Modular Mysticism: Seeing

This evening I’d like to talk to you about seeing.

Seeing is the ability to tell what really is.

There are many different forms of seeing.

Some forms of seeing involve apprehending

Other forms of seeing are more esoteric, and they involve

Without seeing, it’s very difficult to practice self-discovery. You’re quite blind. Most people of course, think of seeing as the thing that we do with our eyesight.

We’re using the word “seeing” not in that sense at all, but as a metaphor, almost a mixed metaphor, for knowing. Perhaps “knowing” is a better word. It’s a little bit of both.

Everything that we apprehend goes through a selective screening process. This screening process involves

Each one of us perceives life, at least initially—when we begin self-discovery—through the senses. We hear something, we feel it with our bodies, we taste it, we recognize it through our eyes, we view life in terms of physical orientation. We’ve grown up in a world of sights and sounds, textures. When we think of something, we measure it. Is it tall, short, what color is it, what does it sound like?

Conditioning is responsible for what our life is. The totality of your life at this time is dependent upon what’s happened to you. What’s happened to you is your awareness now. Your current awareness is a reflection of everything that has occurred to you since the time you were born.

Your awareness is a reflection of

Your parents, in other words, treated you growing up as their parents treated them, as their parents treated them, and so on and so forth.

So what we have are reflections of reflections of reflections.

These images are literally programmed into us from the time we are born.

The strongest factor in conditioning is sex, in the sense that the first thing that a person is really taught is whether they are male or female. When you are taught that you are male, you will be taught what that means. And the definitions will vary a little bit, according to who’s teaching you, the country, the family, and so on.

If we could think of it in terms of writing a computer program—when we write a program, initially we’re dealing with nothing. We have a blackboard with nothing on it whatsoever. Now what we’re going to do is make a series of pathways, a series of choices, be they binary or otherwise, to create a structure. But initially there’s absolutely nothing, there’s the thin air. Now we’re going to create yin and yang. We’re going to create yes and no. We’re going to create plus and minus, or zero and plus, or however we want to do it.

There are only two choices available in duality, one side or the other side.

Everything is formed from that. The I Ching, of course, is a study in duality and what lies beyond duality. The idea is that there are two oppositions, or complements if you prefer, and varying shades in between.

And when we have these complements or oppositions, change occurs.

Change can only exist in time.

Change can only exist with a background of that which is changeless, otherwise it has no definition. We can say that the stars are moving because we have a relative context. They have a background; we’re perceiving the movement or perhaps a foreground. If there’s no background or there’s no foreground, if there is no opposition, if there are no complements, then there is no change because there’s no subject and object.

The Chinese used the symbol of tai chi, the undifferentiated reality. No separation, no left and right.

There’s no way to measure it because there’s no one there to measure it.

Everything is part of one web,

This is our true self in its undifferentiated form.

From this we have come forth, and to this we return.

In this we exist constantly. The dreams of existence that we call time, space, matter, subject, object, yin, yang—everything flows forth from this tai chi, this nirvana, this endless reality, this God.

We see what we have been taught to see. We perceive what we have been taught to perceive.

Nothing is as it appears to be at all,

Perception is conditioning.

One of the questions that we have to raise for ourselves at some point is:

And the chances are that we could have both answers, but let’s delay on that for a little bit and come back to male and female.

Male and female are the first things we learn because they represent the polarity of existence.

For a person who lives in time—for you there’s time, for you there’s space, for you there’s a world.

For such a person, differences are the most important thing, because the differences represent your existence.

When there’s no difference,

Most beings in this particular dream believe that [differences are the most important thing] and enjoy that.

When there’s time, there has to be suffering.

Because in time there’s desire and attachment and transition, and whenever there’s desire and attachment—when we want something or need something, when we feel something—then there has to be loss and gain.

When there’s loss and gain, of course, there’s pain and pleasure and so on.

This is the world of experience.

The only reason that life is this way,

Now, indeed, at the age of six months, or one, or two, or three, or five, or 30, no one sat you down and said,

No one gave you a theoretical explanation.

What they did was they gave you an experiential explanation with prototypes—stereotypes—and the principal stereotypes, of course, are parents or whomever or whatever we see around you.

The mind of the child is not formed. There’s a certain amount of conditioning, you might say, certainly within the structure of the cells and the DNA.

There is a tremendous amount of conditioning in the subtle physical

We call these the samskaras or tendencies.

Of course, there’s also

But we are not necessarily cognizant of that because our field of attention is fixated, or focused in duality.

So we are shown, then, that this is life, this is the world.

Our seeing is sexual, initially.

You can tell a great deal about a person’s relative state of awareness, that is to say—how far up they are on the ladder of consciousness—by their sexual attitudes.

Those people who run towards or run away from [sexuality] are still very fixed in time and space because they still seek to define existence in sexual terms.

