Riding The Roller Coaster With Life As Your Ally
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RIDING THE ROLLER COASTER WITH LIFE AS YOUR ALLY
Document: 72, July 7, 1983
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1983
I am now going to move in a direction that sounds as though we are talking about this thin cracking veneer that everyone feels to be themselves. Even though everyone who is attracted to This Thing feels they have an identifiable enemy to begin with — this “something” that is me — once you get a glimpse of it, you see that this is not correctly viewed as an enemy. As I expand on this, remember that though we are apparently talking about this thing that seems to be oneself, we are in fact talking about the total organism and how it is connected to everything else in the grid system of Life.
Here is another temporary map of the nervous system and its relationship to Life. Every man or woman has a radical self which comes from the Primal Flow — as opposed to the apparent personality which is operating at the higher end of the nervous system and which humanity believes is acquired from the pressures of Life. What I mean by a man’s radical self is his nature — not the “something” that seems to be him — and this radical self is not truly open to change. For example, a man may be born with a great amount of what people call fear, and that cannot be altered.
Everyone is born with a weak seam. It is a weak spot. If you look at toys or other objects that have been made by injecting plastic molding, they always have a little round spot where the injector shot the plastic in. Another crude reflection of what I am describing is the Greek story of Achilles. He was dipped into water which gave him special powers and preserved him, but he had one weak spot — where he had been held — the Achilles heel.
Everyone has — in their radical nature — a weak seam. It can range from what would appear to be a weakness for alcohol to a terrible temper or a tendency to be jealous or fearful. But it is a literal part of your make up; you are born with it. In the injected, molded piece of plastic that seems to be you, there is one place that is never as strong as everything else. And it serves a distinct purpose.
I do not mean that you have in some way been affected by Life in what are normally referred to as psychological areas. Instead try to consider the total organism from the lowest to the highest circuitry. In this total organism — somewhere in you — is a weak spot which serves a particular purpose. I am not going into this in detail, but it’s purpose has to do with the circulation of the Primal Flow and with maintaining the organism’s stability. It also has to do with the fact that an ordinary person ends up feeling, just as they should, that this weakness must be attended to. The feeling can manifest itself in a number of ways, from a few people believing they are trying to find This Thing, to all of humanity reading self-help books or going to church, or a man telling his wife, “I’ve got to stop drinking on the weekends. I’ve got to change.” It is the constant feeling in humanity that some problem must be attended to. Not that they in some objective, final way attend to it, but rather that they are constantly worrying that something should be done.
This description is incomplete, but it is almost as if there is an influx of the Primal Flow into the organism, and then a release. The weak spot is like a safety valve, a hole where something keeps seeping out. And everyone feels like it must be attended to, even if the attending only amounts to saying, “This is terrible and I can’t continue to live like this!”
If you can Consider this rather than trying to decide based on what you have collected in the way of psychological explanations, you should have some idea of what the weak spot is in you. Do not look for anything strange or esoteric. Try something like, “I stay mad all the time.” All of humanity — which includes everyone at the ordinary level of consciousness — tries to attend to this weak spot in some way: “I’ve got to understand this. There must be some psychological explanation .pafor it.” But what I am suggesting you Consider is that there is no explanation for it.
It is simply a fact. It is the way humanity is made; there has to be in each person one spot where a certain aspect of the Primal Flow is released to keep that person stable. Part of the Primal Flow keeps seeping through this spot and it centers everyone’s attention around it. And it may be anger, fear, self-pity, envy — any of a number of potential energy drains. You develop the feeling that this is where I live. Once you get a glimpse of this, you will be confronted with the question of whether it is possible to differentiate between a moving force and a resisting force. Because if someone tried to stop up this hole — to stop this thing that you seem most ashamed of — unbelievable screams of protest would issue from you, though you would not know why.
Over the years I have been asked many questions about time, and I am going to discuss some aspects of this that you might Neuralize. People often express certain ideas along the lines of, “Man is too emotional and if he could in some way contain his emotions, he would be more conscious.” They begin to sense some problem having to do with their immediate, apparently emotional response to everything that happens.
That which people call their personality is synonymous with time. This makes almost no sense verbally, but try an example: you are sitting under a tree by the road. A truck goes by, the driver leans out and yells, “Hey, fatso!” and there is an immediate reaction to it. Now, people who have dreams about becoming more conscious can believe that in some way this reaction is a grave mistake, that it is some evil habit they have picked up which must be attended to.
