At Home with the Inner Self

Jim Burns

James J. Burns, III


Jim Burns


I used to spend most of my thinking time on cosmology. The whole effort is an attempt to escape the truth that life is a madhouse from beginning to end. To be clearly conscious of what the world is like is agony. I've never seen anyone who got to the point of having disdain for life ever reverse their attitude. A process goes on progressively from birth to death. Some call it "wising up," but another thing to call it is "accepting defeat." It is defeat. Your fantasies die one at a time. Most people die physically before they get to the point of total rejection. Nobody goes the other way. Nobody gets happier and happier.

Real philosophy is different from scholastic philosophy, which, after Plato, is ninety-eight percent horse manure. It is a particular form of insanity, delusions of grandeur gone wild on a paying basis. Scholastic philosophers make psychologists look like healthy men. They put out pure garbage devoid of any capacity to experience meaning. You wind up feeling you are chewing cotton.

I started in Pre-Law in college. Law has absolutely nothing to do with anything. All these cases are decided by manic lawyers who are having a good day and sway the judges. It is all theatre. When I eventually saw through it, I had to get out. In my first five minutes of a philosophy class, I knew I had discovered where I belonged. I later learned that scholastic philosophers were nuttier than psychologists.

Everything but philosophy is child's play. No one could settle for dandelions when they know what roses are.

We have the essential assumption that we are on a trip from unknowing to all-knowing. All religions and cosmologies are different versions of this same theme. It's the underlying implication in all conscious effort. But how can any being be the absolute master of his own destiny, which is what it boils dawn to? Our type of comprehension is entirely limited. If it weren't for habit patterns, nothing would get done. But habit is the antithesis of insight. They block it at every turn because it takes time to sift this idea and see what it does to that idea. By saying that our comprehension is limited, consider that if we had to be attentive to the basic operations of Nature, if we had to consciously digest our food. Our comprehension is designed in limitation. If we had to be conscious of and control all this... which theologians presume to be the consciousness of god.

You've gone as far as our comprehension can go when you get to paradox. You come to two equally opposed expressions of the situation. Most any explanation will only suffer so much examination. If you look at any explanation too closely, the whole thing will fall apart. We can use the word "infinite," for instance, and have it have some meaning to us, but only by comparison to the fact that we presently aren't infinite. The main reason for the concept's existence is to give dimension. You cannot know black without white. It is impossible. Our structure is such that we cannot make a perception in the absence of dimension. We see all reality as patterned after our own reality, which is probably another tragic mistake in the way our minds work. You can get in trouble going too far, because our comprehension is only designed to operate in a limited range. It has to be that way or we simply couldn't survive.

Everything is an extension of the questioning process. This is the point that most scientists loose track of. Why are they asking questions in the first place? Why are the questions so insufferably unanswerable no matter what they find? The reason is that they are answering the wrong questions. They are in the laboratory looking for the reason why they can't sleep, and they're never going to find the answer in the laboratory. Intellect is a monster when it is not connected in comprehension with feeling.

You may start on the trip that brings you to referring only to yourself as the source of your answers. Unknowingly accepting other people's answers through books and the like, is the trap which we are all born into in our system, but there's no alternative. When growing up we have to be taught to tie our shoes. If we had to figure it out ourselves, we'd be fourteen before we figured out the bow knot.

The great danger of the written and spoken word is that you will ingest conclusions without the pain of the growth. You can't do it. It won't work. You start to read in order to learn, but the problem is that we all use the written word as an opiate, as an escape from thinking, as an escape from the pain. It is a dangerous trap because in time you are forced to resolve every issue you ever came to in the mental realm. You create a need to answer every question that is generated through the interface and interrelatedness of all these concepts.

We get into the trap of thinking that the written and spoken word have answers. They are only answers of the written and spoken word, not the questions of the body, which are injected with every word we read. When someone writes a book, you have to question what his purpose was in writing it. No one can do anything but describe themselves. It doesn't do any good to learn from a book because it's not your story. This is an entirely individualistic thing. You may listen to someone for hours and only one sentence will have a pressing meaning for you, one thing you were looking for. It has to have reference to what you are trying to do inside, whether you are conscious of it or not. You have to find concepts that release your gut tensions. Most of us go through the time of being so isolated from our gut experiences that we literally don't know that they're there. If that were not true, there would never be a day's work done.

You have an accumulated world of experience, and in being a man there is a part of you that is always trying to see how this affects that, and what does this over here mean, and how did this get to be like that. You can't stop this process and are stuck with it. Women, I don't think, generally have the ability to raise mind before the age of thirty-five because of the simple chemistry involved.

Every time you break through into a sharp, clear realization or imagery in any area, all of a sudden you set up a whole new standard and everything you've ever thought has to be brought up and compared with it. It's a standard process and you have to start all over again. This occurs until you break through and achieve the awareness of THIS I KNOW IS ME. When you achieve that realization, you break into the final frontier. From then on, after you've done the massive review and reevaluation from breaking into that final frontier, everything thereafter is done for the rest of time. You don't have to do the massive review any longer, or go over everything every time you achieve insight. I spent thirty years doing it.

