I was discussing this morning. The way in which time which is a measure of motion, involves us in certain illusions. Principally what I call the historical illusion. That is to say, that the meaning of human life lies in living through a progression of events, which culminates and finds its satisfaction in the future. And trying to show you how in various ways. The illusion of history as been extremely destructive to people. How, for example, it fascinates us with symbols. They may be symbols of wealth such as money or symbols of status. So that the people who are in our world highly successful cannot understand why their lives are so empty. Because they lack presence, they lack the full rich rich relationship to the physical world in the here and now. And because they don’t understand why they’re so miserable, they think they can cure their situation by more of the same that is to say by bigger and better futures, more money, more power, more status and so they go on compounding the problem and still failing to understand why they’re increasingly miserable. And they don’t know what they want because there wants to have as it were grown to dimensions whether inconceivable. And so they also don’t know who they are because they have confused. The true organic living being. With the mask, the persona the role, constipated around the ego which they have. Been taught to believe themselves to be.
None of this is to underwrite the real uses of time that is to say of clocks because all time is a matter of flux there is no time in nature there is risen in nature yes there is motion in the region but the clock as a measure of motion is a human artifact. The world as it spins on its axis doesn’t tick. And I also pointed out that the calibration of the clock. Whereby we have hairlines to designate the point at which a certain second because is symbolic of the emptiness of our moments. When the moment is reduced to a hairline, you feel that it’s here and gone. That you can’t ever really be now because it’s all flying away all flying away and you can never sit down and be there. This was fast problem is easy when he attains his highest moment and his calling are still to lay thou art so fair. The moment is a curious thing. It isn’t fleeting at all. It looks as if it is but it isn’t. The moment is always with you. And this is the point to understand this is the point of all those spiritual exercises which are concerned with concentrating on what you are doing now and keeping your mind on it. For example, in the practice of the Japanese tea ceremony, the entire art of it is to have complete presence of mind. To be completely with doing just this thing so likewise in all sorts of yoga exercises try and be completely now. The whole training of a Zen monk day in and day out, throughout his discipline whether it’s meditation or whether it’s work or sweeping or cooking or eating or whatever it is they can they keep insisting do what you’re doing eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. And do that. But the point of that exercise is that after you practice it for a while it suddenly occurs to you with a great shock which is a sort of satori. That there is no where else to be but the moment, you cannot be anywhere else. It doesn’t flow away it’s always here. Maybe a lot of things flow through it. Forms change, experiences change rhythms change and so on but it’s always there. So you have plenty of time, in the sense of real time, which is the moment. To have time is to have the moment.
And you remember the story that Flora told at the end of last session where the Dalai Lama’s brother says that yes it was very nice to come to the United States but the problem of. The difference between here and Tibet was that here you have all sorts of power and whatnot but you have no time. In Tibet you have a very primitive existence and lots of time. And it’s so interesting to get into a culture that is so-called primitive. It’s very easy because you can now take a jet plane to Puerto Vallarta, in a matter of a very short time you can be. In touch with a culture that is ageless. Because you only have to go from part of I outed on north or south to the Indian villages along the coast which you can only reach by boat. Or by a jeep through jungle roads which are just terrible. And you get up to these people. And suddenly everything stops. You know where they going. They are doing the things they’ve always done. And it’s sort of it we we we always say it’s a sleepy village. Not very exciting.
