Tag Archives: Life

What stops you from being your true self?

What stops you from being yourself

Question: Acharya ji, I feel there are certain things in me, which I am not able to trace out or figure out. There is some shame, or something else, which does not allow me, to be what I am. How to overcome that?

Acharya Prashant: You see, you are what you are. That can neither be disputed, nor changed, nor challenged. There is no threat ever, to who you are. Never! Your deepest identity is safe, secure, inviolable. But ‘you’ – the ‘person’,, the ‘woman’, the ‘lady’, has an unfortunate power. And that power is bestowed on each one of us. What is that power? That power is – to not to take refuge in your real identity. The power is to choose something else except the – Real One.

And that’s the only shame. Call it ‘shame’, call it ‘suffering’. Call it whatever! You can use any of those so-called negative words.

Any concept you believe in, will take you away from what you really are!

The leaf cannot have a concept about the roots. The leaf has to just look at it’s leafness. The leaf has to look at the life juice flowing in its veins. And that’s the blessing of the roots and also the proof of the roots. The sap in the leaf is both – the blessing of the roots and the proof of the roots.

But instead, the leaf decides to apply memory, and knowledge, and intellect, to have a model framework about the roots. Then the leaf would burden itself, and grow pale very soon.

Getting it?

Drop your concepts. You don’t need any concepts. Your being, your physical being, your psychological being, itself is the proof of the great Truth. Beyond that you don’t need any concept.

A silent mind, is the final proof of Divinity.

Why do you want to rush the mind here and there, to search for Divinity?

Look at the foolishness, the contradiction. Where lies the proof of Divinity? In the Silent Mind. So, if the mind is silent, Divinity is already proven.

A silent mind itself is the great self, the Atman.

But the mind says, “I will wander, and rush, and explore, and figure out, and find, and search, and what not. And in doing all that, it has gone….away from Divinity. And that is such a tragic thing to happen- tragic and amusing, both. Amusing and bemusing. In searching for yourself, you…..go away from yourself.

The more concepts you have about Holiness, the more you will find yourself starved of Holiness. Holiness is not a concept.

Don’t try to live in paradigms.

If you live in paradigms, you will lose out on paradise.

There was this man. He had a fight with his woman. So, he won’t talk to her. He won’t talk to her. But you look at his mobile phone, and you see two things. One, a lot of disconnected calls. She would call him, and he would not receive the calls. Secondly, the screen saver was the face of the beloved.

That’s how we live.

When he calls, we choose not to….receive the call. And to compensate for his real presence, what do we do? We keep his photo on the mobile screen. Those photos are the concepts that we carry about God! The mobile is not there to look at his photo, the mobile is there to receive his calls, when he calls. Here, I am talking of mind, the mobile.

Mind is troubled when it has to receive the call, but it finds security in keeping his image, his photo. Don’t receive his calls, but keep his…..image. Use your mobile as a spiritual reminder. Receive the call, don’t keep thinking about it.

The image will never be, even a patch on what HE actually is.

Drop the images!

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What stops you from being your true self?

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What is the process of gaining mental clarity?

What is the process of gaining mental clarity

Question: What is the process of clarity? Is it just listening with immersion, in no resistance? What is Truth? How do we decide that it is listening without effort? If there is Truth in what you hear, there is change and transformation, and then Truth becomes the Master.

Acharya Prashant: We will take it step by step.

What is the process of clarity?

So, there is a lot that the mind has acquired. There is a lot that the mind has acquired. Whatever has come to the mind, has come with a promise.

What is the promise? The promise is – I will give you peace! It can have different names – Love, Joy. But the promise is always there. Nothing has been accepted by the mind without that promise.

The mind’s whole objective in accepting conditioning is that, conditioning is worthwhile. Otherwise the mind won’t accept anything.

Mind feels inadequate. Mind feels incomplete. Whosoever promises it completion, the mind latches on to it; it, him, her, whatever.

Wherever, from any direction, there is the faintest possibility of emancipation, of freedom from that incompleteness and inadequacy, the mind says, “Please give it to me. Whatever it is, give it to me.” That is the promise that the mind is holding on to.

