Just Don’t Listen!
The following recordings are from Jan’s final years, when his voice was diminished and he spoke in a low whisper. Some listeners may find these tapes hard to listen to, or difficult to understand. Thus, as another option, read the transcript below.
Otherwise, turn up the volume and enjoy! Those who carefully listened to Jan during this period consider that he spoke plainly and directly to the matter at hand, “pulling out all the stops,” as he understood that these were to be his last messages to his groups, and to posterity.
Summary = See below
Transcript = See Below
Condensed News = See below
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Notes by TK:
A method for enlightenment: don’t listen to the talk in your head, all non-problem-solving chatter in the brain. Nobody is capable of this. Nobody even deems it possible or desirable or meaningful. (39:03) #3133
Notes by DR:
Jan Cox Talk 3133 Everything you discover has to exist, everything else you made up.You know the talk you hear in your head-don’t listen to it. There’s thought about which you can take action-and the others don’t apply.
Edited by SA
The idea of trying to wake up, to achieve enlightenment, has intrigued many people throughout the ages. The methods you normally hear about include trying to always picture in your mind the face of Buddha, trying to always count your breaths, trying to remember yourself, trying to always repeat some sacred sound, and trying to still the mind.
I can provide a whole string of new alternative techniques that people have never heard before, because I invented them. I can’t say that I discovered them. You may recall that, in a recent talk, I pointed out that you can only discover things that physically exist. Everything else, you invent, which is to say, you make it up.
There are two or three alternative methods for becoming enlightened that are tightly linked, and I want to mention one of them tonight. I also ask you to consider that the ancient techniques I just described, and any others that you’ve heard of, all come down to the same thing. They certainly would not appear to be the same thing to run-of-the-mill mystics, because people are very protective of whatever method they are pursuing, convinced that the one they use is the method. That’s understandable, and it is useful in the beginning to have full faith in whatever method you stumbled into. It might have been a complete school of some kind, a Sufi or Buddhist school of meditation, that first introduced you to the idea that man is not as fully conscious as he could be, that there is a state of enlightenment in which everything suddenly makes sense, and that the way you achieve that state is whatever method that school recommends.
Whatever method they begin with, everyone shows a great allegiance to that method. Being protective of tangible things is understandable. Parents are instinctively protective of their children, for example, and if food or water is scarce, people may be protective of their food source or their water supply. But what about men being protective of ideas, or of individuals who are associated with those ideas, to the point of physically assaulting other people?
You see two men fighting in the dust, and you ask the one in the red shirt what’s going on. He says, “I’m a Buddhist, and that guy in the blue shirt insulted Buddha.” Nobody seems to think much about this, since whole nations have supposedly gone to war over political and religious ideas. Still, consider men being protective of their guru, or of their technique for pursuing enlightenment. I’m not making fun of this protectionism. As I said, protecting the methodology you have adopted is useful in the beginning. You need to feel certain that the technique you’re using is what you’ve been after.
If you first read that the way to achieve enlightenment is to calm the mind, or to be able to always remember yourself, your immediate feeling was probably, “Yes! That’s it!” You need that at the beginning; but if you are no longer a neophyte, then think about what it means to defend an idea to the death. That is a very peculiar human phenomenon. In people like us, it’s even more peculiar, because you would think that we would know better, but there are would-be-mystics out there saying, “You can’t talk about that teaching that way! I’ve dedicated my entire existence to that teaching!” Or, “Yogi So-and-so is the inspiration of my life! You can’t talk about him like that!”
A would-be-mystic might tell somebody, “To wake up, you must calm the mind and stop thought.” He might add, “Stop all that chatter in your head and your consciousness will stabilize. That will lead to awakening.” That is not untrue, but how do you stop thought? If you try, then for a moment what you’ve got is the thought of stopping thought. If you’re Superman, and you manage to hold it for a couple of seconds, you find yourself experiencing a kind of internal vertigo, and you don’t know what just happened. Two minutes later, two hours later, or two days later, you think, “I remember now. I was going to stop thought.”
You may already have experienced this difficulty. To put this quite mildly, it is an extremely sticky wicket to stop thought. In fact, if you find someone who says they can stop their own thoughts, do not lend them money or let them date your sister. That person is out of their tree-top.
Let’s assume that someone has heard for the first time the dictum, “If you want to be in a mental state wherein things that are now confusing and annoying suddenly make sense and no longer bother you, then, you know that noise you hear in your head, that chatter? You’ve got to learn to stop those thoughts.” Many people would immediately question that possibility, because they would be vaguely aware that thought goes on endlessly, and has been going on for as long as they can remember. Their mind senses, or they sense, that they are about to open up a can of elephantine worms. They find the idea of stopping thought to be a quite frightening, challenging, and perhaps impossible notion. And if you tried, you would find that the process of stopping thought is extremely circuitous, to say the least.
