Introduction July 3, 2011Posted by ekarlpierson in 01) Introduction.
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WW: We’re going to draw a simple picture today and you will have to sharpen your own pencil and draw your own picture. When you draw your own picture, it requires the activation of values as we we’ll see later.
Over the course of this talk we’re going to look at the human condition. I’ll put forth some ideas that you may not have previously heard of or considered.
We need to look at things together, not as me telling you what to believe or as me giving you my opinion or as some authority that you’re supposed to believe because of some credentials. I don’t want anyone to believe me because then all we will have done is to file away some dead information in the mental library. We will also field some questions that I’ll do my best to address. Let’s be careful not to turn this into a debate though, so we won’t get bogged down and go nowhere.
Let’s look at some things on which we can make observations for ourselves as we go through them, or at the very least that we can check out for ourselves after we leave here. We’re going to look at both the esoteric and exoteric sides of subjects. This is not psychology, where you accept the ideology or studies of some professor from the college. This is not religion or some religious substitute where you need to be a believer and have so called “faith.” I am not interested in pushing some self-improvement scheme, but rather, self-observation without improving upon it, condemning it, justifying it, or blaming someone or something for our condition. There are several areas that I would like to address today, but I think it might serve us well to address some questions first so we can see the direction we need to go.
PARTICIPANT: Some of us have never met you and don’t know about you. I know that you said something about not believing someone just because of who they are, but it might help us to know where you’re coming from if you could give us some idea of your credentials, or possibly, an internship or something like that.
WW: I was born.
(Chuckle from other participants.)
A Picture of Man July 3, 2011Posted by ekarlpierson in 02) A Picture of Man.
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WW: I think we’re ready to get out our pencils and papers so we can draw a picture of man. This will be somewhat of an abstract picture, but it’s designed to serve our purpose of understanding self, esoterically speaking.
There are only three main parts to this picture, four if we count the result. First there is the physical body or instrument that we could represent by a small circle, about one inch in diameter near the bottom of the page. This covers everything including the brain and its neurons, internal organs, glands, bones and all.
Inner man, represented by a circle about three inches in diameter, is placed above the first circle so that the edges of the circles are touching. This is man’s awareness function, not his brain. The awareness function can only do two things. First, it can determine if a given piece of information garnered from without or within is true, false, or possibly needs more investigation. If the information is false, it can simply be tossed out or disregarded. If the information is true, the awareness function can place a value on it determine if some type of action will be called for. This brings us to the third part of the picture of man.
PARTICIPANT: Wait a minute. You said to determine if something is true or false, but what’s true for one person may not be true for everyone.
WW: Nearly everything that we’ll discuss today will fit everyone. You and I see only a certain spectrum of light rays. We don’t see ultra violet or infrared, and neither does anyone else. It’s true for everyone.
PARTICIPANT: But we all see things differently and all have differing beliefs.
WW: Quite true. People have all kinds of beliefs and varying ways of seeing things, but none of that changes the facts. I’m concerned with a common picture of all of us. People may view themselves and the outer world in strange and fanciful ways, but we can’t go into each person’s strange and twisted view; each must do their own search in that respect. We’ll talk more about beliefs later. For now, let’s go back to our picture—a picture of everyman.
Let’s draw a half-circle… the bottom half of a circle, taking up almost the full width of the page, and place it above and touching the second circle. The half circle is open at the top to symbolize its immensity. This represents what I might call Delta with a capital D. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but rather only that we recognize it.
Let us suppose that you are riding a bicycle down a winding path, making a right hand turn, and the bicycle begins to tip to the left. Which way do you turn the handlebars to make the necessary correction? … Too late! It took you too long to figure it out and you just crashed your bike. The truth is, we don’t need to figure it out because all we do is determine what is true and place a value on it, and then Delta calculates the engineering requirements and sends the correct information to the instrument or physical body to perform the physical requirements. You might say that the awareness function wills something to be done and Delta handles the rest.
Infants and children are living with Delta long before they learn a language. Look closely at infants and small children and you can almost see their internal communication with feelings. I’m not one of those “touchy feely” advocates; I’m trying to give credit where credit is due. Delta, Delta, Delta. We don’t walk, talk, or even think without Delta pulling up the information and activating it.
I said that there was one more part to the picture of man. That would be outward expression. That’s the result of the interaction of the first three elements of the picture of man. It’s simple. We do things, we say things, we act out, and we have physiological events take place in the body. We can represent this fourth part, outward expression, with lines radiating from the physical body. Any direction, it makes no difference.
This all works very simply. The awareness function has perception from the outside or the inside. The continuous stream of perception goes to Delta by a code of feeling that we’ll cover in more detail as we go. All of that which we feel goes directly to Delta. Let’s represent this feeling by a small arrow going up from the awareness function into the Delta half circle.
Delta acts upon that information by sending the necessary directions to the physical body. As a result, the body and its components are made active. Lets represent this action by Delta with a line off to one side with an arrowhead going from Delta to the physical body.
PARTICIPANT: This picture…this description doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen or read about in any of my spiritual or religious literature. Why haven’t we seen this around before this? Is this something new?
WW: I can be quite sure that you haven’t seen this exact picture before, but the ideas have been around for millennia or perhaps for as long as man. What we’re looking at here is a somewhat abstract yet observable picture. When we’re finished with this holiday picnic that we’re having, further inspection may show that we’re not talking about a manmade ideology like behaviorism or voodoo, but rather, a basic, verifiable picture from where to begin seeing self.
PARTICIPANT: This picture makes sense to me but I can’t see that it’s really significant or that knowing about it is going to really change anything. I mean, okay so this is the way it works. So I’ll just move on and let it work that way. I still have the same problems to deal with. Am I not getting the point of all this?
WW: So far we have only shown how things were designed to work. In practice, that isn’t all that happens because we haven’t put in the self-destructive part. I think we can best address your concerns or questions by moving on. We’re ready for the next thing to put in our picture. This is where everything turns to crap. Let’s divide up the awareness function circle into three parts…sort of like pieces of a pie or a pie chart. Three lines from the center of the circle dividing it into a lower third, an upper left third, and an upper right third.
We’ll look at the lower third first. This is the most basic decision that we have made, possibly at birth or sometime shortly thereafter. Infants are only worried about physical pleasure and pain, but as we grow older we want to gain pleasure mentally and in our personal power over others. At the younger ages, a child doesn’t care anything about approval, but it soon develops. We desire to be approved of and find it painful to be criticized, even if only in someone else’s thoughts. We like to have the power over other individuals to get them to do what they “ought to do” or “ought not to do.” We don’t want them to do anything to disturb us.
PARTICIPANT: How about masochists?
WW: They like the pain, so I hear. They’re still chasing pleasure; they just have a different idea of it. I like Limburger cheese with raw onions on bread or crackers, but my wife considers that to be a painful experience. None of this changes our picture of man, but it is an interesting point.
Spirituality and Belief July 3, 2011Posted by ekarlpierson in 03) Spirituality and Belief.
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WW: It’s my assertion that if an idea has genuine value regarding the inner person, genuine spiritual value, genuine value in understanding the way I operate, then it must be an idea that I can test by self-observation.
Let’s take an easy example here. There are plenty of folks out there that believe in astrology. They get up in the morning, open the newspaper, and go straight away to their “horror-scope” so that they can check out today’s effects that the stars will have on them. How would you like to know of all the unpleasant things that are going to happen to you and there is nothing you can do about it because it was predetermined by the stars? Someone you love will burn in a fire and suffer terribly for weeks before dying a painful and miserable death and you can do nothing to prevent it. If you could, then it wasn’t really the future was it?
