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Cultural Conditioning


Something more about words. I said to you earlier that words are limited. There is more I have to add. There are some words that correspond to nothing. For instance, I’m an Indian. Now, let’s suppose that I’m a prisoner of war in Pakistan, and they say to me, “Well, today we’re going to take you to the frontier, and you’re going to take a look at your country.” So they bring me to the frontier, and I look across the border, and I think, “Oh, my country, my beautiful country. I see villages and trees and hills. This is my own, my native land!” After a while one of the guards says, “Excuse me, we’ve made a mistake here. We have to move up another ten miles.” What was I reacting to? Nothing. I kept focusing on a word, India. But trees are not India; trees are trees. In fact, there are no frontiers or boundaries. They were put there by the human mind; generally by stupid, avaricious politicians. My country was one country once upon a time; it’s four now. If we don’t watch out it might be six. Then we’ll have six flags, six armies. That’s why you’ll never catch me saluting a flag. I abhor all national flags because they are idols. What are we saluting? I salute humanity, not a flag with an army around it. Flags are in the heads of people. In any case, there are thousands of words in our vocabulary that do not correspond to reality at all. But do they trigger emotions in us! So we begin to see things that are not there. We actually see Indian mountains when they don’t exist, and we actually see Indian people who also don’t exist. Your American conditioning exists. My Indian conditioning exists. But that’s not a very happy thing. Nowadays, in Third World countries, we talk a great deal about “inculturation.” What is this thing called “culture”? I’m not very happy with the word. Does it mean you’d like to do something because you were conditioned to do it? That you’d like to feel something because you were conditioned to feel it? Isn’t that being mechanical? Imagine an American baby that is adopted by a Russian couple and taken to Russia. It has no notion that it was born American. It’s brought up talking Russian; it lives and dies for Mother Russia; it hates Americans. The child is stamped with his own culture; it’s steeped in its own literature. It looks at the world through the eyes of its culture. Now, if you want to wear your culture the way you wear your clothes, that’s fine. The Indian woman would wear a sari and the American woman would wear something else, the Japanese woman would wear her kimono. But nobody identifies herself with the clothes. But you do want to wear your culture more intently. You become proud of your culture. They teach you to
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be proud of it. Let me put this as forcefully as possible. There’s this Jesuit friend of mine who said to me, “Anytime I see a beggar or a poor person, I cannot not give this person alms. I got that from my mother.” His mother would offer a meal to any poor person who passed by. I said to him, “Joe, what you have is not a virtue; what you have is a compulsion, a good one from the point of view of the beggar, but a compulsion nonetheless.” I remember another Jesuit who said to us once at an intimate gathering of the men of our Jesuit province in Bombay, “I’m eighty years old; I’ve been a Jesuit for sixty-five years. I have never once missed my hour of meditation—never once.” Now, that could be very admirable, or it could also be a compulsion. No great merit in it if it’s mechanical. The beauty of an action comes not from its having become a habit but from its sensitivity, consciousness, clarity of perception, and accuracy of response. I can say yes to one beggar and no to another. I am not compelled by any conditioning or programming from my past experiences or from my culture. Nobody has stamped anything on me, or if they have, I’m no longer reacting on the basis of that. If you had a bad experience with an American or were bitten by a dog or had a bad experience with a certain type of food, for the rest of your life you’d be influenced by that experience. And that’s bad! You need to be liberated from that. Don’t carry over experiences from the past. In fact, don’t carry over good experiences from the past either. Learn what it means to experience something fully, then drop it and move on to the next moment, uninfluenced by the previous one. You’d be traveling with such little baggage that you could pass through the eye of a needle. You’d know what eternal life is, because eternal life is now, in the timeless now. Only thus will you enter into eternal life. But how many things we carry along with us. We never set about the task of freeing ourselves, of dropping the baggage, of being ourselves. I’m sorry to say that everywhere I go I find Muslims who use their religion, their worship, and their Koran to distract themselves from this task. And the same applies to Hindus and Christians. Can you imagine the human being who is no longer influenced by words? You can give him any number of words and he’ll still give you a fair deal. You can say, “I’m Cardinal Archbishop So-and-so,” but he’ll still give you a fair deal; he’ll see you as you are. He’s uninfluenced by the label.





Filtered Reality


I want to say one more thing about our perception of reality. Let me put it in the form of an analogy. The President of the United States has to get feedback from the citizens. The Pope in Rome has to get feedback from the whole Church. There are literally millions of items that could be fed to them, but they could hardly take all of them in, much less digest them. So they have people whom they trust to make abstracts, summarize things, monitor, filter; in the end, some of it gets to their desk. Now, this is what’s happening to us. From every pore or living cell of our bodies and from all our senses we are getting feedback from reality. But we are filtering things out constantly. Who’s doing the filtering? Our conditioning? Our culture? Our programming? The way we were taught to see things and to experience them? Even our language can be a filter. There is so much filtering going on that sometimes you won’t see things that are there. You only have to look at a paranoid person who’s always feeling threatened by
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something that isn’t there, who’s constantly interpreting reality in terms of certain experiences of the past or certain conditioning that he or she has had. But there’s another demon, too, who’s doing the filtering. It’s called attachment, desire, craving. The root of sorrow is craving. Craving distorts and destroys perception. Fears and desires haunt us. Samuel Johnson said, “The knowledge that he is to swing from a scaffold within a week wonderfully concentrates a man’s mind.” You blot out everything else and concentrate only on the fear, or desire, or craving. In many ways we were drugged when we were young. We were brought up to need people. For what? For acceptance, approval, appreciation, applause—for what they called success. Those are words that do not correspond to reality. They are conventions, things that are invented, but we don’t realize that they don’t correspond to reality. What is success? It is what one group decided is a good thing. Another group will decide the same thing is bad. What is good in Washington might be considered bad in a Carthusian monastery. Success in a political circle might be considered failure in some other circles. These are conventions. But we treat them like realities, don’t we? When we were young, we were programmed to unhappiness. They taught us that in order to be happy you need money, success, a beautiful or handsome partner in life, a good job, friendship, spirituality, God—you name it. Unless you get these things, you’re not going to be happy, we were told. Now, that is what I call an attachment. An attachment is a belief that without something you are not going to be happy. Once you get convinced of that—and it gets into our subconscious, it gets stamped into the roots of our being—you are finished. “How could I be happy unless I have good health?” you say. But I’ll tell you something. I have met people dying of cancer who were happy. But how could they be happy if they knew they were going to die? But they were. “How could I be happy if I don’t have money?” One person has a million dollars in the bank, and he feels insecure; the other person has practically no money, but he doesn’t seem to feel any insecurity at all. He was programmed differently, that’s all. Useless to exhort the first person about what to do; he needs understanding. Exhortations are of no great help. You need to understand that you’ve been programmed; it’s a false belief. See it as false, see it as a fantasy. What are people doing all through their lives? They’re busy fighting; fight, fight, fight. That’s what they call survival. When the average American says he or she is making a living, it isn’t a living they’re making, oh no! They have much more than they need to live. Come to my country and you’ll see that. You don’t need all those cars to live. You don’t need a television set to live. You don’t need makeup to live. You don’t need all those clothes to live. But try to convince the average American of this. They’ve been brainwashed; they’ve been programmed. So they work and strive to get the desired object that will make them happy. Listen to this pathetic story—your story, my story, everybody’s story: “Until I get this object (money, friendship, anything) I’m not going to be happy; I’ve got to strive to get it and then when I’ve got it, I’ve got to strive to keep it. I get a temporary thrill. Oh, I’m so thrilled, I’ve got it!” But how long does that last? A few minutes, a few days at the most. When you get your brand-new car, how long does the thrill last? Until your next attachment is threatened! The truth about a thrill is that I get tired of it after a while. They told me prayer was the big thing; they told me God was the big thing; they told me friendship was the big thing. And not knowing what prayer really was or not knowing what God really was, not knowing what friendship really was, we made much out of them. But after a while we got
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bored with them—bored with prayer, with God, with friendship. Isn’t that pathetic? And there’s no way out, there’s simply no way out. It’s the only model we were given—to be happy. We weren’t given any other model. Our culture, our society, and, I’m sorry to say, even our religion gave us no other model. You’ve been appointed a cardinal. What a great honor that is! Honor? Did you say honor? You used the wrong word. Now others are going to aspire to it. You lapsed into what the gospels call “the world” and you’re going to lose your soul. The world, power, prestige, winning, success, honor, etc., are nonexistent things. You gain the world but you lose your soul. Your whole life has been empty and soulless. There is nothing there. There’s only one way out and that is to get deprogrammed! How do you do that? You become aware of the programming. You cannot change by an effort of the will; you cannot change through ideals; you cannot change through building up new habits. Your behavior may change, but you don’t. You only change through awareness and understanding. When you see a stone as a stone and a scrap of paper as a scrap of paper, you don’t think that the stone is a precious diamond anymore and you don’t think that that scrap of paper is a check for a billion dollars. When you see that, you change. There’s no violence anymore in your attempt to change yourself. Otherwise, what you call change is simply moving the furniture around. Your behavior is changed, but not you.





