The Warrior’s Solution: Passivity and Freedom 7
Freedom is not a state; it is a process. It is something you are, not something you have. In freedom, there is a continual releasing of reactive material as it arises in each moment of experience.

Mind KillingDownload

Definition of mind killing and examples; six methods of mind killing; dying as remedy to mind killing.




A lot of you expressed varying degrees of discomfort with the exercise we just did, most often verbalized as, “I hated it!”. [Laughter] I understand. This work is profoundly uncomfortable because it seeks to bring into conscious awareness, what we are doing all the time under the influence, or driven by, patterns. Everyone of you, I think, recognized that you do one or more of these techniques. But when you attempted to do them volitionally you went brain dead. In other words, you couldn’t be in attention and do them. There is a taboo against that. That means that you have no say in whether the technique runs in a given situation or not. And that’s one of the reasons why I think it’s a good idea to bring them into conscious awareness because if you can do these techniques consciously then you get to decide what happens in this situation, not your patterns.

And there are many, many instances, and any of you who are therapists will have a catalog of instances, where these techniques have been run by one or more of your clients with sometimes quite disastrous results for their lives. No good for anybody.

So this is very serious work and it is very uncomfortable. And I go back to the second reason that I wanted to acquaint you with this, is so that you can recognize more frequently when these techniques are being worked on you, either by another person or by your own patterns.

You’ve seen people get into a tizzy because they haven’t been able to decide what to do until they collapse. Method of The Circle.

You’ve seen people grasp for something and suddenly lunge for something or react very strongly to something inconsequential and expose themselves terribly in doing so. Method of The Turnaround.

Happening all the time. Be aware of it. That’s the purpose here.


Student: [Unclear]

Ken: It’s more about not being willing to be an active agent in your own life.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes. Many of us want things to come to us. We’re not comfortable with doing what it takes to bring them into being in our life. Which reminds me of another topic that I want to treat this afternoon, oh, I think that I can remember it.

Okay, so we’re going a bit further into this material. I’m going to try and do three things this afternoon. One is to talk about another formulation of how reactive patterns are used by our own patterns and by others, to work against us. Then, as promised, we’ll describe a way, method or approach, whatever you want to call it, to meet this kind of situation. And third, if we have time, how to manifest things in your life.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Manifest things in your life. Everybody goes, “Huh?” [Laughter]

Student: But only if we have time. [Laughter]

Ken: Only if we have time.

Student: Don’t ask any questions.

Okay. What we’re going to do is to talk about mind killing. Here’s the definition: Mind killing takes place in virtually all systems, some would say all systems, and I tend to agree. The definition: to take the patterns of a person, excite them by resonance and turn them against the interests of the person and towards the interests of the system.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: To take the patterns of a person, excite them by resonance and turn them against the interests of the person and towards the interests of the system.

The current example, par excellence, is the war on terrorism. It’s a total non-issue. But it excites using the method of illusion, the fears in the population, the consequence of which is that they are willing to sacrifice their personal freedoms thinking they’re getting security. And allowing the system to have much more control and ability to invade their lives. It’s a perfect example of mind killing.

Advertising, public relations all of these are based on mind killing. They were invented for that purpose shortly after the Second World War. When…pardon?…after the First World War when American government needed to motivate the population to support the effort in Europe. And business and politicians took note of how easily the opinions of the populace could be swayed. And so you saw the rapid growth of the public relations in the advertising industry after the First World War. It’s all propaganda.

When you mind kill a person they do to themselves much more than you possibly could. You use fear primarily as the motivation.

In mind killing you are regarded as an object to be manipulated for the system’s or the other person’s ends. You encourage the elaboration of patterns in the person or people you are manipulating. And that’s what you find when you’re on the receiving end, your own reactive patterns are elaborated, strengthened, reinforced, encouraged to come out.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yep and I’m sorry because I keep reversing the persons, so I am going to do this in the form of when mind killing is being done to you.

You are regarded as an object to be manipulated for the system’s ends. The system encourages the elaboration of patterns in you, so that you can be manipulated. And then any of you who have, you’re either in a profession or you have a predisposition to manipulate others, there’s a few people here do, not mentioning any names. You’re very familiar with this, very familiar.

The function of mind killing, or the function of mind killing, when it’s directed at you, is you do not feel what is actually driving or motivating you.

You will kill the mind of others so that they don’t do anything that will resonate with the material in you that you are trying to avoid. This is where the reactive patterns go into operation.