Those who really no longer see any difference whatsoever, other than the differences in operable energies, but with no conditioning, are much further along.

So in other words, those people who are terribly, terribly drawn to sexuality as a method of definition, or the experience, or those who are terribly repulsed—

So there’s conditioning.

Conditioning begins with a sense of “I am this, and everyone else is that.”

That’s how it begins—I am male or I am female, you are male or you are female. This is my sister, this is my brother. OK, my brother wears pants, my sister wears a dress. My sister is not as strong as my brother because she’s a woman and he’s a man.

We develop what seem like very innocent definitions. “I’m a little girl, therefore I have a doll and I’m going to be like mommy” and mommy is something that we have a definition for.

What I’m suggesting is that at an age when we really have no choice in the matter, we are given a description of the world that is much more potent and much deeper than you might realize.

You don’t remember, perhaps, being taught these things.

You may not remember what it was like when someone first said “No” to you or when someone first said “Yes” to you with affection in their voice when you did what they wanted or what they did not want.

But a structure was formed, a program was written.

A number of different interlocking programs were written, and gradually you were given a description of the world—a way of seeing—which is largely sexual.

There are alternate descriptions of the world,

We can think of the descriptions almost as computer languages.

The very basic languages or the most basic language—machine, assembler, something like that—is the description of the world that most people have.

It’s an operable description that really only deals with very simple operations, and its code is sex.

Then, of course, just as in computers, there are more sophisticated languages, Pascal and so on. So there are other languages, other ways of speaking, other descriptions that are useful for you.

Do we need a description of the world at all?

It would seem that perhaps it would be better simply just to see life in its purest form, without having to bother with all this language stuff, all these descriptions.

In order to go through this world, or other worlds, you do need a description. You need a map. You need a way.

But there are times when we need to go beyond all descriptions of existence.

So I have handed you initially four basic descriptions and one overriding description. The four basic descriptions, of course, are


Each has a language all of its own. They are all united by something we call Tantric Mysticism. Tantric Mysticism is kind of a way-less way. The idea behind Tantric Mysticism is, of course, the government that governs least governs best, but that governs sufficiently.

Tantric Mysticism is the glue that binds together not one description, but all descriptions of existence.

The initial description that we have is sexual, and we see life in those terms.

We see life in terms of punishment and reward, of love and hatred, of success and failure.

So the first step then that you really need to take is to see beyond the description, or, if you prefer, maybe a more Buddhist approach is to see the limitations of a particular description that you may have.

If you find, for example, that the description of existence that you have, the way you see life now, engenders pain and suffering and if you don’t like pain and suffering but it is definitely in the description that you now have, there’s no way around it, then that could motivate you to go beyond the description that you have.

Or you might take, I suppose, a positive approach.

The positive approach would be to feel that one could experience more light, more love, freedom, abandonment, awareness. Not simply in an intellectual sense—that I’m going to have more ideas, I’m going to read a book and learn something new—but that I am going to become something other than human.

Much more, let’s say. Much, much more.

The limitations that we can see of the sexual description of reality are very apparent.

That would tell you that the definition of being male that most men have is not very adequate

The definition that women have of themselves is even more so.

Well, how can you tell then, where’s the truth? How can you tell if the description that you have is accurate at all? How can you know what another description is and if it’s more suitable?

Most importantly, how can you tell if you’re hung up in a description of existence, if you’re spending so much time on the language that you’re forgetting what the language means?

This is what seeing is all about.

Seeing is the art of detachment.

In order to see, you have to be able to


which we call intuition or knowledge.

Seeing is an ancient process and there are definite means to go about seeing. There are definite ways. It’s not accidental at all. It’s something that you work at every day and every night, otherwise you won’t learn to see.

Seeing is initially more of a process of tearing down something—

We developed a habit, and the habit is very strong. So we’re going to try and break through that habit, even if only for a moment, and then gradually we’ll be able to break through it a little bit more and a little bit more.

And we can’t be too hasty, or too abrupt.

Because if we are, if we tear down the description too quickly and we don’t have anything to replace it, we’ll feel lost.

And we’ll feel so awful that

That’s why it’s very, very important not to hurry the process of self-discovery.

Because when you hurry it, you alienate yourself from the process itself.

Because while forcing yourself may give you some kind of immediate result, the result probably won’t last because your being will rebel. It’s better to be gradual but to continue and then gradually, of course, you’ll see that it’s not so gradual.

Nothing is or is not, unless thinking makes it so.

We all know the words.

Therefore, the only way you can tell what is beyond “what is or is not,”

Seeing is the process of stopping all thought.

Meditation in its relative forms, of course, is to limit thoughts, have nicer thoughts, to fixate our field of attention in a certain way.

