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This is a transcript of a workshop with a group who had begun studying the Science of Man's Conscious Self-Evolution in Los Angeles on September 26, 1996. No attempt has been made to modify the grammar -- it is transcribed as it happened -- only names have been removed.
So how is the disidentifying going?
Well, something -- I observed that when I
disidentify -- try to, 100%(?) -- the not-I's started getting very
manipulative and kind of went berserk.
And, um, a few times I really just felt like I was losing my mind and got
scared and, um, it was really unpleasant.
(pause) And it scared me.
So it worked.
The not-I's worked?
Yep. So it worked. They stopped you.
Okay. That's your choice.
I have often told people that they live under a tyranny, and the tyranny is thought. So what you just told me is that you're terrified of your own mind. And to me that just sounds funny.
So you live in terror of what your mind does.
And it's effective enough they can stop you from doing anything they don't
want you to do because you're so afraid of your own mind.
Because you don't use it. And anything within that you don't use becomes your master, because you won't master it.
If that's the way you want to leave it, that's fine with me. Just think a little bit about whether or not that's the way you want to live the rest of your life. Because that's going on all the time. That's not just happening under these particular conditions. You're always afraid of your mind. It's just that it knows it, so most of the time, to keep you under control, it doesn't do anything that would really terrify you. Do you understand?
In other words, fear only works if you use it occasionally. So they just use it to keep you in line every now and again. If that's the way you want to live, okay.
I have a, um, have been having a very similar experience to, uh, hers. What the experience has been is that there's been a lot of pain going on with the feelings and, um, it's near anxiety. What's come up was sitting down and deciding to be okay to be mechanical is the recognition that if I am living by this purpose to be non-disturbed, um, it's very important -- no important.
Yes, it is.
I see that it would stop me. I mean the choice is do I want to be alive and experience pain, because it's painful to watch the violence that's going on and, um, it's ...
That's not true.
That's no more true than what she just said. Sitting around being afraid of your own thoughts is just funny.
Objectively speaking it's just funny. What if you did lose your mind? What difference would it make? Who would notice?
It's all happening mechanically, anyway. You'd walk around doing the same stuff you're doing now (laughing). What difference would it make?
And if it wasn't important what your mind were doing, then if it did go stark raving mad it wouldn't make any difference. You'd just live inside a crazy mind doing the same stuff you're doing now. It wouldn't make any difference. It would just be the radio changed to a different station.
It just doesn't matter.
And it's obviously just a ploy. Because, you've seen some people who have been using the Teaching for a period of time -- and they don't look any crazier than anyone else (laughing).
So it's just a ploy, isn't it? It's just nonsense.
I'll admit that I personally look stark raving mad. But it's in a pleasant way. It doesn't exactly stop me from doing what I need to do in this world. I make money. I have relationships, and do everything everybody else does.
So I'm stark raving mad, I don't care.
But I decided a long time ago that if this is what you call sane, I'm going nuts. Personally, I would look forward to going mad if I were you. Because your idea of sanity is very odd.
So I actually consider myself sane. I think it's you guys who are all crazy (laughter).
But that means that I look crazy to everybody else. Because the word sanity, as it is used by us, has no objective meaning.
All it means is ``do you fit within an established mean by the guidelines of the society you live in.'' If you live in one society and you do certain things, you'll be considered sane -- and if you go somewhere else and do them people will think you're nuts.
Because it has no objective meaning.
So by that meaning of the word sane, I'm not sane. Because I don't agree with the established norms of the society, and it doesn't bother me at all to act as if I don't every now and again.
But I think objectively speaking, I'm a hell of a lot saner than most people are. Because I deal with reality. And I think that may be the real meaning of the word sane, don't you?
Someone who responds to what's really there (laughing). As opposed to, uh, delusions, and obsessions, and, uh, so on.
Isn't that really what sane means?
I'll get to your thing in a while, because it's something that I want to talk about a bit tonight, okay? But I'm telling you -- and I mean it -- and I'll tell you why later (make sure I don't forget, because I might) -- it's not pain.
Or I should say, it's pain based on illusion. So if you imagine hard enough that you're being poked with a tack, I suppose it will hurt eventually. But everyone around you who looks at you objectively will think you're kind of crazy for complaining about the tack. Because they can't see it.
So maybe it would be worthwhile learning how that's so. Just like she is going to have to (if she wants to continue past this funny little game the not-I's have come up with) decide that it's okay to go crazy. And then they'll have no power over her whatsoever (laughs).
If she decides it's okay to have a mind that's stark raving mad, it won't work any more and they'll get bored with it and stop.
One of the, um, other things that came up during
the week was: I noticed that, uh, there was a war between the body and the
And I suspect there is with the feelings as well, I didn't catch that.
The body would want what it considered pleasurable at one time or another, and the mind wanted to do something that was pleasurable to it.
Well, I find it interesting that you choose to call
it a war.
I wouldn't call it a war.
I would call it disintegration.
That's what I always have called it. I don't see why I should change tonight because you feel like turning it into really emotional, uh, words. It's disintegration. There are three parts of you and they no longer function together because they're breaking apart, and they're now functioning as independent entities when they were designed to work together.
I believe that's called disintegration. Not being at one. So it's not a war, it's just the body wants something and the feelings want something and the mind wants something: and they're not the same. And, uh, they all want what they want.
