(Perhaps, not surprisingly), during the past several decades, from time to time, I have revised the way I look at the world and at myself. This is my current version - and, I know that this will not be my final version. At 90, going on 91, I continue to remind myself that I am a work in progress .... and, also... that I am not my story... :-)
I remember a line from an old Pat Boone song 'Bernadine' - 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Bernadine, your separate parts are not unknown, but the way you assemble them is all your own'. Our separate parts are not unknown, but the way we assemble them is all our own :-) . Each of us is different - each of us is unique. At the same time, it is also true that our 'I' and our 'not I', go together. One does not exist without the other. The relationship between our 'I' and our 'not I' is intrinsic, not extrinsic. It is dynamic, not static. Deep in our most personal lies the universal. And, we may catch a glimpse of this elusive 'not twoness', this advaita, in those moments...
· when we experience the 'timelessness' of the interval between two of our thoughts;
· when we persistently ask 'who am I', and ask - who is questioning whom - and realise that 'thou art that' - however fleeting that realisation may be;
· when we lose ourselves in the sound of music which we love - or in a dance or in the breath taking beauty of a sunset - when we look at a mountain, a tree or a flower without naming them - and experience the reality that we are not separate, however momentary that experience may be;
· when we lose ourselves in the loving arms of another, and experience in our being, the truth that we are 'in love' together , that 'love' is a noun - that 'அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்';
· when we experience the joy in acting without expectation of any reward - and 'grasp' the reality that to action we have a right but not to the fruits thereof.
The following are some reflections to which I have returned, from time to time, during the past several years - reflections which have helped me in my journey; reflections which have something to do with the way I look at myself and the world...
- "Wisdom tells me that I am nothing [Gnana Yoga]; Love tells me that I am everything [Bakthi Yoga] ; Between the two, my life flows [Karma Yoga]..."
- "எப்பொருள் யார்யார்வாய்க் கேட்பினும் அப்பொருள் மெய்ப்பொருள் காண்ப தறிவு." "What so ever may be said, who so ever may say it, to determine the truth of it is wisdom – Thirukural - Wisdom Lingers...
- "...'Weltanschauung' is, I am afraid, a specifically German notion, which it would be difficult to translate into a foreign language. If I attempt to give you a definition of the word, it can hardly fail to strike you as inept. By Weltanschauung, then, I mean an intellectual construction which gives a unified solution of all the problems of our existence in virtue of a comprehensive hypothesis, a construction, therefore, in which no question is left open and in which everything in which we are interested finds a place. It is easy to see that the possession of such a Weltanschauung is one of the ideal wishes of mankind. When one believes in such a thing, one feels secure in life, one knows what one ought to strive after, and how one ought to organise one's emotions and interests to the best purpose..." Sigmund Freud
- “..There is a story that is related of Bodhirama that he had once gathered his disciples about him to test their perception. One of the pupils said, 'In my opinion truth is beyond affirmation or negation.'. Bodhirama replied 'You have my skin'. Another disciple said, 'In my view it is like Ananda's sight of the Buddha - seen once and forever', and Bodhirama said, 'You have my flesh'. And, then as the story goes, the third disciple came before Bodhirama and was silent, and Bodhirama said, 'You have my marrow.' The inquisitive and inquiring mind of man has through the centuries sought to understand that which is beyond words. The mind itself represents a stage and by no means the final stage, in an evolutionary process which has witnessed a continuing change from inanimate to animate, from stone to plant to animal to man, and each stage has brought with it a greater degree of consciousness...." - Reflections on the Gita
- "..... reason has a legitimate function to fulfill, for which it is perfectly adapted; and this is to justify and illumine for man his various experiences and to give him faith and conviction in holding on to the enlarging of his consciousness. But reason cannot arrive at any final truth because it can neither get to the root of things nor embrace their totality. It deals with the finite, the separate and has no measure for the all and the infinite...." Sri Aurobindo in the Evolution of Man
- "..The capital period of my intellectual development," confided Sri Aurobindo to a disciple, "was when I could see clearly that what the intellect said might be correct and not correct, that what the intellect justified was true and its opposite also was true. I never admitted a truth in the mind without simultaneously keeping it open to the contrary of it.... And the first result was that the prestige of the intellect was gone!" - Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness - Satprem (Bernard Enginger)
