Chapter 27: The Soul Is a Quest
That night he had a beautiful dream - beautiful and very revealing. He had a dream that night that God appeared in the sky and he said to everybody, “Bring all your sufferings into the temple.” Everybody was tired of his suffering - in fact everybody has prayed some time or other, “I am ready to accept anybody else’s suffering, but take mine away; this is too much, it is unbearable.”
So everybody gathered his own sufferings into bags, and they reached the temple, and they were looking very happy - the day has come, their prayer has been heard. And this man also rushed to the temple.
And then God said, “Put your bags alongside the walls.” All the bags were put alongside the walls, and then God declared, “Now you can choose. Anybody can take any bag.”
And the most surprising thing was this: that this man who had always been praying, rushed towards his bag before anybody else chose it! But he was in for a surprise, because everybody had rushed to his own bag, and everybody was happy to choose it again. What was the matter? For the first time, everybody had seen others’ miseries, others’ sufferings - their bags were as big, or even bigger!
And the second problem was: one had become accustomed to one’s own sufferings. Now to choose somebody else’s - who knows what kind of sufferings will be inside the bag? Why bother? At least you are familiar with your own sufferings, and you have become accustomed to them, and they are tolerable. For so many years you have tolerated them - why choose the unknown?
And everybody went home happy. Nothing had changed, they were bringing the same suffering back, but everybody was happy and smiling and joyous that he could get his own bag back.
In the morning he prayed to God and he said, “Thank you for the dream; I will never ask again. Whatsoever you have given me is good for me, must be good for me; that’s why you have given it to me.”
Because of jealousy you are in constant suffering; you become mean to others. And because of jealousy you start becoming phony, because you start pretending. You start pretending things that you don’t have, you start pretending things which you can’t have, which are not natural to you. You become more and more artificial. Imitating others, competing with others, what else can you do? If somebody has something and you don’t have it, and you don’t have a natural possibility of having it, the only way is to have some cheap substitute for it.
I hear that Jim and Nancy Smith had a great time in Europe this summer. It’s so great when a couple finally gets a chance to really live it up. They went everywhere and did everything. Paris, Rome.you name it, they saw it and they did it.
But it was so embarrassing coming back home and going through customs. You know how custom officers pry into all your personal belongings. They opened up a bag and took out three wigs, silk underwear, perfume, hair coloring - really embarrassing. And that was just Jim’s bag!