Quotes from Stephen Gaskin

Spiritual teacher Stephen Gaskin died on July 1, 2014. Here is a collection of some of my favorite quotes from him. This first batch is from This Season’s People, which has been called a modern Diamond Sutra, followed by another batch from Sunday Morning Services, Volume I.

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  • The real secret is: The most energy you can have is uncontained.

  • The more agreement there is about putting your attention into reality, the stronger and healthier everybody will be. It’s better to pay attention to what is, because that’s better mind food. A little attention to what is not is like spice for your mindfood, to keep you from getting dull and not thinking anything new. But if you put all your attention into what is not, then your mind is going to get jaded and dull, and lose sensitivity to reality.

    On the other hand, while you’re soliding up your reality, you can’t be so square as to make it so miracles don’t work. You can’t get so rigid you can’t do miracles, can’t do healings. You want your reality just loose enough that you can do a little miracle now and then. But not so loose that it starts getting chancy and problematical for the kids and the folks out on the fringes. It has to be good and solid for everybody.

  • Your mind thinks in Gestalt flashes—The question is how quickly can you forget all that and go on to the next flash.

  • The Universe is a vibratory entity, and you can affect the vibrations one way or another by what you do. Everything has vibrations. Colors are vibrations, sounds are vibrations; so is concrete. So is thought. So is the Universe, God—all vibrations. And if that’s what it’s all made out of, then you have a technology for learning how to deal with vibrations….

    …Non-space/time has a clear set of vibrations and rules of its own which are just as real and just as reliable as the fact that something falls 32 feet per second per second. If you behave in certain ways in the material plane, you will resonate with certain of those vibrations from the nonmaterial plane.

    If you resonate a vibration that is very high—love everybody, willing-to-lay-your-life-on-the-line-for-mankind, we’re-all-in-it-together, nobody’s-going-to-live-off-of-anybody—you are going to resonate that pure vibration out of the non-space/time place that we call Christ Consciousness, or the Consciousness of the intermediary between God and man.

  • Get your mind unbound and free; and then, from the loosest, highest, best place you have, with the fastest and most humorous mind you can get together, you can reach out and make a try at understanding Spirit.

    It’s so subtle that you have to be quick; you can’t have been thinking of yourself. It passes in the blink of an eye.

  • You can’t define God, and you can’t contain God. But you can, if you don’t look at yourself, be God. The way to keep from looking at yourself is to be so busy doing your best that you don’t have anything left over to look with.

    You can’t know the totality of God with your finite mind, because God is infinite, and your material plane intelligence is finite—it cannot contain an infinite thing. But if you aren’t pressing about the totality, and just relax and observe what’s in front of you, you are knowing God, because that’s all there is to know.

    There is nothing else to know; and the knowledge, the knower, the thing known, and the act of knowing are all one and are all God.

    You are the eyes with which God looks, and the mind through which God understands itself.

  • If you but know it, in your highest and your finest and your most honest places in your own heart, God is speaking to you. Even now. All the time, in your highest and finest places.

  • Here are the keys to heaven: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.

    And here are the keys to hell: “Well, I know I got to take care of everybody, but I just want to get a little for myself first.”

  • You have to clean your heart. If you want to communicate with people at that level, you can’t have an impure thought about them. It muddies it up and makes it so unclear that you can’t communicate. We found that you have to really try to be pure in your heart to experience Holiness.

  • The practice of real love and impeccable correctness and politeness and care among each other is only the beginning stage of the kind of peaceful society in which you may talk seriously about spiritual enlightenment.

    What we expect is to be truthful; to be kind; to try to share; to try to love one another. Some folks don’t recognize that as a discipline: They say, “Oh, that old stuff….” And it may not sound too difficult, unless you’ve ever tried it. But if you ever try it, you’ll know it’s an exacting discipline.

  • I know something. I know we’re all One. I know it so well that if I’m falling out of a tree, I know we’re all One before I hit the ground. I’m not going to forget it; I can’t give it up.

  • It is vitally important that we evolve some common philosophical religious assumptions—in order that mankind may survive. Without them, there’s a good chance we won’t.

