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Recorded by Jan Cox January 05, 2001
Notes by CF
Proposed title: The sound of one hand.
Begin: The conscious part of the brain is always active in everyone. Ordinary people do not find this interesting. People who want to awaken enjoy consciousness more than other people. I do not mean the content of consciousness. The content to me is of no consequence. It is the process itself. The point of ordinary consciousness is the collection of information, measurements, the constant monitoring of the environment, the ability to learn new tricks beyond the hard wired instinct.
Recently I got a letter from someone. His father had mentioned a well known mystic from the 20’s and 30’s and had studied with the man in France. The son said the father told him this man was smarter than anyone else in this area. (consciousness) Then his father discovered me and thought that I knew more in this area than anyone else.
How strange is this. I do not know anything. (I am not talking about me. I am not the point.)
05:00 If someone had told me this (I do not know anything) when I started years ago, someone I respected, what would I have made of it? That it was not to be taken seriously or it was a metaphor? All of this takes place in the mind. The study of consciousness, a method to awaken, to the degree I have had success with my aim I do not know anything and at one time I did. It is not funny and it is not a metaphor. What does it mean when someone says I know more than anyone about this thing. I understand. It does not mean anything to me but I understand someone saying it. I do not know anything. Well, that is not true. One thing I still know I do not know. It is a negative not a positive. I don’t push it.
10:00 I am trying to get you to look at something within your own consciousness. Awakening takes place within the human mind. The purpose of the mind is to gather intelligence, monitor the organism, and alter instinct when appropriate. The mind cannot pick up a hammer or book. It just lays there. The highest possible use or peak performance of the mind is “the more awake you are the less you know.”
Reads: “If you were perfectly awake you wouldn’t know anything.”
It would not interfere with building a carburetor. You would still know that. You take a function (method to awaken) and try to increase its operation, raise your level of consciousness and in so doing the big payoff is you do not know anything.
15:00 I got an email from a girl who recently discovered me and enjoyed my writings. She asked me if she could ask some questions. The main question was “Do you consider yourself awake? It seems like a reasonable question. (a little bit of laughter) Again I am trying to get you to look at something about your brain. I am not talking about me. I am not the point. Anyway I laughed out loud reading it on the screen. “Do you consider yourself awake?” How can you explain that is funny? It is not in the ordinary sense. How can that be? How can you not have an answer? How can there not be an answer? There is no answer to it. I assume you guys ask yourself “Am I awake? You should know what I am talking about. There is no answer. There is not a yes and there is not a no. When someone asks you “Are you awake? You should not even say there is no answer to that. There is no response to “Are you awake?” Any response is a distraction or a form of sleep. Back to the girl and her question “Do you consider yourself awake?” I gave in and emailed her back. I pulled out the one sentence and put it at the top of my response. I emailed
READS: Considering yourself particularly anything is the greatest example of not being awake.
That is all I said. That is the closest thing to a response except it should be nonverbally obvious to you inside your own head. If you consider yourself anything you are asleep. If you consider yourself anything your mind is not working at peak performance. It is like you have a brain full of squirrels. If you can picture it there is no peace, they are going nowhere, and it means nothing.
25:00 Mentally, as long as your thoughts, the voiceover, are thinking about you, reviewing your life and pictures you as something in particular then that is being asleep. Why do you need to be something in particular? You are something in particular in the confines of your skin. You are materially separate and genetically temperamentally separate. There is a collective me. But what is the individual me? It is only your thoughts that use your name. Down at the cellular level where genetics do their non verbal conversations they do not say I. Instinct does not talk.
30:00 It is only thoughts that consider themselves something in particular. It is reflected in their dress and the clothes they wear. The mind does not want to see it that way. You can dress a pig up in a king’s robe and it is still a pig. The way one may dress is what their thoughts say they are but it may not be what they are temperamentally.
35:00 Consider the purpose of your brain saying you are this kind of guy. Ordinary people do it constantly. Instead of them asking themselves “Am I awake? They are asking themselves what kind of guy am I ? And they are answering it. You should know, speaking charitably, there is something wrong with that. When thoughts say that is the kind of guy you are that is the kind of guy you are. And me saying that is not the kind of guy you are. It is true with ordinary people and they are satisfied with it. But it is not true if you want to see through all this. It is not true just because I say it is not true. Your thoughts are continually answering the question of “What kind of guy am I? It is invalid. It’s a dream. It is not true. Unless you do not know any better then it is true. When you die you should not go out as any kind of particular person.
40:00 The question “What is sound of one hand clapping?” The purpose is to get beyond some particular guy in you answering. The schools that used this question were looking for spontaneity. The original was “what is the sound of one hand?” That is so close to the human mind.
45:00 I picture these people who consider themselves students of this master filling in the blank to even deal with it. If you were absolutely spontaneous you would have to be awake. We are talking the mind and not your genetic temperament. Ordinary consciousness cannot be spontaneous. It cannot operate on that basis. Being truly spontaneous would be abandoning everything you know.
