- Do not become attached
- Trust your heart
- Do not feel sorry for yourself
- Remember God
- Do not forget with whom you are dealing
- Remember yourself
- Do not put off until tomorrow
- Persevere and be patient rather than hope
- Do not daydream
- Accept His Will
1. Do not become attached
Attachment is developed in response to the desire to possess something forever. When you become attached to an object, you attribute values to it that it does not have objectively. Becoming attached eliminates your ability to perceive reality adequately.
When one person becomes attached to another, it eliminates the freedom of both.
Essentially, attachment is a projection of the wish to never lose a desired object (so that the pleasure it brings lasts forever).
When you become attached to certain ideas, you are unable to be open to alternative, competing ideas (lack of objectivity). You become a slave of concepts and think of yourself as a communist, a democrat, or a Christian, etc.
Being attached is like placing an extra load on your feet—the greater it is, the less your likelihood to survive drowning.
Attachment is a means for false self-identification because when you say “I like this and do not like that,” you actually outline your personality (false individuality).
Attachment is a means for ego to support itself.
Your attachments define and shape your personal space in a way.
Rejection is the opposite of attachment. When you reject or refuse to accept something, you also lose access to objective perception.
Attachment and rejection are like plus and minus signs, respectively. Both cause you to suffer—whether it is losing something to which you had grown attached or enduring something unacceptable out of necessity.
If attachment is akin to a positive sign and intolerance is akin to a negative sign, then what lies between is a neutral state. Note that when you maintain a neutral attitude, your perception of people and events changes.
Attachment is associated closely with fear. Fear of death leads to one’s attachment to the physical body. Attachment to the physical body leads to one’s fear of death. Attachment to the physical body together with the fear of death leads to attachment to food, wellbeing (good health), and so on.
Fear of loneliness, together with the hope to receive help, cause you to develop attachments to others (relatives, fellow countrymen, friends, family members).
Fear of hell binds one to ritual behaviors.
Do not become attached to things because it is foolish.
Do not become attached to your body—it will die.
Do not become attached to emotions because this makes you weak.
Do not become attached to ideas, because this makes you blind.
Do not become attached to people, because they will pass away.
Do not become attached to sufferings and then they will pass away.
Do not become attached to powers and skills, because they change.
Do not become attached to things around you. Everything will change.
Do not become attached to God, so as not to torment Him.
Be a passerby.
Be a wanderer who owns nothing, but who moves forward, unbound, in any direction.
Do not limit yourself.
Do not become attached.
- — Non-attachment brings ease, not extremes.
- — Irresponsible, selfish actions excused by striving for non-attachment. Irresponsibility and non-attachment are not the same.
- — Another mistake is to begin to suppress a desire to enjoy things, movies, ice-cream, booze, staring at pictures of naked people. Non-attachment cannot be achieved through suppression.
- — Non-attachment is the fruit of advanced understanding, which in turn, stems from awareness of one’s fears, desires, the inevitability of death, and accepting the fact that nothing under the moon lasts forever.
- — Non-attachment is when you distinguish between N.V. Gogol and G.W.F. Hegel, but see no difference in value.
2. Trust your Heart
Trust is necessary for Surrender. Trust is a combination of opening and accepting, or warm openness.
The basic definition of the heart is that it is a vital organ; another meaning of the heart is that it is the center of emotional life.
In poetic and religious terms, the heart is a citadel of love.
The heart of mystics means having a connection with God. Through this center, we experience a deep connection with the Existence.
The heart and the mind are opposites. The heart cannot judge or be practical.
The heart is whole; the mind is divided.
People close their hearts in fear of emotional hurt and lose the sensation of connection with God. They resemble people who have the fastest internet speed in the world, but never use it.
That’s right; opening your heart puts you at risk of being hurt, of experiencing emotional pain or another person’s pain. Yes, when you open your heart, you become accessible by God, and yes, when your heart is open, you begin to see and feel differently.
