Well now, in pursuing the subject further, of yoga as everyday activity. I presume it is understood just what the word yoga, used in a very general sense, involves. The Indians use two words what I’m talking about one is yoga. And the other is sub par not. Meaning. Essentially a method a way. The objective of which is for the individual to rediscover, to realize, his true identity. That is, to say not who he may be defined as as a particular expression of life. By discovers his identity as deeply and essentially one with the whole eternal process of life. With what I’ll call for want of a better word the timeless energy that expresses itself as this world or all worlds all possible worlds. That’s you know very deep and real sense you. The most real basic sense in which you can say the word I had all. But since this is not often never really realized because we are myopic. That is to say by looking at life close up and in narrow areas we become fascinated. With the contests with the problems with the games that are going on. Just for example if you examine your own blood stream under a microscope you would see a tremendous battles going on between all kinds of microorganisms and if you watched it long enough you would start taking sides. Yes taught to be wired. About which one was going to win and you would feel this crunching of the bodies of microbes as it were in your own bones. And you would therefore forget that you are a healthy human being just because that fight is going on in your bloodstream. The fight at one level, the conflict at one level is peace at a higher level. And life is all the way like that all the way up so that you can imagine what a whopping big piece there is at the top level. When you think of our conflicts as human beings as the conflicts of microbes. Redound into the health of a higher order of systems and then if you go into mythology and think of the conflicts between Deva’s and Asuras. The angelic principles. Wowee you know what effect that is. And yet that is at a higher level of peace.
So when we are myopic, that is to say when we are working and living with a narrow view of what is going on. Then we are anxious and depressed or fearful or whatever it may be. Because. Yes we have lost contact. With awful selves and now of course we get into this way of looking at things. Because, for many many centuries, human beings have specialized. In one certain aspect of their total mind activity that’s called it that. We’ve concentrated on our faculty for conscious attention. And this is in a way, what might be called The Fall of Man. We have you see this ingenious and valuable faculty of narrowing our gaze upon selected areas. If we take the visual field first of all, you are actually receiving everything that is in this great oval. The visual field. But you’re not noticing everything. In order to notice, you have to focus your attention on some particular face or shoe or bag or pattern, or whatever it may be. And then your model to be able to recall in memory those little grasps of attention then you would any random detail in the whole thing if somebody says to me just by chance what was so and so wearing at this gathering although I’ve seen it several times I won’t remember if I didn’t pay particular attention to it. Now hand in hand with this kind of raid up a separate in of the world that we scan. The environment and pick on things which we think are significant. And we select things that are significant with the aid of having words and therefore markers or tags which we can put onto these particular grasps off perception. And so, we come to be completely fascinated, in this way of looking at things. It is therefore at the root of reason of conscious calculation of all kinds it’s at the root of science.
But, it is in fact although it has extraordinary advantages it is a very limited way of responding to the world. Because it’s clumsy. And it is not the only way in which we respond and fit in with the world because all the time going on underneath our conscious attention is an interaction. Between our own organisms and the total physical environment, of immense complexity and which for the most part escapes our attention. We are doing our bodies. But we haven’t the faintest idea in terms of language how we’re doing it. You don’t know how you managed to get born, not really. You know a few skimpy details but you don’t know. How to Grow a fetus in the womb. How to arrange the marvelous balances which keep that fetus warm and fed. You don’t know how to shape your bones, but you do it. But this is nothing to do with your conscious attention. And therefore we may be constantly astounded at the miracles performed by say a nervous system upon which our power of consuls conscious attention is based but which conscious attention itself does not comprehend. The nervous system is still too complicated for our most advanced neurologist to understand in any but a very partial way. And therefore, all great skill in any kind of work of art or craft or any human activity, depends upon your being able to do it in the same way that you grow your hair and shape your bones. To be able to go beyond performing whatever you do by mere power of conscious attention. Because that is a really very superficial faculty. It’s like radar on a boat, and the function of the radar on the boat is merely to watch out for rocks and any novel thing that occurs in the environment. Consciousness is directed towards novelty, and those things which stimulate the nervous system all the time disappear from consciousness. They are beneath notice, because they’re constant. That’s the difficulty of say monogamy. When you have the same girl stimulating you all the time, you tend not to notice her, and likewise husband. That’s the problem with all constant features of life. They begin to slip from attention. But that’s a pity, because then we become unaware of the incredible harmoniousness of all the features in our environment which are constant. The absolute beauty of this interchange, transaction, between our organisms and the total environment, which if we became aware of it, we would be in a state of total bliss. About it because our conscious attention is geared to looking out for differences and for things that are new and novel and because we’ve become over fascinated with it, we are mostly blind. To the miracle on the joyous performance of life which is going on all the time.
