First of all everyone should understand his own mechanicalness. This understanding can come only as the result of a rightly formulated self-observation. As to self-observation—it is not so simple a thing as it may seem at first sight. Therefore the teaching puts as the foundation stone the study of the principles of right self-observation. But before passing to the study of these principles a man must make the decision that he will be absolutely sincere with himself, will not close his eyes to anything, will not turn aside from any results, wherever they may lead him, will not fear any deductions, will not limit himself to any previously erected walls.
For a man unaccustomed to thinking in this direction, very much courage is required to accept sincerely the results and conclusions arrived at. They upset man’s whole line of thinking and deprive him of his most pleasant and dearest illusions. He sees, first of all, his total impotence and helplessness in the face of literally everything that surrounds him. Everything possesses him, everything rules him. He does not possess, does not rule anything. Things attract or repel him. All his life is nothing but a blind following of those attractions and repulsions.
Further, if he is not afraid of the conclusions, he sees how what he calls his character, tastes and habits are formed: in a word, how his personality and individuality are built up.
But man’s self-observation, however seriously and sincerely it may be carried out, by itself cannot draw for him an absolutely true picture of his internal mechanism.