Nothing in Your Mind is Yours
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.
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Transcript = See Below
Condensed News = See below
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Notes by TK:
Consciousness likened to a stomach continually digesting food, and a man having no option/choice over what kind of food is put into it. This is man’s true position in his mind. The mind has no control over what enters into it. The mind treats thoughts as if they are different from it; that it has thoughts and isn’t made up of thoughts, can control and is responsible for them.
Without the input of others a man would have no thoughts, no consciousness. How can you listen to it? It is the most un-nutritious food possible for one who would awaken. (49:05) #3135
Notes by DR:
All of your daydreaming and everything stored in your memory somebody else put there, (always excluding problem solving). Not one thought came outside of you. Is there anything in your brain/mind that you’re responsible for? No. It’s a self-protection mechanism and trying to wake up is an attempt to disable that mechanism.
Edited by SA:
The phenomenon that goes on inside the head is a matter of feeding the mind, and there is a very strange situation with regard to the mind’s food that consciousness makes virtually impossible for us to see. This situation is something that I consider to be the only frightening thing in the world. If you are able to view the situation, I know of no words to describe what you will observe, other than “frightening,” or, at the very least, “disgusting.”
Consciousness—what you think of as “me”—seems to be something apart from thought. You might take the view that consciousness is a function of the brain itself. That is, the brain performs many tasks, and it appears that among those tasks is producing and analyzing thoughts. Certainly, consciousness feels as though it is a function of the brain. Any sane, ordinary person would claim that they are in charge of what happens in their mind, because they think about what they choose to think about, and what they choose to think about are the things that they do think about.
Long before you and I were born, men had already described “the mind.” Almost as soon as we have records of man’s writing, he had established that each of us has a mind and that the mind’s job is to think. It wasn’t that people had an international convention or announced this great discovery. They didn’t send out a world-wide proclamation stating, “We’ve decided that we have a thing called a ‘mind’ which is an organ. We have another thing that we call ‘thinking’ which is the mind’s function.” No one person or group of people decided this. The understanding was just there, as soon as men started writing about themselves.
Under ordinary conditions, nothing feels closer to a human than his own thoughts. The more intellectually focused you are, the more your thoughts seem closer to you than your own body. It is quite common for the world’s would-be metaphysicians and mystics to say that they find the body just an encumbrance. Religious people may say that the body is a useless or a sinful appendage, and that what they really are is their soul, by which they mean their thoughts. Intellectuals and scientists are often noted for wandering around dazed and glassy-eyed, not caring about how they look or the state of their physical health, but focusing only on their thoughts.
For educated, sophisticated people, what seems more like “you” than your thoughts? Assume that you were being polled by someone who asked, “What feels the most like you—your body or your thoughts?” Most modern people would respond that what goes on in their heads feels the most like them. People of ordinary mind even believe that what goes on in their heads is what truly defines them. They believe, “I’m not just what I may appear to be—a dumpy, out-of-shape, pasty-faced, overweight man or woman. That’s not really me. The real me is inside.” A few people may point at their heart when they say that, but most will point at their head.
Ordinary people might describe the mind, describe consciousness, as an organ that is processing information and producing thought instead of urine or bile. To me, consciousness appears to be a special kind of stomach that is continually digesting food. The question is, where did that food come from? If you look at what goes on in your mind, can you point to a single thing that originated with you? Is there anything you think about that is food you personally fed into your mind?
No, there is not a single thing in your mind’s stomach that you put there. Everything in that stomach was spooned in by somebody else. Everything was force-fed to you—metaphorically speaking, of course. In other words, everything that ordinarily goes on in your mind is something you’ve heard or read. I repeat, everything you hear in your head came from somebody else. That is the shocking part, the frightening part.
There are two possible exceptions to the statement that everything in your mind originated with someone else, but only one exception is real. The real exception, as always, is thought that occurs when you are engaged in consciously directed problem-solving, creating your own solution to an actual problem in the physical world. If you lived in the woods by yourself, and you needed to cross a river routinely, you might decide to build a bridge. If you then encountered an unusual engineering problem with spanning the river, and you figured out how to fashion a special type of bridge, then your solution to that problem originated in your head. That would be an example of the one real exception.
Your own utterances are the apparent exception to my statement that nothing in your mind originated with you. However, that exception will not stand up to close scrutiny. Consider what goes on in your mind when you are not solving real-world problems. You daydream about some comment that you made to somebody, almost certainly under emotionally charged conditions. You envision some scenario, some confrontation you had, and you remember that you told the person, “What you did shows that you are a lying, untrustworthy wretch! I’ll never trust you again!” You did not put that scenario into your head. You would never have said those things had it not been for someone else first saying something to you.
