Rediscovering The True Self    by Ron Farmer PhD

EXTRACT 1: (from Introduction)

What you are looking for
is what is looking.

St Francis of Assisi
(1182 – 1226)

Each one of us is always ‘looking’: looking for peace, for happiness, for love, for a sense of purpose and meaning in life. And here and there we find it, for a second or two or sometimes even an hour, and then it is gone again and the search is renewed, perhaps more feverishly but oftentimes with a heavy heart crying out for relief.

Why do we all yearn for lasting joy, love and contentment? What I’ve come to understand is that St. Francis was answering this very question all those years ago in Assisi when he said that we are looking for our Self, our true Self. That is, we seek joy because are joy; we cry out for love because we are love; and we’d give a fortune to know deep, lasting peace because we are that peace.


EXTRACT 2: (from Introduction)

After all, if I am this pure, lasting, unsullied happiness why haven’t I been living in a state of bliss ever since I was born? And if I am indeed boundless, selfless, nectarine love, why did I feel so unloved and unloving for decades on end? It’s beyond my comprehension. It seems like an unbelievably ignorant thing to have done for so long. The absurdity of chasing after fleeting glimpses of tinsel while all the time sitting on top of a goldmine reminds me of an old story that has been useful for me:

There was once a very wealthy king who went to sleep and had a dream that he was a pauper. So vivid was the dream that, upon awakening, he left the palace and lived out his life as a penniless beggar. When people reminded him that he was in fact a royal monarch he would point to his threadbare clothes, unwashed skin and poverty-striken surroundings and insist that the idea of kingliness was but a fantasy.

I can relate to this allegory now that I’ve come to believe that I am a ‘king’, even though I’ve found it takes time to let go of the dream of being the ‘pauper’ who is waiting for life to shower a few pennies upon him. There is great comfort and a wonderful feeling of positivity in arriving at the certainty that we are all Gods having a human experience; that vast, limitless oceans of peace, love and joy already lie within us although mostly hidden from conscious awareness.


EXTRACT 3: (from Introduction)

Each surge of liberating energy up the spine was experienced as primal terror, fear beyond description.

What I now know is that the fear was but love knocking on the door announcing its imminent arrival. And lest we wonder at how love can be experienced as fear, we need only recall the frightened mob who two thousand years ago murdered a man whose radiant love was so great that now over two billion people today refer to themselves as Christians.

Rediscovering the True Self is in many ways a retelling of an old story that we have all experienced to varying degrees at certain times in our lives – out of the compost heap of broken dreams, pathos and even despair, there sprouts renewed hope, vibrant growth and unforeseen good fortune.

To my way of looking at things, we are all on the same journey, climbing the same Mountain of Truth, albeit following a myriad different pathways. Fate or the seeds of destiny planted in earlier times led me to have a nervous breakdown which I came to regard as a breakthrough. Fortunate indeed has this young soul been in having suffered for so many years, for it was to set in motion a search for ‘the one who is looking’, a journey which in many ways will remind you of your own inner quest for love, peace and everlasting joy.

You can never cross the ocean
  unless you have the courage
     to lose sight of the shore.

Christopher Columbus
(1451 – 1506)


EXTRACT 4: (from Chapter 7 - Searching for Shambala)nimbin

The small town of Nimbin in northern New South Wales was the hub for the surrounding communes, providing a range of colourful shops, cafes and two meeting halls. Any day of the week in Nimbin could guarantee the curious visitor an experience which would add to the town’s mixture of mystique and openness. It was a time when those suffering from psychosis were being discouraged from residing in mental health asylums, and so many of them headed for the Nimbin area to live in cowsheds, barns, tents and make-shift temporary dwellings far more primitive that mine at Paradise Valley. Here they felt accepted and not judged, tolerated and even befriended. It was not out of the ordinary to see a man striding up and down in the middle of the main street of Nimbin, shouting at the sky words of praise, insults and even directions – quite a few people in the district thought they could control the weather.

I sought out the simple dwelling place of a young man and woman who were both struggling with schizophrenia. They were living on the vast commune of Tuntable Falls which had perhaps two hundred members. The disused old milking shed which served as this couple’s home was located in lush green pastures surrounded by stunningly beautiful mountains covered in rainforest. Barely coherent, with meagre possessions, they delighted me with their warmth and simplicity, treating me with profound respect.

Richard was the man’s name. They were  adamant that living amongst Nature was of more help to them than trying to survive in a city. And my association with them was of enormous benefit to myself. Let me share with you a profound experience I had with Richard.

Long hair and flowing beard in disarray, a japamala necklace strung with 108 rough rakshuka beads hanging to his waist, dressed in rainbow-coloured clothes from the Salvo’s store, barefoot with several front teeth missing, Richard was an interesting sight – scary to some. His darting, furtive   eyes and a habit of approaching one in a sideways manner added to his strange uniqueness. On this morning I had just boarded the 12-seater bus in Nimbin to take me into Lismore when Richard cautiously approached me and with awkward courtesy asked if he could sit next to me. By-passing any preliminaries, he pulled out of his pocket a crumpled and slightly-stained page torn from an old magazine and indicated that it was really important for me to read it. The article told the story of how a very high lama in Tibet had written to the 13th Dalai Lama sometime around 1900 lamenting how, now that he was blind, almost deaf, crippled and incontinent, a great darkness had come upon him because he could no longer be of any use to his many thousands of followers. In his wisdom the 13th Dalai Lama wrote back something to the effect of:

“You might well believe that you can no longer be of loving service to those in your jurisdiction, but this is a transparently false assumption. Let me assure you that you can now be of greater service than ever before, even more so than when you were at the height of your powers; for now you can have compassion, real compassion. Now you know what it is like to be rendered useless in the eyes of society, what it’s like to lose even more of your dignity and self-confidence as your health declines still further. You do not have to go anywhere or even be with anyone in person to do your good work. From this moment on, your compassion and loving kindness will radiate out from you in a constant stream of healing energy to all those who are suffering with being blind, deaf, crippled or incontinent, in fact to all beings throughout the world who are sunk in despair and self-pity. The loving service so rendered is beyond compare.”

The effect on the high lama upon reading these words was powerful and immediate. He spent the rest of his days in quiet, contented seclusion, beaming out his love and compassion to the whole world.

I was both moved and inspired by this story, pressed upon me by a man who at first sight did not seem able to function as an effective member of society, and I have relayed  the essence of the tale to so many people in need since that time. Such strong learning experiences – as that with Richard – were presented to me from many sides during those commune- dwelling days. Clearly I was meant to be there, to be opened and influenced by people and events which I could never have encountered in my cloistered life as a university academic. And still more was yet to come.

My way is crossed

By a single thread
That connects everything.

(551 BC – 479 BC)