Life is a deep interdependence
THE SILENCE I EXPERIENCE LATELY IN YOUR PRESENCE IS BECOMING VASTER AND DEEPER; AND WHEN YOU LEAVE CHUANG TZU AUDITORIUM, TEARS ROLL GENTLY DOWN MY FACE AND I WANT NOTHING MORE THAN TO STAY THERE. SO IT IS DIFFICULT TO BE ACTIVE AFTERWARDS BECAUSE I KNOW SLOWLY THE EXPERIENCE WILL CHANGE, AND I WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN THERE. BELOVED MASTER, IS LOVE SO FRAGILE THAT WE CANNOT HOLD IT EVEN WITH TWO FINGERS?
Prem Azima, everything that is of value is fragile. Beauty is fragile, silence is fragile, love is fragile. Look at a roseflower dancing in the wind, and in the rain, and in the sun. It seems it is strong enough for the wild wind, strong enough for the sun, strong enough for the rain. It is very fragile; by the evening, its petals will be thrown in all directions. But while it was, it was tremendous; while it was, it was more than any rock. The rock will remain, the rock is permanent; the flower will come and go. The higher the value, the more fragile it is.
One has to deeply understand it; otherwise you start clinging to great experiences, and you destroy those experiences by your very clinging. They are so fragile that your clinging can destroy them, your attachment can destroy them; even your desire to continue them can be poison, destructive, murderous to them.
As you become acquainted more and more with silence, peace, blissfulness, ecstasy, you will have also to learn the lesson: enjoy them while they are at their fullest, and when they go, let them go with a joyful and grateful heart.
Yes, tears are allowed, but not tears of pain -- tears of prayer, tears of gratitude. The more easily you let them go, the more those experiences come to you. And once you have understood the science that your let-go is the way to desire them, to long for them -- not the desire, but a desireless love -- one should feel blissful enough, even if a fragile experience visits you only once. If you are grateful, it is bound to come again and again.
Slowly, slowly, it may not go at all; it may become your very heartbeat. It can your very breathing, but one has to learn the whole science.
Ordinarily, what our mind is going to do is to close the doors, close the windows, and keep the fresh breeze in, so that it cannot escape. But just by closing all the doors and the windows you have destroyed the freshness of the breeze; soon it will be stale. It will have lost its dance, it will have lost its aliveness; you will be sitting by the side of a corpse.
And people are sitting by the side of corpses -- corpses of love, which they call marriages, corpses of prayer, which they call their temples, their churches, their mosques, and corpses of authentic and sincere experiences, which they call holy scriptures. People are surrounded by corpses. And if you keep company with corpses, you cannot remain alive very long yourself; you will become a corpse amongst other corpses. It is a very dangerous friendship.
Beware of it! Learn the simple fact that truth, love, beauty, bliss -- all are very fragile, very momentary. You cannot grasp them in your fist; they are like fragrances. You cannot run after them. You have to wait and trust: the same existence that has brought an experience to you will bring many more. It is abundant, it wants to share, but it can share only with people who are not hoarders. It can share only with people who know the momentariness, the fragileness -- and the beauty of fragileness, and the joy of momentariness.
Only dead things are permanent.
All that is alive is changing, moment to moment.
All that is alive is living under the risk of death at any moment. If you want to be secure, absolutely secure, then you will have to enter into your grave; only graveyards are absolutely secure places. In a grave, nothing else happens; everything stops, time stops, nothing changes anymore. Even death cannot do any harm to you.
But if you want to be alive, then more aliveness... the more you have to be alert and aware of the fragileness of all the qualities that are not created and manufactured by man, which descend from the beyond -- unpredictable, out of nowhere, suddenly overwhelming you. Don't think about whether they will remain or go, because if you get into thinking about your future, and the possibility of the experience remaining permanently with you, you may miss everything. Enjoy it, dance with it, let time cease.