When your mind is involved in daydreaming, then conversations between you and an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, an ex-spouse, your mother, or an ex-employer may show up repeatedly in your mind. One scenario triggers another, like a gigantic room full of meshing gears, one turning another, and your mind keeps moving from one flash of a scene, one little sound-byte, to the next. There might be a momentary pause, as if you’re looking away, and then a different wheel might start turning; commonly, one wheel will simply trigger another, and the second wheel trigger a third, and you’ll have a string of eight or ten or a dozen scenarios, all coming from your memory. I don’t know how people can call that thinking.
Ordinary people know how to think, and they do think every time they have to solve a problem. They think whenever they have to read a map, balance a checkbook, or do their taxes. The rest of the time, what they spend most of their mental lives doing—there is not one bit that they are responsible for. That so-called “thinking” is all coming from memory, and every bit of anyone’s memory is someone else’s responsibility.
You would have no memory at all if it weren’t for other people. To me, that is disgusting. One reason ordinary people wouldn’t view it as disgusting is that the awareness that you are you—in other words, consciousness—feels as though it is something different than the thoughts that are in consciousness. I know of no way to prove this, and none of these words are exact, but your mind, your consciousness feels to you like a hand kneading a bowl full of bread dough or mixing up a salad. That is, consciousness feels as though it is something that has thoughts in it, and that it is shaking up those thoughts, examining them, thinking about them. That is simply not true, but that statement itself is almost impossible to grasp.
When I say that you didn’t put your thoughts in your head, that is also true of scenes. Picture a scene that you keep remembering. The time when you were a child and another kid walked up to you and hit you in the jaw. You were too frightened to hit him back. Throughout your life that one scene, in which you acted like a coward, keeps returning to you. You are not responsible for that scene being there. If that kid hadn’t hit you, would that scene be there? Go through all those scenes that replay in your head. I don’t think you’ll have to review many of them before it will strike you that there’s not a thing in your most private, personal, inner parts—in your mind, in your soul—that you put there.
Everything that ordinary people claim they think about comes from their memories, and those memories all came from somebody else. Everything stored in your ordinary memory, somebody else put there. Your ordinary memory is what feeds consciousness, and there is not a word, not a scene, not an idea in your ordinary memory, that you created. An actual exception is if you are willfully feeding thoughts to yourself second by second, which requires an extraordinary state of mind. If you’re not engaged in that, then everything that you think is from memory, and everything in your memory, someone else is responsible for.
You need to see this for yourself, rather than just accepting it as some kind of weird idea, or even rejecting it and claiming, “That can’t be true.” Examine your day-to-day state of mind, that inner personality that speaks for you under ordinary conditions, that creates your daydreams, and that seems to be you. Look and see if you can find an original thought in there. There’s no trick to this. Just keep running through the card files of your mind, and see if you can find a single thing that you put there.
When I say, “original thought,” or “original idea,” I don’t mean that you’re looking to see if you created a great scientific theory. Simply find a sentence that runs through your mind that you can look at and say, “Yes, I originated that.”
If you really look, you will see that, except for that which relates to problems you have solved, there is not one thought that normally goes on in your head that did not come from outside of you. Is it not disgusting that there is nothing original in your brain? Everything that goes on in everyone’s mind, all of the poetic, romantic, social, philosophical, religious and artistic thoughts anyone has ever had, were somebody else’s first. It appears that the mind is a dead, empty thing, a zombie living off other people’s flesh. If you are able to grasp that, you will either want to throw up, or to reenact Edvard Munch’s painting and silently scream.
If an ordinary person tried to find an original idea in his mind, he’d play himself for a sucker. He would immediately think of some great idea on the order of “God is love,” and then he’d ask himself, “Did I really think of that?” He would fall into some normal but useless internal babble such as, “Maybe I read that in the Bible. Or did I read it in the Bhagavad Gita? No, maybe it was something Buddha said.” Then he’d remember a girl he met fifteen years ago at a Buddhist pep rally, and a new chain of useless thoughts would take over.
It is possible that you have a general wide-lens awareness of what your mind is like when it’s off and running on automatic ramble, so that you don’t have to stop and collect new information. It takes a long time for that to happen, but you may be at the point where you’re able at any moment to examine your mind as if it were a big book with fold-out pages. In other words, you may already have a comprehensive knowledge of what your ordinary mind does—the kinds of scenes it presents to you, the kinds of conversations it holds, its tempo and pacing.
