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Chapter 6: Symphony for a Seabird

But this is what all preachers are doing. Understanding is lacking; they only carry rules - rules are dead things. Under-standing has no weight, you need not carry it - it carries you, it becomes your wings. It is not a weight at all, you need not even remember it. If you understand a thing you need not remember it, it becomes your blood, your bones - it is you. Whatsoever you do will be done through that understanding; it is an unconscious phenomenon.

Rules are conscious, understanding is unconscious, and Chuang Tzu is always in favor of the unconscious. The whole tradition of Tao is for the unconscious. Don’t force rules, just try to understand things. If you force rules upon yourself you will not become enlightened, you will remain ignorant inside, just decorated from without.

Jesus used to say, “I look at you and I feel that you are like graves, whitewashed - inside dead, outside a whitewashed wall.” It may look beautiful and clean, all your rules can give you an outer cleanliness, but inside you remain the old fool. And remember, only fools follow rules; a wise man tries to understand and forget the rules. A wise man is free to move; a man who has rules cannot move, he always has to follow the rule. And life changes every moment - from moment to moment it goes on changing, it does not wait for you or your rules. Every moment is new. And if the rule is old, you will always miss your step and you will always be a misfit. Whenever there is a man who follows rules he will always be a misfit everywhere, because life goes on flowing and you are stuck with the rule.

As I see within you, you are all stuck with rules. In your childhood, rules were given to you and you are stuck there. Since then you have never moved. You may have been jogging on the same spot but you have not moved. You may become old - seventy years old - but deep down you remain stuck. The whole effort towards enlightenment is how to get unstuck, how to move, how to become a flow again and not be frozen. Don’t be like ice - frozen; become like water, a river flowing. Rules will never allow you that. Remember that life goes on renewing itself and only understanding can respond.

Mulla Nasruddin was always talking in negative terms so I told him, “Be more positive. Why look at life with such a negative eye? Then you will find only thorns and no flowers.”

So he said, “Okay, now I will make it a rule always to be positive.”

The next day his wife went shopping in the market and she told him to look after the children. When she came back she immediately felt that something had gone wrong. The whole house was sad, children were not running here and there - no noise. She became apprehensive. And then she looked at Nasruddin who was sitting at the door and immediately she felt that something really had gone wrong.

Afraid, she said, “Nasruddin, don’t tell me anything bad, just tell me the good news.”

Nasruddin said, “I have taken a vow not to be negative at all so you need not remind me. You know our seven children? Six of them didn’t fall under a bus!”

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