.
I'm having some conflict on, ``The worst thing you can do for someone is to tell them to do what makes them happy.''
I didn't say it was the worst thing. I just said it was one of the most irresponsible things I've ever heard.
I don't know if it's the worst thing, okay?
And that really rings true for me. And conflict is, as I immediately recall that Joseph Campbell statement ...
Yes, ``Follow your bliss!''
Now there's an irresponsible man for you. And
you know what the great joke is? He wouldn't even try his own recipe. Did you
know that? He didn't do it. He just went around recommending everybody else do
I saw his interview with Bill Moyers, I think it was. You know, the intellectual that shows up on public TV. I saw it, and he said to him, ``Did you ever do any of that stuff you wrote about?'' And he said, ``Hell, no.''
So, yeah, I know about Joseph Campbell. What about him?
Well, I'm not sure how far I want to go with this any more. Yeah, okay, I did -- I'm beginning to see. I'll go ahead and say this, though.
Sure, it works better then not saying it.
Yeah, okay. I did architecture for a long time, and it was a very happy feeling to see something come up that I thought came out of my head, or at least I put out parts of stuff that I had gathered.
You don't have to get that technical about it. I know it feels -- that there's a feeling of satisfaction in making something. There sure is.
And you know, there's a certain measure of contribution in doing that -- to the world, to others.
So -- now wait a minute, folks. This I got to ask you about.
So what wouldn't be a contribution to others? What job that a person does would not be a contribution to others? So that part I don't get. Of course --
Unless, you know -- [inaudible]. Selling dope, I guess. Like --
Why is that not a contribution? Help them
destroy themselves until they wake up one day and say, ``Oh, god, I'm not doing
this any more!'' Okay. I'll get over just getting your attention with
callousness, okay? Look, people need that kind of stuff for a while, to save
their life. So I don't see how that's not a contribution. Okay? Selling guns
illegally. How is that not a contribution? It raises the violence level here
on planet Earth until some people look for the Teaching as a way out. I
actually see that as a great contribution.
So I fail to see what job exactly a person could have that isn't making a contribution of some kind, okay? Besides, we're not talking about difficult things like that. That judgment happens all the time about a lot less horrid things than selling drugs and weapons.
So, yeah, you got a sense of satisfaction out of making something. That's understandable. We all do. And you got a sense of satisfaction because your contribution fit your ideal. Well, that's a little more questionable, okay, because now you're opening yourself up to what happens when it doesn't fit your ideal.
Yeah, so let me just get right to the crux of the matter.
I'm in the middle of a number five.
The job I've got -- this job is not giving me what I want. The way I'm living my life is not giving me what I want. If I changed all of this and I lived by seventh decision, which today I find is probably not the right way to go, either, then everything's going to be okay.
I fail to see how everything is going to be okay when you're looking --
-- when you're looking for satisfaction in something outside of you.
Nothing lasts forever in the physical world. Even if you find something that does it for today, it won't do it in a few months or a few years, and then what the hell are you going to do?
We actually have a saying around here. (Boy,
we have a saying for everything, don't we?) That ``those who live to get, live
If you're always looking for satisfaction outside of yourself, you live in a very empty, desolate place. Okay? Your life is a struggle because you got to arrange exactly the right circumstances to have that wonderful feeling, and you become dependent on the source of it. Its miserable. And every time you look around, you say, ``Oh, something is missing. It's not quite there yet.''
Now you can look back in your fear of future pain about what a mess you've made of things and how it's going to be worse tomorrow, and say, ``It was really great then.''
But now let's really remember then. Weren't you really living in lack even then?
You had some things that you don't have now, so you think it was better. But at the time, weren't you busy thinking about the things you didn't have?
So what the hell's the difference? You were
still living in lack. All right?
Do it on the inside and let it radiate out, and then you will live in that which you radiate, which is another old saying we have, okay? ``I live in that which I radiate.'' So be a sun, not a black hole.
I live in that which I radiate?
That's correct. Just like the sun. The sun
lives in empty space in the midst of absolutely nothing for millions of miles,
but because it radiates light, it lives in light. Isn't that correct? In a
place where there is no light.
So you can go on living to get, and what happens is you collapse in on yourself and turn into a black hole. Sucks everything in and gives nothing out. Sometimes I call those vampires.
Or you can be like the sun and you can just radiate everything outward, and that's what you'll live in. You will actually create your own environment to live in. You don't live to get any more. You don't live in lack.
If you want a good feeling, don't look for it outside of yourself. Just make a good feeling and let it go out of you. Radiate that good feeling out of you, and everywhere you go, you will be in that good feeling. That's the way it works.
If you wait for somebody else to give you the good feeling, or for the right job to give you the good feeling, or for the right mate to give you the good feeling, or for the right location to give you the good feeling, or the right whatever to give you the good feeling, you'll live in lack. You'll find that good feeling somewhere, and then you'll look around and say, ``Everything is missing while I still don't have this.''
So an alternative to living to get is to live in what I radiate, which I do whether I like it or not. Okay?
Whether I like this little saying or not, that is the way it works. I live in that which I radiate. And what a human being radiates is their mood. Isn't that right?
So if you're in a really foul mood, guess what? Everybody knows it because you're polluting the environment right now, aren't you? It would be interesting if we had laws against that kind of pollution. That's environmental pollution if you ask me.
``Could you like stop filling the room up with junk, with smuck?'' Okay?
That what you live in is what you radiate. Whether you like it or not, it's a fact. And what a human being radiates first and foremost is the mood that they're in. Okay?
So if you're in a good mood, you radiate a good mood and everybody knows you're in a good mood. And they may or may not like you, but they know.
