"Love" (excerpt) The Future of Love by Daphne Kingma

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---“The Mystery of Love” by Melanie Dwita

Love is mysterious and beautiful. It makes us happy, gives us hope, allows us to believe that the impossible can happen.  And yet, it's inexplicable. It can't be denned or analyzed, catalogued or priced. Its premier property is that when it exists, it can never be mistaken for anything else, and nothing else, no matter how worthwhile or supposedly grand, can ever be passed off as love.

Love is a divine energy that steps into human circumstances, a timeless essence that enters time. It is older, wiser, finer, truer, sweeter, and more radiant than any human being. It is what makes us wise, fine, true, sweet, and radiant. It is the best—the essence of God—in us. And it is love, this exquisite energy, with which we connect when we first enter into the human experience we call "a relationship." We see that energy in one another's eyes; we feel it in our bodies and we know that something bigger than life has stepped into our lives to capture our attention. It is this highly charged, buoyant, transcendent, delicious feeling, and the longing for more, for a lifetime of it, that propels us into relationships.


Relationships are the endless interplay of this vast energy of love and all that occurs in our daily human lives. Our desire to feel this love forever, to be in love always, to repeat and endlessly recapture this ecstatic luminous feeling day by day, year after year, with the person who first inspired it in us is not only why we "fall in love" but also why we choose "to have relationships." It is also why, when our relationships go sour or grow threadbare, we reminisce about the way they once were. We want to reconnect with love.

Our greatest desire is to have our relationships return us again and again to the transforming and beautiful experience of the love that first inspired them and brought them into being. We live to love.

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“Come Home to Yourself” by Anthony DeMello

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---“Old Country House” - drawn by J. Kendall


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. 

There's the story of the disciple who went to the master and said, "Could you give me a word of wisdom? Could you tell me something that would guide me through my days?" It was the master's day of silence, so he picked up a pad. It said, "Awareness." When the disciple saw it, he said, "This is too brief. Can you expand on it a bit?" So the master took back the pad and wrote, "Awareness, awareness, awareness." The disciple said, "Yes, but what does it mean?" The master took back the pad and wrote, "Awareness, awareness, awareness means -- 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. But watch yourself. When you talk to someone, are you aware of it or are you simply identifying with it? 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. 

I am sometimes asked, "Is this growing in awareness a gradual thing, or is it a 'whammo' kind of thing?" There are some lucky people who see this in a flash. They just become aware. There are others who keep growing into it, slowly, gradually, increasingly. They begin to see things. Illusions drop away, fantasies are peeled away, and they start to get in touch with facts. There's no general rule. There's a famous story about the lion who came upon a flock of sheep and to his amazement found a lion among the sheep. It was a lion who had been brought up by the sheep ever since he was a cub. It would bleat like a sheep and run around like a sheep. The lion went straight for him, and when the sheep lion stood in front of the real one, he trembled in every limb. And the lion said to him, "What are you doing among the sheep?" And the sheep-lion said, "I am a sheep." And the lion said, "Oh no you're not. You're coming with me." So he took the sheep-lion to a pool and said, "Look!" And when the sheep-lion looked at his reflection in the water, he let out a mighty roar, and in that moment he was transformed. He was never the same again. 

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 will 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 again. 

You will fear no one and you will fear nothing. Isn't that extraordinary? You'll live like a king, like a queen. This is what it means to live like royalty. Not rubbish like getting your picture in the newspapers or having a lot of money. That's a lot of rot. You fear no one because you're perfectly content to be nobody. You don't give a damn about success or failure. They mean nothing. Honor, disgrace, they mean nothing! If you make a fool of yourself, that means nothing either. Isn't that a wonderful state to be in! Some people arrive at this goal painstakingly, step by step, through months and weeks of self-awareness. 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. 

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. 

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. 

Now there's HUMAN living for you. That's what life is all about. That can only come from awareness. 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 achievements. 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?" But if I haven't identified with these aspects of "me," you can't hurt me. Initially, the old conditioning will kick in and you'll be depressed and anxious. You'll grieve, cry, and so on. "Before enlightenment, I used to be depressed: after enlightenment, 1 continue to be depressed." But there's a difference: I don't identify with it anymore. Do you know what a big difference that is? 