If you can, open that book right now and look through it. Is there any scene in the life of your mind that doesn’t involve another person? Is there any thought you have ever had that didn’t involve an interaction with someone else, either in person or via a book, magazine, piece of music, TV program, or the like? What you will see is that if it were not for other people, you would not have a single, solitary thought. It doesn’t matter how inspiring the thought is. It doesn’t matter if the thought brings a tear to your eye, makes your heart flutter, or scares you to death. There is not a piece of that thought that has any real connection to you. It all came from someone else. That’s a lot worse than the idea of leveling a playing field. You’re now a few inches below the other six billion out there. When you see this, it will make your head catch on fire, make you disgusted, make you mad as spit.
The only human on the planet who would be capable of having an original thought would be somebody who is awake, who has seen this situation for themselves and realized what’s going on. If you take your own search for an original thought seriously, I guarantee that any original thought you have had in the past will immediately come to mind. In case you haven’t already guessed, let me assure you that your original thought will have been about you awakening. In other words, that thought will be some idea that coalesced at a moment of extraordinary consciousness, a moment of increased awareness.
If you insist that your mind is chewing on thoughts, at least realize that not one of those thoughts is food that you put in there. That being the case, why worry about it? Why even pay any attention to it? Since there is not a thing in your ordinary mind that you put there, how can you listen to your own mind? That, of course, is the punchline I’ve been using for the last three talks. The mind is the same thing as what it’s thinking about. There is not something going on inside of something else. You may find that almost impossible to realize, because your consciousness, your mind, feels as though it is something in your head, and that there is activity going on inside of it. That is an illusion, and if you can ever bring yourself to be aware of the illusion, then sooner or later, something startling will happen to you.
If we lived in a slightly different reality, I could explain all this to an ordinary person and it would destroy them, because what I just said is at absolute odds with what ordinary people think reality is. If an ordinary person could actually hear what I am saying—that there is not a thing in the most private recesses of their mind, of their soul, of their memory, that they put there—they would instantly go berserk. If I said, “Look inside your head. There’s not one idea in there that someone else is not responsible for. Not one picture. Not one scenario. Look,” and that person actually looked, their personality would disintegrate.
In our reality, ordinary people cannot hear what I have just told you, and therefore, they are in no danger of going nuts. On the contrary, ordinary people commonly point out that somebody else lives in a dream world. People tell one another, “You won’t face up to what you’re doing. You won’t admit that what you just said contradicts the way you behave. You’re deluded. You’re willfully fooling yourself.”
In a certain way, then, trying to wake up is trying to do something that would make an ordinary person explode, but life is arranged in a way that does not allow that type of self-destruction. People do not explode. Activities do not take place in ordinary people’s minds that bother them. People are programmed to not self-destruct. There is a built-in, self-protective mechanism that kicks in, so that thinking about these things won’t actually drive an ordinary person crazy, because they won’t keep thinking about these things. That self-protective mechanism is within each of us, as well, and trying to wake up is trying to disable that mechanism.
The idea of accomplishing the Great Liberation is probably the least popular, and therefore the least known, description world-wide of what achieving enlightenment seems to be about, but it is ultimately a better description than awakening from a dream, as good as that is. To realize how captive you are is extremely tricky. Actually, that is almost impossible to realize, because of how consciousness is generated.
As I said earlier, the reason all of this is so tricky is that, under ordinary conditions, your mind is not your own. Your thoughts are not your own. Your thoughts have no connection to you. You can’t easily understand that your thoughts don’t belong to you because that thought won’t compute. All you can do is to give a sort of Italian shrug, and say to yourself, “I don’t know what to do with that.” If you say, “I thought,” I might ask, “What do you mean?” and you might respond, “My mind thought.” People refer to a noun, “the mind,” and they refer to a verb, “the mind’s activity.” That is what being asleep is. That is what causes you not to be able to awaken.
Since consciousness is never examined, and the situation I just discussed is never analyzed, consciousness always feels as though it is something apart from thoughts. Ordinary people would say that they feel separate from their thoughts. Your ordinary mind feels—that’s the only word for it—as though it is separate from your thoughts. Ordinary people say that they are having their thoughts. That’s what keeps them from exploding—and that’s what keeps you from waking up.
