PB Class: Meditation -- July 27, 1983

(NOTE: first third of this transcript on the Void, second third of this transcript on philosophy (but not used for the WIPH book); last third on meditation)

TAPE 1, SIDE 1

 

PB: ``He will be able to pierce all the better that barrier of egoism which bars mankind from paths to the highest goal.  When he comes to view this goal itself, even from afar off, he will know what it cannot be.  He will have eliminated his illusory counterfeits and imaginary substitutes.'' (20v/253/30, unpublished)

 

PB: Yoga is primarily the method and result of meditation.  Philosophy accepts and uses this method and incorporates its results.  But it does not stop there.  It adds two further practices, metaphysical reasoning and wise action, and one further effort--the mystical insight into, and distinction of, the ego.  Therefore we are justified in saying that the hidden teaching does go beyond yoga.'' (20.1.12)

 

PB: ``Students must be warned however that yoga exercise cannot of itself suffice to yield the ultimate realization of the All but only the realization of the inner self, the `soul,' rare and advanced though such an attainment be.'' (16.2.249)

 

PB: ``The adverse force present in his ego will continually try to draw him away from positive concentration on pure being into negative consideration of lower topics.  Each time he must become aware of what is happening, of the change in trend, and resist it at once.  Out of this wearying conflict will eventually be born fresh inner strength if he succeeds, but only more mental weakness if he fails.  For meditation is potently creative.''(23.8.117 & Persp. p. 321)

 

(3 min. student disc.)

 

PB: ``Everything that intrudes upon the mental stillness in this highly critical stage must be rejected, no matter how virtuous or how ``spiritual'' a face it puts on.  Only by the lapse of all thought, by the loss of all thinking capacity can he maintain this rigid stillness as it should be maintained.  It is here alone that the last great battle will be fought and that the first great fulfillment will be achieved.  That battle will be the one which will give the final deathblow to the ego; that fulfillment will be the union with his Overself after the ego's death.  Both the battle and the fulfillment must take place within the stillness; they must not be a merely intellectual matter of thought alone nor a merely emotional matter of feeling alone.  Here in the stillness both thought and emotion must die and the ego will then lose their powerful support.  Therefore here alone is it possible to tackle the ego with any possibility of victory.'' (23.8.153 & Persp. p. 328)

 

S: You have to talk louder.

 

PD: Put the conditioner off.

 

AD: That's a good idea.  Let's put the air conditioner off. 

 

St's: No.

 

AD: Then talk up! (A/C stays on.)

 

PB: ``Philosophy is for those who feel this desire to understand spiritual processes and find the study quite interesting.'' (20.2.118)

 

PB: ``The comparative study of religion, mysticism, and metaphysics, as they have appeared in different centuries and in different parts of the world, will have a liberating effect on those who approach it in a thoroughly scientific independent and prejudice-free spirit.  A comparative view of all the different spiritual cultures leads to a broader understanding of each particular one.'' (20.1.479)

 

PB: ``We have to create an intellectual world-view which can be adequate enough to meet criticism or defend itself against all the other intellectual world-views of our time.  But whereas the philosophic one is spiritual in the truest sense, these others are either frankly materialistic or superstitiously mystical.  Those adherents of religio-mystic doctrines who have failed to appreciate the importance of it, reveal by their attitude a narrowness which is surely not the mark of authentic spirituality.''  (20.2.61)

 

PB: ``It is not enough to clear the egoistic, passional, and emotional coulourings from the psyche.  If he sees the truth from a very limited point of view, he will still fail to receive or transmit it rightly.  Therefore the psyche's different sides must be fully developed: his thinking capacity, intuitonal receptivity, emotional sensitivity, and active will must themselves be brought to an adequate degree before his view of truth will be adequate enough.'' (20.3.197)

 

(6 min. student disc.)

 

PB: ``There is this important difference of approach between the would-be mystic and the would-be philosopher.  The first is often actuated by emotional conflicts or frustrations for which he seeks some kind of compensation.  The second is motivated by a deep love of truth for its own sake.'' (20.4.5)

 

(10 min. discussion on would-be mystics and would-be philosophers, including:)

 

LR: I thought he was talking about why people go on the quest.

 

. . . AB: I think the mystic accepts a limited condition.  A philosopher shares the experience of bliss.

 

PD: No, I think the mystic accepts a limited condition.  A philosopher shares the experience of bliss.

 

. . . NH: There are probably a lot of would-be philosophers who are egotistically oriented. . . .

 

PB: ``All human knowledge is conditioned by the fact of human relativity.  Human nature, human intellect, and human egoism impose their limitations not only in material experience but also in mystical experience.  Statements of divine truth made by mortal men should be read in the light of the fact that they are subject to such relativity.  None is infallible, none eternally authoritative.  Such seems to be the unhopeful situation.  Is there then no way of disengaging the human agency from the divine message which manifests through it?  The answer is that this way does exist and that its method is an intellectual as well as emotional purification, a moral and practical discipline, an intuitional and mystical preparation, and above all an elimination of the personal reference carried on incessantly through a long period.'' (20.3.83)

 

(7 min. student disc. on subjectivity, purification, desire for liberation, including:)

 

LC: Any embodied being is experiencing their own subjectivity.

 

. . . PD: Isn't it the point whether the human can be an agency?  The philosophic discipline can allow the message to come through.

 

. . . RC: Some sort of willingness to withdraw your expectations about what reality should be.

 

. . . DD: Is there any way a desire for liberation could be wrong?

 

TAPE 1, SIDE 2

 

(student discussion continues for another 20 minutes, including:)

 

RC: PB says the fundamental problem with many of these would-be questers is that the seek liberation OF the ego, not FROM the ego.

 

. . . PA: How could one do the quest at all if the ego weren't involved in looking for some kind of liberation for itself?

 

. . . PD: The desire for liberation is a contradiction.  The desiring act is not liberation.  It's a contradiction in terms.

 

RG: If you don't want it you'll never get it.

 

PD: If you want it you'll never get it.  Any desiring will exclude it.

 

. . . VM: Prematurely giving up the desire for liberation is a dangerous game.

 

. . . DH: There's something else that PB's saying.  He talks about knowledge, and how we can separate the true knowledge from the human agency that distorted it.  The personal reference of that knowledge is not to talk about it as ``my'' knowledge.

 

. . . VM: Discipline has to be employed in order to allow for pure reception, to remove the distortion.

 

PD: But what is this personal element that keeps getting in the way?

 

. . . BS: Why can't you use the desire for Truth as a pointer?

 

DB: I think the desire for Truth is something impersonal to begin with.

 

PB: ``To view the inferior mystical experiences or the ratiocinative metaphysical findings otherwise than as passing phases, to set them up as finally representative of reality in the one case or of truth in the other, is to place them on a level to which they do not properly belong.  Those who fall into the second error do so because they ascribe excessive importance to the thinking faculty.  The mystic is too attached to one faculty, as the metaphysician is to the other, and neither can conduct a human being beyond the bounds of his enchained ego to that region where Being alone reigns.  It is not that the mystic does not enter into contact with the Overself.  He does.  But his experience of the Overself is limited to glimpses which are partial, because he finds the Overself only within himself, not in the world outside.  It is temporary because he has to take it when it comes at its own sweet will or when he can find it in meditation.  It is a glimpse because it tells him about his own `I' but not about the `Not-I'.  On the other hand, the sage finds reality in the world without as his own self, at all times and not at special occasions, and wholly rather than in glimpses.  The mystic's light comes in glimpses, but the sage's is perennial.  Whereas the first is like a flickering unsteady and uneven flame, the second is like a lamp that never goes out.  Whereas the mystic comes into awareness of the Overself through feeling alone, the sage comes into it through knowledge plus feeling.  Hence, the superiority of his realization.

