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This is a transcript of a workshop with a group who wished to begin studying the Science of Man's Conscious Self-Evolution in Brentwood, CA on November 16 and 17, 1996. No attempt has been made to modify the grammar -- it is transcribed as it happened -- only names have been removed where necessary.
Well, nobody told me what to talk about today,
so I picked my own subject.
We'll see what you think about it, all right?
I thought maybe we would talk today about a simple idea called ``realizing one's potential.'' Does that sound like something that might interest you folks?
Maybe finding out what your potential is as a
human being and actually realizing it someday: instead of leaving it as potential.
You know what potential is, right? It means something that is stored and unused, okay? That's what potential is. It's sitting around, you got it in the closet somewhere; but you don't use it for much of anything.
When you're talking about potential energy, that's what we're talking about, isn't it? Something that's put in a form that cannot be used, right now. So you can save it up.
So I sort of guess that most human beings are misers: they like storing all this stuff up, they just can't see any reason to use it. Now I sort of figure I got so much I can afford to use what I got. I never was much for being a miser. I figure the only way you can enjoy something is to use it. What do you think?
But then some people, I guess, get a lot of enjoyment out of thinking of all that stuff they got stored up for someday. (laughter) Maybe for somebody else to use when they're done.
And to do that, I think first of all, we would have to find out what this is. I have the sneaky suspicion that most people when they hear this sort of thing think, ``Well, what is my potential?''
Is that sort of one of the first things that crosses the mind when you hear this? ``And just what might you be talking about here?''
Because, most likely, if you knew what it was it wouldn't be stored, okay? You'd be making use of it.
In order to do that, we're probably going to contradict an awful lot of stuff that you're just absolutely certain of. (laughter)
I've had a few folks recently ask me why I wear black all of the time. Well, that's one of the reasons. Because I go around telling everybody, ``you're wrong'' all the time. I figured that happens so much, I'll just remind them I'm going to do it. You kind of look at me, and you can never forget I'm just going to do that, now.
But, the first thing I'd like to suggest is that we understand how to listen. It does us no good to sit up here and talk about all this stuff if you don't know how to listen. And what we normally call listening is not listening at all.
So I want to explain to you how you can best make use of the little week-end; if you want to. I'm not going to tell you what to do, because that's not my business. But I'll describe something, and you can decide what you want to do, okay?
Most of the time when we're listening, we're actually thinking about what I'm going to say. Isn't that right? (laughter) Now, of course, since this isn't really a conversation, we won't have that problem. Although I would like to point out that this is a small group: if you don't understand something, just sort of interrupt me and say so. Because usually what happens is that if you don't understand it, there are five or six other people who are too embarrassed to admit that they don't understand it really, either, and don't want to look stupid. So I kind of figure that the one who admitted that they didn't understand is the smart one. (laughter)
At any rate, that's one of the things that we call listening: and I don't think that's listening at all. You see: after you get through talking, I have plenty of time to figure out what I'm going to say. I don't really need to think about it. So, if I'm busy thinking in my own head about what I'm going to say when you finally shut up and give me a change, I'm not listening to you. I'm listening to my own thoughts, aren't I?
So you see that what we call listening, most of the time it's not. So that's why I'm kind of bringing up the subject: if we're going to somebody speak, it might make sense to make efforts to do that.
The other way to not listen is to have problems. Anybody here have problems. (laughter)
This is the one that's going to interfere this week-end.
Any time we go to listen to somebody talk about something like this subject
we're looking at, we think it's going to solve our problems, don't we?
So, in fact, we're not listening.
We're doing just like we're doing when having a conversation and we're thinking
about what we're going to say.
Everything we listen to, supposedly (everything that comes in), we look at it
and say, ``Will this solve my problems?''
So we're still thinking.
And we didn't hear what the person said.
Now the funny thing is, that if you really listen, then if it will solve one of your problems, you'll find that out later when you have the problem, won't you? (laughter) You don't really need to be like thinking about it ahead of time.
When I first started talking about this stuff, I discovered that I didn't really have my own words for it, yet. I certainly do now, but I didn't then. And I discovered that I could literally repeat back, verbatim -- in the same tone of voice, with the same mannerisms, and the same jokes in the same places -- what had said to this one in a similar situation of a little group of people like this. Because at the time, all I did was listen. And I found that I remembered every single word, every joke -- and that's what I did for a period of time. I just repeated what somebody else had said, until I kind of got to be able to say it without changing it in my own words.
