The reason why you should be confident can be summarized in three facts: 1. An entirely new world exists. 2. Sincere men and women throughout the ages have entered it. 3. You can also enter it.
4. The answer to all problems lies within ourselves. 5. Consciousness is the only influence which is right and beneficial for us.
Reality is like a very generous employer, but one who pays your wages at irregular and unexpected times. If we have done our work as best we can, we need have no concern over time and nature of payment. It may be an intensified feeling that we are on the right track at last, or it may be a fresh delight in being both your own teacher and student. Dwight R. testified, “While working at my office one morning I suddenly realized that I need not torment myself with my own anger.”
Sometimes a seeker is discouraged by a fact which should rightly encourage him, as with Jeffrey G. Worried over his possible insincerity, Jeffrey was cheered by hearing, “It is pure imagination that anyone starts on the path with one hundred percent sincerity, or even fifty or ten percent. One percent is all a man possesses at the start, and even this wavers at first. But one percent is tremendous, for like a magnet, it attracts more sincerity.”
Your first responsibility in life is to live a life of truth. Do that and you will never have any of the false responsibilities which burden and confuse most people. You are never required to shoulder the responsibility of those who refuse to take responsibility for themselves. If you are presently weighted by doing what you do not want to do, there is good news for you. By making the truth your first responsibility, you will see the last of needless responsibility.
There is no virtue in suffering. In itself, suffering has no value and no reward. This is contrary to what confused people like to believe, for suffering fills a place inside them which would feel empty if it were not agitated by pain. Suffering is caused by self-contradiction and there is no virtue in contradiction; there is only a need for correction. The only wise course to take with suffering is to use it to end it.
Hold every thought and action up to the light of the question. ‘Does this increase my agitation or does it suspend my agitation?’ After doing this you can make a great decision in your favor. You can decide to no longer enjoy agitation. Yes, the enjoyment of agitation and sensation is the nervous life of most people. Whoever screams back when screamed at enjoys his screaming. Agitation is false life, so you will decide in favor of true life by no longer paying the dreadful price of agitation.
NO NEED TO WIN
No one can win over the man who has no need to win over anyone.
And there is no need to win over anyone. To not win is to win. Try it. After enduring and ignoring the complaint of the old nature which frantically insists it must win, you will win. This is a new kind of victory, in which you do not win over people and events, but in which you win over the false belief that you must win. That is complete victory.
MAN HAS EVERYTHING BACKWARDS
The trouble is, many people take the healing truth as a personal insult.
A sufferer comes for help and is told, ‘Your self-centeredness must be abolished.’ He never returns. Man has everything exactly backward. He takes rejection of the true as the way to avoid self-destruction, and takes acceptance of falsehood as the way to live. With the courage to reject falsehood, even in small ways at first, we catch a glimpse of our life-damaging error. From that point on we begin to truly save ourselves.
Self-awakening is the one great task of every man and woman on earth. To be self-awake is to be free of unconscious self-sleep. The first step toward self-awakening is to detect one’s actual state of psychic sleep, which is characterized by secret suffering, fear, anguish and similar negative states.
A persistent discontent with ourselves as we are is the first call to the other way of life. When feeling this discontent sharply, we can then make one of the great decisions of our life. It is the decision to change ourselves, instead of trying to change the exterior world, which changes nothing. It is challenging work at times, but is also a lot of fun. Above all, it is really the only sensible task we have here on earth.
Self-observation is a classical technique which leads to self-liberty. You should observe your thoughts and words and acts impartially, reacting with neither praise nor condemnation to whatever is observed. You must not identify with anything, that is you must not think that your thoughts and acts represent your true self. Self-observation enables you to separate yourself from mechanical thoughts to become more conscious and happy.
In order to see what must be seen, we must slow down. Rushing through life is like being in such a hurry to finish reading a book that we skip every other sentence. Neither a book nor life can be understood like this. We must not merely be aware of each successive moment, but must be in each moment, which makes life make sense.
You are free when you have the power to hurt another without getting hurt in return and you do not hurt them.
SOCIETY’S SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS
When society does not know what to do about a problem, it invents theories to make it appear that it does know what to do. The appointed crime committee concludes that crime is caused by poverty or drugs or broken homes, which is like saying that illness is caused by sickness. Social problems are caused by human ignorance of spiritual truths, but since few can face this fact in themselves, the problems continue.
We must see how we unknowingly give other people power over us. If we resent another person’s behavior toward us, we carelessly give him power to make us negative. If we react with gloom to a neighbor’s gloomy remark, we permit him to tell us how to feel. Nothing prevents us from having total self-command, and nothing prevents us from having it right now.
You can keep pressure out. Suppose someone is actually putting pressure on you. To whom does the pressure belong originally? To him, not you. Let it remain his pressure; do not unconsciously take it as your own. It does not become yours unless you permit it. If someone sets an unwanted sandwich on the table, you need not pick it up. This is an astonishing experience. The other man’s pressure finds no one who wants it.