Change is the law of life
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, ALVIN TOFFLER WROTE A BOOK CALLED FUTURE SHOCK.
IN IT HE DESCRIBED HOW THE WORLD AROUND US IS CHANGING FASTER THAN EVER BEFORE. AND NOT ONLY THAT: THE RATE OF CHANGE IS INCREASING ALL THE TIME.
HE DESCRIBES HOW HALF OF ALL AMERICANS CHANGE HOMES AT LEAST EVERY FIVE YEARS; HOW PEOPLE CHANGE HUSBANDS, WIVES, JOBS, CITIES AND CAREERS WITH INCREASING RAPIDITY... NOT TO MENTION ALL THE TRIVIAL PROPRIETARY PRODUCTS FROM CARS TO SOAP POWDER THAT CHANGE WITH BEWILDERING FREQUENCY.
HE ALSO OUTLINES THE ENORMOUS INCREASE IN INFORMATION, SCIENTIFIC AND OTHERWISE. HUMAN KNOWLEDGE IS SAID TO DOUBLE EVERY TEN YEARS, AND THE DOUBLING TIME IS GETTING SHORTER ALL THE TIME.
COMPARED WITH THE RELATIVELY UNCHANGING WORLD OF OUR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS, THIS IS A NEW PHENOMENON INDEED. IN THE OLD DAYS THEY SAID THAT A SENSE OF STABILITY WAS NECESSARY FOR A NORMAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE AVOIDANCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS. THIS STABILITY HAS CLEARLY GONE FOREVER.
EVEN IF WE AVOID ANY OF SEVERAL CATASTROPHES LOOMING BEFORE MANKIND, IT SEEMS THIS RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD IS ONLY GOING TO BE HEALTHILY POPULATED BY MEDITATORS - THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO WILL BE ABLE TO LIVE JOYOUSLY IN THE CENTER OF THE CYCLONE.
WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
Alvin Toffler's book is already out-of-date. He writes that in America people change things within five years. Now the time is three years: within three years' time they change their jobs, their spouses, their cities - not to mention small things which are changing every day. The rate of knowledge, according to him, is doubling every ten years; now it is doubling every five years.
It is true that in the past there was stability. But it is not true that stability is a basic necessity for normal growth of human beings. Stability is good only for the mediocre, only for the retarded - because the mediocre and the retarded never want any change, because any change is a trouble.
They would have to learn things again, and learning is their difficulty.
So in the past the world was very good, very convenient for the mediocre people; whatever you learned in your childhood remained true till you died. No change in anything kept the mediocre mind very comfortable.
The new phenomenon is really dangerous, but not for humanity as such; it is only dangerous for the masses, because they cannot keep pace with the change. Before they can become accustomed to one thing, it is already changing. They are always left behind. They can go insane, become abnormal.
But for the intelligent people the changing world is the right world - because intelligence wants new excitements, new challenges, new ecstasies. In the old world there was no possibility.
So I will not agree with Alvin Toffler; he is thinking of humanity as a whole. But this is not a truth; humanity is divided between those who want to remain confined in the familiar and those who want new skies, new stars to explore.
The past was very dangerous for these people - the explorers. The past was against them. In fact, many things were invented in the past, but they were suppressed in favor of the masses. They were dangerous because they bring changes - and the larger part of humanity is more afraid of change than of death, because death is a release, a deep sleep, but a change is a trouble.
Three thousand years ago China developed printing presses. But they never used them widely; they were used only for the royal families. The ordinary masses continued to write their books with their own hands. It was thought that it would be dangerous to give the printing press - a very innocent invention - to the masses, because then there would be so many books available that the mediocre mind wouldn't be able to cope with it; it would go berserk. To avoid that, printing presses remained suppressed.
Gunpowder was discovered two thousand years ago. But it was never used in war for the simple reason that the soldier is the most retarded person in society. He needs to be retarded; it is society's demand that he should be retarded. His training is for remaining mediocre so that he never doubts anything, he never questions anything, he never says NO to anything. He has no mind of his own.
Orders come from above, and he simply follows.
He was accustomed to the old strategy of war; he was trained for archery and other things. Now gunpowder will be so new to him that he may not be able to use it, or he will use it wrongly. It is better to leave him alone; he is doing perfectly well with his archery....
In India it was discovered almost five thousand years ago that the elephant, in comparison to the horse, is not the right vehicle as far as war is concerned, because the horse has more mobility, quickness.
