The Neural Tree
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THE NEURAL TREE
Document: 7, January 21, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982
Let me see if I can profitably be both more specific and more vague. This kind of map is getting close to being an ultimate map. In fact, it comes close to being an ultimate Symbol, with a capital “S”. A real Symbol is not something you hang on a wall — not an artifact. To a man who has ignited the higher areas of the nervous system, a real Symbol is not some word, prayer or picture he worships or continually contemplates because he thinks it holds a message. Ordinary people always end up painting a symbol on canvas, wearing it on a chain, or carrying it in their purse. Yet, they say that it represents something else and has a mystical message. To the extent that you are not operating from a point at or below Line-Level consciousness, a Symbol with a capital “S” is internal. It is to be used physically in the body. A real Symbol is not something a man goes around trying to picture in his mind; the Symbol is him in action.
Diagram # 004 illustration
The drawing to the left is a tree; the branches continue to grow and sprout. There are several things here you should attempt to Consider. The expansion of humanity can be seen in this Symbol. This expansion is not a simple process of humanity evolving in one particular direction. You should see humanity as a living organism on the surface of a balloon, and the balloon continually gets larger, continually expands, so that progress is not either good or bad, or even in an x or y direction. Rather, the entire surface expands and everything changes in its relationship to everything else.
Ordinary people have always had the continuing feeling that things are progressively getting either better or worse. The latter view is normally called taking a conservative or right wing position. People who hold this view often call for a return to the past; they are living down at the bottom end of the nervous system. This conservative segment of humanity which resists change is representative of one of the Three Forces, while those people normally referred to as liberals or the left wing — who find the answer to everything in change — are simply representatives of another of the Forces. Each serves a particular purpose.
I have described the growth of the nervous system and its constant, temporary arrival at the Horizontal Line; the Line of ordinary consciousness. The energy that has developed each apparent person moves upward, but in fact reaches no ultimate conclusion. It runs a certain course through the nervous system and it stops, at an invisible Line, and at that Line the energy is diffused.
Without understanding it, people derive their imagination of some superior state of consciousness, their ideas about the gods, from what’s beyond this invisible Line where the energy is spent. This area above the Line also fosters a need and desire for the new: new social and political conditions and what appear to be personal needs. A man wants a new car; a woman changes her hairstyle; you are always buying things or adding to your stamp collection. These are not examples of people’s individual problems. They are manifestations of the same urge, representations of the real need all of humanity has for something new.
A good fundamentalist minister might approach this by preaching about “the folly of man trying to store up treasure — he’s going to die anyway, so what’s the use!” A social critic might scoff at trendy Southern Californians: “Last year it was nude encounter groups, this year it’s hot tubs!” But my comments are not an attack. The desire for the new is and always has been felt by humanity. This desire emanates from above Line-Level consciousness; it is the call of tomorrow. Such desires are not objectively profitable or unprofitable for one attempting to ignite higher areas of the nervous system; they simply are.
The continuing drive within humanity (reflected in each individual) for “things to change,” is increasing in tempo. This drive is the objective basis for such things as trends in fashion and popular music. If you can look from somewhere beyond your limited development as an electronic “I”, you can see this in yourself. The need is in every person. It is the basis of you sitting around — not in a particularly negative state — thinking, “Well, maybe I’ll learn to skate.” “Maybe I ought to trade in my car.” “I need a new blouse to go with that skirt.” “I think I’ll read a book.”
These are the voices of the upper ends of the nervous system attempting to reach higher. It is the branches of the tree attempting to grow just a little bit farther. The authentic results of this urge are not evident in one individual’s lifetime. A person attempting to evolve beyond Line-Level consciousness in his lifetime must find that ordinary change (“If I just had a new car” — “If I inherited a million dollars”) will never make his life better. A new car, or a new anything, will alter nothing. Nothing is available at or below the Line to aid a person in This “struggle.”
A magnetic field holds everything in Life at a certain level. Anything in Life will not develop the higher areas of the nervous system, but the inborn desire for the new manifests itself in the belief that a change in your Horizontal position — your place in the game — would be of benefit. Life produces this conviction, and it is as real as anything else in Life. But Consider: What is the objective basis for this need, this desire, in you? The farthest little cells of the branches at the upper reaches of the tree keep trying to grow, higher and higher. But the only thing they have to grow on (the only food an ordinary man can obtain from Life) is the same kind of food they have always been fed. The energy flows upward and diffuses at Line-Level; it recycles itself. There is no way to rearrange the food — the education, the everything — Life offers so that it will make a man grow higher than the level ordinary humanity has reached. Attempting to rearrange Life-food is like playing with a set of children’s blocks: “I’ll move all the red ones over here and line them up in a row.” You are still operating at Line-Level. For those involved with This Thing, the point is not to change apparent personality. It is not to kill what is apparently you, because in a sense that cannot be killed. To destroy it, you would have to destroy the entire nervous system from Line-Level down.
