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School Talk 34 - “I”

We’re going to talk today about “I”. That seems like it’s a very common subject, and so we’re going to discuss “I”. In fact, that’s all we’re going to talk about is “I”.

Now the more one is totally involved with “I”, the more one is in a bit of turmoil all the time. It is said that the person who becomes totally involved with “I” is a mental case called schizophrenic. They pay constant attention to “I”. “I” is instead of being an awareness function that looks out and sees other people and other things, it becomes totally concerned with all my sensations, with all my thoughts; and of course, pretty shortly when a person does that, they find they have conflict, and the conflict is one set of thoughts is going to do this and the other set of thoughts says don’t do it.

So pretty soon those are experienced as schizophrenia or two personalities talking away. So none of us, of course, get into quite that severe an arrangement of being totally involved with “I”. Now we frequently tell people (when they are complaining about everything that’s going on within themselves), we tell them:…..we’ll use the name Joe. We’ll say, “Joe is none of your business.” Seems that Joe would get along quite well if he wasn’t spied upon.” I’ve noticed that if people pay very little attention to what’s going on within themselves, they are very happy because they’re looking at other people and other things and not consistently saying how does this affect me.

We sometimes refer to that as “other considering” or “outer considering”. You can see other people—how they’re getting along and what they’re doing without condemning or justifying. It keeps one quite busy, but if you more or less get totally involved—well, let’s see—how my knees are feeling, how my hips are feeling, how my back’s feeling. Pretty soon you will have a pain about everywhere you give a direction of looking to because once we begin to be aware of the body and how it’s working, we always find something that’s clinking in it somewhere. We got a “clunker” somewhere.

Now that’s not to refer to when someone has an acute condition--those they do something about. It means that one doesn’t become totally involved with the body. You know people that are constantly talking about some bodily function.

“My digestion doesn’t work well,” So if you observe your digestion, I’ll guarantee it won’t work well. If you observe constantly to see if you have a headache, I guarantee you’ll have a headache. Some people pay attention to their dreams. When they wake up, they relate all their dreams that went on; and the more you pay attention to the dreamer, the more he will dream for you. If you don’t pay any attention to the dreamer, he won’t do a very good job. He’s like the rest of us; he doesn’t like to be ignored. So when we can begin to see that “I” is the total involvement, we could begin to put our attention—turn our attention outwardly rather than inwardly. We find that everything begins to work a lot better and all the people around us begin to behave quite differently. Surprisingly they like to have a little attention. If I’m paying all the attention to myself, it’s in a pretty bad way.

One time I was called to see a lady that had been house bound, (I suppose you could say) for a good many years according to her. She hadn’t been out of the house in about eight or nine years. She was enjoying being an invalid. I went to see her and she was in a horrible state one day when I went. She was so mad that it was unbelievable; and she was mad because a lady that was there before I got there, (who didn’t get paid for coming)—I was getting paid for going there--but the woman before me just came in as a friend, and she told this lady about her aches and pains. She talked about her operation, and she talked about her problems. Well, this woman, the invalid, was so upset it was unbelievable. Someone had come in and wouldn’t talk about their problems. There’s only one set of problems in the world and that was hers. This other jerk had come in there and had the audacity to talk her things. So it was completely out of line, out of kilter and everything else.

So if we begin to take an effort to turn our attention outwardly—if we look at all our attention devices—they’re touch, taste and smell and feelings of various kinds. Everything we have is directed to the outside. We don’t smell our own breath, that’s why people can have very bad breath and not know it. We don’t feel of our own things very well, but we can see about the others.

So it is possible that if we took it upon ourselves as a little bit of an experiment that I’m going to direct all of my attention outwardly for the next several days, let’s just say a week or two. I’m going to ignore the body except if it’s hungry, try to feed it, if it’s thirsty, I’ll head towards water. If it’s sleepy, I will try to find a place for it to take a nap, but I’m not going to check up on it all the time. I maintain no self-respecting body will work well if it is being spied upon. Now we see an awful lot of people spying on bodies.

Now by the same token, no self-respecting brain will work well while it’s being spied upon. If we have a feeling, so what, we have a feeling. A man told me on a weekend up north where we were giving a little talk that he had a lot of fears, and he had found that after several years of working on these fears with all the techniques and going to shrinks and everything else, he still had all the same fears. I suggested that for a while, he ignore the fears. He just has them and says I’m perfectly free to have fears. I’m a big boy now, what’s the difference if I’m fearful, so what.

