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School Talk 24 - Purpose

Talk covers:
Vital Interest
Having and interest that is long-lasting
Having a purpose and will working for you
Feeling fine despite circumstances and people
Contributing to a pleasant mood
(audience participation in parenthesis)

In this talk today, we're going to talk about having a purpose. Now most people probably feel they have a purpose. They have a purpose to be happy. They have a purpose to get rich. They have a purpose to do a whole bunch of other things--to have success--to have peace of mind, whatever the desire may be. They have a purpose--they think.

But again, where did you get that purpose? Is it something you can spend a few minutes time here and there and elsewhere, or is it something that you would be pretty much totally involved with? If I have a purpose to gain enlightenment, do you think I only spend a week or two here and there--or a few minutes here and there thinking about it--or reading a book on the subject now and then; or would you think that I probably am pretty busy at that subject? What would you think?

(You'd be busy.)

Vital Interest

Now a purpose is usually not well defined; but first off, as we talked last week, we would have to have WILL in order to have a PURPOSE. Now if you found something that you were really interested in, REALLY INTERESTED IN, I don't care whether it was a boy/girl relationship, or it was a job, or it was a trip or whatever; if you were really interested in it, would you have a purpose? It is something that you are truly interested in.

Now I have a lot of people tell me, "Well, I know I should do this": and "I should do that", but they're not really interested in it. Now if you ask someone "What are you really interested in?", do you know what you usually get? They'd say, "I'm looking for it."

We had a gentlemen who visited us the last few days that came from out of town to tell me he didn't know what he was interested in. Maybe he wasn't interested in anything; and he had never been able to find an interest; and he asked me, "How could you be interested in something?" I said, "I can be interested in ANYTHING I want to". ALL I GOT TO DO IS PAY ATTENTION TO IT FOR A LITTLE BIT AND DETERMINE THAT I'M GOING TO BE INTERESTED IN IT; AND I'M INTERESTED.

Well, he thought that sounded a bit peculiar because he had believed, as most people do, that you can only be interested in something as our friend, John would say-"it really grabbed you." It really grabbed you? Now there's not an awful lot of things that "grab you" for more than a few minutes, is that right? When you've been out here and wandered around the world a bit, something won't interest you more than a short time-person, place, thing, event, situation, occupation, what-have-you -- UNLESS YOU WORK AT IT.

Nothing really grabs you to keep you interested in it for an extensive length of time, is that right Mary?


Now if I determine that I am going to be interested in something--I can be, because I begin to inquire into it to find out more and more about what it might be--whether it's person, place, situation, thing, occupation or what-have-you If you dig into it, you find that you never get to the end. Is that about right? Anything that you've really dug into, you never get to the end of it because the more you dig, the more you see places to dig into.

So a person can have any purpose. Now you can change your purpose at will-if you have will. So when you see that you have a purpose, and you've given it three years time; and you say, "Well, I'd like to have a new one," you can do that real quick like. You can always choose "those"….. [from Marsha. When he used the word "those", he was probably pointing to the blackboard to self-remembering.) If you wish--you can choose your purpose. You could be interested in any number of things.

I think it was old Gerdjief said that every person ought to have at least forty ways to earn a living-and be interested in any one of the forty at any given moment, and I think that's very accurate.

Now our friend John over here has been working at that. He's up to 36 so far. Another three years or so, we ought to have him to the 40; and we'll see a completed man then. He will have the 40 ways of earning a living. I've worked at 40 of them that theoretically earn a living--very few of which have worked. But anyway, I'm working at them. So you could be interested in, at least, forty different things anyway, that you could say, "Well, I'm going to get into this."

For instance, somebody called up the other day, and started talking about a given proposition, right John? Now we could be very interested in it, couldn't we? We could begin to inquire into it. So, we can dig into it; and we can keep ourselves interested in it as long as we want to--or we can-blap-get disinterested in it; and take something else to be interested in at any given minute, is that right?

So when we start any of this, we can determine that we're going to be interested in something. Now, again, this requires what we talked about last time-will. I WILL to be interested in something--to inquire into it--to find everything I can about it. I don't care what occupation or what kind of work you might come by, there is so much involved in anything, that you could be interested in it for years-just to find out the fundamentals about it, is that right? Doesn't matter what it is. Do you know all about cutting hair yet?


