--- Voices of the Self --- The Protector
FACILITATOR: Would you allow me to speak to the voice of the Protector, please?
PROTECTOR: I am the Protector.
FACILITATOR: Could you describe to me your function and your purposes?
PROTECTOR: Well obviously, as my name implies, my job is to protect. When I look at it, I see that I try to protect the self. That's my main function.
FACILITATOR: Protect the self from what?
PROTECTOR: I have to protect the self from others, other people, dangers, lifethreatening things. I have to protect his body and health, his well-being. I have to protect his sense of himself, who he is, how he sees himself. I have to protect even his ideas and notions, beliefs, opinions about himself, ideologies. It's a big job. When I really look at it, everyone out there is potentially harmful. I could even say that the people closest to him have the potential and the ability to hurt him the most - a simple rejection, a hint of being ignored or criticized. It's a full time job, a really hard job, and I don't always do such a great job. He still gets hurt a lot by others.
I also see that I have to protect his family, his children, his wife, his pets, his dog, his kitty. I have to protect other people close to him. I have to protect his possessions, make sure that his car is not stolen, his house not broken into. It's a huge job, just protecting him and those that are close to him.
FACILITATOR: And how do you protect?
PROTECTOR: The main thing that I do is I put up walls, I put up barriers. I put them around what he considers to be himself, or his, to protect from the environment and from people and things who are other than him, not himself, not his. Sometimes this can be a very small boundary, just around his body or just around his notion of self.
But sometimes it can be around his country, or his religion, or his tradition, or his family, or friends, or whatever. So I'll change these barriers and boundaries, and if anyone gets past or through these walls then I'll build them higher and more solid. If necessary I will construct a roof to this fortress.
FACILITATOR: Well, thank you for sharing that. Besides having to protect him, his family, his life, his possessions, his beliefs and ideologies, is there anything else you have to protect?
PROTECTOR: If I reflect on it, I also have to protect him from himself. He's got a lot of old habits, conditioning, patterns, and very often these habits and patterns will get him in trouble if I'm not paying attention. I can't trust him to act in his own best interest.
He continues to do stupid things out of old habits and patterns and also out of desires and passions. Sometimes he is so greedy that he pursues things that would end up hurting him if I didn't stop him. Again, I don't do such a great job, but I'm constantly there, trying at least, to protect him from himself.
FACILITATOR: Do you have any other major jobs of protecting?
PROTECTOR: Yes! I must also protect others from the self. This is another full time,
24/7 job. Sometimes he just doesn't care about anyone else, especially when he is bitter or jealous. He can be such a jerk when he is angry or self-involved. He can be rude, he can be outrageous, he can be offensive. He can be mean. He falls so easily into these ruts of saying stupid things to people. You know, he likes to be funny, he gets a kick out of being humorous. But sometimes his humor is hurtful. People can feel hurt or offended by it. I have to watch out. He's hurt a couple of people in his life that have attacked him, because anger has gotten the best of him. When he's angry, or even when he just thinks he's being funny, he can do all sorts of things that are harmful to others. So, protecting others from him is one of my hardest jobs.
FACILITATOR: How else do you do your job?
PROTECTOR: Well, besides putting up walls or barriers, I also work hand in hand with some other aspects of the self, for instance, the Controller, Fear, the Skeptic, Anger. I depend on these other voices to help me do my job of protecting. So I have a whole team to call on to help me do my job. --- The Controller
FACILITATOR: May I speak to the Controller?
CONTROLLER: Yes, you're speaking to the Controller.
FACILITATOR: What's your function or job, how do you see yourself?
CONTROLLER: I'm here to control. I work very closely with the Protector. In fact my major job of controlling is in order to protect. Again, I basically have to protect him, the self, from others. Everything out there is potentially harmful and dangerous, and I have to be very vigilant, very attentive and aware. Of course I rely a lot on other voices, like Fear. But I have to control situations.
FACILITATOR: If you could, what would you control?
CONTROLLER: I'd control everything and everyone if I could. That would be ideal, if I could control everybody's actions, everybody's feelings, their thoughts, their emotions, how they express themselves, how they behave toward the self. If I could,
I'd control the environment, the weather, how overcast, how much sunshine - obviously I'd like to control it all.
FACILITATOR: Is that why they say that you're a control freak?
