Just learn to be yourself
WHY AM I SCARED TO ACCEPT MYSELF THE WAY I AM?
Kalyan Mitto, everybody is in the same situation. Everybody is scared to accept himself the way he is. This is how all the past centuries of mankind have cultivated, conditioned every child, every human being.
The strategy is simple but very dangerous. The strategy is to condemn you and to give you ideals so that you are always trying to become someone else. The Christian is trying to become a Jesus, the Buddhist is trying to become a Buddha, and it seems so clever a device to distract you from yourself that perhaps the people who have been doing it are themselves unaware.
What Jesus said on the cross, his last words to humanity, are immensely significant in many ways - in this context particularly. He prayed to God, "Father, forgive these people because they know not what they are doing."
This is applicable to every father and to every mother, to every teacher and every priest and every moralist - the people who manage culture, society, civilization, who try to mould every individual into a certain way. Perhaps they also don't know what they are doing. Perhaps they think they are doing everything for your good. I don't suspect their intentions, but I certainly want you to be aware that they are ignorant, they are unconscious people.
A small child is born in the hands of an unconscious society. And the unconscious society starts moulding the child according to its own ideals, forgetting one thing which is the most fundamental:
the child has a potential of his own; he has to grow not into a Jesus or into a Krishna or into a Buddha, he has to grow to be himself.
If he does not grow to be himself he will remain utterly miserable his whole life. His life will become just a hell and a curse, and he will not know what has gone wrong. He has been put in the wrong direction from the very beginning.
The people who have put him in the wrong direction are the people he thinks love him, he thinks are his benefactors. They are in actuality his greatest enemies. The parents, the teachers, the priests and the leaders of the society are the greatest enemies of every individual that has been born on the earth up to now. Without being aware, they are distracting you from yourself.
And to distract you, you have to be made absolutely conditioned about one thing: that you are unworthy, undeserving, of no use at all as you are. Of course, you can become worthy of respect, dignity, if you follow the rules and regulations given to you by others. If you are able to manage to be a hypocrite you will be a prestigious citizen of the society.
But if you insist on being sincere, honest, authentic, yourself, you will be condemned by everybody, and it needs tremendous courage to be condemned by everybody. It needs a man with a steel spine to stand on his own and declare himself: "I am not going to be anybody else but myself, good or bad, acceptable or not acceptable, prestigious or not prestigious. One thing is certain, that I can be only myself and nobody else."
This needs a tremendous revolutionary approach towards life. This is the basic revolt which each individual needs if he wants ever to be out of the vicious circle of misery.
You are asking me, "Why am I scared to accept myself the way I am?" Because you have not been accepted by anyone the way you are. They have created the fear and the apprehension that if you accept yourself you will be rejected by everybody.
This is an absolute condition of every society and every culture that has existed up to now, that either you accept yourself and be rejected by all, or you reject yourself and gain the respect and honor of your whole society and culture. The choice is really very difficult.
Obviously the majority is going to choose respectability, but with respectability come all kinds of anxieties, anguishes, a meaninglessness, a desertlike life where nothing grows, where nothing is green, where no flower ever blossoms, where you will walk and walk and walk and you will never find even an oasis.
I am reminded of Leo Tolstoy. Just a few days ago in Moscow there was an international exhibition of books, and one of my sannyasins, Lani, was there. She was surprised - and my Russian sannyasins were there, and they were also surprised: world-famous publishing houses were exhibiting their books, but our stall was the most crowded. At any time there were not less than one hundred people the whole day the exhibition was open.
One old man, looking at my picture, asked Lani, "Is this man something like Leo Tolstoy?" - just because of my beard. Tolstoy had a beautiful beard.
Tolstoy used to have a dream which psychoanalysts of different schools have been interpreting for almost the whole century. The dream was very strange - but not to me. To me it needs no psychoanalysis, but simple common sense. The dream was every night repeated continuously for years. It was strangely nightmarish, and Tolstoy awoke in the middle of the night every night, perspiring, although there was no danger in the dream.
But if you can understand the meaninglessness of the dream... that was the problem that became the nightmare. That dream represents almost everybody's life. No psychoanalytic school has been able to figure out what kind of dream this is - because there is no parallel, it is unprecedented.
