Is there an entity apart from the self, which looks at the self and dissolves the self? Are you following all this? Is there a spiritual entity which supercedes the self and destroys it, which puts it aside? We think there is. Don't we? Most religious people think there is such an element. The materialist says `It is impossible for the self to be destroyed; it can only be conditioned and restrained - politically, economically and socially; we can hold it firmly within a certain pattern and we can break it; and therefore it can be made to lead a high life, a moral life, and not to interfere with any thing but to follow the social pattern, and to function merely as a machine'. That, we know. There are other people, the so-called religious ones - they are not really religious, though we call them so - who say `Fundamentally, there is such an element. If we can get into touch with it, it will dissolve the self'.
Is there such an element to dissolve the self? Please see what we are doing. We are merely forcing the self into a corner. If you allow yourself to be forced into the corner, you will see what is going to happen. We would like that there should be an element which is timeless, which is not of the self, which, we hope, will come and intercede and destroy, which we call God. Now is there such a thing which the mind can conceive? There may be or there may not be; that is not the point. When the mind seeks a timeless spiritual state which will go into action in order to destroy the self, is that not another form of experience which is strengthening `the me'? When you believe, is that not what is actually taking place? When you believe that there is truth, God, timeless state, immortality, is that not the process of strengthening the self? The self has projected that thing which, you feel and believe, will come and destroy the self. So, having projected this idea of continuance in a timeless state as a spiritual entity, you are going to experience; and all such experience will only strengthen the self; and therefore what have you done? You have not really destroyed the self but only given it a different name, a different quality; the self is still there, because you have experienced it. So, our action from the beginning to the end is the same action; only we think it is evolving, growing, becoming more and more beautiful; but, if you observe inwardly, it is the same action going on, the same `me' functioning at different levels with different labels, with different names.
When you see the whole process, the cunning, extraordinary inventions, the intelligence of the self, how it covers itself up through identification, through virtue, through experience, through belief, through knowledge; when you see that you are moving in a circle, in a cage of your own making, what happens? When you are aware of it, fully cognizant of it, then, is not your mind extraordinarily quiet - not through compulsion, not through any reward, not through any fear? When you recognize that every movement of the mind is merely a form of strengthening the self, when you observe it, see it, when you are completely aware of it in action, when you come to that point - not ideologically, verbally, not through experiencing, but when you are actually in that state - then you will see that the mind being utterly still, has no power of creating. What ever the mind creates, is in a circle, within the field of the self. When the mind is non-creating, there is creation, which is not a recognizable process.
The First and Last Freedom
Chapter 9, "What is the Self?"