So, what is the process of clarity?

The process of clarity is – I accepted something based on a promise! Is the promise being met? That’s it.

Ask.

This ideology came to my life with the promise that – it will give me peace! Organised religion came into my life with the promise that – it will give me peace. A particular person came into my life with the promise that- it will give me peace. Is it giving me ‘that’? This is the process. Ask this question. And if it’s not giving you that, clear it away. That is clarity.

Whatsoever comes to you, if it is not giving you ‘that’ which is your deepest longing, and your deepest longing is for peace. Whatsoever comes into your life, if it is not giving you that, clear it away. Get rid of it.

That is clarity.

“It is not that! It is not that. I was deceived. I made a mistake. And it is alright. I made a mistake. It can be cleared. It can be corrected.”

It could be a thought, it could be a vision, it could be a target, it could be an identity, it could be your self-image! Whatever it is, is it giving me ‘that’, or is it a source of strife? Is it a source of conflict? Ask – whatever is present in your mind, what is it doing to your life? What is it, that it is bringing to you?

How do you feel when you are with a particular idea? When you are with it, in awareness, how do you feel?

How do you feel when you are really with a particular person? Not just bodily, sitting side by side. When you are really with him in attention, how do you feel? Does it bring peace to you? Or, in fact, looking closely at that person, makes him all the more despicable! He can be tolerated, if you do not look at him closely. But the more attentively you look at that person, the more repugnant it is. So, that’s it!

Similarly with books! Ultimately, is this giving ‘that’  to me? Or when you are with a teacher! “Jaa guru se bhram naa mitey, bhranti naa jeev kaa jaaye, saa guru jhootha jaaniye, tyagat der naa laaye!”

Is it clearing away confusion? Is bhram/bhranti(illusion) dissolving? If it is giving you that, that the clouds are being cleared, the Sun is now shining in my inner sky, then it’s alright. What is that book doing to you? What is that video doing to you? That is the only way of knowing. And that is the process of clarity.

Ask yourself!

“Is it making the mind even more clouded? Is it loading me with more beliefs, more content, more stuff, more load, more baggage? Or is it making me lighter? Featherweight, flying around in the wind.”

And once you have seen it, then please be honest. Please be honest.

So, you are asking – what is the process of clarity? Is it just listening with immersion, and no resistance?

No, you see, it is not only a particular action, which you are calling as ‘listening’. Hearing something out, in a particular period of time, will not be sufficient. Is this what you are calling as ‘listening’, is this something that is a part of entire life, or is it something that is limited to a few hours? If by this, what you mean is, that I listen to ‘life’ with immersion and in a resistance-less way, it is beautiful. But if by this, what you mean is that – I hear a out particular person, or a particular book, then that won’t help much!

‘Listening’ is a quality of life itself. It’s an all-pervasive thing.

Not limited to just a few hours.

If what you mean, extends to the whole spread of your life, then what you are saying is very nice! Good.

But, immersion cannot be time-bound.

Immersion cannot be time-bound.

Resistance-lessness cannot be time bound.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Acharya Prashant: What is the process of gaining mental clarity?

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Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Does positive thinking work

Question: What is ‘thought’? Why is thought dualistic? What is ‘positive thinking’? Does positive thinking work? Why is positive thinking, a hype?

Acharya Prashant: Positive thought is never fully positive, negative thought is never fully negative. That is the meaning of the uncertainty, that always tags any thought.

What is ‘uncertainty’? ‘Uncertainty’ means, that when you are positive, you cannot be certainly positive. The doubt, that positivity is flanked by negativity, always remains. What do you call as a ‘positive thought’? Thought that makes you happy. A thought about your well-being, a thought that – you would be alright or better-off. A thought of hope.

But hope is not ever certain. Hope is always accompanied by fear. You hope that you might win, but somewhere you are also afraid that you might not. So, uncertainty is there. Similarly when there is a negative thought, yet you keep hoping that the negative might be averted. Even in matters of despair, you are not fully certain. You keep clinging to some hope, howsoever unreasonable. This is what is meant, when it said that – thought is dualistic.

