part 25a. four steps to wisdom
Part 2 was removed from You tube
Four Steps to Wisdom
The first thing you need to do is get in touch with negative feelings that youíre not even aware of. Lots of people have negative feelings theyíre not aware of. Lots of people are depressed and theyíre not aware they are depressed. Itís only when they make contact with joy that they understand how depressed they were. You canít deal with a cancer that you havenít detected. You canít get rid of boll weevils on your farm if youíre not aware of their existence. The first thing you need is awareness of your negative feelings. What negative feelings? Gloominess, for instance. Youíre feeling gloomy and moody. You feel self-hatred or guilt. You feel that life is pointless, that it makes no sense; youíve got hurt feelings, youíre feeling nervous and tense. Get in touch with those feelings first.
The second step (this is a four-step program) is to understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality. Thatís such a self-evident thing, but do you think people know it? They donít, believe me. Theyíve got Ph.D.s and are presidents of universities, but they havenít understood this. They didnít teach me how to live at school. They taught me everything else. As one man said, ďI got a pretty good education. It took me years to get over itĒ. Thatís what spirituality is all about, you know: unlearning. Unlearning all the rubbish they taught you.
Negative feelings are in you, not in reality. So stop trying to change reality. Thatís crazy! Stop trying to change the other person. We spend all our time and energy trying to change external circumstances, trying to change our spouses, our bosses, our friends, our enemies, and everybody else. We donít have to change anything. Negative feelings are in you. No person on earth has the power to make you unhappy. There is no event on earth that has the power to disturb you or hurt you. No event, condition, situation, or person. Nobody told you this; they told you the opposite. Thatís why youíre in the mess that youíre in right now. That is why youíre asleep. They never told you this. But itís self-evident.
Letís suppose that rain washes out a picnic. Who is feeling negative? The rain? Or YOU? Whatís causing the negative feeling? The rain or your reaction? When you bump your knee against a table, the tableís fine. Itís busy being what it was made to Be Ė a table. The pain is in your knee, not in the table. The mystics keep trying to tell us that reality is all right. Reality is not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind. We might add: in the stupid, sleeping human mind. Reality is not problematic. Take away human beings from this planet and life would go on, nature would go on in all its loveliness and violence. Where would the problem be? No problem. You created the problem. You are the problem. You identified with ďmeĒ and that is the problem. The feeling is in you, not in reality.
The third step: Never identify with that feeling. It has nothing to do with the ďIĒ. Donít define your essential self in terms of that feeling. Donít say, ďI am depressedĒ. If you want to say, ďIt is depressedĒ, thatís all right. If you want to say depression is there, thatís fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, thatís fine. But not: I am gloomy. Youíre defining yourself in terms of the feeling. Thatís your illusion; thatís your mistake. There is a depression there right now, there are hurt feelings there right now, but let it be, leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are the swings of the pendulum. If you seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the hangover. One end of the pendulum swings to the other.
This has nothing to do with ďIĒ; it has nothing to do with happiness. It is the ďmeĒ. If you remember this, if you say it to yourself a thousand times, if you try these three steps a thousand times, you will get it. You might not need to do it even three times. I donít know; thereís no rule for it. But do it a thousand times and youíll make the biggest discovery in your life. To hell with those gold mines in Alaska. What are you going to do with that gold? If youíre not happy, you canít live. So you found gold. What does that matter? Youíre a king; youíre a princess. Youíre free; you donít care anymore about being accepted or rejected, that makes no difference. Psychologists tell us how important it is to get a sense of belonging. Baloney! Why do you want to belong to anybody? It doesnít matter anymore.
A friend of mine told me that thereís an African tribe where capital punishment consists of being ostracized. If you were kicked out of New York, or wherever youíre residing, you wouldnít die. How is it that the African tribesman died? Because he partakes of the common stupidity of humanity. He thinks he will not be able to live if he does not belong. Itís very different from most people, or is it? Heís convinced he needs to belong. But you donít need to belong to anybody or anything or any group. You donít even need to be in love. Who told you you do? What you need is to be free. What you need is to love. Thatís it; thatís your nature. But what youíre 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. Youíre wasting your life. WAKE UP! You donít 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 doesnít need you; heís not threatened by your criticism; he doesnít care what you think of him or what you say about him. Heís cut all those strings; heís not a puppet any longer. Itís terrifying. ďSo weíve got to get rid of him. He tells the truth; he has become fearless; he has stopped being human.Ē 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. Thatís 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, ďPlunge into the heat of battle and keep your heart at the lotus feet of the LordĒ. A marvelous sentence.
You donít have to do anything to acquire happiness. The great Meister Eckhart said very beautifully, ďGod is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtractionĒ. You donít do anything to be free, you drop something. Then youíre free. It reminds me of the Irish prisoner who dug a tunnel under the prison wall and managed to escape. He comes out right in the middle of a school playground where little children are playing. Of course, when he emerges from the tunnel he canít restrain himself anymore and begins to jump up and down, crying, ďIím free, Iím free, Iím free! A little girl there looks at him scornfully and says, ďThatís nothing. Iím fourĒ.
The fourth step: How do you change things? How do you change yourselves? There are many things you must understand here, or rather, just one thing that can be expressed in many ways. Imagine a patient who goes to a doctor and tells him what he is suffering from. The doctor says, ďVery well, Iíve understood your symptoms. Do you know what I will do? I will prescribe a medicine for your neighbor!Ē The patient replies, ďThank you very much, Doctor, that makes me feel much betterĒ. Isnít that absurd? But thatís what we all do. The person who is asleep always thinks heíll feel better if somebody else changes. Youíre suffering because you are asleep, but youíre thinking, ďHow wonderful life would be if somebody else would change; how wonderful life would be if my neighbor changed, my wife changed, my boss changedĒ.
We always want someone else to change so that we will feel good. But has it ever struck you that even if your wife changes or your husband changes, what does that do to you? Youíre just as vulnerable as before; youíre just as idiotic as before; youíre just as asleep as before. You are the one who needs to change, who needs to take medicine. You keep insisting, ďI feel good because the world is rightĒ. Wrong! The world is right because I feel good. Thatís what all the mystics are saying.
By: Anthony de Mello