Here are some of my favorite quotes from spiritual teacher Stephen Gaskin’s book, This Season’s People, which has been called a modern Diamond Sutra.
The real secret is: The most energy you can have is uncontained.
The more agreement there is about putting your attention into reality, the stronger and healthier everybody will be. It’s better to pay attention to what is, because that’s better mind food. A little attention to what is not is like spice for your mindfood, to keep you from getting dull and not thinking anything new. But if you put all your attention into what is not, then your mind is going to get jaded and dull, and lose sensitivity to reality.
On the other hand, while you’re soliding up your reality, you can’t be so square as to make it so miracles don’t work. You can’t get so rigid you can’t do miracles, can’t do healings. You want your reality just loose enough that you can do a little miracle now and then. But not so loose that it starts getting chancy and problematical for the kids and the folks out on the fringes. It has to be good and solid for everybody.
Your mind thinks in Gestalt flashes—The question is how quickly can you forget all that and go on to the next flash.
The Universe is a vibratory entity, and you can affect the vibrations one way or another by what you do. Everything has vibrations. Colors are vibrations, sounds are vibrations; so is concrete. So is thought. So is the Universe, God—all vibrations. And if that’s what it’s all made out of, then you have a technology for learning how to deal with vibrations….
…Non-space/time has a clear set of vibrations and rules of its own which are just as real and just as reliable as the fact that something falls 32 feet per second per second. If you behave in certain ways in the material plane, you will resonate with certain of those vibrations from the nonmaterial plane.
If you resonate a vibration that is very high—love everybody, willing-to-lay-your-life-on-the-line-for-mankind, we’re-all-in-it-together, nobody’s-going-to-live-off-of-anybody—you are going to resonate that pure vibration out of the non-space/time place that we call Christ Consciousness, or the Consciousness of the intermediary between God and man.
Get your mind unbound and free; and then, from the loosest, highest, best place you have, with the fastest and most humorous mind you can get together, you can reach out and make a try at understanding Spirit.
It’s so subtle that you have to be quick; you can’t have been thinking of yourself. It passes in the blink of an eye.
You can’t define God, and you can’t contain God. But you can, if you don’t look at yourself, be God. The way to keep from looking at yourself is to be so busy doing your best that you don’t have anything left over to look with.
You can’t know the totality of God with your finite mind, because God is infinite, and your material plane intelligence is finite—it cannot contain an infinite thing. But if you aren’t pressing about the totality, and just relax and observe what’s in front of you, you are knowing God, because that’s all there is to know.
There is nothing else to know; and the knowledge, the knower, the thing known, and the act of knowing are all one and are all God.
You are the eyes with which God looks, and the mind through which God understands itself.
If you but know it, in your highest and your finest and your most honest places in your own heart, God is speaking to you. Even now. All the time, in your highest and finest places.
Here are the keys to heaven: Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.
And here are the keys to hell: “Well, I know I got to take care of everybody, but I just want to get a little for myself first.”
You have to clean your heart. If you want to communicate with people at that level, you can’t have an impure thought about them. It muddies it up and makes it so unclear that you can’t communicate. We found that you have to really try to be pure in your heart to experience Holiness.
The practice of real love and impeccable correctness and politeness and care among each other is only the beginning stage of the kind of peaceful society in which you may talk seriously about spiritual enlightenment.
What we expect is to be truthful; to be kind; to try to share; to try to love one another. Some folks don’t recognize that as a discipline: They say, “Oh, that old stuff….” And it may not sound too difficult, unless you’ve ever tried it. But if you ever try it, you’ll know it’s an exacting discipline.
I know something. I know we’re all One. I know it so well that if I’m falling out of a tree, I know we’re all One before I hit the ground. I’m not going to forget it; I can’t give it up.
It is vitally important that we evolve some common philosophical religious assumptions—in order that mankind may survive. Without them, there’s a good chance we won’t.
There are a lot of differences among the religions at the lower levels. At the highest level, they become One… Religion only seems different if you’re dealing with a retailer. If you deal with a wholesaler, they all get it from the same distributor.
Your religion is how you really get along with folks — not what you may claim your religion is.
Your religion ought to make a difference to you in your daily life; it ought to make it easier for you, not in the sense that you don’t have to try, but that it makes sense for you. If you’re not getting along with your kid, it ought to help you out with your kid. It ought to help you out during childbirth; it ought to help you during the death of somebody who’s close to you. It ought to help you through the heavy passages in life.
Attention is energy. What you put your attention on, you get more of. Each one of us is a fountain of energy, a valve through which universal life energy is metered into the world, and we can each point our self at whatever we want to. We add life force to our surroundings—to everything we pay attention to. If you put your attention on the best, highest, finest, most beautiful thing that you can, that will be amplified.