Only when the heart is open can it work properly, and it always wants to open. However, again and again, the heart comes into conflict with the mind, and the mind says that putting trust in the heart is dangerous. This is your parents talking in your mind, together with their parents, and so on, and all of them say: Following your heart is stupid.
They say, “It is not safe, we respect logic, we know exchange rates, we know the value of things, but the heart is clueless.”
They say, “We have invested a lot in our life, we have a potential, we can achieve something, make a career, become respectful people”, while the heart says: Everything is there already. The heart says: Go inward, become familiar with my space, my beauty, and enjoy it, and discover who you are.
The heart says: I know the plan; I sense what needs to be done here and now; I exist. All fulfillment is in Me, the way is in Me, I am both alpha and omega, the beginning and the end.
Eventually, the moment comes when you realize that God speaks to you through your Heart.
Further, as God is the Creator of Existence, everything you need to know about your life, everything you need to know about your fate, everything you need to know to decide how to proceed further, you learn through your Heart.
The mind wants to overshadow; the mind subjugates; the mind will not and cannot trust; trust is a faculty of the Heart.
Trust is unconditional and absolute or it is not trust. We are taught to depend upon the mind, because in our civilization, the Heart is consigned to oblivion, God is consigned to oblivion.
However, this is not the exact point. Existence lives in a certain rhythm that resembles a pulse, high tides and low tides, dawns and dusks. This is outside the confines of the mind; the mind can only speculate about it.
If open, the Heart lives according to this rhythm, always knowing what needs and has to be done.
While supporting the connection with God, the Heart holds answers to all questions; it can tell us what to do at the moment. These answers and clues often do not agree with the mind’s viewpoint, and only if you trust can you make the right choice—the choice that is unconditional, ambiguous, controversial.
Only after a while, when you see the resolved situation retrospectively, will you realize that the choice you made was the best one.
The mind will lead you into the darkness. The heart will lead you to the Light.
The mind is negative, the heart is positive. The mind says no, the heart says yes.
Forget the mind.
Trust the Heart.
- — Believing that one’s suppressed desires are the voice of the Heart. Taking advantage of this commandment to fulfill one’s own suppressed desires, being afraid to look at them directly.
- — Believing that the mind’s neuroticism is the voice of the Heart. One can believe that the spontaneous eccentricity of an immature mind gushing with stupid ideas is the voice of the Heart and say: This is what God wants from me!
Treatment: impartial, genuine self-observation.
I apologize to everyone who reads this for the imperfection of my communication. I am doing my very best. Unfortunately, there are things that I am unable to put into words—they have to be experienced. I am trying to put it into words, but I can do only so much, and ask you to keep in mind that lack of clarity makes its way into this text.
Truth is learned in silence.
How to open the Heart:
- — Stop suppressing your feelings
- — Trust people and do not think about consequences except every once in a while
- — Accept others’ deception and obvious lies, following commandment number one
- — Do not fear anything; however, this is difficult without faith in God
- — It is possible to love people; one just needs to let it manifest itself
- — Allow yourself and your Heart to open up
How to establish a connection:
- — Be wide awake
- — Be watchful for delicate sensations, subtle impulsions, and the sense of the moment
The Sense of the Moment is the Key to Existence
At every moment, you have a certain choice to make: between good and evil, left and right, etc.
When you make decisions with your mind, you follow your ideas (conditioning). When the choices you make come from your Heart, you are in contact with reality. Choice exists as long as the mind exists. If you are immersed in your Heart completely (or other centers, about which we keep silent), the problem of choice does not exist—you see what needs to be done and that is it. This is a way to develop a non-choosing consciousness.
In each moment of time, you receive various impulses. Some of them are external, and come from the outside world and people around you. Others bind you with Existence, reality, God. These impulses are not thoughts. Do not confuse them with thoughts and desires. The voice of the Heart is very soft. It is a sudden nudge, an illogical urge; it is a fine sensation of a necessity, a need; it is knowledge of what action to take, and no logical justification is required. What we call intuition is the language of the Heart. The way to the Heart is through trust.
