Copyright Notice: this work is Copyright © 1997 by inX.
All rights worldwide under copyright law are reserved to the author.
Should you wish to contact the author, you may do so at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a transcript of a workshop with a group who are studying the Science of Man's Conscious Self-Evolution in Los Angeles on August 3, 1997. No attempt has been made to modify the grammar -- it is transcribed as it happened -- only names have been removed.
There has been a pretty big effort to demonstrate
the necessity to replace vanity with the desire to learn.
Vanity is the desire to look good and to look right or in the
right at all times.
And it has been suggested repeatedly (if you consider what has been said here
for the last year) that one replace vanity with the desire to learn.
Isn't that pretty much what's been said over and over and over again around here? It really doesn't matter what you look like.
In fact, some effort has been made to do from the outside what you should be doing from the inside: humiliate the hell out of you. Which would not be a necessary effort if you were making efforts to replace vanity. That would be totally unnecessary, if you would experience humility without the need for humiliation.
Because if one decided that they wanted to learn, they would have to admit that the very basis of vanity is wrong. Because it says, ``I know,'' and ``I know what's right,'' and ``I know what ought to be,'' and ``I know how to be in the right all the time.'' Therefore I can learn nothing.
So I demonstrated a great foolishness by coming to a school unprepared to learn (just like everyone before me has done). I never learned how to learn.
So the first thing the school had to do was say what it took to even make use of the experience that you came to get. But, instead, one attempted to use what was being taught (which basically was what it would take to learn to learn) to become better. So vanity took it.
At this point in time, after a year, if you were actually able to do the things that you're trying to do, I would be shocked. I would be flabbergasted. I would say that you had one hell of an aptitude for this.
I can't say what's true for anyone else, but I'll tell you where I was at after a year of this. I was in hell. I spent my days watching the self that I could not tell what to do. All I did was watch it.
I watched suggestions come up; I watched them get reported to X as if they were true even though I was looking at them; I watched self go off and do them; and I watched the consequences.
And I pretty much hated every minute of it. Even though some of it was pleasant. Because I wasn't doing it.
So apparently you folks are much better than me, much faster, because to hear you speak you've actually learned to do things all on your own, without the personality. I hear you say that all the time. I did this. I did that.
So you guys are outrageously good at this: hell you ought to just be enlightened by now.
When I was at this point in time, I couldn't do anything more than just pay attention: that was all I could do. It took every bit of effort that I could put out just to be aware of all that the self was doing, and to watch it as it did it so that I could see what the consequences of these actions were: which is part of learning.
And I didn't tell stories, like, ``I've done this fifteen times and it didn't work, so I have to try harder.'' I'd seen the consequence after fifteen times. I knew it didn't work. And no amount of greater effort would make it work.
It was unworkable. I just didn't know what else to do. But I sure as hell wasn't trying harder at anything. I didn't want to do it as much. Because I knew it wouldn't work. Or occasionally the not-Is would suggest something and I'd just laugh, and say, ``Nah, forget it, do we really have to ride that roller coaster again? It won't work.''
And they'd say, ``But we have a new twist on it. This time we're going to do this part a little bit differently.''
Good. Have at it. Maybe it will work the sixteenth time. With a little variation on a theme.
But I don't think you're going to make this work. But, I'll watch you do it one more time. What the hell, I can't stop you. We'll see if your theory is right.
So humility came very easily. Because all I could do is sit as a passenger in my own body, watching the not-Is do all sorts of weird things. (chuckle) It was sort of hard to think of self as anything really great. It didn't take much effort to have a little humility.
I was just a passenger in my own body: how great could I be? So vanity started falling apart. It's hard to hold a picture of self as being something really wonderful and lovely to look at, and right and in the right, when we keep watching self make a shambles of everything, over and over and over again -- and no matter what you do, it just does it again.
And after a year, that was pretty much a consistent thing. It was pretty much, about 80% of the day. Maybe varying between 10 and 20% of the day, I'd just get so wrapped up in something the not-Is came up with that I was completely identified (chuckle) and I'd wake up one or two hours later and say, ``Woops: forgot to do what I was asked to do.''
Will it work? I don't know.
Honestly, I'm not even sure what it's supposed to do. And so, I don't know how to determine if it's working. I am really not sure what it's for. Someone just said, ``This is the way.'' And I had nothing to lose.
It didn't feel like it was doing anything, except that I could pay attention. That's something not many people can do. (chuckle) That was my great skill at the time. No matter how bad it gets, I can pay attention.
No matter how good it gets, I can pay attention.
And slowly, the desire to appear to be something wonderful gave way to the desire to learn. It no longer really mattered whether ``I'' looked pretty any more in other people's eyes. It no longer mattered much whether ``I'' even looked pretty in my own eyes, because I sure as hell didn't.
I'd seen too much. Fortunately, I was beginning to experience a bit of Self-remembering, and I started to see someone, behind the show, who had great value. In spite of the fact that the personality that I showed the world was pretty shameful.
But I'd started to experience that there was someone in self that was pretty neat. Back behind that mask. And I developed an interest in that.
That person was quite delightful. That person was quite wonderful.
So what if I was the only one who ever saw him. So what if he was completely trapped in an awful, unpleasant personality that wanted to be the one who was wonderful, delightful.
See, that's a great joke behind the personality and vanity. Vanity wants the appearance, and doesn't give a damn whether it has the fact. It would like the fact. But the appearance is good enough.