CONTROLLER: I guess you could say that. But that is my job, it is my purpose, my job description is to control.
FACILITATOR: What's your greatest fear?
CONTROLLER: Well, it's obvious I think. My greatest fear is to be out of control, to lose control.
FACILITATOR: What would cause that?
CONTROLLER: His emotions, for sure. In the past, when someone has done something that really infuriated him, I have lost control, and that's scary. What he's capable of doing - and I think maybe others are capable of doing the same horrible things - if I lose control to his anger or rage, it could be dangerous. I have to keep a lid on that, I have to keep that under control. There was a period of time when I didn't try to control quite that much, and I don't think that was so good. It wasn't good for him, it wasn't good for others.
So I really have to keep a lid on anger. Jealousy is another one. Look what anyone's potentially capable of if jealousy gets out of hand. So I have to keep a lid on that too. Actually, for a long time I just wouldn't allow him to get jealous. That was it, it was forbidden. I took the voice of jealousy and I just disowned it, I just pushed it so far away that he never got jealous about anything, anyone. Well, maybe he did, but I wouldn't let him know it, I would control that completely.
I also have to control what he says. It used to be worse, it used to be that he would say the most ridiculous and outrageous things without thinking. But over time, maybe through practice, through meditation, I've become better at stopping him from saying the stupidest things before they get to his lips. Still, sometimes I'm not so successful, they get past me.
His mother had a favorite saying, "What's on my mind is on my lips." I try not to let him be like his mother in this way, because he can be very hurtful to people, which has repercussions for him too. So I have to control even what he says.
Obviously, I have to control his actions. He's learned a lot about karma, and, you know, actions, speech, even thoughts can create karma. So I have to control all those
- actions, speech and thoughts. These days I notice he doesn't have certain thoughts anymore that he used to have - kind of aggressive or mean thoughts. I'm doing my job there, keeping him from seeing things or perceiving things in a certain way.
It used to be that he really resented me. When he started Zen meditation in '71 he found me to be a hindrance, so he really tried to get rid of me. Actually, he did a pretty good job of it, and frankly, without me, I would say sometimes he was kind of out of control.
The fact is, the more I get disowned, the more out of control the self is, and I don't think that's healthy. I think that I am a very, very important aspect of him. If he allows me to do my job, which is to control, maybe I can learn how to do it a little better, I can be a little wiser at it. If he allows me to do my job and to function the way I'm supposed to function, I think he's going to be a happier, healthier person, and the people around him too. When he tries to annihilate me, I mean that's what he's tried to do, just get rid of me, kill me, destroy me, one way or another deny my very existence, yeah, he can be really out of control.
FACILITATOR: What made him think you were a hindrance to him?
CONTROLLER: When he had those initial experiences back in 1971, he found that he had them because somehow I wasn't present as much. When he was sitting in the desert, somehow, for whatever reason, I kind of dropped away, and he had these profound experiences. Then in his meditation, he found that I was a hindrance.
Somehow he got this notion- I don't know if it was from his therapy, he'd done
Gestalt Therapy since the mid 60s, or what - he got this idea that I was a hindrance to his meditation. Since then he has learned that I can be very helpful to his meditation, because I can control the situation so that he has access to a very quiet, still mind. But in the early days the only way he seemed to get to where he wanted to go was by somehow getting rid of me. So he got this idea that he wanted to just annihilate me forever, and that's not wise.
FACILITATOR: Does the self appreciate you?
CONTROLLER: Now he does. He knows that he needs me, that I do an important job for him.
FACILITATOR: Controller, I'm going to ask you a favor. I assume that if I want to speak to other voices it would certainly help me to have your assistance. So, as I speak to other voices would you please give me a clear channel to each of them, and do what you do best - control? Please control each of the voices that I'm not speaking to - including yourself, Controller - and keep them silent, out of the channel. As
Facilitator, I need your cooperation and assistance so that each voice comes through loud and clear, without a lot of static.
If you need to speak up or enter the discussion, I would just ask you to identify the voice that feels the need to speak, whether it is yourself or another. Sometimes it may be the voice of Fear, the Skeptic, or even Resistance, that feels threatened or needs to make itself known. If that happens, please just let me know, and I will acknowledge your need, or theirs, to speak up. I'm assuming it would be futile to proceed without your help. Is that true?
