Antidotes to mind killing; middle way vs compromise; summary of warrior’s solution: perceive imbalance, intention, sacrifice, dying, rest; participant’s questions.
Well this morning there are a few loose ends to tidy up, a little more material to complete the picture. Somebody expressed an interest in the application of this material to manifesting, and questions and answers. That’s what we have on tap for this morning.
Student: Can you say more about mind killing?
Ken: Oh that’s a big subject, it’s a way a lot of people manifest.
The first thing that I want to do is tidy up a loose end around mind killing. The comment was made yesterday, this isn’t really Buddhist material. And in the discussions with my friend, out of which all of this material came, he posed a question, “What are the antidotes to mind killing?”
Ken: What are the antidotes?
Ken: Antidotes, remedies, correctives. And, I mean, immediately I said to him, “Well for some of them, the middle way,” and last night after this comment I looked at him. And what I said yesterday was that a lot of what we’ve been discussing in this retreat is implicit in Buddhism, and what we have been doing is making it very explicit. If you look at the three pairs that I mentioned yesterday, marginalization and framing. Well there’s a very specific Buddhist teaching which counteracts that pair. Interdependence or interdependent origination. Marginalization and reframing. Because in both marginalization and reframing the intent is to say that these things aren’t relevant they don’t have an impact. And interdependence puts the lie to that position.
Now I had breakfast with a person the other day who is a true blue Republican and he was in a bit of a quandary. He practices. And he’d had dinner a couple of days earlier with a couple of liberal friends who had just pounded him on the policies of the current administration.
But a couple of days later he’d had dinner with some conservative friends of his that are even more conservative than him. And he had said, “You know, I’m really not sure about this policy of locking them all up, it just conflicts with Buddhist ethics.” And his conservative friends pounded on him. So he’s getting it from both sides.
But as we talked, and he was putting up this position, this position, this position, this position I didn’t offer any resistance. And one of the themes that he was pushing was, government is irrelevant. It’s incapable of doing anything and it’s just a waste of money.
And I let him go on about this and I said, “You really think government is irrelevant?” He said, “Absolutely.” This guy earns a salary, or earns something in the mid six figures every year. I said “Well, what about the third of your pay check that goes to the government every year, is that irrelevant?” It was very interesting. Bcause when I made this point he felt the helplessness that all of that anger and aggression was a defense against. So, interdependence, that’s the antidote to marginalization, and framing.
Seduction and alignment. In seduction, the essential message is you need the system. You need it for survival you need it to get your emotional needs meet, you need it to be able to be somebody in the world, etc. And alignment is that you will find fulfillment by serving the system.
In the British Empire, this was in the army, it was, “The brigade is your mother, the brigade is your father.” The antidotes here: the three marks of existence and refuge. The three marks of existence: you’re going to die so the system can’t assure your survival. Life is suffering, we can’t get our emotional needs met, what the system says is a lie. And there’s nobody to be, so anybody that the system tells you are is also a lie. And on the other hand you will find fulfillment by aligning with the system, but that’s essentially what refuge is about. You cannot find peace, presence, by looking outside yourself.
Ken: Refuge? Externally one may look at it that way, but when you get right down to it what refuge is saying is that the only refuge is the awake clarity of your own mind.
In Paris there was an eminent Zen teacher called Deshimaru and he wound up on a panel with a representative of Reverend Moon’s organization. I think that it was a fundamentalist Christian. Something like that, it was some weird combination. And they were having this huge argument and he just sat there. And it was all about what do you have faith in etc., etc. And finally the moderator turned to Deshimaru and said, “What do you have faith in?” And he said “My own mind.” [Laughs] And after that he was just out of the discussion because…[Laughter]
And this is very important about Buddhism. Buddhism is not a belief system. It is a system of methods, or a set of methods through which you discover your own clarity and ability to be present. And after that it’s up to you. And that has been the history of Buddhism through the ages. Okay?
Okay! And with respect to reduction and polarization it’s either this or this, or everything being reduced to one issue. Well the middle way. Now do you understand the middle way does not mean finding a compromise? It’s not what the definition of the middle way is. The middle way is defined as not falling into an extreme. And the best way to travel the middle way is to keep both extremes in mind, in attention all the time. When you do that you will quite naturally sense balance and imbalance and you will not fall into either reductionism or polarization.
