How to Break Through the Roadblocks of Life
(an excerpt from Vernon Howard’s Pathways to Perfect Living)
Here are the various roadblocks along the esoteric highway. You can break through them with self-insight.
1. False assumptions: If we suspect that our false assumptions are assumptions, and not the facts that they seem to be, our days brighten. If we are living in an uneasy truce with life, we have false assumptions.
2. Searching outside ourselves: Nothing exterior to us can do it. Zen teaches that salvation is so close we can not see it, like a man crying for water while waist deep in a lake.
3. False hope in the future: Beware of those who urge you to sacrifice today for some misty heaven tomorrow. It will never come. The right time to wake up is right now.
4. Self-condemnation: After making mistakes, self-awareness is the right action, not self-reproach. Self-condemnation only leads you away from the path, while giving the appearance of humility.
5. Laziness toward self-awakening: Let shocks and sufferings awaken you, for it means their ending. It is as if you might shake yourself awake while driving the highway, knowing that sleep spells disaster.
6. Wrong attention: It is a pointless waste of time and energy to criticize the behavior of others, either openly or secretly. Our task is to study our own mental states and our own behavior.
7. False belief in a fixed fate: With his usual bluntness, Arthur Schopenhauer wrote,”What people commonly call fate is, as a general rule, nothing but their own stupid and foolish conduct.” Do not believe that your life is fixed and unchangeable, for all can be altered, magnificently.
8. Dishonesty: As long as the ego-self gets a reward from evil, it will lie about it and shamelessly call evil good. The detection of dishonesty is a first step toward true happiness.
9. Discouragement and depression: There is no need to be depressed about anything whatsoever. The rainbow is in the sky all right, but we must clear away the over hanging branches to see it.
10. Compromise: Do not go half way. There is one declaration which every earnest seeker must make: “I will not settle down in my present psychic location.”
11. Vanity and egotism: Look at the foolish man, boasting of his earthly success. He is like a man running desperately over a collapsing bridge, who stops to call out to his friends to please notice his pretty new jacket.
12. Dependency: We cannot become a musician by playing a borrowed phonograph record.
But we can become a cosmic artist by listening to the original music within our nature, where there is never a false note.
Inner Life Exercise
Whenever you feel taken over by something, always remember: “Instant Recovery”***