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Transcript = See Below
Document: 8, January 28, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982
The diagram to the left is a map of the physical nervous system of man, and thus is a map of your individual nervous system as well. It consists of the spine (the lower, smaller circle and the crosshatched line rising from it) and the brain (the larger circle at the top of the vertical line). You will find the Horizontal Line of Consciousness represented in no other description of the human nervous system, since it is hidden from ordinary perception. It physically exists, nonetheless, and marks the upper extreme of the activation of the nervous system. It is the level of consciousness existing in humanity today, and it is the level of your individual consciousness; that which you call “I”. You must continually, objectively remind yourself that this map is but a depiction (albeit a fair one) of a physical actuality present at this moment within your own nervous system. The area of brain above the Line is the heretofore unactivated part of man’s nervous system. It is the unseen, untrodden realm of man’s future evolution, and the ignition of this higher area is, has been and always will be the raison-d’etre of This Thing.
The possibility of a man truly understanding something, getting a glimpse of the reality that lives above the Line, exists as long as he is not totally solidified, totally insensitive to the many viewpoints that Life offers. It is not a matter of a man suddenly and absolutely having his higher neural areas activated; it is a process, a continuing process of being able to See things. Life can be seen from a multitude of viewpoints, yet it is not a question of apparently different ordinary perspectives, such as whether you’re rich or poor, where you live, or how many hobbies you have. These are all just different places along the Horizontal Line of existence, where everything is limited, where everything is replanted and harvested in the same old soil, where there is nothing new to be learned. This Thing is beyond all that; it lies in a different direction: the vertical, upward direction where you are not limited to the self-feeding, self preserving limitations of the Line of Consciousness.
What I want to specifically address at this point is a slightly different way of seeing this process. For a man to truly grow, to keep himself in constant vertical movement, there are three necessary, simultaneous lines of study, three simple ways that can be described verbally. To wit: a man must study himself, a man must study Life, and a man must study This Thing itself. Those systems or organizations which ordinarily pass for being some form of This Thing are always limited to simply one of these three areas. While it is not this alone which keeps them from doing This Thing, the fact remains that at the ordinary level, people become absolutely immersed in one of the three lines of study. In the past it might be that a group was totally involved in a single area of apparently studying This Thing — their ideas of the gods, their ideas of “The Great Leader,” etc. Today, however, almost everything that goes under the label of “the search for enlightenment” is based on the study of one’s self. The “science” of psychology is a piece of the same machinery. No matter the time nor place, all such systems might ordinarily pass for some form of This Thing. And indeed they are reflective of This Thing, but they reflect only a piece of it. They are always limited to one viewpoint, one area of study.
An illustration of this can be found in those systems whose sole focus and method lies in a man attempting to “remember himself” and objectively study himself. Nobody understands what is involved in these attempts — other than the fact that nobody seems to be able to do it. You could work on “remembering yourself” for ten or fifteen years, and what would you gain from it? What would you discover? Without a certain step in another direction (which is of course a step above Line-Level consciousness), the only thing that a man could sincerely say is, “I have made careful observations, I’ve tried all kinds of tricks, and I receive one message more and more clearly: that I am an absolute machine locked into a larger machine, completely helpless. It used to be an idea, a theory, but now I see it is true, etc.” So what!? What has a man got after that? You must sense beyond words that you cannot stay, after a certain length of time, with an imagined single focus, such as the attempt to “study myself.” What profit is there in such “knowledge”? You can’t just stop and say, “Well, now I have enough information; I see that I am an idiot and I see that I am a machine.” Neither can you continue forever in one direction: “I see that I am an idiot and a machine, and continuing to reinforce this observation will eventually lead to a major breakthrough.” It will not. Something else must occur. You must begin to think in a certain way, not to please me or anyone else, not to support some philosophy. You must begin, in a sense, to teach yourself, except that you don’t know how it happens. It is not a matter of sitting down and taking all the information you’ve accumulated, piecing it together and coming up with “The Secret.” You can’t “figure it out.” That’s just not the way the process works.
All the pieces will fit together to produce the secret, but in a most unexpected, completely surprising way; in a way Line-Level consciousness could never predict nor comprehend. And you must use all three areas of study — without putting words on it, without coming to “conclusions,” else you’ll be left with the same old recycled information, and you will have learned nothing new. There must be something else involved, something beyond the current limits of ordinary consciousness. And that is why I tell you that those who have ignited their nervous systems above the Line can study and enjoy and learn from a multitude of viewpoints.
Now let me try and describe something inside out: below is a diagram of what actually occurs in the nervous system as the electrical energy flows through it. This lateral, electrical energy rises to the limit of the nervous system’s activation, which is also the level of man’s development thus far. Energy rises to the Line of consciousness — as far as it can ordinarily go — and at that point it is diffused.
