Chapter 3: Walking the Tightrope
You believe, but that belief never penetrates your life, never transforms it. It never becomes an intrinsic part of you, it never circulates in your blood, you never breathe it in or breathe it out, it never beats in your heart - it is simply something useless. Ornamental maybe, at the most, but of no utility to you. Sunday you can go to the church; it is a formality, a social need. And you can pay lip service to God, to the Bible, to the Koran, to the Vedas, but you don’t mean it, you are not sincere about it. Your life goes on without it, your life goes on in a totally different way - it has nothing to do with religion. Watch.somebody says he is a Mohammedan, somebody says he is a Hindu, somebody says he is a Christian, somebody says he is a Jew - their beliefs are different, but watch their life and you will not find any difference. The Mohammedan, the Jew, the Christian, the Hindu - they all live the same life. Their life is not at all touched by their belief. In fact, beliefs cannot touch your life, beliefs are devices. Beliefs are cunning devices through which you say “I know what life is” - and you can rest at ease, you are not troubled by life. You hold a concept and that concept helps you to rationalize. Then life does not bother you much. You have all the answers to all the questions.
But remember, unless religion is personal, unless religion is not abstract but real, deep in your roots, deep in your guts, unless it is like blood and bone and marrow, it is futile, it is of no use. It is the religion of the philosophers, not the religion of the sages.
When the third type comes in.and that is the real type, these other two are the falsifications of religion, pseudo dimensions; cheap, very easy, because they don’t challenge you. The third is very difficult, arduous; it is a great challenge, it will create a turmoil in your life - because the third, the real religion, says godliness has to be addressed in a personal way. You have to provoke him and you have to allow him to provoke you and you have to come to terms with him; in fact you have to struggle with him, you have to clash against him. You have to love him and you have to hate him; you have to be a friend and you have to be an enemy; you have to make your experience of godliness a lived experience.
I have heard about a small child - and I would like you to be like this small child. He was really smart..
A little boy was lost at a Sunday school picnic. His mother began a frantic search for him, and soon she heard loud sounds in a childish voice calling, “Estelle, Estelle!”
She quickly spotted the youngster and rushed up to grab him in her arms. “Why did you keep calling me by my name, Estelle, instead of Mother?” she asked him, as he had never called her by her first name before.
“Well,” the youngster answered, “it was no use calling out ‘Mother’ - the place is full of them.”
If you call ‘mother’, there are so many mothers - the place is full of them. You have to call in a personal way, you have to call the first name.
Unless God, godliness is also called in a personal way, addressed with the first name, it will never become a reality in your life. You can go on calling ‘father’, but whose father are you talking about? When Jesus called him ‘father’ it was a personal address, when you call, it is absolutely impersonal. It is Christian but impersonal. When Jesus called him ‘father’ it was meaningful; when you call ‘father’ it is meaningless - you have made no contact, no real contact with him. Only experience of life - neither belief nor philosophy - only experience of life will make you able to address him in a personal way. Then you can encounter him.
And unless godliness is encountered you are simply deceiving yourself with words.with words which are empty, hollow, with words which have no content.