Excerpts from Art Ticknor’s book
Sense of Self (SOS)
Art’s book is a series of responses to questions posed by spiritual seekers.
Here’s a link to an interview with Art by Richard Miller of Nevernothere tv.
“Here’s another formula to add to the collection: The path to self-realization is quite simple. All one has to do is play the self-definition game with oneself. Regardless of how the player goes about it, he must see what he believes himself to be and then see contradictory evidence. (Definition requires comparison.) He might get lucky and the first contradictory sighting might be the truth, but it’s more likely that the disillusionment will be an iterative process.”
“Self-inquiry begins with a question, requires direct looking at the mind, and successively reveals false self-identification. There’s no formula for doing this.”
“Commitment in my opinion isn’t twisting our arm to do something we don’t want to do. It’s merely recognition/admission of what we truly want. I suspect everyone feels what they truly want, but other desires and fears shout out the “voice of silence.” Why else would we be afraid to spend time in solitary retreat without the typical distractions?”
“God seems to be hidden only because we can’t admit the truth of what we see without seeing through our faulty beliefs about what we are.”
“Frustration is healthy. Sadness is noteworthy, something to feel deeply. Once we’ve experienced something fully, we don’t need to re-experience it. Every experience carries a message in my opinion … not a particle of life experience is wasted. It’s like a teacher who continues trying to get our attention and keep it long enough to help us learn. Every student is different in his capability and inclination to pick up a lesson. As students of life we swallow the lessons at the speed we’re able to.
The best position for getting a better view usually comes from leaning in the opposite direction to the one we’ve been leaning in. For someone who habitually tries to keep distracted by immersing himself in social activities, some alone time can work wonders. For someone who tends to avoid people and social interaction, a little of that can be most helpful. The path to self-knowing is contra-ego, which is largely a defensive mechanism to protect faulty beliefs.”
“Q: Do you think the fears that arise from the consciousness of physical death are the same ones that block the death of the false self?
A: No, I think what blocks the death of the false self is pride. Fear of physical death could be a potent reason to investigate the mystery of coming into and going out of existence.”
“Pride is based on faulty beliefs about what we are. Another way to say it would be that it’s based on identification with what we have vs. accurate identification with what we are. (That’s what becoming, or becoming one with, refers to. We don’t become one with something other.) The only way to move away from pride is to see through a faulty self-belief. Surrender is bowing to the truth of what we are vs. believing picture book fairy tales about it. If we want to know the truth, we let the truth know … and it will bind back upon itself. “If we pray deeply enough, we will hear and respond” as Richard Rose phrased it.”
“Suppose finding what you’re looking for (Self)is like getting to the end of a long story or like drinking an inordinately large smoothie, and the duration of your quest corresponds to the speed at which you’re willing or able to imbibe the less tasty parts. And suppose that you intuit that what you’re looking for is cap-r Rest … but that you love life despite (or maybe because of) its ups and downs, and you’re afraid that Rest = death = end of life/love.
Where would the motivation come from to speed up the page turning or gulp swallowing?”
“It’s amazing how much suffering we “demand” before being moved to acceptance and then from acceptance to a final surrender—acceptance of what we’re not and surrender to what we are.”
“Beliefs are like tranquilizers. Strong beliefs are like sleeping pills.”
“Life is the struggle to become what we are.”
“My “formula” for the seeker: 1) carve time out of your schedule daily to remember/feel what you want and notice what you’re seeing, and 2) carve longer periods of time out of your schedule occasionally to go off by yourself, away from distractions, with time to do the above and time to do nothing.
The pregnant periods for going within are periods where there’s nothing to do following reasonable exertion/struggle to go within.”
“We’re born alone, and die alone. We come from The Alone and return to The Alone … and not just at birth and death.”