Now, the term “being engaged” is one which everyone should have some notion of from your own experience. It is a matter of being so involved with something internally, some thought, idea or emotion, as to literally be affixed to it. Now let me describe this to you in a different way, from another viewpoint. Referring again to the diagram and the diffusion of energy within the nervous system — remember that although this is a two-dimensional diagram, it is the best description available of the way ordinary consciousness operates — the energy rises up the nervous system like water being shot up in a fountain. The pressure is precisely determined so that the water-cum-energy rises to a certain predetermined point, and then falls back down, diffusing in a three hundred and sixty degree pattern around the fountain. Within your nervous system, this “diffusion fountain” is constantly pumping and pulsating, even when nothing in particular seems to be happening. If I were talking to you and suddenly left the room, you would probably just sit there idly. But you’re not “just sitting idle.” The energy continues to pulse through your system, consciousness still functions. In this state of “nothing-in-particular-happening,” Line-Level consciousness is left free of immediate duty. It’s the same condition you are in when your activity requires only mechanical, automatic attention (driving, for example). And in this state, the electrical energy of the nervous system is almost perfectly diffused in that three hundred and sixty degree pattern; you’re neither happy nor sad nor hot or cold; you’re just kind of blank — except for the fact that Line-Level consciousness still operates, like an old radio in the back room.
In this relatively non-engaged condition, the fountain of energy rises to the Line and falls in this almost perfect pattern. So what is “being engaged”? Being engaged is this same energy manifested in the form of what people would normally call “attention” (what people synonymously refer to as “themselves”). When your attention is drawn to something, the energy is suddenly not falling in the perfectly diffused three hundred and sixty degree pattern.
As an illustration, take that perfect circle which is formed by the diffusion around the fountain, and mark it off like the face of a clock; twelve o’clock, three o’clock, etc. Then let’s say that your attention snags on an internal or external “something.” Perhaps you have recently discovered that your old friend Fred has cheated you out of something important. That old radio in the back of your head could be a real radio in the car you’re driving, and a song comes on — something about “oh my baby, she ran off with a truck driver…” Perhaps momentarily you’re reminded that ol’ Fred used to drive a truck, and the perfect three hundred and sixty degree diffusion of energy wherein you where engaged with nothing in particular shifts a little bit towards three o’clock, to the quick association of Fred and the truck driver. And then this goes on by, without upsetting the pattern to any great degree. Suddenly, however, you remember what Fred has done to you, and you become angry — your attention is roused, and you are no longer in that unengaged state. It is as if the fountain becomes tilted; instead of all the energy falling in a perfectly symmetrical pattern, now a great preponderance of it falls strictly in the area of, say, eleven o’clock. The energy is no longer simply diffused as before. It is now focused; it is localized. You are thinking of Fred and planning your revenge and the focused flow continues in one direction: “I’ll make anonymous phone calls to his wife and tell her he’s playing around… I’ll call his job and pretend I’m his bookie.”
You may be thinking of these horrible things to do to Fred, and yet the apparently strange thing about it is that there is a certain sense of joy in it all! Forget any notion of being demon-driven; there is simply a real, immediate sense of satisfaction in being so upset. It is almost as if “I have a reason to live!” There is no demon inside you; what is inside you is energy-in-process. And when that energy is contained and focused in one specific direction, it is pleasurable. It is physically pleasurable to the system.
You can feel the reality of this beyond words, though consciousness would no doubt rather die than admit to enjoying such heinous activities. But it’s true. And yet, how can that be? Neuralize this mechanical, pleasurable focusing of energy: at Line-Level, you could see it is a constructive act. It is the Line-Level system’s attempt to remember itself. The apparent form of the attempt may be “revenge!”, but the form doesn’t matter at that level. What matters is that the energy is focused; your nervous system feels temporarily complete, rather than just-kind-of-there-but-nowhere-in-particular.
It is still true, however, that the common consensus, even of ordinary humanity, is that revenge is not an ultimately satisfying experience. And it isn’t truly satisfying for the simple reason that you cannot really get “revenge”; it isn’t physically possible. I could describe this in other ways: you cannot truly fulfill or complete anything that is based on Line-Level activity. Try to carry out any of those plans for Fred, and you will not get anything that resembles the initial satisfaction of thinking about them. Suppose you actually did try to wreck Fred’s marriage as a vengeful act. The moment you attempted to act on your internal mutterings, instead of remaining attached to them, the energy itself would simply diffuse again. You would not get the same sense of mechanical enjoyment you got from plotting the revenge. Even if you actually managed to destroy Fred’s marriage, you would never even come close to enjoying it, because, as I’m suggesting to you most strongly, revenge is not the point! It was the focusing of the energy that was the point.
Consider why it is that no matter what a man is engaged with in Life — whatever apparently motivates him, whether it’s revenge, or trying to become richer or more famous — it is ultimately unsatisfying. This is because the energy never goes anywhere new. Line-Level consciousness is literally, physically like burned-out soil. It has been plowed up over and over, from pulse to pulse, minute to minute, day to day and year to year. It is the ultimate source of what is meant by the term “karma.”