Total certainty is non-dual. Non-duality is possible, only when the other side, any kind of otherness, totally ceases to exist. When there is no ‘other’, there is no duality. But where there is thought, there would always be the other side of the coin.

When you are being positive, then you are looking at one side of the coin, but deep within you know that the other side also exists, and is just waiting to show-up. A little flip, and everything would change, right?

So, thought never gives you total assurance. You remain a bit iffy. Everything remains dicey. You cannot fully relax. You cannot just go to sleep. It always remains important, therefore, to carry your defenses.

With thought, therefore, fear always is there. First of all, fear is there. And second, a continuation of thought is there. When something has not been concluded, it would continue. And with thought, there is never any conclusion, and therefore, an indefinite continuation is there.

You keep thinking. It is like an infinite snakes and ladders game. Just when you think that you are about to reach the conclusion, you land in the mouth of a giant snake, and you are back to square one. And now again you continue with your long, arduous journey. And back again, to the same old point, and then again, a resumption, and then again despair. But all this helps you to while away life.

Thought serves a great purpose, it eats away your time. Otherwise, time will become such a burden.

Thinking, thinking, you continuously think, and you comfortably let days, months, years, decades, slip away.  And then you are so thankful when the death arrives. Otherwise, living eighty years, and that too in awareness, would have been such a pain.

You will have, had to go through the rigors of right action.

Thoughts facilitate an avoidance of right action.

Thought is helpful. Someone comes to you and demands, “Now is the time to climb up the hill, are you ready with your trekking gear?” And you say, “No, I am still thinking.” So, all the effort and the pain, that would have come with climbing the hill, has been successfully avoided. You are still thinking.

Thinking is nice, scaling the heights is arduous.

Have you ever asked yourself – if positive thought is really ‘positive’, then why are there ever any negative thoughts, after a positive thought?

If positive thought is really ‘positive’, it should have ended even the possibility of any future negativity. But that possibility remains, and vice versa.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: Does positive thinking work? || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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What is love? || Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

What is Love Jiddu Krishnamurti

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Question: Dear master, Jiddu Krishnamurti says, “When you love, you are neither giving, nor receiving.” Acharya ji, does love have an object? Could you explain how can we love in daily life, without giving or receiving? What is love, if it has no object?

Acharya Prashant: All objects are small, Shirin.

The object of love is so gigantic, that you cannot call it an ‘object’. Further, all objects leave ample space for you to remain. All objects leave space for the dualistic subject to remain, and prosper.

The object of love is so big, so total, so filling, so occupying, so unrelenting, so very compelling, that it leaves no space for the subject to hide and survive.

Obviously, if the subject is gone, who can call the object, an object. So, the object of love is a non-object. Those who have come before us, have called that object as – Truth, God, Beloved, Amma-Baba, Father, Maa.

Next you are asking, “How can one be in love without giving or receiving?” Giving and receiving, both imply your presence, and your activity. You have to be there to give, you have to be there to receive. And in both, your presence, your being, gets stamped, certified, further ascertained. In giving, you remain as the giver. In receiving, you strike roots as the receiver.

So, in love, there is neither giving nor receiving. Simply put, no doing of the doer. No-doing of the doer, is also the highest doing of the little doer. The highest of the little doer.

I give an example to you. I have heard of this little soldier, he was actually a civilian, in one of the wars in the last century. He was so small, he was not even trained as a soldier. His village had been invaded, the villagers had been captured, taken away for forced labour. They were being used to construct a bridge. That’s what the invading army was using the locals for, take them away and use their labour to build a bridge.

Now that the enemy has taken them away, they are with the enemy. And this little one could see a big ammunition depot. A big ammunition depot. You are already guessing it, right? There was not much, he could have done, all by himself. The enemy numbered in hundreds, hundreds of well-built, grown-up, trained soldiers, with firearms. What could the boy have done? But there was one thing that the boy could do, with a little bit of ingenuous engineering. He rammed himself into the depot, and blew the entire depot off. Obviously, nothing of him remained. But, it took down the entire non-sense with him.

