The greatest miracle
SOMEBODY ASKED A ZEN MASTER, 'WHAT IS THE GREATEST MIRACLE IN THE WORLD?' THE MASTER REPLIED, 'I AM SITTING HERE ALONE WITH ME.'
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS PARABLE?
IT IS NOT A PARABLE, IT IS SIMPLY A FACT. Look directly into it. There is no need to search for any meaning. It is like a rose flower - a simple statement. If you start looking for meaning you will miss the meaning of it. The meaning is there, obvious; there is no need to search for it. The moment you start searching for meaning about such simple facts, you weave philosophies, you create metaphysics. And then you go on and on, and you go far away from the fact.
It is a simple statement. The zen master said, 'I am sitting here alone with myself.' This is the greatest miracle. To be alone is the greatest achievement. One feels always a need for the other. There is a tremendous need for the other because something is lacking within ourselves. We have holes in our being; we stuff those holes with the presence of the other. The other somehow makes us complete, otherwise we are incomplete.
Without the other we don't know who we are, we lose our identity. The other becomes a mirror and we can see our faces in it. Without the other we are suddenly thrown to ourselves. Great uncomfort, inconvenience arises, because we don't know who we are. When we are alone we are in very strange company, very embarrassing company. We don't know with whom we are.
With the other, things are clear, defined. We know the name, we know the form, we know the man or the woman - Hindu, Christian, Indian, American - there are some ways to define the other. How to define yourself?
Deep down there is an abyss... undefinable. There is an abyss... emptiness. You start merging into that. It creates fear. You become frightened. you want to rush towards the other. The other helps you to hang out, the other helps you to remain out. When there is nobody you are simply left with your emptiness.
Nobody wants to be alone. The greatest fear in the world is to be left alone.
People do a thousand and one things just not to be left alone. You imitate your neighbours so you are just like them and you are not left alone. You lose your individuality, you lose your uniqueness, you just become imitators, because if you are not imitators you will be left alone.
You become part of the crowd, you become part of a church, you become part of an organization. Somehow you want to merge with a crowd where you can feel at ease, that you are not alone, there are so many people like you - so many Mohammedans like you, so many Hindus like you, so many Christians, millions of them... you are not alone.
To be alone is really the greatest miracle. That means now you don't belong to any church, you don't belong to any organization, you don't belong to any theology, you don't belong to any ideology - socialist, communist, fascist, hindu, christian, jain, buddhist - you don't belong, you simply are. And you have learnt how to love your indefinable, ineffable reality. You have come to know how to be with yourself.
Your needs for the other have disappeared. You don't have any loopholes, you don't have any holes, you are not missing anything, you don't have any flaws - you are simply happy by being yourself. You don't need anything, your bliss is unconditional. Yes, it is the greatest miracle in the world.
But remember, the master says, 'I am here alone with myself.' When you are alone you are not alone, you are simply lonely - and there is a tremendous difference between loneliness and aloneness. When you are lonely you are thinking of the other, you are missing the other. Loneliness is a negative state.
You are feeling that it would have been better if the other was there - your friend, your wife, your mother, your beloved, your husband. It would have been good if the other was there, but the other is not.
Loneliness is absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself.
Aloneness is very positive. It is a presence, overflowing presence. You are so full of presence that you can fill the whole universe with your presence and there is no need for anybody.
If the whole world disappears this zen master will not miss anything. If suddenly by some magic the whole world disappears and this zen master is left alone, he will be as happy as ever, he will not miss anything. He will love that tremendous emptiness, this pure infinity. He will not miss anything because he has arrived home. He knows that he himself is enough unto himself.
This does not mean that a man who has become enlightened and has come home does not live with others. In fact only he is capable of being with others. Because he is capable of being with himself he becomes capable of being with others. If you are not capable of being with yourself, how can you be capable of being with others? You are at the closest quarters. Even with yourself you are not capable of being in deep love, in delight - how can you be with others? Others are far away.
A man who loves his aloneness is capable of love, and a man who feels loneliness is incapable of love. A man who is happy with himself is full of love, flowing. He does not need anybody's love, hence he can give. When you are in need how can you give? You are a beggar. And when you can give, much love comes towards you. It is a response, a natural response. The first lesson of love is to learn how to be alone.
It is a very significant statement. It has nothing like a parable in it. It is immediate, direct. It is like a rose flower encountering you. You never ask about a rose flower, 'What is the parable of this rose flower?' You don't ask, 'What is the meaning of this rose flower?'
A master is like a rose flower. If you can see, see. If you cannot see, forget. You will never be able to know its meaning because the meaning is just in front of you. Don't make a parable out of it. Parables mean you have started interpreting, and whatsoever you interpret is going to be your interpretation.
I have heard:
Mulla Nasrudin was caught fishing at a place where there was a big sign: No Fishing Here. The warden who caught him asked, 'Nasrudin, can't you see the sign? Can't you read? - No fishing here.' He pointed to the sign.
Mulla Nasrudin said, 'Yes, I can read, but I don't agree. There is good fishing here. Who says "no fishing here". There is good fishing here. Just look at this lot I have landed today. Whoever put that sign up must be crazy.'
Now this is your interpretation. It is a simple sign - No Fishing Here. The meaning is not to be found, it is simply there.
When a zen master says something, or when any master says something, his meaning is absolutely clear, obvious. It is just in front of you. Don't try to avoid it. If you start looking for meaning you will look left and right and you will miss that which is in front of you. It is a simple statement: 'I am sitting here alone with me.'
Try it, to have the feel. Just sit alone sometimes. That's what meditation is all about - just sitting alone, doing nothing, Just try. If you start feeling lonely then there is something missing in your being, then you have not been able yet to understand who you are.