    There are a lot of differences among the religions at the lower levels. At the highest level, they become One… Religion only seems different if you’re dealing with a retailer. If you deal with a wholesaler, they all get it from the same distributor.

  • Your religion is how you really get along with folks — not what you may claim your religion is.

    Your religion ought to make a difference to you in your daily life; it ought to make it easier for you, not in the sense that you don’t have to try, but that it makes sense for you. If you’re not getting along with your kid, it ought to help you out with your kid. It ought to help you out during childbirth; it ought to help you during the death of somebody who’s close to you. It ought to help you through the heavy passages in life.

  • Attention is energy. What you put your attention on, you get more of. Each one of us is a fountain of energy, a valve through which universal life energy is metered into the world, and we can each point our self at whatever we want to. We add life force to our surroundings—to everything we pay attention to. If you put your attention on the best, highest, finest, most beautiful thing that you can, that will be amplified.

  • Keep your attention in the here-and-now. Don’t past-trip. Putting your attention in the past means that here-and-now is continuing on without you. The more time you spend in the past, the farther and farther out of register you are.

    Don’t put your attention into the future other than a reasonable amount of plans which you intend to carry out. Putting your attention out into the future is like when a squirrel runs out on a tree limb—when he gets way out into the small limbs, It gets very shaky. When you get out into the thin possibilities, it gets very unlikely and it tends to get you paranoid.

    So tripping in the past gets you schizophrenic, and tripping in the future tends to get you paranoid. Hang out in the here-and-now. It is healing. When you’re in the here-and-now, accept it as reality. Don’t think about it or run it through your mind-filter when it’s coming in. Accept it.

    A meditative state is pure perception: not being conceptual about the here-and-now. That’s what most Zen discipline is about: not past-tripping, not future-tripping, and not being conceptual in the here-and-now.

  • Within each one of us is a spark of God. Some people call it inborn intelligence: a capacity to look out and see something. That capacity is so strong that if you look at someone and you see something in them that you like, you don’t have to say anything, or give them a bouquet or write them a poem or send them a card. If you just see something in them that you like, that thing will become stronger and it will come out at you; and they will do it more for you.

    Everybody needs attention—it’s a human requirement, just like oxygen and water. The need for it begins as soon as we’re born, and if we don’t get it in a fair way, we’ll learn outlaw habits of getting it. People will do outrageous things to get attention, because it is life force and energy. The reason to be discriminating about what you give your attention to, is to give real help to a person. That’s how we all be each other’s teachers: what we dig in each other, we reinforce.

    Paying attention to what we choose to pay it to is probably the greatest freedom we have.

    We all control what happens in the future by what we pay attention to in the present. If you perceive it to be improving and a groove, it improves and is a groove.

    If you see that something should be a way, assume it’s going to be that way.

  • In Zen, they say you should learn to interact with the world, instead of leaving it. Incorporate the distraction, because the distraction is also Buddha.

  • Helping man is a good place to start your search for God.

  • If you’re not steering your mind, it’s running on automatic pilot and goes a million times faster than you can steer it.

    Rather than figuring it out, and saying, “Is this right?” or “Where would this be in the light of contemporary philosophy?”—that first flash is your best bet. I try to trust myself and trust myself until I can just move on that first flash. If we all moved together in our interaction on that first flash, we would be incredibly fast and smart. If every time you asked a question, the next thing that came back was the answer instead of “Huh?” or if they just said, “I don’t know,” and let you clear the circuit to do the next thing—if we just all answered honestly and correctly the first time, it would be so easy, so incredibly fast and smart—we would just be fabulous.

    You have to learn to trust your mind—don’t try to force it and push it in various ways. the more you trust it and the more you let it run on its automatic pilot, the faster and smarter and heavier it gets. It lets you out when you trust it. It’s a good one—trust it.

    Any time something is hard for you to do, bring yourself to bear; pay attention to it. Concentrate yourself. Come on to it with all your energy focused. That’s all karate and breaking bricks is—is having all your attention focused when you hit. You can break bricks if your attention is focused. If your attention is not focused and the swing is the same, you might break your hand.