Student: [Unclear]

Ken: You will kill the mind of others so that they don’t do anything that will resonate with the material in you that you are trying to avoid. We don’t talk about that kind of thing, and various elaborations of thereof.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Exactly. This function may operate in families, institutions, corporations, nations, or in teaching circles. That is one of the reasons why, if you are considering taking teaching from a person, you go in and you observe what can be talked about and what can’t be talked about. What questions are not allowed to be asked, what questions are never answered. That will tell you the limitations in that system, in that particular situation.

To recognize that you are the object of mind killing you have to have enough free attention to remain in active questioning of the environment, so that you can know the intention of the person, or the system, that is doing it.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: To recognize that you are the object of mind killing, you have to have enough free attention to remain in active questioning of the environment, so that you can know the intention of the person who is doing it. In other words, you aren’t completely sold on the system. You’re a gadfly, you ask the wrong questions. If you are completely in the thrall of the system, you will have already been mind killed.

Parents kill the minds of their children to obtain obedience. Societies kill the minds of their citizens to obtain consensus and compliance.

In expert mind killing, the system or the person doesn’t try to induce in you the feeling that you are avoiding because eventually you’ll learn that you can experience that feeling and not die, so it doesn’t have any hold. What they will do instead is to induce in you the fear that you will experience that feeling, not the feeling itself, but the fear you will experience. Translate that to a national level today.

Student: [Unclear] Can you give us an example?

Ken: Yes, so if you are uncomfortable feeling competitive, they won’t try to get you to feel competitive, they will try to induce in you the fear of feeling competitive. It’s gonna be much more powerful. You won’t even be aware of what you are reacting to. Now, if you are aware and a person is trying to kill your mind, they can be trapped by their efforts, but you have to be aware.

Mind killing, because it perpetuates conflict, is aimed at producing passivity in others.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes. Because if you ever move out of passivity you feel you are engaged in conflict. So it is perpetuating conflict and conditioning people to be passive.

Corporations want to profit from passivity and here’s where they get trapped. They want to undo passivity without destroying the realm they have created. They just want to undo passivity enough that is serves their ends but not so that it upsets the system.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: They want to get everything they can out of the individual so there has to be some active agents…some activity, some creativity in the individual, but it—

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yeah, but it’s a very limited.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: That is exactly right. No, not out of that box, out of this box! [Laughter]

The key principle behind all propaganda, If you cannot control people by force, control them by the way they think.

When a system sees that they would lose if the issue came to actual conflict and the use of force, the system then seeks to control how people think about the issue. There’s a very important principle buried in this. No government, however unjust, however ruthless, can survive one night if the people go to the streets. They lose—immediately. Saw that with the fall of the Berlin wall, saw that in Yugoslavia. That’s all that’s necessary is that people go to the streets. A number of people will die, but the government will fall the next day. So the government knows this. They don’t try to control by force, they try to control by the way people think. The system never lets things escalate to the point of actual conflict, because it loses at that point. So the system seeks to freeze things in people.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Freeze. Now as to the actual methods of mind killing, there are six. Yes?

Student: [Unclear] What’s being frozen?

Ken: “What’s being frozen?” People’s ability to think, to be aware. It’s being reduced. They’re becoming passive. And the in…not so much the indirect result…the implicit result is that everybody ends up in the cold hell. Think of how much anger there is in our society and how it’s all focused out at the bottom end. But the anger is the result of the mind killing. But there’s no way to express it upwards, so it comes out at the bottom end.

The six methods—

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: And the bottom rung of the social order.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Pardon?

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yeah, white trash, etc., etc.

Ken: The six methods, marginalization. Issues that threaten the system are made to seem unimportant.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes. Seduction, survival, capacity to influence and identity are made to depend on the system.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: No, marginalization, second one is seduction. Survival, one’s own survival, one’s capacity to influence or your identity are made to depend on the system. Graduate school. Internship into any of the professions. You have to do what the family says, or you’re cut off.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: [Laughter] Yup. Third—

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: You’re seduced into the feeling that your survival or who you are or your ability to influence the world rests on your adherence to the family system or to the school system or to the institution, or whatever. For instance, what happens, Noam Chomsky is very good on this stuff. He says that at a certain point in people’s careers they’re invited to join certain clubs, they’re elite. They get access to people that they would not normally get access to. Their capacity to influence is greatly expanded but there are unspoken rules. And the more deeply they get involved in them the more stringent the rules are on what they can and cannot do. Their effectiveness to rock the boat has been neutralized.