You step outside of yourself and look at that depression, 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. If you don't know what that means, you really have something to look forward to. And anxiety? There it comes and you're not troubled. How strange! You're anxious but you're not troubled. 

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. You can be happy in your anxiety. Isn't that crazy? You can be happy in your depression. But you can't have the wrong notion of happiness. Did you think happiness was excitement or thrills? That's what causes the depression. Didn't anyone tell you that? You're thrilled, all right, but you're just preparing the way for your next depression. You're thrilled but you pick up the anxiety behind that: How can I make it last? That's not happiness, that's addiction. 

I wonder how many non-addicts there are reading this book? If you're anything like the average group, there are few, very few. Don't look down your nose at the alcoholics and the drug addicts: maybe you're just as addicted as they are. The first time I got a glimpse of this new world, it was terrifying. I understood what it meant to be alone, with nowhere to rest your head, to leave everyone free and be free yourself, to be special to no one and love everyone- because love does that. It shines on good and bad alike; it makes rain fall on saints and sinners alike. 

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 love. We were told that happiness is a smooth complexion, a holiday resort. It isn't these things, but we have subtle ways of making our happiness depend on other things, both within us and outside us. We say, "I refuse to be happy until my neurosis goes." I have good news for you: You can be happy right now, WITH the neurosis, You want even better news? There's only one reason why you're not experiencing what in India we call ANAND -- bliss, bliss. 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 good news: It's yours for the taking. But who listens? No one's interested, they'd rather be asleep.

Come Home to Yourself”
by Anthony DeMello
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"We Live in a Dual World" (excerpt) THE WISDOM OF THE ZEN MASTERS - by Irmgard Schloegl

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by Irmgard Schloegl

We live in a dual world of night and day, of darkness and light, of joy and sorrow. We are part of this world. Both aspects are there. If we want light and joy only and reject the other half, we shall begin to feel that a vital part of life is missing. But since only a masochist enjoys suffering, it is a razor-edge line on which to hold the balance.

Perhaps it is possible for each of us when we go into ourselves to see that there is a dividing line between the bitter resentment of selfishness, the ‘why must it happen to me?’, and the grief and sorrow that is part and parcel of our human condition. The latter needs to be accepted and lived; all life needs to be lived. We live it in any case; but how we live it is important. If we reject what is common to all, go through it with averted eyes, and refuse our share of common sorrow though we all expect if not demand our share of common joy, then the unlived, refused life piles up against us as fear, including the fear of death.

Master Shaku Soen liked to take an evening stroll through a nearby village. One day he heard loud lamentations from a house and, on entering quietly, realized that the householder had died and the family and neighbors were crying. He sat down and cried with them. An old man noticed him and remarked, rather shaken on seeing the famous master crying with them: 1 would have thought that you at least were beyond such things.’ ‘But it is this which puts me beyond it,’ replied the master with a sob.
Have we ever bothered to think out the consequences of a hypothetical state free from suffering? What we want, badly, is not to be bothered or hurt any more; but this would make us also incapable of feeling warmth and joy. We should turn into unfeeling monsters, callous and selfish brutes. Should this be the way of Buddhism which holds to the twin pillars of wisdom and love?

Love, warmth of heart, in its accepting humility is a true blessing. And it is the way that Buddhism cultivates. It is a way out of suffering not through refusal but through total embrace. This is what we need to know if we want to understand the Zen Masters, or if we happen to feel inclined to walk that way ourselves.

It is also a way to a true understanding of oneself. A true understanding of oneself, without excluding anything, is at the same time an understanding of others. And being so hard to achieve, it gives rise of itself to tolerance and compassion, to that disinterested love which is open, free, and, like the sun, just there. T with its ever-present itch to interfere, however altruistically ‘as I think it ought to be’, has abdicated. With the irritant gone, the itch ceases. The intentional ‘do-gooder’ is proverbial because all react against him though his intentions are undoubtedly good.