  • One of the highest and Holiest religious experiences that is available to mankind is to get outside your head for a couple of seconds and realize that the sun doesn’t rise and set in your armpit.

  • …Contrary to modern psychology, you can know your brother. Psychology teaches that communicating is like taking a rock and wrapping a note around it and throwing it, and the other person catches the rock and unwraps it and reads the note. They say that’s all you can know about somebody—and that’s not true. One person can know another person. You can go to that place where you share souls and you can know somebody, and you are not alienated and you do not live in a box.

    We are all really one thing, and we’re all in this together, and no matter how we make it look, we are really and truly going to share fortunes.

  • Your intelligence varies according to your condition, your sanity, and how much energy and Holy Spirit you’re able to get together—you can change your intelligence and you can get smarter.

    Sometimes you realize something that’s so heavy and makes you so much smarter on the spot that you realize you just got smarter, and you notice how dumb you were before. It’s a very humbling experience. It gets you high, just because it gets you so much smarter to understand that. That kind of heavy realization can be called kensho.

  • Magicians studying will are learning to contain an immense amount of energy with their ego. The most energy that you can possibly contain with your ego is less than not having ego and being open to everybody else, because then you have access to everybody’s energy—the Universe’s energy—and it is so much more than anybody can possibly contain.

    Anybody who keeps their energy to themselves for a certain length of time gets stagnant, and they really need a little fresh water to come through. They may get a little irritable and a little dumb from getting stagnant. It’s a helping and a healing if you can get them to open up and let a little clean stuff flow through their system.

  • This Season’s People

    You are the people.
    You are this season’s people—
    There are no other people this season.
    If you blow it, it’s blown.

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  • Energy is just like that old television station out there. If you get your television fixed, you will get the picture.

  • One of the reasons for the spiritual practice of non-attachment—trying not to be personally attached about your thing, or pain or whatever happens to you—is so that you school yourself so that nothing can happen to you from the outside that can make you lose your energy, because as long as you have your energy on, you can do it.

  • The way I got revolutionary is by following love and truth. And by following love and truth you see that if you know what’s going on and you can do something, then you have to.

  • We are profoundly affected by our surroundings. It’s not a mystery to be affected that way. There are actual vibrations that do things to you. Your body is a semi-hard jelly. Its technical name is a colloid solution. Quicksand and silly putty are colloid solutions. So is protoplasm. Colloid solutions get harder or softer depending on what you do to them. If you hit silly putty with a hammer, it goes rigid and breaks up. If you leave it alone, it runs into a puddle. The stuff you’re made out of is like that, too, and in the city, you’re subjected to a constant series of physical and psychic shocks, just hitting on you all the time. Somebody on the other side of the block is getting mugged and putting out just incredible stuff and it’s too far away for you to hear it, but it isn’t too far away to feel the vibes. Vibes go a real long way. You’re getting hit with stuff like that all the time when you’re in the city… You get out into the middle of Chicago and New York City and GRRRR! the ground shakes under your feet. Monkey wants to hold onto a tree.

  • There isn’t really supposed to be an intermediary between you and God; although some religions teach the necessity of an intermediary. Some religions think of Jesus as a gateman to Heaven—who you have to get straight with before you can go in—instead of being the spiritual vibration itself, which if you are in contact with, you automatically become in contact with Heaven—and if you’re in good enough shape to touch it, it will touch you back.

  • Courage is useless without something to have courage about — courage depends on a certain sort of Universe in the same way that soap depends on dirt. As Pogo Possum said, ‘Soap without dirt is only bad-tasting cheese.’

  • It doesn’t matter if you live to be a thousand years old if you just live the same day over and over again.

  • I maintain that this is the freest place you can find. You cannot check my statement while you are inhibited. If you want to find out how free it is you have to let yourself out.

  • A useful teaching seems to be: To be sure enough of what you’re doing in your own heart that you’re not going to be ruined, destroyed, devastated, or run off to tears because somebody doesn’t like what you’re doing. So I say, “Let the buyer beware.” — you just have to be strong and know what you’re doing.

