I am afraid—afraid of enlightenment. What is beyond enlightenment? What to do after the goal of living is reached? What do you aim for? It is like falling into a bottomless pit. You fall—no bottom, no goal. Then what do you aim for? What is beyond the goal?
Cliff — obviously it is not my pilot Cliff, because the question does not show the guts of a pilot – but whoever you are you have raised very significant questions. I am saying questions because there are many. You have condensed them into a very small question.
First you are saying, “I am afraid, afraid of enlightenment.” This can be taken as a general state of human mind; otherwise there is no reason why so few people have ever become enlightened. And those who have become enlightened have been shouting for centuries of its joy, its bliss; its ultimate truth, beauty; its eternity and its going beyond death. But the larger part of humanity has not paid any attention to it, naturally. Your question comes from the deepest core of humanity.
It is not only your question, everybody is afraid of enlightenment. And the reason is clear why one is afraid: the fear is of losing yourself. For the same reason people are afraid of love; for the same reason people are afraid of trust; for the same reason they remain enclosed in all kinds of fears, miseries, anxieties and anguish, because at least these feel familiar. And one thing is certain; they don’t ask you to be lost. The more painful your life is, the more you are.
Perhaps deep down you desire pain, you desire misery, you desire anguish, because that keeps you clearly defined. You are afraid of the same things for which you also have a longing. On the one hand, there is a longing to go beyond all fears, beyond all anxieties, beyond all suffering. But the problem becomes complex, because being beyond suffering you are also beyond yourself — you are the suffering. You are the prison, that’s why you are afraid to get out of it. On the contrary, you try to console yourself in every way, that “This is not a prison, this is my home.”
So you are living in a dilemma: you want to go into the open sky and open your wings and fly across the sun. But on the other hand, you are afraid you may never be able to find the way back to your cozy, familiar space. Although it is painful you have become accustomed to it; although there is suffering it is like an old friend. The beyond invites you, calls you to take courage. But it also creates a trembling within you, because going out of the cozy circle of your misery and your hell, you know for certain — you may not be very conscious of it — that your so-called personality will melt away into the vast ocean, just like an ice block.
The fear is, is there something beyond your personality? You are not aware of it, you have never come across it — you have never met yourself. You know only the superficial that has been told to you. You don’t know on your own authority your essential, your inner. And of course nobody else can say anything about your inner. It is not available for observation; it is not available to be an object. Science cannot find it. Logic feels absolutely inadequate. Reason has not the wings to fly to the inner.
Karl Marx used to say, “I will believe in God only if he is caught in a test tube and scientists unanimously declare that this is God — after dissection and autopsy to find whether he is really divine.” Karl Marx was representative of you all, of the wider humanity; he is saying, “How can I believe in God? Science has no proof for it.” And science has no proof either for your self. It can dissect you, it can cut you into as many parts as possible, but it will not find you; it will find only a dead corpse.
Only very recently have geniuses become aware that what we have been doing in physiology, in biology, in medical sciences, is not right. The moment you take blood out of my body and then you test it, it is not the same blood that is flowing in my body. In my body it is alive, it has a life of its own; outside my body it is a dead thing. And you cannot conclude from the analysis of the dead about the living. You can take anything out of the human body, but the moment you take it out, you have taken it out as a dead thing. In the human body it was an organic, living, breathing, alive part.
A few very sensitive medical surgeons have become aware of the fact that something has to be done about it, because in the medical colleges they go on studying the corpses, skeletons, to decide about living human beings — there is such a great logical fallacy. But they are also feeling impotent — how to approach life? All that they know is — their whole technology, their whole methodology is to know — the object, and you are not the object. Hence, science is never going to accept your living being — it is beyond its limits. Logic cannot accept, reason cannot accept, philosophy cannot accept.
And your fear, on top of it all, is that nobody is there to give you a certainty that beyond your superficial personality there is something more. You will disappear as you are, and you will appear in your authentic reality. This is the fear. People are afraid of coming closer to each other, even in love; they keep each other at arm’s length. They want to come closer, but a fear… to be too close, you can be lost.
With love, the problem is not so great — but going beyond your ordinary self, your accepted face that you have seen in the mirror, that others have told you is very beautiful, or is ugly… All your knowledge about yourself is dependent on others’ opinions.
The fear, Cliff, is because you don’t have any experience of your innermost being; all that you know about yourself is what people have said. And these are the people who don’t know anything about themselves — what can they know about you?
Everybody is afraid of enlightenment, because who knows? Once your personality disappears maybe everything disappears. Then what is the point of such an enlightenment? It is better to remain unenlightened — at least you are. And death may come whenever it may come, but right now you are alive – why unnecessarily commit a suicide?