The dream used to be the same every night: a vast desert, as far as you can see just desert and desert... and two boots, which Tolstoy recognized as his, go on walking. But he is not there... just the boots go on making noise in the sand. And it continues, because the desert is endless. They never reach anywhere. Backwards he can see the prints of the boots for miles, and ahead he can see the boots going on walking.
Ordinarily you will not think it is a nightmare. But if you think a little more closely - every day, every night the same dream of utter futility, reaching nowhere. There seems to be no destiny... and nobody is in the boots, they are empty.
He told all the well known psychoanalysts of his day in Russia. Nobody could figure out what it meant, because there is no book which describes any dream which can even be called a little bit similar to this. It is absolutely unique.
But to me there is no question of any psychoanalysis. It is a simple dream, representing every human being's life. You are walking in a desert because you are not walking towards the goal that is intrinsic in your being. You are not going to reach anywhere. The more you go away, the more you will be going away from yourself. And the more you look for any meaning... you will find utter emptiness and nothing else. That is the meaning. The man is missing; only the boots are walking.
You are not in what you are doing.
You are not in what you are being.
You are not in what you are pretending. It is utter hollowness, pure hypocrisy. But the way it has been created is a simple method: Tell everybody that as you are you are absolutely undeserving even to exist. As you are, you are just ugly, an accident. As you are you should be ashamed of yourself because you don't have anything worthy to be honored and respected. .pm6 Naturally, every child starts doing things which are supposed to be honorable. He goes on becoming more and more false, more and more phony, more and more away from his authentic reality, his very being - and then the fear arises.
Whenever a longing is felt to know yourself, it is followed immediately by great fear. The fear is that if you find yourself you are going to lose respect for yourself - even in your own eyes.
The society is too heavy on every individual. It makes every effort to condition you so heavily that you start thinking that you are the conditioning, and you become part of the society, against your own being. You become a Christian, you become a Hindu, you become a Mohammedan, and you forget completely that you were born just as a human being, with no religion, with no politics, with no nation, with no race.
You were born just a pure possibility of growth.
According to me, sannyas is to bring you back to yourself, whatsoever the consequences, whatsoever the risk. You have to come back to yourself. You may not find a Jesus there; there is no need. One Jesus is enough. You may not find a Gautam Buddha; it is perfectly okay, because too many Gautam Buddhas in existence will be simply boring.
Existence does not want to repeat people. It is so creative that it always brings something new in each individual, a new potential, a new possibility, a new height, a new dimension, a new peak.
Sannyas is a revolt against all societies and all cultures and all civilizations, for the simple reason that they are against the individual.
I am absolutely for the individual.
I can sacrifice every society and every religion and every civilization, the whole history of mankind, just for a single individual. The individual is the most valuable phenomenon, because the individual is part of existence.
You will have to drop your fear. It has been imposed on you, it is not natural. Watch every small child: he accepts himself perfectly; there is no condemnation, there is no desire to be anybody else.
But everybody, as he grows, is distracted. You will have to gather courage to come back to yourself.
The whole society will prevent you; you will be condemned. But it is far better to be condemned by the whole world than to remain miserable and phony and false and live a life of somebody else.
You can have a blissful life. And there are not two ways, only one single way: that is, you have just to be yourself, whatever you are.
From there, from that deep acceptance and respect for yourself, you will start growing. You will bring flowers of your own - not Christian, not Buddhist, not Hindu, just absolutely your own, a new contribution to existence.
But it needs immense courage to go alone on a path leaving the whole crowd on the highway. To be in the crowd one feels cozy, warm; to go alone, naturally one feels afraid. The mind goes on arguing within that the whole of humanity cannot be wrong, and I am going alone. It is better just to be part of the crowd because then you are not responsible if things go wrong.
Everybody is responsible. But the moment you depart from the crowd you are taking your responsibility in your own hands. If something goes wrong, you are responsible.
But remember one very fundamental thing: responsibility is one side of the coin and the other side is freedom. You can have both together or you can drop both together. If you don't want to have responsibility, you cannot have freedom, and without freedom there is no growth.
So you have to accept responsibility for yourself and you have to live in absolute freedom so that you can grow, whatever you are. You may turn out to be a rosebush, you may turn out to be just a marigold flower, you may turn out just to be a wild flower which has no name. But one thing is certain: whatever you turn out to be, you will be immensely happy. You will be utterly blissful.
You may not have respectability; on the contrary, you may be condemned by everybody. But deep inside you you will feel such ecstatic joy that only a free individual can feel. And only a free individual can grow in higher layers of consciousness, can reach to the heights of Himalayan peaks.