 

The average mystic is devoid of sufficient critical sense.  He delights in preventing his intellect from being active in such a definite direction.  He has yet to learn that philosophical discipline has a steadying influence on the vagaries of mystical emotion, opinion, fancy, and experience.  He refuses to judge the goal he has set up as to whether it be indeed man's ultimate goal.  Consequently he is unable to apply correct standards whereby his own achievements or his own aspirations may be measured.  Having shut himself up in a little heaven of his own, he does not attempt to distinguish it from other heavens or to discover if it be heaven indeed.  He clings as stubbornly to his self-righteousness as does the religionist whom he criticizes for clinging to his dogma.  He does not comprehend that he has transferred to himself that narrowness of outlook that he condemns in the materialistic.  His position would be preposterous were it not so perilous.

 

Mysticism must not rest so smugly satisfied with its own obscurity that it refuses even to make the effort to come out into the light of critical self-examination, clear self-determination, and rational self-understanding.  To complain helplessly that it cannot explain itself, to sit admiringly before its own self-proclaimed impalpability, or to stand aristocratically in the rarefied air of its own indefinability--as it usually does--is to fall into a kind of subtle quackery.  Magnificent eulogy is no substitute for needed explanation.'' (Perspectives p. 251-252 and 20.4.23)

 

PB: ``Life is not a matter of meditation methods exclusively.  Their study and practice is necessary, but let them be put in their proper place.  Both mystical union and metaphysical understanding are necessary steps on this quest, because it is only from them that the student can mount to the still higher grade of universal being represented by the sage.  For we not only need psychological exercises to train the point of view.  But the student must not stay in mysticism as he must not stay in metaphysics.  In both case he should take all that they have to give him but struggle through and come out on the other side.  For the mysticism of emotion is not the shrine where Isis dwells but only the vestibule to the shrine, and the metaphysician who can only see in reason the supreme faculty of man has not reflected enough.  Let him go farther and he shall find that its own supreme achievement is to point beyond itself to that principle or Mind whence it takes its rise.  Mysticism needs the check of philosophic discipline.  Metaphysics needs the vivification of mystical meditation.  Both must bear the fruit in inspired action or they are but half-born. In no other way than through acts can they rise to the lofty status of facts.

 

The realization of what man is here for is the realization of a fused and unified life wherein all the elements of action, feeling, and thought are vigorously present.  It is not, contrary to the belief of mystics, a condition of profound entrancement alone, nor, contrary to the reasonings of metaphysicians, a condition of intellectual clarity alone, and still less, contrary to the opinions of theologians, a condition of complete faith in God alone.  We are here to live, which means to think, feel, and act also.  We have not only to curb thought in meditation, but also to whip it in reflection.  We have not only to control emotion in self-discipline, but also to release it in laughter, relaxation, affection, and pleasure.  We have not only to perceive the transiency and illusion of material existence, but also to work, serve, strive, and move strenuously, and thus justify physical existence.  We have to learn than when we look at what we really are we stand alone in the awed solitude of the Overself, but when we look at where we now are we see not isolated individuals but members of a thronging human community.  The hallmark of a living man, therefore, ought to be an integral and inseparable activity of heart, head, and hand itself occurring within the mysterious stillness and silence of its inspirer, the Overself.

 

The mistake of the lower mystic is when he would set up a final goal in meditation itself, when he would stop at the ``letting-go'' of the external world which is quite properly an essential process of mysticism, and when he would let his reasoning faculty fall into a permenent stupor merely because it is right to do so during the moments of mental quiet.  When, however, he learns to understand that the antinomy of meditation and action belongs only  to an intermediate stage of this quest, when he comes later to the comprehension that detachment from the world is only to be sought to enable him to move with perfect freedom amid the things of the world and not to flee them, and when he perceives at long last that the reason itself is God-given to safeguard his journey and later to bring his realization into self-consciousness--then he shall have travelled from the second to the third degree in this freemasonry of ultimate wisdom.  For that which had earlier hindered his advance now helps it; this is the paradox which he must unravel if he would elevate himself from the satisfactions of mysticism to the perceptions of philosophy.  If his meditations once estranged him from the world, now they bring him closer it to it!  If formerly he could find God only within himself, now he can find nothing else that is not God!  He has advanced from the chrysalis-state of X to the butterfly state of Y.

 

If there be any worth in this teaching, such lies in its equal appeal to experience and to reason.  For that inward beatitude which it finally brings is superior to any other than mundane man has felt and bereft of all violent emotion itself though it be, paradoxically casts all violent emotions of joy in the shade.  When we comprehend that this teaching establishes as  fact what the subtlest reasoning points to in theory, revels in man's own life the presence of that Overself which reflection discovers as from a remote distance, we know that here at long last is something fit for a modern man.  The agitations of the heart and the troublings of the head take their dying breaths.'' (Persp. p. 267 & 20.4.148)

 

(5 min. student discussion, hard to hear)

 

PB: ``There is here no form to be perceived, no image born of the senses to be worshipped, no oracular utterance to be listened for, and no emotional ecstasy to be revelled in.  Hence the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, said: `In eternal non-existence I look for the spirituality of things!'  The philosopher perceives that there is no such thing as creation out of nothing for the simple reason that Mind is eternally and universally present. `Nothing' is merely an appearance.  Here indeed there is neither time nor space.  It is like a great silent boundless circle wherein no life seems to stir, no consciousness seems to be at work, and no activity is in sway.  Yet the seer will know by a pure insight which will grip his consciousness as it has never been gripped before, that here indeed is the root of all life, all consciousness, and all activity.  But how it is so is as inexplicable intellectually as what its nature is.  With the Mind the last word of human comprehension is uttered.  With the Mind the last world of possible being is explored.  But whereas the utterance is comprehensible by his consciousness, the speaker is not.  It is a Silence which speaks but what it says is only that it IS: more than that none can hear.'' (Persp. p. 382 & 28.1.115)

 

AD: What does he mean by nothing is an appearance?

 

RC: ``Nothing'' is in quotes.  My understanding would be that to call it nothing would be an interpretation, provided by the faculty's inability to grasp--

 

AD: (inaudible) What was that sentence again?

 

PB: ```Nothing' is merely an appearance.'' (repeat)

 

AD: Read the sentence before?  The whole thing again?

 

(para reread)

 

PD: Isn't he negating that phrase `creation out of nothing'?  That the characterizing that infinite Mind as nothing, and creation occurring out of that nothing would be negated, and the nothing that that phrase is referring to is itself another appearance within the Mind? . . . I think that's specifically related to that creation out of nothing phrase.

 

LR: Or nothing merely being an appearance meaning--

 

AD: How could nothing be an appearance?  What are we talking about?

