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Workshop - The What And The How

Excerpt from March 18, 1978 Workshop in D.C.*
(*Audience participation is in parentheses--notations in brackets have been added for clarification )

[In the basic series "The Teachings" Dr. Bob talked about "awareness" being the "What" and X being the "how". It took me a long time to understand the terms to begin experimenting with them. I hope you’ll be able to catch on quicker from this.)

Prior to this part of the tape, Dr. Bob talked about thinking "How do I want to feel?" Then "acting" that way until one "feels" it. He calls it –think-act-feel. He suggested that when he gets up in the morning he thinks that he is the luckiest guy in the world and then acts that way.]

..........well, aren't you frustrated before you get angry? In fact your frustrated before you get disappointed and then the whole thing comes down. In other words, always the first thing out is frustration. You didn’t get the "ideal". Now before I really get upset, I gotta be frustrated real much, and then I get angry. I always gotta get frustrated first, then I get ticked off. Is that right?

So, could you act very confident—that X is going to take care of the "how"—all you got to do is see the "What." It works pretty well that way as you check it out. Anything you acted confident about came about. X takes care of the how.

(My job as an awareness function is to figure out what I’d like to have. I want to have a nice big studio. Do I just tell X…….)

No, you don’t go tell X about a big studio, we just talked about that. We’ll go through it again now. How would you feel if you already had the big studio?

(Burdened.) (lots of laughter from the audience)

You don’t want the big studio, you see, because you’re telling X if you had it, it would be a big burden. Now let’s ask you another question. How do you feel not having it?


So which one do you want.

(Just like I have it.)

…….and somebody else to do all the work. Why don’t you be the luckiest lady in the world and forget it. Who knows what will work out; you may have a whole bunch of people running the studio for you. But you see I’m willing to leave X with the "how". I don’t want to be bothered with that. I’m quite willing to leave X with the "how." I don’t want to go through all the "fiddle-faddling" around to figure to build this and this, and this. I see "what", X takes care of the "how" and they do come out of the woodwork sometimes—most unexpected places, unexpected comments. Somebody will come along and the whole thing takes off.

I wanted to have a certain occupation in a certain area of the country the other day—it seemed that that would be appropriate. So I put that out as the "what." In less than four hours, two guys walked in and asked if I’d work there for them on a consulting fee basis. I said, "Sure!" They flew in on airplanes after I thought about it. They even bought ‘em a ticket after I thought about it. I said "what" and X took care of the "how." I had nothing to do with it. Why should I bother with all those little details. I wouldn’t know how to do with them anyway. I thought that was fantastic—course it happens every day; so why should I be concerned with all these planning out this and planning out that. I said what I wanted, X took care of the details. It’s fantastic to watch, I live in a constant state of awe.

(But how did you ask? Did you just sit there?)

Oh no, I act like I’m the luckiest guy in the world all the time. Haven’t you noticed that? I own the joint.

(Did you act like you expected…..)

No I didn’t expect it, I’m just very confident that everything that I report to X will be taken care of. So I said I walk around like the luckiest guy in the world because I’m totally confident that it will all work out all right. X knows how to do it, I don’t—I haven’t the foggiest; but it always does. So it wasn’t any expectation, I wasn’t expecting it to happen today, tomorrow; in fact I was a little surprised that it happened in four hours.

Two guys came flying in on the airplane, never one had I met—they knew about me--and come said, "Would you come be a consultant for us and set up so and so in a certain area. I couldn’t see how you could do much better than that. So I said thank you to X and went on my way—went to work. I started thinking on what they wanted done and so forth—doing the little things I know how to do. It’s simple.

You wanted $700 million the other day, and you acted like you were the guy to get it, and they all gave it to you, didn’t they.

(Did you modify your reporting?)

I was acting like it was already done—who cares about it happening. Happening puts it off. I say act as though it’s already done. So I was acting like I’m the luckiest guy in the world, and in a very few minutes it actualized, ok?

(Do you say thank you before you …..)

Oh, I say thank you so many times a day…….. that I…… least act thankful, ok? Don’t you? How could I keep from being thankful all day long.

(I’m thinking that what we’re talking about if your thinking of a specific thing—say all day long, you act like I’m the luckiest guy in the world. But you are reporting constantly; but when you’re saying that you thought of a specific thing.)

I would like to work in a certain place, and lucky guys get to work where they want to, don’t they? Sure I’m thankful, I’m always thankful. The luckiest guy in the world has to be thankful, wouldn’t you say? I’m thankful, and if I happen to wake up through the night, I’m thankful.

