The Perils and Opportunities of
By Anthony De Mello © 1990
Quotes and excerpts from the
book interspersed with comments by Dan Kral
Note: This book was put
together by J. Francis Stroud, S.J. from a spirituality conference by
Anthony De Mello, S.J. The book was published after the death of Anthony De
from the book
A good is never so good as when you have no
awareness that you’re doing good.
Life is a banquet; and the tragedy is that most
people are starving to death.
The most difficult thing in the world is to
listen, to see. We don’t want to see.
The chances that you will wake up are in direct
proportion to the amount of TRUTH you can take without running away.
You cannot fear something that you do not
know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of
the known. That’s what you fear.
If you see through yourself, you will see
My illusions are constantly crashing against
When you’re ready to exchange your dreams for
the facts, that’s the way you will find it all. That’s where life finally
becomes meaningful. Life becomes beautiful.
What you judge, you cannot understand.
When there’s something within you that moves in
the right direction, it creates its own discipline.
I’m an ass, you’re an ass.
You’re not okay and you’re not not okay; you’re
Loneliness is not cured by human company.
Loneliness is cured by contact with reality.
You only change what you understand. What you
do not understand and are not aware of you repress. You don’t change. But
when you understand it changes.
The person who is truly non-violent, who is
incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless.
What you are aware of you are in control of;
what you are not aware of is in control of you.
You are always a slave to what you’re not
You’re a success in life when you wake up.
Negative feelings are in you – not in reality.
Reality is not problematic. Problems exist
only in the human mind.
Page 5 – On Waking Up
Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don’t know
it, are asleep. They’re born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their
sleep, they breed children in their sleep, and they die in their sleep
without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty
of this thing we call human existence.
Even the best psychologist will tell you that people don’t really want to be
cured. What they want is relief; a cure is painful.
Page 10 – On Wanting Happiness
I challenge anyone to think of anything more practical than spirituality as
I have defined it – not piety, not devotion, not religion, not worship, but
spirituality – waking up, waking up! Look at the heartache everywhere, look
at the loneliness, look at the fear, the confusion, the conflict in the
hearts of people, inner conflict, outer conflict. Suppose somebody gave you
a way of getting rid of all of that? Suppose somebody gave you a way to
stop that tremendous drainage of energy, of health, of emotion that comes
from these conflicts and confusion. Would you want that? Suppose somebody
showed us a way whereby we would truly love one another, and be at peace, be
at love. Can you think of anything more practical than that? But, instead,
you have people thinking that big business is more practical, that politics
is more practical, that science is more practical. What’s the earthly use
of putting a man on the moon when we cannot live on the earth?
Page 12 – Are We Talking About Psychology in
This Spirituality Course?
It’s only when you’re sick of your sickness that you’ll get out of it.
Most people go to a psychiatrist or a psychologist to get relief. I repeat:
to get relief. Not to get out of it.
That’s what the mystic is, the opposite of the lunatic. Do you know one
sign that you’ve woken up? It’s when you are asking yourself, “Am I crazy,
or are all of them crazy?” It really is. Because we are crazy; the whole
world is crazy, certifiable lunatics. The only reason we’re not locked up
in an institution is that there are so many of us.
You’re putting on a great act, and you don’t even know it. You think you’re
being so loving… Ha! Whom are you loving? Even your self-sacrifice gives
you a good feeling, doesn’t it? “I’m sacrificing myself! I’m living up to
my ideal.” But you’re getting something out it, aren’t you? You’re always
getting something out of everything you do, until you wake up.
Neither is Renunciation the Solution
Anytime you renounce something, you are
tied forever to the thing you renounce.
Very well, when you renounce something, you’re
stuck to it forever. When you fight something, you’re tied to it forever.
As long as you’re fighting it you’re giving it power. You give it as much
power as you are using to fight it.
This includes communism and everything else. So you must “receive” your
demons, because when you fight them, you empower them. Has nobody ever told
you this? When you renounce something, you’re tied to it. The only way to
get out of this is to see through it. Don’t renounce it, see through it.
Understand its true value and you won’t need to renounce it; it will just
drop from your hands. But of course, if you don’t see that, if you’re
hypnotized into thinking that you won’t be happy without this, that, or the
other thing, you’re stuck. What we need to do for you is not what so-called
spirituality attempts to do – namely, to get you to make sacrifices, to
renounce things. That’s useless. You’re still asleep. What we need to do
is help you understand, understand, understand. If you understood, you’d
simply drop the desire for it. This is another way of saying: If you woke
up, you’d simply drop the desire for it.
Awareness, awareness, awareness. We must be aware if we are going to live.
Listen and Unlearn
Believe me, it really doesn’t matter whether you agree with what I’m saying
or you don’t, because agreement and disagreement have to do with words and
concepts and theories. They don’t have anything to do with TRUTH. TRUTH is
never expressed in words. TRUTH is sighted suddenly, as a result of a
certain attitude. So you could be disagreeing with me and still sight the
TRUTH. But there has to be an attitude of openness, of willingness to
discover something new.
Upper case TRUTH is my way of designating real TRUTH. When I use lower case
“truth” I am referring to what we believe to be true that is not really
true. Thus, I have inserted the upper case TRUTH into the above paragraph.
All I can do for you is to help you unlearn.
That’s what learning is all about where spirituality is concerned:
unlearning, unlearning almost everything you’ve been taught. A willingness
to unlearn, to listen.
Are you listening, as most people do, in order
to confirm what you already think?
Why do you think Jesus told us that we have to be like children to receive
the Kingdom of God? It is at least partly because we have to unlearn so
much that we have taken on in order to meet God. If we try to receive the
Kingdom of God without dropping all of what we have “learned” we end up with
a shadow of reality, and not even a very good shadow at that. It is when we
start to unlearn who we think we are that we start to understand who we
really are, who God created us to be, and then we can start to get a glimpse
of the Kingdom of Heaven here on earth.
Jesus proclaimed the good news yet he was rejected. Not because it was
good, but because it was new. We hate the new. We hate it! And the sooner
we face up to that fact, the better.
We resist change (the new). We want to stay status quo – we want to
continue in our asleep and painful life – because it is our
sleep and our pain and we have become friends with them.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is faith!
An openness to the TRUTH, no matter what the consequences, no matter where
it leads you and when you don’t even know where it’s going to lead you.
That’s faith. Not belief, but faith. Your beliefs give you a lot of
security, but faith is insecurity.
In the midst of trials and sufferings do we have an openness to continue our
belief that God is good? That ultimately He is the lover of our soul? That
when we walk with Him it is a walk of faith – that is – an openness to the
TRUTH He is showing us.
When you do that, you’re listening. You’ve taken another major step toward
awakening. The first step, as I said, was a readiness to admit that you
don’t want to wake up, that you don’t want to be happy. There are all kinds
of resistances to that within you. The second step is a readiness to
understand, to listen, to challenge your whole belief system. Not just your
religious beliefs, your political beliefs, your social beliefs, your
psychological beliefs, but all of them. A readiness to reappraise them all,
in the Buddha’s metaphor.
And I’ll give you plenty of opportunity to do that here.
The Masquerade of Charity
You are never so good as when you have no consciousness that you’re good.
You can have a man go on a thirty-day retreat and come out of there all
aflame with the love of Christ, yet without the slightest bit of
self-awareness. None. He could be a big pain.
When we are rife with unawareness (i.e. blind spots) we don’t even know what
we are doing or how we are acting. We can think that we are being
“Christian” and be something altogether different – and we don’t even know.
I’m not saying there’s no such thing as pure
motivation. I’m saying that ordinarily everything we do is in our
Page 26 – What’s on Your Mind?
Life is a banquet. And the tragedy is that
most people are starving to death.
In the same way, we’re surrounded with joy,
with happiness, with love. Most people have no idea of this whatsoever.
The reason: they’re brainwashed. The reason: They’re hypnotized; they’re
asleep. Imagine a stage magician who hypnotizes someone so that the person
sees what is not there and does not see what is there. That’s what it’s all
about. Repent and accept the good news. Repent! Wake up! Don’t weep for
your sins. Why weep for sins that you committed when you were asleep? Are
you going to cry because of what you did in your hypnotized state? Why do
you want to identify with a person like this?
Open the eyes of my heart Lord – I want to see your creation, your beauty,
your loveliness – I want to see you. And when I see you, I will follow.
Satan does his best to try to divert out attention away from your presence,
and he does a better job than we would probably like to admit. That is why
my heart cry is to “open the eyes of my heart Lord.”
Wake up! Wake up! Repent! Put on a new mind. Take on a new way of
looking at things! For “the kingdom is here!” It’s the rare Christian who
takes that seriously. I said to you that the first thing you need to do is
wake up. You’d much rather have all of the things which you were hypnotized
into believing are so precious to you, so important to you, so important for
your life and your survival. Second, understand. Understand that maybe
you’ve got the wrong ideas and it is these ideas that are influencing your
life and making it the mess that it is and keeping you asleep. Ideas about
love, ideas about freedom, ideas about happiness, and so forth. And it
isn’t easy to listen to someone who would challenge those ideas of yours
which have come to be precious to you.
Lord, I give you permission (as though you need it) to put people in my life
that challenge me, that challenge my ideas. My goal is to grow in you. How
that happens is not for me to direct or orchestrate – my part is to
recognize what is going on and to embrace what you are trying to teach me…
It’s not easy to listen, especially when you get emotional about an idea.
And even when you don’t get emotional about it, it’s not easy to listen;
your always listening from your programming, from your conditioning, from
your hypnotic state.
We listen through who we believe ourselves to be not through who we really
are. We always listen through filters (we also see through filters). If
you can detach… then you can listen, really listen. Detachment is not about
not caring, detachment is about not letting who you think you are control a
We all have our positions, don’t we? And we listen from those
The most difficult thing in the world is to
listen, to see. We don’t want to see.
We listen and see through our own filters, through who we believe that we
are (after listening to lies). Why is it so hard to listen to the TRUTH?
It is because we have listened to lies for so long, it is hard for us to
discern the TRUTH.
We don’t want to look, because if we do, we may
change. We don’t want to look. If you look, you lose control of the life
you are so precariously holding together. And so in order to wake up, the
one thing you need the most is not energy, or strength, or youthfulness, or
even great intelligence. The one thing you need most of all is the
readiness to learn something new. The chances that you will wake up are
in direct proportion to the amount of TRUTH you can take without running
WOW – Lord, help me to embrace TRUTH; as hard as it is, help me to stand and
not run. Lord, I want to grow, I want to be aware, I want to walk with you.
How much are you ready to take? How much of everything you’ve held dear are
you ready to have shattered, without running away?
The first reaction is one of fear. It’s not
that we fear the unknown. You cannot fear something that you do not know.
Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the
known. That’s what you fear.
We stay asleep in our lives because we are comfortable with our sleep. If
we change, we are going to have to leave our comfort zone. Included in our
“comfort zone” is pain, but it is familiar pain. We know how to deal with
it. We know how to feel sorry for ourselves, we know how to see the world
through our own set of tinted glasses. I have always thought that fear of
the unknown was huge in keeping people in their place, not wanting to
change. This is a new concept that is TRUE. You cannot fear something you
do not know. You fear leaving the “comfort” of what you do know.
Page 30 – Good, Bad, or Lucky
“The lovely thing about Jesus was that he was so at home with sinners,
because he understood that he wasn’t one bit better than they were.” We
differ from others – from criminals, for example – only in what we do or
don’t do, not in what we are. The only difference between Jesus and those
others was that he was awake and they weren’t.
The Pharisee wasn’t an evil man, he was a stupid man. He was stupid, not
evil. He didn’t stop to think. Someone once said, “I dare not stop to
think, because if I did, I wouldn’t know how to get started again.”
The Pharisee’s were asleep. When Jesus appeared in their lives, they were
seeing through the filters of who they thought they were. They were not
open to the TRUTH, but only to the truth as they defined it. They were
afraid that they might have to leave their lives as they knew them – and
they were comfortable. Who is this man that is stirring the people up,
influencing the people with new ideas? Whoever he is, he is bringing change
and we don’t like change. We want to embrace the status quo; we always want
to embrace the status quo.