  • Nothing has to get out of hand if you take care of it when it’s still in its beginning stage. What it takes to take care of a situation when it’s in its beginning stage is that kind of courage which you ought to cultivate like it was a rare and strange grass plant. You ought to think it isn’t at all weird, or funny, or sentimental to think, “Well, I’ll be Mighty Mouse.” It doesn’t matter if it’s corny, if it gets the rent paid.

  • Every time I get into one of those long complicated things about how to do it, it comes down to the real simple ones like, “Love your God with all your heart and soul, and love your neighbor as yourself. This shall be the whole of the law.”

  • In the teachings of the Tibetan yoga, they have a saying that adversity, being a teacher of the true way and likely to turn one toward a spiritual life, is not necessarily to be avoided.

  • It seems that the Universe is made of positives and negatives, about half each, and it seems that if you’re going to taste anything very high and very fine, you have to have the nerve, which probably came to you from having tasted something that was heavy or hard to handle or hard on you or hard to accept, that you had to learn to accept. That’s what gave you strength of character to get to the other place.

  • There’s laying on of hands, and then there’s making love, which is laying on of everything you have.

  • You have to be sure you’re not pretending to don’t be confident so that nobody will think you’re on a trip. Some people go around pretending that they don’t know where it’s at so that nobody will think they’re on a trip, when they do sometimes really know where it’s at. But they don’t really know where it’s at because they pretend not to. If you’re doing a good thing, swing on; get heavy.

  • When there’s nothing happening I might not know what to do next, but when it’s heavy I always know what to do next. You really do too, if you’ve got the nerve to just up and do what you know you have to do when it’s heavy. People do it all the time. The tabloids have a story every now and then of some lady who tears the doors off a wrecked semi and drags the truck driver out.

  • I can sit and watch some people smooch and it’s very pretty and a gorgeous thing to watch. And I know other people that I see come on so lustful that it makes me think they’re spreading germs.

  • Energy can be transmitted between people…. [A] thing about healing is that you have to put some energy on somebody and then teach them how to maintain it, because you aren’t going to be able to sit around and give them some all the time. They ought to learn how to maintain their own.

  • You have a better chance of really having a good marriage if you have a good head of steam on and a lot of juice on when you go into it. It’ll naturally help you be with who your right person is, because of a couple of folks who have a lot of juice on will just spark together and do it. So some folks are saving the cake, and they don’t want anybody sticking their finger through the icing.

  • [That therapist doesn’t believe in vibrations, so he doesn’t realize that] turning anger out on people just makes you self-indulgent….

  • When somebody’s running something around their mind.., they’re putting out the vibration of it on everybody, just like a wood stove throws off heat when you put wood in it. You ought to be able to put together a few little experiments to communicate… that there are such things as vibrations.

  • Anger is never necessary. Anger is always a failing. When you do it it’s a failing. But, as Hazrat Inayat Khan said, certain pieces of information are best conveyed in a relatively loud tone and in a lively rhythm. Just so long as you know that that’s what you’re doing, and don’t get carried away and get mad.

  • One of the teachings about kids is that you don’t bribe them, and especially you don’t bribe them with food, because it gives them a weird, desirous, lustful attitude about food and makes it hard for them to eat what’s good for them. If kids are going to have candy, they should just at some arbitrary time or other have some, so it isn’t a big deal. It’s the big deal made about it that makes it into a lust object and something that they’ll do a lot of behind your back. Food should be something we don’t have praise/blame about.

  • If we converted massive amounts of action in the world to non-profit collective hippie-type enterprises out of the profit-making ones, we could get into the action big enough to disturb some folks. If we did that and were obnoxious and armed ourselves, we’d be squashed for it. But if we were really harmless, really honest and really sincerely religious and cared about other people and were not doing it just for ourselves, we might get so far down the line before anybody noticed, that it would be too late.

