Chapter 6: The Birth of the New
The first question:
Why is growth painful?
Growth is painful because you have been avoiding a thousand and one pains in your life. By avoiding, you cannot destroy them - they go on accumulating. You go on swallowing your pains; they remain in your system. That’s why growth is painful: when you start growing, when you decide to grow, you have to face all the pains that you have repressed. You cannot just bypass them.
You have been brought up in a wrong way. Unfortunately, until now, not a single society has existed on the earth which has not been repressive of pain. All societies depend on repression. Two things they repress: one is pain, the other is pleasure. And they repress pleasure also because of pain. Their reasoning is that if you are not too happy you will never become too unhappy; if joy is destroyed you will never be deep in pain. To avoid pain, they avoid pleasure. To avoid death, they avoid life.
And the logic has something in it. Both grow together - if you want to have a life of ecstasy you will have to accept many agonies. If you want the peaks of the Himalayas then you will also have the valleys. But nothing is wrong with the valleys; your approach just has to be different. You can enjoy both - the peak is beautiful, so is the valley. And there are moments when one should enjoy the peak and there are moments when one should relax in the valley.
The peak is sunlit, it is in a dialogue with the sky. The valley is dark, but whenever you want to relax you have to move into the darkness of the valley. If you want to have peaks you will need to grow roots into the valley - the deeper your roots go, the higher your tree will grow. The tree cannot grow without roots and the roots have to move deep into the soil.
Pain and pleasure are intrinsic parts of life. People are so much afraid of pain that they repress pain, they avoid any situation that brings pain, they go on dodging pain. And finally they stumble upon the fact that if you really want to avoid pain you will have to avoid pleasure. That’s why your monks avoid pleasure: they are afraid of pleasure. In fact, they are simply avoiding all possibilities of pain. They know that if you avoid pleasure then naturally great pain is not possible; it comes only as a shadow of pleasure. Then you walk on the plain ground; you never move on the peaks and you never fall into the valleys. But then you are living dead, then you are not alive.