A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So, he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions. By thoughts I mean specifically chatter in the skull, perpetual and compulsive repetition of words, of reckoning and calculating. I’m not saying that thinking is bad. Like everything else, it’s useful in moderation. A good servant, but a bad master. And all so-called civilized peoples have increasingly become crazy and self-destructive, because, through excessive thinking, they have lost touch with reality. That’s to say, we confuse signs, words, numbers, symbols and ideas, with the real word. Most of us would have rather money than tangible wealth and a great occasion is somehow spoiled for us unless photographed. And to read about it the next day in the newspaper is oddly more fun for us than the original event. This is a disaster. For as a result of confusing the real world of nature with mere signs, such as bank balances and contracts, we are destroying nature. We are so tied up in our minds that we’ve lost our senses. Time to wake up. What is reality? Obviously, no one can say, because it isn’t words. It isn’t material – that’s just an idea. It isn’t spiritual, that’s also an idea, a symbol. Reality is this: GONNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGG!
Realize that anybody whom you consider, in matters spiritual, psychological and so on, as an authority, has this authority because of your opinion that he has, or she has. How do you know, if you say, for example, like a Protestant fundamentalist, that you believe in the Bible, but the Bible is inspired. Or you may say, as a more liberal kind of Christian, that Jesus Christ is the greatest being that ever lived om Earth, how do you know? It’s your opinion that that is so. Lots of people may have told you so, and you may be very impressed by those people, but you bought it! And so, therefore, if you say: ‘Well, I would like to become like that’, that’s en expression of the way you are. You couldn’t feel ‘I would like to become like that’, like the authority, like the Christ except as an expression of the way you are now. And the way you are now is the quaking mess. It’s an expression of you as you are. Don’t fool yourselves. I’m not trying to put you down by talking about the quaking mess. The quaking mess may be, in fact, something very, very natural. The way we are. The state of affairs. And we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. I’m not ashamed of it. I’ve told you ????. (hahahaha) But it is important not to fool one self about this. But there does, doesn’t there, seem too remain a problem about existence, about being alive. Now let’s go into what is that problem, at a, sort of, nitty-gritty level.
Very basic, in our thinking, is that we, as it say, one must live; we need to survive. To go on. We need, therefore, money for food, for this, that and the other. We must go on. And we know that we’re not going to get away with it for very long. That, after a certain number of years we’re going to die, that is, the thing is going to end. The thing that we call ‘I’ is going to be as it is in sleep. Deep sleep, with no dreams. But that between now and that happening, there may be the most ghastly pains. Not only, perhaps, the pains of physical disease, or being wounded, or hurt, but the pains of worrying about our failure of responsibility to people who depend on us. And we suffer other people suffering simply because we’re sensitive and have imagination, and participate in their sufferings, and our adrenalin and our chemicals respond simply by imagination to the sufferings of other people. And what about that? And, so, we look at these problems, and say: now, quite obviously, all these problems cannot be solved in a physical way, that is to say, we do not expect in our lifetime that medical skill will make exempt from death. We do not seriously expect will all learn to be nice to each other, and will refrain from war, and horrors of that kind, racial prejudice, and so on. We don’t seriously expect to find a method of being protected by taking some sort of drug against all possible disease and pain. So, therefore, we say: now, maybe there’s another way around. Maybe, that instead of solving these problems at the technical level, we could solve them at the psychological and spiritual level, by so disciplining ourselves, by so doing something with ourselves, that we wouldn’t be afraid of it anymore. And so, in accord with that motivation, we seek out spiritual teachers, psychological teachers, this, that and the other. Could we, somehow, be made over, so that we don’t worry about the quaking mess, by a spiritual discipline, or whatever. And you see, if you examine that, that this wanting to overcome the quaking mess and not have it anymore, that precisely is the quaking mess. The thing that we object to about ourselves is precisely what we do about overcoming it. In other words, the activity that we employ in overcoming it is the mess that we object to. Do you see that? And it’s very important to realize that. Then, if you do realize it, you raise the question: then, what can I do? What can I do to transform the quaking mess into the state of mind of true mystic? Well, if you are the quaking mess, there’s obviously nothing you can do to transform yourself into this stat of mind, that which you idealize as being the true mystic, the Christ, the saint, or whatever. So, you realize that everything is phony, that all your ideals are simply manifestations of the quaking mess, trying to get away from itself. And that you are put in the position of: ‘It is absolutely necessary for me to be different from the way I am. But, there is absolutely nothing I can do about it, because being the way I am, I cannot be different than that.’ Let’s say this, but if we can put it in different ways. ‘I know that I ought not to be selfish, and I would very much like to be an unselfish person, but the reason why I want to be an unselfish person is that I am very selfish and would far more love myself and respect myself if I were unselfish.’ You see? I know that I ought to love God, and whatever, and why do you want to love God? Well because God is the biggest boss and it’s best to be on the side of the big battalions. That’s really why I want to do it. In other words, because I’m looking for the safety of my own spiritual skin. So I think I ought to love God. All sophisticated saints have known this. St. Paul understood it, st. Augustine understood it, Martin Luther understood it. They didn’t know what the hell to do about it. But there was nothing to do about it. And yet, something has to be done. Obviously. But you realize, when you really look into yourself – there’s nothing you can do. And this, therefore, is our point of departure. That we here, perhaps, perhaps not, mutually realize there is nothing we can do to be anything else than what we are. To feel any other way than what we feel at this moment and to be then this quaking mess, which has the capacity for the horrors about what life can do to us. However, this isn’t as much of a blind alley, a coup de sac, as it sounds. Because, if you discover a blind alley, it tells you something. Watch the flow of water as it crosses an area of land, and you will see that it puts out fingers and some of them stop. Because they come into blind alleys. The water does not pursue that course. It simply rises, and then it finds a way it can go. But it never uses any effort. It only uses weight. Gravity. It takes the line of least resistance and eventually finds a course. Now, we will do the same thing. Only, we’re ashamed of it. But we’re gonna do it anyhow. We think when we come to a dead-end, a blind alley: ‘Oh, I failed!’ Suppose if the water at each place where a finger of water stretches out over dry ground and doesn’t go any further because the land is too high, the water would to say to itself: ‘ I failed,’ we would say it was neurotic water. Just wait and it will find a way. Now, when you find, you see, that this predicament that I’ve been describing to you, that there’s no way of transforming yourself to become this fearless, joyous, divine being as distinct from the quaking mess. When this says ‘no way’, this is not a gloomy announcement. It is a very very important communication. It’s telling you something. Because, like the land is telling the water ‘this isn’t the way to go; there’s another way, try over here,’ so, in the same way, life is telling you that’s not the way to go. It’s telling you, the message underlying this is: ‘You cannot transform yourself’ is giving you the message that the you, that you imagine to be capable of transforming yourself, doesn’t exist. In other words, an ego, an I, separate from my emotions, my thoughts, my feelings, my experiences, who is supposed to be in control of them, cannot control them because it isn’t there. And as soon as you understand that, things will be vastly improved. Now, we can go into this. What do you mean by the word ‘I’? We’re gonna make some experiments in some number of different levels, but in the ordinary way, what do you mean by the word ‘I’? I myself? Your personality, your ego, what is it? Well, first of all, it’s your image of yourself. It’s composed of what people have told you about yourself, who you are, how they’ve reacted to you and given you the impression that that’s the sort of person you are. It’s all your education goes into this. The style of life you put on, and so forth. But it’s an image, it’s an idea, it’s your thought about yourself. And, I suppose, yourself, is in fact, not this, but is, to begin with, your total physical organism, your psychological organism, and, beyond that, an organism doesn’t exist as an isolated thing anymore than a flower exist without a stock, without the roots, without earth. So, in the same way, although we are not stocked on the ground, we are, nevertheless, inseparable from a huge social context of, well, to begin with, parents, siblings, people who work for us, and everything. I mean, it’s just impossible to cut ourselves off from a social environment. And also, furthermore, from a natural environment. We are that. There is no clear way of drawing the boundary between this organism and everything that surrounds it. And yet, the image of ourselves that we have, does not include all those relationships. Our idea of personality of ourselves includes no information whatsoever about the hypothalamus, an organ of the brain. The pineal gland. Really, of the