Any questions or comments on that? Robert? No, okay. Anybody? Franca.
Well yes actually, that breakfast I was having with this Republican and what was being discussed at one point was the jail system. You know these people cannot be rehabilitated, you have to lock them up. And what I said to him was, “Look, part of the problem right now is that each party has half the solution, but they each feel that the half they have is the whole solution.” And there are some people who are sufficiently bent that they’re probably never going to be able to be rehabilitated. But a vast number of people are in for relatively minor crimes. And I mean in California the Prop—I can’t remember which number but which….What? No not the three strikes, the one which mandated drug treatment [Prop 36]. Yeah. No drug treatment before they were put in jail. And so, and that’s alleviated a huge load on the court system because so many less people are going to jail. And so one there are some people yes you are probably going to have to incarcerate or to protect society but rehabilitation is liable in many so you keep both of those in mind.
Student: What’s reduction?
Ken: Reduction? Reduction is falling into one extreme. Where you reduce it all to one emotionally charged issue so everything else, everything else is forgotten. And that’s exactly what’s being done around the gay marriage issue right now. And it’s what’s done around abortion. And so all other considerations, other aspects of life are ignored. All those other different facets to get around that one issue.
When you keep both extremes in mind you necessarily move to a higher level of attention because it’s the only way you can keep both in mind. And that higher level of attention enables you to see what you couldn’t see at the other. That’s the essential method of the Middle Way and you can do this very, very simply. What’s the fundamental duality, false duality which we label under I and other. Okay? Now what happens when you keep I and otherin attention at the same time? There’s a shift. That’s it. Okay?
Ken: Yes, because when situations are highly polarized people protect positions and there’s no room for maneuver. And so one of the key things in effective mediation is to understand that you can’t get what you want by holding onto what you want to get. By holding your position. And so it involves seeing other factors and a skilled mediator is able to help one or both parties see other factors that are at play so that they begin to understand there needs to be more movement than just fixating on their position. And there are many many methods. Sometimes they do it by persuasion, sometimes they do it by switching roles which is very effective. Other times they just have to use the force of the situation and let the weight of the situation sink in on the other person. “Oh, yes this isn’t such a good place to be after all,” Okay? Peter.
Peter: Is there any way for a public figure to use polarization or reduction [unclear]. I mean that’s what I see happening.
Ken: Yeah. Very difficult at this point because there are so many forces which profit from polarization. This is actually a topic that I’ve thought about quite a lot. And my personal feeling is that rather than working at the apex of the system, which is what you’re talking about at the presidential where the disfunctions in the society as a whole are now solidly rigdified, that’s what happens. You work at the other end and start promoting conversation among people of all different stripes and that’s going to take a long time. That will be the substantial way.
Peter: [Unclear] Howard Dean.
Ken: Yes, and what was Howard Dean’s failing?
Peter: [Unclear] anger.
Ken: Yes, yes, he couldn’t step out of his anger. Never moved beyond it so he could only go so far.
Ken: Okay, now, last question Diane.
Ken: Yes, a very, very good point. The opponent whether it’s operating as your family system or reactive patterns in you, uses all of those six techniques and the remedies that I have suggested will apply so that if in your family system everything gets reduced to one emotionally charged issue don’t go into the realm defined by that emotionally charged issue. Use your ability to stay in attention, keep the bigger picture in mind, sense the imbalance, address what you can and don’t get caught up by what is being projected onto you.
Now that is the real challenge because when we, particularly in things like family systems and our internal material there are very strong emotional ties. So when we don’t engage them we feel like we are cutting connection, or we are killing somebody. And you know mother says, “What are you doing to me!” Things like this. That’s not actually a fact, that is an emotional reaction. And the whole thrust of this work is to be able to stay present and experience it as an emotional reaction and not as a fact. Okay?
Now to complete the Warrior’s Solution. We’ve talked about intend, sacrifice and die. One way to look at this is this is the effort one makes, or the steps one takes in addressing imbalance. Through the perception of imbalance an intention forms, emotional material arises. Contrary to that intention you sacrifice, and when you move right into that it feels like you’re going to die. You just die and you are able to do. And some of you experienced this yesterday in the exercises. The other side of the coin can be described as resting in the experience of life. So it’s what follows if you die.