 

NH: I think it means it appears to be nothing.

 

AD: He would have said that.

 

RG: He doesn't.

 

NH: But he put it in the quote-- ``Nothing is an appearance.''  It appears to be. . .

 

LR: Another possible way of interpreting that is that No Thing is just an appearance.

 

AD: I don't know what you mean when you say No Thing is just an appearance.

 

LR: . . .

 

AH: Everything is an appearance within Mind.

 

PD: You have to take that nothing as part of the previous quote.  The phrase ``creation out of nothing'' is traditional Christian dogma, Western dogma.  And that's what's being criticized.

 

AD: All right-- I'll accept that-- I still can't make that out.  I don't know what he's talking about.

 

PC: I think what he's saying is that Mind appears to our finite perspective as nothing, because there's--

 

AD: How could you say it appears, then?

 

HS: He doesn't say it appears, it just does not appear.

 

AD: Now we get a different sentence.

 

HS: If it says does not appear, you assume it's nothing. . . .

 

AD: Come on, just read the sentence.  What does it mean?

 

PB: ```Nothing' is merely an appearance.'' (repeat)

 

AD: ```Nothing' is merely an appearance.''  If I told you that while I was walking down Main Street, what would you say to me?

 

HS: ``Far out.'' (laughter!)  But I don't understand, why you can't say--why that interpretation of the faculty's inability to grasp the real which underlies appearance.

 

AD: You have a faculty that grasps nothig?

 

S: No, you HAVE no faculty to grasp nothing.

 

RG: The Great Nothing is no appearance.

 

AD: Go ahead, Dickie, once more please, the sentence before and the sentence after.

 

HS: The nothing in the sentence IS no appearance, so you don't have to say nothing is no appearance, because nothing IS no appearance.

 

RG: But he says it IS appearance.  It is MERELY an appearance.

 

AD: ```Nothing' is MERELY an appearance~''

 

RG: That's what he says.

 

AD: And I say what does that mean!

 

PB: ``The philosopher perceives that there is no such thing as creation out of nothing.'' (repeat)

 

AD: Yeah, we follow that.  Creation is based on mind. Fine.

 

PB: ```Nothing' is merely an appearance.  Here indeed there is neither . . .''(tape turns) (repeat)

 

TAPE 2, SIDE 1

 

AB?: . . . defined mind as--

 

AD: I'm not asking for an elaboration.  I'm just trying to understand that sentence, and I don't understand it.  Now, I failed my grammar in English, when I was in high school so I'll accept you people to understand it and I'll just go to bed.  (laughter)  I don't understand.

 

RG: You can't change the sentence.

 

S: Give it time, Richard.  Give it time.

 

RG: ```Nothing is merely an appearance.'' How could nothing, No Thing, be merely an appearance?

 

AB: Why is it in quotes?  I think that's important.

 

RG: Why, Alan, why is it in quotes?

 

AB: He's referring to something which someone else believes to be, and calls, nothing.  But it might not really be nothing.  In other words, the Christian doctrine that the world comes out of nothing is false.  The world comes out of something.  There's something that it comes out of.

 

RG: So in that light, how do you explain ```nothing' is merely an appearance''?

 

AD: Might it be ``something''?  Could it be that the word is wrong there?

 

AB: But it's in quotes.

 

AD: It's in quotes?

 

DB: Isn't No Thing a conception?  Isn't it thought?  And insofar as it's a thought isn't it just as much an appearance as anything else?

 

RG: No, because the next sentence: `` . . . `Nothing' is merely an appearance.  Here indeed there is neither time nor space.  . . .''  So that negates the idea that the nothing is a thought or that it is even an appearance.  There's no time and space, so there's no appearance.

 

DB: That ``here'' is the mind.

 

RG: Okay, so what's the No Thing that's an appearance?

 

DB: The conception that the people who say something comes out of nothing--the something's a conception, so is the nothing that it comes out of.  I mean the reality that mind is, is not to be limited either as a Some Thing or as a No Thing.

 

AD: Is that in quotations?  That's all, just that one word?

 

RG: Yes.  We do use the word No Thing technically.

 

AD: This is not No Thing.  This is nothing.

 

PD: The mind that interprets nothing in comparison to creation has made a distinction, and now attributes that distinction to the nature of this pure universal Mind.  So if you have creation you have something, and it exists in contradistinction to the universal Mind.  That interpretation is an appearance, and that is not the nature of the mind that is not characterized by being or non-being.  So the interpretation of Mind as nothing in contradistinction to something--is is an appearance within the understanding or the visionary mind.

 

RG: And that's why it's MERELY an appearance because that nothing has no reality.

 

PD: Well, it has a limited-- That may be a certain stage on the inwardization but--

 

RG: But by saying ``merely an appearance'' he seems to be divorcing it from any connection to any reality.  ``Merely an appearance.''

 

PC: No, from our side it appears to us as nothing.

 

RG: I agree with that.  The only way I can make sense of it is that the nothing refers to the nothing in the Christian doctrine of the previous sentence, and that's purely illusory.

 

VM: I think you can support that by talking about Lao Tzu in here, too.  Let me start from the beginning:

 

PB: ``There is here--''

 

VM: And I'm taking ``here'' to be the realm of pure being.

 

AD: It's the Void.  It's the Void.  He's talking about the Void, Lao Tzu.

 

VM: Whenever he uses the word ``here'' it's clearly the Void or pure being or universal being.

 

PB: ``There is here no form to be perceived . . . Lao Tzu says `In eternal non-existence I look for the spirituality of things' . . .''

 

AD: In other words, in Being he looks for the spirituality.  Go on.

 

VM: In pure Being he looks for the roots of all things.

 

PB: ``. . . The philosopher perceives that there is no such thing as creation out of nothing. . . .''

 

AD: Period.  Is that period now?

 

VM: No, not yet.

 

PB: ``. . . no such thing as creation out of nothing for the simple reason that Mind is eternally and universally present.'' (repeat)

 

AD: Yes, yes, all that Lao Tzu said.

 

PB: ```Nothing' is merely an appearance.'' (repeat)

 

AD: Now I break down. 

 

VM: I know, it is a tough transition--

 

AD: I break down.

 

VM: The only sense I can make out of it is in contrast--

 

AD: The only way I can understand that is if I join your understanding.  So let's go on to the next quote.

 

PC: Well, wait a minute.  I think it's very clear, because Lao Tzu's referring to Mind as eternal non-existence and PB is saying it's not non-existence.  It's not nothing.

 

LdS: Oh no, he's agreeing.

 

VM: He's not criticising Lao Tzu.

 

AB: He's saying that the nothing which they say the world comes out of is really an appearance of Mind, because Mind is eternally omniscient.  So it's not a nothing.  It's a something.  It's a manifestation of Mind.  When the world isn't there, in Pralaya or whatever, Mind is still there, it's not nothing.  Did that make sense, Anthony?

 

AD: I want to go on to the next one.  I failed this one.

 

HS: Could you go to the end of this one?  This nothing part, where he makes a shift, that it announces itself as ``it IS'' -- that part?

 

PB: ``It is a Silence which speaks but what it says is only that it IS; more than that none can hear.'' (repeat)

 

PD: They can't say something is?