Kalyan Mitto, society has kept everybody retarded, it has turned everybody stupid. It needs idiots; it does not want intelligent people around. It is afraid of intelligence because intelligence is always in revolt against slavery, against superstition, against all kinds of exploitation, against all kinds of stupidities, against all discriminations between races, nations, classes, colors.
Intelligence is continuously in revolt.
Only the idiot is always obedient.
Even God wanted Adam to be an idiot, because it was his vested interest that Adam and Eve remain idiots so they go on worshipping God.
In my vision the devil is the first revolutionary of the world, and the devil is the most significant person in the whole of history. The whole civilization and progress owe much to the devil - not to God at all.
God wanted only a stupid Adam, a stupid Eve; and if Adam had followed God you would still have been chewing grass in the Garden of Eden!
Man has moved because he revolted against God. God was the establishment. God represents the establishment, authority, the power and the domination. Anybody who is intelligent cannot be converted into a slave; he would rather die than become a slave. He cannot be exploited and he cannot be dragged away from his own center.
My people have to learn the fact that I believe only in the religion of revolt. Except that, there is no religiousness; except that, there is no possibility of your consciousness rising to the highest potential that you are carrying as dormant energy.
Paddy had recently joined his local skydiving club and had gone up for his first jump. Everything was going perfectly until it was Paddy's turn to jump.
"Hold it," shouted his instructor, "you are not wearing your parachute!"
"Oh, that's okay," replied Paddy, "we are just practicing, aren't we?"
Society needs these idiots. They are perfectly obedient, docile, ready to be exploited, ready to be reduced almost into animals.
Kalyan, don't be afraid of accepting yourself. That's where your real treasure is, that's where your home is. Don't listen to the so-called wise - they are the poisoners who have killed millions of people, destroyed their lives, taken away all meaning and significance...
It does not matter who you are. What matters is that you should remain exactly what you are, because from there starts growth.
A few sutras for you to meditate upon... Perhaps they may give you some courage, some intelligence.
"Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects"...
So don't be worried about being ignorant; everybody is.
"All men are born free, but some get married."
So just be alert, and freedom is yours!
"Illusion is the first of all pleasures."
Remember, the life of growth goes beyond the mundane life of pleasures. Pleasure is not something very significant; it is just like scratching your skin: it feels pleasant, but just for a little while. If you go on scratching you will bring blood, and then pleasure turns into pain. And you all know that you have turned all your pleasures into pain.
A man of intelligence searches for something that can never be turned into pain and anguish and anxiety and suffering. What I call bliss is not pleasure, because bliss cannot be turned into its opposite. There is no opposite to it.
The search should be for the eternal, and everybody has the capacity to experience the eternal.
But the pleasures of the physical body or biological infatuation or the pleasures of eating food keep people engaged and take away the small time they have here on the earth to grow.
I have heard: A man went to a psychiatrist and said, "I am very much concerned. My wife goes on eating and eating and she goes on sitting on the sofa the whole day looking at the television, and even while she is looking at the television she is eating something - ice cream... or if she is not eating something, at least she is chewing gum. But her mouth continues... Now she has lost all beauty; she has become just a bag of skin with no curves anywhere. What am I supposed to do?"
The psychiatrist said, "You try one thing. It is a sure success; I have tried it on many patients" - and he gave him a photograph of a beautiful nude girl.
The man said, "My God! How is this picture going to help?"
The psychiatrist said, "You have to understand the whole strategy. Put it inside your refrigerator.
Stick it with real German glue, so your wife cannot take it away. Whenever she opens the refrigerator she will see herself, and this beautiful girl.... Perhaps she will start reducing her weight. Just give her a comparison."
For three or four months the psychiatrist waited and waited, and finally he went to the man's home to find out what had happened. He could not believe it: the man was sitting on the sofa; he had become so fat and he was watching television, chewing gum. The psychiatrist said, "What is the matter? What happened to you?"
The man said, "It is that damned picture! Because of the picture I started going to the refrigerator, just to have a look. But when you open the refrigerator then naturally you want something. The very flavor of so many nice things... so each time I open the refrigerator I start eating. So your device worked, but it backfired."
People are behaving so stupidly in their lives. Now a person who goes on eating - the doctors are prohibiting it, everybody is telling them that it is dangerous - what pleasure do they have? It is just a small patch on the tongue which experiences taste; once the food has passed that small patch you don't know any taste, any pleasure. It must be utter stupidity.