Now the question that I gave you for your awareness practice is, “Who dies?” What do you experience when you ask that question. Linda?
Ken: Okay you experience relief. Deborah?
Ken: Okay. Anybody else? Judy?
Ken: Mmm-hmm. So one way of describing this and all of these are your descriptions, that there’s a sense of rest isn’t there? One can just rest. Okay, now, just rest right now and go through intend, sacrifice, die. Who dies? You rest. Now what happens in that rest? Art?
Ken: Yeah. Mmm-hmm. Things start to arise, right? Maybe we just rest here a little longer and see.
Ken: What are you experiencing right now?
Ken: Okay, Linda?
Ken: Okay, anybody else? Yeah.
Ken: Any emotion connected with that?
When we rest emotion begins to arise. It can be all kinds of things. What you’re talking about is a sweetness, joy, sense of happiness, but it’s not always that sometimes there are other emotions. If you sat here a bit longer it might be anxiety, uncertainty, if we sat here a bit longer it might be anger.
Ken: That’s right. And a lot of the replies that people were giving me were ways of not feeling that discomfort. And so that happens because, I mean, maybe a couple of people here I don’t know, not me certainly, hasn’t cut through all of that reactivity, it arises. There it is.
Now what ever arises move into the experience of it, completely. If it’s a sense of sweetness move into that. Anxiety, move into that. Irritation, move into that. Happiness, move into that. And experience all of the reactive tendencies associated with it. So you’re in your experience as raw as you can be.
Now associated with any reactive tendency is a projected world. With irritation the projected world is having to oppose something. With anxiety the projected world is having to run away. With sweetness the projected world might be have to hold onto this, have to maintain.
So note the projected world that arises and interrupt the projection by experiencing completely the reactive tendencies that give rise to it. Now you come into presence and in presence you have a sense of balance and in that you can perceive imbalance. And when you perceive imbalance then intend, sacrifice, die, look at who dies, rest, emotional projection, come into presence, balance. Now initially these are two different processes, but as you gain facility it will become one continuous effort. That is the Warrior’s Solution.
Ken: That’s the whole point of training. Remember the mind training teaching, “If you do it even when you are distracted that’s the mark of proficiency.” Same applies here. We’re going through it step by step, but the intention in practice is to train this so you just do it. You aren’t thinking, “I do this next, I do this.” As soon as you sense imbalance you intend, emotional material arises, you sacrifice and you’re ready to die in the situation. And then you just rest right there. Material arises in the world, inevitably a world is projected, a realm is projected, step out of it into presence so you can see again, and now address any imbalance you perceive. And that’s how ones lives, moment to moment.
Ken: You can do it either way. The main point is not to observe it which perpetuates a sense of separation. Relaxing into it is a way moving into it.
Franca you had a question?
Ken: Yes that is a good way of putting it.
Ken: What are you doing right now? Yes, and what are you experiencing emotionally right now?
Ken: Okay, move right into it. What is the world, and you don’t have to analyze, this is just a statement of your experience, what world does the nervousness project?
Ken: There you go. Step out of it. What do you need to do now? This isn’t a process of analysis this is just something you do. You don’t have to understand it, you don’t have to comprehend it, you don’t have to believe it, you just have to do it!
Student: [Unclear] [Laughter]
Ken: What are you experiencing right now? [Laughter]
Ken: Good experience that. What is the imbalance you are trying to address, don’t answer just experience. What are you unwilling to sacrifice?
Ken: Let it go, die. Completely. [Laughter]
Ken: That’s where you practice, yeah. And but you can feel how tightly you hold.
Ken: Yeah, that’s where you die.
Ken: You’re going to make repeated effort. But one of the efforts you can make when you come into a situation: intend not to resort to analysis.
Ken: That’s a very good method, yes, and you are going to feel like both arms have been chopped off and you’re like, “Argh.” But now you are going to be more in the experience.
Ken: When you ask the question that points you in that direction, whether you actually experience that depends on the level of your attention.
