What’s Thought Got To Do With It?
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Jan Cox Talk 2595 – Oct 23, 2000, copyright Jan Cox,
Notes by TD made 6/2008 from mp3 file
Suggested Title: What’s Thought Got To Do With It?
Since I’ve started writing that stuff for the internet everyday, I’ve found it interesting, the idea that I was writing for civilians, or folks who’d only heard of the fourth way or sufism, etc. I usually give you people credit, for whatever I happen to be talking about, you at least seem to be in the same neighborhood anyway. I’ve talked about everything that could be talked about and now I’m just circling back again. I don’t mean to say that I’ve run out of things to say or that I’ve grown tired of talking, as I’ve said, its more fun than ever, except that the fun in my head nowadays is beyond anything I feel confident talking about.
The comments and notes that I get from a lot of you (mostly out of towners) seem to revolve around how you feel. In case it sounds like I’m picking on you distant folks I believe its because the people around here have gotten to the point where they don’t tell me their problems any more. For a while I was feeling real good about that, but I hear rumors occasionally that you still whine amongst yourselves, (laughter) but its at least to the point where you don’t whine to me. Some of you out of town people whine and I think that inadvertently, you’re whining on the folks around here’s behalf. (laughter).
Here’s what it gets down to. For the last 2 years I’ve been talking about the mind and thought and I still don’t know how many of you picture it in those terms. Recently I was talking to someone and they said that as much as they enjoyed listening, they wished I would speak more on the topic of feelings.
Feelings are all there is. The only time your mind really comes into play is in survival mode, like when you’re flying down the highway at 90 mph and you see a sign that says “Bridge Out”. Of course this gets complicated because if it weren’t for the mind, you wouldn’t be in a car to begin with, but Your mind alone has the capacity to say “I think I’ll hit the brakes or turn the wheel right about now”. It always gets back to what ever is under your left foot, look under it and if there is something there, thats all there is.
Other than that, of what use is the mind? From one view, if its not solving problems, what the hell good is it? It doesn’t digest food, it doesn’t breath… Down below the line of consciousness, in the old reptilian brain, your temperature is regulated, your equilibrium is monitored, your lungs and heart are controlled… As you know, you can suffer what is called “brain death” and live on for years. With no great enthusiasm on the part of your family members I would guess. (laughter)
But getting back to what this person was saying to me, it seemed that feelings were of the most importance. Feelings are everything to everybody. What makes thought useful for our kind of purpose is, whatever thought is going on in your mind, it is a direct result of what you’re feeling. There are people in life, I’m not making fun, we all have friends or relatives in similar situations, but there are people in life who never felt good from the day they were born. They are, as we southern mystics say, ‘sickly’. For most people anyway, most of the time you’re not feeling one way or the other enough to notice thoughts doing anything in particular. But, if you eat a pile of spicy food or something that disagrees with you right before you go to bed at night, when you wake up in the morning you can almost expect your thoughts to be royally pissed. You wake up and you’re irritated. The thoughts may look in some other direction, like at that song thats on the clock radio “what crap!” “What idiot DJ decided to play that… etc. “ Whereas under ordinary conditions, your thoughts might have heard that same song and thought “What a nice song to wake up to”.
I’m saying that: most of the time, most ordinary people are in an upright, homeostatic, neither too much to the right or the left emotional state. If someone asked you how you felt, you’d likely check and say “I don’t rightly know”. So if you’re going to take what I said about consciousness being the only real measure of how you feel, then most of the time you’d say, when asked about how you felt… “come si, come sa”. How often do you hear people relate their feelings to their physical state? How often are you aware of the connection in yourself? Not all of you have feelings which affect your thoughts that directly, it varies from person to person like finger prints.