CONTROLLER: Yes. Obviously it's very true. If I don't want to let you speak to a voice, there's no way that you are going to be able to. I can completely block you.
FACILITATOR: All right. Well, may I please speak to the voice of the Skeptic?
CONTROLLER: Yes, you may. --- The Skeptic
FACILITATOR: Who am I speaking to?
SKEPTIC: I am the Skeptic. Why do you want to speak to me? What's behind this?
FACILITATOR: I just want to know what your role is, what your job and function are.
SKEPTIC: I'm not sure why you want to know it, but basically my job is to be skeptical.
Frankly, the self - he - is really naive and foolish. Without me he would fall for one con after another. He'd probably run off with some cult. If it weren't for me, the guy would definitely be flat broke right now, or even worse, maybe dead. He's overly trusting, he's foolhardy, and he has no discernment whatsoever. He's not really that sharp or intelligent either. I can spot a con a mile away. I am probably the most intelligent, and definitely the sharpest tool in the shed, in his whole array of voices.
And, yeah, I'm real important to him.
FACILITATOR: So, what are you skeptical about right now?
SKEPTIC: You, for a start. I don't trust you. I'm not sure what you're up to. I can't believe that what you're saying can be true. I'm also skeptical about his ability to get any of this. I'm skeptical whether he has the capacity to be enlightened, and if he did become enlightened I'm really skeptical that it would have any meaning whatsoever in his life, that it would do anything for him, or anyone else for that matter.
I'm really skeptical about this whole non-dual experience thing happening quickly.
I would think that any kind of genuine experience of enlightenment would take a lot of hard work, practice and soul-searching. So I don't trust this method, I don't trust this process, I don't trust you, I don't trust him. I think that you'd have to prove this to me for me to be anything less than as skeptical as I am about it.
You know, I'm also really skeptical about his capacity to learn any of this. It seems so far beyond imagination and comprehension. I mean, what's all this about different realities? Creating an awakened experience? I doubt if it will do his life any good, or serve him in any way whatsoever, not to mention anybody else. I mean he's so selfcentered, I'm skeptical that he could ever be really compassionate. He is just totally, always focused on himself. He's all about me me me me. I'm really skeptical that he could ever be the supposedly selfless, egoless, altruistic person that I think he'd like to be. You know, the first thing he thinks about in the morning when he wakes up is himself. The last thing he thinks about before he goes to bed is himself. Pretty much all through the day, it's just all about himself.
I'm skeptical about his capacity, his ability to transform. He's been trying to transform for decades, but to tell you the truth, I don't see much improvement. I'm sure his kids - his daughter is sitting right here next to him on the beach, I'm sure she'd agree with that. I'm sure his wife would too.
As the Skeptic, I'm even skeptical of my ability to be completely skeptical.
Frankly, I doubt that he could be anything great, even great at being a skeptic. You know, he is just such a normal, ordinary person, how could he be anything great? So even my ability to be skeptical is in question, I'm skeptical about it.
FACILITATOR: Well, I do appreciate your being so honest and direct with me. Thank you for that. Would you be so kind as to allow me to go on at this point, unless you have something further to say, to speak to another voice?
SKEPTIC: Well, I am skeptical, but I don't really have anything more to say at this moment. But I would like the option of speaking up again if necessary.
FACILITATOR: Sure, that would be fine. Just let me know whenever you want to speak.
SKEPTIC: I'm comfortable with that, to an extent. I still have my skepticism whether this means anything or is going to serve any purpose whatsoever. But go ahead, you can try. --- Fear
FACILITATOR: All right. Well, may I now speak to the voice of Fear?
FEAR: All right, you're speaking to the voice of Fear.
FACILITATOR: What's your function?
FEAR: Isn't it obvious? My function is to be afraid, and there's a lot to be afraid of.
Things are constantly out of my control, continuously changing. I can't find anything I can rely on or depend on for any length of time. There's just so much to be frightened of out there. The way I see it, anyone or anything can hurt him at any moment. He is so vulnerable, and I'm aware of his vulnerability. I'm aware that life is very precious and fragile, it can be lost in an instant. I'm also aware that we're flying around on this marble called planet earth, and at any moment anything could happen to it. I mean, there's nobody at the helm, there's nobody driving or steering this thing. It's just flying out there in the middle of space. At any moment, something could crash into it.
