the science of freedom

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Is an art. It won't do for you to mistake it. So, excuse me, I spent the morning pounding out my notes on this.

1. drop your need to be right

This is a big one. I caught myself at this—I mean really busted myself on it—somewhere back in my mid-twenties. I resolved to never be slow to admit I was wrong the moment I saw that I was wrong. Just giving it a little consideration, that I would not die of it, that it was in fact good to find out I’d been wrong, was a huge help. It, of course, takes a lot of doing to make sure one is living by these insights, but just realizing it takes a big load off.

Immediately others who have not seen this start aggravating the living snot out of you.

2. drop your need for control

I figured this one out in my late-twenties, that I’d been controlling everyone around me to act right for the entirety of my autonomy. I stopped it immediately as I saw it. Right away, everyone in my life started acting startled and uncomfortable! And, left to their own devices, made me crazy.

3. stop blaming

This one comes and goes, is a little harder to root out, because so much of the time there really is a culprit. Still, recognizing one’s own culpability is key. This is a big part of my antipathy for the OWS bullshit. They’re all, we’re not nice comfy middle class types because you fucks are so corrupt! It’s a mass lower lip protrusion. It makes me sick.

This is what galls me about passive aggressive people. That fucking lower lip, like they are some innocent victim, a baby, who can guilt a grown up into acting to their benefit. The discussion of this could fill cyberspace.

It’s lethal poison. Beside the point. Wrongly intended. Total bullshit. Give it up.

4. cut the self-defeating ego blather in there

You can’t stop this until you can identify it. You can’t identify it till you stop it. This is why you have to meditate, why you can’t skip that part. Sometimes this takes the form of reading sutras aloud and purposely dropping all mental effort to understand what you are reading. I found this method the most effective. It made silent meditation much more doable right away, but even if it had not, it was filling the storehouse consciousness with good stuff instead of crap.

This is almost never mentioned. By becoming addicted to the news, to the spectacularly awful world situation, one spends every spare moment, and way too many moments one couldn’t spare, engaged in the process of becoming more appalled than one was a minute ago. The storehouse consciousness is full of really appalling crap and this turns the inner blather into seriously appalling crap. Never fails. Defeats all sentient beings. Is the reason the psychopaths keep cranking it out.

You are paralyzed. Admit it.

5. lose the limiting beliefs

Back in the dark ages, I spent most of my time at my IBM Correcting Selectric II. I had taped to it a bit of newsprint that said, “Believing Makes It So”. Now, ahem, a nitwit would jump to the conclusion that this means all you have to do is believe and it will be. No! It means if you call, say, a corporation a brick wall, they are a brick wall. If, on the other hand, you insist that they’re just a bunch of fucked up humans ruining life on earth, then you can get meetings with its big whigs and turn their bones to powder with your wrath.

When I was agog with disbelief about everyone involved with forestry in Mendocino freaking out over the awfultude of a bunch of Wall Street wankers going to further decimate 80,000 acres of timberlands... and not doing anything more than gossip and hiss and pound their tables about it... I called the SEC. I got a damn recording that told me how to get in line to make a complaint about somebody. This, it was immediately obvious, would not get anything accomplished in time to spare those acres the death sentence for their future generation. I faxed my senators’ offices, asking who to talk with there about forcing someone at the SEC to engage with me right away. Someone from the SEC called me. I spent four months all day and most of the night on it, but I stopped the fuckers.

The guy at the local university extension in charge of this sort of thing had followed the prescription given for complaints by the recording at the SEC. They responded a year later. The Board of Supervisors had written a letter. It went in the mail on the day the whole matter was to be decided.

Beliefs limit humans. Lao Tsu: When everyone thinks good is good, this is not good. It isn’t good because there are always exceptions. Always. Without fail. If you let yourself calcify around any belief, it’s going to fuck you, or us, up sooner or later. Everyone in Mendo World believed either that it’s impossible to fight Wall Street or that there is a format for such activity. Balderdash! You proceed with your life according to the rules you’ve internalized, rules you believe, and you are going to come up against the depredations of psychopaths who laugh at your lame rules.

You think you are some kind of leadership material because you do not shun your responsibility to write letters to the editor? Pfeh. Passive aggressive.

You believe political change is slower than turning the Titanic? Then it is. And how many die of your fucking filthy and self-serving belief? You believe you aren’t smart enough to engage with the authorities? Then you aren’t. And how many die of your fucking filthy and self-serving belief?

6. stop complaining

Well, you could try, but you’d probably just increase the passive aggression, or go worse blind, in your effort. I’d say you should just give up your belief that complaining is relief, and just practice seeing your own culpability in any situation you are complaining about. You keep your eye on it. Use it to remind yourself of where your belief is limiting your ability to deal effectively with whatever you are complaining about.

At the monastery, all the soup recipes called for pounds of salt. You filled the huge pot with water and various vegetables, added the pounds of salt, boiled and called it soup. I would bellow about the seniors from Elder Hostel we were killing. I was told I was just a complainer. I stated quite plainly that, no, they were just harmful little bliss ninnies killing people with salt if they could not simply reduce the salt and put the pot in the walk-in overnight to let the flavors come out without their lethal cheats... at least for when Elder Hostel was visiting. This was then put into practice.