Trust God. Trust yourself. Trust your Heart.
3. Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself
Self-pity, together with the sense of self-importance, are the foundations of ego.
Self-pity splinters you; when in self-pity, you weaken yourself. Self-pity is an embedded brake put on your progress. Whenever you need to invest all of your energy to achieve the result and you fall into self-pity instead and ease up, you end by achieving nothing.
Self-pity contributes to the entire spectrum of neuroses. As soon as you begin to feel sorry for yourself, you give in, and become a victim of fear, sadness, and conditioning. When you live in self-pity, you feed your ego. For example, you feel like lying on your sofa and watching TV, but instead you have to go to work. Feeling sorry for yourself, you start getting ready to leave and while doing so, you cuss the weather, higher management, traffic jams—everything; you feel miserable. Now you have a justification to moan and complain, craving attention of others. When the ego is hurt, it achieves a sense of self and empowers the sensation of its own existence.
Self-pity is a way to make constant excuses. You made a mistake, acted in a negligent manner, let someone down, failed to achieve something—and here you are, wallowing in self-pity, finding excuses for your actions. Feeling sorry for yourself from the very beginning, you undermine your efforts and fail to complete the task; feeling sorry for yourself immediately after, you find a justification for what you have done. As long as you continue to indulge in self-pity, you will be feeding your ego; hence, it will not be able to leave you and you will continue to suffer.
Ways to overcome self-pity
- Cast off self-pity as soon as you become aware that you are feeling sorry for yourself.
- Whenever you are engaging in a practice and your mind begins to grumble that it is tired and enough already, carry on with the practice as long as possible, and once it becomes no longer possible, keep practicing for a little longer.
- Always begin with the most unpleasant task.
- Invest all of your energy into a practice, and refrain from trying to save a bit of it for later.
- Follow commandment number one.
- — Sliding into masochism. Refraining from self-pity means to cease nurturing negative emotions and ego; it does not mean deriving pleasure from feeling pain.
- — Going to extremes with ascetic practices (abstinence from food, etc.). Feeling no self-pity is related largely to ego rather than the physical body, which needs reasonable care.
4. Remember God
Absent-mindedness is one of the traits of unconsciousness. Absent-mindedness (unconsciousness) results in a constant mismatch between knowledge and life—you know what to do, but become distracted and do just the opposite.
There is a Sufi saying—You become what you think about. If you think about (wish for) material things, you end up in respective circumstances and possibilities.
You will be drawn magnetically to people with similar thinking, and your reality (i.e., scope of perception) will narrow to the material side of things. Because your thoughts are structured around money, you will see a financial aspect in any subject—in the beginning, and perhaps in the end as well.
If you think about sex constantly, you become a Freudian—any topic will become sexually suggestive in one form or another.
These are all easy paths that our conditioning determines and which the surrounding world encourages us to follow, while in the meantime, it lulls us to sleep.
Remembering God means that your energy ascends to a level higher than your personal one; it means moving in the direction opposite to that of everyone else; it is a way to become awakened.
Of course, remembering God is difficult; it takes effort to redirect the energy of our attention toward a rather vague object. Naturally, remembering a Subaru jeep is easier, and as far as laundry detergent goes—they won’t let you forget about that for sure.
With this said, your attempts to remember God create opportunities for you to obtain access to higher levels of perception, where God gradually becomes less abstract and the vicious circle of Subaru jeeps and laundry detergents begins to look, let us say, amusing.
To assist with the task of remembering, mystics in different times introduced implicit indicators that point to Him. Sufis and Jews recite (remember) God’s Names. Regular prayer is a must for those who want to remember God. There are other techniques that cannot be covered in these notes.
Just recalling that the world exists not alone or in a chaotic fashion, but is subject to Divine laws—that there is a Higher Principle, Higher Consciousness, Higher Will, Higher Knowledge—the recollection of this alone will begin to influence your being.
If you increase your efforts further, you will feel a connection with what is difficult to express, what does not fit in ordinary human experience and vocabulary.
