And then there’s freedom from emotion. One becomes obsessed by a burst of emotion to such an extent that one can’t get oneself out of it, one is caught in a trap. Now somehow this emotion is linked with one’s notion of oneself. That is, somehow if one is very limited within one’s sense of who one thinks one is, which is not what one is but one’s self-image, then the emotions that one is experiencing are related to our sense of ourselves as a person, as a limited person.
Now if you discover the cosmic dimensions of your person—our self-image is not us, it’s only a notion that we have and that represents a distorted representation of only a fraction of the totality of our being. We get caught up in it. Now if you can accept that—but that is still negative to say, “Well, it’s only… it’s wrong, it’s a misassessment.” That’s negative. But now you have to—the positive thing would be to start sensing the vastness of your being.
Like, just imagine that in the depths of your being the virtualities, the latencies are infinite. And only very little of it comes through to the surface in what is called your personality. Your personality is not really you, it is that whis is the outcome of this enormous pool of possibilities that is really you, but they are still in a latent condition.
So it’s a question of—you can do it actually with your (what I’m saying is theory, of course) but you can do it. And the way to do it is to think, “I could be.” Like, “I could be full of joy.” Or “I could be much more masterly.” Or “I could be much more truthful.” Or “I could be more compassionate.” Or “I could have more love.” And so on. It’s because it’s there. It is in you, it’s not like it’s something that you could be, but it’s because it is in you that you could be. It just has to surface.
So the negative thing is, “I’m not what I think I am.” That’s negative. That doesn’t help very much, just to know that you’re not what you think you are. That’s a negative statement. But discovering, you see we, I think we suffer from modesty. I would say an inverted form of pride. We pride ourselves in our modesty. “I’m no good. I’m not up to much.” And so on. And the Sufis say God is offended by your criticizing his creation. It’s not accepting the divine gift. So just image the joy of freeing, being free from your self-image, realizing that it was deluding and demeaning and constraining. [pause]
OK. So now, however, now the latencies in us are called upon by matching them with what accrues to us from outside. Understand what I mean? For example, we may have developed so far a certain degree of compassion but this compassion is after all limited; there are limits to our compassion. But then we come across someone who is extremely compassionate and that awakens our compassion. So what I’m saying is that not only we do have infinite potentialities within our being but also our personality, in which these qualities have not surfaced altogether, enriches itself by ingesting the environment. Just like with food, the environmnet of the psyche. Because it matches what is already in us, and therefore it calls up, it activates that which is already in us.
The trouble is that unless we are very clear we expose ourselves to all kinds of impressions, some of which are deleterious, damaging to our psyche, because we can’t handle them. And so this is why we have to learn how, learn detatchment, indifference. And the way to do it, as I say, is to have a very strong sense of, “This is me and that impression is just too different from me, I can’t deal with it.” So a very strong sense of “me.” Just, that’s like the immune system is based on a very strong sense of “me.” And that’s why we started this morning by asking ourselves, “What are the things that I like? What are my values?” Because that’s you. That gives you a very clear sense of you.
And so these, if these impressions, are called upon some response in me and I pursue them and they are too much out of synch with who I really am then I fail to unfurl the potentialities in my being. And therefore your indifference is a protection. That is the way of the ascetic, detatchment. That’s why I said surround yourself with a zone of silence.
Something, it’s very difficult to do in life, but in a retreat you have the opportunity to do this, and eventually you become so used to this that you’ll be able to apply it in your daily life.