Become formless like water.
Become light as air.
The mind builds, but doubt always can destroy.
So root yourself not in things which can so easily be brushed aside. There is no idea which is true, or beyond doubt. If it can be doubted, it is an idea, and a mere object of contemplation to be sculpted or molded at whim. Associate yourself with it, become an idea, and look how others can do the same with you.
Ideas are merely creative frameworks used to see the world this or that particular way, or accomplish this or that task. But an idea says nothing about reality. It is a work of art. Look at ideas as you would a painting. Analyze them. Question them. Always be aware of your ideas. You must know exactly why you have built them up, and you must know exactly how they can be torn down.
Objectivity is subjective.
Pragmatism is idealism.
The truth lies.
Reality is not real.
Can you see how these are so?
Become a surgeon, the realm of ideas your object of study. Know how to pick them apart; know how to sew them back together. Confusion is your scalpel; questions the force and direction of your incisions.
As long as you have these things, you are invincible to the pull of ideas.
For no matter how compelling someone’s ideas may be, you will shout:
“Is that so?”
“How do you know this to be true?”
“Who has told that this is so?”
“You may speak of this all you like but leave me out of it! I know nothing of it!”
"Keep you opinions to yourself what use do I have for them!”
You will not be hypnotized. You will not be brainwashed. You will stand above theory, ideology, and logic. Everything that is built can be taken down. Observe yourself, learn the ins and outs of deconstruction.
As you do this, you become a master of the mind and all its going-ons. You will understand all your impulses, machinations, and plans. And you will be free to choose among them totally at your discretion. You will see the wheels spinning in others, and you will be free to entertain them or knock them down.
The realm of ideas is vast -- read next of all the things you will be free from if you can achieve such a state of mastery.
All of your problems are ideas.
All your worries are ideas.
All of your negative opinions of others; all of their negative opinions of you.
All of your theories, and the theories of science.
All ideas compelling you to do this or that.
All normatives -- that is, all beliefs of “should,” that one action or thought is preferable to another.
From all these things you will be free, standing above, outside of them. Able to entertain them, yet ready to knock them down at a moment’s notice should you be so inclined.
Paper tigers, hollow ringing, straw men -- so constitutes the majority of your existence.
Start looking. Start studying. Great strength is waiting for you.
Let me now at last tell you: there is one driving force behind all the activity of the mind, and it is fear.
All theories, ideas, and opinions -- are held by men who desire, like rats in a storm, to crawl back into their shelters. Children hold onto beliefs, create theories which fill this or that gaping hole in their souls.
If you would like to put behind you childhood and become an adult you must know virtue. And there is one true virtue: it is the willingness to look fear in the eye and understand what lays behind it.
In doing so, you can understand your mind and begin to live outside of it.
Here it is: a separation from ideas, from the mind… it is a separation from fear itself, which is a separation from every issue you have in your life.
That is not to say they disappear.
But no longer are they yours to trouble yourself with.
Like chains you have suddenly discovered were never bound at all; go now you are free.
Deep inside of you…
there is strength.
A jubilant dawn filled with confidence and steadfastness, of willpower and integrity.
These lay at the center of your being.
Swelling into its fullness with the knowledge of its true being.
You are all things to all people, whether you’d like it or not.
They say we have “storms”; Trials and Tribulations in life,
Well let me tell you this…
Any storm that arises in your life is of your creation.
Do not think the weather patterns come and go; the only thing you can do is measure the wind and check the rain gauge.
That you have to “take shelter” in order to survive...
The walls you have constructed around yourself are certainly weak; they’re integrity compromised from the howling wind and the torrential rain.
...you know, way deep down, that you are protected from anything that can come your way.
The power that is there is neither inside or outside, it
Simply it “is”.
There is no surviving the storm, since their is no storm; just as it is impossible to mistake a sunny day for a rainy one.
There is similarly no room for logic, simply because it is wholly unnecessary.
