Now today, we are living in an age which is quite peculiar, because in the world of science, there are no longer any secrets. Because the method of science requires that all scientists be in communication with each other. And therefore, that every scientist, as soon as he has discovered something or got a good idea, he rushes into print. And it’s important for him to do so because some other scientists somewhere else in the world might be thinking about something on the same lines and would be stimulated in his work by this man’s speculations even if not by discoveries.
And so the whole scientific world tries to remain in communication, and for this reason, it was an absolutely impossible to keep atomic energy a secret. In former ages, that might have been managed because there were many secrets once upon a time. And people were not admitted to these secrets, unless they were in some way tested and found capable of handling them without running amok. We live in such a dangerous age because all the secrets are out in the open and anybody can run amok with them. And that’s just the situation we have to face and that is just the situation we have to handle. It is too late to stop it, because that would be as they say, locking the door after the horse has bolted.
The vice president of an extremely important corporation in the United States, very progressive and very vital, a few months ago said “There are two major forces operating in the world today, for good or for evil: one is Red China, the other is L.S.D..” And there is a certain reason why such a thing as a certain chemical, which is capable of opening people’s minds in a certain way, should be something extremely disturbing. Because this particular chemical, in common with a number of others that have been known for centuries, but have been rather played cool through those centuries, is capable of doing something which simply cannot be tolerated. That is to say, capable of letting probably prepared individuals, or sometimes improperly prepared individuals, in on a secret which is very closely guarded, and which is, as a matter of fact, the deepest and most fundamental of all our social taboos. I have just finished writing a book which I have had, with a sort of tongue in cheek attitude, had the temerity to call The Book. And it is subtitled The Book, you see on the taboo against knowing who you are. Because that is really the thing that cannot be let out.
Ask yourself this, for what reason would a person be considered hopelessly insane. What sort of claims. Must a person simply not make. Well there is one. And that is if anybody claims that he is God. That simply isn’t done. Certainly not in our culture although it’s very frequent in India. But in our culture that is simply not allowed because we are most of us from a Christian background and it’s not that from a Jewish background and there’s a great deal in common because both Christians and Jews are deeply concerned about somebody called Jesus Christ. Both Christians and Jews are in a way followers of Jesus Christ in different ways. He is a problem to both. Because he was the man who came out and discovered he was God. And that simply is impermissible, the Jews handled it in one way. The Christians handled it quite as effectively and another way the Christians handle Jesus perfectly even more tactfully than the Jews. By putting him on a pedestal and say this was the only man who ever was God and nobody else was really so before and certainly nobody can be so afterwards. Stop right there. Put him on the altar, bow down to him, worship him, so that everything he had to say will be null and void.
And it works beautifully. But you see the trouble about deep secrets is they can’t be repressed indefinitely. As a certain president of the United States wonder of months remarked. You can fool some of the people some of. The time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. And we human beings have been systematically fooled by ourselves it isn’t as if there was some deep dark conspiracy it was somebody else to blame for quite a number of centuries into the notion that we are strangers in the universe. That the world that lies beyond the border of our skins is not ourselves. And it’s something quite alien mechanical contraption into which we arrived. And from which we will disappear. And we really have nothing very much to do with it it’s something about which we can take an objective point of view, we can look at it, we can measure it we can calculate it but it all turns out in the end to be some sort of stupid-stupid mechanism in which we are involved because as bodies we are part of it.