Ken: She said gingerly. [Laughs]
Ken: Oh yeah, let go of the analysis, that’s sacrifice.
Student: I was thinking about the difference between the two. And it seems like when [unclear] you’re still there. [Unclear]. But when you die…
Ken: Ah, but you let go first and then you die.
Ken: Well no. It’s a process—intend, sacrifice what comes up to resisting intention. As you say then you are left, now you just die, and you cease to exist in the sense that you have been holding onto. Yeah. Yes Jessica?
Ken: Don’t ask this question, do it. [Pause] Thank you. [Laughter] You already have the answer. [Laughter]
Ken: Did you do it?
Ken: Try it right now, do it. Thank you.
Ken: Other questions? Franca.
Ken: You are going to die in three seconds. [Laughter]
Ken: That’s right.
Ken: For some people…
Ken: Can you stop there?
Ken: But can you stop there?
Ken: No… that’s right.
Ken: People who are using power, and doing evil, they aren’t on this page at all. They’re mind killing.
Ken: Yes. Where they’re going wrong, they’re not functioning out of any sense of awareness. Work in their meditation or in a particular area and they will achieve some measure, degree of insight or presence in that context. And they will have raised the level of energy in their system right across the board because that necessarily what happens. But the seeing only works within this context.
The consequence of the energy being raised, is that all of that reactivity is also raised. But now to keep it from operating, the walls that separate it have to be strengthened much more. So you have all of this effort going into walling things off while this other stuff operates like a loose cannon. And all that has to happen in such people is there’s a little bit of resonance with unresolved stuff and it runs! It just runs. And that’s why you see people who if they haven’t used their practice to open to every area of their life—this is why I put such great importance on not keeping any secrets from one’s self. Because any are of practice, any area of you life that you protect from the practice, will take you over. Yeah, and that’s what happens. It may be a very little bit of pride, they just want to hold onto this one little idea, of they’re somebody special. And they will practice and practice and may be very helpful for people and then somebody offers them the possibility or the chance of being something special—[Ken snaps fingers]—they’re gone.
I had a wonderful experience of this when I was in San Diego a couple of years ago. I’d been asked to speak at a conference and there were four or five other speakers, most of whom came from the what’s loosely called the non-duality approach. You know, “There’s no path, just be, that’s it.”
And one woman, I can’t remember her name, gave a reasonable talk. And then at the question period, somebody asked a question, a woman asked a question about her son who was having difficulty in school. And the room was suddenly filled with anger and it was very interesting to watch. Several people just got up and walked out and I don’t think they had any idea why they were walking out.
And I was there with a friend, and I said, “Do you feel this?” and she said “Yeah.” And so we just watched and this person who had been quite present up to this point, there was just this charge of anger in everything that she said, not in the words, but you could feel it. And as the dialogue with the woman that was asking the question went on, the whole situation of some difficulty with her husband came out, and difference in perspectives which had been creating the difficulty in her son. And the picture became clear.
This emotional issue in this woman who had asked the question had resonated with unresolved, unexperienced material in the speaker [Ken snaps fingers] and it just ran. And it was impressive. That’s the kind of thing that happens. Does this make sense? Okay.
Ken: Okay. The fundamental principle is to feel what you are unwilling to feel. And to learn to detect in you the signs or the characteristic experiences of when you are trying to ignore something. And one of those is, “Oh this doesn’t matter.” Whenever you hear yourself say that, use that as a red flag. I found that quite helpful. Another one is, “Oh, it’ll work out.” You know.
Ken: Exactly. And another one is, “I can live with that.” These at least—I’m speaking personally here—are all ways that I’m usually ignoring something.
Ken: Which is? [Laughter]
Ken: Among others. Pardon?
Ken: Well it’s yeah, but you get the same thing with pride. And close friends are a very valuable resource. And the key is having a person or some people in your life to whom you will listen even when you’re completely crazy.
Ken: When you are [laughter] completely crazy. And this is the true value of a relationship, of a good relationship is it brings you into balance.
Ken: Well taking and sending is a method, a very good method, that helps you feel what you are unwilling to feel.
Student: Helps you what?
Ken: Helps you feel what you’re unwilling to feel.
