Chapter 5: Having and Being
Rabbi visakhar Baer met an old peasant
From the village of Oleshnya
who had known him when he was young
Not being aware of his rise in the world
the peasant called to him, “Baer, what’s new with you?”
“And what’s new with you?” asked the rabbi.
“Well,” answered the other, “I shall tell you.
What you don’t get by your own work, you don’t have.”
From that time on, whenever Rabbi Baer
spoke of the proper way to conduct one’s life,
he added, “And the old man of Oleshnya said:
‘What you don’t get by your own work, you don’t have.’”
Consciousness has two dimensions: one is that of having and the other is that of being. And there are only two categories of human beings: one who is struggling hard to have more and more, and one who has understood the futility of it and has changed their life into the other direction, the direction of being. These people are trying to know who they are.
In the world of having you only believe that you have something, but really you don’t have anything. You come alone empty handed and you go alone empty handed. And all that happens in between is almost like a dream. It appears to be true, while it is there it appears to be real, but once it is gone then you understand that nothing was really happening. The reality has remained untouched by your dreaming. The world of having is nothing but a world of dreaming.
The religious person is one who has become aware of the futility of it all. You cannot have anything except yourself. And all that you have except yourself is a deception. It is an illusion. And, in fact that which you have possesses you more than you possess it. The possessor finally becomes the possessed. You think you have so many things - riches, power, money - but deep down you are being possessed by those same things, you are being encaged, enchained, imprisoned by those same things.
Look at the rich people. They don’t possess riches - they are as poor as any other poor man in the world, they are as beggarly as any other beggar. In fact, whatsoever they possess possesses them. They are burdened by it.
So the first thing to be understood is that these are the two doors: having, being. If you are still lost in the dream of having, you are in the world. You may be sitting in a cave in the Himalayas, that makes no difference - the world is still there because the world is in the very desire to possess. And nobody has ever possessed anything.
Only one thing can be possessed and that you already have with you - your own self, your own consciousness. But to have that being, one has to work hard. You cannot get to it easily. First you will have to detach yourself from the world of having. That will be almost like a death because that’s where you have got identified - you are your car, your house; you are your bank balance. And when you start awakening out of this dream you start feeling as if you are disappearing because all your old identities start disappearing. One identity disappears, one part of your being disappears. There is emptiness left behind.