So here we go with Pair 101, and a wonderful story told by Ramana Maharshi:
Ten foolish men forded an stream.
On reaching the other shore they wanted to make sure that all of them had in fact safely crossed the stream. So one of the ten began to count, but while counting left himself out.
"I see only nine; sure enough we have lost one! Who can it be?"
"Did you count correctly?" asked another and proceeding to do the counting himself. But he too counted only nine.
One after the other, each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself.
"We are only nine," they agreed, "but who is the missing one?" Every effort they made to discover the missing one failed and so they agreed, surely he had drowned. "Whoever be he who has drowned," said the most sentimental of the foolish ones, "we have lost him." And in so saying, burst into tears.
The rest followed suit.
Seeing them weeping on the river bank, a sympathetic wayfarer inquired for the cause. They related what had happened and said that even after counting several times they could find no more than nine.
Seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer guessed what had happened.
Devising a way to make them know for themselves what had happened he placed them in a line and said, "I shall strike each of you so that you may be sure of being included in the count and included only once, upon which you shall count sequentially 'one,' then 'two,' then 'three' and so on. The tenth missing man will then be found."
Hearing this, they rejoiced and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer.
While the kind wayfarer gave a blow to each of the men, he then counted himself aloud. "Ten," said the last man as he got his blow in turn.
Bewildered, they looked at one another. "We ARE ten," they said with one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief."
That is the parable. And so it is for us.
We are unhappy and we begin to look for change. We look for a better and improved self. We look for an authentic self. We look and look and look.
I can identify with this story having spent many years now looking for some version of myself I hoped would be an improvement on the old model. More successful, wealthier, happier. I saw self-development as something that went forwards, onwards and -- if I was lucky /read enough / worked hard enough -- steadily upwards. Culminating in what? A better me? An awakened me? The New Me.
There isn't a program out there to help that isn't promising some form of a new you. What I've come to see is that the only reason I'm unhappy with the current me is that I've forgotten who I am.
I'll let Ramana Maharshi close this series of 101 Pairs of Glasses. He just says it so well:
"You yourself impose limitations on your true nature of Infinite Being and then weep that you are but a finite creature...
I say know that you are really the infinite, pure Being, the Self Absolute. You are always that Self and nothing but that Self. Therefore, you can never be really ignorant of the Self.
True Knowledge does not create a new Being for you; it only removes your 'ignorant ignorance.' Bliss is not added to your nature; it is merely revealed as your true and natural state."
There is no journey to knowing yourself. There is only looking in the wrong place or the right one.
My love and appreciation to all of you who have followed this series.
The series is being put into an ebook that will be available for free, very soon! If you want a copy, let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
All quotes from The Spiritual Teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Foreward by C G Jung, Shambala Classics.
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