“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.”
What you know is what you know, and that is all that you know.
Is there anything to survive? Certainly not, since there is no problem.
Where is the threat of an object to itself? To be threatened is an impossibility.
There is nothing to be harmed, and of course, you are no harmer yourself. Remember that there is no “storm” to survive...
You and the "storm" are inseparable, and those processes which create the storm are the same that form in you every other inclination and desire.
There is no “storm” but there is certainly a “you” that creates whatever “you” desire.
There is no need for “me” to teach you how to live; I have no need to “find out” out. No need to” get out”.
You know there is that old scientific myth that we only use 10% of the brain; Well that it is certainly a myth, ie. no truth in it, since if you were not using the full capacity of your brain at all times, you would be unable to survive.
You would certainly be dead.
But don’t worry about the mind.
There are a million-and-one processes going on in your body.
Are you consciously controlling all of them?
Live and let live
The "great power" is not unbearable. You are bearing it at this very moment.
You have been bearing it for all the years since your birth.
You will bear it until your death.
This is to say can you understand yourself? Not inside, no.
There is nothing to get,
and that is the good news.
Go on, now, you’ve no time to lose.
Deep inside of you, there is fear.
A storm of anxieties and worries, of grief and anger.
These lay at the center of your being.
The rains and flashes, the thundering vibrations -- all rage on, whether you’d like it or not. And what do we do in a storm? How are we taught? Sure, I know you… you are just like everyone else. You take shelter, you ride out the storm, you pull up the covers and wait for it to pass.
This is survival.
The stone and mortar walls you’ve built to protect yourself the only thing standing in the way of certain, violent death.
Here’s what you do not know -- for you are inside and the power is out, how could you?
You are not surviving the storm, you are surviving you.
Logic now, let’s begin to use it. Can something survive itself? Can a rock survive a rock? Where is the threat of an object to itself? No, this cannot be. To be threatened requires an object, requires something outside of you. You are what is being harmed, you cannot also be the harmer. You believe you survive the storm. You must believe this storm is not you. But listen here; the storm is you. You and the storm are inseparable, and those processes which create the storm are the same that form in you every other inclination and desire.
And yet you are the one who has called some “you” and some “storm.” Oh what have you gone and done! You’ve hacked off a whole part of yourself!
You think you are safe from the storm in your house, but you are lost in the center of it.
Let me teach you how to live:
Go out. Get the hell out.
Out of the house! Out, out! Stop hiding, for you are not hiding but killing, that essential part of you by imagining it as a storm and not as you.
You know there is that old scientific myth that we only use 10% of the brain; well I do think there lies truth there. For look at you, cowering in your house, you have no access to those subconscious forces that make the storm, you have rejecting responsibility for them and declared you cannot control them, you cannot deal with them, you cannot understand them.
Let me tell you precisely what you have done; you have given yourself a goddamn lobotomy.
You’ve turned yourself into a robot. And worse still you fear yourself! Pathetic! Ignorant!
Into the storm. It cannot kill you because it is you. It is not other.
You will discover a great power which is that you can weather it. Of course you can -- only fear has kept you from seeing this. Tear down your home that keeps you from yourself. Seek not to inhabit it, but to inhabit yourself. Can you love yourself? This is to say can you understand yourself. Not inside, no. Out and explore.
Go on, now, you’ve no time to lose.
Let me teach you how to live:
Realize you are the storm, and suddenly you will find you have control over rain and shine. Understand the totality that is you and confidence and control will enter into your life, like the first rays of sun breaking through the clouds, onto a rain-soaked field after a summer storm.
As a qualifier, this is not so much a critique on de Becker or his book per se, but rather an expounding on a topic akin to a variation on a theme.
There are a couple of lines in a chapter of Gavin de Becker’s famous New York Times bestseller The Gift of Fear that really struck me as quite “spiritual” (in the esoteric way) that I wouldn’t have suspected in such a pragmatic “how-to” manual. Though that is not to say things of a spiritual nature are completely lofty.
