As long as a man does not separate himself from himself he can achieve nothing, and no one can help him.
To govern oneself is a very difficult thing—it is a problem for the future; it requires much power and demands much work. But this first thing, to separate oneself from oneself, does not require much strength, it only needs desire, serious desire, the desire of a grown-up man. If a man cannot do it, it shows that he lacks the desire of a grown-up man. Consequently it proves that there is nothing for him here. What we do here can only be a doing suitable for grown-up men.
Our mind, our thinking, has nothing in common with us, with our essence—no connection, no dependence. Our mind lives by itself and our essence lives by itself. When we say “to separate oneself from oneself” it means that the mind should stand apart from the essence. Our weak essence can change at any moment, for it is dependent on many influences: on food, on our surroundings, on time, on the weather, and on a multitude of other causes.
But the mind depends on very few influences and so, with a little effort, it can be kept in the desired direction. Every weak man can give the desired direction to his mind. But he has no power over his essence; great power is required to give direction to essence and keep essence to it.
(Body and essence are the same devil.)
Man’s essence does not depend on him: it can be good-tempered or bad-tempered, irritable, cheerful or sad, excitable or placid. All these reactions may happen independently of him. A man may be cross because he has eaten something which has produced this effect.
If a man has no special attainments, nothing can be demanded of him. Therefore one cannot expect of him more than he has. From a purely practical point of view, a man is certainly not responsible in this respect; it is not his fault that he is what he is. So I take this fact into consideration, for I know that you cannot expect from a weak man something that requires strength. One can make demands of a man only in accordance with the strength he has to fulfill them.
Naturally the majority of people present are here because they lack this strength and have come here to acquire it. This means that they wish to be strong, and so strength is not expected of them.
But I am speaking now of another part of us, the mind. Speaking of the mind I know that each of you has enough strength, each of you can have the power and capacity to act not as he now acts.
The mind is capable of functioning independently, but it also has the capacity of becoming identified with the essence, of becoming a function of the essence. In the majority of those present, the mind does not try to be independent but is merely a function.
I repeat, every grown-up man can achieve this; everyone who has a serious desire can do it. But no one tries. ~ G