I wish to be conscious of myself. Yet, as I am at this moment, can I know myself, can I be conscious of myself? I cannot. I am too scattered. I feel nothing. But I see that I am asleep, and I see the symptoms of this sleep. I have forgotten the sense of my existence, I have forgotten myself. And at this moment I receive a shock: I am awaking, I want to wake up. Then, having scarcely felt the shock, I feel myself taken again, held back by the elements of my sleep— associations that turn around, emotions that take me, unconscious sensations. I feel myself fall back into forgetfulness.
We do not realize how passive we are, always pulled along by events, people and things. We begin an activity with great interest, fully aware of our aim. But after a certain time the impulse weakens, overcome by inertia. Our understanding diminishes, and we feel the need for something new that will restore the interest, the life. Our inner work progresses like this in stages, and always depends on new forces. It is determined by laws. We must get rid of the idea that progress is continuous, in a straight line. There are stages where the intensity diminishes and, if we wish not to fall back, a force must appear that is more active.
The passive “man” in us, the only one we know, is the one we trust. But as long as we remain passive, nothing new can appear. We must become active in relation to our inertia, the passive work of our functions. If we wish to change, we must look for the new “man” in ourselves, the one who is hidden. This is the one who remembers, who has a force that can only be brought by our wish, our will, and must grow degree by degree. It is necessary to see that a more active state, a greater intensity, is possible. ~ J de S