Summer 2001 Archive
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Another good man in a hurry. (Part 1) Posted by John on August 17, 2001 at 22:40:36:
Hello, Rakesh! It wasn't my wish to keep you waiting, but I guess you could say it was "by design," as I've attempted to field all the incoming "traffic"
in Classroom Talk, and process it on through as best I can. I'm sure you understand that it was appropriate for you to get the red light this time.
Sorry about that.
I've been asking you to monitor your experiences of being kept waiting during this week because that ties in with the things that have stood out most
vividly for me in your several good postings of last Sunday and Monday. As I mentioned, you seem to be another "good man in a big hurry" in this
It might seem strange to you that I would caution you to watch out about what probably seems to you to be one of your favorite personal
characteristics—your dashing speed. Your eagerness, your enthusiasm, your ability to be up-and-running, and go fast—these are all attributes of your
essence, the strengths and qualities that you were born with. The trouble that might come into your life through this only arises . . . . . *if you go too
far*. Going too far is what turns essence into ego-driven personality. And in this instance, if you go too far too fast.
This question of the speed of your life comes up again and again in your postings, as I would like to point out. First of all, Sunday and Monday, bing,
bing, bing, three well-done and substantial postings in 24 hours. This is not a bad thing, mind you. But in my experience of it, I said, "Wow! This
interesting fellow is traveling along here at a mighty fast clip." Can you relate to what I'm saying here? Please speak up frankly if I seem to be off-the-
Tim and Lou and others, Eon, for instance, will remember my saying these same things about "going too fast" to them, once-upon-a-time. Heh-heh.
They may have gotten tired of my talking about this by now. But they each have learned to examine the pace at which they are living their lives (at
least from what I see of that here). And it seems to me that all of them have learned that it is appropriate at certain times to slow down and just
pause, and wait. It can be good to pause after speaking for a little while, on purpose, and leave space for others to respond to you. It can sometimes
be good to pause and check it out, and see if you are "over-doing it" this time, "getting carried away," so to speak in your enthusiasm and excitement.
And to tell the truth, I have been one who has been doing this, every now and then. Because I share this characteristic in my own bag of conditioned
patterns. And as the old-timers can surely tell you, I sometimes get carried away with enthusiasm in what I'm doing around here. We're all human.
We all have personalities. Today, I am talking about one aspect in the spectrum of our over-all humanness, the area of the Student/Believer.
I'm not here to say that you have gone too far in your sharings here, or that you have over-done it, because you really haven't! You're doing it just
right, in fact! I only bring it up because I seem to be recognizing certain "tendancies" in you, that are relevant to the teachings of this class. I hear a
certain flavor of "music" in your postings that catches the attention of my ear, the vibe of being in a hurry.
I'm sure your fellow class-members are as pleased as me to see the way you have gotten your teeth into this training, and picked up actually doing it,
right away. May I say that you appear to be a natural Student. You show the natural strengths and qualities that go with that. We are similar in this.
Can you see me running around the streets of Los Angeles or Honolulu to get to my reporting assignments on time? As you know, I could do that.
And so can you.
You have the natural Student strengths and qualities already born into you to do this "running excitedly after the breaking story." I'll bet you've
found your way in this work to one of the "soul-jobs" that you can do in your lifetime. Good for you, if it's true! A soul-job (cf. "soul-mate") is a job
where you say, "Wow, I get to have the fun and enjoyment of doing this work, and they even pay me for it!" (And it does sound to me like you've
found a soul-mate in your wife, as well.) That is of the essence of your life.
Let's go back to Sunday, speaking of our Summer Vacation:
>Well the delay was rewarding in the sense that seeing little activity here, I visited some links in the Virtual Library and discovered new insights. More importantly, the happy coincidence was that some of my doubts/questions were nicely addressed.
Yes. This is serendipity. And this whole website has been designed on purpose with the intention of supporting this kind of serendipity. In other
words, we tried to make it so a person could go anywhere around the site as a whole, and poke around here and there for a little while and come up
with something that would be relevant, helpful, or enlightening in their present situation in life. Thanks for sharing an example of that "feature" *
working*, Rakesh. I always like to hear about things that work around here.