And if you feel guilty? Well, I’m a big boy; I can feel guilty for a few minutes. I don’t have to turn the earth over to try to get rid of it. Right now, I can go ahead and feel anything, so what. And so he went to sit down outside and he decided to feel fearful freely for thirty minutes or so. He came back in and said, “You’ve messed up my whole show.” “I can’t feel fearful about anything, and I’ve been getting mileage out of this for years.” He’s probably spent thousands and thousands of dollars.

But it’s like worrying. As long as you’re trying not to worry, you can worry up a storm, but if you ever decide to sit down and worry, just worry freely, you’re going to worry up a storm; you’re going to worry how you can’t pay the bills next month. You’re going to worry how the utilities are going to be turned off, how everybody is going to be hungry, there won’t be any food to eat and you worry about that for a while. But if you do that deliberately, you can’t keep a straight face for more than a minute. You have to start laughing because it’s so utterly ridiculous. But, if we sit down and really work it over, we can get a lot of mileage out of it. You can keep this thing going for hours and weeks and worry and fret and in fact my dear mother kept it going for 75 years, but it really takes a bit of effort in order to do that.

So let’s say that we can change the purpose that “I” uses all the time which I reports to X, and X does the appropriate thing for the information it receives from I. Now if I is out there observing the world about us which is what we live in, and we don’t have to live in this internal world because it can be rather tedious in a while—in the first place it’s boring. What have you got new and different in there? It’s the same old stuff you’ve had for ever how many years old you are. So who wants to worry about that stuff? Who wants to talk on it or think about it or anything else?

And we don’t need to go into all these umpteen things that have to be done every day of the week, that has to go about. We can be totally free to think whatever may happen is all right. I can think about it freely, experience it if it’s a feeling; and if a thought runs through you’re head, why, so what, it’s a thought—it doesn’t require analysis. It doesn’t have to be analyzed. It doesn’t have to be, “why did that happen?” or “Why did that go through my head?” You can ignore it.

So I think the thoughts run through very much like traffic on the freeway. It’s just something going by there all the time. I don’t think any of us have ever known a moment when there was nothing happening in the head, was it? If it wasn’t, I think we’d get all jumpy—and get something going right quick. And pray tell me what difference does it make what’s going through there? It’s just traffic. Now if you are using it in thinking about something, why you can use it, but if you just let it sit there idly bumping around, anything can go though.

Now if you tried to keep some thought from arising in your head, it would be like sitting out here on the street or on the side of a freeway and decide you are not going to allow any blue trucks to come down the road. You’re going to be busy because there is one going to come by in a little while. I don’t know how long—not very long. You’ll see a truck coming and one of them will be blue. So what difference does it make what color trucks go by or whether it’s a truck or a car or motorcycle. It’s just traffic and what goes through the head is just traffic all the time.

Now what difference does it make what goes through, do you have to take it serious? So there’s a thought that goes through that says nobody loves me. Well all right, let it go—it goes by—it’s just like a truck, and that’s like Joe Smith wrote in all of his books—“and it came to pass”. The only reason a thought even comes by is to pass. It goes “Pfftttt” right on down the way, just like it came. And what difference does it make.

But you see some people can get so involved with their internal mechanism, with “I” that it’s all important as to why a given thought runs through your head. So a thought runs through your head, what difference does it make. So pretty soon we could possibly come up with the conclusion that I am none of my business. Just leave it alone. I’m really none of my business. It’s getting along fine, if I let it alone. The food gets digested. The thoughts go on. The blood circulates. Scratches and cuts heal up. Burns heal up. Ingrown toenails keep hurting and what-have-you and it just doesn’t matter that all this stuff is rattling by. So we can get along quite well with never giving any particular attention to what’s going on in “I”.

If I want to do something, why I’ll take off and go do it; but there’s no doubt some thoughts will say I shouldn’t or I can’t, or I must not. But those are quite unnecessary and it’s totally unreasonable to have to be bothered with them. So the whole idea of talking about “I” is get uninvolved with it.

I had a call just a little while ago on the phone and a person told me that everything in their life was going utterly, fantastically--well except with the family. With the family things there were difficulties. Now this wasn’t a husband-wife deal or anything—it was relatives. That’s one sure thing, we can’t choose the relatives we got, but we don’t have to put up with them very much if we don’t want to. I haven’t seen or heard from a relative in over 25 years, and it wasn’t difficult. I just moved far west and they stayed east. So that’s all there is to it. I haven’t had a trouble, one, with family.

So I suggested to this dear person that they become uninvolved with family and that seemed like a good idea. Now, let’s become uninvolved with “I”. Have you observed that very few difficulties come from without and an awful lot come from within? Is that correct? The people that I know all treat me halfway all right or they ignore me which either one is all right, so it won’t hurt you. They either ignore me or treat me all right. I don’t know of anybody that goes around deliberately trying to mistreat me, do you?


