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Thecentralselfsmilesatthecalculatingself’sperceptions,understandingthattheyaretherelicsofourancestry,thenecessaryillusionsofchildhood.Fine,ifthechildthinksthereissuchathingasnotbelonging,sohecanshriekandwailatthefirsthintofbeingforgottenatthegrocerystore.However,thecentralselfknowsthatnotbelongingandbeinginsufficientarethoughtsbothasnativetousandasillusoryasSantaClaus.Itunderstandsthatthethreateningaspectsofwhatweencounterareoftenillusionsthatdonotbeartakingseriously.Unencumberedbytheobstaclesthatthecalculatingselftacklesdaily,thecentralselfcanlistenininnocenceforwhoweare,listenforthewholeofit,inquireintowhatishere.Thecalculatingselfwillneverhearthewhispersofcompassionbetweenpeopleonabusystreet,neverfeelthecomplexrhythmsofourbreathingagainsttheswayingoftreesandtheoscillationsofthetide,neverattuneitselftothelongrhythmsthatgiveusmeaning.Itsattentionisonitsowncomparisonsandschemes.Butthecentralselfisopenandawarebecauseitneedonlybetheuniquevoicethatitis,anexpressionthattranscendsthepersonalitythatgotitoutofchildhoodalive.Transformation,forourcentralselves,isadescriptionofthemodethroughwhichwemovethroughlife.Atransformationisashiftinhowweexperiencetheworld,andtheseshiftshappencontinually,oftenjustbeyondournotice.Assoonasapersonsetsoutonanadventure,orfallsinlove,orstartsanewjob,sheislikelytofindherselffeelingandthinkingandtalkinglikeanewperson,curiousastohowshecouldhavefeltthewayshehadjustdaysearlier.Fromtheperspectiveofthecentralself,lifemoveswithfluiditylikeaconstantlyvaryingriver,andsodowe.Confidentthatitcandealwithwhatevercomesitsway,itseesitselfaspermeableratherthanvulnerable,andstaysopentoinfluence,tothenewandtheunknown.Undernoillusionthatitcancontrolthemovementoftheriver,itjoinsratherthanresistsitsbountifulflow.VikramSavkar,afriendofours,toldusthestoryofanexperiencethathadbecomeforhimaniconfortheopennessandgenerosityofthecentralself.Yetthestoryhetellsdepictshisowncentralselfemergingintoacooperativeuniverse,invitingustojoinhiminplay.Lastnight,Ivisitedoneofmyoldcollegehaunts,aseedydinerlocatedsouthofthecampus.Itookaplaceatthecounternexttoamanwhoappeared,onasecondlook,tobehomeless.Beforehim,meticulouslylaidout,werethreedollarbillsandsomechange,apparentlyallhehadintheworld.Whenthewaitressappeared,Iorderedahamburger—butthemanputouthishandasiftoslowmedown.Withagrandgesture,heannounced,It’sonme.Youcanhaveanythingyouwanttonight,andyouwon’tpayapenny.It’sallonme.IprotestedthatIcouldnotpossiblydothat.Hewasofferingmethewholeofhisworldlypossessions,andIcertainlycouldnotacceptsuchagift.Buthewasdeterminedtohavehismoment.Youaregoingtohavewhatyouwant,andit’sonme.Hepushedallhismoneytowardtheindifferentwomanbehindthecounter.Iwasawareofeverydeliciousbiteofthathamburger,everysipofcoffee.Thismomentaryuniverseteemedwithdelicioussmellsfromthegrill,whilevoicesofhappinessemanatedfromacouplechattingatabooth.AndI,Ihadthedeeplysatisfyingexperienceofbeingtherewhileallthistookplace.Ithankedhimforeverything.Thisnewuniverseiscooperativeinnature,andpullsfortherealizationofallourcooperativedesires.Forthemostpartitliesabitaboveourheads.Angelscanflytherebecause,asyoumayhaveheard,theytakethemselveslightly.Butnowwiththehelpofasinglerule,socanwe.Christmasdayonthefarm.Thepig,cow,hens,andFerdinandtheduckcrowdbythekitchenwindow,craningtheirneckstoseewhichunfortunateoneoftheirkindhasbeenchosentobecomethemaincourseatdinner.OntheplatterisRoseannatheduck,dressedwithsaucel’orange.Shehadsuchabeautifulnature.Ican’ttakeitanymore!It’stoomuchforaduck.Iteatsawayatthesoul.Theonlywaytofindhappinessistoacceptthatthewaythingsareisthewaythingsare.Thewaythingsarestinks!Presumably,thecowwillgolikealambtotheslaughter,whiletheduckwilllookformeansofescape.Butwhatifthereisnoapparentwayout?Willtheduckspendwhatheconceivestobehislastdaysinmisery,flappingagainstthewallsofhiscage?Itistobepresenttothewaythingsare,includingourfeelingsaboutthewaythingsare.Thispracticecanhelpusclarifythenextstepthatwilltakeusinthedirectionwesaywewanttogo.Whyhangaroundandfeellikeasucker?itasks.Whatisherenow?itasks,andthen,