They're not working together. That's the definition of disintegration.
And giving it really emotion laden terms like that is kind of odd. Instead of just saying, ``this is the consequence of struggling for ideals -- disintegrate and fall to pieces.'' And then the pieces (laughing) all want what they want, and they don't want the same thing because there's no purpose holding them together.
The only purpose is something that can't be done, so it really doesn't matter what they do, does it? Again, there's no objective, uh, test for anything.
So they can all claim to be right. And I suppose it does lead to a little bit of arguing -- some bickering over who's right and who gets to have their way.
Oh, well. I can focus on that and get obsessed with it, and make it important and allow it to disturb my peace of mind, and generate stress -- and cause even more disintegration.
Or I can see the incredible necessity for doing the Work, which it says will one day lead to integration.
Perhaps not tomorrow. In the meantime, I guess I'll just have to live as a disintegrated being (laughing), until, uh, disintegration ends.
Which is what the Teaching says happens. It says at a certain point disintegration just ends.
And what's left is integration. We don't work towards integration. We work to remove the obstruction to integration.
And the obstruction is believing that you know how it ought to be. That's what both of you said. You both know how it ought to be.
She knows that her mind shouldn't go crazy on her. So it's very distressing when it does.
How many folks do we have here -- you've been doing this for a while. Have you ever been absolutely convinced that you were going crazy from doing the Work?
How long did it last?
Just pick a particular period, because I know it happens more than once.
(laughs) Oh, right. Um, probably ...
Oh, just give us a quick guess.
Well, when I start doing what has been suggested, it doesn't last that long.
But there were times when it did.
Oh, yes. There was times ...
That's what I just asked you to do. Pick one.
Six month period.
Think you're going crazy, for six months. And you go on and you go on and after six months they get bored with the whole thing. They say, ``this is just not working, it's not going to stop her, she keeps doing it anyway.'' (laughter) They get tired of it -- they don't like living with it either. But if it works, they'll try it.
I doubt if there's a single person who really used the Teaching Ideas who didn't think they were going crazy at some point in time. So if you allow that to stop you, then that's exactly what it'll do. Okay?
Fear is their favorite trick.
Because it works so well. All they have to do is hold up a picture of some thing that you find horrible, and you go into a state of fear. They get to eat. And, as a by-product, they stop you from doing whatever you were doing that annoyed them (laughs).
They ain't stupid -- well, yes they are. But they do know tricks, okay?
If you want to understand something about the not-I's, there is a book written by a guy name C.S. Lewis called The Screwtape Letters.
You might want to read it. It's quite accurate. It's written in very funny language, but if you think about, uh, the word demon (which is used in the book) as not-I (you just replace the word demon with not-I), you will find something interesting.
Screwtape is the name of a demon.
The not-I's work against you pretty actively, okay? So what.
So what else, what else has come up in the efforts of disidentifying?
I was actually pretty encouraged to see how much disidentifying I could do. And there was this energy going on the whole week, and interest in disidentifying more and more and I would fall asleep. I wouldn't listen to #5, wouldn't lose the mood, and ...
So when you woke up again, #5 said, ``You feel asleep.'' You said, ``Yep.'' (laughing) ``But I'm back on the job now.''
Exactly. So I actually had a pretty good time.
Because you do know that if you listen to that,
then you're asleep again.
Did you know that?
If you listen to that suggestion that says, ``You feel asleep -- you're bad.''
And you argue with it?
Then you're actually asleep again.
Because you're identified with the idea that you're bad (laughter).
So you say, ``Yep.
And I'm back on the job now.
So I ain't buying your suggestion that I'm bad.
I was asleep.
I don't know if I was bad or not.
Because I don't know what bad means.''
Only not-I's know what bad means.
It was somehow easier to be in the body, and just to see, just to watch. Than being just lost in the whole thing.
I'm seeing just now that I was not disidentifying ...
So you know what to do for next week.
I saw something that happened and I can't just report it, and I actually experienced some gratitude that the not-I's have done their job. Because when I say I can't, they don't do it really nicely (laughs). They have done it.
I've been noticing a part of me which is growing as I disidentify which ...
Good (very definitely).
Leave it alone. I don't want to hear about it.
And if you're smart, you won't even think about it.
I'll remind you of growing something. If I plant a seed in the ground and every day I dig it up to see how well it's growing (laughter) ...
Doing the Work of disidentifying is planting the seed. If you notice that something is growing: let it be. We use the thing called analysis on the self, isn't that correct?
To kill it.
That's exactly right. Anything that is living, if you take it apart -- which is what analysis does -- dies. Now is that what you want to do to what you're seeing?
Then just let it grow.
Do not give in to the temptation to figure it out, or check up on it,
or any other wierdass thing that pops into your head, okay?
Now is a really good time to disidentify from every suggestion
that you try to understand -- in any way, shape or form -- what's
Okay? The understanding will come. If it comes any other way than that, then you're not allowing it to come -- to be experienced as understanding. You're trying to figure it out, and the only method you know is analysis.
And one form of analysis is comparing it with what you have heard from the Teaching Ideas.
Just experience it, whatever it is, okay?
I experienced, with the disidentifying -- I don't know what this pertains to, but I got really ill, and started vomiting, violently, over and over again. And I told X what was going on and asked X to help the body or help me understand what was going on with my body and it stopped immediately. And I don't really know what happened.