Consciousness started in you on the first day you can actually remember. Since that day, has your brain ever stopped putting out thought? No, not that you know of. Is there anything you can say about that thought? I’ve already done that heavy lifting for you. I spent mumbledy-mumble years investigating thought, even before I fully understood what I was doing. Now, I invite you to investigate thought for yourself.
Alternatively, you can ask me, “What can you say about this non-stop thinking? Are there any conclusions you’ve drawn after years of looking at it?” Yes, I have drawn conclusions. First, it appears that thought falls into two major categories. There is pragmatic thought, which solves some problem; that type of thought is useful. The other type of thought does not appear to serve any observable purpose. I can conceive of other ways to divide thought, but the division into “purposeful” and “purposeless” is a most basic and useful division.
The first kind of thought, the practical, problem-solving kind—how to build a bridge, how to transplant a heart, how to make water run uphill—all of that is outside the range of our discussion. I certainly have nothing to teach you about that type of thought, and that’s not what waking up is about. Waking up is not about problem-solving in the material world, so we’re not talking about actionable thought. As always, we’re only considering the non-actionable, automatic variety of thought.
When I point out that there are other ways to describe the divisions in thought, consider that practical thinking requires attention and effort, which is why most people don’t like it. It’s why you might not have liked going to school, unless there was some subject in which you had a real interest. These days, you might read books on physics or music or history because you’re interested in those subjects, and you find pleasure in reading about them. On the other hand, if there’s a problem you have to solve, like filling out income tax forms, you’ve got to concentrate. That’s what annoys people.
I guess ordinary people could easily spend an hour filling out the short tax form. You can actually complete the form in about ten minutes, but you know how it is—you keep getting up, walking off, looking out the window. Why? People would tell you, “I hate the government. Grr, grr, grr. I’m afraid to see at the end how much I owe.” Phhhht! That’s a cover story. They claim that they’re annoyed by having to pay taxes, but I say that’s not true. What annoys them is having to sit there and make that mental effort. They can’t stand having to apply themselves and concentrate for ten whole minutes. And they’ve got to. They know they do.
If an ordinary person were trying to solve a problem, but his mind was wandering—he was turning on the radio, or kept glancing at the television—you could point out to him, “You’ve got to concentrate on solving the problem. There’s a certain kind of intellectual energy required for problem-solving that is completely at odds with the mental activity that goes on when you glance at the television or even look out the window at passing cars. When you let yourself be distracted, the wrong kind of activity is turned on in your mind.” If you say all that, you might get people, for a second or two, to acknowledge that you’re right.
People’s minds are not designed to sort the activities going on in their heads into those which are useful and those which are not, to differentiate thought about which they could take action, from thought that has absolutely no applicable action attached. If awareness of the two kinds of thought were an ongoing awareness in people’s consciousness, there would be no struggle to awaken, because that is at the heart of awakening.
I think it is important to stress again that if your mind does what it normally and automatically wants to, which is to compartmentalize whatever you hear, then while you listen to me talk, what I say seems to fit and make sense, but when you go back to your normal life, you will probably forget, to some degree, what you just heard. You might even forget that the rest of the world does not look at thought in the manner which I have just described.
Practical thought and problem-solving actually require effort. It’s not muscular effort, but it is effort, whereas turning on television, or talking, requires no mental effort whatsoever. For people to realize that in today’s world there is more and more required mental activity should be enough to wake them up. We’re not living out in the jungle anymore. We can’t stumble through life grabbing food off a vine. We have to think.
You have a job that requires you thinking. You have to solve problems and make decisions all day. How to drive in traffic. Where to park. What time to leave home. Whether you should change jobs. There is all of this great mental activity—but I must point out to you that phhhht! All of that requires no more mental effort than turning on the television and sitting there glassy-eyed. It requires no effort because it’s automatic. You don’t have to help it along. On the contrary, try and stop it! You can push a ’59 Buick up a hill with a rope before you’ll ever stop thought.
You can certainly stop practical thought. All you have to do is look off. You will never be involved with thought that takes effort, when the thought suddenly gets carried away, and you can’t stop it. You will never scream, “Help! I’m exhausted! I’m killing myself! I’ve got to stop! Somebody, help me stop thinking!” while involved I practical thought. That’s one sentence that has never been heard on this planet. That, and “I’m too rich and handsome for my own good.” Two sentences never before heard.
Back to my main subject. Instead of trying to calm the mind, trying to weed out unenlightened thoughts and unawakened ideas by means of introspection, or trying to excise whatever it is in your psyche that keeps you confused, here is another method. I’ll give a brief but thorough description of the method, and then discuss the problem with using the method. I don’t mean there’s a problem with the method. The problem is that no beginner could use this simple technique, because it’s too good. Here’s the method: Don’t listen to the talk in your head. That is all you need to do.
