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Chapter 13: Of Love of One’s Neighbor

Nobody has said that before him, and nobody has said it with exactly the same emphasis even after him. And it is such a great truth, that once you have understood it, you will see how blind we are. We are not even aware of what we are doing or why we are doing it.

You flee to your neighbor away from yourselves. It is not for the love of the neighbor; it is just the emptiness of yourself.

You want somehow to remain engaged, because to be alone, unengaged.a great fear of one’s aloneness, a great fear of one’s emptiness, a great fear of one’s darkness, and finally the ultimate fear of death, grips everybody. To avoid all these, one has to avoid coming home. Keep yourself engaged. It does not matter in what.

I have heard that one morning, as the archbishop of New York entered the church, he could not believe his eyes. There stood a young man, looking almost like Jesus. The archbishop had a suspicion that perhaps he’s nothing more than a hippie, but he became greatly troubled and asked the young man, “Who are you and what are you doing here?” The young man smiled and said, “Have you not recognized me? You are my representative here, and you don’t even recognize your master. I am Jesus Christ. Just taking a look round, seeing how things are going.” The archbishop started trembling. Who knows, perhaps he is Jesus Christ - there is no way to be certain about it. He said, “I am coming in just a minute.” From the other room he phoned to the Vatican, to the pope, saying, “I am in a great trouble. There is a man here who looks exactly like Jesus Christ, and he says also that he is Jesus Christ, and that he has come to have a look around the world, to see how things are going. What am I supposed to do?” There was a silence for a minute, and the pope said, “You have created trouble for me. Nobody knows whether he is Jesus, or just a hippie playing a joke on you. You do one thing: inform the police. And second thing, look busy.”

The archbishop said, “The first thing I can understand - informing the police. What do you mean.what is the purpose of looking busy?” He said, “That will keep you from trembling. Do anything. Start arranging furniture, one book from here to there, one file from this place to that place, but look very busy until the police arrive. Then let the police settle the matter.”

You go to your neighbor, you get married, you want children, you want friends. But have you watched? - it is just being busy to somehow avoid yourself, to not come into contact with yourself. So do anything stupid. Go to see a movie, go to a sermon in the church, go to the circus, to any restaurant, but keep yourself busy, from the morning till you fall asleep. And in sleep, also keep yourself busy with your dreams; never leave a gap in which you have to face yourself. And to face yourself is the essence of meditation.

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