If you're in a foul mood, you radiate a foul mood and that's what you live in. And everybody knows it and they treat you accordingly.
Not too long ago, I went to have a battery put back into this watch. And as I walked up to the lady behind the counter where I usually go to get the batteries for the watch, you could just see her putting on the suit of armor. She could tell that myself and the lady I was with were going towards her, and you could just see her putting on a suit of armor.
``Oh, god, it's another one of those customers! They're going to be unhappy nobody what I could do.''
You could just see it. She was girding her loins for battle.
And I just kept walking up there while I was watching this, actually kind of getting a kick out of it inside. I thought it was pretty amusing, smiling and laughing with the lady that I was with.
And I went up and said, ``I'd like to have a new battery put in this watch. It's not working too good right now.''
And she sort of got, somewhere about three feet away as we were walking up, I was not going to get upset with her. No matter what she did, I was not going to bitch. I wasn't going to complain. I was going to stay in the good mood that I was obviously in now. And you could just see her whole demeanor change as I finished walking up that three feet. And when I finally got there and asked for the battery, she said, ``Oh, sure, I'll be more that happy!'' Okay?
So tell me that you don't live in that which you radiate.
Now I know it doesn't work that way every time. Sometimes you get somebody who just isn't going to be in a good mood no matter what you do, okay? I know that.
But I also know from very practical day to day experience, that if you walk around in a pleasant mood, people tend to go along with you. They'd just as soon be in a good mood, too, you know, most of the time. Except for a few of them who just want to feel miserable. They're not going to go along with it. In fact, they'll get ticked at you sometimes because you're in such a great mood. Okay?
I live in that which I radiate. That's the way it works.
There's hell to pay.
That usually comes from resisting
Any other questions or comments? It's probably about enough for one little session.
What it will take for you to see that there is no amount of self-improvement you can do to turn the world into a place that is utterly perfect and never has pain in it for you, I don't know. But that's called the Work. Getting to the point where you catch on -- ``I can't do this. I cannot live in a perfectly lovely world where nothing ever happens that upsets me.'' It's impossible.
And I just say, ``I'm going to live in the world that is.'' And it is a world that includes many, many wonderful things, and a whole lot of junk that I don't care a damn about. And a few things that I, you know, I'd prefer they weren't there. But they are. All right?
Now I could sort of wish that X would come up with a better way of telling me that I'm being stupid than stabbing me in the butt, okay? It is kind of an annoying thing that when you do something really dumb, what happens is you get hurt to tell you how dumb it is, all right?
But that's the way He did things. I honestly can't come up with a better plan. It does get your attention. You put your hand in fire, you sort of get really fast that that's not a good idea. Isn't that right? It works, and I'm not sure I can think of a method that works any better.
I mean, as obstinate as I am, if you didn't hurt me I think I'd do it out of sheer orneriness. So it might work for all the good folks in the world, but what about us obstreperous, ornery people? You know, you tell them, ``Don't stick your hand in the fire,'' and that's the next thing they do. That's the way I was when I was a kid.
My mom said, ``Don't put your hand in the fire.''
And I said, ``Why not?''
And she said, ``Well, it's not good for you.''
``But it's pretty.''
And she said, ``Just don't do it.''
So, of course, the minute she turned her back, I stuck my hand in the fire, and, ``Eeeeeeoooowwww!!!'' And she turned around and said, ``I told you not to do that.''
Well, I didn't do it again. Not on purpose. We didn't need rules about that.
So that's really all pain is, folks. It's just Life's way of telling you you're destroying yourself. What, you don't want to know? As a dear friend of mine always used to say, ``So you would prefer to find out that you are burning your hand up when you start smelling meat cooking and you look down and you see a skeletal hand sitting there? That would be your preferred method, eh? Smelling dinner and finding out it's really your own hand.''
Because that's kind of the way it works, huh? Pain is Life telling you you're doing something that isn't good for you, most of the time. Now it ain't perfect. Anything in the physical world of sensations ain't perfect. But basically that's all it is. It's just saying, ``This isn't good for you. I'd knock it off if I were you.''
Why don't you want to know that? When you get rid of all the emotional garbage around it and you just say, ``Thank you for telling me,'' it's no big deal.
So we go back to the little rejection thing, which I certainly agree hurts. I don't particularly enjoy the sensation of being rejected. And I think X kind of designed it that way on purpose, okay? Because when somebody rejects me, it hurts and I want to go away. Well, wasn't that the whole damn point?
So what? You care about this person, so you want to stay and inflict your hideous self on them until they're absolutely miserable? That's your plan?
Don't you think it's kind of nice being told, ``You know, you really make my life a living hell.''
``Oh, well thank you for telling me. I am going now.''
That's really the only realistic point of view, isn't it? I don't want to stay here and inflict misery on you. I do need to be told. Isn't that true? What, am I supposed to wait until you go crazy and murder me in my sleep or something?
No, I think I'd prefer you just say, ``Would you please leave now?''
It hurts, but it is information, isn't it? It's information that says, ``This person doesn't want you to be here.''
Well, I like knowing that. And if I really care about them like people say they do, I don't want to inflict suffering on someone I care about, especially. So I'm glad they told me, because out of my caring for you, I'm going to be gone faster than you can blink an eye.
That's the only thing that makes sense to me. All this nonsense about saying, ``Oh, they were the love of my life. Now what am I going to do?'' How much can you love them when you're willing to inflict pain and suffering on them constantly by your mere presence?
I don't know why that's true, that I'm that obnoxious to them. But I do appreciate them telling me, okay? Maybe we can have a different relationship and it will work out. Maybe it's just that relationship that don't work for them. Maybe I can't see them any more.
