Don’t Make Eye Contact with Sounds from the Sewer
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Jan Cox Talk # 2532 – May 31, 2000
Notes by DC
Suggested title: Don’t Make Eye Contact with Sounds from the Sewer
00:06 In the last few years, I have probably spent a lot of my mental time, in addition to all kinds of new things to do and ways to go about This, I’ve also spent an increasing amount of time — I’ll mention a few of them — pondering things that I don’t really know…”pondering” — they’ve crossed my mind — things I don’t know that if you can grasp any particular interest — or use out of, I should say. I always get something out of it, or I wouldn’t even consider relaying it.
00:48 I know it doesn’t sound like the party line…but to me it’s looking past it.
01:27 No one seems to have ever noticed that no person has ever offered, attempted a detailed description…of what being asleep is.
2:45 And for four or five thousand years you’ve had people just casually dashing off, songs on their lips… do I have to rub your face in the oatmeal? You don’t find that curious?…These people will go on and on. They’ll tell you their shoe size and what color underwear they wore and how many times they’ve been married, and all their personal problems. And they still don’t attempt to describe what they mean by being asleep?
04:21 Want me to go ahead and do it for you? Well, I should just leave it. I say to you — since all of you love mathematics and numbers — I say over 99% of the people that talk about being asleep never thought about what it was. Just like all of us when we started, they read about it, heard about it, “Man’s asleep,” and they said, “That’s it. Sign me up.”
05:01 Let’s take all of you as being, from my view, fairly archetypical for our time and place…do you realize when it comes to your emotional life, the way you feel — but what you emotionally are, which is closer to being a — if there was such a thing as — a real self as opposed to an apparent self, which arises from what goes on in the cortex, that is, thought based — it’s thinking rather than feeling — but do you realize when it comes to the way you feel, all it would have taken is just almost immeasurable…shifts in your hormonal balance and that you would have been too depressed…or too caught up in the ordinary pleasures of life to have been interested in this.
08:51 I’ll try to read some of the stuff I wrote. Instead of directly trying to stop thought, try looking over the heads of those thoughts to which you’re most naturally attracted.
09:01 When a man has some substantial awakening experience, it’s good for unjust occasions to befall him…you can try to be a guard who tries to bar the door to thought, or be a man who stands beside the door and does not look in thoughts’ direction.
10:10 It seems to me that there’s a limited time specific to each man in which he can profitably engage in analyzing his life. And once the saturation point is reached, he should cease making eye contact with thoughts that appear regarding his life.
10:35 Headline regarding the matter of the two things and the two selves…to be aware of feeling reveals a different awareness of thinking; that’s the whole purpose, that’s the intended trick.
10:57 From one view, a man’s feelings constitute his real self while his thoughts are the basis of his apparent one.
11:07 The way you trick a mirror into realizing its own nature is to trick it into not trying to look at itself.
11:16 The attempt to achieve E is a trick. The trick is to understand the circumstances that made the trick necessary.
11:24 At the bottom of everything is everything else.
11:35 Concerning unnecessary loss of looseness: anything that interests you, you have a feeling about. Anything you have a feeling about that you then talk about ensnares you needlessly.
11:52 What keeps you from having an untroubled Eye other than the past clinging mentally to you?
12:00 That we daydream is not so much the real problem as is the fact that in so doing we’re made more distant from our feelings. Thoughts blindly take over consciousness from feelings. Don’t be blind in the mind, and you feel. Feel, and you won’t be blinded by the mind.
12:21 A few words about words: If you say that Life is harsh, then you have made it harsh by so saying. And if you say that Life is not harsh, you have made a mistake.
12:35 Since no one word has any real meaning, the other 10,000 are made more astonishing.
12:42 Only he understands the nature of words who has severed his tongue at its root.
12:49 Life is not this; Life is not that.
A cat is a cat; a cat’s not a cat.
12:57 A single word can free you while the rest ensnare you.
13:01 To realize you’ve never said a word is to comprehend the nature OF words. (To realize that YOU have never said a word…It causes nervousness in some people when they…that’s why I don’t do the ultimate trick and make you realize it. I have never said a word.)
13:36 All it takes to go from thinking to feeling is to have a moment of meditation — whenever needed. This, indeed, is a subtle means to move away from your apparent self and closer to your real one.
14:20 Somebody [back in the last millennia or so] was already complaining…about people of his time being engaged in trying to become blocks of wood…that is, to sit around and not think.
16:05 Thoughts can explain anything, but never satisfactorily, since they’re merely reports and reminders OF things, and not actual things themselves.
16:22 In a curious way, being enlightened is a state wherein the unspeakable within you speaks for you.