While Neuralizing this example, picture Life as a great grid with invisible wires connecting everyone. There are variations from nervous system to nervous system, depending on the circumstances, but all nervous systems are designed to react in a very timely manner to the movement within the grid. If an ordinary person is sitting by the road when the proverbial pickup truck goes by and someone hollers, “Hey fatso!” and they react immediately, there is nothing wrong. All of humanity would have such a timely reaction.
Let’s say you are in a bar when suddenly someone gets rowdy and your nervous system begins to react to it. The most important thing to notice is the immediacy with which this happens. It’s not a question of you pondering, “What is it in my past that makes me so susceptible to this?” It’s not anything in your past. It’s your nervous system tied to time, and it responds immediately.
Beyond warning against hostility, in the beginning there is little to say to people involved in This Thing about their so-called emotions. The “emotions” are almost impossible to deal with at first, because the very thing in the nervous system that is attempting to listen is built into time — into Life’s grid system. You would be insane if you did not — as you have called it in the past — “emotionally react” in an immediate manner to someone shouting at you.
What ordinary people refer to as time is tied to their level of consciousness — to the nervous system — and with any ability to rise above that nervous system, you can literally alter time. There you sit by the road and the guy in a truck drives by hollering and it is as though you can stop the whole scenario — freeze frame it — and, at your leisure, ponder what is going on. You can actually stop what feels to be your eyeball to eyeball connection with everything that happens. Any of you who have used marijuana have experienced how it seems to distort time to an unbelievable degree. Now I am telling you that without the benefit of drugs, what seems to be time can be altered. It can be manipulated.
But your apparently emotional reactions cannot be manipulated at the ordinary level of consciousness. They are the result of this nervous system naturally and correctly responding to its environment. When the grid system moves, the nervous system — which is directly tied to it — also moves. There is no question of going back into the system and in some way changing this situation, because it has not been caused by anything in your life. It was caused by being born; it is caused by having a nervous system. Even if you begin to be conscious above the nervous system, it still reacts when the truck goes by and the driver yells. It still reacts — but it is no longer you. In a sense, you have stopped it — the truck, the other cars going by — and your nervous system is no longer tied to time in the same way.
There are actually two categories of reaction. If you were sitting next to someone who weighed 300 pounds when the truck driver yelled, “Hey fatso!” your nervous system might assume they weren’t talking to you and wait for the other person to get mad. But the category I’m calling a timely reaction is the immediate response: Within the grid system — the environment in toto — things moved in such a way that you were actually jerked. Your nervous system was physically, chemically, electrically jerked. But ordinary people think of this as a psychological reaction, believing it’s something that must be attended to: “If I am ever going to be a better person, I can’t go around letting some drunk in a pickup truck make me mad. I’ve got to change this.”
Another approach is possible. In order to take it, you must be able to do something about that seam in you, that weak spot. You can do something about all the feelings that this nervous system has, speaking through its weak spot — all of what seem to be the terrible circumstances, the forces acting out of control, the apparent internal problems and weaknesses. What you can do is turn Life into a helpless ally. In the equation, “I + Not I = Everything”, we are speaking of what seems to be the “Not-I”. You can turn that into an absolutely helpless, hapless ally.
At the ordinary level, all people feel that Life is in conflict with them personally. It is as if you and this demon Life are on a roller coaster, sitting side by side in the little car, with just enough room for both of you. Imagine this thing — the “Not-I” totality of uncontrollable forces — sitting there. You live with the feeling that all it’s got to do is lean toward you and sneer and the roller coaster goes faster, or raise and eyebrow and the curves get more acute. You constantly feel as if the roller coaster is about to fly off the track.
This is a fair description of how everyone feels; that I am trapped here with this huge creature. Sometimes it may ignore me for a little while and I get to take a breath. But the bar is strapped across us, and it constantly just looks my way and grins, and suddenly — I didn’t believe a roller coaster could go this fast!
No amount of dreams or reading of mystical books is going to change the radical nature of the feeling that you are trapped with this thing on a dangerous roller coaster. Consider the sensation of sitting beside a great blob of an enemy that’s scaring the hell out of you: the blob’s in control; where it goes you are carried and you can’t seem to slow down, jump off, or even reason with it. That feeling is not psychological. It is related to the weak spot — to where you were injected into Life. Of course, you know where it’s all going to end, but between here and there you can see no escape.
