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What do you need to do to change yourself? I’ve got a big surprise for you!
You don’t have to do anything. In fact, the more you do, the worse it gets. That’s why people are so tired, so weary. You don’t need effort. Don’t “fix” anything. It is enough for you to be watchful and awake. Just watch! Observe! Watch everything inside of you and outside, and when there is something happening to you, see it as if it were happening to someone else, with no comment, no judgment, no attitude, no interference, no attempt to change, only to understand. The trouble with people is that they’re busy fixing things they don’t even understand. We’re always fixing things, aren’t we? It never strikes us that things don’t need to be fixed. They really don’t. This is a great illumination. They need to be understood. If you understood them, they’d change.
1. So, the first thing you need to do is to get in touch with negative feelings that you’re not even aware that you have. What negative feelings? Gloominess, for instance. You’re feeling gloomy and moody. You feel self-hatred or guilt. You feel that life is pointless, that it makes no sense. You’ve got hurt feelings, or you’re feeling nervous and tense. Get in touch with those feelings first.
2. The second step is don’t interfere. Don’t “fix” anything. Watch! Observe! The trouble with people is that they’re busy fixing things they don’t even understand. Self-observation means watching— observing whatever is going on in you and around you almost as if it were happening to someone else.
3. The third step is to understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality. That’s such a self-evident thing, but do you think people know it?
4. The fourth step is to not identify with the negative feeling. Don’t define your essential self in terms of that feeling. Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If you want to say, “My experience is depression” or “Depression is there,” that’s fine. If you want to say, “Gloominess is there,” that’s fine. But not, “I am gloomy.” You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake. Don’t define your essential self in terms of that feeling; the feeling does not affect the essential “I.” It’s similar to when you throw black paint in the air; the air remains uncontaminated. You never color the air black. No matter what happens to you, you remain uncontaminated. If you find yourself condemning yourself, judging yourself, or even approving of yourself, don’t stop the condemnation and don’t stop the judgment or approval, just watch it.. Just look at it, period. Don’t try to change it!
5. The fifth step is to let your experience be as it is. Leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes. Everything. Your depressions and anxieties and thrills are the swings of the pendulum; they have nothing to do with happiness. They have nothing to do with your essential Self, the “I.”
Step by step, let whatever happens, let it happen. Real change will come when it is brought about—not by your ego, but by reality. Awareness releases reality to change you, but you have to experience it. Do it, and you’ll make the biggest discovery in your life. As illusions begin to crumble, you begin to know things that cannot be described. It’s called happiness. The quality of their life changes, so you don’t have to take it on faith anymore. You see it; you’re different. You react differently. In fact, you react less and act more. You see things you’ve never seen before. You’re much more energetic, much more alive. People think that if they had no cravings, they’d be like deadwood. But in fact they’d lose their tension. You are rid of your fear of failure, your tensions about succeeding, you will be yourself. Relaxed. You wouldn’t be driving with your brakes on. That’s what would happen.