Lester Levenson: Keep it Simple

(Talk begins at 9:10)

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness. – Meister Eckhart (Blakney p. 144)

Keep it Simple

Talking about relationships, the sweetest of all kisses is the kiss of freedom.  And in order to get that kiss of freedom, you must understand the word, kiss. K-I-S-S—Keep it Simple, Sweetheart.  If you will latch on to, catch hold of, absorb, understand, that simplicity is the way to understanding the ultimate, it will expedite your getting there tremendously.  Keep it Simple, Sweetheart.

It is so simple when you discover it; only then you know it’s the simplest of all simples.  Thy Self, thy inner beingness, your is-ness, your am-ness, knowing which you will know everything, besides being in the highest, most delectable state there is.  And everything you’re seeking externally, unconsciously is you looking for this ultimate state.  And you will never, ever stop chasing it and banging yourself against the wall of the world until you discover it, by no longer banging yourself against the world; by going within, and discovering exactly what it is that you are.  But you must keep it simple to get to this simplest of all simples: your very own Self.

The way to that place is so simple: all you need to do is quiet the mind.  It’s your mind.  You made it noisy; you can quiet it.  Get that mind totally quiet and that’s it.  Is that hard to understand?  A quiet mind puts you in touch with the all-powerful, all-knowing being that you are.  Quieting the mind does it.  Is there anyone here who cannot understand that?  Mind quiet: that’s it.  When your mind is quiet you’re self-obvious to yourself.  And you are in touch with all the power in the universe as being within you.  You are in touch with all the knowledge there is, which is within you.  It comes right from your beingness, which you will not quiet your mind for one moment to see.  If you would quiet your mind for just one moment, you would see this, and thereafter pursue only it.

Now then, to hear this Word in the Father (where all is stillness), a man must be utterly quiet and wholly free from image, indeed from all forms.  Indeed, a man would have to be so true to God that nothing whatever might gladden or sadden him. He must take all things in God, just as they are there. – Meister Eckhart, Sermon Eighty

So, to be smart, we need this KISS theory to keep it simple.  You’re drowning it out in over-complications and running hither and thither to everywhere it isn’t.  And where is it?  Right where you are.

The reason why we’re not going free, we’re not reaching the ultimate, is that we’re not quieting the mind.  And for hundreds of thousands of years they’ve been telling us what to do.  They tell you to quiet the mind.  But they have not given us the how-to, which is so simple.

(Or have they?)

Even though the mind has entered delusion, do not push delusion away. Instead, when something arises from the mind, rely on the doctrine to gaze at the place from which it arises. If the mind discriminates, rely on the doctrine to gaze at the place of the discrimination. Whether greed, anger or ignorance arise, rely on the doctrine to gaze at the place from which they arise. To see that there is no place from which these can arise is to cultivate the Way. If there is anything arising from the mind, then investigate it, and relying on the doctrine, resolve it! – Bodhidharma’s Method for Quieting the Mind

Now, your mind is active twenty-four hours a day, on guard, in the belief that worrying will help you survive.  All those programs—apathy, grief, fear, lust, anger, pride—every one of them is a survival program.  So you’re constantly on guard, twenty-four hours a day, with hundreds of thoughts, which you have very foolishly relegated to the background.  And you don’t look at them, and you say that they’re unconscious, taking no responsibility for them even though you’ve piled them up back there.  You’ve locked them into a closet called the unconscious, disclaiming responsibility for it.  Take responsibility for all this accumulated AGFLAP in your subconscious mind; then you can start doing away with it.

Above, the robot on the 1960s TV series “Lost in Space” shows us our minds in action.

The mind will never, ever give you the answer, and you’re looking for it via the mind.  The expression I like is: you’re trying to cross the river by grabbing hold of an alligator.  It will never take you across the river.  You must start quieting that mind.  And the thing that quiets the mind is no thoughts.  And what motivates all thinking?  Feelings.  And all superficial feelings arise from the heavier feelings that we call AGFLAP.  The AGFLAP arise from two: wanting approval and control, which arise from one: wanting security.

albino wildebeest

Shunned albino wildebeest craves approval and control

When we rid ourselves of wanting approval or control, we rid ourselves of all the AGFLAP and hundreds of other feelings. They’re out of the subconscious and the mind is quiet. And there we are coming from our infinite beingness, working intuitively, which is simply saying we’re coming from our omniscience—that’s all that intuition is. All this intellectual knowledge that we work through our mind is coming through ignorance—ignorance of the fact that just behind the mind is omniscience, ignorance of the fact that everything we do via the mind is limited and hurts.

Every thought has a certain amount of limitation to it, and covers over the unlimited being that we are. So, we need a method that will pull out the motivation of all thinking, which is called feelings, and that will quiet the mind. The mind will never quiet the mind, because the mind is the mechanism of falsely looking for survival: security, approval, control. And as long as the mind is the mechanism for that, it will never, ever give you the right answer. It will forever keep you running after the wrong answers. You get moments of pleasure and long periods of pain.

But you must keep it simple. You are the ultimate being: omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, acting with [thoughts of] extreme limitation held within the mind, pushed back into a closet called the unconscious and acting as though “I didn’t do it.” And if it comes up, we don’t like it and we try to push it back into the closet.

The way is simple and the way is easy. Let the feelings come up. [Identify] them [as wanting] approval or control, and let them out. Carry out the six steps of the method and it will take you months to empty out the totality of your garbage. Afterwards, life becomes a mere effortless, beautiful, harmonious, almost-dream. Everything comes to us with no effort. By merely placing a thought in our quiet mind, it will manifest—if not immediately, then quickly. And you’ll never, ever stop struggling until you do that. So why not now? Why not in the next few months?

Six Steps to Freedom

(This particular list is from https://youtu.be/jSO1IwMcMAY,  beginning at 18:05 minutes)

1. You must want your freedom more than you want the world.

— Take all your joy from yourself by releasing

2. Make the decision to go free and then do it.

— If you make the decision, you will go free.

3. Beneath the desire for approval and control is the fear of dying, so go directly to the fear of dying and release it.

4. Make releasing constant.

5. If you are stuck, let go of wishing you could get past being stuck.

6. From now on, get everything you want by releasing. However,

– You will still engage in activity, but there is no effort in it.

– Action doesn’t prevent Self-realization; identifying oneself as the doer does.

– If you tried to do no action, you wouldn’t succeed because your karma is driving you into action. Whatever your karma is, you would do. So, trying to do nothing doesn’t help; only releasing helps, and only releasing will take you all the way.

There is the case, Moggallana, where a monk has heard: All phenomena are unworthy of attachment. Having heard that all phenomena are unworthy of attachment, he has direct knowledge of every phenomenon. Directly knowing every phenomenon, he comprehends every phenomenon. Comprehending every phenomenon, whatever feeling he experiences—pleasurable or painful—he remains focused on its impermanence, focused on dispassion, focused on the cessation of craving, focused on letting go of that feeling. As he remains focused on impermanence, focused on dispassion, focused on the cessation of craving, focused on letting go of that feeling, he is not dependent on anything in the world. Independent, he is unperturbed. Unperturbed, he is completely liberated right within. – The Capala Sutra

Blakney, Raymond B. (1941). Meister Eckhart: A Modern Translation. New York: Harper & Row. (Internet Archive)

Broughton, Jeffrey L. (1999). The Bodhidharma Anthology: The Earliest Records of Zen. University of California Press.

M. O’C. Walshe (1987). Meister Eckhart: Sermons and Treatises Volume II. UK: Element Books Limited. (pdf)

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