Put the mind aside. Then even a single moment is equal to eternity.
You are asking, Azima, "The silence I experience lately in your presence is becoming vaster and deeper; and when you leave Chuang Tzu auditorium, tears roll gently down my face and I want nothing more than to stay there. So it is difficult to be active afterwards because I know slowly the experience will change."
It will change. Even if you don't do anything, even if you stay here it will change. It does not change because you have to go to work, it changes because change is the nature of life. And it is good that it changes. Otherwise, tomorrow you will not have again the tremendous experience of silence. You will be carrying the stale, old experience of yesterday; you won't have space enough for the new to enter in.
Change is favorable to life. That's why even death, I say, is favorable to life -- because it is the greatest change. It brings you into new spaces, into new forms, into new existences; it keeps your pilgrimage continuously new, it keeps your excitement alive. Every moment remains always a challenge and a deep awaiting, because anything is possible. Silence can come to you, blissfulness can come to you, ecstasy can descend into your heart, truth can open its doors; life is full of mysteries, uncountable. So when it happens, be thankful -- and move on.
And slowly, slowly, as you become more acquainted with the depth of silence, while you are working, doing something, the unknown guest may come suddenly and stand by your side.
A time comes when these experiences start following you like a shadow; just close by, you can feel their coolness, you can smell their fragrance. Just remember not to grab, not to possess, not to make the effort of changing them into your property. They come in freedom, and they remain in freedom. You cannot enslave them.
The desire, Azima, is not only yours; it is as ancient as man. Man has tried to capture truth in words and failed, utterly failed; he has tried to capture beauty in sculpture and failed; he has even tried to capture God into temples -- and has utterly failed. But such is the blindness, that nobody sees all these failures! Your temples, your churches, your synagogues are landmarks of your failures. Your scriptures are the failures of your forefathers, of trying to catch hold of truth in words.
Words have remained, but the truth has evaporated. Now they go on worshiping these scriptures, these statues.
All the religions are nothing but failures. That's why they are against a man like Jesus or Socrates or Mansoor -- because these people's crime is that they have tried to make you aware that you are blind, that what you are worshiping is not truth, but a corpse. Perhaps once there was truth... but people behave like drunkards.
An old English lady was looking through her curtains. Spying on her neighbors, she saw a man coming out of the house opposite. He rushed to the side of the road, jumped three feet into the air, and fell flat on his face. The old lady ran to his side and asked, "Excuse me, what happened?"
"I was late for work, and I came rushing out, and jumped on my bike. But I forgot -- I have not got one!"
In a hurry, it is possible to forget.
I have heard about a drunkard who was watching a man doing pushups on the beach. For a long time the drunkard went around him, looked from every side, and finally said, "Listen, man, I should not interfere in whatever you are doing, but I cannot resist the temptation any more. Your girl is no longer there; you are unnecessarily doing exercises.
She must have gone long ago, because I have been watching you for almost one hour; you are perspiring, huffing and puffing, and the girl is no longer there, I have looked from every nook and corner. Strange that this man is so deep in love!"
But in life, that's exactly what we are doing with all our fragile experiences. Somehow we have an unconscious desire for things to be permanent. Why this desire is in the unconscious, is something to be explored. Perhaps it is the fear of death. Most probably it is, because we are ourselves fragile. This moment you are alive, next moment you may be gone. Because of our own fragileness, we desire to have permanency in everything around us as a security, as a safety. But if we are fragile, how can our experiences be anything else?
An Englishman, a Frenchman, and a Polack have been stranded on a desert island for almost a year, when they discover a lamp lying in the sand. They rub it, and sure enough, a genie appears.
"Well, gentleman," says the genie, "traditionally, I give the finder one of three wishes, but since there are three of you, I will grant you one wish each."
The Englishman speaks right up: "I know what I want. I wish to be back on Hampstead High Street, having a pint in my favorite club."
Poof! He disappears.
