Chapter 9: You Are Your Prison
Why do we call a man “mad”? We call him mad because he has a bigger mind than we have, there is no other reason. We only see the images within ourselves, but he is seeing the images in the outer world also - he has a mind more capable of seeing than you. You also talk within yourself to the ones you love, the madman talks out loud to his dear ones who are not present because his mind has grown more in that dimension, it is bigger then yours. You do it too, but secretly, within yourself. His capacity to project is greater than yours, he is more skilled; he starts talking to a nonexistent person sitting opposite him on a chair. Then we say, “This man has gone mad.”
Is there any qualitative difference between him and us? We also talk to our loved ones as if they were sitting in front of us, but we do it inside ourselves. Our projecting mechanism is weaker and his is more efficient than ours. His projector is so efficient that even if you enter into the room - and you are real - he will not be bothered about you, he will only be concerned with the nonexistent figure sitting on the chair.
So many poets have written along such lines as: “My beloved, the whole audience may be present but if you leave that gathering, then nobody else exists for me; and when you are present, then no one else may be there and yet the whole world is present for me.”
The poet is a little crazy, that is why he sees that which we can’t see, he senses that which we can’t sense, he creates that which we can’t create. Hence there is some similarity between the poet and a madman. Perhaps the poet is a madman with some method, while the madman is a poet without any method, he does not know any order. But one quality is common to both of them - a capacity to see that which is not.
The mind is a machine which can see that which is not there, so the mind is a mechanism which can drive one mad. The mind is an expansion of dreaming. This is the first knot. The one who is entangled in the mind can never attain to his real self, because the only way to become entangled in the mind is through forgetting your self. You cannot know the self and retain your mind at the same time. Forgetting your self is essential for the mind to exist - mind is not possible without the forgetfulness of the real self - and if you remember the self, then mind will disappear. With an awareness of the self, with the awakening of the watcher, all images start fading away, becoming only name and form for you. No substance is left in them, they lose their hold. So what to do?
This mind is the first knot. If we can awaken our awareness to this knot, it will open. To open any knot, the device to use is to bring in the watcher, the awareness; witnessing is the device to undo any knot. We all want to untangle our knots, but an interesting thing happens. We all want to untangle our entanglements, all of us - it is difficult to find a person who does not want to - yet why does nothing get untangled?
It is often observed that those trying to untangle themselves get even more and more tangled. The effort to undo the knot doesn’t work - instead, the entanglement gets worse and worse, although everyone wants to get untangled. We must be making a basic mistake somewhere. We all want to become disentangled without awakening the witness.