Chapter 17: Playing a Part in the Movie
And you are asking me, “Could you please speak on the foibles of finding the workings of one’s own mind a form of entertainment?” The problem is that if you are a watcher there is no mind, and if there is a mind you are not a watcher, and for the entertainment both are needed to be together - and this is existentially impossible.
Either you can be part of the drama that the mind is playing - but at the same time you cannot sit in the hall and see the drama - or you can sit in the hall. But your mind is incapable of facing your awareness. It simply disappears - it is very shy. Leaving you alone, the screen of the mind becomes empty. So there is no possibility of entertainment.
I have heard that at one railway station, on the platform, a few people were waiting for the train. The train was late, it was the middle of the night, and they were all puzzled about one person who was sitting in his chair and really rejoicing about something. Everybody was watching him: What is going on? because sometimes he will throw something with his hand, sometimes he will smile, sometimes he will almost start giggling.
Finally they all said, “We have to ask him. The train is late, and this man is driving us crazy with what he is doing.” So they went to the man and they said, “It is not right on our part to interfere, but now we cannot resist anymore. What exactly are you doing? Sometimes it seems you are throwing something away, sometimes you seem to be smiling and enjoying, sometimes you giggle, sometimes you put your hand on your mouth, as if you are worried that others may hear the laughter - and we don’t see anything on this ugly station platform.”
The man said, “Your question puts me in a very embarrassing situation, but I will have to answer it because you all seem so interested. It was not much, I was just telling jokes to myself. Finding nothing else to do - the train goes on being late - I started telling jokes to myself.”
They said, “If you were telling jokes, then what were you throwing away?”
He said, “Sometimes old jokes which I have heard before - I was throwing them and saying, ‘Get lost! don’t bother me.’”
They could not understand whether that man was sane or insane, because any joke that he would be telling to himself must be old - at least for him. And he said, “Sometimes it is so juicy that I smile, and sometimes I am afraid that you may become aware of what is happening inside me, so I put my hand over my mouth.”
They said, “All your actions have been maddening the whole crowd. We were discussing only one thing, what is happening to this man? And you are enjoying so much relaxing in the chair..”