22 .Let attention be at a place where you are seeing some past happening, and even your form, having lost its present characteristics, is transformed.
23. Feel an object before you. feel the absence of all other objects but this one. then, leaving aside the object-feeling and the absence-feeling, realize.
24. When a mood against someone or for someone arises, do not place it on the person in question, but remain centered.
One of the great tantrics of this age, George Gurdjieff, says that identification is the only sin. The next sutra, the tenth sutra on centering — which we are going to penetrate tonight — is concerned with identification. So first be crystal clear on what identification means.
You were a child once; now you are not. Someone becomes young, someone becomes old, and childhood becomes a past thing. Youth has gone, but still you are identified with your childhood. You cannot see it as happening to someone else; you cannot be a witness to it. Whenever you see your childhood, you are not aloof from it, you are one with it. Whenever someone remembers his youth, he is one with it.
Really, now it is just a dream. And if you can see your childhood as a dream, as a film passing before you and you are not identified with it, you are just a witness, you will achieve a very subtle insight into yourself. If you see your past as a film, as a dream — you are not part of it, you are just out of it… and really you are — then many things will happen. If you are thinking about your childhood, you are not in it — you cannot be. The childhood is just a memory, just a past memory. You are remaining aloof and looking at it. You are different: you are a witness. If you can feel this witnessing and then see your childhood as a film on a screen, many things will happen.
One: if childhood has become just a dream which you can see, then whatsoever you are just now will become a dream the next day. If you are young, then your youth will become a dream. If you are old, then your old age also will become a dream. One day you were a child; now the childhood has become just a dream and you can observe it.
It is good to start with the past. Observe the past and disidentify yourself from it; become a witness. Then observe the future, whatsoever you imagine about the future, and be a witness to that also. Then you can observe your present very easily, because then you know that whatsoever is present just now was future yesterday, and tomorrow it will become the past. But your witness is never past, never future. Your witnessing consciousness is eternal; it is not part of time. That is why everything that happens in time becomes a dream.
Remember this also: whenever you are dreaming something in the night you become identified with it, and you can never remember in your dream that this is a dream. Only in the morning, when you have awakened from the dream, can you remember that it was a dream and not a reality. Why? Because then you are aloof, not in it. Then there is a gap. Some space is there, and you can see that it was a dream.
But what is your whole past? The gap is there, the space is there. Try to see it as a dream. Now it is a dream; now it is nothing more than a dream, because just as the dream becomes a memory, your past has become just a memory. You cannot prove really that whatsoever you think was your childhood was real or just a dream. It is difficult to prove. It may have been just a dream, it may have been real. The memory cannot say whether it was real or a dream. Psychologists say that old men occasionally get confused between what they have dreamed and what was real.
Children always get confused. In the morning, small children cannot differentiate. Whatsoever they have seen in the dream was not real, but they may weep for a toy destroyed in the dream. And you also, for a few moments after sleep is broken, are still affected by your dream. If someone was murdering you in the dream, even though your sleep is broken and you are wide awake, your heart still beats fast, your blood circulation is fast. You may be still perspiring, and a subtle fear is still there hovering around you. Now you are awake and the dream has passed, but you will take a few minutes to feel that it was simply a dream and nothing else. When you can feel that it was a dream, then you are out of it and there is no fear.
If you can feel that the past was just a dream — you are not to project this and force the idea that the past was just a dream, it is a consequence — if you can observe this; if you can be aware of it without getting involved in it, without being identified with it; if you can stand aloof and look at it, it will become a dream. Anything that you can look at as a witness is a dream.
That is why Shankara and Nagarjuna could say that this world is just a dream. Not that it IS a dream; they were not fools, not simpletons saying this world actually is a dream. They meant by saying this that they have become witnesses. Even to this world which is so actual, they have become witnesses. And once you become a witness of anything, it becomes a dream. That is the reason why the world is called MAYA, an illusion. It is not that it is unreal, but that one can become a witness to it. And once you become a witness — aware, fully aware — the whole thing drops just like a dream for you, because the space is there and you are not identified with it. But we go on being identified.
Just a few days before I was reading Jean Jacques Rousseau’s CONFESSIONS. This is a rare book. It is really the first book in world literature in which someone bares himself, totally naked. Whatsoever sins he has committed, whatsoever immorality, he opens himself up, totally naked. But if you read the CONFESSIONS of Rousseau you are bound to feel that he is enjoying it; he feels very much elated. Talking about his sins, talking about his immoralities, he feels elated. It seems as if he is enjoying it with much relish. In the beginning, in the introduction, Rousseau says, “When the last day of judgement will come, I will say to God, to the almighty, `You need not bother about me. Read this book and you will know everything.'”
No one before him has ever confessed so truthfully. And at the end of the book he says, “Almighty God, eternal God, fulfill my only desire. I have confessed everything; now let a big crowd gather to listen to my confessions.”
So it is rightly suspected that he may have confessed some sins also which he has not committed. He feels so elated and he is enjoying the whole thing. He has become identified. And there is only one sin which he has not admitted to — the sin of being identified. With whatsoever sin he has committed or not committed he is identified, and that is the only sin for those who know deeply how the human mind functions.
When for the first time he read his confessions amongst a small group of intellectuals, he was thinking that something earthshaking would happen, because he was the first man to confess so truthfully, as he said. The intellectuals listened, and they became more and more bored. Rousseau felt very uneasy because he was thinking something miraculous was going to happen. When he ended, they all felt relieved, but no one said anything. There was complete silence for a few moments. Rousseau’s heart was shattered. He was thinking that he had created a very revolutionary thing, earthshaking, historical, and there was simply silence. Everyone was just thinking about how to get away from there.
Who is interested in your sins except yourself? No one is interested in your virtues, no one is interested in your sins. Man is such that he becomes elated, he becomes strengthened in his ego, by his virtues and by his sins also. After writing CONFESSIONS, Rousseau began to think himself a sage, a saint, because he had confessed. But the basic sin remained. The basic sin is being identified with happenings in time. Whatsoever happens in time is dreamlike, and unless you get unattached from it, not identified with it, you will never know what bliss is.
Identification is misery; non-identification is bliss. This tenth technique is concerned with identification.