This tape is an experiment. I make no promises with this experiment. And although I kind of have an idea of what's going to happen--even I still don't know. So I've decided to call this tape "Some Secrets of Survival: Awakening to the Whirl'd Around You." But you can't see my notes, so you don't know how I spelled the word, "world." I spelt the word, "whirl'd", as in w-h-i-r-l'd. Because, after all, isn't this dirt ball whirling around? Why do you think we call it the whirl'd? Just a little digression.
What I'm about to give you is some pretty deep stuff. Despite its depth, it's actually really easy to understand, if you slow down and take the time to experience it. The material on this tape is neither psychology, theology, or any form of science. At best, we can call this philosophy, but I simply prefer to call it food for thought. I have no problem if you disagree with the information that I'm going to put forth on this tape. In fact, if you completely agree with me, all the way, without questioning what I have to say, I'm afraid I've created a robot. And that's not the intention of this tape.
So, for the remainder of this tape, I would like you to assume the stance of "not knowingness." That, in other words, you just don't know. Because what I'm going to say on here may threaten you. It may threaten your sense of security. It may threaten what you think you've come to know in life. What I would like to do, in the next hour and a half, I would like to challenge your fundamental positions on reality. What you know, what you don't know, what you think you know, what you think you feel, what you think you see. And yet, what I'm going to be saying is very straightforward, simple stuff. It gets deep, it goes into the depths of who we are, but it's very simple stuff. So I'd like to encourage you to listen to this tape several times. Always start fresh: I know nothing. Then listen.
I'm not looking
for you to agree with me, what I put forth here. I'm not looking for
you to believe me. Because, when it comes right down to it, most of
this I can't prove. All I have to go on is--Experience; but
Experience that seems to align with almost everyone. I'm talking
about the fundamental Experience that You and I ARE.
What I want to offer to you comes out of that.
Now, if you listen in the background, you may hear some music, by Gilead Limor. This is a CD entitled, "You Are The Ocean". When I think of ocean, I think of depths, which is where I want to go with this material. When I think of depths, I think of the question, "Who am I?" So I ask you the question, "Who are you?" And I'm not looking for an answer. It's not like you have to give me an answer. I don't want an answer. In fact, if you could give me an answer, it wouldn't be it.
This is what's trying to be expressed in the opening chapter of the Tao te' Ching, where it says, "The Tao that can be expressed is not the eternal Tao." It's Yahweh, [a transliteration of the Hebrew word YHVH] in the Hebrew Bible; the Name which cannot be spoken. Not because the Name's taboo, but because even that word, YHVH, does not get down and express the fundamental reality of what God is. And even What is a unfortunate constraint of language. Who is closer. So the word, Yahweh, really can't get down and express WHO God is. So any answer you have to the question, "Who are you?", in my mind that answer is suspect.
You may never be able to answer the question, "Who are you?" And that's not necessarily a bad thing. See, when you don't know who you are, a lot of problems result. Let me explain to you the problem of, "Who am I?" or, more specifically, "I don't know who am I," by reading to you a little quote from Alice in Wonderland, that wonderful book. It had so many different meanings in it.
If you know the story, you know that Alice has run into the hookah-smoking caterpillar. And, like so many characters in Lewis Carroll's book, they are really into semantic precision, but not just for the sake of using the right words, but for telling the truth, the real, honest-to-God truth. And telling the truth is at the root of finding the answer to the question, "Who are you?" This question can be quite a vicious circle, or so it would seem, as we will see here with Alice and the hookah-smoking caterpillar.
Alice and the caterpillar looked at each other for some time in silence. At last the caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice. "Who are you?" said the caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather, shyly, "I, I hardly know sir, just at present. At least, I know who I was when I got up this morning. But I think I must have been changed several times since then."
"What do you mean by that?!" said the caterpillar, sternly. "Explain yourself!"
"I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir," said Alice, "because I'm not myself, you see."
"I don't see!" said the caterpillar.
"I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied, very politely, "for I can't understand it myself to begin with. And being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."
"It isn't!" said the caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet, but when you have to turn into a chrysalis, you will someday, you know, and then turn into a butterfly, I think you will feel a little queer, won't you?"
"Not a bit!" said the caterpillar.
"Well, perhaps your feeling will be different. All I know is, it would be very queer to me."
"You!" said the caterpillar contemptuously. "Who are you?"
Which brought them back to the beginning of the conversation.
When I started to examine the question, "Who are you? I finally realized that part of the difficulty in finding out "Who are you?" is that you are such a good actor. You have so many roles going on, all rolled into one, (no pun intended on the use of the words "roles" and "rolled," that you don't know what's real any more.
I'm going to be presenting a number of models in this tape, and this is one of them. A model is simply a way of looking at things. I'm not saying that it's true, I'm simply saying, "Consider life from this angle." And so, here's the model. I call it, "The three people that we are."
Person Number One is who you really are, what Alan Watts called, "The which than which there is no whicher." It's expressed in the Chinese as, "Tao." It's expressed in the Hebrew Bible as, "I am that I am." And so on. But it's who you really are. And I'll give you a little hint: who you are isn't who you think you are. Most of the time you think of yourself as a what, not a who. So, when I say, who you really are, a lot of people think I mean their body. That's a what. I'm not talking about a what, I'm talking about a who. So Person Number One is WHO you really are; the person that escapes description; the person that you know you are, in your deepest recesses, but when you go to put your fingers on it, to grab it, you can't find it.
It's not unlike that story told of a man named Hoeker, who went to see Bodhi Dharma, the famous sage. And he was so desperate to see Bodhi Dharma that he cut off his right arm and gave it to Bodhi Dharma, to show his dedication.
Bodhi Dharma finally said, "All right, all right, what do you want?"
The man said, "I have no peace of mind, please pacify my mind."
Bodhi Dharma said, "Bring your mind out before me, so that I can see it!"
Hoeker said, "Well, when I go to look for it, I can't find it."
And Bodhi Dharma said, "There, it's pacified!"