way we breathe; of how our blood circulates; of how we manage to form a sentence; how we manage to be conscious; how you open and close your hand. The information contained in your image of yourself contains nothing about all that. And therefore, obviously, is an extremely inadequate image. But, nonetheless, we do think that the image of self refers to something, because, we have the impression, very strongly, indeed, that I exist. And this isn’t just an idea, we think: ‘My God! It’s a feeling. It’s really and substantially there, in the middle of us. And what is it? What do you actually sense, like, you know, when you are sitting on the floor, and you feel that floor is there and is real and hard? Okay, what are you, sitting on the floor? What you have the sensation of? You know, that’s you, here? When you’re not hitting yourself. What is it? In what part of your body do you feel yourself, the real I existing? We can explore this very deeply, but I’m gonna give you a preliminary and superficial answer. The sensation which corresponds to the image of ourselves is a chronic, muscular tension, which has, absolutely, no useful function, whatsoever. It is when you try, say, to concentrate. What do you do, when you try to pay attention? When I was a little boy in school, I had sitting next to me another boy, who had great difficulty in reading. And, as he worked over the textbook, with it’s perfectly piffling information, he groaned and grunted to try to read, to get out the sounds, as if he were heaving enormous weights, with his muscles. You know, ‘ceeee, spaaaaa, raaaannn aa spaaarr…’, it was enormous weights he was heaving! And, you know, the teacher was vaguely impressed that he was trying, and it is absolutely true that all of us are tying ourselves into a knot that has absolutely nothing to do with the way your mind works! Because, look, if you try to see hard, you know, look very intensely, and you make tight muscles around your eyes and maybe you clench your jaws a bit, if anything, that will make your vision more fuzzy. Because, if you want to see something clearly, you must not make an effort. You must simply trust your eyes and your nervous system to do their thing. So, you just look, like that. I was writing the other night and I completely forgot someone’s name. But I knew, that eventually, my memory would produce it. And I just set for a while, and said to my memory: ‘You know very well who this person is. Please, give me the answer!’ And so ‘boinnng’, and there it was. Because that’s the way nerves work. They don’t work by forcing, and yet, we’ve all been brought up to try to force our nervous activity, our concentration, our memory, our comprehension, and, indeed, our very love, we’ve tried to force it with muscles. Men will understand me if I say: you cannot force by muscular effort yourself to have an erection; women will understand me if I say: you cannot force yourself with muscles to have an orgasm. It has to happen. And you must trust it to happen. And there is absolutely nothing you can do about it by using your muscles. Nothing. Nothing, nothing. So, in precisely the same way… well, let’s complete the picture. So, therefore, the notion that we have of ourselves, of ego, is a compound of an image of ourselves, which does not fit the facts, and a sensation of muscular straining, which is futile. So that what you conceive to be yourself is the marriage of a delusion and a futility. (hahahaha) So, well, what are we, if that isn’t the case? Well, obviously, if you want to take a scientific point of view, then you’re an organism, about which we know very little, and the organism, as we’ve seen, is inseparable from its environment, ans so you are the organism-environment, in other words, you are no less than the universe. Each one of you is the universe, expressed in the place which you feel as here and now. You’re an aperture through which the universe is looking at itself. Exploring itself. And we’re going to go into that much more deeply. So, when you feel that you are a lonely, put upon, isolated, little stranger confronting all this, see, you have an illusory feeling, because the truth is the reverse. You are the whole works that there is, and always was, and always has been, and always will be. Only, just as my whole body has a little nerve end here, which is exploring and which contributes to the sense of touch, you are just such a little nerve end, for everything that’s going on. Just as the eyes serve the whole body and help it to find its way around, so are you, as it were, serving the whole universe. You’re exploring it, and it’s exploring itself. So that, you as a function, you are a function of all that. And, therefore, if this is so, it just doesn’t fit the frame, these facts do not fit the way we feel, because we feel it the other way around. I am a little lonely thing exploring all this universe and trying to get, make something out of it, get something out of it, do something with it. And I know I’m going to fail, because I know I’m gonna die one day. So we’re all fundamentally depressed, and think up all these fantasies about what’s gonna happen to us when we’re dead, and all that kind of thing. What’s gonna happen to you when you’re dead? What do you mean – you? If