Note: the blue italics indicates the teacher, in black other participants.

Humble and Free

(To L.) There is great inertia in you regarding all forms of verbal expression, writing, and communication. And it leads to inconsistencies when you write to me. For example, five weeks before the last meeting, you emailed me saying you probably wouldn’t come. How could you know, five weeks in advance, that you couldn’t come? This puzzles me and I don’t know what’s behind it.

I don’t know either. All I feel is that it’s not normal.

You need to take action.

But I can’t manage to.

There, that’s the inertia I was talking about. I remember a few years ago, I contacted you twice by email for a functional question; it was relatively urgent, but as you weren’t responding, A. had to call you to get an answer. Once, you even cried when you acknowledged that you should have responded to me and hadn’t done so after three reminders. But it was exaggerated, you went into over-emotionality to apologize for not having done it. Then it didn’t change much, you continued to procrastinate in everything related to emails. You’re the one who loads it with emotion, but often, in functional exchanges, emotion has no reason to be there. There’s surely resistance at that level too. I don’t know where it comes from in you. Over-emotion, yes, resistance, yes.

I have a good example: before leaving, I tidied my desk and found a text I couldn’t bring myself to send because to me, the words were pathetic. In the background, there’s an attachment to the fact that I’m used to figuring things out on my own. And in this case, I couldn’t manage it, so what I’m saying seems trivial to me. I was used to describing the whole process, including my solution, and here I couldn’t do it.

Yes, but it immediately falls into a very emotional, overly charged state, and it’s completely inappropriate for the situation.

Yes, I recognize that, but that’s just a visible expression; what’s much stronger is that I can’t do it alone, and for me, that’s terrible.

Of course, you can’t do it alone, you know that intellectually.

Besides, you’ve been explaining to others for years that we can’t do it alone.

I know it’s obvious that I need someone, since I’ve been here for years.

You only know it intellectually.

Yes, but I come.

Yes, you can come, but that’s not enough. You need to expose yourself, like everyone else. If you have a concept that you must first succeed on your own, you do everything you can, and then you despair, you make yourself disappear, and you don’t succeed; but you’re not yet shifting towards this authentic request for help.

Now, it’s a real request.

For me, it’s not yet the real request, it’s the beginning of a request. This beginning is there, it occurs from time to time; but it’s not the real request I’m waiting for.

In a true request, there’s an element of humility that we don’t yet feel in L. Behind her words, I hear a request, but I don’t sense the humility, or maybe not completely. As if it were: “I’m making a request because I’m stuck,” but at the same time, there’s this little voice saying: “It bothers me to make a request, because it’s as if I’m putting myself in a position inferior to the other, and I’ll be indebted for something.” That’s what I heard in what L. was expressing, whereas in a request with humility, there’s abandonment, without the thought “I should be able to do it on my own” polluting it.

Yes, that’s it, humility, that’s the word. Sometimes, I have the impression that there’s also a fear of confronting your emotions; they’re so strong that during the original belief, when it touched on emotion, you went into mysticism, which is one of the forms of resistance to the original belief. Some people go into imagination, esotericism, spiritual trips. It’s up to you to see, but it could be the fear of confronting your basic emotions. Does that speak to you? It’s so strong, so overwhelming, that you’ve never really dared to go there. You’ve dosed it, in a way. I’m not saying you should have done it, it’s just to help you move forward. And of course, that potentially plays into all situations where you don’t let go, because there’s this fear of being totally overwhelmed by emotion.

Yes, that speaks to me.

The sign of true humility is perhaps also not being afraid to go into the emotional, and into self-collapse. In humble people, like for example Yves Garrel, or for many ex-alcoholics or ex-drug addicts, humility shines through. I’ve seen that in India, and also in France, among those who have really gone all the way, who have tipped over, and who have probably experienced capitulation. Afterwards, often, humility becomes visible. When I see it, even in a simple encounter, even without speaking, it touches me. It’s the extreme. It’s authentic in the sense that they no longer expect anything. If you give me something, it’s good, if you don’t give me anything, that’s good too.
I see it also in Stephen Jourdain, although his expression is really the opposite of what one might think of humility. I spent several days with him in his house, and this impression didn’t change. Afterwards, all his stories with women, and everything he talks about, it’s totally peripheral compared to the man. He’s a phenomenon for me, completely elusive in the course of his life: he was in real estate, he drove a Jaguar, but he squandered everything, and finally he had nothing left. He was married, with four children, and in every city where he gave conferences, he had a girlfriend, he didn’t even hide it. But when his wife showed up, he started to get a little scared. When he talked to me about his stories with women, he said “but you know, I’m not responsible for it, it happens to me, it falls on me, and that’s how it is”: he was totally innocent, like a child.