The Frenchman speaks up: "I wish to be back in Paris, in a nice little restaurant, with a bottle of good wine, and a gorgeous woman by my side."
Poof! He disappears.
The Polack is thinking and thinking, when finally the genie asks him, "And what is your wish, my friend?"
"Gee, I only want to be the pope at the Vatican."
Poof! And he disappears.
Many have wondered why a Polack has become the pope. Now I open up the secret.
Poof! And the Polack becomes the pope.
But that is how things disappear. Enjoy them while they are, and don't ask for any permanence, because permanence is non-existential; it is only in our desires, out of fear of death. But in existence, everything is change. Existence believes in the law of change.
Every moment, everything is changing. Our language gives us a very fallacious idea, because our language consists of nouns and pronouns, and existence knows only verbs.
When you see the river, the actual fact is that there is not a river; the actual fact is that there is a rivering, because the water is continuously flowing. A tree does not exist, there is only treeing, because the tree is continuously growing. And the same is the case with you. You won't go back from this place the same as you have entered -- so much water will have gone down the Ganges.
Gautam Buddha was the first man in history who reminded his disciples that existence consists only of verbs, not of nouns, not of pronouns. To make a language only of verbs, will be very difficult, almost impossible -- conversation will become so ridiculous -- so we have to continue to use nouns and pronouns. But remember, deep down, that there is nothing static.
Don't be befooled by the language you use. Look around, everything is changing -- every moment, every split second. And once you understand change as the God of existence, your whole life pattern -- your attitudes, your approaches, your style -- will change accordingly. You will become more of a flow than a dirty pond.
You will become more like a river, a pilgrimage into the unknown towards the ocean, where even you are going to disappear.
IN YOUR VISION OF A MODEL SOCIETY, WOULD THERE BE ONE LARGE COMMUNE, OR A SERIES OF COMMUNES? IF THERE IS MORE THAN ONE, WHAT WOULD BE THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO ONE ANOTHER? DO YOU ENVISAGE PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT COMMUNES BEING ABLE TO BE INTERDEPENDENT, SHARING IDEAS AND SKILLS, AND WITHOUT ANY OF THE ATTITUDES THAT GROW OUT OF POSSESSIVENESS, LIKE NATIONALISM AND FANATICISM?
Maneesha, the question raises a very important thing: the concept of interdependence.
Man has lived in dependence, and man has desired and fought for independence, but nobody looks into the reality -- that dependence and independence both are extremes.
Reality is exactly in the middle; it is interdependence. Everything is interdependent. The smallest blade of grass and the biggest star both are interdependent. This is the whole foundation of ecology. Because man has behaved without understanding the reality of interdependence. He has destroyed so much of the organic unity of life. He has been cutting his own hands, his own legs, without knowing.
Forests have disappeared, millions of trees are being cut every day. Just now scientists are giving warnings -- but nobody is ready to listen -- that if all trees disappear from the earth, man cannot live. We are in a deep inter-exchange. Man goes on breathing in oxygen, and throwing out carbon dioxide; trees go on inhaling carbon dioxide and exhaling oxygen. Neither you can exist without the trees, nor can the trees exist without you.
This is a simple example; otherwise life is interwoven in a thousand and one ways....
Because many trees have disappeared, so much carbon dioxide has gathered in the atmosphere, that it has raised the temperature on the whole earth by four degrees. To you it may seem insignificant -- four degrees -- but it is not insignificant. By the end of this century, this temperature will be enough to melt so much ice that every ocean will rise four feet higher. One degree of temperature more means the ocean rises one foot higher.
So the cities which are on the coast of the oceans -- and all the great cities are there -- will be flooded with water.
If the temperature goes on increasing, as is the possibility, because nobody is listening....