But people are after all kinds of pleasures, not even aware that they are wasting immensely valuable time. This is the time when somebody becomes a Gautam Buddha. This is the time when somebody becomes a Socrates. The same time, the same energy, the same potential... but you are wasting it in running after things which are meaningless.
"Chivalry is a man's attempt to defend a woman against every man except himself."
"Even when you are on the right track you will get run over if you just sit there."
"To do nothing is the most difficult thing in the world."
Everybody is doing something. Only very few people know the art of sometimes not doing anything.
When you are not doing anything you are simply and purely your being.
Doing and being are two ways of living your life, two styles of living your life. The life of doing is mundane; the life of being is sublime, is divine. I am not saying drop all doing, I am saying doing should be secondary in your life and being should be primary. Doing should be only for the necessities of life and being should be your real luxury, your real joy, your real ecstasy.
"To be perfectly happy one must be perfectly stupid."
Whenever you see a happy person, remember it. Stupid people are very happy, because they don't know for what they are here. They don't know that there is some task to be fulfilled. They are almost like retarded children who go on playing with teddybears. Your teddybears can change their shape: somebody's teddybear is money and somebody's teddybears are women, and somebody's teddybears are men. But whatever you are doing - and you are feeling very happy that money is accumulating, that you have found a new girlfriend, that you are promoted to a higher position - you are utterly happy. Unless you are stupid it is not possible.
A man of intelligence will be able to see without fail that all these small things of life are preventing you from the beyond. They keep you engaged here, which is not your home. They keep you engaged in a life which is going to end up in a graveyard.
The intelligent man starts asking - and this becomes his fundamental search and quest - "Is there something beyond the graveyard or not? If there is nothing beyond the graveyard, then this whole life is just a dream and meaningless. Unless there is something beyond, life cannot be significant and life cannot be meaningful."
But the stupid person is immensely happy with any toys that the society provides him. Don't be stupid.
"To err is human, to admit it is divine."
It is absolutely human to commit mistakes. To admit, without any guilt - you are simply admitting your humanity by admitting your mistakes - brings a transformation in your being. Something of the divine, something of the beyond starts opening up.
"Every cloud has a silver lining and even old clothes have their shiny side."
"If it was not for the optimist, a pessimist would never know how happy he is not."
People are continuously comparing themselves with others. They become happy, they become unhappy because of the comparisons.
I was meeting a very famous Hindu saint. He told a few other people who had gathered to listen to what transpired between me and him, "The secret of happiness is always to look to those who are unhappy. Look at the crippled and you will feel happy that you are not crippled. Look at the blind and you will feel happy that you are not blind. Look at the poor and you will feel happy that you are not poor."
I had to stop that idiot. I said, "You don't understand a simple fact. Once a person starts comparison, he cannot stop comparing only with those who are unfortunate. He will also look at those who are richer than him, who are more beautiful than him, who are stronger than him, who are more respectable than him. Then he will be miserable. You are not giving him the secret of happiness; you are giving him the secret of being in absolute misery."
But it has been taught down the ages - in different words, but the essential secret is the same - in almost all the religious scriptures: Feel contented because there are people who are so miserable.
Thank God that you are not so miserable.
But this cannot remain one-sided. Once you learn the way of comparison, you can not only compare yourself with those who are inferior to you; you will have to compare inevitably also with those who are superior to you - and then there will be immense misery.
In fact, comparison is not the right thing to do. You are yourself, and there is nobody else with whom you can be compared.
You are incomparable.
So is the other person.
Never compare. Comparison is one of the causes of keeping you tethered to the mundane, because comparison creates competition, comparison creates ambition. It does not come alone, it brings all its companions with it. And once you become competitive there is no end to it; you will end before it does. Once you become ambitious you have chosen the most stupid path for your life.
Henry Ford was once asked - and he seems to be one of the wisest men of this century, because his small statements make so much sense. He was the first man to say that "history is bunk," and that is absolutely true. He was asked, "What have you learned through your successful life?" - he was one of the most successful men you can conceive; from poverty he rose to be the richest man in the world - and what he said has to be remembered.
Henry Ford said, "Through all my successful life I have learned only one thing: I have learned climbing staircases, climbing ladders. And then when I reach the last rung of the ladder I feel so stupid and so embarrassed, because there is no longer anywhere to go.