My point is that keeping your mouth shut about things can be seriously harmful. It is made worse by you having this excuse to keep your mouth shut. It’s all about turning into a true human, not about rigid rules.

Don't let your complaints be mere complaints.

Don’t be a jackass.

7. quit basking in luxurious criticism

If you take up criticizing things to display your superiority you’re just back having to be right about everything, controlling everything, blaming everyone else, et cetera. You’re just basking in your fuming disgusting ego tripping. Drop dead.

8. trying to impress others is for losers

Waste of time. They stay impressed for five minutes or so and go right back to demanding you fix their lives for them... whether that is by continuing to entertain them or by adjusting your behavior to suit them or by literally doing their lives for them or sticking in a really impressive limiting groove because they will pay you for it... and maybe you can even get famous for it....

[By the way, fuck fame.]

Do we really need to discuss vanity? Really?

9. change is the only constant

I've checked. It sucks. Deal with it. It's a rushing river. Your only hope to have any effect on it is to make it flow in a better direction. There isn't a boulder big enough to just plug this river. You can't make it hold still while you gather your wits. You have to get yourself into a state of not-blind-to-karma before you have a hope of coping. If you can't hold still and shut yourself up long enough to get in shape for this, I have just the sutra for you.

10. make labels more fun

It is bottomlessly productive to stop putting people in boxes. Put your label gun away. It opens into a world of new insights. It so totally rocks. You will find it isn’t really possible to speak if you don’t use labels, though, and this ends up giving you headaches... or the duty to become boundlessly inventive with your labels. You, of course, can’t be so rigid with them that you won’t immediately let someone out of that box once it threatens to cement up your own brain again, but, take politics... [please]... you call someone "Tea Party" after being propagandized into believing this spells Koch Brothers, that person can’t communicate with you at all, can’t say anything but Koch Brothers to you, no matter how hard they try. It’s as simple as that. You have to find a label for them that lets you interact with them again. I have found that labeling people with the dubious distinction of being human works darn well.

11. stop abusing your fears

They are completely useless. Unerringly counter-productive. Waste of life. You’re going to have them. If you’re not in a coma, you’re going to fear things. You have to maintain yourself in a state of freedom from fears or you will be paralyzed. You don’t have to lug them around. They can be a swarm of bees following you around while you get stuff done, and you will know if one stings you that either you screwed up or it was a damn fine idea not to cross the road without looking both ways first.

I notice that the state of my health has a big bearing on the state of my fearlessness. Those bees start stinging when I feel too crappy. This makes me feel crappier. This makes it harder to feel better, harder to find the power to pull out of it. It is a completely unproductive waste of vitality. Stop it.

12. no excuses

Ignominiousness most foul! Fuck you. The cleverer you are, the worse this is.

13. the past is past

It’s over. You bring it into the present, it’s limiting you. Drop it. This doesn’t mean you have to forget everything, or even that forgetting is good. It just means you can’t ever improve life for yourself or anyone else by lugging that crap around with you. Just like fears, your past does not have to be borne like a plow yoke. No. Matter. What. It floats around fine by itself. You have better things to do.

14. detach

Here again, you don’t have to carry your attachment around. You don’t have to grab for it or shoo it away. Let it all, good and bad, just flutter around without your efforts to interfere with it according to whatever head trip you are on at this moment. You can’t think clearly if you are attached. Whatever it is. Your kid. A space lizard. World peace. Torture. Fear. Love. What is real and true stays or goes without your meddling. If you meddle, it stops being real and true. What is unreal and false resolves only with clarity. Have a pickle. Let go.

I once advised the lady who cut my hair that the best way for her to deal with her daughter’s drug and alcohol addiction was to detach from the problem, to draw the line in their relations. She punished me by giving me the worst hack job in history. Years later I ran into her, and she apologized profusely. She’d been to Al-Anon. She’d thought I meant to stop loving her daughter... until a room full of miserable relations tap danced on her forehead.

Fucking hell.

15. stop trying to live to others’ expectations

Beside the fact that this will almost always end up disappointing the snot out of them, it is just as bad as being boxed in by your own self-limiting thoughts. We’re talking about freedom here. We’re not talking about spiting people who oppress you with their unreasonable or Martian expectations, and gratifying those who were not so gauche as to oppress you thus. No. We are talking about freedom, not lugging bullshit, pure delusion, around.

No. Really. It’s not easy.

It’s your only hope.

Whether or not you have fluffy ideas about reincarnation, this is, in fact, your only life. The waste of it is unspeakably crude and definitely poisonous whether or not you think you will be back for another shot at it. Better you die trying than just poisoning the akasha with your profligacy.

Hup. Hup. Two. Three. Four....


Too much work? Too confusing? FINE. Blow it off. Just don't forget that blowing it off is what caused this mess.