See, that's the same idea. When you go to put your finger on it, you can't get it. So I'm going to make an assertion about Person Number One, which is that Person Number One is a nothing--a no thing, no-thing. And when I say that Person Number one, which is who you really are, is a no-thing, a nothing, I do not mean that as a put-down. I mean that in the highest sense. Things get in the way. No thing is as free as you can get. But the problem with no-thing is that it's still got "thing" in it. See, soon as I say "no-thing," I imply "thing." And we start down the chute, heading towards where we are right now.
Well, coming down the chute, I conclude somewhere along the line that I really messed up. I mean, really, absolutely blew it. It's symbolized in the Hebrew Bible as "the Fall of man." And what you notice about Person Number Two, who is just a horrible, bad person, that he doesn't know how he got that way. He doesn't know why he's that way, he just knows that he's horrible and bad. One day everything is doing just great, and the next day, boom! Horrible and bad. And that's pretty depressing. So Person Number Two gets scared, because if people see him long enough, they're not going to like him. So Person Number Two says, "I Gotta do something about this!" And so, we get created a Person Number Three.
Person Number Three has a smile on the face, says things like, "Have a nice day", and "Please" and "Thank you", and "So wonderful to see you", and all that crap. I'm not saying that those things are bad. When it is wonderful to see you, I will say, "It's wonderful to see you". If I really care about you, I will say, "Have a nice day!" Go to Mac Donald's, or to the department store, or whatever, stand there for an hour, and I bet you'll hear one or two hundred, or three hundred, or even more, "Have a nice day's". And nobody means it. See, Person Number Three is a fake! I'll have more to say about fakes a little later.
So, after a while, although Person Number Three looks good, you know, if we start to tell the truth, we know that Person Number Three is a fake. And we don't like that. So, that makes us a bad person, doesn't it? You know, that I'm faking it, that I'm lying. Bad person--where have we heard that one before? Oh, that was Person Number Two. Well, now we get a Person Number Four, who's a harmonic of Person Number Two. Number Four is a bad person again. And the Person Number Four can only exist for so long, because who wants to live in that depressed state and have everyone else know how bad we are. So we create Person Number Five, who's a harmonic of Person Number Three. Have a nice day! And so it goes. And then a Person Number Six, who's a harmonic of Person Number Two, and Number Four, and then Person Number Seven, who's a harmonic of Person Number Three and Number Five, and you get these overlapped layers of stuff.
It's no wonder that we don't know who we are. See? We've got too many layers going down. So, are you ready for this? Because we live at the level of "con job", because most of the time what really lives is Person Three, Five, Seven, Nine, and so on, all the good people--you know, we just dare not consider that I'm a bad people. Heaven forbid! People won't like me any more! I tell you what people don't like-- fakes.
So, here I am. I don't know who I am. I've got all these layers of me, so I'm confused as all get out. And then I just grab whatever I've got in front of me, whatever I'm doing right now, this is the greatest. I knew a guy that used to say all the time, "It's the greatest!" "Yeah, man, we went to the store today, man, it was the greatest!" "Yeah, we went and saw a baseball game at Candlestick Park, it was the greatest, man." Well, if you looked very carefully, there was a Person Number Three, and just underneath, because the covers were lifted a little bit, you know, there was a Person Number Two sticking out, and he was in a lot of pain. I felt so sorry for him, you know.
"It was the greatest", was an attempt to get us to like his Number Three. You know, he wanted us to be like him. When we want people to be like us, and I mean, we're really adamant about it, you know, it comes out something like this: "Be like me, because I am so afraid that I am a fake that I need your validation of me to prove to me that I'm not a fake." Well, hold it a minute. Isn't that exactly what a fake does? Oops.
So I'm going to make an assertion here. WHO you are is neither good nor bad. WHO you are is WHO you are. So, if you're stuck on your goodness, then you're simply stuck in a Person Number Three or one of its harmonics. If you're stuck in your badness, you're simply stuck as a Person Number Two or one of its harmonics. Neither of them are you.
So I ask an interesting question. It may take a while to answer. Not, again, that you're going to have an answer. When I ask a question like this, I would like you to really feel my question inside of you. Don't be so quick to get an answer. Just feel it. And then feel the changes or the shiftings within you, in reaction to my question. See, maybe you'll be offended by my question. Maybe you'll be excited by my question. Maybe you'll be angered by my question. Maybe my question will scare you. Just BE with the feeling of my question.
And then, periodically, for the rest of your life, ask this question of yourself. So [now] I'm going to ask you: What kind of person would be doing what you're doing in life? What kind of person would be doing EXACTLY what you're doing in life? (I threw in the word, "exactly," to be more precise.) Now, I did not intend that question to be a put-down. Nor did I intend that question to be a validation. I simply asked the question. Allow the question to resonate within you, or ir-resonate. (The opposite of resonate--I created that word.) And then Experience what's there, with regard to the question.
So let's take this from another angle, now.
Martin Heidegger, a philosopher of this century, put forth what he called the "BE, Do, Have." You've probably heard of it, in some way or another. Well, that's another way to describe the human dilemma. There is BE: very expansive. There is DO, very active, but not quite as expansive. And then there is HAVE.
Life expresses itself to the fullest, for you, when you operate out of the BE; when you put your attention, when you put your energy into the BE; when you know who you are; when you Be who you Be (and I said it that way, because that's the precise way to say it), when you Be who you Be, then the question of what to do in life answers itself.
Now how many people are still asking the question, "What should I be doing?" I mean these aren't people who are, like, twelve years old, these are people that are 50, 60, 70, 80 years old, and older, and younger. In other words, there's no particular age that asks the question, "What should I be doing?" A huge percentage of the people on this planet are in complete confusion about, "What should I be doing?"
And then, of course, in our materialistic society, we're told that Having is where it's at. Buy a new car every year. Keep up with the Joneses. Have the newest stereo. Live in Yuppieville. Work overtime so that you can have a bigger screen TV; so that you can have a 92-attachment blender, you know. And all those things are wonderful. I've got most of them. But that's not the point of life. Do you know how many people work their entire lives because that elusive thing up at the end called "retirement" is going to be sooooo great. And so they bust their butts, ruining their health.