Student: [Unclear] a different process. But the end result of both processes is the same.
Ken: Yeah, yeah.
Ken: You take in the suffering of the world. We’re usually unwilling to feel that.
Ken: No, you send what you enjoy feeling. Very good practice.
Ken: A lot of people—
Ken: You’ll do better just by resting, rather than hunting. Because in many cases the hunting itself is a way of ignoring.
Okay, I want to—oh we’ve got a bit of time left. Just we’ll check schedule here. We have a few more minutes. Abby.
Ken: Every breath you take.
Abby: Right. [Laughter] [Unclear]
Ken: Yeah. And the point isn’t to make it pleasurable the point is to be in the experience. Not all experiences are pleasurable, but you’re just in it.
Ken: Yes but by bringing your full attention to that then the emotional reaction to my presence became inconsequential. Right?
Abby: Right. [Unclear]
Ken: Yes that’s right. Yeah, good. Terrance.
Ken: Yeah well that’s what I wanted to move to. Okay? So that’s what I want to move to right now. That okay? Okay.
Ken: There are several steps here, I don’t have them nicely formulated so we’ll just go through them.
The first step is to be clear about what you want. Many years ago I was staying with a couple of friends who, I mean husband and wife, who had been practitioners for some time and the wife wanted to ask me about how to work at ngöndro. She’d tried these practices and hadn’t been able to complete them. And so I asked, “Why are you doing ngöndro?” Ngöndro is a set of practices in the Tibetan tradition for those of you who are not familiar with it. And she answered and we had this discussion. And what it came down to was that she was trying to do ngöndro out of a sense of obligation to a certain teacher.
So I started to question her about her sense of obligation. And what it boiled down to was that she wanted to feel a closer connection with this teacher. So she didn’t really want to do ngöndro at all. She just wanted a closer connection with this teacher. And that kind of thing is very, very common. We aren’t in touch with what we really want. We want this because somewhere else in us we think it’s going to bring about this, and that’s what we really want. And you can’t possible manifest something that’s out here if this is what you really want because your effort is going to be to try to manifest this. But it’s not going to be based in what is actually the case in you. So it won’t go anywhere. So the first step is to be clear about what you really want.
Now one tool is a technique called the five whys.
Student: The five—
Ken: Yes. Why do I want this? Because I want, and you’re going to go down a next level. You do this five times you’ll probably get down to the core. This is not an easy exercise and it’s going to bring you usually into some fairly uncomfortable feelings. But you will become clear about what you want.
Second is to check whether this want generates balance or imbalance. And part of this is is it realistic from where things are now. I want a million dollars tomorrow, quite unbalanced, quite unrealistic. Okay I want a million dollars. Well there are ways to do that. Not all of them are legal. But when I start considering that, you get a sense of balance or imbalance. That’s important.
The next is making use of a magical technique, not for the purpose of magic, but it’s a technique that is often used in magic. And that is get a symbol of what you want. Something relatively small and durable that you can carry around with you in your pocket or your purse or what have you. And every time you touch it or look at it you move into your intention. So it’s basically a way of reminding and strengthening your intention.
In my executive coaching work, most of the people I work with are quite resistant to a meditation practice but I try to give them enough information about the possibility of presence that they get some idea and how helpful it is. And then I ask them to get an object which reminds them of their intention to be present. Usually I suggest a pen, a very brightly colored pen so that whenever they see it goes, you know, “Oh.” Works remarkably well. There they are in a meeting, somebody says something, they pick up their pen [Ken snaps finger] and they remember. And that’s the way the object works.
Then explore possibilities. How does what you want actually come about? You’re going to have to learn something here about how the world works or how that particular world works. If you’re going to buy a house you have to understand how the real estate market works, and it works differently in different locations. If you want a particular kind of job you’ve got to learn what kind of industries, what kind of companies, have that kind of job available, or need that kind of work, what kind of people. So you explore the possibilities.
This can be quite interesting, quite fun. And you end up with a list of possible ways that this could come about. You have the opportunity to be quite creative here. One person wanted a particular kind of job so he talked to some senior executives in General Motors. They said, “We don’t have anything like that.” But he kept taking to them and he persuaded them that they really actually needed someone to do exactly this job in their company. So they hired him. So he created his own job. That’s a possible way.