Then go deeper into this loneliness until you come to a layer when suddenly loneliness transforms itself into aloneness. It transforms - it is a negative aspect of the same phenomenon. Loneliness is the negative aspect of aloneness. If you go deeper into it one moment is bound to come when suddenly you will start feeling the positive aspect of it. Because both aspects are always together.
So be lonely, suffer loneliness. It is difficult, meditation is difficult. People come to me and they ask, 'Yes, we are ready to sit, but give us a mantra so that we can chant a mantra.' What are they asking? They are saying that they don't want to be alone, they don't want to face their loneliness. They will chant a mantra - the mantra will become their companion. They will say, 'Ram, Ram, Ram' - now they are not alone. Now this sound of 'Ram' continuously repeated will become their companion.
They are missing the whole point. Transcendental meditation, TM, is not meditation at all, because meditation simply means to be alone, not doing anything - not even chanting a mantra. Because this is a trick of the mind. That's what the mind has always been doing. When you sit alone, have you watched how many fantasies reveal themselves to you?... endless fantasies, daydreams.
Whenever you are alone, you start daydreaming. Whenever you don't have anything to do and you feel bored, immediately you escape into daydreams.
That's why if a person goes to the desert, to the Arabian Desert, to the Sahara, and sits there, he will start imagining, visions will start coming to him, because a desert is a very monotonous thing. Nothing to pay attention to - just the same monotonous expanse of sands and sands; nothing to distract, nothing new - monotonous, boring. A person becomes dreamy, one starts substituting. If there is nothing new outside, one creates one's own imaginative world and starts looking into it.
That's what happens to people who go to the Himalayas and sit in caves to meditate. They start imagining. Then they can imagine anything - gods and goddesses and apsaras and angels and Krishna playing on his flute, and Rama standing with his bow, and Jesus - and whatsoever your imagination, whatsoever your conditioning. If you have been conditioned as a Christian, sooner or later in a himalayan cave you will encounter Jesus, and this will be pure imagination. Nothing to distract the mind outside, the mind starts creating its own dreams inside. And when you continuously dream, those dreams look very very real.
Many experiments have been done in the West on sense deprivation. If a person is deprived of all impressions - his eyes are closed, he is put in a box, his ears are closed, his whole body is encased in foam rubber so the touch is monotonous, the darkness in the eyes is monotonous, the soundlessness is monotonous, everything monotonous - within two, three hours he starts dreaming - such fantastic dreams, and so real... realer than real. And if a person is deprived for twenty-one days he will never come back sane. He will become insane, because his imagination will take complete possession of him.
But why does the mind start daydreaming? The scientific explanation is that the mind cannot live alone with itself. So either it needs somebody in reality, or, if in reality somebody is not there, then it creates fantasy. Fantasy is a substitute. The mind cannot live alone.
That's why you dream in the night - because in sleep you are alone; the world disappears. Your husband is no more there, your children are no more there, your wife is no more there, you are simply alone - and you have become incapable of aloneness. Your mind simply substitutes another world of dreams; dreams, cycles of dreams the whole night. Why are dreams needed? Because you cannot be alone.
This whole illusion that exists around you is because you have not learned one basic thing - of being alone. The zen master is right. He says, 'This is the greatest miracle. I sit here alone with myself.' To be with oneself and to be happily with oneself, blissfully with oneself, and not to move into fantasies... then suddenly one is at home, one is entering into one's own abyss.
It appears like emptiness when you enter, but once you have entered it is the very fullness of being, the fulfillment, the blossoming, the climax, the crescendo.
It is not emptiness. It only appears to be emptiness because you have lived with others and suddenly you miss the others; that's why you interpret it as empty.
Others are not there, only you are there - but you cannot see yourself right now, you simply miss the others.
You have become too habitual; the idea of the other has become very ingrained, it has become a mechanical habit, so when you miss it you feel you are empty, lonely, falling in an abyss. But if you allow and fall into the abyss, soon you will realize the abyss has disappeared, and with the abyss all the illusory attachments have disappeared. Then happens the greatest miracle - that you are simply happy for no reason at all.
Remember, when your happiness depends on others, your unhappiness also will depend on others. If you are happy because a woman loves you, you will become unhappy if she does not love you. If you are happy for any reason whatsoever, then any day the reason is not there, you will become unhappy. Your happiness will always be on the rocks, you will always remain in stormy weather. You will never be certain whether you are happy or unhappy, because each moment you will see the ground underneath can disappear - any moment it can disappear.
You can never be certain. The woman was smiling just now, and then she has become angry. The husband was talking so beautifully and suddenly he has lost his temper.
Depending on others is depending - it is a bondage, it is a dependence, and one can never feel really blissful.
Blissfulness is possible only in total, unconditional freedom. That's why in the East we call it moksha. Moksha means absolute freedom. To be with oneself is moksha because now you don't depend. Your happiness simply is your own, you don't borrow it from anybody. Nobody can take it away, not even death.
Remember, death only separates you from others, it never separates you from yourself. Death seems so frightening because it will snatch you away from others - the wife will not be any more with the husband, the mother will not be any more with the children. Death only separates you from others. It cannot separate you from yourself; there is no way to separate you from yourself.
Once you have learned how to be with yourself then death is meaningless, then death does not exist. You become deathless. Then death cannot take anything away from you. That which death can take away from you, you have surrendered on your own accord.
That's what meditation is - to surrender the non-essential, that which death can take away from you. That which death is going to do, a meditator does on his own accord, voluntarily. Knowing it well - that this will be taken away - he surrenders it.
It is immensely beautiful to be alone. There is nothing to be compared with it. Its beauty is the ultimate beauty, its grandeur is the ultimate grandeur, its power is the ultimate power.
Come back home. And the way is: you will have to suffer loneliness first. Suffer it, go through it. You have to pay for the bliss that is going to be yours - you have to pay for it. This suffering of loneliness is just paying for it. You will be tremendously benefited.