Detachment


 The only way to change is by changing your understanding. But what does it mean to understand? How do we go about it? Consider how we’re enslaved by various attachments; we’re striving to rearrange the world so that we can keep these attachments, because the world is a constant threat to them. I fear that a friend may stop loving me; he or she may turn to somebody else. I have to keep making myself attractive because I have to get this other person. Somebody brainwashed me into thinking I need his or her love. But I really don’t. I don’t need anybody’s love; I just need to get in touch with reality. I need to break out of this prison of mine, this programming, this conditioning, these false beliefs, these fantasies; I need to break out into reality. Reality is lovely; it is an absolute delight. Eternal life is now. We’re surrounded by it, like the fish in the ocean, but we have no notion about it at all. We’re too distracted with this attachment. Temporarily, the world rearranges itself to suit our attachment, so we say, “Yeah, great! My team won!” But hang on; it’ll change; you’ll be depressed tomorrow. Why do we keep doing this? Do this little exercise for a few minutes: Think of something or someone you are attached to; in other words, something or someone without which or without whom you think you are not going to be happy. It could be your job, your career, your profession, your friend, your money, whatever. And say to this object or person, “I really do not need you to be happy. I’m only deluding myself in the belief that without you I will not be happy. But I really don’t need you for my happiness; I can be happy without you. You are not my happiness, you are not my joy.” If your attachment is a person, he or she is not going to be very happy to hear you say this, but go ahead anyway. You can say it in the secrecy of your heart. In any case, you’ll, be making contact with the truth; you’ll be smashing through a fantasy. Happiness is a state of nonillusion, of dropping the illusion. Or you could try another exercise: Think of a time when you were heartbroken and
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thought you would never be happy again (your husband died, your wife died, your best friend deserted you, you lost your money). What happened? Time went on, and if you managed to pick up another attachment or managed to find somebody else you were attracted to or something else you were attracted to, what happened to the old attachment? You didn’t really need it to be happy, did you? That should have taught you, but we never learn. We’re programmed; we’re conditioned. How liberating it is not to depend emotionally on anything. If you could get one second’s experience of that, you’d be breaking through your prison and getting a glimpse of the sky. Someday, maybe, you will even fly. I was afraid to say this, but I talked to God, and I told Him that I don’t need Him. My initial reaction was: “This is so contrary to everything that I’ve been brought up with.” Now, some people want to make an exception of their attachment to God. They say, “If God is the God that I think He ought to be, He’s not going to like it when I give up my attachment to Him!” All right, if you think that unless you get God you’re not going to be happy, then this “God” you’re thinking of has nothing to do with the real God. You’re thinking of a dream state; you’re thinking of your concept. Sometimes you have to get rid of “God” in order to find God. Lots of mystics tell us that. We’ve been so blinded by everything that we have not discovered the basic truth that attachments hurt rather than help relationships. I remember how frightened I was to say to an intimate friend of mine, “I really don’t need you. I can be perfectly happy without you. And by telling you this I find I can enjoy your company thoroughly—no more anxieties, no more jealousies, no more possessiveness, no more clinging. It is a delight to be with you when I am enjoying you on a nonclinging basis. You’re free; so am I.” But to many of you I’m sure this is like talking a foreign language. It took me many, many months to fully understand this, and mind you, I’m a Jesuit, whose spiritual exercises are all about exactly this, although I missed the point because my culture and my society in general had taught me to view people in terms of my attachments. I’m quite amused, sometimes, to see even seemingly objective people like therapists and spiritual directors say of someone, “He’s a great guy, great guy, I really like him.” I find out later that it’s because he likes me that I like him. I look into myself, and I find the same thing coming up now and again: If you’re attached to appreciation and praise, you’re going to view people in terms of their threat to your attachment or their fostering of your attachment. If you’re a politician and you want to be elected, how do you think you’re going to look at people, how will your interest in people be guided? You will be concerned for the person who’s going to get you the vote. If what you’re interested in is sex, how do you think you’re going to look at men and women? If you’re attached to power, that colors your view of human beings. An attachment destroys your capacity to love. What is love? Love is sensitivity, love is consciousness. To give you an example: I’m listening to a symphony, but if all I hear is the sound of the drums I don’t hear the symphony. What is a loving heart? A loving heart is sensitive to the whole of life, to all persons; a loving heart doesn’t harden itself to any person or thing. But the moment you become attached in my sense of the word, then you’re blocking out many other things. You’ve got eyes only for the object of your attachment; you’ve got ears only for the drums; the heart has hardened. Moreover, it’s blinded, because it no longer sees the object of its attachment objectively. Love entails clarity of perception, objectivity; there is nothing so clear-sighted as love.






Addictive Love


The heart in love remains soft and sensitive. But when you’re hell-bent on getting this or the other thing, you become ruthless, hard, and insensitive. How can you love people when you need people? You can only use them. If I need you to make me happy, I’ve got to use you, I’ve got to manipulate you, I’ve got to find ways and means of winning you. I cannot let you be free. I can only love people when I have emptied my life of people. When I die to the need for people, then I’m right in the desert. In the beginning it feels awful, it feels lonely, but if you can take it for a while, you’ll suddenly discover that it isn’t lonely at all. It is solitude, it is aloneness, and the desert begins to flower. Then at last you’ll know what love is, what God is, what reality is. But in the beginning giving up the drug can be tough, unless you have a very keen understanding or unless you have suffered enough. It’s a great thing to have suffered. Only then can you get sick of it. You can make use of suffering to end suffering. Most people simply go on suffering. That explains the conflict I sometimes have between the role of spiritual director and that of therapist. A therapist says, “Let’s ease the suffering.” The spiritual director says, “Let her suffer, she’ll get sick of this way of relating to people and she’ll finally decide to break out of this prison of emotional dependence on others.” Shall I offer a palliative or remove a cancer? It’s not easy to decide. A person slams a book on the table in disgust. Let him keep slamming it on the table. Don’t pick up the book for him and tell him it’s all right. Spirituality is awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness, awareness. When your mother got angry with you, she didn’t say there was something wrong with her, she said there was something wrong with you; otherwise she wouldn’t have been angry. Well, I made the great discovery that if you are angry, Mother, there’s something wrong with you. So you’d better cope with your anger. Stay with it and cope with it. It’s not mine. Whether there’s something wrong with me or not, I’ll examine that independently of your anger. I’m not going to be influenced by your anger. The funny thing is that when I can do this without feeling any negativity toward another, I can be quite objective about myself, too. Only a very aware person can refuse to pick up the guilt and anger, can say, “You’re having a tantrum. Too bad. I don’t feel the slightest desire to rescue you anymore, and I refuse to feel guilty.” I’m not going to hate myself for anything I’ve done. That’s what guilt is. I’m not going to give myself a bad feeling and whip myself for anything I have done, either right or wrong. I’m ready to analyze it, to watch it, and say, “Well, if I did wrong, it was in unawareness.” Nobody does wrong in awareness. That’s why theologians tell us very beautifully that Jesus could do no wrong. That makes very good sense to me, because the enlightened person can do no wrong. The enlightened person is free. Jesus was free and because he was free, he couldn’t do any wrong. But since you can do wrong, you’re not free.





More Words


Mark Twain put it very nicely when he said, “It was so cold that if the thermometer had been an inch longer, we would have frozen to death.” We do freeze to death on words. It’s not the cold outside that matters, but the thermometer. It’s not reality that matters, but what you’re saying to yourself about it. I was told a lovely story about a farmer in Finland. When they were drawing up the Russian-Finnish border, the farmer had to decide whether he wanted to be in Russia or Finland. After a long time he said he wanted to be in Finland, but he didn’t want to offend the Russian officials. These came to him and wanted to know why he wanted to be in Finland. The farmer replied, “It has always been my desire to live in Mother Russia, but at my age I wouldn’t be able to survive another Russian winter.” Russia and Finland are only words, concepts, but not for human beings, not for crazy human beings. We’re almost never looking at reality. A guru was once attempting to explain to a crowd how human beings react to words, feed on words, live on words, rather than on reality. One of the men stood up and protested; he said, “I don’t agree that words have all that much effect on us.” The guru said, “Sit down, you son of a bitch.” The man went livid with rage and said, “You call yourself an enlightened person, a guru, a master, but you ought to be ashamed of yourself.” The guru then said, “Pardon me, sir, I was carried away. I really beg your pardon; that was a lapse; I’m sorry.” The man finally calmed down. Then the guru said, “It took just a few words to get a whole tempest going within you; and it took just a few words to calm you down, didn’t it?” Words, words, words, words, how imprisoning they are if they’re not used properly.
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Hidden Agendas


