Excerpt About Friend

Knowing Yourself and the Story of Nasrudin's Balloon

One day Nasrudin was talking to a friend before going to sleep. Before he lay down, he took a balloon and tied it to his big toe. His friend said, “Why are you going to sleep with a balloon tied to your big toe?” Nasrudin said, “I do it every night when I go to sleep.” His friend asked, “Really? Why?” Nasrudin said, “That’s how I know when I wake up the next morning that it’s Me.” So, when Nasrudin fell asleep, his friend took the balloon and tied it to his own toe. Nasrudin woke up the next morning and looked at the balloon and saw it tied to the other guy’s toe. He shook him awake and said, “If you are me, then who am I?” That’s the “I,” the identity tag, the balloon. That part is not your being; it’s just a tag. It’s important to have it; otherwise, the IRS can’t track you, the Department of Motor Vehicles can’t find you. You must have ID cards and credit cards so that you can drive a car. Things would be difficult without your balloon, your label. It has its uses. That identity card, however, is not what loves. But you think that is who you are. After a while you forget, and you take your Mastercard to be you. The more plastic cards you own, the more important a person you are. People actually feel important with lots of cards. They open their wallet—“see how important I am?” When I talk about “knowing oneself,” I don’t mean knowing that tag, that self-image. I don’t mean knowing how you feel about your body or how you look, or if you’re short or tall or angry or sad. Not these. I mean knowing your inner nature, your true nature. There is such a thing. It’s what we call essence. When you recognize your true nature, your being, your essence, you will see it is Being, because it is. It is in the sense that it is an existence. It is not a reaction; it is not an emotion. An emotion is not an is-ness. An emotion is an activity, a charge and discharge pattern. Essence is there regardless of the charge or discharge. There is an existence, a beingness that can be experienced, and that is you.

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