YOU SAY TO SANNYASINS TO JUST WORRY ABOUT THEMSELVES - AND THEY DO! IN ARICA WE HAVE WHAT IS KNOWN AS GROUP UNITY. THE RULE IS THIS: THE GROUP ONLY GETS AS HIGH AS ITS LOWEST MEMBER.
THEREFORE OUR EVOLUTION ARE INTERCONNECTED. HUMANITY IS ONE BODY; WHY STRESS INDIVIDUALITY MORE THAN UNIVERSALITY?
Yes, we are part of each other. Not only humanity is one, existence is one. But this oneness can be felt on two levels: one is in deep unconsciousness and another is in superconsciousness. Either you have to become a tree - then you are one with the whole; or you have to become a Buddha - then you are one with the whole. Between the two you cannot be one with the whole.
Consciousness is individual, unconsciousness is universal; superconscious is universal, consciousness is individual. So if somewhere in Arica or somewhere else they are teaching you to be part of the group, you will become unconscious.
The greater possibility is that you will fall from your consciousness. Unless you become a Buddha, you cannot become one, you cannot know the real oneness with the whole.
The real oneness of the whole can be known only in two ways: either become unconscious, lose your consciousness - individuality is lost; or go beyond consciousness - then your individuality is lost.
That's why a crowd has so much appeal for people. Have you seen people in a crowd, how happy they look? Mohammedans going to destroy a temple, or Hindus going to kill Mohammedans - just see how happy, bubbling, radiant with energy. Dull people... you have seen them before, walking on the streets - dull, dead. Now suddenly they have become very alive - shouting, cheering each other, rushing towards, as if something beautiful is going to happen.
Why do people feel so happy in a crowd? Why does happiness in a crowd become so infectious? Because in a crowd they fall down, they become unconscious. They lose their individuality, they merge their individuality. By dropping their consciousness they drop their individuality. Then they are happy, then there is no worry, then there is no responsibility.
Have you observed the fact that individuals have not committed great sins in the world? All great sins have been committed by crowds, never by individuals. An army can commit millions of sins. Ask single individuals of that army and they will start feeling responsible. Ask them, 'Can you do the same thing alone?' They will say, 'No. How can I do the same thing alone? It was the crowd, I became lost in it. I forgot myself. The crowd mood, the mob, was too much. I was lost. The crowd was doing something, I simply became a part of it. I have not done it.' Ask single Mohammedans, 'Can you burn a temple or murder Hindus?' Ask Hindus, 'Can you murder Mohammedans - individually?'
This is a miracle, but we don't observe it. No individual Mohammedan is bad, no individual Hindu is bad..individuals are beautiful people, as people are always beautiful. In a crowd suddenly they change their faces... a metamorphosis happens. They are no more individuals, they are no more conscious beings; they are lost. Then the crowd has its own way; nobody can control it.
Then, of course, Arica is right - THE RULE IS THIS: THE GROUP ONLY GETS AS HIGH AS ITS LOWEST MEMBER. That's why I say don't become a member of a group. Otherwise you will be as low as the lowest member. Become individuals. In a group you will always fall to the lowest denominator.
It is natural, it is very scientific. If you are walking with a group of one hundred people, the slowest person will decide the speed. Because the slowest person cannot move faster, he has his limitations. And if the group has to remain a group, the group has to move with the slowest. The faster person can slow down, but the slower person cannot become fast; he has his limitations.
The group is always ruled by the stupid person. The stupid cannot become intelligent, but the intelligent can relapse easily and become stupid. Have you seen any stupid person doing anything intelligent ever? But you have seen many intelligent people doing stupid actions, foolish actions. You can become any moment foolish, but it is not so easy to become any moment wise. A foolish person is very consistent - he remains foolish. He cannot sometimes be wise, it is impossible. But a wise person is not so consistent; sometimes he relapses, becomes foolish. There are foolish moments in his life. There are holidays in his life when he relaxes a little and does not bother about his wisdom.
If you are tied to a person who is lower than you in evolution, then you will have to walk with that person. Of course he cannot walk with you. Hence I say I also believe in the rule, but I interpret it in a different way. The rule is perfectly true - THE GROUP ONLY GETS AS HIGH AS ITS LOWEST MEMBER. So if you want to get high, please remember - never become a member of any group.
Remember to remain individuals. Then you are free to move at your own pace.
Then you are totally free to move alone. In a group you are tied.
And of course, stupid people tend to make groups because alone they cannot rely on themselves. They are afraid, they don't have any intelligence. They know that alone they will be lost. They tend to make groups, crowds. So whenever a church exists, whenever a sect exists, ninety-nine percent it consists of fools. It has to be so. They decide policies of religion, politics and everything.
Beware of this mobocracy and be alert. Because in you also there are moments, stupid moments, when you would like to relax. Then you are not responsible, then there is no worry. Then you can always throw the responsibility on the group. You can always say, 'What can I do? I am walking with the group, and the group is slow, so I am slow. The lowest member is deciding everything.'
If you really want to grow, be alone. If you really want to be free, be responsible.
Hence I insist on individuality. That does not mean that I don't know that the universe is one. But there are two ways to know it: either fall below consciousness, then the universe is one - but then you don't know it because you have fallen below consciousness; or, go above consciousness, become superconscious, become enlightened, become a Buddha. Then you also know that the whole is one, but then the whole cannot drag you down. In fact a Buddha starts dragging the whole up.
In an unconscious state, the lowest determines the growth rate. In the superconscious state the highest, the greatest decides. A Buddha pulls you up.
His very presence pulls you up towards heights unknown to you, undreamed of.
Then the highest becomes the deciding factor.
