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Chapter 27: The Soul Is a Quest

Next door great things are happening: the grass is greener, the roses are rosier. Everybody seems to be so happy - except yourself. You are continuously comparing. And the same is the case with the others, they are comparing too. Maybe they think the grass in your lawn is greener - it always looks greener from a distance - that you have a more beautiful wife. You are tired, you cannot believe why you allowed yourself to be trapped by this woman, you don’t know how to get rid of her - and the neighbor may be jealous of you, that you have such a beautiful wife! And you may be jealous of him!

Everybody is jealous of everybody else. And out of jealousy we create such hell, and out of jealousy we become very mean.

An elderly farmer was moodily regarding the ravages of the flood. “Hiram!” yelled a neighbor, “your pigs were all washed down the creek.”

“How about Thompson’s pigs?” asked the farmer.

“They’re gone too.”

“And Larsen’s?”

“Yes.”

“Humphf!” ejaculated the farmer, cheering up. “It ain’t as bad as I thought.”

If everybody is in misery, it feels good; if everybody is losing, it feels good. If everybody is happy and succeeding, it tastes very bitter.

But why does the idea of the other enter in your head in the first place? Again let me remind you: because you have not allowed your own juices to flow; you have not allowed your own blissfulness to grow, you have not allowed your own being to bloom. Hence you feel empty inside, and you look at each and everybody’s outside because only the outside can be seen.

You know your inside, and you know the others’ outside. That creates jealousy. They know your outside, and they know their inside. That creates jealousy. Nobody else knows who you are inside. There you know you are nothing, worthless. And the others on the outside look so smiling. Their smiles may be phony, but how can you know that they are phony? Maybe their hearts are also smiling. You know your smile is phony, because your heart is not smiling at all, it may be crying and weeping.

You know your interiority, and only you know it, nobody else. And you know everybody’s exterior: an exterior people have made beautiful. Exteriors are showpieces and they are very deceptive.

There is an ancient Sufi story:

A man was very much burdened by his suffering. He used to pray every day to God, “Why me? Everybody seems to be so happy, why am only I in such suffering?” One day, out of great desperation, he prayed to God, “You can give me anybody else’s suffering and I am ready to accept it. But take mine, I cannot bear it any more.”