As long as I look wonderful, it doesn't matter whether I am or not. But the whole game says that I'm not: or I wouldn't be spending so much effort trying to be better. If I really were as wonderful as I tried to pretend, I'd just be out doing it. I wouldn't be constantly trying to figure out how to be better.
And I wouldn't think there was anything wrong. You don't try to fix something that is working. When was the last time you took your car to be repaired because it was running really well? When was the last time you called the repair man to come and fix your stove because it was working just great? When was the last time you improved your stove, because it was working so well, you wanted it to be better!
What would you do to make a stove better? It cooks, or it don't, you know? It does a good job of cooking, or it does a mediocre job of cooking. What would you do to make it better? When it's good at what it does, it just sits there and does it. When it stops, you throw it away and get a new one or fix it. Occasionally someone comes up with a great way to make a stove better and we get microwaves. Now that's an improvement! But still, occasionally someone comes up with an idea to improve a stove: and we still use the improved, more pleasant stove to cook our food.
The whole game of constantly trying to figure out how to get better at everything says, ``I don't think I'm very good.'' Now I know that the game is to sit and say, ``Well, I'm good at many things, but I want to be better.''
Why? Because you've failed the only thing that matters to you: being happy.
Isn't that about right?
So the game goes on. It may be good, but it's not good enough.
The car won't take me where I want to go, so I guess I'd better go to the repair man.
So we play this game of how wonderful we are, while at the same time we know that it's not true, or we wouldn't keep looking for ways to make it better. Because we didn't get the only thing we really care about. Isn't that about right?
That, my friends, is learning how to learn.
When you see that, it's very hard to buy the vanity game. It get replaced by a desire to understand, to know, to learn.
Maybe it's just because I don't know how things work. I don't understand how things work. So, all of my efforts are a waste.
I've learned a few things in the man-made world about how they work and I can do those. But I sure don't know how life works.
I prove it every day. I prove it every hour. I don't know how life works.
And I don't think that improving a machine that has no intentions (if you've been looking at it at all in this last year that we've been together) it has no intentions of working in a way that might work. I don't think that improving it is going to get you what you want.
It's not going to do it. All it's going to do is act greedy.
Keep on selling on the fact that the reason that you're unhappy is because there's something you don't have: whatever it is. Knowledge, money, mate, companions: whatever it is. Ideas, right car, right furniture. Right job, oh yeah, that's it, it's the job that's doing it to me.
It's not me, it's all those things that I don't have. Because if it's really me, there's nothing that I can do.
That effort will not work, I don't care how you repair it. And all your repair efforts are based on the same point of view: that if you bring in something new to the personality, it will suddenly start working. If only I had that. If only I had understanding.
Well you don't get understanding by desiring it, you get it by opening your eyes. Seeing how things work. Seeing principles. All the stuff that we've been talking about for the last year.
This is the way things work, like it or not. That's all that has been said for the last year.
All of these things were just designed to get you to the point where you could start. Where you can actually use experience to learn, and grow in understanding. Then one day you might be able to actually do something, and maybe even do it well, some day.
But it was just to show the facts about a few things, and many obstructions to being able to use those facts. All of which can be summed up as vanity.
It was to be hoped that one would develop in place of the desire to look good and appear right the desire to learn and the desire to be in charge; the desire to be responsible instead of constantly disappointed because I didn't get the ideal; and making plans to improve this and all other selves so that I can have that ideal. Because then I would be happy.
That's all the self does, isn't it? It sits around and makes plans to get this and that, and tries to do them. And then I will look great. I will be happy.
I might have started to wonder what else one could do with a life, besides struggle to be better so that I can have the ideal. But to answer that question, one must look at things differently. You must see a whole new way.
When you look through the eyes of vanity and pride, you can only see one thing. And if there's an answer to that question (what else can be done with the life), it can only be answered by someone who sees a whole new way.
I've read accounts of saints, of the Catholic Church, who say they struggled from the moment they got here to the moment they left against vanity. And they were sainted. And from our point of view, they never even began.
Never even started. Because from our point of view, that's where one starts, is when vanity becomes a very small force in the life; instead of the huge, overwhelming force that it is. Because vanity will not let you make use of anything properly.
The only thing you can use it for is as a decoration, to make yourself look better. That's it. That's all it will let you do. Wear it like pretty new clothes, so people think well of you.
Talk about it so they know how smart you are. Give advice.
When vanity gets to be a small force in the life, and the desire to learn so that I can see differently and maybe see a purpose to life, then we say that one has begun. Everything before that was preparation to begin.
Sort of like all the effort that it takes to outfit an expedition to the Himalayas, you know? You really don't decide that you're going to climb the Himalayas on the spur of the moment, do you? Not if you want to get very far. It might take you longer to prepare than it will to make the climb, in fact.
Living more at less at sea level like we do, it might well take you longer to prepare than to climb the mountain, isn't that about right? You might have to climb a few smaller mountains, and just hang around in thin air for a while to get adapted to that, just to make the climb. It might take you several years to prepare for a journey that you do in a few weeks.
But somehow the preparation has been the thing itself in the mind, hasn't it? In the personality. ``This is the Work.''
Not really. This is learning to learn.
The Work begins when you can learn something. And until you can learn from your experience, how can you begin?
You see, the difficulty with vanity is that it's all imitation, isn't it? I see or I hear something, and I fake it. I pretend as though I have it.
And now I'll never have it. If I pretend three or four times I become convinced that my imitation is the real thing. Now I'll never experience it. I no longer know that I need it.
In fact, I imagine that I already have it.
That's one of the first ideas that we started out with, wasn't it? You believe that you have free will. And then we discussed all the things that actually contradict that belief, but they are ignored. Because I have free will.
