Most people return unopened
IT FEELS SO HOPELESS. I FEEL ASHAMED TO HAVE BEEN A SANNYASIN FOR TEN YEARS AND STILL BE IN THIS STATE. I HESITATE TO ASK FOR YOUR HELP, BECAUSE EVEN YOUR WORDS BECOME MECHANICAL IN ME AFTER A FEW REPETITIONS. WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Prem Indivar, it is not yet hopeless enough. Just make it a little more hopeless. There comes a point in hopelessness where you stop hoping.
Hopelessness is still deep down nothing but hope. Let the hope fail completely and totally, and a dramatic experience arises out of that space when you don't have any hope - - because hope is another name of desire, another name of expectation, another name of ambition. And before you can realize yourself, all desires, all expectations, all ambitions must have failed you, must have left you alone. Hoping nothing, desiring nothing, expecting nothing -- where will you be? There is no way to go out.
Hope is a way of going out, desire is a way of going away, ambition is a way to avoid going in. On the path, to be utterly hopeless, so hopeless that you stop hoping... suddenly you are in -- without taking a single step.
Hope is a kind of opium; it keeps you intoxicated. To tolerate the miserable present, your eyes remain fixed on a faraway star: your hope. Millions of people live without finding themselves -- not because of any sin that Adam and Eve committed, or that they committed in some of their past lives. The sin is that people go on looking in the future and the present goes on passing by. And the present is the only reality; the future is a dream, and howsoever sweet, dreams never come true.
Self-realization is not a dream. It is a realization in the present moment of your own being. So don't be worried; you are on the right path, Prem Indivar -- becoming hopeless.
Go on more and more, exhaust hopelessness. Come to the optimum hopelessness. Then hope disappears automatically.
And when there is no hope, you are.
When there is no hope, the present is.
An old spinster died, and her two old friends went to a stone mason to have a gravestone made. "And what message would you like to have on the stone?" asked the mason.
"Well," said one of the old maids, "It's quite simple really. We would like `She came a virgin, she lived a virgin, and she died a virgin.'" The mason replied, "You know, you ladies could save a lot of money by just saying, `Returned unopened.'" Most of the people return unopened, and nobody is responsible except themselves.
You are asking, "It feels so hopeless...." Not yet; otherwise even this question would not have arisen. There is still hope. You say, "I feel ashamed to have been a sannyasin for ten years, and still be in this state." That is your ego feeling hurt; otherwise you would feel humble, not ashamed. What is there to be ashamed of?
Life is not a small thing. It is so vast, and we are so small. The ocean is so big, and we have to swim in it just with our own small hands. Only those people who never start swimming and go on standing on the bank looking at others, should feel ashamed. One who has started swimming... ten years is nothing much, even ten lives are short.
One should be so patient. It is your impatience that is feeling ashamed; it is your ego that is feeling ashamed. You should feel humble -- humble before the vastness of existence, humble before the mysteries of life... just humble, a nobody. And in that humbleness, the ocean becomes small and your hands become bigger.
You say, "I hesitate to ask for your help...."
You go on saying things which you don't mean. If you really hesitate, then why are you asking? In fact, hesitation is your question. You should ask a little more so that you can open up, so that you can become more exposed. Don't go on hiding yourself. What is the hesitation in asking? And you go on rationalizing everything within yourself; you have rationalized your hesitation.
Everybody hesitates to ask, and the reason and the rationalization are two different things. The reason for feeling hesitation is that one does not want to show one's ignorance, and every question shows your ignorance. One hopes that some other stupid person is going to ask the question, just wait... because the human reality is one, and human problems are one, and the search for oneself is one. So some day somebody is going to ask the question that you cannot gather courage to ask yourself.
But I want you to remember that even in asking there is something valuable. In asking, you are exposing your ignorance; in asking, you are accepting that you don't know; in asking, you are dropping your so-called knowledgeability.
To ask a question is more important than the question itself. The question may be anything -- XYZ -- but the very asking is significant. It brings you closer to me, and it brings you closer to all other sannyasins, the fellow travelers. You don't remain closed, afraid that somebody may know that you know not. Exposing yourself -- that you are ignorant -- all fear disappears. You become more human, and you become more intimate with everyone who is a fellow traveler, because the same is his situation. That is the reason why one hesitates.
