Yesterday afternoon, I was working mainly on the contrast between the normal state of waking conscious attention, which was this one, number three and what you might call the generalized awareness of the human organism. And I was making the using the metaphor of conscious attention as a spotlight and the generalized awareness of the organism as a floodlight and showing how by identifying ourselves with the spotlight operation of consciousness and with the vibrant voluntary neuromuscular system we attained to a very partial conception of ourselves and a very partial and symbolic view of the world, that is to say.
We see what we learn to notice and we screen out everything else.
We really don’t notice anything that we don’t also have a name for. And children are constantly asking when they’re learning to talk. What is this and what is that? And you’ll notice that children very often point to things for which we don’t have any names and they want to know what it is. For example, we don’t like some of the American Indians have a name for dry space. Nor do we have a name for the inside surface of a cylinder. There may be a mathematical term for it, but in ordinary speech, the inside surface of the cylinder doesn’t have a name for it except long phrase the inside surface of a cylinder. Nor, for example, do we see any connection between having six toes and pushing aside the branches of a bush to get through. But in an American Indian language, those are the same ideas. It’s all based on the idea of V U V the branches to get through. And you asked to your foot.
You have a sixth one being off at the edge.
You see now what you notice. What the way the world seems to you, the way it’s logical. Connections seem to depend on whether you have words for it or whether you have symbols for it.
So then what happens is as a result of concentrating on or of using, shall I say, over using over exercising the faculty for conscious attention.
We come to have a sensation of our own existence as beings, definitively separate from the outside world. The world beyond the skin and from most of what goes on in our own bodies.
And this state of affairs we could call alienation when this state of affairs exists all by itself.
But it is not necessary for that state of affairs to exist all by itself. The spotlight consciousness can be supplemented by increasing use of the floodlight consciousness so that it becomes balanced. We assume that the baby, before it is learned conscious attention and before it has learned any words, is all the time using floodlight consciousness. With a little bit of spotlight and therefore would feel as Freud supposed oceanic, that is to say, at one with its surroundings, where later words are used and it is taught to be itself and to construct the outside world.
As society constructs it and conceives it. Then the baby develops a sense of having a separate ego. And this development is brought about by means of a strategist, a stratagem which gives the infant a great deal of confusion. Because since the baby is given a sense of identity by parents and teachers and relatives and other children, it is unable to resist the pressure put upon it by the social group.
The pressure of a group, even upon an adult, is enormously powerful, much more so on a child.
So the odd thing is that by the commanding pressure of this group, the child is informed that it is free. That is to say that it is an independent agent and an originator of actions for which this separate identity is to be held responsible. And in that you see there is a weird gimmick because the baby is told that it must be free. You are ordered to be free. That is to say, you are required to do actions which will be acceptable only if you do them voluntarily. And this basic contradiction that underlies our sensation of personal existence is the result. Why most people are confused and why there is a nagging sense of frustration underlying all civilized human existence. Because you are trying to solve a self-contradictory and therefore insoluble problem. How to be responsible. You see, the word responsible carries its own contradiction.
It carries freedom.
You are able freely to decide upon your own actions. But you must be responsible. You must do what you’re told.
So that paradox creates then the sense of the separate ego, which is, if anything, is a hallucination, a hallucination, because it does not correspond to any kind of scientific facts whatsoever. The separate organism, although separate, although having a clear outline and identity in that sense and although every human character is unique and different from all others.
Nevertheless, every organism goes with its environment in separately and the behavior of organism environment is a single field of behavior. These are the facts as they are seen by physicists, biologists and ecologists.
But our experience, our sensation of our own existence is not in accord with the facts. So what it seems is necessary for us to do is not, as it were, to try to get rid of the sense of having a separate ego. You can’t do that. You can’t wash off blood with blood.
And if you try to get rid of it, you actually intensify the hallucination that it exists. As a real thing, but the ego exists in the same way as the equator. That is to say, it is a social institution.
An imaginary boundary which has a certain convenience to it. But when you start mistaking social institutions for physical processes, you are under a hallucination.