So, Shirin, that’s love- attempting the impossible. The task is so damn big, that it can’t be done, if you protect yourself. If you protect yourself, it won’t happen. That’s love.

Excuse me for giving a violent analogy. But he, who has a lot of bloodshed, he is indeed involved in love. Love does involve a lot of demolition. And there are fireworks. And things come down. Great structures collapse. Formidable enemies have to be defeated. All that is love.

You want something beyond your size, you want something beyond your measure.

And it will require all of you to get that.

If you care for your safety, if you care for your survival, it just can’t happen.

That’s love.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: What is love? || Acharya Prashant on Jiddu Krishnamurti (2018)

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What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Devotion and Observation

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Question: What is real meaning of devotion in spirituality? How can devotion help one to reach the Truth? What is the path of devotion? How to prepare oneself for devotion? Which one is greater, observation or devotion?

Acharya Prashant: Devotion is a million times more powerful than observation. With devotion, if you are uttering the name of ‘Ram’, or saying, “Om Namah Shivaya,” with genuine heartfelt love and devotion, then forget everything about observation. Observation will happen on its own.

That which is precious, is observed. Full stop. The mind is the road to Truth. And only the mind can be the road to Truth, because you have no other road. May be after a point, the road too disappears. But till that point, you do walk on that road, don’t you? Then the mind will be obviously observed, if you love the Truth.

Love for Truth, or God, comes first. Observation then is a petty thing.

It just happens. Just happens.

You are in so much love with cleanliness and purity, that any rubbish shows up on its own.

That is observation.

Obviously, observation cannot show the truth to you. What do you see in observation? All the falseness.

Why would falseness ever become noticeable? Falseness becomes noticeable only when you are in love with Truth. Otherwise, falseness passes of. Otherwise, falseness is just everyday stuff – agreeable, acceptable. Those who are on the path of observation, very well know that all the blemishes show up. All the falsenesses, the biases, the inaccuracies, the prejudices, the attractions, the attachments, they are what is seen, right? Why must they become noticeable?

On the wall, why must a certain spot catch your attention? It does, when you want the wall to be clean, and pristine, and white. And then that little blemish is observed. Truth cannot be observed, obviously.

Love comes first. And where there is love, attention becomes compulsory.

Attention is an immediate obedient to Truth.

What is attention? Attending. Attending. Attending to whom? The Truth. That is also the only difference between focussing and observing. And also, it is the only difference between concentration and attention. In concentration, you want some little object, so you are pointing at it. And if you want a little object, you remain little, which means you remained secured, because little you already are.

In attention, you want something big, really big. And that is love. And if you want something really big, you cannot afford to stay small. And that is one very unfortunate tragedy. We want the big, remaining small. And then we curse the big that it doesn’t come to us.

“O! you don’t come to me!”

“How will I come to you? You are so small.”

But then, the argument is superb. You say, because I am so small, so you should come to me. The Truth responds. It says, “I can begin to come to you, because you are small. But if I come close to you, and you are still determined to stay small, then I cannot come any closer.”

“Little girl, how will you put an elephant in your little pocket? I am an elephant, and your pockets are so small. And you refuse to grow up. So, I have no option, but to watch from a distance.”

In attention, it becomes mandatory for you to grow up, or dissolve. Concentration does not change you. That thing, that you are concentrating on, is small. So you too can remain small.

In attention, you are targeting something bombastic. Boom! So, you better be big. And why will you target something so big, and therefore so very distant?

Love, love. Devotion.

Attention is possible only if you are devoted to the Truth.

Otherwise, why would you attend to the Truth? Why would you become an attendant, a servant of the Truth? Why? Without love, attention is tension, a lot of tension. A tension. And you already have so many tensions.

Will you remember that? Without love and devotion, attention is just another tension. And there are so many who think that they will be able to be attentive, without being devoted. They end up turning very, very dry. Very dry.