Have you ever noticed that persons claiming to see the future see it only in vague bits and pieces? If the psychic said that a certain person was going to be killed in a car wreck in a certain brand of car, at a certain location, at a given time, then the person could avoid the event by simply never getting into that brand of car or never going to the suspect location. If a person can really see the future, then the future must be set, unalterable. Every single person that I have ever met or listened to that believes in seeing the future goes out of the way to avoid it! How can you avoid something that’s set in stone? If the future is not set in stone, then it can’t be the future! We can’t have it both ways; those ideas are incomplete, fragmented, conflicting, dishonest.
The trouble is that we see in fragments because our awareness function has been fragmented from the word “go.” That’s the reason we’ve been making a picture of man, or really a picture of ourselves, and have drawn the awareness function with three fragments. In reality it’s a lot worse than three fragments, but we have to start somewhere.
What is it that we normally mean when we talk about spirituality? If we really break that down, don’t we usually mean that we believe in spirits? I have found that most people that refer to their “spirituality,” regardless of its context, believe in spirits—that there are spirits or ghosts that visit the earth or haven’t left the earth yet, or that there are spirits out there in the cosmos that have some sort of influence on us. How about that we have a spirit or a ghost that that needs some assistance upon our death, so that it will float off to the correct place in the cosmos? How about a spirit that will drift away to some other place and then come back as another person?
This is a fragmented idea, much like the astrology idea. It needs a completed view in order to check it out. Do you want to question your own fragmented view with some degree of completeness? Do you seriously want to question this idea? I must ask because I would guess that half of the people in this room have spent a large portion of their energy, as well as their money, in devotion to their belief in spirits. It’s the unusual person that will allow holes to be punched in an idea that they have held close to their heart for so long.
PARTICIPANT: Go for it, go for it!
WW: It won’t do a bit of good to study what the experts say about the subject because we have hundreds, no, thousands of “experts” in the colleges and in the churches who say they have seen ghosts, detected ghosts or spirits, communicated with them, and have even had the spirits do good or bad things to them. We have well-respected members of the community who speak to God, and God talks back! Well-intentioned persons have spent a lifetime trying to verify this stuff! It would take several lifetimes to study a fraction of the “experts.”
Try going down to your neighborhood bookstore and pick up a book that deals with the subject of reincarnation. If you can really look objectively at the book, not look at it with the eyes of a hungry person, not look at it with the eyes of a believer, you’ll find that you learn nothing about reincarnation, but you may learn a great deal about the trolls of the author.
It’s not that we know the complete history or story of the idea, or that we’re going to investigate every aspect that could be looked at, but rather, we want to see with completeness the simple question, “Can I have a spirit that will float away?” Once we become believers, we can no longer ask objective questions regarding the belief, we can only speculate. This may sound like a bold statement, but we, as believers, cannot be intellectually honest, or for that matter, spiritually honest, respective of our beliefs. (I use the word “spiritual” here as meaning introspective.) Is that too harsh? Is that too disparaging to state that we are essentially dishonest? If I try to convince myself that the sky is pink with purple polka dots, and there is no information to support that, and all evidence points to the converse, am I not pragmatically and spiritually dishonest?
I’m not critical of belief just for the fun of it. For the direction that I want to take us, an individual that’s wrapped up in a prison of belief is beyond the hope of moving on. If we can’t give up belief, we’re then wasting our effort of looking at self. It’s a bit sad, in a way, to see that a person can be in a prison of his own making and not realize it, all because of a stack of beliefs that promise a sense of security. I didn’t say that beliefs provide a sense of security, they only promise a sense of security. That promise is an empty one. That’s what this is really about: insecurity. As we move on, we’ll look at where insecurity is born.
I have a daughter that adopted a two-year-old dog from a canine rescue shelter. The dog is quite timid and was raised in a cage. When the dog feels the slightest insecurity, which it did when I went to visit, or even when the furniture gets rearranged, he goes to his cage where he feels a sense of security. He is in his protected little world where he, sadly enough, can feel undisturbed. This reminds me of something Benjamin Franklin said. “He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.” I don’t think we realize the degree to which we gravitate toward a desire for security. That’s one of the reasons we fall prey to all sorts of ideologies and the dogma that accompanies them. This leads to more confusion and conflict because the ideologies of the manmade world conflict with the real world, and we, strangely enough, can believe in conflicting ideologies. Each belief system has its untested dogma.
PARTICIPANT: Are you saying that all belief is a bad thing?
WW: I don’t think I have said that belief is bad. Someone correct me if I said that. One of the troubles with belief is that once a person accepts it, he will continue living according to that belief, often in the face of evidence or observation to the contrary. A belief prevents us from seeing clearly.
ED: But maybe some people need belief to get by in life. Maybe some people can’t handle the truth. Maybe some people get some relief with belief that they otherwise couldn’t find.
WW: Okay, Ed. If those people are out there, then they have no business being here listening to this talk. You wouldn’t be one of those people, would you, Ed?
ED: I’m just saying, there are people out there.
WW: There are people out there that can’t tie their own shoes, but we’re not dealing with those people. Back to the subject of belief: You may take notice of how difficult it is for us, and for some individuals more than others, to say the simple words, “I don’t know.” There really isn’t a darn thing wrong with not knowing something. As children, belief is necessary because children do not have the capacity or wherewithal to check out ideas for themselves.
More Picture of Man: Methodology December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 04) More Picture of Man: Methodology.
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WW: It looks like we’re short a person or two.
(Inaudible group remarks.)
I expect someone to leave at a talk like this. Sometimes people are just too busy to take this much time, but often there are other reasons. Some people may think that this is just boring. Others think that they already know this stuff or that it really doesn’t apply to them. Sometimes I just offend people as I can make some frank statements.
If everyone is ready we can look again at the picture of man. Let’s take the lower segment of the three divisions of the awareness function and fill it in so it’s all black. The darkness symbolizes that we’re unaware that our driving motivation has fault, a fallacy. Not only have we been unaware of the fallacy, we glorify it.
Now we have two segments to go over, the upper right and upper left pieces of pie in the awareness function. We’ve established that we want to eliminate disturbance from our adventure here on planet Earth. The question is: what methods will we use to achieve a life whereby we have a minimum of disturbance? We have two opposing methods. I’ll give you a story of how we made these driving decisions just for the purpose of demonstration, but it really doesn’t matter how we came to these decisions, it matters only that the decisions are there. Let’s write the number one in the upper right segment. We can complain, cry, whine, blame others for our plight. As infants we can get someone to offer some type of physical comfort when we put up a fuss. We feel that we have a reasonable amount of success at this and eventually come to enjoy the attention and approval that we get. Further down the road, we start blaming mom or dad or siblings when we don’t get what we want. This is the belligerent side of us—side number one.
Until now, we have only had conflict with “what is.” When the pleasure and pain decision is not being fulfilled, we have internal disquiet because “what is” and what we want are at odds with each other. Now we’re going to find another way to have an internal fight. Let’s write the number two in the upper left segment of the awareness function. This is where we have decisions that oppose the number one side. We find that we can get some satisfaction for our basic decision, the black area, if we try to please mom and dad and accept the authority that adults have over us. When we’ve gone further down the road, we even learn to blame ourselves for not achieving success in our basic desires.
Now we have two opposing sides that are both trying to achieve the same goal of not being disturbed as the purpose of living. We’ve all seen pictures of someone with a cranky devil on one shoulder and a self-blaming pleaser on the other shoulder, both of which want their way. Our first side and our second side frequently fight with one another, and they’re both trying to achieve success with the basic decision, in black. We have allowed a grab bag of ideas, dogma, beliefs, often conflicting with one another, to take control of the awareness function.
I suppose that we have all heard or used the phrase, “There’s a method to my madness.” I don’t know if someone had this subject in mind when the phrase was coined, but it certainly does fit. How many thousands of times have we struggled with decisions, trying to act out according to one side or the other? If we pick one side, the other side will jump up and say that we should have used a different method. Not only do we have conflict with other individuals, we have fights within ourselves regarding the method by which to control circumstances. You know, when we use the word, circumstances, it usually means controlling others.
