Existence is taking care
PLEASE WOULD YOU SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LET-GO AND WITNESSING?
Prem Vijen, let-go is the atmosphere in which witnessing flowers. They are almost two sides of the same experience -- they are not different. One cannot allow let-go without witnessing, neither can one be a witness without being in a let-go.
Let-go simply means total relaxation: no tension, no thought, no desire -- mind not moving, not going anywhere, just not functioning. Mind in silence allows the greatest experience of life, the arising of a new phenomenon -- witnessing.
We are all living and we are all a little bit conscious too; otherwise life would be impossible. But our consciousness is very superficial, just skin-deep -- or perhaps not even that deep.
Witnessing is as deep as you are, as existence is. It is the deepest point of life in existence where one simply watches what remains to watch: a tremendous silence, a great joy, a beautiful existence surrounding you, and a deep ecstasy -- a song without words and a dance without movement. Witnessing is the ultimate experience of religion. Only those who arrive at it have really lived; others have been only vegetating.
Nancy and Ronald Reagan went out to eat in a high class restaurant, and after seating them at the best table, the waiter gave them the menus. He returned to take their orders, and Nancy gave hers first. "For the aperitif I will have a dry martini, and for the appetizer I will take the Hawaiian lobster salad," she said. "Then for the fish course I will have rainbow trout, and for the entree I will take the steak."
"And what about the vegetable?" asked the waiter. And with only a few seconds hesitation, she replied, "Oh, he will have the same."
But it is true about most of the people in the world -- they are vegetables. They have not known anything that can make them claim to be more than vegetables. The whole effort of raising your consciousness is to make you transcend your vegetable existence. Let-go is to create the right soil, and witnessing, watching, being alert are the seeds. You have only to be the right soil for the right seed, and the lotuses are bound to grow in your being.
WHAT DOES THE PHRASE "EXISTENCE TAKES CARE" MEAN?
Nirada, we are part of existence, we are not separate. Even if we want to be separate, we cannot be. Our life is part of being together with existence. And the more you are together with existence, the more alive you are. That's why I insist continually to live totally, to live intensely, because the deeper your living is, the more you are in contact with existence. You are born of it; every moment you are renewed, rejuvenated, resurrected by each of your breaths, by each of your heartbeats -- existence is taking care of you.
But we are not aware of our own being, we are not aware of our own breathing. Gautam the Buddha gave to the world a tremendously simple, but immensely valuable, meditation -- vipassana. The word vipassana simply means watching your breath -- the coming of the breath in, and the going of the breath out.
People used to ask Buddha," What will happen by this?" He was not a theoretician. He would say to them, "Just do it and see. Experiment and report to me what happens. Don't ask me."
Just as you start watching your breathing, you start seeing a great phenomenon -- that through your breath, you are continuously connected with existence, uninterruptedly -- there is no holiday. Whether you are awake or asleep, existence goes on pouring life into you, and taking out all that is dead.
Carbon dioxide is dead, and if it accumulates in you, you will be dead. Oxygen is life, and you need continuously that the carbon dioxide be replaced by fresh oxygen. Who is taking care? Certainly you are not taking care! If you were taking care, you would have been dead long ago;you would not have been here to ask the question. You would have forgotten sometimes to breathe, or sometimes the heart would forget to beat, sometimes the blood would forget to circulate inside you -- anything could go wrong. There are a thousand and one things in you which could go wrong. But they are all functioning in deep harmony. Is this harmony dependent on you?
So when I say, "existence takes care," I am not talking philosophy. Philosophy is mostly nonsense. I am simply talking an actual fact. And if you become consciously aware of it, this creates a great trust in you. My saying to you,"existence takes care," is to trigger a consciousness that can bring the beauty of trusting in existence.
I don't ask you to believe in a hypothetical God, and I don't ask you to have faith in a messiah, in a savior; these are all childish desires to have some father figure who takes care of you. But they are all hypothetical.
There has not been any savior in the world.
Existence is enough unto itself.
