Sunday, April 04, 2021

Unhappiness Explained: On Vicious Vibrations, Spy-Being, and Other Impediments to Who You Really Are



[the following is a transcription of a talk given by Vernon Howard on March 12, 1988]

Unhappiness is very easily explained. And I want you to listen to the explanation of why you are jittery and nervous and have never come to rest, like the airplane that can’t find the landing field. You are unhappy because you are doing the wrong thing with your life.

Now you want to know what the right thing is. No you don’t. Because the right thing to do with your life has been in front of you all your life and you have refused it. I tell you in these classes, over the years, the right thing to do, which is to go against your habitual nature, and you don’t do it because you take it as a threat to your happiness, which you never had in the first place.

The first right thing to do with your life, in order to dismiss any form of anxiety and suffering and tears, the first thing to know is that you are in love with an image of yourself—and that’s it. You have clung to it throughout all the truths that have strayed your way. You’ve hung on to the picture of yourself, to your habitual reactions, you’ve hung on to those simply because you didn’t know any better. And after this talk you will no longer have any excuse for being unhappy.

If you refuse the lessons, again the lessons, if you refuse them then you are refusing the chance you have to transform your nature, a nature that you can’t live without and can’t live with. You can be happy when you have explored and gone to the very very very end of the fact that you can’t be happy at all. You have lived with you, which is the perfect abiding, clinging evidence that you as you are right now in this room can never be happy because you are the essence of unhappiness.

The only thing you can you, the only thing, the only thing you can do with this unhappy nature is not improve it a little bit, not to put a shield over it so the arrows can’t hit and wound you, the only thing you can actually do is replace your nature. And do you know that there is a little bit inside of you that wants to do that, but it doesn’t have a chance against the rest of you? You’re tired, and you know you’re tired, but then you spoil it all by falling in love with your weariness! Because to you it represents continuity, it represents assurance of your existence. It doesn’t.  You do not have a real existence right now, not a higher existence.

Now I am going to tell you what you do have. You have it in place of this new nature, the spiritual self, the godly being that you could have, and I want you to have it, and I want you to use this talk in order to have it, and I want you to get in love with the truth that you are hearing.

You must replace what you are now living from. That replacement comes by long hard work, for you to discover what you are substituting in place of authentic self-command, self-happiness, self-contentment. You know something? You are very afraid to get content. And I mean and I want you to see it. The last thing you want is to be satisfied, soulfully, spiritually satisfied. Because in your distorted thinking, peace, contentment, quietness represents something awful! “I don’t want to be peaceful, I don’t want to be quiet, I don’t want to be in command. I want excitement! That’s what I want. Don’t you dare, don’t you offer me anything but vibrations.” Welcome to them. You’ve got them. They command you, they control you, and they torment you. Yes. Try to get out of that. There is not one of you in this room that can even begin to get out of that because your own pain tells you that it is the truth.

Vicious vibrations. You know what it means to be vicious: wild, hard, cruel, aggressive. Vibrations: physically, emotions, always chasing somewhere. You, you – I’m talking physically now, I’m not talking about the spirit – you can’t even stay home and enjoy yourself, you can’t stay home, you’ve got to go out and go somewhere. Always on the run. You make up reasons for shopping, and spend money you shouldn’t have spent, make up reasons for calling on people, just going somewhere. One of the worst things you can think of is to stay home by yourself and confront what has happened to you. You can’t take it. Well you had better start and you better start now.

Back to vicious vibrations. You know what they are. See when I say that, what I did was give you two words that fit together very nicely and now you can use those words, you can use them to see that it’s quite an accurate description of your secret private life, the one you live all alone with yourself and even your wife and your husband, your brothers or sisters or parents or children, even they don’t know what’s going on, but you do. You know what’s happening inside of you. You know how you repressed that sarcastic remark that you wanted to say, you suppressed it, pushed it down, that’s a vicious vibration. Sorrow, sadness, just plain heaviness and gloom, that’s a vicious vibration, and you say, “this is great I’ve always got something to think about, which is my problems, don’t you dare take away those vicious vibrations or I won’t know what to do with myself!”