We have tried to better the world, and ourselves, for millennia, and though we have seemingly succeeded in some things, in others we are worse off than ever. Every short-term improvement inevitably throws up its opposite which trips us up.

Is there a way out? Yes, the hardest, for it starts at our end, where it hurts. The way is for each of us to dismantle our own obstacles. We all want to be reasonably considerate, reasonably tolerant, reasonably warm-hearted; why can we not be so, or not always so, though we ourselves want to be? What prevents us against our will? Truly, we are our own obstacles. And since the world is populated by us, we make and shape our own weal and woe. Could a fair number of us dislodge no more than our own obstacles, we need not trouble ourselves about the world, for it would of itself be a better place to live in. Could it be that T finds it more congenial to try to change the world than to set to work on its own obstacles and so change itself? Yet, our world would thus be a better one.

This way the Zen Masters show by living the lives they did and do. They actively contribute to it by their own lives and by training their students to live such lives. They are conspicuous for the absence of any zeal to interfere or to better anything. All of them shun abstractions and speculations, however edifying and lofty, as ‘flowers in the empty sky’—at best useless, more often downright destructive. Their common motto through the ages is ‘look at the place where your own feet stand’. A Chinese proverb often quoted by the Zen Masters says: ‘Even a journey of a thousand miles starts from right under one’s feet.’

If one’s eyes are searching for imaginary flowers in the sky, if one’s head is in the clouds, one is apt to stumble and to lose one’s way.

A present-day Master said of his students, in their presence, that they seemed to like him, and that occasionally they would set out to do something ‘great’ for him that would really please him. He could see it coming on in the far-away look in their eyes which were glued to the ‘great things’. He did not damp their enthusiasm outright as they had to learn the consequences; but he resigned himself to a period of trouble. Their minds away on the great, they would forget the ordinary things such as opening or shutting the temple gates, and they burnt the rice, spoilt the vegetables, and so on. After some days when all were beginning to feel the strain and to suffer from indigestion, he would tell them that if they really wanted to please him, would they please abandon the ‘great thing’ they were going to do for him, and just do the ordinary things they had to do as well as they could; nothing would please him better.

That is typical of the way in which Zen Masters ‘teach’. They are not teachers in the usual sense of the word, but they are eminently practical. Compact and solid, they stand on their own feet and they know human nature. They point the Way for their students, so that they do not lose themselves in the ‘thorns and brambles’ of speculation, or in the regions ‘where fierce desire rages, and opinions stand up like spears on a battlefield.’

Though many of them, both in China and Japan, have enjoyed imperial patronage, and some of them have counted emperors as their disciples, they have preferred the monastic life and fare within their community. Nor would they leave their community for long; the responsibility is binding.

The sun shines; that is its nature. Clouds may obscure it to our eyes; they do not affect the sun. These obscuring clouds we need to dispel so as to become aware of the sun. Such clouds we fashion by our I-interests, intentions, volitions, passions. Indeed we are our own obstacles.

The Buddha Nature is in us, as in everything that exists. If we do not obstruct it with our desires, etc., be they good or bad, it acts of itself, through us. This, however, is the opposite of ‘as I want it, everything goes’. The very I that wants everything ‘my way’ is the cloud that is to be dispelled.

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"The Last Word" (excerpt) SUBTLE SOUND THE ZEN TEACHINGS OF MAURINE STUART

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There is nothing that is not sacred; nothing that is not spiritual practice. Hakuin, that wonderful eighteenth-century Zen master who restored the vitality of Zen in Japan, warned against the belief that Zen requires the forceful rejection of all worldly concerns. True Zen practice is carried on in the midst of activity. When we are cooking, we are in deep cooking samadhi (where the logical and analytical ability of the being becomes silent). When we are cleaning, we are in deep cleaning samadhi. This condition, samadhi, is not a vacancy, a stupor, a spaced-out state of mind. It is a deeply awake, alert, vividly present condition—and of course, it may be blissful. We may be so vividly awake we can hear the ash from the incense fall.