 

AD: Believe me, it's not speech either.

 

HS: Is there a distinction?  In the past we spoke of I AM.  Is this a kind of different inner announcement?

 

AD: Well, I don't know why you're bringing that in now, because he's not speaking about that.  He's speaking about Mind or Void as the substratum of all reality, all appearances.  And I can't, I just can't understand this.  I mean, I know what he's saying, but I can't understand this sentence structure at all.

 

RC: Well, given a choice, say on the first encounter with the Formless, the mind tries to represent that experience to itself somehow--

 

AD: No, none of that takes place There, Randy.  He's speaking about what's going on There, in the Void.

 

RC: Okay.  Now the lower mind, given a choice between calling it Something and calling it Nothing, could easily have the inclination to call it Nothing rather than Something.

 

AD: You're trying to say that the mystic's perception of the Void is that it is nothing.

 

RamS: It seems to me this sentence here should be ``Nothing refers to merely an appearance.''  That source from which the whole creation comes up, that which we call nothing--nothing only refers to there's no appearance in that, no sense perception to that.  In fact, it seems like the sentence is taken more or less from the Heart Sutra.

 

AD: The what?

 

RS: The Heart Sutra, where he says--

 

AD: That's got a very low status with me.  Better quote something else.

 

RS: In the Heart Sutra, where he says in the emptiness there's no form, feeling--

 

AD:  Yeah, ``form is emptiness, emptiness is form.'' I know.

 

RS: No, I'm not referring to that first sentence.

 

AD: Yeah, but I'm telling you the Heart Sutra don't carry no water for me.

 

RS: But there I see at least three levels of emptiness they talk about--

 

AD: I don't see any levels.  I don't even know why they wrote it.

 

S: Can we go on to the next quote? . . .

 

AD: Excuse me.  Do you follow what I just said, Ram--``I don't even know why they wrote it''?  I wasn't being facetious.  I was being dead earnest.

 

RS: But at least one section of that I see exactly the same quotation there.

 

AD: It must be my upbringing.  I was brought up on the East Side and I learned to use -- (inaudible)

 

RS: I don't mean the first sentence.  Obviously the first one is at a very low level, individual level.  But when it goes farther down it says ``Therefore in the emptiness there is no form, feeling, perception, impulses, consciousness, no (inaudible) elements, no mind-consciousness elements-- ''

 

AD: But there is nothing.

 

RS: That one emptiness he is calling nothing.

 

AD: Nothing is merely an appearance of this emptiness.  In other words, you're going back to the same thing that the mystic's perception in the Void is that of nothing, and nothing is merely an appearance.  The mystic shouldn't say that.  I know what you're talking about. I follow your points.

 

AH: One possible explanation: the phrase ```Nothing' is merely an appearance'' may be another way of speaking (to) the fact that the thinking function or any thought cannot be equivalent to Mind-in-itself.  So when we think that we are grasping the no-thing-ness of Mind-in-itself that is really an appearance within--

 

AD: I deny that.  Let's go on.

 

****************************************************************************

 

PB: ``We must move from consciousness to its hidden reality, the mind-essence which is alone true consciousness because it shines by its own and not by a borrowed light.  When we cease to consider Mind as this or that particular mind but as all-Mind; when we cease to consider Thought as this thought or that but as the common power which makes thinking possible; and when we cease to consider this or that idea as such but as pure Idea, we apprehend the absolute existence through profound insight.  Insight, at this stage, has no particular object to be conscious of.  In this sense it is a Void.  When the personal mind is stripped of its memories and anticipations, when all sense-impressions and thoughts entirely drop away from it, then it enters the realm of empty unnameable Nothingness.  It is really a kind of self-contemplation.  But this self is not finite and individual; it is cosmic and infinite.''~~~~~~~ Perspectives p.325 and 23.8.8

 

RC: . . . Maybe ``formlessness'' would be a better world than ``nothing''.

 

AD: Try it again.

 

(para reread)

 

AD: And this Mind essence that he's referring to is an individual Mind essence?  Or can we say the essence of Mind, Intellectual Principle?  

 

AH: As long as you consider that individual essence as being cosmic and universal, according to the last phrase--

 

AD: What do you think, Dickie?  (pause) Anyone thinking around here?

 

PD: I can't even see how that could be individual in any sense.  Insight at that level seems to be Mind contemplating its own nature, whatever that would mean.

 

AD: Well, the question I ask: would that be Mind as understood in the sense of your individual I AM, or would that be Mind as understood in the sense of the Intellectual Principle?

 

LR: You're asking, is he talking about Soul or Intellectual Principle, which are distinct (inaudible)?

 

AD: Yes.

 

DB: I would say Soul.  He speaks of it as a self-contemplation, one that's universal, infinite and cosmic.  That would seem to-- considered in terms of that I AM.

 

AD: What'd you say?

 

CdA: It sounded the way we spoke Friday about the Intellectual Principle, but I'd have to hear it again.

 

(2 min. student discussion)

 

PB: ``We must move from consciousness to its hidden reality, the mind-essence which is alone true consciousness because it shines by its own and not by a borrowed light. . . . '' (repeat)

 

PD: Could we stop right there, Richard.  Right there he's distinguishing between the mind essence and the principle of consciousness.  He's saying on the one hand you have consciousness, and you have this universal mind essence, and I see those two principles as the Soul and Intellect.

 

RG: But I think in this sense consciousness means the forms of (mind), space-time consciousness, which is the way he has always--

 

PD: Any of the creative forms that consciousness is going to employ in its operations--

 

RG: Yeah, but he usually differentiates between consciousness as the forms of the consciousness, and Mind as their root and their source.  I don't think they're two distinct principles.  I think consciousness is an emanent of the Mind.

 

AD: All right, then go on from there.

 

PB: ``We must move from consciousness to its hidden reality, the mind-essence which is alone true consciousness because it shines by its own and not by a borrowed light. . . .'' (repeat)

 

RG: The corollary is that consciousness is shining by the borrowed light of mind-essence.

 

PD: Fine, so that distinction, the borrowed light is the functioning of the Soul. . . .

 

RG: Soul does not have a borrowed light.  It is its own hypostasis.  It has its own principle.

 

PD: So it's self-gnostic, soul.  It functions with Nous all the time.  In other words, it is Nous.

 

AD: Well, Dickie, if I followed you, you said that the Mind is the essence of our consciousness.  Could you go on from there?  Go on reading.

 

PB: ``. . . Mind-essence which is alone true consciousness because it shines by its own and not by a borrowed light.  When we cease to consider Mind as this or that particular mind but as all-Mind . . .'' (repeat)

 

RG: When we cease to consider each individual mind or embodied consciousness, but consider it as the I AM conjoined to the I AM of the cosmic Soul, the all-Mind--

 

PB: ``. . .when we cease to consider Thought as this thought or that but as the common power which makes thinking possible . . .'' (repeat)

 

RG: Which is our own mind, the deepest part of our mind, our own Overself-consciousness, the I AM.

 

PB: ``. . . when we cease to consider this or that idea . . .''(repeat)

 

CdA: (inaudible)

 

AD: Go on just a little bit more.

