The Stanley Cup of Enlightenment
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Jan Cox Talk # 2536 – June 9, 2000
Notes by DC
Suggested title: The Stanley Cup of Enlightenment
00:06 I think of all the novels, short stories, novellas and half-act plays that I have written and presented here, I think this will stand alone.
00:32 The question is can we — can you stand alone?
00:39 Opening fact: the worst affliction possible for a man who wants to know what’s going on is to be consumed with seeking the truth. If you know what’s going on, there is nothing in life that is not true. But if you’re ordinary-minded and see life through your thoughts about life rather than seeing it as it is, then there are many things that seem to you to be untrue. And this is the basis for you seeking enlightenment. Seeking the truth is one thing, fine as it may be, but understanding the foolishness inherent in seeking the truth is the Stanley Cup of enlightenment hockey.
01:34 When your head is clear and your eyes wide open then everything is true to you. And when everything in life is true, what complaints can you have?
01:50 Once you see the truth, you have no complaints, especially about yourself. To have complaints about yourself is to believe there’s something untrue about you. Could anything be more foolish than that?
02:17 I think we should all repeat it to ourselves: “If I’m asleep, if I’m of ordinary mind I believe there is something about me that’s untrue.” Ha, ha, ha.
I see that the Stanislawski method is wasted on you people.
03:21 Seeing that you shouldn’t complain is one thing, as proper as that may be, but not complaining to yourself about the propensity TO complain is the Pulitzer Prize of metaphysical journalism.
03:35 Another name for full enlightenment would be full acceptance of reality.
03:43 Consider again my model. Foist, things are as they are. Then men think about things and then describe how they think that things are. Then other men learn of these descriptions of how things are and they think about them and ultimately describe what they think about the previous men’s descriptions of what they thought about how things are. And this repeats, over and over again, until before you know it you have — voila — you have mythology, philosophy, religion, history, literature, all of the arts and other features that make up civilization and man’s life beyond the mere physical subsistence.
04:38 But for those with our specialty aim, what purpose is served by looking at how things are through your thoughts about how they are, rather than simply seeing them as they are? It always results in confusion and frustration, so what’s the point?
04:59 Everyone already physically lives an enlightened life; why not do so mentally? There is no down side thereto. Only UP.
05:14 In the midst of routine, civilized existence, it is as though the muse, Metropolitas (I made her up) is always on a corner hawking. “Glasses for sale. Glasses for sale. Get your glasses right here.” Either look at things as they are or else look at things through the glasses of what you think about how things are. On the surface, the cost of either is the same, but for those who hunger for that certain something else, the apparent equity is a most expensive illusion.
06:00 The theme song of ordinary men and their ordinary minds could be “Let’s think about think; let’s talk about talk. Let’s talk about think and let’s think about talk.” And the concluding chorus could be “It’s all about describing other descriptions.”
06:25 Describing the physical world can be beneficial, but doing so of any other realm serves what, what useful purpose?
06:35 C’ness of the external world is one thing and profitable it may be, but c’ness of the internal one can, from a minority view, be quite perverse if not pathological.
06:53 Why think about life when it is not composed of thoughts but of what it is. Why talk about life, when it can speak for itself. Why describe life when it is right there, all around you to be directly seen with no comment required.
07:15 When your conception of how things are is determined by your thoughts about how things are you continually wonder WHY things are as they are without ever realizing that it is your looking at things through your own thoughts about them that is the sole cause of your wondering why they are as they are.
07:40 Men worry about being ignorant but never recognize that them being ignorant of the fact that they look at life through their thoughts about life is the source of all ignorance.
07:55 There is no such thing as ignorance. But being ignorant of this fact produces what men call ignorance.
08:02 Everything about being alive is far too simple to ever be seen through your thinking about it. The truth of it all, the simplicity of what’s really going on can only be felt and experienced and never adequately described or thought about.
08:21 Saying that everything is actually as plain and simple as can be, as accurate as that may be, is one thing. But you being so plain and simple that you never even think about it is the heavy weight belt of mystical wrestling.
08:36 All in all, you could say that the trick is to not make eye contact with your thoughts about life but simply take it in as it is.