 There is a difference between knowledge and awareness, between information and awareness. I just said to you that one cannot do evil in awareness. But one can do evil in knowledge or information, when you know something is bad. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I would translate that as “They’re not aware of what they are doing.” Paul says he is the greatest of sinners because he persecuted the Church of Christ. But, he adds, I did it unawares. Or if they had been aware that they were crucifying the Lord of Glory, they would never have done so. Or: “The time will come when they will persecute you and they think they are doing a service to God.” They aren’t aware. They’re caught up in information and knowledge. Thomas Aquinas puts it nicely when he says, “Every time someone sins, they’re sinning under the guise of good.” They’re blinding themselves; they’re seeing something as good even though they know it is bad; they’re rationalizing because they’re seeking something under the pretext of good. Someone gave me two situations in which she found it difficult to be aware. She was in a service industry where many people were lined up, many phones were ringing, and she was alone and there were distractions coming from a lot of uptight, angry people. She found it extremely difficult to maintain serenity and calm. The other situation was when she was driving in traffic, with horns blowing and people shouting four-letter words. She asked me whether eventually that nervousness would dissipate and she could remain at
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peace. Did you pick up the attachment there? Peace. Her attachment to peace and calm. She was saying, “Unless I’m peaceful, I won’t be happy.” Did it ever occur to you that you could be happy in tension? Before enlightenment, I used to be depressed; after enlightenment, I continue to be depressed. You don’t make a goal out of relaxation and sensitivity. Have you ever heard of people who get tense trying to relax? If one is tense, one simply observes one’s tension. You will never understand yourself if you seek to change yourself. The harder you try to change yourself, the worse it gets. You are called upon to be aware. Get the feel of that jangling telephone; get the feel of jarred nerves; get the sensation of the steering wheel in the car. In other words, come to reality, and let tension or the calmness take care of itself. As a matter of fact, you will have to let them take care of themselves because you’ll be too preoccupied with getting in touch with reality. Step by step, let whatever happens happen. Real change will come when it is brought about, not by your ego, but by reality. Awareness releases reality to change you. In awareness you change, but you’ve got to experience it. At this point you’re just taking my word for it. Perhaps also you’ve got a plan to become aware. Your ego, in its own cunning way, is trying to push you into awareness. Watch it! You’ll meet with resistance; there will be trouble. When someone is anxious about being aware all the time, you can spot the mild anxiety. They want to be awake, to find out if they’re really awake or not. That’s part of asceticism, not awareness. It sounds strange in a culture where we’ve been trained to achieve goals, to get somewhere, but in fact there’s nowhere to go because you’re there already. The Japanese have a nice way of putting it: “The day you cease to travel, you will have arrived.” Your attitude should be: “I want to be aware, I want to be in touch with whatever is and let whatever happens happen; if I’m awake, fine, and if I’m asleep, fine.” The moment you make a goal out of it and attempt to get it, you’re seeking ego glorification, ego promotion. You want the good feeling that you’ve made it. When you do “make it,” you won’t know. Your left hand won’t know what your right hand is doing. “Lord, when did we do this? We had no awareness.” Charity is never so lovely as when one has lost consciousness that one is practicing charity. “You mean I helped you? I was enjoying myself. I was just doing my dance. It helped you, that’s wonderful. Congratulations to you. No credit to me.” When you attain, when you are aware, increasingly you will not be bothered about labels like “awake” or “asleep.” One of my difficulties here is to arouse your curiosity but not your spiritual greed. Let’s come awake, it’s going to be wonderful. After a while, it doesn’t matter; one is aware, because one lives. The unaware life is not worth living. And you will leave pain to take care of itself.





Giving In


The harder you try to change, the worse it can get. Does this mean that a certain degree of passivity is all right? Yes, the more you resist something, the greater power you give to it. That’s the meaning, I think, of Jesus’ words: “When someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer him your left as well.” You always empower the demons you fight. That’s very Oriental. But if you flow with the enemy, you overcome the enemy. How does one cope with evil? Not by fighting it but by understanding it. In understanding, it
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disappears. How does one cope with darkness? Not with one’s fist. You don’t chase darkness out of the room with a broom, you turn on a light. The more you fight darkness, the more real it becomes to you, and the more you exhaust yourself. But when you turn on the light of awareness, it melts. Say this scrap of paper is a billion-dollar check. Ah, I must renounce it, the gospel says, I must give it up if I want eternal life. Are you going to substitute one greed—a spiritual greed—for the other greed? Before, you had a worldly ego and now you’ve got a spiritual ego, but you’ve got an ego all the same, a refined one and one more difficult to cope with. When you renounce something, you’re tied to it. But if instead of renouncing it, I look at it and say, “Hey, this isn’t a billion-dollar check, this is a scrap of paper,” there is nothing to fight, nothing to renounce.





Assorted Landmines


 In my country, lots of men grow up with the belief that women are cattle. “I married her,” they say. “She’s my possession.” Are these men to blame? Get ready for a shock: They aren’t. Just as many Americans are not to blame for the way they view Russians. Their glasses or perceptions simply have been dyed a certain color, and there they are; that’s the color through which they look at the world. What does it take to make them real, to make them aware that they’re looking at the world through colored glasses? There is no salvation till they have seen their basic prejudice. As soon as you look at the world through an ideology you are finished. No reality fits an ideology. Life is beyond that. That is why people are always searching for a meaning to life. But life has no meaning; it cannot have meaning because meaning is a formula; meaning is something that makes sense to the mind. Every time you make sense out of reality, you bump into something that destroys the sense you made. Meaning is only found when you go beyond meaning. Life only makes sense when you perceive it as mystery and it makes no sense to the conceptualizing mind. I don’t say that adoration isn’t important, but I do say that doubt is infinitely more important than adoration. Everywhere people are searching for objects to adore, but I don’t find people awake enough in their attitudes and convictions. How happy we would be if terrorists would adore their ideology less and question more. However, we don’t like to apply that to ourselves; we think we’re all right and the terrorists are wrong. But a terrorist to you is a martyr to the other side. Loneliness is when you’re missing people, aloneness is when you’re enjoying yourself. Remember that quip of George Bernard Shaw. He was at one of those awful cocktail parties, where nothing gets said. Someone asked him if he was enjoying himself. He answered, “It’s the only thing I am enjoying here.” You never enjoy others when you are enslaved to them. Community is not formed by a set of slaves, by people demanding that other people make them happy. Community is formed by emperors and princesses. You’re an emperor, not a beggar; you’re a princess, not a beggar. There’s no begging bowl in a true community. There’s no clinging, no anxiety, no fear, no hangover, no possessiveness, no demands. Free people form community, not slaves. This is such a simple truth, but it has been drowned out by a whole culture, including religious culture. Religious culture can be very manipulative if you don’t watch out. Some people see awareness as a high point, a plateau, beyond experiencing every
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moment as it is. That’s making a goal out of awareness. But with true awareness there’s nowhere to go, nothing to achieve. How do we get to this awareness? Through awareness. When people say they really want to experience every moment, they’re really talking awareness, except for that “wanting.” You don’t want to experience awareness; you do or you don’t. A friend of mine has just gone to Ireland. He told me that though he’s an American citizen he’s entitled to an Irish passport and was getting one because he is scared to travel abroad on an American passport. If terrorists walk in and say, “Let me see your passport,” he wants to be able to say, “I’m Irish.” But when people sit next to him on the plane, they don’t want to see labels; they want to taste and experience this person, as he really is. How many people spend their lives not eating food but eating the menu? A menu is only an indication of something that’s available. You want to eat the steak, not the words.





The Death Of Me


Can one be fully human without experiencing tragedy? The only tragedy there is in the world is ignorance; all evil comes from that. The only tragedy there is in the world is unwakefulness and unawareness. From them comes fear, and from fear comes everything else, but death is not a tragedy at all. Dying is wonderful; it’s only horrible to people who have never understood life. It’s only when you’re afraid of life that you fear death. It’s only dead people who fear death. But people who are alive have no fear of death. One of your American authors put it so well. He said awakening is the death of your belief in injustice and tragedy. The end of the world for a caterpillar is a butterfly for the master. Death is resurrection. We’re talking not about some resurrection that will happen but about one that is happening right now. If you would die to the past, if you would die to every minute, you would be the person who is fully alive, because a fully alive person is one who is full of death. We’re always dying to things. We’re always shedding everything in order to be fully alive and to be resurrected at every moment. The mystics, saints, and others make great efforts to wake people up. If they don’t wake up, they’re always going to have these other minor ills like hunger, wars, and violence. The greatest evil is sleeping people, ignorant people. A Jesuit once wrote a note to Father Arrupe, his superior general, asking him about the relative value of communism, socialism, and capitalism. Father Arrupe gave him a lovely reply. He said, “A system is about as good or as bad as the people who use it.” People with golden hearts would make capitalism or communism or socialism work beautifully. Don’t ask the world to change—you change first. Then you’ll get a good enough look at the world so that you’ll be able to change whatever you think ought to be changed. Take the obstruction out of your own eye. If you don’t, you have lost the right to change anyone or anything. Till you are aware of yourself, you have no right to interfere with anyone else or with the world. Now, the danger of attempting to change others or change things when you yourself are not aware is that you may be changing things for your own convenience, your pride, your dogmatic convictions and beliefs, or just to relieve your negative feelings. I have negative feelings, so you better change in
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such a way that I’ll feel good. First, cope with your negative feelings so that when you move out to change others, you’re not coming from hate or negativity but from love. It may seem strange, too, that people can be very hard on others and still be very loving. The surgeon can be hard on a patient and yet loving. Love can be very hard indeed.