The purpose of your life here on earth is to NOT know what you are doing with yourself. So that you are absolutely delighted to let the traumas and the griefs and the weepings and the pride fall away and not vibrate you anymore. Isn’t it – come on, what word would you like to use? How about ‘wackedly weird’? Not a bad one, right? It is wackedly weird for any man or woman – I’ve already told you you are included, it is wackedly weird for any man or woman to just like carelessly, ignorantly, and dangerously, dangerously – you don’t now what danger you are in, but you sure sense it. You are worried at the next, evil, vicious thing you are going to do to yourself, aren’t you? Yes you are. You listen to this talk and that’ll clear that away.

Why would anyone be so weirdly wacky, wicked as to use emotional outbursts, uprisings of aggressiveness, hatred, why would anyone choose to settle down in that sort of a horrible life in which you give to your spouse what you are and you are not even ashamed of it! You are not even ashamed of it! As a matter of fact you’re proud, you’re glad! You men, you get a sense of power, don’t you, over the way you treat that woman. You get a sense of being a man. You’re not a man. You are miserable wretch for what you do to her and she knows it. She has her problems too and she can’t understand them. I’m talking to you men and especially right now.

Vibrations. Why do you have them, live with them? I will tell you why, and you men listen to this. Because any lazy human being can submit to being controlled by vicious vibrations. No work involved! Since you were a little kid you picked those up down at the playground, at grammar school, picked them up, everybody else did the same thing, everybody throwing rocks at each other, tattling on each other, hurting on each other. By the time you were five years old you looked around, “well, this is the way of life, this is the way it is.” Of course no one ever told you any different because no one knew any different, your parents didn’t know any different. Religionists didn’t know any different. Nobody knew any different, cause you even sensed those adults, those big six feet tall men and those women, all the teachers and all the adults around you, you knew they were in trouble and that scared you, because you had no good guide to look to, you were thrown back on yourself so you took the only course of action you had, which is to fall into the trampling parade, the mob marching down the street, everyone out of step with everyone else and poking at each other, criticizing each other, and taking neurotic pleasure out of it.

Why would – the question, for about the fifth time now – why would anyone choose to remain, as miserable as it is, remain sitting back and being a grand critic of life, feeling superior, and then the next second feeling inferior, and not understanding either one? I’ll give you the answer to the question now. People live with this kind of an interior storm, hurricane, they live with it because it gives them an illusion of going someplace and doing something. The space is filled up. You are in it. You are it. The easiest, weakest, thing that you could do, among other weak and sick things, is just let wickedness and vicious vibrations do what it wants to do with you, and it does.

See, you know as I am talking to you I am watching my own mind, watching my own reactions, listening to my own words, and I know what happens when I make a statement like that, that you just like to sit back and let wickedness rule and ruin your life. I know first of all that it is an absolute fact and I also know that you know it is an absolute fact. Not that you’ve faced it. But you know it is, because you are the sufferer. And anguish is a pressure, isn’t it? When was the last time, would it be ten minutes ago, when you lashed out at someone, with your tongue or in your mind? Mostly in your mind. When’s the last time you blasted someone? When’s the last time you made someone feel nervous and uncomfortable? When’s the last time you caused pain in another human being, because you are a neurotic human being? I am asking you a question, an extremely practical one. Because the pain that you give to that other person is the pain that you, that you first feel, experience, and suffer from. Whatever you give to the other person you have first given to yourself.

Now I ask you the question, why would you endure it? You endure it because you don’t know anything better, and in this talk today you will hear something better and again you’ll have no excuse, you will never again have any excuse for being cruel to anyone, for making those little smart remarks, those arrogant glances. No more excuses for anyone after this talk. Don’t take excuses. You make a right choice for what you are going to do with what you are hearing.

Now I’ll explain more about vicious vibrations. When you are troubled, either attacking someone else or attacking yourself, which is what anguish and agony is – agony is self-attack. Now look at it that way for a change, instead of glorifying it, instead of blaming someone for hurting your precious darling feelings. Grow up and take responsibility for the way you feel because you are responsible. Any violation of that law and you will be punished as you have been. Now is the chance to break the punishment by no longer violating the law, the law that you are supposed to be a good person and not a bad person.