08:55 You know, when it comes to the useless, the ultimate useless talking about all this I don’t know how it can get any more basic than these fine words that I read from some anonymous source just now. Because no matter how you think about it, no matter how you think I’m talking about it, no matter what anybody thinks about it, no matter what anybody’s ever said about it, all of this is about one thing. And that is seeing life as it is and not through your thoughts about what it is.
09:36 I guarantee there’s nothing more to enlightenment, awakening, the great liberation, satori. That’s it. How in the world can anybody think about it for forty or fifty years — or in some cases, think about it and write about it — how can there be some thousands of people right this minute all around the world sitting somewhere reading, listening, engaged in some apparent discipline, trying to achieve enlightenment?….[joke: “copticous” notes, Copaecia]…
11:15 You know I am not making light of all this because I’ve had a great ride with it. I can’t think of anything I would have swapped it for — well, not that I’m going to talk about in public…
11:34 I just can’t believe that it doesn’t strike some of you…to me, this is sort of the archetypal scenario of how it goes. A very sincere person, let’s say that you’re sitting, reading a book on how to awaken…you’re just very excited…and suddenly, you’ve got to go to the bathroom…and you should be clear headed and doing whatever it is possible for a man to do at that second, because that’s all there is…if you’re not standing right there, taking a piss and suddenly realize “This is it. This is eternity. This is my eternity. This is the only possibility, the only chance, past or present or future, that I’ll ever have to be more awake is just this second.” …
15:53 If we all feel like — we’re in the habit, we all drive over here and spend an hour…there’s nothing to say. There’s nothing for anybody to say. Having something to say is what puts you to sleep. Having something to say is being asleep. If you’ve got something to say, you’re asleep…this is all just entertainment…
17:20 …but to listen to me and actually let it have any effect…next thing you know — I hate to warn you — next thing you know, you’ll be listening to you; you watch it. Once you start down that road, you think, “Well, I’ll listen to one other person…”
18:35 I make a recommendation…if I’m playing with stuff, this is one of the stuffs I’ve found to be infinite in its possible payoffs. And that is the fact that there’s no such thing as something that’s not true.
20:07 How can you look at the universe…and it’s just — it’s right out there, it’s all around you…look at planets, red giants, black dwarves, black giants, green holes…look out at all of them, and then ask yourself, just — right quick, just let it hit you that “Everyone knows there are things going on that are not true.” And you look at that. What does ‘being true’ have to DO with anything? And yet, all you have to do is fall back in the maelstrom of your own thoughts and hell, half the thoughts you have, at least, are about things are not true.
22:19 If you’re awake, then everything is true.
24:21 There seem to be ways…to restructure your thinking to make your perception of life more accurate. [Peloponnesians/Athenians]
25:36 It would be taught that that is something worthwhile to work on…you can’t imagine Buddha being enlightened and still behind his back bad-mouth Pakistanis. Which would have been hard for him to do, of course, at the time…
26:23 It goes on today, that people are given tasks in all kinds of awakening-school milieus…it was something to do; it’s something to get you started. But the idea that you can restructure your thought or that it’s worthwhile even. You understand? It’s like magazines in a doctor’s waiting room…That’s what all this is. That’s what all of the literature on awakening is — how to awaken — it’s all magazines in the waiting room.
27:20 In particular, for tonight, what I’m pointing to is the attempt to work on your thinking, that ‘my thinking about life could be more accurate or less accurate’, and that sounds correct…[men wearing green trenchcoats with three eyes in their heads]
29:04 An enlightened man is not like that, but then to say, “Well, if I can undo my being like that, work on not being like that, then I’ll be enlightened.” Well, hold on there just a minute, Bunky.
29:24 I’ve got to add this parenthetically: if you can absolutely fake it, you’re OK…if you can absolutely pretend to be enlightened…I believe somewhere within between two and three days, then you’ll actually be awake.
30:42 To you it sounds correct, that “I have got to do something about my thinking this way.” But it is ultimately simply of no consequence…as horrendous, as perverse or obnoxious as your thoughts about other people may be…it has no more bearing on reality than your most innocuous…thoughts. [Once you get to where you can see the difference between life as it is and your thoughts about how things are, you realize your thoughts are of no consequence.]
32:22 There’s no way that you can refurbish, enlighten, wake up, liberate thoughts. That is not their nature. From one quite valid view there is no such thing as awakened thinking….as close as it can be is what I show up here and do…and it still has nothing to do with being awake.