Of course, the most unfortunate guy in the world has nothing to be thankful for, right? Poor you. Who’s more unfortunate than me.

(People have a contest of how unfortunate they are.)

You’d probably win. I know a few people who’d give you a tussle for the job.

(A lot of people have thought of an experience they wanted badly enough……course, lots of times they decide that wasn’t very wise.)

Right, so I don’t ask for most of those specific things.

(If you think of it a lot and then you think of……..)

That’s turning it upside down again. You said you wanted it and then you said, "God willing." You got a little scared about it along there and was afraid if you did get it, it wouldn’t be so good and etc. Why not go ahead and get it. If you don’t like it, you can probably get rid of it as easy, ok?

Man has worked through the ages to say that "You tell me "what" Oh God, (whatever word he uses) and I will do it." Which is about what you just said. If you’re willing, give me so and so, and I’ll do so and so. That’s not quite how it works, that’s called turning the earth upside down, or turning the world upside down. You have a certain attribute; and the only thing you can say is "What." And X has certain attributes, and says "how" to do it. Now X is just as ecstatic with or without whatever it was you wanted to experience. X so loves you it will let you experience any of it. So all right, it turns out you don’t like it, are you stuck with it, or could you get rid of it. Go do another one, ok? Keep it simple. We so complicate things because we go back and turn the earth upside down.

(I’m a little hung up. I understand that X is willing to go along with anything you want, it makes no difference to Him)

It, whatever it is.

(There is also a part of the teaching that says the I should become passive.)

So passive in "how" and as far as I’m concerned I’m very passive, I’m the luckiest guy in the world; but I take whatever X adds with that, ok? I don’t think I go around asking for too many things—once in a while I do something.

(how about the part that says don’t change circumstances)

I don’t attempt to change circumstances; ‘cause you probably couldn’t anyway. You’d frustrate yourself working at it which is the whole bit. You see, man has convinced himself that if circumstances were different, he’d be different. So he goes out and puts a tremendous amount of struggle. Now some of the things in the teaching that says don’t bother with….really says, you can’t do it anyway. So, we really can’t do much about circumstances because they’re ever changing and moving. The whole point of that idea is don’t get in there to waste your time on trying to change circumstances when the circumstances right here is wonderful.

(Well, then there’s some circumstances you change, and there’s certain circumstances you don’t)

Well, what little contribution you can do to them, sure. If the floor is dirty, I’m going to clean it.

(What about where you wanted to work?)

Well, no I was continuing to work where I was; but I was quite willing to work in the other area, so I made a remark about it. I didn’t change the circumstances, X did. I wouldn’t know how. I don’t even know how to stand up, but X stands me up every time I decide that’s the thing to do.

(I have an idea that you do what you can to alter circumstances within what you see as X’s rules.)

That’s about right. Maybe I would alter the circumstances. I would make a contribution to a pleasant harmonious mood wherever I might be. Now if that alters circumstances, fine; I just made a contribution.

So if I go into a place and everybody’s sitting down…………in fact I went to a luncheon the other day and was the next to the last guy that got there. There was three of them there "scrappin'" and the fourth one came in there after I got through and he started scrappin'’ with all of them. So I started telling funny little stories; and pretty soon we were all talking as sensible bunch of people.

Now I didn’t alter the circumstance, but I made a contribution to the situation, to a pleasant harmonious mood; and they caught up enough of it, the whole thing got changed. But I only made a little contribution to a pleasant harmonious mood; and of course, that I do about any time I get half a chance. I’ve seen you do that and it works real well. I don’t think we altered the circumstance, but the circumstance altered in a few minutes from the little contribution we made. I make a little contribution to a pleasant harmonious mood.

(I’m still unclear as to the event you gave to wanting to change locations. You intent was to change that circumstance to …..)

No. I wasn’t trying to change the circumstance, I wanted to feel a certain way. I was as thankful that I would be with the circumstance already changed and that’s the way it worked out real quick. I was living as though the circumstance (that one little part of the incident) which I was interested in.

(But what if that instance didn’t work out for you.)

Oh, I’d have been very happy any way. But I never did have a doubt about it not working out. X always does the appropriate thing.

(If I find myself in a situation that I don’t particularly enjoy.)

Well, that one I wouldn’t have found myself in. I was just enjoying where I was.

(Say I wanted to make a change. How do I know when I’m pushing circumstance.)