When things are all jumbled and clashing and smashing inside, you take a false sense of I/self/me/identity, you take that and connect it to the emotional upset. Someone disappoints you, someone lets you down, someone betrays you, you get an emotional impact from it. Oh it hurts, heartache, you wanna blab to someone, you want to put your troubles on to them, which you always do, because you have no conscience. You won’t bear it alone, you’ve got to dilute it, which means that you’ll never get rid of it, you’ll never get rid of it in the right way of getting rid of it, because that’s part of your pleasure to pass it on, “oh see how much I suffer.”

You have the hurricane going on inside of you because the world didn’t treat you the way you demanded that it should, didn’t get the raise, didn’t get this or that. And when this comes, the neurotic self-deceitful mind sees an opportunity. It sees the opportunity to join a partner in crime. Guess who is the victim of the crime? You are. Because you are careless with your mind. When’s the last time you sat down and said, I am going to understand how my mind works? Never, never! You are 30, 80, how old are you? You have never once sat down and said I am going to understand what’s going on up there! That’s the problem. And that’s why you have a problem.

You are going to have to get a lot smarter than you have been. You are going to have to allow an affection for your own life to enter. If you don’t have affection for your life it’ll just stay the way it is, only get worse. You won’t make a turn in the opposite direction.

So you have the shock, tears, anger, rage, you have that, and the mind says, hah here’s a chance for me to remain in charge of this person. See, there’s so many things – every point I make something else has to be explained. For example, the absolute domination of evil spirits straight from hell over the multitudes of human beings on Earth. You can at least take that little one and connect it with what I am going to say next.

Evil forces, which are hurtful forces, which want only destruction for mankind, and for you as an individual, when they see you being so shallow, so immature, so childish, so self-centered, as to want to get a thrill from life, one thrill after another, one vicious vibration after another, when they see you make that choice, they rejoice. I’ll tell you, there’s rejoicing both in heaven and there is rejoicing in hell. In this case, down there in the hot place, they ring the bells down there too, “we’ve got another sucker, he’s fallen for it again.” And here’s what that means.

It means that you have a mere belief that you are you. You’re not that physical self. See, the real you can endure, permanently, throughout eternity. The physical self isn’t. You don’t want to be your physical body all the time, do you? It doesn’t work that way. It works in another way. And I am telling you about that other way.

Misbelieving, calling yourself a great man or a failure or a sinner or a saint, this becomes a point of identity, of you telling yourself who you are. And then, when troubles come up, the hurricane strikes, and the marriage goes shaky, the friendship, the love affair falls apart, the security program dissolves, when that happens, the false me, the false I says, “ah, this man, this woman isn’t going to have a chance to use this to wake up, which he could do, because I am going to fool him. I am going to tell that man, I am going to tell that woman, that when they suffer, that is a marvelous experience.” And you – c’mon do a little work – look how much he cares, all that balling, see how righteous he is for that social cause, how he wants only betterment for everyone on earth.

Don’t you think – please agree with this – don’t you think you’ve fallen for it once too often? Don’t you think you should have stopped it a number of years ago? Why have you wasted your life? Don’t you go out of here and waste it again now.

Point: when you combine neurosis in the mind and neurosis in the emotions you get an enormously powerful point, a false point, a false power. You get something – o don’t miss this. The combination of two sicknesses combining in criminal conspiracy, the two of them give you a feeling of existence, cause you’ve said, I am experiencing great pain, I am the victim of other people, on and on and on and on. This gives you a false sense of security. You have chosen a false sense of security because now what you can do to keep yourself going, which is false to begin with, what you can do to keep yourself going is to put yourself in a position where you will be persecuted even more. That woman who has been battered by four men in a row, she is looking for the fifth man who will batter her. You have got to look, and I suggest you do it now, for your favorite neurotic tricks and traps whereby you feel secure in sin, feel secure. “No questions. I’ve got all the answers. It’s a vicious world out there, and I’ve got to fight it. I’ve got to protect myself from it” – and get this for the maximum of neurotic psychopathery – “I’ve got to correct that sick world out there, that world with all its neurotic vibrations, I have got to do something, I’ve got to become a leader of society, I’ve got to write best-selling books that’ll straighten people out.” I, I, I.