Each of the activities we are engaged in, when given our full attention, without any feeling of resentment or comparison, is an opportunity to experience something, to open our eyes more clearly. When we let go of our egocentric hold on things, we find that something wonderful is there, something that has always been there; we have never been without it.

Just throw everything away, including anything I may say, including any good condition that may arise. Just go on. No condition is permanent. Don’t hold on to anything. Become the smoke from the incense. Drop off the habit of interfering with what happens and you will sense your mind becoming healthier, stronger. Accepting your discomforts or frustrations rather than repressing or avoiding them, allowing changes in yourself, you will experience your true self…

Our balancing of wisdom and compassion is always changing, growing, maturing, being directed into the various circumstances of our lives. When do we do enough, and when do we do too much? And what do we ask of people? This is a very subtle matter.

We must be aware that we do not help others when we do too much for them. And we do not help ourselves when we ask too much from others. Each of us is here to stand on our own two feet. We are supported by the wonderful practice of everyone around us, but we must do our own practice, by ourselves. We must discover it for ourselves. We cannot say to someone else, “Please help me.” Help yourself! It’s all right there in front of you—help yourself. Do not impose on other people’s kindness, begging for help. This is exceedingly important.

There was a Zen master named Seppo, who lived in China at a time when there was severe persecution of Buddhism. One day two monks, who no doubt had been to see many other masters, came to his little hermitage. They expected something from Seppo, who was at the prime of his maturity. They came to the gate. Seppo pushed open the gate joyfully, seeing two self-assured young gentlemen walking along the road, and thinking, ah, there will be some wonderful confrontation; what will come of it? He opened the gate, and said, “What is this?” What did they do? They just came back with the same words: “What is this?” Did they just imitate him, or had they really understood something? He turned away and walked back to his cottage.

What is this? If you went to Seppo and he asked you, “What is this?” how would you respond? These koans, these questions are for us. What is this? How do you express it? Not by sitting down and thinking about it, but by continuing to practice, until suddenly, like a flower ready to bloom, vroom! Here it is! This is your Zen expression. Got it? Another three years, ten years, thirty years, however many years, to come to your own expression, as with all great artists. Zen is an art. There are no imitations, there’s no using a phrase from a book. What is your own phrase? What is your own life expression?

At first these two monks may have thought they had defeated Seppo by quickly responding with his own phrase, but later they thought about it, and they wondered. They decided to go see Ganto, who was a friend of Seppo and might be able to explain it to them. Hearing their story, Ganto said, “If Seppo had been given the last word, then you would never have been able to feel that you had defeated him.”

The monks spent the summer with Ganto, and continued to ponder their encounter with Seppo. At the end of the summer, the monks met with Ganto again, who told them, “Seppo and I had our eyes opened in the same way.” He was saying, “We both are enlightened people.” And then he told them, “But we are dying in different ways.” This dying didn’t mean dying as in ending life, but dying as in giving it all away, giving everything away: teaching. “What is this?” was Seppo’s way of teaching. Ganto’s way was “the last word.” Rinzai’s way was “kwatz!” Gutei’s way was “one finger.” These are all different ways of giving it away.

What is this last word? Ganto said, “If you want to know the last word, I’ll tell you: This.” There is no last word. There is no end to it. Somebody told me, “I have finished my Zen training.

I have answered all 1,700 koans.” I replied, “Well, you’ve just begun.” Nobody finishes this training. There is no last word. This is a present-tensed word, going on forever. What is your own experience of This?

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"Ego" (excerpt) THE ESSENCE OF ALAN WATTS by Alan Watts

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The word person comes from the Latin persona, which means that through which {per) the sound (sona) goes. It referred originally to the masks worn by actors in classical drama, because those masks had megaphonic mouths, so that in the open-air theater they would project the sound. So the persona, the person, is the mask, is the role you're playing. And all your friends and relations and parents and teachers are busy telling you who you are, what your role in life is, and there are only a certain number of acceptable roles you can play.

First of all then, your sense of
I is your sense of who you are, whether you're tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, rich man, poor man, beggarman, thief, whether you're a clown, strong and silent, a clinging vine—we can name dozens of them—you identify yourself with a certain way of acting. It's quite complicated, but nevertheless there's a certain way of acting with which you identify yourself and which constitutes your image.

