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THE CAR PASSING TRICK
It is essential, if this experiment going to work, that you NOT take it seriously at first. It must be ONLY for amusement (at least at first). This is the “bitul” aspect (bitul is the Hebrew term for self-abnegation of will, will-less-ness, and humility). Think of it as a “controlled folly” (as Carlos Castenada put it in his works on Yaqui Indian “sorcery”.)
The reason what you are about to do, and especially its outcome, MUST be a “folly” is because if there is any desired outcome whatsoever, your ego will be involved and you will not have nullified your will. That is not bitul. (It is interesting to speculate that this might be because, physically speaking, conscious ego involvement collapses the “wave equation” prematurely and prevents the experiment from working.)
The necessity of nullifying your will provides some additional guidelines for the experiment. You must either be completely alone, or the people you are with must never know what you are doing. (You can do this without telling your companions.)
If you tell anyone before you try the experiment, your reputation and the credibility of the experiment will be riding on whether or not you are “successful.” This is not bitul. This is ego involvement and it engages rather than nullifies your will, so the experiment will not work.
If you intend to tell anyone after the experiment – either bragging about success, or mocking the foolish-superstitious experiment if you fail – your ego will be involved and the experiment will not work.
Now, if you are already a person who can nullify their will, like a tzaddik (saint), these precautions are not necessary. But, it is best to start out without presuming you are a tzaddik. <smile> (Presumptiveness is willfulness.) Willful ego-consciousness is inextricably tied to our 3-D bodies. The experience of “hyper”-reality is not consistent with 3-D reality, because 3-D reality is causal and deterministic. Although this is a repeatable experiment with consistent effects, it is definitely NOT physically causal in the usually understood sense. What other sense is possible, you ask? Read on.
If the experiment is going to have meaning for you, you must be prepared to keep it entirely to yourself. You may, however, repeat the experiment to your heart’s content. You will find that IF and WHEN you are able to meet all the conditions, the experiment will become reliable – from your point of view. Of course, there won’t be any other point of view, because you are never going to tell anyone about any particular experiment at any time when it could be externally checked on. Without humility, the experiment will fail. You cannot objectively demonstrate this experiment to anyone else. You can only encourage them to try it, and, if they succeed, to discuss their and your common experiences.
This experiment is exclusively repeatable and subjective. It only works in consensus reality IF you are a genuine prophet. Since it is unlikely that anyone reading this is a prophet, we can neglect this case.
Okay, here is an example of what to do. Remember it is only an example. You will have to interpret it and try something equivalent to it in your own particular circumstances.
|The situation: I am driving down a narrow country highway with only one lane in each direction. Passing is not allowed and/or it is too dangerous because the road is too winding to see far enough ahead.I am in a hurry to get to my destination and am zipping along merrily down this country lane when I come up behind farmer Brown who is driving his model T at 20-miles per hour. I was happily going along at 45-miles per hour, and could safely continue to do so IF farmer Brown weren’t in the way.What to do?I could risk the chance of an accident or a ticket and cross the double yellow line to pass farmer Brown. But, it’s not that much of an emergency. (If it were a real emergency, I would have a real stake in getting to my destination in a hurry and I would have a very difficult time trying to remain bitul. See more on this, below.)I could pull up behind farmer Brown, flash my headlights, honk and make an angry gesture. But, alas, we already know that farmer Brown has declining eyesight and doesn’t hear so well anymore – else I wouldn’t have evoked the stereotype of “farmer Brown in a model T”, and he wouldn’t be driving so slowly in the first place. <smile>So, I decide to try the experiment:The first condition is that I actually desire to pass farmer Brown. This is my will. I will later have to give up on my desires and nullify my personal will.
1. When all the conditions are met, When I clearly form the thought that I would like to see manifest
2. AND when I feel my need and lovingly share my feelings about it
3. AND when I completely let go of my wish by nullifying my will to God’s will,
At the very instant when I have actually nullified my will to God’s will (just as in the biblical story of the sacrifice of Isaac) and given up on anything happening, and I am completely resigned to follow farmer Brown forever, Farmer Brown will inexplicably pull over or turn off the road and let me pass. Or some other means will open up that allows me to pass. (In essence, just as with Abraham and Isaac, God provides the alternative for the sacrifice.)
Sometimes all that is required for me to actually give up and let go of my will to pass farmer Brown is for me to turn on the radio and get lost in some discussion or music. At the instant that the radio catches my attention, the instant that I drop my will – and not a moment before – the obstacle will disappear.
This “car passing trick” is especially useful when you find yourself behind a police officer traveling at the speed limit on an otherwise completely open road. No one is foolish enough to speed by a police officer when the officer doesn’t have some other problem to occupy his or her attention. (It is always safe to speed past a police car after a fire-engine red sports car speeds by first. <smile> )
You may have to experiment for a very long time before you will get the hang of it. It may work for you the first time and then it won’t work again until you get out of the habit of counting on it. (Counting on things is not consistent with a state of bitul.) In fact, it won’t work at all at first for some people, because, try as they might, they can’t turn off their ego expectations. This will even be true for very pious persons who observe all their religious obligations.
You have to keep running variations on this experiment UNTIL JUST AFTER YOU CAN GIVE UP ON IT so that it will REALLY be a controlled folly and you really will be in a state of self-abnegating bitul. After a large number of attempts, you will naturally stop expecting anything to happen. Then, when your will is dropped, you will be caught by surprise. After the first breakthrough, if you are not ego pushy, it will become easier and easier to the point where this just works naturally whenever you can actually afford to give up on getting what you want. It will stop working entirely the first time you are tempted to demonstrate “your” ability for someone else. That turns on ego. Ergo, no effect.
You can also make an experiment of preventing the effect this way from time to time. You will find that the willful ego-switch turns the effect on and off with absolute precision.
Whatever you do, do not attempt this in any way that is inconsistent with your understanding of what is right. Improperly understood this experiment can lead to “siddhi-tripping” and idolatry. Be careful, but if you are up to it, I think you will find a startling experiential proof of the reality of the teaching in Pirke Avot.
…And if you know someone else who has had the same experience, you will have someone with whom you can share this subjective demonstration – in objective discussion.
Have a happy folly.
Note: An earlier version of The Car Passing Trick appeared as an essay in The Zen of Close Encounters (Edited by Paul David Pursglove, © ‘95, The New Being Project, POB 3070, Berkeley, CA 94703).