Insight And Understanding


 But what does self-change entail? I’ve said it in so many words, over and over, but now I’m going to break it down into little segments. First, insight. Not effort, not cultivating habits, not having an ideal. Ideals do a lot of damage. The whole time you’re focusing on what should be instead of focusing on what is. And so you’re imposing what should be on a present reality, never having understood what present reality is. Let me give you an example of insight from my own experience in counseling. A priest comes to me and says he’s lazy; he wants to be more industrious, more active, but he is lazy. I ask him what “lazy” means. In the old days I would have said to him, “Let’s see, why don’t you make a list of things you want to do every day, and then every night you check them off, and it will give you a good feeling; build up habit that way.” Or I might say to him, “Who is your ideal, your patron saint?” And if he says St. Francis Xavier, I would tell him, “See how much Xavier worked. You must meditate on him and that will get you moving.” That’s one way of going about it, but, I’m sorry to say, it’s superficial. Making him use his willpower, effort, doesn’t last very long. His behavior may change, but he does not. So I now move in the other direction. I say to him, “Lazy, what’s that? There are a million types of laziness. Let’s hear what your type of laziness is. Describe what you mean by lazy?” He says, “Well, I never get anything done. I don’t feel like doing anything.” I ask, “You mean right from the moment you get up in the morning?” “Yes,” he answers. “I wake up in the morning and there’s nothing worth getting up for.” “You’re depressed, then?” I ask. “You could call it that,” he says. “I have sort of withdrawn.” “Have you always been like this?” I ask. “Well, not always. When I was younger, I was more active. When I was in the seminary, I was full of life.” “So when did this begin?” “Oh, about three or four years ago.” I ask him if anything happened then. He thinks a while. I say, “If you have to think so much, nothing very special could have happened four years ago. How about the year before that?” He says, “Well, I was ordained that year.” “Anything happen in your ordination year?” I ask. “There was one little thing, the final examination in theology; I failed it. It was a bit of a disappointment, but I’ve gotten over it. The bishop was planning to send me to Rome, to eventually teach in the seminary. I rather liked the idea, but since I failed the examination, he changed his mind and sent me to this parish. Actually, there was some injustice because . . .” Now he’s getting worked up; there’s anger there that he hasn’t gotten over. He’s got to work through that disappointment. It’s useless to preach him a sermon. It’s useless to give him an idea. We’ve got to get him to face his anger and disappointment and to get some insight into all of that. When he’s able to work through that, he’s back into life again. If I gave him an exhortation and told him how hard his married brothers and sisters work, that would merely make him feel guilty. He doesn’t have the self-insight which is going
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to heal him. So that’s the first thing. There’s another great task, understanding. Did you really think this was going to make you happy? You just assumed it was going to make you happy. Why did you want to teach in the seminary? Because you wanted to be happy. You thought that being a professor, having a certain status and prestige, would make you happy. Would it? Understanding is called for there. In making the distinction between “I” and “me,” it’s a great help to disidentify what is going on. Let me give you an example of this kind of thing. A young Jesuit priest comes to see me; he’s a lovely, extraordinary, gifted, talented, charming, lovable man—everything. But he had a strange kind of a kink. With employees he was a terror. He was even known to assault them. It nearly became a matter for the police. Whenever he was put in charge of the grounds, the school, or whatever, this problem would keep coming up. He made a thirty-day retreat in what we Jesuits call a Tertianship, where he meditated day after day on the patience and love of Jesus for those who were underprivileged, etc. But I knew it wasn’t going to have an effect. Anyway, he went home and was better for about three or four months. (Somebody said about most retreats that we begin them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and we end as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.) After that, he was right back to square one. So he came to see me. I was very busy at the time. Though he had come from another city in India, I couldn’t see him. So I said, “I’m going for my evening walk; if you want to come with me on the walk, that’s fine, but I don’t have any other time.” So we went for a walk. I’d known him before, and as we were walking, I had a strange feeling. When I get one of these strange feelings, I generally check it out with the person in question. So I said, “I have a strange feeling that you’re hiding something from me. Are you?” He became indignant. He said, “What do you mean, hiding? Do you think I’d undertake this long journey and come to ask for your tune in order to hide something?” I said, “Well, it’s a funny feeling I had, that’s all; I thought I should check with you.” We walked on. We have a lake not far from where I live. I remember the scene distinctly. He said, “Could we sit down somewhere?” I said, “O.K.” We sat on a low wall that skirts the lake. He said, “You’re right. I am hiding something from you.” And with that he burst into tears. He said, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never said to anybody since I became a Jesuit. My father died when I was very young, and my mother became a servant. Her job was to clean lavatories and toilets and bathrooms, and sometimes she’d work for sixteen hours a day to get the wherewithal to support us. I’m so ashamed of that that I’ve hidden it from everybody and I continue taking revenge, irrationally, on her and the whole servant class.” The feeling got transferred. No one could make sense of why this charming man was doing this, but the moment he saw that, there was never any trouble again, never. He was all right.
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Not Pushing It


Meditating on and imitating externally the behavior of Jesus is no help. It’s not a question of imitating Christ, it’s a question of becoming what Jesus was. It’s a question of becoming Christ, becoming aware, understanding what’s going on within you. All the other methods we use for self-change could be compared to pushing a car. Let’s suppose
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you have to travel to a distant city. The car breaks down along the way. Well, too bad; the car’s broken down. So we roll up our sleeves and begin to push the car. And we push and push and push and push, till we get to the distant city. “Well,” we say, “we made it.” And then we push the car all the way to another city! You say, “We got there, didn’t we?” But do you call this life? You know what you need? You need an expert, you need a mechanic to lift the hood and change the spark plug. Turn the ignition key and the car moves. You need the expert—you need understanding, insight, awareness—you don’t need pushing. You don’t need effort. That’s why people are so tired, so weary. You and I were trained to be dissatisfied with ourselves. That’s where the evil comes from psychologically. We’re always dissatisfied, we’re always discontented, we’re always pushing. Go on, put out more effort, more and more effort. But there’s always that conflict inside; there’s very little understanding.





Getting Real


 One red-letter day in my life occurred in India. It was a great day, really, the day after I was ordained. I sat in a confessional. We had a very saintly Jesuit priest in our parish, a Spaniard, whom I had known even before I went to the Jesuit novitiate. The day before I left for the novitiate, I thought I’d better make a clean breast of everything so that when I got to the novitiate I’d be nice and clean and wouldn’t have to tell the novice master anything. This old Spanish priest would have crowds of people lined up at his confessional; he had a violet-colored handkerchief which he covered his eyes with, and he’d mumble something and give you a penance and send you away. He’d only met me a couple of times, but he’d call me Antonie. So I stood in line, and when my turn came, I tried changing my voice as I made my confession. He listened to me patiently, gave me my penance, absolved me, and then said, “Antonie, when are you going to the novitiate?” Well, anyway, I went to this parish the day after my ordination. And the old priest says to me, “Do you want to hear confessions?” I said, “All right.” He said, “Go and sit in my confessional.” I thought, “My, I’m a holy man. I’m going to sit in his confessional.” I heard confessions for three hours. It was Palm Sunday and we had the Easter crowd coming in. I came out depressed, not from what I had heard, because I had been led to expect that, and, having some inkling of what was going on in my own heart, I was shocked by nothing. You know what depressed me? The realization that I was giving them these little pious platitudes: “Now pray to the Blessed Mother, she loves you,” and “Remember that God is on your side.” Were these pious platitudes any cure for cancer? And this is a cancer I’m dealing with, the lack of awareness and reality. So I swore a mighty oath to myself that day: “I’ll learn, I’ll learn, so it will not be said of me when it is all over, ‘Father, what you said to me was absolutely true but totally useless.’” Awareness, insight. When you become an expert (and you’ll soon become an expert) you don’t need to take a course in psychology. As you begin to observe yourself, to watch yourself, to pick up those negative feelings, you’ll find your own way of explaining it. And you’ll notice the change. But then you’ll have to deal with the big villain, and that villain is self-condemnation, self-hatred, self-dissatisfaction.






Assorted Images


 Let’s talk more about effortlessness in change. I thought of a nice image for that, a sailboat. When a sailboat has a mighty wind in its sail, it glides along so effortlessly that the boatman has nothing to do but steer. He makes no effort; he doesn’t push the boat. That’s an image of what happens when change comes about through awareness, through understanding. I was going through some of my notes and I found some quotations that go well with what I’ve been saying. Listen to this one: “There is nothing so cruel as nature. In the whole universe there is no escape from it, and yet it is not nature that does the injury, but the person’s own heart.” Does that make sense? It isn’t nature that does the injury, but the person’s own heart. There’s the story of Paddy, who fell off the scaffolding and got a good bump. They asked, “Did the fall hurt you, Paddy?” And he said, “No, it was the stop that hurt, not the fall.” When you cut water, the water doesn’t get hurt; when you cut something solid, it breaks. You’ve got solid attitudes inside you; you’ve got solid illusions inside you; that’s what bumps against nature, that’s where you get hurt, that’s where the pain comes from. Here’s a lovely one: It’s from an Oriental sage, though I don’t remember which one. As with the Bible the author doesn’t matter. What is said is what matters. “If the eye is unobstructed, it results in sight; if the ear is unobstructed, the result is hearing; if the nose is unobstructed, the result is a sense of smell; if the mouth is unobstructed, the result is a sense of taste; if the mind is unobstructed, the result is wisdom.” Wisdom occurs when you drop barriers you have erected through your concepts and conditioning. Wisdom is not something acquired; wisdom is not experience; wisdom is not applying yesterday’s illusions to today’s problems. As somebody said to me while I was studying for my degree in psychology in Chicago years ago, “Frequently, in the life of a priest, fifty years’ experience is one year’s experience repeated fifty times.” You get the same solutions to fall back on: This is the way to deal with the alcoholic; this is the way to deal with priests; this is the way to deal with sisters; this—is the way to deal with a divorcee. But that isn’t wisdom. Wisdom is to be sensitive to this situation, to this person, uninfluenced by any carryover from the past, without residue from the experience of the past. This is quite unlike what most people are accustomed to thinking. I would add another sentence to the ones I’ve read: “If the heart is unobstructed, the result is love.” I’ve been talking a great deal about love these days even though I told you there’s nothing that can be said, really, about love. We can only speak of nonlove. We can only speak of addictions. But of love itself nothing may be said explicitly.