So I'll simply ignore all the times that I say, ``You make me angry.'' ``You make me happy.'' ``I have to do this.'' ``I need to do this.'' ``I've got to.'' ``I ought to.'' ``I'm supposed to.'' ``I'm so free.''
How many times a day do you say, ``I get to'' and ``I want to?'' And how many times a day so you something that means, ``I must?'' I'm forced into this?
I don't see how there is any such thing as free will. But we all believe that we have it. So we can't learn anything about it.
We sit and watch the machine and yet still dream on that there are moments when we're in charge. Sure, if you don't look at suggestion, you'll believe that you're acting of your own free will, won't you?
After all, you know that you have free will, so this must be a moment of free will. Of course I don't see the suggestion at work, and I'm not looking, but you know.
That's one of the first ideas that we started with, is that when, in vanity, you believe that you have something that you don't actually have, you will see no reason to develop it.
There are many things like that, that vanity claims and I don't consider that subject. Why develop them? You've already got them.
So when you first get here, you're not even prepared to start. You need a tremendous amount of remedial education that you didn't get in the world just to begin. Just to be able to make use of what the Teaching has to teach.
Somehow, even though we occasionally call it a school, we forget that schools are about teaching and learning. We think that what we're here to do is learn to improve ourselves.
There are plenty of places that you can learn that. Why you imagine that an esoteric school would teach such a silly subject that you could learn anywhere is beyond me. I guess you figure that we know the real way to do it. Everybody else doesn't know, obviously, since it doesn't work. Even though we say, ``I don't know how to do it either. I don't think it can be done.''
Because what you're trying to improve is the personality -- the false self -- and you never look at what's real behind that self. And that's all that we're going to concern ourselves with around here, is the real I. We don't care about the false self; it can look god, bad, indifferent, who cares?
If it looks pretty, good. If it don't, good. It's all the same.
So you don't do what's needed to decrease vanity, to develop a little humility, so you end up imitating what you believe to be consciousness. Don't work too good.
Works for a short time, and then you're disappointed because it didn't get you the result you expected, and then you start believing all sorts of strange things. And that's all you get, is an imitation.
Humiliating you from outside doesn't work. You just get angry, and you sit and feel sorry for yourself for a while. But you don't see the essence of the fact: if I didn't have to put on a front, no one could humiliate me.
Because no one could point out that it was just a lie. If I were just doing what I do, nobody could humiliate me. They could tell me that they don't like it. They could tell me that they don't like it in a very nasty way. But it would just be their taste.
They couldn't humiliate me without my belief that I was doing something I wasn't. All that they could do is to point out that maybe I didn't understand something. That's all that they could do.
But if a person wants to live in the illusion of vanity, there's not a thing you can do about it, or so it seems. The desire, at least apparently, must come from inside. And if it ain't there, it ain't there until the person develops it for themself by looking and seeing realistically and honestly.
If you do it in vanity by imitation, you'll struggle with vanity for the rest of your life. And I'll tell you the end of that road, because I've seen it: it's called apathy and rage. You don't learn to see a new way, so you still see everything the same old way (that you have to be rewarded by pleasure and the removal of pain) to believe that that it is real, and it doesn't happen, because that just isn't going to happen. And since you didn't really go beyond vanity -- you just imitated one without vanity, which is itself vanity -- where you end up is in apathy or rage.
You either go into rage because you think that what's necessary is that you remove all desire, and you don't want to; or you make the effort to remove all desire without understanding what that actually means and you end up in apathy because that's the only place that you can be in hell and have no desire. And even that has desire, you just don't see it.
And you don't understand what it means, in truth, even though it has been asked of you to learn. Because the first step towards understanding to use desire properly is to learn to value some things that, right now, the self cannot value. Such as humility. Such as the Teaching Ideas. A relationship with Life.
A whole list that has value in and of themselves, that you've been asked to value for their own sake. Self-observation. I know from experience that it does not seem that self-observations is getting anywhere -- except that you've developed an incredible attention span after a while (chuckle). That's about the only thing you seem to get out of it. Boy, you can pay attention under almost any conditions: that's about the whole of your big gain.
And the self says, ``Who the hell cares? I didn't even want to, anyway. I don't want to pay attention when it's unpleasant. I want to hide from that.''
And here you are, you pay attention all the time. You pay attention when pleasure is going on. How are you supposed to enjoy it when you're paying attention? The self doesn't even like what you get from self-observation, it doesn't get nothing that it wants.
But you're asked to value it anyway. To learn a new value system. Even though you don't get rewarded.
That's the way out of the trap of apathy or rage, by the way. If you learn to value things another way, you can eventually play around with desire without going into rage or apathy. But, even though it was suggested, most don't do it.
So I personally hope that you never get to the point where you see the necessity of dying to your own desires because I know what will happen if you don't die to vanity first. You'll either go into rage or into apathy.
Because you're not prepared to actually do it. Unless you are dying to vanity.
Yeah, I experienced apathy. And the suggestion was, ``I can't do this.'' That's pretty much what I saw for three or four days. And the next suggestion that came up was, ``Then, ...''
Can't do what?
Can't observe the suggestions as they're happening. So I believe them and I act them out.
How would you know that you can't do that?
Well, I didn't.
That's right. That is exactly right. So that is all vanity. Just exactly what we just got through talking about.
How much effort have you made to observe self under any and all conditions? Even when you didn't think that anything was going wrong?
It happens mostly when I think it's going wrong, and occasionally when I don't.