It would be the equivalent of hundreds of nuclear explosions. I'm petrified.
When I really think about how frightened I am, I have to admit I'm frightened 24/7, and I have good reason to be. To boot, he's pretty stupid. I mean, he loves to get in his car and drive over the speed limit. He loves to ride his motorcycle and take risks. He loves playing with danger, and I'm constantly having to warn him that he's on dangerous turf. He can lose everything dear to him. He can lose loved ones, he can lose his own life. He can lose his possessions. I mean, just the other day he lost his very expensive eyeglasses. A few moments ago he lost something he was trying to save on his computer, he deleted it after a whole morning's work.
I have to be vigilant, constantly on guard. If it weren't for me, he would do some of the most idiotic and stupid things imaginable. I think he'd even jump out of a plane, and if I weren't there, he'd probably do it without a parachute. The guy's nutso.
FACILITATOR: What does he think of you? How does he see you?
FEAR: Ah, he hates me. If he could, he would completely get rid of me. He'd annihilate me, kill me, destroy me. He has been on my back for as long as I can remember. He feels that I keep him from doing really fun things, risky things. I cause him tension. I cause him anxiety. Maybe he even feels that I caused the cancer he got, that behind it all I stressed him out too much. The truth is, I only do that because he doesn't listen to me.
If he'd only listen to me, I wouldn't have to stress him, I wouldn't have to cause him so much anxiety. If he just paid attention to me, listened to me a little more, I could relax. But as it is I'm in constant fear that he's not going to listen to me. I mean, the guy is a raving idiot. The way I see it he's always taking risks, he's always taking chances. He's the kind of jerk that will leap into a pool from ten meters up, and not even look to see if there's still water in it. He's done that his whole life. No wonder I don't trust him, you know.
If it weren't for me, I'm sure he'd be dead by now. I'm sure of it. There's no way this guy could have survived this long without me. I have really been there for him.
Yeah, maybe more than he's ever wanted, but without me he's totally fearless, and I know it would be idiotic, downright stupid for me to stop watching out for him.
One of my major fears, besides his losing his identity, his beliefs, his ideas, his opinions, is the fear of his losing his self. You know, he's invested an entire life in building up his self, his so-called self, and it does scare me to lose it, since he has, or we have, so much invested in it. You know, sixty years, sixty plus years. So, it brings up a lot of fear, all this talk about losing the self and forgetting the self.
Frankly, I feel a lot more secure with some of the psychological teachings that say we first have to have a self, and build up a self. I'm afraid he's not ready to lose it, not to mention kill it. Killing it really scares me - it seems violent, seems brutal, even just the idea of letting it go. Where would he be without the self? I mean, who would make the decisions? Who would be there to evaluate, to discern right from wrong, good from bad, appropriate behavior and speech from inappropriate. Without his self,
I think he would be, I don't know - dysfunctional, probably. So, I have a lot of fear about that one.
As Fear, I'm really afraid of anything to do with loss. I'm afraid he could lose his children, his wife, his loved ones, his relationships, his life. I fear any kind of loss, even the loss of his Blackberry. There are so many things to be afraid of, and it just seems like it's so easy to lose something. Even change brings a loss of the way I know things to be, of the stability and security that certain things give him. So I would say that a lot of what I'm about has to do with the fear of loss.
Now I'm afraid of what you're going to ask of me next. Already this is kind of scary, just going through what we've gone through so far, it's real scary. I already feel like I'm losing some grip. Now I'm not even sure who I am. Am I talking the right way, am I doing this correctly, am I too stupid to be able to really understand this, to do it right? I don't know, there's just a lot of fear coming up right now.
FACILITATOR: Would you allow me to speak to another voice?
FEAR: I'm scared, but all right. What voice? --- Anger
FACILITATOR: Would you allow me to speak to the voice of Anger?
ANGER: Anger here! What do you want?
FACILITATOR: I'd just like to hear from you, know a little bit about you, maybe what your job description is, your role, how you see yourself.
ANGER: What the hell for? Just your asking me makes me angry. What do you want to talk to me for? I know he doesn't appreciate me much. But I certainly give him some energy, that's what I see. There's so much to be angry about. I'll tell you, first of all,
I'm always angry at him. He keeps falling into old patterns. You know, the guy is sixty-two years old, you'd think he'd know better by now. You'd think he'd have a better handle on the situation. It infuriates me that he's got these deeply rooted patterns that he keeps repeating. He allows people to take advantage of him, and it goes all the way back. Maybe he didn't have any real choice in the matter when he was young, but he's still falling into that rut, and it just bugs me when he acts like a wimp.
