Getting to the Bottom Of It
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Jan Cox Talk 2533 – June 2, 2000
Notes by DC
Suggested title: Getting to the Bottom Of It
00:06 I brought some stuff that I wrote a couple of weeks ago…and I guess I’ll read it. But I’d still rather just either say nothing, or just talk.
00:52 I asked you if you had ever noticed that no one had ever given a detailed description…of what he meant when he used the term ‘being asleep’… [deep-sea diver from Indianapolis]
03:01 Jane, in case you didn’t hear…the Brooklyn Shakespeare Festival is opening up…with “To Be, Or What?”
04:21 Well, let’s get started. Do you know why? [No one ever gave a detailed description of being asleep]. Because no one ever thought about it…or no one ever saw any need to.
04:41 Looking back now, over this great lifetime of going on 92 – 93 years that I’ve been involved with this, come this spring…
05:19 I now realize that of those publicly known…you will find no trace…of ‘”What the hell IS this?” “Why am I wanting to do this?”…Why does anybody want to?
07:00 We all, people — I say “We all” …I feel more and more like I must speak for myself and let you just align yourself as is appropriate to your interest, whatever we have in common. People like us just always accept that ‘man is confused’, or ‘deluded’; that ‘man is asleep’…people adopt it and never again…question…what is this thing that I have immediately put in my pocket, clutched to my bosom?
08:55 [Makes reference to talks on the brain over previous 6-8 weeks] The whole idea that I have also been using…the secret to all of this…is you get to the bottom of the mind…
11:56 We have adopted this thing, that ‘man is asleep’…this is not a common, reasonable concept to the 6 Billion others on this planet.
13:47 You don’t even know what YOU mean by it; no one asks about it.
14:00 Instead of getting to the bottom of the mind, what you’re trying to do is to realize or recognize ‘self’, to get to the bottom of your self.
14:27 …some seeker would ask a Zen elder about ‘what is enlightenment’…and oftimes the response would be, “I’ll answer if you tell me what your face looked like before you were born.”
16:16 Nobody knows who they are, except an awakened man knows better.
16:24 Let me read this…Often throughout history, those trying to get to the bottom of things have been called ‘seekers of the truth’…the big timers would be those with nothing any longer in them that seeks the truth.
16:58 What sense is there in the truth seeking itself?
17:07 How can a man believe that he’s trying to discover his true self? How can a man believe that he is trying to produce in him a conscious mind, when it’s his mind that wants to produce the conscious mind?…The real question is, why does no one notice that?
17:37 A mirror is blank until something comes before it to cause a reflection. But, question: when the mirror is showing a reflection, where did its original blankness go?…As a matter of fact, that’s my variation of the exact Zen question.
18:32 When he would look just so, one man would often see a fish lurking in the bushes.
18:44 All living creatures have a feedback system whereby one physical function monitors the functions of another. Men also have a mental such system which in large part accounts for our supremacy among the creatures, but which is also an unrecognized large part of what motivates the few to search for some new way to mentally function.
19:07 At one time, one man had a slogan which was his private joy and which he would often repeat to himself, “Only the intelligent survive.” He later came to replace it with another one: “Only the strong survive,” which he later dropped in favor of, “Only the determined survive.” Which was then pushed aside for, “Only the fully awakened survive,” which he recently replaced with, “Only the dazed survive.” But then yesterday, while attending a funeral, the obvious hit him: “Nobody survives, and only the awakened know the trick.”
19:53 Only those not fully dead continue to cry out for some way to mentally function.
20:01 You see, the trick is to be both not dead, and not care. Which was what I was talking about last time about don’t make eye contact with the mind. Look right above their little heads…
20:24 If you can ask a man if he ‘knows himself’ and he answers in the firm affirmative, you may be assured that he has no idea of what you’re talking about.
20:38 A monk wrote home from his monastery:
“Dear Momma, They tell me that I will finally ‘know myself’ just as soon as I learn to nail my shadow to the wall. Love, Hubie.”
20:53 It has been said that to ever realize your own true nature you must have a mind like an iron wall. But I offer an alternative description and say that you should have a mind that is always just out of hearing, just out of full existence in that instant moment; not a mind filled with steely resistance, but one that is constructively vacant, at least sufficiently vacant that no thought disturbs your feeling of peace.
21:28 No one would ever become involved with this activity did they not feel that something is wrong within them. But for your involvement to pay off in maximum terms, you must finally feel for yourself that something is wrong regarding your feeling that something is wrong within you.
21:47 We’re talking here a situation akin to an eye trying to look at a thumbnail while the nail is reflecting back an image of the searching eye.
21:58 And when you find yourself getting all confused as you run this matter over in your mind, just remind yourself of the gross inherent humor and error in the idea of a man ‘talking to himself’. Catching onto this is a quick cure for all sorts of confusion.
22:25 Do you realize you’re all sitting there talking to yourself after that?
22:48 An unexpected idea one day entered a man’s mind: “There are only two types of people who continually beat up on themselves, the mentally ill and those trying to shake themselves out of the trance.” Upon hearing this sentence in his head, he chuckled, was motionless for a moment, then went on about his business.
