Monsters Under The Bed 6

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Well, as Monty Python says, “And now for something completely different.”

You’ve been working very, very hard over the last three days, coming to get to know the realms, coming to get to know the realms through your physical and emotional reactions to them. Last day, we’ve been working on the practice of emptying the realms, which is a little different kind of work.

And one of the things that has come out in some of our discussions and conversations is there doesn’t seem to be any way out of all of this. How many of you are familiar with Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass? This is compulsory reading for practicing Buddhists.

First, there’s the Red Queen theory. You have to run as fast as you can to stay where you are. If you want to get anywhere, you have to run at least twice as fast as that. This basically describes our relationship with samsara. You know? Just to keep where you are, you are running as fast as you can. When Alice first goes into the looking glass world, she finds that when she walks towards the house, she gets further and further away from it. And the only way to get to the house is to walk away from it. This has some relevance to our practice. Because—as you experienced in these exercises we were doing—when you fight against the reactions, you fall into a whole world of reactivity. And you just get mired deeper and deeper into the quicksand of samsara.

One of the facets of an evolving practice, and this applies not only in Buddhism but in many, many other areas of life, is that one learns to make more and more subtle efforts. So, emptying the six realms, in which you just feel what arises. You don’t do anything with it. You just experience it completely. And you find it goes, “Pop.” And now you’re in a different place. This is a more subtle effort.

And this evening we’re going to introduce some extremely subtle efforts which comprise the essence of practice in every tradition of Buddhism. In Tibetan tradition, we have various names for it: great middle way, mahamudra, dzogchen. In the Theravadan tradition it’s usually called bare attention. In the Zen tradition it’s called shikantaza. And they all come from the same place, and that’s the recognition that whenever we try to do something about the mess we’re in, we just make it worse. And so the only thing to do about the mess we’re in is nothing at all. That may sound a little paradoxical. Trungpa Rinpoche was once asked, “Well, what do you do?” And he said, “Well, you can’t go forward and you can’t go back, and if you stay in the same place you get hit by a train.”

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In the Zen tradition, there was an interchange between Seung Sanh Sunim and a person in a group that he was addressing. The way this is expressed in Zen is, “What is the meaning of the Buddha’s teaching? If you say anything, I will hit you. If you don’t say anything, I will hit you. What do you say?” Well, one person said, “I hit the Buddha.” And Seung Sanh Sunim looked at him and said, “You understand one. Do you understand two?” And the student said, “I understand three.” To which Seung Sanh Sunim replied, “Ah! I thought there was a leaping lion here, but I see there is just a slinking fox. I spare you twenty blows.” This is a typical Zen dialogue. Let me unpack it a little bit.

“What is the meaning of the Buddha’s teaching? If you say anything, I’ll hit you. If you don’t say anything, I’ll hit you.” This is a way of saying, “What have you got? And if you come intellectually, I’ll hit you. But if you try to get out of this, then there’s nothing here, nothing to work with.” So you’ve got to show up.

So one student shows up. He says, “I hit the Buddha.” Which is to say, “I don’t need any sense of enlightenment.” You know? I’m one with everything, or whatever you want to say.

And Seung Sanh Sunim is a little suspicious. He says, “You understand one. But do you understand two?” Which could be understood to mean, “You say you understand the emptiness of everything. Do you understand how experience arises?”

The student has no idea what Seung Sanh Sunim is actually asking, so he says, “I understand three.” And Seung Sanh Sunim sees there is nothing to work with. So, “I spare you twenty blows.”

Now, one of the challenges we face is that when everything that we do just makes the situation worse, we are left with only one alternative. What’s that? To do nothing. Actually, that probably doesn’t go far enough. So I’ll say it slightly differently: to do absolutely nothing whatsoever! Okay? Let’s do it.

[A student makes a sound]

Ken: You see? You’ve already started to do something. [Laughter] Shall we try again? Okay. So, that’s what happens. We do nothing, and immediately something comes up. And what happens when something comes up? You’re distracted. So let’s try that again. We’re just going to do nothing.


How are you doing? Anybody started to do something yet?

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Okay. So you started to feel something. Go into that. Anybody else?

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: Maybe. What were you doing? Okay. So, you’re sitting there—so you’re waiting, anticipating. Yeah, okay. That’s doing something, right? Looking into the future. So it’s actually a little difficult to do nothing, isn’t it? So we’re going to talk about doing nothing whatsoever this evening. And to follow the traditional instructions on this, there are three aspects. We like three. These are mahamudra instructions from the Kagyu tradition. No distraction. No control. No work.