Our Illusions About Others
Did you expect any better? Expect the worst, you’re dealing with
selfish people. You’re the idiot – you glorified her, didn’t you? You
thought she was a princess, you thought people were nice. They’re not!
They’re not nice. They’re as bad as you are – bad, you understand?
Want to wake up? You want happiness? You want freedom? Here it is: Drop
your false ideas. See through people. If you see through yourself, you
will see through everyone. Then you will love them. Otherwise you
spend the whole time grappling with your wrong notions about them, with your
illusions that are constantly crashing against reality.
If you had been in touch with reality all
along, you would never have been disappointed. But you chose to paint
people in glowing colors; you chose not to see through human beings because
you chose not to see through yourself. So you’re paying the price now.
Lord, help me to see myself for who I really am. Help me to see through my
filters – to become aware of them and to identify them. My heart’s desire
is to have your communicable attributes in my life… Compassionate,
gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, abounding in TRUTH,
covenant faithfulness, and forgiveness. When I can see through myself I get
a glimpse of compassion – your compassion for people – I start to see how
wretched their existence is. It is not unlike Jeff Rubinstein’s assessment
of Bob Wells… When people say they don’t like Bob – Jeff says – think of
Bob – he has to live with himself all the time. It is so true – the people
we don’t like that we are offended by have to live with themselves all the
time. What misery. Lord, spare me from this misery.
Whey you’re ready to exchange your illusions for reality, when you’re
ready to exchange your dreams for facts, that’s the way you find it all.
That’s where life finally becomes meaningful. Life becomes beautiful.
I don’t know how much I can take, but I want reality. I want every day to
be a new and glorious day. I can’t afford to have days turn into weeks and
weeks turn into months and months turn into years without living. I am not
content to live in the shadow lands. I desire reality.
That’s what enlightenment is like. When someone tells you, “There is
nothing you can do about it,” you say, “There is, I can wake up!” All of a
sudden, life is no longer the nightmare that it has seemed. Wake up!
Wake me up Lord. You are present in all that I do – I just don’t see it
because I am asleep. Wake me up Lord.
Somebody came up to me with a question. What
do you think the question was? He asked me, “Are you enlightened?” What do
you think my answer was? What does it matter!
You want a better answer? My answer would be: “How would I know? How would
you know? What does it matter?” You know something? If you want anything
too badly, you’re in big trouble.
We need to hold all things lightly. We need to check and recheck our
motives. We need to check to see how we are holding outcomes. Let go, let
go, let go.
You want to hope for something better than what you have right now, don’t
you? Otherwise you wouldn’t be hoping. But then, you forget that you have
it all right now anyway, and you don’t know it. Why not concentrate on
the now instead of hoping for better times in the future? Why not
understand the now instead of forgetting it and hoping for the future?
Isn’t the future just another trap?
Life is about the present moment. If we can put the past behind us (it
really doesn’t matter what happened yesterday) and we can drop our focus on
the future (there’s not much I can do about tomorrow) then we have the
opportunity to live life in the present. It is about waking up each morning
with the very real possibility, not just saying this, but having the
possibility be a part of who I am, of having a great day, of seeing God
permeated in me and in my day. If I have that opportunity in my heart the
opportunity for a great day to happen just went up exponentially.
Page 35-37 – Self Observation
The only way someone can be of help to you is in challenging your
ideas. If you’re ready to listen and if you’re ready to be challenged,
there’s one more thing that you can do, but no one can help you.
What is this most important thing of all? It’s called self-observation. No
one can help you there. No one can give you a method. No one can show you
a technique. The moment you pick up a technique, you’re programmed again.
But self-observation – watching yourself – is important. It is not the same
as self-absorption. Self-absorption is self-preoccupation, where you’re
concerned about yourself, worried about yourself. I’m talking about self-observation.
What’s that? It means to watch everything in you and around you as far as
possible and watch it as if it were happening to someone else. What does
that last sentence mean? It means that you do not personalize what is
happening to you. It means that you look at things as if you have no
connection with them whatsoever.
The reason you suffer from your depression and your anxieties is
that you identify with them. You say, “I’m depressed.” But that is false.
You are not depressed. If you want to accurate, you might say, “I am
experiencing a depression right now.” But you can hardly say, “I am
depressed.” You are not your depression. That is but a strange kind of
trick of the mind, a strange kind of illusion. You have deluded yourself
into thinking – though you are not aware of it – that you are your
depression, that you are your anxiety, that you are your joy
or the thrills that you have. “I am delighted!” You certainly are not
delighted. Delight may be in you right now, but wait around, it will
change; it won’t last: it never lasts; it keeps changing: it’s always
changing. Clouds come and go: some of them are black and some white, some
of them are large, others small. If we want to follow the analogy, you
would be the sky, observing the clouds. You are a passive, detached
observer. That’s shocking, particularly to someone in the Western culture.
You’re not interfering. Don’t interfere. Don’t “fix” anything. Watch!
The trouble with people is that they’re busy fixing things they
don’t even understand. We’re always fixing things, aren’t we? It never
strikes us that things don’t need to be fixed. They really don’t. This is
a great illumination. They need to be understood. If you understood them,
Who I am is much deeper than what I feel. Our search needs to be for who I
am (the upper left corner of the rectangle diagram).
Page 37 – Awareness Without Evaluating
Do you want to change the world? How about beginning with yourself?
How about being transformed yourself first? But how do you achieve that?
Through observation. Through understanding. With no interference or
judgment on your part. Because what you judge you cannot understand.
We have so much baggage, so much stuff that we have taken in that influences
our senses. We need to learn how to drop the baggage and walk free. Lord,
help me observe. Help me see where I am interfering with who you created me
No judgment, no commentary, no attitude: one simply observes, one studies,
one watches, without the desire to change what is. Because if you desire
to change what is into what you think should be, you no longer understand.
Sometimes I use the phrase “I don’t care” but that is a hard phrase to use
because it means different things to different people. People can read into
that you don’t care about what you are doing or you don’t care about them,
but that is not the case at all. When you can observe an outcome and not be
tied to that outcome – you are verging on freedom. It is not that I am not
intentional – I have focus on what I am doing and what I am trying to
accomplish. But if I can free myself from the outcome – what happens – then
I am free to put my whole heart into the process and the results will be
better than I ever expected because it really doesn’t matter what the
results are. When you are able to hold outcomes that lightly, you are
catching a glimpse of the kind of freedom that Jesus came to give us. When
it doesn’t matter what the outcome is and it doesn’t matter what others
think of you because of the outcome – you are making progress on your
A scientist observes the behavior of ants with no further end in view than
to study ants, to learn as much as possible about them. He has no other
aim. He’s not attempting to train them or get anything out of them. He’s
interested in ants, he wants to learn as much as possible about them.
That’s his attitude. The day you attain a posture like that, you will
experience a miracle. You will change – effortlessly, correctly. Change
will happen, you will not have to bring it about. As the life of awareness
settles on your darkness, whatever is evil will disappear. Whatever is good
will be fostered. You will have to experience that for yourself.
But this calls for a disciplined mind. And when I say
disciplined, I’m not talking about effort. I’m talking about something
When there’s something within you that moves in
the right direction, it creates its own discipline. The moment you get
bitten by the bug of awareness, Oh, it’s so delightful! It’s the most
delightful thing in the world; the most important, the most delightful.
There’s nothing so important in the world as awakening. Nothing! And,
of course, discipline has its own way.
There’s nothing so delightful as being aware.
I have been growing in my awareness of how important awareness is in my life
(and in all of our lives). Make me aware Lord.
I’m going to write a book someday and the title will be I’m an Ass,
You’re an Ass. That’s the most liberating, wonderful thing in the
world, when you openly admit you’re an ass. It’s wonderful. When people
tell me, “You’re wrong.” I say, “What can you expect of an ass?”
Disarmed, everybody has to be disarmed.
How many people do you know who are unaffected
by praise or blame?
Being unaffected by praise or blame is all about detachment. Being
unaffected by praise or blame is what freedom is all about. It is getting
at the heart of the “I don’t care” attitude.
If you find me charming, it means that right
now you’re in a good mood, nothing more.
Let me tell you something: If you ever let yourself feel good when people
tell you that you’re O.K. you are preparing yourself to feel bad when they
tell you you’re not good.
You’re not O.K. and you’re not not O.K., you’re
Cut out all the O.K. stuff and the not-O.K.
stuff; cut out all the judgments and simply observe, watch. You’ll make
great discoveries. These discoveries will change you. You won’t have to
make the slightest effort, believe me.
This is about awareness that will uncover blind spots that will allow you to
change. Become aware of who you are and the rest is easy.
Psychology and spirituality (as we generally understand it) transfer the
bomb from your lap to under your seat. They don’t really solve your
problems. They exchange your problems for other problems. Has that ever
struck you? You had a problem, now you exchange it for another one. It’s
always going to be that way until we solve the problem called “you.”
This is the upper left (who we really are) versus upper right corners of the
rectangle. The biggest battle we will ever face in our lives is the battle
within ourselves; the battle to determine who we believe we are, and Satan
is winning most of the time – because we believe lies.
The Illusion of Rewards
The greatest mystics and masters in the East
will say, “Who are you?”
One sign that you’re awakened is that you don’t
give a damn about what’s going to happen in the next life. You’re not
bothered about it; you don’t care. You are not interested, period.
Tell somebody who cares… When you are totally detached you come to a place
where it could happen and when it happens is when it will happen but until
then there is a life to live and I am going to live it.
Yet the mystics tell us that eternity is right now. How’s that for good
news? It is right now. People are so distressed when I tell them to forget
their past. They are so proud of their past. Or they are so ashamed of
their past. They’re crazy! Just drop it! When you hear, “Repent for your
past,” realize it’s a great religious distraction from waking up. Wake up!
That’s what repent means. Not “weep for your sins.” Wake up! Understand,
stop all the crying. Understand! Wake up!
The great masters tell us that the most important question in the world
is: “Who am I?” Or rather” “What is this thing I call self?” You mean you
understand everything else in the world and you didn’t understand this? You
mean you understand astronomy and black holes and quasars and you picked up
computer science, and you don’t know who you are?
It is the battle of the ages – who am I – what is my destiny? We avoid
dealing with this because it is too painful to deal with.
You mean you understand who Jesus Christ is and you don’t know who you are?
How do you know that you have understood Jesus Christ? Who is the person
doing the understanding? Find that out first. That’s the foundation of
everything, isn’t it? It’s because we haven’t understood this that we’ve
got all these stupid religious people involved in all these stupid religious
wars – Muslims fighting against Jews, Protestants fighting Catholics, and
all the rest of that rubbish. They don’t know who they are, because if they
did, there wouldn’t be wars.
What I’d like to stress right now is
You think you are free, but there probably isn’t a gesture, a thought, an
emotion, an attitude, a belief in you that isn’t coming from someone else.
Isn’t that horrible? And you don’t know it.
It’s going to take a lot of awareness for you
to understand that perhaps this thing you call “I” is simply a
conglomeration of your past experiences, of your conditioning and
That’s painful. In fact, when you’re beginning to awaken, you
experience a great deal of pain. It’s painful to see your illusions being
shattered. Everything that you thought you had built up crumbles and that’s
painful. That’s what repentance is all about; that’s what waking up is all
Dealing with yourself honestly is one of the hardest things you will do.
There is pain there that we don’t want to expose, yet expose it we must.
Who have I become – who have I allowed to influence the person that I define
myself to be? Where have I let others define me? Am I what they say I am
or am I who God says I am. Where is the TRUTH?
Be aware of your presence in this room. Say to yourself, “I’m in this
room.” It’s as if you were outside yourself looking at yourself.