But rationalizations are a totally different thing. You rationalize that, "I hesitate to ask for your help because even your words become mechanical in me after a few repetitions."
What is the need of repeating them? One repeats a thing because one wants to make it mechanical. In your mind, there is a robot part; if you repeat a certain thing, the robot part takes it over. Then you don't have to think about it; the robot part goes on doing it. You are unburdened of thinking, you are unburdened of responsibility. And the robot part is very efficient; it is mechanical. It has its use, and it has its misuse.
When you are working in the ordinary world, the day to day world, if you have to remember every day where your house is, who your wife is... if you have to search every day in the crowd looking into every face -- who is your wife? -- it will become a little difficult. The robot part takes over. It knows the way home; you need not think on every turn whether to go right or to go left. You go on listening to the radio, and your hands will go on turning the steering wheel exactly to your own porch.
If one has to think about everything, life will become too clumsy. Once in a while, it happens with a few people, who don't have a very strong robot part -- and these are the people who are very intelligent -- that their whole energy moves into intelligence, and their robot part is left starving.
Thomas Alva Edison is one of the cases to be considered. He was leaving and going to an institute to deliver a lecture on some new scientific project he was working on. Saying goodbye to his wife, he kissed her and waved to his maid. His chauffeur could not believe his eyes -- because he had kissed the maid, and he was waving to the wife. His robot part was very, very small; his whole life energy was devoted to scientific investigations where a robot part is not needed.
One day, he was sitting and working on some calculations, and his wife came with the breakfast. Seeing him so much involved, she left the breakfast by his side, thinking that when he sees it, he will understand why she has not disturbed him. Meanwhile, one of his friends came. Seeing him so much absorbed, he also felt not to disturb him. Having nothing else to do, he ate the breakfast, and left the empty dishes by his side. When Edison looked up and saw his friend, he looked at the empty plate and said, "You came a little late. I have finished my breakfast. We could have shared it."
The friend said, "Don't be worried."
You say that everything becomes mechanical in you after a few repetitions. But why repeat? The repetition is a method to make a thing mechanical. Always do something fresh, something new, if you do not want to get caught in repetitions. But in ordinary life, repetitions are perfectly good.
As you enter into the world of higher consciousness, repetitions are dangerous. There you need always a fresh mind, an innocent mind, which knows nothing and responds to a situation not out of the mechanical, robot part of your mind, but from the very living source of your life.
Here we are not concerned about the mundane world. Our concern is to raise the consciousness.
Don't repeat, don't imitate. Remember one thing: you have to respond always in a fresh way. The situation may be old, but you are not to be old. You have to remain young and fresh. Just try new responses. They will not be as efficient as mechanical responses, but efficiency is not a great value in spiritual life... freshness is.
A rabbi and a minister were sitting together on a plane. The stewardess came up to them and asked, "Would you care for a cocktail?"
"Sure," said the rabbi. "Please bring a Manhattan."
"Fine, sir," said the stewardess. "And you Reverend?"
"Young lady," he said, "before I touch strong drink, I would just as soon commit adultery."
"I've missed," said the rabbi." "As long as there is a choice, I will have what he's having."
People are imitative and imitation is bound to be unintelligent. They want to do exactly the things which others are doing. That destroys their freshness. Do things in your own style; live your life according to your own light. And even if the same situation arises, be alert to find a new response.
It is only a question of a little alertness, and once you have started enjoying... and it is really a great joy to respond to old situations always in a new way, because that newness keeps you young, keeps you conscious, keeps you non-mechanical, keeps you alive.
Don't be repetitive. But when I am saying don't be repetitive, I don't mean in the ordinary life, in the marketplace; there, repetition is the rule. But in the inner world, the freshness of your response is the law.
I HAVE NOTICED THAT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE DISCOURSE AND PASS THROUGH THE DOOR, YOU OFTEN LOOK TO YOUR LEFT. ARE YOU SIMPLY SAYING "HELLO" TO THE GHOST?
