My desire is to challenge what you think, not to tell you what to think.
This book is the culmination of 14 years of observing thought, driven by a passion to understand human behaviour and solve psychological problems. Its purpose to is inspire you to observe yourself throughout your daily life and increase self-knowing. This will engender a passion to understand yourself and have the ability to transform how you think and behave.
The central crisis of the present day is human suffering. It is a crisis that is predominantly caused by how we think. The challenge, therefore, is not an outward challenge, but a psychological, inward, challenge. That challenge can only be faced through the observation of ourselves. The only real revolution of our time is a psychological revolution that will take place through the careful examination of ourselves.
Throughout the text, you will be immersed in a rich enquiry into yourself. We begin by exploring what prevents us from simply being aware of the richness that consciousness has to offer, and later explore its riches. The focus will always be on the observation of yourself, and in this way you do not accept what I have said merely on face value, but instead become inspired to observe what we are talking about taking place in yourself. This attitude awakens you to the necessity for independent self-exploration that will remain with you long after the book has been laid down.
You must be a light to yourself
It is the responsibility of each individual to alleviate his or her own particular forms of suffering, because no outside agency can. When that suffering remains, it causes us to act neurotically, and that has a detrimental effect on those close to us and on society as a whole. It is, therefore, only when we transform our psychological structure and free ourselves from our particular forms of suffering that our behaviour changes, along with our attitude towards others and life in general. Observation is key to this transformation. Our habit at present, especially with respect to psychological problems, is to seek solace, and we do this in the form of either escape, avoidance, or suppression, and this prevents our ability to observe the problem. Ceasing these responses allows us to develop the ability to perceive the problem for the first time, and, as a result of this, a great momentum of change begins. The perception of a problem allows us to learn about the problem; this changes how the problem is considered and, in turn, affects when the problematic behaviour is triggered and the consequences of its arousal.
Why is this book different?
It places you in the driver’s seat. It encourages you to enquire into yourself and arouses a necessary psychological independence. This is important because the source of neurosis is dependence. It is our willingness to remain attached to people, objects, and ideas that are essentially unstable that maintains our own sense of insecurity and instability, which engenders neurotic behaviour and the various forms of suffering that we experience. The perception of ourselves allows us to capture this whole process in its multitude of forms and educate us to the danger of it. In a similar way that thought causes the body to jump without hesitation out of the way of a bus rushing towards you, so, too, does thought negate any pattern of behaviour that is truly understood to be dangerous.