It is interesting to observe people and see how much they try to control their lives. This is interesting because it is a great contrast to what I am talking about with ‘self-control.’ There is a difference between being able to ‘control yourself,’ and trying to control reality, trying to control other people and the world around you.
People try to insulate themselves from the bad things about life, and many people often can (people with a lot of money, for example). The analogy can be made of a rich person living in NYC, high above the street in their luxury home, always taking limos to the beautiful places, only seeing beautiful people, and never touching the ground, never having to deal with the dirt, the sweat, scum and intensity, the beauty and ugliness and reality of what is going on in the streets.
This is not to say, of course, that the amount of money one has indicates their level of awakening and maturity, that poor people ‘get it’ more than rich people; but, rather, that rich people are able—through the means afforded them in a capitalist, materialistic society—to avoid reality more (or, at least, differently) than poor people. (Or, it might be better to say, “attempt to” avoid reality.)
As I have said many times, anyone—rich or poor—can choose ‘awakening’. The rich/poor thing is, rather, a metaphor for trying to mold life in such a way as to avoid and escape from having to deal with reality.
To be sure, a homeless person can do the exact same thing as the penthouse snob, just in a different way. He can construct a version of the way he sees the world, a version of ‘reality,’ and he can avoid having to deal with reality, with having to deal with himself in a brave and honest way.
We all have our egos, our ‘identities,’ our simple-minded and unquestioned understanding of the self and how it fits into the rest of reality; and we also try to manipulate, control, and mold reality in a way that suites us, suites our desires, values, and beliefs (in other words, our illusions). Instead of learning how to adapt and work with and in reality, we try to make reality adapt to us; and if we can’t, we ignore it and just move on with our agenda.
And, to be sure, most people don’t even actively control and mold their lives, but, rather, as conditioned beings, it is pre-molded, ‘pre-installed,’ and so they just go along with this conceptual framework that was conditioned for them, they ‘mold’ and ‘control’ their lives according to the way they see the world—passively, under the illusion of real action. The way to understand this is to think of passive activity; for example, a remote-controlled robot may be active in that it is moving, but it is not in control of its movement, and so its activity is passive.
From my personal notes, 8/12/00