You haven't got that figured out yet? Still sometimes they all stand in a different direction, I've noticed, huh? They all do that once in a while. You know all about hair either? You been working at it for a long time? You know all about it yet, or does it still go haywire once in a while? Takes off, doesn't it?

John, you been cooking for a while. Do you know all about cooking?

(Lord no.)

No. I've been cooking for a lot longer than you have, and I still don't know all about it. I can still dig into it and find out things every day of the world. I find out how things will combine and make a pleasant taste. I've also found out how you can leave out most of the ingredients( that everybody else says is necessary), and it still tastes the same. Sometimes you don't have some of the ingredients at hand; so you put some different ones in there, and you can still make it taste the same because they've all got a certain relationship--if you dig into it. And when you study taste you discover that there are only so many tastes in the world anyway. So it's according to how you combine those ingredients as to whether you get it all working to come out with a delicious result.

Now you could go into any occupation in the world (or any pursuit that one wanted to); and you would never get to the end of having knowledge about that--finding more about it, applying it, putting it into use, making creative aspects of it from time to time. SO PURPOSE CAN BE SELF-CHOSEN.

Now if you only get interested in something, as our friend said, "that grabs you", it would be something that would be very temporary because stimuli is not going to continue day after day, is it? Now how many times have you started into something you found you were all interested in-you were just carried away with it; and a few weeks later-you were bored to death with it-- you can't stand it--don't see how you ever got involved with it or anything else. You went out and bought you a bunch of tools and equipment and books on the subject; and now they're all filed away.

I met somebody who got all interested in making stained glass windows. They bought a bunch of lead, and they bought a bunch of glass, they bought a bunch of breakers, and they bought a bunch of glass cutters. You know where they are now?-gathering dust out in the shop or in the garage, or they've been sold at a flea market-but more than likely there probably wasn't even enough interest to get them out in the yard sale. So that all went. What happened to them? They were temporarily stimulated by something out here--a stimuli from the outside said this is your purpose to make a stained glass window or a stained glass object; and before they could even learn how to start the thing out good, they were already through with it and gone--that's "over with" right quick.

How many things have you been interested in that you thought, "this is really it"; and then how how long did it last??

(Three weeks.)

One week, two weeks, three weeks; so it's like with guys, isn't it Mary? They're good for two weeks, three weeks, and suddenly you say, "What'd I ever see in that jerk?" Let's go on from there. So it's the same kind of thing. It's an external stimuli that hits you, right?


But you could find something, and you could keep on being interested in it--say a person. You could keep finding out more and more about them, and experiencing them from day to day. You could keep it up for 100 years, and it'd be all right.

So it's entirely up to us if we want to be able to say, "I'm somewhat in charge of my life" or I can be just a chip bouncing around on a lake, and it's having a whirlwind toss it to and fro. The wind just bounces that chip first one place and then another -- whichever way the nearest wave hits it at that moment-it went this way and then that way.

But if we ever choose a PURPOSE, then we do have WILL, because if we really have a purpose, then we do have will. If you really have a purpose, you have will to carry it out--to see about it, to remember it, to find out all you can about it.

So in the last discussion we talked about WILL, and that it was not complete unless we also talk about PURPOSE--because you might say, they're heads and tails of the same proposition. If you don't have will, you don't have a purpose; or better said, you can't keep one--you only have something flitting by. You just had a reaction to stimuli; and you think you're interested in it. You think you have a purpose; but it goes away in a few minutes. By the same token, if you have no purpose, you can't keep a will going because you have nothing to "put it on" anyway.

So purpose and will are part of the same thing. It is something that we can keep involved in; and we are starting to be what, you might say, is an integrated person. An integrated person is one without conflict, struggle and resistance. Conflict struggle and resistance says you are disintegrating, falling apart and so forth--everybody knows that, I think. You've all been through enough phases of conflict and struggle and resistance so that you've discovered that it's very disintegrating to the body--to the person--to the mind-everything.

Now there is the general statement that says WHEN THE DISINTEGRATION COMES TO AN END, INTEGRATION IS. You don't have to work at being integrated, that's your natural state. What we work at is throwing out conflict. If I have a purpose; and therefore, a will to go with it--and I apply it together, then I have no conflict, no struggle, and no resistance. I have the joy of working towards my purpose. I have the will to keep on doing it. And you, then, are an integrated person. An integrated person can choose whatever state of being or inner state they want to.