But it is common sense for most individuals that they themselves aren’t even their bodies. They are alienated spokes. Which have bodies like people have cars. And in which they go around. And confront the external world. As if it was something in which you were trapped. And children can say to their parents, I didn’t ask to be born. Just because of your funny love affairs and all that I got mixed up in this world and you are responsible. And we don’t even think that we had anything personally to do with the fact that our fathers once had an evil gleam in their eyes. But that evil gleam was you coming on. Only you see by this idea of our own identity that we have we’re able to disclaim responsibility for all kinds of things. And say “No it was my parents. See it as a fellow taken in juvenile delinquency and he knows a little Freud. He can say “Well I had to couldn’t help it because. I was psychoanalytically fouled up when I was a baby even before perhaps I was born my mother had all sorts of complexes.” And then if it gets away with that people in the press say for juvenile delinquents, the kid should not be punished but the parents and the parents say “Hey, wait a minute we got fouled up by our parents and we-we’re pretty bad parents we had met but our parents before us brought us up in a certain way that we are hopelessly neurotic and we can’t really raise children but we have to. So everyone can pass the buck all the way down the line. The woman that thou gave is me she tempted me and I did eat. And then when God Where goes finger at the serpent. Serpent didn’t say anything, because the serpent knew the answers. And he knew the thing which must not be admitted. That the left hand goes with the right hand.
That black goes with white and that you wouldn’t know what white was unless you knew what Black was. And that you know it wouldn’t know what is was unless you knew what isn’t is. And you wouldn’t know what here is, unless you knew what there is,and you wouldn’t know what you meant by self unless you knew what was meant by the other. And that is so simple. But everybody contrives to ignore it.
Now here’s the problem, you see that there are certain processes. Some of which are what you might call spiritual exercises. Others are simply chemicals others are just tossed sense. Whereby one comes to see very clearly indeed that black goes with white and self goes with other. And as this becomes clear to you, it’s rather shaking. Because look, if what you define as you are is inseparable from everything which you define as not you, just as front is inseparable from back, then you realize that deep down between self and other there is some sort of conspiracy. If these things always occur in combination. And look very different from each other and feel quite different. Nevertheless the feeling of difference between them, allows each one to exist. And so underneath the opposition all the polarity between self and other all between any other pair of opposites you can think of, there is something in common, as there is for example between figure in the background. You can’t see a figure without a background. You can’t have an organism without an environment. Equally, you can’t have a background without a figure or an environment without organisms in it or without things in. You can’t have a space, which is un occupied by any solid you can or cannot have solids not occupying some space. This is absolutely elementary and yet we don’t realize it. Because for example the average person thinks that space is nothing. But is a just a sort of not-there-ness, in which there are things.
And we are slightly afraid that not there notice that nothingness that darkness that the negative poles of all these oppositions will win. That they will eventually, swallow up every kind of being and every kind of thereness. But when you catch on to the game you realize that that won’t happen. Because what is called not existing is quite incapable of being there without the contrast of something called existing. It’s like the quest and the trough of a wave. You can have a wave that is all trough and no crest just as you can have a wave which is all crest a no trough. Such a thing is never been manifested in the physical universe. They go together. And that is the secret, there really is no other secret than that. But it is utterly repressed.
And therefore we are all educated to feel. That we’ve got to fight for the White. Because the black might win. We’ve got to survive. You must survive. That’s the great thing, we’re all working on and pounding it out day after day in anxiety. Because this is a description of anxiety and anxiety is the fear that one of the pair of opposites might cancel the other. For other. And if by any chance by any means you’ll find out that that is not so. You have an entirely new attitude to what human beings are doing. Which may be very creative but which also maybe the dangers. You see through the game. The game call white must win. Because you know. That neither black nor white are going to win. Because they belong to each other. So one of the problems of the various chemicals which can. Change the human mind in certain ways so that it becomes apparent that inside and outside go together is that they do rather give the show away and people who take these chemicals and see through the human game, cannot be trusted. They may decide to be a good sport. And go back into the game and play it as if it were for real or they may not. And if they don’t. What’s going to happen? Wowwee, that’s pretty serious. Now you see what is let me speak specifically for a moment I said the subject of this is L.S.D.. L.S.D. is one such chemical, that does produce this curious effect of making you aware of the polarity of things. It does lots of other things. It does lots of rather an essential and trivial things and these of course and all the publicity in the various national magazines about L.S.D. get throughly emphasized. In other words when somebody says something’s real psychedelic they mean bizarre. And when the national magazines try to illustrate the effect of these chemicals with various photographs they come on with blurred photographs of all sorts of things higgledy- piggledy, messed together naked girl seen through prison. And people don’t like this. In Life magazine that all series of photographs of people like this you turn over a few pages in the air with a wire so the astronauts in front of the television when their husbands are out there in space they were again at this total so. You couldn’t tell any difference if you didn’t read the headlines.