I also get angry at others. Really. People are just so self-involved, so self-centered.
They don't seem to have any kind of sensitivity, or empathy, for his situation, or for anyone else's. Just look at the world - what a mess. People can't get along. They're all so unconscious - there's no wisdom, no compassion, no empathy. It just seems that when I look out there at the world, everybody is totally self-centered, so selfinvolved, and nobody seems to want to make any real transformation.
FACILITATOR: How do you serve him?
ANGER: Basically, I give him juice. He's learned over the years to use me in a way that cuts through all that bull. It gives him a lot of energy. Sometimes he's even learned to use me in a very wise way, to cut through, or to wake somebody up. So it's true that in earlier years, I was just angry about a lot of things. Now he seems to use me more wisely. I get angry at several things: people's ignorance, or delusion, or stupidity, that's how it looks to me. I get angry at people's self-centeredness. Even when I see people really stuck, and unwilling to listen, I'll pay attention. You know, people seem to get stuck so easily in their understanding or their perspective, and that gets my attention, that makes me angry. --- The Damaged Self
FACILITATOR: Well, I'd like to speak to another voice now. May I speak to the
Damaged Self please?
DAMAGED SELF: I'm the Damaged Self.
FACILITATOR: What's your function?
DAMAGED SELF: I'm damaged. I don't know if I have any really useful function, I'm just damaged. You know, a lot of bad stuff has happened over the years and I'm the one who takes on all the damage. I'm broken, maybe even kind of ruined - definitely damaged.
FACILITATOR: When did this all begin?
DAMAGED SELF: Way before I can remember. Probably in the womb, maybe even before that, I don't know. But as long as I can remember I've been damaged. Life has damaged me. Even in ways I don't remember - I was damaged at birth. His mother had a seventy-two-hour labor. He couldn't seem to make up his mind whether he wanted to come out or stay in. This almost killed her. All of that damaged me.
I seem to be the one who is there as the target, no matter what direction the bullet is coming from. I don't know if I do this on purpose. I don't think so. I think it's just my job, it's what I do. I don't think I can get any credit for it. But I'm always the one who gets the bullet. It always seems to hit me. I could be thousands of miles away from where the damage is, and somehow it reaches me, even through the newspaper, or TV, or on the telephone.
It's always me that gets hit, and now that I think about it, it seems like nobody else is ever damaged. It's always me. The rest of his voices seem to get away scot-free. I mean, I guess you could say I'm a martyr, but I'm not. It's like I'm the only one. All the other guys seem to be unscathed. I don't really know, but that's the way it seems to me.
FACILITATOR: Well, if you didn't collect all the damage, I guess they would be damaged.
DAMAGED SELF: Yeah, I guess you're right. I guess that is the upside. In fact, because of me the other voices are really not hurt. They're all just as pure and perfect as they were on day one. I guess that is some kind of solace. I guess that's a way to see it. I guess I do serve some purpose, which makes me feel a little bit better, for all the pain that I have gone through. It's kind of nice to realize I do serve some purpose. I'm not so bad after all. Because of me the self can feel the pain of other damaged selves, and since I am the Damaged Self, the self is undamaged. The self is perfect, complete and whole because of me.
Do you know where this guy keeps me? He keeps me down in the dungeon, you know, like in the basement. He locks me up in the cellar. He's not real happy about me, and frankly I think he needs to change his attitude. He sees me as wounded - damaged goods. He tries to hide me from everybody. The only time he seems to get any pleasure out of me is when the Victim tells my story to other people - and that damages me even more. The Victim seems to take all the credit. He takes my damage and turns it into this great saga, and then gets everybody feeling sorry for him.
FACILITATOR: As the Damaged Self, tell me, will you ever be fixed?
DAMAGED SELF: Well ... no. If I were fixed I would cease to be the Damaged Self. My job is to be the Damaged Self, I'll never be fixed, and that's OK.
FACILITATOR: If you don't mind, Damaged Self, I would like to speak to another voice.
