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When you cling, life is destroyed

When you cling, life is destroyed; when you hold on to anything, you cease to live.

Understand that happiness is not the same as excitement or thrills. Desire breeds anxiety and sooner or later it brings its hangover. When you’ve suffered enough, then you are ready to see. You’re living off of thrills.

Another illusion is that someone else can do this for you, that some savior or guru or

teacher can do this for you. Not even the greatest guru in the world can take a single step

for you. You’ve got to take it yourself. St. Augustine said: “Jesus Christ himself could do nothing for many of his hearers.” It is you who have to do it. No one else can help you. It is you who have to understand. No one else can understand for you. It is you who have to seek. Nobody can seek for you. And if what you seek is truth, then you must do this. You can lean on no one.

There is another illusion, that it is important to be respectable, to be loved and appreciated, to be important. Many say we have a natural urge to be loved and appreciated, to belong. That’s false. Drop this illusion and you will find happiness. We have a natural urge to be free, a natural urge to love, but not to be loved. It is common to hear, nobody loves me, how, can I be happy? You mean you never have any moments when you forget you’re not loved and you let go and are happy?” Of course you have.

A woman, for example, is absorbed in a movie. It’s a comedy and she’s roaring with laughter and in that blessed moment she’s forgotten to remind herself that nobody loves her, nobody loves her, nobody loves her. She’s happy! Then she comes out of the theater and her friend whom she saw the movie with goes off with a boyfriend, leaving the woman all alone. So she starts thinking, “All my friends have boyfriends and I have no one. I’m so unhappy. Nobody loves me!”

Everybody has an iPhone but you don’t, so you’re unhappy. Until everyone got an iPhone, you were perfectly happy without one. Until somebody told you you wouldn’t be happy unless you were loved, you were perfectly happy. You can be happy not being loved, not being desired by or attractive to someone. You become happy by contact with reality. That’s what brings happiness, a moment-by-moment contact with reality. That’s where you’ll find God; that’s where you’ll find happiness. But most people are not ready to hear that.

Another illusion is that external events have the power to hurt you, that other people

have the power to hurt you. They don’t. It’s you who give this power to them.

Another illusion: You are all those labels that people have put on you, or that you have put on yourself. You’re not! So you don’t cling to them. The day that somebody tells me I’m a genius and I take that seriously, I’m in big trouble. Because now I’m going to start getting tense. I’ve got to live up to it, I’ve got to maintain it. What you need to do is smash the label! Smash it, and you’re free! Don’t identify with those labels. That’s what someone else thinks. That’s how he experienced you at that moment. Are you in fact a genius? Are you a nut? Are you a mystic? Are you crazy? It doesn’t really matter as long as you continue to be aware, to live life from moment to moment. In the words of the gospel: “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns ... Consider the lilies of the field . . . they neither toil nor spin.” That’s the real mystic speaking, the awakened person.

So why are you anxious? Can you, for all your anxieties, add a single moment to your life? Why worry about tomorrow? Is there a life after death? Will I survive after death? Why bother about tomorrow? Live in the present moment. This is one of the things you will notice happening to you as you come awake. You find yourself living in the present, tasting every moment as you live it.

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