So the answer is, you really haven't made that much effort. So it should just happen. You don't need to develop the skill that no one who you know has.
Who do you know out there in the world who just does self-observation, as a matter of course?
I see. But you should just have that skill.
You don't have to develop it. The fact that it's a very uncommon and unusual skill has nothing to do with it. You should just have it.
You're in no position to say what you can and cannot do. You make very little effort. You can't say that you failed until you put out the effort. Maybe you will fail, I don't know. But you don't either.
You expect to be able to do something under the most arduous of conditions when you put very little effort into doing it when it is easy.
So you should just be able to fly to the east and climb the Himalayas, right now. You don't need any conditioning. You don't need to adapt to thinner air. Okay?
What vanity. If you said that about anything physical you would be a laughing stock. People who actually have experience with climbing a mountain would look at you like you are insane, wouldn't they?
And they would probably make a small effort to tell you that it doesn't work that way. That it's very, very different conditions than what you're used to. And if you insisted that you could climb the mountain, they would just drop it, wouldn't they? And say to themself, ``What I'm dealing with is a stupid, vain idiot. I'm not going to argue with them, I know. I have climbed the Himalayas. Why would I argue with you, who knows nothing?'' (laughs) They would just laugh, and say, ``Fine. Just don't tell anybody that I told you to do it.''
Isn't that about what they'd say?
And go on about their business. You're in the same position. You're trying under extremely difficult conditions, the hardest time possible, and then make up stupid stories about why you can't do it. Everything but the obvious: I need conditioning. I'm not in any condition to do it under those conditions; I'm not surprised.
When I don't believe that I need to do it, because the suggestions that the self is giving are only slightly out of sync with reality, no worse than anybody else -- I don't bother, then.
That's vanity. That's exactly what we just got through talking about. I imitate, with the assumption that I can do something without developing the ability and skill to do what's being imitated. I don't see it as a humble person who says, ``Well, you know, I'm kind of weak.''
And, of course, you've never heard that suggestion around here, have you? Don't expect much of yourself in the beginning. This is a very difficult thing to do. You've had no experience, no practice, at it. It's hard work. So, work at it gradually. You'll develop the ability and skill.
That suggestion was not given, right?
No, it was.
How many times? Over and over again. But you didn't need to listen to it.
That's vanity. No humility. No, ``Okay, you're possibly accurate, I'm not going to be real good at this in the beginning. I'll practice, gain strength, skill. And I won't be upset when I can't do it under difficult conditions. I'll just keep plugging away at it.''
But vanity comes in and says, ``But that's when you need to do it, so therefore you should start then.''
If you said that about lifting boxes, people would just laugh at you. ``Well, when I really need muscles is when I have these really huge boxes to lift: so that's when I'm going to start. I'm not going to start with smaller boxes and work my way up. Oh, no.''
That's vanity, isn't it? And what would you say to a person who did that?
Yeah. And if they didn't listen, wouldn't you just say, ``All right. Have it your way.''
``If you don't end up in a hospital, I'll be shocked, but have it your way.'' That's what I would say. ``I'll be surprised if you stay out of a doctor's office with that attitude. You're going for a hernia, a dislocated back, who knows what?''
Trying to do something beyond your strength. It's not good for you. Develop the strength.
It makes you feel bad about yourself, because you failed. And then you try harder (laughs). What a vicious cycle.
That's what happens: you end up in rage or apathy, if you don't just walk off and forget about the whole thing. Because you haven't learned a new way of seeing. Which would begin with being honest, developing a little humility.
And a real desire. Desire what is worth desiring. That's the way that you deal with desire. You say, ``I don't need to desire to look pretty any more. I think I'll desire to learn, to understand.''
You have never in your life seen a bunch of people struggle with something, and then somebody walks up and just barely does anything, and it all works out? You have never seen that happen?
A whole bunch of people trying really hard, and they struggle, and they fall all over each other trying to get something done, and then one person just walks up and says, ``That's easy.'' And just does a few things, and it's done.
What was the difference, folks?
They knew what to do.
That's exactly right. No amount of effort will make up for stupidity and ignorance, will it (laughter)?
When we know what to do, we just do it. The ignorance and stupidity come from vanity being unwilling to admit that it doesn't know and learn what to do.
Those who truly wish to be students of the Teaching will start doing something about the vanity game. Those who don't, and only care about how they look, just keep hanging around.
They get lots of ideas that become opinions, they get lots of interesting feelings, and no truth. They can talk a good line. They can convince everyone but someone who has done it.
And one who has done it will point out the illusions in your imitation effortlessly. Because they actually know what it's like. And you're only imitating. You must do it, all the time, to feel good about self. The one who knows can do it or not, as appropriate for current circumstances.
You have spent a year now struggling to keep from having to see yourself with humility, many of you. As a result, you're not ready. Because that's where you begin.
All this talk that we have been having about seeing self as a child, and about beginning something new, was for those who have begun to experience some Self-remembering and are seeing that there is someone behind the mask. And that's what this has been about, all along. See the mask, the personality, the false self; then you can see what is not the mask.
Something that we couldn't even talk about up until now, up until you can experience some Self-remembering -- because you wouldn't even know what we're talking about. But once you've begun to experience some Self-remembering, which some of you are to some degree, you know for certain what this is about now. But you're held back by the fact that you would not allow yourself to be put in a bad light. Isn't that about right? Isn't that the way it goes?
So you haven't developed much humility. Humility is not feeling bad about self. That's vanity. You may think that it is not, but it is.