It crossed my mind about the situation that I would like to work there, for several reasons. It would go along with being the luckiest guy in the world. So I only acted being the luckiest guy in the world, and I’m surprised at the turn of events and as rapidly as it did. All I was doing was acting the part; and therefore had the feeling of being the luckiest man in the world. That easy enough. Now if the circumstance hadn’t changed; it still would have been something extremely lucky for me. It just so happened that it came that particular way, ok. It could have come many other ways and I’d still have been the luckiest guy in the world—as far as I’m concerned.

(Suppose you did everything, but had some doubt. You really didn’t care because you’d just be happy in what you were doing.)

It would have gone some way nicely, it always does. But that was just an unusually nice.

(The real confidence you were holding, seems to me, this utter confidence and being the luckiest man and what that meant to you is involved with that. That’s what you were really holding on to.)

What that means to me is many different things and it varies from moment to moment sometimes. Sometimes it’s to be here, and so I’m here.

(In other situation, say in a relationship, a person is doing something that you don’t like them to be doing. Instead of changing what he’s doing, start acting as if…….)

If I’m the luckiest person in the world, and maybe that is one of the things that would enter into my picture of being the luckiest guy in the world.

(But that person would be feeling that, and probably circumstances would change.)

In all probability, I see circumstances change everyday. It’s like I say, you can go in and make a little contribution. I see myself as lucky to be able to make a contribution to a pleasant harmonious mood. I see a lot of torn up, noisy situations straighten out very rapidly. I just made a little contribution to a pleasant mood.

(I was in a relationship and I acted as though I was the luckiest person and I was really happy. I felt fantastic, but the other person didn’t change at all.)

That’s right, most often they don’t.

(They may react to the circumstances.)

They may get up and leave too.

(When I got off my kid’s back, they quit fighting with me.)

You started contributing to a pleasant mood instead of straightening everything out. Most often we can get along with about anybody if we’re not trying to straighten them out.

(I was also less tired.)

(In talking about affirmations, you affirm that you already have something, right.)

They do it with words and not a feeling. They do not put the "act" into it. The last time I attended one of those particular things or read any material, it is words and not an action. It’s been my humble viewpoint that without an act, nothing happens. I read in a book that a person who hears my words and repeats them and doesn’t act upon them is likened unto a foolish man who built his house on a sand pile. The first rain or storm came along, it was blown away. The man who acts upon them is like a man who built his house on rock. Without the act and only the affirmation of words; very seldom does the person generate the feeling. Sometimes they speak it out loud which is a bit of an action and comes nearer getting it there.

(They sure go around demonstrating a lot of stuff)

I know that. And they also create a lot of demonstrations that are faked at times I’ve noticed—but some of them do act them out and some of them fake them, I’ve noticed. I’m not taking any of them apart; but you notice that certain people act things out, and some of them only say the words. If you only say the words, nothing much ever happens. It’s probably better to say certain words then sit there complaining. You see even saying pleasant words is a little bit of an act over the act of sitting there and complaining, right?

None of us would be here today unless we made it number 1 value over being somewhere else. Now if I were incapable of making up my mind to be here today; and I would have wanted to be in Salt Lake City; but I couldn’t make up my mind to Salt Lake City or Virginia, I would have been sitting in a state called catatonic—I couldn’t move. I would have done neither. So whenever we our mind singly; we’ve chosen one thing for that moment to be of first value. So if you make one thing of first value; you have a feeling that it is of more value to you than something else.

So when we make up our mind we establish something as number 1 value; now that doesn’t mean we eliminate all the other things; but I put them in number 2, 3, or 4 place down the line. I still intend to go to Salt Lake City, but not today. In making up the mind I say what I want. If I make that first value, I’ve said what I want. Now I haven’t made it important that I’ve got to have it or I’m going to have a "hissy" fit. Now what I want is not circumstance, but an experiencing for me. I could probably have the same experiencing under 20 different circumstances, or more. In other words I could feel confident under many different circumstances. I could feel joyful under gobs of different circumstances. So the circumstance is what we experience somewhat, but I wasn’t even working on the circumstance, I was working on what I put as number one value for now. The experiencing is what happens.

There’s many ways to get up and open the door. I could go around this way or that way or someone else could open it. If I was in a room and it felt stuffy, I’d probably make it a number 1 value at that moment to get the stuffiness undone and the fresh air feel. Does it really matter how I got it as long as I experienced the unstuffy air. Experiencing is what we look for.

So when we said that we would have a value and make it FIRST value. That’s making up the mind or setting a value—or you could call it many other things. We talked about think-act-feel a while ago.