The elephant cannot move as quickly, cannot change positions as quickly. And the most dangerous thing about the elephant is that if a few elephants become afraid, then those who are in front start running over their own army. Horses never do that; horses are far more intelligent. And even if they would, it is not going to kill people. But when elephants run over people, they are finished.
And elephants are accustomed to a certain kind of warfare. For example, for archery they were ready - but not for gunpowder. When the enemy brought guns, they freaked out; they could not understand what was happening. And then they turned back and ran over their own army, killing their own people. Defeat happened again and again in India because of the elephants.
Indians knew that horses were better, but to introduce anything new was against the old mind. The elephant has a prestige, an old and long prestige, and people were trained how to use the elephant, which is not the same as using a horse.
The elephant's skin is so thick that to move him or to change him or to turn him, you have to use a certain kind of spear; only the spear can make him change his route or movement. Whips won't do; they won't reach him. His skin is so thick, and he is bulky. They are good for a royal parade but not good for fighting, where you need more agile, quick movements.
A good horse is one that moves even by the shadow of the whip; you need not hit him.
The whole training was going to be changed... so knowingly they continued with the elephants and went on being defeated by each invader. But they would not change their way of life.
It was comfortable, because everything was static. Whatever your father told you was always right, and that was what his father had told him. Generation after generation the same thing was said; naturally it was bound to be true. So many people cannot be deceived for so long... somebody must have found the fault.
So belief was the basis of the old society, and it worked.
The new world is not for the mediocre.
Toffler is not clear about the distinction - that human beings are not equal. Economically they can be made equal, politically they can be given equal freedom - equal freedom of expression - but what they will express will show you that they are different, what they will do with their freedom will show you that they are different, how they will use their equality will make it clear to you that they are unequal.
So he takes the humanity as a whole; that's where he goes wrong in his analysis.
The old society was sane for the mediocre and insane for the intelligent - because for the intelligent there was no scope. You were not allowed to invent anything: "God has made everything. Whatever is needed has already been created by God."
A preacher in a church was giving a sermon and saying, "Everything that is needed is created by God."
One little boy had come with his father. He stood up and said, "What about railway trains? He did not create them, and they are needed. You yourself have traveled by railway train to come to the church. We have traveled, to come to the church, in a railway train. What about railway trains?"
The priest was shocked for a moment. Then he looked into the Bible and there is a sentence: "God created all things that creep." He said, "It is written clearly that all things that creep, God created.
Everything is not noted down, but trains are creepers. This sentence is enough proof that God created the railway trains."
But it has to be God who created everything. Man was not allowed.
So it was very sane for the mediocre, for the stupid. They enjoyed it. And nobody could say to them that they are mediocre, they are stupid, because there was no difference between them and the intelligent and the genius.
Today you can see the gap.
So for the genius, the modern world of constant change is just what he has been waiting for for millennia. But to the mediocre, it is very difficult - he cannot exist, things are changing so fast, he feels lost.
For example, in the past there was no divorce; marriage was permanent. Once you got married, there was no way of going back; you were married for your whole life. Even the question was irrelevant.
In the countries which are still living in the past... for example in India, in the villages nobody ever thinks of divorce. The word is never used, although the constitution allows it. But divorce happens only in a very small minority of educated people who are confined only to the big cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, Delhi. The rest of India knows nothing of it.
It was convenient for the mediocre to have one husband, to have one wife, to know each other, to know each other's habits, to get adjusted to each other. It may be miserable; it does not matter. But at least it was stable and it was good for the children, it was good for the society - because it gives stability to society's traditions, conventions.
But for a man who really loves, it was not a sane society - because love changes; nothing can be done about it. Just as we accept every other change in the world.... Seasons change - what can you do about it? Summer comes, rains come, winter comes - what can you do about it? Day changes into night, youth changes into old age... the whole existence is changing.
Against this changing world we created a fake society which was stable. It was against existence.
In existence everything is momentary, and we were trying to create something permanent. To the mediocre it brought great happiness, because once something is settled it is settled forever. But to those who are not just looking for a wife to take care of their children, for a wife who is going to be a factory for producing children, for a wife who will take care of the household affairs, it was not very sane. Those people suffered.
Those who are looking for a woman as a human being, those who are looking for love, they have to accept that love can change. It is a reality; it is not an artifact made by society.
It is a flower that blossoms in the morning, and by the evening it is gone. It is not something plastic.
Those who are looking for the real flower and its fragrance and its aliveness have to accept that change is the law of life - the only law.
It means that the new changing society gives opportunity to authentic, sincere, intelligent people.
They can live together, if they feel like living together, or they can separate.