Well that’s absolutely nothing to do with it. If you want it some sort of appropriate illustration for a Life magazine article on the effects of L.S.D. you would have one very simple solution. You would publish the most gorgeous color reproductions of Persian miniatures. And of a Moorish Arabesques and of the illuminations of Celtic manuscripts that would give you the story. So far as changes in human sensation are concerned. But there would be one thing very difficult to put across in pictures because the people who looked at them, if they didn’t get the point of view wouldn’t see it. And that is what I will call the sensation, as well as the intellectual understanding of polarity. That is to say that the inside and,the outside the subjective, and the object of the self and the other. Go together. In other words, what there is a harmony, an unbreakable harmony I’m when I’m using the word harmony I don’t necessarily mean something sweet. I mean absolute concordant relationship between what goes on inside your skin and what goes on outside your skin. It isn’t that what goes on outside is so powerful that it pushes around and controls what goes on inside. Equally so, it isn’t that what goes on inside is so strong that it often succeeds in pushing around what goes on outside. It is very simply that the two processes the two behaviors are. What you do is what the universe does. And what the universe does is also what you do. Not you in the sense of your superficial ego. Which is a very small little tiny area of your conscious sensitivity, but you in the sense of your total psychophysical organism, conscious as well as unconscious. This is not something that arrived in the world from somewhere else altogether that confronts an alien reality. What you are, is the universe and that in fact the works, what there is and always has been and always will be for ever and ever performing an act called John Doe. And this is such a subversion of common sense. But is a fact matter of fact something if you stop to think about it that is completely obvious. Only everything conspires to prevent you from seeing that obvious thing. Because when you were babies practically. All your parents and your teachers and your aunts and uncles and your older brothers and sisters got together and they told you who you were. They defined you as Johnny. Was just Johnny a no no no and don’t you come on too strong Johnny because. You know you’ve got elders and betters around. But you’re responsible! You’re a free agent! You’d better be. And so when you are told from childhood. That you are expected and commanded to behave in a way that will be acceptable only if you do it voluntarily. You remain permanently mixed up. That, if anything, is permanent brain damage.
But that’s the idea you see because that’s the game we’re playing you started it I did. Hahaha that’s the game we play and we can make all kinds of complexities out of that and really in a way have enormous fun. But once anybody sees through that. Well what we’re frightened. Once you get the sense of polarity of your inside being the same process as your outside and your ego being one and the same process as the whole universe going on, then we are afraid that people may say. Well good equals bad. And we can do anything we like and we didn’t in any way be further subject to the ordinary rules of human conduct. And we can wear what clothes we like or no clothes at all. We can have what sexual life we like we can do anything and we are going to generally because the world is being rather presaged the waters challenge the whole thing and run amok and a lot of people are doing just exactly that.