Feeling bad about yourself is being extremely vain. You're still the most important person in the world. And not only are you the most important person in the world, but you're the stupidest, you're the weakest. That's just another kind of vanity, isn't it? Why, there's no one who's stupider on planet Earth than me! There's no one weaker! There's no one more foolish!
It's just another kind of vanity. It's another way to build yourself up, in a very odd way, but it's just another form of vanity.
Humility is a recognition of the facts. I'm quite weak. I don't have much understanding. But I've hardly lived in the last twenty years. Pretty much at the onset of adolescence, my life ended.
Really earlier than that, but I still had a few experiences. Until adolescence. That pretty much did it. Once I decided that everybody else was to blame for all my problems, I pretty much stopped living.
Here I am, twenty, thirty years later, without much to show for the last twenty or thirty years that's real, that goes beyond vanity. It's just a recognition of the facts. It's not feeling bad about yourself.
All you need to do is sit for a moment in Self-remembering. What is to feel bad about yourself? You sit in that experience of Self and say, ``Well, Self is okay. I'm doing all right. I'm just sort of stuck in this weird machine that I built. But, I'm okay. The machine's kind of screwy (laughs). I don't quite understand why I believe it all the time, that kind of mystifies me when I'm sitting here in Self-remembering. Why do I believe that? I don't know the answer to that question right now. I'm just beginning to experience that. But I'm not a piece of shit. I'm pretty neat.''
And it's not about feeling bad about self. Humility is just recognizing where I am, and what I am in relationship with right now. I am a very young child, in an adult body, that has a little technical education and skills. But I'm still a kid. I still demand my way, all the time. I scream and yell if I don't get it. I blame everybody else when I don't get it. If that don't work, I try to please them or try to cast them into the role of authority or quote authorities at them and me to try to get us to change. And think about what a shit I am and all my plans to get better. I'm a kid, inside. I behave like a kid most of the time.
Someone came along and said, ``Let's put these childish things away.'' And I said, ``No. I like my toys.'' An adult doesn't often play with children's toys, they have toys of their own.
An adult doesn't need someone constantly approving of them to know that they are okay. An adult doesn't need everyone's attention to know that they are okay. An adult doesn't need everyone's appreciation to know that I did a good job. An adult doesn't need comforting.
Those are the toys of a child, and the pleasures of an adult. An adult knows that life is not all about pleasure. That's something one does on occasion.
An adult knows that you get the 4DBU's [pleasures of the senses] as a by-product of something else. And then they don't tempt you to die for them.
They're a fact of life. They're not going to go away. Who would want them to? One day I may learn to get them as a by-product, not as the point.
What I need is an education.
When I have an education, I may see other things that I need. But at this point in time, what I need is an education.
Except that I don't know how to learn from my own experience. Some people sit and they tell me about wonderful experiences that they have had, and they are are quite disappointed, because I'm not very impressed. I look at them, and I see no indication that they have learned anything from it.
Yes, you had an experience. You can describe it quite well, from one or two points of view: either the intellect (which is a description of it) or the emotions and sensations (which is talking about the sensations of it). But you can't tell me what truth was in the midst of it. That would require you to do them both at once along with something else. And you'll do either/or.
When you do them both you see something else. When you do it wholeheartedly and freely, you are experiencing. You see things about it that you can't imagine as the observer who describes the senses.
But that's what you've been taught so far: that learning is either being able to describe in ideas, in the mind; or to feel from the sensations, including the emotions. So you don't profit by your experiences much of the time. Only on rare occasions do you do them all at once, in the presence of Self-remembering and self-observation.
That's part of what a body is for. It's not just to use one little sense.
And I have seen people do that with art. Some go in and they want to analyze it, and tell you why it is art. And the technique that the artist used. Well, I don't know much about that stuff. That's mainly because I don't care. I have no desire to do that, so the techniques don't interest me. If I wanted to do it myself, the technique would interest me. It's interesting when someone who does it talks about it, because they're interested in that. But what use is a lot of information that one has no intent to ever use? Unless you're one hell of an intellectual.
I'm not going to do those things. So I really don't care about the techniques used to do those things. I don't have that talent, so I'm not particularly interested. But I've been with people where that's what they do. They analyze it and tell you why it works or why it doesn't work, and all this stuff.
And then I've been with other people who just gush on and on and on about how it makes them feel. And every sensation that runs through their body as they look at the thing. And that's only interesting for a few minutes to everyone but them.
But there are very few who experience a piece of art. I don't know if you ever liked art, and saw it in the company of others. But that's been my experience. The people who describe it with the mind, and analyze it to death. And the people who gush about their feelings and sensations.
There are very few who I've ever been with who actually experience the art. Neither one of those two allows experience. It's just getting mired in identifying with one aspect of the body's functioning. And so all the things that the body could do just don't happen. Because we identify with some piece of the experience. That ain't it.
At times, when I've seen art, which is fairly rare, but when I have, if somebody asks I can tell you something about the response to it. But it won't be telling you the experience. I can tell you some feelings that came up, some sensations; I can describe not technique, but some things about it. But it's very hard, for me, to tell you the experience of that piece of art.
Although I've occasionally heard descriptions by the analytical folks that astonish me, I look at it and say to self, ``Yeah, that was part of it. But in your analysis, you lost the whole. You're focusing on one little thing. You did an incredible job of analyzing it, but you're still missing the point, to me.''
That's irrelevant. I'm just using this as an example of the ways that people approach experiencing. It's all chopped into pieces. It's never really experiencing.
All along the way we've said use analysis to destroy. Isn't that what's been said, all along the way (laughs)? Analyze the self, not your experiences.