It does not create insanity; it is really the sanest thing to do. If the love disappears, then what is the point of living together? Why pretend? Why go on saying false things to each other? - "I love you."
Dale Carnegie suggests in his book, HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE, that every husband at least three times a day should say to his wife, "I love you." Whether you feel it or not is not the point; it has to be repeated mechanically. Whenever you have a chance to repeat it, repeat it.
But no intelligent person can do that.
All these kinds of advisers are making man phony. And in America there are thousands of books of this type which make man phony.
I have heard that Henry Ford was in a bookstore looking through the new publications, and Napoleon Hill... he writes well, impressively, but all phony stuff. In his book THINK AND GROW RICH - a best seller - he proposes that if you visualize that you are rich, you will be rich. Your visualization will sooner or later become a reality. You remain poor because you cannot visualize. So learn how to think and grow rich, and nothing else has to be done. You just have to close your eyes and think persistently, visualizing a Cadillac, and one day suddenly it appears on your porch.
His book had just come out of the press, and he was selling them there with his signature. He was very happy that Henry Ford was there. So he said, "I would like to present one of my books to you."
Henry Ford looked at the title, THINK AND GROW RICH, and he knew that to grow rich is an arduous job; it is not just how you think. He said, "I will accept your book after a little enquiry. Have you come here on a public bus or in your private car?"
He said, "On a public bus."
Henry Ford said, "That's enough. Keep your book. First visualize yourself into a private car. The day your visualization materializes, bring your book to me. And I don't need it; I am Henry Ford. I have more riches than you can visualize, and I don't think I need any more. So give it to someone else."
But how beautifully he refuted the man - that you have come on a public transport bus, you don't even have your own private car, and you dare to write a book that says that just by thinking, visualizing, continually visualizing, things can be materialized.
Now, however many times you may repeat it, if love has disappeared it is not going to come. It had never come because of you. It was not something you had done. It happened; it came and it possessed you. And one day you find it is no more there. It was not your doing, so you cannot do anything to prevent it from going.
So for the intelligent person it is perfectly good that things are changing fast. He will be constantly thrilled by the change.
Now, doing the same job all your life you become a robot; you start doing the job mechanically.
There is no need to think about it.
In the body there is a robot part. First you think something, practice something, and then it is transferred to the robot part. In Gurdjieff's system, that robot part plays a very important role.
You can see it. If you are learning to drive a car, it is very difficult in the beginning... it is almost impossible. You have to look ahead on the road, so that you do not crash and kill somebody. You have to stay on the right side, so you have to be constantly aware of the steering wheel. You have to stay within a certain limit of speed, so you have to be aware of the speed you are going. And your foot has to be in tune with you on the accelerator. And you have to be constantly aware of the brake, because at any moment anything can happen and you have to brake.
So many things... and in a crazy traffic, which is going all over. If you look at the brake, you forget that you have to look ahead. You are not to look at the brake; your foot has to do the work.
It seems impossible. Things are being asked, so many things together. If you manage one, the other goes off; if you manage the other, something else goes off.
But through a little practice, the whole learning is transferred to the robot part. Then you can sing, you can smoke, you can listen to the radio, you can talk to your friend, you can do anything...
and your body itself takes care of the vehicle. You need not pay any more attention; it is now all automatic. Not only is the car automatic, you are automatic.
The mediocre person finds that once you become automatic in anything, it is good to remain in it.
Learning again a new job, learning again a new wife... you knew perfectly well your old wife; good or bad or whatsoever she was, you knew her. Now this is something unknown. And what she will do with you, you don't know. A new job means new learning, a new city means finding a new friends, finding a new society.
But, if every three years you have to go on changing, your life will remain sharpened; more and more rich it will become.
So I don't see the speed of change as a danger to the genius. And the whole progress of humanity depends on the genius; the masses have never done anything as far as progress or evolution is concerned.
So Toffler is unnecessarily worried... unless he himself belongs to the mediocre. And it seems he belongs; otherwise, it would have been clear to him that we have come to a world where everybody has to sharpen his intelligence just to survive. Even the mediocre person has the potential, but he has not made any effort. But if the world is changing he will have to make the effort.
I can see the difference.... In India, any young man - if he is educated - knows only geography, history, mathematics... but he does not know carpentry, he does not know music, he does not know cooking, he does not know anything else.
While in the West the same young man of the same age knows many more things, because the Western youth has to prepare himself for a world which you cannot take for granted. Today it may be possible that you can be musician; tomorrow it may not be possible, and you have to be a carpenter or a plumber or a cook. It is richer.
