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Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Excerpts about You

Conceptualizing Yourself

Conceptualizing yourself means that you use all your experiences, good and bad, to crystallize a certain picture. And this picture is mostly based on a rejection of something you don’t want, something you experience as negative or painful. One of the main purposes of the creation of identity is to resist. The conceptualization of identity is simply the crystallization of that activity into an image of a person. But the core of that image is the frustration, which I call the state or affect of negative merging. Instead of harmony, there is a jagged flow through the nervous system. This is experienced as frustration, which is suffering. Psychic suffering, mental suffering is that actual contraction, that feeling of harshness, dryness, stuckness. Whenever we are reacting to or rejecting anything, we are identifying with that core of frustration. Of course, this core of cyclic reactivity and frustration is covered with something softer, so that usually we don’t feel it. We dull it with all kinds of beliefs and ideas. So we see that the personality is constructed of a continuous cyclic movement of reactivity. It continuously produces more of itself, more frustration and suffering. Understanding this enables us to understand the processes of disidentification, letting go, surrender, and acceptance.

You Are Not a Continuity in Time

Mental anguish, along with the thinking process that produces emotions, is based on the notions of time and causality. You cannot make yourself suffer unless you think in terms of causality and time. When you suffer, usually you're saying, "Now, I'm angry because someone did this to me. Now, I'm hurt because such-and-such happened. Now, I'm scared because someone did that to me." If you simply eliminate the thought of time and causality, suffering ends. You could be aware of what's right at that moment, know that whatever you're thinking at that moment is actually just happening in that moment. What you feel has nothing to do with what happened yesterday. Just be aware of yourself this very second. Just realize that you are instantaneously emerging. Break the temporal continuity of sensation. Realize instantaneously, right at this very second, you are emerging. You are absolutely instantaneous emergence. You are not a continuity in time.

You Can't Be Real if You are Not Yourself

You can’t be real if you are not yourself. You cannot be something other than what you are and be real. Observe and you will discover that most of the time, you are not real because you are not yourself. So what are you then? Who are you being? What are you doing? Most of us are being and acting out an image of ourselves—an idea, a picture, a concept. If, in this moment, you are an image of who you truly are, you can only be distant from yourself. And most of us are even further away from our real self than that, because we are an image of something other than what we are—for example, an image of our body or an image of how we were as a child. And the unrealness becomes greater still when we are being an image or picture of someone else altogether, such as of one of our parents. So what is the practice of being real? It is the same as the practice of being oneself. To be real means, “I am not an idea of myself. I am not pretending to be myself. I am not being in reaction to something or someone or their image of me. I am being what I actually am.” But it is not as though one can just stop being unreal and start being oneself. After all, who knows what that actually means? How are you going to try to be yourself? It is not as though you have many selves on a shelf, and you can take the real one down and put it on. The good news is that no matter how distant you are from yourself, something in your experience in any given moment expresses who you really are. You can wander far from your realness—you can even become disconnected from it—but who is it that is far away or is disconnected? It’s still you. Whatever your experience, wherever you are, whatever you are perceiving, is connected to what and who you really are.

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