After all, we might like to cripple the self a little bit. It's strong enough. I wouldn't mind weakening it a bit. (laughter)
So what does it look like from where you sit?
What you described is what I've been living for the, I don't know how long, but it's very apparent for the last six months. Your description of having the ideal that I should be able to do something as being vanity -- I see that all over. And then setting up the vicious cycle.
I don't quite understand the desire part. I can see that that's happening with self, but I didn't understand it technically.
No, because you're reacting to it right now. You're not even admitting what you're doing, it's so scary to you.
That's the least of what was said. But because the not-Is know that something is going on in that area, that's what they decided to latch on to, because it would have a solution to what they've declared as a problem. ``If only I understood that part, then I could solve this problem that I'm having. And then I wouldn't have to see that what I really need is humility. And proper desires.''
I can have all the others, but I need some proper desires as well. It would be nice to desire something that is truly valuable.
And I did see in the last week that I don't know how to love.
I have these not-Is that come up when I come here that I'm supposed to be at a certain place.
Supposed to be where?
I'm supposed to have accomplished something. I should be further along the way.
What way? Where does it go? What would be the sign of having accomplished something?
Being in a better state, a higher state.
Not having the feeling of being caught in the vicious cycle.
Did you hear what was said? That as far as I'm concerned, it would shock me?
Yes, I heard that. It shut that not-I up. No, it didn't.
The point is very simple. You have no way of judging where you are in the process. You do not know what this process is like. You can't. You've never done it before.
You're in the process of doing it. People don't describe it. They just don't.
Well, okay, there are some descriptions out there. Even if you had a description, I bet it wouldn't do you much good. How can you possibly know whether you've accomplished or not? You judge by what you expect to happen.
I imagine that I would know what state I was in, and then know that I'm in a different state.
You could do that. You have that ability. I don't know that that proves anything. Most can do that, occasionally, when they put attention on it, with just a little information.
You just don't what the signs are, okay? You really don't. Torture yourself with it if you please, but it's all vanity. You don't know what the process is.
That's exactly what was just said, that you take things that are said along the way about things that can be done, and then you assume that that is the point. When, much of the time, those things are offered as a way to make things a little bit more pleasant along the way. They may not be the point. But, you might as well enjoy the journey.
What is more interesting is to note that, in one's incredible vanity, one judges self based on the ideal: ``I should be able to be in a good mood all the time.'' Perhaps so. But what is interesting is that, when I can not, rather than develop a little humility, I judge self as not good enough and go on in vanity struggling to improve to become the ideal.
I don't think you know how to make that judgment while you are thinking in ideals as facts. You don't know where this is going, you don't know what to look for that shows real signs of being on the way, to determine how well you are doing.
And you demonstrate the point really well: what you believe would be a sign is the ability to do things that you've identified as what a conscious person can do. And those are just what they sound like: they are signs and wonders. And they demonstrate nothing in particular about being on the way.
It has been mentioned that one point on the way, one of the signs of one who is on the way is, that they begin to be able to do wonders. And they choose not to. That person is going places. Because most people would be so impressed with ``their'' ability to do mystical things, magical things, powerful things, that they get lost in that, possibly forever.
And one who is truly on the way looks at it and says, ``I don't want this. I did want this. Once upon a time I wanted nothing more than to be powerful. And now that I have it, I wish it would be taken away.'' (laughs)
They don't want power any more. That's another thing that is often said around here. The part of you that has the ability to change is the part that wants power. The only counteraction known to this one to that is humility.
And as long as you want power of any kind, including over self, you will find it very difficult to stay on the way. The only known way, to this one, to counteract that desire for power, that urge to have great powers, even if it be over self, is to develop humility.
Well, I feel like I have experienced humility. I know that I've experienced humility, and humiliation. And I can tell the difference. And, what happened was ...
You don't have to prove it. I'll just accept that. You don't have to tell me. If you want to, you can. But I'm saying that you don't have to describe it if you don't want to.
Well, I think it's interesting. And, well, never mind then.
It's up to you. I'll listen.
I feel like I am, like I'm in partnership with X. And that X is giving me what He knows I can handle. And giving me a lot.
A lot of what?
A lot of experiences. And it took observing for a really long time before that happened. Because I kept ...
So you used to sit around here feeling sorry for yourself, feeling bad about yourself, feeling picked on ...
And feeling like I wanted to improve self ...
So what happened?
Well, through all that, I kept on observing it and trying to report it to X. And, what happened was I finally had some understanding.
That I can't tell X the how. That, what He's supposed to give me. Because, that's what I had been doing. I thought that I was asking, but what I was doing was saying, ``Well, this is what I really want. Please give it to me.''
And, He would give it to me. And then I'd say, ``Well, this wasn't enough,'' or ``This wasn't the right way.'' And then I understood that I was self-improving and I was being greedy.
And I finally said, ``Just give me whatever you want. I don't know anything. I'm tired of being a baby. Just give it to me.'' And I thought, if it's a lot of discomfort, I don't care, I'll take it.
See, unfortunately, I'm going to say something that's going to feed the not-Is, and I'm going to say it anyway. That's part of what is being looked for. Not the other things folks want to show off.
I told her she didn't have to describe it, because it is obvious that she knows it. It's not always easy to say it, though. It wasn't because there was no interest in what she had to say. The description just wasn't necessary to prove it, when it's so obviously so.
It was possible, though, that if she described what happened (since it is something that is still recent for her) that others might hear something that fit their experience, that made sense to them. That's the beginning of it, so we don't get the big head. There's more to it as one continues to experience. Let's not say, ``All right, I made it. Now I can sit on my butt.''