You can learn from what is below the Line, because on that level every individual is a fair representation of humanity as a whole. But beyond that, nothing in the past — including forms of This Thing that existed in the past — is of any consequence to one attempting to rise above the Line-Level of consciousness today. Consider that a thousand years ago the ordinary level of consciousness was different. So if a past religious teacher was able to rise above the Line-Level of his generation — enough to ignite higher areas of the nervous system — his specific experience has no practical value now. I could say that all of you understand some things that any past religious teacher could not understand. But so what? This may sound odd at first, but attempt to Neuralize it. Nothing from the past can help one properly committed to This Thing.
I could even say that what you remember from a week ago is of no use to you now. If I said something astounding that seemed to put you in a higher state — two seconds later, so what? If you start thinking, “Wow, that was weird, I’m going to have to think that over!” you immediately fall down the tree and slip back into the grips of the mechanical lower circuitry.
Another thing to Neuralize in relation to this is that everything is true and everything is not true. Anything the mind can think is somewhere true. You could take any past statement of mine and assert the opposite, I could agree with you, and we could start a Real System from whatever you said.
Try this with all of the above: Who has ever Considered the absolute drive, in all of humanity, for leadership? Perhaps you have always thought this need was a defect in your own personal makeup. But there is a universal need for leadership in every realm. This desire crosses all social, political, economic, religious and intellectual boundaries. The degree of the need varies from person to person, but once you See it in yourself, you have touched the nature of this drive in everyone. It is a characteristic even of those people who say, “I want to be free.” To those people — on some apparently political or intellectual level — it is true that they want to be “free.” But it’s also not true.
Once you begin to look upon things in a non-subjective way you can see that, regardless of what people say, everyone wants to be led — they want to be told what to do. One attempting to ignite the higher areas of the nervous system would give this serious Consideration. Look around and see if it is true; look “out there” and look “in here.” Why are things arranged this way? How does this desire for leadership fit in? Try to nonverbally assess this observable characteristic of humanity. I’ll give you a hint: It has to do with the incompleteness of man — with the area toward which the smallest twigs at the top of the branches are trying to grow. It is an awareness of that potential (which is never realized in an ordinary man’s lifetime) for expansion. The desire for leadership reveals an innate knowledge within each system that it can move, even though it’s not destined to do so in one person’s lifetime. This same awareness is reflected in religious dreams, in ideas about mystical awakening and also, at the mundane level, in man’s continuing need for the new.
If not for this potential, undeveloped area, there would be no boredom. Every creature other than man has a nervous system which is absolutely sealed off at a certain level of development. A dog is not incomplete, and a dog is never bored. The nervous system of an elephant or a lion is born, develops to an appropriate level, and stops. It is a closed system; “programmed” is too weak a word for the nervous system of creatures other than man. No other creature has any possibility of change. So other creatures have no awareness of, or need for, anything new; only man desires something more.
Within the lower circuitry of man there is a nonverbal and inconsequential awareness of man’s incomplete state. Notice that those who live primarily in the intellect are inclined to say that, “The answer to humanity’s problems is quite simple: additional education.” Without understanding it, they are saying that man should expand the far end of the nervous system. It is particularly the so-called intellectual people who believe in the limitless potential of the mind.
The possibility of moving this Line makes man what he is. It is this possibility that fuels all of man’s dreams. In the past you may have taken some of my comments on the dreams of humanity as an attack on the folly of mankind. But this dreaming — these cries of “Things are getting better!” and “There is no limit to what we can do!” — are part of the continual, mechanical growth process of the nervous system itself.
The pulsating electrical energy that keeps people alive can be seen and felt. You can begin to understand for yourself the literal truth of this continuous, circular energy flow through learning how to feel your own nervous system. Simply look, in an impartial manner, at what goes on within you. The energy that keeps you alive moves up to a certain point and when it has run its course — when there is nowhere else for it to go — it diffuses. Energy traveling this path, electrical energy at the upper end of the nervous system, is what passes for ordinary intellectual activity.
It does not take twenty years of observation to see this process. You must See it; you must have some absolute knowledge of the fact that your thoughts are like a tune you are continually whistling. Whenever you have company, the melody shifts to a different, familiar tune. But once they leave, it’s back to the same old whistle. You never classify these melodies, because they are what passes for you. The constant pulsing electrical energy is like one of those cheap plastic fountains you can buy. The water circulates through a little fish or mermaid and you never have to refill it. The energy that runs you recycles itself over and over; you think the same thoughts again and again. How do you know “you”? Nobody knows what they look like physically. If you had to draw yourself and a number of other people from memory, the worst sketch you did would be the self-portrait. If anyone ever taped you while you were unaware of being taped the resulting video would produce a distinct shock. On this obvious level, an ordinary person’s knowledge of himself is not what he assumes.
So how do you know — really know — who you are? The answer is familiarity with your nervous system: “I know what I think.” Everyone is most familiar with the repetitious, pulsing flow of energy through their mechanical circuitry. You cannot talk to an ordinary person about this, because you encounter the old problem of using the Yellow Circuit to talk to the Yellow Circuit. You say, “You are locked in a room.” And the Yellow Circuit tries to process this: “Let’s look into the matter. I believe in scientific inquiry.” But it runs all the way around the room and comes back saying, “You are wrong.” There is no other possible answer for the Yellow Circuitry, because it is the walls; it is the locked door; it is the ceiling and the floor of the room.