DAMAGED SELF: You know, I'm just getting started, and here you go, you're abandoning me. Now I feel damaged by you. Actually, he's probably created more damage than anyone out there, him, the self, Genpo. He's probably done more harm to me than anybody. --- The Victim
FACILITATOR: Well, I'm sorry about that, but I would like to go on. Let me speak to the Victim, would you?
VICTIM: What do you want to know about me?
FACILITATOR: Who are you, what are you? What's your role, what's your function?
What's your job description?
VICTIM: I want to say I've been hurt so much, but after hearing what the Damaged Self says, I realize it's not me that's been damaged. I guess the way I serve the self is that I get sympathy. I tell his story. I let it be known that he is damaged, he's been damaged, and he continues to be damaged. The truth is, he'll always be damaged. The world is constantly hurting us, and he, the self, is constantly hurting, so I don't see an end to all this. I think growing up, I don't know whether to say he or we, went through a lot. I'm the one who's got the story, and I'll tell it to anybody who will listen.
I can really sympathize with other victims. I have a lot of empathy, particularly with children who have been victimized, and also with women and men who have been brutalized. You know, it goes both ways. I think women are just as capable of abuse as men. Of course I feel like a victim.
FACILITATOR: Well, don't you see that there's no power in being a victim?
VICTIM: Power?! I don't care. I'm not looking for power. I'm looking to tell the truth, to put my story out there, and get some sympathy for how tough it all is, this whole life. I tell my story; maybe I embellish it a little. I'll blame, I'll demand justice, and even create guilt if it helps me to get attention and sympathy, but I'm not looking for power, that's not my trip.
What I see is that he's been betrayed over and over again. Whether it be his parents, or relationships he's been in, or people he's worked for, or who worked for him, or even his students - they're always letting him down or messing him up. He's trying really hard to be a decent human being, and he's constantly getting kicked around.
There are a lot of jerks out there, with a lot of opinions and a lot of ideas, and frankly some of them are pretty stupid.
I guess the truth is that I'm not the Damaged Self, but sometimes it's confusing - maybe it's just being very intimate with the Damaged Self - but every damage seems to make me more and more a victim. So I guess the more the Damaged Self gets damaged, the more victimized I feel. I do feel like a victim, and that's all I can say about it. --- The Vulnerable and Innocent Child
FACILITATOR: Controller, may I now speak to the Vulnerable and Innocent Child please?
VULNERABLE AND INNOCENT CHILD: Yes.
FACILITATOR: So who am I speaking to?
VULNERABLE AND INNOCENT CHILD: You're speaking with the Vulnerable and
FACILITATOR: Why are you known as the Vulnerable and Innocent Child?
VULNERABLE AND INNOCENT CHILD: Because I'm completely vulnerable and innocent.
I have no walls or protection, no barriers set up. I have no projections, I don't add anything extra to what I'm seeing. I'm curious about everything.
I see the world with absolutely new and fresh eyes. As I look out at the world, it's as if I'm seeing it for the first time. Everything is magical. I am not protected, and yet it's just perfect as it is. I'm the voice that is here before the need for protection, and before any walls.
The self buried me for many, many years. He did get in touch with me back in
1983, while working with Hal Stone, but it took another twenty years to really allow me out. I have brought him fun, creativity, spontaneity, pleasure, and joy.
I am totally trusting, innocent, open, and free, and the world is wondrous to me. I feel at peace, and totally at home. I have no boundaries, and no borders. It is a very exciting space to be in, full of creativity and play. It is all awesome to me. --- The Dualistic Mind
FACILITATOR: Controller, may I speak to another voice now? Please let me speak to the Dualistic Mind.
DUALISTIC MIND: I am the Dualistic Mind. I see things dualistically, in terms of good and bad, self and other, me and you. I see everything in pairs of opposites. That is why
I'm called dualistic. I'm able to analyze, I'm able to judge, to evaluate, to discriminate. I'm able to create. I'm the mind that builds bridges and buildings, planes, rockets. I'm the mind that is the great architect, the great analyst, the great inventor. I am absolutely essential to this world, and I am very close to, if not the same as the self.
The self and I are basically indistinguishable. In fact, without me I don't believe there would be a self. Without me there would be no morals, no ethics, no right from wrong, no good from bad. Without me he would be unable to make these distinctions that are so necessary for living in this world.