I want you to inquire into your relationship with existence, and out of that inquiry, arises trust -- not belief, not faith. Trust has a beauty because it is your experience. Trust will help you to relax because the whole existence is taking care -- there is no need to be worried and to be concerned. There is no need to have any anxiety, no need of any anguish, no need of what the existentialists call angst.
Trust helps you to relax, it helps you to let go, and the let-go prepares the ground for witnessing to come in. They are related phenomena.
Three gray-haired mothers, Mrs. Fletcher, Mrs. Cornfield, and Mrs. Baum, were sitting in a Catskill hotel bragging about their children.
"My son is a doctor," said Mrs. Fletcher, "and he's an internist, a surgeon and a specialist.
He makes so much money, he owns an apartment building on Park Avenue in New York."
"That's nice," said Mrs. Cornfield. "My son is a lawyer. He handles divorces, accidents, tax cases, insurance. He is so successful, he owns two apartment buildings on Fifth Avenue."
"Ladies," announced Mrs. Baum, "you should both be proud to have such successful sons. My boy, I have to tell you the truth, is a homosexual."
"That's a shame," said Mrs. Cornfield. "And what does he do for a living?"
"Nothing," said Mrs. Baum. "He has two friends: one is a doctor who owns an apartment building on Park Avenue, and the other is a lawyer who owns two apartment buildings."
Existence takes care.
HOW CAN A BLIND AND IGNORANT PERSON BE HELPED BY A BLIND AND IGNORANT THERAPIST AND HIS BLIND ADVICE? IS IT ALL JUST TO MAKE SOME FIRECRACKERS EXPLODE IN THE DARK TUNNEL, TO HAVE A PARTY AND EXCITEMENT TOGETHER, TO MAKE THE JOURNEY A BIT "PIFF-PAFF- PUFF"? CAN REAL HELP AND GUIDANCE NOT JUST COME FROM A MASTER LIKE YOU? IF YOU LIKE, PLEASE COMMENT.
Prem Ruchi, your question is," How can a blind and ignorant person be helped by a blind and ignorant therapist and his blind advice?" Do you mean to say that you cannot be helped by a doctor if you have a cancer and he has not? Are you going to look for a doctor who has a cancer? -- only he can help you?
In life, you are being helped by many people who don't have the experience but who have the expertise. The difference is great between experience and expertise -- but the expert can also help.
A man was purchasing eggs, and he said to the shopkeeper, "These eggs are rotten."
The shopkeeper was very much shocked and angry, and he said, "Are you a hen? Have you ever laid an egg? What do you know about eggs? Neither are you an egg, nor are you a hen."
The man remained silent for a moment; he had never thought of this. He said, "That means to know that an egg is rotten, I have to be a hen -- then life will become impossible. I will have to be so many things because life needs so many things."
So the first thing to remember is that a therapist is as blind and ignorant as you are -- and perhaps that is a qualification, because he knows what blindness is, what ignorance is. He is as miserable as you are, he knows the taste of misery. The only difference between you and him is that he is also an expert of a certain art: therapy.
His knowledge about therapy may not have made him able to help himself, but his knowledge about therapy may be of some help to you. At least he has some expertise that you don't have. At least he can analyze your problem. He may not be able to give a solution, but there are problems in life which need only analysis -- they don't need any other solution. Once you know why they are there, once you know their analytical basis, they disappear.
Do you think Sigmund Freud is psychologically different from you? But he has given the whole science of psychoanalysis which has helped many people, if not to become enlightened, at least to become aware that they are blind, that they are groping in darkness, that they need a master. This is not something small.
You are asking," Is it all just to make some firecrackers explode in the dark tunnel, to have a party and excitement together, to make the journey a bit `piff-paff-puff'?"
Even if this much can be done by the therapist, it is a great service to have a beautiful party -- in the Italian sense -- in the dark tunnel, to explode a few firecrackers, and to make the journey a little joyous. You will not be going far, and you will not be going out of the tunnel because you cannot have the right direction -- you may be going deeper into the tunnel. But the therapist at least puts you on the move. He greases your wheels.
Out of this movement, something is going to happen. He creates in you at least a longing.
