Chapter 9: When Shibli Is Absent
But you have become too much of the part; you have chosen, you have become a self. And you have completely forgotten the no-self. You have become too much of a presence, and you don’t have absence; hence, you have lost the music. You have become a discord. The same notes can become a disharmony - only a new arrangement is needed.
Everything you have; you don’t lack anything. I have not come across a single man in my thousands of lives who lacks anything. Maybe a little mismanagement, but you are not lacking anything. Maybe things are not in their right places, but you are not lacking anything. Maybe you have put A in the place of B, and C in the place of D, but the whole alphabet exists in you. It may not be in order, maybe there is a disorder, but you lack nothing.
And the clue exists within you. The clue is: Become as much absent as you are present. Exist in a deep contradiction. You may have never thought about it. You have been trying to exist very consistently. You are trying to be consistent, never in contradiction. Then, either you choose the part - as you have chosen, as many have chosen - and then there is conflict, continuously, because the part feels it is against the whole. If you choose it, if you get identified with the part.that is what I mean when I say “I,” the ego: it is an identification with the part.
You are vast, as vast as the universe, and you are trying to get into a small hole. For a mouse, okay, but for you - too narrow. Misery follows. You feel in bondage. You feel from everywhere walled in, imprisoned. You become angry, you get irritated. You start fighting, you start being destructive, because life seems to be a narrowing, a continuous narrowing.
A child is born - and the narrowing starts. A child is born and he comes through a very narrow passage, from the mother’s womb. From the very first moment of life narrowing has started, and then the whole life, until death releases you - for entry into another hole - you feel yourself being narrowed continuously, you don’t feel the expansion. And the further ahead you look, the more the hole seems to be like a tunnel. Have you ever stood in front of a tunnel and looked in? The far end looks very small.
Once I was traveling with a villager in a bullock cart, and we had to enter a tunnel to pass over a river. The villager refused completely. He said, “It is okay from this end, we can enter, but look at that end: how can we get out?” He had never been in a tunnel, and I tried and tried.but he said, “Whatsoever you say, I can see the hole here is big enough - we can enter, but then it goes on narrowing. What will happen at the other end? You will kill my bullocks! And it may be difficult even to come back if once we are caught.”
Death looks like the other end. The passage of the mother’s womb is the beginning, and then life goes on narrowing, and then one day somebody simply disappears. That means the whole process has become so narrow you cannot find the man again.