No wonder you live from one anxiety to the next. And I am going to give you something awful simple, but you had better take it as profound: If you don’t continue to hear more about what you are hearing today, if you go out of here and neglect it, or refuse it, you will simply have guaranteed for yourself a life of horror. And I’ll tell you something worse than that: if you don’t listen, absorb, and want to come here, yes here – you’re not going to hear it anywhere else; they are all going to lie to you out there, they are all going to lie to you, and if you prefer lies you can go there and be lied to – unless you come here, you will never never ever really truly know what it means to have communion with God, you will never know what it means to have an authentic spiritual life.

You don’t like to be cheated out of money, do you? You don’t like anyone to cheat you in repairing your car, or repairing your home. You don’t like to be cheated in anyway at all. You want to get work for the money you paid, right? And yet you are seated here in this room on a Saturday afternoon without the slightest realization of how you have just sat back and dozed in the chair of life and allowed yourself to be cheated out of everlasting life.

It is really incredible that you have settled. Now you will snap out of it!

You are not going to snap out of it on your own, you don’t want to snap out of it. You want to go out of here and find reasons why you shouldn’t pay attention to what you are hearing in this talk. I know you. I know everything, I know absolutely everything everyone of you is going to do when you go out of there. To one degree or another. Some of you are more receptive than others. But if you have been fighting for your vicious vibrations, loving them, when you go out of here, that is what you have chosen for yourself for the future and really you will never ever know what you could have had.

How could know what a peaceful land is like when you have deliberately chosen to live in the hurricane country, when you like the excitement, the movement, you even like to get wounded, and picked up and carried away, cause then you can say to yourself, “Isn’t life exciting.” That is a very sick statement to make. It is not exciting, it is tragic. You are allowing yourself to be carried away by the flood waters, dreaming that you are being carried to the top of the mountain, where you are going to be happy.

Only the complete replacement of all your delusions are going to put inside of you a new desire, a new way, a new nature, which is a lot smarter, a thousand times more smarter, than what has been putting things over on you. You know something? You don’t know something. What you don’t know is that evil magician on the stage has been playing all sorts of skilled tricks on you, entertaining you, while picking your pocket, and you thought it was a lot of fun. Just wait. After spending an evening in the horror theatre, with all those wicked magicians, which is life, just wait ‘til you get home and take a look at your wallet, and your purse, ladies. It’s going to be empty. It’s empty now. It’s empty because you have been very careless.

Would you please, right now, as a work project for yourself, define, each of you – c’mon this is something I want you to do now – I want you each to yourself to define the word, two words, ‘stupid arrogance.’ Would you respond, you can do it and still listen to me, define, explain, what you think the phrase ‘stupid arrogance’ means. OK? Now, second part, do you think by one chance in a billion it might be referring to you? Now that part you don’t like so much. You don’t like truth to get personal with you. That’s why you love error and falsehood because it never gets personal, that is, it always gives you the stage performance that you prefer. You think any wicked magician is going to tell you that he is picking your pocket while he putting on the act? No, he is going to divert your attention. Your attention has been diverted by stupid arrogance.

Oh, how many of you have a best friend? How many have a worst friend? Either one of them knows a load of things about you that you don’t know about yourself. And you know one thing that they know? They can define your stupid arrogance. Not that they even want to think about it, having lived with it for thirty years. See, I think the word ‘stupid’ alone should get special attention, don’t you?

How many of you have ever had an experience, I hope I can see a few hands on this, where you – c’mon be very careful now and don’t be tricked by your interpretation of this – how many of you have ever understood something, really, that you thought you had already understood? Ever have that? I’ll tell you, that’s spiritual. Even if it’s only mental, it’s a spiritual start. You trusted that friend, you trusted that plan, that set of aggressive ideas, you trusted that dream. Something came along and tripped you, and you fell down, and it hurt bad and your cried, right? You were aware of your stupidity, which is intelligence. And isn’t life, come to think of it, just a series of one awkward sprawling painful trips over something, one after another? Guess – easy question. You are head of me, I know. Guess who trip over. Yourself, trip over your own feet, walking along, thinking you are dancing! Crash. And the music stops and you look around and go into your usual sad act.