So you explore and create, develop possibilities. Get a good list. Six or seven’s not too many. Some of them will be a bit far-fetched, some of them will be adventurous, some of them will be very traditional or conventional. Then look over the list and pick three or four that interest you and start pursuing them.
Ken: Often too much divides your energy. Pick three or four. More than that is usually, you can’t keep track you can’t really put your energy into.
Watch the signs. That’s the next step. And the principle sign here is balance versus imbalance.
Ken: The sign, is balance versus imbalance. Remember when I talked about balance originally? The sign of balance is that doors open, the sign of imbalance is that things become progressively more difficult. So as you pursue possibility you see what happens.
In 1970 I was journeying overland to India with Ingrid, my wife at that time. And we had no clear direction. We arrived in Tehran, I came down with hepatitis. We got stuck there for along time waiting for the insurance money to come. And we asked ourselves, “What the hell are we doing.” [Laughs]
And then we decided we’ll go to India and learn how to meditate. Well we were staying at a camp site outside of Tehran and all kinds of people came through that some going east some going west. This was before the Shah fell so the overland route was quite well-traveled.
And so we started talking to people. And one of these we learned about some kind of mission outside of Delhi which was a good place to stay. So when I was healed and we set off. And we got to Delhi, got to this mission, turned out to be a Buddhist mission we weren’t even aware of that when we asked. It was very cheap, it was safe, it was fine. And there there were a lot of people, westerners interested in Buddhism coming and going.
We’d started to read a little bit about Buddhism, picked up some books in Tehran. And there was a monk there and we asked him if he would give us instruction, and he said, “No I got to do traveling. It’s very important to keep progress steady, I’m not going to be around consistently enough. So no I’m not going to take you on as students.” “Oh.” Then we met another person who was a Dutch woman, who was a nun with Khamtrul Rinpoche. Said, “Where do we go?” Said, “Oh, why don’t you go and see Kalu Rinpoche.” “Well when you go to Darjeeling but you’ll need a permit in Darjeeling, you’re Canadians right? Yeah you can get a six month permit. You go here in Calcutta.” So we went, got the permit, got to Darjeeling, doors just kept opening all the way.
Now there are other areas of my life I’ve tried to move something, it’s just been block, block, block, block. So we pay attention to the signs.
Ken: Yes. You move into things but the key is do you get moved out of balance. And if all of your reactivity is stirred up so that what you are doing…when you get moved out of balance then everything else is going to move further out of balance. But if your intention is clear then even though you encounter difficulties—what I left out of this is that in Herat Ingrid contracted appendicitis and she had to have her appendix out in Herat. Have any of you been to Herat? [Laughing] It is not the place you really want to have your appendix out. But she healed fine. And you just..all your difficulties, you stay in balance so you make a balanced effort. That is most likely to lead to the dissolution of them.
Ken: Well obstacles arise but the essential point is balance. Can you maintain a balanced effort. Because it is only through being in balance that balanced results can come about.
Ken: And what do you do next? [laughter]
Ken: And what does that effort consist of? [Repeating] And what does that effort consist of?
Ken: Exactly. Not trying to avoid it, not actually trying to get through it, just experiencing it. Because trying to get through it sets up an imbalance.
Ken: Well it doesn’t necessarily shift right away. The big thing is can you stay in balance. If you are being pushed more and more out of balance in the effort to get what you want, or to make what you want happen, that’s the problematic side. Some people work for years to bring something about, but they’re never moved out of balance.
There’s a guy, there’s an article on, I can’t remember, I think it was in the New Yorker, about this guy who’s worked on the L.A. River, did anyone read that?
Ken: Yeah. I mean this is nobody, this is just this guy who wanted to, had this idea about the L.A. River and he has just worked at it for the last 20 or 30 years. And it’s now becoming a political issue in L.A. that they are going to possibly dismantle all the concrete which encloses the river. All kinds…
Ken: Intention more than temperament.