So I want to introduce into this whole problem some ancient wisdom. I have really two things to talk about. How cultures which always did know in some way, or among whom a large number of people always did know the secret. Handled it and then I want to make some observations about how we are trying to handle it and how it’s not going to work. Among the Hindus and among the Buddhists. This view of the real identity of a human being has always been known. At least by a very influential minority. The central doctrine of the Hindu way of life, I call it that rather than a religion is, in Sanskrit tat tvam asi, you’re it. To put it in a kind of colloquial way you’re it. And it is the which then which there is no which or which they call the Brown or the up man with a capital A meaning the self. You are only just kidding that you’re just poor little me, see the function of a guru that is to say a spiritual teacher in India, is to look give you a funny look in the eye. Because you come to him and say, “Mr guru I have problems. I suffer and it’s a mess and I can’t control my mind and I’m miserable and depressed,” and so on and it gives you a funny look. And you feel a bit nervous about the way he looks at you because you think you know he’s reading your thoughts and this man is a great magician, he can read everything that’s in you he knows right down into your unconscious and you know all the dreadful things you’ve thought and all the awful desires you have and you are rather embarrassed that this man looks right through you and sees them all. That’s not what he’s looking at. Hes giving you a funny look for quite another reason altogether. Because he sees in you the drama the Godhead, just claiming it’s poor little me and he’s going to eventually buy all sorts of subtle techniques that are called in Sanskrit. That in politics means chicanery and in spiritual education means skillful pedagogy. He is going to try and kid you back into realising who you really are. That’s why it gives you a funny look. And why he seems to see right through you. As if to say Shiva ol’ boy Don’t kid me I know who you are but you’re coming on beautifully in this act. That they’re just somebody else altogether. And I congratulate you you’re doing a wonderful job. Playing this part which you call the person my person you know a person is a fake it the book the word means a mask so if you read books on how to be a real person or reading books on how to be a genuine fake. The word persona as you know means a mask worn in Greek or Roman drama. So if you I said come on to the Guru and say well if you ask you who you are Sri Ramana Maharaji, when anybody came to him and they said to him it’s people do who was I and my last incarnation or will I be reincarnated again he always replied who’s asking the question. And everybody was irritated because he wouldn’t give them answers about what they were in their former lives to decide who are you. And he looked at you if you looked at photographs of this man I keep a photograph of him close by because of the humor in his eyes they’re looking at you with the dancing twinkle saying come up. Now that. In these Asiatic traditions it is well recognized. That people who get the knowledge that you’re it. May very well run amok. And therefore they always couple any method of gaining this, whether it is yoga whether it is smoking something or drinking something or whatever is the method they always couple it with a discipline.
Now I know the word discipline isn’t very popular these days. And I would like to have a new word for it, because most people who teach disciplines don’t teach them very well. They teach it with a kind of violence. As if a discipline was something that is it going to be extremely unpleasant and you’re going to have to put up with. But that’s not the real secret of discipline. I would prefer to use the word skill. And discipline is a way of expression. Say, when you want to express your feelings in stone. Now stone doesn’t give way very easily/ It’s tough stuff, and so you have to learn the skill of the discipline of the sculptor in order to express yourself in stone and so in every other way whatever you do you require a skill and it’s in no. Honestly important especially for American people to understand that there is absolutely no possibility of having any pleasure in life at all without skill. Money doesn’t buy pleasure. Ever. Look, if you want to get stoned drunk, and go out and get a bottle of bourbon and down it you can’t do that except for people who have practiced the distillers art. You can’t even make love without art. Where I live in Sausalito, we have a harbor full of ever so many pleasure craft, motor cruises sailing boats all kinds of things and they never leave the dock. All that happens with them is their owners have cocktail parties there on Saturdays and Sundays, because they discovered having bought these things that the discipline of sailing is difficult to learn and takes a lot of time. And they didn’t have time for it so they just bought the thing as a status symbol. So in other words you can’t have pleasure in life without skill. But it isn’t a unpleasant task to learn a skill.
If the teacher in the first place gets you fascinated with it. There is immense pleasure in learning how to do anything skillfully. To make carpentry things, to cook, to write, to calculate anything you want it can be eventually pleasurable to learn and at the discipline. And it is completely indispensable. Because look, you may be a very inspired musician. I am not a musical technologist, you see, and I regret it but I’m a word word technologist. But I can hear in my. Head all kinds of symphonies and all kinds of marvelous compositions but I don’t have the technique to write them down on paper and share them with somebody else. Too bad, maybe next time around. But you see, so far as words are concerned, I can express ideas because I have studied language. And I work very hard not that I didn’t like it I intensely enjoy the work of writing a book although it is difficult. But it’s fascinating, to say what could never possibly be said.