All of these things; all pains are information of some kind. Except we don't listen because we can't experience that pain. We've made all of life about trying to stop pain from happening instead of just hearing it and saying, ``Okay, thanks for telling me.''
It's really insane when you think about it. It is an insane thing to do, to make somebody telling you something (in this case, Life, with some pain, okay?) into a big fucking issue.
It's just part of life. There are a lot more interesting things to do here that worry about whether or not you got pleasure or pain right this moment. That's one small aspect of life.
Maybe you don't see it this way, but I got to tell you, in these eyes from this particular point of view, a life that is spent on the pursuit of pleasure is about as trivial as anything I can imagine. It is demeaning, trivial, and makes a joke out of my very existence. I just cannot see anything other than triviality in that. If that's all that life is, then it's a joke. There's got to be something more than that.
I'm not saying that's bad. That's a part of life, and it is a very neat part of life. But I can't believe that's it.
And that's another thing I suspect you'll find out if you ask folks around here, is that everybody has a sense that there must be something more that they missed if they show up here, okay?
Well, it's true, okay? There is something more. There's something more to life than pleasure and pain. Find out what it is and do that, too, in addition to pleasure and pain.
And life is very rewarding. I don't know if you'll get that fulfillment you're looking for, okay, but it is quite rewarding. All right? It really is not very rewarding when you're just living to get pleasure.
Even in those moments when people look back and regret -- well, I really had it good then; I didn't know how good I had it -- well, that's exactly right. But back then, you didn't think it was so good. You will still trying to get what you didn't have.
We don't look at that part, do we? But it's true.
Back then I thought there was still stuff I needed. Now that I have even less, I realize how well I had it off then, you see?
Well, you know, in a couple of more years you'll have even more than what you had then. You don't know. And all this pining will be just as ridiculous as the pining from a few years ago, okay?
Live now with everything. Be responsible for your own inner state. You pick the mood you want to be in. Radiate it and see where Life takes you. It may be something even better than what you had before, okay?
Any other questions or comments? Time for a break.
Is pleasure the same as joy?
No. Pleasure is a state of the senses.
It's sensation? So a trivial life, as pursuing pleasure, is a life of pleasant sensation?
Yes. Sensations are all the physical five
senses, okay? Attention, approval, and a feeling of importance or being in
control, those are sensory things. Sensory pleasures.
There's the physical senses, which you know. I don't need to list those. Everybody knows those. The sense that comes with having a mind, which is called getting attention, that's a wonderful thing. There is a pleasure in that of getting attention. Isn't that correct? Especially favorable attention, but sometimes any attention will do. And there's a great pain in being rejected on the mental level.
On the emotional level, there's this thing called approval or liking that we experience as a tremendous physical pleasure, don't we? And being disapproved of or not liked really is very unpleasant to experience, and it's a physical sensation.
And we abuse the hell out of the part of us that could have loved, and trivialize it into imagining we're in control and pretending we're important. And there's a pleasure in that. And feeling out of control or insignificant or inferior or unimportant is a very unpleasant experience on a physical level.
And being worried about whether or not you're important and in control, or unimportant or insignificant or inferior, means you will never find out what love is because you can't use that particular part of you for both things at the same time. It will either toy around with self-importance or it will love. But it won't do both at the same time. Until a person leaves off the whole quest for power and self-importance, they will never know what love is.
That's a well-known fact. It's been known for a very long time that you really will never know what it means to love until you stop wanting power. There are a lot of things you can't do while you're still farting around with power.
Those are physical sensations, okay?
Joy is a state of being. It is not dependent on a sensation. I can be in a joyful state of being if you're torturing me to death. I can be in a joyful state of being if I'm stuck out in the middle of nowhere starving. And I can be in a joyful state of being if I'm a sultan surrounded by hoaries in paradise, okay? It's not dependent on the senses. It's a state of being.
We have to distinguish between states of being and states of the senses. We have words for both and they're not the same, okay?
I like to remind people that the word enjoy is misunderstood. Because we have no experience with a proper way of living, so to speak, we see the word enjoy and we say, ``I will take enjoyment out of things,'' because we think in terms of living to get. So I get joy from a thing and I say, ``I'm enjoy-ing it.''
But I think the word means to put joy into. And it would be more proper to say, ``I do this in or with joy.'' And that's what the word enjoy means, doesn't it? It doesn't mean I'm taking joy out of this, although I suppose you can do that if you like. It might work a lot better if you put joy into it. Then you might be able to do it anytime, any place, anywhere.
If you can only do it when joy's sitting there to take out of it, you get to live in lack most of the time, huh? But if you see it as ``I do this in joy,'' the joy comes from me and I put it into what I'm doing. I can do it anytime, any place, anywhere under any circumstances. Okay? I'm producing the joy. It's a state of being.
Any other questions or comments? Let's take a break.
Okay, let's consider an interesting idea,
that perhaps there are a couple states of existence that I could find myself
in on planet Earth. One of them I think we know quite well. The other one I
suspect we think is something you got to wait for and get somewhere else.
Isn't that about right?
Interestingly enough, another way of putting this that might be a little bit more understandable, is that one of them is called a state of love and the other one is a state of fear. That's the choice I have here on planet Earth, isn't it? I can live in a state of love or I can live in a state of fear. It doesn't seem to be that you can do both of those at the same time. It's either one or the other.
Most of the things that we have experienced so far, thanks to this lovely idea that life should be pleasant to me all the time but isn't, is fear. And our lives are this continuous effort to fix things so I won't be afraid any more.
Here's this drawn out as a map, okay? You can go all the way to the bottom of the map, and what's on the other side of this one, I don't know. I only know from here on up, okay, because the bottom of the map is death. And I don't know what happens if you go on the other side of that map, all right? That's at the bottom of hell. When hell finally beats you up to the point where you can't take it no more, you die.
