There is hardly a less detrimental quality in us than that of being self-centered. From it is expended a quantity of energy which is embarrassing to no limit. Its positive aspect spirals towards the glory-filled alps of vanity; its negative one crashes our hearts to the lower valleys of depression and self-pity. It is tantamount to suicide for those endowed with even the slightest inkling to be or do something worthy of the grace for being brought into this existence. There is nothing more urgent for us to do than to minimize and mitigate this awful condition, for the idea of destroying it altogether seems so far away as to be rendered an impossibility.
The idea is to return to the practical, always and everywhere, and to reach step-by-step towards a possibility that is open to us. The practical relates in this case to the tremendous loss of energy which accompanies our indulgence of self-absorption. It is not simply the energy but also the vision that is blurred, like a door once open, slanted and warped into a form which we can no longer pass through. The identity that we once had was transformed long ago into a creature made of jagged stone. The water-like, flexible, nature of a child that can laugh at everything, especially himself, was made to be a phantom which always protects at all costs the mask it has been taught so persistently to wear.
Look down into the abyss of who you think you are and wonder at the possibility which still awaits you. When compared to that original innocence that was given to every child as a birthright — an inheritance from nature — the present predicament is a very sad joke. In this lies the fact that should the phantom and his mask be removed, and the forms of vanity and self-pity be discarded, the energies that are now made available can be of use towards any and all aims which are of true value to ourselves. The ambitions of an honest man can be fortified, mustered into something special, and directed in a fashion which the world will readily embrace as a benefit to all.
The truly absurd is always here, awaiting our acknowledgment and judgment. Should we wish to recognize its existence and measure its value as being null and void, then at the same moment that jagged door of possibility becomes just a little bit more passable. It is in our conditioning, in our unfortunate case of hypnotized behaviour, that both the choice to start anew, and the effort to make that choice, are both invisible. The sheep of a man you are can be made to be a lion of a king should the choice appear and the energy be freed from the inner tyrant which keeps your inner nature always at bay. The possibility will only begin with the unusual effort to stop everything in our minds and hearts and look inside to find a breath of fresh air.
The beginning will be one of suffering, for how could it be not? It would be silly to expect that something that we have built around ourselves for so many years will take its final adieu in a single moment of absolution. This beast and mask are not simply unwanted guests which lurk within the shadows of our egos, but rather a source of comfort that we discover ourselves addicted to. Take this away and we will soon yearn for it back, squealing on the floor like hogs with warts. It is no attractive offer to be led towards escape and survival outside the city walls of Jericho. It is much more to our liking to remain as we are, regardless of the falsity which it represents from head to toe. And yet the possibility exists for those who seek it, and the light at the end of the tunnel is the only incentive to begin the journey.
So moment to moment begin the effort and feel the fresh scent of being without pretense. If only for a twinkle of a second, the reward is worth the effort. For every encounter that awaits us there is an opportunity to drive away the absurdities of our habits and fill in that space an effort of silent sincerity. The mountain of bricks that fall on our shoulders may play its heavy role but the opportunity to resist and restrain that burden for one instant is, nevertheless, always at our doorstep. The inclination may be delicious at the time, pleasurable and comforting, but what is lost in that moment of faulty judgment is of incomprehensibly greater value. And so awareness dawns a question and the choice begets a future worth having.