Letter 17

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From the book "Letters to a young friend"

It is good to experiment with identification. How do we experiment with anything? From the most simple to the most complex. We say this is mine-my sandals, my house, my family, my work, and my god; with identification comes the struggle to hold. Containing it becomes a habit. Any disturbance which might brake the habit is pain, and then we struggle to overcome that pain. But identification, the feeling of the mine, belongs to something that continues. If one really experiments with this, just being aware, without any desire to alter or choose, one discovers so many astonishing things in oneself. The mind is the past, the tradition, the memories which are the foundation of identification. Can the mind, as we know it now, function, without this process of identification? Find out, play with it; be aware of the movements of identification with the common daily things, with the most abstract. One finds out odd things, how thought fades, how it plays tricks upon itself.

Let awareness pursue thought through the corridors of the mind, uncovering, never choosing, ever pursuing.

It is especially difficult, as one is placed, not to desire, crave for certain things, happenings; not to compare. But whatever the condition, desires, cravings, comparisons continue. We always crave for more or for less, for continuity of some pleasure and the avoidance of pain. What is really interesting is this: Why does the mind create a center, within itself, round which it moves and has its being? Life is a thousand and one influences, innumerable pressures, conscious and unconscious. Among these pressures an influences, and choose some and discard others, and so we gradually build up a center. We don’t let all these pressures and influences pass by, unaffected by them. Every influence, every pressure affects us, the effect is called good or bad, we don’t seem to be able to watch, to be aware of pressure, and not take part in it one way or the other, resisting it or welcoming it. This resistance or welcome makes for the center from which we act. Can the mind not create this center? The answer can only be found through experimentation, not through any form of assertion or denial. Se experiment and find out. With the ending of this center there is true freedom.

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