Now that's one way to get to death. Wait
until the body wears out from being beat up by living in hell for so long,
until it just can't support life any more, and slip on out and go wherever that
takes you, okay?
A little bit above that is a lovely state of existence called the coma. Now there's a couple of ways that you can get into a coma, I've noticed. One is through physical trauma, sometimes psychological trauma. Another one is from just being a little bit worn out. And then we don't call it a coma any more. We call it sleep. Isn't that right?
So this is something that we've all visited to some degree or another. Most of the time we call it sleep. It's not. It's a special kind of coma.
Now when you get out of your little coma, you come into a lovely state of existence that's just barely out of a coma called apathy, which is the fear that I will never be able to make things better.
And most people, this is how they die, isn't it? As they get older, they get more and more apathetic, until finally they slip down into a coma and they drop on out of existence. I've known very few old people who aren't living in apathy.
It's interesting if you stay in apathy too long. It does weird things to the body, doesn't it? Skin color turns sort of grayish, like there's no blood left in it, huh? Everything starts to hang.
An interesting thing is, that whatever state of fear you pick and live in for a period of time actually changes the body. You adapt to that particular level of energy, because that's really what we're talking about here, okay? How much energy is available to you to live? And so far we've gotten to a point of almost none.
In apathy, you don't have much energy to do anything, huh? You stay there very long and you have trouble getting out of bed. ``It just don't seem to be worth the effort after all. It won't get better out there. It's probably better in here in bed, or at least just as bad, so why bother?''
And you live in that for very long, you adapt to it. So if you really want to see what apathy looks like, go visit an old folks' home and you'll see what it looks like, okay? Or just sit around feeling sorry for yourself for a few days and you'll see what it looks like on a younger body.
It don't look much different. Pretty soon your skin starts going gray and you hold up your arms and everything just dangles off of it. You lose your muscle tone. And you spend most of your time -- your biggest expression in life is -- [speaker inhales and exhales slowly while sighing]. I've noticed people in apathy do a lot of sighing, don't they? [Speaker sighs again] And they have a favorite phrase: ``What's the use? Why even bother?''
Now this is an advanced state of fear, isn't it? ``Whatever I do, I'm afraid that it will not work, so I'm not even going to try.'' We often call this state these days depression or self-pity, although technically its general name is apathy, okay? ``Nothing that I do will make things better.''
So this is the real slums of hell. You're welcome to spend some time here. I know people who like to take a vacation in lovely Apathyville every now and again. I'm not clear exactly what you do there. Sit around and look at all the other apathetic people, I guess. Doesn't sound like a hot spot, but a lot of people use it for vacations.
And a little bit above that, we come to the word itself -- fear. Now I have a little bit more energy. I still can't do much, though, because I'm terrified that anything I do will end up hurting me. And somebody won't like it and they'll hurt me.
Now this is another little place I can live in if I want to, or I can visit it occasionally, okay? Still almost no energy to get anything done. In fact, real fear -- not the little startles and stuff that people talk about and call fear -- but real fear is paralyzing. You can't do anything when you're in fear. You just sit and stare at the thing that you're absolutely certain is going to cause you a tremendous amount of pain shortly; frozen, unable to do anything but imagine how bad it is going to be.
Oh, you are very good at imagining things in fear, aren't you? Just build up these whole pictures of all the calamities that are about to fall. ``Why, there's probably going to be a drought. And then shortly after that when I'm just about to starve to death, there will be a great flood that will come along and take everything away from me.'' The most ridiculous thing that people do while they're in fear is just paint these horrible pictures of what's going to happen next.
Anybody here spend any time in fear? You know what I'm talking about here, okay?
And again, people adapt to this after a while. If you live in fear habitually, you eventually adapt to it and the body don't work too good because it has almost no energy to function with. And you live there too long and things start falling apart. It means you're on your way to apathy shortly, okay?
In some places, this is called the tone scale. That is, the degree of energy that is available to you to live and vibrate and radiate with. And so far we're still at almost none.
In real fear, I spend most of my time just paralyzed. I can't do a thing. Only, instead of it being because it wouldn't be worth it because it won't make things better, now it's because I know I'll be punished or hurt for whatever I do. But I'm still paralyzed.
We talk about this all the time and say, ``Don't live here.'' It's your choice, you know. It's just suggestions.
Thoughts come into your mind. They get you to be afraid of a particular thing and you move to the state of being that is equivalent to that. You have that much energy available to you. You have the behavior that goes along with that particular state of being. All because of a suggestion that you haven't looked at and said, ``Oh, pooh, I ain't doing that.''
But we believe that these things happen to us, that I have no control over it whatsoever. But if you catch the suggestion that says, ``Well, what if the house falls down?''
Okay, you buy that suggestion. ``I should start worrying that the house is going to fall down.'' You're going to be in fear pretty shortly, all right?
Or you could say, ``Well, what if it does? Guess I'll have to move, eh?'' And now you don't got to go to fear, do you? You don't have to sit there and worry about, ``What if the house falls down?''
``Well, what if they don't give me the promotion? What if they don't like me? What if they don't want to marry me?'' Well, what if? I guess you'll get through it, huh?
You don't have to buy the suggestion to sit and think about it and think about it and think about it and think about it and think about it and think about just howpainful it's going to be, do you? Until finally you move in and make yourself at home in this slum. Okay?
You could be aware of this going on all the time -- the suggestion to experience these various degrees of fear -- and say, ``I'm a human being. I don't want to do this.''