I am critical for the life of the self. Without me he wouldn't even know where he ends and others begin. All the boundaries would be gone, and where would this world be without boundaries, without limits? I'm the one who is able to see his limits, and others' limits. --- Desire
FACILITATOR: Now let me speak to the voice of Desire.
DESIRE: I am the voice of desire, and I desire, I want, I crave. I want things that bring him pleasure, satisfaction, joy, happiness. I'm always wanting more. That's my job, that's my role. Without me he would probably not even exist today. Humankind as we know it wouldn't exist without me. I'm the one who wants to warm up when it's cold, wants to cool down when it's hot, wants to eat when he's hungry, wants to sleep when he's tired. I'm absolutely indispensable.
But I've gotten a bad rap, especially from religions. They always see me as out of control, never ceasing to want more, bigger, better, greater. In some traditions, like the
Buddhist tradition, there are those who say I am the cause of suffering. But the fact is, without me he'd have no life. There wouldn't be any self. So I feel like I've gotten a bum rap.
It's true that I'm never satisfied, I'm insatiable, but that is my job, to always want more, and better and bigger. Where would this planet be, where would humankind be without me? I'm the one who desires to fly to the moon, I'm the one who desires to get from one place to another faster and more safely. I'm the one who makes everything that we know in this modern world possible.
FACILITATOR: How does the self feel about you?
DESIRE: The self and I go hand in hand. Most of the time the self appreciates me because I let him know what he wants. But sometimes he feels that I create problems for him because I am insatiable. Every time he sees a new Harley, I want it. Every time he sees a home with a better view, or closer to the water, or somehow more desirable, I want it. Then he suffers because he can't afford it, or it's not essential for his life. So sometimes he appreciates me, and sometimes he really finds me annoying.
Yet without me he wouldn't desire to better himself, to improve and clarify his life, to appreciate his life more. I'm the one who desires for him to always go beyond: beyond himself, beyond his seeming limits. I'm the one who has gotten him where he is today, because I am never satisfied and I always want more clarity, and I always want to help others. I desire to see this whole planet conscious and awake, and not killing one another, not harming each other. I am not satisfied with wars, and poverty and hunger and all those afflictions that are causing harm and suffering to all beings.
I'm the one who desires that he save this planet from humankind. I am totally and absolutely essential. --- The Seeking Mind
FACILITATOR: Now may I speak to the Seeking Mind, please?
SEEKING MIND: Seeking Mind here.
FACILITATOR: Well, what's your role?
SEEKING MIND: Basically, I seek what Desire desires. If he desires something, I go after it. If there's no Ben & Jerry's in the freezer, I'll go to the 24 hour supermarket and find it for him, even if it's 11:30 at night. I seek all kinds of things. I seek greater pleasure, greater satisfaction. I seek more empathy for others, more compassion, more understanding.
You could say I am a somewhat higher form of consciousness than just plain desire.
Desire is insatiable, and just wants everything, everything that is pleasurable and makes him happy. I seek that too, but I also seek some things that I think are essential for this planet and for humanity.
Desire just desires, but it doesn't have any propulsion. I'm the action, I'm the one who goes out and gets it. Desire just wants. I go out and find what it wants.
The trouble is, once I find something, I too am never satisfied. I'll just seek something more. Before he's finished with that Ben & Jerry's, I'm already seeking a drink, or sleep, or something else. --- The Mind that Seeks the Way
FACILITATOR: Now may I speak to the Mind that Seeks the Way, please?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: I am the Mind that Seeks the Way.
FACILITATOR: What does that mean?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: It means that I'm seeking the Way, with a capital W.
You could say that I'm seeking truth, seeking understanding, seeking enlightenment, seeking peace, happiness, fulfillment, unconditional satisfaction, and joy. I seek the higher truths in life. I'm not just seeking; what I am seeking are the highest goals of humankind: self-realization, enlightenment, great enlightenment.
FACILITATOR: Are you ever satisfied?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: No, there's always a higher mountain to climb. There are always greater depths to fathom. There's always more clarity to seek. The Way is inexhaustible and I seek that which is inexhaustible, and even unattainable. I seek it even though I know it's unattainable. I will never stop seeking the Way.
I give him direction, I give him meaning, I give him purpose in life. Without me he would probably be constantly seeking satisfaction just for his own self and maybe his family, but I allow him to forever seek the highest truths known to humankind.
