Chapter 12: Thou Art That
And remember, the negative has to be known first, because it is between the lines of the negative that the positive emerges. When you see a mountain peak, don’t forget the valleys that surround it. The peak emerges only in relation to the valleys. If you remove the valleys, the mountain peaks will also disappear; if you go on deepening the valleys, the peaks will become higher. You don’t see the valley as going in the same direction as the peak, it looks the opposite - but the fact is that they are complementary. From everywhere, the valley creates the backdrop for the peak. The deeper the valley, the higher will be the peak.
Negation is like the valley; it is the depth. First you have to negate, first you have to discover what you are not. Until you have known what you are not, you will not be able to know what you are. What you are is covered up by what you are not, so first you will have to come face to face with what you are not, and then you will see what you are. On the journey towards yourself, first you will come across the valleys before you reach to the peaks.
Try to understand it from another angle: when you go inwards you will first came across the negative. And if you are afraid of your negativity, you will never go inwards. So when you first enter within, you will come across all your darkness. You will feel much anguish and self-condemnation. You will feel that there is no sinner greater than you. Don’t think that saints condemn themselves out of humbleness; this is what people think. Kabir has said, “When I looked for the evil in man, I could not find a man more evil than myself.” Older people tell children, and teachers tell their students that Kabir said this out of his humility. This is not humility; it has nothing to do with humility. This is what Kabir actually experienced.
Whenever a person begins the search for truth, first he will come across the deep valleys of his own darkness. Only when the valleys of darkness have been crossed will the peaks of light come into view. Anyone who is attached to his idea that he is already a good person will not be able to look within himself. The very idea that you are good will create fear in you, because when you first look inside you will find only what is bad. Someone who thinks himself to be a non-violent person because he does not eat at night or because he drinks only filtered water, someone who has such a cheap concept of nonviolence, will see violence the moment he looks inside. He will become afraid to look inside and he will go on living only with the outside.
You are all wandering around on the outside because you don’t gather the courage to move across the valley of your own darkness. But only one who can courageously cross the valley of all that is wrong in him will be able to reach the peaks of the good in him. If you want to become virtuous, you will first have to become a sinner. To be a sinner means that you will first have to pass through the valley of sin. The more virtuous you are, the bigger the valley of sin around you will be, because the peak of virtue will not emerge without the valley of sin. It cannot happen.