Insights and frustrations of the past week or so, helped by the fact that I am currently reviewing material I wrote about four years ago, have formed a pattern of discontent with how I appear to the world at the moment – the same problem as four years ago, but largely absent when I arrived in Taiwan and did not need to make meaningful social appearances. This appearance problem is directly related to needs (especially for intimate contact) that are not currently being satisfied.
Previously – like four years ago – I wouldn’t have properly understood it. I would only have known “I’m not happy” or “I’m frustrated,” and I would have wished for more money to buy better clothes and perhaps better transportation and I would have made lists of items that would have hinted at a more ideal self.
Now I know the problem is not necessarily who and what I am, or the specific environment, but how I appear to the world – although my appearance cannot be isolated from other things. I am thus relatively happy with myself, on my own, in my own private quarters in Benevolent Light, but what bothers me is how I appear. APPEARANCE is the problem.
It is an indication of the development of insight, of progress in my own understanding of things during the last four years that I can now identify and express the problem more clearly.
Just when you thought you knew yourself
Ask someone, “Who are you?” Intensify the pressure slightly by adding, “I suspect you don’t really know who you are.”
The reaction of many an individual to such an impolite question would illustrate the challenge that confronts all of us: Can you articulate who you think you are? Can you express it?
WEDNESDAY, 28 JULY 2004
Thought at Crooked Town train station: I don’t have a problem with the so-called beautiful world; I have a problem with the price at which people buy membership in this world.
In a consumer society many people sacrifice on a daily basis their creativity and their hours – they deny their true nature, as it were – to enable themselves to accumulate sufficient credit to purchase membership in the so-called beautiful world.
That was my position a few years ago; it is still my position now.
Beauty without substance is, in the final count, just a pretty shell.