As long as a person is in that position, life is a frightening blur. It is the physical — not psychological — sensation that, “I am trapped and there is no way out this side of death.” So if you are ordinary, you are constantly in the condition of resisting Life. You disagree with it. You don’t understand it. It is felt to be an oppressive enemy. Life is a constant process of resistance until an ordinary person hits that final place along the track known as “grave city” and suddenly realizes, “I am about to die like a dog and I have no idea what happened.”
But can you conceive of riding with this thing and enjoying it? Can you picture another scenario wherein you are sitting there with Life and when it smiles, you smile, and there is nothing it can do? It is literally your helpless ally. Instead of being carried by it, when it leans your way, you just lean with it. It goes faster and you go, “Whee!” Once you get to that point, it’s as if Life has a slight sense of humor. It leers and you learn to leer back. When it takes you around a dangerous curve you can, at least non-verbally, go, “I like that! Can you do it again?” And the reality of Life itself becomes a living, teaching experience. But you cannot learn — you cannot enjoy the ride — as long as you are sitting there with the feeling that you’re being carried and there is no way out.
Here is another picture: Is everyone aware of the fact that for something to travel through the air from one point to another it must have a certain kind of continual motion? If you try to throw a ball without putting any spin on it, you have no control over it. A spacecraft traveling from earth to the moon does not go in a straight line. There are too many forces involved; it has to continually correct its path. Without a certain kind of continual movement, there is no control.
Ordinary people believe they are in motion the same way they believe they are in constant conflict with the thing sitting beside them on the roller coaster. They feel they are in conflict with Life but, in the sense I am pointing to, there is no movement going on. A person is like a ball that has been thrown out with no spin whatsoever. Once it leaves the hand, it is gone and there is no way to predict what will happen. The velocity of the pitch — that is, their injection into Life — throws everyone with almost no movement into the circumstances of Life that are exactly appropriate to their nervous system. On the grid — this giant softball field — the pitch operates and moves simultaneously with the surrounding air currents.
By attempting to do This Thing, you are starting to put a certain kind of motion into yourself — an internal motion that is in conflict with the way in which you were thrown out onto the field. Attempting to do This Thing puts you into an unnatural spin. And only then do you have any control, because only someone attempting to do This has any friction with Life (of an unnatural kind).
Ordinary people believe that Life is nothing but friction. Yet the only people who have any momentum — the only people who have any real friction with Life and, consequently, any control — are those attempting to do This Thing. But notice that all you have to do is drop back to your ordinary level of consciousness and the situation seems to be exactly the opposite. You feel that “I” am in conflict and continual friction with Life, while you are actually at rest and in harmony with the circumstances. By the time you have reached the age of maturity, your nervous system is in complete harmony with its surroundings. There is the pitch, and you find yourself on a certain part of the field going in a certain direction with no spin on the ball. You are operating at the right timely speed — being carried by the prevailing currents — and there is no friction. The only way to understand the situation is to undertake This Thing and find out what real friction is. You find out that it is easy and natural to spend your life worrying about your weak seam and how, “I’ve got to attend to this,” but that you have never attended to it. And when you attempt to you find out why.
There is no way to have stability or control unless you keep an unnatural spin on yourself. This means not being operated by Life; not moving with the prevailing currents on the field. If you do not keep a certain spin on, you will always feel, “I don’t know what’s going on, I can’t decide what to do next.” When you feel that way, you are back floating. There has to be a momentum going on internally to furnish friction or else you are out of control.
Momentum and real friction are synonymous. One reflection of this is the attempts by ordinary people to literally or figuratively wear hair shirts. People try to give up certain foods or behaviors because they sense that, “If I do something that is an inconvenience to me it makes me feel better.” It does give people a passing feeling of some momentum, but it does not bring them any closer to the reality of This Thing.
“There is no Control without Momentum.”
