It Is Either Silly Or Sensible
Q(1): I have a lot of trouble with thinking – with my thoughts – and what is the work in it, or the effort in it, is that they always have tracks that want to be followed and they are hard to catch ... to catch me ...
R: Going off on a stray thought?
Q(1): They are keeping me so busy ... that I ...
R: Yes, but you can actually have fun with this. Have you ever followed a thought right through to its very end?
Q(1): I’m not very good at that.
R: Would you like to? It is fun! You start off with an original thought – you may be silent for a while and a thought pops into your head – and you take particular notice of what that thought is. Put a mental circle around it, or some stars or something, to lock that original thought securely. Then just let your thought wander ... you wander with your thoughts ... following them through to wherever they go. You will go off into a side branch ... and that will branch off into another side branch ... and into another and another ... and so on. Then you are completely lost. This is the normal way of thinking.
Q(1): Yes, right.
R: Your thoughts meander. Learn to catch yourself meandering; let the meandering go on and after a period of time – three or four minutes – take note. Think to yourself: ‘Wow, where am I at? Where did I start in all this?’ Then you come back to that original thought that you marked and locked in securely. You start with that thought again. Once more, let your thought proceed ... this time you will meander off in another direction ... and off along another branch ... and another ... and so on. Once again catch yourself after a while; you may say: ‘Oh, that is interesting, I went off into a side-track there!’ Come back to your original thought that you put a circle around and you will find that it has progressed a little – before you started to meander for the second time you proceeded a short way. So you put a ring around that and – it is so lovely to do this – and then eventually you will be able to follow a thought right through to its very end. And when you do get to the end, some magic can happen. It is so wonderful to do this! You can spend an hour or two doing this; following a thought, meandering, coming back, wandering again, coming back ... and so forth.
We can do this in a talk, a discussion. We start this particular conversation that we are having now, and what I do is I mentally note how it started. Everybody can have an input and we can talk and talk and explore and discover – we meander. After a while you will find me saying something like: ‘To get back to what we were talking about at the beginning ...’ and that brings everybody back to the original topic. Then off we go again, to wander and ramble again – and I take note of where we progressed to before we digressed for the second time ...
Q(1): But the interesting part is that I ... not the meandering, but the earlier I catch the meandering and go back to the original ... but ... oh, I see; the important thing is that I follow the trunk.
R: Right to the very end. It is a lovely thing to do – it is delicious – because you get to know the workings of your own mind. This is your brain in action.
Q(1): You learn to know yourself. But one of the first things I do is remember the things I need to do in the day.
R: Simple. Write them down on a piece of paper and get them out of your head.
Q(1): But what I do works; I make a note of it in my head.
R: However, do you find yourself going back over it again and again? That you work through the list ... you wander off ... you come back to the beginning of the list and you work through it again. Especially when you first wake up in the morning. Do you find this? That you re-evaluate the list?
Q(1): That’s true.
R: Do you see that you do not need to? Catch yourself doing it: ‘Why am I going through it again. I already know this.’ This is also fun. To watch how your thought process works.
Q: And notice how often you put yourself down.
R: Tell yourself off.
Q(1): For thinking it!
R: One discovers that the way one tells oneself off; if one were to talk to another person like that – a friend – one would not have any friends left. You have to live with yourself twenty four hours a day; if you are talking to yourself in such a way that you are not a good friend to yourself, then what are you doing? If I were to talk like that to you, be sharp with you, you would have nothing to do with me. Are you not sharp upon yourself?
Q(1): I am very sharp upon myself.
R: It is a good thing to become friends with yourself, to decide not to tell yourself off any more: ‘Okay, I will make mistakes from time to time, because I am still human, but if I ‘goof-up’ I will not exacerbate the situation by imposing a condemnation upon myself.’ One always has another chance, another moment in which to do better, to make it work this time. It is always a quick thought, a swift reproach: ‘Oh, you fool!’ or ‘You shouldn’t do that!’ or ‘How stupid!’
Q: Or you’re not good enough: ‘You should know better than that!’
R: It is good to cease doing that because only you live with yourself for the twenty four hours of the day. Everybody else comes and goes, but you remain, ever constant ... for the rest of your life. I can not stress enough how important it is for you to be your own best friend. For then you get to know yourself – you are no longer against yourself. You can discover things about your own make-up: ‘Oh, isn’t that interesting’ or ‘I like that one’ or ‘I didn’t know I was carrying that’ or ‘I’m glad that one is out of the way’. Sometimes, of course, something can come back, three days, three weeks or three months later: ‘Goodness me, I thought I had eliminated that one’. See how vital it is that you are your own best ‘buddy’? You say: ‘Well, I thought I had dealt with that but never mind, I have another moment here, another chance’. This way you work with yourself, instead of in opposition. It is very important.
And it is such good fun! Then, everything you do in your daily life, moment to moment, is taking advantage of multiple opportunities. Every moment again is an occasion to improve your lot ... when you are interacting with someone, either face to face or on the telephone ... or a back-ache: ‘Oh god, how terrible!’ ... another opportunity. It is bad enough to feel pain, why make it worse by adding an emotional suffering like ‘I feel terrible’? To feel terrible, emotionally, on top of the physical pain is simply silly when it is possible to disentagle oneself, emotionally, and still feel good about being alive, about being here. This is being sensible, is it not? To feel good, if not happy, all the time?
