Why am I always running so fast? Is there something that I don’t want to see?
Prem Amita, it is not only you; almost everybody is running as fast as he can from himself. And the problem is, you cannot run away from yourself.
Wherever you go you will be yourself.
The fear is of knowing oneself. It is the greatest fear in the world. It is because you have been so immensely condemned by everybody for the smallest things – for the smallest mistakes, which are absolutely human – that you have become afraid of yourself. You know that you are not worthy.
That idea has sunk very deep into your unconscious – that you are not deserving, that you are utterly worthless. Naturally, the best way is to get away from yourself. Everybody is doing it in different ways: somebody is running for money, somebody is running for power, somebody is running for respectability, somebody is running for virtue, saintliness.
But if you look deep down, they are not running for anything, they are running from. This is just an excuse, that somebody is running after money madly; he is deceiving himself and the whole world. The reality is that money gives him a good excuse to run after it, and hides the fact that he is running from himself. That’s why when he accumulates money; he comes to a point of tremendous despair and anguish. What has happened? That was his goal; he has achieved it – he should be the happiest man in the world.
But the people who succeed are not the happiest people in the world, they are the most miserable. What is their anguish? Their anguish is that their whole effort has failed. Now there is no more to run after, and suddenly they are encountering themselves. At the highest peak of their success they meet nobody else but themselves. Strangely enough, this is the fellow they have been running from.
You cannot run from yourself. On the contrary, you have to come closer to yourself, deeper into your being, and to drop all the condemnatory tones that have been handed over to you by everybody you have known in your life. The parents, the husband, the wife, the neighbors, the teachers, the friends, the enemies, everybody is pointing to something that is wrong in you. From no source comes any appreciation.
Humanity has created a very strange situation for itself in which nobody is at ease, nobody can relax, because the moment you relax you face yourself. Relaxation becomes almost a mirror, and you don’t want to see your face because you are so much impressed by the condemnatory opinions of others.
Even the smallest pleasures have not been allowed to you by your church, by your priests, by your religion, by your culture. Only misery is acceptable – not pleasure. In this situation it is very natural for you to feel, when from every source, from every direction comes only condemnation, that you are a sinner. Every religion has been shouting for centuries that you are born in sin, that suffering is your destiny. You have been condemned from so many sources without exception that it is very natural for any individual to be impressed by this vast conspiracy. Everybody is caught into it.
And if you try to understand it you will be very much surprised. Just as others have condemned you, you are condemning others; it is a very mutual conspiracy. Just as your parents have never accepted you as being of any worth, you are doing the same with your children, without ever becoming aware that everybody is what he is; he cannot be otherwise. He can pretend to be otherwise, he can be a hypocrite, but in truth he will always remain himself.
Your running away is nothing but creating more hypocrisy, more masks so that you can hide yourself completely from the eyes of everyone. You may succeed in hiding yourself from others, but how can you succeed in hiding yourself from yourself? You can go to the moon; you will find yourself there. You can go to Everest; you may be alone but you are with yourself. Perhaps in that aloneness on Everest you will become more alert and aware of yourself.
That is one of the reasons why people are also afraid of aloneness; they want a crowd, they want always to have people surrounding them, they want friends. It is very difficult for people to remain silent and peaceful in aloneness. The reason is that in aloneness you are left with yourself – and you have accepted the stupid ideas that you are ugly, that you are sensuous, that you are lustful, that you are greedy, that you are violent; there is nothing that can be appreciated in you.
Prem Amita, you are asking, “Why am I always running so fast?” Because you are afraid you may be overtaken by yourself. And the implications of running so fast have many dimensions. This running fast from yourself has created a craziness about speed: everybody wants to reach somewhere with as much speed as possible.
It happened once, I was coming from a place called Nagpur, back to Jabalpur, and I was traveling with the vice-chancellor of Nagpur University, and the car broke down on the road. I have never seen anybody become so miserable.
I told him, “There is no hurry. Nobody is waiting for your there, and the conference for which you are going is going to begin in twenty-four hours, and Jabalpur is only three hours away. There is no problem: either we will get the car repaired, or we will call another car from Jabalpur to come, or we may get some lift, or buses are continually passing by. There is no problem… you need not be so miserable.”