Jan’s Daily Fresh Real News (to accompany this talk)
ALL CITY NEWS IS FICTION,
AND VICE VERSA
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Outrider’s Ultimate Translator
APRIL 16, 2004 ©2004: JAN COX
A father said to a son:
“Another sparkling example of how far removed are man’s ordinary thoughts about what is going on from what is going on is this: while men do not agree on what truth, beauty, god, the right religion or political position are, there is one thing that everyone would agree on, and that is that they know what thoughts are —
and yet: no one knows what thoughts are; it is all but impossible for ordinary thinking to grasp this, but it is unquestionably correct: no one knows and no one can know
what thoughts are; all men know about thoughts is what their thoughts tell them
about themselves; self identification with no outside confirmation,
or even correlated comment.
Just picture it: man’s single distinguishing feature;
the thing responsible for us not living like animals — thoughts (the very core of
our being) and yet: men have no idea what thoughts are.
What an interesting life to be part of, my boy.”
“Even though men don’t even know what life is either?!”
“Just makes it even more fascinating.”
If a man does get on the stretch that leads to that certain corner to be turned
by the few, he begins to become uncomfortable with the automatic flow of words
from his mind and tongue;
the quality and content is not the issue,
the cargo is irrelevant,
what is bothersome is its means of delivery.
And one chap muses:
“Based on both the challenge and the outcome: what goes on in the mind of
the man who does turn that corner must be a kind of directed chaos.”
On Mondays one man would reflect on what it was like to not be his true individual self as he imagined it should be;
then on Tuesdays he would ponder what it might be like to actually be this self;
and on Wednesday he would mull over the price he might be paying by being
a faceless piece in humanity’s herd;
then on Thursday he would ruminate on what might be the pay offs
if he could break free from the collective,
and when Friday came he would hold his breath, awaiting the arrival of the weekend when he could drink & drug and for forty hours imaginarily live out
the week’s worth of thought.
Some might have an uncomplimentary name for this —
but they would all be drawn from the collective’s dictionary.
Many have dreams of the land of awakening,
but due to the power of dreams — they’re satisfied therewith;
only a few unconventional men are born with minds that drive them to seek
the actual experience of going there.
(“I’ll bet it’s cheaper to dream.” Not to the few.)
The first voice said:
“Little things mean a lot — to little minds,” to which a second responded:
“So do stupid things.”
The first voice pondered this for a bit — then replied:
“Okay — I can live with that,”
(and the thin wall separating the two suddenly had an urge to look up the most comprehensive definition of: agreement.)
Wind and fire agree,
as do sodium and chloride;
Islam and Judaism don’t because
you can only throw imaginary rocks at Cinderella’s carriage.
From the Liberated Library Level.
There are only two types of writing: metaphorical fiction,
and unwitting metaphorical fiction.
What men call the: power-of-coincidence is the fish sticks version of god;
life has men’s minds constantly coming up with such new terms, which is to note that life continues in its struggle to understand and identify itself.
Men, Livestock And Romance (A Poetic Reflection).
Men fall in love,
cows fall into ravines — break their legs — can’t get out and suffer awfully.
(City Notice: Though sarcasm is not a fitting accessory to the verbal clothing of
human sentiments — neither is anything else.
[The unrecognized father of the two well known proverbs regarding
fishing and shitting was: “Either fuck or get off the broad!” — by which its
mystically minded authors subtly pointed to a most subdued mental reality
overlooked by pedestrian poets and philosophers.]
Outlier’s Heads Up:
A rebel who falls into his own words breaks something worse than his legs.)
More Historical Facts You Can Depend On (Up Until You Hear About Them).
There have been more paeans written to kings than to beggars — ask yourself: Why?
In the bazaar:
a man who tells you that things which appear different are actually the same
is to be more trusted than one who tells you that the sale price is only good for today.
The Technical Facts.
If you never lie down you’ll never die,
and if you never stop fighting the flow you can’t go back to dreaming.
One man offers this ostensible parenting tip:
“Adults keep describing to kids the nature of adulthood just to lure them into
joining them in their condition.”
(City forces say this is quite proper…………………….with no organized counter.)
Forget the restaurant ads: The World’s Greatest Omelette is a rebel’s mind.
Those who sing song in praise of their sex, race, or culture know nothing to
sing about — and in fact are singing songs that have no words.
The Medical Facts.
A man who does not see the humor in discovering that his legs must be amputated
has serious problems.
“If you will be still and silent and listen carefully
you can hear what it sounds like in the land of the awakened.”
“I don’t hear anything?!”
“Hey, you did it!”
On one world there are two distinct classes of creatures:
those who don’t know what they’re doing and talking about,
and the few who know that they don’t know.
How Mind Works.
Even though priests and psychiatrists don’t know what they’re talking about —
look at all the good they do.
Bye Bye By-Play.
“The work is never done.”
“Not if you’re really doing it.”