For example, the way we created the commune in America.... We cannot create that kind of commune in India, because either you will get absolutely uneducated, unskilled people, who cannot do anything unless supervised, ordered, told, continually reminded - and then, too, it will not be a piece of beautiful art, it will be a hatchet job - or you will get those who are educated, who cannot do even that. They will say, "We can do geography, we can do history, we can tell you when Socrates was married, and we can tell you when he was poisoned - on what date and at what time."
But that is not needed to create a commune. They cannot make a house, they cannot make a road, they cannot make a dam, they cannot plant trees. They are very poor in that way. Their only capacity is to be a clerk.
It is such a difficult thing because India is still living in the stable past, where things have always remained the same.
This whirlwind that has arisen in the West is of tremendous importance. It is not a crisis, it is a critical moment. It is a great chance for the talented, and also an opportunity, for those who have lived up to now a stable life, to learn something from a changing pattern. It will not make them poorer, it will make them richer. A man should be able to do many things, and that is possible only if he goes on moving from job to job.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the most important philosophers, refused a post as a professor in Oxford because he just wanted to be a teacher in a school. A professor he had been. So he said, "I know that I would like to know something new - how to deal with small children." He was not concerned about the salary, he was more concerned about his own learning. And finally he dropped the school and became a fisherman.
Now this is impossible in India, that anybody could drop from professor to teacher, and then from teacher to fisherman. People would think, "What kind of progress is happening?" But I say that it is progress, because this man knows three jobs and he is enriched because of his many activities.
A man loves a woman or a woman loves a man - it is good as far as it goes, but it should not be stretched when it is no more there. Then it is better to change partners, because each new woman and each new man are going to be different and will bring to your life a new aspect, a new revelation.
People who have changed their lovers many times are immensely enriched because no two lovers are the same. And this should be the criterion for everything.
There is no danger in this changing world that is opening up. It has already come in. And the speed will go on becoming faster and faster - so you have to learn how to adjust yourself quickly to a new situation. That will give you a flexibility, that will make you more alive. You will have to find ways that you have never tried before, because situations have changed.
And if you are going to change continually you will live, in one life, a thousand lives, and your life will become, not a stale repetition of the same from birth to death, but every day a new sunrise and every day a new flower blossoming in your garden. So to me, it is not something bad.
It is going to be difficult for the mediocre, but they have lived in safety for millions of years. It is time they should be shaken and awakened.
And they have ruled over the intelligent for millions of years. Now it is time they should be put in their right place. Now, one who is capable of adjusting to new modes of living, loving, working, will prove his genius, his talent.
The New Man must be a multidimensional man. And this situation is simply an absolute necessity for the multidimensional man to arrive on the earth.
IT SEEMS SO UNFORTUNATE THAT EXISTENCE HAD TO GIVE WOMEN THIS THING CALLED MENSTRUATION EVERY MONTH. IT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS YOU KNOW IS COMING, AND YOU KNOW ALL THE EMOTIONS AND CRAZY THINGS THAT FOLLOW WITH IT. AND YET IT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT THING TO BE ABLE TO WATCH AND NOT BE IDENTIFIED WITH - AT LEAST FOR ME. FUNNILY ENOUGH, EVEN THE MEN SEEM TO GET INVOLVED AND IDENTIFIED WITH IT WHEN WE ARE IN IT.
HOW CAN WE WATCH SOMETHING THAT IS SUCH AN INTRINSIC PART OF OUR BIOLOGY?
The art of watchfulness is the same whether you are watching something outside of you or you are watching something in your own biology - it is also outside of you.
I know it is difficult, because you are more identified with it; it is so close. But the problem is not watchfulness, the problem is identification. That identification should be broken.
When you feel that your menstruation is coming, try to watch, try to see what it is bringing along with it - anger, depression, hate, a tendency to fight, a desire to throw tantrums. Just watch - and not only watch but say to the man you love, "This is going to come within me. I will try my best to be aware, but if I get identified you need not get involved in it, you can simply watch. You are far away and outside of it."
And the man can know that a woman in menstruation is in difficulty. She needs your compassion.
And the same should be done by the woman, because you may not know, but man also has his period every month. Because it has no physical expression, for centuries nobody has been aware that man also goes through the same cycle. He has to, because he and she are parts of one whole.
A man also, for four or five days each month, goes into a dark hole. you can at least throw the whole responsibility on your menstruation. He cannot even do that because his menstruation is only emotional - he passes through the same emotions that you pass through. And because there was no physical expression of it, nobody ever thought about it. But now it is an established fact that every month he passes through the same situation as you. So he is not superior in that way, and you are not unfortunate in comparison to him.