The image of yourself that you have is a social institution in the same way as it is, for example, a social institution to divide the day into twenty-four hours, or to divide the foot into twelve inches, or to draw lines of latitude and longitude which are purely imaginary over the surface of the earth. It's very useful to do that because these lines are the means of navigation, but there are no lines of latitude and longitude on or over the earth—they are imaginary. You cannot, for example, use the equator to tie up a package, because it's an abstract, imaginary line. And in just the same way, your image of yourself as an ego is an imaginary concept that is not the organism and furthermore, is not this organism in its inseparable relationship to its whole physical and natural environment.

The image of yourself that you have is simply a caricature! A caricature is an excellent example: When we make a caricature of Adolf Hitler, we pull down the hair and put a comb under his nose instead of a mustache. In the same way, our image of ourselves is a caricature of ourselves because it does not include almost all the important things about ourselves; it does not include all the goings-on inside the physical organism. Oh, we get belly-rumbles; occasionally we're aware of our breathing; occasionally we're aware that it hurts somewhere. But for the most part we're totally unconscious of everything going on inside us. We're unconscious of our brains and how they work. We're unconscious of our relationships to the external world, many of our relationships to other people are completely unconscious. We depend on telephone operators, electricians supplying our electricity, on all kinds of service that we never even think about. We don't think about air pressure. We don't think about the chemical composition of the air we breathe, we don't think about cosmic rays, gamma rays. X-rays, the output of the sun. All these things are absolutely essential to our life but they are not included in the ego image.

So the ego image is very incomplete. In fact, it's an illusion. But we say, "Now, look, it can't be that way, because I feel
I, I mean, it's not just an image of myself I have; I have a solid feeling behind the word I, when I think I, I feel there's something there." What is that? Interesting question. Because if your brain is your ego, you have very little in the way of direct sensation of your brain. In fact, operations can be performed on the brain with only surface anesthesia—there's no feeling in the brain itself. Therefore, the brain cannot be the sensation of ego.

When your eyes are functioning well you don't see your eyes. If your eyes are imperfect you see spots in front of them. That means there are some lesions in the retina or wherever, and because your eyes aren't working properly, you feel them. In the same way, you don't hear your ears. If you have a ringing in your ears it means there's something wrong with your ears. Therefore, if you do feel yourself, there must be something wrong with you. Whatever you have, the sensation of
I is like spots in front of your eyes—it means something's wrong with your functioning. That's why you feel you're there, why you feel you as being different from, somehow cut off from, all that you really are, which is everything you're experiencing. The real you is the totality of everything you're aware of and a great deal more besides.

But what is this thing that we feel in ourselves when we say, "That is the concrete, material me"? Well, I'll tell you what it is. When you were a little child in school, you were picking your nose and looking out the window or flicking spit balls or something, suddenly the teacher rapped the desk, "Pay attention!" Now, how did you pay attention? Well, you stared at the teacher, and you wrinkled your brow, because that's how you look when you pay attention. And when the teacher sees all the pupils in the class staring and frowning, then the teacher is consoled and feels the class is paying attention. But the class is doing nothing of the kind. The class is pretending to pay attention.

You're reading a book; there's some difficult book you have to read because it's required. You're bored to death with it, and you think, "Well, I've really got to concentrate on this book." You glare at it, you try to force your mind to follow it's argument, and then you discover you're not really reading the book—you're thinking about how you ought to read it. What do you do if I say to you, "Look, take a hard look at me, take a real hard look." Now what are you doing? What's the difference between a hard look and a soft look? Why, with your hard look, you are straining the muscles around your eyes, and you're starting to stare. If you stare at a distant image far away from you, you'll make it fuzzy. If you want to see it clearly you must close your eyes, imagine black for awhile, and then lazily and easily open them and you'll see the image. The light will come to you. And what do you do if I say, "Now, listen carefully, listen very carefully to what I'm saying." You'll find you're beginning to strain yourself around the ears.