But to truly see something,

to merge with it (there are no words in our language to describe it)

And part of the description that we have of the world, part of the problem that we face is that we have been taught that when we don’t think, we’re doing something terribly wrong.

There’s a sense of productivity which cripples us terribly. We feel that we have to always be doing something worthwhile or that if we’re not, we’re doing something that’s not worthwhile.

We’re back to our little binary male/female code of it’s either good or it’s bad or it’s somewhere in between. It’s either yin or it’s yang or it’s a combination, you see. You’re either male or female or somewhere in between. You’ve got to be somewhere on the map.

But that’s not true at all. Who says that’s true? Who started all this, anyway? A Zen question for you.

Why is that so? It’s not. Yet you believe it is.

So, for example, if you see me sitting here, if you’re looking in the way that most people do, you will see this man in front of you sitting, talking.

You will have certain ways of seeing this man. You will judge this man according to men you have known and your experiences with them. You will judge this person according to what you hear them say and your experience with words. You will judge this person by your desires and what you want.

And very often a person will bend reality to suit their desires.

They will want to see one thing or not want to see something else, and this will cause you to run sort of a subroutine in your program and that is to avoid truth—because there’s some sense of either the avoidance of pain, for most people, or seeking something beneficial, something that’s in your definition rewarding or pleasurable.

So it’s necessary to begin to get a sense of how you operate.

Even if at this time you’re not capable of doing much else, first you need to begin to get some distance on yourself and understand the multilevel structure that’s operating.

In other words, there’s a power structure inside you. You’re a very political creature. You need to understand the politics of the system before you can really get around it.

And also, part of the system you might find useful still. I wouldn’t throw it all away necessarily.

But what you want to do—you have to have enough integrity to be willing to examine every single thing that you’ve been taught.

And when I say “taught,” again—

The only way you can do that, of course, is if you have a background. You can only tell if the stars are moving relative to the foreground or the background.

Seeing, then, or using alternate descriptions of reality, gives you relative backgrounds by which you can evaluate and understand the level of the language that you’re now using.

Maya means that you don’t see. It means that you see maya, or illusion.

The idea being

ideas that most people hold in common,

And if you hold that idea, you’re in maya. Because any idea relative to anything or relative to nothing is still a structural illusion. Not meaning that it isn’t real; it’s as real as you are.

But perhaps you’re not real at all.

So the way out, then, is to stop thought.

When you stop thought,

Well, what then?

This is the moment of fear, from the point of view of one who has not done this or is not at the moment doing this.

The sense is that we’ll lose our sexuality, we’ll lose our definition. We will no longer be what we are.

If I go out to the desert, and while in the desert I become something other—a luminous being capable of what most people would say are impossible things—one who watches that, who operates under a simple description of the world in which people can only do certain things and they can’t do other things, will only see what they want to see.

You know, the question comes up all the time. Why does one person see more than another? Why can you sit there and see red auras and blue auras and the person next to you won’t, if the auras are in fact there?

Well, the reason is very simple. The only reason all of you don’t see more than you do is because you’re held back by your description. Because in your description, certain things happen and certain things don’t and your description won’t bend.

So how do we bend that description, if it’s not in fact true? If much more is happening than you realize and the reason you don’t see it is because you don’t feel that it could possibly happen according to your understanding of the nature of existence.

Then, initially, we have to show you that there are a couple of holes in the way that you see.

And that’s where the kundalini comes in handy. The kundalini makes little holes in your awareness.

So, if we’re sitting, meditating together, and we use the kundalini in a way that just breaks through your awareness,

and if those things are not in your normal description of the world, you have three choices.

This is, from the spiritual teacher’s point of view, the use of miracles.

Some people ask me, “Well, why do you do the things that you do? Why do you perform these miracles?” Which are not—in my estimation—miracles.

In my world, according to my description of reality, they’re just reality.

The structural reason is to make little tiny holes in your awareness. If we make these little tiny holes, they may become larger and larger and larger. Then after a while you’ll be able to see out through them, and see that there’s something beyond what you now know.

What most people do when confronted with a situation that does not fit their description of the world or reality, is to deny it.

A person comes into a public meditation that we’re doing, and they sit there, and suddenly they have some phenomenal experience, beyond anything they can possibly explain.

And they’ll sit there, and they’ll tell their friend about it, and say, “My God! The room turned paisley. I suddenly had the feeling that I was up on the ceiling looking down and I saw everyone’s heads, and a lot of the people, they were bald!” You know, whatever it might be.

And then later on, they’ll walk out, and the next day it never happened.

They will never [say], “Oh yes, yes, well, sure, oh yeah, sure.”

And their friend will say, “Well, gosh, how about the other night, I mean, how do you feel about life now?”

“Say what? What other night? What, what happened? Oh, I don’t know about all of that.”

Now, a person who is a little more clever than that will construct an alternate possibility.