I have come across so many of them. They keep uttering – observe, observe, attend, attend. And ‘surrender’ and ‘devotion’ are words they are allergic to. The moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, the moment you utter the word ‘surrender’ to them, it’s like they have been pricked by a pin at their backside. They jump up.

“Ha! Surrender. No, don’t talk of that. We will observe. Let’s observe. No devotion, just observation.”

Very sorry samples, they turn out to be. They can’t sing a crazy Kabir Sahib, or a Bulle Shah Bhajan, Kaafi, Sakhi, Wakh. They can’t. When a Meera is dancing madly, they will say, “I am observing.” When a Bulle Shah has gone crazy in the love of his murshid, they will say, “I am listening. I am listening.”

And all that is so idiotic. That pretense of intelligence.

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session: What is devotion? Do observation and devotion go together || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Simplicity and Truth || Acharya Prashant (2018)

Simplicity and Truth

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Question: How to test whether one has simplicity and freedom from desires?

Acharya Prashant: Whether simplicity and freedom from desires is there, is tested only when, that which you want, and you have, and you are therefore calm and patient, is taken away from you.

It is possible that one is a moral man, and has been taught in a moral way, to want only ‘a little’. And that ‘little’ that one wants, is already available. So, one does not seem to be wanting more.

Whether one is truly free from wants, and whether one is truly simple, is tested only in adversity. It is tested only when there is a challenge to the existing pattern of life. So, so-called simplicity and innocence can be superficial as well, and therefore deceptive.

As long as situations are favourable, a lot of people appear peaceful, don’t they? Whether or not you are truly peaceful, is determined, only when the situation turns inclement, unfavourable. And then it is tested, how deep your patience and peace are.

Listener: It appears, what you are saying is that, he is peaceful, but he has no devotion towards God.

Acharya Prashant: No, that is not needed. That is not needed. That is not needed.

Does he have compassion towards the world?

Listener: Yes.

Acharya Prashant: If that is there, it’s okay. You don’t need to have devotion towards a conceptual god. If you have compassion towards sentient beings, that is far better.

Listener: Will he get the Truth?

Acharya Prashant:  If compassion is there, then Truth is already there, provided the compassion itself is not superficial.

Listener: Is taking care of the needs of anybody, those you see around you, compassion?

Acharya Prashant: Taking care of the genuine needs. Selflessly, taking care of genuine needs.

In a hotel, if I ask for whisky, the waiter will come and serve it to me. So, he is taking care of my needs. Now there are two factors involved here. First of all – the need that I am expressing; bringing me a whisky, is not a genuine need. Secondly, he is not selflessly meeting my need. He is fulfilling my need, because he will get something. So, it is not merely about meeting the needs of the other person.

First of all, you should know, what kind of needs are you serving. Secondly, you should check your own mind. Is it serving the other in order to get something? Then it is not service. Then, it is merely transaction.

Listener:  If I get good feelings in helping others, then is this also transaction?

Acharya Prashant:  Yes, yes. Well caught. Lot of times, that’s what lot of compassion and social service are about. In helping the other, you start feeling good about yourself. That is nothing but, reinforcement of the ego. You rise in your own eyes. Your self-esteem gets a boost. That’s not compassion.

Listener: If I help others silently, without others knowing about it, is this also compassion?

Acharya Prashant: You may silently help others. Sometimes, you may have to be loudly helping others. All possibilities are open. The help has to be genuine.

The help should be of a nature that should reduce the other person’s need to be helped.

You should help in a way that the other person demands less and less help. And the act of helping should not lead to your own aggrandization. Not in the world’s eyes, and more so, not in your own eyes.

Listener: Acharya ji, you had once said, “A courageous mind solves itself rather than its problems.” How can I get a courageous mind?

Acharya Prashant: By having a sincere, to solve the problem. It is the problem that troubles you, right? That’s what you think and feel. Your statement remains – I am being troubled by the problem. So, fine. Have a sincere desire to solve the problem.

Go deep into the problem, and see what would really solve it.