And then 65 comes in, or whatever the age is you can retire, and you're too tired to retire--excuse me--you're too tired to enjoy it. You know, you wrecked your body out of the stress of working 20 or 30 years on a job, or maybe you've done the opposite, you switched jobs every six months, you know, and you've been doing that for 20 or 30 years. You're pooped. Who has time to enjoy retirement? See, that's the materialistic society says Have is where it's at. And so you get that Have, and it's really disappointing.
Did you know that Have is based in MORE, BETTER, and DIFFERENT? See, the way most people live their lives is, "If I have enough Have, then I can Do, and if I do enough Do, then I can BE. We got the thing backwards. You've got to picture Being as first. That's WHO you are. Don't let your Doingness dictate the kind of WHO that you "are". And don't let your Havingness dictate what you're going to Do.
A lot of people, don't have a lot of stuff, you know. And if they're really spiritually advanced, they don't have nothing. They can be poor, poor as you can get, and they're happy. And I mean, that's not a Person Number Three, that's a Person Number One. I mean, they're TRULY happy. You know, who they are is an expression of the happiness and joy that they live.
But most of us aren't there. See, we're back out in Person Number Three. So I want to have a Suzuki Samurai, a 49-inch screen TV, a 900-watt per channel stereo. What have I left out? A lot of goodies, right? And so, the kind of work that I Do, the kind of Do that I do, meaning the kind of job that I take, the hours that I'm going to work, and so on, all that is dictated by the Have that I want. And then, when I get trapped in the Do world, all those Do's add up to a Who. Yeah, they do add up to a Who, but it's a false Who, it's a fake, it's a Number Three. And probably in those last moments, you know, just before we snuff out the candle of life, we lie there, and we go, "Whoops. I got it backwards." And for some people, that probably brings a lot of pain in those final moments. For some people that may be true also, but they might have been in that last couple of moments willing to get off it. And that's cool, too.
Did you ever notice that life is full of drama? I mean, drama everywhere! We see it on TV, soap operas are a big thing these days, not only in the daytime, for the wives, but at night, for everybody, see. Because we think that drama is where it's at. Because we don't know who we are, we take a lot of other things in life, Doingnesses and Havingnesses, and we make them significant. We say, "This is significant." And then we get into competition with other people. They don't know who they are either.
So, we figure that, if I assert my Person Number Three strong enough, and can topple your Person Number Three, then I know who I am, YEAH! That's REALLY a game of Have. And Have has three basic laws: more, better, and different. If I get more of whatever, then I'll be happy. If that doesn't work, then if I get a better whatever, Then I'll be happy. If that doesn't work, then I'll get a different whatever, THEN I'll be happy. The problem is, I don't know WHO I AM! There's no way I'm going to be happy. But Have doesn't know that.
So, you know, it's like how it shows up in relationships. If I get more of a woman, then I'll be happy. When she peters out, then I'll get a better woman, then I'll be happy. But that gets boring after a while, so then I'll get a different woman, THEN I'll be happy, you know. When I get married, then I'll be happy. If that doesn't work, then if I get a divorce, then I'll be happy. But that's pretty lonely, so then when I get married the next time, then I'll be happy. But that doesn't work either, so, boy, I sure can't wait to get a divorce, because then I'll REALLY be happy. How long are we going to keep doing that?
It doesn't work. So as long as you deny Who you really are, then you will continue to be trapped in the world of petty gain, and everybody else's drama. And it'll simply be your dramatizing your drama to topple everybody else's drama, and they're dramatizing their drama to topple yours. And it's just one hopeless, confused mess.
Well, I tell you what. The reason why we're in this mess is a simple word that's been with us since time immemorial. The word is Fear. I want to read you a little piece that I found, of all places, in the middle of an old rock album. And the album is called Maggot Brain, by the group Funkadelic (later Parliament Funkadelic];. a pretty weird name for an album. Listen to this statement on Fear.
Fear is at the root of man's destruction of himself.
Without fear there is no blame.
Without blame there is no conflict.
Without blame there is no destruction.
But there is fear.
Deep within the core of every human being it lurks like a monster, dark and intangible.
Its outward effects are unmistakable, its sources hidden.
It can be seen on one level as furtive embarrassment, argumentative protests, social veneer, and miserable isolation.
It can be seen on another level in the mammoth buildup of war machines in every corner of the world.
It can be seen in the fantasy world of escapism, known as entertainment. It can be seen in riot-torn streets and campuses.
It can be seen in the squalor of ghettos and the pretentious elegance of civilized society.
It can be seen in the desperate rat-race of commerce and industry, the sensational slanderings of the press, the constant back-biting of the political arena, and the lost world of the helpless junkie who has passed beyond the point of no return.
The tight-lipped suppression of the rigid moralist reflects it, as does the violent protest of the anarchist.
But more starkly and tragically than anywhere else, it manifests in the pale gray shadow of the ordinary person, whose fear clamps down on all of his instincts, and traps him in the narrow confines of the socially accepted norms.
Afraid either to step down into the darkness of his lower self, or rise up to the light of his higher self, he hangs suspended in between, stultified into an alien pattern of nothingness.
But to a greater or lesser degree, and manifested one way or another, all human beings are afraid.
And some of us are so afraid that we dare not show our fear. Sometimes we dare not even know our fear, for fear itself is a terrifying concept to behold.
We may confess to being afraid of violence and pain and even ghosts, and with such obvious terrors pigeonhole our fear to our own satisfaction.
But fear of people, fear of ourselves, fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of our closest friends, fear of isolation, fear of contact, fear of loneliness, fear of involvement, fear of rejection, fear of commitment, fear of sickness, fear of deprivation, fear of inadequacy, fear of emotion, fear of God, fear of knowledge, fear of death, fear of responsibility, fear of sin, fear of virtue, fear of guilt, fear of punishment, fear of damnation, fear of the consequences of our actions and fear of our own fear.
How many of us recognize the presence in ourselves of these?
And if some of us recognize some of them, are we prepared to see the full extent of them?
Do we know just how afraid we are?
And do we know the effect that our fear has in our lives? Do we know how completely we are governed by our fear?
And do we know that the world is governed by the sum total of every human being's fear, and ours is not excluded?
