Consciously or unconsciously we constantly are telling a story about our-selves to others and to ourselves and by doing so also a story about the world. It is a persistent form of self-importance, because we so badly want to be someone, become someone or remain someone, to represent something special or valuable in the world and consequently in the eye of others.
Everything is being used for that matter, even being miserable if everything else fails.
“Perception is everything”, Don Juan said to his pupil Carlos Castaneda.
And: ‘Human beings are perceivers, but the world that they perceive is an illusion: an illusion created by the description that was told to them from the moment they were born. So in essence, the world that their reason wants to sustain is the world created by a description and it’s dogmatic and inviolable rules, which their reason learns to accept and defend.¹
Whether we are aware of it or not, whether we observe it or not, constantly we are telling the story of the world to ourselves and to others, which in essence is the story of the – separated – self. The story of self resounds everywhere, with or without words. We are so imbued of it that for the majority of the people it is absolutely impossible to see the story, let alone to see through it – or to really understand what enlightenment is, for that matter.
We all believe to be born into an already existing world, that there is an I living inside the body, or even worse, that I am the body. The belief in a soul is in fact also a continuation of the I, if only somewhat more astral. However we name it, I, mind, self, ego or soul, it is just all one and the same: a separate entity in a concrete world, filled with, also separated, others.
All day long we define ourselves and nowadays that impulse can be lived up even more by means of social media like Fakebook and the meaningless twittering. Virtual reality within a virtual reality. Isn’t that funny!
This talking aloud or quietly to oneself about one’s past, opinions, fears, trauma’s, desires, hobbies, relationships et cetera, ultimately serves only one purpose: the holding on to and confirmation of the I-awareness, the continuation of the story of self
If you, mindlessly, take for granted that you have been born, then please do realize that initially you did not know the whole story of I and the world. You have been told this story by an unremitting stream of guru’s: your mum and dad, any siblings, aunts, grandparents, teachers at school or at the club, friends en girlfriends, the media, singers, books, et cetera. The story resounds ceaselessly and everybody is buying it. Maya is rules masterly.
Everyone who dares to claim differently than the story prescribes, has to be certified insane or worshipped. In both cases he or she is eliminated. We forget that a description is nothing but a story, a bunch of un-investigated assumptions. We believe in it that much that we feel really threatened in case someone is saying something that drifts away from the prevailing story. Or we reinterpret it for instance as follows: “Oh yes, that is a characteristic saying of such a mystic or enlightened person. Nice isn’t it? I can really appreciate it!” And then we go on chatting in our mind or aloud within the I-story. And mind you: to consider yourself to be an asshole is as much self-importance as considering yourself a good guy or girl. Each interpretation of an I is just self-importance. It is always about creating or preserving one ‘self’ or another. And in case you have changed into an I, you will suffer, you will feel hurt or pleased and you will occupy yourself every day with your-self and (what) others (think) and be convinced that this is what life is. And all the while it’s just an image!
“Self-importance is man’s greatest enemy. What weakens him is feeling offended by the deeds of his fellow men. Self-importance requires that one spends most of one’s life offended by something or someone”.²
Who keeps company with the wolf will learn to howl. As we keep company with believers (in the story of self and world) on a daily basis, we will nicely be kept stuck where we are. Even people in subcultures are in the same frame, even though they think to be different. Being opposed to something is taking things seriously just as well, isn’t it? Almost nobody investigates really profoundly and for himself, his beliefs or how he or she got onto it in the first place. We just lurch along sleepwalking, misapprehending to be awake and free already. Again we are being fooled into believing this: “A (wo)man ought to….”, “Be realistic, because…”, “Yet it is not sensible to….”, “Surely everybody knows that…” Blabla.
“Our fellow men are black magicians. And whoever is with them is a black magician on the spot. Think for a moment. Can you deviate from the path that your fellow men have lined up for you? And if you remain with them, your thoughts and actions are fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. The warrior, on the other hand, is free from all that. Freedom is expensive, but the price is not impossible to pay. So, fear your captors, your masters. Don’t waste your time and your power fearing freedom.”¹
Just try it for once, truly breaking away from everything that is considered to be important and valuable. You will notice that at first just about everything within you will be revolting against this and then, when you reveal your plans, all your beloved ones will try their utmost to keep you contained. At least be aware of one thing: ‘sensible’ is just another word for afraid.
And by the way, you will hardly find any warriors amongst spiritual seekers. Most of them are softies, however they are good at heart and they may have nice incense, or a funny little necklace or a beautiful mala.
THE INNER JABBER
The central point in the teaching of Don Juan Matus is stopping the inner dialogue. And for very good reasons. What we call observing most of the time is nothing more than taking for granted of what we already believe and have learned. Most of it is based on words and convictions, larded with emotional energy that has not been dealt with. You see what you believe. Because of the standstill of the inner drivelling, an opening comes into being, a stillness, a space in which things can rise which never got a chance before, a not-knowing.