I’m going to repeat that. Would you like to be un-confused, un-upset, un-angry, un-afraid? Then all you have to do is, when you hear talk in your head, don’t listen to it. Shhh. Don’t listen.
Let me explain yet again. You know the talk that you hear in your head? Don’t listen to it. You will not be able to stop your thought. That is why I say that the method is to stop listening to thought. Wouldn’t that seem possible to someone who had paid any attention to themselves and their inner life?
Can you imagine me trying to explain this technique to an ordinary person? I say, “Here is a method to achieve enlightenment, to wake up, to accomplish the Great Liberation. All the talk that goes on in your head, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Do not listen to it.”
“Well, do you mean. . . ?”
“No. Don’t listen to it.”
“But I was going to ask you a specific . . .”
“No. Don’t listen!”
Would that satisfy anyone? It would not. I’ve already done the research on that question, so you don’t have to go out and waste a clipboard and hours of your time asking people. You should be able to feel the reality of what I’m saying. Would your ordinary mind, and therefore any ordinary person’s mind, accept that? If I asked an ordinary person, “Would you like to be less disturbed by life? Would you like to be calmer? Would you like to be less angry? I can tell you how to do it. You don’t have to join a church. You don’t have to take a self-help course. You don’t have to follow some teacher. It’s a very simple method, and you can do it with no supplies and no books.”
Let’s say that the person responds, “OK, how do I do that?”
I say, “We’re not talking about practical thinking, because everybody needs that to solve problems and get by in life. It’s the rest of the stuff that goes on in your head. Do not listen to it. Not any of it. No ifs, ands, or buts.”
Do you picture anybody on this planet going, “Oh, now I see! I know what you’re talking about!” Can you believe that anybody would even hear what I said, assuming they were interested enough to start with? If they heard that, it’s doubtful that they could refrain from wanting to discuss it. If I said, “All you’ve got to do is don’t listen to it,” even people who were very interested, mystics and would-be mystics, would say, “Wait a minute, let me ask you . . .”
“No, no, no. There’s nothing to ask. I told you it was short and sweet. It’s do not listen to that talk in your head.”
Nobody’s mind will accept that explanation. You’d have to leap on those people and hold their jaws shut to keep them from asking questions. The mind would tell them that even if I know something worthwhile, I didn’t give them the full story, because there’s got to be more than don’t listen to it.
They’ll say, “You mean except for so-and-so,” or, “You mean I shouldn’t listen to all those aggressive ideas I have, those hateful ideas, those self-pitying ideas?”
“No. Don’t listen to any of it. I’m not going to answer any questions, because you shouldn’t ask any. I’m going to tell you now, there are no exceptions. There are no conditions. Don’t listen to it. Do not listen to any of it.”
They won’t hear that. In other words, the conversation would be useless to start with. Isn’t that interesting? If I simply say, “You know that stuff you hear in your head? Don’t listen to it,” that’s just unacceptable. The mind tells them that it can’t be correct. They think that I didn’t finish the sentence. They want me to have said, “You know that talk you hear in your head? Don’t listen to the blah, blah, blah and blah, blah parts.”
Many people with a kind of metaphysical programming and wiring might think about my words. Periodically through the years, they might try and make the technique work for them. They might tell themselves, “Some of that talk in my head I shouldn’t listen to.” They might even think that I was on the right track, but that I didn’t look deeply enough into the subject when I said, “Don’t listen to any of it.”
If I had said, “The way to awaken is that you do not react to any hostile thoughts you have about other people’s religious beliefs. Do that, my friend, and that will lead to enlightenment,” people would go for that in a minute. “Work to cleanse your heart—which is to say, your mind—of all thoughts of self-pity. Turn those thoughts over to your god, or trust in the spirit of Yogi X or Buddha.” People always have gone for that. “Rid your mind, cleanse your soul of negativity.”
Here’s some good news for you. If you never try to not listen, but you just think about the idea, then the idea itself will eventually awaken you. Isn’t that great? You don’t even have to use my method. If you just think, “He said don’t listen to any of my thought, and that can’t be. I tried to tell him, and he said that he knew what I was going to say, and he walked away. Well, it can’t be true, but what the hell.” If you keep thinking about the idea, and by that I mean trying to figure out why I said something so obviously untrue, that alone will finally wake you up. You won’t even have to try to wake up. How can you beat that? It’s as if somebody hands you a bottle of medicine and says it’ll wake you up, and you look at it, and you think, “I don’t believe it,” but you keep looking at the bottle. You never taste the medicine, but just look at the bottle and think, “What kind of dumb gibberish is this? Drinking some funny-looking liquid is not going to wake me up!” If you kept looking at that medicine bottle, and thinking about it long enough, you’d finally wake up without ever taking the medicine.