So then could we possibly go to a state of consciousness in which without giving up the spotlight? That is to say, the faculty for conscious attention and for constructing symbolic worlds by selection among our sense impressions. Could we do that? Not sort of all by itself in a vacuum, but against the background of more generalized awareness. Because after all, every particular activity, every tracing out of details, as I pointed out yesterday, requires a background. So the background of ordinary attentive consciousness looking at is generalized awareness. And the more you become aware of generalized awareness, the more you realize that you and the external world. Right out to the furthest known galaxies are a single process.
And so when this begins to appear, one moves into state number four, which I have called sensory awareness.
There is a Zen saying.
When looking for the pillow in the dark. The mind is all in the hand. Now, it’s very interesting how you can, as it were, shift your mind all over yourself.
Normally one thinks of it as in the head, although for Chinese and Japanese, the center of the mind is always in the center of the chest, which they call Shin and Chinese or choro in Japanese. And that means the heart mind.
And they feel that they think from here we feel, of course, that we think from here and that we have a little man inside our head who is the ego directed at all. But you can as the saying, you are looking for the pillow in the dark or you’re looking for the soap in the bath tub. When all the water’s cloudy, the mind is all in the hands.
Now, beyond that, you can very simply get into a state of consciousness where you.
Your mind seems to be all over you.
Where instead of feeling that you are looking at things, you feel rather that you are becoming them.
And the whole external world comes on.
One could only say in a very different way from the usual.
The reason why this can happen is, of course, that all that we feel about the external world is in fact a state of our own bodies. What you are seeing now in front of you is how it feels inside your head in the optical nervous center’s. Your brain and all that goes with it is translating whatever there is in the outside world into states of itself called color, shape, weight, texture and so on. So all that you see is you really physically, but also one must add to this that one of the things in the external world is you.
So you are both outside and inside. You are something in nature, but all that you know of nature is you. You’d have to take these two things into consideration simultaneously. So sometimes it might feel as if everything you see is inside your skull.
And the next moment, it might feel that your scholars in the middle of everything. Then the next moment everything is inside you and then you are in the middle of everything you see. Sort of capping process like this.
So in this state.
You find that you less and less discriminate between what is important to be looked at and what is not important to be looked at.
In order to enter this state, the first thing that is necessary is to slow down.
To suspend judgment on what you ought or ought not to be doing.
And here I would say then that I’m describing the initial stage of a process of meditation. And in talking in general about meditation, it is absolutely essential to understand that one cannot meditate correctly if you do it as a preparatory exercise for something else.
Meditation is not. Self-improvement do not enter into it under any such delusions. There is no one to be improved. Meditation is a form of enjoyment. It’s a way of digging the universe.
I may put it so slightly, meditation is not meditating on anything. This always bothers Orientals. When somebody says, well, while we do this or that, we meditate. Well, the Western always says, what do you meditate on? An Oriental can’t understand that. You don’t meditate on anything. Meditation isn’t about anything. It isn’t like thinking about. It’s simply a clarification of consciousness.
And can be about anything or nothing.
And so to enter the state of mind, which is called Janna, which when translated into Japanese becomes Zen, Jonna is a yoga word. The first thing that’s necessary is then to slow down and to abandon notions of what it is important to do and what it’s not important to do. And instead of closing your eyes, keep them open, keep your ears open, keep all senses open, but don’t programed them.
That is to say, don’t tell them what they’re supposed to look at. Let them simply fall upon or let everything that is there to be heard or seen arrive by itself and let the senses work by themselves. That is to say, let your eyes see whatever they want to see, that your ears hear whatever they want to hear. Let your nose smell whatever it wants to smell and let your sense of touch, feel whatever it wants to touch. And in general, let your mind do whatever it wants to do. Of course, as a matter of habit, the mind tends to be incessantly chattering. Words set up constant circuits and there are one skull is full of voices.
They’re not always your voice. Your mother’s voice. Your father’s voice. Your Aunt Matilda’s voice. Your teacher’s voice is still talking to you. When you think and if you listen very carefully to your thoughts, you will hear other people in your head, because you see you are not you. You are an amazing collection of what George Herbert Mead called the interior eyes. Others. And all this chorus of voices is constantly directing your life and propagandizing you.
