Chapter 12: Becoming a Witness
The reason why Jesus didn’t weep when crucified, and Mansoor didn’t suffer pain, but rather laughed and smiled, is because they had become totally disidentified with their bodies. There was no other reason than this. It was not really Jesus who was being crucified. Jesus was watching his body being crucified from within, and this he did from the same distance as the people standing around him - outside, away from his body. No one from the crowd screamed, none of them cried, “Don’t kill me!” Why? - because there was a distance between them and Jesus’ body.
Within Jesus too, there was a distance between the element that watches and his body. Hence Jesus also didn’t cry out, “Don’t kill me!”
Mansoor’s limbs were amputated and he kept laughing. When someone asked him, “What makes you laugh when your limbs are being cut off?” Mansoor said, “I would have cried had you dismembered me, but it is not ‘me’ you are chopping off; the one you are doing it to, you fools, is not me. I laugh at you because you are taking this body to be Mansoor’s, just as you take the bodies you are in to be your authentic selves. You will obviously suffer painful deaths. What you are doing to me is nothing but a repetition of the mistakes you have committed in treating your own selves. Had you been aware that you are separate from your bodies, you wouldn’t have tried to cut my body. You would have known that you and your body are two different things. Then you would have realized that by cutting up the body, Mansoor is not cut.”
The greatest preparation for entering death in a conscious state is to first enter pain consciously, because death does not occur often, it does not come every day. Death will come only once, whether you are prepared for it or not; there cannot be a rehearsal for death. But pain and misery come every day. We can prepare ourselves while going through pain and suffering - and remember, if we can do so while facing them, it will prove useful at the time of death.
Hence, seekers have always welcomed suffering. There is no other reason for it. It is not that suffering is a good thing. The reason is simply that suffering provides the seeker with an opportunity for self-preparation, self-attainment. A seeker has always thanked God for the suffering he undergoes, for the simple reason that, in moments of misery, he gets a chance to disidentify himself from his body.
Remember, sadhana, spiritual discipline, is a little difficult to follow when you are happy. It is easier when you are miserable, because in moments of happiness one doesn’t want to have even the slightest feeling of separation from one’s body. When you are happy the body feels very dear to you; you don’t feel like being detached from it even for a second.
In moments of happiness we move closer to the body; hence it is not surprising that a seeker of happiness becomes a materialist. It is also not surprising if a person who is continuously seeking happiness believes himself to be nothing more than his body, because in happy times he begins to exist like a green coconut instead of a dry one - the distance between him and his body continues to narrow down.