Now I happen to like an inner state of being peaceful or serene. That's a desirable state of being in the workaday world. I like to have some delightful states--like blissful--once in a while; but you can't make a living at those--they get out of hand. They're nice to have after you've gone into your room and shut the door, or gone to bed, or something like that; but they don't happen while out here running around on the street--you get in trouble. You get accused of being intoxicated; and so you just don't do that kind of thing. If you get high, why you can stay high off by yourself somewhere-preferably with a very few people anyway.


Let's say that you decide a purpose-one that's just a side purpose-you know you can have more than one purpose going at the same time. I happen to like the purpose of "contributing to a pleasant harmonious mood wherever I am"--I don't care where. If I'm sitting here, I want to contribute to a pleasant mood. Have you had a better mood since you've been in here? Has it been fairly pleasant? I like to do that. That is one of my major purposes in the world is to contribute to a pleasant harmonious mood; and I notice when I'm contributing to a mood, usually several other people get involved in contributing to a pleasant mood and everybody has a good time.

And I also have a purpose to earn a living and take care of my obligations and so forth; but that's the easier one of the two-come to think of it? It's so much the easier one of the two-about everybody can do that. You can do that, can't you John?


Sometime you contribute to a pleasant mood; but you also have been known to "contribute to a downer", is that right? Now we all get into that.

Now again, let's get back to the stimuli. So if you have a purpose and a will, have you then eliminated conflict, struggle, and resistance--which is all the disintegrating factors of man.


If you're in a struggle, you are subject to all kinds of emotions like anger, guilt, fear, apathy and the works because it's according to what happens with it or which way it goes.


If you're in a conflict, you are wanting to do one thing, but you don't want to do it--and so you are constantly in turmoil within. It's hard to go either way. I want to stand up; but I want to sit down. I say to people once in a while-can you stand up and sit down at the same time?--and that's a little hard. I like to stand up when I want to stand up, and I like to sit down; but I don't want to be in a conflict over it. Did you ever get in a conflict whether you were going to get a new job or not get a new job-going to give up the old one; or a conflict as to whether you want to get rid of this guy and get a new guy, or you want to get rid of this lady and get you a new lady? Have you ever been through all those things, huh? Course everybody nods "yes" slightly, not emphatically, but slightly--everybody agrees. So consequently we call that conflict.


Now resistance is "resisting what is". Now "what is" is whatever circumstances are going on in the present moment; and if we feel that our inner state is determined by circumstances--(which is a very common belief--which I would call a mis-belief)-well, it is a very common belief that you're inner state is determined by circumstances. Is that about correct?

Now if everything is going like you want it-- lah-dee-dah -- you would be very happy; and if it's not going just like you want it, then you could be very upset, is that right? So most people go around more upset than they do un-upset because things don't usually go just like they want.

Free Choice

To be in free choice, you could feel any inner feeling you wanted to regardless of the circumstance. Then you don't have to be resisting the present circumstances because you can feel happy under one circumstance as well as you can another. You can feel joyful under one circumstance as well as you can another. You "contribute to a pleasant mood whether everybody's doing just what you want them to or not". It's peculiar about people; they don't usually do just what you want them to. Have you noticed that by any chance? Have you've noticed that such is the case? So if the only time you can feel good is when everybody is doing what they "ought to do" in your viewpoint, how often do you think you'll feel real good, huh?

(Not very often.)

Not very often, so it would seem that we're in a pretty pathetic situation if "feeling good" is dependent upon everybody else doing "what they ought to do"--according to me, that is. I don't know what anybody "ought to do"; but we, most of us, have a pretty good idea what they "ought to do" and what they "should do" and what's proper for them to be doing; and we can all find some kind of fault with the way they are behaving because obviously "they know better; but they're going on and being perverse anyway"-that's about right?

So let's put last week's talk, "Free Will" and this week's talk on PURPOSE AND WILL, and see if we can develop the two to where they work together; or you can change your purpose whenever you like. You don't have to sit here and say, "Well, I got to choose a purpose to take for the rest of my days." You know, that begins to sound like it may be a long time-it may not be for all I know; but it could be--then it sounds so permanent.

Now what do I want as my purpose today? I have one little purpose today that I haven't had too much trouble putting together; and that is contributing to a pleasant harmonious mood wherever I may be. It hasn't been hard at all. In fact, we maintain that when you choose your own purpose, that no longer does second force interfere with you.

Did you ever contribute to a pleasant mood for a little while Mary?