Little strokes fell great oaks. As you carry on remembering, you will discover new levels of knowledge and being, and the Divine Beauty and Love that used to be mere words will become your experience.
If you remember God—God remembers you as well.
- Mechanical performance of dhikr; mechanical recitation of the Name, with attention not directed to Him, with no attempt to grasp the essence of the Name.
- Mechanical prayer.
- Sentimental, childish attitude to God, considering Him someone similar to Santa Claus, who is supposed to entertain, comfort, and give you what you want.
- Taking advantage of your fantasy and self-hypnosis to achieve communication with God, personal conversations with Him, as well as fascinating experiences, etc., swiftly. It is recommended to maintain critical thinking with respect your own perception.
5. Do Not Forget With Whom You Are Dealing
A woman was walking down the road and noticed a snake lying on the ground, stiff and frozen with the cold. Taking pity on it, the woman picked it up and took it home. The snake soon warmed up and awoke. The kind-hearted woman gave it some milk. Once the snake got its strength back and stuffed itself, it bit the kind woman. “Why did you do this—I saved your life?” asked the dying woman. “You knew that I am a snake!” the snake said, and crawled away.
Thus, the first fallacy is to believe that if you do good to others, they will respond in kind. Usually, you do good in anticipation of the same in return. This often brings disappointment.
Most well-intentioned enterprises fail because of this. Thus, if you are determined to inflict good on someone, take a look inward—what is your motivation? To what extent is it fear, greed, vanity, or the desire to be treated equally? Alternatively, are you driven by a feeling that you cannot do otherwise? Is it about the concepts of good and evil? The concept of morality? Because you deal with yourself most of the time, take the time to determine what motivates you so you do not get into a difficult situation. What is the reasoning behind your desire to help others? Once you sort that out—stay vigilant—do not forget with whom you are dealing.
With respect to evil, a person whom you mistreated because of your unconsciousness (i.e., anger, greed, jealousy, stupidity, etc.) does not necessarily have to pay you back in your own coin. Perhaps they already keep this commandment.
Moving on. With the perspective in mind that most of the time you deal with yourself, you should evaluate your traits that cause problems in life or at work impartially. If you are afraid of everything, yet project yourself as a macho man, you will get into trouble. If you enjoy lying, but swear that you say nothing but the truth, you will get into trouble. If you are overwhelmed with anger and deny it, you are in trouble already. Once you recognize your primary weak personality traits and acknowledge them, and in the meantime, remember with whom you are dealing, then you will be able to avoid many problems.
Similar to absent-mindedness, poor attention is a manifestation of unconsciousness. You need to be mindful of your sensations and reactions; this will allow you to be watchful of others’ reactions and become better at seeing and understanding the people around you.
For example, you realize that a person with whom you communicate regularly is prone to lying. You may or may not tolerate this. You know that no one is able to lie all of the time, so if you continue to remain in touch, you just need to remember that this person is susceptible to lying and be aware and prepared to separate the wheat from the chaff promptly—in case it matters to you, of course.
Another person may show a tendency to irresponsible behavior in situations that call for exactly the opposite. Probably, this is the way he demonstrates his fear of responsibility and making a mistake. If you remember this trait of his, you will want to stay away from situations in which he is the only person in charge. On the other hand, for example, you lent money to a friend. He paid back long past the due date, when you had stopped hoping for it already, but he repaid you the money. After a while, he asks to borrow some money again. You remember what happened the last time and are faced with a dilemma, whether to reject his request or to lend him money (perhaps forever). You can react automatically by closing yourself and refusing his request immediately, or you can open up and examine the situation consciously: How vital is the money for him compared to you at the moment? Becoming aware of the current situation, as well as the commitment to the commandments aforementioned, can provide the starting point for you to make your decision.
There is another side to the matter. Unconsciousness has many faces and manifestations. If your manager is not good at keeping promises, do not hold out much hope that he or she will change. The dark side of this matter tells us that one cannot hope for intelligent behavior in machine-like, unconscious individuals. People are just people. They are subject to weaknesses and irresponsibility, and they all die.