Saying Nothing About Love


How would I describe love? I decided to give you one of the meditations I’m writing in a new book of mine. I’ll read it to you slowly; you meditate on it as we go along, because I’ve got it put down in short form here so I can get it done in three or four
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minutes; otherwise it would take me half an hour. It’s a comment on a gospel sentence. I had been thinking of another reflection, from Plato: “One cannot make a slave of a free person, for a free person is free even in prison.” It’s like another gospel sentence: “If a person makes you go one mile, go two.” You may think you’ve made a slave out of me by putting a load on my back, but you haven’t. If a person is trying to change external reality by being out of prison in order to be free, he is a prisoner indeed, Freedom lies not in external circumstances; freedom resides in the heart. When you have attained wisdom, who can enslave you? Anyhow, listen to the gospel sentence I had in mind earlier: “He sent the people away, and after doing that he went up to the mountain to pray alone. It grew late and he was there all by himself.” That’s what love is all about. Has it ever occurred to you that you can only love when you are alone? What does it mean to love? It means to see a person, a situation, a thing as it really is, not as you imagine it to be. And to give it the response it deserves. You can hardly be said to love what you do not even see. And what prevents us from seeing? Our conditioning. Our concepts, our categories, our prejudices, our projections, the labels that we have drawn from our cultures and our past experiences. Seeing is the most arduous thing that a human can undertake, for it calls for a disciplined, alert mind. But most people would much rather lapse into mental laziness than take the trouble to see each person, each thing in its present moment of freshness.





Losing Control


 If you wish to understand control, think of a little child that is given a taste for drugs. As the drugs penetrate the body of the child, it becomes addicted; its whole being cries out for the drug. To be without the drug is so unbearable a torment that it seems preferable to die. Think of that image —the body has gotten addicted to the drug. Now this is exactly what your society did to you when you were born. You were not allowed to enjoy the solid, nutritious food of life—namely, work, play, fun, laughter, the company of people, the pleasures of the senses and the mind. You were given a taste for the drug called approval, appreciation, attention. I’m going to quote a great man here, a man named A. S. Neill. He is the author of Summerhill. Neill says that the sign of a sick child is that he is always hovering around his parents; he is interested in persons. The healthy child has no interest in persons, he is interested in things. When a child is sure of his mother’s love, he forgets his mother; he goes out to explore the world; he is curious. He looks for a frog to put in his mouth—that kind of thing. When a child is hovering around his mother, it’s a bad sign; he’s insecure. Maybe his mother has been trying to suck love out of him, not give him all the freedom and assurance he wants. His mother’s always been threatening in many subtle ways to abandon him. So we were given a taste of various drug addictions: approval, attention, success, making it to the top, prestige, getting your name in the paper, power, being the boss. We were given a taste of things like being the captain of the team, leading the band, etc. Having a taste for these drugs, we became addicted and began to dread losing them. Recall the lack of control you felt, the terror at the prospect of failure or of making mistakes, at the prospect of criticism by others. So you became cravenly dependent on
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others and you lost your freedom. Others now have the power to make you happy or miserable. You crave your drugs, but as much as you hate the suffering that this involves, you find yourself completely helpless. There is never a minute when, consciously or unconsciously, you are not aware of or attuned to the reactions of others, marching to the beat of their drums. A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within. When you are ignored or disapproved of, you experience a loneliness so unbearable that you crawl back to people and beg for the comforting drug called support and encouragement, reassurance. To live with people in this state involves a never-ending tension. “Hell is other people,” said Sartre. How true. When you are in this state of dependency, you always have to be on your best behavior; you can never let your hair down; you’ve got to live up to expectations. To be with people is to live in tension. To be without them brings the agony of loneliness, because you miss them. You have lost your capacity to see them exactly as they are and to respond to them accurately, because your perception of them is clouded by the need to get your drugs. You see them insofar as they are a support for getting your drug or a threat to have your drug removed. You’re always looking at people, consciously or unconsciously, through these eyes. Will I get what I want from them, will I not get what I want from them? And if they can neither support nor threaten my drug, I’m not interested in them. That’s a horrible thing to say, but I wonder if there’s anyone here of whom this cannot be said.
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Listening To Life


Now, you need awareness and you need nourishment. You need good, healthy nourishment. Learn to enjoy the solid food of life. Good food, good wine, good water. Taste them. Lose your mind and come to your senses. That’s good, healthy nourishment. The pleasures of the senses and the pleasures of the mind. Good reading, when you enjoy a good book. Or a really good discussion, or thinking. It’s marvelous. Unfortunately, people have gone crazy, and they’re getting more and more addicted because they do not know how to enjoy the lovely things of life. So they’re going in for greater and greater artificial stimulants. In the 1970s, President Carter appealed to the American people to go in for austerity. I thought to myself: He shouldn’t tell them to be austere, he should really tell them to enjoy things. Most of them have lost their capacity for enjoyment. I really believe that most people in affluent countries have lost that capacity. They’ve got to have more and more expensive gadgets; they can’t enjoy the simple things of life. Then I walk into places where they have all the most marvelous music, and you get these records at a discount, they’re all stacked up, but I never hear anybody listening to them—no time, no time, no time. They’re guilty, no time to enjoy life. They’re overworked, go, go, go. If you really enjoy life and the simple pleasures of the senses, you’d be amazed. You’d develop that extraordinary discipline of the animal. An animal will never overeat. Left in its natural habitat, it will never be overweight. It will never drink or eat anything that is not good for its health. You never find an animal smoking. It always exercises as much as it needs—watch your cat after it’s had its breakfast, look how it relaxes. And see how it springs into action, look at the suppleness of its limbs and the aliveness of its body.
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We’ve lost that. We’re lost in our minds, in our ideas and ideals and so on, and its always go, go, go. And we’ve got an inner self-conflict which animals don’t have. And we’re always condemning ourselves and making ourselves feel guilty. You know what I’m talking about. I could have said of myself what one Jesuit friend said to me some years ago: Take that plate of sweets away, because in front of a plate of sweets or chocolates, I lose my freedom. That was true of me, too; I lost my freedom in front of all kinds of things, but no more! I’m satisfied with very little and I enjoy it intensely. When you have enjoyed something intensely, you need very little. It’s like people who are busy planning their vacation; they spend months planning it, and they get to the spot, and they’re all anxious about their reservations for flying back. But they’re taking pictures alright, and later they’ll show you pictures in an album, of places they never saw but only photographed. That’s a symbol of modern life. I cannot warn you enough about this kind of asceticism. Slow down and taste and smell and hear, and let your senses come alive. If you want a royal road to mysticism, sit down quietly and listen to all the sounds around you. You do not focus on any one sound; you try to hear them all. Oh, you’ll see the miracles that happen to you when your senses come unclogged. That is extremely important for the process of change.





The End Of Analysis


I want to give you a taste of the difference between analysis and awareness, or information on the one hand and insight on the other. Information is not insight, analysis is not awareness, knowledge is not awareness. Suppose I walked in here with a snake crawling up my arm, and I said to you, “Do you see the snake crawling up my arm? I’ve just checked in an encyclopedia before coming to this session and I found out that this snake is known as a Russell’s viper. If it bit me, I would die inside half a minute. Would you kindly suggest ways and means by which I could get rid of this creature that is crawling up my arm?” Who talks like this? I have information, but I’ve got no awareness. Or say I’m destroying myself with alcohol. “Kindly describe ways and means by which I could get rid of this addiction.” A person who would say that has no awareness. He knows he’s destroying himself, but he is not aware of it. If he were aware of it, the addiction would drop that minute. If I were aware of what the snake was, I wouldn’t brush it off my arm; it would get brushed off through me. That’s what I’m talking about, that’s the change I’m talking about. You don’t change yourself, it’s not me changing me. Change takes place through you, in you. That’s about the most adequate way I can express it. You see change take place in you, through you; in your awareness, it happens. You don’t do it. When you’re doing it, it’s a bad sign; it won’t last. And if it does last, God have mercy on the people you’re living with, because you’re going to be very rigid. People who are converted on the basis of self-hatred and self-dissatisfaction are impossible to live with. Somebody said, “If you want to be a martyr, marry a saint.” But in awareness, you keep your softness, your subtleness, your gentleness, your openness, your flexibility, and you don’t push, change occurs. I remember a priest in Chicago when I was studying psychology there telling us, “You know, I had all the information I needed; I knew that alcohol was killing me, and, believe me, nothing changes an alcoholic—not even the love of his wife or his kids. He
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does love them but it doesn’t change him. I discovered one thing that changed me. I was lying in a gutter one day under a slight drizzle. I opened my eyes and I saw that this was killing me. I saw it and I never had the desire to touch a drop after that. As a matter of fact, I’ve even drunk a bit since then, but never enough to damage me. I couldn’t do it and still cannot do it.” That’s what I’m talking about: awareness. Not information, but awareness. A friend of mine who was given to excessive smoking said, “You know, there are all kinds of jokes about smoking. They tell us that tobacco kills people, but look at the ancient Egyptians; they’re all dead and none of them smoked.” Well, one day he was having trouble with his lungs, so he went to our cancer research institute in Bombay. The doctor said, “Father, you’ve got two patches on your lungs. It could be cancer, so you’ll have to come back next month.” He never touched another cigarette after that. Before, he knew it would kill him; now, he was aware it could kill him. That’s the difference. The founder of my religious order, St. Ignatius, has a nice expression for that. He calls it tasting and feeling the truth—not knowing it, but tasting and feeling it, getting a feel for it. When you get a feel for it you change. When you know it in your head, you don’t.





