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Chapter 22: Work Can Produce, Silence Can Create

How to be with the work and the silence together, friendliness and aloneness, excitement and calmness at the same time?

You never ask how to be together with your two eyes, how to be together simultaneously with your two hands, or your two legs. Certainly the same is true about the deeper things of life: work and silence together. What is the problem? You can chop wood - of course there will be the noise of chopping wood, but you can remain silent. Your silence has nothing to do with it. It is not disturbed by chopping the wood. In fact, if your total energy is involved in chopping the wood, you will find you are silent. That’s why I insist: Be total when you are doing something. In this totality you will simultaneously find your silence.

You are asking how to be alone and friendly together. Have you ever seen that freak of nature, two children born joined together? Their only use is to be exhibited in museums, in carnivals. Otherwise their life is not a life - they are joined too closely. For friendship a closeness is needed and also a distance; in fact, in a living relationship you are always coming close and going far away, coming close and going far away - without destroying each other’s individuality.

Aloneness is individuality. And only individuals can be friends. You cannot be friends with someone you have become identified with, that is not friendship. Either you are dominated by the other or you dominate the other. That is a relationship of the owner and the owned, of the possessor and the possessed.

Friends never possess each other. The most fundamental thing in friendship is to give freedom to the other to be himself. There is a trust, there is no need to dominate the other; there is no need to chain him - through conditions - for tomorrow. Between two friends only one thing exists that bridges them, and that is trust; but it does not bind them.

Your question is meaningless. You don’t understand what you are asking. Perhaps that’s what happens in the world; even friendship becomes like marriage - expectations, demands..

In the Middle Ages, people of the upper classes in Europe were so concerned with the chastity of their wives that they invented a lock; so if they were going for a few days out of town, they would lock up the wife’s sexual organs. She can urinate, but she cannot make love. Those locks are still available visible in European museums - a great invention!

A warrior was going to war and he was very worried. Finally he locked up his wife. It was just like a belt, which made it impossible for any man to make love to the wife. And then he thought that in the war he might lose the key somewhere, so he went to his best friend and told him, “I am going to war, it may take two, three months for me to come back. I trust you - you keep this key. I have locked up my wife so she cannot make love to anyone. When I come, I will take the key back.”

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