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Excerpts - Old Beck - The Art of Being Contrary

Excerpt of Scottsdale, AZ workshop given by Dr. Robert Gibson: "School Talk 32 - Thanksgiving”

If you will try not to see it, I think you will find that you cannot ignore it.  Now not-I’s being what they are, we have to approach the situation in reverse at times to outsmart them.

We had a mule when I was a kid named “Old Beck.”  Beck taught me a lot about humanity. She was very contrary (as many of you are.)  It was my chore frequently to hitch her to a wagon.

Now a wagon has two mules hitched to it; one sits on one side of the tongue and one on the other side.  So if I wanted Old Beck up next to the tongue of the wagon, I didn’t shove her from the outside towards the tongue.  Because if I did, I got run over.  Instead, knowing that Beck was contrary (like human beings are) I would go stand on the tongue of the wagon and shove her hips like it was to push her away from the tongue.  And she slammed up against it.  Then I could hook it up and everything was fine.

When we were trying to unharness her from the wagon and take her harness off of her, why you went on the outside of her and shoved her towards the tongue of the wagon and jumped out of the way and she jumped right out; you could unhook everything and take her harness off.  I could handle it with the greatest of ease because I knew Beck.  She was always going to do exactly the opposite from whatever it was you wanted her to do.  If you wanted her to go forwards, you pulled back on her rein that was in her bridle, and she took to running up forwards.  You just had to keep up with it.  If you wanted her to back up, you got in front of her and pulled on her and she’d back right up.  So it was no trouble to control the mule because I understood the mule.

Now the human being with a bunch of not-I’s is very much like a mule. They’re always going to try to do differently.  So, there are people who make themselves totally miserable over trying to adjust their elimination. There are people who make themselves totally miserable over trying to take in the right amount of food – never eat this and never eat that and one should eat this; but they always forget it. You ever do that?

Okay, so if one would want to forget something, you’d try to remember it.  (It’s a very good “forgetting device.”)  If you would want to keep something in memory, try to forget it.  And if you’re wanting to forget something, try to remember it.

By the same token if you were driving and you want to stay awake, try to go to sleep while you’re driving.  You can’t do it.  But if you’re trying very hard to stay awake, you go out – over and over and over.  Did you ever do that?  If you’re going to go to bed at night and be sure to get to sleep quick, you can spend a very sleepless night, is that right?  But if you go to bed and say, “I’m going to listen to all the sounds and try to stay awake all night,” you go to sleep fantastically well. You sleep real good.