Trees are being cut, without any understanding, for useless things; for third rate newspapers you need newsprint, and you are destroying life. There is a possibility that if the eternal ice of the Himalayas starts melting, which has never happened in the whole past, then all the oceans will rise twenty feet higher, and will drown almost the whole earth. They will destroy all your cities -- Bombay and Calcutta, New York,London, and San Francisco. Perhaps a few primitive people who live high in the mountains may survive.
Such is the interdependence that when your first astronauts reached to the moon, we became aware for the first time that the whole earth is surrounded by a thick sheet of ozone, which is a form of oxygen. That layer of ozone surrounds the whole earth, like a blanket. It has been because of this ozone blanket that life has become possible on this planet, because ozone does not allow in the death rays that come from the sun. It allows in only the life rays and prevents the death rays; it returns them.
But in our stupidity to reach to the moon, we have made holes in the blanket. And the efforts continue. Now we are trying to reach Mars! Each time a rocket goes beyond the atmosphere of the earth, that is two hundred miles beyond, it creates great holes. Through those holes, death rays have started entering in. Now scientists are saying that these death rays will increase the rate of cancer by almost thirty percent; and other diseases are not counted, small diseases are not counted.
The stupid politicians are not listening. And if you call them stupid, then you are jailed, you are punished; false allegations are made against you. But I don't see what else to call them. Stupid seems to be the most gentle and the most cultured word for them. They don't deserve it; they deserve something worse.
Life is a deep interdependence.
My vision of commune, Maneesha, is that nations disappear, big cities disappear, because they don't allow enough space for every human being -- and every human being has a certain psychological need for a territorial imperative, just like other animals. In big cities, man is continuously moving in a crowd. That creates great anxiety, tension, agony, and does not allow him any time to relax, any time, any place, to be himself -- to be alone, to be with the trees, which are life-giving sources, to be with the ocean, which is a life-giving source.
My vision of a new world, the world of communes, means no nations, no big cities, no families, but millions of small communes spread all over the earth in thick forests, lush green forests, in mountains, on islands. The smallest commune manageable, which we have already tried, can be of five thousand people, and the biggest commune can be of fifty thousand people. From five thousand to fifty thousand -- more than that will become unmanageable; then again comes the question of order and law, and the police, and the court, and all old criminals have to be brought back.
Small communes... five thousand seems to be the perfect number, because we have tried that. Everybody knows everybody else, all are friends. There is no marriage -- children belong to the commune. The commune has hospitals, schools, colleges. The commune takes care of the children; parents can visit them. It is simply insignificant whether the parents are living together or they have separated. For the child, they both are available; he can visit them, they can visit him.
All the communes should be interdependent, but they will not exchange money. Money should be dissolved. It has done tremendous harm to humanity. Now it is time to say goodbye to it!
These communes should exchange things. You have more milk products; you can give them to another commune, because you need more clothes, and that commune can provide you with more clothes -- a simple barter system, so no commune becomes rich.
Money is a very strange thing. You can accumulate it; that is the strangest secret of money. You cannot accumulate milk products, you cannot accumulate vegetables. If you have more vegetables you have to share with some commune which has not enough vegetables.
But money can be accumulated. And if one commune becomes richer than the other commune, then comes from the back door, the poverty and the richness and the whole nightmare of capitalism, and the classes of the poor and the rich, and the desire to dominate, because you are rich. You can enslave other communes. Money is one of the enemies of man.
Communes will be exchanging. They will be broadcasting on their radio stations, that such and such a product is available from them. Anybody who has certain other products that they need can contact them, and things can be exchanged in a friendly way; there is no haggling, there is no exploitation. But the commune should not become too big, because bigness is also dangerous.
A commune's criterion of bigness should be that everybody knows everybody else; that should be the limit. Once that limit is crossed, the commune should divide itself into two.
Just as two brothers separate, when a commune becomes big enough it divides itself into two communes, two sister communes. And there will be a deep interdependence, sharing ideas and skills, without any of the attitudes that grow out of possessiveness -- like nationalism and fanaticism. There will be nothing to be fanatic about. There will be no reason for a nation.
