You tell me to float, but my body is so heavy with a dead-weight mind that I feel I will drown if I float. So I keep swimming in panic.
Floating is a totally new way of life. You are accustomed to fight; you are accustomed to swim upstream. The ego feels nourished if you fight with something. If you don’t fight, the ego simply evaporates. It is very essential for the existence of the ego to continue fighting. This way or that, in worldly matters or in spiritual matters, but go on fighting. Fight with others or fight with oneself, but continue the fight. The people you call worldly are fighting with others; and the people you call spiritual are fighting with themselves. But the basic thing remains the same.
The real vision arises only when you stop fighting. Then you start disappearing because without fight the ego cannot exist for a single moment. It needs constant pedaling. It is just like a bicycle. If you stop pedaling, it has to fall; it cannot continue for long — maybe a little while because of the past momentum. But your cooperation is needed for the ego, to keep it alive, and the cooperation is through fight, resistance.
When I say to you to float I mean that you are such a small, tiny part of the cosmos it is absolutely absurd to fight with it. With whom are you fighting? All fight is basically against God, because he surrounds you. If you are trying to go up current, you are trying to go against God. If he is flowing downwards to the ocean, go with him.
Once you start floating with the river, you will have a totally different quality arising in you. Something of the beyond will descend. You will not be there; you will become just an emptiness — tremendous emptiness, a receptivity. When you fight you shrink, when you fight you become small, when you fight you become hard. When you don’t fight — you surrender, you open, like a lotus opening its petals — then you receive. Unafraid you start moving, moving with life, moving with the river.
The question is: “You tell me to float, but I am afraid if I float I will drown.” It is good if you drown because only the ego can be drowned, not you. When you are fighting, in fact the ego is fighting with your innermost core. You will drown. But by that drowning, for the first time you will be able to float, for the first time you will be. Choose and you choose the ego. Be choiceless, let life choose for you, and you become egoless. Choose and you always choose hell. Choice is hell. Don’t choose. Let this prayer of Jesus resound in your hearts, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done.” Let him do for you.
Drop yourself, drown yourself. Disappear from that plane of being. And then suddenly you are no longer human; you are superhuman. Your whole life will become a life of beatitude. Let me tell you one anecdote.
One unfortunate soul arrived at the doors of hell and was interviewed by old Nick himself “Which group would you like to join?” he asked with a leer.
What do you mean — group?” asked the new arrival.
“You see,” said the devil, “we have all sorts of torments here, and we allow people to choose their own. We believe in democracy, and we are not dictatorial — and there is no emergency going on. It is for you to choose. It is for eternity, remember one thing — mind this — so you must choose carefully. I will take you on a tour.”
So the devil took him through hell. One group was wallowing in slime and being perpetually eaten by maggots, another group was constantly being prodded with red-hot tridents, another group was being stretched on racks, etc., etc., and the new arrival was feeling very despondent.
Then the devil led him to one group in which all the inhabitants were standing up to their waists in a particularly evil-smelling cesspit and drinking cups of tea.
“This does not look too bad,” he thought to himself, “I will choose this group,” he said to the devil.
“You are sure?” asked Satan. “Remember, you can’t change your mind, and it is forever and forever and forever.”
“No, I am quite sure — this will do me,” said the newly damned.
“Very well,” said the devil, “in you go.”
And just as the wretched soul jumped into the pit, a whistle blew and a voice called out: “All right, everybody! Tea break’s over — stand on your heads!”
If you choose, you choose hell. Choice is hell. That’s how you have created your hell all around you — by choosing. When you choose you don’t allow God to choose for you.
Krishnamurti goes on insisting for choicelessness. That is just one end of the whole story. The other end is: if you are choiceless God chooses for you. That is only half of the story — become choiceless — just the beginning. The moment you are choiceless life continues. You will not be there — life will continue. And you are nothing but a hell. Once you don’t stand between you and God he chooses. He has been always choosing for you. There is a proverb which says, “Man proposes and God disposes.” The reality is just the opposite: “God proposes and man goes on disposing.”
Once you have felt that beatitude of non-choosing and floating with him, you will never choose again. Because whenever you choose you choose hell, and whatsoever you choose you choose hell.