50:00 It is a shame we cannot listen to our thoughts early on. (If I could have listened to my thoughts in a certain way.) Like that is the one thing you need to know about awakening. It is not the content of the mind but the nature or essence of it. It is the one thing ordinary consciousness does not want to learn. Once you get there, you do not tell anyone. Physically I do not believe it can be done. You may rest assured you are close to something good when you do not know anything. My closing koan. “You know you’re asleep and you know something.” “Know what I mean?”
Jan’s Posted Daily Fresh Real News
January 5, 2001.
For as long as man has been sufficiently conscious
to leave written notes
there are those who show an early intrigue by a few
in activities of consciousness that were
outside collective concerns.
This interest has been labeled variously as: magic,
the occult, the mystical, the spiritual,
or simply, The Knowledge.
The minds of some men have always sought to
function in a manner not inherent;
it still goes on today,
but few of them ever pursue the matter deeply enough
to get to the bottom of it;
they are satisfied to be students of: magic, the occult,
awakening, and enlightenment,
rather than understanding the reality behind such words.
There is nothing wrong with this
any more than there is anything wrong with
preferring to listen to music
as opposed to making music,
but there is an obvious distinction between
being a listener and being an artist,
and no purpose would be served in trying to deny it,
if you really want to discover– then create —
your own non standard running of consciousness
you need to face the facts about
your interest in this affair,
and not pretend to fool yourself,
(like is natural for routine consciousness),
into believing you want to be an active participant
when all you actually want is to be a passive observer, and sometimes kibitzer.
To be conscious is to be dissatisfied;
this constant neural disquiet is an additional
at the non conscious level, everyone silently accepts this,
and gives it no particular note;
a few always do — always have.
There is a sequence of stages that underpins
such peoples history in this matter:
at first, (not too dissimilar from everyone else),
they do not like the way life is;
if they progress,
they move to a stage of not liking themselves;
should they get past that point,
they reach a stage where they dislike the way they
think about life and themselves,
but beyond that stage — few ever venture —
— but there is where the whole thing is.
Every ordinary, sane person thinks that
the world outside of them is insane,
(outside of their mind, actually);
this is neither true, nor not true —
it is simply one of an infinite number of
objectively meaningless concepts
natural to ordinary consciousness.
All you need do to get stuck at this stage is — be alive.
To a lesser degree, every ordinary, sane person
also thinks of themselves as being short of satisfactory,
but this is entertained in consciousness only for brief
moments, and under non routine conditions.
A few sane, but unordinary people find their attention
regularly focused on their own consciousness,
and think of its operations as ill-becoming them individually.
Their overall thinking accords sufficiently with the herds
for them to function adequately therein,
but in the privacy of their own head — they don’t like it.
It is people at this stage who seriously become involved with organized activity devoted to discovering another way that consciousness can run.
As befits the mind: the activity will have a particular method of achieving the goal,
and the participant becomes a student of the method.
To go from busy, monkey consciousness
to dead still, snake consciousness
you must go beyond the study of a method,
to the study of the goal.
The mind must have a map in hand to ever
believe that it has started a journey toward the goal,
but consciousness will quickly accept
glancing at the map
as actual travel.
When you start, you cannot see the goal;
all that you can see is the map — the method
you have chosen to use as a vehicle to the goal.
This is how it works for everyone,
but you must eventually see that no method, discipline,
map or teaching is the goal;
the reality of the other state of consciousness,
and all ideas & talk about it
are two different things;
so different in fact as to be beyond
the widest definition of different;
they are from two different realities.
One method is as good as another;
if it initially seems good to you,
then it is good for you;
you have to have somewhere to start,
but the words & ideas that consciousness can entertain
are never the same thing as the goal itself;
they hide the goal;
they walk around on it while talking about it
so that you cannot see it;
they excitedly point off in one direction or another
where they say the goal lies —
— while it lies right under their feet.
There is no way to discover this other way
in which your consciousness can operate;
there is no right way, and there is no wrong way;
there IS no way — but you must use one.
You cannot think an enlightened thought
until you think something,
but nothing you can think has any significance
regarding the goal;
anything you think about the goal
is actually you thinking about a method or a map;
you cannot think about the goal;
there is nothing to think about it;
whenever you are thinking about it
your thoughts are milling about on top of it —
— hiding it from your view.
You can think that life is not right;
you can think that you are not right,
you can think that what you think about life & yourself
is not right,
but if you really want your consciousness to run in a way that affords you an entirely different way of thinking
what you need to focus on is the neural floor in your head on which your thinking is taking place.
Ignore what your thoughts think about life, you,
and even themselves,
and look instead beneath their feet —
— look at what they are standing on.
There is that longed for — other level of consciousness.
It is ultimately just that simple — you just LOOK —
— and there it is.
I grant you,
it can seem to take a lifetime of convoluted efforts
to ever get to the stage where it is that simple to see,
but you may as well know now that ultimately it is —
— just that simple and obvious.