The mean little motherfucker is stirred up at first, but that one too largely consists of chatter and emotional business, although it is more brave at heart. Deeper stuff takes more time to surface. Anyway, if you start observing what you fool yourself and each other into believing, you might severely be shocked. Fortunately we do not avail ourselves of that opportunity, we are much too frightened to allow to surface what is real and we quickly lurch along the moment doubts are arising if things really are the way we think they are.
“Whenever the inner dialogue stops, the world collapses, and extraordinary facets of ourselves surface, as though they had bee kept heavily guarded by our words”.¹
The whole movement of our belief system is based on being someone, becoming someone or remaining someone, to represent or mean something in the world and therefore in the eyes of other people. Everything is being used for that matter, even being miserable is anything else fails. That too is an identity. It does not matter, as long as we are some-thing. If need be, if nobody is impressed by us, we terrorize our cat or the child next door.
You have to make yourself felt and noticed, to indicate your boundaries, to be brave, to develop your talents, to fulfil one’s vocation….bla blabla. It is all being served with the same sauce: a story of self. Ego as a social phenomenon. I and the other. I and the world. I, I, I, I… I exist, look at me, validate me, see me, approve of me, take me seriously, if need be in my misery, but for heaven’s sake confirm my existence! Dad, mum, partner, guru, do you like me, do you think I am clever, sexy, spiritual, successful???? Sigh.
THE ILLUSION OF THE WORLD
So look at this again:
“Personal history must be constantly renewed by telling parents, relatives, and friends everything one does. On the other hand, for the warrior, who has no personal history, no explanations are needed; nobody is angry or disillusioned with his acts. And above all, no one pins him down with their thoughts and their expectations.”³
To constantly tell to yourself or others what you think, do and like is reinforcing and renewing the story of self and precisely that is the prison! This self is a dream figure. An idee fixe. It is unreal, it does not really exist. Meanwhile you are also sharing that you are looking for freedom. What a joke! You are constantly chatting along, talking yourself into all kinds of things, dozing off and tightening the belts holding you furthermore. Your relatives and friends are all too eager in helping you in order to keep you in place and within the flock.
But, there just is no I or self. Unknowingly you are constantly creating and recreating it. That is called sleeping. What is making you feel fine when having a good conversation or a pleasant relationship is the fact it is ego confirming. Then you feel like: I am fully accepted the way I am. Yes, indeed: your whole illusionary I, your prison is nicely and fully taken seriously: two or more blind prisoners chatting about freedom, love, politics or whatever. Mmm. I estimate it is nicely warm and cosy in that jail cell. Take good care of it.
“In fact, or ideas of love are much more tainted than we care to admit with concepts and feelings of involvement, specialness, ownership, exclusion, need, caring, guilt. We think of caring as something important, something of the heart. But caring is only involvement, anxiety, attachment to outcome. It is a misperception that we need to care about this illusory existence, this dream, or that things need to matter. This only generates worry, anxiety, confusion and feelings of separation and guilt. It does no good to the person we ‘care’ for, only perpetuates their own involvement in the dream. This is not love. Our claim to love only limits ourselves and those we try to love.” 4
What you love, keeps you imprisoned; what you believe in, blocks your view. In short: he who really wants to observe and dis-cover, will have to free himself from emotional and mental convictions, will have to lose one’s faith – so to speak, and will have to free himself from the illusion of the world and the inner crap. Who is willing to do so? No idea. Not many, I can tell you that much. First of all because there isn’t anybody there and secondly because the one you dream to be wants everything but that.
Just take a good look. You only fool yourself into believing – by chatting with yourself and aloud – that you want enlightenment, truth or freedom. The one who is chatting there, is unreal, is not what you are, but I bet you will not knock his brains out or undermine him! No. You will quickly protect the illusory I of your dream and this short article will be put aside as another nice or stupid piece in some magazine called Inzicht. Have sweet dreams!
By the way: the one who truly wants to break free from ‘the prison’, should not try to protect the guard (ego) or try to be friends with the other inmates (friends and family), he has to get the hell out of there. And furthermore: there are no mass escapes. You’re on your own. Bon Chance! (note by HL)
¹. Carlos Castaneda – Tales of power
². Carlos Castaneda – The fire from within
³. Carlos Castaneda – Journey to Ixtlan
4. David Carse – Perfect Brilliant Stillness
To All: buy and read The Wheel of Time, by Castaneda: it contains the essence from the first eight books. A guide for life it could prove to be. And david carse’s book is a great one!
Text Hans Laurentius; Translation by Johan Veldman