Do we know the extent to which we are at odds with another, despite the promising apparencies, simply through our fear of one another?
Do we know the extent to which we are at war with another, on every level from personal to world-wide, because we are afraid?
And do we know that wars and rumors of wars mount up in an ascending spiral of violence and potential violence, as the fear in the hearts of man intensifies?
Do we know that strife of every kind increases as hatred, resentment, jealousy and prejudice increase?
And that all of these stem from one thing only, fear?
And do we know that one thing only ensures the escalation of the spiral of violence and destruction, our own unwillingness to recognize the full extent of our fear and its effects? Our fear of fear?
For each and every one of us, as long as he is afraid and unwilling to see with full clarity his fear for what it is, contributes to the crippling conflict that has become the hallmark of this world of ours.
And as long as there is fear, together with unwillingness to see it clearly and completely, as long as human beings are afraid and also fail to recognize the fact in their need to isolate themselves, in their outbursts of anger and irritation, in their embarrassment, in their sense of failure, in their feelings of resentment and frustration, in their desire for revenge, in their guilt, in their confusion, in their uncertainty, in their disappointment, in their anxiety about the future and their wish to forget the past, in their need to blame others and justify themselves, in their sense of helplessness and despair, in their revulsion and disgust, in their need to be vicious and spiteful, in their lack of confidence, in their tendency to boast and protest their superiority, in their failure to respond, in their sense of inadequacy, in their feelings of envy, in their futility, in their misery and in their scorn.
As long as human beings fail to see their fear reflected in these and a hundred other manifestations of fear, then they will fail to see their part in the relentless tide of hatred and violence, destruction and devastation that sweeps the earth.
And the tide will not ebb until all is destroyed.
Well, that is pretty heavy. It's labeled here as "Taken from Process Number Five, on Fear the Process, from the Church of the Final Judgement." Everything that's in there is not something to be believed. I didn't read it because I want you to believe it. I read it because I want you to feel it. When I first read that, back in 1971, those words resonated deep inside of me, and I would like you to give the opportunity for those words to do the same.
Well, part of the fear that we have, like I said, is that we don't know who we are. And out of that a lot of confusions develop. Earlier, I said that if I were to ask, "Who are you?" to a lot of people, they would say, "Well, I am my body." Or maybe they would say, "I am my mind." Or, if you talk to people about spiritual matters, they refer to "My spirit," or "My soul." A lot of confusion in there.
Talk to psychologists and psychiatrists, and most of them interchangeably use the words "brain" and "mind." The same with the neurologists. Big confusion in there. The word, "psychology" originally meant "psyche," meaning "spirit," and "ology," meaning "study of." It originally meant the study of the human spirit. But they haven't been doing that almost since day one.
So then a lesser definition of "psyche" is "mind". Then, of course, psychology becomes "study of the mind." But these people don't know the difference between brain and mind. See? Out of all this fear, and not knowing who they you are, those people have collapsed brain, mind, body and spirit. They don't know the difference.
So, I want to make an assertion that brain, mind, body, and spirit are four separate entities. They can't exist apart from each other, yet they're separate entities. In the same way that your heart is not your stomach, your stomach is not your liver, they are different things, but they cannot exist away from each other. They have to work in the context of each other, as a Oneness, as a Unity. And so, although aspects of us express brain, mind, body and spirit, they are separate entities, and yet a Unity.
When you're having difficulty in life, (here's a little secret of survival), if you can remedy the appropriate aspect of yourself at the appropriate time, bingo! Things just clear up, just like that.
Well, sometimes the brain needs some help. You know, like if you're low on vitamins, gotta get some B1 and some B, get that old brain, get it some food.
A lot of times, the problem is with the mind. Well, the mind is simply a set of significances. Whatever you say is significant, that's your mind. The brain is the vehicle through which the mind is able to express itself and interrelate with the human body. Of course, the body, everybody knows what that is, just touch yourself, boom, boom, right there. Yep. Man, that's sore. Been doing a lot of exercising lately. And the spirit, well, that's--that's you. That's the stuff that you really can't get down to, put your finger on, but it's part of you. It's all you.
But because we don't know who we are, we don't know which parts of the body or the brain, or the mind to deal with, life is incredibly painful and confusing. And yet, all you gotta do is start looking.
Observe - there's a secret of survival - observe!; you'll start to spot the differences, (if you will) in brain, mind, body, and spirit, and start to remedy the correct area. You may not know what to do, but you'll at least know what area's got the problem. Then you can go seek help. Or, help yourself.
We don't do that, we don't fix things, we're too busy playing out our Person Number Three. See, Person Number One is hiding, buried down deep. There's only ONE Person Number One. It's hiding. And so, because we're a Person Number Three, we find ourselves always trying to be interesting, or most of the time, trying to be interesting. Put on a good act, get everybody to like us. If they like me enough, then maybe I can like me. Did you ever notice how shallow that is, how empty that is? You know, you just don't have a lot of friends that way.
You know who was a good, interesting person, was our class clown, back in school. Everybody had a class clown. Every class has a class clown. The guy that's always cutting up, getting into trouble all the time. A couple of years for me in school we had two girls, class clowns.
The class clown is lonely. The class clown is not getting acknowledged. The class clown isn't getting validation - definitely not getting it at home, so he hopes that maybe he can get it at school, by getting people to like him. And of course, his attempts to be class clown are almost always inappropriate, so it pisses people off, it interrupts things, and people hate the class clown even more. Vicious circle. But if the class clown, and indeed all of us, could really get the truth, which is, stop trying to be interesting. Instead, get interested in other people. I promise you, you want to win friends and influence people? - get interested in them.
There's the old story told, Oliver Wendell Holmes and a friend were walking down the street one day, and they ran into some man that they didn't know, and Oliver Wendell Holmes started talking to him. He talked to him almost 15 minutes, non-stop. And then they went their separate ways, and Holmes said of this man they met on the street, "Now there goes a great man. Really smart." And Holmes' friend said, "How do you know that? He never got in a word edgewise." And Holmes said, "He listened to me, didn't he?"
