Chapter 6: Joy Is the Criterion
Let me tell you one anecdote.
The wholesale company sold a bill of goods to a merchant at a small crossroad village. When the goods arrived he refused them. The wholesale firm prepared to start suit for collection and wrote to the railroad agent of the village for information about the arrival of the merchandise. They also wrote the president of the bank for information concerning the financial standing of the customer, to the Mayor of the town asking him to recommend a good lawyer to handle the case, and to the merchant threatening suit if he did not make payment at once.
The company receive this reply: “I received a letter telling me I had better pay up. I am the railroad agent here and also received the letter you wrote to the agent. I am president and sole owner of the local bank and can assure you as to my financial standing. As Mayor of the town I hesitate to refer to you a lawyer since I am the only member of the bar in this vicinity. If I were not also the pastor of the town’s one church I would tell you to go to hell.”
Now this is the case - you are all in all. If a symbol is alive to you, it is alive - you bring life to it, you pour life into it.
When somebody is bowing down before the cast of my feet, for him they become alive - he pours his life into them. You may be standing there looking at the foolishness. “What is he doing?” Yes, it is foolish for you because those feet are not alive for you, that symbol is not throbbing for you, you have not poured your life into it.
So don’t be bothered about others - let them do their thing. They must be finding something in it. If you are not finding something there, then find it somewhere else. You may find something in my words - words are as symbolic as the cast feet and, of course, less substantial. Words are less substantial: uttered, they disappear. They are very dreamlike. Or you may be pouring your energy into the symbol of this body here now - that too will disappear, that too is not the ultimate thing. The ultimate is that which always remains. You can see that ultimate anywhere - just make your eyes a little more perceptive.
And don’t still be dominated by your Catholic upbringing because that will be a great loss to you. If you go on dropping all symbols you will become very, very poor. Nobody will be at a loss, only you.
Symbols make life rich, poetic.
I have heard.
Two businessmen were relaxing in the clubhouse after a round of golf.