Dead Ahead


I’ve often said to people that the way to really live is to die. The passport to living is to imagine yourself in your grave. Imagine that you’re lying in your coffin. Any posture you like. In India we put them in cross-legged. Sometimes they’re carried that way to the burning ground. Sometimes, though, they’re lying flat. So imagine you’re lying flat and you’re dead. Now look at your problems from that viewpoint. Changes everything, doesn’t it? What a lovely, lovely meditation. Do it every day if you have the time. It’s unbelievable, but you’ll come alive. I have a meditation about that in a book of mine, Wellsprings. You see the body decomposing, then bones, then dust. Every time I talk about this, people say, “How disgusting!” But what’s so disgusting about it? It’s reality, for heaven’s sake. But many of you don’t want to see reality. You don’t want to think of death. People don’t live, most of you, you don’t live, you’re just keeping the body alive. That’s not life. You’re not living until it doesn’t matter a tinker’s damn to you whether you live or die. At that point you live. When you’re ready to lose your life, you live it. But if you’re protecting your life, you’re dead. If you’re sitting up there in the attic and I say to you, “Come on down!” and you say, “Oh no, I’ve read about people going down stairs. They slip and they break their necks; it’s too dangerous.” Or I can’t get you to cross the street because you say, “You know how many people get run over when they cross the street?” If I can’t get you to cross a street, how can I get you to cross a continent? And if I can’t get you to peep out of your little narrow beliefs and convictions and look at another world, you’re dead, you’re completely dead; life has passed you by. You’re sitting in your little prison, where you’re frightened; you’re going to lose your God, your religion, your friends, all kinds of things. Life is for the gambler, it really is. That’s what Jesus was saying. Are you ready to risk it? Do you know when you’re ready to risk it? When you’ve discovered that, when you know that this thing that people call
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life is not really life. People mistakenly think that living is keeping the body alive. So love the thought of death, love it. Go back to it again and again. Think of the loveliness of that corpse, of that skeleton, of those bones crumbling till there’s only a handful of dust. From there on, what a relief, what a relief. Some of you probably don’t know what I’m talking about at this point; you’re too frightened to think of it. But it’s such a relief when you can look back on life from that perspective. Or visit a graveyard. It’s an enormously purifying and beautiful experience. You look at this name and you say, “Gee, he lived so many years ago, two centuries ago; he must have had all the problems that I have, must have had lots of sleepless nights. How crazy, we live for such a short time. An Italian poet said, “We live in a flash of light; evening comes and it is night forever.” It’s only a flash and we waste it. We waste it with our anxiety, our worries, our concerns, our burdens. Now, as you make that meditation, you can just end up with information; but you may end up with awareness. And in that moment of awareness, you are new. At least as long as it lasts. Then you’ll know the difference between information and awareness. An astronomer friend was recently telling me some of the fundamental things about astronomy. I did not know, until he told me, that when you see the sun, you’re seeing it where it was eight and a half minutes ago, not where it is now. Because it takes a ray of the sun eight and a half minutes to get to us. So you’re not seeing it where it is; it’s now somewhere else. Stars, too, have been sending light to us for hundreds of thousands of years. So when we’re looking at them, they may not be where we’re seeing them; they may be somewhere else. He said that, if we imagine a galaxy, a whole universe, this earth of ours would be lost toward the tail end of the Milky Way; not even in the center. And every one of the stars is a sun and some suns are so big that they could contain the sun and the earth and the distance between them. At a conservative estimate, there are one hundred million galaxies! The universe, as we know it, is expanding at the rate of two million miles a second. I was fascinated listening to all of this, and when I came out of the restaurant where we were eating, I looked up there and I had a different feel, a different perspective on life. That’s awareness. So you can pick all this up as cold fact (and that’s information), or suddenly you get another perspective on life—what are we, what’s this universe, what’s human life? When you get that feel, that’s what I mean when I speak of awareness.