 

PB: ``. . . as such but as pure Idea, we apprehend the absolute existence through profound insight. . . .'' (repeat)

 

RG: You have to also understand that all objects are revelations of the intellectual phase of the Soul.

 

PD: The absolute existence?

 

AD: Yes, just read that quote again, because that's it.  That's where it all is.

 

PB: ``. . . when we cease to consider this or that idea as such but as pure Idea, we apprehend the absolute existence through profound insight. . . .'' (repeat)

 

AD: Insight is a faculty of what? 

 

RG: Of the individual Soul.

 

AD: And the insight would be about what?

 

RG: His I AM.

 

AD: It certainly won't exclude that, but won't it also include the Absolute-Soul?

 

RG: The Overself.

 

AD: Yes.

 

CdA: But Dickie, how are you interpreting ``Overself''?  As the I AM or--

 

RG: I don't care, they're both connected--

 

AD: He should care.

 

RG: . . .

 

CdA: But that's the pivotal point right there, is how you interpret that.

 

(RG/CdA/)

 

AD: Yes.  But the point is: What does insight have access to?

 

PD: Impersonal Mind.

 

AD: Yes, itself and its principle.

 

RG: Its principle being--?

 

AD: The Absolute-Soul or Intellectual-Principle--I don't care what you call it--or what he might call the World-Mind.

 

(PC/AD aside)

 

AS?: I disagree.

 

AD: I know you disagree.  Just read it over again.

 

PB: ``. . . Insight, at this stage, has no particular object to be conscious of.  In this sense it is a Void.'' (repeat)

 

RG: And you always speak about the--

 

AD: Well, then, won't it be conscious of both Itself and its principle?

 

RG: Yes, but you can interpret that as conscious of the I AM and the Overself principle.  You don't have to interpret it as being conscious of the Overself per se, and the Intellectual Principle as ITS principle.

 

AD: How could the I AM be self-cognitive and not recognize its prior?

 

RG: But doesn't it recognize it as within it?

 

AD: No, then it wouldn't be its prior.

 

(1 minute student discussion)

 

PB: ``. . . When the personal mind is stripped of its memories and anticipations, when all sense-impressions and thoughts entirely drop away from it, then it enters the realm of empty unnameable Nothingness.  It is really a kind of self-contemplation.  But this self is not finite and individual; it is cosmic and infinite.''~~~~~~~ (repeat)

 

RG: He doesn't say it's Absolute.

 

AD: Yes, but he does point out that it recognizes the Absolute Existence.  And the Absolute Existence wouldn't be that I AM principle in itself.  It would have to be the prior, the Intellectual.

 

RG: But when you say ``Intellectual,'' Anthony, do you mean AS Overself residing in Intellectual?

 

AD: Yes.

 

KD?: (inaudible)

 

RG: Fine, but you mean the Intellectual aspect of Soul, right?

 

AD: Yes.  Which is the same as Intellectual.  So insight--you'd be correct in saying it's both: into the self-cognitive nature of the soul itself, and the recognition of its prior.  All of that takes place in insight, if it's insight.

 

RG: And because the Soul is an Intellectual Principle it can have that: its insight into its own nature as its own Intellectual Principle.

 

AD: You remember we spoke about the highest phase of the I AM principle as this self-cognitiveness, this truth of its own identity between being and knowing.  That was insight.  Or if you wanted to speak about it as Mind knowing Itself, or more acurately knowing knowing.  When you get that level, the knowing knowing applies in either direction, because there's only Absolute Existence now.

 

LdS: Anthony, is that similar to the Plotinus section on the two persons?  There's a mode of self-cognition within the Soul and a mode of self-cognition that the Soul has--

 

AD: In the higher.  His higher knower would be equivalent to what PB refers to as the function of the Overself as insight.  That is higher knowing, although no ``thing'' is known.

 

PC: Can you have that insight and still not recognize how it is that the world arises out of it?

 

AD: You're still on last week, huh?

 

PC: Yes, because I can't correlate what you just said with the way I  understand it.

 

AD: The way the reasoning and the understanding of the way worlds arise, appear and disappear, is a function of the reasoning part of the soul.  Insight will not present you with any processes, will not have any appearances.  There won't be any objects.  So how can you get a cosmogony out of insight?

 

PC: Even though insight is into the Nous itself, you don't have that understanding?

 

AD: You complaining?  (laughter)

 

DB: Dickie, in that quote, can we distinguish between the part which refers to the Intellectual Principle and the part which refers to the Soul? (= paraphrase)

 

RG: What Anthony defended, I think was that-- We were talking about the highest aspect of the Soul, which because it is is resident in the Nous, that's what he's talking about.  We're not talking about the Soul DISTINCT from the Intellect or the Nous.

 

AD: No, I AM.  I am, Dickie.  I'm speaking about the soul as distinct from the Absolute-Soul, your individual Overself as distinct from the Absolute-Soul.  When it has self-cognition, it has INSIGHT.  If it has insight, then it would be aware, if I could use the word, of Absolute Existence.

 

RG: But it's still Soul.

 

AD: Yes, it's still soul.

 

RG: And when it's aware of the Intellectual Principle as such, it's aware of it as Absolute-Soul, right?

 

AD: You see, again, I'm trying to throw--and I'm not criticizing here--you're trying to throw the function of insight onto the Absolute-Soul or the Soul in the Nous.  I'm not saying that's wrong, that's true.  What I'm saying is that each individual Overself, yours for instance, has the faculty of insight.  This insight at one and the same time, insofar that it is an insight into its own nature, must at the same time have insight into the Intellectual Principle.  You can't divide that, see?  You can't divide that function.

 

RG: But when you say ``insight into the Intellectual Principle,'' you mean Absolute-Soul, right?

 

AD: Yes.

 

RG: You don't mean the total of Intellectual Principle, other than its relation to Absolute-Soul.

 

AD: Yes, but wouldn't I also mean INDIVIDUAL Soul?

 

RG: Yes.

 

AD: That's the point I'm trying to get to.

 

RG: So insight has both capacities within it, the I AM and the Absolute-Soul?

 

AD: Yes.  Knowing knowing.  Or Mind perceiving itself.  And drop out the triple relationship.  Let's pick another one.  Come on, let's go to another one now.

 

JfL: Isn't this higher than the double knower, than the higher knower the way we've described it (inaudible)?

 

AD: If you understand the double knower in Plotinus, that's insight.  That's what  he's talking about, the higher knower.  That's the same thing.

 

JfL: That we emphatically try to (inaudible)

 

AD: Don't say WE emphatically, YOU emphatically-- VERY clearly he points out the different kinds of knowledge that could arise.   And he points out that true self-knowledge is self-cognizing.   The other kind is reasoning, which is a lesser kind or a lesser faculty.  He makes that very clear--Plotinus.

 

RG?: --chart problem in there?

 

AD: No chart problem.  I don't need a chart to communicate.

 

RG?: I didn't say your chart problem, I said my chart problem.

 

HS: You say you have insight into your own I AM, you've got insight into the Intellectual Nature--

 

AD: At the same time.  Absolutely.

 

HS: These are both forms of knowledge?

 

AD: They're not forms.  It's formless.  Absolutely formless.

 

HS: Is the knowledge then subsequent to the insight? . . .