What is the awareness function doing all of this time? It has long since been asleep and has turned everything over to all of these little creatures that are running around inside of us. We run on automatic, trying to achieve our goals by whatever means we can. Each of us has grown to accept these little trolls as “I,” each of them transmitting information to Delta as if they were “I.” It is interesting to speak with a person, knowing that one is effectively speaking to an impersonator, or over the course of a conversation, many impersonators.
What are we to do with this situation? Is there any way out of this mess that we have gotten ourselves into? How can we see our way out of this when the part of us that needs to be looked at is the part that does the looking? If the part of us that does the looking is faulty, how can it clearly see itself? Did you ever look at yourself in the mirror while wearing glasses that belong to someone else? This is one reason it is so commonly accepted that one cannot see one’s self objectively. Indeed they are correct. One cannot see one’s self objectively unless one makes a new point of awareness that has dis-identified with the self—a point of awareness that doesn’t fit in with the trolls—a point of awareness that covertly watches them from a detached position. This vantage point must be one that sees the trolls without self-justification or self-condemnation. Both of those, the justification and condemnation of self, are also trolls. It is just more attempts at self-improvement.
PARTICIPANT: I’ve read several self-improvement books. I think there is a lot to be said for self-improvement methods. There are several speakers and writers that have a great following and there are large numbers people that say it’s changed their lives.
WW: Okay, self-improvement methods. Hasn’t our entire life up to now been made up of self-improvement methods? Our two pieces of the pie that we drew, part number one and part number two; are those not self-improvement methods? Haven’t we had a constant series of self-improvement ideas since the day we were born? When we read a book or adopt someone’s self-improvement idea, are we not just doing more of the same thing? Weren’t fussing, whining, and being belligerent early self-improvement ideas? How about pleasing, obeying, accepting blame, accepting authority? Aren’t those all self-improvement ideas? After a lifetime of this, why do keep looking for a better self-improvement method?
PARTICIPANT: Isn’t that what this group is all about? A form of self-improvement?
WW: I don’t think (that) anywhere in our discussions today, I have suggested that we improve upon ourselves. Look, you are the most advanced living creature that has ever been on the face of this planet. Why do you think you need to improve on that? As for myself, I don’t care if I’m ever a so-called “better” person than I am today. We tend to think of self-improvement as some sort of lofty activity that’s being pursued by only the so-called “good” people. I would argue that when someone is figuring out some way to rob a bank or burglarize a home, it’s a form of self-improvement. Look, they’re trying to improve their lot in life. It just so happens that it may make it unpleasant for the rest of us. When a baby screams, it’s expressing its idea of self-improvement. How many more years are we to continue with this when, in the big picture, it hasn’t been in our best interest? We’ve hammered on one self-improvement idea after another, trying to forge success in our endeavor to change “what is” into “what ought to be”—trying to make the ideal come to pass. When someone hatches a plan to become more aggressive, it’s self-improvement. When someone decides to become less aggressive, it’s self-improvement. When we blame ourselves for failures, it’s self-improvement. If we blame someone else for our failures, it’s self-improvement. Our entire lives have been devoted to more and better means of achieving more and better satisfaction and less misery. And what has been the result? More urge for more and better satisfaction? More achievement? More misery? How many people have you seen that move into a huge home so they will have more room in which to be miserable? When do we give up… when we go to the grave?
PARTICIPANT: But there is some success at self-improvement. I mean, some people have done well for themselves.
WW: Some people have done well at the slot machines, at least that’s what some of them have told me, but I wouldn’t suggest to anyone that it has anything to do with seeing the world in a different way. The trouble we have here is the idea of success. It’s an illusion. It doesn’t matter if someone has done well with self- improvement. Success is something to achieve in the future, or something that was done in the past. It does little, if anything for the moment. We can’t have consciousness in the future or the past, consciousness can occur only in the moment, regardless of what the so-called psychics have to say.
I’ll make a guess that everyone here has heard about someone that has become critically ill, spent their entire life savings and sold their home to get enough money for medical treatment to live for a few more months. I’d probably do the same. What in the world are we doing? We spend 60 or 80 years in the struggle of achievement, giving up our intended function, foundering in a sea of ideology, sacrificing the moment, sacrificing our lives. Then, when the Grim Reaper is knocking at the door, we’ll sell all of that achievement for a chance at a few more months on earth. Why don’t we think of that as we’re selling our souls to the Grim Reaper for decades?
Maybe we could put some energy into reevaluating the way we see the world, then possibly, so called “achievement” will take care of itself.
Chasing the Ideal: Good and Evil December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 05) Chasing the Ideal: Good and Evil.
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Let’s look again at our decision to have a life without disturbance. This is a very powerful decision. I probably sound like a broken record when I keep hammering on the same thing, but I think it’s difficult to see the fallacy in the subject.
I once put a counter in my pocket to keep track of just how often I was struggling toward the ideal of this basic decision. You may have seen one of these counters before. Sports referees or sports statisticians often use them. They have three number wheels that can be reset to zero. Every time the button on the top is pushed it adds one more to the counting wheels. I ran an experiment every day for about a week. I kept the counter in my pocket so that family, friends, or coworkers couldn’t see it. I could reach down to my pant pocket and push the little button without anyone knowing what I was doing. I ran several experiments, week after week, for over a year, and went completely undetected.
On this particular experiment I would push the button every time that I was chasing the ideal of having no disturbance. If someone said something unpleasant to me and I found even the slightest offense, I would push the button. If I didn’t like the hot summer weather, I would push the button. I worked on straight commission, so if any event came along that slowed my work, I would push the button. Anytime anything happened that I reacted to internally because I was trying to avoid pain or gain pleasure was an occasion to push the button. If anyone or anything bushed my buttons, I pushed the button. You wouldn’t believe how fast the numbers add up. It would number in the hundreds per day. I was pushing that button so often that I sometimes became irritated that I had to drop what I was doing to push the button, and then I had to push the button again. If you ever try this experiment, you’ll be amazed at the amount of time and energy you spend in this direction to avoid being disturbed.
This is something that deserves a closer look. Just about every event that comes in our direction is judged as either good or bad. I’m not talking about our behavior as being right or wrong. That’s an entirely different subject that we can address later. I’m talking about events or the perception of events that come our way. You might say that we presume to have the knowledge of good and bad. This has been going on since the beginning of our own lives and the beginning of man. Adam and Eve got kicked out of the Garden of Eden because they presumed to know the difference between good and bad. You won’t hear this at church. Even though the text very clearly states the reason that they were kicked out, every preacher in town believes that he really does know the difference between good and bad events, and he isn’t about to give up that belief. Consequently, you’ll hear every interpretation of this story except the one that is clearly stated in the text. The text states that God said, “Look, they have become like us, gods, knowing good and evil.” This was after God told them not to partake of that fruit.
This is really quite an indictment against us if, indeed, it’s a story about each of us and our decision to chase pleasure and avoid pain, having made a determination that we know what events are good and what events are evil or bad. We erred in the first rule of living, right from the git-go. Our knowledge of good and evil seems so real. Other individuals who are in the same boat as us and cannot accept that their judgment may be askew, repeatedly reinforce this misconception or belief that we have. In fact, if you go to church, I wouldn’t recommend that you use this interpretation of the Adam and Eve story if you don’t want to have rotten tomatoes thrown at you. Most churches are all about knowing good and evil, aren’t they? It’s the foundation of churches just like it’s the foundation of our lives. Aren’t institutions of the world, in many ways, just expanded versions of our inner man? We obviously set up institutions in our own image and then wonder why we’re in the same old trouble that we were in 20 years ago. Isn’t it because I, along with everyone else, am programmed deeply with the same old stuff? Aren’t we all operating on the same basic conditioning?
PARTICIPANT: Before going further, how do you see the serpent in the story?
WW: As our urge to serve the senses—senses that were designed to serve us.