Okay. Now, read my notes here. Yes, the signs of imbalance—what are you ignoring, what do you avoid feeling, seeing, or knowing. Now a key to this is that manifestation is a process. You may discover as you work to make one thing manifest that it’s not what you actually wanted at all. And now you start moving in a different direction. So it’s not like simple cause and effect—I do this—this comes about. You start moving in a certain direction and something will come out of that. But it may not be exactly correspond to where you initially started. But if you make this movement in awareness, in attention, it usually moves things in a good direction.
I had the same thing with…after I came to L.A. at Rinpoche’s behest. Well I was meant to start a center, or revive the center which [was] pretty well in ashes. And I did that for a couple of years and really didn’t enjoy it. And then Rinpoche asked a number of senior students to come over to initiate a major translation project. So I left L.A. for three months and naturally closed down the center because there wasn’t going to be any income which no point in paying rent, etc.
And while I was over there in India I spent a long time doing just this, you know what do I want? Clarifying it, going through it again and again. We were in Bodh Gaya so I could spend time walking around the Mahabodhi Temple there, which is where Buddha achieved enlightenment, walking through the fields and so forth. It’s very nice, and I spent a great deal of time reflecting, what do I want to do when I get back to L.A.? And little by little it became clearer. Want to work with students in a way in which I’m getting regular feed back from them about their practice so that I can guide them, they don’t get stuck on particular points. That was the main thing that I was aiming at.
So I thought okay, what does this look like? And I thought okay you need to meet with them on a regular basis. Then out of this, what models do we have for this? Well you have the consultant model, you have the therapy model and so forth. And that’s what gave rise to working with people individually. And once I made that decision it was amazing what happened. I came back to L.A., met with the old group of students, told them what I was doing, they all disappeared. They just left, you know that was that. What they wanted was something else. And then people started calling, I don’t know how they knew about me or anything like that, and Unfettered Mind was the result of that.
So you become very, very clear about what you want. And if you bring your attention to it in a balanced way and you stay in balance in the process. I mean this business about setting intention, when you really set intention, this is the point of the symbol, it changes how you see things. So when I say here doors open, it’s a little bit more than that actually. Because of your intention you see things a little differently. And whether it’s on a conscious level or on an intuitive level you sense possibilities and you start pursuing them naturally and they start opening up. But it all comes about being clearly grounded in your intention and staying in complete or as much as you are able to, in awareness in the process. Tenacity helps. Okay.
Ken: That can be an obstacle for many people, yeah.
Student: [Unclear] [Laughter]
Student: Yeah, heavy.
Ken: That’s rather good I like that. Okay, any quick questions? We’re a bit over what I planned for the schedule this morning. I want to take a short break and do a sitting period. Yes?
Student: I have a very technical question about vizualization technique.
Student: When you visualize I find myself at times shifting at times I see a body sometimes I see [unclear]. The question, is it better to not be outside [unclear]
Ken: Ah this depends on a lot. I mean some people when they do these meditations they just enter the world they’re right in it. And other people it’s a bit more like watching a scene. The more fully you’re in it the more complete the experience. But you do what you can.
Ken: Yes, yeah. I can’t remember it but I know the kind of quotation you are referring to. Yeah.
Ken: Not necessarily. This is why I say it is a process. Because as you start working towards one thing it’s going back to the way the sword cuts. It cuts outside and it cuts inside. As you make this effort in attention in the world and you stay present in it, it’s also cutting in, and more and more things are being revealed in you. And you think oh, this isn’t really what I want to be doing at all, I want to be going here. But it’s only been revealed by making the effort to go there.
All right let’s take a short break. Who’s bringing the gongs, the bell today? Nobody?
Ken: Okay in ten minutes and then we will come back, do a short period of sitting and then we will conclude. Okay?
Student: I have a question.
Student: When you were describing the five elements you know in the first—
Student: ….one you described this sort of weakness of the water element, the negative side of it as fluidity.
Student: No, but it actually—
Ken: Says fluidity.
Student: It says fluidity.
Ken: Yeah okay.
Ken: That can be positive or negative.
Student: And fluidity is something I’m always trying to achieve in my control issues so.
Ken: Yeah, right. It can go either way—I probably need to revise that. But fluidity is there when nobody can pin you down.
Student: Actually I’m sorry no you rate fluidity as a quality not as a negative. But I think no it’s in your book as fluidity. I know I read it.