Another way to Consider the impossibility of an ordinary person knowing himself from Line-Level down is to picture the mind as a fence. Visualize a limitless field, a vast expanse as far as the eye can see. That is consciousness, in the beginning. But the only way the mind can begin to operate is if this field is fenced in. The fence is the operational intellect, the Yellow Circuitry; it is made up of facts, of experiences. If you try to tell the mind, “You are fenced in,” the consciousness of the fence, the electrical charge, will run around the perimeter and return saying, “We’ve surveyed the whole property and there is no fence.” The mind is its limits. The fence sees no fence because it is the fence. And what ordinary people — everyone operating at Line-Level — assume is self-knowledge is nothing but their familiarity with the thoughts they think over and over.
Consider this another way. Everyone has had some experience of the feeling that your connection with This Thing might in some way make you lose your mind. Maybe you were just sitting around one day and suddenly, it was as though you did not know who you were, or you had almost ceased to exist. This is a frightening feeling. But I simply tell you that if you are properly attracted, your connection to This Thing is not going to harm you. The experience you may have had was that you were not thinking like “you.” This reminds me of a waitress I used to know who said she had to concentrate constantly, because she couldn’t be sure that if she let her mind wander it would come back.
But what is the actuality behind the phenomenon called “losing your mind”? What is it you think you can lose? It is this flowing, familiar current — it runs up, hits the Line, and you think the same old thoughts. You think the same old thoughts, even when you are in a brand new environment. Remember my story of the Holiday Inn Syndrome? Someone is thrilled to be visiting the Orient for the first time. But within a few hours — at most, a few days — he’s anxious to check into an American hotel with American food and American toilets. He wants to know what to expect. No matter where Fred is, he will go back to thinking Fred-thoughts. He has no choice. How long does any new thrill — a new home, a new job — last? It can’t last long, because you must continually go back to thinking the same old thoughts which give you the sense of knowing who you are. All new impressions coming in must be categorized and identified with the familiar thoughts you have always had, or you soon begin to feel you have lost something.
Just as an aside, I’ll tell you that at times in history certain groups of people became less engaged with the desire for something new. With just the slightest amount of real, radical growth in a man’s understanding, he is less and less inclined to play in traffic, and these people could be said to have loosened the grip of their mechanical circuitry somewhat. Such groups ended up with what might be called the Desert Island Syndrome — forming a closed school in the mountains or some other secluded place. And their living apart from the world was not based upon a “to hell with the world” attitude. It was more on the basis of, “what else is there?” But such a path does not lead anywhere except to a decent burial. Follow it, and people who knew you will speak kindly of you after your death.
If the attempt to ignite the higher portions of the nervous system is indeed like encouraging the farthest cells of a tree’s branches to grow, can you see why certain things are necessary? This tree — this physical Symbol — is you: it is your own nervous system.
Nothing is possible for a tree if it has root rot, and nothing is possible for you if you are continually sick in the lower circuitry. If all of the sap is continually draining into the lower parts of the tree — if all of your energy is used up just keeping the body alive — it will be a struggle for you to maintain a vital connection to This Thing. To even form such a connection, a person must have a certain minimal degree of health. And he soon learns that certain things are a waste of time. Eating too much, drinking too much coffee or alcohol, are simply a waste of time for one attempting to do This Thing. Such excesses waste not just time but energy. The sap in the tree can never reach the highest branches if it must wage a continuing battle just to keep ahead of root rot. You must keep the Red Circuit at a certain minimum, optimum level. Feed it, give it exercise; after that, leave it alone. This will not ignite higher areas of the nervous system, but it is an absolute necessity before anything else is possible.
You must also conserve energy in the middle circuitry. Avoid becoming engaged with what are really the passions of the body but are called “emotions.” It is useless to expend energy being negative and entertaining thoughts like, “I am being mistreated.” Such waste is as illness to Real Feeling — it is like root rot of the Blue Circuit. An ordinary man thinks the same thoughts over and over; he feels the same feelings, complains the same complaints, over and over. Notice that all of this falls into the realm of thinking the same thoughts: If you take away the verbal support for so-called negative emotions, what happens?
In order to do This Thing, you have to push your system to the farthest limits and beyond. So you must conserve energy everywhere, from the lowest to the highest part of what is normally “you.” You cannot afford to waste energy in meaningless battles on any level. You cannot afford to have to continually stop to patch up rotting roots or solve imaginary problems.
Stop the diffusion of energy. Be stable, right this second. Hold the energy — focus it — at the highest point of the nervous system. You can do that, or you can be Fred or Mary. If you focus the energy, you simply cannot be sad or angry, because the flow that would normally be running up to the Line, depleting itself and falling back down, is held. You are attempting to push blood and sap into areas of the nervous system that have never been used. To the extent you can do this, you cannot be you. To the extent you can do this, you find out there is a place you can feel — a place where you can focus energy — where you can be what everyone imagines to be superman. Because without the support of the continual diffusion of energy — without Fred thinking the same thoughts over and over — all of what humanity believes to be problems are simply irrelevant. Being superman is really nothing. All it is is being no-man.