You have now to tell them to shut up and try to let thinking, that is to say, interior talking stop. Now you can’t force it to shut up. And that is why one of the classical aids to meditation is concentration. To find something to focus the attention on so that the chattering will cease and it should be something interesting, something that is not interesting in the sense that you can think a lot of ideas about it, but something which is enormously fascinating for its purely sensuous aspects.
The female form is not too appropriate for this purpose, nor the male form for women.
If they find that very fascinating because it has so much social junk attached to it, so many associations, so one inclines to choose something like jewelry or a crystal or a flower or a purely abstract play of light patterns or something like that as what is called a support for contemplation, something which you don’t need to think about, that which you can look at in rapt. And as you acquire this way of becoming wordlessly interested and fascinated with any focal point of consciousness, you will begin to see as your eyes move that the whole world is like that.
For example, you become aware of the myriads of colors playing around on the floor. This isn’t the question are trying to see how many things you can notice. You know, a game that children play is that a tray of assorted objects is displayed for them for one minute and then cupboard and you write down how many things you saw on the tray. It’s not like that at all because on any given tray there are infinitely many things and you could never count them all out.
It isn’t the point of how many things can you see. The point is like having a clear window to look through instead of a dirty one.
So that the whole of the sense sorry, I am, that is to say, everything seen, tasted, touched and smelled becomes much clearer and none of it as.
As you learn not to think about it. It becomes much richer than it is when you think about it.
And so everything starts to be more real, more alive, more glowing, and you suspend also judgments about things. What is good? What is bad?
And in doing this, you introduce yourself to a fascinating world.
That is why some Indian yogis practice what is called Mona, which is silence, maybe silent somehow for 10 years, some or all their lives, because after you have practiced silence for a month, you get silence in your head as well.
Now, there are dangers to being a monkey when you see the clouds.
You become the cloud. And if you are wondering down a street where there’s a riot going on, you’re liable to join the riot. Because that’s what’s happening. You just go with it. So one doesn’t enter into mana without a guru and without some kind of a discipline which protects you that were builds a protective wall around your experiment just in the same way as a bird builds a protective wall, the shell round the young chick when it is before it’s ready to hatch. So in the ordinary way, therefore, you can’t expect a Western person negotiating a high civilization to be a mountain or to be silent all the time but you for the sanity of any Western person involved in this kind of civilization.
It is very important for him indeed to be silent some of the time and I mean silent inside the head. Just as you must stop talking occasionally if you want to hear what anything anybody else has to say. So you must stop thinking in order to find out what there is to think about. If you talk all the time, you will have nothing to talk about except talking. If you think all the time, you will have nothing to think about except thinking.
And so you will exhaust yourself and come to a dead end.
Which is called psychosis.
So for health, it is very important to stop thinking.
Not always so that you find that you get a non-thinking state as background to the thinking state, and this corresponds to floodlight awareness as background or spotlight awareness in Zen Buddhism. The word non-thinking state is called Noonan.
This is Japanese moon and.
Nen thought it means thought and it also means blocking.
Having a jerky mind, let’s call it that.
So this state I’m describing is the state of Montana of no thought. But it doesn’t mean a kind of anti intellectual attitude.
Huckabee in the 17th century, M. writes in one of his poem. He uses the phrase taking hold of the no thought in the midst of thoughts. So that means having a mind that has, in a way, like a mirror dancer. The Chinese, Darwish said the perfect man employs his mind as a mirror. It grasps nothing. It refuses nothing it receives but does not keep.
And so the poem says the wild geese do not intend to cast their reflection. The water has no mind to retain the image.
So it weighs a mind as it then that is has no attachments.
Now, attachment is a word that has associations in English, which do not quite does doesn’t quite give the Buddhist feeling for the meaning of the word. But the slang term that we now use a hang up is the right translation for attachment. When you say a person’s all hung up or he has a particular hang up, that is the Buddhist meaning of attachment. It means a mental fixation. Or an emotional fixation on some particular pattern of life.
So to get rid of hang ups, one must first get rid of thinking after you’ve got rid of it completely and have thereby revived the background.
The mirror, as it were, the mirror mind.
Then you can go back to thinking and you can think against the background perfectly comfortably and not get hung up on thinking.