  • More and more I’m beginning to like Mahatma Gandhi. He said he wanted the millions of people in India to be happy and to be healthy in order that they may grow in Spirit. What our teaching is becomes clearer and clearer to me, in the sense that to develop a cheap and livable and graceful lifestyle is one of the most important and heaviest things that we can pass on to mankind, as a teaching to everyone. That includes how to get along together; how to think beautifully and accurately; how to learn to govern ourselves. Govern yourself.

  • The materialist economic viewpoint is the least amount of work that you can do for the most possible amount of money. [E.F. Schumacher] also says that there’s a Buddhist economic viewpoint in which the functions of work are defined as a laboratory wherein a person may improve himself by working out against the Universe: a field of endeavor where people can reduce their ego by working together with other people for a common cause, and produce the amount of stuff it takes for the people to make it.

  • I keep saying I am not political and I’m really not. I’m really spiritual. I find myself out in the middle of economics from meditating about Spirit and God as hard as I can.

  • There’s all kinds of esoteric religious teachings about how to clear your mind by doing a mantra. Om mani padme Hum, or Lord Jesus, forgive me, a sinner. You run them through your head to blank out your thought so you don’t be self-conscious. It’s also quite difficult to be self-conscious while handling a chain saw. It’s very difficult to be self-conscious while giving your best to a child. It’s difficult to be self-conscious while doing a good job at anything.

  • [There are] shooting galleries and roller-coasters [to exercise the senses]. But we already have the world here which needs all this stuff done, in which we can try ourselves out, and grow and exercise ourselves in every way.

  • Real old-fashioned, sweet and innocent pure love has the most electricity in it. It is the best kind, the one with the most juice. The folks who were into black leather, and whips and stuff like that were not the sexual experts, but were the people who didn’t know anything—they were trying to get off in some blinded fashion.

  • There are two ways to not be self-conscious. One is to not notice yourself. The other is to be so totally looking out that you never look back.

  • God is not separate from the Universe. God is only One. The Universe itself is God’s mind; and the flow of everything is God’s thoughts. And praying to us really means to try to be an intelligent synapse in God’s mind, a synapse that is not going to trigger for violence, no matter what. Love, connect. And we affect the mind of God by being free will synapses.

  • Why are people being that way to each other? Any people? Anywhere? Why is that happening? Well, it’s ego, ain’t it now? Ain’t it just that some folks think it’s okay to do it to some other folks, over anything—no matter what the cost, no matter who those folks are. That’s ego. So what can you do about it? The first thing you can do about it is to see about your own.

    You may not think that’s connected, or that it makes a difference. But a thing happened while we were up in New York that was really a beautiful teaching. We were parked out by the trucking docks down by the Hudson River. It was morning, and Albert was going to talk to the Farm on the ham radio. Well, the way the antennas are wired up on the Greyhound, the whole bus is an antenna. It’s long and has a big old flat side to it. Albert said, “Fire up the bus and move a little bit.” So we fired it up, and started driving around the parking lot in a tight little circle. So we came around that circle, we turned around and around and around, and sudenly the radio started coming on loud—and it got louder and louder and louder until we got to a point. And when we went past that point it started to fade again, and we backed up to that place again. We were lining the bus up with a piece of wire strung out by the barn in Tennessee—a piece of wire that was a thousand miles away. And when it was lined up, it was a lot stronger.

    If you bring a loving and egoless place into your heart—if you be really loving, and really open, and really want to help out your brother—you can line yourself up with a giant antenna. And it will make your signal a lot stronger. It will make the signal itself a lot stronger, too, because you’d be a repeater station: one of those microwave antennas out there on the hilltop that picks up the signal coming this way and amplifies it and puts it back out.

  • If you can go into your heart of hearts and get really quiet and really kind and really truthful with yourself, you can feel a little something. [It’s like that sunshine.]

  • I really know we’re all One. And I really know if we’re trying to do a good thing that we’ll get a lot of help. We’re standing in a really nice position to be a lot of help to a lot of people. And that gives me so much strength and so much contentment that, even with the condition the world is in, there’s a certain amount of contentment. Not that it’s all covered. Not that it’s cool. But that there’s something you can do; and that it’s within your power to do it, and it makes a difference if you do it.

