Q: For me it’s a tendency to indulge in escapism, to not deal with my basic human responsibilities—relationships, jobs, money—and excuse it by saying, “Well, none of that’s real.” That’s number one of the ways that I con myself. I come up against an uncomfortable situation in life and not want to confront the pain of it. Fear of confrontation, of feeling emotions too intensely, and I would spiritualize that. I would say, “I really would rather just be in the world and not of it.”
A: You have already said everything that can be said when you said, “Ways that I con myself.” You already know that this is conning yourself. Ninety percent of the work is done. If you didn’t know that, we would have a lot of things to talk about and a lot of work to do and a lot of things that have to happen, but because you know that, not much has to happen. So, keep going.
…This is a fantastic example for other people of how you can be aware—he’s totally aware—that you’re conning yourself, and still be stuck. It’s amazing, and that’s the humility, when you say, “That’s why I come to these satsangs.” That’s saying, “I can’t do it by myself. I’ll trick myself even though I’m aware of it, even though I know I’m conning myself, even though I know the mechanics of it, how I con myself—it’s in this situation; it’s in that situation; it has to do with money; it has to do with intimacy. I actually know it when it’s happening; I know when I’m conning myself—and I still do it. And if I leave it all to my own devices, if I just tell myself I’ll deal with it, I know it’s a lie; I know that I’ll trick myself somehow.” This is how wacky it gets.
The bad news is that the actual solution to this is the hardest thing in the world, and the simplest: You actually have to do it. We can talk about it the rest of the night, doesn’t matter. All other possible solutions lead to this—the only solution is you simply and absolutely have to do it. If the question is intimacy, you have to experience and go into the intimacy. If the issue is money, you have to go out and make the money. If the issue is showing up in the world and taking care of some business, you have to actually go and take care of the business. There’s no other endpoint. You can analyze it; you can spiritualize it; you can do everything and anything with it and in the end you still have to do it. That’s the bad news, because the only reason this ever occurs for anyone is because they don’t want to do it for one reason or another. Reasons may vary: fear, laziness, self-loathing, anything and everything, who knows? But whatever it is, in the end, you just have to do it. The Nike commercial is probably the most accurate spiritual statement that can be made: “Just do it.”
That’s the bad news, because it’s hard if the life has included avoiding doing it, and we’re talking about everybody; this is everybody, all of us, because everybody avoids something for their whole life. This is not unique in any way, shape or form. Everybody has something that they aren’t doing to which the only answer, in the end, is going to be, “You know what, I’m sorry, you just have to do it.” No matter how you talk to yourself about it, no matter what you understand or don’t understand about it, no matter what it means or doesn’t mean, no matter how it got there, where it came from. Anything that can be said or understood about it, no matter any of it; in the end you still just have to do it. Then people get into “Well, how do I do it?” and you can spend ten, twelve years figuring that out.
The good news is it’s all done except for the doing. The awareness is there; the understanding is there; the ability to express it to a room full of strangers is there. There’s no lack of clarity; there’s no lack of insight or analysis. It’s all clear. There’s nothing to figure out. That’s the good news: ninety-nine percent of the work has been done. That’s the good news. The one percent that’s left is doing, which is a thousand times harder than the ninety-nine percent that’s already done. So the good news is in a way actually bad news.