That's why in the East we have always emphasized individuality, and we have always emphasized finding an individual master rather than becoming a part of any group. Be individually related to a master. Then the highest determines your life; then you can be pulled by him. In a group, the lowest will determine your life.
Don't be a Hindu. If you can find Krishna, follow certainly - but don't be a Hindu. Don't be a Christian. If you can find Jesus somewhere, rush to him, forget all about.... But if you cannot find a Jesus, don't be a Christian, because Christianity is a crowd. Jesus is a super-individual. Find a master and live in satsang with a master, live in the presence of the master - and let it be a personal contact.
I give you sannyas. You don't become part of any church, you don't become part of any crowd. Your relationship is personal with me. There are thousands of sannyasins, but each sannyasin is related to me personally. You are not related to another sannyasin at all, remember. Your relationship is with me... individually, personally.
You don't have to relate to other sannyasins as a group. There is no need. You are all related to me personally, and of course you are related in a certain way with each other, but that is because of me. That relationship is not direct, it is through me.
And I would like you to become more and more individual. One day you will become universal, but that is a hope, it is not a reality yet - not for you. And if you want to make it reality, you will have to become more and more conscious - so superbly conscious that one day consciousness is not needed. You have become so conscious that consciousness is no more needed, you can put it aside.
Go and see a drunkard walking on the street. What has he done? He has done the same thing as a Buddha. Watch a Buddha and watch a drunkard - they both have done the same thing. The drunkard has fallen into unconsciousness and become part of the universal. He has taken alcohol to drown his consciousness and worries, individuality. He has become part of the collective unconscious.
And then there is Buddha, walking with his grace, with his beauty, with his grandeur. He has also disappeared - but not like the drunkard. He has not fallen below humanity, he has gone beyond humanity. Both are in a way similar, because both are not individuals. So a drunkard has something similar with a Buddha - both are not individuals. Yet you cannot find two people so far apart, such extremes - yet they have something similar.
Or, take another example. Patanjali says that sleep and samadhi, deep sleep and samadhi, are similar. Because in samadhi the individual disappears and in deep sleep also the individual disappears. In deep sleep you become part of the unconscious, collective unconscious. In samadhi also you become part of the collective superconsciousness.
They are similar and yet they are extremes, polar opposites. The similarity is only one - that in both the ego disappears. But it disappears in such different ways. In sleep you become again like vegetables. You vegetate, you are like a rock; you don't have any individuality.
In samadhi the ego is dropped. Now you don't have any limitation, no definition, you are merged with the whole - but merged with the whole in a tremendous awareness. You are not asleep. Worries have disappeared, because worries exist only with the ego. So there are two ways to drop the worries - either become part of a group, or become part of the superconscious plane.
The Aricans say something which is true, but what they do is absolutely wrong.
YOU SAY TO SANNYASINS TO JUST WORRY ABOUT THEMSELVES - AND THEY DO!
Yes, I say to them just to worry about themselves, because right now that should be their only concern. If they start worrying about the whole world they will not be able to do anything. Even to worry about oneself is too much. To get rid of those worries is too much, it is difficult, and if you are worrying about the whole world then there is no way to get out of it. Then you can be certain you will remain always worried.
And don't think for even a single moment that you are helping the world by worrying about it. You are not helping the world by worrying about it, because a worrier cannot help anybody. He is a destructive force.
So reduce the worries first to the minimum. That is, confine your worries to yourself, that's enough. Be absolutely selfish. Yes, that's what I say - be absolutely selfish if someday you want to help others. If someday you want to be really altruistic, be selfish.
First change your being. First create a light within your heart, become luminous.
Then you can help others. And you will be able to help without worrying.
Because worrying never helps anybody. Somebody is dying and you sit by his side and you worry. How is it going to help? If the patient is dying and the doctor is worrying, it is not going to help. How much he worries is pointless. He has to do something.
And when a patient is dying, a doctor is needed who knows how not to worry.
Only then can he be helpful, because only then can his diagnosis be clearer, more correct. That's why if you are ill and your own husband is a doctor, he will not be of much help, because he will worry too much about you. Somebody is needed who is impersonal.
A child needs an operation. His own father may be a great surgeon, but he cannot be allowed to operate on the child because he will be worrying too much.
His hand will be shaking - his own child; he cannot be just an observer. He cannot be objective, he is too much involved. He will kill the child. Some other surgeon is needed who can remain impartial, who can remain far away, aloof, distant, unworried.
So if you really want to help humanity, first you have to become unworried. And to become unworried you have to drop unnecessary worries first. Don't think about the world. The world has continued the same and it is going to continue the same. Don't be foolish. All Utopians are a little foolish - they expect something which is never going to happen, which has never happened.
All that is possible - be realistic, be scientific - all that is possible is that you can transcend worries. So just worry about yourself and find out a way to get above them, beyond them. When you have gone beyond, you can be of tremendous benediction to the world.
I FEEL MOST OF THE TIME AS IF I ONLY EXIST IN THE EYES OF OTHERS, AS IF I REACT TO THEIR EXPECTATIONS OF ME. I FEEL NOT THAT I HAVE TRANSCENDED THE EGO, BUT AS IF I HAVE NO EGO, NO BEING, NO ESSENCE. I FEEL SO UNREAL.
WHERE AM L? WHAT CAN I DO - OR NOT DO?
The first thing - it is not only you who only exists in the eyes of others; everybody is existing that way. That is the common way of existence. You use the other as a mirror. Others' opinions become very important, of immense value - because they define you.
Somebody says you are so beautiful; in that moment you become beautiful.
Somebody says you are a fool; in that moment you start suspecting - maybe you are a fool. You may get angry, you may deny, but deep down you have become suspicious about your intelligence. Somebody says you are so holy and you start behaving like a holy man, because you have to keep your image.