And so in this way, you get an extraordinary feeling of life going on as a single process all the time, which doesn’t stick you and it are all one. And it’s got all kinds of differentiations within it so that it doesn’t become some sort of a formless blur. But it is sort of.
It flows like water, as water has all the patterns in its network of sunlight.
The ripples, so on. So in the same way the world has all this, but it constantly flows because of no hang ups.
So then the royal road to the state is giving up the sense of urgency that you ought to do something, something is required of you.
And understand, for example, that looking at a rubber band on your fingers.
Can be quite as important as anything else you can do.
In other words, being here at this moment and listening to the sound of my voice without paying the slightest attention to what it means can be as important as anything there is in the universe.
Why not? Is the tree outside important? It’s beautiful. Is it worth looking at? Why certain? But it’s not achieving any great mission in life. She’s being a tree, as Emmerson said in his essay.
I think on compensation, these roses under my window are not concerned whether they are better than last year’s roses, or whether next year’s roses will be better than they.
There is simply the rose it lives for today. And that’s the point.
When you learn the art of meditation in this way, you will see other people rushing around wildly like chickens with their heads cut off and they think they’re going somewhere and they’re completely deluded.
They’re there and they don’t know it. That’s why they’re rushing around so wildly.
But you, by this means, can begin to learn that you are there now and that the extraordinary thing, as you see the world in this way, especially as you see people in this way and from this point of view, you realize that people are valid natural processes, just like trees and birds and clouds. Now, do you ever criticize a cloud for being badly shaped? Did you ever see patterns in foam make an aesthetic mistake?
Well, no, I’m just doesn’t.
There was once an 18th century classicist, one of those people who enjoyed formal gardens and kind of Greek palaces, who criticized the stars for not being symmetrically arranged, but that would never occur to us today. We don’t want to see our stars in wretched geometrical patterns.
We love to see the scatter of them and the curious groupings of the sky in a marvelous, irregular order. A marvelous, odorless order, you might call it.
The funny thing about clouds and stars and mountains and all natural outlines is that.
They are beautiful and we know that they have a quality which distinguishes them from being masses when you know a mess when you see it.
But these things don’t apparently make Mrs..
So in a way, human beings don’t either.
And when you see human life as something that is just the same kind of thing as the shape of a tree or a cloud or like that, you stop judging it.
And you have to know that about yourself. And this is the beginning of everything.
This is the beginning of every kind of wisdom to see that you really don’t have to go anywhere.
You don’t have to get any better than you are because with all your defects, your selfishness, your neuroses, your sicknesses and everything. Well, fish have neuroses and sicknesses and so on. And so your plants you often see in plants that got bumps on them or some queer little diseases and so on.
And they they they all have those sort of troubles. That’s life. But when you realize that you’re an authentic projection of the universe, just as you are at this moment, then there’s nowhere to go. No need to do anything. And out of that peace comes energy. Real energy instead of phony energy, which is trying to lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. The usual kind of human energy which gets progressively nowhere with more and more business.
Now, beyond this state, there is going to follow another, which I have numbered five. I called it cellular awareness. And I must repeat the fact that I use this word cellular, not in a strictly scientific way, but as a good way of describing the kind of awareness that it is, how it feels from the inside, because it is as if every cell in your body became alive.
Now, you know yourselves, don’t talk English.
But they are a very, very subtly and highly organized things.
If you’ve ever seen a model of a living cell, you’ve seen the most fantastic object and those cells are engaged in all sorts of activities, but they don’t structure the world the way you structure it because they don’t use that language.
And so as you get into cellular awareness, you begin to feel rather like the artist who paints in a pointless fashion, that everything is dots, little tiny vortices.
You become aware of the texture of things to an extraordinary degree.
It’s almost as if the world had been photographed through a screen which put into the senses a feeling of intense detail as if every one of your nerve ends.
Had was now detected in sending its separate message to the brain.
And so this makes the world looks highly textured.
There are no more such things as blank, green or blank white spaces, all space is rich.
And that is what those painters are representing in doing spaces with dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, dit, the brush like this.
