MANY indications lead us to feel that there are two natures in us. One of them is personal or individual and is relatively accessible to our usual means of perception. The other, much less easy to perceive, is experienced as our participation in something far greater than the individual. Thus we call it spiritual, even universal; and, in fact, we hardly know how to speak about it. The attention paid to it varies a great deal from person to person and at different moments of life: almost everybody, however, will recognize that, at least at certain moments, he has felt, alongside an egocentric, selfish tendency, this need for something infinite or “absolute.”
For many of us, a time will come when we realise just how superficial the knowledge we have about ourselves and our lives really is. If we want really to live our life, perhaps we then feel the need to deepen our understanding of it.
This places us in front of a new demand, something we have never looked at in this way until now – to give our life a direction and meaning which in all honesty we have not yet found for it or, in any case, only found in part.
Almost everything we have done up until now has been directed outwardly – the outer world has absorbed almost all of our life. In comparison, the amount of time actually spent in turning toward ourselves and our inner life is insignificant. In our training, schooling and daily activities, almost everything has been focused on externals. We are oriented toward knowledge coming from outside; we have learned to look only outside ourselves, and to deal with people, things and external circumstances. Even our “prayers” (for those that pray) turn out most often to be directed outwardly, to an external God. We have learned very little about turning toward ourselves – it happens only briefly and at long intervals. If, however, we want to attain our own aims in life, and if we wish for a life with achievements and qualities like those we feel called to attain, and with achievements which have the taste of the truths we have realised, certainly this cannot exist as long as outer life constantly carries us away. We need to develop in ourselves a strong, lucid, stable presence, one that is capable of achieving its goals, making use of the forces that can help us, and resisting the forces in life that carry us away. And, first of all, we need to be continuously and fully ourselves in front of and in the midst of life.
Most of us have made some efforts in this direction, but we already see that these are almost always scattered, unco-ordinated, disconnected, and completely inadequate – it is not what could be called the first step toward self-realization or even realization of the lucid and stable presence which we understood that we needed. If we wish to reach something of real value in this direction, we feel now that it is necessary to begin a work of another order, a work that is much better structured.
One thing is certainly true today…we cannot go further in our search for more presence in life conditions without first turning inwardly toward ourselves, without more experience and understanding of what we are, and without developing qualities we still lack. It is only in and through ourselves that what can give meaning to our lives is perceived and comes to pass.
But we have not learned how to turn to ourselves; we do not know at all what an inner work toward awakening and self development could be. Just as we had to learn to manifest in our outer work, we must recognise that we are going to have to learn what inner work is and what kind of action or activity it requires.
Where to begin? We see clearly that a much longer, more intense, and more exacting work is necessary than any attempts of this kind we have ever made before. It will require methods of which we are totally ignorant. If we want to succeed in this, a much more organised work is needed.
A suitable structure cannot come from us – we do not have sufficient knowledge. And we cannot accomplish such a work on our own: alone we would not have the amount of time, all the different capacities, nor even the necessary courage. A man who knows is necessary!
~ Extracts from ‘Toward Awakening’ by Jean Vaysse used to compile the above
The way is clear enough.
Do we want to walk it? That is the question.
What is the way?
It is to:
- Remember the necessity of waking up.
- Use all happenings for self-illumination.
- Refuse false and shallow comfort.
- Seek first your authentic Self.
Be neither surprised nor dismayed by your hundreds of blunders along the way. Walk on. Remember that conscious blunders are advancements.
And have no concern for the many things not understood as yet. Attend only to your very next step, giving it all your attention, whether it be reading for knowledge or reflecting for understanding.