After spending a few pages outlining the many “warning signs” of our intuition that we fail to recognize as humans, privileging logic over emotion, Gavin writes this:
“The truth is that every thought is preceded by a perception, every impulse is preceded by a thought, [and] every action is preceded by an impulse....”
I would find this statement particularly lucid even in the holiest of spiritual texts.
For one, it is very much a practical listing of the sequencing of our actions from the idea to the outcome.
At first, he states the “truth”, a well-reasoned deduction of what is versus mere speculation. Mere speculation of course is complete wishy-washy, waffling statements that wind up getting people nowhere fast.
“Every thought is preceded by a perception…”
One can wonder whether this is a chicken or egg scenario of what occurs first, the thought or the perception that comes before a thought. However much I like this statement, I am inclined to think that thoughts generally arrive in normal day-to-day life without much understanding of where they come from; quite literally out of nowhere. Of course, if you are in the midst of a particular action your thoughts will generally derive from whatever you’re doing; this is essentially the idea of “focus”.
However as most of us know who meditate; especially in the midst of meditation, the sometimes very wild and bizarre thoughts that come into our mind that are completely random. They have very little attachment if at all to what is happening now.
It is similar with our dreams. The physical body itself is cannot perceive at all, even mimicking a death-like state, though our minds are certainly active thinking wild and strange things.
“...every impulse is preceded by thought…”
Now here is the real meat and potatoes. This is what all the thought-manifesters talk about. All of our actions originate as a thought in the mind. Of course on the surface, and in a very general and elementary way looking at it, is correct. The lightbulbs that we freely screw into sockets was once an idea in Edison’s mind. The automobiles that fly off the assembly line are quite literally due to Ford’s forward thinking.
We must not however confuse directed drive with impulse. A true impulse is very much a move towards something with no conscious thought process to do it. If you lay your bare hand on a hot stove, the body has evolved such a subtle precision to bypass the brain altogether and quite literally jerk your hand away; all unbeknownst to the thought centers of the mind. The body itself knows that the “brain” can’t be trusted to act in all cases when it is necessary to do so.
Which brings us to the end of his statement,
“...every action is preceded by an impulse….”
Well certainly not “directed drive”. The great originators and innovators; the brilliant engineering and technical minds both in the realm of mechanics and in the realm of thought had a special quality that sets them apart from the huddled masses.
The painful self-flagellation of difficulty, mistake, failure, and beration is the fertile soil from which the world’s horn of plenty is filled overflowing the brim. Achievement is not for the faint of heart; blood, sweat, and tears have made the technology and the systems we use and live under day in and day out. There is no room for “impulsion”. Impulsion takes you away from the task at hand; the task of which the end in sight might be unseen, but nevertheless still feel driven to work. Impulsion is for the children that flit from one thing to the other in their innocent curiosity.
There is no time to be skipping through things aimlessly when you put away childish things and strive for goals, hold values dear, and create yourself into a being of integrity.
The old sages didn't tell us what "is" but only that it is "not this" and "not that".
The true holding on is letting go, not embracing.
True form is formless, "being" encompasses so many things that it cannot be differentiated.
True courage is diving head on into fear, not keeping your fear at bay.
True strength is gained by exposing weakness to discipline, not indulging in weakness.
True peace is maintained in discord.
True experience is seen and felt, false knowledge is produced by thought...
...yet everything is created by the mind.
True waste is always recycled anew, true produce is always bountiful when one knows how to obtain it.
True light carved out of darkness.
True life given by the spirit, which is the breath.
True life is lived, true death is dead.
True void is substance,
True substance is insubstantial.
One's disastrous situation is good fortune for another's life,
Nothing is the same for anybody.
Existence is measured on scale.
There is no reason to get rid of the scale as the end of the scale means the end of you.
...and there is nothing there to end.