I’ll put this slightly differently. Don’t be distracted. Don’t control anything. Don’t work at anything.

Claudia, George and I are each going to take one of these. And I’m going to talk a bit about no distraction. Now, very early in this retreat, we talked about the three marks of existence: Death and impermanence, in terms of our concern for survival; suffering, in terms of getting our emotional needs met; and being somebody, or non-self, in terms of being somebody.

Let’s take a look at the first of these, impermanence. Well, one of the lines on impermanence that we use in meditation is, “Everything changes, nothing stays the same.” Well, if everything changes, if nothing stays the same, what makes a thing, a thing? You know, for centuries, philosophers and others have looked to try to find what the essence of a thing is. What are its essential characteristics? What makes the thing what it is? And nobody has succeeded. We cannot find anything which comprises the essence of some aspect of our experience. It’s always in relationship to something else. But that’s not how we function internally.

We regard what arises in experience as being things: thoughts, feelings, objects. And when we’re sitting in meditation, trying to do nothing, we maybe remember the dinner we had last night. “Oh, that tasted good.” And there we’re gone into distraction. We seized on the taste as something that actually exists. And now we’re lost in the memory. It happens [Ken snaps his fingers] like that. But the memory of the taste is not a thing, and after a while it does what non-things do, it goes poof. Things don’t go poof, things last forever. But there aren’t any things, so we don’t have to worry about that. [Laughter] What? She doesn’t like my Buddhist philosophizing.

Student: [Unclear]

Ken: So, what happens if the memory comes up, and you don’t do anything? Well, what happens is you feel all of those tugs inside. It’s a bit like the critic in the game we were playing earlier. And you still rest. And all of the tugs go “ch, ch, ch.” But you don’t attach to any of them. And by doing nothing, you actually give them nothing to attach to. Now the memory comes, the taste comes, and goes. And you haven’t done anything.

Now, to do this requires a couple of things. First off, it requires a certain level in attention, so that the level of energy in attention is actually higher than what’s arising in experience. It’s one of the reasons we work so hard at resting meditation. It’s because we’re building a capacity in attention so that when thoughts and sensations arise, we do not have to do anything with them. So, because we are—some of you are—relatively new to practice, and we’re just doing this for a short period, when you do this practice this evening, it’s probably best to do this for very short periods. When I say very short periods, I mean like a minute to two minutes at a time. So your mind is really fresh and awake. Then just relax. Then do it again. But I’ll give you more detail on that in a moment.

The other thing that’s required—and we have various words for this—trust, faith. It’s a peculiar form of trust, because ordinarily we think of trusting in something. Here, in order to practice non-distraction, you are going to trust nothing whatsoever. I’d just like you to take a moment and sit and entertain that possibility. You remember at the beginning of the retreat, I talked about those two young boys? And it was turtles all the way down? Well, it’s a bit like that. Perhaps it is as if you are going to fall. The only reason we are afraid of falling is that we believe that there is a bottom. So just let yourself fall. And there is no bottom. And notice what happens. That’s how you practice non-distraction. You fall, trusting nothing whatsoever.

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Now George is going to talk about control.

George: Emptying the realms. Does that work? At first we started the weekend by resting. And of course, all of the difficulties of resting came up. So you try really hard to rest. And that ends up being a project. What do I have to do first before I can rest?

And then we entered the realms. And that became a project. “What’s the realm? I think I can enter this one, but I don’t know what another one is. I’ve got to figure that out. Now, I’ve figured that out, but how do I get in there? How do I stay in there?” Then we worked at emptying the realms. To figure out how to do that. So tonight we’re going to do nothing. It’s like deluxe resting. Super resting. Not even resting.

In some ways, you’d think it would be a relief. But the framework that Ken gave—the no control piece—corresponds to the mark of suffering. Everything in this world, in this samsaric world, produces suffering. If not now, later. Like ice cream is good, until you have three bowls of it. And then it’s suffering. Money is good until you lose it. Even good stuff is suffering. Everything is subject to suffering.