  • McLuhan talks about the medium as the message—that it isn’t just what’s on the television set; it’s the fact that the information is being transmitted at all, no matter what it is: the medium is the message. We’re trying to derive a discipline that is an exact and real discipline of how to move and how to do it, that embodies in every way the principles we try to live by—not just as a set of motions you perform with numbers on each motion on the stage, but every way you move. Everything you be. Every way you do it with somebody. Every way you deal with yourself. What we are trying to evolve here is a free and open pattern of sanity—but nonetheless a pattern—in order that people may be sane in a cultural context that supports them for being sane, rather than supporting them for not being sane, as a matter of cultural knowledge that every little kid and everybody in the community should share as they grow up. Now it used to be that way. Lao Tsu said the governments were invented when people forgot how to be on the natch.

  • Ambition is a personal drive. A person driven by ambition will just walk on everybody on the way. If you are going to be driven, be driven by something that’s for everybody. Ambition causes you to have tropisms toward evil things. I’ll give you an example of that. Somebody who’s ambitious may not realize the principle that you can’t climb very high in an unafraid society. If the society is not afraid, one man can’t climb very far above the rest of the people—not in a sense of attainment, but in a sense of power and ambition. But if he scares the people, the people become a more rigid structure, and he can climb higher and farther; so he will tend to condition towards a rigid structure in order to keep his ladder solid. That’s how Hitler got in: he just conditioned the whole society into a pyramid that he could climb, be on top of, and do his number from. It was a terrified society.

  • We need to have a massive religious revival and enlightenment across the country. The country’s spiritual technology has fallen into disuse and rust, from so many years of neglect, to the point where we’re so ignorant about Spirit and God and love and free will, that some people are just pretty much suckers for anything that comes by, because they want something so badly. It’s not just that we want something. It’s that we need it.

  • We are just as radical as we can be—back to the root. We are trying to preserve thousands-year-old knowledge. It’s not the chant you chant; it’s not the name that you name God: it’s how you live. And this is a school about how to live.

  • The best way to love yourself is to love all things in the Universe, not forsaking yourself…. And you have to realize that harming yourself is the same as harming someone else. Because we’re all One. And being bad to yourself is just as bad as being bad to somebody else. Because it puts that into the world. As far as your personality goes, if you don’t pay any attention to it, maybe it will go away by itself.

  • We have reasons for most of the stuff we’re doing: we’ve made most of the mistakes known to mankind so far, and we may make the rest of them before we get done. We hope to make them in such a pattern that it doesn’t waste us.

  • Some people talk about bliss and think it means all day long with your tongue hanging out the side of your mouth going ha-ha-ha. But there’s a line I’ve heard some old Christians say which was really good: the sober consciousness of waking bliss. You’re sitting right there, you’re perfectly sane, you’re perfectly awake, you’re perfectly together, you know where it’s at anyway, and it’s cool.

  • The thing about consciousness is that the folks who know the least about consciousness are the ones who are the most affected by changes of it. Some folks don’t know anything about consciousness at all, and it never occurs to them to think, “What’s this level of consciousness like; is this a good level of consciousness? Is there a higher one I could be in? Could I get out of this level and change it? There are people who never think things like that, who never, ever think, “Could I be in a better place than this? Is this the best place I could be, considering what’s happening?” Some of those people you find in places like the penitentiary. That’s how come they get there. They go through changes ranging from “Wow, I had a good time last night, Wow I really got off,” to “Muther, don’t come and touch me again, I’m gonna get you,” running from one level to another and never being aware that they are moving in a medium, and that they have a choice of whether to be in those places or not.

  • Your mood [while tripping] can be controlled by you if you want to, and you don’t have to be in this place if you don’t want to.

  • Sometimes I find myself sloshing around in levels of consciousness that are not real exalted. But I always know that I don’t have to do that, even if it may take me a little while to figure a way out of it. Maybe I might be in a place where I can’t just up and change. Maybe I have a whole bunch of karma that I have to move first. But I can know that I can change, and it can change, and I can change it and improve it and make it better.