And also, you will notice that certain kinds of painting, particularly as a Persian miniatures, if you look at them, you will see the artist is painting the world as the Arabian Nights describe the secret garden into which Aladdin went, where all the trees were made of jewels and where everything looked as precious as if it had been carved by a master carvers.
And they try with their art to give the impression that the more you look into the background, you see suddenly that the background of a pillar, that the painter hasn’t made it white. He has put a design into it in white, but just a slightly different shade of white complex design.
You feel that within the design that is still another design and that it has an infinitely carved, rich texture.
This is this is why Oriental art in general, you find this among the Chinese at a certain period.
You find it constantly in India, you find it in Persia, you find it in the Moorish work and you find it too.
In early Celtic manuscripts like The Book of Kells, the Linda’s Farm Gospels and so on. This such fascination with what seems to be a world of infinite detail.
And this, of course, is the world of paradise. This is what all those angels and whatnot are about.
Now, from cellular consciousness, you can pass to what I would call, again, symbolically molecular consciousness. Not that you are going to be aware of molecules.
No. But it is as if suddenly. This is the state which Buddhists are part of, the state, which the Buddhists call such a..
It’s as if it can be rather frightening because everything becomes perfectly meetings, people.
Everything that’s going on is just jazz, almost electronic. Jazz is a dancing process of energy.
And you feel sort of lost in it. Well. Well, what’s supposed to happen? I mean, well, what’s it all about? It’s just dancing energy.
And you can.
You have to be careful here because this is the danger point in the meditative process, because here you can suddenly get the vision of hell and the vision of hell is that this world is a monstrous mockery, that it is meaningless in the worst sense of that word.
It is just a gyration, a pointless gyration of particles or a wave equals or whatever, which is tormenting itself.
It keeps itself going on with a certain kind of hope in order that it may eventually destroy things. And then you see the horror of biology as the mutual eating society. What a ghastly conception it all is. And everything is phony. People say they are people, but they’re not. They’re just robots. Everything is made of plastic or enamel tin. Everything is just buzz.
That’s a danger you see here.
But if this happens to you and you get the feeling that everything is pointless, everything is just mechanical buzz. What you do is what an Arab does in a sandstorm. He knows there is no possibility of conquering the sandstorm.
So he kneels down sort of in a fetal position and takes his world noose and covers himself completely and waits.
Until the storm is over. If he gets covered by sand, it is usually porous enough to admit some error breathing or in the same way as an ocean liner in a typhoon.
They just turn off the engines and drift is the only thing to do.
So in the same way, if you ever get into this particular kind of psychic horrors.
Just let it be.
And it will resolve itself.
And it’s important to go through that state in a way important to realize that you don’t know anything, you don’t know what it’s all about. You don’t understand the universe.
It’s all incomprehensible words and systems were just a way of whistling in the dark. We all whistled in the dark together and agreed that we had the same whistle. And that was great. But we really don’t know anything. Anybody who opposes us is an authority about anything at all. Business making an authoritative noise.
And he may be able to make some remarkable demonstrations, for example, by interfering with diseases in various ways. We can make people healthy for a time until we can’t make them healthy anymore.
This may be a good thing. It may not be a good thing.
It might be best not to interfere with nature, but simply to let human beings alone and regulate by a kind of in unnatural homeostasis their own population level. And let’s let it happen. There is no way of proving conclusively that our way of dealing with these things is better than doing nothing.
But life is, in a way, an experiment all the time. One’s whole existence, the very shape of one’s body is just coming on the sea. Come on, somehow. And so one way is this. We all come together, come on together, looking like each other and having certain common characteristics. We’ll look at a snake skin. Every scale is rather like the other and it’s all coming on together.
So you suddenly see that there is no particular reason why you should be this way rather than that, that everybody is putting on a good show, a big act.
And if you’re not ready for that, if you’re not educated to the point where you can understand that situation, you may get very nervous.
You say, well, everybody always wants to know what am I supposed to do?
So this is a common question. What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to feel? I’m not an authority. I want someone to convince me that the way I’m doing it the right way. But don’t you realize whenever you accept authority, you accept it on your authority?
You say I believe the Bible because why do you believe the Bible?
Because it says Jesus says in the Bible that we should believe the Bible nobility.
It’s all. It’s your opinion that that is an opinion to be accepted.