So actually, Zen is the art of combining an exciting life with living in the complete present. Very curious, it’s not sleepy at all it’s not like you think of a sleepy village. When you watch Zen monks walking. They don’t dawdle. They’re like cats and know how a cat crosses the road. It has a complete kind of. Knows where it’s going, it’s just like that.. And that’s like a Zen monk walking. It’s a most curious combination of what you would call the virtues of economy of expertness in doing what you do and that the same time not being any hungry and anyhow very this zen master in San Francisco Suzuki Roshi is particularly at my by his students for achieving an enormous amount of work. Without ever seeming to make the slightest effort. And he can move they’ve just been working down at Tassajara Springs, and they have rearranged a rocky stream to make it look more natural. And he can move bigger rocks than any of the tough young men who are working along with him that the fantastic. But it’s all based on the real relationship to the material, especially to the material moment. And working in such a way that you never strain yourself because you never rush. You don’t have in mind the goal. And of being wanting to get there in the greatest possible. You have in mind simply, that every phase of doing the work which will eventually arrive at that goal is as much worth doing as when you’re playing music. You are involved completely in the production of the sounds as they go along without hiring them to reach the end. It’s the same as sex. A lot of people are in a hurry to reach them and therefore they don’t and they never have sex all that satisfaction as they have nothing but orgasms. And all the people stopped a great deal about the importance of the orgasm and that’s true and right and perfectly proper It’s worth nothing without the build up. You know, if it were to be the same thing as taking dietetic pills where you have a few pills which contain all the essential nutrition thrown down get on with real life or by having some substitute for sleep. That you could take a pill and not have to sleep. Incidentally, I just want to put in a parenthesis here about the importance of sleep. There is a very special kind of sleep which the Hindus call Soshipi [sic]. Sleep without dreams, and very deep. And it’s it isn’t isn’t sleep funny that you go to bed and time is totally eliminated until you wake up and you seem to wake up immediately after you went to sleep and yet something happened.
Now, there is there is a way of getting into a completely profound sleep. Which I call I don’t know where I got the word I call it a temple sleep. And it I found it best in a protected area out of doors. On a sunny afternoon or at night, where you get under a tree, and you get a suitable Pad. And you live your back. And you simply open up like a cat does a dog that sometimes you stretch in every direction like this and you surrender to the. And you sink, you let go, you imagine your body is extremely heavy so that it’s dropping into the area and you just let yourself go to the night. With a kind of feeling that you are being moved through by immensely powerful life energy, healing energy or whatever, and you give give give give to this letting go of everything letting go of all control of all consciousness of all anxiety of all care about anything. And if you go right down into this immense depth. And then you wake up a little before dawn, and the sky is a deep deep blue, and you can see the stars through the leaves and I know and that feeling that you get when morning comes and everything is awakening, and there’s a kind of extraordinary freshness to the world that you really thoroughly get with the dawn. It’s a magnificent experience. But you see, it the trouble is that sleep strikes our whole culture as a waste of time. Why I have to take this out to see why I have to cut it up but what I’m indicating by giving you this little imagery is how it’s possible to enjoy unconsciousness. And what restorative value unconsciousness can have. In just the same way a death you know. Stevenson’s poem. Under the wide and starry sky dig me a grave and let me lie glad that I live and gladly die and I laid me down with a will. If you can see death in that way as the just as when you went to sleep you abandoned all the cares and so on, so in death, you abandon all responsibilities. People in the moment of death have had a great marvelous experiences with this if they got with it. Just think, you don’t have to pay any more bills. You don’t have to watch the clock enema you’re not responsible for anyone you don’t have to solve anybody’s problems you don’t have to solve your own problems, you don’t have to avoid evil, you don’t have to do good nothing the whole thing the whole strain of being somebody is abandoned. And when that happens some people before they die have this enormous excess of delight. And suddenly see the point of everything. And so, for that reason all forms of initiation. In every place I can think of have invariably been connected with the art of dying in the middle of life. Die now. And give up. Give up the compulsion to go on. Give up protecting yourself. Looking for security, looking for all those things which when you get them but then you know that when you get security it hurts. Because you’re worried you’re going to lose. This is terribly true and so when you die in the middle of life they used to have of course in some religions ceremonies where you underwent a ritual death you were put in a coffin you went down into a deep pit. Some symbolism of death in Christianity your drowned, that’s the Baptism and that’s supposed to be but they forgotten to see what it was all about and. Then, when you come up. You would think now I have been relieved of all responsibility I have been relieved of all necessity to be anything because I become nobody. So they give you a new name, but they give you a nobody name instead of a somebody name. In Christianity when they baptized somebody they gave him the name of one of the archetype of angels or disciples. So that you were no longer. Say Laitius, you became Peter. And Peter is one of the nobodies the great nobodies.