So then one of the major aspects of any doing a work, whether it be washing dishes or managing a bank. Or flying planes or whatever it is. You can learn to do that work effortlessly. In the same way as you effortlessly make your physical organism function. And. Only when you arrive at that point is the work that you’re doing really good. And everybody knows this to some extent in whatever work it is that you do. If you are at all an expert in anything at all. I don’t care what it is it may be simply that you’re expert at riding a bicycle or swimming or talking. Or maybe cooking or something like that. If you really achieve any degree of mastery in the art. You do it. By the very fact that you don’t do it, you in the ordinary sense. That you as a total living organism which is in turn a function of the whole universe when that is doing it it’s always incredibly competent. And what we would like to know, is the difference between doing it that way. Doing it the hard way, that is to say by conscious effort and a third possibility the purely sloppy way, where it appears that the person is doing something effortlessly or they’re really doing it very badly. It’s just a mess. This culture today is confused between spontaneous behavior and messy behavior. Of course that is because we are primarily educated to do everything consciously. An enormous amount of say of sociological studies and psychological studies when you read them through their conclusions to which they arrive are just common sense. Everybody knew that already they got a Ph D. by proving it. That is to say, by analyzing how things happen naturally so that you can put them down in formulae of words, or formulae of numbers. And then we say now we know, because we’ve translated it into these terms. Not all academic knowledge is the minute measurement of what goes on in the world, in the hope that if we measure it this minute we should be able to predict what it will do next and in this way control it. And up to a point, that’s very successful. But there comes a point when it’s not so successful. Because in ordinary affairs of life, we do not have time nor the expensive instruments to make these minute examinations of our problems and what we’re supposed to do. We have to make decisions long before any kind of rational process could have worked out the right thing to do. Life comes out of that quickly and we really have to make ever so many decisions at once. And therefore, you cannot rely on your ordinary conscious calculation to make these decisions. And if you are not trained and accustomed to trusting your I’m conscious brain to make the decisions for you, you are at a great disadvantage. And therefore, basic to all this kind of thing, is learning to trust your own apparatus. You have far inside your head the best computer. That exists at all anywhere. And it’s there to be used. It’s there for you to give it problems and instead of your trying by muscular efforts to work out those problems to let your own computer do it for you. And you will always be confused when you first try this. Firstly, because you can hardly believe anything can be worked out that way. And secondly because you will accept answers from it before it’s ready. Or after it’s ready, because you didn’t accept the first thing you thought of as the answer. For example, when people are trained in aircraft identification they expose outlines of different types of aircraft on a screen where they’re exposed for only one thousandth of a second. And then they that’s the speed with which you need to be able to recognise different kinds of aircraft. Or then they put on the same screen eight figure numbers, and the art of recognition is always to go for the first thing you thought of. If you got an eight figure number, don’t stop to think just write down the first eight figure number you can think of and in a short time you find you are recording what came on the screen quite accurately. Because you’re trusting your real first thought. But you see, this is a thing so contrary to the way we ordinarily brought up that we have a good deal of trepidation about doing it. And this, for this reason most people find it convenient and safe to do this kind of experimentation if at first in things that are not important. That’s why you might for example take up the art of painting or pottery or archery or something that is simply a recreation and not not your main business in life and learn first of all to do this on important things in this way. So that you get enough confidence to be able to apply it to those aspects of your life which you feel to be important. And so that’s why I say in Japan, many people take up an art outside their ordinary business they’ll take up tea ceremony or flower arrangement, or judo, or kendo, which is fencing. All even Zen practice, because this is something aside from the normal business