Quote of the Day

Jan 5, 2024
You are brought up, as most of the world, to believe in a soul, in a spiritual entity which is constant; that is, you will be resurrected. And in Asia they believe in reincarnation; that is, the believer is born over and over again until in time he becomes perfect. And when he has reached perfection - through being born over and over again and passing through these thousands of experiences - he is at one with whatever it is. That's the whole concept of reincarnation; you also have a similar concept only you put it a different way. Now fear is at the bottom of these concepts otherwise how do you know that there is anything permanent, like a soul or the atman, as the Hindus call it, within you? How do you know there's anything permanent in you? Is there anything permanent? Do please examine it, forgetting your belief! Is your relationship with anybody permanent? Aren't your thoughts changing every day, either being modified or added to? And isn't your physical organism undergoing tremendous changes all the time? So one has to ask if there is anything permanent at all? And yet that's what the mind is seeking because it says: 'If I die tomorrow what have I lived for? There must he something permanent, lasting, enduring!' But if you observe very deeply, psychologically you will find there is nothing permanent, nothing! Whatever it is - your thoughts, your relationships, your ideas and ideals, your gods - nothing is permanent. We know this very deeply and we are frightened of it, so we invent another god and say I cannot live without hope, but actually all we know is despair. Out of that despair we become cynical, bitter, hard, brutal and violent. Then one sees that the thing one imagined to be permanent is thought itself. It is thought which has said there is a permanent soul, a permanent entity that eventually will evolve, become more beautiful till it reaches perfection. So the soul, the atman is the result of thought but the fact is, there is nothing permanent. When you face it as a fact it doesn't create despair; on the contrary, it is only when you do not face the fact that there is hope, fear and despair. So thought creates the fear of death because you think the little property in your name is permanent. You are afraid to let go and die every day to your house, your home, your wife, your children, your relationship with your husband, everything that thought clings to as me and mine. And to die to all that every day is a total renewal.
Talks in Europe 1968 | Rome 1st Public Talk 10th March 1968 Read full text