Although that story is kind of funny, it's not meant to be funny. I didn't tell it as a joke. I told it to make a point, which is, you get interested in people and they'll get interested in you. You start noticing people, they'll start noticing you. They'll notice that you noticed. People like to be validated. People like to be noticed.
See, because people are already nobodies in their own mind, they're hopelessly confused. So if you can somehow notice their Person Number One, boy, how wonderful THAT would be for them. So, when you even notice one of their Number Threes, wow. "My attempt to be interesting is working!" You'll have more friends than you'll know what to do with, if you just get interested.
That's how I got into therapy. I got interested in people. People kept coming up to me, at parties, in restaurants, and stuff, and start talking, you know. And I'd sit there and listen. But not just listen--listen in a way that makes a difference. A half hour, an hour would go by, and they would say, "I don't know why I'm telling you all this." Or they would say, "God, I've never told anybody this before, not even my husband." Or something like that. You make a lot of friends that way, really fast.
Well, also, recognize three aspects of a healthy relationship between people. Relationships are at their peak when there's a high amount of affinity, a strong reality, and lots of communication. When you meet somebody for the first time, that you find there seems to be something that clicks, I'm willing to bet that you have at least two or more of the three aspects present--affinity, reality, and communication.
A little survival trick is that if a relationship starts to deteriorate, be it a personal relationship, a work relationship, friendship, take a look and find out which of the three went out--affinity, reality, or communication. Like, if I cut communication to you, you're probably going to assume that I don't like you much any more. If you and I live in completely different worlds, we're probably not going to want to communicate. And I'm probably not going to find you all that interesting any more, and the affinity level will therefore drop.
Maybe we do share a common universe, very strong boundaries, commonality, and we have lots of communication, but I don't express any affinity. We're kind of just there. Kind of like, you know, we might do at the level of business colleagues. Well, that would be OK, but it's something that's going to be missing. That's why you can have a pretty good relationship on the job with somebody. And I've had those relationships; especially if you're into any kind of design, and you get to hook up with one or two people at a very intimate level, and design together. There's a lot of affinity there that develops naturally, but, as strong as that is, unless you go the extra step to express affinity, that relationship will go no further than that level at work.
And so, you know, you go home, and that's it. I don't see you now, over the weekend, or over the holidays, no big deal. We get back to work again in January or whatever, oh, great, it's good to see you again. We get to work together again. And that's neat. Then I go home and, oh well, so what? You're gone, I'm gone, I'm busy. And you've probably had friendships that you made on the job, that you didn't cultivate it off the job. Well, to do that you had to have put in a little bit extra ounce of affinity.
So, when you have an outness in a relationship with somebody, find out what's missing. We might have a lot of affinity, a lot of good communication, except when I start talking about studying Swahili, there's not much of a reality factor. If that's all I talk about any more, even though we have good communication, our relationship will probably falter, because we don't share a reality any more.
This reality that I'm referring to is agreed-upon reality. Life can be very powerful if you and I can live what is. What IS, is what is, regardless of what you or I say about it. When we operate out of the depths of knowing, "Who am I?" then operating at the level of what IS -- it's very possible -- can be very powerful for people. But most of the time, because we don't know who we are, about the best level of reality that we can get at is a form of agreed-upon reality. You know, like we join clubs together, because that's something that's real for both of us, and so on.
Well, that brings up the topic of universes, the universes in which we live. I like to think of the cosmos as the entire thing. But then, if you want to break it down, I like to think of universes as kind of being a significant subset of the cosmos. And I like to think of three main universes, and then at the level of concept, another three. There is, of course, the spiritual universe, the mental universe, and the physical universe. In the spiritual universe, at the level of concept, we actually have your universe, my universe, and our universe, the universe that you and I share. The reality, in other words, that you and I share. Your universe is your own personal reality. My universe is my own personal reality, and OUR universe is where we share reality. And those are really a subset -- those universes are a subset of the cosmos, of what is. So, your universe, my universe, our universe, that's still arbitrary. Where my universe ends and yours begins, and vice versa, really can't be stated. It's constantly changing, there's no "this is the way it is," based on yours and my say-so.
Then we have a universe that most of us never get a chance to look at. I call it our "non-universe." And it's based in nothing. No - thing. Back to that again. It's a world that most of us prefer to avoid. If I were to express the NO-thing universe in terms of the physical universe, of course I would think of a black hole. And in the scientist's point of view, a black hole is neither good nor bad, it's simply an opposite. Oddly enough, although this spiritual universe is the most important, it's the one that we don't see as much, because it's clouded by two others.
It's clouded by the mental universe, which is based completely in thought. It's all that chatter going on inside of your head -- chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter, chatter. There's some other causes of the chatter, but most of it is the thoughts. What you think is significant, based on [your] mind. Remember, I said "mind" is a collection of significances. People have often wondered, what's the purpose of the mind? The purpose of the mind is to survive and be right, and, according to Ronald Smothermon, to that end it will do ANYTHING. In a moment, we're going to see the cost of that "doing anything."
So, we have the spiritual universe, the mental universe, and then the physical universe. The physical universe is made up of what I call Menergy, space, and time. Menergy is a hyphenated word that means matter-energy. Scientists are very confused -- or not confused, maybe it's not a confusion at all, about matter and energy. Matter is simply, shall we say, solidified energy. Energy is, shall we say, gaseous matter.
Then, of course, we have space and time. Well, space and time are very interesting. Because, you know what -- they don't exist. Especially time. Time is simply a mutual agreement. Space is allegorically similar to the nothingness universe, except at the physical level. Did you know that space is simply a measurement of the distance traveled in time? Did you know that time is really nothing more than a measurement of the duration required to travel a distance in space? There is no such thing as time. That your clock says 12:05 and my clock says 12:05 simply shows you the power of the agreement called time. That agreement is so powerful that we almost all abide by it.
I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, Animal House. Near the end, when they're synchronizing their watches, to make the big assault on the university staff. Everybody is checking their watches, and I think the watches all say 9:30, John Belushi looks at his watch, and it says a quarter of four. He doesn't live in the same universe that you and I do.