Let me point out that that was your intuition that found your way to those insights. We know it was intuition and not superstition because it panned
out. It really worked! And intuition, and serendipity, though they are qualities that can be found to some degree in all of us, are qualities that show
up especially bountifully in the lives of Student/Believers.
Student/Believers are usually the ones who seem "magic" in this way. I suppose it's genetic, for they seem to be the ones who are the most disposed
to take an interest in their intuitive powers. And others seem less likely to notice them, or credit them as reality. But this is also why Student/
Believers can benefit the most in learning how to tell the difference between intuition and superstition. Intuition really exists and can be known.
Supersitition is going too far and getting carried away with it.
>By the way, some links in the Virtual Library do not appear to be working
Thanks for telling me. I haven't been back there to the Library for a long time. Before I even started teaching interactive classes here in 1998, I spent
about a month of practically full-time web-searching, looking for the best websites I could find that are teaching about mindfulness. In particular, I
looked for those few sites where they are actually teaching browsers how to recognize and do mindfulness, and *use mindfulness*, and not just
talking *about* the mindfulness trainings that they have to give if you go there in person. In other words, I was trying to find how much outfront
teaching of techniques, methods and practices of mindfulness was available on the worldwide web.
I put the best of what I found in the Virtual Library. I felt that would exemplify something I've been talking about recently here in Classroom Talk,
that all the many different approaches are pertinent as references in learning the awareness game, as they are all teaching the same things. I wanted
people to see, by going to the library, that we are not about being closed off into examining only one narrow approach, like the approach I am
As for the ones that are dead-links now, I'm sorry to hear, maybe those are the ones who haven't made it and aren't persevering after all these years.
I have noticed, however, that there seem to be more and more new websites about mindfulness all the time. Sally, and Jeff, and many others of you
have pointed our attention to some of the greatest ones of them over the course of our semesters.
I'd like to go back now to the original statement I quoted, Rakesh:
>Well the delay was rewarding . . .
Notice that this time factor I'm speaking about, the "pace" factor, comes up in this moment. You are experiencing a "delay." The pace is not quick
enough to you. Do you see what I mean? That's a factor that comes up for you in your life. You place a lot of importance in it.
Here, you made the best move possible, by turning to something else, and letting your intuition find you some goodies. I'm only trying to point up
that "the pace of life" is something that is having a noticeable effect on you. Here, instead of reacting and becoming upset about the delay, you are
responding spontaneously to the situation *as it is*. Good. And this route proves out fruitful for you!
This is important, because one of the common characteristics of Student/Believers, when it goes too far and gets over into ego-driven personality
territory, is that this type tends to form dependencies on other people, dependencies on others for leadership, guidance, for advice, and "the
answers!" If this goes too far, the harm in it can be that one becomes habitually dependent on other people for things like this, and doesn't realize (as
you have found here through your spontaneous exploration) that you can be your own leader!—you can provide your own guidance, and come up
with the answers on your own.
If you fall for the mistaken belief that you must depend upon me, or any other coach, for the answers during your "last mile" of spiritual work, you are
cheating yourself of knowing that you've already got everything in you that is necessary to find out all you need to find out.
Oooh! Here comes another thunderstorm. I've got to turn my computer off! Bye.
>Now I wish to share an observation. Thanks to the coaching here and a rather slow-paced development to wake up often during the day, I am becoming aware of more and more facets of my personality.
All of this is music to my ears, that you are practicing, and you are becoming aware of things. Booya! (which is a Northwoods cheer.). Again,
however, we notice how your reflecting on this is tied in with a time element: "slow-paced." Nothing wrong with what you said. It's perfect. And its
*normal* for progress with mindfulness to be slow-paced in the beginning. But, the *pace* of things seems to always be on your mind. Do you see
what I'm getting at?
Oh-oh, here comes the lightning again! . . . . . . . . . .
Back again. This is the monsoon season in Tucson, rows of small, powerful electric storms that keep rolling through, when they are here. And then
they are gone for hours. And then they come back. This season is always a test of my own capacity to roll with the red lights of life. Heh-heh.
Speaking to me:
>The facet I often wonder about struck me most recently, when I read your first posting upon your return from vacation. "Why Oh why should the Coach be thinking of non-attachment to the class? I wondered.
Ha. I thought that might seem strange to some of you. But it is for your sake that I work on being unattached to the class and to you students here.