 

AD: No, that is considered knowledge, that is considered knowledge.  The recognition that there's only Mind essence is considered PURE KNOWLEDGE, the highest kind of knowledge that's available or accessible to the human soul.  Let's try another one.

 

RC: Here's one.  It's real short, but--

 

AD: Don't let that fool you.

 

PB: ``The trained philosophic mind can quickly discern whether a statement of doctrine originates from the personal intellect, the personal emotions, or the spiritual Overself.'' 20.5.46

 

AD: The trained philosophic mind could tell if the statement was authentic or phony.  Let's try another one.

 

***************************************************************************

 

(final part of this transcript originally intended for use with meditation)

 

PB: ``Now an extraordinary and helpful fact is that by making Mind the object of our attention, not only does the serenity which is its nature begin to well up of its own accord but its steady unchanging character itself helps spontaneously to repel all disturbing thoughts.'' (Persp. p.236 and 23.7.10)

 

AD: Let's not have any comment on this, but let me recommend it as one of the finest mantrams that you could use in meditation.  Just memorize that and go over it in your mind when you meditate. 

 

LrD: Randy?  (laughter)

 

RC: ``N-O-W space A-N space--''

 

AD: Randy, why don't you read it to them, and those who want to write it down could write it down.  It's really worth profound meditation on.

 

(RC reads para very slowly so students can write.)

 

AH: Anthony, may I ask a question in regards to the meditation on this?  How could Mind be made into an object of attention?

 

AD: Keep saying the word to yourself, ``Mind,'' ``Mind''--you know?  Say it enough times that you even get angry and you pinch yourself: What the hell is it?  Things like that.

 

RC: In this sense you could say something--just as easily couldn't you--by making mind the subject of our attention?

 

AD: Yes, you know, keep asking yourself the word, keep repeating the word to yourself, and see if you can taste the flavor of it.  It's like when I tell you to be at attention. 

 

AH: We should have a thought of what mind is and make that the object of our attention.

 

AD: Well, I keep telling you, like in the ``hua t'uo'', to make attention the goal.   No object or anything; just make attention--pure attention itself--the goal.  So that means now on the one hand you have no object of consciousness but at the same time you have to be attentative.  It's a similar thing.  You're trying to feel or grasp or grip this thing within you which you call consciousness.   And then as you grip it and keep it from moving, after awhile it kind of tries to retract and draw you into itself.  And that's when it starts getting absorbed back into the Mind.  It _can_ be experienced; I think it's easier to DO it than to talk about it.

 

AH: I've been trying to do it for 15 years and I still don't know how to do that exercise.  Forgive my personal comment, but I just don't know what you mean when you talk about ``making Mind the object of attention.''  It just doesn't make sense to me.  I don't see how it's possible to do that.  I know you've described it, and admonished us to do it, but I just don't know what that means.

 

AD: You remember the story about that fellow who was told to paint the dragon?  And he told the Master, ``But I never _saw_ a dragon.'' He says, ``Well you keep looking until you see one and then paint it.'' The guy kept looking; he could never see anything; he kept looking and looking and looking.  And then he went into a kind of blank stare and all of a sudden this frightening dragon just jumped _at_ him!  Try it.  I don't see how you could possible do that for fifteen years and not get your head blown off.

 

AH: I haven't been doing it.  I've been _trying_ to do it.

 

AD: Same difference.

 

(RC rereads para, 23.7.10)

 

PB: ``Successful results from these meditation exercises can be got much more quickly and much more easily if he begins their practice after he has thoroughly convinced himself of mentalism's truth and after having kept this conviction alive by constantly gravitating back to it during reflective moments.'' (23.6.21)

 

AD: That helps a little, huh?  You have to constantly deal with the subject of mentalism; you've got to keep thinking about it.  You've got to reflect on thinking, and then thinking has to think about itself.

 

AH: You go through the analysis of mentalism.

 

AD: Sure, you could start that way.  You could [go] talk to yourself, say ``Now what is Mind?  What is thinking?  Who the hell am I?  What is this all about?  And I know I can't get out of my thoughts--I'm always within them.''  And you can get yourself in a state where the mind is just paralyzed and can't move--no thoughts.  But you can start out with everything that you understand about the mind in a discursive way.  Stick rigidly to it.  I mean, if you sit down and you're going to start thinking of Mind, make sure you don't bring in anything else.  And you just have a discursive meditation on Mind in yourself, and you just keep elaborating it, until you exhaust every possible association or meaning or intellectual idea.  Until that's completely exhausted, you won't get the flavor or the taste of what you're doing.  But it's a very straightforward discursive exercise.

 

AH: I was speaking about the difficulty of doing that exercise.  Really it requires a tremendous amount of energy, vitality to do that exercise.

 

AD: It takes a lot of energy and vitality to build a log cabin, doesn't it?   And a boat?  Sure, anything worthwhile takes vitality.  It depends on what you think is important.  But it is true, the more you understand about these doctrines, the more available a statement like that previous one becomes, the more meaningful.  It'll paralyze your thinking, don't worry.  Just try it.  Let's have another.

 

PB: ``Being based on the mentalist principles of the hidden teaching, they were traditionally regarded as being beyond yoga.  Hence these exercises have been handed down by word of mouth only for thousands of years and, in their totality, have not, so far as our knowledge extends, been published before, whether in any ancient Oriental language like Sanskrit or in any modern language like English.  They are not yoga exercises in the technical sense of that term and they cannot be practised by anyone who has never before practised yoga.'' (Persp. p. 320 & 23.6.9)

 

LR: Which exercises?

 

RC: Some of the ones we've been touching on tonight, some others we haven't touched on yet.

 

AD: (softly)  The ultra-mystic exercises.  I think there's more on the ultra-mystic exercises.

 

PB: ``This exercise in emptying the mind of its thoughts begins as a negative one but must end as a positive one.  For when all thoughts are gone, it will then be possible to affirm the pure principle of Thought itself.'' (23.7.153)

 

PB: ``When consciousness is stripped of its contents and stands in naked simplicity so that it can be seen as it really is, a tremendous quietude falls upon us.  All strivings cease of their own accord.'' (23.7.98) (tape turns while this para is being read)

 

TAPE 2, SIDE 2

 

(PC transcript (end) seems to indicate put ``The adverse force'' quote here, even though it isn't on the tape here.)