I have to. That room, Anando's room, has so many ghosts. I had not told Anando when she came into the room for the first time -- but how long can you hide a fact? The ghosts started declaring themselves. In the middle of the night, they would wake her. They would knock -- she would jump out of her bed. And she was afraid to tell anybody what was the matter. Finally she gathered courage and asked me, "What is the matter?
Suddenly, in the middle of the night, somebody knocks, and if I don't jump up, he tries to pull my leg."
I said, "Nothing to be worried about. It is a very nice assembly of ghosts." I keep them in Anando's room just so they can also listen to the discourse -- in fact, it is their room.
They are not ghosts, they are the hosts -- Anando is the guest. But she was very much afraid I said, "You don't be afraid. Start introducing yourself to them."
She said, "But what will others think?"
I said, "Nobody is there in the middle of the night."
She said, "That's right." So she introduced herself: "I'm a nice Australian girl and I don't want any trouble." And now she has even started making a bed in the bathroom, in the bathtub, with cozy blankets and many clothes for the ghosts, so they can rest there.
I have to pass that room just because of those fellows. Just a "hello" is needed. And now it has become known to a few people. Milarepa is asking, "Why, when you enter the room, do you look to the left and say, `Hello'?" Mukta has even approached Anando to say, "I enjoy the company of ghosts. I would like to invite them for tea -- just to be friendly with them."
But Anando is very much afraid. She has to talk to them every night. I have asked her whether they answer. She said, "They never answer."
I said, "They will not answer because they don't exist. You have to create them; it is a very creative dimension."
Nirupa became interested, because everybody wants to know mysterious things. She stayed with Anando, and she also heard the knocks. She said, "My God, they are!" But in fact, all those knocks are made by Milarepa. It is by arrangement with me, just to keep a place in the commune for nice ghosts.
You can create ghosts very easily. Anything else is very difficult because it needs some material. Ghosts are absolutely immaterial. It just needs a good imagination, and Anando has a good imagination. And it is a good exercise to talk to the ghosts, because you can be more truthful than you can be with human beings -- it is a good meditation. You can tell them secrets which you cannot tell to anybody else, because they are not going to spread rumors. You can trust them; they are your own creation.
Slowly, slowly, Anando will make it a meditation -- it is becoming one by and by. I am giving her as much encouragement as possible. There is nothing to be afraid of, because ghosts don't exist anywhere -- Anando's room included. But to have a good company of ghosts, and to talk with them, can be transformed into a meditation, as if you are talking to your own different selves.
Every man has many selves. He can make each self a ghost, and then it is easy to talk to them. And just one step more -- talk from your side and answer from his side. Between this conversation, between you and the non-existential ghost, you will find treasures hidden within yourself, secrets and mysteries of which you were not aware before.
So Anando's room is a special room. When you walk through it, never forget to say hello to the ghosts.
Goldstein applies for membership in the Communist Party, and he is requested to answer a few questions.
"Who was Karl Marx?"
"I don't know," replies Goldstein.
"Sorry, I don't know him either."
"What about Leonid Brezhnev?"
"Never heard of him."
"Are you playing games with me?" asked the official. "Not at all," says Goldstein. "Do you know Herschel Salzberg?"
"No," says the official.
"What about Yankl Horovitch?"
"Never heard of him."
"Well," says Goldstein, "I guess that's the way it goes. You have got your friends, I have got mine."
People think Anando lives alone -- she has such a beautiful congregation! Right now I am telling her to have some conversations, and soon you will see her addressing the congregation. There will be nobody, but she will enjoy her own revelations. And one thing is good about ghosts: you can say anything to them, in any language; right or wrong, it does not matter.
Ghosts are almost like God. People are praying all over the world every morning, every evening, to a god. And it is not that their prayer is absolutely useless -- although there is no God. If they are praying with tears in their eyes and love in their hearts, and a feeling of gratitude surrounding them, whether God exists or not is not the point. The prayer changes the person. It gives him a new experience. God was just an excuse.
So are the ghosts of Anando's room an excuse for her to stand up and address the congregation. I think tonight she's going to do it, and enjoy it, and tell those poor fellows... because they are so old. Somebody may have died thousands of years before.
Just visualize a few skeletons sitting around you -- it is an exercise in visualization -- and then start addressing them, "Brothers and sisters...." And you will not be surprised that they applaud, they laugh, at exactly the right moments.