To the degree that I would become attached to you, I would be using you to suit my own selfish purposes. And for this school to be successful, it
must exist for your purposes, not mine. To use some exagerated examples, I'm sure it's clear that if this whole process were to degenerate into a drive
for me to become rich, or famous, or even to be able to strut around here and act self-important, it would make a mockery of the actual work I am
trying to do around here as coach, working with you living, real-life people who are good enough to come around here for some coaching. It
wouldn't be as good for you. As best I can, to do my job, I need to steer clear of using you for my purposes in order to remain empty enough to
coach you to realize your own purposes, to realize that each of you can step up to your own highest and best purposes.
Another thing, before I went on vacation, my whole coaching plan was absorbed in a selfish idea, that I would use the May-June gametapes to teach
the awareness game off of. I can't tell you all how excited I was about this idea. I could see how I could get the whole thing explained, for once, by
using that material. My Artist/Rebel was craving to take advantage of using this lucky opportunity that had come up, and do what I wanted to with
Seemingly, I was just going to go ahead with that, without considering how the students in the class might feel about being confronted with old news
that we've mostly put behind us by now. As a writer, I was familiar with the raw material that I had at my disposition to coach off of in that stuff, and
I knew it was delightful—for my purposes. Do you see Buber's "I and It" relationship going on here? I was tending to relate with you real-live, flesh
and blood, students here as mere materials for me to work with, objects that I could jam off of and produce what I expected was going to be a
"triumphant piece of art," is one way to put it. Heh-heh.
But by becoming really detached from the school process, and from you students here over the vacation, I was able to catch on to the vibes of that
whole selfish plan of mine that I had become so strongly attached to. Was it for you students? Or was it for my own gratification as a writer and
artist? Did I really need to do that? I asked.
And I realized that we can just go ahead anyway, staying in the present in this class, and keep finding everything that is necessary for me to teach off
of, popping up day after day around here anyway, just as handy to cue me to share the whole exercise of playing the awareness game as those old
tapes and that old history. In truth, I needed nothing, except to be here now. So I abandoned what I used to call the "Sample Workshop (no more
Mr. Nice Guy). ;-)" And I'm here now. And thanks to being unattached to it all, I didn't take the whole project down a bad trail.
And, sure enough, as we continue onward in the Fourth Grade together, here your very postings, Rakesh, are providing the "openings" you could
say, for my proceeding, right here and now, to coach *the very same* beginning tips and explanations in learning how to play this mindful game that I
was going to address in that Sample Workshop. In other words, I didn't need the ego-driven plan to use you students here in that workshop for my
own purposes, after all, and I can go right ahead coaching in the here-and-now, right on schedule, and nothing has been lost by my not doing that.
More than that, I have been spared doing an injustice to you dear students here—an injustice that I nearly did. Whew! I'm grateful for that!
>my concern is not why I reacted emotionally [to Coach's non-attachment to the class]. . . . because I feel grateful to the coach for all that I have learned from him, because somehow for reasons I cannot put in words I feel very close to him. (On second reading I guess I can put it in words -- I was travelling on this path for a long time and then came across the Coach, who I feel is leading me through the last mile.
Well, thank you. I feel honored that you feel this warmly towards me, Rakesh. I feel warmly towards you, too. And just as it is valuable in certain
ways that I not be attached to the class and to you, it is valuable that you not be attached to me. Liking me, feeling warmly towards me, enjoying
participating in this work together, yes!!! But if you become attached to me, that is just an unnecessary weight upon your journey. And in the real
world, that only sets you up, if something should happen to me.
If you put me onto a pedestal, you will make a fantasy out of me. You will make a superstition out of me. And that "last mile" idea sounds like a
fantasy idea. Is it intuition? Could be! But I think you're "going too far" in this. I may very well have some neat coaching to share with you. And
you may be getting close to great leaps of progress! But with that idea of the "last mile" you are talking about the *product," the final outcome of your
years of practice. What if it would take a mile and a half, or half a mile, or ten, or a hundred? That doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is
getting a process going of regular work on one's Self. I think you're as well suited to this type of training as I am to coach about it. I will help gladly
while I can in any way I can. But I will only "be around" for some company and some tips. And you must go that way alone.
What I mean is this: When a student completes my training, I hope they will not be saying, "John did this for me." I presume they will say: "I had to
do every single bit of all of this on my own."