That would be a good tattoo to put on your allegorical body. You have to have unnatural, internal motion. You have to have something on the ball — some kind of spin — it does not matter what. It doesn’t matter whether you throw a curve ball or a slider, whether it breaks to the left or the right. It is simply that internally you must do something. If you don’t, you have no control and you are back to feeling trapped on the roller coaster. You are back to feeling in constant conflict with Life when your actual position is just the opposite. Everyone’s ordinary suffering is in absolute harmony with the way in which they were thrown out on the field. They are in exactly the right place in the grid; right out there on the playing field, traveling through the air out of control just as they should be. (Though as you may suspect, when I say “out of control” that means that everything is under control, but is apparently out of control.)
I often get questions about cause and effect and I have told you that humans do not cause other humans to do things. Let me stretch this out for you. Let’s go back to the example of the you sitting by the road when the pickup truck goes by. The driver hollers and your nervous system reacts with what people call hostility. Suppose you could freeze the action, grab the driver and ask him, “Why did you go by and yell at me — a stranger — and cause me to get mad?” And if you could do this, the driver might say, “You’re right, it was completely uncalled-for. But I did that because of what my wife just did. I’ve been working two jobs lately, trying to get the mortgage paid, and no sooner did I walk in the house tonight than she started bitching because I had stopped off for a beer.”
Without going any further, you see that under ordinary conditions, the truck driver could sing such a song and you would be ready to find his wife and blame it on her: “How could you bitch at the poor guy?” So suppose you go down the road to where he lives and say to his wife, “Why did you yell at your husband tonight?” She might say, “You’re right. I know what kind of pressure he’s been under. But to tell the truth, his mother calls me almost every day. She is driving me crazy, and she had just called before he walked in the door.” And the wife could tell such a good story you would then be willing to blame the mother-in-law.
Everyone can hear the validity of this type of example. But notice that the nervous system is not equipped to remember it. You cannot walk back out into life and remember this. You can’t be sitting under a tree and have somebody yell at you and, under ordinary conditions, be able to freeze it all and Consider it as one line in an endless “Because” chain of events. It is ordinarily impossible for the nervous system to remember and use this in any meaningful way. Even if you could remember, you could only see the most immediate, obvious connections, when in actuality you would need to Neuralize the entire Grid. All the organisms on this planet are tied together, but in any situation you can see just one or two possibilities. You never even think of the accordion player in Albania who’s dropping dead this minute and how it will affect you tomorrow.
The “B” chain of everyone saying “because” is built into the nervous system. It is also built into time in such a way that everything apparently operates in a direct line — that “Y” happened because of “X”. One interesting thing to Consider is that the nervous system attempts to use this “B” chain in a dual fashion. The way the “B” chain relates to “me personally” is different from the way it relates to everyone else. When the “B” chain is operating and it’s your turn to explain, there is no end to it. “‘I’ can explain why I did that: It’s because…” and the explanation goes to infinity. But when the “B” chain is operating through other people, when it’s someone else’s turn to explain, it is a different story. “I” holds everyone else responsible. It is as if there is no “B” chain running through another person — it stops with them — they are the beginning and end of it.
There is a kind of independence that comes from being able to understand this chain of apparent “becauses” operating on the ordinary level. The “B” chain functions on the basis of the nervous system attempting to hold everyone else in the grid. That is, it wants to take all apparent people as being a finality — as if there is no “B” chain running through them: “They have free will. They are responsible.” Yet, if we are going to talk about me personally, “I’ve got to tell you what the circumstances were.” Once you understand this, you realize that having no choice in the ordinary sense and being able to see that you have any possible choice makes no difference. It is the same thing.
Seeing this leads to independence. It is being able to ride the roller coaster of Life — to sit beside the thing that seemed to be your adversary — and smile because it is your ally. You begin to understand what this roller coaster is and you start taking in the sights. You are no longer frightened — no longer a ball that was pitched out of control. There comes a time when you realize that there are no great difficulties.
When you think, “I’m sure I could reach a higher level of consciousness if only my mother would quit driving me crazy,” that is somebody ordinary talking. But you aren’t supposed to notice. You aren’t supposed to notice the weak spot in operation, having its equalizing effect. Normally this goes by all kinds of psychological-sounding names. But Consider whether there is actually you the body, you the emotions and weaknesses, and you the spiritual, intellectual creature? What if all that is gibberish? What if it’s just the thing in the roller coaster leaning on you?