PARTICIPANT: You are saying that we are all the same, but I think we’re all very different. We all have different wants. We all have different ways of dealing with people. One person is aggressive while another is very submissive. It seems to me that maybe you are being a little dogmatic in painting everyone with a broad brush. I mean…you make it sound as if we’re all the same. I’m not too sure that every statement you make applies to everyone.
WW: I’m sorry; can you form that into a question?
PARTICIPANT. Don’t you think you might be painting everyone with a brush too broad?
WW: A broad brush, yes…very broad…and as for everyone, maybe not everyone in the entire world, just everyone I have ever met.
PARTICIPANT: And you don’t think there is a problem with that?
WW: No, not in the least. Every person that I’ve met in the last several months has had two eyes.
PARTICIPANT: I’m not getting what that has to do with it.
WW: Am I painting with a brush too broad when I say that everyone has two eyes?
PARTICIPANT: I think you’re comparing apples to oranges.
WW: At the beginning of this discourse I said that we would paint a picture of man that would apply to anyone, anywhere, and at any time in history…or at least words similar to that. I’ll even go further than that and say that I’m federally compliant in my remarks because they apply to persons of every race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual preference, and political party including movie stars, politicians, and street people.
(More group laughter.)
PARTICIPANT: But that doesn’t justify the generalization.
WW: Need I justify the description of facts? Is there one characteristic of the picture of man that does not apply to anyone you know? Do we not all have a physical body? Do we not all struggle toward the ideal? Do we not all have opposing ideas with which to achieve our goals? Of course there are differences in everyone. We all have different ways of complaining or being belligerent or pleasing. Some of us are strong on side one, while others are strong on side two. We could spend weeks…no, we could spend years going over the specific details of individuals that are different or unique, but it won’t serve any purpose for us here in this room. What we are describing is intentionally broad and general, and it is up to the individual to look at himself and see if the details of his or her observations fit into the broader terms that we have discussed.
I had a neighbor that was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic. Thank goodness for psychiatric intervention and drugs because he would get downright dangerous when he went off of his meds. I saw him, on several occasions, fighting with an imaginary person in his back yard. His picture of the inner man might be a little more radical than ours, but it would still have the same basic parts, and it would be meaningless, for our purposes, to discuss his particular trolls. Besides that, I’m not a psychiatrist and I’ll leave special needs cases like that to professionals. My neighbor was not a candidate for this type of discussion, but it was easy to see that his basic set of trolls were the same as mine.
PARTICIPANT: I’m not sure that chasing a few ideals is really that bad. What would we do if we didn’t have goals?
WW: Of course, no one would pursue any activity if they didn’t have some sort of expectation for a result. Here is where the problem comes in. We all too often have expectations based on the ideal. What about expectation that something could get in the way of my endeavors at any given point? We could take a lesson from the meteorologists. They’re almost never wrong in their expectations. They’ll say that there is a 30 percent chance of rain. If it rains, then they were correct because they did say 30 percent. If it doesn’t rain, then they were still correct because there was a 70 percent chance that it wouldn’t rain.
As my mentor used to say, “The struggle toward the ideal is the disintegrating factor.” What do you think would happen if you could give up the struggle toward the ideal? Do you think the world would come to an end if you ceased to project an image that you believe is better than “what is?” “What ought to be” always looks better than “what is.”
What Is vs. What Ought to Be December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 06) What Is vs. What Ought to Be.
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How often have you been successful at changing “what is” into “what ought to be” or the ideal—that image that we frustratingly chase? Eighty percent? Thirty percent? Five percent? I love this one because it’s so conspicuous, yet so obscure. That little sports counter that I was talking about: you might try clicking it every time you have the urge to change “what is” into “what ought to be.” Then keep a very small paper handy and mark it with an x every time you’re successful. You might find a little surprise! That counter keeps on clicking all day long and you’ll never make an x on that little piece of paper. If you really do this experiment, not just say, “Yeah I get it, so I don’t need to experiment,” you will notice that a change takes place in your perception of “what is.”
Do you think you would have a different perspective of moment by moment events if “what is” and “what ought to be” were seen as together instead of in conflict? When the two are in conflict, we have disintegration; when the two are together, we have integration. We’ll look more at disintegrated or fragmented ideas as we go. Why are we spending the bulk of our efforts looking at disintegrative ideas, fragmented ideas? It’s because our design is to be integrating. We don’t have to do something to be integrating; when we are not disintegrating, integration is what remains. Am I making my statements clear? Is it clear that fragmented ideas bring about a fragmented awareness?
PARTICIPANT: I’m still not sure of what it would be like to be integrated. I haven’t heard that idea before.
WW: When I address the subject of integration, I put 99 percent of my effort into disintegrative ideas. It does nothing for us to have an idea of integration, except to set it up as an ideal, then have one more ideal toward which to struggle. I want to work to understand conflict, fragmentation, which is disintegration. We are obsessed with disintegrative ideas. This near constant obsession that we have, to chase a carrot on a stick, is about greed. We waste an inordinate amount of energy on greed.
PARTICIPANT: How is that greed? I don’t see myself as a greedy person!
WW: How do you define greed?
PARTICIPANT: A greedy person is someone that is obsessed with money or material things.
WW: What do you think a person is looking for, inwardly, when they’re obsessed with money?
PARTICIPANT: They can buy pleasure or get financial security, I suppose.
WW: Right. They want money to alleviate disturbance. They’re trying to relieve their sense of insecurity—their fear of being disturbed in the future. Inwardly, they want to get some sort of feeling with the money. That’s the bottom line: they want a feeling. They want to feel gooood. We all want to get certain feelings and avoid other feelings. Some people want to use money as their vehicle, others want to control those around them, others want to overeat or over-drink. There must be hundreds of ways to be greedy, to chase the ideal. Just because some people display an obsession with money doesn’t absolve the rest of us of the responsibility of confessing our own greed. It’s all for the same motive, that is, feelings. Something comes along that’s disturbing and we want to move it away.
PARTICIPANT: I still don’t see myself as a greedy person. I have been around some of those people and I’m not like that. Maybe you are, but I’m not.
WW: Okay, you’re not greedy. This is not the Spanish Inquisition and I won’t try to make you admit to greed. I, however, just like a recovering drug addict, am constantly subject to a 100 percent relapse of greed. The relapse may be set off at any point by a mere word or gesture. My weakness requires that I watch, watch, watch, so that I don’t fall off the wagon. At any given point, I may become fragmented and lose my perspective.
I’d like to talk a little more about fragmentation. This business of a fragmented outlook is a difficult one because the observer must become the observed. Let me state that differently. The part of us that does the looking is the part that needs to be looked at. How is a fragmented awareness to see itself with any degree of clarity? I think that what we must do here, if we are to make this work, is to bring about a new frame of reference, a way of seeing self that we have not had before.
That’s the reason we drew this abstract-looking picture of man. I’m saying “abstract-looking” because from my perspective it really isn’t that abstract. We must be careful in building a frame of reference because, after all, our frame of reference is what got us into trouble in the first place. I want to see the world, the inside world or outside world, with fresh eyes.
Consequently, I don’t want to build another frame of reference that keeps me bound with belief, filled with memorized ideas that have not been tested. I don’t want a picture of man that becomes an icon. Our new frame of reference is just something for us to use as a guide, for a point from which to begin looking. This picture of man, with only a few vague parts, is a guide from which to begin seeing ourselves in a new light—a guide from which to see that there is an intelligence of life that’s not just someone’s far-off ideology, but rather, an intelligence that we are in constant contact with, though we have been completely unaware of our contact. This intelligence, which I have called Delta, may be able to benefit us in our travels down this narrow road. Not narrow in the sense of being narrow-minded, but narrow in the sense that there is no room on this road for more side trips on the ideology train. Frankly, no room for bullshit.
The Trolls and the Delta December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 07) The Trolls and the Delta.
