The general title of these talks that I’m giving here is mind over mind. And I’m going into all the various problems which have to do with the control of the mind. And so I might introduce what I’m going to say by saying it from different points of view. For example, if you’re interested in Communications, it will be the problem of feedback. Or if I may put it in theological terms, how does man follow the will of God if the will of man is perverse? The theologians say you cannot do this without having divine grace all the power to follow the will of God. How then do you get grace. Why is grace given to some and not to others? If I cannot follow the will of God by my own effort because my will is selfish, how will my will which is selfish be transformed into an unselfish will? If I cannot do it because I am already the selfish will, then Grace must do it. If Grace has not already done it, why not? Because I didn’t accept it. But by definition I have no power to accept it because my will was selfish. Must I then become a Calvinist, and say that only those people who are predestined to receive grace will be able to live the good life?
Then we come back to the inadmissible position that people who live evil lives and do not get grace because they are not predestined to it out of the infinite wisdom of the Godhead then God Himself must be held responsible for their evil deeds. And so that is a nice little tangle. If I put this in the language of oriental philosophy and religion it would be something like this. The Buddha said that wisdom must come only from the abandonment of selfish craving, or desire. One who abandons that desire attain is nirvana. Which is supremely peace liberation. Nirvana means in Sanskrit’ blow out’. That is exhale the breath. The opposite, desire, is to breathe in. Now if you breathe in and hold it. You lose your breath. But if you breathe out. It comes back to you. So the principle here is if you want life don’t cling to it. Let go.
But the problem is, “If I desire not to desire, is that not already desire? How can I desire not to desire? How can I surrender myself. In myself is precisely. To hold on to cling to cling to life to continue to survive. I can see rationally that by clinging to myself I may strangle myself. I may be like a person who has a bad habit, as a result of which he is committing suicide and he knows that but can’t give it up. Because the means of death are so sweet. So, it all comes down to this basic question. That human beings have, for a long, long time, been concerned about transforming their minds. Is there any way in which one’s mind can be transformed. Or is it simply a process which is nothing more than a vicious circle? I could ask why have you come here this afternoon? What were you looking for? Would it be too presumptuous of me to say that you were looking for help? That you hoped you would hear somebody who had something to say that would be of help and relevance to you as members of a world which is running into the most intense difficulty. A world beset by a complex of problems, any one of which would be bad enough. But when you add together all the great political social and ecological problems with which we are face they are appalling. And one naturally says the reason why we are in such a mess is not. Simply that we have wrong systems for doing things whether they be technological, political, or religious but we have the wrong people. The systems may be all right but they are in the wrong hands because we are all in various ways self-seeking. Lacking in wisdom, lacking in courage, afraid of death, afraid of pain. Unwilling really to cooperate with others. Unwilling to be open to others. And we all think that’s too bad, it’s me that’s wrong! And if only I could be the right person is this man going to tell me something. That will help me to change myself. So that I will be a more creative and cooperative member of the human race. I would like to improve.
So, in so many people’s minds and from so many different angles, there is this urgent feeling that I must improve me. And this is critically important because it’s obvious that at least it’s superficially obvious, that the way things are, we are going to hell fast. Now in this question, can I improve me, there is the obvious difficulty that if I am in need of improving, the person who is going to do the improving is the one who needs to be improved. And there immediately we have a vicious circle. All right, you want grace. Well ask God, maybe I’ll give it to you. And the theologian will tell you, “Yes, God gives His grace freely. He gives it to all because he loves all. It’s here like the air, all you have to do is receive it Ari Law author doxie Catholic Christian would say all you have to do is to be baptized. To take the holy sacrament of the altar of the bread and wine the Body and Blood of Christ and there is the grace right there. And it’s given by the simple physical means so that it’s very easily and readily available. Well a lot of people got baptized. And it doesn’t always take. People fall from grace. Why do they? You see, we’re just talking about the same old problem, but we’ve put it a step up–but it’s the same problem. How can I improve myself. Was the first problem, the second problem is how can I accept grace they’re both the same problem.