Milarepa has another question. He is afraid that Anando's ghosts are just underneath his room, and someday they may start moving around the house. You need not be afraid, Milarepa, because I have asked a few ghosts... they are afraid of you! So you remain courageous. Even if you feel some ghost has entered, behave as if nobody has entered.
Go on playing on your guitar a little louder. Ghosts don't particularly like the contemporary music because they are not contemporary -- they are very classical people.
Two Italians were watching a jet fly overhead.
"Hey, that's-a the pope up-a there," declared one.
"How you know-a that?" asked the other.
"That's-a easy" replies the first. "The airplane-a, said TWA on it. That means Top Wop Aboard."
Milarepa, you can write on your door TWA: Top Wap Aboard. And don't be afraid of the ghosts. I am always here. If some ghost plays tricks on you, you can just inform me, because I have such an intimacy with everything in life -- ghosts and gods, trees and rivers, mountains and clouds -- that I will prevent them... Don't Disturb the Musician!
You are allowed to be present in the court of Anando. She is my legal secretary, and if you want to learn about law, she can teach you things. I don't think that any ghost is interested in things like law -- so technical. But they are interested in Anando. She is very juicy!
WHEN I SAW YOU THE OTHER MORNING, YOU SEEMED SO TOTALLY FRESH, SO NEW, SO RADIANT -- DEEPER, AND HIGHER, AND VASTER THAN EVER BEFORE. WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU IN THESE DAYS OF SILENCE?
Anand Suresh, there are many things that have not been told by the mystics to people, just so that they don't freak out. One of the things is the moment you become aware, conscious, reaches which were unknown to you before become available. Your contact with the body becomes loose, particularly after enlightenment.
The general understanding is that you will be more healthy. You are in an inner sense more healthy, but as far as your body is concerned, you become more fragile. So whenever I have a great opportunity of being sick, I use it -- just resting under my blankets, being utterly silent. I love to be sick, to tell you the truth, because then I can sleep twenty hours, at least. It is sleep to the outside people; but to me it is a deep meditation.
So, because both my arms and their joints are in bad shape, I cannot even participate in your rejoicing and in your music. I have been resting completely. And whatever I do, I do totally. That may have given you the idea that I looked "totally fresh, new, radiant -- deeper and higher and vaster than ever before."
I am always the same. But as you become more and more centered inward, even to look outside is a strain on the eyes, even to speak a word is a strain because effort has to be made. Otherwise the silence cannot be translated in any way and conveyed to you.
So whenever I get some chance.... For example, when I was in American jails for twelve days, all I did was sleep for twenty hours, waking up twice to take a bath and to eat something, and then go to sleep again. When I came out of the jail, the jailer said, "You are my first experience of someone... from when you entered, till now when you are coming out, I can compare: You are looking so radiant, so fresh."
I said to him, "Jail life suits me!"
He said, "What?"
I said, "Yes, because there is no disturbance."
Each of your presidents, your prime ministers, your senate members should be given a chance every year, at least for twelve days, to be in jail. They will all feel nourished.
They just have to know the art: take it easily. Easy is right.
An American from Texas is visiting France, and feeling thirsty, he stops at a house along the road. "Can you give me a drink of water?" asked the Texan.
"Of course," says the Frenchman.
"What do you do?" asks the Texan.
"I raise a few chickens," says the Frenchman.
"Really," says the Texan. "I'm also a farmer. How much land do you have?"
"Well," says the Frenchman. "Out front it is fifty meters, as you can see, and in the back we have close to a hundred meters of property. And what about your place?"
"Well," says the Texan proudly. "On my ranch, I have breakfast, and I get into the car, and I drive and drive, and I don't reach the end of the ranch until dinnertime."
"Really," replied the Frenchman. "I once had a car like that."
It all depends how you take it.
Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterand, and Ronald Reagan were lunching together.
Naturally, they talked about their respective heartaches.
Margaret Thatcher said, "I have thirteen undercover agents and one of them is a double agent, but I don't know which."
Mitterand spoke up, "I have thirteen mistresses and one of them is cheating on me, but I don't know which."
Reagan said, "I have thirteen cabinet ministers, and one of them is intelligent -- but I don't which."
The Golden Future