And then you will find, that to solve the problem, you have to solve yourself first.

When it is said, “The courageous mind solves itself rather than the problem,” that does not mean that the courageous mind ignores the problem, and is busy solving something else, that is itself. It just means – being sincere about solving the problem.

The courageous mind sees, that the problem is not distant from the mind of the problem-ed one. And therefore, if the mind can be solved, the problem disappears on its own.

Listener: Acharya ji, once you had said, “Today, violence lies more in giving birth than killing.” Please explain this.

Acharya Prashant: Mostly birth is not a result of wisdom, clarity or love. Conception and birth happen mostly because of the need to consume the other’s body. In the process of consumption of the other’s body, and sometimes in the process of satiation of one’s own insecurities and desires, conception takes place, the baby comes into being, and all that is violence.

The mother-in-law has heckled the daughter-in-law, and now she is getting pregnant. Or the man decides, that it’s a social norm to become a father, and therefore, he decides to impregnate the wife. Or conception just happens in a moment of mad lust. All these are just instances of violence.

Listener: Violence against whom?

Acharya Prashant: What is violence? Lack of love. Disunity.

Whatsoever happens in an environment of absence of love, is violence. Surely, when you are consuming somebody’s body, you are not thinking of that body as your own. You are greedily looking at an object and pleasing yourself using that object. That’s what lust is, right?

You look at something, a human body that is, as an object that would satisfy your hunger. This disunity, this separation, this distance between you and the object of your consumption, is what is violence.

Listener: Acharya ji, what is meant by ‘Samadhi’, and is it worthwhile to aspire to attain it?

Acharya Prashant: Peaceful mind. Samadhan. What is samadhan? Solution. So, Samadhi is dissolution. Samadhi is nothing exotic, or extra-ordinary. Peaceful mind is samadhistha.

Do not turn samadhi into something of the stars, something glittering and beyond the reach. It is a very simple, ordinary, dissolved state of the mind. The mind has no worries, the mind has no great concerns to be serious about. That is samadhi.

Life is simple, ordinary.

This is happening, that is happening, but whatsoever is happening, is not big enough to trouble you.

That is samadhi.

Listener: Are there many types of Samadhis?

Acharya Prashant: It’s almost like this. I have answered eight types of questions here. And corresponding to each of the answers, you may as well say, in a poetic way, that you have experienced eight kinds of samadhis. When I answered him, then it was one kind of samadhi. When I answered your first question, that was the first samadhi. Then your second question, that was second kind of samadhi.

Ultimately, peace has no distinctions, or flavours or colours. Peace is just peace. You do not have many, different kinds of zeros. Zero is a zero. What kind of division do you want to create?

Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session:  Simplicity and Truth || Acharya Prashant (2018)

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Acharya Prashant, with students: Freedom from expectations || (2012)

T44

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Acharya Prashant: Are we young? Are we really young? To be young means, to be energetic, means to be open. Oscar Wilde had said, youth is lost on the young. Do you understand its meaning? That we only turn young in the body. Either we remain a child throughout life or enter old age directly, bypassing the real youth.

Do I really have to go too far, to enquire why am I living like this! And ‘Why’ still comes later. First, do I know ‘How am I living?’ Why am I doing engineering? Whenever I sit in a class, why do I get bored? Are we able to clearly look at these ways of our day to day living? Am I just dancing to the tunes of the external world in this life? Is there something really mine. One doesn’t need to go and read books to see ‘How am I living?’ One just needs to look at oneself, one’s actions with clarity. You are in the second year, most of you must be thinking about the jobs, whether you will get a good one or not? Always, buffeted by doubts, queries, insecurities, confusions.

Wherever I am, am actually never there. Strained between the pulls of the past and the pulls of the future. Let us first look at our life. When we honestly do this, only then will I realize that life is precious. I am important. And it cannot be wasted away like this. There must be something more to life. But that wholeness, that completeness, which life deserves, that you can give to it only when you first realize the incomplete, the fragmented, the divided, ways in which we are living.

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