The Land Of Love


 If we really dropped illusions for what they can give us or deprive us of, we would be alert. The consequence of not doing this is terrifying and unescapable. We lose our capacity to love. If you wish to love, you must learn to see again. And if you wish to see, you must learn to give up your drug. It’s as simple as that. Give up your dependency. Tear away the tentacles of society that have enveloped and suffocated your being. You must drop them. Externally, everything will go on as before, but though you will continue to be in the world, you will no longer be of it. In your heart, you will now be free at last, if utterly alone. Your dependence on your drug will die. You don’t have to go to the desert; you’re right in the middle of people; you’re enjoying them immensely. But they no longer have the power to make you happy or miserable. That’s what aloneness means.
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In this solitude your dependence dies. The capacity to love is born. One no longer sees others as means of satisfying one’s addiction. Only someone who has attempted this knows the terrors of the process. It’s like inviting yourself to die. It’s like asking the poor drug addict to give up the only happiness he has ever known. How to replace it with the taste of bread and fruit and the clean taste of the morning air, the sweetness of the water of the mountain stream? While he is struggling with his withdrawal symptoms and the emptiness he experiences within himself now that his drug is gone, nothing can fill the emptiness except his drug. Can you imagine a life in which you refuse to enjoy or take pleasure in a single word of appreciation or to rest your head on anyone’s shoulder for support? Think of a life in which you depend on no one emotionally, so that no one has the power to make you happy or miserable anymore. You refuse to need any particular person or to be special to anyone or to call anyone your own. The birds of the air have their nests and the foxes their holes, but you will have nowhere to rest your head in your journey through life. If you ever get to this state, you will at last know what it means to see with a vision that is clear and unclouded by fear or desire. Every word there is measured. To see at last with a vision that is clear and unclouded by fear or desire. You will know what it means to love. But to come to the land of love, you must pass through the pains of death, for to love persons means to die to the need for persons, and to be utterly alone. How would you ever get there? By a ceaseless awareness, by the infinite patience and compassion you would have for a drug addict. By developing a taste for the good things in life to counter the craving for your drug. What good things? The love of work which you enjoy doing for the love of itself; the love of laughter and intimacy with people to whom you do not cling and on whom you do not depend emotionally but whose company you enjoy. It will also help if you take on activities that you can do with your whole being, activities that you so love to do that while you’re engaged in them success, recognition, and approval simply do not mean a thing to you. It will help, too, if you return to nature. Send the crowds away, go up to the mountains, and silently commune with trees and flowers and animals and birds, with sea and clouds and sky and stars. I’ve told you what a spiritual exercise it is to gaze at things, to be aware of things around you. Hopefully, the words will drop, the concepts will drop, and you will see, you will make contact with reality. That is the cure for loneliness. Generally, we seek to cure our loneliness through emotional dependence on people, through gregariousness and noise. That is no cure. Get back to things, get back to nature, go up in the mountains. Then you will know that your heart has brought you to the vast desert of solitude, there is no one there at your side, absolutely no one. At first this will seem unbearable. But it is only because you are unaccustomed to aloneness. If you manage to stay there for a while, the desert will suddenly blossom into love. Your heart will burst into song. And it will be springtime forever; the drug will be out; you’re free. Then you will understand what freedom is, what love is, what happiness is, what reality is, what truth is, what God is. You will see, you will know beyond concepts and conditioning, addictions and attachments. Does that make sense? Let me end this with a lovely story. There was a man who invented the art of making fire. He took his tools and went to a tribe in the north, where it was very cold, bitterly cold. He taught the people there to make fire. The people were very interested. He showed them the uses to which they could put fire—they could cook, could keep
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themselves warm, etc. They were so grateful that they had learned the art of making fire. But before they could express their gratitude to the man, he disappeared. He wasn’t concerned with getting their recognition or gratitude; he was concerned about their well-being. He went to another tribe, where he again began to show them the value of his invention. People were interested there, too, a bit too interested for the peace of mind of their priests, who began to notice that this man was drawing crowds and they were losing their popularity. So they decided to do away with him. They poisoned him, crucified him, put it any way you like. But they were afraid now that the people might turn against them, so they were very wise, even wily. Do you know what they did? They had a portrait of the man made and mounted it on the main altar of the temple. The instruments for making fire were placed in front of the portrait, and the people were taught to revere the portrait and to pay reverence to the instruments of fire, which they dutifully did for centuries. The veneration and the worship went on, but there was no fire. Where’s the fire? Where’s the love? Where’s the drug uprooted from your system? Where’s the freedom? This is what spirituality is all about. Tragically, we tend to lose sight of this, don’t we? This is what Jesus Christ is all about. But we overemphasized the “Lord, Lord,” didn’t we? Where’s the fire? And if worship isn’t leading to the fire, if adoration isn’t leading to love, if the liturgy isn’t leading to a clearer perception of reality, if God isn’t leading to life, of what use is religion except to create more division, more fanaticism, more antagonism? It is not from lack of religion in the ordinary sense of the word that the world is suffering, it is from lack of love, lack of awareness. And love is generated through awareness and through no other way, no other way. Understand the obstructions you are putting in the way of love, freedom, and happiness and they will drop. Turn on the light of awareness and the darkness will disappear. Happiness is not something you acquire; love is not something you produce; love is not something that you have; love is something that has you. You do not have the wind, the stars, and the rain. You don’t possess these things; you surrender to them. And surrender occurs when you are aware of your illusions, when you are aware of your addictions, when you are aware of your desires and fears. As I told you earlier, first, psychological insight is a great help, not analysis, however; analysis is paralysis. Insight is not necessarily analysis. One of your great American therapists put it very well: “It’s the ‘Aha’ experience that counts.” Merely analyzing gives no help; it just gives information. But if you could produce the “Aha” experience, that’s insight. That is change. Second, the understanding of your addiction is important. You need time. Alas, so much time that is given to worship and singing praise and singing songs could so fruitfully be employed in self-understanding. Community is not produced by joint liturgical celebrations. You know deep down in your heart, and so do I, that such celebrations only serve to paper over differences. Community is created by understanding the blocks that we put in the way of community, by understanding the conflicts that arise from our fears and our desires. At that point community arises. We must always beware of making worship just another distraction from the important business of living. And living doesn’t mean working in government, or being a big businessman, or performing great acts of charity. That isn’t living. Living is to have dropped all the impediments and to live in the present moment with freshness. “The birds of the air . . . they neither toil nor spin”—that is living. I began by saying that people are asleep, dead. Dead people running governments, dead people running big business, dead people educating others; come alive! Worship must help this,
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or else it’s useless. And increasingly—you know this and so do I—we’re losing the youth everywhere. They hate us; they’re not interested in having more fears and more guilts laid on them. They’re not interested in more sermons and exhortations. But they are interested in learning about love. How can I be happy? How can I live? How can I taste these marvelous things that the mystics speak of? So that’s the second thing—understanding. Third, don’t identify. Somebody asked me as I was coming here today, “Do you ever feel low?” Boy, do I feel low every now and then. I get my attacks. But they don’t last, they really don’t. What do I do? First step: I don’t identify. Here comes a low feeling. Instead of getting tense about it, instead of getting irritated with myself about it, I understand I’m feeling depressed, disappointed, or whatever. Second step: I admit the feeling is in me, not in the other person, e.g., in the person who didn’t write me a letter, not in the exterior world; it’s in me. Because as long as I think it’s outside me, I feel justified in holding on to my feelings. I can’t say everybody would feel this way; in fact, only idiotic people would feel this way, only sleeping people. Third step: I don’t identify with the feeling. “I” is not that feeling. “I” am not lonely, “I” am not depressed, “I” am not disappointed. Disappointment is there, one watches it. You’d be amazed how quickly it glides away. Anything you’re aware of keeps changing; clouds keep moving. As you do this, you also get all kinds of insights into why clouds were coming in the first place. I’ve got a lovely quote here, a few sentences that I would write in gold. I picked them up from A. S. Neill’s book Summerhill. I must give you the background. You probably know that Neill was in education for forty years. He developed a kind of maverick school. He took in boys and girls and just let them be free. You want to learn to read and write, fine; you don’t want to learn to read and write, fine. You can do anything you want with your life, provided you don’t interfere with the freedom of someone else. Don’t interfere with someone else’s freedom; otherwise you’re free. He says that the worst ones came to him from convent school. This was in the old days, of course. He said it took them about six months to get over all the anger and the resentment that they had repressed. They’d be rebelling for six months, fighting the system. The worst was a girl who would take a bicycle and ride into town, avoiding class, avoiding school, avoiding everything. But once they got over their rebellion, everybody wanted to learn; they even began protesting, “Why don’t we have class today?” But they would only take what they were interested in. They’d be transformed. In the beginning parents were frightened to send their children to this school; they said, “How can you educate them if you don’t discipline them? You’ve got to each them, guide them.” What was the secret of Neill’s success? He’d get the worst children, the ones everybody else had despaired of, and within six months they’d all be transformed. Listen to what he said—extraordinary words, holy words. “Every child has a god in him. Our attempts to mold the child will turn the god into a devil. Children come to my school, little devils, hating the world, destructive, unmannerly, lying, thieving, bad-tempered. In six months they are happy, healthy children who do no evil.” These are amazing words coming from a man whose school in Britain is regularly inspected by people from the Ministry of Education, by any headmaster or headmistress or anyone who would care to go there. Amazing. It was his charism. You don’t do this kind of thing from a blueprint; you’ve got to be a special kind of person. In some of his lectures to headmasters and headmistresses he says, “Come to Summerhill and you’ll find that all the fruit trees are laden with fruit; nobody’s taking the fruits off the trees; there’s no desire to attack authority; they’re well fed and there’s no 81
resentment and anger. Come to Summerhill and you’ll never find a handicapped child with a nickname (you know how cruel kids can be when someone stammers). You’ll never find anyone needling a stammerer, never. There’s no violence in those children, because no one is practicing violence on them, that’s why.” Listen to these words of revelation, sacred words. We have people in the world like this. No matter what scholars and priests and theologians tell you, there are and have been people who have no quarrels, no jealousies, no conflicts, no wars, no enmities, none! They exist in my country, or, sad to say, they existed until relatively recently. I’ve had Jesuit friends go out to live and work among people who, they assured me, were incapable of stealing or lying. One Sister said to me that when she went to the northeast of India to work among some tribes there, the people would lock up nothing. Nothing was ever stolen and they never told lies—until the Indian government and missionaries showed up. Every child has a god in him; our attempts to mold the child will turn the god into a devil. There’s a lovely Italian film directed by Federico Fellini, 8 1/2. In one scene there’s a Christian Brother going out on a picnic or excursion with a group of eight- to ten-year-old boys. They’re on a beach, moving right on ahead while the Brother brings up the rear with three or four of them around him. They come across an older woman who’s a whore, and they say to her, “Hi,” and she says, “Hi.” And they say, “Who are you?” And she says, “I’m a prostitute.” They don’t know what that is but they pretend to. One of the boys, who seems a bit more knowing than the others, says, “A prostitute is a woman who does certain things if you pay her.” They ask, “Would she do those things if we paid her?” “Why not?” the answer came. So they take up a collection and give her the money, saying, “Would you do certain things now that we’ve given you the money?” She answers, “Sure, kids, what do you want me to do?” The only thing that occurs to the kids is for her to take her clothes off. So she does. Well, they look at her; they’ve never seen a woman naked before. They don’t know what else to do, so they say, “Would you dance?” She says, “Sure.” So they all gather round singing and clapping; the whore is moving her behind and they’re enjoying themselves immensely. The Brother sees all this. He runs down the beach and yells at the woman. He gets her to put her clothes on, and the narrator says, “At that moment, the children were spoiled; until then they were innocent, beautiful.” This is not an unusual problem. I know a rather conservative missionary in India, a Jesuit. He came to a workshop of mine. As I developed this theme over two days, he suffered. He came to me the second night and said, “Tony, I can’t explain to you how much I’m suffering listening to you.” I said, “Why, Stan?” He said, “You’re reviving within me a question that I suppressed for twenty-five years, a horrible question. Again and again I asked myself: Have I not spoiled my people by making them Christian?” This Jesuit was not one of your liberals, he was an orthodox, devout, pious, conservative man. But he felt he spoiled a happy, loving, simple, guileless people by making them Christian. American missionaries who went to the South Sea Islands with their wives were horrified to see women coming bare-breasted to church. The wives insisted that the women should be more decently dressed. So the missionaries gave them shirts to wear. The following Sunday the women came wearing their shirts but with two big holes cut out for comfort, for ventilation. They were right; the missionaries were wrong. Now . . . back to Neill. He says, “And I am no genius, I am merely a man who
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refuses to guide the steps of children.” But what, then, of original sin? Neill says that every child has a god in him; our attempts to mold him will turn the god into a devil. He lets children form their own values, and the values are invariably good and social. Can you believe that? When a child feels loved (which means: when a child feels you’re on his side), he’s O.K. The child doesn’t experience violence anymore. No fear, so no violence. The child begins to treat others the way he has been treated. You’ve got to read that book. It’s a holy book, it really is. Read it; it revolutionized my life and my dealings with people. I began to see miracles. I began to see the self-dissatisfaction that had been ingrained in me, the competition, the comparisons, the that’s-not-good-enough, etc. You might object that if they hadn’t pushed me, I wouldn’t have become what I am. Did I need all that pushing? And anyway, who wants to be what I am? I want to be happy, I want to be holy, I want to be loving, I want to be at peace, I want to be free, I want to be human. Do you know where wars come from? They come from projecting outside of us the conflict that is inside. Show me an individual in whom there is no inner self-conflict and I’ll show you an individual in whom there is no violence. There will be effective, even hard, action in him, but no hatred. When he acts, he acts as a surgeon acts; when he acts, he acts as a loving teacher acts with mentally retarded children. You don’t blame them, you understand; but you swing into action. On the other hand, when you swing into action with your own hatred and your own violence unaddressed, you’ve compounded the error. You’ve tried to put fire out with more fire. You’ve tried to deal with a flood by adding water to it. I repeat what Neill said: “Every child has a god in him. Our attempts to mold the child will turn the god into a devil. Children come to my school, little devils, hating the world, destructive, unmannerly, lying, thieving, bad-tempered. In six months they are happy, healthy children who do no evil. And I am no genius, I am merely a man who refuses to guide the steps of children. I let them form their own values and the values are invariably good and social. The religion that makes people good makes people bad, but the religion known as freedom makes all people good, for it destroys the inner conflict [I’ve added the word “inner”] that makes people devils.” Neill also says, “The first thing I do when a child comes to Summerhill is destroy its conscience.” I assume you know what he’s talking about, because I know what he’s talking about. You don’t need conscience when you have consciousness; you don’t need conscience when you have sensitivity. You’re not violent, you’re not fearful. You probably think this is an unattainable ideal. Well, read that book. I have run into individuals, here and there, who suddenly stumble upon this truth: The root of evil is within you. As you begin to understand this, you stop making demands on yourself, you stop having expectations of yourself, you stop pushing yourself and you understand. Nourish yourself on wholesome food, good wholesome food. I’m not talking about actual food, I’m talking about sunsets, about nature, about a good movie, about a good book, about enjoyable work, about good company, and hopefully you will break your addictions to those other feelings. What kind of feeling comes upon you when you’re in touch with nature, or when you’re absorbed in work that you love? Or when you’re really conversing with someone whose company you enjoy in openness and intimacy without clinging? What kind of feelings do you have? Compare those feelings with the feelings you have when you win an argument, or when you win a race, or when you become popular, or when everybody’s
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applauding you. The latter feelings I call worldly feelings; the former feelings I call soul feelings. Lots of people gain the world and lose their soul. Lots of people live empty, soulless lives because they’re feeding themselves on popularity, appreciation, and praise, on “I’m O.K., you’re O.K.,” look at me, attend to me, support me, value me, on being the boss, on having power, on winning the race. Do you feed yourself on that? If you do, you’re dead. You’ve lost your soul. Feed yourself on other, more nourishing material. Then you’ll see the transformation. I’ve given you a whole program for life, haven’t I?
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PAPINA PANTOMIMA

Pre hiljadu godina, u srednjem veku, papini savetnici insistirali su da se Jevreji proteraju iz Rima. Govorili
su da nije u redu što ti ljudi bezbrižno žive u samom središtu hrišćanstva. Formulisan je proglas o izgonu i odmah izazvao veliki protest Jevreja, koji su znali da će, kud god otišli, sigurno doživeti još gori tretman od onog u Rimu. Zato, preklinjali su papu da povuče ovaj edikt. Papa, koji je bio pravedan čovek, predložio im je da medu sobom izaberu čoveka koji će se takmičiti s njim u pantomimi. Ako taj pobedi, biće im dozvoljeno da ostanu u Rimu.

