Just don't be a polack!
I READ A POEM OF RUMI THE OTHER DAY WHICH WENT: "MOVE WITHIN, BUT DON'T MOVE THE WAY FEAR MAKES YOU MOVE."
AROUND THE SAME TIME I AWOKE FROM A DREAM IN TEARS AND ALL I REMEMBERED WAS LOOKING AT MYSELF IN A MIRROR, FACE TO FACE, AND MY EYES WERE FULL OF FEAR.
SOMETIMES IN MEDITATION I TOUCH A BLANK HORIZONTAL SPACE WITH NO REFERENCE POINT FOR WHO I AM AND THIS SAME FEAR IS THERE.
CAN YOU HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND AND MAKE FRIENDS WITH THIS FEAR?
Alima, the words of Mevlana Rumi are immensely significant. There have been very few people who have moved and transformed as many hearts as Jalaluddin Rumi.
In the world of the Sufis, Mevlana Rumi is the emperor. His words have to be understood not as mere words, but sources of deep silences, echoes of inner and the innermost songs. He is the greatest dancer the world has known. Twelve hundred years have passed since he was alive.
His dance is a special kind of dance. It is a kind of whirling, just the way small children whirl; standing on one spot they go on round and round. And perhaps everywhere in the world small children do
that and their elders stop them saying, "You will become dizzy, you will fall, you will hurt yourself,"
and, "What is the point of doing it?"
Jalaluddin Rumi made a meditation of whirling. The meditator goes on whirling for hours - as long as the body allows him; he does not stop on his own. When whirling a moment comes that he sees himself utterly still and silent, a center of the cyclone. Around the center the body is moving, but there is a space which remains unmoved; that is his being.
Rumi himself whirled for thirty-six hours continuously and fell, because the body could not whirl anymore. But when he opened his eyes he was another man. Hundreds of people had gathered to see. Many thought he was mad: "What is the point of whirling?"
... Nobody can say this is a prayer; nobody can say this is great dance; nobody can say in any way that this has something to do with religion, spirituality....
But after thirty-six hours when they saw Rumi so luminous, so radiant, so new, so fresh - reborn, in a new consciousness, they could not believe their eyes. Hundreds wept in repentance, because they had thought that he was mad. In fact he was sane and they were mad.
And down these twelve centuries the stream has continued to be alive. There are very few movements of spiritual growth which have lived so long continuously. There are still hundreds of dervishes. 'Dervish' is the Sufi word for sannyas. You cannot believe it unless you experience, that just by whirling you can know yourself. No austerity is needed, no self-torture is needed, but just an experience of your innermost being and you are transported into another plane of existence from the mortal to the immortal. The darkness disappears and there is just eternal light.
His words, Alima, have to be understood very carefully because he has not spoken much - just a few small poems. His statement, "Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move" - it is so beautiful.
Don't move the way fear makes you move.
Move the way love makes you move.
Move the way joy makes you move - not out of fear, because all so-called religions are based on fear. Their God is nothing but fear, and their heaven and hell are nothing but projections of fear and greed.
Rumi's statement is very revolutionary: Do not move because of fear.
All the religions say to people, "Fear God!"
Mahatma Gandhi used to say, "I do not fear anybody but God." When I heard this I said this is the most stupid statement anybody can make. You can fear everybody, but don't fear God because God can only be approached through love. God is not a person but the universal heartbeat. If you can sing with love and dance with love... an ordinary activity like whirling out of love.... Joy and celebration are enough to reach to the innermost sanctum of being and existence.
You all have been living out of fear.
Your relationships are out of fear. Fear is so overwhelming - like a dark cloud covering your life - that you say things which you don't want to say, but fear makes you say them. You do things which you do not want to do, but fear makes you do them. A little intelligence is enough to see....
Millions of people are worshipping stones carved by themselves. They have made their Gods and then they worship them. It must be out of great fear, because where can you find God? The easier way is to carve a God in beautiful marble and worship. And nobody thinks that this is sheer stupidity, because everybody else is doing it in different ways - somebody in the temple and somebody in the mosque and somebody in the synagogue; it does not make any difference. The essential thing is the same, that what you are doing is out of fear - your prayers are full of fear.
Rumi is making a revolutionary, an extraordinary statement: "Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move." Then what is the way to move within? Why not move playfully? Why not make your religion a playfulness? Why be so serious? Why not move laughingly? - just like small children running joyously after butterflies for no special reason. Just the joy of the colors and the beauty of the flowers and the butterflies is enough - and they are so immensely happy.
In every twenty-four hours find a few moments which are fearless, which means in those moments you are not asking for anything. You are not asking for any reward and you are not worried about any punishment; you are simply enjoying the whirling, the going inwards.