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Let’s take a look at the picture of man. We have a load of ideologies and trolls running around that have taken over the “what is and values” department—the awareness. That is, they have taken over the awareness function, and are running things in our name. It is as if they are forging our signature on the messages that are being sent to Delta. Delta doesn’t realize that there has been a gradual takeover in the “what is and values” department because these clever little trolls disguise themselves as us and, in fact, have convinced us that they are I. I am, in a very real sense, nothing more than a function, but I have identified with them and have come to believe that they and I are one and the same. It’s necessary that we’re very clear on this or there is no use in moving further on in this discourse.
We must start over and become detached from these trolls to do weeding. I said that we would talk more about weeding. I present the postulate that to do any weeding on the trolls and the master troll, the black area in our picture, it’s necessary to become detached from these ideologies.
Do you remember going to see thriller movies when you were a child? Do you remember how excited you got? Do you remember having your heart pound and having a lump in your throat? You’re nerves were activated, muscles tense, stomach upside down, glands and the stress hormones working on overtime. What do you think happened? What was it that started all of this?
PARTICIPANT: We became part of the movie!
WW. Correct! We identified with the characters in the movie. What we essentially said was, “The character in the movie and I are one and the same.” Therefore, whatever happened to the character in the movie was perceived as happening to us. We sent messages to Delta, with feeling, that there was imminent danger, and since we are the eyes and ears of Delta, Delta did what Delta does, activating the necessary physiology, the nervous and chemical reactions in the body that are appropriate for our perception. The trouble here, as we may see, is that our perception was false. We sent a stream of false data to headquarters. A general needs accurate intelligence to direct his army. How can that possibly happen when we send false information to the general?
Now, as it looks to me that everyone in this room has come of age, what has happened that we can go to see a similar movie today and not have these kinds of reactions, not experience the emotions?
PARTICIPANT: We stopped being part of the movie.
WW: Correct. Right, right, right. This is a very simple but significant observation. At some point, as we became older, we were able to step in and say, “I am not the same as the characters in the movie.” We changed our perception and we changed our frame of reference to that of an observer on the sidelines. This deserves a ditto: An observer on the sidelines—a non-participant in the soap opera activity of the movie.
Let’s look again at our picture of man. We can see the three segments of the awareness function and the ideas and beliefs that these three segments represent. We’ve established that we have said, “I am the same thing as these trolls.” We have identified with these trolls. What would happen if we sent new information to Delta next time these trolls started some trouble? What if we said, or actually perceived and felt, that these trolls are not I? My mentor of many years ago referred to each of these little boogers as a “Not I.” What would happen to these boogers if we reported to Delta that the boogers were not I and were of no value? Remember what we discussed about the only abilities of the awareness function? First, “what is.” Second, “what is the value.”
PARTICIPANT: So you’re saying that we should see ourselves as having a negative value?
WW: If we get going on “shoulda,” “oughta,” then we’ll be tricked by the little boogers by going back into belief. “Shouldas” and “oughtas” and “should nots” are boogers—very tricky boogers that want to drag us back into worshipping the king of boogers, that is, our own wants and desires…the urge to keep disturbance at bay.
Let’s see…there was something else…Oh, yes. You asked if we should see ourselves negatively?
PARTICIPANT: Yes, as a negative value.
WW: We’ve been seeing events as having a positive or negative value since infancy. We’ve already discussed our fragmented habit of seeing events as good or evil. This is a tricky little booger or Not I that has disguised itself with a term, “negative value.” It’s another way of saying, “Should we see ourselves as bad or evil?” Those little boogers can be pretty damned sneaky, can’t they?
(Participant chuckle, inaudible comments)
WW: Right. The trolls get themselves all fixed up with different types of costumes and use modern sounding, well accepted terminology that sounds so right.
The awareness function can’t be an awareness function unless it has something to be aware of, right? What would be the point of having an intelligence-gathering arm of the military if there were no intelligence of which to be aware? Don’t we require something to work against to be able to gain strength? What kind of muscle strength would we have if we didn’t have gravity and other forms of resistance to work against? We’re going to talk more about the value of resistance later. It’s one of those things of which we don’t see the value because of our fractured awareness…because of our habit of seeing events fragmentarily, then dropping the ball and moving on to another fragmented view, not realizing that our viewpoint is highly incomplete. What I’m saying is, just because the awareness function is full of self-destructive ideas, it doesn’t mean that it’s negative or bad.
I think that before we go any further on that subject, we would do well to go back and readdress identification with the trolls…the Not I’s and the necessity of dis-identification. This deserves to be readdressed because it is key in this whole mess that we have gotten ourselves into.
We talked about looking at these trolls as Not I and having no value. We’ve placed a great value on these for our entire lives and now we’re talking about going in a different direction. So, what kind of mechanism do you think must take place for the trolls to lose their hold on us? What do you think happened to make them so clever and strong? How is it that they have gotten so much energy? Where did that energy come from?
PARTICIPANT: We gave them the energy.
WW: Very close answer. We saw them as useful, thereby giving them value. We saw them as useful and valuable in eliminating disturbance, now or in the future. I’m sure that if saw a dog viciously attacking a child, I would want to find the energy to viciously attack the dog. By seeing the value in that situation, we send the data and value to Delta. Delta in turn provides us with the energy and the wherewithal and the technical ability to get the job done. So, I can say that the trolls are not entirely without value at all times. The trouble is, this situation with the dog very seldom arises, but we have given the trolls value for years, not realizing the dangers posed by the trolls. When we gave them value, Delta gave them energy, power. I’m going to do the high- octane preacher thing again. When we gave the trolls value, Delta gave them energy, which is power.
Delta can only perform according to the values that we provide. Have you ever noticed that when you have a vital interest in something, that you have a greater energy level in that direction? Have you ever been reading something that captures your attention and you have the energy to stay awake beyond your normal bedtime? Have you ever played softball or some other activity at night when you’re normally taking it easy at home and found that you have an inner intensity…the awareness energy that goes beyond normal? You have the physical energy to go on, even though you put in a full day at work. I would assert that Delta provides that energy according to our values.
What do you suppose would happen if we reported to Delta that we have erred in placing values on these ideologies? What if we genuinely felt that these trolls are not I, and that they really don’t have the value that we have placed on them? We have very strongly felt that these trolls are I, and that’s where the process started that ended up giving them power. Would it make sense—is it possible—that if we saw them as valueless, Delta would remove their power? I’m not talking about sitting here in this room and intellectualizing; that’s what we do when we sit around drinking beer with the guys. We’ve been living with these ideas with strong feelings that are deeply entrenched. There is no way out of this by intellect! It must be done by experimentation and the feeling of assuredness that we’re going in the right direction, like using the pushbutton counter to record our efforts to change “what is” into “what ought to be.” The physical and mental activity that’s required for that trial indicates to Delta that we have re-evaluated things. Can we see how we got into this trouble with the strong feelings of our decisions? Does it make sense to see if we can use the same set of tools to have a way out?
We could run our trial with a paper and pencil instead of the sports counter. Let us suppose that we observe that our particular self likes to be a pleaser to pursue our desires. Let’s suppose that pleasing others is a very active troll or Not I in my particular sphere. What would happen to our skewed value if we pursued it like a private detective on a mission? What if every time we had the urge to please, regardless of whether we acted it out, we were to briefly write down a few details of our urge? I’m not suggesting that you do this because I said so, but rather, I’m questioning what would happen if we were valuing reevaluation enough that Delta would bring about the physical action of writing.
Please forgive me for hammering away at this with such redundancy, but this is an essential point. We must have action in our discovery that our ideas, our philosophies, our methods, have been futile. We have acted on these false ideas for years. It will require another action to defuse them, to make them atrophy. It requires that we fight fire with fire. To have this holiday discussion, then to only intellectualize, won’t cut it.
