A martial artist knelt before his master sensei in a ceremony to receive the hard-earned Black Belt. After years of relentless training, the student has finally reached a pinnacle of achievement in the discipline.

“Before granting you the belt, you must pass one more test,” the sensei solemnly tells the young man.

“I’m ready,” responds the student, expecting perhaps one more round of sparring.

“You must answer the essential question, ‘What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?’”

“Why, the end of my journey,” says the student. “A well-deserved reward for all of my hard work.”

The master waits for more. Clearly, he is not satisfied. The sensei finally speaks: “You are not ready for the Black Belt. Return in one year.”

As the student kneels before his master a year later, he is again asked the question, “What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?”

“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” the young man responds.

Again the master waits for more. Still unsatisfied, he says once more: “You are not ready for the Black Belt. Return in one year.”

A year later the student kneels before his sensei and hears the question, “What is the true meaning of the Black Belt?”

This time he answers, “The Black Belt represents not the end, but the beginning, the start of a never ending journey of discipline, work and the pursuit of an ever-higher standard.”

“Yes,” says the master. “You are now ready to receive the Black Belt and begin your work.”

Freedom From Self

All of us have information for Black Belt. But who knew that receiving the Black Belt is a journey and not a destination. Similarly when we have received Life from God it’s not a destination it’s starting our journey. All our misery is because we think life is a destination and not the journey.

Think about it. Why all the desire and expectations from others because unconsciously we think that it’s our destination. We have achieved something so other need to do something for us. This is the point from where our misery starts.

Take any incidence from your life where you have achieved something. Immediately your desire and expectations from others will be so much even if someone has not greeted you you feel humiliated. Your achievement strengthens your ego instead of becoming humble and with that achievement what you can give to yourself and to others you forget. You become possessive. Have you asked yourself why? From where the possessiveness starts? With the possessiveness your misery starts.

Understand one thing that when you want to possess anyone it becomes a thing, object for you and not alive. You want them to follow you and your desire. If you understand this you will become sensitive and not possessive.

In the possessiveness you will not find freedom for yourself. You will be imprisoned in your own possessiveness. To drop your possessiveness you need to understand Freedom.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. You can grow only when you live Freedom.

Freedom from the self, and therefore the search of reality, the discovery and the coming into being of reality, is the true function of man. Religions play with it in their rituals and rigmarole – you know, the whole business of it. But if one becomes aware of this whole process, then there is a possibility for the newly awakened intelligence to function. In that, there is not self-release, not self-fulfilment, but creativeness. It is this creativeness of reality, which is not of time, that sets one free from all the business of the collective and the individual. Then one is really in a position to help create the new.

Learning from the story Black Belt: Freedom From Self

Experience Learning

Self means the idea, the memory, the conclusion, the experience, the various forms of nameable and unnameable intentions, the conscious endeavour to be or not to be, competition, the accumulated memory of the unconscious, the racial, the group, the individual, the clan, the whole of it, whether projected outwardly in action or projected spiritually as virtue. The whole process of that is the self; and we know actually when we are faced with it that it is an evil thing. The word evil id used intentionally, because the self is dividing; it is self-enclosing; its activities, however noble, are separative and isolating. We know all this. We also know those extraordinary moments when the self is not there, in which there is no sense of endeavour, of effort, and which happens when there is love.

All the various forms of discipline, belief and knowledge only strengthen the self. Can we find an element which will dissolve the self? Or is that a wrong question? That is what we want basically. We want to find something which will dissolve the “me”. We think there are various means, namely identification, belief, etc, but all of them are at the same level; one is not superior to the other because all of them are equally powerful in strengthening the self, the “me”. So can I see the “me” wherever it functions and see its destructive forces and energy? Whatever name I may give to it, it is an isolating force, it is a destructive force, and I want to find a way of dissolving it. You must have asked this yourself. I see the “I” functioning all the time and bringing anxiety, fear, frustration, despair, misery, not only to myself but to all around me. Is it possible for that self to be dissolved, not partially but completely? Can we go to the root of it and destroy it? That is the only way of truly functioning, is it not? I do not want to be partially intelligent but intelligent in an integrated manner. Most of us are intelligent in layers: you probably in one way and I in some other way. People are intelligent in different ways but we are not integrally intelligent. To be integrally intelligent means to be without the self. Is it possible?

Is it possible for the self to be completely absent now? What are the necessary ingredients or requirements? What is the element that brings it about? Can I find it? When I put that question ‘Can I find it?’ I am convinced that it is possible and so I have already created an experience in which the self is going to be strengthened. Understanding of the self requires a great deal of intelligence, a great deal of watchfulness, alertness, watching ceaselessly so that it does not slip away. I, who am very earnest, want to dissolve the self. When I say that, I know it is possible to dissolve the self. The moment I say, ‘I want to dissolve this,’ in that there is still the experiencing of the self, and so the self is strengthened.


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