of life in which they will get the training off how to have complete faith in your own organism. In what there’s a master Bunkei, who taught in the seventeenth century called your unborn mind. That is to say the mind. He explained it this way, that when you hear a bird call, you instantly recognize a bird calling. When you hear a bell you instantly know it’s a bell. That is to say your unconscious. This is what the really the word unborn means on. A manifest your on a manifest mind as this tremendous. And one learns to bring it out in exemplary ways. And so you gain the faith to live that way all the time. Now, let me say in doing this it is of help to understand that in a certain way you do live that way all the time because you can’t help it. You are actually interfering with the normal functioning of your life by making all sorts of anxieties and stratagems and inner plans, and thinking about what to do if this happens and what to do if that happens. And most of this is not helping you at all it’s just getting in the way of your ordinary functioning. Only you feel that you must do it in exactly the same way as a person afflicted by superstition walks down the sidewalk and must not tread on any lines. The feeling that I ought to… it’s fun to do that of course but if you take it too seriously and feel that you must not avoid those lives you’re completely interfering with your walk. And we’re doing that all the time.
So, if you realize the extent to which you are ordinarily quite leading there are quite a civilised life. But that you are doing it. From, in the sense of by conscious will and effort. It’s your innate sense, your innate intelligence that’s taking care of it all. Furthermore, it helps too to realize, that you are not safe. However well-protected you may be. I notice that when people solve their so-called physical problems when for example you didn’t have enough money and then you get enough money. Then you start worrying about your health. And then of course, you can take reasonable precautions about your health you can get the right shots and immunizations and so on but there’s absolutely no way whatsoever of foolproof avoidance of accidents. Despite the best predictions of physicians you can always get heart trouble suddenly or kidney trouble or something and there is no safety. And therefore, going along with realizing that you quite ordinarily do transact the affairs of life in this through your unconscious intelligence, you also realize there is really no way of protecting yourself. And an enormous amount of energy you used to protect yourself is completely wasted. Now the words you may be, you may discover through becoming aware of your own body that you’re in a constant state of tension. As if ready to jump ready to defend yourself. Or even your trying to hold your body together. Charlotte Silva finds that when she but it gets people to lie on the floor and relax, they can’t do it because they are in fact trying to hold their bodies together in the fear that if they didn’t they would disappear into a kind of jello and slop all over the floor. And all that you see, all that constant sense of I should control what’s going on is completely wasted energy. For the simple reason that conscious attention is not really the effective controlling force in your life it’s merely the lookout. It’s merely an information sauce which warns the organism as a whole of unusual features of the environment unusual changes that’s why conscious attention tends to notice things that move rather than things that are relatively still, why it tends to notice figures rather than backgrounds. Because it is the radar of the organism, it is the troubleshooter. And if you identify yourself with your troubleshooter, well then you become one-sided and you’ll become a perpetually anxious person. Whereas on the other hand if you see that you are identified principally not with that troubleshooter but with the whole organism. Then you become identified rather with that aspect of your being which is in a constantly harmonious relationship to its environment. We can of course explore at another moment in the seminar, those peculiar times of relationship to the environment. When the organism is being burnt up in a forest fire, or something of that kind. And how it responds to all those changes of circumstance that are as we say from the relative point of view, destructive to the organism. But actually, the organism and the environment are not two things. The environment is not the enemy of the organism. Nor is the organism the enemy of the environment that behavior goes together. In a constant and rhythmic expression of the greater organism of which they are both aspects. And the more your vision is widened and the more you live from that point of view, the more you see the total lack of necessity of being on the defensive all the time all.