In fact, just in the beginning it may look a little difficult. As you move a little inwards you become automatically joyful, playful, prayerful. A gratitude arises in you that you have never known before and a space opens up which is infinite, your inner sky. Your inner sky is not less rich than the outer sky: it has its own stars and its own moon and its own planets and its own immensity; it has exactly as vast a universe as you can see outside. You are just standing in between two universes: one is outside you; one is inside you. The outside universe consists of things, and the inside universe consists of consciousness, of bliss, of joy.
Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move, because fear cannot enter inwards. Why can fear not enter inwards? Fear cannot be alone, and inwards you have to be alone. Fear needs a crowd, fear needs companionship, friends, even foes may do.
But to be alone, to go inwards, you cannot take anybody with you; you have to be more and more alone. Not only can you not take anyone, you cannot take anything either. Your wealth, your power, your prestige - you cannot take anything. Inside you cannot take even your clothes! You will have to go nude and alone; hence fear cannot move inwards, fear moves outwards.
Fear moves towards money, fear moves towards power, fear moves towards God; fear moves in all directions except inwards. To go inwards the first requirement is fearlessness.
Alima, you are wondering how to make friends with the fear. One has not to make friends with darkness, death or fear. One has to get rid of them. One has to simply say good-bye forever. It is your attachment; friendship will make it even more deep.
Don't think that by becoming friendly with fear you will become ready to go inwards. Even the friendly fear will prevent it; in fact, it will prevent it more so. It will prevent you in a friendly way, it will advise you, "Don't do such a thing. There is nothing inwards. You will fall into a nothingness and returning from that nothingness is impossible. Beware of falling into your inwardness. Cling to things."
Fear has to be understood.
You don't have to make friends - and it disappears.
What are you afraid of? When you were born you were born naked. You did not bring any bank balance either - but you were not afraid. You come into the world utterly nude, but entering like an emperor. Even an emperor cannot enter into the world the way a child enters. The same is true of entering inwards. It is a second childbirth; you again become a child - the same innocence and the same nudity and the same non-possessiveness. What do you have to be afraid of?
In life you cannot be afraid of birth. It has happened, now nothing can be done about it. You cannot be afraid of life - it is already happening. You cannot be afraid of death - whatever you do it is going to happen. So what is the fear?
I have always been asked even by very learned people, "Do you never get concerned what will happen after death?" And I have always wondered, that these people are learned. And I have asked them, "One day I was not born - and there was no worry. I have never for a single moment thought that when I was not born what kind of trouble, what kind of anxiety, what kind of anguish I had to face. I was simply not! So the same will be the case: when you die, you die."
Confucius was asked by his most significant disciple, Mencius, "What will happen after death?"
Confucius said, "Don't waste time. When you are in your grave, lie down and think over it, but why bother now?"
So many people in their graves are thinking! You will think that there seems to be no problem. In every cemetery - and there are millions of cemeteries - people are simply lying. They don't even get up to inquire, "What has happened, what is the news today?" They don't even change sides.
They are so relaxed.
And when people die, others close their eyes out of fear: "The poor people will go on seeing in the grave." It makes you afraid that thousands of people in their graves are looking - "Close their eyes."
I had one distant aunt who was unique because she slept with one eye open. She had to, because that one eye was false. But whenever she used to come to our family I would frighten people.
Whenever she would go to sleep I would take them and say, "Look, this is what happens: even when she is alive one eye is open. In death you try to close people's eyes, but don't believe it... they will open their eyes and they will look all around, 'What is happening?'"
Fear of what will happen when you die is unnecessary. Whatever will happen will happen - and anyway you cannot do anything beforehand. You don't know so there is no question of doing some homework, getting ready for the kind of questions you will be asked or what kind of people you will
meet, learning their manners, their language... We don't know anything; there is no need to worry.
Don't waste time.
But it is fear, fear that something is going to happen. After death - and you will be so alone; even if you call from your grave nobody is going to listen. People close the grave completely just out of fear. If you leave some window open and dead people start looking from there, they would make anybody afraid!
Just now I have heard that there is a new phenomenon in America called The Couch Potato Movement....
It was created for people who sit at home all day and watch TV. It was started in nineteen eighty- two, but has recently become a great phenomenon: the home-video revolution. The Couch Potato Movement has published two books: THE OFFICIAL COUCH POTATO HANDBOOK and THE COUCH POTATO GUIDE TO LIFE. It also has a newsletter THE TUBER'S VOICE with a circulation of eight thousand.