You’re uncomfortable because you are like a spy. You’ve seen good spy stories, haven’t you? What’s a spy do? You’re a spy. Your outer behavior, even the way you dress, is different from the kind of a person you are inside. You want people to believe in the outside, don’t you. But you know you are different inside, up and down, the distance between the two states. A spy puts on fancy clothes, he is going to steal the secrets of another country, and he is getting paid for it. You think that you are going to get paid for being a spy. No no, you are going to be betrayed by the people who hired you.

Do you know? Maybe you don’t know whose been hiring you and who is going to give you counterfeit money at the end of your arduous painful miserable service. You are going to get paid by hell. There’s no better word than that. Hell is symbolic of everything that is hot and undesirable, that’s condemning. That’s what you’ve been paid for, that’s why you get hot all the time, cause that’s where you are living. You can rise at least one foot above the floor of hell during this talk.

But the spy, he goes to the foreign country and of course the minute his airplane lands there and he starts walking around, oh, you come into the room here, you go to work, you go anywhere, you go to the party, when you go into the room, aren’t you conscious of everyone looking at you? A lot of people look at you, you come in, and then you interpret what they look like, “I got my rose on upside down, shoes on the wrong feet.” No wonder you fall down you’ve got your shoes on the wrong feet. So he goes to the country – we’ll make this a good story, a revealing story, I’m talking about you, you’re the spy, your spouse sees through you of course, and you know it’s a conspiracy between the two of you to keep it between the two of you. You have got, listen, when you stand before judgment day you stand all alone. And judgment day is every second, every second in this room that you have been here is judgment day for you. Anyway, the spy goes to the embassy and to his great dismay he is placed at the big dining table, big fancy embassy – the government they can spend all the money they want for their big fancy balls and banquets – and the spy is set between to colonels. Uh oh.

I am giving you symbolism of your daily excursion into the world. And while he is chatting amiably, one side and then then other, and smiling, playing his role to perfection – he’s been briefed, briefed? he’s gone to spy school, and some people have their own inner-built spy school, in which they plan what they are going to say, how they are going to appear to someone else. Have I hit home on that one? Yes I have. He comes, and he is sitting between the two men and he plays his role. All the time he is nervous, he is nervous because he is a fake.

You are uncomfortable because you are unreal. And sometimes the situation gets out of hand, worse than that, gets out of foot, gets out of everything. You flop. Here’s what happens – this is symbolic, but you know what happens – the moustache begins to slip, didn’t put enough glue on it, so he’s pretending he’s rubbing it a little bit, he’s pushing it back, finally gets it on a little, crooked moustache, a moustache doesn’t grow that way. Oh and this will hit home, he says something in a casual conversation that he shouldn’t have said. He’s gives away a little bit of information about his home country that only the country that he is in now understood and knew about and therefore how would he a citizen of this country even know about that. He slipped. He gave himself away.

And oh have you had this experience, as a matter of fact most of you have had it while this talk is going on, if you could have seen it. He makes the slip, and he freezes with horror at what he heard himself say. How many have had that experience? Could I have done that? It may have been so awful, so utterly stupid, that you didn’t even want to see it at the time, you wanted to put your hands over year head and sink through the floor and get away, right? But it persisted all the way home from the party you were at and finally when you get home it hit you with all the magnitude of its horror. How could a nice, dignified, pleasant, cultured person like me have ever blurted that out? That self-questioning could be used. Did you? It’s up to you to answer whether you used it or not. But you get home and you suddenly remember what you said.

Now I am going to go in a certain direction at this point, because I know how you are tormented by thoughts like that. And I am going to tell you how to be free of them. I could tell you 50 ways how to get free of them, but we have time for only just a couple.

The next time you blurt out something that only a dignified person would say, I don’t want you to do what I explained much earlier in the talk about getting an emotion, a disastrous feeling of wounded thought and mood, I don’t want you to have a painful experience inside and then bring yourself into it. It didn’t happen when you get home, it happened back there. You have to understand what it means to leave the experience back there and not take it home with you. But you want to take it home with you and suffer from it and have a sleepless night because now you can be the center of your own life and the center of your own life is the center of the entire universe! How marvelous! Look who I am, surrounded by myself. Surrounded by as many mangling moods as I want to enter in, I can always believe in myself. You are not believing in yourself. You are believing in something that has no existence at all.

