Chapter 4: Remember to Stop in the Middle
This is the real man. He is completely without any attitude. It is very easy if you have been a pessimist for long: one day you realize that you are unnecessarily being unhappy, miserable, so you change the role. You slip into the role of an optimist. But now you have moved from one extreme to the other.
Let me tell you one anecdote.
One day Mulla Nasruddin visited a large department store to buy his wife some nylon hose. Inadvertently he got caught in the mad rush of a counter where a bargain sale was going on.
He soon found himself being pushed and stepped on by frantic women. He stood it as long as he could, then with head lowered and elbows out, he plowed through the crowd.
“You there!” said a woman. “Can’t you act like a gentleman?”
“Not anymore,” said Nasruddin. “I have been acting like a gentleman for an hour. From now on I am acting like a lady.”
There is a point where one gets fed up with one role. The pessimist one day realizes that, “Why? Why go on seeing the darker side? Why go on counting the thorns on the rosebush?” He forgets about thorns; he starts counting the roses - but both are half. He has moved from one half to another half; the totality remains as far away as before.
The rosebush is both the thorn and the rose; they are both joined together. They are not against, they are not enemies. In fact the thorns protect the flower. They are part of the whole organic being of the rosebush. And so is life. Good and bad are joined together; sinners and saints are joined together; birth and death are joined together. A real understanding happens when you have understood this, this polarity. And by understanding it, you have gone beyond it. Then you become tranquil - because there is nothing to be happy about and there is nothing to be unhappy about.
Remember, if you are happy, somewhere deep in the unconscious you are still carrying the possibility of unhappiness, because you can be happy only if you can be unhappy. Both possibilities exist together. They cannot be separated, they are two aspects of the same coin. So if you throw away one aspect, the other is also thrown. If you keep one aspect the other is also kept. If you become a pessimist in the conscious mind, you will be an optimist in the unconscious. If you are an optimist in the conscious mind, you will be a pessimist in the unconscious.