Do you remember, I stated earlier that we have a difficult situation because the part of us that does the looking is the part that needs to be looked at? This is what we’re trying to work on here: starting up a new point of awareness to begin seeing the self as an object—just a thing—a thing seen from a new frame of reference, not to be self-condemned, not to justify what we see, not to see it as good or evil, and certainly not to eliminate or change it. If it is to be de-clawed or made powerless, that will be up to Delta. We’re only interested in seeing it as a thing.
PARTICIPANT: But nobody wants to be seen as a “thing.” I don’t want to be an object.
WW: Now you’ve got it! If you go to a place of business and you’re seen as an object or a thing, you want to leave, right?
PARTICIPANT: Right. Who wants that?
WW: The many selves, with the goals, the methods of achievement, the trolls, as I’ve called them, don’t like being seen as things. They don’t like being seen as objects. What we’re doing is to objectify them, to degrade them, to see them objectively.
PARTICIPANT: Are we supposed to turn ourselves in to cold pieces of machinery? Are we supposed to turn ourselves into Data from Star Trek?
WW: I don’t think you have to worry about that happening. We’re not interested in stopping all of our feelings. You won’t do that until you die. We’re interested in the inappropriate feelings, the emotions that rise up from false perception. I must admit, I have had a couple of women tell me that I’m cold and heartless, but I don’t believe them.
PARTICIPANT: I have a question similar to her question. Isn’t everything I do a method? Every activity that I’m involved with is somehow a method, isn’t it? If I give up methodology, I have to give up living.
WW: Correct, correct, correct. Look, I probably haven’t made this completely clear. I’m not a man of means. I’m not a man of leisure. I still have to get out there and earn a living, and I use methods to earn a living. The question is, do the methods run me, or do I run the methods? I want to be aware of every method that I can. I want to be an actor. As an actor, I can pick out a method and act on it, knowing that it is an act. I am the actor; the method is the subject. If I’m unaware that it’s just an act, then the act takes over. The method, the troll, then becomes the active, and I become the subject; I become subject to whatever the trolls decide to do. I don’t want to be subject to the trolls; I want the trolls to be subject to me, a dis-identified awareness.
Look, I don’t want to destroy the methods, the ideologies, the trolls. I am interested only in taking away their power to dictate my feelings. If it’s deemed necessary to call up a troll, then I want to act out the role, not have the role take over my being.
Right now, I’m acting the role of a speaker. Yesterday, I was acting the role of a guy that’s earning a living. Last week, I was acting the role of a cowboy with boots and spurs on horseback chasing down a cow in an arena. I am none of those things. It’s an act. If deemed necessary, I may act pleasing or belligerent. I’ll do my best to make it an act.
PARTICIPANT: But, even if you were acting, you were still something or someone. You were still Willard Willis. You were still you.
WW: I was?
PARTICIPANT: Well, if you weren’t you, who were you?
WW: I don’t know.
A Hidden Teaching December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 08) A Hidden Teaching.
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PARTICIPANT: This all makes sense, but why have I not heard this approach before?
WW: You probably have heard it before, but just didn’t realize it because traditionally it has been disguised in symbolic fables and stories that the author hopes may get through to someone.
There are a couple of reasons for this. It has been only in recent times with modern cultures that individuals have had the freedom to express themselves. Even today there are many places in the world, such as the Mideast, where discussions like this are strictly forbidden. The government and religious leaders throughout history would certainly not allow written material that questioned the entrenched dogma of the time. The authorities find this to be a threat to their position. My mentor of decades ago was approached by church leaders and asked to stop having discussions with church members. Some church members had spoken about this subject matter to other church members and leaders. The church leaders found that some members were falling away…the church was losing control. Had this occurred, let’s say 150 years ago, the church leaders may have told him to stay away, rather than ask. If this had occurred in some other part of the world, his wellbeing may have been in serious danger.
PARTICIPANT: Did he stop talking to them?
WW: No …But he did require that the meeting with the church elders be recorded on tape, then he printed transcripts, which he handed out to interested parties.
PARTICIPANT: Did you read the transcript?
PARTICIPANT: What was your opinion of it?
WW: The church leaders were seemingly quite nice about the whole thing, but made it clear that they didn’t like what was going on. It appeared to me that the church leaders indicted themselves.
PARTICIPANT: Can you tell us which church it was?
WW: That, I will not say.
Another reason that fables and stories were used is because the story may appear to the authorities of the period to be quite innocuous, thereby not a threat, thereby not destroyed by the authorities. Some stories and fables have lasted for centuries or millennia.
There is also a third reason for not openly discussing this teaching. …Some practitioners of this teaching indicate that it’s a wasted effort because it is all too often misquoted and misunderstood …and twisted to the point that it is unrecognizable. Similar wording may mean something else entirely, so the teaching then loses its meaning or intent. Also, there comes a point in a person’s life where he or she may be receptive to work on these ideas, usually when things are not going so well, but if that person already heard this teaching years prior, they may just reject it, saying, “I have already heard all of that.” Some say it’s unwise to give more information than a person can use. I say that uninterested parties just won’t listen anyway.
This teaching gets turned around by practitioners and teachers of the exoteric, and is turned into an exoteric teaching. Even the most learned professors and preachers seem to be highly confused when it comes to understanding the self and the picture of man. They claim to be giving an esoteric teaching, but the fact is, they don’t begin to question their own vision of good and bad. I’m not any kind of Bible expert, but it looks like Jesus didn’t have much respect for the teachings of the scribes, Pharisees and authorities of his day. I don’t think that the basics of philosophical and religious teachings have changed that much, if we look at the basic motives of people.
As for those who claim to be inwardly different or spiritual leaders, they look to me to be self-deluded …kidding themselves about their true inner nature. Let’s face it; I want to have a little attention and approval because I think it will make me feel good. People want to be spiritual or to be seen as spiritual because it’s going to make them feel good, even if by some circuitous route. Why does a person want to gain heaven and be with God? Why does a person want to avoid hell and all that goes with that? Because they want to feel gooood! That doesn’t have anything to do with genuine spirituality; it’s just plain damn crude! Isn’t that just an expression of our most basic motivational decision? It’s all about motive …motive …more about motive at another time.
Before we move on, I would suppose there might be another reason that not many people care to go public with these ideas. The person going public gets put under the microscope and gets accused of not being perfect, even though they make no claims to that effect.
PARTICIPANT: Aren’t you a spiritual person? I mean…you have obviously spent a lot of time on these studies. Wouldn’t you say that makes you a spiritual person?
WW: I would prefer not to put static labels on myself, but if pressed, I would consider myself to be a practitioner of hedonism.
PARTICIPANT: A hedonist!
WW: Sure. Do we all know what hedonism is?
PARTICIPANT: A pleasure seeker.
WW: Right. The idea that pleasure seeking, which also implies the avoidance of pain, is one’s stated purpose—one’s main drive.
PARTICIPANT: I don’t get it. Why would you claim to be a hedonist after saying all you said about skewed, misguided values?
WW: I once heard this maxim: “The greatest impediment to experiencing a given quality is the belief that you already have it.” We can check out this maxim somewhere down the road to see if it works. If this maxim is true, then it would follow that when we hear someone say they’re working on their spiritual life, we can be quite sure that they are working on covering up their hedonism. This maxim is a two-edged sword. Perhaps we could apply this maxim to hedonism. “The greatest impediment to experiencing hedonism is the belief that you already have it.” Could it be that the first step toward a spiritual life would be to admit what one is? How can a person experience the surrender of self if that person can’t inwardly make a confession of what self does?
ED: You’ve said that this “teaching,” as you call it, is obscure. It must be very obscure; nobody has ever heard of it. Isn’t it just logical, that if this teaching really had anything to it, somebody besides you would be talking about it? It’s like you’re saying everyone in the world is out of step, except you.
WW: This teaching has been forced underground for millennia by the authority of convention and leadership and by people who reject it because, seemingly, none of their neighbors or friends care anything about it. Let’s face it Ed, you’re not atypical.
ED: What’s that supposed to mean? I admit that I’m a typical guy. I put my pants on and go to work, just like everybody else. What’s wrong with that?