And oh what a dangerous enemy the word ‘belief’ is. You put that down somewhere and consider the grief you had because you believed in something. You don’t have to believe in anything. You just have to get the facts, such as you are doing right now.

But the spy is there, jittery – oh here we go again, we are going to bring you into the talk again – jittery and wondering when he is going to get exposed as the faker, as the spy that he is. You are worried, aren’t you? The reason you are worried is because you are a spy. The reason you are a spy is because you are spiritually infantile. And the reason you stay spiritual infantile is because you won’t dedicate yourself to understanding yourself, your mind. You can understand why every single disaster happens to you. If you don’t understand it they will continue to happen. If you do understand them, that begins to break, shatter, their power. And what takes the place of their false power is the true power of your true nature.

Then you can go anywhere, not as a spy anymore, but as someone who is real. You don’t have to try to get things from other people, you don’t have to impress them, you don’t have to figure out just how should I talk and behave in order to make a good impression on them, you don’t have to do that at all. You can just relax and be real, because you’ve got everything you want from the heavenly world, you don’t need a single thing from that world. That is what it means to be in command of the whole world. Because God is in command of himself. God is in command of heaven. He sends a bit of that heaven down to you and you become in command of yourself. Nothing lower than that heavenly command can come up and thwart you or hurt you anymore.

Be who you really are. There is a way to do that. Spend all the next days and months and years in discovering your real nature. That’s all you have to do. It can be done.

Good afternoon.




Friday, March 19, 2021

Waiting to Wait

 

[T]his whole time, which to us seems so long while it is rolling along, is really a moment [punctum]. Whatever has an end is not long.

– Augustine, Ennarationes in Psalmos

 

And since it seems a time for waiting [aspettare] . . . All our troubles, if we carefully seek out their source, derive in some way from not knowing how to make a proper use of time.

– Dante, Convivio

 

Wait. I can’t wait. Thank you for waiting. The common experience and concept of waiting falls on its sense of being something that you, oneself, must undergo. The gravity of waiting (the wait of being) presents itself as something to be borne, undergone, avoided or endured. Whatever or whoever one waits for, however patiently or impatiently, selfishly or unselfishly, purely or impurely, it is hard to shake the feeling that it is I who waits, on behalf of me, for myself. Yes, we wait for, with, and are asked/made to wait by, others, but it seems that it is always we who wait, the ones waiting. There is a good dose of pretense, dishonesty, and perverse pleasure in the weight of waiting—performance of imposition, fear of silence and/or time, refusal of self-reliance, need for attention/distraction, resentment and restlessness of all kinds. Why can you just wait? And there is also space for joy, as when what is waited for is so great that you might be in heaven waiting forever. But whether you cannot stand waiting or are too happy to, one is still waiting. There seems no way around it. And yet . . .  

 

I would like something different, a kind or degree or waiting that starts by escaping the boring/excited me-ness of waiting, an order of waiting that offers at once the best and the worst way to wait, as per the three-fold meaning of my title, which carries: a) the flat sense of superadded waiting, waiting only to wait more, where to refers infinitively to the activity one is waiting for; b) the intensive sense of waiting as means of its own end, where to signifies the instrumentality of action (in order to, so as to); and c) the paradoxical sense of waiting that does not wait at all precisely by deferring or postponing it, that waits to wait, waiting yet not yet. Waiting to wait in this triple way is conceivable as a form of eternal waiting, keeping in mind the word’s double reference to the timeless and the sempiternal, now and forever. Tying together, like head and tail of the ouroboros, a waiting that never ends and a waiting that never begins, eternal waiting unites the opposite senses of waiting to wait around the middle sense of the present moment of waiting per se. As the anagogic sense of medieval exegesis proverbially gives a ‘foretaste [praegustus] of paradise’, finding in the suspended moment of reading the palpable presence of a truth or reality that is non-futurally to come, so do I anticipate this waiting to wait, not as something that need ever arrive from anywhere else, but as the direct elevation of simple waiting, a flight of the ground where waiting waits.