Chapter 69: You Are Unknown to Yourself
Abide in some place endlessly spacious, clear of trees, hills, habitations. Thence comes the end of mind pressures.
Consider the plenum to be your own body of bliss.
Man is born alone and dies alone, but between these two points he lives in society, he lives with others.
Aloneness is his basic reality; society is just accidental. And unless man can live alone, can know his aloneness in its total depth, he cannot be acquainted with himself. All that happens in society is just outer: it is not you, it is just your relations with others. You remain unknown. From the outside you cannot be revealed.
But we live with others. Because of this, self-knowledge is completely forgotten. You know something about yourself, but indirectly - it is said to you by others. It is strange, absurd, that others should tell you about yourself. Whatsoever identity you carry is given to you by others; it is not real, it is just a labeling. A name is given to you. That name is given as a label because it will be difficult for society to be related to a nameless person. Not only is the name given, the very image that you think yourself to be is given by society: that you are good, that you are bad, that you are beautiful, that you are intelligent, that you are moral, a saint, or whatsoever. The image, the form, is also given by society, and you don’t know what you are. Neither your name reveals anything, nor the form that society has given to you. You remain unknown to yourself.
This is the basic anxiety. You are there, but you are unknown to yourself. This lack of knowledge about oneself is the ignorance, and this ignorance cannot be destroyed by any knowledge which others can give to you. They can say to you that you are not this name, you are not this form, you are “soul eternal,” but that too, is given by others, that too is not immediate. Unless you come to yourself directly, you will remain in ignorance. And ignorance creates anxiety. You are not only afraid of others, you are afraid of yourself - because you don’t know who you are and what is hidden in you. What is possible, what will erupt out of you the next moment, you don’t know. You go on trembling and life becomes a deep anxiety. There are many problems which create anxiety, but those problems are secondary. If you penetrate deeply, then every problem will ultimately reveal that the basic anxiety, the basic anguish, is that you are ignorant of yourself - of the source from where you come, of the end to where you are moving, of the being whom you are right now.
Hence every religion says to move into solitude, into aloneness, so that you can for a time leave society and all that society has given to you, and face yourself directly.