16:35 While many there’ve been who said, “We should live solely in the present moment,” how many ever realized it may not be possible for thoughts TO live in the here and now, and that this can only be done by feeling?
16:47 Also, as per my latest model, you shouldn’t say that the goal is a new state of mind, but rather a new condition.
17:00 What ghosts haunt a man’s mental house other than memory?
17:06 To express no verbal comment is to behave properly. To have no comment is to be awake.
17:16 A question involving the following two poems:
#1 A man with no feeling
Seems quite appealing.
#2 He who does not feel
Has no appeal.
Now, which one do you feel is the more accurate?
17:35 One guy’s current view is this, “The entire manifestation of being asleep could be described on a personal level as doing more than is necessary at any given instant under any given conditions.” — (One day, Hansel and Gretel got up) — that to him was being asleep. And to be awake, or at least to beHAVE as being awake, would be never doing any more than is minimally called for by the circumstances. Thus, from his view, being asleep is an acting in excess, a domain overseen entirely by one’s apparent self. And acting in excess of what is necessary is the apparent self’s raison d’etre. This would also explain the frequency with which the few mention the tiredness they experience from being asleep. That is, you’re always doing more than is called for.
19:18 [Doing more than what’s called for] is talking about anything that’s not mathematics, or that’s not directly involved with a problem that you’re solving that is directly related to either your personal amusement or your survival, which, for some people, are synonymous.
19:41 About The Mind, Headline: There is the appearance of the mind and the reality of the mind, and anyone who says they understand the latter, doesn’t.
19:54 To be fully enlightened is to recognize the appearance of the mind and not be fooled that you understand its reality.
20:01 To realize the emptiness of an empty room is to awaken to its nature.
20:07 One man pondered, “Is there, in fact, a song of awakening? One, if which I sang, would produce awakening?”
20:45 Once he has turned the idea of awakening around in his mind to a degree sufficient to him, the worst thing that such a man can do after that is to think about his life.
21:01 If there is no immediate problem that has a possible, physical solution, there is no reason for a man seeking the goal to even be thinking about his life.
21:14 You live your mundane, moment-to-moment uneventful life by feelings with nothing thereabout for an awakened man to think about.
21:34 When you start you’re confused and unenlightened. Then you become enlightened and unconfused. But the big game is to be neither confused or enlightened. Those who accomplish this are the unknown hall-of-famers.
22:02 All men are a walking bundle of feelings. The only difference is, an enlightened man knows better.
[Refers to previous few sessions re “Feelings” model.]
23:57 Although from the classical mystics’ view, everyone who is not struggling to awaken is asleep, and in that such people rarely think about themselves from that perspective unique to mystics, they cannot be said to actually be asleep. You must be a person who consistently engages in thinking about yourself from an insider’s viewpoint to be asleep. Thus, curious as it sounds, only those wanting to awaken are asleep.
24:52 If the true sign of an awakened man is that you cannot discern his mind, how about between you and your own mind?
27:02 When you realize that feeling’s the thing, and not thinking, everything you ever heard about waking up makes more sense than ever.
27:36 Making eye contact with thoughts rather than looking to feeling is making ice so that you will have something to boil later to have water.
27:51 There is an approach that you can adopt, that you can invent for yourself that I call by the name of “Look Away”.
28:02 Only a total fool attempts to explain from his personal view what it is to ‘want to awaken’.
28:12 When asked about his place of residency, one man replied, “I presently live a bit north of my thalamus, but I’m attempting to relocate.”
28:21 There is a method that you can adopt as your own by which you “look away,” always looking up just over the heads of thoughts, off to the infinite horizon. And, P.S., keep the whole affair as non-specific as possible.
29:00 [When talking about ‘feeling’ I mean something even vaguer than people ordinarily do.]
29:14 …that rather than trying to deal with thought…that’s the only place that even hears about trying to awaken; that’s the only part of us, that is, the mind that is asleep. In the beginning it is the whole ballpark. It doesn’t matter that if you’re trying to play polo, baseball or football if you’re still in Dodger’s Stadium…it doesn’t matter. You’re playing in the same stadium, you’re playing in the mind.
29:55 The game is always resistance; you always are playing against the mind. That’s the stadium and you’re playing against what goes on in your so-called mind.
30:12 Ultimately, no matter how it’s fricasseed, you end up either trying to stop thought, or to bring thought under your control, by God.
30:46 How about growing corn in the mind?
31:22 It’s like saying, “How many years do you have to devote to absolute folly?”
33:59 Picture it this way…there is no way you can start out without in some way seeing mind as the problem…something must be done about the mind.