He was sitting in the car and I went to look for somebody. It was a small village, but maybe some mechanic or some help would be possible, or perhaps the landlord of the village would have a car. When I came back from the village, that man was almost in tears. I said, “What is the matter?”
He said, “I cannot afford to be alone. It exposes me so deeply, it makes me utterly naked before myself. It makes me aware that I have wasted my whole life – and I don’t want to know it.”
I said, “Your not knowing it is not going to help you in any way. It is better to know it, and it is better to go deeper into yourself. That’s why this misery and aloneness…”
Aloneness should be one of the greatest joys.
People are running. It does not matter where they are going; what matters is whether they are going at full speed or not.
You are asking, Amita, “Is there something I don’t want to see?” There are many things.
Fundamentally, it is you that you don’t want to see – and it is because of a wrong conditioning.
My whole approach of inner transformation is that you will have to drop your conditionings. Whatever has been said about you by others, simply drop it. It is absolutely crap. They don’t know about themselves; what can they say about you which can be truthful?
And the opinions that you have collected from others… just try to watch from whom you are collecting your opinions. They are not from a Gautam Buddha, or from a Jesus, or from a Socrates; they are from people who are as ignorant as you are. They are simply passing on others’ opinions that have been given to them.
There is a beautiful story. Whether it is factual or not does not matter; its beauty is in its meaning. One of the greatest emperors India has known was the Mogul emperor, Akbar. He can be compared only to one man in the West, and that is Marcus Aurelius. Emperors are very rarely wise people, but these two names are certainly exceptions.
One day he was in his court talking with his courtiers. He had collected the best people in the country – the best painter, the best musician, the best philosopher, the best poet. He had a small, special committee of nine members who were known as the nine jewels of Akbar’s court.
The most important of them was a man called Birbal. Immensely intelligent and a man of great sense of humor, he did something which was improper to do in front of the emperor. Every emperor has his own rules – his word is the law – and Birbal behaved against something about which Akbar was very stubborn. Akbar immediately slapped Birbal. He respected Birbal, he loved Birbal, he was his most intimate friend, but as far as the rules of the court were concerned… he could not forgive.
But what Birbal did is the real story. He did not wait for a single moment; he immediately slapped the man who was standing on his other side. The other man was shocked, and even Akbar was shocked. He used to think that this man is very wise: I she mad, or what? I have slapped him… This is strange, absolutely absurd and illogical.
And the other man was standing there shocked and Birbal said, “Don’t stand there like a fool, just pass it on!” So that man slapped somebody else who was standing by the side – and now the game became clear: you have to pass it on.
In the night, when Akbar went to sleep with his wife, his wife slapped him. He said, “What is the matter?”
She said, “It has been going on around the city, and finally it has reached to its original source.
Somebody else has slapped me, and when I asked, ‘What is the matter?’, I was told that this is the game Akbar has started. I thought it is better to finish it, to complete the circle.”
And the next day, first thing, Birbal asked, “Have you received my slap back or not?”
Akbar said, “I had never thought that this would happen!”
Birbal said, “I was absolutely certain, because where will it go finally? It will go around the city. You cannot escape; it is bound to come to you.”
For centuries everything goes on being transferred, being passed on from one hand to another, from one generation to another generation – and the game continues. This is the game that you have to come out of. The only way to come out of it is to rediscover your self-respect, attain again your dignity which you had when you were a child, when you were still not contaminated, when you were not yet conditioned and poisoned by the society and by the people around you.
Be a child again and you will not be running away from yourself. You will be running within yourself – and that is the way of the meditator. The worldly man runs away from himself, and the seeker runs within himself to find the source of this life, this consciousness. And when he discovers the source, he has discovered not only his life source; he has discovered the life source of the universe, of the whole cosmos.
A tremendous celebration arises in him. Life becomes just a song, a dance, moment to moment.
One becomes absolutely free from all the jargon that the society has handed down. One simply throws away all conditionings, all traditions, the whole past.
I say unto you, only one thing you have to renounce, and that is the past and nothing else.
