June 3, 1934
At to-day’s lesson with Miller found myself suddenly a step forward in my grasp of the theory and practice of the technique. To learn proper use one must first inhibit all improper uses of the self. Refuse to be hurried into gaining ends by the equivalent (in personal, psycho-physiological terms) of violent revolution; inhibit this tendency, concentrate on the means whereby the end is to be achieved; then act. This process entails knowing good and bad use—knowing them apart. By the “feel.” Increased awareness and increased power of control result. Awareness and control; trivialities take on new significance. Indeed, nothing is trivial any more or negligible. Cleaning teeth, putting on shoes—such processes are reduced by habits of bad use to a kind of tiresome non-existence. Become conscious, inhibit, cease to be a greedy end-gainer, concentrate on means: tiresome non-existence turns into absorbingly interesting reality. In Evans-Wentz’s last book on Tibet I find among “The Precepts of the Gurus” the injunction: “Constantly retain alertness of consciousness in walking, in sitting, in eating, in sleeping.” An injunction, like most injunctions, unaccompanied by instructions as to the right way of carrying it out. Here, practical instructions accompany injunctions; one is taught how to become aware. And not only that. Also how to perform rightly, instead of wrongly, the activities of which thee is awareness. Nor is this all. Awareness and power of control are transferable. Skill acquired in getting to know the muscular aspect of mind-body can be carried over into the exploration of other aspects. There is increasing ability to detect one’s motives for any fine piece of behavior, to assess correctly the quality of feeling, the real significance of a thought. Also, one becomes more clearly and consistently conscious of what’s going on in the outside world, and the judgment associated with that heightened consciousness is improved. . .There is an end, for example, of neurotic anxieties and depressions—whatever the previous history.