So perhaps at first, not controlling your experience will let all of that suffering flood in. But if you aren’t doing anything, then that’s the way it’s going to be. Struggle against your suffering. Say it’s your back pain, I know that one really well. So at first, I would start moving my back around, trying to get that pain to stop. I’d find just the right place, and I’d try to stay there. After a while, it wasn’t the right place any more. Something else started hurting. And I’d try to take care of that, and hold that still. And pretty soon I’m all knotted up and rigid from trying to avoid the pain. And then I’m trying not to be so rigid, so I’m reacting against my reaction. Then I’m getting kind of frustrated. And then I’m reacting to my frustration, telling myself I should be able to meditate by now. Pretty soon I’ve got about six or eight things going on.

So how do you stop struggling? You’ve already gotten the instructions: No control. No work. No distraction. I guess they’re in negative because there’s nothing—we can’t tell you what to do. So, what does it take to let go? Stop controlling. Let your experience be whatever it is. As I mentioned yesterday, the gloom and doom school focuses on that. “All is suffering.” Everything in this world is subject to decay, suffering, unreliability. That’s the doom and gloom school. If you actually don’t control your experience, that suffering turns into something else. But I can’t really say what it is. And I think each of you would have a different word for it.

Sometimes it feels good, and then you start to try to control that. You try to keep it. And then you’re back in the game of struggling again. So I don’t know if tonight’s going to be a long night or a short night. Maybe it’ll be relaxing. Maybe it will be a relief to let go of the six realms. Maybe when you get called for an interview, that will be a relief, because you can get up and walk around. Or maybe it will be a drag, ‘cause I’m doing the interviews tonight. [Laughter.] I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Ken and Claudia have noticed, my interviews last about three times as long as Claudia’s and Ken’s. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad. I have no idea what your experience is. I actually have no idea what my experience is. [Laughter]

Because I don’t know what’s coming next. I really have no idea. Past weeks, Claudia and I have been talking to each other maybe once a week. We get on the phone. You know, “Shouldn’t we have a conversation about the retreat? Cause, like, Ken’s not talking to us. So, I mean, we talked about it once last summer. It’s getting close. Shouldn’t we be, like, making a plan?” So we’d take some notes and an outline, and you look at it the next day and say, “What was I thinking? That is not going to work. Besides I don’t even know most of the people who are going to be here, so I have no idea how they are going to respond to this stuff on the first day.”

So maybe like Ken says, “The best battle plan lasts until first contact with the enemy.” And then—not that you’re the enemy [laughter], but the monsters are the enemy. So we come here to work. Some of you probably had a monster or two in mind. “I’m going to work on that. And I’m going to, you know, I’m going to deal with that monster. And I’m going to go home and things are going to be different.”

So, I hope you succeeded this weekend. Or maybe you’ve just…you know, the monsters are worse. Maybe you’re, like, noticing them and they’re just clanging around inside, trying to get out. Which is, I think, a big piece of what is going on. The monsters are inside, they’re in a cage, and you built the cage. Part of you wants to keep that cage nice and tight, keep the monster in there. Part of you would like to open the thing up and see what the monster’s about. I’m not sure how I can help, because you built the cage. You might not remember it.

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My own experience is that the monsters are actually grotesque, funky, goofy little friends of mine who are rattling the bars and kicking on the walls and who would like to have a conversation with me. Usually the conversations are pretty weird. Some of them are not pleasant at all until the little monster gets what’s on his mind kind of off of his chest. And then he kind of sits down, and then he may stick around but he’s not such a monster any more. Although most of them are still pretty weird. But that’s one—that’s a total distraction. Because now you’ve got all of these monsters, and now you’ve got to sit down and have conversations with them. So, I mean, maybe that works for you. You know, let the monsters out. Let them run around, jump up and down, bang on stuff, make noise. See if they settle down. Maybe some of them will; maybe some of them won’t. But if you let the bars down and open up the cages, you’re not going to control what happens.

As Ken said, “no distraction” is part of this. Some of those monsters are pretty distracting. They grab your attention. So you’re resting, you’re not doing anything. You’re not working at it. You’re not controlling your experience. But you’re also not distracted. In your body, in the zendo. So maybe the first thing that’ll happen when you let go of control is that some crazy monster will jump out and you’re gone. You’re either in battle or being dragged out of the zendo to the place you didn’t want to go by this monster. Now you’re distracted.

When I think of “no distraction,” part of me goes, “Yeah, I’ve got to focus.” But that’s not it either. That’s a lot of work. And it becomes a struggle, and it doesn’t work. It might work for a moment or two. So how can you be undistracted without focusing? How can you not control your experience and not get distracted? And as Ken says, if you try to figure it out, pretty soon you’ll be working at it. Maybe only in your mind, but now you’re distracted again. So I think falling is better than figuring out. And not controlling is better than focusing.

