Chapter 4: Be a Light unto Yourself
Clinging to anything, anything whatsoever, shows distrust. If you love a woman or a man and you cling, that simply shows that you don’t trust. If you love a woman and you say, “Will you also love me tomorrow or not?” you don’t trust. If you go to the court to get married you don’t trust. Then you trust more in the court, in the police, in the law, than in love. You are preparing for tomorrow. If this woman or this man tries to deceive you tomorrow or leaves you in the ditch, you can get support from the court and the police, and the law will be with you and the whole society will support you. You are making arrangements, afraid.
But if you really love, love is enough, more than enough. Who bothers about tomorrow? But deep down there is doubt. Even while you think you are in love, doubt continues.
It is reported that when Jesus was resurrected after his crucifixion, the first person to see him back alive was Mary Magdalene. She had loved him tremendously. She ran towards him. In the New Testament it is said that Jesus said, “Don’t touch me.”
I became a little suspicious because Jesus saying, “Don’t touch me,” does not look right. Something somewhere has gone wrong. Of course, it is okay if a pope says, “Don’t touch me,” but a Jesus saying, “Don’t touch me”? Almost impossible!
So I tried to find the original. In the original there is a word, a Greek word, that can mean both touch or cling. Then I found the key. Jesus says, “Don’t cling to me,” not “Don’t touch me,” but the translators have interpreted it as, “Don’t touch me.” The interpreter has entered his own mind in it. Jesus must have said, “Don’t cling to me,” because if there is trust there is no clinging. If there is love there is no clinging. You simply share without any clinging, you share in deep relaxation.
Surrendering means surrendering to life, surrendering to the source from where you come and to where one day you will go back again. You are just like a wave in the ocean: you come out of the ocean, you go back to the ocean. Surrendering means trusting in the ocean. And of course, what can a wave do except that? The wave has to trust the ocean - and whether you trust or not you remain part of the ocean. Non-trusting, you will create anxiety, that’s all. Nothing will change, only you will become anxious, tense, desperate. If you trust, you flower, you bloom, you celebrate, knowing well that deep down is your mother, the ocean. When tired you will go back and rest in her being again. When rested you will come back again to have a taste of the sky and the sunlight and the stars. Surrendering is trusting and it has nothing to do with any concept of God, any ideology of God. It is an attitude.
Then you can understand the meaning of Buddha’s last utterance: “Be a light unto yourself.” When he says be a light unto yourself he means: If you have surrendered to life you have become a light unto yourself. Then life leads you. Then you always live in enlightenment. When he says “Be a light unto yourself” he is saying don’t follow anybody, don’t cling to anybody. Learn from everybody but don’t cling to anybody. Be open, vulnerable, but remain on your own, because finally the religious experience cannot be a borrowed experience. It has to be existential, it has to be your own. Only then is it authentic.