Student: Sorry?

Ken: Third one is reduction. Complex subjects are reduced to a single emotionally charged issue. So you become incapable of having a nuanced conversation or a nuanced response.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Fourth, framing. The terms of the debate are set so that issues that threaten the system cannot be articulated or discussed.

Student: [Unclear] Press conferences.

Ken: Exactly, you’re getting the idea, good.

Student: What was the comment?

Ken: Press conferences.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Issues that threaten the system cannot be articulated or discussed. Happens in marriages all the time.

Student: [Unclear]


Ken: “Where were you last night?” [Laughter] “You know I can’t discuss my work!” Okay?

Student: [Unclear] territorial.

Ken: Yeah, it’s framing, you’re setting a frame, outside of that, things can’t be discussed. It’s been very successful in terms of framing everything in terms of all public discourse in terms of money in America.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yeah. That’s right, and the thing is that anything that doesn’t fit in the frame is not assigned no value; it is assigned the value—zero. So from an economic point of view, good parenting has zero value, because it does not generate economic activity, whereas child care has economic value because it does.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yeah. Or the frame will be determined by the goals of the system, yes. Fifth, polarization…

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Not exactly. Issues are presented in such a way that you are either right or wrong. In other words this is an imposition of a Manichaean world view. It is either right or wrong. And we see this very much in the politics of today. Are your for abortion or not? Are you for gay marriage or not? You are either one or the other, there’s no middle ground.

And the sixth method is alignment. The interests of the system are presented as fulfilling your emotional needs. The classic line here, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America”.

Now these six methods can be grouped in pairs of two. Three pairs, most pairs are two. [Laughter]

Marginalization and framing. Both of these result in key issues being overlooked. And as Franca identified, Method of The Monster. [Repeating] Marginalization and framing both result in key issues being overlooked, Method of The Monster.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Well the reaction to, yes. I mean, as someone pointed out, here they’re very upset about a half-exposed breast for, you know, what was it, about 15 seconds or something, I don’t know.

Student: Two.

Ken: Two? Okay. Where on the same show there are advertisements for Viagra and all of the other stuff. Get real here. You know, a wonderful example of framing, if you wish.

Second pair, seduction and alignment. Both operate on the basis of need, either you need the system or you’re persuaded that the system needs you. Method of Desire.

And third pair, reduction and polarization, both create and use confusion by establishing an emotionally charged field and thus play on fear. Method of Illusion.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Reduction and polarization create and use confusion by establishing an emotionally charged field. And you can just do this. Are you for gay marriage or not? Polarization. Well, yes or no? What comes up in you. You know, and you’re playing against these two things and confusion arises. And the person pushes it, “Well, yes or no? Come on, which are you for?”

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Ah, yes, could be.

Okay, that’s mind killing.

Well, in martial arts one of the techniques is leveraging. Where you use the skeletal frame of the person to lock them up so that you can move their body any way that you want. It’s always used in the throw for instance. You lock their skeletal frame, and then you become the center of a turning wheel, they’re on the outside, they go. The remedy for when a leverage is applied to you, is to move in the direction of the leverage. Because the thing that locks you up is your reaction to leverage, you tense. But if you just move in the direction of the leverage, which is counter intuitive and you have to be trained, then it has no hold. In fact, the leverage turns into a leverage on the other person. It reverses.

So if the effort is to kill your mind, what do you do?

Student: [Unclear] die.

Ken: “Die”. [Laughter] It’s the mantra of the day. You die. What did I do with that? There you go. That’s what you do, you die. Now, that’s exactly what Leslie experienced with Jeremy. She was happily engaged in killing Jeremy’s mind—

Leslie: [Unclear]

Ken: Pardon? What was that, Leslie?

Leslie: [Unclear]

Ken: [Laughter] I’m sure they will, they’ll want to learn. [Laughter] And Jeremy died.

Now when your patterns are working on you, they always generate a realm. It’s one of the six realms. The hell realm, i.e., you’re seeing things in terms of opposition and you feel you have to oppose. That’s your reactivity. The hungry ghost realm. And you feel you have to get because there isn’t going to be enough. How many times have your patterns played that one on you? The animal realm, just trying to get by, just trying to survive. What you have to do to survive. The human realm. You want to have fun? Well, that is what you got to do.