Now there's a novel thought, isn't it? ``I don't want to.'' That's not something that we consider very often, is it? ``I don't want to do this. I don't want to be afraid right now.''
You could do that, you know. You could look at the suggestion that you be afraid -- you be afraid of this latest disease; you be afraid of this latest water; you be afraid of this latest whatever it is -- you could look at that and say, ``I don't want to.''
``But what if? What if you decide you don't want to and it really happens.'' Well, I guess you're screwed.
Or, maybe you'll deal with it. There's another novel though, huh? Maybe you'll deal with it.
But I could look at these things that make up my daily life -- We'll finish the list in a moment. I just want to pause here for a second and say, you could look at these things and say, ``But I don't want to. I don't want to feel sorry for myself right now. I'm not good at it. What do you think of that?''
And so, we get the suggestion every now and again, ``Well, don't you think it's good to parade your feelings around and show everybody?''
No, not particularly. I don't even want to have them in the first place. Why would I want to show it to you?
I mean, yeah, okay, showing people your feelings, I have no problems with that. That makes sense to me. But why would I want to show them that? You understand? Why would I want to show you that?
Now, on occasion, maybe I get suckered into one of these, but I don't know that that's what I want to share with you. I'm just going to work really hard to see the illusion in it. And I think that's my job. Not to shove it all over you and ask for help, okay?
We actually say that it is kind of expected of someone who decides to take this thing seriously and really work with it, that they resist the expression of these emotions that we're describing here. Okay?
Your job is to see them as an illusion so you don't have to live in them for the rest of your life. Why the hell would you want to express them as though they're real if you're trying to see them as an illusion?
Try and see what the game is with each of these emotions, because all of them, as well as being a degree of fear of one sort or another, are also about controlling existence so it stops disturbing you. And it's up to you to observe until you realize that each one of these emotional states that we get into is an attempt to control things.
Has nothing to do with being free to experience anything that comes my way today, like a reasonable human being. It has to do with, ``I don't want to experience this and I'm going to stop it. And my method of choice is an emotion.'' Which works really good, doesn't it? It's just all a bunch of illusions, and it's a terrible place to live, isn't it?
Maybe our job is not to do the psychologically right thing and tell everyone where you got that stain on your underwear -- well, that's what they called it when I was a kid, showing people your dirty laundry. Today, it's psychologically right. You should show people your dirty laundry. In fact, you should explain to them how you got that stain and how you're going to clean it. What detergent you're going to use. What washing machine will work best on that stain.
So, what was sort of like a socially unacceptable act when I was a kid, has now become a duty. An obligation. Tell everyone how you're going to clean your dirty laundry.
No, thank you. I know I have dirty laundry, but I just want to clean it and wear it again when it's clean, okay? And I don't think it's your duty and obligation to listen to my plans to get rid of my dirty laundry, okay?
Now, can we hear this idea of the Teaching that says -- rather than expressing these horrible states of being (I didn't say rather than experiencing them; I said rather than expressing them) -- can we try to see them as an illusion brought on by suggestion? Something suggested that there was a terrible fate going to happen tomorrow, and I went into fear.
Now, I did not have to do that. I didn't have to buy the suggestion. Okay? I did not have to do that.
This is a true story. You're not going to believe it. But it is actually a true story.
I do make up stories. I'll admit it. Sometimes I just make them up, but this one really happened. You see, I don't have to make up most of the stories because people tell me the weirdest things.
But somebody called me one day in a panic. Almost -- their voice just -- they were so choked from fear that they could hardly tell me what had happened. And they had pulled off the side of the freeway and looked for a phone booth to call me because they had just heard on the radio that a meteor was headed for Earth and was going to destroy all life on planet Earth! And it had monsters on it. It was secretly being guided by aliens who were on the other side of the meteor who wanted to destroy all life on planet Earth.
Well, that's the part that kind of gave it away to me that this was just a joke, okay? Now, all right, maybe somebody saw a meteor that's about to arrive. I kind of wonder why they missed it. You know, this was supposed to be going to happen in a couple months. I know there are people that stare out there watching for things like that. Sort of wonder why we only got two months notice. That kind of clued me off this was a little goofy, huh? It don't fit the picture of reality I have. But the aliens guiding it? That was a bit much. Possible, but not too likely.
But this person was in a sheer state of panic and called me up. ``Oh, great authority, is it true?'' How the hell should I know? But, you know, I had to assure them that I was absolutely certain that I would know if there were a meteor headed for the planet Earth, and nobody had notified me, so it must be wrong.
You may think that's goofy, but that's what I did. I told them I'm sure that I would have been notified in the event of a [speaker and audience break into laughter] and I would have told you all to evacuate, so just calm down. There's no meteor there.
Now, I don't know. Maybe there was, and she was going to go off in a puff of smoke in a few months, all right? I was lying through my teeth.
You know, isn't that sort of the way it goes? This is a dramatic case. It's true. But it's a dramatic case, all right?
But it all works that way. Somebody tells you a suggestion. You buy it as God's own truth, and then you have to pull off on the side of the road and worry about it for a few weeks.
I did tell her, ``You know, if it's true, I wouldn't be doing what you're doing. I'd be getting in a few last licks of living. I wouldn't be sitting on the side of the road calling somebody in panic. If it's true, I don't know what the hell you're going to do about it. Why not, hey, let's all have a party, huh? Go out in style!'' What a weird response if it had been a true event, huh?
``I know, I'll pull off on the side of the road and I'll panic!''
There's nothing about that that makes sense, is there? Well, it's just as ridiculous when you do it with things that you think are normal. Now how is panicking going to solve the situation exactly, huh?
