Chapter 22: The Greatest Joke There Is
The first question:
What is innocence, what is beauty?
To live in the moment is innocence, to live without the past is innocence, to live without conclusions is innocence, to function out of the state of not knowing is innocence. And the moment you function out of such tremendous silence which is not burdened by any past, out of such tremendous stillness which knows nothing, the experience that happens is beauty.
Whenever you feel beauty - in the rising sun, in the stars, in the flowers, or in the face of a woman or a man - wherever and whenever you feel beauty, watch. And one thing will always be found: you had functioned without the mind, you had functioned without any conclusion, you had simply functioned spontaneously. The moment gripped you, and the moment gripped you so deeply that you were cut off from the past.
And when you are cut off from the past you are cut off from the future automatically, because past and future are two aspects of the same coin; they are not separate, and they are not separable either. You can toss a coin; sometimes it is heads, sometimes it is tails, but the other part is always there, hiding behind. Past and future are two aspects of the same coin. The name of the coin is mind. When the whole coin is dropped, that dropping is innocence. Then you don’t know who you are, then you don’t know what is: there is no knowledge.
But you are, existence is, and the meeting of these two is-nesses - the small is-ness of you, meeting with the infinite is-ness of existence - that meeting, that merger, is the experience of beauty.
Innocence is the door; through innocence you enter into beauty. The more innocent you become, the more existence becomes beautiful. The more knowledgeable you are, the more and more existence is ugly, because you start functioning from conclusions, you start functioning from knowledge.
The moment you know, you destroy all poetry. The moment you know, and think that you know, you have created a barrier between yourself and that which is. Then everything is distorted. Then you don’t hear with your ears, you translate. Then you don’t see with your eyes, you interpret. Then you don’t experience with your heart, you think that you experience. Then all possibility of meeting with existence in immediacy, in intimacy, is lost. You have fallen apart.