As an individual human develops to maturity, the level of activation within the nervous system gradually rises until it reaches the Horizontal Line. And there it stops. At this point the soil of the brain is already burned out; you’ve already had months and years of the same thoughts, complaints and daydreams. You’ve already had a lifetime of being “you.” And by the time you’re grown — by the time your system is activated to the necessary level — you feel like it’s all over. It’s all downhill from here. Your Line-Level system almost realizes, without understanding it, of course, that henceforth it will never again encounter the new.
Every nervous system is literally, physically developed by Life to the point where the energy runs only through certain predictable channels, in a certain habitual pattern. And that pattern is you. The man who saves his money and finally travels to Greece soon yearns for a Holiday Inn: “I have to be around Americans, I have to be around someone who understands.” No matter the extremes of energy to which one exposes himself, it cannot travel outside his established activated pattern. Any new information, all crude attempts for a man to better himself, are drawn back into the same pattern. If a man attempts to ignite the higher areas above the Line by reading books, by collecting more information, he is doomed to failure. The tiger eats the information and it becomes part of the tiger.
Your Life-activated nervous system cannot be changed. A man may well undertake something new. He may expose himself to new information, yet that information-energy must fall into the pattern of Line-Level consciousness. It runs through the same old connections and ends up in the same old places. It simply becomes more of him. He can change the names; he can apparently have a new idea, and perhaps even claim that he is a new man. But he has done nothing more than rearrange the alphabet blocks on the floor. There is nothing new to the Line-Level system, because it can see nothing new.
Now, given this apparently hopeless state of Line-Level affairs, what happens in the process of This Thing? What happens when one truly attempts to activate his nervous system above the Line? He must learn to focus himself internally. He must learn to catch the energy before it is diffused, and to simply hold it. (Again, you have to try to get a taste of this beyond the definitions of the words I use to describe it.)
These moments of simply holding the energy are the ultimate satisfaction. They are satisfying for one reason, and this is but one description: you’re not letting the energy fall back in it’s habitual patterns. You’re not plowing the old soil over and over. You simply hold the energy and try to find the multitude of viewpoints, to look upon things without thinking of them; to See without looking. You do not let the energy diffuse into the Line of consciousness; rather hold it, and focus it into the virgin soil above the Line. This is the literal process of a man igniting the higher neural areas. All the old dreams and descriptions of cosmic states and enlightenment are talking about one thing: energy rising into areas of the brain that are absolutely new and uncharted. That is why This Thing is truly satisfying: it tends fresh soil, soil that has never yet been used. It is not a matter of “you” going there; what you conceive of as “you” is back at Line-Level, along with the rest of humanity. It’s the pleasure of going beyond everything you have always called “personality,” beyond all words and descriptions, beyond all ideas of gods, beyond everything you’ve ever known. It’s many times the fun for the same amount of effort.
You should have some idea that what people call understanding is not understanding; real understanding always produces real change. It produces a nervous system alteration. I’m not just playing with words; there is a difference between the understanding that comes with true Vertical growth and the knowledge that is available at Line-Level. There is no knowledge from any source, any professor, discipline or science at Line-Level that is comparable to igniting your own nervous system above the Line of consciousness.
This Thing produces growth, whereas nothing available at the ordinary level can. By growth I am talking about real change, which is the very thing that is not possible under ordinary conditions. At Line-Level, all you can do is diffuse the energy into a different channel: you can change the name, you can go from being a religious fanatic to a fanatical atheist — which is no change at all. The satisfaction of beginning to See (even though you can’t tell anyone) is the satisfaction of growth. You begin to produce nervous system activity where there was none, above the level of “you,” above the level of all humanity. And everything at Line-Level simply becomes irrelevant.
Consider why I have brought up two apparently different themes here. First, the description of how energy actually works when you’re “engaged,” and how under ordinary circumstances, the condition of being engaged is pleasurable to the nervous system. But it is a mechanical pleasure, produced by a mechanically effected focus — an accidental focus, a focus that is beyond your control. The pleasurable sensation results from the fact that while one’s energy is normally randomly diffused, the focusing concentrates the energy and prevents it from being completely diffused. As tacky as that may sound, it serves a necessary purpose: it provides a certain physical stimulation. And yet it is never truly satisfying.
Secondly, the description of simply beginning to See things, of moving beyond words: you cannot really talk about such an experience, because to do so is to let that which is limited and mechanical, i.e., consciousness, describe something it is ignorant of. And yet these glimpses above the Line are the ultimate satisfaction. It is satisfying because it does not feed Line-Level consciousness, because it does not walk through the same literal, physical ditch over and over. It is newer than brand-new; it is the physical future, and it is also the ultimate addiction. What else could you ask for?