Sheldon B. Kopp wrote a book that has influenced me more than anything besides the Mastery Foundation's work, my theological studies and, most of all, my family.
The book is called If You Meet The Buddha On the Road, Kill Him! It is subtitled, "The Pilgrimage of Psychotherapy Patients" and is called, below Dr. Kopp's name, "A fresh, realistic approach to altering one's destiny and accepting the responsibility that grows with freedom".
I gave away most of my books a few years ago. Many went to the library at St. James, Higganum. Others went to friends. What I kept was some volumes of The New Interpreter's Bible, all my books of poetry, including How Does a Poem Mean? by John Ciardi, which I've had since my Junior year of college, A Canticle for Leibowitz. a novel by Walter Miller, a handful of Biblical commentaries and The Elements of Style (third edition) by Strunk and White, which I've had since 1980. A few other random things, but not much else. I use the Cheshire Library these days, almost never buying books (except for the 'Hunger Games' trilogy and how many ever volumes there are in the 'Game of Thrones' series.)
And I kept "If you meet.....", well worn and brown on all the edges.
I don't read the whole thing anymore, but every few weeks I read what comes at the very end, which Kopp calls: 'An Eschatological Laundry List: A partial register of the 927 (or is it 928?) Eternal Truths'.
I'd like to share that list with you now.
1. This is it!
2. There are no hidden meanings.
3. You can't get there from here, and besides there's no place else to go.
4. We are already dying, and we will be dead a long time.
5. Nothing lasts.
6. There is no way of getting all you want.
7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.
8. Your only get to keep what you give away.
9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.
10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no
compensation for misfortune.
11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.
12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.
13. You don't really control anything.
14. You can't make anyone love you.
15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.
16. Everyone is, in his/her own way, vulnerable.
17. There are no great persons.
18. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.
19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly I myself).
20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.
21. All of you is worth something, if you will only own it.
22. Progress is an illusion.
23. Evil can be displaced but never eradicated, as all solutions breed new problems.
24. Yet it is necessary to keep on struggling toward solutions.
25. Childhood is a nightmare.
26. But it is so very hard to be an on-your-own, take-care-of-yourself-cause-there-is-no one else
27. Each of us is ultimately alone.
28. The most important things, each person must do for themselves.
29. Love is not enough, but it sure helps.
30. We have only ourselves, and one another. That may not be much, but that's all there is.
31. How strange, that so often, it all seems worth it.
32. We must live within the ambiguity of partial freedom, partial power, and partial knowledge.
33. All important decisions must be made on the basis of insufficient data.
34. Yet we are responsible for everything we do.
35. No excuses will be accepted.
36. You can run, but you can't hide.
37. It is most important to run out of scapegoats.
38. We must learn the power of living with our helplessness.
39. The only victory lies in surrender to oneself.
40. All of the significant battles are wages within the self.
41. You are free to do whatever you like. You need only face the consequences.
42. What do you know...for sure...anyway?
43. Learn to forgive yourself, again and again and again and again....
If that's not enough to ponder under your own Castor Oil Tree for like forever, what is?
Wisdom from 1972 to ponder.
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