But, if you remember, she used to sit around here almost in tears much of the time, feeling picked on, boy did she feel picked on. And something very obviously happened, because her behavior changed almost over night.
She just told you what.
The question is, are you going to see this, or are you going to continue using the same efforts that haven't worked? I think that's the question before us tonight. We can talk about this all we want. What are you going to do?
I think that I was trying to think of a question, and it was about desire. And the not-Is started going back and forth about what that was about. Why would I ask a question about that?
That's the first question that I thought of. I'd like to know if desire and putting an interest on something are similar. Or if that's where you start. It seems like desire comes from, when I've had that experience of desiring something, it came from a lot of pain.
There are different kinds of desires. To simplify it, it depends on whether it's the desire to experience and see what happens or because you want the result. The desire that is proper is to see something and say, ``I wonder what will happen. That looks interesting to me.'' And that's a kind of desire. And yeah, it does have to do with interest.
I don't know what's going to happen. In fact, often times, I did what was asked: to observe self, according to the ideas that have been given; and to begin to practice Self-remembering. It didn't seem like anything was happening that I could value.
If it had been a desire for what that could get me, I would have stopped. Because what it seemed to be getting me was a lot of pain.
Yeah, it's like a lot of desire comes from not wanting to be in pain.
That is a description, yes. So? I would expect that. That comes from the self. Isn't that pretty much what the Teaching has been saying? I desire pleasure on all four levels [physical, emotional, intellectual, urge to power] and I desire no pain on any level. Yeah, that's true. So?
That's one kind of desire. It's not good, it's not bad, it's just there. It sometimes gets you into trouble (chuckles). It's just the way the self is.
If you decide that the game is about getting rid of desire it will lead you to rage or apathy. If that's where you want to go, boy, you have a field day deciding that those desires are bad. And work your butt off to get rid of them. And see where it gets you.
And maybe come back and tell me I'm wrong, that it didn't take you to rage or apathy. Okay?
I did not say anything about getting rid of desire, except to mention it as one of the things that people think that they should do. When they start to see what desire gets them. And, goodness knows, there's a lot of so-called spiritual stuff out there that makes it sound like you ought to do that, isn't that right? I never said that. I said, ``Why don't you add to your list of desires something real?''
Isn't that right? I never said, ``Wipe out desire.'' I actually see desire as something pretty neat. I also know of some things beyond desire. But, as far as it goes, at a certain point desire is necessary.
Like I said, the path is not what you think that it is. In life, there are four forces. And you see first ... actually you don't even see first force much of the time. But you see what you think a desirable outcome will be, and you just want to go there. And you forget all about this odd little thing called resistance. And that that creates a form which is the way that you travel. Do you see what is being said?
So for a period of time, desire is actually part of those forces. You already have desires. What you need is desires that go against them. And provide second force. Before you can even consider giving up desire. And that's what great efforts have been made to do: to tell you about some other things to desire.
You can not get rid of desire by just willing it away. You'll do it in vanity. And you'll struggle with it for the rest of your life.
The way is not like that. It uses the four forces. We set up new desires, that act as second force to the existing desires: that creates a form. That form, oddly enough, has no desire. Ain't that a hoot.
You play with contradictory, opposing desires, and what you end up with is a form without desire. But you ain't going to get there by trying to have a form without desire. That's a whole different initiative. And all it will do is create its own second force. And the form that will develop from that is alternating between rage and apathy, and eventually a well-developed vanity as second force to that form.
If that's where you want to go, do it that way. And I think you can look around at some of the people who have been here for a while who are working improperly and see that demonstrated. That this is not a theory. You can see some people who are beginning to experience it, no matter what corrections have been suggested to their way of working.
You can not win by fighting.
I think that more what I'm asking is how to create a desire for something that's true. That's what I'm asking.
And I cannot answer a how-to question. Did you hear what she just said? It wasn't her experience either, was it?
You can't do it that way. That is the cause and effect way. Give me the cause, so I can have the effect.
We will use the four forces if we want to get something done. Okay?
You're telling me that's there is no place in you that just desires to understand for it's own sake? Without something to gain, or to solve some problem? That there is no part of you that just says, ``I want to understand this?''
Well, then, use it! Okay? Use that part! You don't need the how, you've already got it.
You're asking for something that you've already got! Give that a little more attention. That's proper second force, and you'll get something done.
You give it a little bit of attention, and it does something very interesting. And you look at that, and say, ``Hmmm, that's interesting.'' And you give it more attention, and, ``Hmmm, that's interesting.''
So, basically, it's not a how that you need. You already have the how. What you need is to put more attention on some things that you normally don't pay much attention to, isn't that right?
Well, then that's all you do, just put more attention on that. The world is getting enough of your attention, isn't it? Put a little bit more attention on some of those other things that are showing up.
It's kind of like asking me how to make a fire, when you've got one burning. And that's not what you need to know any more. The fire is there; it's burning.
You might try giving it some fuel. The question shouldn't be, ``How do I get the fire started?'' It should be, ``How do I keep it going.'' (laughs) Isn't that about right?
That's exactly what that question looks like. I say, ``Well, do you have the thing that would be the how?'' And you say, ``Yes.'' Well then feed it (laughs).
Give it some attention. Give it some fuel. Stop forgetting it.
One point of Self-remembering is to see something very interesting: I forget very easily. How often do you do Self-remembering?
A couple of times a day.
How often do you smoke a cigarette?