Furthermore, as soon as you are not on the defensive and not trying to hold on to your control of life, by reason of the greater energy available to you. And by reason of your, I would say basically friendly and cooperative and open attitude to other people you are by this non defending attitude much better protected, than you would otherwise be, because it’s people who got a chip on their shoulders and are on the defensive who are always troublemakers. Whereas people who are generally speaking friend lead to whomever they relate, they don’t get into difficulty very easily. They don’t create difficulty. It’s the same thing as cats when cats for cats are relaxed and therefore don’t get hurt. And so my father once when he was a young man was suddenly slipped on a staircase. A very steep one, and fell down and it happened so quickly he didn’t have time to resist. And therefore he wasn’t hurt at all. This is the principle of falling in Judo. You learn to fall in a certain kind of cat-like heavy-loose, way. And so when you get thrown you don’t get. And experts can fall on concrete and still not be heard. You know not just on padded maps and things like that. So all this comes about, not so much through a system of effort. But it comes about through a clear understanding of what your situation actually is. Face the facts. We talk you know of facing facts of something difficult preachers and politicians are always talking about hard facts and down to earth realities, as if they were something very unpleasant that we have to wake up to. I would rather say that the facts of our sister situation of the world aren’t so bad people that. If we did arrive at the facts we would find that many things that we call hard facts and difficult problems are simply that there is out of not facing the facts not seeing what our situation is not realizing that we are completely vulnerable. And there’s no way of being otherwise, we are unprotected. And that however protecting ourselves is not the way of life that evolution has favored. You see, contrast the molluscs and the mammals. The mollusks have hard shells on the outside and the soft flesh inside the shells the mammals have the saw flesh on the outside and the hard bones in the middle of the flesh. Now this species is more viable biologically, because it is more sensitive. And so it’s found that this is why it will be abandoned iron warfare. OK. It is so constricted motion and so reduced vision and Sensibility and speed of. Of movement. That if it was really didn’t work out.
And so in the same way, you could think of the disastrous French experiment of trusting in a Maginot Line. What a flop that was. And all elaborate defense systems are illusions. They don’t work. Because life is basically lived as an act of faith. It is an adventure into the unknown. So, to the degree you see, that you come to your senses and see that’s the way things are. Whether you like it or not. This is the, this realisation alone is the greatest help in actually attaining the attitude of let goness and the understanding of let-goness and all the new energy that comes with it. Don’t therefore say. You see it doesn’t really help what I call Think positive in the sense of repeating to yourself. All is peace, all is love. I am letting go, I’m trusting…God loves me and all that. It’s easier to do it the other way. That there is no safety to see everything is falling apart I’m as good as dead already and therefore stop resisting it the same. In this way you see you are not fighting things you are taking the facts and allowing them to help.
So then, you will naturally therefore begin to find as you do this that you seem, for example, in doing everyday things to be getting happy hunches. And to be a center of interesting. And fortunate accidents. People for examples, have often found that when they stop worrying about where the money is going country going to come from it starts turning up. That you get good ideas suddenly come to you. Like a comedian on the stage, when he’s making gags and he doesn’t clam the situation and advance because he doesn’t know what kind of a situation is going to arise but somehow something works for him so he’s constantly witty and has these comebacks which make everybody laugh. I had a friend who was saved in a most desperate situation by this faculty he was. Attached to a unit in the second world war in Asia. Under the command of Melvin Douglas. And they were curious group because they were entertainers responsible for going to U.S. installations all over Asia. And they had no rank. They simply assumed whatever rank. They were going to be with. Well they especially sent my friend out to situations where there was trouble well for example of a bad relationships between the commander and the rank and file. And it was one such base inside China where there was an American cardinal who was just a beast and testy fellow and they gave him orders to go in and take the stuffing out of that guy. So his act was a ventriloquist, and he had a dummy called the sad-sack. And he got on the stage in this huge auditorium in a tent or something, was set up. And here was this colonel with a nurse sitting in the front row. And so he began a dialogue with his dummy in the sack and began making rude remarks about. The commander in this camp. Son of the colonel, said so don’t get off the stage. And so, my friend said nothing but the sad sack came back with some crack at it. He said so I want to get off the stage I.V. a court martial. And despite everything the Sacket said so far there wasn’t a laugh from the audience they were frightened to come and see and suddenly the sack said Ah shut up property back in my jockstrap. My friend said he had no idea he had never premeditated such a remark that simple thing like that around the house broke up just right around the colonel just strode out of the room you must be deflated. My friend says to this day it was the sack that said it I did.