35:31 There’s another way to deal with it…feelings are what are rising up, and then thoughts come out of those…feelings start below the cortex and then they turn into thoughts. And so I see all…the attempts to work on the mind..[as] trying to keep the manhole cover on the sewer.
39:22 I can push my awareness sort of up to the top of my skull…but kind of glance up, and off. That’s what I mean by being more aware of feelings. But I don’t want to be any more specific.
40:02 But rather than to have any attitude toward the mind…no matter what they are…is you just look over their head. That’s what I mean by being aware of feeling: to take your attention off the mind…thoughts are still there…but don’t make eye contact.
41:22 If you look at thoughts directly, no matter what your intention is, it’s tar-baby time. It’s the only mirror in the world that has some sort of glutinous ability to hold your reflection…New Orleans voodoo mysticism…if you look any thought dead in the eye, it’s got you.
42:17 If you’re going to have a staring contest — in the past, I called it arm wrestling –if you’re going to have a tete-a-tete with thoughts, by god, you’d better bring an iron-clad tete for your part…don’t live in some instantly insane dream like “This time, I might win!”
45:00 [Italian at soccer match in Bristol, walking in Manhattan] But if you try not to make eye contact, that is a way to try and keep yourself uninvolved, unentangled from the situation with other people. I say that there is a way: that you just look off, you don’t make eye contact. Because once you do, it’s too late.
45:45 You can feel it…it is what I have been touting and encouraging in all of you for the last three nights. It’s a complete abandonment. When you can do it, it’s just an abandonment of the mind.
46:35 [You can hear the thought just on the other side of the door] It’s the pre-echo on vinyl records…you’re hearing what’s about to happen…you haven’t done anything if you’re not aware of that.
47:14 You can tell that you’re about to go to sleep. You know that you’re about to throw a fit. You know that some voice, some thought is about to just take over. If you look at your mind as being this nice, comfy den — I picture it more as an empty room, but some of you are more domestic than I am perhaps.
48:41 I may physically cut my eyes up above, as if somebody was standing here.
48:51 If you want to really get spooky with this, I can feel doing it, in my head.
49:49 Past a certain point, you need to quit analyzing your life.
50:46 Oh, I know how much fun it is and how profitable it’s been. So, I’m not saying you have to give it up forever, ha ha. As though I could say, “Give it up forever,” and you’d go, “Okay.”
52:01 What’s running your life is not your thinking, anyway; it’s your feeling.
52:26 The mind is always there, and it’s not going away…and you have damn little effect on it, no matter what you do. I mean, let’s get it out in the open. That’s from my view, and my experience.
53:11 Try and be aware of feeling. And one way is to look above the heads of thought. Look up, and look away.
55:29 Just cut your eyes, look above thought, and try and be aware of feeling…be aware of feeling, not how you feel. And it’s a trick. Because it will make you aware, in a new way, of thinking.
56:20 I have pictured…that I’m standing out on an open plain…the plain [plane] being, perhaps, the base of the cortex. It’s where feeling is right below the surface, and then there’s thought; and that’s the plain upon which I’m standing in my mind. But right below — as far as I can see, there’s nothing. Not a cloud in the sky, it’s just horizon as far as you can see, and there’s no one there but me, and the voices from the sewer, or, if you prefer, the figures of thought. And they’re popping up around me. But, if you don’t make eye contact, they’re not really there; they’re like vapours….
58:13 I’m standing there, absolutely buck naked — nothing, there’s just a plain as far as you can see, and yet, there are these pre-images, these pre-sounds all around me. And all it is, is my thoughts, the thoughts that are in me. And I have wrassled them; I have cajoled them; I’ve played cards with them; I have done everything. Now, I’ve told you almost everything I’ve ever done with them, almost everything: things that seemed profitable, things that — there’s another way. And that’s just to look up and away. Look over their heads. Do not make eye contact. And you can’t think anything about them, or you’re not being aware of feeling. You just have to look over their head, you just have to ignore them. I hate to be that crude — in fact, I withdraw the word “ignore”…remember: “I’ll be aware of feeling.”
59:40 And I’ll be put-in-a-bucket-and-kicked-around astounded if you don’t get something out of it. Just try it. It’ll empty you. And it’s more than momentary. I find it to be the most agreeable, the most prolonged and beneficial, describable thing that I have ever done.
1:00:08 Is that the truth?
Are you sure?
It’s hard to tell.
But you think that’s true, that that is the most beneficial?
Yeah, yeah. It was until you kept asking me about it and now…now I’m back in the sewer with ’em.
1:00:39 To stink or not to stink.