What I am in others views is not significant. What is significant is what I am in my own view. But we are in the habit of seeing ourselves through other people’s eyes and we forget that there is a direct and immediate way to see ourselves. And this alone is the real way to see because it is not indirect. So firstly we create false images of ourselves and wear masks to deceive others, and then we base our opinion of ourselves on how others see us!
This self-deception goes on throughout our lives. To begin a life of religiousness, the very first thing that needs to be shattered is this self-deception. It is necessary to break through all self-deceptions; it is necessary to know yourself in your total nakedness – as you are, what you are – because only after this has been done can any steps be taken in some authentic direction of self-realization.
Man cannot enter the realm of truth as long as he has false conceptions about himself and as long as the delusion persists that the role-playing personality is his real self. Before we can know God, or the truth or our real beings, we must reduce to ashes the imaginary personality with which we have covered ourselves. This mask of deception does not allow us to rise above the artificial lives we are acting out and live real lives. Those who wish to walk the path of truth, of reality, must awaken from the false drama they are living.
Don’t you ever feel you are acting, performing in a drama? Don’t you ever feel you are one thing on the inside and quite another on the outside? In some conscious moment, when you are yourself, doesn’t the awareness of this deception ever trouble you? If questions about it do occur to you and do trouble you, that alone is the possibility that can take you out of the drama, can take you from the stage to the background, where you are not acting a role but are your own self.
One must ask oneself this question: “Am I really what I have been thinking I am?” This question must echo in the very depths of your being. It must arise in your depths with such intensity and such awareness that there remains no room left for the possibility of any illusion.
As a result of this question, this inquiry, this introspection, such a unique awakening and consciousness comes that you feel you have been shaken out of a sleep. Then you begin to see that the castles you built have been built in a dream, that the boats in which you have been sailing were made of paper. Your whole life begins to seem unreal, as if it were not yours but someone else’s. It actually is not yours, it is part of some drama you have been acting out – a drama which education, training, culture, tradition and society have taught you but the roots of which are not in you.