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Be straight with Yourself


When we talk about a spiritual process, we are not talking about jumping to conclusions and assuming things that we do not know. If you are straight enough to see, “What I know, I know. What I do not know, I do not know,” you are already a spiritual aspirant. This is the fundamental aspect of spirituality that “I am not so flaky in my head that I make up things. I am willing to come to terms with what I know and do not know.” Once you see this, the very nature of human intelligence is such that it cannot live with “I do not know.” It wants to know. Once wanting to know comes, seeking will come. Once the seeking comes, finding a way could happen. That is why, once you are on the spiritual path we refer to you as a seeker.

But right now, it looks like the whole world is against this simple “I do not know.” Whatever we do not know we just believe. The reason why every human being on the planet is not a natural mystic is because you went out shopping too early. It once happened, Shankaran Pillai got arrested and was brought to court. The judge asked “What happened? Why have you been brought here? What are the charges?” Shankaran Pillai said “I just went Diwali shopping a little too early.” The judge said, “That’s not a crime, that’s being judicious. What do you mean too early? When did you go?” Shankaran Pillai said, “I went before the shops opened.”

You go shopping too early in the sense, before you can barely pronounce your own name, you already know who god is, who his wife is, how many children he has, his address, his birthday, what he likes, what he does not like – you know the works. Instead of giving you these silly suggestions and answers, if your parents and society had nurtured “I do not know” – that you actually do not know anything – where the hell you came from, where you will go, you do not know both – then every human being would have been a mystic on this planet. Because human intelligence cannot be satisfied by just eating, sleeping and living well. Naturally it wants to know. People think this is a problem but this is a possibility too. You can either see it this way or that way. Some people think is a problem, but it is the greatest possibility too.

“I do not know” has been destroyed because you believe the readymade answers you have for all the fundamental aspects of life. Once you believe something that you do not know just because a book or someone says so – with all due respect to all the books and the great men of the past – you destroy all possibilities of knowing.  Suppose I tell you something that you do not know and which is not in your experience, the only choice you have is either to believe me or disbelieve me. If you believe me you do not get any closer to reality. If you disbelieve me you still do not get any closer to reality. If you want to get somewhere you have to be in touch with reality. Otherwise you will not get anywhere, you will just hallucinate that you know things.

There is enough intellect in the world today to cultivate a certain level of awareness in people to see: what they know, they know and what they do not know, they do not know. This is a simple way to exist. If you cannot be straight with anyone in the world, that’s a social issue – it’s up to you. But if you want to progress spiritually, at least take one single step in your life: be absolutely straight with yourself.

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