The truth is warm, kindly, healthy. It is something you feel independent of friends and environment; you know it all by yourself. The truth inspires because it connects what is real in you with what is real in the universe. The truth is all you really need because it includes everything you really need, which you can know by experience. The truth inspires because it is the truth.
A man who is good does not go around contriving to do good. His own goodness does good, wherever he goes, though few realize it. Being one with goodness, he has no separate self-image of being a good man who can help the bad to be good. He leaves such imaginary and ego-centered goodness to the self-deceived. The bad man thinks about goodness with personal gain in mind, while the truly good man impersonally expresses goodness. Because a rose is a rose, it never needs to think of itself as one.
Our freedom can be measured by the number of things we can walk away from. We cannot walk away from anything we falsely value, including exciting but pointless involvements. Non-attachment is the secret, and the non-attachment is a product of valuing true life above all else. What a difference it would make if human beings loved their own lives, but instead they love their unconscious illusions, like children who hide forbidden and dangerous toys in the cellar. The spiritual adult knows how to walk casually away from all that is not worth his attention.
ACCEPTANCE BY OTHERS
The man who needs to be accepted by others still lives under several wrong impressions. He still thinks there is value in self-pleasing human associations and in reassuring words which come from people who appear self-assured. He still thinks he can escape the agony of his own emptiness by filling it with the neurotic noise of society. The awakened man has no attachment to the opposite terms of “acceptance” and
“rejection.” Living above mere words, he comes and goes among people in a quiet contentment which is unknown by those who still seek acceptance.
Man lives in dozens of imaginary self-pictures which he wrongly takes as his actual identity. But because a man never observes himself to see that it is so, he never believes anyone who tells him about it. I would like to end this paragraph with a single thought for your reflection: If you are not the person you think you are, you do not have the problems you think you have.
Many people are puzzled when told they must become conscious and aware human beings. What does it mean to be conscious? Nothing mysterious. It means to see things as they really are, and not according to personal preference, imagination or borrowed ideas. Man’s chief barrier to consciousness is his delusion that he is already conscious. The crumbling of this delusion is the first task of whoever wants out of the trap.
Many people feel they lack intelligence to find the higher way, but this is merely a misunderstanding. Intelligence has nothing to do with college degrees or public fame or even the reading of many books. Authentic intelligence is the willingness to exchange fancy for fact, to exchange imaginary self-pictures for healthy self-insight. Think of true intelligence as being an individual wish for rightness, after which you need never give it another thought.
What kind of man possesses possibilities for self-awakening? He is the man who feels, even dimly, that he is living under some sort of a gigantic hoax. He has observed the senselessness of his life, he has noticed how people are really quite ruthless beneath their masks of decency. This is a crisis for the man, for now he must decide whether to start thinking for himself or to dazedly endure the horrible hoax. It is a crisis, but also a fresh chance. What man who feels himself caught in a hoax wants to remain in it?
What do the great teachers mean by saying man is asleep? It is very simple. To be asleep means to suffer, to be burdened by hidden fears and conflicts, to not live from one’s own pure nature, but to slavishly imitate foolish public customs. To be awake means to have a free and spontaneous spirit, to be one with universal laws and therefore opposed by nothing, to see life as it truly is, and to know that all is well.
“I would like to be a self-aware woman,” said Anita H., “but I cannot understand what I must do. Is it really that mysterious?” Reply: “It is not mysterious at all. When the waiter sets your dinner before you, do not lose yourself to its pleasant sight; instead, be aware of your reactions to its arrival. Others at the table will not do this, but you can do it. You will feel something different. This awareness is the very same awareness which makes you a problem-free woman.”
An esoteric school is not a place; it is an alert mind. You can be profitably enrolled in school day and night, wherever you go. You are in school when you notice a slight change in the face of an apparently cheerful friend, which reveals his deep depression. Your schooling is proceeding nicely when you suddenly realize that the person who clings to a false idea is the same person who is punished by it. Unfortunately, this kind of school is not glamorous enough for many people. They want impressive teachers in saffron robes and incense filled chapels.
When meeting a difficulty of any kind you must ask yourself, “Am I going to fight this difficulty or am I going to rise above it?” If you decide to fight you will have to fight endlessly and wearily, for it is the very battling with a problem which keeps it going. But if you decide to transcend it through insight, the problem disappears forever. It vanishes because you now see there was no individual and his problem, there was only an individual who was his problem. Rise above yourself.
A problem is solved by seeing that there is no problem outside of yourself. Investigate that idea.
We should be encouraged, not discouraged, by seeing how much work we have to do on ourselves. It means we are awakening to our actual condition, we are seeing our self-defeating attitudes. People who live in self-images of being positive and wise and pleasant see no need whatever to work on themselves, so they remain in the suffering caused by living in dreamland. The worse we see ourselves to be, the more encouraged we should be, for if you know all about darkness, you also know about dawn.
I will show you how to become a unique human being. When people around you scream for what they want, don’t join their screaming. If someone of the opposite sex offers to reduce your loneliness in exchange for what he or she wants from you, refuse the offer. While others praise self-reliance, you practice it. If a friend urges you to join him in aggression toward what he calls a common enemy, walk away. When authorities claim they can give you the answers to life, find your own answers by independent search.
SELF-PRAISE & SELF-CONDEMNATION
By abolishing both self-praise and self-condemnation, and thus thinking from a higher level, we are never falsely fascinated by others, and therefore never hurt by them.
People are always eager to know whether there is a new way to change their lives. Of course there is, but it must be new, not merely different. We don’t find the new way by accepting a different doctrine or teacher, for that only changes the exterior scenery. We find the new way by getting so tired of the old way that we are willing to give it up. With that, newness begins.
TO DO SOMETHING JUST START
The way to do something is simply to start doing it. You don’t need details about how to do it; just start. The way to think for yourself is to start thinking for yourself. The way to get rid of worry is to start understanding the false power of worry. The way to learn from unexpected events is to start listening to the valuable lesson they are trying to teach.