Essays

Non-Identification

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Monday is the day I reserve for editing the talks recorded on Sunday. The editing process can take the better part of the day, after the interruptions that come with other duties, and life in general.

The editing process is interesting. I have a long, sustained opportunity to non-identify with the speaker. Do you remember the first time you ever heard your voice recorded? I do. I was thirteen or fourteen years old, attending a party at the home of a classmate. Her parents had a reel-to-reel tape recorder. One of the hit songs of 1960 was Teen Angel, by Mark Dinning. I sang it a cappella into the microphone. How I got into that particular corner I can’t remember, but because I had sung solos in the boys’ choir at church I probably had a picture of myself as a singer. When they played it back for the group, I wanted to crawl into a hole and pull it in after me. It was the first time I’d ever heard my voice recorded, and I was shocked. I didn’t like the way I sounded and nothing anyone else said could comfort me. The picture painted by the I hearing the recorded voice didn’t match the flattering picture of the choir boy soloist. One of them had to go. Self-love always tosses the less flattering of the two.

Since then I’ve heard my recorded voice many times. Now I’ve learned to accept the way my voice sounds. It’s what I say and the way I say it that challenge me today. While I edit out the repetitions, coughs and sounds of the room, I must listen intently. The flow of ideas is what matters. An internal separation occurs, enabling an interaction between the speaker and me. The speaker is no longer I. Because of this non-identification he gives me hints about the Work, things I can see about myself, ways I can apply a certain idea, and how I can find something in me usually found only in others. It’s a more objective form of listening. Who the speaker is no longer matters – the ideas themselves come alive with new meaning and resonate their power in me. This is how the Work works in us.

But why doesn’t this happen with us all the time? How can we sometimes hear and not be filled with new meaning? It’s where the Work-ideas fall in us that makes the difference. When we’re identified with one thing or another, the ideas fall into the hands of little, mechanical I’s who don’t know how to use them properly. They can’t understand them. The ideas can actually become as dangerous as guns in the hands of children. Accidents begin to happen. Wrong connections are made. Forces and energies meant for one place are directed to another where they don’t belong and can do damage. Negative states arise and begin to spoil everything for us. We can no longer hear in a more objective way because we’ve become identified with the little I’s and their inevitable misunderstanding of the ideas that are too big for them. What was meant to heal is unconciously used to wound. One group of I’s turns on another group of I’s or on someone outside of us upon whom we project our negative state. Then we’re in the soup. The negative state becomes a soupy mess where it’s difficult to separate the peas from the carrots. What to do?

Go to Work-Memory. Bring the Work ideas into the Intellectual Center where they can begin to feed bigger I’s. This is how the Work begins to work for us. Why does the Work need to work for us? Because we can’t do.

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About Esoteric Talks

"No good deed goes unpunished."

The person most frequently credited as the originator of the phrase is playwright Clare Boothe Luce. Also credited have been playwright Noel Coward, writer Oscar Wilde, journalist Walter Winchell and the late Washington Post writer Bill Gold. The original idea is probably an ancient proverb.

Appearing cynical on the surface, a closer examination of human nature reveals the False Personality to be incredibly vengeful and petty due to its hubris.

Plato has Socrates say, "An unexamined life is not worth living." The reason no good deed goes unpunished is because most people are living lives not worth living. If you feel a sting that probably means you.