Because you’ve got to make a move. Which will put yourself out of your own control into the control of a better. If you don’t believe in the Christian kind of a God you can believe in the Hindu kind of a God who is your inner Self. You see you’ve got a lower self, which you can call your ego, that’s that little scoundrel is fella that’s all is out for me, the behind the ego there is the Atman. The inner self the inward light as Quakers would call it. The real self, the spirit which is substantially identical with God. So you got to I meditate in such a way that you identify with your higher self how do you do that well you start by watching all your thoughts. Very carefully. Watching your feelings watching your emotions. So that you begin to build up a sense of separation between the watcher and what is watched. So that you are as it were no longer carried away by your own stream of consciousness you remain the witness impassively impartially suspending judgment, and watching it all go on.
That seems to be something like progress at least you are taking an objective view of what is going on you are beginning to be in a position to control it but just wait a minute, who is the Self behind the self the watching self, can you watch that one? Interesting if you do. Because you find out of cause that this is just as the problem of grace is nothing more than a transposition of the first problem, how am I to be unselfish by my own power? It becomes how am I to get grace by my own power. So in the same way we find that the watching Self, the observing Self behind all off thoughts and feelings is itself a thought that is to say. When the police enter a house in which there are thieves. The thieves go up from the ground floor of the first floor. When the police arrive on the first floor, the thieves have gone up to the second. And so to third, and finally out of the roof. And so when the ego is about to be unmasked, it immediately identifies with the higher Self. It goes up a level, because the religious game is simply a refined and highbrow version of the ordinary game. How can I outwit me? How can I one up me? So, if I find for example that in the quest for pleasure. The ordinary pleasures of the world. Food, sex, our. possessions. All this becomes a drag. And I think now it isn’t there so I go in for the arts literature poetry music. And I absorb myself in that in those pleasures, and after a while, they aren’t the answer so I go to psychoanalysis you see. And then I found out that’s not the answer I got to religion. I’m still thinking what I was seeking when I wanted can be bought. I want to get that goodie. Only I see now that it costs not going to be a material goody, all material goods fall apart, but maybe there’s a spiritual good it’s not going to fall apart. But in that quest, the quest is not different from the quest for the candy bar. Same old story only you have refined the candy bar made it abstract and holy and bless it and so on. So it is with the highest self the highest self zeroed ego. And you sure hope it is eternal, indestructible and all wise, then the great problem is how to get that higher self working? How does it make any difference to what you do and what you think. I know all kinds of people who got this higher self going practicing their yoga. But they’re just like ordinary people. Sometimes a little worse. And they can fool themselves. They can say for example. Well my point of view in religion is very liberal. I believe that all religions have divine revelation in them. But I don’t understand the way you people fight about it. You fight and say that we. Jehova’s witnesses have the real religion, others say well we Roman Catholics have it and the Muslims say no it is in the Koran. And this is the right way. And somebody else gets up and he may be a rather high brow Catholic and say well God has given the spirit through all the traditions but ours is the most refined and mature.
And then somebody comes along and says well as I said they’re all equally revelations of the divine, and in seeing this of course I’m much more tolerant than you are. You see how that game is going to work. The architect this position, supposing you regard me as some sort of a guru. And you know how gurus hate each other. Always putting each other down. And I could say well I don’t put other groups down. See we’re always doing that. Were always finding a way to be one up. And by the most incredibly subtle me. So you see when you see me and you say I realize I’m always doing that tell me how do I not do that. I say why do you want to know. Why I’ll be better that way yeah but why do you want to be better. You see the reason you want to be better is the reason why you aren’t. Should I put it like that?
We aren’t better because we want to be. Because the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Because all the do gooders in the world whether they’re doing good for others or doing it for themselves are troublemakers. On the basis of ‘kindly let me help you or you’ll drown’, said the Monkey putting the fish safely up a tree. We white anglo saxon protestants; British, German, American. We have been on a rampage for the past hundred or more years to improve the world. We have given the benefits of our culture, our religion, our technology to everybody except perhaps the Australian aborigines. And we have insisted that they receive the benefits of our culture even our political styles our democracy you better be dead Democratic I will shoot you. And having conferred these blessings all over the place we wonder why everybody hates us. Because sometimes doing good to others and even doing go to oneself is amazingly destructive. Because it’s full of conceit. How do you know what’s good for other people? How do you know what’s good for you? If you say you want to improve. Then you want to know what’s good for you. But obviously you don’t because if you did you would be improved. So we don’t know. It’s like the problem of geneticists, which they face today. I went to a meeting of geneticists not so long ago where they gathered in a group of philosophers and theologians and said Now look here we need help. We now are on the verge of figuring out how to bring in any kind of human character. We would want to have. We give you saints, philosophers, scientists, great politicians, anything you want, just tell us what kind of human beings ought we to breed.