Did anybody try to stop you?


There was no interference whatsoever. Now if you're trying to have other people "give you a good feeling", you're "loaded with second force". There's a jillion resistances to it, is that right? And if you're trying to get everybody to do "what they ought to do so you would be happy", I'll guarantee you'll have gobs of second force, is that right? But "when I'm being what, to me, is being a good guest"--or I'm contributing to a pleasant harmonious mood--or "I'm giving a little service for whatever everybody asks for"; you know, I've never had anybody try to interfere with it-not one. I have no second force there.

Do you like to live without resistance? That's what second force is--resistance to your purpose. Now there are certain purposes you got no second force to. I've never had anybody try to stop me from trying to contribute to a pleasant mood. I've never had anybody try to interfere with me doing what, to me, is being a good guest. I've never had anybody bother me over that. I've never had anybody interfere with me giving a service that somebody's asked for. Now, I don't go around trying to straighten people out or any of that kind of stuff.

[from Marsha…..Through the years, I took on the exercise of "contributing to a pleasant mood", I sometimes met resistance. When I looked at it, I discovered I was confusing a good mood with pleasing and/or "helping"-helping meaning "my advice" to people. I didn't even realize that I was doing it; and I discovered that "my advice" is NOT only in error; but is also not contributing to a pleasant mood. So I'm heedful if I'm mechanically trying to give people advice-it takes being awake, and the ability to drop it.)

If somebody asks for something, I usually try to deliver it to the best of my ability-nobody interferes with that. Have you ever noticed that? So it might be interesting to see how you could live without second force to any extent--hardly at all. It's just nobody is going to interfere with you doing that--that's really all there is to it.

So let's take a consistent; and say we did not have "free will" last week; and I probably never really had a "conscious purpose" in my life. I've only been grabbed by a few things here, there and elsewhere; and they all soon wore off. It's like a man said that he "every so often" decided that he would quit drinking. He was a pretty heavy alcoholic; and he said, "Every now and then I get an idea I should quit drinking; but I sit still about 15 minutes and the whole idea goes away."

So you don't have to bother with these "temporary sorts of things" very long if you find yourself doing it. You can choose a purpose that you're going to use--then one can have a "consciously chosen purpose"; and if you really made a purpose out of it, then you have will to go with it. If you have one, you have the other. If you have will, you can have a purpose. If you have purpose, you can have a will. They're two sides to the same coin-like heads and tails. And so they do go together very much.

And a person who has developed a "free will" does so because they see that life without it is just a bounce from here to there and back again. You really don't get much choice at all without purpose and will--you're bounced from here to there; and then you have misfortunes. You're this kind of victim--you're victimized this way, and you're victimized that way. If you don't have a purpose, you really have very little to feel "vitally interested in"--much less enthusiastic about; and we will be bounced down to the "lower inner states" that we have talked about like boredom, and maybe even as far down as apathy; you know-"what's the use bothering with the whole thing."

So if we see the necessity of it, we will do it. And I said, surely we have as much memory available to us as a "friggin" old elephant does that travels all over the United States in box cars. When you turn him out in a town, (and he's been there before), he knows where the fairground is, and he goes there and sits down--no drivers have to go with him or anything.

Well, we don't have to have somebody to drive us. Do you have to have somebody to sit on you? Now we will give you a tape of this talk so that whenever you remember to, you can play the tape; and it will remind you, again--if it takes that. Maybe it takes the tape to remind you about choosing a purpose much like being reminded that you don't want to forget your lipstick or you're cigarettes--very few people have to remind you of that, is that right?

So don't tell me you're memory has (gone to hell in a hand basket) because you still have enough of a memory to bring your lipstick and you're cigarettes with you.

(I probably had to think about that when I was younger.)

I don't think so. You decided you really wanted to have your cigarettes with you; and you wanted to have your lipstick because both of them made you look like a sophisticated lady of the world-and you're not going to do without them. So I think that will take care of that all right in no uncertain terms.

Now I think, again, we've talked long enough-let's have some comments around here. I like to have some words.

(Well, in me, it's just partially decided all the time--just a hint of a decision that I'm going to do this, but then it fades.)

It fizzles out before you get it acted upon, Mary says. You never really decide anything--you only have a hint that you're going to do it; but then sit still for only two seconds; and it will go away. Then you won't have to do it. So it's an excellent way to not be bothered.