Time is simply an agreement. And really, space is too. I knock on this table -- that hurts, you know, hurts my knuckles. But there's more space in that table than there is solid. I want you to notice how much we're conned. We're conned by things all around us. Space is a perfect example.
There's the story told of the professor at the University of Chicago, back in the late 30's, when they were finding out how much space there is in everything. When they started to make those discoveries, he started wearing these enormous clown shoes (you know those things with the big toe on it?). He was wearing those clown shoes around the University, because he was afraid he might fall through the floor. Well, you could call him eccentric, I guess. I probably would. But what that's really saying is, he so well understood how much space there is in things that it scared him. See? Now we're back to fear again.
So, because we're operating out of Person Number Three, and we live in fear, we've got to figure out a way to survive. Well, the purpose of the mind is to survive and be right. You think that has it handled, don't you? Except for, the survival that the mind is after is not real survival. It's all about being right. Therefore, if I'm right, then I will survive. And that can get you into some nasty messes. Remember the old defensive driving ad that used to run on TV, that said "It's better to be wrong than dead right"? No kidding. But our mind is wired up to be right, that's the way we wired it up. You wired it that way, I wired it that way. Why? Because it seems to be pro-survival to do it that way.
Well, maybe Alan Watts was right: that underneath all of this is the fact that we're bored. We're just bored. So, what do we do out of boredom? Well, we decide to have a game. Like in that movie [War Games] where the kid taps into the computer. "Let's play a game. How about Thermonuclear War?" See? When you get bored long enough, deep enough, that's what you start thinking about.
A very interesting game is being played on this planet. It's called the Game of Life. It's called the game that you and I are in. I'll tell you a little secret about that game. It may not sound very encouraging at first, but listen very carefully. In this game, called Life, you can't win, you can't lose, and you can't even quit the game.
Some people have tried quitting the game. Checking out in advance. It doesn't really work. You know it, and I know it. I don't care what your beliefs are about reincarnation, and living before, and living again, or not living again, or when you're dead, you're dead.
You know what I'm talking about, when I say that suicide is not an option. There's that line in the movie, Lovesick, when Dr. Benjamin, played by Dudley Moore, says to the suicidal patient, "You know, life has its ups and downs, but it's better than the alternative!" And the suicidal patient cracks back, "Where'd you get that from, a Chinese fortune cookie?" But that's the bottom line. Life does have its ups and downs, but it is better than the alternative. Because there really IS no alternative.
If you think there's an alternative, you better sit down and spend some time alone and get clear on, "What is this thing called Life?" And, again, "Who are you?" So, I'm going to make an assertion. The assertion is, that life is a game. This thing that you take really seriously, is really important to you, "It's no fooling, it's really serious." That's a game. And I don't mean to put it down by saying it's a game. That's actually giving it a very high status, you know.
So, if Life is a game, then it's very valuable to find out what the game rules are. I mean, the real game rules. I don't mean the game rules as put forth by everybody's Person Number Three. That stuff ain't gonna last. I mean the real game rules.
You can start to get down to those--here's a survival secret--by being quiet. That's what meditation is about. Meditation is about being quiet. It's about being here. It's about observing. And in the midst of that stillness, life springs forth.
Meditation is not an evil thing. Most people meditate to some degree, they don't even know it, you know? I'm not saying you have to chant mantras and ring bells and gongs and burn incense and all that stuff. If that's what you want to do, fine. I do that once in a while. But usually I just sit. In fact, my spiritual exercise that I do, when I decide I want to meditate, is, I build a fire here in the fireplace, and I sit in front of it.
And I know, people say, "What do you think about?" I don't think about anything. There's no thinking going on. There's nothing to figure out. Meditation is not something -- you know, you don't just go into an intense thinking. That's why I don't like it when people say, "Oh, meditation is intense concentration." No, it's not. It's exactly the opposite of that. It's a complete letting go. Now, when you completely let go, you will find yourself concentrated on the entire cosmos, but you're not forcing it. As soon as you try to force concentration, boom! You're not meditating any more, it's gone. So, go into a state of observing what is. It's called "obnosis," observing the obvious, without adding your own stuff to it.
I do an exercise in workshops a lot, an obnosis drill, and I'll put somebody up in front of the room, and sit them at a 90 degree angle, and have someone else look at them, look at their profile, and I will say, "Based on your observation, tell me everything that you know about this person." And they'll get into some stuff, and then they'll say, "Well, I can see that he's happy." And I'll say, "How do you know that he's happy?" "Well, he has a smile on his face." "Oh, OK." The truth is, he has a smile on his face. We don't know if he's happy or not. There was a teacher at the school I used to go to, who had this perpetual frown wired into her face. I used to think she was a terrible, mean person. Then one day I found out that the real thing was that she had a stroke. You know, the face muscles turned down. She was quite a happy women, you know. Now she's a priest. That's how happy she is. See? Well, I didn't understand that, because I kept adding to what I obnosed. Just obnose.
Do you want to see what the real game rules are? One thing you can be certain of is: If you see a game rule that's made up in more, better, and different, that isn't it. That's not a game rule. That's a Person Number Three rule. If you're looking for guarantees, forget it. There's no guarantee. The only guarantee that there is in life is that there are no guarantees. But you can't play victim, either. Remember, Linus, leaned up against the wall with Charlie Brown, and he says, "I never asked to be brought into this world. I didn't even get a chance to fill out an application!" Victim, victim, victim.
Well, we should get down to some of the rules that do work. Let me read some to you. This came out of Ann Landers' column, and she doesn't know where she got it, it's an anonymous thing. It's been floating around for a lot of years.
Fifteen Rules for a Planet that Works.
And then I've added several more. Here's the first fifteen:
1.If you open it, close it.
2.If you turn it on, turn it off.
3.If you unlock it, lock it.
4.If you break it, fix it.
5.If you can't fix it, make sure someone who can fix it, does.
6.If it's not broken, don't try to fix it.
7.If it belongs to someone else, ask before you use it.
8.If you borrow it, return it.
9.If you use it, take care of it.
10.If you use it all up, replenish it.
11.If you make a mess, clean it.
12.If you move it, put it back.
13.If you don't know how to operate it, leave it alone.