Mr. Armstrong, the founder of the movement is spreading the Couch Potato gospel: "We feel that watching TV is an indigenous American form of meditation." He says, "We call it Transcendental Vegetation."
Alima, out of fear people can do anything. They can even become a member of The Couch Potato Movement. Just sitting for seven and a half hours per day just like a potato on the sofa, and growing fatter and fatter and fatter.... Once in a while they get up to go to the fridge; otherwise, they are doing so much Transcendental Vegetation. It has never been done on such a vast scale.
Why should people watch television the whole day? One has to look into the psychology. These people simply don't want to know anything about themselves. These people are trying to avoid themselves by watching television. Television is a substitute; otherwise, having so much time you will have to look inwards - and that is a fear. Inwards?... but the fridge is outwards. Inwards?... but the boyfriend is outwards. Inwards you will not find anything. You cannot go shopping... You will just get drowned in nothingness.
This being drowned in nothingness creates fear. But the problem is that this fear is only because you don't know the beauty and the bliss and the joy of drowning in nothingness, because you don't know the ecstasy that opens up as you fall inwards. It needs a little taste.
I don't want you to believe, I want you to experiment.
If thousands of mystics have experienced something inside, at least hypothetically, you can also have a look. Perhaps there may be something that you are missing.
There is no question of fear, just a little intelligence is needed - not friendliness with fear but an intelligence: the adventurer's heart, the courage of those who go into the unknown. They are the blessed ones, because they find the meaning and the significance of life. Others only vegetate; only they live.
A Frenchman, a Jew and a Polack are each sentenced to thirty years in prison. Each man is given one request that will be honored by the jail warden.
"A woman," asks the Frenchman.
"A telephone," says the Jew.
"A cigarette," says the Polack.
Thirty years later the Frenchman walks out with the woman and ten kids.
The Jew strolls out carrying a ten thousand dollar commission he has made during the time.
The Polack walks out and says, "Has anyone got a match?"
Just don't be a Polack! Thirty years of holding the cigarette, waiting: "When the door opens I will ask has anyone got a match..."
Alima, the first thing: a little intelligence, a little sense of humor, a little loving heart and you don't need much to enter into your own being. Serious people go on standing outside with long English faces.
I have heard that an Englishman got out of a train. His wife was waiting outside with the car to take him home. She asked, "What happened? You are looking very pale."
He said, "Don't ask. Such a long journey and I had to sit against the way the train was going, and it always makes me sick. If I sit facing the same line as the train is going then it is good; otherwise I become very sick."
The woman said, "You could have told anybody, 'This is my problem, please can you change seats?'"
He said, "I also have thought about it, but in the front seat there was nobody. Whom to ask? And without asking..."
Father Murphy wants to raise money for his church and he has heard that there is a fortune to be made in horse racing. However, he does not have enough money to buy a horse, so he decides to buy a donkey instead and enters him in a race. To his surprise the donkey comes third. The headline on the sports page reads: "Priest's Ass Shows."
Father Murphy enters it in another race and this time it wins. The headline reads: "Priest's Ass Out Front."
The bishop is so upset by this kind of publicity that he orders Father Murphy not to race his donkey again. The headline reads: "Bishop Scratches Priest's Ass."
This is too much for the bishop. So he orders Father Murphy to get rid of the donkey. He gives it to Sister Theresa. And the headline reads: "Nun Has Best Ass in Town."
The bishop faints. He then informs Sister Theresa that she must dispose of the donkey. She sells it to Paddy for ten dollars.
The next day the bishop is found dead on the dining room table with a newspaper clutched in his hand. The headline reads: "Nun Sells Her Ass for Ten Bucks."
Just a little sense of humor, a little laughter, a childlike innocence - and what have you got to lose?
What is the fear? We don't have anything. We have come without anything, we will go without anything. Before it happens, just a little adventure inwards to see who is this fellow hiding behind the clothes, inside the skeleton; who is this fellow who is born, becomes young, falls in love and one day dies and nobody knows where he goes....
Just a little curiosity to inquire into one's own being. It is very natural; there is no question of fear.
Sisters Agnes, Theresa and Margaret go out for a walk from the convent. They enter the local liquor store and order a bottle of bourbon whiskey.
"Sisters," says the owner, looking concerned, "you should not be drinking hard liquor."
"It is not for us," explains Sister Agnes, "This is for Mother Superior's constipation."
He sells them the whiskey and the nuns leave. Later as he closes the store and walks down the street, the owner finds the nuns sitting under a tree, gulping in turns from the bottle.
"Sisters, I'm shocked," he says. "You told me that booze was for Mother Superior's constipation."
"It is," says Sister Theresa. "When she hears about this she will shit herself."
Yes, Beloved Master.