Once the society has decided that you are a criminal, you start behaving like a criminal. Because now what is the point? They have already decided that you are a criminal. Whether you are or not is not going to matter much, so why not be?
Once a person goes to the gaol, he becomes a permanent visitor there; he comes again and again. Once the society has known that he is a criminal and he has been punished, once he has been branded as a criminal, he decides, 'Now, what is the point?'
Psychologists say that if in the family you have been treated as a fool or a buffoon, by and by you start playing the role. You have to accept it because you don't know who you are. At least people call you a fool; they give you a certain definition. You can rely on them. Once a small boy is told that he is stupid - in the house, in the school - he starts behaving in a stupid way, because that becomes his definition. Otherwise he does not know who he is.
First thing to understand - it is not only you who exists only in the eyes of others; everybody else is existing in the eyes of others. This is the world. This is what in India we call the world of maya, illusion. You exist in others' eyes and others exist in your eyes. It is a mutual deception. They don't know who they are, you don't know who you are. You define them, they define you. It is a mutual trick. They play the game of defining you; you play the game of defining them.
And all definitions are false, because your soul is never mirrored in anybody's eyes.
If you want to know who you are, you will have even to close your eyes - you will have to go withinwards. You will have to forget the whole world, you will have to forget what they say about you. You will have to go deep inside you and encounter your own reality.
That's what I am teaching here - not to depend on others, not to look in their eyes. There are no clues in their eyes. They are as unaware as you are - how can they define you?
I have heard about two astrologers who used to come to the marketplace of a certain town every morning to sit there and tell people their future. Just in the morning they would come and they would spread their hands before each other, just to know their own future, what is going to happen on that day whether they are going to earn money or not. And one astrologer would say about the other, and the other would say about the first, and they would both be happy. It was of course free of charge, because both were serving each other. Now, those people were predicting about others' future!
Once it happened, I was staying in a city and a few friends brought a very famous astrologer to see me. He only sees the hand if you pay him one thousand and one rupees. He was thinking that of course he would be paid. He looked at my hand and then he asked for his fee. I said, 'Can't you see that I am not going to pay? You cannot see this much? If you are a real astrologer and you know my future, you should know at least yours.'
You are looking into each other's eyes to find who you are. Yes, some reflections are there, your face is reflected. But your fact is not you; you are far behind the face. Your face has been changing so much that you can't be your face.
Do you remember how you looked on the first day when you entered your mother's womb? There was no face at all. You were there, but there was no face.
You could not have been seen with the naked eye; only a microscope would have helped to see. And there was no face, you were just a body, a cell. But you were there.
Then you started growing and many faces passed. And then you were born. If somebody brings a picture of you the day you were born, do you think you will be able to recognize that this is you? Yes, if somebody says - your mother and father - that this is you, you may believe, but you cannot recognize that this is you. Constant change... your face is a flux. It goes on changing every day, every moment.
You are not the face. Somewhere deep down hidden is your consciousness; it is never reflected into anybody's eyes. Yes, a few things are reflected: your actions.
You do something; it is reflected into others' eyes. But your doing is not you. You are far greater than your actions.
Actions are just like dry, dead leaves falling from a tree. Action is like a dead, dry leaf fallen away from you - it is not you. In your actions there is no definition for you. It is as if you go under a tree and collect all the dry leaves and you think you have known the tree. The tree is far bigger, alive. Any action, the moment it is completed, is dead. It is part of the past, it is no more alive, it is a dead leaf.
Yes, many actions happen to you as leaves happen to a tree. But they go on happening. And there are moments when all the leaves are gone and the tree remains naked, bare against the sky... no leaves. So leaves cannot define the tree, they come and go. In the fall they disappear, in the spring they come again. Great foliage comes, great greenery comes, great flowers come - but the tree is something else.
You are that being - the tree. Actions come and go; actions don't define you, they are reflected. And in fact people don't talk about your actions, they talk about their interpretations about your actions. They don't say what you have done, they immediately evaluate it. For example, if you are angry, they think you are doing something bad. They don't reflect your anger, they reflect their attitude about anger.
Now modern research into the human mind says that anger is beautiful, it is not bad. in fact repressing anger is bad - that is the new interpretation. If you repress the anger it becomes hatred - hatred is chronically repressed anger. If you simply express your anger you never accumulate enough anger to create hatred.
Just like a small child - in one moment he is so angry, fire, as if he can destroy the whole world, and next moment he is playing with the same boy, or sitting in your lap, laughing, giggling - he has completely forgotten. He carries no ill-will, he carries no hatred. Whatsoever comes, passes. Anger comes like a breeze and passes.
If you repress anger then you go on piling it, inside it goes on accumulating. It becomes pus, and then it explodes one day in hatred. A person who becomes easily angry can never murder. A person who never becomes angry and always is in control - beware of him. He can murder someday because he is accumulating.
Now, this is a new interpretation. I'm not saying whether this is right or wrong, I am simply saying interpretations change. In the past, anger was bad and an angry person was an evil person. Now the Humanistic Potential Movement has created a new interpretation. They say anger is good, it simply shows aliveness; it is pure energy, it is a communication; it is natural, it is human, nothing is wrong in it, don't repress it - enjoy it.
The new psychology says if you enjoy anger you will become more capable of enjoying love. The old psychology used to say that if you become angry you will lose all love, then your love will disappear. Now the interpretation has completely changed. Now if you repress anger you will become hateful; hatred will be accumulated. And if you express anger, it is nothing but an expression of love.
In fact you become angry only with a person you care about, otherwise you don't bother. Your son is doing something; you become angry because you care, because you love. Your wife is doing something; you become angry because you love, you care. The neighbour's wife is doing the same thing. Let her do - who bothers? You never become angry because there is no relationship. Anger is relationship.