So I would like you to drown — drown with my blessings.
When Jesus says that those who cling to themselves will lose themselves, and those who are ready to lose will gain, he means exactly the same thing. When Sufis say, “Die before your death, and then you will become deathless,” they mean the same.
The death of the ego happens only through surrender. People come to me and they ask, “How not to be egoistic?” But you cannot do anything to be non-egoistic. Whatsoever you will do will make you again egoistic. You can try, discipline the ego, but you cannot be non-egoistic because whatsoever you do enhances the ego. The moment you become a doer, in whatsoever way…. You may try to be humble, but if it is your humbleness, practiced, disciplined by you, then deep down in your humbleness the ego will remain crowned, and it will go on saying, “Look. How humble I am.”
I have heard about one man who went to see Adler, the great psychologist who coined the word “inferiority complex.” The man was psychoanalyzed. After a few months and much effort, Adler told him, “Now you are cured.” The man said, “Yes, I also feel that I am cured. Now I am the one who has the most beautiful inferiority complex in the world — the best inferiority complex in the world.”
Inferiority complex, and the most beautiful and the best? It is possible; it happens every day. You can become egoistic about the inferiority complex also. You can have-a superiority complex about an inferiority complex also. Man is so ridiculous.
Go to religious people and see their faces. They show all signs of humbleness, but you will have to go a little deeper, deeper than their skin, to know them. Deep down the ego is very happy, feeling that “Nobody is more humble than me.” If you say to a religious man, “I have found a man who is more humble than you,” he will be hurt. He will feel insulted, it is impossible; nobody can be more humble than him. But that is the whole effort of the ego — nobody has a better house than me, nobody has a better car than me, nobody has a better face than me, nobody has better knowledge than me. In that comparison and feeling better is the ego.
You cannot do anything to change it. You can simply see the point that nothing is needed on your part. And once you drop it — or rather it will be better to say: once in your deep understanding it drops — you are open to life. Then life starts flowing through you, like a cool breeze in an open room. You are like a windowless room: all doors,-windows closed, no ray of light enters in you, no new breeze passes through you. You are caved in within yourself, closed. And of course if you start feeling suffocated it is natural.
But I know it is difficult to allow yourself to drown. It takes time. Just a few glimpses will be needed. Sometimes float, don’t swim, and just feel the river taking you over. Sometimes just sit in the garden, don’t choose. Don’t say what is beautiful, what is ugly. Don’t divide; just be there present to everything. Sometimes move in the marketplace, not saying, not condemning, not appreciating. In many ways learn how just to be, without any evaluation. Because the moment you evaluate you have chosen. The moment you say this is good, you are saying, “I would like to have it.” The moment you say this is bad, you say, “I don’t want it; I would not like to have it.” The moment you say this woman is beautiful, you have desired. The moment you say this woman is ugly, you have already felt repulsion. You are already caught in the duality of good and bad, beautiful and ugly; and the choice has entered in you.
Subtle are the ways of the ego. One has to be very alert.
And once you know — once even for a single moment the ego is not there, you are not creating it — suddenly all doors open, and from everywhere, from all directions, life rushes towards you. That rush is very fragile. If you are not alert you will not be able to see it, you will not be able to feel it. God’s touch is very delicate. Great sensitivity is needed to feel it.
Just the other day I was reading a small poem of Huub Oosterhuis.
“God does not send us his word
like a great torrent of water
raging in tempest and flood
sweeping us blindly along
but like a glimpse of the sun
or a green branch in the winter,
rain falling softly on earth:
this is how God comes to us. ”
… rain falling softly on earth: this is how God comes to us.”
In deep surrender, sensitivity, awareness, suddenly you are full of something which you had never known before. It has always been there, but you were too gross to know it. It has always been there, but you were too occupied in fighting, in the ways of the ego, that you couldn’t look back and feel it. It was always there, but you were not present. It was always waiting for you, but you had forgotten how to come back home. Dropping the ego is the way back home.
So drown yourself. That’s the whole art I am teaching you here. If I am teaching anything, I am teaching you death, because I know only through death is resurrection.
From Yoga: The Path to Liberation, Discourse #2 (Originally published as Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega, V.9)