Accept them and live with them, but do not forget with whom you are dealing.
This commandment is no less relevant on the Path. When facing the Darkness and the Light, do not forget with whom you are dealing.
The Darkness can give you peace and rest.
The Light can leave burns and dazzle you.
The Darkness will lure you in with power, add to empowering your ego, and seduce you.
The Light will show you the way outside the ordinary and reveal the hidden.
Yet, you will need to go beyond both.
The final wrinkle here is that when you make vows to God, do not forget with whom you are dealing.
How to keep this commandment: Remember it.
Possible perversions (good old mind can twist anything)
- — Mistaking one’s fear and distrust of people for following this commandment.
- — Falling back on self-justification: I treat people the way they deserve to be treated.
6. Remember Yourself
Of course, remembering is difficult. Of course, absent-mindedness is part of our life and is especially noticeable when we are just setting out on the path. Moreover, of course, it is really difficult to remember God, who is not easy to understand, or others who are confusing and with whom you have to deal.
It is easier to begin with something close to you. Who is the closest person to you? You are. Your body, emotions, thoughts, identity, and feeling of self.
We usually give all of the energy of our attention to an object to which we direct our attention. Our consciousness becomes identified with the object at that moment. We lose ourselves to some extent; we cease to be aware of ourselves. Watch a good movie on the TV and you will get the point.
Similarly, our consciousness is predisposed to become identified with our emotions, thoughts, etc. When your anger arose, you merged with it, lost you mind, began to repress (first you identified with your anger, and then with the idea that anger is not to be expressed). It is not that you are completely absent, but you are not there in the form of a whole, permanent, invariant self-awareness. There is no center—only a periphery of your existence, a tiny portion of which you can be aware at any time. The habit of repressing desires and emotions makes your awareness even more superficial and narrow.
Therefore, self-observation and self-remembering are the main techniques to work on oneself in many spiritual traditions.
Easier said than done, as always.
First, the amount of energy of attention available to you is a physical quantity. Therefore, the amount of this energy is limited at any moment. For the same reason, consistent, conscious work can lead to a significant increase in the volume of the free energy of attention. When you engage in the self-remembering practice, you need to divide your attention into two parts—one directed outward to external objects, another directed to the practitioner, i.e., self, which includes the body’s sensations, emerging emotions, desires, and thoughts.
As G. I. Gurdjieff would say, attention should become a two-headed arrow pointed at the inner and outer worlds at the same time.
Second, once you decide to commit to this commandment, your efforts in self-remembering must become constant. You will not last long at the beginning—you will become distracted, zone out. This is not a reason to give up practicing. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
As you continue to remember and observe yourself, you gradually begin to see the true motives behind your actions, emotions, etc. If you are honest with yourself, an opportunity will come to change your inner situation, and as a result, your life.
- Unwillingness to see yourself; barring yourself from meeting your own conditioning.
7. Do Not Put Off Until Tomorrow
Life is very short. In many cases, it is much shorter than it seems to the mind. Each moment is unique and irreversible, yet the mind holds onto the known and consigns its boredom, idleness, and fears to the ebb and flow of existence.
The mind likes to procrastinate.
Looking for safety, trusting no one, the mind makes every effort to build an emergency reserve, save for a rainy day, and put aside funds for your funeral. It may seem that money can protect us against all troubles.
Hence, one has to save a chunk of money so that one can use its power should the need arise. A person begins to deny himself the simple things that could have fulfilled him right now for the sake of an unclear and unknown future. Such people essentially postpone their lives.
“Tomorrow”, as we know, never comes. When you decide not to do things until tomorrow, you are not living in the now. This become a habit, and you are no longer able to live today, in the now.
Life passes very quickly. What was achievable yesterday is no longer attainable today. You have this feeling that you need to change something in your life, do it right now, but it appears that the moment is not sufficiently favorable yet, so you should wait a little longer, perhaps until later?