It’s on your own authority. You create the power of your own teacher and you create the power of your own government. That’s the saying the people get swapped. Government deserves.
And if you don’t like it and you don’t overthrow it, well, then that’s your problem. But always you see authorities springs from you. So. So also does the way you define yourself, you accepted society. And its suggestions always rather tacitly, but you did so here in this amazing moment of seeing the world as a big act, as a big buzz, as jazz doing this.
This this is this is this is this is this is this is this. It’s all vibration.
And you see absolutely no compelling reason why it should be that way rather than any other way.
Well, if you don’t panic, you see them. Then you get into the domain that Buddhists call such a..
It is just as it is.
Now, if it’s a big act, who’s doing it? Who is the actor?
What what lies behind all this jazz? That’s the big question.
And it is through asking that question that we moved from six to seven.
Into the state that I called late.
Because when you become aware of energy jazzing this way and that way, and on top of this, you have already, don’t forget, become aware that you and the outside world are a single energy system.
Then what is it?
Do you realize, for example. I do not exist to I at all unless there’s something else that’s other. And that immediately is the clue to the fact that itself and other polar, they go together. How did they go together? All right. Put it the other way around. What would you do if you were God?
If you were the works, in other words, if you were this whole capacity for patterning energy, what would you do? Well, first of all, have to draw the line somewhere and then proceed.
You’d have to make a difference.
Because if something makes it doesn’t make a difference, it doesn’t matter, does it? So if you want to make matter, you’ve got to make a difference.
Well, if you take that along and you try all the amazing differences that can be tried and you differentiate this from that and so on and so forth, among all the possibilities of being God, you will eventually arrive at what you’re doing now.
To be it just this sort of circumstance, because this will be one of the infinitely many things to do. With certain restrictions on you. Which, of course, you tacitly originated because you wouldn’t know where you were without them. Then you suddenly see with this astounding clarity that the the energy may symbolize itself to you as a sensation of intense light. You see, our understandings have a way of representing themselves to us in sensuous imagery. We say when very happy I was walking on air, you could have knocked me down with a feather. He saw the light. Everything became clear. Are you transparent? Now, these are not necessarily meant literally, but in intense cases of insight.
There is a literal sensory feeling corresponding to the inside. And when something becomes utterly clear in a way that is emotionally and intellectually overwhelming.
You are liable to have the feeling of intense light inside your head, or sometimes a feeling that everything looks transparent as if it were glass. But it’s still there. You don’t actually see through it.
Don’t see the pattern on the chair behind somebodies head, but they look transparent because things have become clear and it has become at this point a light shattering lay clear that everything is it the light, the energy coming on at you in different ways and you are coming on at it and it’s all one coming on.
You can see that light is the basic component of black things. There is nowhere that isn’t light. And if you can’t see it, you can hear it.
It comes on at you in all kinds of disguises.
So here you see its tabling, here it’s handling and in here it’s revolting, it’s dancing, all sorts of patterns and Europe.
As I said, this may clothe itself, this comprehension in the sensation of vivid light as being the ultimate component of the might say the very inside stream of the nerve.
Reduce it all down to what it is fundamentally. That’s why when you blow up the atom, you get this light because it’s all locked in it.
But then simultaneously, you remember how I described yesterday the fellow who gets to the hub of the wheel and gets his piece there. Then he gets energy and then he goes out to the circumference again. Well, then you see that there really is no difference, not fundamentally between this state of illumination and what we call number three or ordinary everyday consciousness.
You suddenly realize that the way things are now in the perfectly ordinary life are the same thing as the late.
Which is sort of undifferentiated and overwhelmingly brilliant. The same energy that seems to you light in that state, pure light. Then you understand is just what you’re looking at. That sitting in this room, you are sitting back in the middle of the beatific vision.
Only we have we were taught before then to sort of put down the world by saying, well, this is prosaic, ordinary, everyday life.
And we were sitting in a lecture room and on sort of funny chairs, which as perches for the human body.
And, you know, having a lecture on very ordinary matter of fact.
And you see from this point of view, there’s nothing ordinary about it at all. While we so the Zen poem. Supernatural power, a marvelous activity, drawing water, carrying wood.