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This is tape #2635 recorded by Jan Cox January 24, 2001
Notes by CF
The Empty Room
Begin: From one view there are two ways of trying to accomplish the goal. Even when you do not know what is the goal. .One appears active and busy and the other one does not. The active busy way is the way everyone starts and some die.
The oldest and best description I know, that someone else made up, is a hand trying to grab itself. The whole point to every method in trying to do this (stop meaningless thought) amounts to one thing. You have a hand and it tries to grab itself. You have this ordinary dozing mind you want to wipe clean and you look at it and come to your senses. Picture it as your hand and you try to grab it with you hand.
The first time I read about the hand and it trying to grab itself I said “that’s it.” Then I walked away and forgot about it. I did not know what to make of the hand trying to grab itself or what to do with it but I knew that was it.
Crudely put, you are trying to stop thought. What do you have to stop thought with? You can try to tell yourself what you have to stop thought with but …. There is no but.
There is that busy room.
One of my pictures is an empty room. The busy room equates to the noisy dog in your yard that keeps trying to run away and you keep trying to get it to sit and stay.
The Garden of Eden, to me, is you have a yard and as soon as you become conscious you have a dog in your yard.
05:00 The trickiness of extraordinary experiences called “being awake” (You are working backwards) are it is almost as though the dog did sit down and shut up.
To me, it is as though the yard and the dog have been moved far away from the house. I can’t say the dog does or does not sit down and shuts up. I can say it is not like the dog disappears and you never think of him again.
You cannot hold the empty room state forever. Your dog (the noisy thoughts) are on a different footing now that you have been where the dog appears to sit down and shut up. So, what can you do now?
Monasteries, sitting, and meditation etc. are based on getting the body still to calm the mind. It is the hand trying to grab itself. A fair description for this longing to calm the mind is to stop thought. There is only one thing to stop thought and that is another thought. How is one thought going to stop another thought? That is the busy method.
My picture is an empty room. Everything else is the busy room. The busy room gets full of stuff. I have given you methods that are part of your busy room. I have a room full of more shit than you because I am sure (not bragging) most of the stuff you got is from me, so think how much I have got.
10:00 This room is full of stuff. (You can think of it as about the size of the inside of your head.) Mentally you can go into it. It is not the ordinary stuff of politics or old feuds with Uncle Charlie. It is stuff about cleaning out the room. It is stuff like staying conscious of consciousness. If you do not watch it the room feels more secure than wandering around.
If you think about it there is a third room full of other shit like politics. Let’s say this room does not involve you anymore. It is just there. You feel better in the conscious of consciousness room than in the politics room just like monks prefer monasteries to the city. It seems that way but it is not.
In a sense it is easy to say now but I did not always understand it. It seems it would be easier to awaken in the monastery. But whatever you achieve there is not worth a damn unless you can carry it everywhere.
Real meditation is what you carry around with you in your empty room’s head no matter where you are. Just getting home and closing the door (thinking that is the empty room) is an illusion.
15:00 Trying to calm the mind is trying to do something. If you are trying to stop thought you are busy. I do not know anywhere else to begin than in the busy room of conscious of consciousness methods.
Ultimately the doing of something (ex. Stopping meaningless thoughts etc.) is not it. It is the not doing of something. It is not the gaining or achieving of enlightenment. It is not the gaining of anything. It is the losing. The ultimate losing is the losing of trying to gain something.
If I had heard that forty or fifty years ago I would have wanted to slap the guy who said it. It is like the guy saying you have to stop thought and then saying now what are you going to stop the thought with? Then the guy saying “Don’t you get it?”
That is when you say “What kind of cheap fortune cookie did you get that out of?”
20:00 How do you get around the question “what are you going to stop thought with?”
Eventually my own little method came to me. I would turn and walk into this room. It is empty, in a sense, and if I look around and if there is something there (An example maybe “I should do this more often.”) then I realize (uh oh) I am back in the other room.
The empty room is not a nothingness. It is like two backyards. One of them has a dog. (If the dog is not as bad as he use to be face reality you are just older.) You have another yard, another door, and then I walk out the door and there is nothing in the yard. I am in the adjoining yard and there is nothing to do. There is no dog to fight and nothing to think about. If you are busy you are back in the yard with the busy dog. You are back in the busy room.
There are actually three rooms. The ordinary room is the room we have in common with everyone else. It is the room of second reality, of pros and cons, the cattle room. We assume this room is no longer your problem. The other two rooms are the rooms where you are trying to wake up and the empty room.
25:00 The busy room where you are trying to wake up is the room I say, you are trying to clean out. You cannot clean out this room anymore than you can change your temperament. This busy room of metaphysical truths is full of information on “How to clean out your room.” You keep adding to this room books and information on “how to clean out this room.”
When you are in this room of metaphysical truths, you are thinking about metaphysical truths to clean out the room. It is the hand trying to grab itself. Does anyone see the foolishness?