I've spent a lot of my life driving. My doctor is the automobile and hundreds of thousands of miles. That is where I bought my silence. I've driven because it gives the outer mind just enough to do to keep it from attacking, so that the inner mind has the opportunity to come up and smell fresh air. The best thing you can do with inner problems is to get them on the surface. It might be temporary agony, but it's endless relief. It's like the sign by the side of the road, "Dig We Must For A Better Future." To be genuinely "clear" is to have answered to every question you have had to date, and I've been there on a regular basis. If that isn't paradise, I don't know what is. It is to have taken every feeling that ever came into your comprehension and to have traced it all the way back to it's roots.

We are accustaned to think in the limited bag of concepts that we already have and there is a fear to try and reach out beyond that. You will try to get something out of the bag you already have. For awhile it will fit, and then it won't fit. It will wind up making you more uneasy than you were before. You wind up getting answers that don't fit the questions.

A great problem is the fear involved in realizing that you know nothing. When I first came to the place of being able to face the unknown, I split the most difficult rock for me in my entire life. Facing the unknown takes a lot of personal quiet and divorcement from the world around you. I studied this very carefully. It is the bridge between the inner and outer man.

It takes hundreds of hours of facing the unknown to get the unknown to yield one little insight, one little piece at a time. If you are going to be any good at it, you have to be lucky enough to escape the trap of thinking that you can learn anything from books. You can learn anything at all about outside reality from a book, but when it comes to describing your own inner reality, it cannot by definition ever be described by anyone else. It can only be described by you. No one else has access to it. It is a totally solo and into the unknown trip.

I learned to take things to their logical extremes and see what is going on behind them. You have to deal with the problem at hand and not get a point in thought ahead of yourself. There is a perfected image behind every thought, and until you have every one of them honed to a razor edge, you can't achieve the comprehension that your soul so desperately needs. You have to get the time to develop the frontal mind to keep track of the rest of you. You have to constantly answer to questions presented to you from the envirornnent. Everyone has questions longing to be answered inside of them, but for some reason in most people the pressure of the question isn't that great.

If you learn to go to sleep slowly, you can pick up information from the crossover state of images between waking and sleeping. I think numerology first originated from information gotten in the crossover state. Numerology doesn't have anything to do with mathematics. "O" is the state of unknowing. "1" is the state of knowledge. "2" is the state of bringing the knowledge into the practical. "3" is the state of completion – spiritual, mental, practical. "4" is dealing with the practical. "5" is the number of change. "6" is the number of the Overself or the Christ in you. "7" is the psychic number. "8" is completion as opposed to involvement in the earth. "9" is the last phase of integration of new information and completion of a cycle, and on and on. These ideas have been generating in men's minds since the beginning of time. It says more about the nature of thinking itself than anything else.

Mysticism is a continuing trend of thought and experience brought about by contemplating the nature of the organization of matter in the universe. It brings a high and sense of fulfillment that no other thinking will bring. The first philosopher I ever identified with was Plato, because I felt he had had the same experience.

The source of all this world to me and to the extent which our structures allow us to understand it, is that there is an energy, of which the most physically understandable aspect is light. This energy is slowed down. When it is slowed dawn to an extent, there is time and space. In the condition beyond time and space, there is only a condition in, and not a condition to question in. Our problem is our lack of ability to accelerate our being to the absence of time, the absence of motion.

People who desire a mystic experience may actually be preventing it by thinking that the urgency they feel may be for that experience, when at that point in time it may be for something completely different. You have to find a way of knowing what the hunger is for inside of you. If you don't find a way of satisfying the hunger, you will be hard pressed to pursue anything. You have to see where accidentally you have been making efforts against your own best interests.

In an extreme form of concentration, like in motorcycle racing, a person develops attention able to be focused on about fifteen different factors at once. All the while the person is also maintaining a single overriding frame of mind. If something breaks the concentration, he'd better get out in a hurry. Musicians in a band also achieve this state of concentration and hear every note that is being played. They may even be aware of the state of mind of each person they are playing with. No one can stay in this state for very long. Drugs make it impossible.

When I finally became successful at deep meditation, I came to a frame of mind that was identical to this type of stream consciousness. I had the ability to be on stream totally in all levels of capacity to perceive in any sense, from physical things right down to the most abstract level of comprehension. I don't know if this would be called Cosmic Consciousness because I don't know for certain what is meant by the term. I've only had this experience once. When I try to talk to someone about the thing, I'm strapped for a description. The only way I know how to describe it is that, if you imagine your comprehension as a pinpoint in space, and from all directions around that point you are perceiving totally. It is the same function as the increased concentration in the motorcycle racer example, but about a thousand times more intense. It is being at the peak of the universe and surveying it all in comprehension.

