He was getting old...
His friends would tell him, "No, no Aziia, old is a state of mind, you're still young!".
But, he knew for a fact that his body was not young any more; still, he understood the state-of-mind argument---an issue that, for a few years now, had greatly troubled him...
He looked in his small mirror and said to the wrinkled face: "I'm just getting damned weary of myself... But, I can't seem to let go and trust in something more grand than me and my life... And, dear Aziia, you just don't look like you have much time left to straighten things out..."
On an intuitive urging, he went to his desk and searched for a certain piece of paper---eventually found it and considered the "to do" items he'd written down---nearly five years before:
* show compassion and goodwill
* render some service to humanity
* attempt to guide and counsel others
* be kind to everyone
* be humble
Some of those to-dos seemed rather grandiose; but, as goals, they certainly showed that Aziia was plagued with a desire to get rid of his all too familiar, judgmental, and fussy ego...
He wasn't what some might call a rampant egoist; but, as he often reminded himself, it was becoming rather obvious that his vanity was holding him back from some "higher calling"...
He considered his to-do list again, chanted it like an agenda of affirmations, began to feel self-conscious, and went out for a mindless walk.
His stroll brought him, perhaps not so mindlessly, to his favorite café.
As he entered, he saw one of his treasured younger friends, a lecturer in philosophy at the local university.
"Oh! Aziia, you seem so eager!"
"Uh... Well... My mind's been hounding me and, in fact, you might be the best person to consult..."
"Shall I get you a cup of tea?"
"Oh, I'm not that old yet---I'll be right back."
After Aziia had returned, sat, and tended to his tea, John asked:
"So, the hounds in your mind...?"
"Oh... Yes... So, what's your opinion of the ego?"
"Opinion? Hmm... I'm not sure it's an opinion---more a considered premise."
"And, this premise is?"
"The ego is the central focus of the physical concerns of the mind."
"And, the central focus of the metaphysical concerns of the mind is?"
Aziia finished off the tea in gulps and, as he stood and began walking back to the counter, said:
"Now, we're getting somewhere..."
They'd conversed for about an hour when Aziia said:
"Now, I reveal the second part of my concerns---my age and my desire to attain what you indicated as "freedom from self". I will ponder all you've said, John; but, my age beckons me to cease discussing and go home and rest. Can I book a longer appointment soon?"
John laughed and said: "As long as you want, next Saturday, around one-thirty?"