So, I’ve noticed recently I’ve met a few young people who have abandoned the ordinary idea of naming themselves I met a young man just the other night and they said What is your name he said it’s You. And I remember a story about Dr Spiegel when he visited my son in law and my son in law was very young and he got this formidable Professor Friedrich Spiegel and said I don’t know what to call you and Spielberg said Just call me Hey You. So this kid’s name was you and I found of various is that there’s a man going around calls himself the Plastic Man and that’s all anybody knows him by. Somebody came by the other day and suggested that it would really disturb the whole nation if an enormous number of young people all changed their names to Harry Krishna. And so that driver’s license you go to what you do is you just go to the Department of Motor Vehicles and you say I’ve changed my name we’re doing this through this license that Harry Krishna everybody would be angry.
This is see is the thing of this death death to the row that you thought you were playing. Giving up all these responsibilities to amount to anything to be something not here then comes this absolutely critical point which is why. It every initiated discipline there is a discipline now the words the individual is in some way nurtured for that moment. Because obviously, the moment you have given up all the cares and responsibilities, you get an immense excess of psychic energy. As all the energy which you’ve been expanding defending yourself is available for something else. So you become quite potentially dangerous. And so always, the society as been concerned about what will become a free people. Will they use the energy destructively, or constructively. But I mean the first thing to realize that to understand if one is concerned about this is that there is a great deal of energy attached to this. One normally supposes that human beings are naturally lazy they’re not the people we call lazy are just tired. Or they’re undernourished although the organism isn’t working properly for reasons of that either tired they’ve been fighting themselves too much they can’t stand it or else them don’t have the right vitamins or something a human being is not lazy naturally. The human being is a very strange creature it has an enormous amount of surplus energy also does the stickleback fish. This particular fish dances a great deal to get off it’s getting rid of its surplus energy. And so, in the same way human beings have all this energy at their disposal and the question is how to canalize it in such a way that they don’t cause trouble with it.
So then, you have, in other words, to be ready with something to do with it. So as to canalize it and not just blow it all off. But it is all it’s all contingent upon this huge gamble. Let me put it in this way, the that the initiation death is a gamble. Will you bet me? That if you completely abandon, all control. You know where you are the ordinary kind of ego control will control give it up completely see you’re not responsible for any where you bet me that if you make that gamble. You will suddenly discover that you are full of great great stuff, great energy. And a lot of people will not accept that gamble under any circumstances, they’re scared to death of it. Some people will make the gamble. And then be like the guy who won the Irish sweepstakes and is ruined for life. Because they don’t know how to handle it. And this is one of the great problems of today when mystical experiences and things like that are so easily and readily available. For all sorts of reasons. That a lot of people who are very immature get hold of this kind of experience and don’t know what to do with it, because they don’t have the skills, with which and in terms of which this kind of experience experience can be beautifully and creatively used. It isn’t just a matter of good will. The proverb says the road to hell is paved with good intentions. It isn’t enough to be a person of good will it isn’t enough to be gentle as a dove. You also have to be wise as a serpent.
So I say this in a general preface about getting out of history. This is the real drop-out situation. For example in a certain way of talking is a drop out because he dropped off the wheel of Samsara, the rat race of birth and death where you are always living for a future. That you see in nature, you cause a vacuum. If you drop out of one situation you drop into another. And so observe where you drop-in when you drop out.
