Chapter 16: The University of Inner Alchemy
The first question:
Yes and no!
Man is a dilemma, he is both yes and no. It is not abnormal in you, it is the normal state of humankind. Man is half earth, half sky; part matter, part consciousness; part dust, part divine. Man is a tension. Friedrich Nietzsche says “a rope stretched between two infinities.”
The past is that of an animal and the future is that of godliness. And between the two is man - half animal, half angel. The no comes from the past, the yes is a possibility for the future. Doubt comes from darkness, trust is the by-product of light. The higher self in you is always trusting, the lower is cunning and is always doubting. And you are both, as you are now.
Man is naturally schizophrenic. Schizophrenia is not a disease; it is not pathology, it is the state of normal human beings. It starts looking like a pathology only when it goes to the extreme, when yes and no are so divided that there is not even an “and” to bridge them. When they become unbridgeable, then it becomes pathological. Otherwise every human being is always in a kind of duality, in a state of either/or. No other animal is in that state. Dogs are simply dogs, and lions are lions, and trees are trees, and rocks are rocks. They don’t have any duality, there is no division.
Man is dual, double, divided. It is his misery, but it is also the possibility for his bliss. It is his agony, but out of this agony ecstasy can be born. No animal can be ecstatic except man. Have you seen any animal ecstatic - ecstasy like a Buddha, a Ramakrishna? There is no possibility of coming across an animal who is so ecstatic. Even the rosebush with so many beautiful flowers is not ecstatic in the sense Jesus is. The rosebush is simply a rosebush; there is no exuberance, there is no overflowing, there is no rejoicing. It is a matter of fact - not that something incredible is happening, not that something from the beyond has descended, not that godliness has been realized, not that light has come and penetrated to the deepest core of your being and you are full of it and you are enlightened.
The bird on the wing is free, but knows nothing about freedom. Only man, even though he may be imprisoned, knows about freedom. Hence the misery; the bondage on one hand, and the vision of freedom on the other. The reality, the ugly reality, and the tremendously luminous possibility.