Lose yourself in order to find yourself
Jesus says you must lose yourself in order to find yourself. But, how does you lose yourself Did you ever try to lose something? The harder you try, the harder it gets. It’s when you’re not trying that you lose things. You lose something when you’re not aware. Well, how does one die to oneself? We’re not to kill the self, but to die. Causing pain to the self, causing suffering to the self would be self-defeating and counterproductive. You’re never so full of yourself as when you’re in pain. You’re never so centered on yourself as when you’re depressed. You’re never so ready to forget yourself as when you are happy. Happiness releases you from self. It is suffering and pain and misery and depression that tie you to the self. Look how conscious you are of your tooth when you have a toothache. When you don’t have a toothache, you’re not even aware you have a tooth, or that you have a head, for that matter, when you don’t have a headache. But it’s so different when you have a splitting headache.
You’re on the wrong path to think that the way to deny the self is to cause pain to the self, to go in for abnegation, mortification, as traditionally understood. To deny the self, to die to it, to lose it, is to understand its true nature. When you do that, it will disappear; it will vanish.
The wise guru does with you in the beginning. He goes along with you; he takes your troubles seriously. He’ll wipe a tear or two from your eye. You’re crazy, but you don’t know it yet. The time has to come soon when he’ll pull the rug out from under your feet and tell you the truth.
In the dialogues of St. Catherine of Siena, God is reported to have said to her, “I am He who is; you are she who is not.” Have you ever experienced your is-not-ness? In the East it is the image of the dancer and the dance. God is viewed as the dancer and creation as God’s dance. It isn’t as if God is the big dancer and you are the little dancer. No, you’re not a dancer at all. You are being danced! Did you ever experience that? So when the you come to your senses and realize that you are something other than what you thought you were.
To lose the self is to suddenly realize that you are something other than what you thought you were. You thought you were at the center; now you experience yourself as satellite. You thought you were the dancer; you now experience yourself as the dance.