- "...all the propositions of logic say the same thing, to wit nothing. To give the essence of a proposition means to give the essence of all description, and thus the essence of the world. The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. What can be shown, cannot be said. There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them - as steps - to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.) He must transcend these propositions, and then he will see the world aright. What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence..." Ludwig Wittgenstein
- "The question 'why,' because it can be asked interminably, never leads to any interesting answers. If you ask me then why am I proposing this, I could say, 'Well, I'm making a living this way, or I have a message I want to get across to you.' But that's not the reason. I am talking for the same reason that birds sing and the stars shine. I dig it. Why do I dig it? I could go on answering all sorts of questions about human motivation and psychology, but they wouldn't explain a thing, because explaining things by the past is really a refusal to explain them at all. All you're doing is postponing the explanation. You're putting it back and back and back and that explains nothing." - Alan Watts, in "Time"
9."Thought can never move out of the field of time, because thought is never free. Thought is always old. Between the interval of two thoughts, one may come upon something new and translate it in terms of time... There is a gap between two thoughts. In that interval there might be a different perception and the translation of that perception is time, but the perception itself is not of time." - Jiddu Krishnamurti
10.".... We speak of the evolution of Life in Matter, the evolution of Mind in Matter; but evolution is a word which merely states the phenomenon without explaining it. For there seems to be no reason why Life should evolve out of material elements or Mind out of living form, unless we accept ..... that Life is already involved in Matter and Mind in Life because in essence Matter is a form of veiled Life, Life a form of veiled Consciousness. And then there seems to be little objection to a further step in the series and the admission that mental consciousness may itself be only a form and a veil of higher states which are beyond Mind... ...." - Sri Aurobindo in the Life Divine
11."...I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organised... The moment you follow someone you cease to follow Truth...” Jiddu Krishnamurti
12."What is the use of knowing about everything else when you do not yet know who you are?... Pursue the inquiry 'Who am I' relentlessly. Analyse your entire personality. Try to find out where the I-thought begins. Go on with your meditations. Keep turning your attention within. One day the wheel of thought will slow down and an intuition will mysteriously arise. Follow that intuition, let your thinking stop, and it will lead eventually to the goal... Reality is simply the loss of the ego... How is the ego to be destroyed? Hold the ego first and then ask how it is to be destroyed. Who asks this question? It is the ego. Can the ego ever agree to kill itself? This question is a sure way to cherish the ego and not to kill it. If you seek the ego you will find it does not exist. That is the way to destroy it..." Ramana Mahrishi
13."You know, you could not see me unless you could also see my background, what stands behind me. If I, myself, the boundaries of my skin, were coterminous with your whole field of vision you would not see me at all. You would not see me because, in order to see me, not only would you have to see what is inside the boundary of my skin, but also what is outside it. This is terribly important. Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery, the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets is this:
That for every outside there is an inside,
and for every inside there is an outside,
and though they are different, they go together.
There is, in other words, a secret conspiracy between all insides and all outsides, and the conspiracy is this: To look as different as possible and yet underneath to be identical, because you do not find one without the other." - Alan Watts in Om - Creative Meditations, Edited and Adapted by Judith Johnstone, 1980
14.We unfold and enfold... We ascend and descend... word and deed... wisdom and active compassion... Unfolding & Enfolding....
15.“…. There was nothing, then a Big Bang, then here we all are. This is extremely weird. To … (the) burning question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?,” there have always been two general answers.
The first might be called the philosophy of “oops.” The universe just occurs, there is nothing behind it, it’s all ultimately accidental or random, it just is, it just happens—oops! The philosophy of oops, no matter how sophisticated and adult it may on occasion appear—its modern names and numbers are legion, from positivism to scientific materialism, from linguistic analysis to historical materialism, from naturalism to empiricism—always comes down to the same basic answer, namely, “Don’t ask.” The question itself (Why is anything at all happening? Why am I here?)—the question itself is said to be confused, pathological, nonsensical, or infantile. To stop asking such silly or confused questions is, they all maintain, the mark of maturity, the sign of growing up in this cosmos.
I don’t think so. I think the “answer” these “modern and mature” disciplines give—namely, oops! (and therefore, “Don’t ask!”)—is about as infantile a response as the human condition could possibly offer.
