Chapter 10: Out of the Mud and the Mire
The first question:
As a U. S. psychiatrist I am well-trained. Experienced and have been successful by outer standards - but now, what to do? I no longer feel that I am a doctor or therapist or analyst, only a person, and perhaps a teacher. You and others like you are to blame for this. Now I am only listening to the inner voice for direction. Is there any more I can do?
First, there is no success as far as the outer is concerned. All success is just an effort to cover failure. There is only one success, there are not many successes - and that one success is to know oneself, to be oneself.
I understand what you mean by being successful by outer standards. Man has created outer standards of success to deceive himself. You can have money, you can have a name, you can have prestige, but if you are not, what does it matter? You can have the whole world but if you are not, what does it matter?
In fact, man tries to possess things because he does not possess himself. This is a strategy to hide the fact that he does not possess himself. This is a strategy to hide the fact that he does not possess himself; this is a way of explaining away the inner emptiness; this is a way to feel, “Look, I have so many things, what else does one need?” When you are surrounded by too many things - what you call “success by outer standards” - what exactly are you doing? You are trying to create a substitute of “having” for an emptiness which you are feeling inside. Being is missing, and you are trying to replace it by having. And it cannot be replaced by any having.
This is the whole struggle of human mind. These are the two directions: having and being. In the West you have worked very hard to have more; in the East we have worked hard to be more. Yes, sometimes it happens that even a beggar may have more being than a rich man, than a king. Somebody who has nothing, may have himself; and in that very having there is peace, there is bliss, there is benediction.
So the first thing I would like to tell you is that there are no outer standards of success. They are efforts to cover up your inner emptiness, efforts to deceive yourself and to make you feel that you have not failed. There is only one success, absolutely only one - that is to be. Through that, one attains to ecstasy; through that, one attains to the ultimate.
So it is good that I and people like me have destroyed your illusion. Once that illusion goes you will be in a deep crisis. That is what is happening to you.