WW: Nothing’s wrong with that, but you just told us one reason why it’s obscure.
ED: No, I just questioned its obscurity.
WW: Right. You say that you’re a typical guy and that you don’t question the authority of convention. You say that you’re like everyone else. If everyone is like you, then that’s the reason this teaching is obscure. People don’t want to ask real questions, people don’t want to look. You said it, Ed. You are everyone.
End of debate. Willard 23, Ed 0.
ED: You only win our parleys in your own mind. You’re real clever at turning things around backwards and making it sound logical, but that doesn’t make it true. I still say somebody else ought to be standing up and taking the podium with this. I’m not saying that it makes you necessarily wrong, I’m just saying, it’s suspicious. It’s just like you are with your horse. Just because you think it’s the best horse around, doesn’t make it true. It’s like you’re a cult of one.
WW: Well, my mentor is long since dead, his mentor is long since dead, and nobody wants to take the reins on this runaway buggy that’s headed for the rocks. Although I’m not qualified, I’m the only one who’s talking. I guess we’re stuck with me until a real teacher comes along.
Belief, Hope, Problems and Limitations December 3, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 09) Belief, Hope, Problems and Limitations.
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PARTICPANT: I’ve always liked the idea of believing that there is something after this life …that this isn’t all there is …that our soul or something will go on to another place where we won’t have all the problems and limitations that we all have here. I think believing gives people hope, even if that belief is not based on fact. Wouldn’t it be better to have hope than hopelessness, even if it doesn’t go along with the ideas that you’ve talked about?
WW: You’ve brought up several interesting points. These are very interesting points, but in order for me to respond with a complete answer, we need to examine each point with completeness. I hope you won’t have the impression that I’m picking on you by examining the question critically.
PARTICIPANT: Not at all. Well …I’ll try not to cry.
(Laughter from participants.)
WW: If it makes you feel less picked on, even the very elite ask questions in this same fragmented manner. We tend to make some fragmented point or statement and, without realizing it, we drop the ball and move on to the next fragmented point and then the next and the next.
Let’s look at the idea of believing in something. Does belief change reality, whatever your view of reality may be? Can you think something into existence? I have read literature that states you can do that, but it must be an extremely rare occurrence because I’ve never seen it happen! I read a piece that stated that everything we bring into existence started with a thought, therefore thought is extremely important and we must be careful to cultivate right thought. That one is a real lulu! If we want to get ourselves into some real serious anxiety, just try living up to that one for a while! We’re getting a little ahead of ourselves on that so we may come back and address that idea a little way down the road.
A friend of mine was trying to convert someone into changing over to his brand of religion. In so doing he asked the other person the question, “Wouldn’t you rather believe that when you go to heaven…” and then he went on to give his view of what heaven was like. Do you see something askew here? …Let’s go for another one. As a boy I was amazed that people would stand up in church and tell us how firm their faith was or how strong their belief was. I have found it to be a very strange phenomenon that people have the idea that belief can somehow make something be true. Furthermore they have the idea that if they believe something very strongly that it will make it even more true! This isn’t some isolated incident; I’ve heard it a thousand times!
Here’s another one. A friend was considering the possibility of putting on a barbeque in his back yard and invited some friends to attend. A lady friend heard about it and asked if he was still planning to put on a barbeque. My friend said that he was still planning to do so if there wasn’t a prediction for rain. The lady-friend replied, “Oh, don’t say that, think positive.” Are we to believe that positive thinking can change the weather? For God’s sake, the woman was 40 years old! I wonder just how often she was able to perform this feat of magic. How old do we have to be before we stop to reevaluate some very basic ideas?
Now don’t start crying, because I’m not picking on you, okay?
PARTICIPANT: I understand. I won’t cry.
WW: Okay. You see, this is one of those many things we have backwards. If I didn’t value your question, I could give you some cheap, flippant answer that would make everyone feel “gooood” …a fragmented answer to a fragmented question. I’m all for contributing to a pleasant atmosphere, but not at the expense of our aim here today. Since I value your question, and I assume that you did ask it with sincerity, I want to give you a serious answer that may be of benefit to you as well as the other participants that are in this room.
Next, what part of us would go on to that better place of which you spoke? What part of us would that be? We’ve addressed the issue of memory. Do we have a duplicate memory stored on DVD somewhere in the cosmos? What would we do without a physical body? Did you ever see a guitar string start playing music all by itself? Did you ever hear music coming out of nowhere without the instrument or some device?
I don’t see these as difficult questions to ask. It looks to me that these questions are directly in front of us but for some reason we don’t find the wherewithal to ask. What do you think it is? Laziness? Lack of interest? I’m certain that we don’t need a master’s degree to field legitimate questions. Could it be that we just want to put our heads in the sand when it comes to questioning our own beliefs? Could it be that we are stuck in the past by nothing more than habit? Could it be that when we have a sizable amount of energy in something, we don’t want to admit that we could have gone down the wrong path?
I have a little story about investing energy into an unworkable idea. I had a couple of fellows come to see me about a technical device they were engineering. They must have spent hundreds of hours on the project. It had to do with the field in which I earned a living. One of the guys was the moneyman, whom I had met on some previous occasions, and the other fellow worked as an engineer. They pulled out the blueprints and went over the general idea, as well as a few of the details. They wanted to know if I could make any suggestions or improvements on the design. I found a problem in the basic concept that essentially made the device impractical, if not unusable. After I went over the design flaw a couple of times with the engineer, he tried to make a couple of “yeah but” arguments that didn’t pan out for him. He looked as if he was totally befuddled with the whole thing. Rather than accept the fact that the basic idea was flawed, he simply folded up his prints and walked out without making a comment. To have someone point out a serious flaw in his project must have been very hard to take. To this day, I don’t know if they tried to rework the plans or if they started over from scratch or if they just gave up. In any case, it doesn’t matter because the point is: it’s very difficult for us to give up on something into which we have put a considerable amount of energy, even when we find out that our idea was flawed from the start.
Another thing to consider is that they must have come to me out of at least some degree of respect for my pragmatic, technical view. Would it have been better of me to tell them what a nice job they did and send them off feeling gooood about themselves? It would have cost the investor a small fortune in development costs to end up with something that was unusable. Needless to say, they didn’t offer any thanks for destroying their bubble.
If I have any say in the matter, I prefer not to be like the engineer and the investor. I don’t want to waste my energy on unusable ideas, but if I do find that to be the case, I want to be able to accept it. I would also like to be able to move away from it.
I have a little parallel to draw on that matter. Have you ever discovered that you had been mispronouncing a word, possibly for years or decades? If so, have you tried to change the way that you pronounce the word? I have found it to be quite difficult. The word becomes so deeply fixed that it becomes nearly ineradicable. The difficulty is compounded because few people recognize their own error, even though they hear others saying the word correctly and they see it in print. It’s further compounded when a person has the mispronunciation pointed out to them but they see no value in a programming change.
What else was there? Oh, yeah. There was a point about problems. This brings up a quite long discussion, so let’s talk about hope before I forget where we’re at, and then we’ll come back to our so-called “problems.”
We have already been over this question of hope, but we used a different set of words to describe it. Does anyone remember talking about hope? …Okay, hope. What is hope? In what condition would we see ourselves to require hope? Wouldn’t we have to see ourselves in a negative situation? If we saw ourselves in a state of grace, we would have no use for hope, would we? What is hopelessness? We’re hopeless when we can’t see a way out. We also hope when we can’t see a way out. Hope and hopelessness both come from the sad situation of trying to change an event into something that would see as better. In so doing, we bring ourselves down into the dungeon of disappointment and despair, the self and the trolls becoming expanded and the awareness function becoming diminished. It means more inner conflict and struggle—our resistance to “what is.” If you want to keep people down, keep offering them hope.