So, this is just extraordinary thing you see, that this could this thing can come to the rescue. When so often in situations of this kind we think much later of the funny thing we should have said. And at the time were completely tongue tied and you see you are tongue tied or action tied. To the degree that you are anxious about the situation and are concerned with it if you are not concerned. Somehow everything is released. When you see that’s basically the whole process of training in Zen Buddhism. Which is rather unique in this respect. It is a situation where you are in an environment with a teacher who constantly challenges you with problems that you cannot solve by ordinary thinking and that you must come back with come back at, without going through the process of conscious decision. The whole idea of a koan you see, a Zen problem. Like what is the sound of one hand. All these things are thought-stoppers. Thought-blockers. Which therefore can only be. Barriers which you can only pass if you act without stopping to think. Now you see, again we think in our culture that a person who doesn’t stop to think is thoughtless. And is therefore irresponsible and unreliable. But while that is to a certain degree true it is also true that a person who does stop to think is unreliable because he can’t make decisions fast enough. So, we are getting to a point now, which is really rather good we are handing over all decisions which require stopping to think, to computers. Which will analyze, in a rational way these problems much faster than we can ever dream of doing. And therefore, since we will hand over these sort of responsible decisions to computers we will be left free the exercise our hunch, like in spontaneous thinking, in a much greater degree than before. Now actually, though this hunch type thinking will apply to all responsible decisions I suppose it’s always a matter of responsibility when you add up a line of figures. I personally haven’t got an adding machine and I don’t bother with us anymore. But Buckminster Fuller was telling me the other day that he can read a line of figures like you read a line of print. And he can glance down a line and know it’s time to. In fact, he can do through lines at once. And he just says he doesn’t even think about it he lets his mind do it. And he invariably comes out right. And this of course is the way in which they train people in fast reading. To simply assume that whatever you see you will remember. Don’t try to push your memory and say gangbanger I’m going on remember that you see. Simply assume that your memory works. And as I say at first this will discourage us and not work because we are frightened of it. But if you. Do this in something that you are not frightened about because it is not very important, you will be able to see that it does work. And that you as an organism are fundamentally to be trusted. Because therefore in the culture where Zen has played such a dominant part. On the Japanese all sorts of stories about. How this works in relation to. The various skills I’m Crofts. The. One I like best is about Carpenter’s. Carpentry in over Japan is very definitely a yoga. And a carpenter has always prided themselves in their freedom from any plan in designing a house they were they still to this day when you watch them they have the very rough sketch of what’s supposed to be done. And they do incredibly complicated joinery you know those wooden Japanese puzzles you buying all sorts of skulls they are simply throw off all of the carpentry technique of joinery they’re put together the beams at an angle. To the corner of a building in the most amazing locked into locked ways very beautiful. And for that they do the whole thing by feel and by I no measure. And they all get absolutely clean shit without measurements. You see, wood is a vegetable. It’s not like steel. And it’s got all sorts of given fluctuation of the temperature changes. And therefore they relate to it in an organic way instead of a mechanical way. I was once having a conversation with a Zen master through an interpreter, who was a priest. And the interpreter was saying the Japanese carpenter, in not using a plan for his building was very like the attitude of Zen in everyday life. So I posed a koan to those gentlemen what happens in the case of the person who makes a blueprint but doesn’t make a plan for it. You always make plans to make plans and make plans to make plans to make plans. Of course you don’t. And therefore what I’m talking about is a not an anti-intellectual approach to life thoughtless and that’s. Because when a scholar does his work and a scientist does his work he can also do it in the same spirit. He can intellectualize spontaneously. He can be reasonable with his intuitive capacity of mind. But the Carpenters were always having the most marvelous happy Accidents there’s a great story of two rival unions of carpenters in one town. Had been contracting to build a temple. And the people who had not got the contract with very aggregate those who had and the day came for raising the roof beam, which is a great ceremony. And when the master carpenter arrived to raise the roof be Mollie one morning. He suddenly found that it had been tampered with overnight, and that they had gone and cut six feet off it. And all the people who were measuring came and said to him this is terrible what are we going to do it said don’t worry it’s perfectly all right. I’ll fix it. And so he went up to the roof beam, and solemnly struck it because how much instead now raised the ropes and put it in position and zip it went up and fitted perfectly. So he had actually made it six feet too long, in the knowledge that some one to business would be played. So you know, the literature of what I would call applied Zen is just full of tales like that. You are perhaps some of you have seen the film of Miyamoto Musashi, [who] was a school Samurai. And he was a great master of this kind of thing because as he got older he had been a terrific swordsman nobody could defeat him but he realized that that that his last battle was one in which he was absolutely challenged and forced into killing an absolutely beautiful young man who was a wonderful swordsman and he just felt depressed about the whole thing. So he developed in his later life the no-sword school of never having to use the saw at all because he would outwit. Any opponent long before it got to the point of fighting.
