While watching the changing world outside and the movement of thoughts and emotions within, I become aware of a presence that doesn’t change. It is impossible to define what this is in words, but I do know that it is always the same presence, that when it comes, it is everywhere and nowhere at once; that nothing I’m thinking or feeling can connect with it; that it is so still it doesn’t exist and so sublet that at times it is too alive to bear. I remember encountering this presence first as a child. Beloved Master, am I rediscovering my lost innocence?
Dhyan Arjuna, yes you are rediscovering your lost innocence. Religion is a rediscovery. It is something that we had known, that we had lived, but we have left far behind – so far behind that it seems almost as if it was not a reality but only a dream scene, just a faint memory, a faraway echo. But if you become meditative that echo starts coming closer, the dream starts changing into a reality and the forgotten language of innocence is suddenly remembered. Hence it is not a discovery, it is a rediscovery.
Every child is born feeling the whole universe, not knowing his separation from it. It is by slow education that we teach him to feel separate. We give him a name, we give him an identity, we give him qualities, we give him ambitions – we create a personality around him.
Slowly, slowly, the personality becomes thicker through upbringing, education, religious teaching; and as the personality becomes thicker, he starts forgetting who he used to be in his mother’s womb – because there he was not a doctor, an engineer, there he had no name, there he was not separate from existence. He was so together with the mother – and beyond the mother there was nothing.The womb was all, his whole universe, a very tiny experience of the ultimate reality.
What happens to the child in the mother’s womb happens again to the sage when the whole universe becomes just a womb, and he becomes part of the womb. The child in the mother’s womb never worries, “What will happen tomorrow?” He has no money, no bank account, no business, utterly unemployed, no qualifications. He does not know when night comes, when day comes, when seasons change; he simply lives in utter innocence, in deep trust that everything will be okay, as it has been before. If it is okay today it will be okay tomorrow. He does not think this way, it is just an intrinsic feeling – not words because he does not know words. He knows only feelings, moods, and is always in a jubilant mood, rejoicing – absolute freedom without any responsibility.
Why does every child coming out of the womb give so much pain to the mother? Why is every child born crying? If you try to look deeply into these small matters, they may reveal to you great secrets of life. The child resists getting out of the womb because it has been his home. He does not know any calendar. Nine months are almost an eternity – forever. Since he has known that he is, he has been in the womb, always and always.
Now suddenly his home is being taken away. He is being thrown out, expelled; he resists with all the power that he has. He clings to the womb, that is the problem. The mother wants him to be born sooner, because the longer he remains inside, the more pain she has to suffer. But the child clings, and he is always born crying – every child, without exception.
Only about one man, Lao Tzu, is it said that he was born laughing. It is possible; he was an exceptional man, crazy from the very beginning. Not knowing exactly what to do, that this is the time to cry, he laughed. And he remained that way his whole life, just doing wrong things at wrong times. And the story of his whole life’s strangeness begins with the laughter. Everybody was shocked because no child has ever done that.
But that is the only exception – which may be simply a myth, which may be just a retrospective idea. Seeing Lao Tzu’s whole life, the people who wrote about him must have thought that his beginning could not be the same as everybody else’s; it has to be a little crazy. His whole life . . . his beginning has to be consistent with his life. Perhaps it is only a myth. But even historically, if he had laughed it is an exception, not the rule.
Why is every child born crying? Because his home is being deserted, his world is destroyed – suddenly he finds himself in a strange world amongst strange people. And he continues to cry because every day his freedom becomes less and less, and his responsibility becomes more and more weighty. Finally, he finds there is no freedom left but only duties to be fulfilled, responsibilities to be carried out; he becomes a beast of burden. Seeing this with the clarity of innocent eyes, if he cries you cannot condemn him.
The psychologists say the search for truth, for God, for paradise, is really based on the experience of the child in the womb. He cannot forget it. Even if he forgets it in his conscious mind, it goes on resounding in his unconscious. He is searching again for those beautiful days of total relaxation with no responsibility, and all the freedom of the world available.
And there are people who have found it. My word for it is enlightenment. You can choose any word, but the basic meaning remains the same. One finds that the whole universe is just like a mother’s womb to you: you can trust, you can relax, you can enjoy, you can sing, you can dance. You have an immortal life and a universal consciousness.
Dhyan Arjuna, what is happening to you is exactly a rediscovery. It has to happen to every sannyasin. But they don’t allow it.
People are afraid to relax. People are afraid to trust. People are afraid of tears. People are afraid of anything out of the ordinary, out of the mundane. They resist, and in their resistance, they dig their own grave and they never come to juicy moments, to ecstatic experiences, which are their right; they just have to claim them.
A Jewish man living in Los Angeles goes to see a psychiatrist. He introduces himself as Napoleon “So what seems to be the problem?” asked the doctor.
“Well, Doc, actually everything is great. My army is strong, my palace magnificent and my country is prospering. My only problem is Josephine, my wife.”
“Ah,” says the doctor, “and what is her problem?”
Throwing his hands up in despair, the man says, “She is thinking she is Mrs. Goldberg.”
In his tensions, in his anxieties, in his problems, man loses himself in the crowd. He becomes someone else. He knows that he is not the role he is playing; he is somebody else. This creates a tremendous psychological split in him. He cannot play the role correctly because he knows it is not his authentic being, and he cannot find his authentic being. He has to play the role because the role gives him his livelihood, his wife, his children, his power, his respectability, everything. He cannot risk it all, so he goes on playing the role of Napoleon Bonaparte. Slowly, slowly he starts believing it himself. He has to believe it, otherwise it will be difficult to play the part.
The best actor is the one who forgets his individuality and becomes one with his acting; then his crying is authentic, his love is authentic, then whatever he says is not just the prompted role, it comes from his very heart – it looks almost real. […]
When you have to play a part, you have to be deeply involved in it. You have to become it. Everybody is playing some part, knowing perfectly well that this is not what he is supposed to be. This creates a rift, an anxiety, and that anxiety destroys all your possibilities of relaxing, of trusting, of loving, of having any communion with anybody – a friend, a beloved, a master. You become isolated. You become, with your own decisions, self-exiled, and then you suffer.
So much suffering in the world is not natural; it is a very unnatural state of affairs. One can accept once in a while somebody suffering, but blissfulness should be natural and universal. But you have to deserve it, and for deserving you don’t have to do some great acts – go to the moon or climb Everest.
You have to learn small secrets. But there are people who are not ready to learn small secrets – it is against their egos to learn anything. I have been getting rid of such people continuously, because they are unnecessarily wasting their time and occupying other people’s places.
Just the other day one man wrote, “I enjoy very much when you come in and I enjoy very much when you go back, but in the middle, sitting for one or two hours, I don’t enjoy at all.” Now what to do with such a case? If there are many such cases I can manage a special session for them: I will come and I will go and they are free. There is no need to sit in between. But these stupid people go on hanging around my neck unnecessarily.
Hymie sees an old friend standing on the other side of the road from the Thames Bridge. “David, what are you standing there for?”
“I am going to jump off that bridge. My wife has left me, my children won’t speak to me, and I am bankrupt.”
“So why stand there?”
“The traffic. I could get killed crossing the road.”
He wants to commit suicide by jumping from the bridge and he is afraid of the traffic. Such is the wavering mind of man – one moment one wants to commit suicide, the next moment one wants to live. There is no decisiveness. And without decisiveness, your life will remain wishy-washy. It cannot become a splendor.
From The Rebel, Discourse #4, Q2
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