Q: And top of that: ‘I deserve it, too’. You know, god punishes immediately! ‘It’s my own fault’ or ‘I shouldn’t have done that’.
Q(2): Or conformity: ‘If everyone else suffers, why shouldn’t I too?’
R: This is a lot easier than that new-age one about not being judgemental. ‘I shouldn’t be judgemental!’ or ‘I’m always evaluating, judging everything and everyone’. This is a much more gentle way of being with oneself. Be kind to yourself – one needs all the help one can get and who is the best person to help you if not you yourself? Who else is going to do it? Only you can live your life, nobody else can do the living of it for you. It is really good to become friendly with yourself, to get to know yourself, to enjoy yourself ... and for goodness sake, stop berating yourself!
About being judgemental: It is only a belief – a New-age belief resurrected from the old scriptural injunction: ‘Judge not that ye be judged thyself’. What is wrong with appraising a situation or person or an event? One can not live without evaluating, so the injunction merely makes one feel guilty. Nobody lives according to it anyway – it is an unliveable bit of nonsensical doctrine that frankly does not make sense.
Q(1): It’s funny about how I handle this judging business ... what follows is that I can’t do it in any practical way.
R: It is a re-run of that hoary one of being tolerant ... another New-age belief is: ‘Be accepting’. What balderdash! Does anyone accept a murderer? A rapist? A pederast? A traitor? A thief? Nobody does these things, they simply mouth regurgitated pap and fondly think themselves to be wise and righteous people. These commandments just have not worked – they have had thousands of years to demonstrate their efficacy at producing peace on earth and they have failed miserably. Most of the New-age stuff is a re-hash of the old ‘tried and true’, which is, actually, ‘the tried and failed’.
Q: When someone tells you not to be judgemental, they actually mean: ‘Your opinion doesn’t count’. Their own opinion is, of course, valid – but you are not to question it. It is a clever way of gagging you.
R: One woman accused me, years ago, of being judgemental. I said: ‘Of course I am, I do not hold that belief.’ I am neither a New-age aficionado nor a Christian so I can be as judgemental as all get-out ... not that I use the word, personally. Try ‘appraisal’; that will get you away from the moralistic overtones. One does an appraisal of a person, a thing or an event: ‘That’s useful; that’s not. That is silly; that is sensible’. Of course one does this. How on earth can one conduct one’s affairs without appraising, without reviewing, in some way?
It is helpful to rid oneself of the concept of ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ and utilise ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’. You will be a lot better off. For example: It is silly to be unhappy, it is sensible to be happy.
Q(1): It’s using the same word for ‘Good and Bad’ and ‘Right and Wrong’.
R: Not at all. It is not moralistic; it is about the workability of something, the usefulness of whatever it is. I am talking about a very practical thing: It is sensible to be happy; it is silly to be unhappy. It is silly to feel rotten; it is sensible to feel well. You see, it is not self-righteous at all – it is a matter-of fact appraisal.
Q(1): No, I wouldn’t use moralistic for that – about being happy.
R: Nor for anything. Please, do not use ‘silly’ and ‘sensible’ as a substitute for moralistic values ... that would defeat the purpose. It is a practical, everyday, common-sense thing: ‘How am I feeling at this moment?’ or ‘Am I feeling good?’ or ‘Am I feeling bad?’ ... ‘Oh that’s silly, I’ll do something about myself until I feel good’. Simply, it is sensible to feel good. This is my moment of being alive – I am not alive five minutes ago, nor am I alive five minutes ahead. This is my only moment of being here. How am I experiencing this moment? If I am not experiencing it well now, when will I? It will be a ‘now’ moment when I do, so why not make this ‘now’ moment ... this one that is happening right now. Why waste it by feeling rotten? Why not enjoy it?
It works! I am not merely talking theory, this is what I did back in ‘81. I have not missed a moment for sixteen years ... it is always this moment. What a misspent life, to waste each moment waiting for a future happiness ... to sit around feeling rotten, berating oneself, feeling guilty, and so on.
And another way to be rid of ... Do you want me to go on?
Q(1): I’m digesting, I’m listening.
R: On a slightly different track ... another way of operating is to put everything on a ‘it does not matter’ basis – you know, where you prefer to do something rather than have to?
The Third Alternative
(Peace On Earth In This Life Time As This Flesh And Blood Body)
Here is an actual freedom from the Human Condition, surpassing Spiritual Enlightenment and any other Altered State Of Consciousness, and challenging all philosophy, psychiatry, metaphysics (including quantum physics with its mystic cosmogony), anthropology, sociology ... and any religion along with its paranormal theology. Discarding all of the beliefs that have held humankind in thralldom for aeons, the way has now been discovered that cuts through the ‘Tried and True’ and enables anyone to be, for the first time, a fully free and autonomous individual living in utter peace and tranquillity, beholden to no-one.
Richard's Text ©The Actual Freedom Trust: 1997-. All Rights Reserved.