Does it matter?
I don't know (flippantly).
You don't know whether it matters to you, or not?
Okay. (unintelligible comment and laughter)
I don't know if it was to what I was doing with disidentifying ...
I'm very aware of the fact that you don't know, but
you also don't know something that you could know.
You're focusing on, ``I don't understand it.''
When I asked you a simple question: ``Does it matter?''
And you can't answer that? Whether or not it matters to you? That's called lack of awareness. Because it either matters to you or it doesn't. So I don't know who else should know but you (laughing) whether or not it matters to you.
And what's goofy is you're making it very clear that it does matter to you. Everyone but you knows that it matters to you. Or else why would you bring it up?
It's interesting ...
I don't know anyone that decides to talk about things that don't matter (laughing). Unless they're just being social and they can't stand silence.
It could be one of those not-I's, again.
Yeah, I get it.
You're in a very interesting state.
Instead of just being honest, and saying, ``I've made this important,'' you're
playing ideal games about how it ought to be.
So the consequence is, you're not being honest.
It's not a question of not knowing, really. It's a question of being dishonest. Obviously, it does matter to you.
I asked the question to remind you that it really doesn't. It just doesn't matter.
Okay, so, you had an unpleasant, physical reaction,
and you decided, rightly or wrongly, that it was because you were
Of course it could have been something you ate.
But you decided you knew what the cause was, and, uh, some other things
happened that made you certain it was the cause.
Because if it had been something you ate, X wouldn't have taken care of it
We all know that.
So we have a nice, rational, logical, reason to believe what we believe.
It's just an experience. Don't make it important, okay?
It'll just drive you crazy if you make it important (laughing).
I experienced, like, disidentifications of the body. I just was like, ``this isn't mine, this isn't mine,'' and all of a sudden the body became important to the not-I's.
Boy, I have no idea what that means. What do you mean, ``disidentification with the body''?
Um, that I am not of this body, that it was loaned to me.
Okay. What about it, now that I at least know what you're talking about?
The not-I's made it important, um ...
That you own the body.
Yeah, and that I look a certain way, and that I be a certain way. And as I was disidentifying with what they were saying, I just experienced not -- like the body wasn't me, and I wasn't moving it. I wasn't responsible for what it did at that time. It was an interesting experience.
Is that because you just don't feel like talking, or because you didn't do a damn thing? How am I supposed to know the difference if you won't at least say, ``I didn't do a damn thing?''
One of the other things that was observed was, uh, vanity and pride and their constant conversation. And, um, the promise was, that it, it ...
Kind of like my favorite tea: Constant Comment Tea. It always reminds me of the not-I's every time I see that tea. (laughing) They've always got something to say about everything, don't they?
And I got to experience what we talked about last week about wanting a fantasy ``I.'' While I was disidentifying, I saw that the machine is running this one, I'm not running the machine. And, uh, there were some things that ...
Very piss-poor description.
The machine is not running you.
The machine is just doing what it's doing, and there's nothing you can do
It's not running you.
It's doing all the reporting for you. Or even more accurately, it's telling you what to report.
Yeah. And, uh, uh, so, while this is going on, and, um, there's a not-I that gets expressed. And then, of course, 5 comes up and says, ``how can you express that,'' you know, the usual. But it happens, and I'm disidentifying. Then, within about an hour, the not-I's pull this other game: which is ``look how good you're doing, let's go into the fantasy of how wonderful you're doing ...''
Disidentifying just means that you watch the show.
And it doesn't sound like you're just watching the show, it sounds like
you're still judging it.
So you're not sitting in the theater watching the performers.
You're apparently trying to be an art critic.
There's a hell of a big difference between being a critic while you watch a show, and just watching it. That's all disidentifying means.
If there is any judgment, it is not disidentification. So, what you've done is identified with one small part of self that's a critic, and not seen that.
So it's not really disidentification. When there's any judging of what is being observed, it is not disidentification, period. That's the definition, okay?
To observe what the self is doing, without judgment. And if you can do that, then add on: with analysis. No judgment, but lots of analysis.
But none of the analysis is about good or bad, it's about what -- what is.
I've been experiencing something similar to what she was talking about all week. With ...
Well, why don't you say what you've been experiencing, even though it's similar to anything else.
Having an ideal of what the Work should be, and #5 constantly telling me I'm shit. I fall asleep and not-I says, ``you're shit, you're not doing the work, you should be doing the work.'' Then, when I identify with that, basically I buy the belief that ...
Well, I know what happens when you identify with the idea: you will have a miserable existence.
I see that
Well, you didn't make the judgment.
Well, but that's not what you said, so you're still
So, the fact is, you haven't caught on to what disidentification is, yet.
You're still only pretending to do it.
I just explained it to her. You're identified with the critic. And saying that's disidentification; and it's not.
Did you hear what I said? Disidentification is as though you go to a theater and you find a nice, pleasant, comfortable seat, and you watch the show. And you become what you've always been, anyway: a passenger in your own body.
All of your life you've been pretending as if you were the driver. So, finally, you actually become what you've always really been. The back-seat driver. (laughter) Who can't reach the controls, just kibitzes all the time about how the driving is going.
Okay? So you just watch the show. That's called disidentification. I don't have the ability yet to do anything about the show, so I'm just going to watch.