"I cannot tell the people who are behind me struggling hard to reach the top of the same ladder, where I am feeling stupid. For what have I been struggling? - nobody will listen to me if I say to them, 'Stop wherever you are. Don't waste time - because there is nothing. Once you reach the top you are stuck. You cannot get down because that looks like falling back. You cannot go ahead because there is nowhere to go ahead.'"
The presidents, prime ministers of countries just feel stuck. Now they know there is only one thing that can happen, and that is the fall. There is nothing to rise to; there is nowhere to go except to fall from the place where they have been. So they cling to their seats.
But this is not the right kind of life. First you go on climbing ladders, struggling with people; then ultimately you are stuck and you cling to the last rung so that nobody can take you away from it. Is this a madhouse?
Man has turned this planet into a madhouse. If you want to be sane, first be yourself without any guilt, without any condemnation. Accept yourself with humbleness and simplicity.
This is a gift of existence to you; feel grateful, and start searching for what can help you to grow as you are - not to become a carbon copy of somebody else, but just to remain your original self.
There is no ecstasy greater than to be your original face.
IS THERE ANY POSSIBILITY THAT I WILL EVER GROW UP?
Dhyan Nirvikar, I love the way you have asked the question. It is out of a sincere humbleness. And just because it is arising out of a simple humbleness it opens the doors for your growth.
You are asking, "Is there any possibility that I will ever grow up?"
There are all the possibilities; for the humble heart everything is possible. For the egoist nothing is possible. For a person who can accept that "I am nobody," all doors open suddenly. All the mysteries of existence become available.
For the man who can say, "I do not know," a miracle becomes possible. In his acceptance of not knowing he starts becoming wise, because he starts becoming like a child, utterly innocent.
There is every possibility of your growing up. And particularly in this buddhafield, if you are not functioning out of your ego, if you have left your ego outside the Gateless Gate, then everything is possible for you. Then the whole existence is available for you. The only thing that blocks is the small ego.
One sometimes wonders why this small ego, phony, false, prevents people from growing. Logically it seems very ridiculous, but existentially it is something like a small speck of dust falls into your eyes and the whole existence disappears. Your eyes are closed, you cannot open your eyes. Those small pieces of dust have taken the whole existence away from you. The rainbow in the clouds and the sun and the rain - all have disappeared.
Logically it should not be so: such small dust particles cannot prevent you from seeing the whole sky, but really they do. It is not a question of logic; it is question of actual, existential reality.
The small ego functions just like a small dust particle in your vision, and it prevents you from looking at all the possibilities which are available, which have always been available. Just remove that small particle from your eyes. Nothing is changing. All was always available; your eyes were just not able to see it.
With your humbleness, Nirvikar, great miracles are possible. Just remain humble, innocent, receptive, available, waiting for the guest to knock on your doors.
Two nuns were walking through the woods one evening when they were jumped on by two men who dragged them into the bushes and began to rape them. Sister Mary, bruised and battered, looked up at the sky and began to pray softly, "Forgive him Lord, for he knows not what he is doing."
Sister Teresa looked over and said, "That's a pity, mine does."
A gorgeous blonde walked into the dentist's office and was obviously very nervous. "Oh doctor," she cried, "I'm so scared. You know, I think I would rather have a baby than have a tooth filled."
"Okay," said the dentist warily, "but make up your mind before I adjust the chair."
Just remain innocent and laughing and rejoicing and you need not be worried about your growth. It will be happening on its own accord. You don't have to do anything for it; you have just to create the right atmosphere.
And we have already created that atmosphere here. You can be benefited by this atmosphere if you don't remain an outsider, just a spectator or a curious person.
If you are here, then melt and merge in this beautiful communion which is incomparable in the sense that nowhere on the earth is anything similar happening. Where people are laughing, rejoicing, dancing, singing, melting into each other, the growth will come on its own accord.
Just learn to laugh, learn to dance, learn to sing, learn to be yourself, utterly fulfilled and grateful to existence.
Paddy and Maureen had just had their eighteenth child, so Maureen went to the doctor and asked if he could give her a hearing aid. "A hearing aid?" asked the doctor. "How will that help you plan your family more effectively?"
"Well," said Maureen, "I'm a little bit deaf, so every night when Paddy says, 'Would you like to go to sleep or what?' I always say, 'What?'"