I get a kick every time I'm in a place where something could actually happen, and you see those little signs that say, ``In the event of an emergency, don't panic.'' Well, believe me, I wasn't planning on it. What a goofy concept. But I can understand why they put that, because that is going to be the first response, huh?
Well, that's how to deal with a real emergency, isn't it? Panic. Run around like a chicken with your head cut off. It'll go away. It's the fate of chickens with their heads cut off.
You can't respond to anything in that state. Do you understand that? All these states of being down here result in what we call inadequate response, which is the source of all distress in a human being.
[Tape froze. About 10 seconds lost]
with fear, huh? Well, maybe if I think about
it long enough and it's far enough in the future, I can come up with a plan
that'll get me out of this mess.
How many times has that worked for you? You've done it enough times, haven't you? Worried about something. You're going to come with the perfect plan that will fix it.
And all the times you've done that, how many times did you come up with a plan, act it out, and it averted the emergency? What percentage is it of the number of times you've done it, the times it actually worked? Talk about
[Tape froze again and was replaced. About 30 seconds lost.]
It hurt two hours ago. What's another one?
I'll deal with it when it comes. You don't need to warn me. That might result
in adequate response, eh?
I don't think this is going to work -- going into emotional states. It's our job to check this out and look into a lot more things than I can talk about in an hour, okay?
And see this is just an illusion, that living in this horrible state of alternating between these various things we're going to put up there is going to make my life better. And then I won't have pain any more and I'll have, oh, so wonderful things happen. It is a ridiculous idea. I'm not doing it no more.
You suggest to me that there is a reason for me to feel sorry for myself and I'll say, ``Screw you. You don't like me very much, do you?''
That ever happen to you in your life? Somebody comes up and says, ``You're really picked on. You should feel sorry for yourself. They don't treat you very well, do they?''
``Why, who are you? Satan? You just hate me today? You want to see just how miserable you can get me? Go away! I don't want to feel sorry for myself, all right? Even if I agree with you, do you think I haven't noticed? I'll deal with it my way.''
``Well, I care about you. I just wanted to point it out. You're being taken advantage of here.''
``That's okay. I'll find out my own way, all right?''
Now, people do. They spend a lot of time telling you what you should be afraid of. I get it all the time because of this. You know, the smoking.
``Well, aren't you afraid?''
``Yeah, don't you see? I'm just quivering in fear every time I light one up every three minutes.''
``I'm just trying to help you out here. You know it's going to kill you.''
``Oh, thanks! A little bit more help like that, I'll just be dead.''
Not to mention all the stuff that comes from the inside, huh? But it's really in right now to scare the living daylights out of people threats of diseases, eh? And every time you turn around, somebody's scaring you with another lifestyle issue. (We don't have problems any more. We don't have things to do any more. We have issues. I need to remember to use the in word now. Issues.)
Then a little bit above this is a wonderful place that is technically called held resentment, but the common word for it is hatred. I'm really getting up there now. Boy, I can almost actually do things now. I got so much energy. Unfortunately, I use most of it thinking about all the terrible, horrible things I'm going to do to people, fantasizing in my head how I'm going to get back at them one day. ``One day I'll show them.''
It's not only terrible things. You might do something so spectacular that they'll all feel bad because they made you look bad 20 years ago.
``I'll show them one day. I'll do something so grand that they'll admit -- they will come to me and they will beg on their knees for forgiveness because they want the glory of my company, you see.''
Like those thoughts? I'm reading them right now. Those aren't mine. But that's one of the things.
And the other one is, you think about all the terrible things you're going to do to pay them back You imagine horrible torture sessions in dungeons with these terrible people who have betrayed you. You imagine how you are going to put them in terrible, embarrassing situations, and then laugh as they get upset. And that's where most of your energy goes, into this bizarre inner life of dreaming of what you're going to do to get even with all these people who mistreated you.
Now the interesting thing about held resentment is that it's called that because it says, ``I'm really, really angry at you. But I'm not far enough up that I can get mad. I don't have enough energy for that.'' So what happens instead is that I'm terrified that if I show you how mad I am at you, you'll beat the living daylights out of me because you're more powerful than I am.
So I hold it all inside and it becomes hatred. But what it really is is just anger. ``I'm angry at you because you treated me bad. And I'm terrified that you're going to do it again because you're obviously very powerful. More powerful than I am.''
But I'm starting to feel a little powerful in my life, so I imagine that I will do something about it some day, and then it'll all be okay and I won't have to be afraid any more.
Now that's another one that you hear people quite happily publicly air, is all their hatreds, huh? ``I hate this, I hate that, I hate the other thing.'' It's an amazing thing that it's just perfectly socially acceptable for you to walk around and say what an unloving asshole you are.
``Why, I haven't loved anything in 20 years!''
``Good. Good for you.''
That's what we're saying here, isn't it? ``I just live in fear.''
And that's perfectly acceptable to tell everyone how you're so afraid that you can't love. It's a hoot, huh?
Now me, I kind of prefer to see this as an illusion. Yeah, people do things I don't like sometimes. That is true. Did they do it to mistreat me? Probably not. An awful lot of the time I don't think they even know I'm here.
You know that? A lot of the terrible things people do to you, I think a lot of them, they don't even know you're there. You've never been so preoccupied that you didn't even notice other people that you were mistreating? I have.
Somebody says ``Ouch!'' as you just stamp all over their feet, and you say, ``Oh, didn't even know you were there.''
Why, I think it happens in the emotional
stuff, too. People just get so caught up in their own little inner drama,
their own inner fears that they're not dealing with. They're not really
mistreating you. You just happened to be there while they act out some drama
they're going through, okay, that you can't even see because it's inside
All right, maybe on occasion somebody did it actually to me. I still don't know that they're mistreating me. I think they're just trying to tell me they don't like having me around. Time to go. Okay?
