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A Life of Pretense is No Life at All

Part 1: The pretense of kindness, of being loving, does not make those qualities real in us any more than an actor who plays the role of a talking tree in a play by Shakespeare is endowed with the strength of an oak!

Part 2: When we finally understand that we can not "prove" ourselves in this world without having first compared ourselves to it -- and that this kind of comparison is the unseen root of conflict -- then we will also know why we find no peace in winning the approval of others, and why no possession empowers us to live without fear.

Part 3: That we should search only our own conscience for confirmation of what is good and true, this is the best definition of integrity. For that which is good and true is not social in nature, but spiritual in need and in deed.

Step Into Your Personal Spiritual Workstation

We have an essential need to be at peace. Part of that essential need to be at peace is to know that we are in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing -- and to know it in such a fashion that nothing can come along and convince us otherwise. There is only one way that can happen for us, and that is through the idea of being a true individual, a singularity.

It is ingrained in us to be a true individual, but the path to individuality winds up making us like absolutely everybody else. We think to ourselves, "How do I become an individual?" Then we look out and see something that says, "This is what an individual is like," and we copy it. Why is it so painful for a woman to go to a party and see someone in the same dress she is wearing? Why is it so easy for a man to be shaken by the smallest unexpected event after thinking he had it "nailed"? A true individual cannot be shaken.

If the only way we can know who we are, to know our true nature, is by comparing it to something else, then are we not the subject of whatever it is that we've compared ourselves to? The "un-essential" life is the struggle for approval, for acceptance, trying to get other people to confirm the image we hold of ourselves. A real life is without these stresses because it is based in the expression of an individuality that needs nothing outside of itself in order to feel whole.

Can you find anything in nature that wasn't created for the specific purpose of fulfilling a task that only it could do? The smallest leaf, the molecule itself was created in its essence to do what only it could do. How can we be less than that? We're not, and we can discover the truth of this for ourselves by working to be a "singularity."

Imagine a workstation, a little cubicle in an office or place of business. In a way, we are meant to have our own personal "spiritual workstation" within us in which we can do the work of being a singularity. To be a singularity means that we are awake and aware of our own comparative mind. If we're not aware of our comparative mind telling us that we're unacceptable, then we are going to do whatever it tells us that we need to do in order to become accepted. When it's talking to us in the dark of ourselves, it's always telling us what we need to do to "win" what it imagines will make us whole. But the real answer isn't to do what that comparative mind tells us to do. The answer is to see the comparative mind at work, and to recognize that it is not this conflicted sense of "I." It is conflicted because that is the nature of a divided mind.

To have a personal spiritual workstation means that when we sit at lunch with people, we do the interior work of being a singularity. This means we stay present to ourselves so that, for instance, should we say the dumb thing, instead of going back over it and trying to figure out how we can be more clever the next time (so we don't say the stupid thing), we drop our involvement with the comparative thought. We drop what divides us. To drop what divides us, we have to be awake to our tendency of talking to ourselves about what troubles us. When we stop troubling ourselves by being awake to what makes us ache, we are doing the work of being a singularity in the moment.

To run out of self-supplied solutions is a glorious thing. In that moment, if we're willing to, usually there is a certain letting go that takes place -- a surrender by which we realize that the best that we have to offer, given the best we know how to do, isn't enough at that moment. This is what is so fantastic, because each time we actually come to the end of what we know to do, and stay there without punishing ourselves or hating life for finding ourselves in such a state, lo and behold, something comes in and shows us the nature of the true disturbance. The problem was the "me" that insists the world be the way I want it to be . . . or else. When this is seen as true, a genuine transformation takes place in us; there is a real letting go of who we have been and who we see we no longer need to be or defend. The lesson is learned. Freedom dawns.

This article is excerpted from Living Now (talk entitled "The Work and Reward of Just Being Yourself").

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