Later comes, but something else comes up, too. You become distracted, matters are delayed even further. After a while, you realize suddenly what happened, but the circumstances have become even worse than before; apparently, the previous situation was not bad after all. Delays in making decisions usually make things only worse.
Procrastination on the Path results in stagnation.
You never invest all of your energy in practicing techniques. You never give all of yourself to the practice, but save part of your energy for later. They tell you now is the right moment for intense work, for a breakthrough, but you respond—I am not ready now; maybe later.
People save money, yet fail to make use of it (because of death, financial default, etc.). An opportunity put on the back burner never comes again. If it does, it is a different opportunity; the original one was missed.
Listen to your heart, and do not let your mind interfere. If you feel an impulse to pray—pray—do not wait until the end of day or tomorrow. Express, live through your emotions the moment they arise.
If you feel a sudden urge to do something, do not put it off or you will miss an experience. If you feel like saying something to someone, do not hold back; there may not be an opportunity tomorrow.
Life is short. When you postpone it, you do not live; when you wait until things get better, you miss it. When you miss it, you take comfort in hope, which is covered by a separate commandment below.
8. Perseverance and Patience Rather than Hope
Perseverance and patience are the faculties without which it is simply impossible to progress along the Path.
G.I. Gurdjieff used to say, “Patience is the mother of Will”.
Patience is an indication of maturity and experience. An immature mind is impatient, subject to whims and mood swings, one that picks up and gives up new hobbies easily.
If such a mind fails to make sense of something immediately, it loses interest, becomes bored, and shifts attention to something else.
For example, you are provided with some guidance with respect to your inner state, but you do not see it in yourself and as a result do not understand it. Thus, a typical response sequence is as follows: You develop a mental lapse, become angry, and shut yourself off.
Alternatively, for example, you were assigned to read a parable and are trying to fathom the layers of its meaning. If you find the task too challenging, you likely find yourself repeating the pattern described above. In contrast, patience will allow you to wait until the first mechanical reaction subsides and apply perseverance to look impartially at a baffling phrase, metaphor, or simile at hand. The more patient you are, the more likely you will understand the story’s meaning.
Meditation is a waiting mode that is not associated with any object. Intransitive waiting (waiting without an object) is unattainable without patience.
One more point: When you begin to look inward, you face repressed anger, sadness, fear, etc. Instantly, you feel like running away and forgetting about it. To work through repressed emotions, you need to discard habitual suppression and immerse yourself in them. This journey is not an enjoyable one. You experience all types of discomfort. However, if you are able to endure, remain aware of your emotions, and witness and observe them at the same time, your Will crystallizes.
Perseverance is essential to achieve any goal. Think of the parable of a farmer who was trying to find water underground—he dug six wells, each about three feet deep, rather than a single well eighteen feet deep!
Perseverance and patience are irreplaceable in the Work.
Hope is a very dangerous thing. Hope helps you sleep better at night. An ostrich is hoping for something when it buries its head in sand. A wife hopes that her husband will stop drinking alcohol and the husband hopes that his wife will make him a drink every evening. Retired people hope their pensions will increase in value and prices will stay the same. The government hopes that things will be sorted out somehow, while Christians hope for the second coming of Christ.
Many people hope that human intelligence will win, and all Russians hope that Europe will help Russia.
Hope justifies your procrastination. The time appears to be just right for you to do something, but who knows, maybe things will become better—so you remain passive. Odds are, the boss will change his mind; what if I receive an inheritance; everything may still work out well.
Maybe I have made progress on the Path already; maybe God has noticed me and favors me over the others already; maybe I have advanced already to a non-action state.
Can it be that I am fine already?
Have no hope. Hope is an unfounded waiting filled with objects.
As long as you continue to hope for something, you will remain incapable of investing all of your energy into an action. Hope makes you feeble. Hope makes you lazy and sluggish. You resemble an imbiber who becomes drunk by night and hopes to skip the hangover symptoms next morning.