I remember in school there was a boy who couldn't read. He sat next to me in school, and he wanted to convince the teacher that he really was trying to read. He would say, "rrruuunnn, ssspppooottt, rrruuunnn." He was using all his muscles. What have they got to do with reading? What does straining your muscles to hear have to do with hearing? Straining your muscles to see, what's that got to do with seeing? Nothing.

Supposing somebody says, "O.K. now, you've got to use your will, you've got to exercise strong will." That's the ego, isn't it. What do you do when you exercise your will? You grit your teeth, you clench your fists. If you want to stop wayward emotions you go uptight. You pull your stomach in, or hold your breath, or contract your rectal muscles. But all these activities have absolutely nothing to do with the efficient functioning of your nervous system. Just as staring at images makes them fuzzy, listening hard with all this muscular tension distracts you from what you're actually hearing; gritting your teeth has nothing to do with courage, all this is a total distraction. And yet we do it all the time; we have a chronic sensation of muscular strain, the object of which is an attempt to make our nervous system, our brains, our sensitivity function properly—and it doesn't work.

It's like taking off in a jet plane. You're going zooming down the runway and you think, "This plane has gone too far down the runway and it isn't up in the air yet," so you start pulling at your seatbelt to help the thing up. It doesn't have any effect on the plane. And so, in exactly the same way, all these muscular strains we do and have been taught to do all our lives long, to look as if we're paying attention, to look as if we're trying, all this is futile. But the chronic sensation of strain is the sensation to which we are referring as /.
So our ego is what? An illusion married to a futility. It's the image of ourselves, which is incorrect, false, and only a caricature, married to, combined with, a futile muscular effort to will our effectiveness.

Wouldn't it be much better if we had a sensation of ourselves that was in accord with the facts? The facts, the reality of our existence, is that we are both the natural environment, which ultimately is the whole universe, and the organism playing together. Why don't we feel that way? Why, obviously because this other feeling gets in the way of it. This socially induced feeling which comes about as a result of a kind of hypnotism exercised upon us throughout the whole educational process has given us a hallucinatory feeling of who we are, and therefore we act like madmen. We don't respect our environment; we destroy it. But you know, exploiting and destroying your environment, polluting the water and the air and everything, is just like destroying your own body. The environment is your body. But we act in this crazy way because we've got a crazy conception of who we are. We're raving mad.

"Well," you ask, "how do I get rid of it?" And my answer to that is, that's the wrong question. How does what get rid of it? You can't get rid of your hallucination of being an ego by an activity of the ego. Sorry, but it can't be done. You can't lift yourself up by your own bootstraps. You can't put out fire with fire. And if you try to get rid of your ego with your ego, you'll just get into a vicious circle. You'll be like somebody who worries because they worry, and then worries because they worry because they worry, and you'll go round and round and get crazier than ever.

The first thing to understand when you say, "What can I do about getting rid of this false ego?" is that the answer is "nothing," because you're asking the wrong question. You're asking, "How can
I, thinking of myself as an ego, get rid of thinking of myself as an ego?" Well, obviously you can't. Now, you say, "Well then, it's hopeless." It isn't hopeless. You haven't got the message, that's all.

If you find out that your ego feeling, your will and all that jazz, cannot get rid of that hallucination, you've found out something very important. In finding out that you can't do anything about it, you have found out that you don't exist. That is to say, you as an ego, you don't exist so obviously you can't do anything about it. So you find you can't really control your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, all the processes going on inside you and outside you that are happenings—there's nothing you can do about it.

So then, what follows? Well, there's only one thing that follows: You watch what's going on. You see, feel, this whole thing happening and then suddenly you find, to your amazement, that you can perfectly well get up, walk over to the table, pick up a glass of milk and drink it. There's nothing standing in your way of doing that. You can still act, you can still move, you can still go on in a rational way, but you've suddenly discovered that you're not what you thought you were. You're not this ego, pushing and shoving things inside a bag of skin.
You feel yourself now in a new way as the whole world, which includes your body and everything that you experience, going along. It's intelligent. Trust it.

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