Tag Archives: Jim Burns

Prime the Pump

“The key to the whole process lies in the fact that there is a fountain-spring of endless guidance and information within every human being. One only has to learn to get out of its way, to let the consciousness generate in a stilled and quiet mind. – The fountainhead lies totally within.” – Jim Burns

One of my favorite songs as a child was ‘Desert Pete’ by the Kingston Trio. The dilemma of the thirsty traveler in the song fascinated me. What would I do if came upon an old well in the desert, and found the bottle of water for priming the pump? Would I pour it into the well, acting on faith that the message in the note was correct, that there was just enough water to prime the old pump? Or would I take the easy path, and drink it?

Our spiritual life poses much the same dilemma. Do we spend all of our time and energy on life and its pursuits? Or can we invest some of it towards future understanding and possible transformation? Do we have faith that our investment will come to fruit? Are we even aware that we have energy and time, and that they can be re-directed, invested towards something higher, rather than living from day to day, spending it all on whatever desire or fear presents itself moment by moment?

The Parable of the Talents presents a similar lesson. We are given energy and life, talents, which we can invest through faith, or we can covet the energy, bury the talent in the ground, and through fear of the higher(the Master in the parable) keep our self-love intact. The servants who invested their master’s money were rewarded for their efforts, while the one who buried his talent(no pun intended) had it taken from him and was thrown into darkness.

The song tells a similar tale. Do we trust in a higher power, and pour the precious water into the well, invest it, or do we take the way of fear and need, and drink it up?

Jim Burns talked about the hidden spring within each of us, and how all spiritual work was designed to re-connect us with this wellhead. To uncover the inner fountain of spirit through faith is, in a fundamental sense, our task. Life’s trials and tribulations can plunge us deep into ourselves, and at the bottom of this dark well, we may find spiritual gold. We come to see there is something higher, that comes from deep within. That the world and its desire/fear system lead nowhere but farther into need and separation. We gain faith through insight and intuition, and one day ‘prime the pump’. We start to question our need to drink all water as soon as we are given it. We are able to resist the world and its promises, the easy bottle, and to stop doubting ourselves. This saves the energy of the moment. It’s invested instead. We are starting to have faith. The pump is primed, the inner connection is re-established. The water of wisdom and love can come forth from our own inner well.

We are given many notes on how to prime the pump, how to have Faith. Teachers and spiritual systems have been presenting this message for centuries.

One day, we may realize we have been investing, priming the pump, through simple acts such as prayer and meditation, seeing others as ourselves, and listening to our heart. The inner connection will clear, the wellhead will have been uncovered. Then the cool clear water of our inner divinity will spring forth, healing our mind and heart, guiding us back to the Source.

-Bob Fergeson

At Home with the Inner Self by Jim Burns

  The fountainhead lies totally within…


Jim Burn’s book, At Home with the Inner Self, is now available for sale on Amazon.com. A page on tatfoundation.org is at:

or order directly from amazon:

Jim Burns was the only living person that Richard Rose spoke of as having “made the trip.” At Home with the Inner Self consists of transcripts from informal talks recorded in 1984 and 1985. New to the third edition is an interview conducted in 2006 as well as the photographs that evoke the graceful dissolution of the urban landscape that Jim calls home.

As a diagnosed schizophrenic, Jim Burns is a man tortured by his outer self for much of his life, yet truly “at home with the inner self.” His illness gives him unique insight into psychology and the impetus to study the mind as, truly, his life depended on it. Perhaps his greatest gift is leaving clues for other seekers looking for inner truth.

“The key to the whole process lies in the fact that there is a fountain-spring of endless guidance and information within every human being. One only has to learn to get out of its way, to let the consciousness generate in a stilled and quiet mind.

At Home with the Inner Self
Softcover, 124 pages, ISBN: 9780979963070


Jim Burns on Depression

A friend was talking last night about the fact that he gets so despondent. He’ll get a
rush of insight about something, and it will trigger a flood of insights that will come.
He’ll be uplifted by the passing flood of insights, even about minute things but mostly the seeing into important things he’s been blind to. Then he’ll go to bed one night and wake up completely in a hole and not know how he got there. The insight is gone. He looses all the insights. He can’t remember anything that he’s gained. He feels completely dissipated and spent and doesn’t know what hit him.
I really raised his eyebrows when I told him that the whole point of the conscious
effort, the whole thing you want about insight, is the insight to insight. You want to be
able to get to the point where you can see how to bring insight into the hole, to keep it from crushing all the progress. That’s the only impediment to an endless, continual
consciousness of insight, which is what I finally got to. The key was to seek and pray,
literally pray, for the insight to see what causes the depressions, because the depressions are what destroy everything.
Every time you have a specific fall into a depression, some one, specific emotional
experience is involved in it, and only one. There can be a string of depressions caused by different emotions. When you resolve and dispel one big depression through conscious effort and insight – if you ever accomplish this once, you’ve learned the root to dispelling all depression. Free association is the biggest key. Also, you conquer the hopelessness by facing it.
The minute you can generate a goal, depression dies. The thing about depression is
that you can’t generate a goal. A negative long-span thinking situation is always a case of the dog chasing his tail.
To be genuinely clear, which doesn’t have anything to do with Scientology’s “clear,”
is to have answered 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 its roots.
A funny thing about depression is that it takes just as much effort as it does to be
positive, but you end up with totally different results. The activity itself is not so much the key as what it produces. Being positive about things is equally as real as being negative. You have the same input, different outlook and results. The only way you can determine better or not between them is by what they produce. Between them they both suffice.
If you let negativity get hold of you, it becomes consuming and you are negative
about everything. There is nothing worse and more draining than having to hate. About the only way you can correct it is to be positive about little things at a time.

from Jim’s book, At Home With the Inner Self