QA222 QUESTION: I find there’s a split in my feelings between what is private and what is public. In relationship to the Path, what is the concept of privacy, and in particular, what is the possibility of being private within a group?
ANSWER: If you ask this question from a general point of view, and not as it applies to you, I would say there is no conflict and there is no problem. Let me explain it to you in this way. A person who has no defenses and no fears – and that, of course, is the aim of this Path – will not have a conflict in this. He has nothing to hide. He’s completely open.
He will feel an inner, self-regulating balance about this. He will not have to hide anything; he will not fear that something will be exposed. There is no problem. Such a person can be extremely comfortable in being totally open. The same person will also know that there are times when he has to be by himself, without keeping anything secret. He will not need to expose everything, but not because it is a secret or he fears the exposure of it.
That is the person who is free from defenses, and only when you are free from defenses can you be truly happy and truly connected with your higher self. There are no secrets. As long as secrets are apparently necessary, there must be fear and self-rejection and a sense of shame, which are always the result of problems, distortions, illusions.
They always create a separation that is painful – a separation from others and a separation within the self. If you are free from defenses, you do not have to say everything, because it just is not always important. But you could if you wish. If you have your defenses, it is precisely those areas you want to keep most secret that are most necessary to expose, because you suffer from these secrets.
You have shames attached to them that put a tremendous strain and burden on you. Now, you may not be able to immediately do that. But that is really where, little by little, you learn to go. You and all of my friends here have learned that that which they felt most threatened to expose proved most liberating to expose.
Afterwards the sense of shame completely disappeared. And something miraculous happened that is almost impossible to describe. It is the victory over the separation and the shame and the false sense of “I must keep that isolated.” It is very easy, like all those things, to rationalize them by saying, “That is private.”
It is not a question of having a right. Of course, there is no duty to expose or there is no right not to. It is a choice. And if a person can freely choose to overcome the sense of shame because he realizes it is an illusion that costs a lot of freedom and a lot of energy, and that contains a lot of misconceptions, then it is a freely chosen going out of the secrecy, that brings a lot of liberation and joy.