I'm not going to judge the show. I don't understand the show.
I don't' know what a human being is supposed to be. You just arrived here a few years ago. And you haven't spent much time studying what humanity is. You just accepted a bunch of crap that people told you. And said, ``I know.''
But you haven't spent any real time and energy finding out what it means to be human. You don't have the slightest, fucking, idea what being human is about. So who are you to judge?
All of your ideas that you judge by are just weird beliefs that you picked up from here and there as you lived. Things that you read out of books; things that people said to you; crap that you made up out of your head. What the hell do you know?
Who are you to judge? I don't think you know the first thing about what it is to be a human being.
Maybe if you'd spend a little time watching the show you might find out. (laughs) If you'd stop criticizing the show a bit, and just watch it, you'd find out what it is to be a human being, wouldn't you?
You'd say, ``Oh, I see: that's what humans do. I don't know if it's right or wrong or anything else, it's just what humans do.
``If somebody asks me what humans do, I'll be able to tell them now.''
(laughs) Anything else?
Some of you may have noticed that I object rather vehemently when people call this a class.
I tell them, if you really must call it something, call it a meeting. And even that is not descriptive.
The reason that I object to it being called a class, is that it implies that someone sits and tells you a bunch of stuff and you go off and think about it.
The proper term for this is a workshop. Because all I am is a worker. That's just all there is to it.
I've been doing the Work a lot longer than you have. And that's all I am is a worker. I have a hell of a lot more experience than you do. That's just the way it is.
The probability is that you will never catch up with me. Because I'm still working. So no matter how fast you go, I'll probably always be ahead of you because I've got about 25 years on you. And I don't think -- no matter how fast you go -- unless I start really dragging my feet -- that you're going to make up a 25 year head-start.
So probably, for as long as this body is still here, and this one is still hanging out in it, I'm going to be more experienced at doing the Work than you are. That's just the way it is.
So this is my workshop. Where you've come. It may look like a home, but it's my workshop.
I do all the work that I do -- I even do my job here. That work as well. And part of the understanding of that is, an old idea called apprenticeship. Which is kind of out of vogue these days.
Today you go to school and you get taught a bunch of theoretical crap and then you supposedly know everything. Because we worship the intellect at this point, don't we?
It doesn't occur to us that it takes experience, practical experience, to understand theoretical crap.
But when people originally found some things that took tremendous skill, and a lot of practice, and required a fairly large body of knowledge to gain that skill and practice -- they set up an interesting idea: apprenticeship. Where you go and work with someone who had theoretically mastered the craft or the effort that you were attempting to learn, and they would talk to you about doing it. And they would show you how to do it. And then you would sit and do it in their workshop.
And they would stop by every now and again and say, ``No, that's not quite it.'' And make little corrections here and there.
Isn't that about the way it would work?
And things being the way they are, the stuff that you do correct goes unnoticed -- or at least uncommented, I should say. It doesn't go unnoticed. But it goes uncommented, doesn't it?
Because the point of an apprenticeship is to learn. Not to be appreciated and approved of because you happen to want to learn.
Is that right?
So we've kind of reached a point where we simply cannot go any further if you cannot show evidence of a certain skill, called disidentification. You just can't go any further without that.
It would be as though we were learning sculpting, and you hadn't even figured out how to hold the chisel and the hammer. And yet you want to be taught how to get a quality of maybe things looking real in your sculpture. But you can't even hold the chisel and the hammer and hit them together and get a chip that you want. Okay?
That's the way disidentifying is. It's the skill on which everything else is based.
So we're going to play for a while the workshop game. Just the workshop game. We're not going to do a whole lot of lecturing for a period of time.
It will basically be that since you don't work here, you come here once a week and you show your work. And I'll look at it and say what isn't quite understood about doing it yet. In the hopes that you can then go and correct it, okay?
So we got a number of very interesting things this evening, if one is willing to pay attention.
One of them is that, the favorite tactic of the not-I's if you actually do disidentification is to scare the crap out of you. If you know that, then when they do it, you just smile and say, ``there they go again.'' (laughter)
I'm not going to get afraid, this is just what they do. They do something that is very frightening to me, and say, ``if,'' in essence, ``you keep on doing this, then this will happen.'' That's what fear is about, isn't it? It's a projection into the future of consequences that are horrible. So you smile, and say, ``like hell: do your worst, see if I give a damn.''
I'll tell you about the very first experience I ever had with this. It was before I even ran into the Teaching. But I went somewhere, and someone suggested that I meditate.
So, I said, ``all right. I'll try it. I want to be `enlightened.' Maybe meditating will work. What the hell do I know?''
They said do it for an hour. So, okay. The first meditation was something like, watch the thoughts or something, who the hell remembers: who cares?
So I went into this empty room, standing in it all by myself. No damn clock there: somebody said they'd come and get me in an hour.
That was the meanest thing to do, as far as I'm concerned.
So I sat down, and I said, ``okay, I'm going to watch the thoughts for an hour.''
Of course, in a few minutes I was going stir-crazy. I'd never sat still in my damn life. I'm one of those people, you know, that's kind of the nervous type. Has to be moving all the time. I know it's hard to tell now (laughs). Because nowadays it's just hard to get me to move.
But, anyway, that's the way I was in those days. So I went stir-crazy. But I said, ``I'm not going to move. I'm just going to sit here.''