I'm not a victim. I don't have to stick around for it. It might be mistreatment for about three seconds. The minute I stick around for it, it ain't mistreatment no more. It's more like masochism now, isn't it? I didn't have to stay here and let you do it.
It's another one of a friend of mine's down-home sayings. He used to like to tell people you can't stop a bird from landing on your head, you know. But you don't have to let it build a nest there. You still have arms left, don't you? You can shoo it away.
Above this is anger. Folks don't believe that's fear, but it is. I find it difficult to understand how I could get angry with you if I weren't afraid you were going to hurt me, or afraid that I couldn't stop you if you do it again since you already have.
It just has a lot more energy to it, doesn't it? We're now starting to get to somebody who's actually what they call functional. They can really do things in life. People who get all the way up to anger as a primary way of living become functional, and they become great men of industry and science. They can really get something done now. They got some energy, okay? All they have to do is run over everybody in their way to get it done. And they're so ticked off all the time. But we are starting to get a little bit of energy.
Interesting way to do it, isn't it? That's another conversation I've had many times. Somebody says to me, ``Well, how am I going to tell them if I don't get mad?''
``You can't do it without anger? You can't just walk up to them and say, `I don't like that.'?''
``No, I have to be really mad first.''
``Okay. That sounds a little weak to me, but okay.''
``No, I've got to be afraid to do it.''
``Okay. I'm not buying it.''
That's another suggestion that we can check out -- what am I trying to do when I buy the suggestion -- ``they did this to me and I got to scare the living daylights out of them to get them to stop''? What's going on there? Obviously about control, isn't it? A lot more than the other ones.
A lot of the ones down here are more about controlling me, by the way, since I'm such a mess-up, aren't they? And so is anger. I can get really righteously angry about me. What a miserable mess I am.
Obviously about control, isn't it? A little bit less obviously about fear. If I'm not afraid, I really have no need to do that.
On rare occasions, we get into a very high state of being above all of these, called boredom. Most people, that's a high state of being. That's about the highest state of existence they'll ever have. Boredom. Which, again, is about fear, isn't it? ``Nothing's going to interest me again. I am really afraid that it just isn't going to be interesting.''
But somebody who actually lives in boredom is very capable, as things go. And they don't have to beat the hell out of other people to get things done.
I haven't met too many people who actually live in boredom. A few. It's rare. But they're very capable people. They got a lot more energy than all the angry people in the world. They're much more capable of getting things done, if you can motivate them. Only bad thing is, they often just don't bother because it won't be interesting. Well, it's true.
The nice thing about getting up this high is that we're starting to be able to see things a little bit more accurately. We're getting enough energy that things might work a bit.
And one of the other essences of boredom is the realization that most people never have, except for a brief fleeting moment that makes no impression on them, even though they may think it occasionally. And they see it occasionally. It makes no real impression on them. And that is, ``No matter how much I get, it will never be enough.''
And you're starting to see the truth at this point. This game of pursuit of things that will make me happy will never work, because of a lovely thing called greed. It will never be enough. No matter how much I get, I will always want more or better or different.
And a person in boredom now has enough energy that they can actually see things a little bit more clearly. They're not quite as stuffed into the fear that distorts perception continuously. And they start to see, ``It will never, never be enough. My life is futile.''
If you can stay down below boredom, you don't catch on. ``Life is futile. It's never going to work. It's just a sick joke. After all, it's hell. What did you expect? A good time?''
You can get pleasure. Pain is unavoidable. That ain't the point. Maybe what would be interesting would be to have a rich inner life and not be dependent on something out here, okay?
Out here is wonderful. Don't misunderstand me. There are a lot of neat things out here, but I don't want to depend on it, because then I become enslaved by that which I depend on for my happiness.
So I just want to have a rich inner life. And then, whatever I do out here, I can add something neat to it instead of taking out of it all the time. You understand? That we really only live this life of getting because we're impoverished where it counts -- in the heart. So we have to take, take, take, take, take, take, take out of everything what we need.
We're not producers. That's understandable. In states of fear, what are you going to produce? Okay? About the only thing you can produce is your state. You don't have enough energy left hardly to live on, much less overproduce. See? So about all that we ever get out of you is the mood that you're in, and that's about that.
Above that is a state that again is very rare for most people in their lives -- although I have met a few folks who live here as a habit -- called contentment. And that's when you look at everything and you say, ``Eh, it's fine.''
Very rare moments of that in the life, eh? ``It's okay. What's wrong with it? Whatever it is, yeah, maybe a little disturbing. But it's all right. It will pass, you know.''
That's one of the things that people in contentment are aware of that most of us are not aware of. We still believe like little children that whatever is going on now will always be this way unless I do something about it, or unless someone does something about it, right? Nothing ever just goes away.
Well, that's the way little kids look at the world, eh? Most of us have never gotten past that really childish point of view that says, ``Whatever is true now will always be true.''
That's not been my experience. In fact, I just get such a kick out of pointing this out to people in the following manner: They come up to me and say, ``I really like this,'' and I say, ``Don't worry, it'll be gone tomorrow.''
You know, we're willing to buy that although we don't like being reminded of it. Isn't that right? ``Yeah, all the good in life don't last. It's only the bad things that live here forever!'' No, they all pass. Everything goes away.
Well, this is okay for now. It's okay for a while. I can be contented just the way things are. I know it's going to change. I'm perfectly capable of making any change that suits me. Or at least make an effort. I'm not always capable of doing it, but I'm free to do that, huh? Any change that suits me.
I'm a human being. That's what human beings do, is go around changing things. I'm free to do that, huh? If I don't like something, I can try and change it. I may or may not succeed at it, but I can try.