Perhaps things will be different this time at least? Yet no, everything is as usual—you are disappointed. One unfulfilled hope becomes replaced by a new one quickly.
Put your trust in Existence, persevere and be patient in the Work, but do not be hopeful.
9. Do Not Daydream
There is a belief that if humans were unable to daydream, flight, cars, and the nuclear bomb would not have been invented. Advocates of such statements usually confuse the function of the mind referred to as imagination with daydreaming.
In fact, daydreaming is misemployment of the mind, and is one of the many ways to escape reality.
If you are not satisfied with your current situation, then a reverie becomes the one thing that brings satisfaction. A reverie is mental masturbation.
The fulfillment that you experience while daydreaming is counterfeit, but it can become a habit.
You have little money, so you daydream that you are rich and imagine yourself spending the money. You feel incomplete without love in your life, and hence, you build an imaginary romantic relationship.
You are not satisfied with being mediocre and you picture a sudden blossom of talents that stir public admiration.
You want more and you envision yourself as a magician in control of everything.
As a result, your habit of daydreaming helps you compensate for your discontent, but does not allow you to resolve the problems.
Therefore, once you realize that you are daydreaming, look into what you want to compensate for, what situation remains unsettled, from whence your dissatisfaction comes. Do not be shy about admitting the problem or it will never be resolved. Once you acknowledge and become aware of the problem fully, you will have an opportunity to identify possible solutions.
Because daydreaming is a process, you can stop it by picturing the final situation in which you already have everything you want. There will be nothing to move toward and the process will end.
Once you realize that covering up your unsatisfaction with fantasies is pointless, you have the option to no longer waste your mental energy, but invest it in conscious work instead.
10. Accept His Will
Acceptance is the basis of religiosity, and through acceptance, spirituality is developed.
Rejection of any situation is a by-product of desires. Desires narrow our perception, fracture it, deprive it of wholeness. Desires divide the world into the wanted and the unwanted, and we reject the unwanted part in anger.
In situations in which you do not get what you want, you become angry as well. Life turns into an irate chase after mirages, as desires are merely elements of the system that stimulate you to take action. As long as desire is present, acceptance is impossible.
Another aspect that works against acceptance is fear. You have no problem accepting a situation in which you have no personal stake. However, if you wish for or, conversely, are horrified that the situation may spiral into a particular scenario, then you become a bundle of nerves and are ready to accept only the outcome desired.
Therefore: When you find yourself in a challenging situation, learn to look at it as if you are a stranger perceiving the developments, whatever they are, indifferently. This is the key.
Life is full of traps. You have been living in ignorance about yourself, lying to yourself for so many years, that you often fail to see a desire that led you into a particular life situation. Practice examining your desires and the causes of your actions candidly and impartially. Once you see and become aware of these causes fully, you will be able to discard your desires. Once you do so, you will be able to accept the situation.
People would ask the Buddha: Does the soul reincarnate? And the Buddha would respond: Not at all! “What is reborn then?” they would wonder again. “Only your stupid desires,” the Buddha would reply majestically. He was right, of course, unlike some people that I knew once.
I am also serious when I say the following: Desires are the crutch of the will; desires are your masters; as long as you have no will, you have no I; so long as you have no I, there is no point talking about soul. While in such a state, you have neither will nor acceptance.
Hence, you are able neither to submit to His Will nor to follow it.
This is the moment when proactive people introduce the concept of sin: They use fear in an attempt to balance out the storm of desires. Then morality is instituted; you are unable to follow the Will, so, you try to follow a set of restrictions instead.
You become stupid, and you lack connection.
The seeker’s commandments are not meant to impose limitations on you. They build no morality. They are given as guidance on the Path to make the process smoother for you. Each of them is the goal and the means at the same time. The goal is to follow the commandment, and in turn, the process of following becomes the means for you to progress along the Path and increase your understanding. However, you will be able to get the sense of it only when you incorporate these commandments into your life.
“Everything happens by God’s Will” is a popular self-consolation phrase that people say often mechanically without understanding its meaning.