But if you notice, its not part of common wisdom to recognize the direct nature of the connection between the physical irritations, endorphin releases and how your mind reports on how you feel. No one writes about it, how they have finally caught on to the correlation of their wild swings in intellectual mood, the seemingly endless train of critical, bellicose thoughts and the ache in their back. I used to ponder what sort of childhood traumas I was repressing. (laughter) I read psychology books and even took some psychology courses at the community college, but it finally hit me that every time that my head gets filled up with whining & growling thoughts and I’m just… pissed… I’m not just pissed in my head, I’m pissed in my guts as well. I literally do not feel good. If I happen to look back, I often see that it was even self induced, I stayed up too late, drank too much coffee and didn’t eat enough. And I wake up and I’m pissed at the radio and the world. I stayed up too late, drank too much coffee and didn’t eat anything, thats the depth of it.
No one treats that. Psychiatrists don’t make the connection, psychiatry as a profession doesn’t have the attitude. Religion doesn’t have it, they look at it as punishment. Have you ever heard or read anybody official point out that you could look at all so-called “neuroses” or undesirable mood swings of the mind, we’re not talking about physical brain damage here, but a person saying “my thoughts are just too offensive to me”, as being an upset stomach or back pain?
I’m sure I could get an ordinary person to agree, if I picked an example that was specific enough, “Hey, have you ever considered that when you get up on the wrong side of the bed, it could have been just something you ate the night before? You know, rather than being stress from your job or some repressed memory from your childhood, maybe it was just those anchovies?” I would assume that most people on the planet today would say “well, you know, it could have been…” Of course I could get every one of the 6 billion people on the planet to agree to anything for a moment anyway.
I say to you that the whole thing about being awake, enlightened, etc., takes place in one small area of your brain. It doesn’t take place in monasteries or books or any of the other popular places people look, it happens in your brain. If it happens at all, thats where it happens. On that basis, we could say that there is nothing more important than what is going on in consciousness to someone with the hunger.
When you are in severe pain you have direct information about how you physically feel. But if you don’t have anything so drastic, then the only conscious measuring or monitoring of feelings thats left, is what is reflected in your consciousness. The pain may even be gone, but the reflection in the mind is still there.
So you wake up pissed off about the radio and think “I’ve got to do something about my temper”. “Here I’ve been trying to awaken for years and where am I… What have I been doing?” And the mind immediately begins searching everywhere for answers except up its own skirt which is the only place that will do it any good. Life has constructed an almost impenetrable or even imperceptible “firewall” around thoughts’ self realization.
There’s been a lot of news of late, about the illicit purveying of fraudulent sports memorabilia. There have been expose’s, newspaper articles, one of which hollered “Experts say that 95% of all sports memorabilia is fake!” And a little further on, “Sports memorabilia is now a 10 billion dollar industry” and apparently, about 99% of the value is in a signature or an object of some sort like Mark McGuire’s 71st home run ball. Now the seller not only claims that this is the ball, but that Mark McGuire signed the ball. So the article goes on to say that a ball, a signed picture of Yogi Berra or Casey Stengel. The story continues…catch this now… there are people out there with sports memorabilia shops, all around the country, who have a picture of Yogi Berra and take it down to Kinko’s and make 50 copies and head back to the store, where they sit in the back room and sign Yogi Berra on them, stick them in a frame and sell them for $100. They’ll go down to the sporting goods store, buy a baseball and sign Mickey Mantle’s name on it and sell it for a hundred dollars. But! You (the sports memorabilia buying community) needn’t fear if you insist on getting a certificate of authenticity! (laughter) I figured that I had got the gist of the story at that point, but I thought “what the hell I’ll read another sentence. “Its a good thing you’re reading this because armed with this knowledge, you will no longer be seen as a rube.” If somebody offers you a baseball signed by Lou Gehrig, you just say “well thats pretty impressive, but do you have a certificate of authenticity!?” And as their eyes widen with new found respect, they reach under the counter and hand you a certificate of authenticity signed by Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, vouching for the fact that the baseball was signed by him! (laughter)
I shouldn’t do this… You’re gonna miss it… I can make it sound ridiculous, like, How dumb can they be? Except for the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have been collecting this stuff for 30 or 40 years! People with college degrees, people with important jobs, pillars of the community. But this behavior does not reflect collective reality. There are people around who have enough cash in their pockets to spend $3,000.00 on a baseball because somebody else signed it.
