Chapter 7: The Upward Flow of the Mind
That is the difference between a secular mind and a religious mind. A secular mind is at ease with downward flowing, relaxed. A religious mind is only relaxed when upward flowing. Whenever a religious mind has to flow downward it becomes tense. Ultimately, when the upward flow is achieved, the same effort will be needed to flow downward - even more effort, because upwardness, even when arduous, is still upwardness, and downwardness, even with no effort, is downwardness. And when one has to come down with effort, the effort becomes a thousandfold more arduous.
For a person like Ramakrishna, even to eat is an effort. For a person like Buddha, even to move is an effort, even to be in the body is an effort. This effort means that the whole nature has become transformed. That which was downward before has now become upward, and that which was upward before has become downward. A religious mind flows upward as if the upwardness has just become downwardness. Meera is at ease when she is dancing and singing for Krishna, but when her husband Rana is there she is not at ease, because now Rana is a downward flow. This upward flow is bound to be an effort for us. Unless you will it, you will not achieve it.
Now again, you will find a conflict between Tao and the Upanishads. Lao Tzu says, “Effortlessness is the means,” and the Upanishads say, “Effort, total effort, is the means.” When Lao Tzu says “effortlessness,” he means be so still that there is not a single movement, because any effort is a movement, any effort is a tension, any effort means that you are outside. So when Lao Tzu says “effortlessness,” he is using it to mean an absolutely relaxed state of mind - do not do anything.
It is not so easy. It is as difficult as the upward flow - rather, even more difficult, because we can understand terms which imply doing, but we cannot understand terms which imply nondoing. Nondoing is for us more arduous, but both are arduous and both try through different ways to achieve the same point. If you become totally effortless, you achieve your innermost center - because you cannot move! When there is no movement you will drop down, down, down to the center. Every peripheral event is an effort. When there is no effort, you will be down in your ultimate center.
The Upanishads again use a different way which is, of course, in logical relationship with their concept of upwardness. They say, absolute effort is needed. When you make an absolute effort you will become more tense, more tense, more tense, and there will come a moment when you will be nothing but tension. You will be nothing but tension! Then there is nothing further. The ultimate has been achieved. Now you are just a tension. When this climax comes, suddenly you will fall from the climax. You cannot go further; you have come to the last limit. The tension has come to its ultimate, the maximum, it cannot go further. When tension comes to a total climax you suddenly relax and you reach the point which is meant by Tao, by Lao Tzu - effortlessness. You come to the center.