The titan realm, you want to get ahead? That’s what you’re gonna do. And the god realm, you want to stay where you are? This is what you got to do. So the reactive patterns always generate a realm. The way that you become free of the operation of the reactive pattern, is to die to the realm that the pattern creates.


Ken: Go ahead. Give me an example.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Okay, give me a concrete example.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Okay. Can’t get enough love, all right? Want somebody to love you. Now, when you encounter someone who desperately wants to be loved, what do you do?

Student: [Unclear] Run.

Ken: Run. [Laughter] Okay, so the pattern is producing exactly the opposite of the need, right? The desire. So the person who wants desperately to be loved, dies to the realm of which there isn’t enough love. That’s what the realm says, right? Just dies to that, lets go of the expectations, relaxes, “Oh”. Now you can be with that person. Now they can start making connections and forming relationships. But as long as that pattern is running in them, creating that realm, they’re just going to scare everybody off. Okay? Like that for everything. You have a question, John?

Student: Is dying the same as non-attachment?

Ken: It’s going further than non-attachment. Non-attachment is the start, you’re just going to die to it. And I am deliberately using that metaphorical language because it gets…non-attachment is a nice intellectual concept, dying is more visceral. And that’s really what’s involved. True non-attachment is dying to the world of expectation.


Diane: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes.

Diane: Does it feel like [unclear]

Ken: No, no, no. Somebody says to you, “You’re dead to me,” and immediately what they’re trying to do is to provoke a reaction in you that you need them. And so that you will do what they say because that’s why they’re saying, “You’re dead to me,” that you haven’t done what they said. You just look at them and say, “Okay, see you later.” Walk away, They’ll call, they always do. You die. Claudia.

Claudia: In order to die to a realm, a really powerful pattern, you have to be able to generate a higher level of energy than the pattern.

Ken: Your attention has to be at a higher level of energy than the energy in the pattern. You’re quite right. Guess why we practice?

Claudia: I know, but—

Ken: No “buts.” That’s just how it is. That’s why we practice.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Not any more, she doesn’t. [Laughter] It’s answered, right?

Claudia: Yeah.

Ken: You’re looking for a way out, right?

Claudia: No, it’s just that sometimes they’re so invasive that—

Ken: So die, right now. Die.

Claudia: I can do it now, I’m in a retreat. My god. [Laughter] Really. But that’s not always true.

Ken: What prevents you from dying in other circumstances? There’s only one—

Claudia: [Unclear]

Ken: There’s only one answer to what prevents you from dying in other circumstances. Nothing. [Laughter]

Claudia: You just always want me to hate you at least once every retreat, is that right?

Ken: I have no interest in you hating me. It’s immaterial. Irrelevant to the matter at hand. [Laughter] You know, it’s not you that hates me.

Claudia: I know. [Laughter]

[Several unclear comments]

Ken: Be my guest, where you gonna go? [Laughter]

Claudia: Higher moral ground.

Ken: No, it wasn’t, I’m dying to your effort to make me feel guilty. Go ahead?

Student: [Unclear] [Laughter]

Ken: Franca?

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: You stop opposing.

Franca: Stop what?

Opposing. And that’s exactly what I did here. You said, “We’re going to revolt.” I said, “Go ahead.” I didn’t oppose it. The best this to do when somebody insults you, agree with them. “You’re the meanest person I’ve ever met.” Oh, well, I think you should remember that. [Laughter]

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: “You’re the stupidest person I’ve ever encountered.” “Oh, oh good, you are now assured that you’ll never meet anybody stupider than me”.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Yes. Well, look what’s happening right now, there’s a huge hullabaloo about gay marriage.

Student: [Unclear] That’s a complex subject.

Ken: No, no, no, it’s also marginalized. [Unclear] [Laughter]

Ken: No, do you?

Franca: Marginalization [unclear] Let’s say—

Ken: This is not important, Franca.

Franca: Okay, we’ll just let the environment go to hell. I mean, that’s like giving up.

Ken: No, no, no. How do you counter marginalization? I just said, “This isn’t important.”

Franca: Yes, it is.

Ken: Now, how do you counter it?

Franca: [Unclear]

Ken: Okay, how do you counter it—you have to die, okay?

Franca: Why?

Ken: Okay, so, here I’m saying, “It’s not important, don’t talk about this marginalization, it’s not important, Franca.” What happens in you?

Franca: I disagree with you.