I’m not sure I can give you any more instructions, because it’s about not controlling, not working, not being distracted. But I’ll be interested to hear your experience this evening in what’s happening, and where you feel that impulse. When that impulse arises, and it will, lots of impulses—the grabbing, the pushing away, the ignoring. If you aren’t controlling, then you have to let those impulses arise. You have to let yourself reach for things, push things away. Can you let that impulse arise and not do anything with it? Not stop it? Not follow it? Because not doing anything doesn’t mean nothing is going to happen. Lots is going to happen.

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Claudia: As Ken said, I’m going to be talking about, “Don’t work at anything.” There is a delicious irony that I am sitting here with you tonight, taking the teacher’s seat, talking about not doing anything. Because I’m a real doer at heart. You don’t get to be a vice president without being a doer. You make lists. You’re highly organized. You know when things need to be done, and you get them done. And I brought that doing directly into my practice. Give me the syllabus, give me the outline, tell me what to do. And then I worked really, really hard at it.

And there is payoff to working on your practice. You get better at sitting. Sometimes you have kind of blissful experiences on your cushion. And you get insights. But when you move into your daily life, you start having a problem. I attacked this problem by arguing with Ken. I can’t think of how many conversations we had about this, but a few. And with other people as well. I used to say non-doing was only possible if you went into the caves like the Tibetan yogis did. That’s why they went there. In the cave, with no distractions, nothing to control, you can just not do anything. But in our life, and in our culture, not possible. You have to do. That’s what expected of you. That’s how I was raised, if you work hard, you get the goodies. That’s the name of the game in our culture.

And I was working really hard. I wasn’t sure where I was going. And I reached a point of exasperation, I guess. Maybe some anger, definite frustration. And Ken kind of took me on. It didn’t feel very good. Cause Ken can kick a lot of butt when he wants to. And he said, “You need to get out of that zendo you are in. You need to get off of that cushion.” I was furious. I was furious. Because I didn’t know any other way to be in this game. But I want to tell you, there is another way. And it’s really the only way.

I thought that I couldn’t live in my life, run my business that I run now, work with clients, interact with family, do all the things that I do without pushing and working and doing. And I definitely thought that was the way to do this practice. But when your teacher tells you to try something, and you have got years of trust built up, where are you going to go? There’s only one thing about this practice: there is nowhere to go except back on your cushion and back into your practice. So that’s where you go.

And I found out something. That when you don’t work at it and you don’t push and you simply rest in whatever experience is arising, you just be in that experience, fully and open—with your body, with your emotions, with whatever is going on and coming into you, repeatedly opening to every experience as it’s arising in your life, you don’t have to do anything. You know from a place of knowing right there within your experience exactly what needs to be done. And whatever behavior or activity arises from that comes directly from that deep place of knowing.

When you’re sitting on your cushion and that little voice inside your head says, “If you really want to be in this game, you got to work really hard, hunker down. You’re not paying enough attention. Get your mind under control.” All of those things that you hear and sense and feel. And it’s so instinctual to all of us in this culture. “Meet it. Do it.” Just greet all that by opening to that experience and letting it go. And let yourself just rest right there. Let your body rest, let anything that comes up just flow on through. And don’t do anything.

When you can start to begin to explore this in your life, there is an incredible, wonderful freedom that arises. Because all of the energy, and all of the time, and all of the thinking and effort that you’ve been putting into doing, doing, doing, doing, all of that is freed up. And that energy is there in your practice, in that moment. So your experience of every moment becomes richer and fuller and incredibly deep. You have no idea how much I was missing in my life.

I made a phone call to Ken before this retreat, ’cause I didn’t know what kind of shape I’d be in when it was over with. And I said, “Every day, every moment, every breath is different.” And that’s what I want for each one of you in this room. That’s where your practice can take you. But it takes you without you having to do anything.

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Now, to make sure that I don’t end on a note, I’m going to share with you my favorite story, not the one Ken picked, from Tales of the Dervishes. [Page 23]

A stream from its source in far-off mountains, passing through every kind and description of countryside, at last reached the sands of the desert. Just as it had crossed every other barrier, the stream tried to cross this one, but it found that as fast as it ran into the sand, its waters disappeared.

It was convinced, however, that its destiny was to cross this desert, and yet there was no way. Now, a hidden voice coming from the desert itself whispered, “The wind crosses the desert and so can the stream.”

