Quote of the Day

May 6, 2024
"Good heavens, you are stripping me of everything: of my vanities, my desire to be famous, even of my drive to put across some worthwhile ideas. What shall I do when all this is gone?"

Your question indicates that nothing is gone, doesn't it? No one can take away from you, inwardly, what you don't want to give up. You will continue on your way to fame, which is the way of sorrow, frustration, fear. 

"Sometimes I do want to chuck the whole rotten business, but the pull is strong." 

His tone had become anxious and earnest. 

"What will stop me from taking that path?"

Are you asking this question seriously? 

"I think I am. Sorrow, I suppose?"

Is sorrow the way of understanding? Or does sorrow exist because there's no understanding? If you examined the whole urge to become something, and the path of fulfilment, not just intellectually, but deeply, then intelligence, understanding, would come into being and destroy the root of sorrow. But sorrow does not bring understanding.

"How is that, sir?"

Sorrow is the result of a shock, it is the temporary shaking up of a mind that has settled down, that has accepted the routine of life. Something happens - a death, the loss of a job, the questioning of a cherished belief - and the mind is disturbed. But what does a disturbed mind do? It finds a way to be undisturbed again; it takes refuge in another belief, in a more secure job, in a new relationship. Again the wave of life comes along and shatters its safeguards, but the mind soon finds still further defence; and so it goes on. This is not the way of intelligence, is it?

"Then what is the way of intelligence?"

Why are you asking another? Don't you want to find out for yourself? If I were to give you an answer, you would either refute or accept it, which again would impede intelligence, understanding.

"I see what you have said about sorrow to be perfectly true. That's exactly what we all do. But how is one to get out of this trap?"

No form of external or inward compulsion will help, will it? All compulsion, however subtle, is the outcome of ignorance; it is born of the desire for reward or the fear of punishment. To understand the whole nature of the trap is to be free of it; no person, no system, no belief, can set you free. The truth of this is the only liberating factor - but you have to see it for yourself, and not merely be persuaded. You have to take the voyage on an uncharted sea.
Commentaries on Living Series III | Chapter 36 Read full text