You see, right now what I’m experiencing is that there’s an truly incredible detachment, and at the same time, there’s a lack of innocence, and it troubles me, because it’s not normal.

Yes, that’s true.

That’s why I don’t know. I observe. Right now, I’m so much in the lack of this state of joy and innocence! I can be in a moment of wonder, but what I miss is the child in me, and when I see freshness, I’m moved, but I don’t have it in myself.

You know, children who are in innocence have much less emotion than you. We come back to what has already been said: over-emotion is an impediment to being in the emotional. A child doesn’t have too many emotions. In innocence, there aren’t too many emotions.

I know.

And in you, great emotion screens innocence.

It’s linked to responsibility, as if I had a responsibility that prevented this, but it’s an illusion, I know that. And yet, I can’t decode the mechanism, I can’t break it.

And what do you put behind the word “responsibility”?

Being autonomous, managing one’s life alone, that’s what she means.

Even towards others, there are times when I say things, and times when I don’t say them, but I see things through the other.

Yes, but you know when you’re in innocence, you have much less empathy, a child doesn’t have too much empathy.

Yes, right now, there’s a great detachment.

But that’s not enough.

It’s terrible sometimes when I see everything. I see in the other, it’s sometimes awful.

Yes, but you’ll be detached from that too.

And even when it’s awful, I try to say what comes.

Yes, but that’s already too much, you’re no longer in innocence.

It’s as if I had the responsibility for that.

Yes, but let go, let go! A child is not responsible for his parents.

Yes, but I was.

Let that go.

What came to me is that humility is the surrender to “I don’t know.”

Yes, whereas currently there’s a big “I know” in you. In relation to responsibility, among other things. And to be innocent, concepts no longer work: “I must help my parents, I must take care of them.” I took care of my mother in my own way, and not in her way. There was constant pressure, but I can no longer give in to any pressure, because I can only do what I feel inside me. You don’t know how to do that totally yet, and that’s the risk to take. When you really want to be yourself, images are over. You do it in part, but it’s not yet fully on point.

In any case, I can tell you that it’s causing quite a stir in my family, because precisely, it’s no longer possible for me.

Okay, but you need to go even further, much further in this approach of innocence. It’s very selfish in a way, and incomprehensible to others, the fact that you can’t force yourself to do this or that. Everyone says it’s good, everyone does it, and you, you can’t force yourself. In innocence, a child can scratch his grandfather’s eyes, or mistreat a cat, or that kind of thing, you see? And you’re there. Are you ready to live that?


It happens very rarely, but it can happen, that you go against all conventions, because you feel that at that moment, you must do that, and you feel inside yourself that it’s right. That’s part of innocence for me. Like Steve Jourdain who says “but I love my wife!”, but for whom the rest is good too. You can no longer do otherwise when you’ve let go of everything. Like in the Sufi way of Malamati. They are asked to go into the church and mistreat the cross, or to go steal things, or to do acts of this kind, simply to teach them to break all conventions; it’s part of the way. That’s why they are in the ultimate secret, nobody really knows what they do. The painter Luis Ansa was with them, but he never talked about it, because it’s excessive, it’s almost criminal sometimes.

I experience that at the level of daily life. For example, I stay five minutes with my son and his friends who come to eat, and then I leave, I isolate myself. So, he comes to see me: “Are you okay?”. And two hours later, he comes back, but I don’t want to get up. The next day, he asks me again if I’m okay. And now he has understood, and it’s him who will say “she’s resting”. As for the stays here with you, my son and my daughter don’t ask questions anymore, they have understood. But I can’t pretend anymore, at that level. In the family, there have been frictions because of that.

But you don’t yet fully assume this innocence. There’s something in you that’s not clear, I’d say it’s not natural.

That’s why I talk about mourning to do.

It’s not mourning, it’s a quantum leap! Forget mourning, it’s a leap into the void and you can’t know where you’ll land, or what awaits you. O., how do you do it? Because you’re also constantly confronted with objections regarding your behavior, your attitudes, your decisions.

It’s a suffering every time.

Put the suffering aside. Can it make you change your mind?

It can make me change an operating mode.

But at the core?

There can be different expressions, but at the core, never, and that’s where there can be suffering. It’s always a challenge for me to welcome that suffering.

Because sometimes, you understand why the other doesn’t understand and it can be suffering.

Yes, absolutely. For example, I regularly get feedback about my “selfishness” and I understand very well why they tell me that, I understand that they haven’t understood anything, and I understand their point of view and their suffering. In the family context, it’s the most difficult. At work, I have the image of someone a bit weird, but it’s part of the character they appreciate, because it allows to question things and there, I act a bit as I want, it’s accepted.