The difficulty arises, that when you love a man and you live with him long enough, slowly, slowly your body rhythms become very, very harmonious. So when you have your menstruation, he also has his menstruation. That creates the real trouble - both of you are in a dark hole, both are depressed, both are sad, both are in despair. And you throw the responsibility on each other.
So the man has to find out when he has his period. And the way to find out is to just write down in your diary, every day, how it is. And you will find a block of five days when you were continuously in depression, in a bad mood, ready to fight. Watching for two to three months - noting in your diary - you will come to an absolute conclusion: these are the five days. Make your woman aware: "These are my five days."
If they are different from your woman's, it is good, fortunate, because the trouble will be only half. So, the man can watch when the woman throws tantrums and does all kinds of stupid things. He need not participate, he need not answer, he need not react. He should play cool and give the woman a chance to see that he is playing cool, which means "I should be aware."
But if these periods coincide, then there is a real calamity. But then, too, you both can be aware.
You can see that he is also suffering from his menstrual period and it is not good to throw anything more upon the poor fellow, and he can understand that you are suffering and "It is good to keep my load on myself."
Just be watchful.
Soon there will be a possibility.... It was really the religions of the world who have been preventing it; otherwise, the menstrual period can disappear - and from women more easily than from men.
If you are on the pill, perhaps it may disappear. To most women the pill is a perfect thing - the period disappears. So there is no harm; be on the pill.
And just a few days ago I heard they have discovered a pill for the man too, so he can also take his pill.
But that will only change your biological situation. What is more important is to be aware. If you can be aware of the situation and not get identified, that will be far more significant.
But the pill will take away your physical pain. And I am perfectly in favor of that. There is no need to suffer any physical pain unnecessarily - if it can be alleviated. So find a pill and forget about the physical, the biological suffering.
And the man should also do the same, because he goes through the same period. It's just that the poor fellow has not been aware of it for millions of years because there is no physical expression of it. But there is psychological expression, and it is exactly the same.
So first, find out when the period is. And if the pill is now available in the market for the man too, he should also take the pill.
And awareness you can practice in a thousand other ways. There is no need to suffer bodily, physical pain unnecessarily. Certainly the pill can stop your period; it can also stop the possibility of your getting pregnant - which is a blessing, because the world does not need any more population.
But meanwhile, try awareness.
WHEN I BECAME A SANNYASIN I STARTED FEELING, MUCH MORE, THAT EXISTENCE IS TAKING CARE OF ME. IS MY WHOLE LIFE BEING TAKEN CARE OF BY EXISTENCE? AND IF IT IS, HOW IS IT THAT I FEEL IT MORE SINCE I HAVE BEEN WITH YOU?
Existence is taking care of your whole life, because you are part of it. Being with me, it is not taking more care than before, it is just that you have become more aware of it; you were not aware at all before.
The change has happened in your awareness. It is not that existence has started taking more care, but now you can feel it, be aware of it.
(THERE IS A LOUD NOISE FROM ANOTHER ROOM.) Is somebody suffering from a menstrual period upstairs?...
Whether you know it or not, existence goes on taking care of you.
If you know it, you feel grateful.
In your gratefulness is your religiousness.
In your gratefulness is your awakening.
But the care is the same. It cares for the smallest blade of grass just as it cares for the biggest star.
But those poor fellows cannot be aware of it. You are fortunate: you can be aware of it.
Awareness will create a new situation in you - that of gratitude. And to me gratitude is the only religiousness there is.
YOU MENTIONED THE MEDITATION OF STARING FOR ONE HOUR INTO THE MIRROR. IS IT GOOD TO LOOK WITH A SOFT, UNFOCUSED GAZE, RATHER THAN TO STARE? ALSO, IS IT BETTER TO LOOK INTO EITHER THE LEFT OR THE RIGHT EYE, OR AT BOTH? ON ANOTHER OCCASION, YOU SUGGESTED THAT COUPLES COULD LOOK INTO EACH OTHER'S EYES.
MY QUESTIONS FOR THE FIRST MEDITATION ALSO APPLY TO THIS METHOD. WOULD YOU PLEASE COMMENT?
It is best to look in the mirror, not in the eyes of your lover - because in the eyes of your lover you can get identified. With the mirror, there is no such possibility.
Staring is not good - it will be tiring and tense. So, a soft gaze... and not in one eye but in both eyes... a very soft gaze, without any tension, just looking for no reason at all. In staring you may stop blinking, but in soft gaze you can continue blinking; there is no harm.
Remain as relaxed as possible.