None whatsoever?


But more do the problems we generate because I’m watching this fear, I’m checking to see how my heart’s running, I’m checking to see if my belly’s digesting food properly. I’m feeling all over to see if there’s pain or if there is a stiff joint anywhere. All sorts of difficulties can arise if I check up on them; and then if I get involved in the mental realm—why did this thought come by—what does that mean—oh this emotion, now I shouldn’t have thoughts like that, I’m behaving myself nicely—and here I have something going on that’s unpleasant. “Wonder if that came from the way I was treated as a child?” “Wonder if my mother didn’t want me before I was born.”

And we can go on and on and on with this jazz.

(Quite obviously they shouldn’t have had me.)

Right, they shouldn’t have had me for all sakes. And they shouldn’t have wanted me because depending on the way I behave, they obviously wouldn’t have. So that can go on and on and get totally carried away.

Now it’s terrible enough to be a hypochondriac, totally involved with checking up on the body; but when we become checking up on the mind, that really makes hypochondria look like kid stuff. It ain’t nothing; but if there’s anything you get really miserable with, it’s when you try to figure out everything that’s going on in the mind—why it happened, how it happened, what’s gonna happen, checking here, and checking out every feeling and every sensation and trying to find the appropriate thing to blame it on, whether it was the way I was treated as a child, whether it was due to some hidden deep something that nobody can find—that’s the favorite one.

“I have some deep hidden conflict in me—some episode went on, some trauma when I was a baby, and it’s so deep, I can’t find it and that’s why I have all these fears and why I have all these anxieties.” If you ever should experiment with some feeling being there and say I’m perfectly free to experience this feeling—I’m a big kid now. Who am I that I shouldn’t feel a little fear or a little anxiety or whatever may arise? Now when you’re perfectly free to experience it and go on about your business even though you’re experiencing it, you’d find that in a matter of a very few minutes, it’s totally completely dissipated—gone! You don’t pay any attention to it any more. But if you’re going to check on it constantly, why you can always have more troubles than all the scientists in the world could straighten out.

I wrote an article one time, “How to stay sick in spite of your doctor.”, and basically all it takes is to be checking up on yourself inwardly and outwardly at all times.

Now if you went to a party or some other place and you met somebody for the first time, then about the time you get home should be about time to reexamine that encounter and see what fool you made out of yourself. I’m bound to have really screwed up. I blew that one. And one can work over that and feel anxious and miserable for nights on end. I met this person and here I opened my big mouth and said so and so and so. I should have known better, but of course, I didn’t know better—and what difference does it make. You may never see that jerk again anyway.

But think of all the worries you can get out of that—going on and on and on with it. This is one of the favorite ones that I have found that people have agonized for weeks over. And then if there is the least little disagreement somewhere, it’s easy to see I mush have done something wrong which leads to all the thoughts of defense which is another waste of time.

I know a lady who has a husband who periodically goes on a binge—a drunken binge. He stays drunk for about two weeks--three weeks. Then he gets “dried out” in a hospital and he’s all right for many months. Every time he does, she goes through all kinds of agony as to what she did that set it off. So I inquired of her one day how long had she been with this man. She said about eight years; and I inquired how long had he been going on binges. She said, “Well, according to his mother 23 years.” So I asked her, How did you manage to get him drunk the first few years he was drinking before you met him?” She didn’t like that too much, and it’s all because she’s thinking it’s bound to have been her fault. It was her favorite indoor pastime--finding what was wrong with her.

So many of us spend all this time going through what we did wrong. How we did things that we should not have done; and if I had only done so and so then everything would have turned out better or different. Now I would ask here why so many people are involved with their “I”—they tell me how many mistakes they’ve made in their lives.

(I’ve made mistakes.)

What would have happened had you done something else?

(I probably would have made a mistake there too.)

I’m asking you what would have happened the time you said you made a mistake when a certain course of events took place. What would have happened had you………..?

(Oh, I said I didn’t make any mistakes.)

Of course you didn’t because if you did, nobody would know it. Do you realize that you could not tell me what happened and what would have happened had you done something else in this world.

(Oh, I see, that’s right, isn’t it?)

So something came out that wasn’t real pleasant. What would have happened had you done something else? Nobody knows? So people struggle and beat themselves over the head mentally for umpteen years over the mistakes they made, but nobody knows what would have happened had you gone the other way—you don’t know. You haven’t the foggiest idea if you made one turn different from what you did do—you don’t know what would have happened, so how could you know you made any mistake in the decisions you’ve made in your life..

You think you have somewhere along the way made some terrible mistake—but, really, think about it, you surely don’t know.

