Don't be Extreme

August 17, 1986

There is a middle path.

I wanted to talk about something that I find very interesting. I think the reason that most people are unsuccessful in life or unsuccessful in general at what they want to do is because they go about what they want to do in such a manner that they do not complete it. They do not put enough energy into it to allow them to go on to the next step. Perhaps they do it for a short time and discover the difficulty of it and then they give up on it. Even if they have put a lot of effort into it, they give up on it.

All philosophies in life say that if you really want something or you really want to be something, that you can do it. But you have to work for it.

For example, if you wanted to become President of the United States, it would be difficult but it could happen. If a person really wants to do it, they can get a grass roots movement started. They would have to get a campaign behind them, become dynamic and they would have to start changing the general social welfare of everybody in the United States. They would start to campaign to raise the standard of living for everybody in the country, the rich become wealthier, and the poor become richer. By doing this, anyone could become the President if you really wanted to put your energy into it. Most things are not beyond our grasp. We only have to put the work into it that is necessary to achieve it.

But what I see happening to be honest with you, is that people will put effort into something to get it right next to the edge before it happens, and it appears that it will never happen and they give up. Everything is exactly like this in your life, your meditation is like this, your jobs are like this, your relationships are like this. It is so close you are right on the edge of it. It is like lifting weights. If you are going to build a muscle to a certain condition you have to work it to exhaustion. It does not happen at that point of exhaustion, the muscle develops later after you have put in the work, automatically. It automatically arrives after you have put the exhaustion into it. When you have worked until you can do no more. That is when it happens.

Now, I am not saying to anyone to become a fanatic. Do not get fantasized into making yourself so weird in the world that you no longer belong there. You know like those guys that stand on one leg for ten years. Those guys will gain enlightenment I do not doubt it at all. But they are sort of fanatics. It is a weird way to go about it.

There are middle-of-the-path routes that you can take in everything. You don't have to be so fanatic. You could lift weights every other day for eight hours a day, but it is fanatical and you defeat your purpose in the end. You could probably sleep one hour a night and study all night long, to get straight A's in school, but you would be exhausted and not be able to do anything in your life. What I am saying is to not become a fanatic in anything. There is a middle path. You can put your energy towards anything but you have to work yourself to exhaustion to make it happen. You begin to work and then take one day off, and then you come back the next day and work yourself to exhaustion to make that thing happen again. It is an ongoing process. You work until you cannot do anymore to make it happen, and then you allow yourself to rest so that the muscle has time to grow. It is just like with the yo-yo, you work with it to make it happen and then you just let it sleep at the bottom. And then, it just happens. It is like when you take a test with school. You study until you are exhausted and it does not look like it is going to happen, you get scared that you won't pass the test, and you put up some kind of barrier to prevent it from happening

Being unable to put enough energy into something happens sometimes because we get spread so thin that our energies are placed in so many different areas that we have a very difficult time making anything happen, which leads to nothing happening for us at all.

I would like to bring this into the realm of Summum as well. Some people get very radical in their involvement of Summum. To the extent that everything they do or say becomes them speaking or acting as though it were a Summum thing, rather than making it their life. They talk about it and they push it on people around them, but they do not make a personal practice of it inside of themselves. It is sort of like a diet. They create a certain gorging of so much food that it becomes sickening after a period of time to be around it. They use it as a vehicle to carry them wherever they go. This does not happen very often. But sometimes in order to get laid people use the Summum vehicle. If they need an excuse to take a drink, they use the Summum vehicle. To do everything in life, to get up to go to work they would use the Summum vehicle. Everything they do, every movement they make, they would use it as an excuse for their actions in life. It becomes an obsession. It becomes so blown out of proportion within their existence and their relationship to themselves and the world around them, that they get very caught up in the Summum vehicle. So, for starters I suggest you do not do that.

But I suggest you put some effort into it to make something happen, to get a little muscle tone. It is nice to go the gym and work out but if you only do it once a week nothing ever happens. You go there and you might get sore muscles the next day, but your diet is really bad and you just lie there in a comatose state the rest of the week, and go back for 20 minutes the next week. But nothing happens.

I see that in all of the TV evangelism and a lot of the church meetings out there today. It is very interesting to me. People will go to church on a Sunday morning or watch it on TV and they will send in their $10 or $20, and they will look at their scriptures and feel good about it. They will put their time into religion but nothing really ever changes in their lives. They never really gain a new consciousness because of their religion. I think every religion has an impact on the soul of those involved in it for the better. To the extent that no matter what happens while you are involved in the religion it still gives you a consciousness within your soul that there are certain things you do not want to do in existence. There are certain things you would be better off doing and then there are things you would like to avoid. I am speaking in general when people have spiritual experiences that are personal to them. Many times when that happens, people decide to become more honest in their lives. They decide they would shoplift less, or that they would generally be a little tiny bit nicer to the people around them. Then there are the radical extremists on the far end that want to force people to listen to their ideas of religion. This reminds me of the fanatical born again Christians.

