Do you feel this tug in your heart to transcend yourself, to be free to journey into a place of infinite renewal? To discover what is unfound within and therein to know its Secret Founder? Good! Because what pulls on you from within in this way is trying to get you to let go of yourself.
For the majority of us, what we consider being renewed has nothing to do with what is real renewal. Mostly what we feel as renewal is when some idea or a hope that we have gets fulfilled, filling us in turn with a sense of excitement; and then, in that feeling of being full of ourselves, comes a certain kind of pleasure that we take as being the same as self-renewal in this life. But there's a problem with this sense of renewal, isn't there? As all of us know too well, there is a point in our lives when we even stop looking for that kind of joy because we understand that as fast as it pours in, it pours out! In fact, no matter how much the world pours into us that way -- with good financial fortune or whatever it is -- no matter how much we seem to come into, there remains an emptiness. Here's the reason behind this truth.
Our souls are not enlarged through circumstance. As a matter of fact, contrary to being enlarged by those circumstantial experiences that grant us a temporary sense of self-renewal, we're more often than not unconsciously limited by them. The more you hold on to what are obviously conditional aspects of this life -- for that sense of yourself of being "new" or "going forward" -- the more afraid you are that you're going to lose it. So in this there's no real renewal at all. The little-understood secret of life is that everything we add to our cup to make ourselves greater becomes the very thing that makes us less. But there it is.
In those times when we're busy dreaming up the next plan, the next love, the next thrill -- whatever that may be -- aren't we really looking for a way to renew ourselves? And isn't the vehicle that delivers this longed-for feeling always some sort of a mental image? A self-created picture that pleases us just to gaze upon it on the screen of our mind? Are you able to see the way this works within you? Consider when you think: I need a feeling of something to spice up my life, so I'm going to go on a trip, buy myself that special something, or find a new relationship. This means that in your mind, there is now a picture of pleasure or happiness-to-come. In that same moment, this new pleasurable image is filled with that new pleasure you've just pictured. But it's just a picture. Let's look deeper.
Suppose you dress up in the new clothes, take the trip, make that purchase, or mastermind that next new deal. Then what? You no more get into these things than they get themselves into you. There's no end to it. Even before you're back from that dream vacation you have to plan a "better" trip. Then you have to have more clothes, better this, more of whatever, and instead of finding the freedom naturally attending real renewal, you find you've become the prisoner of your own inventions!
We're looking to our own best ideas, to those well-preserved images from our own past experiences to guide us to something new. But the word new itself means "never having been before; the first of, etc." Think about it.
If something is truly new this means nothing was before it. However, our present knowledge of life and self doesn't understand this kind of "new." For us "new" is how we look after dieting or plastic surgery; the next series in the line of cars we'd like to drive; the next revelation about some movie star's unhappy life, or whatever it may be. If this sounds shallow, it is. Our spiritual lives have been so starved of reality's nourishing inflow that almost all of what we now think of as being "new" is little more than an unconscious continuation of some reconfigured past experience.
Do try to see the truth of this -- that when you think of finding something new, you don't think about something that has never been before. What you're looking for, unconsciously, is that familiar sense of self-renewal that comes with finding something similar to what you already knew, even though it didn't fulfill you the last time you embraced its kissing cousin.
Now we can begin to understand that before something genuinely new can appear in our lives something old must pass. That there must be a discontinuation. But perhaps your wondering: a discontinuity of what? There must be discontinuity of "I," of our familiar sense of self. Still more to the point of this study, there must be a discontinuity of that sense of "I" from which we look out into our world in order to find something we believe will renew us.
These familiar feelings of "I" are not you. They belong to your name, to who you've been, to the whole psychological package that you know as your present "self." It is critical for your spiritual growth to start understanding that from this package and within its given lineage of "I's" no real renewal can occur.
This new knowledge reveals that real prayer, the soul-transforming kind, goes and grows hand in hand with real self-discovery. It begins as you inwardly, unmistakably, realize that in order for you to be renewed your prayer must include the understanding for the necessity of consciously discontinuing yourself. There is ample proof for this position.
Do you recall that most famous moment in Christ's life framed by this eternal passage of perfect self surrender? "Not my will but Thy will be done." Isn't that a discontinuity of "I"? This wish for discontinuity of self cannot be based upon desire, because desire itself is the continuity of "I." So this wise and new action must be based upon insight. Yes. The Truth does set you free. And the reason the Truth sets you free is because it alone reveals that what you are held captive by has no reality outside of your wish to continue as you.
The falling out of love with yourself begins with seeing that the "you" that's in love with you is just as unreal as the "you" that it loves! That your life is the way it is because you are living from a series of small "I's" which care nothing for you because these false selves are themselves, in truth, nothings. As you start to see that, you start giving up "I." You start letting "I" go. That's prayer, because it is self-discontinuity; a conscious act of self-suspension arising from a new wish for something new to occur; an act of Higher understanding born from knowing that you being wrapped up in the old can only produce more of the old.
If you try to establish a relationship with God based on your ideas of God, and your ideas of you, you will get what you asked for, but you won't be renewed. It'll be the renewal that you have to renew again and again. When God is in charge of your life, in your interior world, newness just pours in. Make no mistake about this: when these waters are being poured in you know something is pouring in. Perhaps best of all, you also know that what it is pouring into isn't the "you" that you thought it would pour into. God can only pour what is Himself into Himself. And because you have worked to discontinue yourself, you're the lucky one having that experience. Everything Good follows this. Do your inner work, people. Do your inner work.