  • A blessing is what comes out of your heart, not your mouth; and if your heart’s pure and untroubled, then your blessings are pure and untroubled. If your heart’s pure and strong, crying babies will stop crying for you, skittery horses will hold still and let you catch them. And if you didn’t know anything about consciousness you’d have no control over those blessings that come from your heart. If you don’t know about consciousness, you can walk around with anger in your heart, which is like walking around with a colored filter on you; so everything that comes out of you is a little anger-flavored, if you walk around with anger in your heart. It doesn’t matter if you don’t really express it or jump up or cuss people out and hit people. If you just have it in your heart and walk around mad, you get mad about something.

  • Righteous indignation is kind of like plutonium—there’s a certain amount of value in it, but it has disastrous side effects to it. And if you aren’t a really fancy technician, you can’t handle it without getting burnt. Righteous indignation is seductive. It feels so powerful; it feels like if you can go to bat for a good cause, you can really pull out the stops. Be Careful. How righteous is it? It’s really dangerous.

  • As the various negative emotions hit you—when you’re scared or you’re losing it or you’re getting out of control—you have to look at it, and to face it, taste it; if you run from experiencing it, it’ll scare you, and it’ll keep scaring you. You have to stop and face it, and when you do, naturally you’re stronger in a way, you’re more real.

  • …that’s like when you drive a car on ice and start losing it, what you do when you start losing it makes a difference whether you make it or spin right on out. Most people who have never driven on ice have a tendency to turn the wrong way, and you have to learn to turn the other way, because your tendency, your instincts are to turn the wrong way, which will make you spin out worse, and you have to teach yourself to turn the way that doesn’t spin you out. And you don’t know when you’re going to break loose. You don’t know when you’re going to run into some ice, so you have to develop a reflex that turns you the correct way right away. You can teach yourself just like you teach yourself to play the guitar or something—you have to teach yourself.

  • What did Jesus mean about throwing pearls before swine? “Cast not your pearls before swine, nor give your precious things to the dogs, lest they turn and rend you.” And what he meant by that was that you can’t come on to people too fast. It’s an unfortunate quotation, I’ve always thought, because there’s a way it can be taken which sounds like the people are swine. And that is not what it’s about. But some of the things I’ve said this morning, if I went into Nashville and gave pretty much the same rap I gave this morning, I’d be commitable. In the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, a belief in God and having seen hallucinations are considered to be classic symptoms of schizophrenia. And if you went and told people a lot of metaphysical stuff that they didn’t understand, without very carefully preparing them and really giving them a groundwork so that you wouldn’t insult their intelligence or make them have to believe something they have no groundwork for believing in….

    What would a pig know to do with a pearl? The pearl would be un-understandable. That’s all it really means.

    And the thing about “…and your precious things to the dogs lest they turn and rend you,”—man, a lot of self-taught prophets have a very short life span. They go out and lay a bunch of heavy stuff on people until they burn them out and make them mad and scare them and make them weird, and then somebody comes and does them up. It’s important. It’s not just your own tail that you’re supposed to be thinking aobut saving when you’re doing that. It’s that you’re trying to not make a bad scene happen around the teachings. You don’t want to have a bad scene happen around the teachings. You don’t want the teachings to have a bad vibe that’ll ever turn anyone away, because the teachings are so rare.

  • What leads to self-deception? Self-deception is stuff like telling yourself you were cool when you weren’t. You can tell yourself you’re cool when you weren’t because your ego doesn’t want to say you weren’t cool. The person who’s in that kind of place can rarely admit, in the here-and-now, in the transaction, that they were wrong. They have to fight it out, stop the transaction, go away somewhere and cool off for a while, and then come back and admit they were wrong. That’s because they deceive themselves to such a point that in the midst of the action they are unable to say, “Well, I was wrong.” Another kind of self-deception is to tell yourself that something you want to do—because you like to do it—is cool because you want to do it.

  • Anger is volitional. It knocks on the door, but you have to open the door and let it in. And you have to say “No,” when it knocks at the door. But you have to be self-aware enough to catch it at the place where it knocks at the door.