Enlightenment appears to your personality as a suicide, and in fact it is a suicide. But the suicide of personality is the beginning of individuality. The death of your personality and ego is the birth of your real authentic being, of your immortality. You will have to gather courage, and remember Michel’s Rule for Prospective Mountain Climbers: The mountain gets steeper as you get closer to the top.
So as you come closer to enlightenment — and that is the greatest mountain — it gets steeper and more and more dangerous as you come close to the disappearance of your old personality with which you were so identified.
But I tell you, I have survived. I have lost my personality; that’s why I am not at all concerned what people think about me. The whole world is against me, but they don’t even create a small stir in me. It does not matter whether they are against or for; it is their business, their problem. I know myself, and I know that what I am doing and what I am trying is intrinsically right. Nobody, just because they are in the majority, can destroy my truth.
Truth has never been the opinion of the majority; it has always been an individual achievement. The majority is interested in crucifying the truth, but it is not ready to accept it.
You can understand the psychology of it all. For two thousand years Christians have been thinking about Jesus and his crucifixion. And I am utterly disappointed with the whole two thousand years’ theology, because they have not looked at the psychology of the crucifixion. Why did people crucify Jesus? He had not done any wrong; he has not committed any crime. But the majority was turning against him because he was telling them, “Drop your ego; be humble. Drop your so-called false identity; just be nobody. Blessed are those who stand last in the line.”
He was talking against the ambitious majority. They did not crucify Jesus, they crucified the truth that was hurting them and was making them afraid: if they become impressed by this man, there is a danger. They may lose half the bread in the hope of the whole bread, and there may not be any bread at all. It is better to keep the half and not to lose it in the hope of getting the whole. That is the majority’s mind.
You say, “I am afraid — afraid of enlightenment.” It is natural, so don’t be serious about it. In a way, it is a good symptom — at least you have become interested in enlightenment; otherwise, you would not be afraid. Just go into the town and you will not find anybody… ask people, “Are you afraid of enlightenment?” And they will say, “Why should we be afraid?” They have never bothered about it. It is not a problem to them, they have never thought about enlightenment. They will think you are crazy. “Why should we be afraid of enlightenment?”
Just the other day I was looking at a newspaper clipping. It was a statement against me, that the world is coming to an end but I seem to be the only person who is not going to change, who is still talking about enlightenment. As far as I am concerned, I take it as a compliment. When the world is coming to an end, this is the right moment.
Take the risk; anyway it is going to end.
Why not take a chance and become enlightened?
The world is coming to an end — you will end with it. So now there is no fear: before the world ends, end your personality, and at least you will be saved. The world may end, but you will not end. And the person who has criticized me is right. I will go on insisting. My insistence will become more and more powerful as the end of the world comes near, to make more and more people interested in enlightenment because there is no problem about losing; you can put the fear aside.
The fear is a good symptom — it means you have become interested in enlightenment and your mind is trembling. You have become interested in the great adventure, the great affair, and your small personality is worried that this is the end. As for the small personality, which consists only of public opinions, it is going to dissolve — naturally.
It is said that every river before entering the ocean stops for a while and looks back — a moment of hesitation about what she is going to do. Ahead is the vast ocean, in which she is going to be lost. Back, she had a personality of her own — her own mountains, valleys, forests. The whole journey, long journey, maybe thousands of years, thousands of miles… Naturally, it is understandable to hesitate for a moment. But I have never seen any river go backwards. You can hesitate, but you cannot go backwards.
Cliff, you have come to the cliff! You have to take the jump. Only by taking the jump will you prove your mettle.
“What is beyond enlightenment?” First things first! Out of fear you are thinking that it seems enlightenment is bound to happen; now be clear what is going to happen after it — “What is beyond enlightenment?”
Beyond enlightenment is all — the whole universe. Beyond enlightenment you are no more a small dewdrop, you are the ocean.
“What to do after the goal of living is reached?” You are not supposed to do anything. I can see all your concerns are very human. You know one thing, that now you cannot avoid enlightenment; you may be afraid, but you have to take the jump. Naturally, you are asking, “What is beyond enlightenment?” And even if something is there — “What to do after the goal of living is reached?”
You have never thought about what you have done as far as your birth is concerned — have you done anything? What are you doing as far as your life is concerned? Do you think you are breathing? If it was up to you to breathe, you would have been dead long before; just in anger, or in some love affair, you would forget to breathe. Or in the night, will you sleep or not? Or keep yourself awake just to continue breathing, because if you fall asleep and breathing stops, in the morning who is going to get up? No, breathing you are not doing.