I also keep him from getting stuck with whatever he finds, because he'll find something and he'll want to settle down and enjoy it. It's kind of like climbing to the top of the mountain. He'll find a lookout before he gets to the top, and be satisfied with the beautiful view. He would just as soon stop there, but I keep him going.
Without me he wouldn't continue his journey. I am essential for his ascent to the highest truths.
FACILITATOR: Are there times when he finds you disturbing, or problematic?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: Only when he wants to stay where he is. When he wants to just enjoy the fruits of his labor, I keep nudging him on, saying there's more to accomplish, there are further, higher goals to attain. When he wants a rest, wants to be lazy, to just kind of hang out, I keep him sitting, meditating, and I continue to keep him progressing.
FACILITATOR: Does he appreciate that all in all?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: Overall yes, because before I came into existence - in other words before I was awakened, which wasn't until he was twenty-six years old - his life was basically without meaning and purpose. His main goals in life were attaining security, and fame. He was looking for wealth, and making a great name for himself in athletics. When I awakened, or when he realized my very presence, it changed the direction of his life 180 degrees. I've been an important part of his life ever since, probably the most important of all the voices you've spoken to so far.
FACILITATOR: So where were you before he was twenty-six?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: I was probably dormant, latent. He wasn't aware of me.
I think I came out just in the seeking mind, seeking to win, seeking to go to the
Olympics, seeking to be an All-American, seeking to be a great athlete. He was seeking, seeking, seeking, but he wasn't seeking truth, he wasn't seeking enlightenment, because I wasn't present. The moment he had his first awakening was the moment that I came into his life.
FACILITATOR: Could he have had that first awakening if you hadn't been there?
MIND THAT SEEKS THE WAY: You know, I don't know about that, because I wasn't there. When he had that awakening in the desert, on the mountain, I was born at that moment. I am the Mind that Seeks the Way, and before that he really wasn't seeking the Way, at least not to his own knowledge. So if I was there I was pretty hidden. --- The Follower of the Way
FACILITATOR: May I speak to the Follower of the Way?
FOLLOWER OF THE WAY: Yes, you're speaking to the Follower of the Way.
FACILITATOR: Would you tell me, because I don't quite understand, what your role or function is?
FOLLOWER OF THE WAY: I'm different from the Seeker and the Mind that Seeks the
Way. My job is really to follow the Way. In order to follow, I see, or at least I have a glimpse of the Way and the direction that the Way is going, and I actually surrender. I surrender to the Way in order to follow it.
If I allow him to just have his way, he'd take me all over the place. But as the
Follower of the Way, I have a very clear or perceivable direction, a path, a trail to follow. It really doesn't matter whether I merely see footprints or the whole Way - as long as I have a clue where the Way is going, I can follow it.
I'm a very important voice, because thanks to me he can let go of a lot. He can let go of his own will, his opinions, habitual inclinations, and beliefs that could be a hindrance on the Way.
FACILITATOR: How did you choose which Way to follow?
FOLLOWER OF THE WAY: At first I wasn't that clear about which path I wanted to follow. Even after his experience in the desert in 1971, he explored several different paths. He was living and practicing at the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He would go up to Ojai to hear Krishnamurti. He would go to study yoga at Swami Satchidananda's place. He also was reading Christian mystics like Thomas Merton, psychologists like
Abraham Maslow, Erich Fromm, Carl Jung, the autobiography of Yogananda. I could have committed to any one of these.
There are many paths. I won't say they all lead to the same place, but a good number of paths will help us become a better human being, more loving, more compassionate, more understanding, more empathic. Of course, the Way is not owned by Buddhism or any religion or tradition. It doesn't even necessarily have to be a spiritual path. Obviously, everybody has their own karma. They don't see what that karma is until they look back with hindsight, with 20/20 vision. He happened to end up on the Zen path, that obviously was his karma. But that doesn't mean everybody has to become a Buddhist or a Zen practitioner. Some do this work through therapy, some do it through other consciousness-raising practices, some people do it through yoga, some people do it through sports. Some people find it through going to church, or through whatever their religion or spirituality is.
I think it's possible in all of these paths to become more loving and compassionate human beings. I think all the great traditions obviously teach that. It's a matter of putting it into practice, and that would be part of Following the Way, whatever the teachings might be, of being a more decent, loving human being.
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