How can one accept His Will?
First, one needs to try to accept His Existence. This act poses certain challenges for the ego. The fact that God exists is unacceptable to the ego; it is difficult for them to coexist. The ego turns God into an object in which to place projections and exploitation. The Almighty has to fulfill the ego’s desires (prosthetic will). The ego’s expectations should be met; this is what it is looking for!
“Give us what we want and behave”—is the subtle foundation of hubris.
By contrast, acceptance leads to humility. How can we come to accept His Will?
If you do not accept the world, you do not accept His creation. Ego thrives on the negation of ourselves. If you do not accept yourself, you do not accept His Creation, His Will. Because we are driven by desires, those whose will has crystallized completely operate from I, while those who have submitted themselves to His Mercy already operate from His Will.
There are two types of states in which personal will is absent: 1) you are absent, your desires are present, and 2) you are absent, the Will of God is present.
Between these two states lies the Path, by travelling which you have to build up your will, your I, and then hand all of that over to Him. The goal of the Path is to become a conscious agent of His Will, to achieve complete harmony with Existence.
By the way, good news for the Christians: The Kingdom of God is the place where God reigns, where His Will reigns. “Do not seek the Kingdom of God here or there,” Jesus said.
This is the case because it happens within you. Acceptance of Will is in fact a relinquishment. You submit your will, you surrender. You stop resisting the Existence.
What are the requirements for surrender?
First, your words must match your deeds. Avoid making empty promises. Your being should be refined to the extent that you are able to keep your promises, when you already have a core over which your minor subpersonalities have no control. Once you have made a decision, stick with it, regardless of your mood, the way you feel, or what others think about it. When you can follow through with your decision without making any excuses, without feeling any self-pity—you have will. Alternatively, if you renege on your promise because the circumstances appear to be against you, or your leg hurts, or you are on a tight schedule, then you and your decision are worth nothing. You have nothing to submit.
Second, obedience is difficult. Submission to someone else’s will is always challenging for the ego, regardless of whose will it is. Acceptance of the Will means surrender; surrender means obedience. How can one obey God when He is so puzzling? For that, you need to have a connection, a very fine sensitivity, a particular perception. This is the reason why for thousands of years, people have needed enlightened, guides, Masters—flesh and blood people through whom they could surrender to Him. Obviously, it is easier to obey a human who communicates in the same language, as the language of the Divine is yet to be comprehended. The language of the Master is not simple either, but he creates the means for one to understand him—because he is the Master.
It is not easy to obey the Master—a flaw can be found in any person if you look for it. A sincere seeker will overcome the following two pitfalls: Mistaking their desires for His Will and keeping the Master at arm’s length based upon the surmise that his channel is no longer active. A sincere seeker will be able to circumvent false spiritual teachers and masters who take advantage of an impartially required step of disciples’ surrender to the Master for the purpose of self-deification.
Submitting is a practice in itself. The friction that arises constantly between one’s ego and one’s obedience to the Will generates many situations where you become exposed and open to make sense of yourself. During this friction process, the ego becomes gradually ground down more and more, until the goal is achieved and only His Will remains.
Third, submission and acceptance are not possible without trust. Trust will allow you to surrender, to merge with the Divine.
However, trust is impossible in the presence of fear: Fear of being deceived; fear of losing everything; fear of falling victim to exploitation, and fear of death above all. Thus, you will become open to trusting and Existence only after you work through your fears thoroughly.
Fourth, as you observe your ego in action, the ceaseless concerns of the mind, the weight of responsibility for your actions, ultimately you will become worn out. When you become sick and tired of your own manifestations, of the fact that each move you make derives from the state of disconnectedness, stubbornness, and narrow-mindedness, when you realize the futility of all of your efforts, you may find yourself in the right place to surrender. Once you accept His Will, you lose the burden of making choices, anxiety, and the worries of the mind.
His Will can and will conflict with your beliefs, expectations, and what others say. His Will guides you into the unknown. However, your full realization will become possible only after you accept His Will!