The other broad answer that has been tendered is that something else is going on: behind the happenstance drama is a deeper or higher or wider pattern, or order, or intelligence. There are, of course, many varieties of this “Deeper Order”: the Tao, God, Geist, Maat, Archetypal Forms, Reason, Li, Mahamaya, Brahman, Rigpa. And although these different varieties of the Deeper Order certainly disagree with each other at many points, they all agree on this: the universe is not what it appears. Something else is going on, something quite other than oops. . . .
This book is about all of that “something other than oops.” It is about a possible Deeper Order. It is about evolution, and about religion, and, in a sense, about everything in between. It is a brief history of cosmos, bios, psyche, theos—a tale told by an idiot, it goes without saying, but a tale that, precisely in signifying Nothing, signifies the All, and there is the sound and the fury.
This is a book about holons—about wholes that are parts of other wholes, indefinitely. Whole atoms are parts of molecules; whole molecules are parts of cells; whole cells are parts of organisms, and so on. Each whole is simultaneously a part, a whole/part, a holon. And reality is composed, not of things nor processes nor wholes nor parts, but of whole/parts, of holons. We will be looking at holons in the cosmos, in the bios, in the psyche, and in theos; and at the evolutionary thread that connects them all, unfolds them all, embraces them all, endlessly…” Ken Wilber in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality
16." ...No man is an island; he is a 'holon'. Like Janus, the two-faced Roman god, holons have a dual tendency to behave as quasi independent wholes, asserting their individualities, but at the same time as integrated parts of larger wholes in the multi- levelled hierarchies of existence. Thus a man is both a unique individual but also part of a social group, which itself is a part of a larger group, and so on....." Arthur Koestler in Janus, A Summing Up. 1978
17."Truth and knowledge are an idle gleam if they do not bring power to change the world" - Sri Aurobindo in his epic poem Savitri
18."Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways, the point however, is to change it" - Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, 1845
19."Just because you don't take an interest in politics, doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you." - Pericles, 430 BC
20."Man can affect his own development and that of his surroundings only so far as he has a clear view of what the possibilities of action open to him are. To do this he has to understand the historical situation in which he finds himself: and once he does this, then he can play an active part in modifying that situation. The man of action is the true philosopher: and the philosopher must of necessity be a man of action…Each of us changes himself, modifies himself to the extent that he changes and modifies the complex relations of which he is the heart… ” Gramsci on the Organic Intellectual
21."இயற்கை எனது நண்பன், வாழ்க்கை எனது தத்துவ ஆசிரியன், வரலாறு எனது வழிகாட்டி." - Nature is my friend, Life is my teacher, History is my guide" - Velupilllai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam
22."...The strong man holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. Not ordinarily do men achieve this balance of opposites. The idealists are not usually realistic, and the realists are not usually idealistic. The militants are not generally known to be passive, nor the passive to be militant. Seldom are the humble self assertive or the self assertive humble. But life at its best is a creative syntheses of opposites in fruitful harmony.... truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in the an emerging synthesis which reconciles the two. Jesus recognised the need for blending opposites...So he said to them, 'Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves'. And he gave them a formula for action; 'Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves'. It is pretty difficult to imagine a single person having simultaneously, the characteristics of the serpent and the dove, but that is what Jesus expects. We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart..." Martin Luther King Jr. in A Testament of Hope : The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr
23."...Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein
24."When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn't change my nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn't change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realise that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed my nation and, may be, I could have changed the world." - Author Unknown
25."....we do not want to deceive ourselves with words; we want to start from what we have, right where we are, with our cloddy shoes and the little ray of sunshine on the good days; such is our simple hearted faith. We see that the world around us is not so great, and we aspire for it to change, but we have become wary of universal panaceas, of movements, parties, and theories. So we will begin at square one, with ourselves such as we are; it isn't much, but it's all we have. We will try to change this little bit of world before setting out to save the other. And perhaps this isn't such a foolish idea after all; for who knows whether changing the one is not the most effective way of changing the other?.." Sri Aurobindo or the Adventure of Consciousness - Satprem (Bernard Enginger)
26."... As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the World, as in being able to remake ourselves. We must become the change we wish to see in the world..." Mahatma Gandhi
27.“.... Because we are all part of the whole, when we heal something in ourselves, we heal it for the world. .. by changing ourselves, we change the world. As we become more loving on the inside, healing occurs on the outside. Much like the rising of the sea level lifts all ships, so the radiance of unconditional love within a human heart lifts all of life…” David R Hawkins in Letting Go
28."...In modern times there is no lack of understanding of the fact man is a social being and that 'No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe' (John Dunne, 1571-1631). Hence there is no lack of exhortation that he should love his neighbour - or at least not to be nasty to him - and should treat him with tolerance, compassion and understanding. At the same time, however, the cultivation of self knowledge has fallen into virtually total neglect, except, that is, where it is the object of active suppression.