I want to remind everyone that there is a kind of loyalty, a certain dedication, that a person must have to do this Thing. It is not a personal loyalty to any individual or group. It is an absolute, untouchable, loyalty — to This Thing. It is the kind of loyalty that has to do with attempting to find your weak spot instead of simply being driven by the mechanical feeling that, “I must attend to this.” That feeling is circular and leads nowhere. You must see it for what it is and recognize that you may have been born a coward or with a weakness for alcohol. One tendency may appear to be a physical problem, another something else. But Consider again whether there is any such creature as the psychological self. What if all the apparent divisions you have been living with are absolutely incorrect?
Consider the case of an ordinary person who is filled with self-pity. At an early age, he ends up in a bar, has a few drinks, and feels better. Then he drinks until he becomes an alcoholic. It would be natural to ask, “What is causing this? Is it his self-pity — or was he born with an inclination to be an alcoholic and that caused self-pity?” But what if the answer is no answer? What if neither one of those answers is an answer? Remember: any time you see only two possibilities, something is hidden — you are leaving something out.
Do you not find it interesting that only one of two possibilities ever strikes consciousness? It’s either this or that. One must have caused the other. But something is missing; something that you cannot look at directly. There is literally a weak seam in everyone and to even approach seeing this you must Consider the total organism. Don’t simply look at your body, or any other apparent part. In the total organism, when it was conceived, there was a weak spot. It is real; it is not psychologically produced. Forget all stories of mistreatment during childhood, unrequited love and unsuccessful business ventures. There is a weak spot in everyone which maintains a certain equilibrium and keeps the person just who they are. You don’t see it — not because it is hidden, but because ordinary consciousness separates itself from that and takes it as being a “psychological problem”. Yet you can never go back and have it repaired. You cannot change the radical basis of your nature. But you can See it. And if you can See it, you can cease to be it. Of course, what would anyone be without their suffering, their seriousness, their weaknesses and their warts?
I am often asked to explain the difference between attention and engagement. What people call mental concentration is ordinarily what I call “being engaged”. That is the normal state of consciousness. Consciousness functions like a spotlight which illuminates first one thing, then another. Under ordinary conditions, your attention is held first here and then there. If you try to concentrate on doing a task and then suddenly attempt to be aware of everything else going on around you, you can’t seem to work efficiently. Attention is always going to be held somewhere. You cannot directly interfere with the ordinary circuitry. You cannot go down into the system and stop the ordinary attention that the circuitry has when functioning in the world. The only way out of this is to become conscious above that circuitry and not interfere with it. You can ride on the roller coaster and be talking to the beast — giving it half your lunch or whatever else it wants — and at the same time be aware of doing This. You can be involved in a quite mechanical, physical, electrochemical reaction and not be totally OF it.
Suppose you are out playing softball, just enjoying yourself. You attempt to observe and notice that you almost fell into a hole but your body is keeping a kind of constant attention about where you are. Then you become aware of the fact that farther up in the circuitry, there are voices wondering about how you look playing, whether you should have worn clean socks. If that’s all there was, you would be engaged. But you can be aware of the fact that it is all going on. There is no excuse for not attempting to be conscious above the ordinary circuitry. Only from that position can it be said that you are no longer engaged with whatever requires your utmost ordinary attention at any particular moment.
Remember, you are never going to change the basic nature of the system. It is rather a matter of rising above it, of being conscious in a place that is not necessary. The system is tied to time; it is tied to the Grid where it belongs and has already found its seat on the roller coaster. It has its inborn weak spot. But you cannot spend the rest of your life plagued by this. Whatever your weak spot was, it eventually becomes irrelevant, though it never goes away. It is like a constant tiger behind the door, a continual temptation. Consider the story of Jesus and the so-called temptations. Satan — the beast on the roller coaster — said to him, “Hey, you got a minute? You know, if you will stop all this foolishness I will make you king of the world.” The nervous system will always be there, no matter what level of consciousness you reach. If you fall off a curb high enough, you will always break your leg. If you cut your finger, you are going to bleed.
I am not saying this in order to pacify you into thinking, “It’s ok to be the way I am.” I am pointing to something else. What if all you take to be problems are not problems? What if problems are just an endless hobby designed to keep ordinary people distracted? Everyone is riding on the roller coaster and Life keeps alternately scaring them and feeding them cotton candy so they almost forget that eventually the roller coaster ride will come to an end.
You are not going to change your radical nature. But you can no longer be simply that.