you are basically the universe, that question is irrelevant. You never were born and you never will die. Because, what there is – is you. And that should be absolutely obvious. But it is not obvious at all. That should be the simplest thing in the world: that you, the I, is what has always been going on and alway will go on forever and ever. But we have been bamboozled by religionists, by politicians, by fathers and mothers, by all sorts of people to tell us: you’re not it. And we believed it. So, do you see now why, if I put it to you, in this very negative way, you can’t do anything to change yourselves, to become better; to become happier; to become more serene; to become mystics or anything. If I say you can’t do a damn thing, can you understand this negative statement in a positive way? What I’m really saying is that you don’t need to. Because if you see yourselves in the correct way, you are all as much extraordinary phenomena of nature as, say, trees, clouds, the patterns in running water, the shape of fire, the arrangement of the star, the form of a galaxy. You are all just like that. There’s nothing wrong with you at all. Except that I have to add this little flip. You have in you, you do think there’s something wrong with you. See? And there’s no question – you do! We all object ourselves in various ways. And I’m going to add – there’s nothing wrong with that either. Because that’s part of the flow. That’s part of what is going on, that’s part of what we do. So, I don’t, you see, I’m… what I’m actually going to do is I’m going to deliver you from a sense of guilt. Because I’m going to teach you that you needn’t feel guilty because you feel guilty. (hahahahahahahaha) Of course you feel guilty! It’s like someone put a match on you and you feel hot. So they taught you as a child to feel guilty and you feel guilty. Then say, somebody comes along and says, ‘well, you shouldn’t, it’s not the point.’ I’m gonna say not that you shouldn’t, but that you do and don’t worry about it. And if you want to say further: ‘but I can’t help worrying about it,’ I’m going to say to you: ‘Ok, worry about it.’ This is the principle called in Japanese ‘judo’, meaning ‘the gentle way’. Go along with it, go along with it, go along with it. So, therefore, this is the beginning of meditation. You don’t know what you’re supposed to do. What can you do? When you don’t know what you’re supposed to do. You watch. You simply watch what’s going on. Like, say, somebody plays music; you listen. And you just follow those sounds. And eventually, you understand the point of the music. The point cannot be explained in words, because music is not words. But, after a while, in listening to any music, you will understand the point of it. And that point will be the music itself. So, in exactly the same way, you can listen to all experiences, because all experiences whatsoever are vibrations coming at you. You are these vibrations, as a matter of fact. If you could really feel out what is happening, what you are aware of as you and there’s everything else – is all the same. it’s a oyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy, vibrations of all kinds, and they’re on different bands of a spectrum: sight vibrations, emotion vibrations, touch vibrations, sound vibrations, all these things adding together are woven, all the different senses are woven, and you get a pattern in the weaving, and that pattern is the picture of what you now feel. And this thing is going oyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoyoy. See? Now, instead of saying ‘what should I do about it,’ because who knows what to do about it? To know what to do about this, you would have to know everything. And if you don’t, then the only thing to do, at least to begin with to begin with you can do is watch. Watch what’s going on. Watch, not only what’s going on on the outside, but also what’s going on on the inside. Treat your own thoughts, your own reactions, your own emotions about what’s going on outside as if those inside reactions were also outside things that you are just watching. And follow, simply observe how they go. Note now, you may say, ‘this is difficult; I am bored by watching what is going on.’ Let’s say you sit quite still, and you are simply observing what is happening. All the sounds outside, all the different shapes and lights in front of your eyes, all the feelings on your skin, inside your skin, belly rumbles, thoughts going on inside your head, chatter chatter chatter, ‘I ought to be writing a letter to so and so’, ‘I should have done this’, all this build going on, see, you just watch it. But then you say to yourself: ‘ But this is boring.’ Now, watch that, too. What is it? What kind of a funny feeling is it that makes you say: ‘But this is boring’? Where is it? Where do you feel it? ‘I should be doing something else instead’, what’s that feeling? What part of your body is it in? Is it in here, is it in the soles of your feet? Where is it? Boring, the feeling of boredom can be very interesting, if you try to look it out. So, you simply watch. And everything going on without attempting to change it in any way, without judging it, without calling it good or bad – you watch it. That is the essential process of meditation.