The stream objected that it was dashing itself against the sand, and only getting absorbed; that the wind could fly, and this was why it could cross the desert.

“By hurtling in your own accustomed way, you cannot get across. You will either disappear or become a marsh. You must allow the wind to carry you over to your destination.”

“But how could this happen?”

“By allowing yourself to be absorbed in the wind.”

This idea was not acceptable to the stream. After all, it had never been absorbed before. It did not want to lose its individuality. And once having lost it, how was one to know that it ever could be regained.

“The wind,” said the sand, “performs this function. It takes up water, and carries it over the desert and then lets it fall again. Falling as rain, the water again becomes a river.”

“How can I know that this is true?”

“It is so, and if you do not believe it, you cannot become more than a quagmire, and even that would take many, many years. And it certainly is not the same as a stream.”

“But can I not remain the same stream that I am today?”

“You cannot, in either case, remain so,” the whisper said. “Your essential part is carried away and forms a stream again. You are called what you are even today because you do not know which part of you is the essential one.”

When he heard this, certain echos began to arise in the thoughts of the stream. Dimly, he remembered a state in which he—or some part of him, was it?—had been held in the arms of a wind. He also remembered—or did he?—that this was the real thing, not necessarily the obvious thing, to do.

And the stream raised his vapor into the welcoming arms of the wind, which gently and easily bore it upwards and along, letting it fall softly as soon as they reached the roof of a mountain many, many miles away. And because he had had his doubts, the stream was able to remember and record more strongly in his mind the details of the experience. He reflected, “Yes, now I have learned my true identity.”

The stream was learning what the sands whispered. “We know because we see it day after day and because we, the sands, extend from the riverside all the way to the mountain.”

And that is why it is said that the way in which the stream of life is to continue on its journey is written in the sands.


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Ken: Don’t be distracted. Don’t try to control your experience. Don’t work at anything. Three simple instructions. But as some of you have already learned at this retreat, simple and easy are not synonyms.

The first thing one needs to know is how to place the mind. One set of instructions for placing the mind is: Don’t pursue the past. Don’t entertain the future. Don’t dwell on the present. Relax, right now. And when you do that, you find that for a moment, maybe a little longer, everything stops. That’s where you rest.

Without distraction. Without trying to control your experience. Without working at anything. That lasts anywhere from a second or two, to maybe thirty seconds or a minute. Then something starts up again. When something starts up again, do not try to go back. It never works.

As soon as something starts up, whether you start thinking about some thing or you realize you’ve been lost, or you think, “No, I’d really like it to be this way, not that way,” as soon as something starts up, relax. Just stop. Look around the room. Move your body a little bit. And then, start again. “Don’t pursue the past. Don’t entertain the future. Don’t dwell on the present. Rest, relax, right now.” And then again something starts up. And you stop. And relax.

So, in this approach to practice, you start again and again and again. And that first placing of the mind, there’s a moment of open clarity, and you rest right there, doing absolutely nothing. And when it dissipates, you stop. And start again. Now, if you do this for a while, you begin to cultivate an ability to rest in that open clarity. I’m not saying that you’ll master that in the next two hours; perhaps some of you will have some relationship with it. It varies tremendously from person to person. And as you rest in that open clarity, doing nothing whatsoever, you find that thoughts come and go, like clouds in the sky. And there’s a difference between thoughts coming and going and thinking. Thinking is a duller state of mind. It doesn’t have the open clarity. That’s how you tell the difference.

So, if there’s that open clarity and thoughts come and go, then let the thoughts come and go. Then maybe the internal critic starts up, saying, “Well, this isn’t quite what I wanted to experience. I think it should be this way.” Now this is very important. Because right at that moment, there is an impulse to control one’s experience, tweak it a little bit. But the internal critic is actually just another thought. Which is one of the reasons we did the exercise this afternoon. It comes and goes. If the internal critic becomes insistent and starts producing a cacophony, then just stop. Relax. Start again. And you rest in the open clarity, and you think, “Hmmm, I’m getting somewhere.” And somehow, that “I’m getting somewhere,” you forget that it’s just a thought, too. You think, “Hmmm, I am getting somewhere. I’m meditating. I’m doing advanced meditation.” Now, you begin to work at something. You’re being somebody. Stop. And start again. I’m giving you a few obvious examples. And there are many subtleties in this, of course.