Well now, that brings me then to this point that I will call the great diversion. The future is something you cannot work for, for exactly the same reason that you cannot work to be happy. Happiness it’s always said is a by product. And it will accrue to you through becoming absorbed in something else altogether in some other quest altogether. The quest for the vision, a quest for doing something, anything. May bring happiness. And so in exactly the same way, the good future the Great Society the grand tomorrow is never going to be attained by working for it directly. When you’ve got that idea which is embodied just as much in the five year plan as it is in the great society, of working for that thing. You will never make it. Eat only way you can get the good future is by a diversion from time altogether at right angles to the course of history.
So what is important now today is to create a diversion of such splendor that people will forget about the things they think are important. All their squabbles all their ridiculous projects for destroying the planet in the name of progress. And give it up because they see something else is going on which is. A great deal more fun. It’s like you know you would have gambling tables at Las Vegas and in some great casino, there’s been a terrible game going on all night where people are getting more and more emotionally upset and they’re all in the out and there are tremendous stakes and there’s a huge crowd gathered around. And water that doesn’t come out and so on the sun is somewhere over in another corner of the casino something starts up and all the people here are threatening to shoot each other it’s all over there they’re all laughing and someone sitting at the back of the crowd a few characters of the big crowd you know the big serious game going on they’re all looking over suddenly hear this thing going on they started another and looking at the other table and I get to play off and go over there and start joining in that game and finally just at the moment when the immense crash is going to come out and these two great gamblers have gambled the whole universe on what they were doing as if they owned it, and they’re about to we’ve got the bomb ready to though each other up they suddenly look around nobody’s watching. They start looking over there, what’s going on over there see so this is the only way in which we can do anything about the future at all is to create a diversion. Of doing things. And living in a way that is non-historical. And that is instead of preparing to live the great life as a result of all sorts of preparation use what capacities you now already have for living the great life to do it. Don’t wait. And this will create a fantastic diversion from history. Then you see, man can attain sanity once again becoming non-historical. Like the bees. Like the ants. Like the birds. Now we look at ants and say oh ants we don’t to be like that reminds a minute. But that’s only because we’re not close enough to the sea that different personalities if there are a bunch of dancing around. And they are apparently to us doing very very simple things like nurturing eggs and milking green fly. But they answer themselves all the different to each other. They have slightly different colorings slightly different wiggles on their antennae which are just as important to them as our facial differences are to us. And they have ways of communicating and they think that this is the very very good life. I mean they have occasional troubles and was and so on but they don’t they they’ve lived that way so far as we know, for millions and millions of years, without any progress. Now you would say that could be very dull. Yes, it would be dollars if you kept keeping records and reading them. Because then you would say Oh oh well you would get too much memory. Now, one this is a very important thing again did let me warn you that I always exaggerate and therefore you must take it with certain reservation which we call a grain of salt. And memory is a good thing, sure. But it equally important is a forgettery. We have, in the human organism fortunately and massively a whole at each end. One for nutrition and one for elimination. And people don’t pay enough attention to the problems of elimination. Least they pay it in a certain way. They pay attention to whether they’re constipated or not. But that’s not really the thing.
Disposal has become one of the major problems of modern civilization. As a practical problem for the city of San Francisco, where to put the garbage is becoming quite critical. Mountains and mountains and mountains of garbage are arising. And it is almost as if the human being could be eventually crowded off by his own wastes. That’s because we haven’t really thought about elimination and the problems of elimination. We’ve only really thought about the problems of keeping, storage. And the things we store. The… I’m appalled by the files that I’m required to keep. Other correspondence by the increasing accumulation of records. This thing I don’t know why I make these tapes some people like to listen to them I never listen to them because it would take me as long to listen to them as it does to make it and I would simply be repeating the experience why do that if some student wants to go through something more carefully fine. But you can read a book so much faster than you can listen to a tape.