So that didn't work, getting me to go stir-crazy. I kept at what I said I was going to do. Do you understand what I'm saying? I made an aim, didn't I?
I said, ``This is what I'm going to do. It's just a damned hour. I can spend an hour out of my life at something.''
And they tried a few other things -- and eventually what happened was the heart started just racing. And I'm just sitting there. And then it started beating real irregularly. It would run really fast: and then it would, kind of, pause -- for a moment. Then it would be all fast again.
And I thought, this is an odd experience. Wasn't exactly what I expected.
And then this voice in the head said, ``If you keep this up, we're going to kill you.''
And I said, ``Okay. But I'm doing it until somebody comes in here and tells me the hour is up.''
And they sat and fucked around with the heart for the next twenty minutes or so -- until finally they got bored. Because I wasn't paying any attention. I just let the heart act like I was having a heart attack. I was a young man. I was probably twenty-two years old. I wasn't having a heart attack. I was in the prime of health in those days (other than the fact that I was sick all the time). But physically I was still in very good shape. I just got sick a lot, because I was such a B.
I know that's hard to believe, too. (laughter)
That's just what they do. They just try to scare the hell out of you. They threaten you with suicide. They tell you they're going to commit suicide if you keep it up.
They threaten your sanity. They threatened me with so many things, I don't know that I could even list them all.
And guess who's still sitting here?
Okay? So, if you understand that fear is just a projected image. that in other words it's just an illusion. They don't know any more about the future than I do.
What would be so bad about living as an insane person. It sounds kind of fun to me, actually. You certainly wouldn't have to worry about all this any more, would you? (laughter)
I mean, what kind of threat is that? ``We'll go insane on you. We'll live in a fantasy!''
Well, all right!
That's what I would say. I wouldn't be afraid. I'd say, ``Good, make it a pretty one!'' Maybe I can dream that I'm having non-disturbance. I can just fantasize that all this disturbance isn't here.
I mean, why be afraid of that? They'll take you up to this nice place. They'll feed you, they'll clothe you. You won't have to go to work any more. There'll be lot of other people to be around. You'll have plenty of friends.
What's the problem?
You'll be like the lilies of the field. You won't have to toil. They'll provide you with garments. I mean, sheesh.
The other one is that they make weird, weird things important. Why? Because it produces fear again.
Whenever ``I'' make something important, ``I'' become anxious.
Which is fancy word for fear again. And eventually it causes obsessions, and delusions and full-blown psychoses if you make things important enough. You become psychotic.
So they can scare the crap out of you again. So they pick some little part of the experience, and they say this part is important. Usually something unpleasant. Like vomiting.
Or being afraid, or hitting people, or being nasty, or -- you know, anything that you find unpleasant. And they say, ``make this important.'' And you say, ``Oh, sure, this is important.''
And then you get really scared and anxious.
Or disintegration, that's a good one. I particularly like that. It's important that you're falling apart.
Well producing anxiety will cause more disintegration, won't it? And then they'll say, ``See, I told you it was important. It's getting worse.'' (laughter)
And then you've got to fix it again.(laughing)
Well, you're certainly not disidentifying any
more, are you?
Disidentifying is just watching the show as a passive observer -- as though you had gone to the theater and you're sitting in a nice, comfortable chair, and you're watching a play. It's just that the play is going on in your head.
And all the actors pretend to be you. But, you notice, that they're all different actors that pretend to be you. Isn't that strange?
So there's like five million actors, and they're all claiming to be you. So it's a rather odd play, but you know it is kind of interesting.
It's very simple. Are there any questions or comments before we take the break?
Many years ago, after I had been doing the
Work for a bit, someone invited me to go to the Krishna temple -- where is it?
On Washington or Venice or something like that, around there.
They wanted the food. (laughter) It's true. That's why they were going: they wanted the food.
But, of course, when you go to a place, you know, that preaches, for free food, you sort of got to sit through a bunch of preaching to get there. But ...
And, I guess they decided that this particular person was prime material for their teaching. Because instead of sitting us in the peanut gallery with everybody else, they put us in a special little balcony that had room for maybe about, I don't know, forty people. And when you sat up there, you sat right next to a proselytizer.
And then after the little ceremony they had, where they sat around and talked about how great this candle was that they had in their temple, which I thought was highly amusing. Have you ever been there? They have this big wax figurine of somebody, I don't know who the hell it is. The guy who's the head of the Krishna thing, right now. So it looked to me like they were making a big damn deal out of a candle that didn't have a wick on it.
I kept wanting to go down there and put a wick in the thing and see what it looked like. But I didn't tell them that.
But, anyway, after they futzed around with their big candle for a while -- we were supposed to go eat. But this guy started trying to convince me I should become one of them. Whatever they are. Do you know what they're called?
No, that's what you call them.
All that crap in your head.
That's not what they're called.
That's just what you call them.
And you're convinced it's true.
At any rate, their big pitch was that we're all suffering. I certainly agreed with that, with a few qualifications. I told him, ``I don't know if everybody is: I haven't met everybody. But most people I know are.'' And he said, ``Well suffering is bad.'' That was after he got me to agree that I was suffering, at least. I didn't know about all of us, but I was.
He said, ``Well suffering is bad.'' And I said, ``Why?''