Stripping Down to the “I”
But notice, you’ve got “I” observing “me.” This is an interesting
phenomenon that has never ceased to cause wonder to philosophers, mystics,
scientists, and psychologists; that the “I” can observe “me.”
Things, thoughts, thinker. What we’re really
searching for is the thinker. Can the thinker know himself? Can I know
what “I” is? Some of these mystics reply, “Can the knife cut itself? Can
the tooth bite itself? Can the eye see itself? Can the “I” know itself?”
We use the same name for ever changing reality.
Could we say that “I” is none of the labels we attach to it? Labels belong
to “me.” What constantly changes is “me.” Does “I” ever change? Does the
observer ever change?
This could be the difference between our role (what we do at various times)
and our identity (who we are). My sense is that it is much deeper than
that, but the difference between our roles and our identity is just a
scratch on the surface of the answer. If “I” never changes then “I” has to
be what is left of our true self; the one that was there before the
foundation of the world, the one that was there when the Lord knew us before
our conception. The “I” is who God created us to be and it is always the
same. What changes is how we move around that constant in our lives. We
can move from total ignorance, to catching a glimpse, to understanding there
is something there, to walking on a journey to discover what is there.
When “I” does not identify with money, or name, or nationality, or
persons, or friends, or any quality, the “I” is never threatened. It can be
very active, but it isn’t threatened.
The “I” operates without fear because who we are is from God and he has
given us a destiny which is ours and ours alone to fulfill.
All suffering is caused by my identifying
myself with something, whether that something is within me or outside of me.
Negative Feelings Towards Others.
Anytime you have a negative feeling toward anyone, you’re living in an
illusion. There’s something seriously wrong with you. You’re not seeing
reality. Something inside of you has to change. But what do we generally
do when we have a negative feeling? “He’s to blame, she is to blame. She’s
got to change.” No! The world’s all right. The one who has to change is
But the “I” is never threatened’ it’s only the
“me” that is threatened.
Living in the “I” is living in your God-definition. Living in the “I” is
living in God-confidence.
I said that if you didn’t have negative feelings you’d be much more
effective, much more effective. Because when negative feelings come
in, you go blind. “Me” steps into the picture, and everything gets fouled
up. Where we had one problem on our hands before, now we have two
problems. Many wrongly assume that not having negative feelings like anger
and resentment and hate means that you do nothing about a situation. Oh no,
oh no! You are not affected emotionally but you spring into action. You
become very sensitive to things and people around you.
This is the paradox of “I don’t care.” Not caring, being detached, does not
mean or even imply passivity. It is having 100% focus on what your goal is
and 100% detachment from the outcome. Because we are detached from the
outcome, we are also detached from the roadblocks along the path. This
reminds me of the line from The Princess Bride where Wesley says to Count
Rogan (the six fingered man), “We are men of action – lies do not become
us.” Being aware enhances action – we become men of action when we are
honest with ourselves and can see ourselves for who we really are.
It is very important that when you swing into
action, you be able to see things with detachment. But negative emotions
What, then, would we call the kind of passion
that motivates or activates energy into doing something about objective
evils? Whatever it is, it is not reaction; it is action.
That is a good way to restate the line from the Princess Bride – “We are not
men of reaction – we are men of action.”
We never feel grief when we lose something that we have allowed to be free,
that we have never attempted to possess. Grief is a sign that I made my
happiness dependent on this thing or person, at least to some extent.
We all depend on one another for all kinds of things, don’t we? We
depend on the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Interdependence;
that’s fine! We set up society this way and we allot different functions to
different people for the welfare of everyone, so that we will function
better and live more effectively – at least we hope so. But to depend on
another psychologically – to depend on another emotionally – what does that
imply? It means to depend on another human being for my happiness.
We need to be aware that our interdependence for societal or business
purposes is different than our interdependence psychologically. We need to
depend on others in certain areas in our lives. But for happiness, we do
not need to depend on anyone, because if we do, we will be disappointed.
Where there is love there are no demands, no expectations, no dependency. I
do not demand that you make me happy; my happiness does not lie in you. If
you were to leave me, I will not feel sorry for myself. I enjoy your
company immensely, but I do not cling.
I enjoy it on a non-clinging basis. What I really enjoy is not
you; it’s something that’s greater than both you and me. It is something
that I discovered, a kind of symphony, a kind of orchestra that plays one
melody in your presence, but when you depart, the orchestra doesn’t stop.
When I meet someone else, it plays another melody, which is also very
delightful. And when I’m alone, it continues to play. There’s a great
repertoire and it never ceases to play.
That’s what awakening is all about. That’s also why we’re
hypnotized, brainwashed, asleep.
When you begin to read these things in the scriptures, you begin to wonder.
Is this man crazy? [referring to Jesus] But after a while you begin to
think everyone else is crazy. “Unless you hate your father and mother,
brothers and sisters, unless you renounce and give up everything you
possess, you cannot be my disciple.” You must drop it all. Not physical
renunciation, you understand; that’s easy. When your illusions drop,
you’re in touch with reality at last, and believe me, you will never again
be lonely, never again. Loneliness is not cured by human company.
Loneliness is cured by contact with reality. Oh, I have so much to say
about that. Contact with reality, dropping one’s illusions, making contact
with the real. Whatever it is, it has no name. We can only know it by
dropping what is unreal.
When we live in the shadow lands, we can feel all alone. When we touch
reality, our loneliness drops and we come closer to freedom; we are on a
journey to become freedom.
Page 56 – How Happiness Happens
Come home to yourself. Observe yourself. That’s why I said earlier
that self-observation is such a delightful and extraordinary thing. After a
while you don’t have to make any effort, because, as illusions begin to
crumble, you begin to know things that cannot be described. It’s called
happiness. Everything changes and you become addicted to awareness.
That’s what it is to watch yourself. No one
can show you how to do it, because he would be giving you a technique, he
would be programming you.
There are no formulas. There is God. There is reality. There is only a
When you got angry with somebody were you aware
that you were angry or were you simply identifying with your anger? Later,
when you had the time, did you study your experience and attempt to
understand it? Where did it come from? What brought it on? I don’t know
of any other way to awareness. You only change what you understand.
What you do not understand and are not aware of, you repress. You don’t
change. But when you understand it, it changes.
You can’t change anything you’re not aware of; I’m not sure you can change
things even when you’re aware – but things do change when you’re aware.
If you’re lucky and the gods are gracious or if you are gifted with divine
grace (use any theological expression you want), you might suddenly
understand who “I” is, and you’ll never be the same again, never. Nothing
will ever be able to touch you again and no one will ever be able to hurt
You will fear no one and you will fear nothing. Isn’t that
The difference between “me” and “I” is the difference between living in the
shadow lands and living in reality. Once you’ve tasted reality – how can
you go back to the shadow lands?And the amazing thing is – reality is here
now – The Kingdom of Heaven is within – reality is there if we just open our
eyes – Open the eyes of my heart Lord – I want to see you.
You fear no one because you are perfectly content to be nobody.
When you can come to the place of “not caring” (tell someone who cares) in
the way of detachment from all of the things that we think matter – but that
don’t really matter.
But I’ll promise you this: I have not known a
single person who gave time to being aware who didn’t see a difference in a
matter of weeks. The quality of their life changes, so they don’t have to
take it on faith anymore. They see it; they’re different. They
react differently. In fact, they react less and act more. You see things
you’ve never seen before.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord.
You’re much more energetic, much more
alive. People think that if they had no cravings, they’d be like deadwood.
But in fact they’d lose their tension. Get rid of your fear of failure,
your tensions about succeeding, you will be yourself. Relaxed; you
wouldn’t be driving with your brakes on. That’s what would happen.
When we are not content to be nobody, that is, when we try to be somebody we
start down the path of getting messed up. If we can be content to be nobody
– an amazing transformation takes place. When we are 100% focused on what
we are doing and 100% detached from the results (okay to be a nobody) we are
walking on the path of freedom.
Page 58/59 The story of the archer…
There’s a lovely saying of Tranxu, a great Chinese sage, that I took the
trouble to learn by heart. It goes: “When the archer shoots for no
particular prize, he has all his skills; when he shoots to win a brass
buckle, he is already nervous; when he shoots for a gold prize, he goes
blind, sees two targets, and is out of his mind. His skill has not changed,
but the prize divides him. He cares! He thinks more of winning than of
shooting, and the need to win drains him of power.” Isn’t that an
image of what most people are? When you’re living for nothing you’ve got
all your skills, you’ve got all your energy, you’re relaxed, you don’t care,
it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose.
This is a story of focus and detachment. Trying to be somebody (i.e.
winning the prize) gets in our way of being who we truly are (a great archer
who can hit the target). We need to detach. Detachment, detachment,
detachment – it is a crucial step in life. Detachment is not an easy step,
but it is a crucial step.
And in awareness you will understand that honor doesn’t mean a thing. It’s
a social convention, that’s all. That’s why the mystics and the prophets
didn’t bother one bit about it. Honor or disgrace meant nothing to them.
They were living in another world, in the world of the awakened. Success or
failure meant nothing to them. They had the attitude: “I’m an ass, you’re
an ass, so where’s the problem?
Someone once said “The three most difficult things for a human
being are not physical feats or intellectual achievement. They are, first,
returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting
that you are wrong.” But these are the easiest things in the world if you
haven’t identified with the “me.” You can say things like “I’m wrong! If
you knew me better, you’d see how often I’m wrong. What would you expect
from an ass?”
This is the key to disarming a volatile situation – take the blame. It is
my fault, It is one of the keys to a husband’s role in marriage. We, as
husbands, are suppose to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave
himself for her. One of the ways Christ loved the church was He took the
blame for us on the cross. If we take the blame (i.e. what do you expect
from an ass?) it disarms people and it disarms situations.
You step outside of yourself and look at that depression [anger, bitterness,
fear, etc.], and don’t identify with it. You don’t do a thing to make it go
away; you are perfectly willing to go on with your life while it passes
through you and disappears.
Isn’t that a paradox? And you’re willing to let this cloud come
in, because the more you fight it, the more power you give it. You’re
willing to observe it as it passes by.
It is all about observation and awareness.
Page 61 (about love)
Is it possible for the rose to say, “I will give my fragrance to
the good people who smell me, but I will withhold it from the bad?” Or is
it possible for the lamp to say, “I will give my light to the good people in
this room, but I will withhold it from the evil people?” Or can a tree say,
“I’ll give my shade to the good people who rest under me, but I will
withhold it from the bad?” These are images of what love is about.
It’s been there all along, staring us in the face in the
scriptures, though we never cared to see it because we were so drowned in
what our culture calls love with its love songs and poems – that isn’t love
at all, that’s the opposite of love. That’s desire and control and
possessiveness. That’s manipulation, and fear, and anxiety – that’s not
There’s only one reason why you’re not
experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking
or focusing on what you don’t have. Otherwise you would be experiencing
bliss. You’re focusing on what you don’t have. But, right now you have
everything you need to be in bliss.
Jesus was talking horse sense to lay people, to starving people,
to poor people. He was telling them the good news: It’s yours for the
taking. But who listens? No one’s interested, they’d rather be asleep.
Wake me up. It’s time to get up and live.
Page 62 – Fear – The Root of Violence
And there’s not a single evil in the world that you cannot trace to
fear. Not one.
The person who is truly nonviolent, who is
incapable of violence, is the person who is fearless.
Ultimately, there are only two things, love and fear.
If we are not loving then we must ask the question – what am I afraid of?
I’ve got different themes, but they are all
about the same thing. Call it awareness, call it love, call it spirituality
or freedom or awakening or whatever. It really is the same thing.
Awareness and Contact with Reality
How would it be if God gave me grace not to call these things mine? I’d be
detached; I’d be disidentified. That’s what it means to lose the self, to
deny the self, to die to self.
We die to self when things truly don’t matter any more. Not that we will
ever be brazen in our carelessness, but that what people say to us or what
happens to us really doesn’t matter. When we can die to ourselves, we are
on the road to freedom.
