One feels a greater wish to know oneself. But we do not feel enough demand, we do not feel the necessity for a conscious effort. We know there is something to do, an effort to be made. But what effort? The question is not experienced. As soon as it appears, we either dismiss it or try to answer with our ordinary means. I do not see that to face the question I need to prepare myself. I have to gather all my force, to remember myself.
As I try to remember myself, I see where my wish comes from. It is from my ordinary “I.” So long as the impulse comes from the possessiveness at the core of my personality, it will not bring the freedom necessary for a perception that is direct. When I see this . . . I have the impression of being a little freer. . . . But I wish to keep this freedom, and the way I wish comes again from possessiveness. It is like finding freedom from the influence only to fall back under it again, as though following a movement inward toward the more real and then a movement outward away from the real.
If I am able to observe and live this, I will see that these two movements are not separate. They are one and the same process. And I need to feel them like the ebb and flow of a tide, with a keen attention that does not let itself be carried away and that, by its vision, keeps a balance.
Am I capable of distinguishing in myself a passive state from an active state? At this moment my force is here without direction, at the mercy of whatever may take it. It is not entirely occupied in moving toward a desired goal. I listen, and I look in myself, but I am not active.
The energy being used to observe is not intense. My attention is not in contact with myself, with what is. It does not have a quality of perception that can liberate, that can change my state. So, I am passive. My body obeys nothing and my feeling is indifferent. My thought is traversed by ideas and images, and has no reason to free itself from them.
In this passive state my centers are not related, they have no common direction. I am empty. . . . Yet, as I feel a need to be present, I see that when my thought is more voluntarily turned toward myself, a sensation appears— a sensation of myself. I experience it. . . . And then, I let my thought wander, and I see that the sensation diminishes and disappears. . . . But I come back to myself, quietly, very attentive,. . . and the sensation reappears. I see that the intensity of one depends on the intensity of the other. And this calls forth a feeling for this relation. The three parts of me are engaged in the same aim, that is, to be present.
But their relation is unstable. They do not know how to listen to each other or what it would mean to be attuned.
~ J de S