Again let me remind you I am not saying who is right, who is wrong. I am simply saying that interpretations change and people don't reflect you or your actions; they reflect their interpretations. Now if an old, traditional man is watching you angry, in a tantrum, jumping and jogging and throwing things, he will say you are mad. And the new humanist will say you are human.
I have heard:
The young nurse had only just finished her training and had the misfortune to come across a particularly difficult patient on her first day in the ward. He complained about everything, expected everybody to attend to his every want without delay, and generally made a complete nuisance of himself.
The poor nurse was tired beyond endurance, and, remembering her lectures on nurse-patient relationships, finally lost her control and muttered angrily, 'Ah you - you human being!'
Now even 'human being' can be used in a condemnatory sense: 'Ah you - you human being!' It depends on your interpretations.
Your being is never reflected in the eyes of others. Your being you have to come to know only in one way - and that is by closing your eyes to all the mirrors.
You have to enter into your own inward existence, to face it directly. Nobody can give you any idea of it, what it is. You can know it, but not from others. It can never be a borrowed knowledge, it can only be a direct experience, a direct experiencing, immediate.
So, don't be worried about it.
I FEEL NOT THAT I HAVE TRANSCENDED THE EGO, BUT AS IF I HAVE NO EGO, NO BEING, NO ESSENCE. I FEEL SO UNREAL. WHERE AM I?
You are just in between these two worlds. It happens to every meditator. Hm?
You had one identity collected from others' eyes, culled from others' opinions.
Then you start moving inwards; that identity becomes vague, vaguer, starts disappearing. You don't know who you are, and all that you know about yourself is disappearing. Just in between you stand one day.
This is a transitory moment. You have not come in, and you have left the without far away. You are just standing on the threshold. The world is no more there, but you are also not yet. In this moment one feels very unreal, just a phantom, because one has no idea who one is, and all the ideas that one had are lost.
And in fact nobody can transcend ego because ego does not exist. When we say 'transcending the ego' it simply means coming to know that the ego does not exist. It is not something real that you can transcend or you can drop, it is an unreal idea you have to simply understand. That very understanding is transcendence.
Now let me repeat the whole question.
I FEEL MOST OF THE TIME AS IF I ONLY EXIST IN THE EYES OF OTHERS, AS IF I REACT TO THEIR EXPECTATIONS OF ME. I FEEL NOT THAT I HAVE TRANSCENDED THE EGO, BUT AS IF I HAVE NO EGO, NO BEING, NO ESSENCE. I FEEL SO UNREAL. WHERE AM L? WHAT CAN I DO, OR NOT DO?
You are on the threshold. You have come to understand that your identity in the eyes of others is false. Hence you cannot create your ego. The very food for the ego has disappeared. You feel unreal. Ego has been up to now your only reality, and you are feeling lost, you don't know where you are, but I know where you are. You are just in the middle of two worlds - this world and that. You are just in a transitory moment between sansar and sannyas - between the world and the real renunciation.
Now, at this moment you are not expected to do anything, because whatsoever you do will take you again back into the world. Doing takes people into the world. Nothing is expected from you to be done. You are not to do anything, you are simply to wait and watch, not do. Not doing will help.
Don't do anything and don't try to change the situation, because if you try changing it you will again fall back to your own known, familiar world; you will again cling to your old identity. You simply wait. Just by waiting, by and by you will slip into the inner world. Nothing is needed to do about it, only non-doing helps.
It is just as if a stream has become muddy. What do you do to clean it? You simply sit on the bank; by and by the dust settles back. Again the stream is flowing clear, crystal clear. Just wait. Sit in between these two worlds. I know it is very inconvenient, very uncomfortable. One wants to have some reality, and it is very unreal. But wait.
This is what, on the path, is called austerity, tapascharya. This is the arduousness, the real arduousness - when one is losing the old and the new is not coming. You have taken a jump from the old and you have not been able to find where to land - just hanging in between, in a limbo. It is uncomfortable, but just wait. Things will settle by themselves.
In the inner world, action is not needed; only inaction is helpful. Inaction is the action of the inner world. Lao Tzu calls it wu wei - inactive action, passive action. You don't do anything, you simply wait and things happen just by your waiting.
It is good that you are freed from the opinions of others. It is better to be unreal than to be falsely real. Your unreality has a reality in it. When you are just real in others' eyes, you are falsely real. You only appear to be real, you are not real.
And now you have understood, beware - the trap is big and all around, and everybody is ready to force you back into the trap, because nobody likes you to get out of their trap. The father wants you to do things the way he wants them to happen. The mother wants you to do the things as she wants them to be done.
The wife has her own ideas, your children, they have their own ideas. And everybody thinks that he has the right clue, and they all go on driving you crazy.
I have heard:
The familiar screen was carefully placed in position around the patient's bed, and the nurse came in with a tape measure. The patient remained silent and unprotesting as the nurse measured him from head to toe and from shoulder to shoulder, but could contain himself no longer when she measured the distance from the mattress on the bed to the height of his rather large stomach.
'What on earth are you doing, nurse?' he asked weakly.
'I am measuring you for a coffin,' was the unexpected reply.
'But I am not dead!'
'Be quiet! Do you want to make a fool out of the doctor?'
Now, the doctor says, and he knows better whether you are dead or alive. 'Be quiet!' she says. 'Do you want to make a fool out of the doctor?'
Whatsoever you do, you will be wrong, because you will be going against somebody's wishes, somebody's ideas. It is very difficult to please all, and if you go on trying to please.all you will be simply wasting your life. And nobody is pleased, nobody can be pleased, it is impossible to please anybody.
Stop fulfilling expectations of others, because that is the only way you can commit suicide. You are not here to fulfill anybody's expectations and nobody else is here to fulfill your expectations. Never become a victim of others'
expectations and don't make anybody a victim of your expectations.