So there is a thing going on now called the Information bomb, which is the proliferation of records. And this is reach such a pitch or that it is plainly absurd. Let me give you an ism examples from a field that I’m well acquainted with, Oriental Studies. And then you know this is a small field of relative unimportance. But today, to be a serious scholar in the field of Oriental Studies. You have to make like you’re a very very meticulous scientist. Because if you publish an article in The Journal of the American Oriental society, which is one of the dullest journals ever conceived. And you make a slight mistake with a diacritical mark, or a Sanskrit character or a little line wrong on a Chinese character you will next month be demolished in a footnote. By some pesky scholars. And, here they all are, there they’ve got so much detail in their head they know so much so much information has been acquired it would take nobody could possibly master it the articles come pouring out there if it’s that way in Oriental Studies You should imagine how it is in electronics. It comes and comes and comes and comes and I was talking the other day to a man who has done a great deal of work in this and he spent fifteen or more years acquiring some Tibetan prints, and he could out of this material compile to enormous volumes to be published by university press, with every kind of commentary on these prints and what would happen? They would be bought by a few big libraries and one or two scholars and nobody would ever read it. So he said to me I am through with that game. I am an old man, I have seen enough I have attained all the academic honors I ever could want and I am now going to have fun. And I am going to publish these Tibetan graphics as far-out posters. But you see, what happens? After a certain point, this method of the intellectual analysis, which was always good and useful in the beginning and did some very lovely things I feel…. When you, you study. Let’s say you take a course on Renaissance painting from somebody who really knows what it’s all about. Or on Baroque music. Or on lida, or something like that it’s fascinating to. See how those things were put together and why it’s extremely beautiful but if you go one step beyond that it’s like cooking the souffle just a minute too long or the whole thing disintegrates into dust. And as it is then, in the academic world today where you have an intellectual market going on to do this thing to turn out graduate students to turn out professors who have to put the new graduate students through the paces and all the field has been covered so they give them are not minute and ridiculous things to do and all the information because some of it is information. Piles and piles and piles and everybody including the scholars suddenly get around then say what on Earth are we doing? Especially if it’s in a sort of historical humanistic subject that has no particular technical application. When Aldous Huxley graduated from Bill. At Oxford his tutor took him aside and said this to Huxley. You have a very distinguished record as a student. He was in English literature. And said you should very seriously consider an academic career in English that you would make a very fine professed and all the success that sticks trough. Because I always thought literature was something to be enjoyed not just. And so it is you say that the capacity for the enjoyment of scholarship is not really known to these frantic scholars terrified that they will be demolished in the foot. And having to make that thing and keep this thing going you know realise that the word Scola. School means a place of leisure. It was where there the if the phrase, a scholar and a gentleman. A gentleman meant somebody who didn’t have to earn a living, as he owned land or something, and therefore he could devote his time to scholarship. And so a scholar and a gentleman would acquire gradually a beautiful library and he would go into that library and read as an easy pace. No deadlines, no thesis to present the seven time, he studied for the love of learning. And all those beautiful light like the not barren sins library at eight thirty in Florence is a gentleman scholars library where he loafed the way many many good hours studying a subject that he loved and got to know a great deal about it. You cannot produce scholarship by this method across the bay. It doesn’t work. It produces simply increased harassment. Piling up of enormous quantities of irrelevant. Facts, yes. But a fact isn’t the sacred thing just because it’s a fact.
So you see in this way how a graded education system, with goals with aiming at God only knows what aiming at a professorship of a higher rank ending at a higher salary but whatever it is all that is irrelevant to the actual scholarship. And so as a result. The academic world is a lot of political games. With it I say again some notable exceptions one know there’s certain still absolutely genuine scholars who are trying to avoid committee meetings and grading papers and all that kind of thing, because they still love learning for its own sake. But they’re not many of them. And they have amazing put-downs. If you love learning for its own sake and you’re not. Worried about all that final points that you could get caught up on they say you’re a popularizer you’re a dilettante, and above all, an amateur. And you know what an amateur is as distinct from a pro we’ve come to use the word pro the man as me is very competent and amateur the dabblers amateur met the man who does it for the love of it from the group ammo and Latin. The professional, the man who earns his living at it. It’s curious how these things change.
