Chapter 6: Born with Joy
That has been the whole history of humanity: misery has always paid, you have respected miserable people. And if the misery is self-inflicted, of course, you gain more respect; it is voluntary. Mahatma Gandhi became such a great name in the world because he was voluntarily miserable, inflicting misery upon himself. How can you not be attentive to him? If he had been enjoying and living a total life, a whole and healthy life, you would have been jealous, you would have been antagonistic.
See these tricks and strategies of the mind and you will be able to drop them. Don’t ask for attention, otherwise you will remain miserable. Attention can only be given when you are miserable; that is part of a natural mechanism.
It happens in your body too: if you have a headache, your attention moves to the head - you forget the whole body. If you have a pain in the leg, then the whole attention moves towards the leg - you forget the whole body. Then the leg becomes very important. It is good that legs and heads and hands are not politicians, otherwise they would constantly be in pain, they would remain constantly in pain. It is good that they don’t have any egos. If the leg had some kind of ego, then the leg would continuously create trouble, because only when there is trouble do you pay attention: you massage the leg, you take care of it.
This is the inner mechanism too: attention goes to the part which is in pain. And this is the mechanism of the family, of the society, of the world at large. Once you have learned the trick it becomes unconscious, it becomes autonomous; you simply go on using the trick. The husband comes home and the wife immediately starts being miserable. This I have watched.
I used to stay with many families when I was traveling around this country. The wife is laughing and is happy, and suddenly the husband comes - and I am watching - and her face changes. Not that she is doing it, no; it is not needed to be done anymore, it is automatic: seeing the husband coming, seeing the key move in the hole, suddenly an automatic change happens in her. Her face becomes miserable because the husband will only pay attention to her if she is in misery, otherwise not.
This mechanism has to be made conscious. Watch out for it otherwise it will destroy all possibilities of joy in life - it has destroyed. Millions of people live in misery and hell because they hanker for attention. It is stupid to hanker for attention; it does not give you anything. It only strengthens the ego - which is not you. It is not your essence; it is only your personality, your pseudo self. It goes on nourishing the pseudo self and the essential self goes on starving.
The essential self need not have any attention. The essential self can live without any attention because it is not dependent on anybody else. And the essential self is capable of rejoicing in its aloneness. It does not even need the other, so what to say about attention? It does not even need the other. Its bliss is inner. It does not come from the outside, it does not depend on any condition. It is unconditional. It is a spontaneous, inner, intrinsic phenomenon.
Watch and see how you are profiting from misery, and then you will know why it is so difficult to enjoy. Stop these investments in misery, and the joy will flow again.