Others understand that it’s totally useless to want to get anything else from you than what you concede, and you can validate that now you have really reached a level of authenticity with yourself, “definitive” in a way. Now you’re clear at the work level. People know it’s useless to try.

Yes, the most extraordinary example is when I announced I was moving to M. There was no problem, and they even offered me a permanent contract to make it easier with the banks.

That’s really the validation that life gives you back. Now you’ve reached a master’s degree in authenticity. 🙂

At home, it’s not like that.

At home, for the moment it’s not like that, but it’s clear that it will pass one day. It can’t not pass when you remain authentic. The validation is when the entourage gives up, abandons. That’s the ultimate validation.

And it’s true that when we do things, with the children for example, I always validate that I agree, deep inside me. I’ve noticed it often, it’s probably why I’m still in a family environment, despite the big disturbances. It’s true that I can do things differently, sometimes, but I don’t do what I don’t want to do.

Yes, yes, I did that too. And you, A., at some point, you did that, you distanced yourself a bit from your family?

Yes, completely, but that happened a long time ago. For example, I never call my mother, while she calls my sister almost every day; but not me, and it’s fine like that. Before I used to feel guilty, but I couldn’t. It’s like that.

But do people solicit you?

Yes, but without pressure. They ask me, I can or I can’t, but I don’t feel harassed at all.

There’s no emotional blackmail?

No, not at all, on the contrary.

And the difference, (to L.) is that with you, I have the impression that you know it’s good to do it like that, but it’s not yet natural.

But I do it.

Yes, you do it, but it’s not natural. You do it because you know it’s right, but it doesn’t come naturally. The next step, the quantum leap, is that you don’t even think about it anymore, that you do it just like that, not because you know it’s good, but because it comes to you, and it can’t be otherwise. The quality is different; there’s innocence there. You haven’t yet reached the point where you can’t do otherwise in a natural way. The shift towards your nature is missing, it’s your nature to be free, to be really completely free; this missing innocence, that’s it too, it’s your nature. If very early on you had to take responsibilities for your parents, or for your siblings, it can be a bit more difficult, but now is the time.

I never call my mother, she only calls me from time to time, but the others, they call her every day; I’ve never done that.

Yes but I’m sure there are still people around you who know how to push the button that makes you give in anyway.

Actually, at the moment, no.

I’m not so sure about that.

Sincerely no, because I was asked, and I said no.

By other means, maybe; but that’s a hypothesis, it’s up to you to verify.


As long as it’s not natural, there’s a chance that manipulators around you will find the button, and push it.

That’s true, even one of my brothers doesn’t understand that I don’t know in advance what I’m going to do, for him, it’s inconceivable, and they are very disturbed.

You’re already on the right track, but something is still missing. When you’re really free, you no longer have a choice. You can’t not obey what freedom dictates you to do or not to do. And that, that shift, is particular, because afterwards, we’re no longer sure of anything, of what we do or don’t do, of what we say or don’t say, it comes on its own, or it doesn’t. There’s no going back; from the moment you shift towards this freedom, you find your basic innocence, even when it plunges you into a big mess, you can’t do otherwise. Osho put himself in impossible situations because he said what he thought. When he was extradited from the USA, only one country was ready to welcome him: Cyprus. And the first thing he said, in front of all the press, was: “Oh, I’m in Cyprus, with all these mediocre and hypocritical popes!” the only country that welcomed him! And in India, where there are Muslims, he said “you know, the Kaaba is the dirtiest stone on the planet, with all these bacteria, these microbes, these people touching it.” The next day, a Muslim stabbed him. You can no longer do otherwise. You have to know that you take risks when you’re free. No one can hold you back from doing this kind of foolishness, not even yourself, you can’t hold yourself back.

But how come it doesn’t happen to you?

But it can happen to me at any moment, I know it can happen to me, and I’m not telling you about what has already happened to me. This is to indicate the risk you take in being free; you need to know that there are no more limits there.

Is there a way, at the beginning, to temper this freedom?

No, precisely, it’s uncontrollable.

Is it all at once from the beginning?

From a certain point, when you’re free, yes. We can re-confine ourselves, maybe, but once you’ve tasted freedom, I hardly see how it’s possible. But this kind of foolishness doesn’t happen every day, even though it can happen at any moment, you need to know that.

There are stories of Buddhist monks considered crazy, who were totally wise and crazy, who had unexpected behaviors.

I believe that all free people have, from others’ point of view, a rebellious side. It can’t be otherwise, otherwise they’re saints. A free person can’t help but have, from time to time, somewhat bizarre behaviors. So, you have to be ready for that. And for risk-taking too. Not risk-taking in the ordinary sense, but that’s how others see it and think “how can he take that risk?” For the one doing it, it just comes naturally, that’s all.