14.If it doesn't concern you, don't mess with it.
15.Leave it looking better than you found it.
To which, I've added:
16.If you commence it, conclude it.
17.If you can't use it, give it to someone who can.
18.If you want to get it done, just do it. Don't yap about it.
19.If you don't know how to do it, learn how.
20.If you don't know what to do, ask.
21.If you like it, support it.
22.If you don't like it, too bad. Do it anyway.
23.If it's valuable, share it.
I need to back up to 22. A lot of people react to this one. "If you don't like it, too bad, do it anyway." What that means is, if the only reason why you're not doing something is, because, "I don't like it!" that's not a valid excuse. Go ahead and do it anyway, just because you don't like it. Very spiritually uplifting experience.
I remember a few years ago, on a sailing trip, and everybody was on everybody's neck, you know. Except for me, I was like out of all of it. I wasn't playing the drama game. Everybody went to bed early that night, nine-thirty. And I got stuck with this sink full of dishes. I mean, I could have said, "Screw it!" and the dishes would have been there the next morning. But these people were in bad enough shape as it was. They needed a little help.
So, I sat there and mumbled and grumbled for a while, about "I shouldn't have to do the dishes," and "It's no fair," and, you know, "They just went to bed and didn't tell me," and victim, victim, victim, victim, victim. And after I got all that out of my system, I sat down, looked at the stack of dishes, got up, put some soap in the sink, and started doing the dishes. It took me an hour and a half to do a little sink of dishes.
But it took me an hour and a half because I took each dish, one at a time, and I really got into doing it, like meditation. And, within a couple of minutes, I was having a gas. It was really a powerful experience. Who would have ever thought that doing the dishes could be a spiritual experience? I even heard Alan Watts comment about dishes, as a matter of fact, you know, being a spiritual experience, and I thought he was crazy.
So, about eleven o'clock, I stepped out on the back deck of the boat, and looked up to the sky, not a cloud in the sky, there were stars everywhere. I sat down and sipped a beer -- I felt I deserved that -- spent an hour and a half, two hours, out on the deck, realizing that I was enjoying the most enjoyable part of the vacation, that hour and a help with the dishes, and two hours or so on the deck. Everybody else missed it. They weren't even sleeping - they were unconscious. Because they got trapped by all the games going down.
If only they knew how to deal with difficult people. I do a whole workshop on that, and I wish I could cover that here. But that's not possible. But I can say a couple of things about it.
First off, most of the people you meet, most of people's problematic behavior is motivated by the basic need to have a game. Oh, we're back to games again.
In life, here's an interesting question to ask yourself: Are you a sprinter, a long distance runner, or someone who prefers relay racing -- that's an analogy. Some people are sprinters -- boy, they go zooom. Right out of the starting block of life. And they make a magnificent Whoosh. But it doesn't last very long. Other people kind of plod along -- you know, the old tortoise and the hare, situation. They're kind of taking their time, and that's the way life is for them; andfor them that's pretty exciting.
Both those people are doing it alone. The sprinter and the long distance runner are both loners. But that's OK, nothing wrong with that. They're rather enjoying themselves. And there's the other people, who are into relay races, you know. Always want a team, always want to be on the team.
Well, I have found that life works best when you're all three: A sprinter at some times, a long distance runner at others, and willing to play on a team. The obvious team is, of course, family. The best place to learn how a team goes, is to do it with your family. Then, take it into your work with you. Some people learn it at work, and they can hopefully bring it home to the family, that's OK too. So, when you get frustrated by people's stuff, all the drama they're playing, all the games, remember that they're motivated by a need to have a game.
Why do we want a game? Because, while we're busy, running in the rat race of the game, we don't have to stop and let it get quiet, and potentially be confronted with, "Oh, God, I don't know who I am." That's terrifying. So we keep things really active. You know, your compulsive talker, a very good chance he's running from who he is. Or running from doing, at least. Work-a-holics are running from who they are. They don't want to acknowledge that.
The bottom line is that people want to be validated. You know, I talked earlier about interesting and interested? That's validation. You get interested in somebody, you're validating them. That's very important in life. But also, equally important, why not validate yourself? Would you be willing to do that? Validate yourself.
Take a look at your life, this year. What would you like to be validated for? Make a list. Write that down. That's an assignment. I've just given you an assignment. What would you like to be validated for? I don't care whether you've been validated for it or not; what would you like to be validated for? If we had to take this year out of your life, just this year alone, 1989, if we were going to write into the biography of human history a description about your life, and this was the only year we were going to write about, what would you want us to know? What would you want us to validate you for?
Self-validation is very important. It is not conceit. The dictionary, I notice, likens validation, or acknowledgment, which is a form of validation, they liken it to conceit. I don't see it that way at all. See, there's a difference when I say, "Would you please validate me? I mean I could, like, I really could use that right now. I need some validation." That's not coming out of conceit, that's coming out of need. As opposed to, "Look how great I am, validate me!" See the difference? I overdramatized both ends, but on purpose. Now that's conceit. "Oh, I'm so wonderful, I'm the greatest there is. So handsome, so intelligent. So this, so that." Give me a break! Validation will get you along with difficult people really easily. Also, recognizing the games that are going down.
And understand this: what I call the cosmic law of confusion. This is also Axiom Two of the mind. Axiom Two of the mind says, "At the level of action, the mind seeks to shut off any and all confusion". The mind is a collection of significances. Axiom One of the mind says, "The purpose of the mind is to survive and be right, and to that end it will do anything". Axiom Two says, "At the level of action, the mind seeks to shut off any and all confusion". So, if you take a look at all of the nutty behavior that people are doing around you, boil it down, get down underneath it, and you will find that underneath all that behavior is the desire to shut off the confusions of their life.
I'll tell you something, if you can really get that, if you can really get what I just said, underneath all behavior is the desire to shut off confusion. If you can really get that, your dealing with difficult people will improve dramatically. Don't get caught up in the drama that they use to shut off the confusion. Don't get caught up in the significance of that drama. Just know, when that drama is playing itself out full force, you know, (arrrgh) or tears, or whatever, when that drama is playing out, especially if it seems like totally irrational, nutty, impulsive, you can be sure that underneath that is the desire, the absolute need to shut off the confusion or confusions of their life.