A small group of people can enjoy life more easily, because to have so many friends, so many acquaintances, is a joy unto itself. Today in the big cities, you live in the same house and you don't know your neighbor. In one house one hundred thousand people may be living. A one hundred story building can contain that many people -- almost a whole city. And they are absolute strangers to each other, living in a crowd, and yet being alone.
My idea of a commune is, living in small groups, which gives you enough space, and yet living in a close, loving, relationship. Your children are taken care of by the commune, your needs are taken care of by the commune, your medical care is taken care of by the commune. The commune becomes an authentic family without any diseases that families have created in the past. It is a loose family and a constant movement.
There is no question of any marriage, and no question of any divorce. If two persons want to be together, they can be together, and if one day they don't want to be together, that is perfectly good. It was their decision to be together; now they can choose other friends. In fact, in one life why not live many lives? Why not make it richer? Why should a man cling to a woman, or a woman cling to a man unless they enjoy each other so much that they want to be together for their whole life. But looking at the world, the situation is clear. People would like to be independent from their families; children want to be independent from their families.
Just the other day, one small boy in California did something unique and special. He wanted to go out and play. This was nothing special; all children should be allowed to go out and play. But the mother and father insisted, "No, don't go out; just play inside the house." And the boy shot both the mother and the father. He played inside the house.
There is a limit... always listening to "no, no, no!"
In America the time rate of husbands and wives changing is three years. It is the same rate that people change their jobs; it is the same time-rate people change cities. There seems to be something special about three years. It seems it is the limit one can tolerate.
Beyond that, it becomes intolerable. So people change wives and husbands, people change cities, people change jobs.
But in a commune, there is no need to make any fuss. You can say goodbye any moment, and you can still remain friends, because who knows? After two years, you may fall in love again with the same man, with the same woman. In two years time you may have forgotten all the troubles, and you want to have a taste again; or perhaps you had fallen into the hands of a worse man and a worse woman, and you repent, and you want to go back! But it will be a richer life; you will have known many men and many women. Each man has his own uniqueness, and each woman has her own uniqueness.
Communes can also exchange people, if somebody wants to move into another commune, and the other commune is willing to accept. The other commune may say, "If somebody else wants to go into your commune, exchange is possible -- because we don't want to raise our population." People can decide. You can go and advertise yourself; some woman may like you, some people may turn friends. Somebody may have been bored in that commune, and would like to change their commune....
The whole world should be one humanity, only divided by small communes on a practical basis: No fanaticism, no racism, no nationalism. Then, for the first time, we can drop the idea of wars. We can make life with honesty, worth living, worth enjoying; playful, meditative, creative, and give every man and every woman equal opportunity to grow and bring their potential to flowering.
The scene is the crucifixion. Three huge crosses are outlined against the sky, as the sun sets. A crowd of jeering soldiers and citizens surround the dying man, Jesus. Raising his eyes, he looks to the back of the mob and sees Peter trying to hide himself.
"Peter, Peter," Jesus cries in a hoarse voice. "Come closer, come closer!"
Peter wraps his cloak around his head and pretends not to hear. Jesus with his last strength calls out, "Peter, please... come closer."
Peter, realizing that he cannot ignore his dying master, creeps to the foot of the cross, "Yes, Lord, what do you want of me?"
"Peter, I can see my house from up here!"
His house must have been deep down in the city of Jerusalem; he is dying on the cross, hanging high up, and he wants to share his experience. I have always loved the story that even at the time of death, he says, "From here, from this height... I can see my house from up here."
Jesus was crucified only once. I have been on the cross almost my whole life. Jesus was crucified in a small unknown part of the world, Judea. I have been crucified in almost every country of the world. And my crime is that I can see the new house where man will live in the future: the new man, his new house, his new commune, his new future.
The Golden Future