This is why Carlos Castaneda is so marvelous, he’s so clever.

So you’ll say, “Well, I was hypnotized. That’s what he did, he hypnotized me.”

There was a little article in the San Francisco paper that was about people who used the siddhas. I was listed, and several other well-known people were listed, and the person who wrote the article was trying to explain away what we did, and one of the favorite methods was that, well, what we do is we hypnotize people. You see, we cause them in some way—now how you could hypnotize someone to see the things that they see without ever talking about them, I don’t understand.

But this person didn’t bother to deal with that. What they suggested instead, was that, well, yes, they used hypnosis.

Someone else will say, “Well, it was that eggplant parmigiana hero I ate before I went. That’s why I experienced all that heat coming up from the base of my spine.” You see.

The definitions, of course, and the explanations can get very, very clever.

But when you read—that’s why Carlos is so great because he can stand back from himself and say, “Well, OK, look this is what [happened]. I was out with don Juan and suddenly I heard this noise in the bushes, and it must have been don Genaro out there with a little noisemaker.”

Yeah, I mean, he’ll come up with the most farfetched things.

Now you have to understand, the reason that he does this and the reason that you do it—more importantly—is that

See, you live on a little island, it’s a little tiny island called self-awareness. And it’s all that you know.

Now, some people are voyagers. They get on a little boat and they leave the island, and they just go off.

Well, that’s what you’re trying to become.

But at the same time, you may have heard reports from a few others that there’s something out there, but you may have also heard reports of terrible, terrible things that are out there. At this point, you’re not sure.

But you know this island. You know where the coconut trees are, you know where the crows live, OK? You have an understanding of what’s there. And while it might not be the greatest island in the world, it’s your island and you’re not necessarily going to just trade it for something that you’re not sure about—unless you’re either very brave or very foolish.

So when you build these rationalizations about your behavior, about what you see—when you try and explain away the mysteries of life, which almost everyone does—and make them into some sort of dull and boring routine, which is safe but dull and boring—and not particularly accurate—don’t think badly of yourself.

You’re still in the commodities exchange market consciousness. You still think that you actually have an island. And as long as you think it, that you have an island, you’ll defend it.

That’s what the Atlanteans thought. But sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you thought.

The third approach, of course, is to begin to perceive the possibility that there’s something other.

So when you meditate,

But rather you should begin to see the possibility that

In this study, you’re face-to-face with yourself,

You are fighting against everything that you’ve been taught, everything that you believe.

Not against what you believe or what you’ve been taught, but against the very nature of teaching and believing.

The particulars don’t matter. You see,

You’re out on the battlefield and you leave the plans for the next battle where they can be found by the enemy. Of course there’ll never be such a battle, so the enemy all masses there, and … you made it all up.

The way that we do that with ourselves is

So we’re not going to deal with whether artichokes are good or not, but we’re going to talk about different types of artichokes and evaluate them.

But sooner or later these little holes are going to begin to appear.

Now we explain a lot of it through dreams. We say that well, when we dream that’s not real, and this world is real. You see, we’re back to sexuality again. We’re back to “There’s the opposite self and the self,” as opposed to just seeing that that which is a dream is neither real nor unreal nor is this real nor unreal. It’s something else.

You cannot force your being to accept the totality of your being or the totality of your self, no matter how wonderful that awareness may be, all at once.

I think the best method, initially, is to look at the positive benefits which will accrue from seeing.

In other words, if you think that seeing means you’re going to put aside your old self and you still like the old self, then you won’t like seeing. Rather, if you can see the positive benefits of learning to see, meaning to come to some sense of what is and is not and beyond both, then it will be helpful to you.

When you can see, you can avoid problems. Not necessarily problems in the physical, but problems in awareness.

When you can see, you have, I suppose, what they call peace of mind. It’s actually much further than that because it’s not limited or relegated to the mind.

If you don’t see,

When you can see,

Seeing isn’t everything. It’s only a step, a progression.

It’s the beginning of a new awareness for you, and

As I speak, it’s necessary for you to try and see beyond my words. If you only listen to what I say within the context of the language that we have, then you will understand very little.

But if you can see what I’m saying, meaning

And that something will be perception.

Not perception as you’ve known it, but

The best way to practice seeing, of course, is to be around someone who sees and observe them.

Not observe what they say, but observe their conscious awareness, the vibratory field of energy that surrounds them and flows through them.

What you’re trying to see is not what’s happening on the other side of the building, or even what’s happening on the other side of the universe.

What you’re trying to see

When you can see,

and then, of course,

So if in your definition a person can’t walk on air and you can’t see beyond that, then, of course, you’ll never allow yourself to do that.

If you see that this is something that you’re capable of, that people are not what you thought, then one day you’ll be able to do that.

Seeing is essential.

And it all begins with

with an

and an