I know that when I work with a client in therapy, and that's how come I can get people through much quicker than other therapists can. But you see, we don't understand this, most of the time. We get caught up in the drama. The Person Number Three game. And so, we get confused on certain distinctions. For example, we have collapsed in our mind the difference between "won't" and "can't". And the difference between "ignore" versus "can't get it".
Let me explain what I mean by that. Most of the time, when we deal with people, we say, "He won't ........" - fill in the blank. Did it ever occur to you that it's not that he won't, but that he can't? "Won't" is at anger, on the emotional expression scale. A very high state, anger is. "Can't" is way down in the depths, down in the muck, down at grief and apathy, even fear. That's "can't."
I used to have a lot of people in my life that I'd never hear from. I'd call them and they'd be so happy to hear from me. And I'd never hear from them again. And I'd call, a year or two later, and they'd be so happy to hear from me. And I finally realized, these people aren't shining me on. If they really wanted to say, "Screw you, get out of my life", they would say, "Screw you, get out of my life". That much I knew, but, "Why don't these people ever call? What's going on? Why won't they call me?" That's what I used to say.
They can't call me. And now I know, with every single one of those people, putting it bluntly, the shit is hitting the fan. Life is coming apart at the seams for them, in their relationship, in their job, in their spiritualness, their spiritual discoveries, in their family, and so on. All those things that they made significant. Some are going down. Quite often all those areas are falling apart. So of course they can't communicate to me. Of course they can't call me. And now I don't call it "won't" any more.
The same with "ignore" vs. "can't get it". I hear people so often say, "You're ignoring me", or, "You ignored me". And I say, "Well, maybe I didn't hear you. Has that ever occurred to you? You know, I didn't get it. I can't get it, because I can't hear it". I have a friend who's got bad hearing in his right ear. If I talk on his left side, he doesn't get it, and I can assume that he's ignoring me. If I say the very same thing on his right side, and he goes, "Oh, yeah" - wakes right up.
So don't be so certain that it's "won't" or "ignore". It's probably "can't". Why can't they? Because they're trying to shut off the confusions of their life. Where they are at in life is about shutting off the confusion for them. You see, you're so worried about what people think about you. They can't even see you. They can barely see the nose in front of their face, half the time.
That's a secret of successful public speaking. See? The guy who's afraid to speak in public, he thinks that everybody's got their eyes on him. Maybe they do, they're kind of facing in his direction. Because their eyes seem to be pointing in his direction, that they are therefore capable of paying attention and are paying attention, and therefore are very concerned about what he has to say. That's actually a very egotistical attitude, see? You get stuck by your own ego. "I think that everybody's interested in me, and because of that, I'm afraid of them". Stop tuning into people's Number Three, and start tuning into their Number One, who they really are. When you do that, there's no stage fright. Because you see the Beloved, you see the divineness in every single person in front of you.
Next time you hang out with someone who's important to you, look deep into their eyes. Don't stare, just sit there and BE with them. I like to BE with people, and they say to me, frequently, "You're staring at me". And I say, "No, I'm not staring at you. Now, if you want me to stare", and then I give them a real good, fierce stare -- "that's a stare. No, I'm being, I'm taking in, I'm taking in the divineness within you. Next time you and I are together, and you feel I'm staring, take a look. Be with me, and you'll find out that I'm BEING with you, I'm taking you in, digesting you. And then I can let you take me in, if you so desire. And we can digest each other".
That's where relationship happens. To most people, relationship is, My act up against your act, and they very rarely penetrate. The secret of survival, if you want to start really opening up your relationships, start BEING with the other person. I invited somebody over a few weeks ago, and I said, "We can just be together, you know, put some music on and put a fire in the fireplace. We can be together." She said, "Yeah, that would be great, you know. You can do your work and I can do mine." And I said, "No, no, no, no, no." I said, "We're just gonna BE together. We're not gonna DO anything."
Well, she didn't come over. Because the idea of BEING together scared her. If she could hide out in her DOING, that would be OK, see? Because she knew that if she came over here and "be'd" with me, she would start to get in touch with who she is. Well, that would seem like it would be wonderful, at least to me. But I don't live in her world. She spent her entire life, just about, as have most of us, hiding out from who we really are. So the idea of settling down and BEING is very terrifying.
I'm gonna have to face up to the fact that I haven't been doing it for years. I'm 35 now. I faced up to it a long time ago. But if I hadn't, the idea of BEING would be very terrifying for me, because it would mean I'd have to face 35 years of a lie. And that's very scary. And yet THAT is where the power comes from.
So what, if I have been living a lie for 35 years? So what if that's true? Big deal. That's past, it doesn't exist any more, remember? There's no such thing as time. Time is simply a memory that you and I hang on to. The past is yesterday's memory. The future is a postulate, that the world or the universe is going to be in a particular state. But it isn't, right now. There is only now.
See, people are afraid of the now, because in the now is where you live. You want to find you? Look now. That's why Ram Dass/Dick Alpert, used to use, probably still does, use the phrase, "Be here now." See, can we be here and now? That's the question. "Who are you?" is the same question.
I've given you a lot to think about. But I don't want you to think about it. I just want you to BE with it. I want you to Experience it. And when it's appropriate, play this tape again. Because what I've done, in essence, is given you a complete summary of Life Extension technology. It is what I use in my practice and teach in workshops.
So you've gotten a good synopsis of hours and weekends of workshop material, and hours and hours of therapy. There's a lot in here if you're willing to slow down, like I said in the beginning, to take it through. Be willing to question everything about yourself. I'm gonna say that almost everything you think you know is an assumption. You know that Monty Python line, "Everything you know is wrong!" Well, there's a lot of truth to that. Because it's everything that you think you know. There's a difference between what you think you know and what you ACTUALLY know.
Be willing to get off it. The courage to get off it will make the job easier of finding out who you are. When you find out who you are, you can play any game you want. And then maybe, in that respect, Shakespeare was right. Life is indeed a stage, and all of us are just players. But when you know who you are, you get to pick the part. And therein lies the fun.