Don’t just giggle and move on here, I don’t want you to miss it, there have been countless people being suckered, people signing their own names to baseballs and forging other people’s signatures, etc. for as long as there has been an interest. And yet, periodically there has to be an expose’ of the sordid business. Notice however, that even when the expose’ arises, thoughts will not confront the direct realization of what is happening, because all such frauds as this are in reality, “thought frauds”. This is not “armed robbery”…, that would be an “essential or primary fraud”.
This is all in the secondary world. You may be dealing with a tangible object such as a baseball, but were it not for thought, there would be no interest in autographs, there probably would be no such thing as an autograph. Think of it, a man you meet on the street says to you “Do you have a thousand dollars?” And you say “yes, I happen to have $1000.00” and he says, “how would you like to exchange it for this piece of paper?”. Your next thought will probably be “is it by any chance the paper upon which a ten thousand dollar bill is printed? Because if so, we got a deal.” But he says “no, look at this…” and you look at the paper and all you see are a few lines. And you say “what is that?” and he says “Sam Fort signed his name here” “And I can have it for a thousand dollars? Boy, is this my lucky day.?” (giggling)
35:00 Without thought, there would be no such thing. Its all just a dream world. Now don’t just giggle, don’t miss it, can you see the guy walking into a memorabilia store, standing at the counter pondering the autograph… “Ty Cobb” do you understand, in their brain, they’re seeing a movie? You, all the time, are. The two sides of consciousness, whats said… I point out to you, that there is talk and listening going on in the brain. From one view, it doesn’t matter what is said, whatever it is, its of no significance. Its what is listened to…
So here’s the guy at the counter, he pushes the baseball towards you and musing, says “Ty Cobb, mmm-mm”. And you look into the baseball… you’re not looking at the fucking baseball!, you’re watching a movie, probably remnants of some movie clip you saw 10 years ago. He’s standing there in his uniform looking at the camera, leans over to spit out some tobacco juice, and then someone hands him a pen and baseball and viola! Again the salesman muses, “Yep, the 1929 world series… best series ever… Ty Cobb hit it right out of the park.”
You understand now, its not all his fault, he’s saying the words, but you are doing the listening. The words aren’t the captious part of it, its the listening to it. Its the reaction of your consciousness that provides the movies. Ordinary people would castigate the salesman for being a con man, but no one’s holding a gun to the inside of your head.
At any rate, back to the firewall, I can make it sound as idiotic as you like, how people can say with seriousness that “there are many unscrupulous dealers of sports memorabilia now a days, who will not hesitate to sell you a forged autograph, but you can protect yourself by insisting on a certificate of authenticity”. Any idiot would know that he could just as easily be forging the certificate of authenticity as forging the signature on the baseball… but they don’t do they? Thats the childish example though, the big example is the holy scripture. How do you know its true? It says so right here. He said that he said it. And off march billions of people… its not really people though, its the construction of thought.
Look inside your own head, forget about baseball memorabilia, the guy who wants to sell you an autograph of Charlemagne with a certificate of authenticity signed by him and notarized by his brother in law. Now look inside your own head and observe as you listen to what your thoughts say. Now that I’ve got you all laughing about the dumb-asses out there buying sports memorabilia, consider that you do the same thing listening to the thoughts in your head. And they don’t even offer you a certificate of authenticity! (laughter) Its a good thing our thoughts can’t charge us for the gibberish they peddle. If they could two things would happen, one we’d all be broke and when God came back and said “alright everybody who was a rube stand on my left and everybody who conned them stand on my right” 12 billion feet would be running over to god’s left. Because even the con-men have been conned.