So, we do see what’s happening what you have to do you have inspiration but then you have to have technique to incarnate to express your inspiration. That is to say to bring heaven down to earth. And to express heaven in terms of earth. Of course there are really one behind the scenes. But there’s no way of pointing it out unless you do something skillful You see we are all at that moment absolutely, in the midst of the it is a vision. We are all one with the define or something I don’t like that sort of wishy washy language. But, we are all of that but we’re so much of there are that we like fish in water they don’t know they’re in water like the birds don’t know they’re in the air because it’s all around them and in same way we don’t know what the color of our eyes is I don’t mean where you got blue or brown eyes but the color of the lens of your eyes you call that transparent no color see because you can’t see it but it’s basic to being able to see anything.
So in order to find out where you are there has to be some way of drawing attention to it. And that involves skill. Upaya in Sanskrit skillful means. So, it’s all very well anybody can have ecstasy. Anybody As a matter of fact can become aware that he is one with the eternal ground of the universe. But since that what’s what you are anyway I’m going to ask so what.
When a hero goes on an adventure and he leaves his people and is going to a strange land he can go away and just hide himself around the corner in an obscure house, and then appear a year later and say I’ve been on a heroic journey and tell all sorts of tales and they said prove it. Because they expect him to bring back something something which nobody has seen before then they believe you’ve been on a journey. So in the same way exactly anybody who goes on a spiritual journey must bring something back. Because if you just say oh man it was a gas. Anyone can say that. Now this is why in the doctrines of Buddhism, there is a differentiation between two kinds of enlightened beings. They are both forms of Buddha which is to say the word Buddha means somebody who has awakened who has discovered the secret behind all this that in other words all this thing we call life with its frantic concerns is a big act. Which you in your unconscious depths are deliberately setting up.
So you can do one of two things when you discover that you can become what’s called a practical border that means a pratyekabuddha, who doesn’t tell anything. Or you can become a boddhisattva. Pratyekabuddha goes off into his ecstasy. And never seen again. But is sad but is come one who comes back and appears in the everyday world and plays the game of the everyday world by the rules of the everyday world but he brings with him Upaya, he brings with him some way of showing that he’s been on the journey but he’s come back and he’s going to let you in on the secret too. If you if you’ll play it cool. And also come back. To join in the everyday lives of everyday people. Because this is the rule. If the world is dramatic if the world as the Hindu say is a big act put on by the divine self, one of the rules of coming on stage is that you don’t come on as yourself. You come on as the part that you’re going to play. It’s very bad form if an actor always acts the same way. That’s what’s called a star as distinct from an actor. A real actor can become anything. And so, but in private life, well he’s just Mr Jones, and, but he doesn’t come on the stage that way so in the same way if you know that behind the scenes in the depths, fundamentally you are it you don’t come on that way it always comes on to something else. That’s the rule of the stage. Because without that there wouldn’t be a play and it would only be reality. No illusion. And the whole point of life is illusion. From the word Latin, Luderi, to play. Show biz. The show must go on so don’t give it away.
But a truth has a way of leaking. Gets out. But then the important thing is you see when the truth gets out. Those who will catch hold of it. Must find a way of staying in contact with what society calls reality. That is to say, if you have a radio you don’t only need an antenna you also need a ground. So what happens in the world of mysticism of a psychedelic visions and so on needs to be grounded. So there are always two directions in which such a discipline works. One, preparatory. In other words those who taught disciplines for awakening in the Orient were always careful to screen, first of all to screen those who applied, and then after screening them to make them sensible. So that they knew how to handle the game of ordinary human existence and played by the ordinary human rules. In other words, that they had strength of character. And were not the sort of people who would be wiped out because they had no strength of character by an overwhelming experience. Then they let them in. But there are certain disciplines such as Zen where you’ll get into the essential secret very early on in the discipline. And after that they are concerned with much more training in showing you how to use it, how to use the power to use the vision which you have acquired. And so it is with the current, what we would call L.S.D. scene, that is raging through the United States. It unfortunately lacks discipline. And I’m not trying to say this in a kind of severe, authoritarian, paternalistic way, but only that it would be so much more fun if it had it. In other words, when people try to express what they have seen in this kind of change state of consciousness. They show five movies going on at once. Projected upon torn bed sheets, with stroboscopic lights going as fast as possible at the same time and eleven jazz bands playing. And they’re going to blow their minds baby.