Good Religion – The Antithesis of
It’s infinitely more important that you be waking up. That’s spirituality,
that’s everything. If you have that, you have God. Then you worship “in
spirit and in truth.” When you become love, when you are transformed into
You know there are times like that when the Blessed Sacrament becomes more
important than Jesus Christ; when worship becomes more important than love,
when the Church becomes more important than life; when God becomes more
important than neighbor. And so it goes on. That’s the danger.
Can we love people through all situations, even if we disapprove of them? I
don’t really know how to love – but my heart’s desire is to be love – to
come to a place where compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, abounding in
lovingkindness, abounding in truth, covenant faithfulness, and forgiveness
are a part of the essence of my being.
The human being is much more important than the Sabbath.
Jesus, was, is, and will be always more concerned about the hearts of people
and restoring relationships with him than with the Sabbath (the spirit of
the law versus the letter of the law).
So that’s what we have been talking about;
spirituality; waking up. And as I told you, it is extremely important if
you want to wake up to go in for what I call “self-observation.” Be aware
of what you’re saying, be aware of what you’re doing, be aware of what
you’re thinking, be aware of how you’re acting. Be aware of where you’re
coming from, what your motives are. The unaware life is not worth living.
People go through life with fixed ideas; they never change.
Lord, help me to embrace change.
What you are aware of you are in control of; what you are not aware of is
in control of you. You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of.
When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. It’s there, but you’re not
affected by it. You’re not controlled by it; you’re not enslaved by it.
That’s the difference.
How can you change anything you are not aware of? Blind spots are present
in all of our lives. As we become aware of our blind spots we will change.
As long as we are unaware of them – how can we possibly change?
Awareness, awareness, awareness,
awareness. What they trained us to do in that course was to become
participant observers. To put it somewhat graphically, I’d be talking to
you and at the same time I’d be out there watching you and watching me.
When I’m listening to you, it’s infinitely more important for me to listen
to me than to listen to you. Of course, it’s important to listen to you,
but it’s more important that I listen to me. Otherwise I won’t be hearing
you. Or I’ll be distorting everything you say. I’ll be coming at you from
my own conditioning. I’ll be reacting to you in all kinds of ways from my
insecurities, from my need to manipulate you, from my desire to succeed,
from irritations and feelings that I might not be aware of. So it’s
frightfully important that I listen to me when I’m listening to you. That’s
what they were training us to do, obtaining awareness.
What I’m advocating here is not concentration. That’s not
important. Many meditative techniques inculcate concentration, but I’m
leery of that. They involve violence and frequently they involve further
programming and conditioning. What I would advocate is awareness, which is
not the same as concentration at all. Concentration is a spotlight, a
floodlight. You’re open to anything that comes within the scope of your
consciousness. You can be distracted from that, but when you’re practicing
awareness, you’re never distracted. When awareness is turned on, there’s
never any distraction, because you’re always aware of whatever happens to be.
Awareness allows you to focus on what is in front of you. Detachment allows
you to put your whole effort into the task without expectations and without
caring about what happens along the way. The word passion is associated
with suffering. If being passionate means that you are willing to suffer
and you have come to a place where it doesn’t matter, then you are
Mystics feel that way. They have disidentified from themselves and they are
Drop your theories; don’t seek the truth. Truth isn’t something you
search for. If you stop being opinionated, you would know.
Drop your theories; don’t seek the TRUTH. TRUTH isn’t something you search
for. If you stop being opinionated, you would KNOW. Jesus told us that if
we KNOW the TRUTH, the TRUTH will set us free.
That is what I meant earlier when I said to you, “If you’re suffering,
you’re asleep.” Do you want a sign that you’re asleep? Here it is: You’re
suffering. Suffering is a sign that you’re out of touch with the truth.
Suffering is given to you that you might open your eyes to the truth; that
you might understand that there’s falsehood somewhere just as physical pain
is given to you so you will understand that there is disease or illness
somewhere. Suffering points out that there is falsehood somewhere.
Suffering occurs when you clash with reality. When your illusions clash
with reality, when your falsehoods clash with TRUTH, then you have
suffering. Otherwise there is no suffering.
Obstacles to Happiness
It’s like when you throw black paint in the air; the air remains
uncontaminated. You never color the air black. No matter what happens to
you, you remain uncontaminated. You remain at peace. There are human
beings who have attained this, what I call being human. Not this nonsense
of being a puppet, jerked about this way and that way, letting events or
other people tell you how you feel.
This is the paradox of “I don’t care.” If you can let things roll off you
and not take them in – you are on the road to freedom.
Who determines what it means to be a success?
This stupid society! The main preoccupation of society is to keep society
sick! And the sooner you realize that, the better.
Being president of a corporation has nothing to do with being a success in
life. Having a lot of money has nothing to do with being a success in
life. You’re a success in life when you wake up!
O Lord, wake me up.
Then you don’t have to apologize to anyone, you don’t have to explain
anything to anyone, you don’t give a damn what anybody things about you or
what anybody says about you. You have no worries, you’re happy.
They are constantly tense and anxious. Do you
call that human? And do you know why that happens? Only one response:
They identified with some label. They identified the “I” with their money
or their job or their profession. That was their error.
You could be a plumber or a lawyer or a businessman or a priest, but that
does not affect the essential “I”. It doesn’t affect you. If I change my
profession tomorrow, it’s just like changing my clothes. I am
untouched. Are you your clothes? Are you your name? Are you your
profession? Stop identifying with them. They come and go.
When you really understand this, no criticism can affect you. No
flattery or praise can affect you either. When someone says, “You’re a
great guy,” what is he talking about? He’s talking about “me,” he’s not
talking about “I.” “I” is neither great nor small. “I” is neither
successful nor a failure. It is none of these labels. These things come
“I” is none of these labels. “Me” is generally
selfish, foolish, childish – a great big ass. So when you say, “You’re an
ass,” I’ve known it for years!
Do you want to be happy?
Uninterrupted happiness is uncaused. True happiness is uncaused.
You cannot make me happy. You are not my happiness. You say to the
awakened person, “Why are you happy?” and the awakened person replies, “Why
Happiness is our natural state.
To acquire happiness you don’t have to do
anything, because happiness cannot be acquired. Does anybody know why?
Because, we have it already. How can you acquire what you already have?
Then why don’t you experience it? Because you’ve got to drop something;
you’ve got to drop illusions.
Becoming detached is a step (or two) on the road of happiness, a part of our
journey of life.
Four Steps to Wisdom
The first thing you need to do is get in touch with negative feelings
that you’re not even aware of.
We all have blind spots – you can’t change anything you’re not aware of.
Lord, wake me up, increase my awareness.
The second step (this is a four step program) is to understand that the
feeling is in you, not in reality.
That’s what spirituality is all about, you
know: unlearning. Unlearning all the rubbish they taught you.
If we can recognize and then drop the interference we put or allow to be put
into our lives – we are on the road to freedom.
Negative feelings are in you, not in reality.
So stop trying to change reality.
We don’t have to change anything. Negative
feelings are in you. No person on earth has the power to make you
unhappy. There is no event on earth that has the power to disturb you or
hurt you; no event, condition, situation, or person. Nobody told you this;
they told you the opposite. That’s why you’re in the mess you’re in right
now. That is why you’re asleep. They never told you this. But it is
The only thing I have come up with that we have to do, is make decisions,
because not making a decision is making a decision to stay status quo. This
is all about decision making and choices. We live in the shadow lands – in
our own illusions. My desire is for reality and the depth of reality is
never ending. Lord, I am on a journey, let me journey with you further in
and higher up into reality.
The mystics keep trying to tell us that reality is all right. Reality is
not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind. We might add: in
the stupid, sleeping human mind. Reality is not problematic.
You created the problem. You are the problem.
You identified with “me” and that is the problem. The feeling is in you,
not in reality.
Your depression and your thrills have nothing
to do with happiness. Those are the swings of the pendulum. If you seek
kicks or thrills, get ready for depression.
The third step: Never identify with that
feeling. It has nothing to do with the “I.”
This has nothing to do with “I”; it has nothing to do with
happiness; it is the “me.” If you remember this, if you say it to yourself
a thousand times, if you try these steps a thousand times, you will get it.
Kral – Summary of the three steps…
in touch with negative feelings you’re not even aware of.
Understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality.
Never identify with that feeling. It has nothing to do with the “I.”
If you’re not happy you can’t live. So you
found gold. What does that matter? You’re a king; you’re a princess.
You’re free; you don’t care anymore about being accepted or rejected, that
makes no difference.
But you don’t need to belong to anybody, to
anything, or any group. You don’t even need to be in love. Who told you
you do? What you need is to be free! What you need is to
love. That’s it; that’s your nature.
I see it – when I love; when I am love – I don’t need to be “in love”
because to love is to be fulfilled…
Freedom – Lord I want to be free in you. I want your TRUTH in my heart – so
I will KNOW your TRUTH and your TRUTH will bring me in to freedom.
Your society is not going to be happy to hear this, because you
become terrifying when you open your eyes and understand this.
You don’t have to do anything to acquire happiness. The great
Meister Eckhart said very beautifully, “God is not attained by a process of
addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” You
don’t do anything to be free, you drop something. Then you’re free.
This brings to mind some of Henri Nouwen’s thoughts in the fourth chapter of
his book “Clowning in Rome.” I offer you those thoughts here…
“There was once a sculptor working
hard with his hammer and chisel on a large block of marble. A little boy
who was watching him saw nothing more than large and small pieces of stone
falling away left and right. He had no idea what was happening. But when
the boy returned to the studio a few weeks later, he saw to his great
surprise a large powerful lion sitting in the place where the marble had
stood. With great excitement the boy ran to the sculptor and said “Sir,
tell me, how did you know there was a lion in the marble?”
“There is an answer to the boy’s
question and it is an answer that irritates and inspires. The answer to the
boy is: “I knew there was a lion in the marble because before I saw the lion
in the marble I saw it in my own heart. There is a deep secret here that I
want to share with you. It was the lion in my own heart who recognized the
lion in the marble.”
conclude with the hope that we courageously choose the life that removes the
blindfolds and reveals our true identity as beloved sons and daughters of a
loving Father God.
And I pray that we will
become God’s presence to one another in this valley of tears, knowing the
truth and the joy of our response to the question “Please tell me, how did
you know there was a lion in the marble?”
How do we know God is around us? We know God is around us when we can say
“I know that God is in the reality around me because I recognized God in my
own heart – and it was God in my own heart who recognized God in all that I
You are the one who needs to change, who needs to take medicine. You keep
insisting, “I feel good because the world is right.” Wrong! The
world is right because I feel good. That’s what all the mystics are saying.
Perceptions become reality. Change your perceptions and you change your
reality. God’s reality – real reality is not changeable but we can start to
enter in by dropping our illusions, by allowing our perceptions to be
changed, and not really changed, but dropped.
Page 84 – All’s Right with the World
When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world
There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all the
sufferings and evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the world!
You’ll never explain it. You try gamely with your formulas, religious and
otherwise, but you’ll never explain it. Because life is a mystery, which
means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it. For that you’ve got
to wake up and then you’ll suddenly realize that reality is not problematic,
you are the problem.
We can’t answer all the questions – or even very many of them. All we can
do is seek after TRUTH and live the life that we have in the present.
You’ve got to wake up to make sense out of the scriptures. When you do
wake up, they make sense. So does reality. But you’ll never be able to put
it into words. You’d rather do something?
You’ve got to make sure of your “being” before you swing into action. You
have to make sure of who you are before you act.
If you don’t know who you are (upper left corner) then how can you have
actions that have pure motives? You can’t. You must work on who you are –
your “being” before you can let the “doing” flow from who you are.
Unfortunately, when sleeping people swing into
action, they simply substitute one cruelty for another, one injustice for
another. And so it goes. Meister Eckhart says, “It is not by your actions
that you will be saved” (or awakened; call it any word you want), but by
your being. It is not by what you do but by what you are that you will be
Ephesians 2:8,9 – We are saved by grace, not of works lest any man should
boast. It is about who we are – not about what we do. Our doing has to
flow out of who we are to make any sense at all.