(Laughter from the audience)

If something comes up and says, "Well, I'm going to do so and so", just sit still for a minute like the man about the drinking--he's going to quit the drinking; but if you sit there a few minutes, the whole urge went, and so he's still going on with his drinking

(So it's really the reverse, you are going to be bothered.)

That's correct, you're really going to be bothered. You want to avoid being disturbed; so you don't do anything because if you don't do anything you think you won't be disturbed; but unfortunately, you are disturbed unintentionally, is that right? So might as well grab the "bull by the horns" and make a purpose, or see the necessity of having a will; and a will, will make a purpose. Or you can have a purpose--something "you are interested in"--and go on and do it; and then you have the will to carry it out.

Well, if some nice guy invites you to go to Tahoe for the weekend, do you forget about it? Not on your sweet life. And you're on your way, right child? Well, you're on your way, and so you are not a victim of anything. Now that time you had a purpose to get there on time, look pretty, and be the royal lady and go to Lake Tahoe, right?


Ok, so there you have a good time until it's over with because you had an external stimuli that got it going; but you didn't forget it. So don't tell me you're poor old memory has gone to pot. It's just that you don't want to be bothered with it--that's all because we have to be bothered now and then in order to recall. It's not that it's a bother, but we tell ourselves it is-or shall we say some little not "I" says it's a big bother.

Ok, who else has a word here? We'd like to have some more.

(It seems like there's two purposes. You mentioned the purpose of making a contribution to a pleasant mood. There's also a purpose that has to do with action in the world, something you want to do.)

A purpose to make a living with, we'll say--right? So Miss Mary said you can have more than one purpose at the same time. That's absolutely correct. I'd like to have several of them; but those do compliment each other.

In other words if I'm contributing to a pleasant mood, it's easier to make a living. If you have a pleasant mood over in your shop, for instance, Miss Judy, you have more business than when everybody's sitting around saying, "Oh, what in the world happened to business?"

(That's right.)

You do likewise, right? If you build a good enough mood in something, you're going to attract people; and the last time I checked up on it, the only place to get money from "is a people", is that right?

You're in the business of getting money all the time; and don't you have to always "get it from a people"?

(Seems like it.)

And it's the only way you've been able to get it.

(I tried some institutions.)

Well, I know, but they don't work. You got to get it from a people--even in the institution, isn't that right?

So you always got to deal with people. Now if you have a pleasant mood, it's easier to deal with people then if you go in a place thinking, "that guy won't do anything anyway". I like the story a man told me one time about a guy was going through the country one night--a salesman from the big city; and he had a flat tire.

Flat tire story

When he got out and opened the trunk to see about getting the jack and the spare tire; he found he had a spare tire, but he didn't have a jack. He had a lug wrench, but he didn't have the jack. He had taken it out and used it for something at the house and left it there. So he was pretty forlorn for a few minutes--very victimized, you understand. No doubt, he dreamed up that it was his wife that took it out of the car. Just then he saw a light go off in the distance--in a farm house down a-ways.

So he decided he'd better trudge over there and see if he could borrow a jack so he could get on his way. He didn't want to sit out there in the middle of nowhere all night and starve. So he heads towards this house. The closer he gets the more the little thoughts run-these farmers out here wouldn't want me to borrow a jack. "They will probably want a $100 deposit; and I only got about $20. with me"; and so he thought that the guy would be disturbed and wouldn't let him have the jack at all--even if he put up a deposit--and it probably wouldn't fit-probably didn't have anything but a tractor jack which couldn't get lowered enough to get under the car.

So finally just before he got to the house, the lights went out and he said "Damn it, they've gone to bed, now they'll really be pissed." So he goes up and knocks on the door-a little gentle knock. Some voice in the window says, "Yes, who is it." By this time he's in so much conflict that he says, "Aw, you take your damn jack and go to hell."

So he already had all the conversation figured out, and that's done. He had it figured out exactly how it would go; and so there was no purpose in it-which resulted in no use asking for it--just let it go because he "contrived in his mind what was going to happen".

So most of us approach about everything in that way-maybe not quite to that full extent, but close.

So you know, they won't let me have that building. "They'll want too much money for it--or they will do this--or they'll want too long a lease--or they won't do that". Now we can convince ourselves that there's not much use in doing much of anything, that about right? No use making investments, it'll go to pot. No use doing much of anything in the world.

Ok, we will have another talk a week from this Monday. Have a good weekend everybody.