Jevreji su se okupili da prouče ovaj predlog. Ukoliko bi ga odbacili, to bi značilo napuštanje Rima. Ukoliko bi ga prihvatili, bilo bi kao da su već poraženi, jer nije bilo moguće pobediti u izazovu gde je papa istovremeno protivnik i sudija. Ipak, morali su da prihvate, i pored toga što nisu znali kako da nadu nekoga ko bi izvršio taj zadatak. Odgovornost da budeš krojač sudbine svih Jevreja u Rimu svakome je bila prevelika.

Kada je čuvar sinagoge saznao šta se zbiva, došao je kod glavnog rabina i ponudio se da prihvati papin izazov. »Čuvar!?« uzviknuli su ostali rabini kada su čuli za to. »Apsolutno nemoguće!«
»U redu«, rekao je glavni rabin, »pošto niko od vas nije spreman da to učini, ili on ili ništa.« I tako, kad već nije bilo boljeg, poslali su ga da se takmiči s papom.
Došao je i veliki dan, papa je sedeo na prestolu koji je postavljen na trgu Svetog Petra, okružen kardinalima, ispred gomile sveštenika i vernika. Ubrzo se pojavila mala delegacija Jevreja, svi u dugim crnim tunikama, dugačkih brada, a ispred njih je išao čuvar sinagoge. Papa se okrenuo da bi se suočio sa čuvarom i duel je počeo.

Papa je svečano podigao ruku i prstom ocrtao luk na nebu. Čuvar je smesta pokazao prstom prema zemlji.
Papa kao da se zbunio, i još svečanije uzdigao je prst pravo ka licu čuvara. Ovaj je odlučno uperio tri prsta u pravcu pape, koji kao da je bio zapanjen tim gestom. Na kraju, papa je zavukao ruku pod tuniku i izvadio jabuku, na šta je čuvar zavukao ruku u papirnu kesu koju je nosio, i iz nje izvadio komad pogače. Papa je tada glasno objavio: »Predstavnik Jevreja je pobedio. Ukaz o izgonu Jevreja se povlači.

Jevrejski poglavari okupili su se oko čuvara i odveli ga. Zbunjeni kardinali nagrnuli su oko pape. »Šta se dogodilo, Vaša Svetosti?« upitali su. »Nismo uspeli da pratimo tako brzu izmenu pitanja i odgovora.« Papa je obrisao znoj sa čela i odgovorio: »Taj Čovek je vrhunski teolog, pravi majstor duhovnog dijaloga. Ja sam počeo širokim pokretom ruke ka nebu, da bih pokazao kako čitav svet pripada Bogu, a on je pokazao prstom prema zemlji, da bi me podsetio kako postoji mesto koje se zove Pakao, koje pripada đavolu. Tada sam uzdigao prst da bih ukazao kako je samo jedan Bog. Zamislite moje iznenađenje kada je on podigao tri prsta da bi podsetio kako se taj jedini Bog pojavljuje u tri oblika, ukazujući time da prihvata naše učenje o Svetom trojstvu! Znajući da je gotovo nemoguće pobediti takvog genijalnog poznavalaca teologije, resio sam da prebacim duel na drugo područje. Izvadio sam jabuku da bih pokazao kako je, prema nekim novim teorijama, zemlja okrugla, a on je odmah izvadio komad pogače da me podseti kako je, prema Svetom pismu, zemlja ravna. Tada sam morao da priznam da je pobedio«.

U međuvremenu, Jevreji su stigli u sinagogu. »Šta se dogodilo?« preneraženo su pitali čuvara, koji je nemarno odgovorio: »Kakvih li gluposti! Zamislite -papa je prvo pokazao rukom da svi Jevreji treba da napuste Rim. Zato sam pokazao dole, da bi shvatio kako uopšte ne nameravamo da se maknemo odavde, a on je pokazao prst, kao da mi preti: 'Nemoj da se poigravaš sa mnom!' Tada sam podigao tri prsta da mu objasnim kako nam je on već tri puta naređivao da odemo iz Rima. Na kraju, kad sam video da vadi užinu, izvadio sam i ja svoju«.

Stvarnost je uglavnom ono što mi resimo da jeste.



Damari
« Poslednja izmena: 25. Mar 2011, 21:11:56 od annabannanna »
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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LOVCI U AVIONU

Dva lovca iznajmila su avion da ih preveze u divljinu. Nakon dve nedelje pilot se vratio da ih ukrca; pogledao je životinje koje su ubili i rekao: »Avion može da nosi samo jednog bizona, ostale ćete morati da ostavite.«   
»Ali prošle godine pilot nam je dozvolio da utovarimo dva bizona u isti ovakav avion«, pobunili su se lovci.
Pokoleban, pilot je na kraju rešio: »U redu, ako ste prošle godine to uradili, pretpostavljam da će nam to i ovog puta uspeti.«
I tako, avion je uzleteo sa tri čoveka i dva bizona, ali nije uspeo da se digne u visinu, već je udario u obližnje brdo. Ljudi su se nekako izvukli iz olupine i pogledali oko sebe. Jedan lovac upitao je drugog: »Šta misliš, gde se nalazimo?«
Razgledajući teren, ovaj je odgovorio: »Mislim da smo oko tri kilometra levo od tačke gde se srušio onaj avion od prošle godine.«


Damari
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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VODOINSTALATER NA NIJAGARI

Neke stvari bolje je ostaviti takvim kakve su.

Jedan mladić prepun entuzijazma, koji je baš završio za vodoinstalatera, otišao je da vidi vodopad Nijagare.
Pažljivo ga je proučavao nekoliko minuta, a onda rekao:
»Mislim da bih mogao da ga sredim.«
 


Damari
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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POL SEZAN

Svetost, kao i veličina, nije svesna same sebe.

Pol Sezan je trideset pet godina živeo u senci, slikajući remek-dela koja je poklanjao neukim susedima. Toliko je voleo svoj posao da nije čak ni mislio o nekom priznanju; nije ni sanjao da će ga jednog dana smatrati ocem moderne umetnosti.
Svoju slavu za života dugovao je jednom galeristi iz Pariza koji je video neke njegove slike i napravio prvu Sezanovu izložbu. Svi su doživeli to iznenađenje da se nađu pred velikim majstorom. I on je bio jednako iznenađen. Stigao je na izložbu oslonjen o ruku svoga sina i, kada je video svoje slike, nije mogao da priguši zadivljenost.
»Vidi, uramili su ih!« rekao je sinu.



Damari
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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TESNI OREOL

Kod lekara je došao čovek koji se žalio na nesnosnu glavobolju koja ni jednog trenutka ne popušta. »Možete li da mi pomognete?« pitao je. »Svakako«, rekao je lekar, »ali recite mi prvo neke stvari. Da li mnogo pijete?«
»Da li pijem? Taman posla. Ne konzumiram gadosti kao što je alkohol.«
»Pušite li možda?«
»Prepuštam drugima da se truju duvanom. Nikad me to nije privuklo.«
»Malo mi je nezgodno da vas pitam, ali... znate već... neki muškarci... imate li neke noćne avanture?«
»Naravno da nemam. Za koga me vi smatrate? Ležem svake večeri najkasnije u deset.«
»Recite mi«, nastavio je lekar, »taj vaš bol u glavi, da li je kao iznenadno oštro probadanje.«
»E baš je takav.«
»Stvar je vrlo jednostavna. Vaš problem je u oreolu koji vam je previše tesan. Treba ga malo popustiti.«

Problem s našim idealima, ako hoćemo da smo na visini svakog od njih, je što postajemo osobe s kojima je nemoguće živeti.



Damari
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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STARICA NA PLAŽI

Jedna porodica uživala je na plaži. Deca su se kupala u moru i pravila kule u pesku, kada se pojavila neka starica u prljavoj i iscepanoj odeći, njena seda i raščupana kosa vijorila je na vetru. Mumlajući nerazumljive reči, sakupljala je nešto iz peska i trpala to u kesu. Roditelji su pozvali decu i rekli im da se klone ove starice. Kada je prošla kraj njih, osmehnula im se, ali oni nisu uzvratili na njen pozdrav.
Tek pred povratak, posle nedelju dana, doznali su da ta starica uvek skuplja komadiće stakla po plaži, da se deca ne bi posekla.



Damari
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Shvatio sam da kada tek rođeno dete stegne svojom malom šakom, po prvi put, prst svoga oca, da ga je uhvatio zauvek.   Naučio sam da čovek ima pravo da gleda drugog odozgo jedino kad treba da mu pomogne da se uspravi.
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