We very often feel that we create our own suffering. In spite of this, why do we continue creating them? And when and how does one stop creating one’s own suffering?
The first thing, and very basic to be understood, is that whenever you say, We very often feel that we create our own suffering, this is not the case. You never really feel that you are the creator of your own suffering. You may think so, because you have been taught so; because for centuries and centuries teachers have been teaching that you are the creator of your own suffering and no one else is responsible.
You have heard these things; you have read these things. They have become your blood and bone, they have become your unconscious conditionings, so sometimes you repeat like a parrot we create our own suffering. But this is not your feeling, this is not your realization, because if you realize it, then the other thing is impossible. Then you cannot say, In spite of this, why do we continue creating them?
If you really feel, and if it is your own feeling that you are the creator of your own suffering, any moment you can stop – unless you want to create it, unless you enjoy it, unless you are a masochist. Then everything is okay, then there is no question. If you say, ‘I enjoy my suffering,’ then it is okay; you can go on creating it. But if you say, ‘I suffer and I want to go beyond it. I want to stop it completely – and I understand that I am the creator,’ then you are wrong. You don’t understand it. Socrates is reported to have said that knowledge is virtue. And there has been a long discussion for these two thousand years over whether Socrates is right or wrong – knowledge is virtue.
Socrates says that once you know something, you cannot do contrary to it. If you know that anger is suffering, you cannot be angry. This is what Socrates means – knowledge is virtue. You cannot say, ‘I know anger is bad; still, I move in it. What to do about it now?’ Socrates says that the first thing is wrong. You don’t know that anger is bad; that’s why you go on moving in it. If you know, you cannot move in it. How can you move against your own knowledge?
I know that if I put my hand in the fire it is going to be painful. If I know, I cannot put my hand in. But if somebody else has told me, if I have heard through the tradition, if I have read in the scriptures that fire burns, and I have not known fire, and I have not known any similar experience, only then can I put my hand into fire – and that too only once.
Can you conceive it? That you have put your hand into fire and you have been burned and you have suffered, and again you go and ask, ‘I know that fire burns, but in spite of it I go on putting my hand into the fire. What to do about it?’ Who will believe that you know? And what type of knowledge is this? If your own experience of suffering and burning cannot stop you, nothing is going to stop you. Now there is no possibility, because the last possibility has been missed. But no one can miss it; that is impossible.
Socrates is right, and all those who have known, they will agree with Socrates – that agreement has a very deep point in it. Once you know…. But remember – the knowledge must be yours. A borrowed knowledge won’t do; borrowed knowledge is useless. Unless it is your own experience, it is not going to change you. Others’ experiences are of no help.
You have heard that you are the creator of your own suffering, but this is just in the mind. It has not entered your being; it is not your own knowledge. So when you are discussing, you can discuss about it cerebrally, but when the actual phenomenon happens, you will forget, and you will behave in the way you know, not in the way others know.
When you are at ease, cool, collected, silently discussing anger, you can say it is poison, it is a disease, evil. But when someone makes you angry then a complete change occurs. Not it is not an intellectual discussion, now you are involved. And the moment you are involved, you become angry.
Later on again, retrospectively, when you again get cool, the memory will come back, your mind will again start functioning, and you will say, ‘That was wrong. It was not good of me to do that. I know anger is wrong.’
Who is this ‘I’? – just intellect, just the superficial mind. You don’t know – because when someone pushes you into anger, you throw this mind away. It is useful as far as discussion is concerned, but when a real situation arises, only the real knowledge will help. When there is no situation, you can go on. Even in a discussion the real situation can arise. The other can go on contradicting you so much that you become angry and then you will forget.
Real knowledge means that which has happened to you. You have not heard about it, not read about it, you have not collected information about it – it is your own experience. And then there is no question, because after that you cannot go against it. Not that you will have to make an effort not to go against it; simply you cannot go against it.
How can I? When I know this is a wall and I want to go out of this room, how can I try to pass through the wall? I know this is a wall, so I will search for the door. Only a blind man will try to go out through the wall. I have got eyes. I see what is a wall and what is a door. But if I try to enter the wall and tell you, ‘I know very well where the door is, and I know this to be a wall, but in spite of this, how can I stop myself from trying to enter the wall?’ then that means that as far as I am concerned that door looks false. Others have told me that it is the door, but as far as I am concerned, I know that door is false. And others have told me that this is a wall, but as far as I see, I see the door here in this wall, and that is why I try.
In this situation you have to make a clear-cut distinction between what you know and what you have gathered as knowledge. Don’t rely on information. From the greatest source – even if you collect from the greatest source – information is information. Even if a Buddha says it to you, it is not your own, and it is not going to help you in any way. But you can remain thinking that it is your knowledge, and this misunderstanding will waste your energy, time and life.
The basic thing is not to ask what to do so that suffering is not created. The basic thing is to know that you are the creator of your suffering. Next time whenever a real situation arises and you are in suffering, remember to find out whether you are the cause of it. And if you can find out that you are the cause of it, the suffering will disappear, and the same suffering will not appear again – impossible.
But don’t deceive yourself. You can – that’s why I say it. When you are suffering you can say, ‘Yes, I know I have created this suffering,’ but deep down you know that someone else has created it. Your wife has created it, your husband has created it, someone else has created it, and this is simply a consolation because you cannot do anything. You console yourself: ‘No one has created it, I have created it myself, and by and by I will stop it.’
But knowledge is instant transformation; there is no ‘by and by.’ If you understand that you have created it, it will drop immediately. And it is not going to come up again. If it comes again, it means the understanding has not gone deep.
So there is no need to find out what to do, and how to stop. The only need is to go deep and to find out who is really the cause of it. If others are the cause then it cannot be stopped, because you cannot change the whole world. If you are the cause, only then can it be stopped.
That’s why I insist that only religion can lead humanity towards non-suffering. Nothing else can lead, because everyone else believes that the suffering is caused by others; only religion says that suffering is caused by you. So religion makes you the master of your destiny. You are the cause of your suffering; hence you can be the cause of your bliss.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #50, Q4
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