Illumination is the opposite of the feeling of complete worthlessness. Everybody has known a time when they felt completely outcast, downtrodden, completely worthless and useless. The other extreme on that same line of experience is the feeling of being completely at one with yourself, being completely informed and capable of handling anything that you have to face, of being completely serene and beyond the capability of doubting your own capabilities and capacities. To understand this phenomenom, you can see that the concept of focus in common consciousness is merely the focal point between internal drives and external fulfillments. In the one case where you are feeling utterly worthless, the lens of focus has fallen slack, is nothing but a pane of glass and cannot focus on anything of value either on the inside or the outside. At the other extreme, the lens is sharply focused and very clear, and able to pick up desires without any effort, and with no effort be able to find in the world the sources of fulfillment.

The most overwhelming experience I've had was the knowing of my Overself that occurred to me in my middle teens. It answered to a whole realm of my being that I had no suspicion even existed before the experience. Nothing in my Catholic education suggest that such a thing could happen to a person. I had to totally give up the sense of any personal being and take a chance that there was nothing there that would be destructive to me. Which I was able to do and did. It was a death from remorse, from failure. I literally died from it the pressure was so great. It got me to the other side, and the minute I got there, my first question was "Did I fail?" My answer was, "You couldn't have failed if you tried to. You did a brilliant job. You went down like a valiant sailor." I haven't been bothered by failure again. I know it is a false concept. No one can fail.

I feel this experience is what has carried me through the rest of my life. I know that this body will pass and I will return to that place.

The sense that first came to me was that of being free of the trap. It was a relief beyond expression here. There were different experiences in the same realm. To describe it I can only point to the wonder of a child the night before Christmas, the inability to contain your desire to be there before you're there. Strangely, it is the simple experience of being there in the full realm of the things you experience there.

The question of returning came up and it was similar to that of my other experiences. The capacity to do generates the necessity to do. As soon as you have on the other side committed yourself, even by a slight suggestion to return, then the hunger to return is generated. In my experience, to be honest, this world is quite miserable. We are not all here. We are familiar with physical existence and accept it as being here. When I was on the other side, this life was just a sad, sad joke. I'm very unhappy with it.

You are rooted in this system. If you stop breathing while you're on the other side, you won't be back. It's as simple as that. I had a choice over this the first couple of times I went over. I had complete knowledge and there were no blind decisions. I knew exactly what was involved, but for some reason I chose to come back. I was given the opportunity to knowingly choose.

The main reason for coming back was my attachment to people. I was so attached to the idea of my death generating a sense of loss in them. Come to the fork in the road, I'll go back and see. I didn't know what was going to happen. In one sense you have completely resolved all questions over there. You come back out of a sense of duty, which is generated out of being here. It is not native to that condition. I was still alive here, so I still would have died here. Had I ceased living here, the sense of duty would have evaporated. It is only generic to this condition. When you are in that condition, you are true to it also. When you are on the fence and the life force and health is good, you tend to come back. You think you have a choice, you probably don't. What makes us want to come here to physical existence is a real question. All I can tell you is that we are incurable nebshits!

I can remember with some clarity one experience in this lifetime of being on the other side. It was very... all encompassing. I could talk about aspects of it for hours. It only contained about fourteen hours. It was an experience of our being to experience that has been uncommon to me, so I often return to it in my wondering. When I was there I was at peace. At first, to say that I couldn't believe it only suggests the force that it had. It was peace. Now I knew a man, now here's a switch, he had a scratch for every itch – and that was me. But I was there, so in time I believed it, remembering that the time experience on that side is totally different.

Once you've had this experience, you come back with one apparently unreducible experience. You realize that all you are here, is made by being here, and it is to answer to this dimension alone. When you come to this experience, you will recoil in fear. If you are forced into it many times, you will come to a condition of being unfrightened by the unanswered. You come to a state where you accept the fact that this is the limit of your present capacity to know, and are not threatened by what you know is knowable, but not by you now.

I wouldn't object to success in the world if it wasn't at the cost of inner accomplishment. My answer is to know the Self. You see people chasing cars and status and money and all the rest of it, and the more they get the more they want, and there's no end to it. It means they have mislabelled their urges. They are looking in the wrong direction. What they don't know is that they want to understand their own inner workings. They are like children and look outside for internal answers.

A side of human nature has to be able to go out, work, and accomplish. I've been unable to do this. You can't be as one-sided as me and have a great deal of relief, although I have about as much relief as anyone, but on the other side of the fence, internally instead of externally. People are always at war within, but most don't know it. I'm different in that I've faced this war and had my day in the sun. Once you've had a day in the sun, your system will not accept any other answer. The things that satisfy me now – a simple room, a few pegs to hang my belongings on, would send most people living in the success mode into the depths of depression. To me it is being free, free from having to chase things.



top of page