So, he was one day travelling across at the lake big lake near Kyoto called Biwa.And on the ferry boat there was a very drunk and rambunctious Samurai. Who challenges Musashi and said. I see you’re a saw what school do you belong to and he said I belong to the no sword school. He said are no-sword school. And sister who is sought and said let’s see what you can do with your nose dogs on the side she said Now look there are many people on this boat and if we start fighting innocent bystanders might get hurt so why don’t we go over to that island and we can fight it out there so he said to the ferryman take us over to the otter. And as they came along shore this drunk summer I was so eager for the fight that he leaped off the boat first under the island that was actually grab the boatman’s on press the boat out of the water. He said There you see my no-sword school.
So, Hasagawa, who was a great Japanese artist and friend of mine called all that kind of thing the controlled accident. And you see in every art this is the marvelous thing well I pointed out last night in discussing my own sort of basic philosophy, that what we are always looking for in life is a surprise that we really don’t want a life situation in which we have complete control over everything. And therefore all future happenings are known because if they were known they would already be past. Of such a future we could say in our own inimitable slang, you’ve havd it. Now you see then, the accident that happens is the surprise. But pure accident is of no interest. Because you realize the accidental only in terms of there being also something controlled which contrasts with it just in the same way as you recognize a figure by its contrast to the background or light by its contrast with darkness. So the accidental is realized in relation to the controlled, or we could say the random is recognized in relation to order and vice versa. And therefore what is sort of optimal in life is exactly then the controlled accident where you can watch for example of the Japanese Potters doing designs on plates and they’ll pick up plate after plate and they’ve got a brush with a glaze and that you’re really like that and all sorts of drips of glaze fall at random but within a controlled swirl of the brush, and one after another they’ll just go on the stack like that you rip your ear every one of them different because the chance falling of the drops was different each time and yet behind those falling drops there was a rhythm they played it dancing hand see that was the element of control. And you can show this to yourself by a very simple formula which I don’t recommend that you put this on exit, but you can have a wonderful time if you proceed as follows You take a black heavy a black brush full of ink or a. Felt pen and you make on a piece of paper completely random squiggles. Then, in a very careful way, you fill in all those squiggles with planned and highly controlled coloring. And you will see that you’ve made a rather interesting design it may not be a great work of art yet, but it will certainly be something interesting because of that combination of the random element and the planned orderly element. But you have to allow the random to occur. And then, the very skilled artist of course finds that he does control things in a random way. As he gets to being able as he won’t know how to steer a car or ride a bicycle or whatever it is or swim quite thoughtlessly, because the control is completely in the hands of the unconscious non attentive functioning of your mind or nervous system. So then, I’m saying that this way of functioning, not as an ego fighting and wrestling with the world, but as your organism, working as an expression of the whole energy of this universe of God or whatever you want to call it, will work at anything that you do far more effectively that way, than your present ideas of forcing it to do its job. And one has to be willing to take the risk of being a complete fool, to make the transition from one way of working to the other. All right, let’s have an intermission.