The empty room is the goal. I do not know if I could start with the empty room but that is what it has come to. To me personally the empty room is not a method. You just walk in the room and it is empty. As soon as the room is not empty you are in the busy room. There is really nothing to do in the busy (pondering) room except to get back in the empty room.
30:00 You could spend several lifetimes and never catch on. In the busy, busy, of the monasteries and the struggle to stop thought there is no payoff. The only real payoff is following the methods to their conclusion. The method does not wake you up. It is the realization that what you are trying to do is the method. You realize what trying to do the method amounts to.
You realize you have been in the room full of methods trying to do the methods and you keep adding to the room by doing the methods. You keep adding new books on “how to clean out your room” to the room.
35:00 “Cleaning out you room” is a metaphor for awakening. The original idea of poverty is not the gaining of something but the abandonment of something. You do not make yourself go to the empty room; you take yourself to the empty room because it is a joy.
It’s all good stuff in the busy pondering room until one day you look around and its all information on “how to clean out your room.”
40:00 You realize what the conscious of consciousness busy room is and instantly you are in the empty room. You can go back and forth instantly. You do not unlearn what is in the conscious of consciousness busy room. You just realize what this room is.
Standing up in the middle of the mechanical flow takes effort seems applicable for people like us. But once you see it, it does not apply. If you are making an effort you are in the busy room. Cause and effect takes you back to the busy room. But if you keep looking at what I am saying it does (Jan clears his throat and lowers his voice) have an effect. Who knows why?
Printed on the wall of this room is the point “everything in this room is about how to clean out this room” and”Don’t you get it?”
45:00 The whole point of the busy method room is to achieve an empty room. You keep saying to yourself “Why am I in the busy room?” “Am I an idiot?” How can you explain you will be right back in the busy room pondering the sign “Everything in this room is about how to clean out this room.”
If you can see what I am saying is true then what are you missing?
What you are not doing is not doing. In the empty room there is no sense of accomplishment. You did not clean out the busy room. You did not get the dog to sit down. The empty room does not have a banner saying you are awake. There is nothing in the empty room. If there is anything you are out of the room.
50:00 The busy room is a lot of fun for people like us. But it is busy, busy. It is a hand trying to grab itself. Sometimes it seems stopping these meaningless thoughts is working. But what can you use to stop thought? There is only one thing and you look right past it. Until you realize what the room is. It is all about one subject.
Jan’s Posted Daily Fresh Real News
.January 24, 2001.
Is this to be just a day like every other day?
Does it have to be such a day?
You arise from your bed;
you eat, you drink;
you walk, you see;
a life of clouds, rivers & sunshine occurs around you,
and a separate life within;
but is this life actually so separate?
or does it just feel that way to you now?
due to your taking it as being separate?
For a person hot-on-the-trail,
how could any internal day
not be pleasing & exhilarating
Will it be a big long thing that will cause you to
see the secret,
or will it be little short things?
Will it be hot;
will it be cold;
will it be new;
will it be old?
If you are expecting an owl,
what will you make of an eagle;
if you are expecting an eagle,
what will you make of a dump truck?
Many claim to know that man lives in a dream,
but few, few, few know what the dream is.
A man who often spoke about —
getting the understanding —
when asked if he had it,
would only say:
I don’t know what youre talking about.
For the few:
idleness is the next best thing to emptiness.
You can try to pick up what another man
knows about the understanding —
— but you cant run with it.
A man dependent on someone else’s word for it
has a boulder in his drawers.
The knowledge would please everyone,
and they would be greatly relieved by it
— although 99 out of 100 wouldnt understand it —
— and would thus not benefit from it.
The-Ultimate-Fairness-Of-It-All is that we
have left feet — since we have
Only those without the understanding
do not realize that
— it has to —
— it has no choice.
If you look for the understanding
with your eyes — you’ll never find it.
Do you mean: e-y-e-s, eyes, or: I, Is?
The understanding is the only thing that,
even after you find it
you still don’t see it.
Ordinary men walk against the wind,
or they walk with the wind,
but either way — as they walk —
they feel apart from the wind.
This is not the understanding.
To know-what-is-going-on is to realize that
triumphing over life no more exists than does
being defeated by it.
Only those without the understanding
feel that life is anything
other than themselves.
Having the knowledge is not something you —
but rather a feeling that is possible when you’re
(the tricky part is in the initial discovery of
A father told a son: What I don’t know can hurt you,
and the younger asked:
Is that also true the other way around?
Always, he replied: Always.
We have a mind that talks,
out of fairness to the fact that
we have one that does not.
Find a thing that you can’t pick up,
that you can’t open,
that you can’t break,
that you can’t see through — yet —
seeing through it is all that you can see.
The understanding is IN thought, but
it is NOT thought.
For the few:
idleness is the next best thing to not being there.
Stand forever before a backless mirror and ask:
What is this? What is this? What is this?
until you finally get it.
When you suddenly see it —
— coal is hurled at midnight.