 

PB: ``The adverse force present in his ego will continually try to draw him away from positive concentration on pure being into negative consideration of lower topics.  Each time he must become aware of what is happening, of the change in trend, and resist it at once.  Out of this wearying conflict will eventually be born fresh inner strength if he succeeds, but only more mental weakness if he fails.  For meditation is potently creative.''(23.8.117 & Persp. p. 321)

 

AD: I might mention now, in one of the first quotes you read, there was something important in there.  When he speaks about how the exercise has to be done and if it's not done properly it will weaken you, you remember that?  I think you know what that means, and that is this here: That when you sit down to meditate, you've chosen your topic, whether it's a discursive meditation or a mantram--whatever it is--and you permit or allow the constant failure to take over, you are creating a situation which is going to be insuperable.  And it's better you don't sit if you're going to do it that way.  Because these failures will get exaggerated, and the very potential creativity of the meditation itself will exaggerate the failure.  In the same way, if you succeed, then that will be a help; you know, the old saying ``nothing succeeds like success.''  So if you do practice meditation-- and let's try to be honest: You know if you're practicing meditation or not; you know if you're sitting down, you know if you're sleeping, you know if you're in the womb state.  You know these things; I don't have to tell you.  So, to go back, if you are practicing meditation, you take a theme, let's say a discursive theme, and you coherently and logically discursively reason about it and on it, under it and over it and never leave the theme, that would add, that would make you stronger in your meditation.  The next day, again you'll grip that, you'll fight with it.  So that if you get a few successes then there's a tendency for the creativity in the meditation to encourage you even more.  But, the other is true, too.  If you sit down and you fall asleep, the net result is going to be that sooner or later it's going to be almost insuperable to overcome the habit.  I'm only bringing that out because of this particular point. I'm sorry.  All right?  Would you continue? (first 10 words of this paragraph from PC transcript, not on tape)

 

LrD: That's very depressing.

 

AD: Why is it depressing?  Isn't it good to know where you stand?

 

LrD: Yes.  I didn't mean it that way.  I just meant that, you know, there's this constant battle--

 

AD: But Laurie, if you constantly think evil thoughts, eventually you have to commit evil.  If you constantly think about something, it must come to pass.  Now if you constantly permit yourself to fail when you sit down, it's inevitable, the consequences are--  I mean, you're only applying the laws that you know about, karma and compensation, or let's say the habits that the mind operates with.  You're only applying what you know.  You can't sit down like a dodo bird when you meditate.  You've got to really be serious about it, and perhaps maybe you're waiting for an encounter with your mortality, or maybe with--you know a ship--an experience with disillusionment, but sooner or later you're going to have to wake up to the fact that you're doing something very important and something so very serious.

 

NH: So if you sit down to meditate and you find that your mind keeps slipping away from you--

 

AD: Don't give me that.  Please.  Don't give me that.  I get that all the time.  You think I'm any different?  I find my mind running too: It's like a mad bull--I get ahold of it and bring him back.  After 150 times I get tired, too.  But there's no exceptions to this.

 

NH: I thought you were saying that it would be better to stop that meditation-- (laughter) (inaudible/AD aside)

 

AD: Stop, right?  You'll never resume, because there'll never be a day when you sit down and it's going to just happen.

 

NH: That's what I don't understand.

 

AD: You don't understand?  I thought you understood that perfectly.  So when you sit down you say ``This is it.  Now or never.'' _Every one_ has to be like that. 

 

All right, you know there's some teachers who go around saying ``well don't mind me when I fall asleep, I'm in yoga nidra.''  Don't believe that bunk. He's sleeping.

 

RG: In that context can you differentiate the--the constant demand to bring back wandering thoughts and this other thing you talked about?  You would differentiate those two states, wouldn't you?

 

AD: The constant demand to bring--?

 

RG: To struggle with your thoughts, to bring them back to the subject of your meditation.  It almost sounded as if that's what you were describing, in your first part of your discussion.

 

LR: No, he's just saying if you _don't_ constantly try to bring them back-- I don't think he was saying you only succeeded if you quieted the mind every time.

 

RG: Well, that's what it sounded like.

 

LR: No, no.  The thing is if the mind wandered and you don't care about it any more.

 

AB: The distinction seems to be passivity versus the active employment of the will.

 

AD: Well, yes, you have to employ the will, of course.  Otherwise go to bed and go to sleep: I mean get proper sleep that way!

 

NH: So the danger is not in letting the mind slip, the danger is in not bringing it back.

 

AD: You people know very well what the danger is.  I think I'm elaborating the obvious.

 

DB: You sit down.  You go to sleep, instead of meditating.  You do that a lot.  Well, then that's what your meditation will become: you sit down and go to sleep.  That's not desirable.  The whole question is, you sit down and you fight for an hour or whatever.

 

AD: But anyway, you could keep that in mind, that remark, what he said there, because it IS like that.  If you succeed a few times, then you begin to see that only with the effort of the will.  Now I'm not saying you employ the will, for instance when the pull starts; then you drop willing and all that.  But when you're sitting down--and we're not talking about someone who's getting pulled into the heart center--then you have to work.  I don't know any other way.

 

RG: Even if you're trying to work and you're not succeeding--

 

AD: As long as you're trying.  You're not defeated until you say so.

 

PB: ``When all thoughts are extinguished; when even the thought of the quest itself vanishes; when even the final thought of seeking to control thoughts also subsides, then the great battle with the ego can take place. . . .''

 

AH: ``Then the _battle_ can take place''? (laughter)

 

AD: You got it, Andrew.  You got it exactly.

 

PB: ``. . . But the last scene of this invisible drama is always played by the Overself.  For only when its Grace shoots forth and strikes down this final thought, does success come.'' (23.8.152 & Persp. p. 328)

 

(para reread to ``. . .can take place'' again)

 

AD: See, so you kill the Buddha, it's at this stage.  The talk about ``killing the Buddha'' is at this stage.  After this stage, then the battle takes place.

 

AH: Anthony, is the battle after this killing of the Buddha, is that like an organic kind of struggle?

 

AD: (quietly and emphatically) No, no, you're perfectly, perfectly, perfectly still.  There's nothing, nothing, nothing.

 

VM: What kind of a battle can occur?

 

AD: The most frightening you'll ever go through. 

 

S: Pardon?

 

AD: The most frightening you'll go through.

 

AH: I guess that's what I was driving at.  At that stage there's a struggle that's transpersonal, really, in the way that we normally think of ourselves-- primordial struggle--

 

AD: We spoke about it at another time as the desire to live the embodied life.  And that has to be struck down.  Usually the individual cannot do it; it requires help from the Higher; but nonetheless you ARE brought into confrontation with that.  And I refer to it as the mystical death.  Now someone told me that I had said--and I'd better catch it now--that I had referred to the mystical death as the merger of the soul to the Absolute-Soul.  If I said that of course it's obvious I'm wrong.  How could the individual soul die?  So I was referring to the fact, this faculty of the soul that we call the desire to be embodied is what has to die.  And it's experienced in the sense that you can feel that you're faced with personal annihilation.   And that's what he's talking about there; that's the battle.  And there in the stillness, I mean the ego can't hide.  There's nothing there.  It can't hide.  There's no way it could hide.   Usually it could hide behind your thoughts or behind your feelings or one thing or another.  But in the stillness there's no place it can hide and it has to be confronted.  And one either does go ahead, or retreats.  And I can assure you, we retreat, unless a Higher Power comes in.  But it's an absolute stillness--I mean, you won't have convolutions (PC=`convulsions') in the pit of your stomach or anything like that.  It's really on the mental plane.  I mean, you won't get up feeling nausea.  You'll get up feeling terror maybe, but not nausea.  It won't be organic.  It may affect the person organically after, but not in the actual scene.  Let's have another one.  While they're so quiet.

 

RC: The one immediately after that--

 

PB: ``Everything that intrudes upon the mental stillness in this highly critical stage must be rejected, no matter how virtuous or how "spiritual" a face it puts on.  Only by the lapse of all thought, by the loss of all thinking capacity can he maintain this rigid stillness as it should be maintained.  It is here alone that the last great battle will be fought and that the first great fulfillment will be achieved. . . .''

