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Chapter 11: The Paradox That Life Is

Confucius closes his eyes half-way - the middlist, he used to preach the golden mean - and asks the bearer to give him the glass because he would like to have a sip, just a sip, because without tasting how can one say whether life is misery or not? He had a scientific mind. Confucius was not very mystic; he was a very pragmatic, earthbound mind. He was the first behaviorist the world has known, very logical.

And it looks perfectly right. He says, “First I will have a sip and then I will say.”

He takes a sip and he says, “Buddha is right - life is misery.” Lao Tzu takes all the three glasses and he says, “Unless one drinks totally how can one say anything?”

He drinks all the three glasses and starts dancing. Buddha and Confucius ask him, “Are you not going to say anything?” He says, “This is what I am saying - my dance, my song.”

Unless you taste totally, you cannot say. And when you taste totally, you cannot say because what you know is so much that no word is adequate.

Buddha is on one extreme, Confucius is in the middle, Lao Tzu has drunk all the three glasses. The one that was brought for Buddha he has drunk, and the one that was brought for Confucius he has drunk, and the one that was brought for him he has drunk - he has lived life in its three-dimensionality.

My own approach is that of Lao Tzu.

Live life in all possible ways; don’t choose one thing against the other, and don’t try to be in the middle. And don’t try to balance yourself - balance is not something that can be cultivated by you. Balance is something that comes out of the experience of all the dimensions of life. Balance is something that happens; it is not something that can be brought. If you bring it, it will be false, forced; and if you bring it you will remain tense, you will not be relaxed, because how can a man who is trying to remain balanced, in the middle, be relaxed? He will always be afraid. If he relaxes he may start moving towards the left or towards the right - he is bound to remain uptight. And to be uptight is to miss the whole opportunity, the whole God-given gift.

Don’t be uptight. Don’t live life according to principles. Live life in its totality, drink life in its totality. Yes, sometimes it tastes bitter - so what? That taste of bitterness will make you capable of tasting its sweetness. You will be able to appreciate the sweetness only if you have tasted its bitterness. The man who knows not how to cry will not know how to laugh either. And the man who cannot have a deep laughter, a belly-laughter, his tears will be crocodile tears - they cannot be true, they cannot be authentic.

I don’t teach you the middle way: I teach you the total way. And then a balance comes of its own accord. And then that balance has tremendous beauty and grace - you have not forced it, it has come. By moving gracefully to the left, to the right, in the middle, slowly slowly, a balance comes to you, because you remain so unidentified. When sadness comes you know it will pass, and when happiness comes you know it will pass too. Nothing remains. Everything passes by.

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