Losing One’s Way
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Jan Cox Talk 2589 – Oct, 9, 2000
Notes by TD made 1-21-08 From mp3 audio
Suggested title: Losing One’s Way ?
00:12 Listening to an attempted intellectual treatment on public radio, a show exploring the depravity/redemption story of a working class rock star, (a story that has been around since Homer). It struck me that the intellectuals analyzing this pathos loaded story, sounded gushing & envious. I’m reminded of a story wherein the king of a medieval kingdom, Would dress up as a commoner and walk among the peasantry. Upon his return from these excursions, he would talk to his ministers about how he envied the common folk, free of all the responsibility of running the kingdom. One day, one of his ministers said to another, that the kings activity was immeasurably easier than would be, a member of the common folk who wished to be king to achieve such.
4:30 One of the rock star’s lyrics, “I lost my way”, jumped out at me. It occurred to me that the story of Ulysses could be much the same, he was a hero, lost his way and later found redemption. This is probably the second most popular storyline throughout history, the first being about sex or “lost love / found love”. For centuries, “I lost my way” has passed for the most insightful comment and the confession of losing one’s way, absolute proof of one’s deep philosophical insight. After all, evidence of ordinary people losing their way is everywhere. The only way that such a person’s story becomes interesting though, is in their rising up.
9:00 Does it strike any of you how remote thought is from itself? Thought being the only thing that thinks… You can find parallels between the functioning of any organs in the body, “the liver operates similar to the kidney in this or that aspect”. There is no parallel, there is nothing to which you can compare a thought. I encourage you to consider this because I have found this useful, not just interesting, but useful.
10:45 Thought being singular in what it does, how can it stay so far removed from the reality of itself? A man lost his way, no one ever questions it, if I hadn’t brought it up, the idea could have fit imperceptibly into the rhythm of your thoughts. There is nothing that might arise from the cortical area of a man’s brain that would come up with such a notion. You can not imagine that your lungs etc, (if they had consciousness) might think “-sigh-, I’ve lost my way on occasion…”
12:20 “I’ve lost my way” indicates several things, one is that the speaker knows there is a proper way to live and has strayed from it. People know that Losing one’s way has something to do with the consciousness of life. My question is: “how in the hell can you lose your way?”
15:00 You’re born into this universe, How can you lose your way? Your thoughts will say “well, its not simply mundane intangible physical problems that you lose your way in…”. Well, What are the examples? I say again, can you not see how far removed thoughts are from reality? To them, reality is themselves.
17:30 The basis for all religion is in the idea that everyone has lost their way. So come join the mother church and be restored. I don’t know how anyone can look at that head on and ever fall for it again, consistently, at any rate. It has to be the height of what “being asleep” is. When you’re so entangled with your own thoughts that you take it as some insightful statement.
20:00 Consider, people of intellectual sophistication, expressing envy at the early hardscrabble life of this pop star, what a great life it must have been to grow up in a ghetto, father’s a drunk, mother beats you, etc. Where might I be today if only I had such hardships… What this represents, is that thoughts are never satisfied. If only I had lost my way and found redemption again. All it is, is thoughts in a guy’s head, who grew up with a platinum spoon in his mouth. No matter where thoughts are, they want to be somewhere else. Thoughts are never satisfied, and they consistently say “I’ve lost my way” until you ask them, “Well, how so?” Then they give you the brush off… assuming they’re polite.
23:30 Everyone understood the humor, albeit sardonic, of the king coming back from walking the streets with the peasants and wishing he could be one of them, while his attendant thinks “what a cheap expression, consider all of those poor saps who walk by the castle and wish they were the king, but have no chance”. What I’m pointing to is that some thoughts would appear to have the power to BE somewhere else. I postulate that every thought wants to be somewhere else. The purpose of conscious thought is to manipulate the physical environment to enhance our chances of survival, etc.
25:30 Conscious thought doesn’t see things as they are after the first glance, it sees how things might be different, better… What I’m saying is that if you look at your thoughts, they all want to be some other thought. How can a thought say “I’ve lost my way” on that basis?
28:00 OK, all of the thoughts want to be somewhere else, but out of all those thoughts there is one thought, to people like us, one thought that considers itself superior to all the other thoughts and says “I want to be awake. all of the other thoughts are asleep, I want to know whats going on and all those other thoughts are simply speculating at best. They are deluded, parochial, fragmented, lost, asleep, but I am not.
29:30 I don’t think that the word “exception” should be used, unless with the modifier “obvious”, as in “Obvious-exception” because it would make the use of the word “exception” annoy enough people that it might hit someone “Why the hell did they make that change?” Did it hit you? Not a partial, subtle or semi-exception, an obvious-exception. The obvious-exception is: how can that one thought, that says “I want to awaken” feel that all the others have lost their way, that they’re asleep, that they would be envious of this superior thought.
33:30 The idea that a person is fractured, changes from moment to moment, is not “whole”, as “being asleep” might just be an absolute cunnard. Unless you turn it backward on itself, where complete absence of any thought becomes a solid, defensible, permanent self. For the truly clear (empty) headed…
34:45 Its like the reverse of the peasants and the king, the thought that has the interest is like the peasant and all the thoughts that have no interest are like the king. They have the power to awaken and the peasant does not. Why would life arrange the cells in our brains such that we would come to this “sorry” pass. How can anybody lose their way? Its as ridiculous as the idea of wandering out of the universe. blasphemy is another one, to offend God… to lose one’s way… Your own thoughts are primed, You’ve got to feel it, that there is something indigenous in human thought that does not immediately reject that.
44:00 Thought does not seek advice as to what to do, it seeks only reassurance. It does not get informed or directed, the funniest part is for you to think that you need direction and help in order to awaken. Which Rabbi, Which Priest, which Psychologist in your thoughts can help you awaken? “Well”, you think, “The one thats most awake… The one that says ‘you’ve lost your way'” (laughs)
45:00 I leave you with a proverb: Waking up is the only undertaking to undertake in which the solicitation as to “how can I undertake this?”, is the undertaking itself. Trying to awaken is the only activity known to man, where having any idea how to do it will bar you completely from ever experiencing it.