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Chapter 5: On the Danger of Overweening Success

Retire when your work is done. When you see that a work has given you balance, that you have attained happiness, don’t ask for more; when you feel good don’t ask for more; when you are surrounded by a well-being don’t ask for more. Retire, enjoy it. Revel in it. Dance with it. Don’t ask for more. The mind is always asking for more.

The mind says, “Okay, this is good, that I am feeling a certain well-being, but more is possible. So first I should attain the more.” Then you miss that which was possible; that which had already become actual, you miss. And if you listen to this mind, which goes on for more and for more and for more, it will lead you to the end, to the extreme. And suddenly you fall into hell, and you are miserable, unhappy.

Whatsoever you gain, make it a criterion: if you are feeling good, if you are feeling well, if you are feeling blissful, silent, peaceful, a certain delight around you, life has become a song for this moment - then sing it! Don’t ask for more! Chew it, absorb it. Don’t ask for more. Retire.that is the meaning of retire. Now stop further efforts - enough! You have gained - now let it be, enjoy it. Live it! And then you will see: a different dimension comes to your being.

There are two dimensions. One is horizontal: more, more, more - that is the horizontal dimension. You move in a line. You are on the point A; you want to be on the point B. When you are on the point B, you want to be on the point C. Soon you will reach to XYZ. And from Z is hell, Z is the door of hell. But you cannot stop, the mind goes on. The mind says, “Look, you are on C, and D is possible. So why waste time on C, go to D. Then E becomes possible, so go to E.” No moment to enjoy, no moment to celebrate, no moment to retire and be. Doing, doing - never being, because being means that C is enough, now enjoy it. You have earned the bread for today - now retire. But the mind says, “What about the safe in the bank? It is still half-filled. You have to fill it completely..”

In India they call it the vicious circle of the ninety-nine. They have a story:

A poor barber was very happy, tremendously happy, as sometimes only poor people can be. He had nothing to worry about. He was the barber to the royal king; he used to massage him, to trim his hair, to serve him every day.

Even the king was jealous and he always asked him, “What is the secret of your happiness? You are always bubbling. You seem not to be walking on the earth, you are simply moving on the wing. What secret is there?”

The poor barber said, “I don’t know. In fact I have never heard the word secret before. What do you mean? I am simply happy. I earn my bread and that’s all.and then I retire.” He must have been a Lao-Tzuan.

Then the king asked his vizier, his prime minister - and he was a man of knowledge, a very very knowledgeable man. He asked him, “You must know the secret of this barber. I am a great king. I am not so happy, but this poor man, having nothing, is so happy.”

The prime minister said, “He does not know anything about the vicious circle of ninety-nine.”