``Well, it's bad, it ought to be ended. You don't like suffering, do you?''
And I said, ``Well, actually I do. As a matter of fact.''
Now this poor fellow talked to me for probably about five minutes, until (I suspect) that he was convinced that whoever Krishna's antithesis is had incarnated right there. (laughter)
And I know that Krishna had a big fight with somebody. I've forgotten who. I read the Bhagavad Ghita many years ago and I've forgotten who it was, but I'm sure that I was an incarnation of whoever that was inside of this poor guy's head.
Because he kept going on, ``Well everyone wants to end suffering.'' And I said, ``Well, I don't.
``In fact, if you gave me a magic wand that could end suffering, I would burn it.'' (uncomfortable laughter)
So after a few minutes of this, the guy literally ran. (laughter)
And I was serious. I think that was the whole problem, of course. He could tell I meant every word I was saying.
How else am I going to wake up?
If you took all the suffering from the life, right now -- just the way you are -- and someone could just wave a wand and there would be no suffering in your life -- would you still want to do the Work?
Would you ---?
Well, that's the way I felt.
If you could end all the suffering in this life, right now, then I wouldn't
want to go on working.
Now that's not true any more for this one.
But I would still present the same argument.
For the good of everyone else, who still needs it.
I need a certain amount of discomfort to keep me awake. You need to suffer. (laughter) A little discomfort won't cut it. (laughter)
And yet, the joke is, you can end conflict.
Now I don't know if it will end suffering or not.
But I will tell you that you can end the conflict that is constantly going on
if you will work at disidentifying.
Most of what you folks have talked about tonight -- your difficulty is -- that you are identifying with part of the sides in the conflict. If you consider the stuff that you talked about that was giving you difficulty, that's really what it was about. There is still identification with some one side in maybe a three or four part argument.
One of the sides, however, was just ... true. It wasn't the self breaking into three or four parts and having an argument. One part was true.
That can be ended -- by disidentifying.
If you realize that all the arguing that goes on inside your head is not you, then it actually doesn't matter whether it's arguing or not any more. You're not paying attention: in the sense of buying this. I hope you're still paying attention. But you're not buying it, so who cares?
That was the whole problem this little Krishna guy had with me, isn't that right? He had an argument, and I wasn't buying it, so how the hell do you work on somebody who isn't buying your argument?
It's not going to work, is it? He would have had to leave, anyway -- he didn't have to run. But he would have had to leave eventually, because you can't convince someone when your argument isn't accepted as valid. Do you understand?
So it really doesn't matter. He could have argued with me for the next fifteen years (I've since found out). And I would still maintain the same position that I had then. I'm glad there's suffering in the world. And I wouldn't do anything to lessen it.
I will show people what it takes to end conflict. And I'll tell them where suffering comes from. If they want to end it, more power to them. But that's all that I'll do.
I don't know anything else that will get a person to do the Work, in the early stages.
If they're doing pretty good, I don't think you're going to get them to even think the Work's a good idea. I think they'll just think that it's a crazy cult. Or crazy, if they don't think it's a cult. (laughter) It's kind of hard to believe this is a cult. You got to work at it. I mean, what the hell am I getting out of this? (laughs)
So we can look to the end of conflict. It's very simple. Just disidentify with the conflict. Watch them argue, and don't get involved.
Don't buy the argument. Just watch them do it. One side argues that it's right about such and such. Another side argues about another side in the argument. The problem is that you buy one of the sides in the argument. So you become manipulable by the argument.
If one side asserts that you're going crazy and you buy it, then you can be manipulated by that argument. As soon as you buy an argument that's designed to manipulate you, you become manipulable. That's the whole point of disidentification.
It's to say that this is not me. If you guys go nuts, or you guys do such and such -- or whatever -- I don't care. Because it's not going to affect me.
Well, it might a little bit (laughter).
But I still don't care.
I would rather die than stop doing the Work. That's the story that I told you before the break. I would rather die than stop doing the Work.
So the Work has more value to me than rather or not this body goes on living. If a not-I says, ``I'll kill you if you keep doing this,'' I say, ``You better try and make good on that threat. Because I'm going to keep doing it.''
All I found out is that all they can do is threaten. Until you call their bluff, you'll never find that out, will you?
So I'll tell you the source of misery, and you can decide whether you want to end it or not. If you want to go on a campaign, like the Krishna folks, to end misery well, feel free: at least you'll be working with something real, okay? Because I will tell you where misery comes from.
And about the only way I know to end something is to kind of get at the source. What do you think? I don't think it works too good to pull weeds if you don't get the roots. (laughter)
I used to do that when I was a kid, because I was lazy. And then next week the same damn weed was there to be pulled again. And it finally occurred to me: I think I'll work at this a little bit harder so I don't have to work so hard next week.
They just grow back, don't they? So you're not going to end misery or suffering unless you know where it's coming from, and get rid of that. Don't concentrate, in other words, on the symptoms -- the leaves and the stem and all that sort of stuff -- and pull that out. I think if you kind of get the root out, the rest of that stuff will go away pretty fast.
You ain't going to like it, of course, when I tell you. Nobody ever likes what I have to say. But it's true, anyway.
It comes from the fact that you have taste.
That's where all your suffering comes from. You have likes and dislikes.
If you would just observe, for one week, every time you suffer: I think you will see that every single time is because something is not to your taste.
