Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!
Q: Who am I? A: That which remains when you remove all the things that you are not. Q: What things am I not? A: All that you believe yourself to be.
A: I did not say that you should do anything. Q: But what is the point of doing it if it does not help me arrive at my goal? A: If you examine it sincerely, it will take you somewhere. If you use it as a crutch or a prescription, it will take you nowhere.
A: This conversation is moving in a fruitless direction. Q: Why? A: It is turning into a conversation in which you are trying to compel me to convince you of something. I have no interest in convincing you, or coaxing you into anything. I simply provide direct Truth. I do not wish to convince you of it.
Q: How is it that attachment has produced all of these problems between me and my children? A: Attachment gives birth to hope and need. If you are attached to them, you will need them to do certain things, achieve certain things, be a certain way, and behave toward you in a certain way. When they do not, it will cause you pain. When you experience pain, you will behave toward them in a way that pain compels you to behave. And they will behave toward you in a way that their need for freedom compels them to behave. And this will continue for the rest of your lives.
A: Behavior is the leaf of a tree. Understanding is its root. I will not tell you how to arrange your leaves. I will only tell you to proceed by way of understanding. Understand the consequences of your motivations. If the consequences are acceptable to you, you may choose to proceed. If they are not, you may choose to examine your motivations.
Q: Is it my responsibility to give them freedom? A: It isn’t a question of responsibility. It is a question of living in accordance with nature. Q: Yet you do not believe in responsibilities? A: No. Q: Why, if I may ask? A: Responsibility is a societal creation. No one is truly responsible for another. You do not owe your children anything. They do not owe you anything. If you wish to do, then do. If they wish to do, they may also do. That which comes from the heart is natural and satisfying. That which comes from the idea of responsibility is forced, artificial, and often produces resentment and the expectation for reciprocation.
A: Do not look at this from the standpoint of blame. For this will lead to further problems. The most fruitful realizations are quiet ones. Q: Thank you. Can you please help me move forward? A: Understand that you are the architect of this relationship. And, in many ways, the architect of your son’s fate. Become the person he would seek to embrace. Provide a place of peace that he is looking for in the wrong places. As he recognizes that you have transformed from a place of need, into a source of quiet comfort, he will come. And he will listen.
Q: From where does addiction arise? A: The mind. Q: How does this happen? A: The mind peddles in desire. It has an unending appetite for desire. It is a wanting machine. It cannot get enough of that which it enjoys. This is the seed of addiction.
A: All humans are pleasure addicts. Alcohol and drugs are only a detail. Q: In what way are they pleasure addicts? A: In what way are they not? Q: Is pleasure a bad thing? A: There is no good or bad. Q: What is the problem with being a pleasure addict? A: If you remove the word ‘pleasure’ from your question, does the question change for you? Q: Yes. But I don’t know how to ask it. A: All addiction creates bondage. Q: But what is the problem with pleasure? A: Pleasure is ubiquitous in the lives of humans. As the mind is ubiquitous in the lives of humans. From morning until night, a human seeks nothing other than pleasure. In the smallest thing. And the largest thing. All addictions stem from this one characteristic of mind. Q: But the opposite of pleasure is pain. And why would anyone want pain? A: It is the search for pleasure that produces pain. Q: What would be the nature of a person’s life if he did not seek pleasure? A: He would live a life of equanimity. He would be content and complete in each moment. Though he may involve himself in lofty pursuits, his contentedness and completeness would go with him. He would have abandoned the ceaseless chase. And when a man no longer feels the need to chase, life begins to chase him.
Q: Should I not subscribe to religion? A: There is no should. Q: Is it wrong to subscribe to religion? A: There is no right or wrong. Q: Is it bad to subscribe to religion? A: There is no good or bad.
Q: Do you think meditativeness is more powerful than meditation? A: Whether it be meditativeness or meditation, it must be an effect rather than a goal. That which one pursues as a goal never arrives. Any prescription that one pursues, he becomes imprisoned to.
A: Man is lazy and undisciplined for the things that do not move him. He is motivated and voracious for the things that inspire him. Q: So discipline doesn’t matter? A: Discipline is an attempt to force oneself to do that which he fundamentally does not wish to do. Q: But in order to achieve, one needs discipline. A: It is far more fruitful to evaluate the desires for achievement, than it is to force discipline. If one’s desire for achievement is pure, he will be sufficiently motivated to do all that needs to be done in order to achieve. If it is not, he will play clever and ineffective games such as discipline. Q: So never force yourself to do anything? A: Forcing oneself is short-lived. As all things that are insincere are short-lived. If one is honest and sincere about his motivations, he will move with himself, instead of against himself.
Q: What is an example of a Journey toward the Ultimate? A: If you made an additional billion dollars, would this satisfy you? Q: No. A: If you pursued meditation, would this satisfy you? Q: I do meditate. But it’s more of a practice. It hasn’t really led me anywhere. A: The single most important characteristic of a Journey toward the Ultimate is that upon reaching it, one becomes satisfied for the rest of his life. For he becomes life itself. He arrives at a place in which there is no longer any need to strive, practice, search, or crave. The end of emotional turmoil, the end of conflict, the end of sorrow, the end of anxiety. He has arrived. And now he can live as only a free man can.
A: That the successful identify themselves as successes. While those who struggle identify themselves as unfortunate failures. The successful view themselves as conquerors. While those who struggle view themselves as victims of circumstance. Q: Why would an individual view himself as a victim of circumstance, rather than become a conqueror? A: The fear of having to leave behind the comfort of his identity. The fear of loss. Q: The fear of loss? He already loses. What more could he lose? A: The luxury of self-pity. The sympathies of victimhood. Such things are not easily sacrificed.
A: Fear is the natural consequence of man not knowing himself. Q: Can you please explain? A: The fundamental basis of all fear is fear of oneself. Q: Why does man fear himself? A: Man seeks pleasure for himself. He seeks stability for himself. He seeks egoic satisfaction. He seeks many things in order to make himself feel a certain way. Any situation that threatens how he feels about himself will bring fear. Q: What is the way out of fear? A: If a man achieved a rock bottom steady state with himself. If he had a relationship with, or an understanding of, himself that was unshakeable. He would become immune to fear.
Q: What is time? A: Time is thought. Q: Can you please explain? A: Have you ever had an experience in which you have lost yourself in something? Music, an activity, a journey? Q: Yes. A: Did time exist? Q: No. Time disappeared. A: Yes. Time comes into existence when man begins to think. Q: When does man not think? A: When he has discovered the cocoon of the present moment, thinking ceases. When he arrives at a state of No-Mind, time comes to an end.
Q: But I have always been told to love myself. And to improve myself. A: Yes. Q: Is this not correct? A: One cannot love or improve something that does not exist. Q: If what you say is true, then the entire self-help industry is a falsehood. A: There is no self to be improved. But you are welcome to carry on believing that there is. Q: I’d like to understand this. If I have anxieties, sorrows, disappointments, anger, and so forth . . . Can I not try to lessen these things? A: Where there is a fertile field, weeds will grow. One may choose to pull out the weeds if he so wishes. But he will be doing so for all his life. For each time he removes one, another will sprout in its place.