    You have to make a moral judgment and say, “Anger is lethal.” Anger is like poison. It has effects on people like radiation or strychnine, and if you do it to people it has those effects on them. And you have an obligation to no more unleash that on somebody than you would walk up and, say, punch them in the mouth. In fact, you can do more damage to somebody with your vibrations and your anger than you can by walking up to them and punching them in the mouth….

    Really it’s the question of what will is for. Some folks think will is for getting what they want. A tycoon of industry uses his will to get what he wants. Will is powerful, but that isn’t what you use it for. What you use will for is to don’t be angry. What you use will for is to don’t throw anything damaging into the situation, to leave the situation as clean as possible in order that you can look at it cleanly.

  • …[Don’t] act like you’re not angry when you’re angry… Don’t be angry; it requires will of the order that John Paul Getty used to corner the market for the money he made; it requires the kind of will that an Olympic weightlifter puts out. It ain’t hard to do. You can do it. And the more you do it, the better at it you get, just like anything else.

  • When you’re talking about imagination, you’re not talking about a cartoon, or something ephemeral. You have to understand that when you’re talking about imagination, you’re talking about bringing something into being in your mind and having a clear enough vision of it and understanding it in all its parts well enough that you can bring it about into reality. And if you have a cheap, hurried vision, if you have a cartoon vision, if you have a vision that doesn’t have your full attention and love in it—if you have a vision that you do not put as much good time and attention into as if you were building a regulation outhouse, for example—then you will make a cheap vision; and when you try to bring it forth into reality, it will be complicated and messy and fuzzy, and it won’t work right and you’ll have to patch it up a lot—it’ll be a low-quality vision, one of those visions it’s hard to get anything to happen with.

  • Evil isn’t anything except what you give it. As far back as St. Augustine and even previous to him, they pointed out that good has an intrinsic existence and that evil doesn’t. Because good can be in it for the sake of good only, but evil is in it for the money, for the power, for the social position, for nice sexual partners and stuff like that. Evil is not in it for the sake of evil. No one is ever in evil for the sake of evil. Ego gratification, money; but not the sake of evil. So evil doesn’t exist except insofar as people put their energy into it at that level. It has no separate existence other than what is carried in the minds of mankind. To the extent that something is good, it can exist; because nothing exists that is not good; because it’s all a part of God.

    So you should put your energy where it’s going to come back to you. It’s like playing music against a wall where the music comes back and you can hear it, or just playing out into an emptiness where it just goes and doesn’t come back and you don’t know.

  • What long hair is for on the Farm is to keep your ears warm; but off the Farm what long hair is for, is to keep you from getting any airs or ideas of social position—to remind you where you’re at and who you are. It’s a very helpful part of our yoga; you never know when you are going to get a little teaching at that level…. We don’t cut our hair because the only people that care if you cut your hair is the army and businesses and people like that; and one of the things I’m symbolizing by having hair this long is that I obviously haven’t worked for the military industrial complex in a long time.

  • If you feel a necessity to intimidate your lady, go do it to someone else’s wife and see what it gets you. Maybe that will help clear up the nature of the situation in your mind as to what it’s really about. And as Ina May has said over the telephone to several men in the last few weeks, “I am moraly certain that you wouldn’t treat your lady that way if you weren’t bigger than she is.”

  • Rather than sit in a cemetery as a yogi to conquer your fear of death, you love everyone very much, and the odds are that you’re going to lose one now and then; and you try to learn to don’t fear death. And instead of sending a certain amount of money that you make at your job in tithing to help other people less fortunate than yourself, you dedicate all your work to those less fortunate than yourself. Dedicated to the all, to everybody, to work without attachment to the fruits of your labors.

  • Working with Spirit is like working with farming: putting the manure in the field and seeing the plants blossom and flower is all part of farming, and talking the truth even if maybe it doesn’t seem spiritual because it’s so nitty-gritty about things, is like putting manure on the field. Let’s grow a flower next year… let’s come on heavy.

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