“The most important insight needed for a student to move from the deficient lack of support to the actual state of support is the recognition that the feeling of helplessness, of not knowing what to do to be oneself, is not an actual deficiency, nor a personal failing. It is rather, the recognition of a fundamental truth about the self, which is that we cannot do anything in order to be, for to be is not an activity.
We can come to this understanding only through the cessation of intentional inner activity. At this point, not to know what to do is a matter of recognizing the natural state of affairs, for since there is nothing that we can do to be, then it is natural that we cannot know what to do. There is nothing to know because such knowledge is impossible. Nobody knows what to do to be, and the sooner we recognize this, the easier is our work on self-realization. In fact, feeling that we don’t know what to do to be ourselves is the beginning of the insight that we don’t need to do anything.
As we begin to understand this perspective, we may learn that one’s helplessness is based on a delusion: the belief that there is something we need to do in order to be ourselves and the resulting conviction that we can know what it is. This is one of the basic delusions of the ego life of the self. It is inherent in narcissism that we will attempt to do things to support our sense of identity.
So the self is always engaged in inner activities of remembering, imaging, indentifying, repressing, projecting, idealizing, and various self-manipulations to shore up our insecure sense of identity…The real issue of support emerges clearly only after we have penetrated the various external manifestations of this ego activity, and have experienced essential presence directly and immediately.”
Contact sheet of artist Jackson Pollock in 1949 by Martha Holmes/Time & Life Pictures/Getty