What the “I” Is Not

Let’s concern ourselves with something practical—deciding what the “I” is not. Am I my thoughts, the thoughts that I am thinking? No. Thoughts come and go; I am not my thoughts. Am I my body? They tell us that millions of cells in our bod­ ies are changed or are renewed every minute, and that by the end of seven years, we don’t have a single living cell in our bodies that was there seven…

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Who Am I?

The great masters tell us that the most important question in the world is: “Who am I?” Or rather: “What is ‘I’?” What is this thing I call “I”? What is this thing I call myself? You mean you understood everything else in the world, and you didn’t understand this? You mean you understood astron­omy and black holes and quasars, and you picked up computer science, and you don’t know who you are? You are…

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Happiness Is Not An Achievement

Happiness is not an achievement; love is not an achievement; holiness is not an achievement. They are each a grace—grace called awareness, a grace called looking, observing, and understanding. If you would only switch on the light of awareness and observe yourself and everything around you throughout the day; if you would see yourself reflected in the mirror of awareness the way you see your face reflected in a looking glass—accurately, clearly, exactly as it is…

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What Is Happiness?

What, then, is happiness? Very few people know. No one can tell you because happiness cannot be described. Can you describe light to people who have been sitting in darkness all their lives? Can you describe reality to someone in a dream? Understand your darkness, and it will vanish. Then you will know what light is. Understand your nightmare for what it is, and it will stop. Then you will wake up to reality. Understand…

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Driving With Your Brakes On

Society and culture determine what it means to be a success and drill it into our heads, day and night. Stop to consider this: Having a good job or being famous or having a great reputation has absolutely nothing to do with happiness or success. Nothing! It is totally irrelevant. Do you want to be one of those people who society says made it? Made what?! Made fools of themselves because they drained all their…

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Life’s Symphony

You also falsely think that your fears protect you, that your beliefs have made you what you are, and that your attachments make your life exciting and secure. You fail to see that they are actually a screen between you and life’s symphony. It is quite impossible, of course, to be fully conscious of every note in life’s symphony. But if your spirit becomes unclogged and your senses open, you will begin to perceive things as…

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A Guru’s Tale

A disciple told his guru that he was going to a far place to meditate and hopefully attain enlightenment. So he sent the guru a note every six months to report the progress he was making. The first report said, “Now I understand what it means to lose the self.” The guru tore up the note and threw it in the waste- paper basket. After six months, he got another report, which said, “Now I…

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A Hasidic’s Tale

The Jews of a small town in Russia were eagerly awaiting the arrival of a rabbi. It was going to be a rare event, so they spent a lot of time preparing the questions they were going to put to the holy man. When he finally arrived and they met with him in the town hall, he could sense the tension in the atmosphere as all prepared to listen to the answers he had for…

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A Sufi’s Tale

The sufi Bayazid said this about himself: I was a revolutionary when I was young, and all my prayer to God was, “Lord, give me the energy to change the world.” As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to “Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me—just my family and friends—and I…

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A Worshiper’s Tale

There was once a woman who was religious and devout and filled with love for God. Each morning she would go to church and, on her way, children would call out to her, beggars would accost her, but so immersed was she in her devotions that she did not even see them. Now one day she walked down the street in her customary manner and arrived at the church just in time for service. She…

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