Ken: Yes, so? And if you disagree with me, what are you going to put at risk? In this interchange, what are you going to put at risk?

Franca: Our relationship.

Ken: Yes, so you die to that.

Franca: Of course. [Unclear]

Ken: You say, you know, “Yes, it is important to me and if it isn’t important to you, I’m not sure that we’re going to talk again, Ken.”

Franca: [Unclear]

Ken: You don’t come from anger. It’s a matter of fact.

Student: It’s the difference between being proactive and reactive.

Ken: That’s right. Yeah.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Not gone reactive.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: And it’s not about opposing. You say, “This may not be important to you, Ken, but it is important to me”.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Exactly. [Laughter] Seems like they’re doing a good job.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: They are inducing reactivity in you, they’re using your own patterns against you. Are environmental issues solved by getting angry? No. Because to solve environmental issues as increasingly people are learning, requires deep level conversation about the various interests that are at stake and working out extremely nuanced solutions which balance all of the interests. And there are many examples of this around America today. Where there is…on the east coast, there were the fisherman and the fishing industry as a whole, the environmentalists who wanted their bay a certain way and there are people concerned about toxicity and things like that. And all of these were people who were bought together and got to understand the various interests and through this a solution was worked out which everybody could live with, which actually served everybody’s interests; preserved the environment, fishermen kept their jobs, reduce the toxicity so the shell fish was actually less polluted, and so forth. But it…the only way is people stopped opposing.


Student: [Unclear]

Ken: That’s when the system is so bad, people say, “We’re just not going to have this any more.” Because the government ultimately depends on the support of the people.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: You know what the result of every revolution is? A system which is worse than the one it replaces. When it just stops, something can happen. And in terms of society, when a government falls in a very critical period it is very difficult for that to grow out in a good way, occasionally good things happen. Not a bad job in South Africa. In India with the fall of British Raj, things like that. Anwar Sadat in Egypt and so forth. Czechoslovakia with Vaclav Havel. But these are relatively…you know, the conditions have to be very right and usually depends on people coming from very, very clear principles. Otherwise you get a lot of what takes place in Africa all the time.

Okay, now we need to close here.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: However I want to complete and give you the methodology for dying. Yes, Deb?

Deb: [Unclear]

Ken: Oh, I’ll get to manifesting.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: That’s the spirit. I like that. For those of you who want to see this, it’s page 236.

The way that you practice dying to a realm—develop the capacity to do so, is open to the experience of the realm, bring attention to the reactive pattern the realm triggers in you. Experience the reaction. When you experience the reaction it collapses. Then open again to the experience of the realm and you’ll find you’re dead to it.

In a live-fire situation, such as in your daily life, it comes down to three questions. For the hell realm, this is on page 240, so I’ll just give it in terms of the hell realm. What am I trying to oppose? Do I have to oppose it? Is opposing needed at all? We ask those three questions and somewhere in there you’ll drop out of the realm.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: No, that’s for the hell realm. For the hungry ghost realm it’s take. For the animal realm, survive. For the human realm, enjoy. For the titan realm, achieve, and for the god realm, maintain.

So in your work this evening the main practice…you can continue with the specific scene and saying goodbye. And as the reactive patterns arise feel the realm that’s being created and use this process. And, in terms of the direct awareness practice, keep asking, “Who dies?” [Repeating] “Who dies?” Very important. Okay.

You have a question? Okay, one question.

Student: Where does this come from? [Unclear] It’s not a Buddhist—

Ken: Oh, the mind killing? [Laughter]

Student: [Unclear] the whole function. [Laughter]

Ken: It comes out of a series, a very long series, of discussions and interactions. Conversations that I’ve had with a couple of friends, very close friends in Los Angeles. One person in particular started off as a student of mine, ’86, ’85, somewhere around there. Probably early ’86. And then I discovered that he was a thief, that he was stealing everything, and he knew a hell of a lot more than he was letting on. So we started working together in a different relationship and over the next 16 years we exchanged our technologies. So, this is the result of that.

Student: He changed?

Ken: A little bit. Yeah, he changed; so did I. It was very fruitful, very, very fruitful exchange, very deep. We both had the keys to the other person’s spiritual practice. Where it was locked. He had the keys that I needed to unlock mine, I had the keys that he needed to unlock his. And that’s been very wonderful. Okay? The rest is mystery. [Laughter]

Okay, we’ll have dinner, please observe silence over dinner and we’ll meet here at seven o’clock for meditation.