Monday, September 04, 2006

Excerpts from Awareness

I went ahead and included a good many passages. If you like the first few, I think you'll like the others, while if you don't like the first few, the last ones are more of the same type stuff, I guess. Anyway, like De Mello wrote, "My business is to do my thing, to dance my dance. If you profit from it, fine; if you don't, too bad! As the Arabs say, "The nature of rain is the same, but it makes thorns grow in the marshes and flowers in the gardens."" (Awareness - pg. 6)

“The great masters tell us that the most important question in the world is: “Who am I?” Or rather: “What is ‘I’?” … You mean you understood astronomy and black holes and quasars and you picked up computer science, and you don’t know who you are? … You mean you understood what 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, these wouldn’t be wars.

But what I’d like to stress right now is self-observation. You are listening to me, but … are you aware of your reactions as you listen to me? If you aren’t you’re going to be brainwashed. Or else you are going to be influenced by forces within you of which you have no awareness at all. And even if you’re aware of how you react to me, are you simultaneously aware of where your reaction is coming from?” – Awareness pg. 44-45

“But notice, you’ve got the “I” observing “me”. This is an interesting phenomenon that has never ceased to cause wonder to philosophers, mystics, scientists, psychologists, that the “I” can observe “me”. It would seem that animals are not able to do this at all. It would seem that one needs a certain amount of intelligence to be able to do this. What I’m going to give you now is not metaphysics; it is not philosophy. It is plain observation and common sense. The great mystics of the East [when they ask “Who am I?”] are really referring to that “I”, not to the “me”. …

When you’re caught up in labels, what value do these labels have, as far as the “I” is concerned? 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? The fact is that no matter what labels you think of (except perhaps human being) you should apply them to “me.” “I” is none of these things. So when you step out of yourself and observe “me,” you no longer identify with “me.” Suffering exists in “me,” so when you identify “I” with “me,” suffering begins.” – Awareness pg 49-50

"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 to 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 pg. 16

“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 is to blame, she is to blame. She’s got to change.” No! The world’s all right. The one who has to change is you.

… Suppose you witness some out-and out injustice, something that is obviously and objectively wrong. Would it not be a proper reaction to say this should not be happening? Should somehow want to involve yourself in correcting a situation that’s wrong? Someone’s injuring a child and you see abuse going on. How about that kind of thing? I hope you did not assume that I was saying you shouldn’t do anything. I said that if you didn’t have negative feeling you’d be much more effective, much more effective. Because when negative feeling 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. What kills the sensitivity is what many people would call the conditioned self: when you so identify with “me” that there’s too much of “me” in it for you to see things objectively, with detachment. It’s very important that when you swing into action, you be able to see things with detachment. But negative emotions prevent that.” – pg. 51-52

“But it’s what all the mystics in the past have been telling us. I’m not saying that “me,” the conditioned self, will not sometimes fall into its usual patterns. That’s the way we’ve been conditioned. But it raises the question whether it is conceivable to live a life in which you would be so totally alone that you would depend on no one.

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. Think about that. Because if you do, the next thing you will be doing, whether you’re aware of it or not, is demanding that other people contribute to your happiness. Then there will be a next step—fear, fear of loss, fear of alienation, fear of rejection, mutual control. Perfect love casts out fear. Where there is love there are no demands, no [requirements], 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 nonclinging 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 presences, 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. – Awareness pg. 54-55

“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.” – Awareness pg. 71

“You don’t need to belong to anybody or 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. But what you’re really telling me is that you want to be desired. You want to be applauded, to be attractive, to have all the little monkeys running after you. You’re wasting your life. Wake up! You don’t need this. You can be blissfully happy without it.

Your society is not going to be happy to hear this, because you become terrifying when you open your eyes and understand this. How do you control a person like this? He doesn’t need you; he’s not threatened by your criticism; he doesn’t care what you think of him or what you say about him. He’s cut all those strings; he’s not a puppet any longer. It’s terrifying. “So we’ve got to get rid of him. He tells the truth; he has become fearless; he has stopped being human.” Human! Behold! A human being at last! He broke out of his slavery, broke out of their prison.

No event justifies a negative feeling There is no situation in the world that justifies a negative feeling. That’s what all our mystics have been crying themselves hoarse to tell us. But nobody listens. The negative feeling is in you. In the Bhagavad-Gita, the sacred book of the Hindus, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna, “Plunge into the heat of battle and keep your heart at the lotus feet of the Lord.” A marvelous sentence.

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.” – Awareness pg. 81-82

1 comment :

  1. I especially love what De Mello says about "enjoying people's company on a nonclinging basis" (pg. 54-55); "What I really enjoy is ... something that's greater than both you and me... a kind of symphony ... that plays one melody in your presences, but ... when I'm alone it continues to play." I love picturing my own relationships in those terms.

    Also, I think anyone could benefit from his advice about self-observation, (pg. 44-45) "You are listening to me, but ... are you aware of your reactions as you listen to me? If you aren't you're going to be brainwashed. Or else you are going to be influenced by forces within you of which you have no awareness at all." I've found that I get a whole lot more out of what I read when I remember this advice and try to see reading as more of an active process rather than being the passive receiver of the words.