 

AD: In other words, the first stage, right?

 

PB: ``. . . That battle will be the one which will give the final death blow to the ego; that fulfillment will be the union with his Overself after the ego's death.  Both the battle and the fulfillment must take place within the stillness;  they must not be a merely intellectual matter of thought alone nor a merely emotional matter of feeling alone.  Here in the stillness both thought and emotion must die and the ego will then lose their powerful support.  Therefore here alone is it possible to tackle the ego with any possibility of victory.'' (Persp. p. 328 and 23.8.153)

 

AH: Is victory possible because, as you said a minute ago, the ego no longer has the support of thought and feeling to maintain its autonomy?

 

AD: Well, that would be one thing, Andrew, I really can't answer it because I think it's always the Higher Power that ultimately decides that.  But that doesn't exclude the fact that you've got to bring to it a tremendous concentrative ability so that you could stay there.  Not only do you have the battle, but you've got to be strong enough, and in a contemplative state--which means that in a sense you've achieved the ability to concentrate and stay in that concentrated state for a few minutes--otherwise, the battle can't even take place.  So those are like prerequisites before you start talking about fighting the ego.  

 

HS: Would you say you're concentrating--you're maintaining an awareness, and the ego's trying to intrude upon that awareness?

 

AD: Yes, but then it [the ego] will come up and try to break it off.  But all that you said in the beginning, Herbie--you're concentrated, you're aware--all these things are really synonymous, because in a sense you're in a state of extreme self-absorption, and it will try to break that.  Now it can't come in with thought, because you're self-absorbed.  And it can't come in with emotional supports.  But it will come in of its own.  Its own nature will be revealed there, isolated from these.

 

HS: And it will be isolated, let's say, in front of, the concentrated awareness?

 

AD: Yes, you'll know it's there--intuitively you'll know it's there.

 

HS: And in that knowing there's a capacity to divest it of its power?

 

AD: Well, let's leave this censored, okay?

 

HS: Can I ask you a serious question?  (AD/HS question clarification) When you talk in this mode, about the death of the ego, from this side, will Herbert die?

 

AD: Yes.

 

HS: That's what you're talking about?

 

AD: Yes. (pause)  Then you'll come back and you'll have your breakfast of course, but Herbert will be dead.

 

LR: Anthony, are there any more novel exercises that he speaks of?

 

AD: Yes, but we're not going to get to them until I come back. (Q: from Sweden)

 

LR: Do you like discussing these kinds of exercises?  These are very advanced exercises.

 

AD: Yes. They're marvelous.  That's why I can't understand why you don't try to train yourself to sit for an hour comfortably without moving.  Even try to increase it, because you're going to have to increase it, more and more, little by little.  But hopefully, when I come back, we'll try some discussion on some of the exercises, and maybe--  When you do ultra-mystic exercises, you're going to pick your own.  I'm not going to tell you what to do.  You're going to pick something that's meaningful for you.  No one can come over and tell you what that may be.

 

LR: Can you define what you mean by "ultra-mystic"?

 

AD: He has seven of them in the _Wisdom_.

 

LR: That's what you mean by ``ultra-mystic''.

 

AD: Yes.  Also, the application of your metaphysical and philosophical understanding to any experiences that you get.  Also, the quotes that he was reading about the need to possess analytical reason, to apply analytical reason, not to let the mystics talk you out of the fact that reasoning is a very important aspect of the philosophic quest.  All those quotes he read in the very beginning.  You remember, I think Vic or Andrew, a long time ago you were telling me about this Zen monk who wanted to sit with God and stand with God and I told him you ought to try thinking with God.  That ought to be a treat.  But what I really meant by that was that the philosophic mystic, if he practices the exercises and he watches his mind and he sees thoughts arise and he dissolves thoughts back--not into their primal essence; he dissolves them in terms of understanding that these thoughts are manifestation of Mind-essence So that he collates these two things.  On the one hand he has insight, he understands--and understanding is the wrong word--he has insight that the substratum of his being is consciousness of anything that he perceives.  This is real insight: I mean, it's not an intellectual thing.  But nonetheless thoughts arise.  And of course Peter would like the whole world to arise, but if thoughts arise, that'll be enough.  And he recognizes that these thoughts are non-different from that substratum.  And this is like the philosophic path, where you have to take the two--the absolutely pure knowledge and the absolutely relative knowledge and bring them together in your understanding.  This is ultra-mystic exercise.

 

MB: Anthony, the exercise that was just described about the death of the ego, is that before the levels of the ultra-mystic exercises?

 

AD: No, that's a topic all by itself, Myra.

 

MB: But wouldn't that be included--

 

AD: That could be brought about by ultra-mystic exercises; it could be brought about by any exercise.  It could be brought about by a stroke.  It could be brought about under almost any condition.

 

MB: I guess what I'm asking is, isn't that one of the exercises that the typical mystic, if there is such, would aspire to?

 

AD: No. The typical mystic prefers nothing better than to sit back and enjoy his ecstasy and his raptures.  That's a typical mystic.  The philosophic mystic would go beyond, want to understand what these are all about.  So he has to leave that.

 

LR: Does he get it first?

 

AD: No, you don't _have_ to get it.  I mean, it's true that they're quite beautiful, and enjoyable.  But the point is that if you're philosophically trained, you know that you're not to _stay_ there.   You're to _go on_.  But first get there, and then we'll worry about going on.  (a little laughter)

 

AH: Doesn't PB speak about cases where the whole path is traversed without any of that [these experiences]?

 

AD: You get me the quote.  I want to study it.

 

AH: I think it's from the _Wisdom_, where he talks about these experiences are not generally--there are people that don't have them.

 

AD: Well, it's possible, but I'm quite sure that at some time or another you've gone through it.  It's inevitable in your development.  You may not remember them, but you've probably have tasted something about what they're like.  My motto is: No expectations.  Next one.

 

PB: ``It is not enough to negate thinking, this may yield a mental blank without content.  We have also to transcend it.  The first is the way of ordinary yoga; the second is the way of philosophic yoga.  In the second way, therefore, we seek strenuously to carry thought to its most abstract and rarefied point, to a critical culminating whereby its whole character changes and it merges of its own accord in the higher source whence it arises.  If successful, this produces a pleasant sometimes ecstatic state--but the ecstasy is not our aim, as with ordinary mysticism.  With us the reflection must keep loyally to a loftier aim, that of dissolving the ego in its divine source.   The metaphysical thinking must work its way, first upwards to a more and more abstract concept and second inwards to a more and more complete absorption from the external world.  The consequence is that when illumination results, whether it comes in the form of a mystical trance, ecstasy, or intuition, its character will be unquestionably different and immeasurably superior to that which comes from the mere sterilization of the thinking process which is the method of ordinary yoga.'' (Persp. p. 261 and 20.4.62)

 

AD: You see the demands philosophy will make on you?  He's spelling them all out.  That's a very good one. I used to be amazed just reading some of the texts of PB--I think I gave an example--and he's _correcting sacred texts_.  Well, it's pretty late.  I'm sorry to keep you overtime. (Rings bell.)

 

 

END OF CLASS