No one has power to ruin my life. Am I ruined? Then I ruined myself. This is the realization that allowed Socrates to say, “You can kill me but you cannot hurt me.”
It was said of Socrates that he always wore the same expression.
Discipline has nothing to do with subjugation, suppression or standing at attention. It does not mean replacing one pattern of behaviour with another. It means “to learn.”
We must be completely free in order to learn. Freedom begins with the realization of how trapped we are.
The least free are the most conventional.
The ego is who I think I am. It is a limited, temporary and entirely mind-based sense of self. So men say: “I am a millwright.” Or, “I am a stay-at-home dad.” But we are not the roles we play. Marlon Brando did not tell people he was a mafia don. On examination, we find that the question “Who am I?” can only be answered in the negative, e.g., not this, not that. We concede one all-purpose exception to a blinking list of negative statements: “I am an actor.”
Where is it, this “pearl of great price”?
Where it’s always been—inside the clam.
Likewise, the chalice, suspended from a bough of the great oak in the walled-off garden of the grown-over castle.
“Look inside yourself.”