Contentment is a very powerful place. You can do just about anything you want while you're there. You have plenty of energy. It still has a little bit of fear in it, unfortunately. If you hang out there for very long, you start being afraid that one day it's going to change the other way and it will get bad again.
So people in contentment don't like things that rock the boat. ``Don't change it. I finally got it where I want it. Any change might be for the worse.''
Now there's still just that little element of fear in it, but not too bad. If you've got to live somewhere, I guess that's as good a place as any if you're going to stay in hell.
Above this little area in life, we get into something that no longer has to do with fear, okay, which you're more than welcome to live in just like you live in fear. All you got to do is watch and realize that these emotions that we go through are not justifiable, reasonable responses to events. They're based on the suggestion there is something to be afraid of -- either a reward, a pleasure will be taken away in the future or not given, or the promise of a threat, or a pain that you can't get rid of. That it's all about the suggestion, there is something to be afraid of.
And you don't have to buy it. You say, ``No, I will respond to the event rather than just dealing with these emotional states about it, okay? I'm going to do something about it if I can. And if I can't, I'll shrug my shoulders and say, 'Well, there you go. That's life. I can experience this, too.' ''
And then you may get into some states where you can discover what love is. Love is not something that just happens. It only occurs when someone is actively looking -- for themselves -- at life and not living by all the suggestions we've been given every moment of our life, that the whole point of life is to be happy and avoid pain.
Now when you start looking at things for yourself and seeing the way things are, you may discover some interesting things.
The first little state up here we call vital interest.
I'll never forget many years ago, I made a little aim. And the aim was that I was sick and tired (this is just background; it's not the aim), but I was sick and tired of living in various degrees of fear, and I was going to make an aim of always being at least contented. Okay? Whenever the state of being dropped below contentment, I was going to do whatever was necessary to get it back to contentment. That was what I was going to aim at, all right?
And so I set out to do that little aim and I discovered the damnedest thing. I could get into contentment really easy, but I couldn't stay there for very long. You know why? I kept getting interested in something and slipping up higher.
Every time I'd get into contentment, I'd sit there and I'd look and say, ``Well, everything -- ooh, look at that!'' And the next thing I knew, I was in vital interest.
But I never spent much time in contentment. It's a place to go to get back into heaven when I forget and go to hell. It's like the door. If I can get to contentment, I'm scot-free, okay? But I never spent much time there because something keeps getting my attention, and I look at it and say, ``That is really interesting. I wonder what that is?'' And the next thing you know, I'm not in contentment any more. I've slipped on up and went all the way in.
I do find that fascinating, setting that little aim: ``I will always be in at least contentment. Any time it slips below contentment, I'm going back to contentment.'' But I never got to stay there for very long. I kept finding interesting things to do.
Now that's vital interest, all right? It is looking at the world and just finding it the most fascinating place. Just like a little kid, you know. Everything is interesting. You look at it. You wonder what it is. You start playing with it to find out. You are full of life. It doesn't even occur to you to be afraid. You're too interested in everything.
And as far as I can see, that's the beginning of life. Everything below this is hardly living. Living in fear is not living at all.
And you never know. I may get so interested in
things one day that I actually see love. I see it going on all around me and I
understand what it is and start to live it myself, okay? Kind of tough to find
something you ain't even looking for down here because you already know what
it is. You know that love is that feeling of dependency you have on
``No, it's a feeling of dependency.''
That's not love.
You know that it's that feeling of: want to have sex. You have someone else. No, it's the feeling of wanting to have sex with someone else. That's not love. It's kind of like being in heat, isn't it? Any mammal kind of has that feeling. That's not love. It is a form of love, yes. But it's not the one we're talking about, okay? It's just wanting to make babies.
You go through it for a little while, okay, and then it goes away. Then you moan about wanting it back again. And you call that life.
We're not talking about that kind of love. We're talking about a kind of love that understands things and people and events. That sees purpose in them. Sees what they're for and can't blame them.
Because this is the way it is. I understand what this person at least believes they're doing. And I can see that from where they're sitting, it's the only reasonable thing to do. I wouldn't do any different if I were in those shoes. Okay?
It's not acceptance. It's not tolerance. It's, ``I understand. I see what it must be like from your point of view.'' That's a whole lot more than, ``Yeah, I can put up with it.'' Okay?
Maybe I can look for one brief instant out of your eyes and see what it must look like to you. I can't do that really, but I can get something like it and see that this is all you can do. There's nothing I can blame you for here, okay?
But I got to live in a bit of interest in things for a while to get to the point where I can see things like that. I got to at least be interested enough in you to maybe get a glimpse of what the world must seem like to you, okay?
That's a tough thing to do, isn't it? See what the world looks like from another perspective besides mine, which we all know is the one and only true perspective.
Folks who decide that they're going to live sort of hang out here at a minimum, okay? They spend most of their time in vital interest. They've got more than enough energy for any project they can possibly imagine. In fact, they wonder what they're going to do with the leftover every day, although something always comes along to take up.
That's never been a problem so far. Always something that comes along and takes up all that seemingly, ``Errr, I got too much energy today!'' Something comes along. Uses it up, okay? One little extra thing to do today. So folks who understand about living spend most of their time there in vital interest, with a few little sort of exploratory journeys upwards.
Now sometimes people decide to live higher than this, but it's tough. Because when you go too much higher than this, you got to almost relearn how to do things again, okay?
In vital interest you can still use the habits you got now to walk around and do stuff. The higher you go, the harder it is just to even get up and out of a chair. You sort of forget how to use these bodies. You sort of look at it and say, ``What the fuck is this?'' Excuse my