33:47 If you are thinking about this whole thing…the more you think about it, the more likely that something will happen. But the truth is, as far as the particulars you’re thinking about — or, to put it crudely, it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to wake up by being a Zennist or a Sufi, or any thing. It doesn’t matter what damn method you’re studying. It does not matter.
34:33 If you were listening to somebody talk, and I was inferring someone who knew what they were talking about; if they knew what they were talking about, they wouldn’t be teaching a system. So there. I was right to start with, as always. You know why? Because everything’s true. I thought we’d established that.
35:07 I can talk for hours, non stop, no preparation. I can ask for a question, name a subject, and I can start talking. You know why? I mean, beside my innate brilliance. Because I don’t take it seriously…I’m not teaching a system. I’m not trying to get you to study some system. I’m not trying to get you to believe anything…if anything, I’m trying to get you to not believe anything…anything anybody tells you is a trap. Unless you can hear it and not listen to it.
37:37 How do you call it getting somewhere that you were singing to yourself, that you’re singing running commentary to yourself about Life, that is, the thoughts through which you’re looking at Life. Let’s say that your’s is in the key of C, and I go, “Come on. Let’s move up about a step and a half — La — to E flat…and your own internal singing goes from C to the key of E flat. And you think, “Hey! Now we’re getting somewhere!”…”Well, I’m through reading about this Sufi stuff. Now I’m going to read about Zen. Now I’m getting somewhere.”
38:38 “You can’t keep a good man down.” Walk out and look at the universe. Where is ‘down’? How am I being held down?
39:14 All that stuff I wrote, thinking about thinking: I changed the keys from my description of it Wednesday…”Hi, Erarchy”…here’s my hierarchy of the model: First, things are as they are. (I’m still amazed that I can say anything after that.) Things are as they are. Then men think about things. This is individually, and you can take it as being the history of mankind. Things are as they are, the universe, things. Before you got here, before humanity got here, we suppose, things were as they were. They are as they are; we get here, you get here. Things are as they are. Then men think about things….and then they describe, first to themselves, how they think that things are…
42:20 Without that, you have no secondary world…you have nothing that goes on in the head.
42:38 The descriptions of the the physical world, the external world are, without any doubt, potentially and usually, but potentially of great benefit to man. As I normally couch it, that is the original and radical purpose of c’ness, of thought — is to be able to deal with the physical world without having to put your hands on it for purposes of survival enhancement.
44:24 [But] what is the benefit, what purpose is served in descriptions of any other realm?…I’m including this kind of activity and all the descriptions that I’m always talking about, about the mind and what’s going on…
45:07 What is considered by any — by all intelligent people…what’s considered a sign of intelligence?…Self reflection…but the purpose of c’ness is to be conscious of the physical world.
47:11 That’s what the brain is doing, is gathering in and monitoring information coming in from the other senses, and being able to remember abstractly; to call upon its memory, to adjust its behaviour.
47:47 If I then said that c’ness of the internal world…is a waste of time…ask yourself, “What is the purpose of being conscious of c’ness?” What possible end is being served in doing that?
49:12 This daydreaming, the inner life that annoys people such as me…I say that that is simply when c’ness is not operating…at its optimum…and it lapses into singing to itself…flipping through photographs, memory files…And the other 6B people, ordinary people just more or less ignore it. People who are seeking enlightenment, they turn their full attention on it. “A man must know himself.”
51:50 That’s it: c’ness of your surroundings. C’ness flowing out of you like little rays of sunshine, little rays of invisible hands seeking information…being conscious of your internal world, of your internal surroundings is foolishness.
52:52 My whole observable life has been dedicated to that very thing, of being conscious, bringing my inner life to full c’ness so that it — so that I’m as conscious consistently of that as I physically am, the external world…but I can say…that that is foolishness. That’s not the point of c’ness.
53:24 It’s not possible. That’s why you can’t self remember; that’s why you can’t be mindful. That’s why the mind cannot conceive of itself whether you’re a mystic or someone in the cognitive neurosciences: it can’t do it.
54:10 What if…c’ness is not intended to be conscious of your internal world? It’s not even structured to do it.
56:53 If you realize, “Well, I’ve been an idiot,” then you’re instantly transformed to a whole new thing.
57:07 Oh, I know you’ll be in suspense all weekend. Alright. You’ll be an idiot who knows better.