23:14 The distance between undeserved feelings of self importance and unfounded feelings of self condemnation can be measured in the heartbeats of the awakened.
23:25 If you ask a man the difference between him and his environment, and he starts to answer…
23:36 A monk wrote home to his momma from the monastery: “Tomorrow, all of those who want to know how much influence a man’s experience has on him compared to his genetic makeup…”
24:09 Question: What is wrong in the following definition? Man: A robot programmed to believe that it is self motivated.
24:32 OK. An easier one: What is wrong in every definition?
24:46 …no definition can answer the question of what was your definition before you got to be this one?
25:05 Before this book and ink gave birth to you, what was your original face?
25:11 Without question, in the beginning the overwhelming need is to ‘look inward’. But ultimately the challenge is to look at the thing in you that is trying to look inward. And then ask yourself, “What is all of this?” “What is it, precisely, that I think that I’m attempting?” “And what is it that is actually going on here?” This is the challenge that separates the dilettantes from the diligent, and a man from his final uncertainty.
25:52 You know one reason why I know that people do not in the past…that they never pushed on like I’m trying to get you to…is that none of them, after they awoke to a great degree…because they don’t give one word about almost finally driving themselves absolutely crazy.
28:50 I’m not sure that anybody has the real mind for this, the taste for it.
29:06 If knowing what was going on was the great CrakerJack box, then this is the prize that no one ever looks for.
30:11 I see it…as being like a strange set up, a non-standard setup of a thermostat, of any feedback loop.
31:45 You find yourself bored….why do I keep coming here?…I know all this; it’s the same shit…
32:21 Now, what I’d like to propose to you, if you try to consider “What is this?” try to get to the bottom of what is it in you that wants to get to the bottom of things…
34:10 Fun is, you realize, “I’m getting glimpses of something that’s even beyond awakening.”
34:40 What is this?
34:42 In a certain ancient quarter it was said that, “With every breathing out and every breathing in a secret entity leaves then re-enters your body. And this entity is none other than your real, enlightened self.” And a boy asked his father, “Why doesn’t anyone say things like that today?” And the elder replied, “A few do, but they will claim that it was something that someone else had said long ago.” (I sure wish you could make your own allegorical analysis of that, without me doing it.)
35:21 And a pup asked his sire, “What was the original purpose in us dogs chasing our tail?” And the elder replied, “It was our foolish attempt to be more human like, I suppose.”
35:32 And look into this idea: with every breathing out and breathing in, a silent entity leaves then reenters our body and the entity is our real, our enlightened self. I think that investigation will show this to be something far beyond tail chasing.
36:03 I know I’ve done it many times recently, but now I’m back on it. Somebody give me a wink!
36:54 What in me just decided to go get coffee? I know some of you get it. Literally, it’s not “what”. “How” did it come about; how about that?
38:40 There’s no doubt doing such as this — there’s not a doubt in the world — will either, as the mystics used to call it, it’ll either wake you up or drive you nuts. And, of course, it would most likely drive people nuts; that’s why they don’t do it.
39:10 These big ideas…”How come there’s so much evil in the world?” These huge questions…it is to me still humorous and fun that those are not questions. The real question would be…ten panelists….and Dr. X raises his hand. Screw those other questions — my question is why did he raise his hand then?
40:54 But you don’t know the fun. And it’s more than fun. This is an edge; this will shake you out of that state. You cannot try and ask yourself that. You can’t try and look into that question of “Why did I get up right then?”; “What’s going on?”; “How did that come about?” That will shake the sleep out of anybody.
41:42 Do you know what a joke it is for humans to believe that they are as they describe themselves? I already threw it in tonight. I’ll tell you what they are; I’ll tell you what man is: he’s a robot that’s been programmed to believe that he’s not. There’s no way out. I’m correct; I’m sorry. And you can sit, and you can think anything you want to about it, and it don’t mean squat. And realizing that is enlightenment.
45:36 [‘Wrassling’ with free will…getting up for coffee] What’s going on that I got up right this second…this is backing up, but you’re asking “When did I decide…?” …same question as, “What did I look like before I was born?”
46:48 When did “I”, ME, MYSELF…sounds like the question has to do with time.
52:08 “When” is not where you should be looking. But as long as you look there, you’re safe, because you can play with that forever. The other one you can’t play with.
52:40 That’s the one that’ll either drive you crazy or it will shake your furnace and some of the soot will come out of the ductwork…
52:54 Maybe that’s what being asleep is: having too many dust bunnies in your ductwork… duck tape and dust bunnies….
53:21 Does anybody know it’s a good sign when anything you hear makes sense to you?
53:28 I’ll put it to you another way. You’re still not fully awake when you can hear things, any thing….and go…”I don’t get it…”
54:02 You’re not dealing with reality; you’re dealing with your thinking.
54:10 When did you decide it didn’t make sense?
55:36 I have been offered a minor chair in the Logic Department…my first class would be “The Insanity of Reason”…
56:10 Well, thank god we didn’t have to read all those; right?