Admire a teacher, love a teacher, that's okay. But if a student becomes attached to a teacher then the illusions that go along with that blind him or her
to the most important thing of all in a training like this one: how free you can be, and are . . . . . and how competent you can be, how competent you
are—underneath your conditioned Self—to deal with everything that happens in life.
The other men in a big hurry in this class have heard me say this before. Please don't put me on a pedestal, Rakesh. Don't hero-worship me. I am just
an imperfect master. I still have an ego-driven personality of my own. I have problems to work on. We can learn from that as much as we can learn
from each of us working on our problems here in class. Call me Coach if you will, thanks, but treat me like one of the guys and the gals in our
community, please. Like Douglas says, we *are all equals* in one way. We are ordinary people here, with ordinary lives, studying these non-ordinary
lessons together, to see if we can actually learn to work together in peace and harmony.
May I suggest the possibility that the emotional feeling that you were feeling when you were pondering my non-attachment to the school during
vacation may have been anxiety. Anxiety is when there is trembling along the long bones of the arms and legs, trembling of the hands and feet.
Anxiety may come up in any of us when we are not feeling secure. And the Student/Believers, with a tendancy to cherish security and a personality
tendancy of Believers to become dependent on others for advice and security, may, especially, become nervous or anxious when someone they are
feeling attached to behaves in an unattached way. Believers want the security of attachment. Can you relate to any of this?
Lou can you remember ever having some experience related to this? When the things I'm saying here may suggest the idea that I may not always be
around to coach this class, it's very natural that might arouse some anxiety with some of you.
In the world of reality, I'll be here whenever I am here. You can't know. I can't know what the future will bring. Even next week is a mystery.
There is no security about it, really. The fact that I am working on being unattached to the class has nothing to do with the reality that I am actually
being here, deeply engaged with the class—and with much enjoyment for the job I'm doing most of the time! There is no more security than that.
Believer in personality that I sometimes tend to be, I have anxieties from time to time about how much time and energy I have left to coach this class,
too. Will I get everything done that I wish to get done? Do I need to be in more of a hurry? When I wake up on this, it just helps me to realize that I
hope to make the best use of the time I have left for this that I possibly can. At the same time, I find myself slowing down, slowing down. In fact, I'm
working on that every week. Indeed, it seems to me the more that I slow down, the more and better work that I get done. But I'll get to an
explanation of this a little later.
And that wonderful exercise machine has arrived, Folks. I really love the gliding action of it. I love to "fly it" around my room. So I'm doing
something practical about my physical durability, Rakesh, and already I sense that this wonderful new flying machine is going to be giving me not only
enjoyment and pleasure but more of that fascinating commodity that is often pressing so hard on your consciousness . . . time.
This seems like a good place to take a break, nearly through covering the first page of your first posting last Sunday. I may get a few more pages
written and posted tomorrow morning, as I go off to work in the country late these Saturdays. I may not get to it again until Monday. It looks like
I'm going to make this a series, Rakesh, if you'll bear with me on through the following days, and honor me with patience.
What have you been feeling in your body in relation to these delays? Have you been feeling the nagging sesations of impatience in there perhaps? I
mean the real, perceptible tangible sensations of it. If so, focus your mindful awareness on these ancy tugs of impatience in your arms and legs when
that is there. Do this for several minutes at a time. Learn to endure it. Just experience the sensations of it without trying to push it away. Soak up
the reality of this feeling. By practicing this, you will find that your impatience and anxiety abates in you. You will feel it abate. And you will relax and
be at peace in the present moment again. Your sense of hurry will dissolve.
Your next remarks are where you start in experimenting with those phenomena where the awareness game comes into the picture . . . where you are
concerned to notice that you weren't even caring to understand my coaching viewpoint, and you had the presence of mind to notice that you
automatically reacted with a contradiction.
That's good. That's insight meditation that you're practicing there, and a good place for me to pick up with my next installment of reponses to you. So
far, you're doing really great, Rakesh. And I'm honored to have you with us in our class.
For now, goodnight to you all. I'll try to get up early tomorrow and continue. Or . . . maybe I'll sleep in, and slow down my pace a little. Have I been
going fast again? Heh-heh. I'll sleep on it.
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