Chapter 7: The Infinite Journey
Why is it not so? Because you go on carrying the past with you. If you want each moment to be a new birth, you also have to die each moment to the past. Die to the past so that you can be reborn herenow.
All knowledge is of the past. Mind is always of the past. Consciousness is always of the present. A buddha helps you to become more conscious; he does not help you to become more knowledgeable.
I have heard an anecdote:
A worried fellow entered the psychiatrist’s office wearing love-beads, bell-bottom pants, shoulder-length hair, and smoking a joint.
The psychiatrist said, “You claim you are not a hippie. Then how do you explain the clothes, the hair and the pot?”
“Doctor,” sighed the chap, “that’s what I’m here to find out.”
Nobody knows why you are the way you are. Nobody knows who you are. Nobody knows why you have landed in the state of mind in which you have landed. Completely unaware, you go on drifting. You go on imitating others because you don’t know who you are. The only way to get an identity, an image, is to imitate others.
I was reading Alan Watts’ autobiography. He relates one incident from his childhood. When he was a child, there was a boy named Peter living in the same street, and he appreciated that boy very much. That boy was a sort of hero to Alan Watts. Sometimes he would come home so impressed by his hero, Peter, that he would start behaving like him and his mother would say, “Alan, remember, you are Alan, not Peter.”
From the very childhood, everybody is trying to be somebody else, because you don’t know who you are and it is very difficult to live without an identity. It is very difficult to live without knowing who you are. Only two possibilities are there. Either you go in, which is a tremendous adventure and needs tremendous courage, or you imitate others - a bit from somebody and a bit from somebody else - and you become a patchwork.
Look at yourself and you can find you have become a patchwork. Whenever you say something, inside just watch where it is coming from. Your mother, your father, your brother, the friend, the teacher, the priest - from where has this bit come? And go on discarding all that has come from others.
A deep cleansing is needed for growth, because you cannot imitate growth. Growth has to happen to you; you cannot go on imitating. Drop all imitation, and then by and by you will have a clarity, by and by you will have a ground to stand on. You will know who you are.
In the beginning it remains vague, confused, chaotic, but if you are courageous, by and by things settle and for the first time you become aware of your own being.