It’s not your actions, it’s your being that
counts. Then you might swing into action. You might or might not. You
can’t decide until you’re awake. Unfortunately, all the emphasis is
concentrated on changing the world and very little emphasis is given to
waking up. When you wake up, you will know what to do or what not to do.
Focus and be aware – If you are not aware – how can you change. If you are
aware how can you prevent change from happening?
Some mystics go silent. Mysteriously some of them sing songs. Some of them
are into service. We’re really never sure. They’re a law unto themselves;
they know exactly what is to be done.
We see people and things not as they are, but
as we are.
We see things and people not as they are, but
as we are.
Remember that sentence from scripture about
everything turning into good for those who love God [Romans 8:28]? When you
finally awake, you don’t try to make good things happen; they just happen.
You understand suddenly that everything that happens to you is good.
I have come to a place in my life to embrace (to call “good”) any and
everything that comes my way. I no longer shy away from suffering or pain –
I have been through too much and have seen God’s hand in it all. When
something happens to me now – I know the Lord has something to teach me and
my attitude is “teach me, Lord” – sometimes it is “teach me quickly, Lord”
and then there is a reminder – “and Lord… Don’t let me forget what you
teach me” – there is too much to learn to have to go back and learn lessons
over and over again. Embrace life. Live life! Know what day it is; walk
up to every golf ball with the very real possibility of hitting a great golf
shot; wake up every morning with the very real possibility of having a great
day – because every day is a great day – it’s your choice. Are you going to
sleep through life or are you going to live life?
But when you are different, they’ll be different [people you want to
change]. That’s an infallible and miraculous cure. The day you are
different, they will become different.
No one has the power to put pressure on you.
It’s something like this: You leave a book on the table and I pick it up
and say, “You’re pressing this book on me. I have to pick it up or not pick
it up.” People are so busy accusing everyone else, blaming everyone else,
blaming life, blaming society, blaming their neighbor. You’ll never change
that way; you’ll continue in your nightmare, you’ll never wake up.
Put this program into action, a thousand times:
identify the negative feelings in you
understand that they are in you, not in the
world, not in external reality
do not see them as an essential part of
“I”; these things come and go
understand that when you change, everything
Page 90 – Change as Greed
That still leaves the big question: Do I do anything to change myself?
I’ve got a big surprise for you, lots of good
news! You don’t have to do anything. The more you do, the worse it gets.
All you have to do is understand.
This is such a paradox – how can it be? We are taught that we need to work
at changing ourselves – but it is a lie. It is not about doing – it is
about being. You don’t need to worry about change because if you start to
understand who you are – you will start to change and the more you
understand who you are the more you will change.
The first thing you need to understand is that
the negative feeling is inside of you. You are responsible for the negative
feelings, not the other person.
Page 91 – I want to tell you exactly how you’re
expected to be and how you’re expected to behave, and you’d better behave as
I have decided or I shall punish myself by having negative feelings.
Remember what I told you, everybody’s a lunatic.
People get a good feeling on the basis of
somebody getting a bad feeling; you win over somebody else. Isn’t that
terrible? Taken for granted in a lunatic asylum!
To say no to people – that’s wonderful; that’s part of waking up. Part of
waking up is that you live your life as you see fit. And understand: That
is not selfish. The selfish thing is to demand that someone else
live their life as YOU see fit. That’s selfish. It is not selfish
to live your life as you see fit. The selfishness lies in demanding that
someone else live their life to suit your tastes, or your pride, or your
profit, or your pleasure. That is truly selfish.
Awakening should be a surprise.
Simple awareness is happiness compared with trying to react all the time.
People react so quickly because they are not aware.
Calm down Dan – take a deep breath and search out understanding. Don’t get
upset – what reason is there to be upset? Ask the Lord – “Lord what are you
teaching me – what do you want me to be aware of?
So begin to be aware of your present condition whatever that condition is.
Stop being a dictator. Stop trying to push yourself somewhere. Then
someday you will understand that simply by awareness you have already
attained what you were pushing yourself toward.
Hold all things lightly. The tighter you grab, the harder you try, the more
elusive your goals become. The lighter you can hold the outcome in a
situation (what happens, happens) – the more successful you will be in
attaining your goal. It is having 100% focus on what you want to have
happen and truly 100% detachment from the results (what happens, happens).
When you can honestly say “I don’t care” you are on the path to freedom.
There is such a strength in freedom and freedom comes by not caring. If the
archer is not aware of the prize, he hits the target with no effort.
A Changed Person
In your pursuit of awareness, don’t make demands.
You can’t imitate Christ by imitating his external behavior. You’ve got to
be Christ. Then you’ll know exactly what to do in a particular situation,
given your temperament, your character, and the character and temperament of
the person you’re dealing with. No one has to tell you. But to do that,
you must be what Christ was. An external imitation will get you
O Lord – let me find you in who I am. Not as someone outside of me, but
someone who not only resides in me but is the very fiber of my being. Open
the eyes of my heart Lord.
It’s only when you become love – in
other words, when you have dropped your illusions and attachments – that you
As you identify less and less with the “I.” you will be more at
ease with everybody and with everything. Do you know why? Because you are
no longer afraid of being hurt or not liked, you no longer desire to impress
anyone. Can you imagine the relief when you don’t have to impress anybody
When you can truly embrace the “I don’t care” attitude or the “tell somebody
who cares” attitude you are making progress. If you don’t like me – tell
somebody that cares. If you are not impressed by me – tell somebody that
cares. When you start to KNOW who you are – the rest falls by the wayside.
I’d much rather hear you say to me, “I’ve come awake since we last met; what
I did to you won’t happen again,” than to hear you say, “I’m so sorry for
what I did to you.”
Nobody was mean to you. Somebody was mean to
what he or she thought was you, but not to you. Nobody ever rejects you;
they’re only rejecting what they think you are. But that cuts both ways.
Nobody ever accepts you either. Until people come awake, they are simply
accepting or rejecting their image of you. They’ve fashioned an image of
you, and they’re rejecting or accepting that. See how devastating it is to
go deeply into that. It’s a bit too liberating. But how easy it is to love
people when you understand this; how easy it is to love everyone when you
don’t identify with what they imagine you are or they are. It becomes easy
to love them, to love everybody.
I can see this. It is amazing. I have an image of certain people and I
have based my acceptance or rejection on my own image, my own perceptions.
My perceptions have become my reality. I need to change my perceptions, but
what that ultimately means is I need to drop my perceptions – I need to
allow them to drop to the ground as I am walking and I will walk in a
freedom and a love that is TRUE.
One cannot say anything about the awakened state; one can only talk about
the sleeping state.
We want to find out what the awakened person is
like. But you’ll know only when you get there.
When I talk about not having expectations of
others, or not making demands on them, I mean expectations and demands for
Page 99 – Arriving at Silence
Everyone asks me about what will happen when they finally arrive.
Get started and you will know; it cannot be
described. It is said widely in the East, “Those who know do not say; those
who say, do not know.” It cannot be said, only the opposite can be said.
Truth cannot be put into words, into a
formula. That isn’t truth. That isn’t reality. Reality cannot be put into
There are no formulas. God is creative enough to create each of us
uniquely. If he is that creative, He is also creative enough to give each
of us a unique path to walk on. If we each have a unique path to walk on,
then, by definition, there cannot be formulas. We can be there for each
other to give encouragement along the way, but we cannot live the life of
someone else and they cannot live our life. There are markers along our
journey, but my markers are not necessarily your markers.
The guru can only point out your errors. When
you drop your errors, you will know the truth. And even then you cannot
We have developed so much interference in our lives that we cannot see
clearly. What we think, what we see, what we hear, what we do are all
influenced by what we have been taught. In order to see clearly, hear
clearly, think clearly, and do clearly we must shed the interference. When
the disciples saw Jesus on the mount of transfiguration was Jesus
transformed or were their eyes opened to see Him as He really is? Open the
eyes of my heart Lord… I want to see Jesus.
Most people aren’t very wise; they seize upon the word – upon the words of
scripture, for example – and they get it all wrong.
The highest form of talking about the Trinity
is to know that one does not know.
Reality, God, divinity, truth, love are unknowable; that means they
cannot be comprehended by the thinking mind. That would set at rest so many
questions people have because we’re always living under the illusion that we
know. We don’t. We cannot know.
What is scripture then? It’s a hint, a clue, not a description.
The fanaticism of one sincere believer who thinks he knows causes more evil
than the united efforts of two hundred rogues. It’s terrifying to see what
sincere believers will do because they think they know.
Woe is me. How little I know; how can I know the unfathomable? For now I
know in part – and I will always know in part.
The fact is that you’re surrounded by God and you don’t see God, because you
“know” about God. The final barrier to the vision of God is your God
concept. You miss God because you think you know. That’s the terrible
think about religion. That’s what the gospels were saying, that religious
people “knew” so they got rid of Jesus. The highest knowledge of God is to
know God as unknowable.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want to see
Jesus. Lord, embody in me – help me to be – compassionate, gracious, slow
to anger, abounding in lovingkindness, abounding in truth, help me to have
covenant faithfulness, and forgiveness. I see it! When we think we “know”
we are dangerous. Oh Lord, help me to see my ignorance of you and your
ways. You say that your thoughts and your ways are higher than ours. Of
course; how can we expect to be able to comprehend your thoughts and walk in
your ways unless we have died to ourselves and live in you? It is the only
way. I cannot strive – I can only die. Real life is not about living – it
is about dying – and once I die – I am free to be who God created me to be.
Oh God, wake me up – don’t let me think that I have the answers – I only
have a glimpse of the TRUTH – and the glimpse that I have seen and
experienced is enough to cause me to be willing to die to gain a greater
vision and experience your ways of TRUTH.
There’s too little dropping of illusions,
dropping of errors, dropping of attachments and cruelty, too little
Lord, help me to see how asleep I am in life. Help me to see the illusions
I am carrying. Help me to see the errors I have about you, about others,
and about myself. Help me to drop attachments. Help me to be more aware.
My goal is to get people on a journey – to help them to wake up, and at the
same time, to wake up myself. Open the eyes of my heart – help me to see
with your eyes. I want to see reality – I want to be aware.
Awareness, awareness, awareness! In awareness is healing; in awareness is
truth; in awareness is salvation; in awareness is spirituality; in awareness
is growth; in awareness is love; in awareness is awakening. Awareness.
Lord, help me. Lord, I am asleep. Lord, wake me up. My heart’s desire is
to be alive, awake, and aware.
I need to talk about words and concepts because
I must explain to you why it is, when we look at a tree, we really don’t
see. We think we do, but we don’t. When we look at a person, we
really don’t see that person, we only think we do. What we’re seeing is
something that we fixed in our mind. We get an impression and we hold on to
that impression, and we keep looking at a person through that impression.
And we do this with almost everything. If you understand that, you will
understand the loveliness and beauty of being aware of everything around
you. Because reality is there; “God” whatever that is, is there. It’s all
Lord, help me to see myself as I really am so that I can see others as they
really are. Lord give me a glimpse of your compassion towards me and let
that flow through me to others.
If we would just open our eyes and see, then we
Losing The Rat Race
How does one lose oneself? Did you ever try to lose something? That’s
right, the harder you try, the harder it gets. It’s when you’re not trying
that you lose things. You lose something when you’re not aware.
You’re never so ready to forgive yourself as
when you are happy. Happiness releases you from self. It is suffering and
pain and misery and depression that tie you to the self.
When you come to a place where you can embrace sorrow and suffering because
you know that God is good and that He loves and cares about you, you are
tasting the freedom that God has for each of us. You are coming into a
taste of reality.
So it’s quite false, quite erroneous, to think
that the way to deny the self is to cause pain to the self, to go in for
abnegation, mortification, as these were traditionally understood. To deny
the self, to die to it, to lose it, is to understand its true nature. When
you do that, it will disappear; it will vanish.