He may not be able to deliver the goods, but he creates a desire, a dream. And that is not a small thing, because there are millions of people who don't have dreams, who are so utterly content with their miserable lives that they don't think anything else is possible -- this is all there is.
The therapist at least creates in you a new longing that there is something more; and you should be grateful to him. He may be searching himself -- he is searching -- and he has made you also infectious with the search.
You want real help and guidance, not just a longing, a desire. You want the flowers but you don't want the seeds. The therapist at least can sow the seeds, can prepare the ground.
I have been using therapists to move you from your stagnant, dormant state into a pilgrimage for the unknown. Once that desire is awake, then a master can be of help. The therapists can do the spade work.
It is true that the real help and guidance can come only from a master. But do you need real help? Do you need real guidance? Do you deserve it? Even if a great master knocks on your doors, are you going to welcome him? Are you prepared for that?
To receive a master, even to acknowledge a master, needs a long preparation. The therapist can do that preparation, so that when you come across a real master... the therapist has given you the thirst; now the real master can quench it. Without the thirst, even the greatest master is of no help.
I understand that the blind cannot lead the blind, the ignorant cannot help you to move towards light, towards knowing, towards realization; but they can do something else which can be used as a device. Therapy has never been used by any master in the world as a device, but I find it to be immensely helpful: it helps those who participate in therapies to become thirsty for the real. The therapist cannot deliver the real, but he has made you thirsty for the real. You should be grateful for that -- it is not a small service that he has done for you.
And the therapy is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it helps the participant, and on the other hand it helps the therapist. The therapist is also in the same boat. He is also groping, he is also uncertain; he is also not in a state to say with a guarantee, "There is something like truth, or something like bliss, or something like ecstasy." But seeing so many people becoming thirsty, he also becomes more thirsty than he was ever before. If so many people can easily be made aware of a tremendous challenge for a pilgrimage towards the unknown... he himself also becomes a pilgrim. If he does not become a pilgrim, he has helped you but he has not been able to help himself.
He can become a false teacher -- that is the danger of being a therapist. You can start thinking that you are a great teacher because you are making so many people thirsty for truth. And perhaps you may start delivering false goods to them too, because they don't know what is false and what is real; they cannot make any distinction.
There are many false therapists; they become false the moment they start becoming masters. They are not masters. They are as much a seeker as others; perhaps more articulate, more knowledgeable. If they remain therapists -- knowing perfectly well that they know nothing much, only a certain expertise -- they can help you, and they can help themselves, too; otherwise.... Kabir has a statement: "The blind people lead the blind, and they all fall into a well." There is nowhere else to go -- they will find a well somewhere to fall in.
An Israeli visiting Paris goes to a brothel and insists on the services of a certain Michelle.
He is told that Michelle is unavailable, but when he offers a thousand dollars, she is brought to him and they spend the night together.
The next night, the Israeli returns and repeats his generous offer, and again the third night. Finally, on the third night, Michelle asks why she has been singled out for this flattering attention.
"Well," says the man, "You see, I am from Israel."
"Why, so am I," says Michelle.
"Yes, I know," the Israeli replies. "It turns out that your grandmother lives in the same building as my parents, and when she heard I was going to Paris, she asked me to give you the three thousand dollars you had asked for."
A Jew is a Jew! -- he cannot do anything else; a blind man is a blind man.
The therapist has to be very humble and very alert, and he has to make the people who come to him aware -- "I am as far away from truth as you are, but I have a certain expertise which I can deliver to you. Perhaps that may help you to find the way. I am not the way but perhaps I can give you a candle which may help you."
It is not much, just a candle, but in a dark night of the soul even a candle is much -- a treasure; it can help you to find the way.
The therapist has to become a bridge between the seeker and the master; he is not to become the master himself.
IN THE VIDEO THE OTHER NIGHT, FOR THE SECOND TIME I HEARD YOU SAYING THAT NO MASTER HAS BEEN BETRAYED BY A WOMAN. I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT. WHAT ABOUT SHEELA AND HER GANG? DIDN'T THEY BETRAY YOU? SO FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, IN THE MOMENT, I CAN'T IMAGINE BETRAYING YOU, BUT I CAN'T SAY FOR SURE THAT I WOULD NEVER DO IT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD DO IF I WAS IN THE POSITION OF SHEELA. SAYING ALL THIS, MY HEART HURTS, BUT MY MIND KEEPS ON GOING AND DOESN'T UNDERSTAND. PLEASE COMMENT.