Existence is breathing.
What are you doing as far as your inner structure of life is concerned? Do you digest? Are you responsible for changing food into blood, into bones, into marrow? These are not your concerns. Your concern ends with the taste buds, and the moment the food is swallowed it goes into the hands of existence; it is no more your concern.
One day try to be continuously aware what is happening in your stomach, and then you will have a good disturbed stomach for at least one week! Your consciousness is not needed, the stomach is doing its work on its own. Your brain consists of seven million cells, and each cell is doing its own function, and you are not needed — they don’t even ask your advice. Has any part of your body stopped you sometime and asked you, “What to do? — I am at a loss?” They are never at a loss; they are part of the cosmic organism. They have an inbuilt process; they go on doing their things.
The moment you become enlightened and disappear into the ocean, you will not be asked to do something — to type, or to dig, or to prepare piesta… or is it pizza! You are not supposed to do anything; you are gone. Now the universal force has taken possession of you. Things will be happening, but they will not be your doing.
“What do you aim for?” You have reached beyond aim. Aim is a concern of the ego. The ego cannot exist without an aim — some ambition, some desire, some infatuation, something to be achieved tomorrow.
The ego is a tension between today and the future. The moment there is no ego, there is no tension. You simply live in a state of let-go.
Then, wherever the river takes you, wherever the life force takes you, you simply go. It is not your goal; you have become part of the whole. Now whatever is the goal of the whole… and I don’t think there is any goal. The whole is perfectly happy in singing and dancing and enjoying; in flowers, in the wind, in the rain, in the sun, in the stars. There is no goal. The whole is perfectly happy just to be, here-now.
If there is no aim, you start thinking it is like falling into a bottomless pit. Then what to do and what to aim for? “What is beyond the goal?” You are really in trouble! You will not be satisfied unless you are enlightened. All these problems: first, “What is the goal?” Then, “What is beyond the goal?” You want to determine the whole eternity!
Your question should be just about enlightenment. Beyond that, existence takes care.
Who has given you the name, Cliff? — that’s what I have been wondering. Such a dangerous name! Use your intelligence to see that the fear is arising out of the false in you, the fear is not arising out of the real. The real is really deeply challenged by the idea of enlightenment. But be intelligent; otherwise you may listen to the personality and forget to listen to the individuality.
Meditate more, so that your intelligence can become more clear, unclouded, and all fears will disappear. And all other questions are just nonsense; they will also disappear. All that you need is a little more meditation, a little more sharpness of intelligence.
Paddy and Maureen planned to get married, so they went to the doctor for a physical checkup. The doctor then tried to explain sex to them, but Paddy just listened with a dumb expression on his face. So the doctor took Maureen over to the examination table, made her lie down, and then made love to her. “Now do you understand?” said the physician.
“Yes,” said Paddy, “but how often do I have to bring her in?”
A great question! Just become enlightened, Cliff! Don’t get worried about so many problems. You will be lost in a jungle of a thousand and one problems. And enlightenment is a simple process; it is just becoming your authentic self. And it is so luminous that in its light all darkness disappears, and with the darkness all the doubts, all the questions. And a tremendous insight arises that you are not separate from existence; hence there is no question of goal, no question of direction; no question where you are going, why you are going.
Then just to be part of the whole is so immense and so overwhelming, one feels fulfilled and contented. There is nowhere to go; you have arrived.
The theatrical agent, trying to sell a new strip act to a nightclub manager, was carrying on very excitedly about a girl’s unbelievable seventy-two, twenty-six, forty, figure.
“What kind of dance does she do?” the manager inquired, impressed by the description of the girl’s figure.
“Well, she doesn’t actually dance at all,” the agent replied. “She just crawls out onto the stage and tries to stand up!”
With that kind of figure… how can you dance? Even if you can stand up, that’s enough! Let me repeat the figure — seventy-two, twenty-six, forty!
Cliff, you have come to the right place. Here we are not giving you any goals, any heaven, any paradise. We are not selling any future to you. We are not in any business — the churches are, the temples are, the synagogues are. I am teaching you that there is no goal and that there is no meaning, but there is great joy, and great love, and great blissfulness. And all that you have to pay for it is to drop your false ego, your false personality.
Become silent. In your silence, all questions will disappear. And the dance will begin whatever the figure! Because as far as your inner being is concerned, it has no figure; it is just a luminous flame which can dance. It has been eternally there, repressed by you. You are the greatest enemy of yourself. My effort is to turn you into the greatest friend of yourself.
From The Invitation, Chapter Five
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