So you see what we must be looking for is a diversion from that whole tendency which makes the professional instead of the amateur. That whole compulsion to use whatever it is that you do for some other end altogether. And other words I’m baking bread not because I’m a vocation to be a baker because it is my way of making money. If the soon as you do that you see you lose track here is the point. So the diversion this way instead of going on with the course of history. Robert Oppenheimer shortly before he died said it is quite obvious that the whole world is going to hell. And the only thing that could possibly prevent this is not trying to prevent it. [Because] the minute you get meshed with that contest. There is a there’s nothing more. Nobody I know in this world is more hostile than a pacifist on the rampage. The bitterness the the vitriolic.
Once, I got in an argument with Margaret Mead. Ugh. And she was talking about she was in a very very highly emotional status is perfectly understandable about the bomb. I said I am a little worried. That we could get so excited about this and so violently try to stop the bomb that we might inadvertently blow it up. She said, ‘You are a fake Swami you have no consideration for your children and your children’s children. You have absolved all responsibility for the cost of destiny of history.’ Well, this is a you see today a very big question. Whether to take part in trying to save the world, or whether to mind your own business. And to do something else. I’m a say I wrestle with this question. Because there’s still enough of the old conditioning in me say you really ought to get out there and do something about it after all you are responsible you and you you got a hearing and a lot kind of thing and I have to tell you it takes an enormous effort. To be lazy. To say now wait a minute go back to Lao Tzu, and never forget. That when I see a man getting ready to put the world in order, I know there will be great trouble. Govern a great state as you cook a small fish. But you see, the puzzle in connection with all this is the problem of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. You remember in this story which, what’s his name Duka What was that musician made that they [sings]. He used the magic to try and save the work. And it got out of control. And when the broom wouldn’t stop searching water. He didn’t know how to stop the spell he chopped it. And immediately it turned into two brooms, rained twice as much water. And as he’d hit them the fragments standing each one into new broom bringing more water. And that’s the situation we’re in. See, we’re in an economy, which has to expand or collapse. We talk about a growing business it means one that’s making more and more of no nor more every. So everybody has got to be inside to want more and more and more products. And if you don’t do it you’re a bad consumer, and there are all kinds of ways of pressuring you into being a good consumer you come around here and you live on a houseboat. Well, we don’t pay taxes because we’re above. And well our water is people. And I say orchard don’t you have a sewage here. And the boys says no. Well, that’s a serious health problem. Well it does just isn’t. Everybody who lives around here is very healthy. And the main problem in the bay is industrial waste chemicals kill the fish fish like our waste Fishley mackerel they thrive on all you’ve got to do is bring a basic shipment of mackerel and duck. And I want to bout the girl the birds you know they they deposit their excrements in the bay and at certain times of year you can hardly see the water from where they got to do have process going around shooting the birds because they’re fouling the Bay what they want in this bay is distilled water with a ten percent saline additive for realistic effect.
So the thing is, that if you live in this sort of thing eventually somebody says well we won’t insure you or you’re doing this regulations wrong that regulations wrong the real reason is that you’re not being a good consumer. You don’t own the right kind of appliances the right kind of car the right kind of anything and so you’re considered a bad consumer when you’ve got to go on owning somebody made a fantasy a little while ago about the future, where everybody is required by law to possess enormous flashy cars and fantastic expensive things and only great business tycoons will be able to get away with driving jalopies. And wearing old clothes. So, but you see in that situation where you must, you must, you must increase increase increase increase increase like this you simply not viable what’s happening to you is the way you kill poison oak. Who feeds certain hormones which you paint on the leaves and this promotes the growth so excessively that dish blow up. And we’re in a situation like that’s where our progress is cancer. We’re going to blow up by sheer bluh. And less and less you see we stop. Stop the future. Time has got to stop. And create a diversion.