You may well find, that at a certain point, when you say, “Don’t pursue the past. Don’t entertain the future. Don’t dwell on the present. Relax.” you experience no shift. If that’s the case, you come to that point, you know, after fifteen minutes or a half an hour or forty-five minutes of practice, it means you’ve run out of juice. And there’s no point in pushing at that point, because there’s nothing to work with. If that happens, then just rest with the breath.

Student: Could you repeat that?

Ken: If you find that when you do that placing of mind, “Don’t pursue the past. Don’t entertain the future. Don’t dwell in the present. Just relax,” there’s no shift, you know, nothing happens.

Student: I thought you said, “No shit.”

Ken: No. No shift. Then you’ve run out of juice. And that happens. No blame. Just relax. Rest with the breath. Let body and mind rest. So that’s one way of practicing. Those are traditional instructions from the Tibetan tradition.

Here’s a different instruction from the Theravadan tradition. Put a chair in the center of the room. Sit in the chair. See who comes to visit. You don’t have to engage them. Just see who comes to visit.

Now, these kinds of practices are very simple. They’re also very subtle. One of the reasons that we work as hard as we do at such practices as the six realms and so forth is to develop the ability to be able to do these practices. Understanding what these practices are pointing to intellectually is an exercise that many people work very hard at. People say, “I’m trying to understand mahamudra. I’m trying to understand dzogchen. I’m trying to understand the perfection of wisdom,” etc. This is a completely futile activity. You cannot understand it. My father just couldn’t understand why I wanted to study Buddhism, because I’d give him a text and he would just come over and say, “See, Ken. I don’t understand why you’re doing this. It says right here you can’t understand this.” You know, there was something that he didn’t understand there.

But, while you cannot understand these practices, and any understanding you have isn’t worth a piece of paper you write it down on, it is possible to know. And in the end, that’s all we have is knowing. The extraordinary thing is that that’s the only thing we have.

At this moment, none of us knows whether we are actually awake or asleep, or alive or dead. We do not know whether we’re a dream in somebody else’s imagination. And we cannot know. It’s impossible. The only thing that we know about our experience right now is that we are aware. Everything else, absolutely everything else, is a construction or a projection. Meaning in our lives, relationships, objects, the world, etc. It’s all a way that we interpret this whole field of experience, which is what George was talking about earlier. It’s possible to know, to know completely, and that is what our practice is about.

Many of the practices are about removing what prevents us from knowing completely. A practice we’re going to do now is about practicing knowing completely. So when we go to the zendo this evening, spend some time initially letting mind and body settle. You just sit, let the body settle, let the breath settle. And when body and breath are resting then, “Don’t pursue the past. Don’t entertain the future. Don’t dwell on the present. Rest, right now.” And when you fall into distraction, you start to try to control your experience, or you start to work at something, stop, relax, and start again.

Carolyn. Microphone, please for Carolyn.

Student: I didn’t hear.

Ken: Can you turn it [the mic] on, please?

Student: I didn’t hear the word you said, “The only thing we can know…”

Ken: Yeah. The only thing we have is knowing.

Student: Oh. Thank you.

Ken: Okay. Everything else is projection. And one can explore that quite deeply, and it leads to quite interesting perspectives on life. The irony is, as Claudia was describing, when we stop working at projects and start just relating to what arises in experience, then things start to happen. But it feels like we are doing nothing. And I’ll say a bit more about that tomorrow, before we close. So. Dinner is ready. Everybody clear about this meditation? I mean there is absolutely nothing to be confused about here, is there? Because there’s nothing to it. [Laughing] Okay.

Student: Can I ask a question about the past? How long did it take? [Unclear]

Student: And this, I think, is for Claudia. How long did it take you-

Ken: Hold the microphone like this, please. Thank you.

Student: How long did it taken you to get used to feeling so much?

Claudia: To get used to it?

Student: Yeah. How long did it take you to adjust to that.

Claudia: I am not sure exactly what you mean.

Student: If you are experiencing the world the way that you described, you are feeling everything—that would be a radical change for most people. And, you know, the deeper I get into the practice, I start getting to that kind of place, and I realize that I don’t know anything and all of that. And then that’s where I get stuck. I back away from it. Because it’s too unsettling. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

Claudia: It’s exactly what Ken described. It’s like falling off a cliff. You don’t know—

Student: And you just stay with that. You just get used to it.

Claudia: You fall out of it sometimes. Yeah. It’s being with no ground.

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