Keep your attention in the here-and-now. Don’t past-trip. Putting your attention in the past means that here-and-now is continuing on without you. The more time you spend in the past, the farther and farther out of register you are.
Don’t put your attention into the future other than a reasonable amount of plans which you intend to carry out. Putting your attention out into the future is like when a squirrel runs out on a tree limb—when he gets way out into the small limbs, It gets very shaky. When you get out into the thin possibilities, it gets very unlikely and it tends to get you paranoid.
So tripping in the past gets you schizophrenic, and tripping in the future tends to get you paranoid. Hang out in the here-and-now. It is healing. When you’re in the here-and-now, accept it as reality. Don’t think about it or run it through your mind-filter when it’s coming in. Accept it.
A meditative state is pure perception: not being conceptual about the here-and-now. That’s what most Zen discipline is about: not past-tripping, not future-tripping, and not being conceptual in the here-and-now.
Within each one of us is a spark of God. Some people call it inborn intelligence: a capacity to look out and see something. That capacity is so strong that if you look at someone and you see something in them that you like, you don’t have to say anything, or give them a bouquet or write them a poem or send them a card. If you just see something in them that you like, that thing will become stronger and it will come out at you; and they will do it more for you.
Everybody needs attention—it’s a human requirement, just like oxygen and water. The need for it begins as soon as we’re born, and if we don’t get it in a fair way, we’ll learn outlaw habits of getting it. People will do outrageous things to get attention, because it is life force and energy. The reason to be discriminating about what you give your attention to, is to give real help to a person. That’s how we all be each other’s teachers: what we dig in each other, we reinforce.
Paying attention to what we choose to pay it to is probably the greatest freedom we have.
We all control what happens in the future by what we pay attention to in the present. If you perceive it to be improving and a groove, it improves and is a groove.
If you see that something should be a way, assume it’s going to be that way.
In Zen, they say you should learn to interact with the world, instead of leaving it. Incorporate the distraction, because the distraction is also Buddha.
Helping man is a good place to start your search for God.
If you’re not steering your mind, it’s running on automatic pilot and goes a million times faster than you can steer it.
Rather than figuring it out, and saying, “Is this right?” or “Where would this be in the light of contemporary philosophy?”—that first flash is your best bet. I try to trust myself and trust myself until I can just move on that first flash. If we all moved together in our interaction on that first flash, we would be incredibly fast and smart. If every time you asked a question, the next thing that came back was the answer instead of “Huh?” or if they just said, “I don’t know,” and let you clear the circuit to do the next thing—if we just all answered honestly and correctly the first time, it would be so easy, so incredibly fast and smart—we would just be fabulous.
You have to learn to trust your mind—don’t try to force it and push it in various ways. the more you trust it and the more you let it run on its automatic pilot, the faster and smarter and heavier it gets. It lets you out when you trust it. It’s a good one—trust it.
Any time something is hard for you to do, bring yourself to bear; pay attention to it. Concentrate yourself. Come on to it with all your energy focused. That’s all karate and breaking bricks is—is having all your attention focused when you hit. You can break bricks if your attention is focused. If your attention is not focused and the swing is the same, you might break your hand.
One of the highest and Holiest religious experiences that is available to mankind is to get outside your head for a couple of seconds and realize that the sun doesn’t rise and set in your armpit.
…Contrary to modern psychology, you can know your brother. Psychology teaches that communicating is like taking a rock and wrapping a note around it and throwing it, and the other person catches the rock and unwraps it and reads the note. They say that’s all you can know about somebody—and that’s not true. One person can know another person. You can go to that place where you share souls and you can know somebody, and you are not alienated and you do not live in a box.
We are all really one thing, and we’re all in this together, and no matter how we make it look, we are really and truly going to share fortunes.
Your intelligence varies according to your condition, your sanity, and how much energy and Holy Spirit you’re able to get together—you can change your intelligence and you can get smarter.
Sometimes you realize something that’s so heavy and makes you so much smarter on the spot that you realize you just got smarter, and you notice how dumb you were before. It’s a very humbling experience. It gets you high, just because it gets you so much smarter to understand that. That kind of heavy realization can be called kensho.
Magicians studying will are learning to contain an immense amount of energy with their ego. The most energy that you can possibly contain with your ego is less than not having ego and being open to everybody else, because then you have access to everybody’s energy—the Universe’s energy—and it is so much more than anybody can possibly contain.
Anybody who keeps their energy to themselves for a certain length of time gets stagnant, and they really need a little fresh water to come through. They may get a little irritable and a little dumb from getting stagnant. It’s a helping and a healing if you can get them to open up and let a little clean stuff flow through their system.
This Season’s People
You are the people.
You are this season’s people—
There are no other people this season.
If you blow it, it’s blown.