By this point I’m wondering who is crazier, this guy [the guy who thinks he
is Napoleon Bonaparte] or me. But I go along with this lunatic. That’s
what the wise guru does with you in the beginning. He goes along with you;
he takes your troubles seriously. He’ll wipe a tear or two from your eye.
You’re crazy, but you don’t know it yet.
So when the man comes to his senses and
realizes he is not Napoleon, he does not cease to be. He continues to be,
but he suddenly realizes that he is something other than what he thought he
To lose the self is to suddenly realize that you are something
other than what you thought you were.
I do certain things in life. I have different roles in life at different
times, but what I do and the roles that I take on are not who I am. Who I
am is separate from all of that. It is who I am that has to be the focus of
my life. The rest is just stuff.
These are just analogies, images, so you cannot take them literally. They
just give you a clue, a hint, they’re only pointers, don’t forget.
Personal worth doesn’t mean self-worth.
Self –worth; what I think of myself is superfluous. It doesn’t matter what
I think of myself. God-worth; what God thinks of me is reality. How do I
shed self-worth and understand and be aware of my God-worth?
One understands one’s personal worth when one
no longer identifies or defines one’s self in terms of transient things.
I’m not beautiful because everyone says I’m beautiful. I’m really neither
beautiful nor ugly. These are things that come and go.
You need to give a lot of time to reflect on these things. I’ve thrown them
at you in rapid succession, but if you would take the time to understand
what I have been saying, to dwell on it, you’ll have a gold mine there. I
know, because when I stumbled upon these things for the first time, what a
treasure I discovered.
Pleasant experiences make life delightful.
Painful experiences lead to growth. Pleasant experiences make life
delightful, but they don’t lead to growth in themselves. What leads to
growth is painful experiences. Suffering points up an area in you where
you have not yet grown, where you need to grow and be transformed and change.
If you knew how to use that suffering, oh how you would grow.
I have come to a place in my life when suffering and trials come I can
embrace them. I can truly say “Thank you, Lord. Now Lord, teach me the
lesson you have for me. Teach me quickly – and don’t let me forget.” When
you come to a place where you can embrace the suffering, you will be on a
journey of freedom.
The disappointment you experience when things
don’t turn out as you wanted them to, watch that!
Look at what it says about you. I say this
without condemnation (otherwise you’re going to get caught up in
self-hatred). Observe it as you would observe it in another person. Look
at that disappointment, that depression you experience when you are
Negative Feelings, every negative feeling is useful for awareness, for
understanding. They give you the opportunity to feel it, to watch it from
Desire, Not Preference
Desire in the healthy sense of the word is energy, and the more energy
we have, the better. But don’t suppress desire, understand it. Understand
it. Don’t seek to fulfill desire so much as to understand desire.
It is focus and detachment. When we have 100% focus on what we want to do
and 100% detachment from what happens – it frees us up to put all of our
energy into it. It is the archer – shooting for the prize and losing his
focus – being divided by the results of the outcome – being tied in some way
(emotionally??) to the results will take away energy that was meant to be
focused on what we are doing (hitting the target).
And don’t just renounce the objects of your desire, understand them; see
them in their true light. See them for what they are really worth; because
if you just suppress your desire, and you attempt to renounce the object of
your desire, you are likely to be tied to it. Whereas if you look at it and
see it for what it is really worth, if you understand how you are preparing
the grounds for misery and disappointment and depression, your desire will
then be transformed into what I call a preference.
This is the difference between HAVING to have something and saying “its nice
if I have that but whether or not I have that doesn’t affect my life or who
I am. I am not what I have – I am who God created me to be – a unique
individual – made in His image.
When you go through life with preferences but
don’t let your happiness depend on any one of them, then you’re awake.
You’re moving toward wakefulness. Wakefulness, happiness – call it what you
wish – is the state of nondelusion, where you see things not as you
are but as they are, insofar as this is possible for a human being;
to drop the illusions, to see things, to see reality.
We have lived our lives looking, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling
through who we think we are. We experience life through filters – filters
that have nothing to do with reality – they are filters we have picked up
along the way. The life we live, through our filters, is not life at all,
it is just going through the motions. It is sleeping through life. Lord, I
don’t want to sleep through life – I want to experience life. I want to
wake up every morning with the possibility of having a great day – and
seeing – really seeing – being aware – really being aware. Oh how we sleep
Every time you are unhappy, you have added
something to reality. It is that addition that makes you unhappy. I
repeat: You have added something… a negative reaction in you. Reality
provides the stimulus, you provide the reaction. You have added something
by your reaction. And if you examine what you have added, there is always
an illusion there, there’s a demand, an expectation, a craving. Always.
So if you want to live, you must have no permanent abode. You must have no
place to rest your head. You have to flow with it.
Life is happening all the time. I need to be aware. It doesn’t matter what
the circumstances are. We need to be like Paul when he writes in the book
of Philippians that he has learned to be content in all circumstances. That
is a key to life: learning to be content in all circumstances. Oh Lord,
make me aware when I am not content.
Do you want to enjoy a
symphony? Don’t hold on to a few bars of the music. Don’t hold on to a
couple of notes. Let them pass, let them flow. The whole enjoyment of a
symphony lies in your readiness to allow notes to pass.
Life is passing by – it is okay. There are good times and there are not so
good times – but can we be content in all of them? Oh Lord, help me to be
content in all circumstances.
Page 111 – Clinging to Illusions
When you cling, life is destroyed; when you
hold on to anything, you cease to live. It’s all over the gospel pages.
And one attains this by understanding. Understand. Understand another
illusion, too, that happiness is not the same as excitement; it’s not the
same as thrills.
We need to learn to hold things lightly. We cannot cling to anything. When
we are able to hold things lightly, we are on the road to freedom. The
tighter we grasp at things, the more they tend to slip through our fingers –
we cannot grasp tightly – it drains too much energy. When we do our best
and let the results happen – the results happen. How do you tell someone
(or how do you learn yourself) that focusing too much on the results makes
the results more fleeting – but if you hold the results lightly – you are
free to attain the results. You can observe this in athletics on a regular
basis. When the big game comes, when the big race comes – you can watch
people take their eye off the target (100% focus) and look at the prize
(which divides their attention). One of the reasons that seasoned athletes
that have already won – that have experienced the championship – have an
advantage is because they are not as focused on the prize… If you cannot
have fun, then what’s the point? Let go of the results – do your best and
let the rest of it happen.
Another illusion is that someone else can do this for you, that some savior
or guru or teacher can do this for you. Not even the greatest guru in the
world can take a single step for you.
It is you who have to do it. No one else can
help you. It is you who has to digest your food, it is you who have to
understand. No one can understand for you. It is you who have to seek.
Nobody can seek for you.
I am on a journey. My heart’s desire is to get others to be on a journey
also. But, my journey is different than your journey, which is different
than their journey. Let us journey with Jesus. I have a unique path to
walk on, as do you, but we can meet along the way and encourage each other
and share with each other as we journey together.
There is yet another illusion, that is it
important to be respectable, to be loved and appreciated, to be important.
Many say we have a natural urge to be loved and appreciated, to belong.
That’s false. Drop this illusion and you will find happiness. We have a
natural urge to be free, a natural urge to love, but not to be loved.
You become happy by contact with reality. That’s what brings happiness, a
moment-by-moment contact with reality. That’s where you’ll find God; that’s
where you’ll find happiness.
Let’s be real. Let’s be on a journey to find reality together, and when we
get a glimpse of it, we will never be the same.
Another illusion: You are all those labels
that people have put on you, or that you have put on yourself. You’re not,
So what you need to do is smash the label!
Smash it, and you’re free!
We can’t smash anything we are not aware of. We need to ask the Lord to
show us the labels we have taken on that are nothing more than labels. Once
we are aware of them – we can walk away from them.
Don’t identify with those labels. That’s what someone else thinks.
We need to be able to allow labels to slide off. It is the “tell somebody
who cares” attitude. We can be put in boxes by others and we can put
ourselves in boxes because of labels. When we free ourselves from the
labels, we are free to be who we really are. Oh freedom, come to me. I am
on a path to freedom.
What does it really matter? Provided you
continue to be aware, to live life from moment to moment.
Why bother about tomorrow? Get into today.
Live in the present moment. This is one of the
things you will notice happening to you as you come awake. You will find
yourself living in the present, tasting every moment as you live it.
Another fairly good sign is when you hear the symphony one note after the
other without wanting to stop it.
Learning from the past, looking forward to the future, and living in the
present. Oh Lord, keep me alive in the present.
You need understanding, not condemnation. That is how you bring about
change in yourself. Not by condemnation, not by calling yourself names, but
by understanding what’s going on. Not by calling yourself a dirty old
sinner. No, no, no, no!
In order to get awareness, you’ve got to see, and you can’t see if
You always do when there’s an inner change. It always registers in your
face, in your eyes, in your body.
Perception has devastating consequences in the
matter of love and human relationships.
Whatever a relationship may be, it certainly entails two things:
clarity of perception and accuracy of response.
Perceptions have devastating effects because our perceptions become our
reality. We need to understand that what we perceive is not necessarily
real, and in most cases it is not real. That is where awareness comes in.
We need to be on the path of awareness because only true awareness will
bring clarity to our perceptions. It is only with clear perceptions that we
have an opportunity to give an accurate response. The clearer our
perceptions the more accurate our responses can be. Most of our lives are
involved in clouded perceptions and devastating responses. Oh Lord, pull me
out of the clouds – let me see, let me be aware.
You’re more likely to respond accurately when you perceive clearly. When
your perception is distorted, you’re not likely to respond accurately. How
can you love someone whom you do not even see?
When true love enters, you no longer like or
even dislike people in the ordinary sense of the word. You see them clearly
and you respond accurately. But at this human level, your likes and
dislikes and preferences and attractions, etc. continue to get in the way.
So you have to be aware of your prejudices, your likes, your dislikes, your
Help me Lord to see people with your eyes. Help me to see them with
compassion, graciousness, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness,
abounding in truth, covenant faithfulness, and forgiveness.
But falling in love has nothing to do with love at all. It isn’t love, it’s
desire, burning desire.
They say that love is blind. Believe me,
there’s nothing so clear-sighted as true love, nothing.
True love is seeing a person as they really are and loving them anyway.
That is God’s love toward us – He sees us for who we really are and loves us
so much that He sent His son to die for us so that He could spend eternity
Believe it or not, every concept that was meant to help us get in touch with
reality ends up by being a barrier to getting in touch with reality, because
sooner or later we forget that the words are not the same thing. The
concept is not the same as reality. They’re different.
How do we separate concepts from reality? Oh Lord, make me more aware.
So your concept points, but it is never entirely accurate; it misses
uniqueness, concreteness. The concept is universal.
Take me away from generalities and bring me to specifics.
You really don’t know the person. The concept always misses or omits
something extremely important, something precious that is only found in
reality, which is concrete uniqueness.
“The day you teach the child the name of the
bird, the child will never see that bird again.”
If you don’t look at things through concepts,
you’ll never be bored. Every single thing is unique.
If all you experience is your concept, you’re
not experiencing reality, because reality is concrete. The concept is a
help, to lead you to reality, but when you get there, you’ve got to intuit
or experience it directly.
A second quality of a concept is that it is static whereas reality is in
The moment you put things into a concept, they
stop flowing; they become static, dead. A frozen wave is not a wave. A
wave is essentially movement, action, when you freeze it, it is not a wave.
Concepts are always frozen. Reality flows. Finally, if we are to believe
the mystics (and it doesn’t take too much of an effort to understand this,
or even believe it, but no one can see it at once), reality is whole,
but words and concepts fragment reality. That is why it is so difficult to
translate from one language to another, because each language cuts reality
Open the eyes of my heart Lord – I want to see you and in seeing you, I
desire to see reality. My heart’s desire is to live and to be awake. I
want to be a part of the flow.
Reality is a whole and we cut it up to make concepts and we use words to
indicate different parts.