(I thought I made a mistake, but I was wrong—well maybe that’s just conditioning. I guess it’s not important that I’ll never know..)

The time you thought you made a mistake, you figured out later; and saw that you hadn’t—perhaps you saw that you did what you thought at the moment to be right, proper or justified—it was the only thing you could have done—that’s absolutely correct because we don’t know whether we ever made a mistake or not because we don’t know the outcome of any decision we made. Obviously we didn’t make too bad of mistakes because we’re still here and that’s the ultimate result of checking up is that we’re still here.

So I’m going to ask if it’s possible that you take as an experiment for the next few days that you at no time try to check up on #1. We’ll start assuming as of this minute that I am none of my business—it’s just strictly none.

I don’t think that any of us knows how to correct any great illness if we should have one. We don’t know how to digest our food. We don’t know what we should eat. We don’t know what’s wrong with any thought which goes through the head which we said was merely traffic. So let’s experiment for a little while of just seeing what’s going on without putting any concern with it whatsoever. I’m perfectly free to experience whatever feeling may arise today.

I think I’ve talked long enough, now let’s have discussion. Miss Linda, you want to be the first one to go? So what do you want to add to here, to retract, turn loose, undo or what-have-you

(I got it.)

You heard it.

(I heard it.)

And would you say that for somewhat of a number of years of your life that you have made Linda a big lot of your business.

(Oh yes, definitely.)

And how’d you do with it when you got it all hooked up?

(I managed to make it real squirrely—still do.)

So I’m fine, maybe you’re just as well off that Linda’s none of your business anymore, ok?


Just let it be. Now the rest of us will look after you and just go out here and look around somewhere else, you know—we’ll see that you don’t do anything too traumatic.

(Really? Ok.)

Bonnie, you got something to add, detract or undo here?

(Well, the thing I find when I’ve made a big issue of what I’m doing is if I just stop—stop or maybe ignore the inner turmoil and voila, everything clears up.)

Yep, if you just quit making a big production out of it.

(Yep, I can make a big production out of anything.…..)

Out of Bonnie. If you don’t make a big production out of Bonnie, why it all gets along all right. But if you make a big production out of Bonnie….

(Oh boy!)

…then you’ve got all sorts of difficulties. You got a body that’s going to fall apart at the seams, a mind that must be losing it’s grasp whatever that is, and all those good things, is that right?

(Well, when I listen to all that’s going on within, it’s crazy. And when I tell it to, it does.)

And when you tell it to or listen it grabs on and so what you have is more trouble than you know what to do with.

All right, lady, how about you?

(I only have one problem, I don’t deal with…..)

What’s that?

(That’s getting involved with some man because it always gets screwed up.)

Well, naturally, that’s what you got involved with him for, wasn’t it?

(That isn’t what I get involved for—for screwing, not screwed up.)

Figured that’s what you got started for, what’s the hassle lady? So if you begin to be concerned as to how men affect you, why not be just totally unconcerned—don’t get all involved with it. Nothing very serious takes place anyway, does it?

(No I did that for five years, and it worked pretty good.)

Worked pretty good and then you took it serious and decided that maybe you ought to begin to have a more permanent situation or something—an ideal relationship. Is that the word that goes on these days is you should have more out of this relationship than just this? Aw, as soon as we begin to analyze relationships--it’s like analyzing your head, spying on yourself, you get all kinds of problems. If I’m checking up on it, well, I must be getting the short end of it all the time and in all things is that right? Is that right Bonnie?

(That’s right.)

And all you got to do to get in a great turmoil is to check up on it.

(And then when you give up, well, you got everything there and everything works all right.)

Got a pretty good thing—everything is going along all right.

(I didn’t analyze the other person started doing the analyzing.)

Well, that’s the time when one of them starts analyzing, then that’s time to pull a Hank Snow. You know what a Hank Snow is? I’m a’movin’ on.


Soon as someone starts analyzing, why the romance is done anyway—so why bother?

Jeffrey, what have you got here today?

(Well, I’m starting to learn that i’s more fun to pay attention to everything on the outside.)

Right because that’s where all the action is—everything that’s happening is out there..

(That’s where it’s at.)

That’s where it’s at., it’s out there. There’s just a lot of boredom going on inside.

(Oh yes.)

Same old thing that we’ve been piddling with since we were little kids—checking up—adding up—finding if this is good, if that’s good, did I do the right things, etc.

So any other questions here?

(Well, It sounds like it’s a lot more fun when you don’t pay any attention to yourself.)

Right because you’re a bore.

(Everything’s on the outside.)

Ok, have a real good evening everybody.