Chapter 9: One Step at a Time
It is possible that a time will come when we will forget that there was a Krishna, a Mahavira, a Christ or a Buddha - but religion will not be destroyed. Religion will not be destroyed as long as man has the thirst and quest for bliss within him, as long as man wants to rise above unhappiness.
If you are unhappy and you are aware that you are unhappy, don’t go on tolerating this suffering, don’t go on living with it. Stand up against the suffering and do something to get rid of it. There is very little difference between what an ordinary man does when he is in suffering and what a meditator does when he is in suffering. When an ordinary person is suffering he looks for a way to forget about it, and when a meditator is suffering he looks for a way to destroy the pain. There are only two kinds of people in the world: one kind is looking for ways to forget pain and suffering, and the other kind is looking for ways to destroy pain and suffering. I pray that you belong to the second category, not to the first one.
Trying to forget pain is a kind of unconsciousness. For twenty-four hours a day you are looking for ways to forget your pain: talking to people, listening to music, drinking alcohol, playing cards, gambling or getting involved in some other mischief where you can forget yourself, so that you forget that you have so much pain inside.
For twenty-four hours a day you are looking for ways to forget yourself. You don’t want to see the pain because if you did you would be afraid. So you do all kinds of things to forget and hide the pain. But this pain will not go away by forgetting about it. This pain will no more go away by forgetting about it than wounds will heal by hiding them. Covering them with beautiful cloths does not make any difference. Instead, by covering them with beautiful cloths they will become poisonous and deadly.
So don’t hide your wounds, uncover them and face your pain. And don’t try to forget about it - uncover it and know it, and discover ways to destroy it. Only people who actively try to destroy the pain and not forget about it will be able to know the mystery of life.
I said that there are only two kinds of people. I call the people who are looking for a way to destroy the pain, religious. And I call the people who are looking for ways to forget the pain, irreligious. Just look at what you are doing: are you looking for ways to forget the pain? If all the ways that you try to forget pain were taken away from you, you would become even more miserable.
Once it happened to a king that one of his ministers said to him, “If we lock a man up in isolation, he will go mad within three months.”
The king said, “Why should he go mad if we give him good food and good clothes?”
The minister said, “But he will go mad. Why? - because in that loneliness he will not be able to forget his pain.”