QA201 QUESTION: Recently, I have gotten more in touch with my selfishness and the self-centeredness I approach the world with – the feeling that I’m really the center of the universe, and all around me is just there for my use. And I am feeling very guilty about this. Today, my grandfather, who I was very close to, died. I found myself almost enjoying the feeling that I deserved some sort of suffering, enjoying the image of grief rather than really feeling it. I find this very distressing.

ANSWER: Well, this what you call enjoyment has two aspects to it which are important at this point for you to understand. The one is that it relieves your feeling of guilt that you are a feelingless person. It is not only the self-centeredness that disturbs you, but also the numbness of your feelings, which, of course, goes together.

But it is particularly that you have protected yourself against feelings for others and within yourself by making yourself numb, by creating this isolation, this world in which only your self-interest has reality – your superficial self-interest. Since this numbness makes you feel guilty, you like to see yourself as a feeling, mourning, grieving person.

But it is not only that. There is also something else, which is that the numbness that is chosen as a protective isolation – as well as insulation really – becomes the most painful state. Not painful in the sense of the real experience of pain, which is very easy to bear in comparison with the bitterness of deadness – the inner deadness.

You have to weave your way through your deadness, for otherwise you cannot become alive. You have to let yourself know and feel, as it were, your deadness. You have to feel the absence of feeling; you have to concentrate on it. As you go into yourself and focus on this numbness, on this absence of feelings, you will then realize in your consciousness that this, at one point, was chosen by you, and you now suffer from the effects of this choice.

Your real unhappiness is really this numbness, my dear. That is, everything is contained in this unhappiness. You need to accept the true meaning of this unhappiness and let yourself feel the unfeelingness – and trust. Begin with a modicum of trust in your own life processes, that out of that deadness and numbness some life will eventually make itself known.

Now, the selfishness and self-centeredness is a substitute life. If the inner being is numbed, you need outer activity and grasping and amassing and having and doing and so on and so forth. This is not only to numb yourself against your numbness, so as to make yourself unaware of it, but it is also to afford you some kind of semblance of a life.

When you stop the substitute activity and you become focused on this numbness in you, and experience this numbness, you open the first door to life – life of your energy body. Persevere and meditate, again and again, in this way, on the experience of your numbness, and as you experience this numbness, state the truth in words, “In this numbness lies the seed of life. I want the seed of life.” This is my answer.

QUESTION: I feel that my wanting to be special has been a very constant element in my life, starting from where I was born, in what sort of class I was born in. As a matter of fact, in my family I was encouraged in this. I love being special and I find how much I set people apart from me with judgments, and how much I want to keep them there. I want to consider myself superior, and I want to consider others unimaginative and untalented, not having qualities that I pride so much in myself.

I want to know why I do this so much. I can see certain things. For example, I think that one is that it has very much to do with that I can’t feel enough, that I numb myself, and in some way this specialness is imposing a certain order around me, which, through this intellectual imposition, can keep me from feeling and coming out toward others.

ANSWER: It is your substitute life. {Yes} You also become aware of the inner numbness. Feel the deadness of the energy body, rather than taking it for granted. And as you thus learn to focus in awareness, stilling your mind, and just experiencing your inner being, little by little something will become alive.

This process can be accelerated by your activating the divine power within yourself to guide you in this endeavor, to help you in this endeavor, by making an honest commitment to the divine will in you and to surrender to its guidance.

QUESTION: I resist this very much.

ANSWER: Yes, exactly, that is your problem. But you have the choice here, you have the choice. If you cannot bring yourself to do this, then perhaps you can in your work with your Helper, evaluate, on the one side, what you gain by resisting it, by pursuing the present life. You need to break the connection of your insecurity and unhappiness that is the result of the isolation, the specialness, the substitute life you court.

The real life lies in the surrender – not to an authority, but to your own real self – which you can only begin to identify with, when you experience it.

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