To really look seriously at our fragmented ideas and questions takes a quite a long route, doesn’t it? Let’s take a coffee break and then we can come back and talk about the last part of this question: problems.
Problems and Limitations: The Four Elements December 2, 2010Posted by ekarlpierson in 10) Problems and Limitations: The Four Elements.
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WW: All right, it looks as if we’re ready to begin, but I don’t recall what the subject was. …Does anyone remember?
PARTICIPANT: I believe it was finding a place without our problems and limitations.
WW: There we go. The discourse becomes so long that I sometimes forget the question. I think we had three or four points in one question.
Problems and limitations. This will be another subject where we have to take the long way around to get to it. You see what the trouble is, we have beliefs stacked on top of beliefs and we need to be thorough enough to go through the stack to get to the one we want. If we don’t see this through to completion, we’ll just be wasting our time in some philosophical discussion, and those discussions are a dime a dozen; they just don’t have much value. The libraries, bookstores, textbooks, and man-made institutions are full of philosophical discussions.
We tend to see the world with only two forces: cause and effect. The sun comes up and causes the temperature to go up. A cloud cover comes in and causes the temperature to go down. Someone makes a rude remark and causes me to feel bad. That’s what it usually comes down to. Events, which often have something to do with other people, are the cause, and I am the effect. The idea of two elements has been reinforced internally as well as from without by axioms such as, “For every cause there is an effect, for every effect there is a cause.”
Some have said that there are several elements to any phenomenon, not just the two that we normally see. The first element or force would be what I call “drive.” Suppose we want to hammer a nail into a piece of wood. Initiating that aim would be drive. Maybe we want to go to the market. Initiating that aim would be drive. On close examination, there would be hundreds or thousands of initiating aims to this, such as getting up from the chair, finding the car keys, walking to the door, reaching for the door knob, and so on, but we don’t want to complicate the issue so we’ll just lump these together for ease of discussion and demonstration. We may want to get a master’s degree from college. Initiating this aim would be drive.
The next element would be active or passive “resistance.” For our purposes it makes no difference if it is passive or active. The nail doesn’t just float its way into the wood, it resists. The second element then is resistance, in this case, passive resistance. The nail may bend when we strike it. More resistance. Someone may come along and bump the board, knocking it out of position. That would be active resistance. When we initiate the driving element to go to the market, we may have trouble finding the car keys, there may be heavy traffic or road construction, we may take a wrong turn, we may have to take a detour to fill the tank with gas. Each of these is resistance to our drive. When we drive toward education, we meet with resistance: tuition costs, the difficulty of memorization, boring classes, rearranging schedules around class time, understanding difficult concepts. All of these are resistance to the element of drive.
We then have the third element of this series: “culmination.” The nail gets hammered in. We arrive at the market. We receive a college degree. The culmination comes about from the interaction of the first two elements: drive and resistance.
The last element is the “result.” The board that we nailed is properly secured for whatever the purpose is. We’re able to meet someone or pick up something after arriving at the market. We are able to be gainfully employed in our field of interest after arrival with a degree.
We don’t have much trouble with the third and fourth elements. We have a terrific amount of trouble with the first two.
Again, it’s another one of those things that we have turned around backwards. We see resistance as the cause or the problem and we are the victims of these so-called problems. We are the effect. How often do we hear ourselves say, “You make me mad,” “You caused me to get angry,” “The store clerk gave me grief,” “John or Mary really pissed me off.” We’re solidly entrenched in the cause and effect idea, so this bears repeating. The so-called problem, that is, resistance, is seen as the cause of our disappointment or anger or some other emotion. We find it necessary to angrily use four-letter words because the so-called problem or resistance is seen as the cause of some sort of ill feeling. We see ourselves as the victims of problems. You and I, we do this in a repeated manner how many times a day? A hundred times a day? A thousand times a day? How often do you see yourself as a victim?
This reminds me of a little joke. When I was growing up, my father would do the cooking for us on weekends. We sat down at the table to eat and my dad began to pass the food around. My mother said, “Aren’t we going to bless the food?” My dad answered, “I already blessed it in the kitchen when I burned my finger.” I think we can all imagine the words he used when he met with some painful resistance.
Let’s look at resistance. Don’t we hate resistance? We often are simply annoyed with resistance, but don’t we often hate resistance? How does this relate to the desire to have our “soul” or something of our being go to a better place where there are no problems and limitations? Isn’t it actually resistance that appears to give us our so–called problems and limitations? Where would the world be if we didn’t have resistance? What if there was no resistance to driving that nail? I suppose it would jump up there and push itself into the board. We would have no use for a hammer, would we? We wouldn’t even need to pick up the nail because there would be no resistance of inertia and gravity to the driving element. That means we would be able to think the nail right out of the box. Look! Are we going to have resistance or not?
Stay with me on this! The entire structure that we were building with the lumber wouldn’t require assembly because there would be no resistance to the drive for assembly. What would we do if there were no resistance to assembly? Would we just think the structure into place? What would we need a structure for? We wouldn’t need any protection from the sun, wind, or rain because there would be no resistance to our drive to be protected from the elements of nature. We wouldn’t require our own home for the purpose of privacy because the drive to privacy would not meet with resistance.
Don’t quit on me! We’ve wasted a tremendous amount of energy on this fragmented issue, so take a few more minutes to see this through to completion!
We certainly wouldn’t be going to the market to get food because there would be no resistance to getting food. If we wanted food it would just appear. If we look at, what would we do with food? There would be no resistance to the drive for nutrition. Why would we need nutrition when our bodies would never meet with resistance in the form of breakdown? We would never need to beware of accidents or injuries. We couldn’t cut off the tips of our fingers because that would be a form of resistance to our drive for safety. In fact, why would we need a body when there would be no resistance to our urges? It’s not just that we wouldn’t need a body; a body would be impossible without resistance! Without a body, how would the awareness function receive support? Some of you see the humor in this impossible tale! It’s ludicrous to the point of hilarity. It’s also a quite serious matter. If we really look at this, could there even be an awareness function? There would be nothing of which to be aware! If there were no resistance to our drive to be non-disturbed—to the drive to gain pleasure and escape pain—there could be no stimuli.
Okay, let’s stand back for a minute and look at this. This is our wish for a better place without the problems and limitations. This is our wish, essentially, for no resistance. I’m going to do the repeat thing. Our wish for a better place in the cosmos is to have no problems or limitations, and that really means that we would have no resistance. Don’t stop with some half-assed fragmented view! Finish it! Are we going to have resistance or not? Resistance can’t be a “pick and choose” fragmented thing. We can’t have it both ways can we? Can we have resistance in some ways and not others? Can we sort of have resistance? Without resistance, our existence would be non-existence—not even the existence of a worm or a jellyfish.
We’ve established that we couldn’t have physical bodies without resistance. No stimuli. No awareness …I’m sorry to inform all those who wish to have a place with no problems or limitations in the afterlife, that you will most certainly get your wish. It’s called “dead as a doornail.” The place we wish for is not one iota different from the grave.
Before we move on, do you see where we carried this question about our dream, our wish to have no resistance? Is it clear that the idea of a world with no resistance is a fragmented view? It’s a view of only a piece of the picture. When we carry this through to completion, we find a much different picture. Do you see what we did by chasing this down by starting with something as simple as the resistance of a nail being driven into a board? When I say “carrying it through to completion,” it doesn’t mean that we know everything about it; it means that we carried it through to an end, that we’re seeing a completed picture.
PARTICIPANT: I got part of that business about resistance, but I have to admit that a lot of it got past me. I’m not sure that I’m making all of the connections about drive and resistance.
WW: Understanding the mechanics and value of resistance isn’t something I can do for you. You need to check it out for yourself by repeatedly asking what would happen if nothing came against us in our endeavors. Check it out for a few days to see what you can come up with. It will become more clear as you move from one example to another. Give it a week of effort and if you’re still having trouble seeing the role of resistance, call me and I’ll spend a few minutes getting you kick started.