Now, can you think of one time, in your whole life, when you've ever suffered because something was to your taste? This is exactly what I wanted. Suits me to a T. (laughter)
Boy that was a tough one to figure out, wasn't it? (laughter) The world has been working how long to end suffering? I can't figure out where it comes from!
It's obvious, isn't it? It comes from the fact that you have taste. You like some things, and you don't like other things. Right? Think of one contradiction to that.
Look for the next week and see if you can find one contradiction to that. Look for the next year, if you want to. Look for as long as it takes for you to get it through your head that all suffering comes from your taste. Because you insist on having likes and dislikes.
In fact, some of your likes and dislikes you don't even call taste. You don't even call likes and dislikes. You actually say, ``This is just the way it is.''
Violence is wrong. Everyone knows that. But, unfortunately, everyone doesn't.
Because that's just your taste. Some people happen to like violence. They do.
It's all a matter of taste. Everything that you believe in so fervently as absolute truth is just a matter of taste. Because there ain't no such thing as absolute truth in your life. There's only one absolute truth in the entire universe, and I don't think you know Him, too good.
And I notice He don't talk to much on the subject. You ask Him questions on the subject, and doesn't have much to say. Sometimes He just ignores the question. I have to get really insistent to get a peep out of Him on the subject. He doesn't seem to be interested in talking about that. That's just the way it is, you know.
If it's absolute truth, there's not a damn thing you can do about it, anyway. All of your so-called truths, unless you've done some work to find out a little bit of objective reality, are just what's to your taste. Some of them you don't even call likes and dislikes: you call them right and wrong, good and bad.
Most of them, in fact. You don't tell someone that that dinner was to my taste. You say it was good. Isn't that right?
When was the last time, when someone said, ``How did you like the meal?'' you said, ``It was really to my taste.
``I enjoyed it.'' Or was it just: ``Oh, it was really good.'' Like there's this objective phenomenon out there called good. Except that if someone else with different taste has that meal, are they going to call it good? They're going to think that you're really stupid. You don't' even know what good is.
So even in a simple thing that is obviously a matter of taste we don't act as though it's a matter of taste, do we? We act as though it's a matter of right and wrong, good and bad.
And then you get into theoretical stuff, oh boy. And we all know what's right, and all it is is what you have been conditioned to like. Because, dear ones, that's what like and dislike means.
You don't come here with likes and dislikes. You got to acquire them.
They all come from conditioning. If it gives me pleasure several times in a row, I decide that I like it and this is the way that it ought to be. If it gives me pain often enough (and you'd be surprised how infrequently often enough is: it just has to be several times) then you decide you don't like it. That's not the way it should be.
So do you suppose that if you disidentified you might end suffering as well as conflict?
Because you'd listen to the not-I's tell you their taste and you'd say, ``Enh. Who cares one way or the other, really.
``It's nice when I have it the way that I prefer it, when I get my taste.'' But it really is not that important, you know. It sure as hell isn't worth suffering for.
But isn't that what suffering is for? To point out to you that you're taking the personality so seriously that it's killing you?
Because if you ever catch on where suffering comes from, you realize that it all comes from the self. It knows what it likes and it knows what it doesn't like. Of course it's in conflict on the subject. Just like everything else.
But whatever ``I'' is up now knows it absolutely and then in two minutes there will be another one that's arguing about it, right? So even on that, it's not absolute. It just depends on which damned ``I'' is running the show now.
So if you'd learn to have preferences rather than tastes (rather than likes and dislikes), you might discover that you don't even suffer as much. This is not to my taste. Oh well.
This is not the way that I would prefer it. Oh well. This is the way it is.
And I will go to considerable effort, and sometimes considerable expense, to arrange things to my taste. I will do that. Knowing full well that it may not work out.
And when it doesn't, I shrug my shoulders and say, ``Oh well. Didn't get it the way I preferred it. Such is life.''
So there's no way that I'd do it with magic. But if you want to do some work, you can do it. Now it's very possible that those people knew that. I'm not going to claim that the Krishna folks don't know what I just said.
But they sure as hell weren't understanding it when they proselytized. Because to sell somebody on doing the Work to end suffering, and not telling them that you're probably going to suffer while you do the Work, is stupid. Because they're not going to stick to it.
They have only one purpose, and that purpose is to get non-disturbance by ending suffering. You know, I don't think doing the Work does that. (laughter) I think you get real disturbed before you get that end of suffering and conflict stuff, okay?
So maybe you need to do it for some other reasons, but that doesn't mean you can't understand that it is possible to end suffering and to end conflict. And it's all up to you.
You're not going to learn a trick, and you're not going to learn some odd exercise, or whatever the hell you're looking for (some weird habit) that's going to do it. What does it is disidentification from your own taste.
Just say, ``This is the way I've been conditioned. To like these things and to dislike these. And some of them I'm okay with. I've been conditioned to like certain kinds of foods. I'm okay with that. They're not unhealthy foods (with a few minor exceptions). And I can live with those. I do have a bit too much of a sweet tooth for my own good. And knowing that, I try to curb it. Even though the taste comes up and says, `gotta have sugar now,' a lot of times I just tell it, `No.' And there are times I go ahead and do it.''
And it's not that difficult to arrange foods to this one's taste, and when it doesn't work out, and I go somewhere and the food isn't to the taste, you know what I do? I eat it.
