Chapter 9: One Step at a Time
Last night when we were sitting at the lake I told you about a lama in Tibet. Somebody had gone to see him and to ask him about truth. There was a tradition in Tibet that you circle around a lama three times, bow down at his feet and then ask your question. This young man went, but he did not circle around the lama or bow down at his feet. He just went to him and said, “I have a question! Give me an answer!”
The lama said, “First complete the formal rites.”
The young man said, “You are demanding the ritual three rounds. I can walk around you three thousand times, but if I die during these three rounds before I have known truth, then whose responsibility will it be, mine or yours? So first answer my question and then I will complete the rounds.” He said, “Who knows, I may die in the middle of the rounds.”
So the most significant realization for the meditator is to be aware of the reality of death. He should be constantly aware that it can happen at any moment: “I will go to sleep tonight, and who knows.this may be my last night. I may never get up in the morning. So tonight I should go to bed in such a way that nothing is left incomplete and I can sleep peacefully. If death comes, it is welcome.”
So don’t postpone anything beautiful until tomorrow. And postpone anything bad as much as you can - death may come in between, and you will have been saved from doing something bad. If you get the idea to do something bad, postpone it for as long as you can. Death is not very far away - if you can just postpone some of your bad actions for ten or twenty years, your life could become divine. Death is not very far away, if someone is able to postpone his evil acts for a few years, his life can become pure. Death is not far away - and someone who postpones to do something good for too long will not experience any bliss in life.
So I want to remind you that there is an urgency to do something good. And if you are feeling something good, then just begin with that. Don’t think and postpone it until tomorrow. A person who thinks about doing something tomorrow does not really want to do it. “I’ll do it tomorrow” is a way of postponing. If you don’t want to do something, you should be clear that you don’t want to do it; that is another matter. But to postpone until tomorrow is dangerous. The person who postpones something until tomorrow has in a way postponed it forever. Someone who leaves something until tomorrow has in a way dropped it forever.
If something in life feels right, then the moment it feels right is also the moment to act on it. You have to begin right in that moment.
So keep in mind the urgency of doing things that are good and of delaying things that are wrong. Also keep in mind that the keys that I have given you to experiment with about goodness and truth are not intellectual doctrines. In other words, I am not interested in explaining doctrines to you. I am not interested in academics. I have told you about these keys to persuade you to act on them. And if you act on them they can do something for you. If you are ready to act on them, these keys will help you. And if you use them, they will transform you. These keys are very alive, they are like fire: if you kindle them even a little, you can experience the birth of the new man in you.