This is what I call individuality. Respect your own individuality and respect others' individuality. Never interfere in anybody's life and don't allow anybody to interfere in your life. Only then one day you can grow into spirituality.
Otherwise, ninety-nine percent of people simply commit suicide. Their whole life is nothing but a slow suicide. Fulfilling this expectation, that expectation... some day it was the father, some day it was the mother, some day it was the wife, husband, then come children - they also expect. You have to fulfill their expectations. Then the society, the priest and the politician, and all around everybody is expecting. And poor you there, just a poor human being - and the whole world expecting you to do this and that. And if you don't fulfill their expectations... and you can't fulfill all of their expectations, because they are contradictory.
I was staying in a family and I asked the small boy, 'What are you going to become?'
He said, 'I don't know. I think I will go mad.'
'What do you mean?'
He said, 'My father wants me to become an engineer, my mother wants me to become a doctor. My uncle says, "Be a businessman, only then you can...."
'Another uncle, he says be a professor because that is the most simple profession.
And I don't know. But this much I know - that if all expectations are fulfilled, I will go mad.'
That's how many people have gone mad. And when I am saying many people have gone mad, don't make an exception of yourself. You have gone mad fulfilling everybody's expectations. And you have not fulfilled anybody's; nobody is happy. This is the beauty. You are lost, completely destroyed, and nobody is happy. Because people who are not happy with themselves cannot be happy in any way. Whatsoever you do, they will find ways to be unhappy with you, because they cannot be happy. Happiness is an art that one has to learn. It has nothing to do with your doing or not doing.
IF LOVE BECOMES DESTROYED IN MARRIAGE, HOW ARE WE TO LIVE IF WE WISH TO SHARE LOVE AND THOUGHTS ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS, AND ALSO RAISE CHILDREN WITH BOTH A MOTHER AND A FATHER?
I have never said that love is destroyed by marriage. How can marriage destroy love? Yes, it is destroyed in marriage, but it is destroyed by you, not by marriage.
It is destroyed by the partners. How can marriage destroy love? It is you who destroy it, because you don't know what love is. You simply pretend to know, you simply hope that you know, you dream that you know, but you don't know what love is. Love has to be learned; it is the greatest art there is.
If people are dancing and somebody asks you, 'Come and dance,' you say, 'I don't know.' You don't just jump up and start dancing and have everybody think that you are a great dancer. You will just prove yourself to be a buffoon. You will not prove yourself to be a dancer. It has to be learned - the grace of it, the movement of it. You have to train the body for it.
You don't just go and start painting just because the canvas is available and the brush is there and the colour is there. You don't start painting. You say, 'All requirements are here, so I can paint. You can paint - but you will not be a painter that way.
You meet a woman - the canvas is there. You immediately become a lover - you start painting. And she starts painting on you. Of course you both prove to be foolish - painted fools - and sooner or later you understand what is happening.
But you never thought that love is an art. You are not born with the art, it is nothing to do with your birth. You have to learn it. It is the most subtle art.
You are born only with a capacity. Of course, you are born with a body; you can be a dancer because you have the body. You can move your body and you can be a dancer - but dancing has to be learned. Much effort is needed to learn dancing.
And dancing is not so difficult because you alone are involved in it.
Love is much more difficult. It is dancing with somebody else. The other is also needed to know what dancing is. To fit with somebody, it is a great art. To create a harmony between two persons... two persons mean two different worlds.
When two worlds come close, clash is bound to be there if you don't know how to harmonise. Love is harmony. And happiness, health, harmony, all happen out of love. Learn to love. Don't be in a hurry for marriage, learn to love. First become a great lover.
And what is the requirement? The requirement is that a great lover is always ready to give love and is not bothered whether it is returned or not. It is always returned, it is in the very nature of things. It is just as if you go to the mountains and you sing a song, and the valleys respond. Have you seen an echo point in the mountains, in the hills? You shout and the valleys shout, or you sing and the valleys sing. Each heart is a valley. If you pour love into it, it will respond.
The first lesson of love is not to ask for love, but just to give. Become a giver. And people are doing just the opposite. Even when they give, they give only with the idea that love should come back. It is a bargain. They don't share, they don't share freely. They share with a condition. They go on watching out of the corner of their eye whether it is coming back or not. Very poor people... they don't know the natural functioning of love. You simply pour, it will come.
And if it is not coming, nothing to be worried about - because a lover knows that to love is to be happy. If it comes, good; then the happiness is multiplied. But even if it never comes back, in the very act of loving you become so happy, so ecstatic, who bothers whether it comes or not?
Love has its own intrinsic happiness. It happens when you love. There is no need to wait for the result. Just start loving. By and by you will see much more love is coming back to you. One loves and comes to know what love is only by loving.
As one learns swimming by swimming, by loving one loves.
And people are very miserly. They are waiting for some great beloved to happen, then they will love. They remain closed, they remain withdrawn. They just wait.
From somewhere some Cleopatra will come and then they will open their heart, but by that time they have completely forgotten how to open it.
Don't miss any opportunity of love. Even passing in a street, you can be loving.
Even to the beggar you can be loving. There is no need that you have to give him something; you can smile at least. It costs nothing - but your very smile opens your heart, makes your heart more alive. Hold somebody's hand - a friend or a stranger. Don't wait that you will only love when the right person happens. Then the right person will never happen. Go on loving. The more you love, the more is the possibility for the right person to happen, because your heart starts flowering. And a flowering heart attracts many bees, many lovers.
You have been trained in a very wrong way. First, everybody lives under a wrong impression that everybody is already a lover. Just being born, you think you are a lover. It's not so easy. Yes, there is a potentiality, but the potentiality has to be trained, disciplined. A seed exists, but it has to come to flower.
You can go on carrying your seed; no bee will be coming. Have you ever seen bees coming to the seeds? Don't they know that seeds can become flowers? But they come when they become flowers. Become a flower, don't remain a seed.