It's still fuel. And that, after all, is the real purpose of eating, you know. To provide fuel, so that tomorrow I can do the Work, like I did today. That's the only real reason for eating: is to make sure that I'm here tomorrow, able to work.
So if the food is not to this one's taste, I just eat it. It's still fuel.
I don't do that with cigarettes, because I don't have to smoke, do I? Really, that's just for the pleasure of it. So if I can't get the particular cigarettes that are to the taste, then I don't smoke. I can afford to do without smoking. So I can afford to pay a little bit more attention to that preference, do you understand?
If I don't smoke I won't die. But food I gotta do. And I'm not going to spend three or four hours to get it to my taste on those occasions when it's just not. I'm going to fuel the body.
And I'm going to enjoy it, oddly enough. I'll even put a little joy into it. Even though it's not to my taste. You understand?
So where's the suffering? You may never know that that food was not to this one's taste. Because it may never be said. And if you watched the person eating it, it'll look like they're enjoying it. So you may never even know. You may not find out until later, because you might happen to ask, ``Well, how'd you like the food?''
``Well, I though it was pretty shitty.''
``Well you sure looked like you were eating it.''
``Well, why not? What difference does it make?''
Everything starts with disidentification. All inner growth and evolution starts with a very simple ability: the ability to simply, passively, observe the show called self. To just see it as if it were a play being put on for your benefit. Because I can't imagine who else is watching it (laughter).
So it must be being put on just for me, isn't that right (laughter).
And you can do that when you can watch most of what goes on in self (I know there's always going to be a few things that are just so disturbing you can't do it), but when you can get to the point where most everything that goes on in self is just a show, and you don't take it any more seriously than you do any other show.
I mean I've been to shows that I didn't like. If I'm by myself, I walk out. It's simple, isn't it. But if I'm with some other people who are enjoying it, why should I spoil their fun, just because I'm not? So I sit there and twiddle my thumbs and look around, and try to do anything to stay interested until the damn thing's over and I can leave.
It's called taste again, isn't it? These folks are enjoying it. Why should I ruin their fun just because I'm not? Of course, that's why I don't go to many any more. Because I figure it probably won't be to my taste, so why bother?
And if I did, I would sit through it. Unless I was by myself. I'm not going to spoil somebody else's fun just because it's not to my taste, you understand?
So I don't see why I can't look at the show in my head that way. Some of it's not to my taste, I'll admit that. It's real weird. I don't care. It's just a show.
You might find, if you actually do that, that a lot of the suffering that you're going through just isn't there any more. Because it's just a matter of taste.
Isn't that the goofiest thing you've ever heard? All this misery, all this suffering, all this pain as you call it, just so I can have what's to my taste.
You understand why I just laughed when you said, ``pain of this and that?'' It's just a matter of taste. Okay, so there are certain things that happen that are not to your taste. The pain only exists because you insist on having your way.
If you just looked at it and said that's not to my taste, it wouldn't hurt that much. You might even find it kind of amusing.
Any questions or comments?
Last week, because actually this is valuable to this one, because I saw and I named it like a frame of reference. It was almost seeing it and I don't like this, it's bad. Or, I like this, and so I was like observing it, and this is, I think, that it's the taste thing that you were talking about. There's a frame of reference, an existing frame of reference that I, personality, keeps checking back on it, and ...
Why do you think we decided to use the word ``valuable?''
Why do I think?
That word was picked to remind everyone of something.
The real judgment is on work-ability.
Not just whether you like it or dislike it.
It basically says, does it work? It's not a matter of taste any more, it's a matter of function. Okay?
Does it work or not. If you're picking and choosing amongst things based on taste, that's okay, there's actually nothing wrong with it, just don't insist that it has to be to your taste. If you can possibly arrange it, and it doesn't cost too much, then what the hell.
But you hear all those qualifications. If it doesn't cost too much, and if it doesn't take too much work, then fine, have it your way, you see? But if it gets too expensive, it's not worth it, is it? It's easier to just say, who cares.
Because it's just a matter of taste. It's not like it has some great objective value. You know? Things will function whether you get it according to your taste or not, it's just a little more pleasant when you get it according to your taste. Yeah, okay, fine.
There's nothing wrong with getting things more pleasant. But don't sacrifice function for pleasure. That's crazy.
Any other questions or comments before we split?
Everything that we've talked about so far has been to make it easy to disidentify. It's just been to sit there and identify everything there is to disidentify from. That's it. We haven't talked about anything beyond really disidentification yet and self-knowing, okay? Now it's time to do it.
Because I will repeat again just a fact: you can't move on from here until you've done it. You cannot learn to make life-like, beautiful statues if you can't hold the damn chisel and hit it with a hammer and get the chip you wanted off. So you've got to just sit there and practice hitting the chisel, over and over again, until the exact chip you had wanted to come off, comes off. And when you can repeat that over and over again, then you can go to somebody and say, ``Okay, now tell me what kind of shape, you know, how to make a shape. Now that I know how to chisel a stone or wood or whatever.''
You get it? But you got to have that first skill before you can use it to do anything else.
Anything you try to do when you're not disidentifying is really the personality doing that, and you'll never know.
Because you're identifying. Okay? So work at it.
Copyright © 1996 by inX. September 30, 1996.