Behind all my manifestations, there is a wish to know myself, to know that I exist and how I exist. But in my contacts with the world, an image of “I” is formed at the same time as the contact. I am attached to this image because I take it as being me. I try to affirm and protect it. I am the slave of this image.
Being so attached and taken in these reactions, I have no attention left to know that I am also something else. As I am, I recognize nothing above me, either outside or inside myself. Theoretically perhaps, but not actually. So I have no reference with which to measure myself, and live exclusively according to “I like” or “I don’t like.” I value only myself and live passively according to what pleases me.
This valuing of my ordinary “I” blinds me. It is the biggest obstacle to a new life.
The first requirement for self-knowledge is a change in my opinion of myself, which can only come from actually seeing things in myself that I have not seen before. And in order to see, I must learn to see. This is the first initiation into self-knowledge.
I try to see how I am in a state of identification, to experience how I am when I am identified. I need to know the enormous power of the force behind identification and its irresistible movement. This force, which sustains us in life, does not want self-remembering. It drives us toward manifestation and refuses the movement inward.
To see myself in identification is to see what I am in life. But each time I remember my higher possibilities, I go away, I refuse what I am in life. And this refusal prevents me from knowing it.
I must be clever in order to catch myself without changing anything, without changing my wish to manifest. I need to see myself as a machine driven by the processes that appear— thoughts, desires, movements. I need to know myself as a machine— to be present while I function as a machine.
Who am I in life? I must experience it, have a more conscious impression
of it. ~ J de S