When ever everybody else who hasn’t seen this thing look around and say well it’s a mess I don’t like the looks of it. Let’s suppose that while you were very very high on L.S.D. you looked into a filthy ashtray and you saw the beatific vision. Which is of course the case because wherever you look if you I your eyes are open you will see the face of the divine. Then you come out of your ecstasy it with a dirty ashtray and say to everybody here it is. No. There is a possibility if you are an extraordinary list skillful painter or even photographer. After presenting the dirty ashtray so that everybody else will see almost what you saw in it. But you will have to have a technique which will translate every grain of ash into a jewel. Because that’s what you actually saw. But that requires mastery of an art. And I’m afraid people think that all it’s necessary to do is just throw out any old thing because under that transform state of consciousness any old thing is that is the works. But nobody else can see it if they haven’t shared that point of view.
So then, this becomes for us in the United States an extremely important social problem. The cat is out of the bag. We are living in a scientific world where secrets cannot be kept. And anyone, anytime, can pick up something which will be short circuit all the ancient religious techniques yoga practice meditation and etc, etc this all very embarrassing but it will happen not for everybody but for a lot of people and they will see what all those sages and buddhas and yogis and prophets saw in ancient times,and it will be very clear.
So what. So you see, you can say, look at all these people. Who haven’t seen it. This is a temptation. Look at them all going about their business earning money. And grinding it out at the bank or the insurance office or whatever it is every day and how serious they look all about it and they don’t really know it again. And you can narrow you can cultivate a certain contempt for people like that. But it’s a very very bad to do that. Because of course don’t forget they have a certain contempt for you. You see always the nice people in town, who live in the best residences. They know that they’re nice because there are some people on the other side of the tracks who are not nice. And so at their cocktail parties they have a lot to say about the people who are not nice, because that boosts their collective ego. Would be no other way of doing it, you don’t know that you’re a law abiding citizen, unless there are some people who aren’t. And if it’s important to you to congratulate yourself on being law abiding. You therefore have to have some criminal classes outside the pale of course of your immediate associates. On the other hand, the people who are not nice, they have their pariest. And they don’t lose their collective ego by saying that they’re the people who are really in. Whereas these poor squares who deliver the mail faithfully and who will carry article responsible jobs, they’re just dupes. Or when they earn their money all they do is it by Toy rocket ships with it and go roaring around and so on and that’s they think that’s pleasure. So the people who are not nice boost their collective ego in that way. Neither of them realize that they need the other just as much as a flower needs a bee and bee needs a flour.
So you when you see the people who you think are not in on the secret. You if you really understand you have to revise your opinion completely her and say that the squares are the people who are really far out, because they don’t even know where they started. See an enlightened Hindu or Buddhist looks at the ignorant people of this world and says, my respects. Because here I see the divine essence having altogether forgotten what it is. And playing the most far out game of being completely lost. Congratulations, how far out can you get? So if you understand that you don’t start a war with people you might say are square. Don’t challenge them, don’t bug them, don’t frighten them. The reason is not because they are immature or because they are babies and you mustn’t scare babies, it’s nothing to do with that you mustn’t frighten them because they are doing a very far out act they’re walking on a tightrope miles up. And they’ve got to do that balancing act and if you shout they may lose their nerve. So that’s what we call the responsible people of the world are doing it is an act it’s a game just like a tightrope walker, but it’s a risky one, and you can get ulcers from it, and all sorts of troubles but you must respect it. And say congratulations on being so far out.