Prem Samyo, a master can be betrayed if he requires your faith. You cannot betray me, because I don't require your faith. You can be with me; you can choose to go away. Being with me is your free choice. Going away is also your freedom.
Nobody can betray me.
I don't give you the chance to betray.
I have removed the very basis, the very possibility.
Thousands of people have been with me, and walked with me as long as they could manage. And when it was impossible for them -- and I am an impossible man, so it is not their fault -- then they took off on a road separate from me. But I don't have any complaint, because I was never expecting them to hang around me forever and forever. In fact, I have to work on so many people that I want a few old people to take their own way, to create space for new people. My caravan is big enough.
The old masters were betrayed, but the fault was theirs because they asked for your total surrender. I don't ask anything from you. It is your choice to walk with me as long as you wish, and it is your choice to say goodbye at any time you want.
I am a bit of a strange master -- a master who cannot be betrayed -- because I am a master who does not ask you for any surrender, any commitment; who does not ask anything from you, but who gives you as much as he can and is grateful that you receive his love, is grateful that you receive his silence.
And it is absolutely your individual decision to remain my fellow traveler or to move in some other direction. And who knows, perhaps you may come back to the caravan again, or you may meet me somewhere ahead on some other crossroad; you will be welcome there.
I accept you when you are with me, I accept you when you leave me; I accept you if you never come back to me, I accept you if you want to come back to me. From my side, there is no question of any commitment; hence, Prem Samyo, when I said, "No master has been betrayed by a woman," you have not to include me in it. I am talking about the old masters; they all wanted absolute faith, total surrender. They wanted you to be almost in a spiritual slavery, and I think this very situation created in a few people's minds a desire to be free of them.
You cannot desire to be free of me; you are free. You cannot contemplate betraying me because that will be absurd. I have never asked your faith, so you cannot take it away. I have not taken anything from you, so you cannot disappoint me.
My statement was about the past masters.
I don't belong in their category.
I am the beginning of a new line, of a new category, where a master is a friend, where a master gives you freedom, where a master wants you to be on your own -- the sooner the better. I would love that day, when all of you have betrayed me and I can sit silently, enjoying myself! I am enjoying myself right now too, but to enjoy in a crowd is one thing and to enjoy yourself in your bathroom is another.
So, if you are not sure... you don't want to betray me, but you are not sure. Who knows? - - tomorrow, you may want to. So I want you to remember: even if you want to betray me, you cannot. I have made it impossible.
I am just a friend. We have met on the road; we are strangers. You liked me to walk with you, I liked you to walk with me, we enjoyed being together. But any moment you want to say, "Now it is time to depart," I will help you to depart without tears, joyously, because you are going to be independent -- yourself.
You are not capable of hurting me. All those old masters were hurt, but they created the situation themselves. I don't expect anything from you, so how can you disappoint me?
Whatever you do, I can bless it without knowing what it is.
"Mr. Baumgarten," said the doctor, "even though you are a very sick man, I think I will be able to pull you through."
"Doctor, if you do that, when I get well I will donate five thousand dollars for your new hospital."
Months later, the M.D. met his former patient. "How do you feel?" he asked.
"Wonderful, doctor, fine, never been better."
"I have been meaning to speak to you," said the doctor. "What about the money for the new hospital?"
"What are you talking about?" said Baumgarten.
"You said that if you got well, you would contribute five thousand dollars to the new hospital."
"I said that?" asked the patient. "That just shows how sick I was."
To expect anything from you is just not right; you are in such misery. Out of your misery you may surrender, out of your misery you may have faith, out of your misery you may believe -- in any nonsense. I cannot exploit your misery which has been exploited all through the past.
I would like to help you to come out of your misery, and that will be my reward -- if I can see you smiling and singing and dancing, it is more than enough.
The Golden Future