From the moment we recognise that there is something wrong or something lacking in us and therefore that something has to be changed, a work on ourselves can be undertaken toward evolution. And the first question that arises for us, is how to undertake work which will give us the power to see ourselves as we really are.
The entire world is seen only in terms of one’s self, while this self has no meaning except in terms of the world. At one and the same time we feel ourselves to be the navel of a world which we see from our point of view, while for the world we are nothing – not so much as a speck of dust.
Studying could begin from one side or the other, and our first inclination is to begin with the study of the world around us. But in that world, where we are nothing, we have no capacity either; we have nothing with which to see its eternity or its infinity. We are lost in an immensity beyond our reach and in an analysis which our whole lifetime would not be long enough to encompass, or enable us to complete, in order to synthesize it all. Even if this synthesis could be reached, it would still be necessary to include ourselves within it and find our proper place there. And yet it is just this approach, this endless analysis that modern science has undertaken, with a certain practical efficiency, which has led at the same time to dispersion and specialization, that is, to limitation, without any direct concern for the person who are themselves engaged in it.
However, it is we ourselves who are in question in this search; it is we, first and foremost, who need it. It is a matter for us, a matter of our inner being, our plane, our conflicts, our evolution, and, from this moment on, of the whole of our life. What is more, for us nothing is seen except through our own eyes.
So, if the study begins with ourselves, it is quite another matter. We are always there, available to ourselves and in the place which we occupy. Perhaps we believe we know ourselves and know this place. Our entire education leads us to think so. Nevertheless, our doubts, our conflicts, and our ignorance are also there: if we knew ourselves as well as we think, these would not exist, and there would be no question about who we are.
Adapted from Toward Awakening, by Jean Vaysse