Now I would put a certain feeling as being a first value to me

I happen to like to feel delighted most of the time. I make it a first value to feel that way. Under gobs of circumstances, I will feel delighted. But if I make up my mind to be in a delighted state; then I’m willing to take the first initiative step towards it which is the way I’m acting. Then I find that a thousand delightful circumstances come along; and I didn’t have to work at the circumstance at all. I’m not trying to build circumstance ‘cause I don’t have to have a certain circumstance in order to feel delighted.

I could dream up one and say if I had this circumstance, I would feel delighted and go to work to get that circumstance; and no doubt, that there would be plenty of times I could get the circumstance and not feel delighted either. You have been through that.

I’ve had people tell me if they could just be free "from" some situation. The situation does get so they don’t have it after a while and they don’t feel any better. See, we’re not talking about circumstance when we are talking about making up the mind. We are talking about a state of experiencing that I’m somewhat interested in. The state of experiencing is a feeling. You like to feel successful at times? If you begin to act successful; you could feel successful under numerous circumstances. You could feel very successful teaching music, or teaching physics or something totally unconnected with teaching of any kind.

Most of us are interested in a feeling. I don’t have to have a circumstance, but I do have to have an idea of what feeling I’m interested in; or I would probably only be fumbling around and bouncing to and fro and maybe have it once and a while. We’ve all have had delightful days or moments; but you attribute it to circumstance. You were really not in charge of whether you were going to be delighted or some other way.

(Sometimes I’m in charge)

If you’re in charge, you can have it. There are other times that we’re bounced about; and we consider ourselves to be victims of circumstance. Now if the only way you feel "wonderful" is because somebody DOES a certain thing or SAYS a certain thing; aren’t you just as much a victim if you felt "miserable" when somebody DID or SAID something you didn’t like. Either way, would you say somebody brought about that feeling, or I created that feeling for me.

So as we listen to people talk, generally a person says, "You made me angry." Did you ever say that one. That says I’m a victim. Did you ever say that somebody made you laugh and so on down the line which always says that somebody else is in charge of my inner state.

Now if we are to be a conscious individual, would we not be in charge of the inner state. Now I would not be in charge of circumstances. I would not be in charge of all these other things, but I would be in charge of my inner state. Now isn’t that what we put the most value on when it’s all boiled down—your inner state of being.

If I leave that to the care of everybody else; they probably have very little reason to take particular care of my inner state. I can see no reason why they would be, would you? You have very little interest in my inner state ‘cause you really don’t know what it is most of the time and could care less. If our own inner state is responsible for it, and I am responsible for that inner state then I can’t lay it off on anybody else. Our inner state is what we’re talking about and how I can take charge of it. Otherwise I’m just leaving it around so that Charles will say the right thing to me and that Ruth will do the right thing. I’m leaving it around expecting that Barbara will remember how terrible I felt when I’m rejected. I’m leaving it around expecting that everybody else would take care of it. So I’m in charge of it. I’m not in charge of circumstance; but can I have the same general inner feeling, inner state under all kinds of circumstance.

Now if I set out and have confused myself and said that my inner state depends on circumstance; then I’m going to be struggling with circumstance. When we observe society as a whole, this is the way it generally works. They’ve determined that if everybody was affluent, or a great number was affluent, then everybody would be happy.

Now basically as we look about, even the people that are on welfare funds are rather affluent today. We had a little conversation the other day with some people that went like this. If Solomon would have the car you have to drive around in today, he would have been the greatest potentate of all time because nobody else had one. If he could have had a black and white TV set that would show him what was going on down in Egypt and over somewhere else; and all he had to do was turn dials and see it, he would have been climbing the walls with his joy. If he could have had a transportation system [air plane] which would get him down to Cairo in a few minutes or been up to see his friend, Hiram, in another country in about 30 minutes of so; he would have felt that he had the greatest of all accomplishments. We have more than Solomon had in our affluence; but have you seen it make people really happy?

I work with people from all over the country and I have yet to see affluence make anybody happy. Now it can make you more comfortable while you’re unhappy. I’m not opposed to affluence. I like it, but it doesn’t make you happy. I have run into people who were very affluent and wanted to go back to the farm life of having a cow and a few chickens to just keep substance going. Of course, I’ve never seen very many of them try that yet. I wouldn’t want that—I had that. They talk about simplicity would make us happy, but it’s doesn’t. One’s inner state is dependent on what one makes up one’s mind to. It’s dependent upon how we see things. We can set a value of how I see. We talked this morning about our "truth" and how we see..........