Isn’t it strange that my method could be too good. I don’t know what you people want. You even want me to not-take the medicine for you. The least you can do is not-take your own medicine. That’ll do it.
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
EVEN WITH THE CELL DOOR OPENED,
MOST CAPTIVES STAY PUT
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Devout Escapee’s Guide
APRIL 12, 2004 ©2004: JAN COX
Those held prisoner always resort to verbally abusing their captor;
just check your own private verbal attitude toward life.
Men created prayer in an attempt to squelch this by bringing it out into the overt open.
What fool is going to flip off the King to his face (and by the way:
what’s the deal with parts of your mind doing it to you?! —
ask your thoughts, nay — demand of them: “Just where do you get off?!”)
Why bother to abuse your superior; take it out on one who deserves it: your lesser,
(that is) your natural born thinking (assuming you’re one of the nervous system few).
The trick to using the unique power of hormonal energy to expand neural operations
is in being able to be pissed without getting personally upset;
yes, it is tricky — impossible even — but so what?! —
such has never stopped the few true knights who have passed this way;
just because the thoughts native to your head declare a particular matter impossible,
or irrational proves nothing permanent to a man with the potential of
getting to the bottom of things.
Though over the heads of those normally passing through: routes leading nowhere always provide their own signs announcing the road ahead to be “Out!”
In this universe: life not only circles-the-wagons and protects itself by
holding its tail in its mouth,
but as reinforcement, makes men verbally deny they’re on the path they’re on.
Who but something as extraordinary as life can seemingly strengthen itself by apparently remaining willfully blind to certain segments of its own operation!
NOW let’s talk: the impossible and irrational.
“You can’t be an actor unless you’re willing to make a public fool of yourself.”
“I thought you said: politician?!?”
Conclusion: What the hell’s the moral to this?
Note to all Junior Erasmuses:
By the time you criticize something — it’s already too late.
“But pa pa: isn’t it always too late?!”
“Ja! — but you can’t tell the ordinary mind this in advance, thus……well,
the thus is obvious (is it not?!)”
At a convention held recently in the city by the
Society For The Full Development And Appreciation Of The Human Potential,
the final speaker concluded his remarks with these words:
“What I have noted this evening are but a few of the highly beneficial features of
the brevity of human life.
Thank you for your attention, and: good evening.”
Additional Study Of The Mind’s Surveying Techniques.
A retrospective is almost as good as no spective at all.
City art seen in the rear view mirror serves the same end as that touted: avant garde.
(Aka: All routine thoughts can be reversed without damage.)
After becoming famous, a man was surprised to discover that he had begun to
even impress himself! —
but as soon as the initial wonder had subsided he said to himself:
“Well, wasn’t that the objective all along?!”
The son of a more alert man one day said to him:
“My foot hurts,” and the father asked: “Where?”
the boy pointed and said: “Right here,” and the elder said:
“Then that is precisely the spot you should walk on — no! — make that: run on.”
Note: For the benefits you receive by being more alert than ordinary minds:
you pay a price. No you don’t.
The More Conscious Man’s Creedo.
A mind not Tefloned is not fit having.
Disposal Fact For The Few.
Flying shit on the dead won’t stick.
There is no substitute for spiritual determination.
(Well, there is one — but most states have outlawed semi automatic weapons.)
While many of his fellow citizens have unpublished telephone numbers,
one man keeps his real address secret even from himself,
(well, from the city section of his mind).
The Relative Views Of Celebratory Icons.
“Remember,” said the axon to the synapse, “it’s the ornaments — not the tree.”
One eye’s/I’s view is as good as another one’s — if you only have two.
“Well, I have the current, and I have the wiring?!”
Yes, that’s two all right.
“But if I’m not mistaken, you’re implying that two aren’t enough.”
All a question of what you’re after.
In man’s intangible, second reality: it is always the ornaments — never the tree;
never Cinderella, but the question:
“What the hell am I doing debating the cut of her gown?”
“Indeed,” conceded one species-cum-neural-bundle, “we are by nature
deludable creatures — but why not recognize it and thereby disable the situation.”
Dodos and the dumb always deny they are same;
only the man-who-knows, knows to be quiet.
(“Does he actually, know to be — or does he have to be?”
Motto of one planet: “Slavery to the Sun redefines: captivity.”)
Standard cows are slaughtered at Hormel’s discretion;
the certain few take their own so-called life at the time advantageous to them.
Said the knife: “Only I know exactly where my throat is.”