That you cannot love your neighbour, unless you love yourself; that you cannot understand your neighbour unless you understand yourself; that there can be no knowledge of the 'invisible person' who is your neighbour except on the basis of self knowledge - these fundamental truths have been forgotten even by many of the professionals in the established religions.
Exhortations, consequently, cannot possibly have any effect; genuine understanding of one's neighbour is replaced by sentimentality, which ofcourse crumbles into nothingness as soon as self interest is aroused...
Anyone who goes openly on a journey into the interior, who withdraws from the ceaseless agitation of everyday life and pursues the kind of training - satipatthana, yoga, Jesus Prayer, or something similar - without which genuine self knowledge cannot be obtained, is accused of selfishness and of turning his back on social duties.
Meanwhile, world crisis multiply and everybody deplores the shortage, or even total lack, of 'wise' men or women, unselfish leaders, trustworthy counselors etc. It is hardly rational to expect such high qualities from people who have never done any inner work and would not even understand what was meant by the words..." E.F.Schumacher in A Guide for the Perplexed
29."…While for Karl Marx truth was a weapon to induce social change, for Freud it was the weapon to induce individual change; awareness was the main agent in Freud's therapy. If, so Freud found, the patient can gain insight into the fictitious character of his conscious ideas, if he can grasp the reality behind these ideas, if he can make the unconscious conscious, he will attain the strength to rid himself of his irrationalities and to transform himself.... Marx's statement, "The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions,' also could have been made by Freud. Both wanted to free man from the chains of his illusions in order to enable him to wake up and to act as a free man.…” - Beyond Chains of Illusion - My Encounter with Marx & Freud by Erich Fromm
30."The best way of finding yourself is by losing yourself in the service of others.... even as we serve others we are working on ourselves; every act, every word, every gesture of genuine compassion naturally nourishes our own hearts as well. It is not a question of who is healed first. When we attend to ourselves with compassion and mercy, more healing is made available for others. And when we serve others with an open and generous heart, great healing comes to us..." Mahatma Gandhi
32."God gives us opportunities to be of service to humanity, to our country, to ourselves. You must be ready and equipped to make use of those opportunities ...More than 2500 years ago a great Tamil poet wrote "Every country is my country, every human being is my kinsman". The brotherhood of man and universal love are themes central to practically all religions of the world. From this followed human rights such as the right to life, right to freedom of thought and speech and right to equality between man and man.... According to the Upanishads life is work and work is worship. So in the evening of my life I have fought many a battle as a member of the Civil Rights Movement... I have won a few and lost many. I console myself with the thought that what matters is the fight for the cause and not the results. What is important is the fight and the struggle for justice and not the victory nor the defeat. The saying in Bhagavad Gita 'To action you have a right but not to the fruits thereof' has been a source of great comfort to me in my life as it has enabled me to cultivate a sense of detachment which is necessary for happiness and peace of mind." – My father, Somasunderam Nadesan’s response at the Peter Pillai Award Presentation, 1984
33.'I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
I awoke and saw that life was service.
I acted and behold, service was joy.'
- Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
34."...The desire to share knowing with another human being is a fundamental one. It is at heart a desire to make your thoughts known to the other and to learn whether they are understood, even shared - always with the chance that I will mean more than I meant before, because of the way the other has understood what I have said. The process is one that truly works from both the inside out and the outside in, as we each become different persons through our interaction with one another..." - Deanna Kuhn, Professor of Psychology and Education, Columbia University in Piaget Vygotsky & Beyond: Future Issues for Developmental Psychology and Education, 1997
35.“The first kind of love we are familiar with is the bio-chemical love, the, ‘Let’s make love.’ The second kind is romantic love, ‘Mary loves John and John loves Mary.’ This second kind of love, the romantic love and the need for love, has a polarity, which is hate and which involves jealousy and possessiveness. This kind of love is based on the fact that you don’t yet know who you are. And that the other person involved allows you to meet your true self by turning you on to the place inside yourself where you are love. So you say “he and I” or “she and I are in love,” meaning we connect each other to the place in ourselves where we are love. This is needful love, because you need your connection, and if he or she splits, you can’t find the place in you, where you are love. So you get frightened that you’re going to lose your connection.
