Chapter 18: Love Is the Only Friend
The first question:
While in therapy myself, I spent much time praying. Over the years I felt better. I never knew whether it was the therapy or the prayer. As a therapist I want to urge others to pray but feel embarrassed.
Love is therapy, and there is no other therapy in the world except love. It is always love that heals, because love makes you whole, love makes you feel welcome in the world, love makes you a part of existence. It destroys alienation. Then you are no more an outsider here, but utterly needed. Love makes you feel needed, and to be needed is the greatest need. Nothing else can fulfill that great need. Unless you feel that you are contributing something to existence, unless you feel that without you the existence would be a little less, that you would be missed, that you are irreplaceable, you will not feel healthy and whole.
And prayer is the highest form of love. If love is the flower, then prayer is the fragrance. Love is visible, prayer is invisible. Love is between one person and another person, prayer is between one impersonal presence and the impersonal presence of the whole. Love is limited, prayer is unlimited. If you can pray, no other therapy is needed.
Therapies are needed in the world because prayer has disappeared. Man was never in need of therapy when prayer was alive, flowing, when people were dancing in great gratitude, singing songs in praise of God, were ecstatic just for being, for being here, were grateful just for life. When tears were flowing from their eyes - of love, of joy - and when there were songs in their hearts, there was no need for therapy. Therapy is a modern need, a poor substitute for prayer.
Psychoanalysis is a poor substitute for religion, very poor. But when you cannot get the best, then you settle for second-best or the third-best, or whatsoever is available. Because temples have become rotten, churches have become political, religion has been contaminated by the priests, man is left alone - uncared for, with nobody to support him. The very ground on which he has been standing for centuries has disappeared. He is falling in an abyss, feeling uprooted. Psychoanalysis comes as a substitute: it gives you a little bit of rooting, it gives you a little bit of ground to hold onto. But it is nothing compared to prayer. Because the psychoanalyst himself is in need, he himself is as ill as the patient, there is not much difference between the psychoanalyst and the patient. If there is any difference, that difference is of knowledge - and that makes no difference at all. It is not a difference of being. If there is any difference it is quantitative, it is not that of quality, and quantity does not make much difference. The psychoanalyst and his patient are both in the same boat.