So that information, when I actually listened, is not just recorded, like everything is. Because, you know, the mind records everything, whether you like it or not. I know that because you think you have trouble remembering things, sometimes, that you believe that it doesn't record everything: but it does. And when you're actually paying attention while it's recorded; because of the way that the mind works, it's instantly accessible.
So if all you do is listen, it's yours. To do with as you please.
If you're thinking at the same time, you have trouble remembering it. Okay? So one way not to listen to this is to, constantly, every time that something is said, try to figure out if I can use it to solve a problem. Then you'll discover that you didn't hear it. All you'll remember is what you were really paying attention to: which is thinking about whether it would solve a problem. And then later on you'll try to say, now, what exactly was said? And you just can't remember. All you remember is you thinking about well, it might solve your problem. Except that now you don't remember what it was.
Now how will that feel, hunh? Now, he said just what I needed to solve my problem -- except I can't remember what it is. All I can remember is that he said it.
You see, that's the other way that you can not listen. So one thing you can sort of do as the mind says, ``Well, this might solve a problem, and so on,'' is say, ``I'll think about that later. Right now I've got something to do. Which is pay attention.'' Okay?
The other way is an interesting little thing that we humans enjoy doing, called agreeing and disagreeing. If I do either one of these two things, then I did not hear what was said. That's a peculiarity of the way that the mind works.
Now, the first two people can sort of understand. This one they don't like too much. Okay. (laughter)
But what happens when you agree with something or you disagree with it, is you didn't hear it. So there was a very famous may a few years back who said, ``Let he who has ears hear.'' And this is one of the reason why he went around saying that, okay? Because every time someone agreed with him or disagreed with him, they did not hear what was said.
We agree and disagree by not knowing. By comparing what we just heard to something we already know and seeing whether it compares favorably. If it compares to things that I have agreed with in the past, then all that happens is that it gets stored with the things that I agreed with in the past. That's all that happens. And it does me just as much good as that stuff I agreed with in the past. Which hasn't been very useful to me, so far. Or we probably wouldn't be sitting here.
If I disagree, it's the same thing. It just gets stored with all the stuff I've disagreed with in the past. You see?
So there's this odd little idea that folks came up with a few years ago called the scientific method, to be used to deal with ideas. And I would highly recommend that instead of using this rather inefficient method called agreeing and disagreeing, you actually try the scientific method, okay? You don't have to be a scientist to use it.
But the way it works is, that you treat every idea that you hear as a theory. In other words, it may be absolute truth to the speaker. Something that they know for certain is a fact. But the minute you get it, it's opinion, isn't it?
For me it's truth. But the minute it comes out of this mouth and you get it, it's now my opinion, isn't it? It's not your truth, unless you've found it out for yourself. It's my truth.
Truth is only something you've verified for yourself. Okay? If you haven't verified it, I believe the word for that is an opinion or belief. You see?
So everything that I say is an opinion, automatically. No matter what it is for me, that's what it'll always be for you. So you just treat it as a theory. I don't know whether he's telling the truth. (laughter) He could get great kicks out of having people pay him to lie through his nose. Maybe that's what he does: goes around getting people, you know ... What do you know?
You treat it as a theory, and you go out and make observations. That's the scientific method, okay? And these observations are for the purpose of disproving the idea. That it what they're for.
In other words, I am looking for contradictions. I do not assume that the theory is true, that's why it's a theory. If it were not a theory, it would be a fact. So I go out and I spend a period of time looking for contradictions to that theory: because one contradiction and he's wrong. That's all it takes.
That means it's incomplete. If it covers 99 cases, and doesn't cover one, then it's worthless as a theory, isn't it? Because it means that 99% of the time you'll be okay, and 1% of the time you'll be messed up by that theory. What's the point? Okay? One contradiction proves it wrong.
Now, if you want to be a little bit honest, then when you do find a contradiction you kind of look into it a bit more to make sure it's not your misunderstanding of the circumstances, okay? But nonetheless, that is the point: if you find one contradiction then you decide this guy is an idiot, and you just ignore it.