The third quality of love or level of love, is conscious love, where you have found that place in yourself and you become it. And you ‘are’ a statement of that love. And your every action is not consciously designed to assert that you love everyone, and everyone love you, because you ‘are’ love. Then, there is no more need for anyone to love you. All you experience is, a feeling of present flow with everyone in the universe. You are in love with the universe. You are not actively loving, but you are ‘in’ love; you exist in the space of conscious love, which is Christ love. That’s what this whole game is about…” Ram Dass
36."Love is a state of Being. Your love is not outside; it is deep within you. You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you. It is not dependent on some other body, some external form. In the stillness of your presence, you can feel your own formless and timeless reality as the unmanifested life that animates your physical form. You can then feel the same life deep within every other human and every other creature. You look beyond the veil of form and separation. This is the realization of oneness. This is love." - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
37."அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்,
அன்பேசிவமாவது யாரும் அறிகிலார்,
அன்பே சிவமாவது யாரும் அறிந்தபின்,
அன்பேசிவமாய் அமர்ந்திருந்தாரே." -
"Those who do not know, say that Love and God are two"
- Thirumular's Thirumanthiram
38.“..Jayalakshmi Satyendra made an enduring difference to the lives of many who came in contact with her - and her paintings live and continue to afford glimpses of her feelings and her thoughts, her lightness of touch, her feisty directness and authenticity, her infectious joy of life, her deep spirituality and her unconditional and abundant love and care for others… ‘Those who do not know say that God and Love are two’ (Thirumular’s Thirumanthiram)..” My Wife for 56 Years, Jayalakshmi Satyendra
39."Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" Matthew 22:36-40
40."Love All, Serve All" – Sri Sathya Sai Baba
41.“….. since this is the first time I have introduced that loaded word— GOD— into my book, and since this is a word which will appear many times again throughout these pages, it seems only fair that I pause here for a moment to explain exactly what I mean when I say that word, just so people can decide right away how offended they need to get. Saving for later the argument about whether God exists at all (no— here’s a better idea: let’s skip that argument completely), let me first explain why I use the word God, when I could just as easily use the words Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu or Zeus.
Alternatively, I could call God “That,” which is how the ancient Sanskrit scriptures say it, and which I think comes close to the all-inclusive and unspeakable entity I have sometimes experienced.
But that “That” feels impersonal to me— a thing, not a being— and I myself cannot pray to a That. I need a proper name, in order to fully sense a personal attendance. For this same reason, when I pray, I do not address my prayers to The Universe, The Great Void, The Force, The Supreme Self, The Whole, The Creator, The Light, The Higher Power, or even the most poetic manifestation of God’s name, taken, I believe, from the Gnostic gospels: “The Shadow of the Turning.”
I have nothing against any of these terms. I feel they are all equal because they are all equally adequate and inadequate descriptions of the indescribable. But we each do need a functional name for this indescribability, and “God” is the name that feels the most warm to me, so that’s what I use. I should also confess that I generally refer to God as “Him,” which doesn’t bother me because, to my mind, it’s just a convenient personalizing pronoun, not a precise anatomical description or a cause for revolution. Of course, I don’t mind if people call God “Her,” and I understand the urge to do so. Again— to me, these are both equal terms, equally adequate and inadequate. Though I do think the capitalization of either pronoun is a nice touch, a small politeness in the presence of the divine.
Culturally, though not theologically, I’m a Christian. I was born a Protestant of the white Anglo-Saxon persuasion. And while I do love that great teacher of peace who was called Jesus, and while I do reserve the right to ask myself in certain trying situations what indeed He would do, I can’t swallow that one fixed rule of Christianity insisting that Christ is the only path to God. Strictly speaking, then, I cannot call myself a Christian. Most of the Christians I know accept my feelings on this with grace and open-mindedness. Then again, most of the Christians I know don’t speak very strictly. To those who do speak (and think) strictly, all I can do here is offer my regrets for any hurt feelings and now excuse myself from their business.
Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed— much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts. I respond with gratitude to anyone who has ever voyaged to the center of that heart, and who has then returned to the world with a report for the rest of us that God is an experience of supreme love. In every religious tradition on earth, there have always been mystical saints and transcendents who report exactly this experience.
Unfortunately many of them have ended up arrested and killed. Still, I think very highly of them. In the end, what I have come to believe about God is simple. It’s like this— I used to have this really great dog. She came from the pound. She was a mixture of about ten different breeds, but seemed to have inherited the finest features of them all. She was brown. When people asked me, “What kind of dog is that?” I would always give the same answer: “She’s a brown dog.” Similarly, when the question is raised, “What kind of God do you believe in?” my answer is easy: “I believe in a magnificent God.”…” Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything
42."...At the time of writing I never think of what I have said before. My aim is not to be consistent with my previous statements on a given question, but to be consistent with truth as it may present itself to me at a given moment. The result has been that I have grown from truth to truth; I have saved my memory an undue strain; and what is more, whenever I have been obliged to compare my writing even of fifty years ago with the latest, I have discovered no inconsistency between the two. But friends who observe inconsistency will do well to take the meaning that my latest writing may yield unless, of course, they prefer the old. But before making the choice they should try to see if there is not an underlying and abiding consistency between the two seeming inconsistencies..." - Mahatma Gandhi
43."I desire that I write for myself alone. It is when that which is buried in me finds expression in words, that I myself come to truly know what was buried in me. It may well be that the reason that I write is because I feel that I may discover more and more and come to know what else may be inside me. As I continue to write, and as more and more experiences unfold from within me, and as I become subject to these experiences, it seems to me that I may, in a way, make it possible for me to know who I am.
There are those who find that the words that I write to understand about myself, also help them to understand themselves. They are my readers. When they hear that the key that I fashioned for my lock, may also open their locks, they come in search of my house. When they come, it appears to me that it is entirely appropriate that I should share my understanding...
So that a writer may protect this nature, this way of life, I value freedom of expression as the most important freedom. I cannot say that at the present time I have sufficient courage or awareness of truth to practice that which I have so easily described. These are qualities that I will need to develop. I believe that it will be possible for me to do so..." Sundara Ramasamy (translated from the Tamil original)
44."... There are in every part of the world men who search. I am not a prisoner of history. I should not seek there for the meaning of my destiny. I should constantly remind myself that the real leap consists in the introduction of invention into existence. In the world through which I travel, I am endlessly creating myself..." Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks
45.“.....What does it mean to say “I am not my story?” Students ask me this all the time. “Are you saying that what happened to me didn’t happen?” Of course not. “Are you calling me a liar, like I’m making these things up?” Not at all. ....We invent ourselves at every moment—connecting the dots, developing plot lines, revising scenes, replaying old dramas—by composing a solid narrative with this fictional self at the center. We fully believe that our story is real, which is why when I tell students that every life is a work of fiction, they quite often feel existential confusion. Luckily, this confusion doesn’t last long…
Seeing that the story isn’t ourselves is a quantum leap in self-realization and the starting point of a whole new life.......The radical act of telling the truth awakens us automatically. When we write down our story, we become the witness, and this objective distance brings an aha! as the character we believed to be solid reveals itself as a narrative construct... When you tell the truth, your story changes. When your story changes, your life is transformed…
Why is telling the truth so radical? Because we rarely do so completely in social life. As socialized animals, we’re taught to hide our feelings, to protect reputations, conventions, and interests. We’re liars of necessity, fear, and convenience. Imagine if everyone told the whole truth—regardless of the consequences. It would be a brutal nightmare! To avoid incrimination and cruelty, we opt instead for versions of the truth, euphemisms, half-lies, and tidied-up candor. Though we’re mostly honest, most of the time, civilized life calls for reticence and cooperation breeds compromise…
.... your personal story is not the whole truth. We use narratives to explain ourselves and the world, but these interpretations are subjective and changeable. Each of us composes a creation myth based on the stories we’re told by our parents and family. This myth is combined with childhood experience to form the building blocks of personal identity. As you write and see that ideas about yourself are constructed from stories that are essentially used to connect various dots into a tidy picture, you realize that self-image is a work of fiction. Acknowledging this gap between story and truth is the first step to psychological and spiritual freedom. This is how awakening begins....” Mark Matousek in ‘Writing to Awaken: A Journey of Truth, Transformation, and Self-Discovery’