If you can renounce the past you will be absolutely fresh, just born, and to be in that freshness is such a blessing, such an ecstasy, you cannot even think of going away even for a single moment. The man who knows himself never takes any holiday. But most people go on behaving stupidly….
An American was driving along a small country lane in Ireland when he was horrified to see a cartload of hay coming out of the field into the narrow road. He jumped on the brakes but couldn’t stop in time, and ended up driving through the fence into the field where the car burst into flames.
“Bejeebers!” exclaimed Paddy to his friend Seamus, who was driving the hay cart, ”Some of these tourists are terrible drivers. We only just got out of that field in time.”
The old farmer, plowing his fields with a pair of bulls, was asked by a neighbor why he did not use oxen.
”I don’t want to use oxen,” replied the farmer, “I want to use bulls.”
“Well,” continued the neighbor, “If you don’t want to use oxen, why don’t you use horses?”
“I don’t want to use horses!” retorted the farmer, “I want to use bulls!”
“Well, perhaps,” tried the neighbor, you could try using that new tractor your son has just bought.”
“I don’t want to use tractors, either, I want to use bulls.” reaffirmed the farmer.
“Why do you only want to use bulls?” asked the neighbor at a loss.
“Because,” said the old boy, “I don’t want them to think that life is all romance.”
This is simply the situation in which you are born, in which you have been conditioned. Nobody wants you to know that life is simply romance. And that is my crime – because that is my whole teaching, that life is nothing but romance.
The newlywed couple flew to Miami and checked into the honeymoon hotel. For days nothing was seen of them, until the morning of the sixth day, when they came to the dining room for breakfast. As the waiter approached their table, the bride turned to her husband and said, “Honey, do you know what I would like?”
“Yes, I know,” he replied wearily, “but we have to eat sometime.”
So once in a while it is good to have a breakfast; otherwise, life is a continuous romance. And I teach you not only the romance of the body, which is very ordinary; I teach you the romance of the spirit which is eternal, which begins but never ends. But this is possible only if you start going inwards.
Going inwards is going Godwards.
Going inwards is the whole secret of all alchemical transformation of being. Running away is simply wasting tremendously valuable time, and a life that could have been a great song, a great creativity, a tremendous festival of lights. The farther away you are from yourself, the darker your life will become, the more miserable, more anxiety ridden, more wounded, condemned, rejected by yourself.
And the farther away you are the more difficult it becomes to find the way back home. You have been going away from yourself for many, many lives, but if you move on a right, meditative path you are not gone very far.
Meditation is the short cut from where you are to where you should be. And meditation is such a simple method that anybody, even a small child, can enter into its wonderland.
Amita, rather than running away, run withinwards. Come closer to yourself to have a better look. Nobody else can see your inner reality; only you can see that splendor and that glory. Because nobody else can see your inner beauty they go on condemning you. Only you can assert your blissfulness, only you can assert ultimately your enlightenment.
Even then people will be suspicious. They were suspicious about Socrates, they were suspicious about Gautam Buddha, they were suspicious about Jesus. Their suspicion is rooted in fact in their own unawareness of their inner being.
How can they believe Gautam Buddha, that in the inner silences of the heart is the ultimate ecstasy? They don’t know anything of the inner, not even the ABC. They don’t know anything about ecstasy. They may listen to a Gautam Buddha, just because of his presence, his charismatic eyes, his magnetic vibration, but when they go home, they will start suspecting, doubting.
And this is happening even here. I receive many letters saying that ”when we listen to you everything seems to be absolutely right. As we reach home doubts start arising; the mind starts saying to us that we have been hypnotized.
There are millions of people who want to come close to me but are afraid, for the simple reason that they may be hypnotized. It is something far deeper than hypnosis. You are not hypnotized, you are simply taken into a different vision of your own self. It is not something like magic; you are not being befooled, you are being awakened.
The word ‘hypnosis’ means asleep and my whole work is to awaken you. You are already asleep and you have been asleep for lives together.
It is time to wake up.
You have wasted too much valuable time, energy, opportunity already. But still there is time and the moment you wake up, for you the night ends and the dawn begins.
From Satyam Shivam Sundram, Chapter 16
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