So I said, ‘How will those of us who are genetically unregenerated make up our minds what genetically generated people might be.?’ Because I’m afraid very much that our selection of virtues may not work. It may be like for example this new kind of high-yield grain which is made and which is becoming ecologically destructive. When we interfere with the processes of nature and breed efficient plants and efficient animals there’s always some way in which we have to pay for it. And I can well see that a eugenically-produced human beings might be dreadful. We could have a plague of virtuous people. Do you realize that? Any animal considered in itself is virtuous it does its thing but in crowds they’re awful. Like a cross crowd of ants, or locusts on the rampage, they’re all perfectly good animals. But it’s just too much I could imagine a perfectly pestiferous mass of a million signs. So I said to these people, ‘Look, if there’s anything you can do, just be sure that a vast variety of human beings is maintained.’ Don’t please bring us down to a few excellent types excellent for what we never know how circumstances are going to change. And how. Our need. For different kinds of people changes.
At one time we may need very individualistic and aggressive people, at another time we may need very co-operative team working people. At another time we may need people who are full of interest in dexterous manipulation of the external world, at another time we may need people who explore into their own psychology and are introspective. There is no knowing but the mall varieties and the mosque ills we have obviously the better. So you see here again the problem comes out in genetics we do not really know how to interfere with the way the world is. The way the world actually is is an enormously complex interrelated organism. The same problem arises in medicine, because the body is a very complexly interrelated organism. And if you look at the body in a superficial way you may see there’s something wrong with it, here’s chicken pox. And the spots that it should come all out all over the place well you might say well spots of that cut them off. So you kill the bug. But then you find you’ve got real problems. Because you have to introduce some bugs to kill the bug, it’s like bringing rabbits into Australia. And that starts going all over the place and getting out of hand. And then you think well now wait a minute, it wasn’t the bugs in the blood there are bugs all over the place. What was wrong with this person that his blood system suddenly became vulnerable to those particular bugs his resistance was in doubt? Therefore what you should have given was not an antibiotic but vitamins. OK so we’re going to build up his resistance but resistance to what. You may build up resistance to this and this and this class of bugs, but then there’s another one that loves that situation it comes right in. See we always look at the human being medically, in bits and pieces, because we have heart specialists, lung specialists, bones specialists, nerve specialists, and so on. And they each see the human being from their point of view there are a few generalists but they realise that human bodies. Complicated that no one mind can understand it. And furthermore, supposing we do succeed in healing all these people of that diseases. What do we then do about the population problem. I mean we’ve stopped cholera, the black bubonic plague, we’re getting the better of tuberculosis, we may fix cancer and heart disease.
Then what will people die of? Well they’ll just go on living. On the enormous quantities of others. Then we have to fix this birthing. Pills for everybody. Then we find one of the effects the side effects of those pills. What are the psychological effects upon men and women of not breeding of children in the usual way? We don’t know. And what seems a good thing today or yesterday like D.D.T. turns out tomorrow to been a disaster. What seemed in the moral and spiritual sphere, to like great virtues in times past are easily seen today as hideous evils, let’s take for example the Inquisition, in its own day among Catholics the Holy Inquisition was regarded. As we’d today regard the practice of psychiatry. You, you see, you feel that in curing the person of cancer almost anything is justified. The most complex operations, the most weird surgery people suspended for days and days on end on the end of tubes with X. ray penetration burning. Or people undergoing shock treatment, people locked in the colorless monotonous corridors of mental institution. In all good faith, they knew that witchcraft and heresy were terrible things. Often plagues imperiling people souls forever and ever. So any means we’re justified. To cure people of heresy. We don’t change. We’re doing the same thing today. But under different names. We can look back at those people and see how evil that was but we can’t see it in ourselves. So therefore, beware of virtue.