I did a radio show recently about the mummification we perform here and why we do it. It was a Christian radio station and they were asking me why Summum performs mummification rites. They asked, "Why would a Christian want to be mummified?"

So I told them, "Well when the founder of Christianity, Christ died, he was wrapped up and treated with a hundred pounds of oils and myrrh. His body was put in a sepulcher above ground and he resurrected it. This was the founder and he set the example for burial. But most Christians today are shot up with embalming fluid and shoved into the ground and allowed to decay and then they are supposed to be resurrecting this body some time in the future..

Then, there was this born again Christian lady who called into that radio show and she was just livid. She said "It does not matter what Christ did!. She went on and on and on about all you have to do is have faith.

Pretty soon there were a lot more people calling in and verifying that it was very specific that Christ went through a mummification process, as portrayed in the Bible. It was very interesting, all these Christians were in an argument over the air with each other about whether we should get mummified or not. The overall consensus was that we should all go and do it!

Anyway the fanatics get caught up like this lady saying all you have to do is have faith. It says in the bible that faith without works is dead. You can have faith that your muscles are going to grow but if you do not pump the iron nothing is going to happen. You have to get in there and do it. So what I wanted to persuade everybody to do, is become involved in Summum to a level that allows it to make a spiritual change within you, but does not allow it to make you look weird in life.

As long as people can see and feel that you are normal person everything is fine. So, I do not think you should take your clothes off and run up and down State Street. People would start to say, "Hey, what's going on here?"

It is like that story in the bible where it says that you should go into the closet to pray, instead of doing it out in public to try to get praise and applause for it. Now I am not knocking what is going on with the Rashneesh people right now. They were forming a commune. People were trying to be socially similar and break down barriers between each other. So that is a little bit different story. Although, when you go into society and not do what that society does; not dress as the Romans do when you are in Rome but instead wear a big white bandana on the top of your head with big balls on the top of it with a long flowing white robe, and you go down to the taco time and serve tacos in garb like that, it is looked at as a little weird. You stand out and people never can really get to know who you are because all they know about you is the garb you are wearing. They only ever see the uniform you are wearing. That is all they can see. If you see someone in a police uniform you never get to know them as a person, you see them as a police officer. But as soon as they remove the uniform, they are a different person. People treat you different when you are in uniform, and when you are not in uniform.

So what I am trying to say is you need to just be a regular old person, but have the standards of your religious philosophy inside of you. Do not try to push them into somebody else's face, or push them down somebody's throat, or flaunt them to anybody. Not even verbally. If people want to ask you about your religious philosophies or thoughts, then go ahead and talk with them about it. But do not impose yourself on other people. When people talk to you, they want to figure out why they can be your friend. They do not want to go through any conversion to your religion right then and there.

I am talking about this middle path of involvement in Summum that will provide the greatest growth and potential betterment within your lives. The level of involvement that will continue to transform you and help you to go on and on, without getting caught in radicalism or looking weird in life or society, while at the same time allowing the most happiness and success within yourself. The opposite swing of that within most everybody is that they do not do enough. Their involvement is peripheral, they show up to do a little and they do a little of this and a little of that, but they do not get behind pushing the weight or getting the A in class.

The goal is to excel in the class, and to become a master of it without flaunting it on to everybody else, or creating a barrier between you and them. You can excel in the class and be a regular person. I would suggest that everybody that wants to create that for themselves here ought to be involved in a minimum number of things around here. They ought to be concerned about the tomatoes growing in the farm, or the snow that gathers on the sidewalk in the winter time.

What I am trying to say is you ought to be concerned about the tomatoes on the farm. Jim was concerned whether the building was leaking. Al is concerned about which morticians are going to take mummification. We have many basic things around here for anyone to be involved in. We should be concerned about people learning to meditate. We should have the most appropriate form of presenting, or allowing them to find out about the meditation, and learning it in the smoothest manner possible without causing any conflict with anybody's life. That includes allowing people to use the nectars. It includes allowing people to find out about the mummification. It includes making sure that all the things within the grounds of Summum are within acceptable conditions to the society around us.

We generally are not concerned about what is happening with those things in our lives. Not the exterior of those things but within ourselves, on the inside of our lives. What I am trying to say is it's not necessarily those manifest things but when you become concerned about the tomatoes in the garden there is more to that story. It is about the community service getting the food, and giving it to the hungry people. Someone out there is going to go hungry if those tomatoes are not cared for properly. It goes far beyond whether the tomato is going to grow in the garden or not. It is a very large caring type of thing that happens inside of you. It is a concern that is inside of you about the welfare of things other than yourself. It is losing yourself to find yourself.

Now I know we all have to survive on this planet and in this society. But, I have not ever known anybody around Summum that died of starvation. We need to take a little more effort to broaden our concern for other things that will make our lives a little smoother. There is an interesting balance in life. Everything strikes a balance and as it balances, it makes us a whole person. Instead of worrying and being concerned so much about our own survival we ought to let go of that concern a little bit because worrying about it does not do any good. Instead go out and work as hard as we can at making ourselves well inside and do something meaningful in our lives.