A lot more than that (laughs).
How often do you talk?
All the time.
It's putting attention that's needed on those things that might have a greater value. Desires that might have a greater value. They're not getting much attention. That's the fuel.
Does that make sense?
When you start to see something, put more attention on it. Don't just let it slide into the back and go on focusing on the normal, habitual stuff: the envy, vanity, the pride, the problems and the solutions, the hows and so forth.
There's some neat things that have been discovered, give them some attention.
I simplified by the way: the form is not really lack of desire. But I don't want to tell you what the form is, because you would try to fake it (chuckles).
But, I lied. (laughter) It was convenient for what was being said. But I'm not going to tell you what the form is. Because that's the part that people fake. If they know what it looks like, they try to fake it. That's what vanity does. So I'm not telling you what the form is. Go read a book somewhere and get it if you feel you must know.
The form is actually a new, very odd, kind of desire. It's not desireless. That's something else.
Just want to point that out, so you don't get surprised when you got there, and say, ``I thought you said there was going to be no desire.'' Well, I lied (laughs).
So what do you see, folks? What do you see as a way to go from here?
Get interested in what's going on in front of me.
Good. It is so vague, I'm not sure what it means, though.
Well, what you just described, you know, what's going on, instead of just putting it on to the side, be interested in it. Try to be, you know, interested in finding out what that's about instead of just looking at it as an event.
I'll offer what makes sense to me. Maybe it won't work for you, I don't know. But this makes sense to me: the Teaching says that there are certain things that a person can do -- it says that it is possible to observe suggestion as it occurs; it says that it is possible to step back from the personality and watch it working, as it works. I'd be really interested in doing that.
Everything else that people say that they want to do is stuff that they can already imagine. Isn't that right? Being in a good mood. Who here can't imagine being in a good mood all the time? Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Sounds almost like non-disturbance, doesn't it? (laughter) You can get behind that, can't you?
``That's the sign and wonder I want. It shows that I'm improving.''
But those odd little things, like the ability to step back from the personality and observe that, all the time. That doesn't even sound like fun, does it? ``I want to be in the middle and participating. I don't want to be an observer to life!
``That's not what I want!''
I know. I've noticed. Boy have I noticed.
The Teaching says some things that no one in their right mind would desire. It says, ``Put value on those.'' Why don't you do that, just for the hell of it?
The things that you can get behind easily: it's because you think that they'll take you to non-disturbance.
So the not-Is will let you do it.
Why don't you put effort into some of the things that they don't want to do? Put value on those and see what happens. Observing self, as close to 100% of the time as you can get. Even when you don't think that you need it, because everything is going okay.
Finding out what the experience of Self-remembering is. You've just barely tasted it.
Not expressing emotions. Anger: I'm not going to express the anger. I'm not going to express the guilt: I'm not going to apologize. No matter how much the not-Is tell me I must. Or they'll hate me forever. Fine. Let them hate me.
But, I'm going to find out what the purpose of doing that is.
Not expressing the fear. Not expressing the insecurity. They don't want to do that. Why don't you do that?
What about all the things that have been said throughout this period of time that we've been together that they don't want to do? Maybe that is one hell of a good explanation about how you can do ``the work'' for one heck of a long time and have so little to show for it.
Because the real backbone of the Work is continual self-observation without identification. It does not necessarily mean that I can stop doing it. But just says that I am observing what it is doing.
The effort to remember Self in the midst of all of that, while observing self.
The effort to understand the emotions rather than expressing them.
The effort to see good in all things. Not just the things that I like. To see that everything has value.
Those are the things that the not-Is don't want to do. Why don't you do them? You sure as hell have tried twisting the Work into what the not-Is say ought to be. Why don't you do the things that they don't want you to try? And see where that goes?
I have left undone many things, though. And, oddly enough, those many things are the backbone of the Work.
We learn about the four forces so that you can accomplish something. Which means looking at blaming, and the whole concept of cause and effect.
Observe self, remember the real I, understand the emotions (which is best done by not expressing them, that's the easiest way to do it).
Stop struggling with conflict, but just see it as conflict: when you can't make up the mind, you can't make up the mind. Watch the mind argue about it. But don't get involved. The fact is, you just can't make up the mind right now.
You have no faith on the subject. Watch it argue. And see if the arguments mean anything at all. Or are they a bunch of demons masquerading as soothsayers and predicting futures? Except they have two different futures! (laughter) So what do they know?
How can you have two futures? What a prediction, hunh? I predict you'll live or die tomorrow. (laughter)
Safe bet, hunh?
Anybody can do that! (laughter) I predict you'll eat or fast tomorrow. (laughter) I predict you'll sleep or stay up all night. (laughter)
That's what you get involved with, as though it meant something! Now you are laughing, though, when it's put right in front of you clearly.
If you look at the conflict, they're predicting two outcomes and claiming that they're both true. Except that they don't agree with each other. What the hell do they know!
Why don't you do those things? That's what the Teaching talks about. It is known that one who does those things gets somewhere. And the not-Is look at it and say, ``That can't take me anywhere.'' So there they go again. And then another one says, ``Yes! It will take you here!'' So I predict you will go somewhere or you won't tomorrow. You'll either go somewhere or you'll stay at home. (laughter)
I'm always right, you know. Because I always say either/or.
So whenever you come back to me and say, ``I did such and such,'' I say, ``Well, it was one of them, wasn't it? I told you it would be either this or that.'' (laughter)
Now anybody can predict the future that way.
Let's see if we can get some work done.
Copyright © 1997 by inX. August 4, 1997.