Ideas actually fragment the vision, intuition,
or experience of reality as a whole. This is what the mystics are
perpetually telling us. Words cannot give you reality. They only point,
they only indicate. You use them as pointers to get to reality. But once
you get there, your concepts are useless.
You don’t need to be a mystic to understand
that reality is something that cannot be captured by words or concepts.
To know reality you have know beyond knowing.
It may be something like coming to a crossroads in your life where you have
to make a decision about God. Is God good? Does God care? Is God real?
When you come to that crossroad and you can from the very depths of your
being declare that God is good, no matter what happens – then you are
touching reality. When you can adopt the “I don’t care” or the “tell
somebody that cares” attitude – when awareness and detachment become a part
of who you are – then you are walking with Jesus.
There is no word for reality; because as soon as I put a word to it, we’re
back to concepts again.
Words are pointers, they’re not descriptions.
Point me in the right direction…
What I’m leading you to is the following: awareness of reality around you.
Awareness means to watch, to observe what is going on within you and around
you. “Going on” is pretty accurate: Trees, grass, flowers, animals, rock,
all of reality is moving.
Are you imprisoned by your concepts? Do you
want to break out of your prison? Then look; observe; spend hours
observing. Watching what? Anything. The faces of people, the
shapes of trees, a bird in flight, a pile of stones, watch the grass grow.
Get in touch with things, look at them. Hopefully you will then break out
of these rigid patterns we have all developed, out of what our thoughts and
our words have imposed on us. Hopefully we will see. What will we see?
This thing that we chose to call reality, whatever is beyond words and
I want to experience reality. I don’t know how to do that except to be more
aware. Lord, make me more aware. Lord, open the eyes of my heart. I want
to see with my heart.
Though we begin without them, concepts have a very positive function.
Thanks to them we develop our intelligence. We’re invited not to become
children, but to become like children. We do have to fall from a
stage of innocence and be thrown out of paradise; we do have to develop an
“I” and a “me” through these concepts. But then we need to return to
When we start off in life, we look at reality
with wonder, but it isn’t the intelligent wonder of the mystics; it’s the
formless wonder of the child. Then wonder dies and is replaced by boredom,
as we develop language and words and concepts. Then hopefully, if we’re
lucky, we’ll return to wonder again.
At A Loss For Words
Dag Hammarskjold, the former UN Secretary General, put it so beautifully:
“God does not die on the day we cease to believe in a personal deity. But
we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady
radiance of wonder renewed daily, the source of which is beyond all reason.”
This is what is ultimate in our human knowledge of God, to know that we do
not know. Our great tragedy is that we know too much. We think we know,
that is our tragedy; so we never discover.
Open the eyes of my heart Lord – I want to discover you. I want to see
you. I want to be aware of your presence. My desire is to have every day
be a new day – a day of discovery. You are too deep to comprehend, but if I
can learn a little – if I can discover a little part each day – then I am
starting to live.
Flags are in the heads of people. In any case, there are thousands of words
in our vocabulary that do not correspond to reality at all. But do they
trigger emotions in us! So we begin to see things that are not there.
The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from
its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of
You need to be liberated from that. Don’t carry over experiences from the
past. In fact, don’t carry over good experiences from the past either.
Learn what it means to experience something fully, then drop it and move on
to the next moment, uninfluenced by the previous one. You’d be traveling
with such little baggage that you could pass through the eye of a needle.
You’d know what eternal life is, because eternal life is now, in the
Lord, help me to experience life each day, each hour, each minute, each
second, and help me to bring others along on the journey.
Page 133 – Filtered Reality
Now, this is what’s happening to us. From
every pore or living cell of our bodies and from all our senses we are
getting feedback from reality. But we are filtering things out constantly.
But there’s another demon, too, who’s doing the
filtering. It’s called attachment, desire, craving. The root of sorrow is
craving. Craving distorts and destroys perception.
In many ways we were drugged when we were young. We were brought up to need
people. For what? For acceptance, approval, appreciation, applause – for
what they call success. Those are words that do not correspond to reality.
They are conventions, things that are invented, but we don’t realize that
they don’t correspond to reality.
When we were young, we were programmed to
unhappiness. They taught us that in order to be happy you need money,
success, a beautiful or handsome partner in life, a good job, friendship,
spirituality, God – you name it. Unless you get these things, you’re not
going to be happy, we were told. Now, that is what I call an attachment.
An attachment is a belief that without something you are not going to be
Useless to exhort the first person about what to do; he needs
understanding. Exhortations are of no great help.
Your whole life has been empty and soulless. There is nothing there.
There’s only one way out and that is to get deprogrammed. How do you do
that? You become aware of the programming. You cannot change by an effort
of the will; you cannot change through ideals; you cannot change through
building up new habits. Your behavior may change, but you don’t. You only
change through awareness and understanding.
Awareness is a key to change. You can’t change anything you’re not aware
of. Awareness, awareness, awareness. The more aware you are the more you
change without even knowing it.
When you see, you change.
There’s no violence anymore in your attempt to change yourself. Otherwise,
what you call change is simply moving the furniture around. Your behavior
is changed, but not you.
Page 137 - Detachment
The only way to change is by changing your understanding.
I don’t need anybody’s love; I just need to get
in touch with reality. I need to break out of this prison of mine, this
programming, this conditioning, these false beliefs, these fantasies; I need
to break out into reality. Reality is lovely; it is an absolute delight.
Eternal life is now. We’re surrounded by it, like the fish in the ocean,
but we have no notion about it at all.
Happiness is a state of nonillusion, of dropping the illusion.
That should have taught you, but we never
learn. We’re programmed; we’re conditioned.
Sometimes you have to get rid of “God” in order to find God. Lots of
mystics tell us that.
We’ve been blinded by everything that we have
not discovered the basic truth that attachments hurt rather than help
If you’re attached to appreciation and praise,
you’re going to view people in terms of their threat to your attachment or
their fostering of your attachment.
Tell somebody who cares.
An attachment destroys your capacity to love. What is love? Love is
sensitivity, love is consciousness.
What is a loving heart? A loving heart is
sensitive to the whole of life, to all persons; a loving heart doesn’t
harden itself to any person or thing. But the moment you become attached in
my sense of the word, then you’re blocking out many other things.
Love entails clarity of perception,
objectivity; there is nothing so clear-sighted as love.
I can only love people when I have emptied my life of people. When I die to
the need for people, then I’m right in the desert. In the beginning it
feels awful, it feels lonely, but if you can take it for a while, you’ll
suddenly discover that it isn’t lonely at all. It is solitude, it is
aloneness, and the desert begins to flower. Then at last you’ll know what
love is, what God is, what reality is.
You can make use of suffering to end suffering.
Spirituality is awareness, awareness,
awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness.
Whether there’s something wrong with me or not, I’ll examine that
independently of your anger. I’m not going to be influenced by your anger.
Well, if I did wrong, it was in unawareness.
Nobody does wrong in awareness. That’s why theologians tell us very
beautifully that Jesus could do no wrong. That makes very good sense to me,
because the enlightened person can do no wrong. The enlightened person is
free. Jesus was free and because he was free, he couldn’t do any wrong.
But since you can do wrong, you’re not free.
Russia and Finland are only words, concepts, but not for human beings, not
for crazy human beings. We’re almost never looking at reality.
Words, words, words, how imprisoning they are
if they’re not used properly.
Page 144 – Hidden Agendas
There is a difference between knowledge and awareness, between
information and awareness. I just said to you that one cannot do evil in
knowledge or information, when you know something is bad.
Or if they had been aware that they were
crucifying the Lord of Glory, they would have never done so.
They aren’t aware. They’re caught up in
information and knowledge.
Oh, Lord, don’t let us get caught up in the letter of the law. Don’t let us
get caught up in dissecting words and concepts and miss your heart. Oh,
Lord, show us your heart. We have to be so aware of information – that
stuff we have in our heads – that leads us in the wrong direction – because
we are deceived into thinking that information is TRUTH and it is not. It
is just information – nothing more, nothing less. Bagger Vance said it –
Trust your hands – don’t listen to your head – your hands know better than
your mind. Die to your thoughts and follow your heart.
If one is tense, one simply observes one’s tension. You will never
understand yourself if you seek to change yourself. The harder you try to
change yourself, the worse it gets. You are called upon to be aware.
Get the feel of that jangling telephone; get the feel of jarred nerves; get
the sensation of the steering wheel in the car. In other words, come to
reality, and let tension or the calmness take care of itself.
Step by step, let whatever happens happen.
Real change will come when it is brought about, not by your ego, but by
reality. Awareness releases reality to change you.
It sounds strange in a culture where we’ve been trained to achieve goals, to
get somewhere, but in fact there’s nowhere to go because you’re there
Your attitude should be: “I want to be aware.
I want to be in touch with whatever is and let whatever happens happen; if
I’m awake, fine, and if I’m asleep, fine.”
Charity is never so lovely as when one has lost
consciousness that one is practicing charity.
Let’s come awake, it’s going to be wonderful.
After a while, it doesn’t matter; one is aware because one lives. The
unaware life is not worth living. And you will leave pain to take care of
Page 147 – Giving In
You always empower the demons you fight.
But if you flow with the enemy, you overcome
the enemy. How does one cope with evil? Not by fighting it but by
understanding it. In understanding, it disappears.
The more you fight darkness, the more real it
becomes to you, and the more you exhaust yourself.
When you renounce something, you’re tied to
it. But if, instead of renouncing it, I look at it and say, “Hey, this
isn’t a billion-dollar check, this is a scrap of paper,” there is nothing to
fight, nothing to renounce.
Page 148 – Assorted Landmines
There is no salvation till they have seen their basic prejudice.
As soon as you look at the world through an
ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond
that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life.
But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a
formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind.
Meaning is only found when you go beyond
meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it
makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind.
There’s no clinging, no anxiety, no fear, no hangover, no possessiveness, no
demands. Free people form community, not slaves. This is such simple
truth, but it has been drowned out by a whole culture, including religious
culture. Religious culture can be very manipulative if you don’t watch out.
But with true awareness there’s nowhere to go,
nothing to achieve. How do we get to this awareness? Through awareness.
You don’t want to experience awareness;
you do or you don’t.
Try? There is no try. There is only do or not do.
How many people spend their lives not eating food but eating the menu? A
menu is only an indication of something that’s available.
That’s a good analogy. The menu is not the food. The menu is there only to
give you an indication of reality – it is not reality.
The Death of Me
If you would die to the past, if you would die to every minute, you would be
the person who is fully alive, because a fully alive person is one who is
full of death. We’re always trying to do things. We’re always shedding
everything in order to be fully alive and to be resurrected at every
moment. The mystics, saints, and others make great efforts to wake people
The greatest evil is sleeping people, ignorant
A system is about as good or bad as the people
who use it.
Don’t ask the world to change – you change
Till you are aware of yourself, you have no
right to interfere with anyone else or with the world. Now, the danger of
attempting to change others or change things when you yourself are not aware
is that you may be changing things for your own convenience, your pride,
your dogmatic convictions and beliefs, or just to relieve your negative
Page 152 – Insight and Understanding
But what does self-change entail?
First, insight. Not effort, not cultivating
habits, not having an ideal. Ideals do a lot of damage. The whole time
you’re focusing on what should be instead of what is.
Making him use his willpower, effort, doesn’t last very long. His behavior
may change, but he does not.
The feeling got transferred. No one could make sense of why this charming
man was doing this, but the moment he saw that, there was never any trouble
Not Pushing It
Meditating on and imitating externally the behavior of Jesus is no
help. It’s not a question of imitating Christ, it’s a question of becoming
what Jesus was. It’s a question of becoming Christ, becoming aware,
understanding what’s going on within you.
You need the expert – you need understanding,
insight, awareness – you don’t need pushing. You don’t need effort.
Page 157 – Getting Real
Awareness, insight. When you become an expert (and you’ll soon become an
expert) you don’t need to take a course in psychology. As you begin to
observe yourself, to watch yourself, to pick up those negative feelings,
you’ll find your own way of explaining it. And you’ll notice the change.