But if you can't find a contradiction over a period of time, this is no longer a theory to you, is it? This is now your true experience. And now you've got what was given. You see how that works?
You didn't just hear something, and store it away so you could think about it. This is now absolutely real to you, and you've changed the way you live. This is now your reality. You see how that works?
So that's the way we work with all of these ideas. We say, ``I don't know if they're true or not.'' It may sound very true, because they agree with things that I've seen or heard. They may not sound true, because they certainly with a lot of things that I've heard and think I've experienced.
But the problem with us humans is that whenever we believe, it becomes truth to us, no matter how ridiculous. Or else, why would we need mental institutions? You see? (laughter) If we weren't capable of deluding ourselves, why would we go insane? We would see the difference between our experience and what we believe, and say, ``Oh, well that belief is wrong.'' And that would be that.
But we don't do that, do we? If you think about your own psychology: because we live in an age of psychologists, right? Everyone is their own psychologist today. Any time you talk about something people give you a psycho-analytic answer to the whole damn thing, don't they? (laughter) Whether they know about anything on the subject or not, if you tell somebody you stumbled, they'll tell you psycho-analytically why you did it. Isn't that about right? (laughter) Well, it's true.
So I'm sure you're aware of things in your own psychology where you know damn well that you act out of accordance with the facts. Right?
Certain things that you act as if they're true: like nobody likes me. (laughter) That's a real common one. Nobody likes me. There's fifteen people around who really like you; (laughter)but you still act like nobody likes you. So we're quite capable of believing anything, aren't we? Whether we have a fact to contradict it or not. You see?
But when I've actually look for myself, and it becomes my truth, then I start to change the way that I act. If I were to spend a certain period of time looking, and saying, ``Well, what about these fifteen people?'' Now it's true. There are some people out there who don't like me. That's not the same thing as nobody, is it?
And if we spend a bit of time actually experiencing that fact, we might find one day that we wouldn't believe it any more when the mind said, ``Nobody likes me.'' We'd say, ``Oh, that's not true. What's true is that some people don't like me.''
Well, I think that's called being human. (laughter) I've never met a human yet that everybody likes, have you? What's that old saying? You can please some of the people, some of the time. But you can't please all ... You see? Or the other one that says: since you can't please everybody, why not please yourself?
I mean, we all know this as a fact of experience of being human. You're not going to be liked by everybody. Some people only like rapists and murderers. You want to be a rapist and a murderer so you can be liked by them? You see, it's a matter of taste, isn't it? And I'm not going to be to everybody's taste.
So I look into the subject a little bit and it changes the way I think. Instead of just doing this psycho-babble garbage and explaining it all away with that thing that happened when I was four years old, and then again at eight, and now I know what's true, and then I can ... and so on. It doesn't do it any good, does it?
To explain it all away with our past, and keep right on doing it. Okay?
So that's what we don't want to do with this stuff. So this is a way of not only hearing it, which is to not do these other things, okay, but just listen. And don't think about these things too much. I know you don't have complete control over that, but do your best. Don't try to agree or disagree or figure it out now or solve your problems with it or any of that stuff.
Take it as ideas that you're going to spend some time trying to prove wrong by looking for contradictions. And if you spend some time trying to prove it wrong, and you can't: it changes the way that you look at the world. And now you're a different person. Okay?
So, sometimes, we call this the Work. You'll hear that a lot from people who've been around this for a while. It's called the Work. The reason for that is: that's it's damned hard work.
It's not something that you sit and listen to and it changes your life. It's not something that somebody goes bing, you know, and you have some mystical experience. Or there's this one guy who does that stuff, you know: you get the knowledge. You know this guy? He taps you with a feather, and now you have the knowledge.
I've met quite a few people who've gotten ``the knowledge,'' and I've noticed that their lives are just about as miserable and messed up as everybody else's (laughter), so I wonder what good it did them.
I think that's just a bunch of hooey. I think you get knowledge by your own efforts. Somebody else can tell you about it, but you gotta get it by your own efforts. Okay?
And this is a way of doing it. And it is hard work. We go so far as to say, ``This is work. Everything else is activity.'' (laughter)
Because it will make everything else seem easy compared to this, okay? (laughter)
Yep. That other stuff, you know -- going to your job every day -- that's just busy.