Two people, separately unhappy, create more unhappiness for each other when they come together. That's mathematical. You were unhappy, your wife was unhappy and you both are hoping that being together you both will become happy? This is... this is such ordinary arithmetic - like two plus two makes four.
It is that simple. It is not part of any higher mathematics; it is very ordinary, you can count it on your fingers. You both will become unhappy.
'You don't love me any more?' asked Mulla Nasrudin's wife. 'You never say anything nice to me any more like you used to when we were courting.' She wiped a tear from her eye with the corner of her apron.
'I love you, I love you,' retorted Mulla Nasrudin. 'Now will you please shut up and let me drink my beer in peace?'
Courting is one thing. Don't depend on courting. In fact before you get married, get rid of courting. My suggestion is that marriage should happen after the honeymoon, never before it. Only if everything goes right, only then marriage should happen.
Honeymoon after marriage is very dangerous. As far as I know, ninety-nine percent of marriages are finished by the time the honeymoon is finished. But then you are caught, then you have no way to escape. Then the whole society, the law, the court - everybody is against you if you leave the wife, or the wife leaves you. Then the whole morality, the religion, the priest, everybody is against you. In fact society should create all barriers possible for marriage and no barrier for divorce. Society should not allow people to marry so easily. The court should create barriers - live with the woman for two years at least, then the court can allow you to get married. Right now they are doing just the reverse. If you want to get married, nobody asks whether you are ready or whether it is just a whim, just because you like the nose of the woman. What foolishness! One cannot live by just a long nose. After two days the nose will be forgotten. Who looks at one's own wife's nose?
I have heard:
A certain ward was staffed completely by nurses who looked as though they were finalists in the Miss World Contest, but every time one of the patients saw them, he stared intently and said, 'Rubbish! '
The man in the next bed could not understand it at all. 'Gorgeous nurses like these to look after you and all you can say is "Rubbish". Why?'
'I was not thinking of the nurses,' said the other sadly, 'I was thinking of my wife.'
The wife never looks beautiful, the husband never looks beautiful. Once you are aquainted, beauty disappears.
Two persons should be allowed to live together long enough to become aquainted, familiar with each other. And even if they want to get married, they should not be allowed. Then divorces will disappear from the world. The divorces exist because marriages are wrong and forced. The divorces exist because marriages are done in a romantic mood.
A romantic mood is good if you are a poet - and poets are not known to be good husbands or good wives. In fact poets are almost always bachelors. They fool around but they never get caught, and hence their romance remains alive. They go on writing poetry, beautiful poetry.
One should not get married to a woman or to a man in a poetic mood. Let the prose mood come, then settle. Because the day-to-day life is more like prose than like poetry. One should become mature enough.
Maturity means that one is no more a romantic fool. One understands life, one understands the responsibility of life, one understands the problems of being together with a person. One accepts all those difficulties and yet decides to live with the person. One is not hoping that there is only going to be heaven, all roses. One is not hoping nonsense; one knows reality is tough. It is rough. There are roses, but far and few in between; there are many thorns.
When you have become alert to all of these problems and still you decide that it is worthwhile to risk and be with a person rather than to be alone, then get married. Then marriages will never kill love, because this love is realistic.
Marriage can kill only romantic love. And romantic love is what people call 'puppy love'. One should not depend on it. One should not think about it as nourishment. It may be just like ice-cream. You can eat it sometimes, but don't depend on it. Life has to be more realistic, more prose.
And marriage itself never destroys anything. Marriage simply brings out whatsoever is hidden in you - it brings it out. If love is hidden behind you, inside you, marriage brings it out. If love was just a pretension, just a bait, then sooner or later it has to disappear. And then your reality, your ugly personality comes up. Marriage simply is an opportunity, so whatsoever you had to bring out will come out.
I am not saying that love is destroyed by marriage. Love is destroyed by people who don't know how to love. Love is destroyed because in the first place love is not. You have been living in a dream. Reality destroys that dream. Otherwise love is something eternal, part of eternity. If you grow, if you know the art, and you accept the realities of love-life, then it goes on growing every day. Marriage becomes a tremendous opportunity to grow into love.
Nothing can destroy love. If it is there, it goes on growing. But my feeling is, it is not there in the first place. You misunderstood yourself; something else was there. Maybe sex was there, sex appeal was there. Then it is going to be destroyed, because once you have loved a woman, then the sex appeal disappears - because the sex appeal is only with the unknown. Once you have tasted the body of the woman or the man, then the sex appeal disappears. If your love was only sex appeal then it is bound to disappear.
So never misunderstand love for something else. If love is really love.... What do I mean when I say 'really love'? I mean that just being in the presence of the other you feel suddenly happy, just being together you feel ecstatic, just the very presence of the other fulfills something deep in your heart... something starts singing in your heart, you fall into harmony. Just the very presence of the other helps you to be together; you become more individual, more centered, more grounded. Then it is love.
Love is not a passion, love is not an emotion. Love is a very deep understanding that somebody somehow completes you. Somebody makes you a full circle. The presence of the other enhances your presence. Love gives freedom to be yourself; it is not possessiveness.
So, watch. Never think of sex as love, otherwise you will be deceived. Be alert, and when you start feeling with someone that just the presence, the pure presence - nothing else, nothing else is needed; you don't ask anything - just the presence, just that the other is, is enough to make you happy... something starts flowering within you, a thousand and one lotuses bloom... then you are in love, and then you can pass through all the difficulties that reality creates. Many anguishes, many anxieties - you will be able to pass all of them, and your love will be flowering more and more, because all those situations will become challenges. And your love, by overcoming them, will become more and more strong.
Love is eternity. If it is there, then it goes on growing and growing. Love knows the beginning but does not know the end.