But then you’ll have to deal with the big villain, and that villain is
self-condemnation, self-hatred, self-dissatisfaction.
Page 159 – Assorted Images
Let’s talk more about effortlessness in change. I thought of a nice
image for that, a sailboat. When a sailboat has a mighty wind to its sail,
it glides along so effortlessly that the boatsman has nothing to do but
steer. He makes no effort, he doesn’t push the boat. That’s an image of
what happens when change comes about through awareness, through
There is nothing so cruel as nature. In the
whole universe there is no escape from it, and yet it is not nature that
does the injury, but the person’s own heart.
You’ve got solid attitudes inside you; you’ve
got solid illusions inside you; that’s what bumps against nature, that’s
where you get hurt, that’s where the pain comes from.
If the eye is unobstructed, it results in
sight; if the ear is unobstructed the result is hearing.; if the nose is
unobstructed, the result is a sense of smell; if the mouth is unobstructed,
the result is a sense of taste; if the mind is unobstructed, the result is
Wisdom occurs when you drop barriers you have erected through your concepts
Wisdom is to be sensitive to this situation, to
this person, uninfluenced by any carryover from the past, without reside
from the experience of the past.
If the heart is unobstructed, the result is
Page 161 – Saying Nothing About Love
One cannot make a slave of a free person, for a free person is free even
Freedom lies not in external circumstances;
freedom resides in the heart. When you have attained wisdom, who can
What does it mean to love? It means to see a
person, a situation, a thing as it really is, not as you imagine it to be;
and to give it the response it deserves. You can hardly be said to love
what you do not even see. And what prevents us from seeing? Our
conditioning. Our concepts, our categories, our prejudices, our
projections, the labels that we have drawn from our cultures and our past
Seeing is the most arduous thing that a human can undertake, for it calls
for a disciplined, alert mind. But most people would much rather lapse
into mental laziness than to take the trouble to see each person, each thing
in its present moment of freshness.
The healthy child has no interest in persons, he is interested in
things. When a child is sure of his mother’s love, he forgets his mother,
he goes out to explore the world; he is curious. He looks for a frog to put
in his mouth, that kind of thing.
So we were given a taste of various drug addictions: approval, attention,
success, making it to the top, prestige, getting your name in the paper,
power, being the boss. We were given a taste of things like being the
captain of the team, leading the band, etc. Having a taste for these drugs,
we become addicted and dread losing them. Recall the lack of control you
felt, the terror at the prospect of failure or making mistakes, at the
prospect of criticism by others. So you became cravenly dependent on others
and you lost your freedom. Others now have the power to make you happy or
miserable. You crave your drugs, but as much as you hate the suffering that
this involves, you find yourself completely helpless.
A nice definition of an awakened person: a
person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to
the tune of the music that springs up from within.
To be with people is to live in tension. To be without them brings the
agony of loneliness, because you miss them. You have lost your capacity to
see them exactly as they are and to respond to them accurately, because your
perceptions of them is clouded by the need to get your drugs.
Listening to Life
Now, you need awareness and you need nourishment. You need good,
healthy nourishment. Learn to enjoy the solid food of life: good food, good
wine, good water. Taste them. Lose your mind and come to your senses.
That’s good healthy nourishment; the pleasures of the senses and the
pleasures of the mind; good reading, when you enjoy a good book, or a really
good discussion, or thinking. It’s marvelous. Unfortunately, people have
gone crazy, and their getting more and more addicted because they do not
know how to enjoy the lovely things of life.
I really believe that most people in affluent
countries have lost that capacity; they’ve got to have more and more
expensive gadgets; they can’t enjoy the simple things of life.
We’re lost in our minds, in our ideas, in our
ideals, and so on, and it’s always go, go, go. And we’ve got an inner
self-conflict which animals don’t have; and we’re always condemning
ourselves and making ourselves feel guilty.
That was true of me, too; I lost my freedom in front of all kinds of things,
but no more! I’m satisfied with very little and I enjoy it intensely. When
you have enjoyed something intensely, you need very little.
Slow down and taste and smell and hear, and let
your senses come alive.
The End of Analysis
I want to give you a taste of the difference between analysis and
awareness, or information on one hand and insight on the other. Information
is not insight, analysis is not awareness, knowledge is not awareness.
You don’t change yourself; it’s not me changing me. Change
takes place through you, in you. That’s about the most adequate way
I can express it. You see change take place in you, through you; in your
awareness, it happens. You don’t do it. When your doing it, it’s a
bad sign; it won’t last.
That is the upper right corner of the rectangle. If you are going to do it
without it becoming a part of who you are – the change will not last.
But in awareness, you keep your softness, your
subtleness, your gentleness, your openness, your flexibility, and you don’t
push, change occurs.
The founder of my religious order, St. Ignatius, has a nice expression for
that. He calls it tasting and feeling the truth – not knowing it, but
tasting and feeling it, getting a feel for it. When you get a feel for it
you change. When you know it in your head, you don’t.
That is the difference between KNOWING in your heart and knowing in your
head. Tasting and feeling the TRUTH is knowing it in your heart, and when
you KNOW it in your heart you will be set free.
Page 169 – Dead Ahead
You’re not living until it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn to you whether
you live or die. At that point you live. When you’re ready to lose your
life, you live it. But if you’re protecting your life, you’re dead.
This is one of the paradoxes of life. In order to live you must die. In
order to live you must hold on to life lightly. When you are able to hold
life lightly and it really doesn’t matter, it is wonderfully freeing. When
you can truly say about life that you don’t care – the possibilities are
Life is for the gambler, it really is. That’s what Jesus was
saying. Are you ready to risk it? Do you know when you’re ready to risk
it? When you’ve discovered that, when you know that this thing that people
call life is not really life.
If you can take an attitude of passion about what you do but hold loosely
the outcomes – you will take risk and when the outcome doesn’t matter, the
outcomes will more than not go your way – but who cares?
An Italian poet said, “We live in a flash of
light, evening comes, and it is night forever.” Its only a flash and we
waste it. We waste it with our anxiety, our worries, our concerns, our
burdens. Now, as you make that meditation, you can just end up with
information; but you may end up with awareness. And in that moment of
awareness, you are new.
So you can pick all this up as cold fact (and that’s information). Or
suddenly, you get another perspective on life – what are we, what’s this
universe, what’s human life? When you get that feel, that’s what I mean
when I speak of awareness.
Page 172 – The Land of Love
If we dropped illusions for what they can give us or deprive us of, we
would be alert.
If you wish to love, you must learn to see
again. And if you wish to see, you must learn to give up your drug. It’s
as simple as that. Give up your dependency. Tear away the tentacles of
society that have enveloped and suffocated your being. You must drop them.
Externally, everything will go on as before, but though you will continue to
be in the world, you will no longer be of it. In your heart
you will now be free at last, if utterly alone. Your dependency on your
drug will die. You don’t have to go to the desert; you’re right in the
middle of people, you’re enjoying them immensely; but they no longer have
the power to make you happy or miserable. That’s what aloneness means.
In this solitude, your dependence dies. The capacity to love is born.
The birds of the air have their nests and the foxes their holes, but you
will have nowhere to rest your head in the journey through life. If you
ever get to this state, you will at last know what it means to see with a
vision that is clear and unclouded by fear or desire. Every word there is
measured. To see at last with a vision that is clear and unclouded by
fear or desire. You will know what it means to love. But to come to
the land of love, you must pass through the pains of death, for to love
persons means to die to the need for persons, and to be utterly alone.
How would you ever get there? By a ceaseless awareness, by the
infinite patience and compassion you would have for a drug addict; by
developing a taste for the good things in life to counter the craving of
your drug. What good things? The love of work which you enjoy doing for
the love of itself; the love of laughter and intimacy with people to whom
you do not cling and on whom you do not depend emotionally but whose company
you enjoy. It will also help if you take on activities that you can do with
your whole being, activities that you so love to do that while you’re
engaged in them success, recognition, and approval simply do not mean a
thing to you. It will help, too, if you return to nature. Send the crowds
away, go up to the mountains, and silently commune with trees and flowers
and animals and birds, with sea and clouds and sky and stars.
I’ve told you what a spiritual experience it is to gaze at things, to be
aware of things around you. Hopefully, the words will drop, the concepts
will drop, and you will see, you will make contact with reality. That is
the cure for loneliness.
Where’s the fire? And if worship is not leading to the fire, if adoration
isn’t leading to love, if the liturgy isn’t leading to a clearer perception
of reality, If God isn’t leading to life, of what use is religion except to
create more division, more fanaticism, more antagonism? It is not from a
lack of religion in the ordinary sense of the word that the world is
suffering, it is from a lack of love, lack of awareness.
And love is generated through awareness and through no other way, no other
way. Understand the obstructions you are putting in the way of love,
freedom, and happiness and they will drop. Turn on the light of awareness
and the darkness will disappear. Happiness is not something you acquire;
love is not something you produce; love is not something that you have; love
is something that has you. You do not have the wind, the stars, and
the rain. You don’t possess these things, you surrender to them. And
surrender occurs when you are aware of your illusions, when you are aware of
your addictions, when you are aware of your desires and fears.
It’s the “Aha” experience that counts.
Alas, so much time that is given to worship and
singing praise and singing songs could so fruitfully be employed in
Community is created by understanding the
blocks that we put in the way of community, by understanding the conflicts
that arise from our fears and desires.
We must always be aware of making worship just
another distraction from the important business of living.
Living is to have dropped all the impediments and to live in the present
moment with freshness.
And increasingly – you know this and so do I –
we’re losing the youth everywhere. They hate us; they’re not interested in
having more fears and more guilts laid on them. They’re not interested in
more sermons and exhortations. But they are interested in learning about
love. How can I be happy? How can I live? How can I taste of the
marvelous things the mystics speak of? So that’s the second thing –
understanding. Third, don’t identify.
First step: I don’t identify.
I understand I’m feeling depressed,
disappointed, or whatever. Second step: I admit the feeling is in me, not
in the other person.
Because as long as I think it’s outside me, I
feel justified in holding on to my feelings. I can’t say everybody would
feel this way; in fact, only idiotic people would feel this way, only
sleeping people. Third step: I don’t identify with the feeling. “I” is not
that feeling. “I” am not lonely, “I” am not depressed. “I” am not
disappointed. Disappointment is there, one watches it.
Anything you’re aware of keeps changing; clouds keep changing.
I began to see miracles. I began to see the self-dissatisfaction that had
been ingrained in me, the competition, the comparisons, the
that’s-not-good-enough, etc. You might object that if they hadn’t pushed
me, I wouldn’t have become what I am. Did I need all that pushing? And
anyway, who wants to be what I am? I want to be happy, I want to be holy, I
want to be loving, I want to be at peace, I want to be free, I want to be
The religion that makes people good makes people bad, but the religion known
as freedom makes all people good, for it destroys the inner conflict that
makes people devils.
You don’t need conscience when you have
consciousness; you don’t need conscience when you have sensitivity.
The root of evil is within you. As you begin
to understand this, you stop making demands on yourself, you stop having
expectations of yourself, you stop pushing yourself and you understand.
Nourish yourself on wholesome food, good wholesome food. I’m not taking
about actual food. I’m talking about sunsets, about nature, about a good
movie, about a good book, about enjoyable work, about good company, and
hopefully you will break your addiction to those other feelings.
Lots of people gain the world and lose their
soul. Lots of people live empty, soulless lives because they’re feeding
themselves on popularity, appreciation, and praise, on “I’m OK, you’re OK,”
look at me, attend to me, support me, value me, on being the boss, on having
power, on winning the race. Do you feed yourself on that? If you do you’re
dead. You’ve lost your soul. Feed yourself on other, more nourishing
material. Then you’ll see the transformation.
Monks and Scholars must not accept my words out of respect, but must
analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes gold – by cutting,
scraping, rubbing, melting.