Chapter 5: Just to Relax on the River
Remember: truth is always simple. It is the untruth that is complex. If you are accustomed to lie, you will have to have a good memory. But if you are simply stating the truth, you don’t need to have any memory at all. Lies are so complex, they need a very complex bio-computer which you call memory. Truth is so simple, it does not even need to be said.
I am reminded of Lao Tzu. He used to go every day for a morning walk, early, before the sun rises. Just by the side of his village there was a small hillock which was the most beautiful spot to see the sun rising. One of his neighbors asked him, “Can I also come with you?”
Lao Tzu said, “Whether you can come with me is not the right question. The road does not belong to me; neither the mountains, nor the sunrise. If you can come by my side but not with me, everything is okay. But remember: you are alone, I am alone. Nothing has to be said; no word has to be uttered.”
The man had known Lao Tzu for a long time. He agreed. But one day the neighbor had a guest and the guest was also excited and wanted to follow his host, to go with Lao Tzu on his morning walk. The neighbor explained to him: “Lao Tzu has no other conditions except that you are alone; he does not want to become a crowd. Language is prohibited. You should not say anything, and I don’t think he will object.”
He did not object, and the guest remembered.but how long can you remember? When the beautiful sun started rising out of the morning mist he forgot all about what his host had said to him. And he said a simple thing, which should not be objectionable; he said, “What a beautiful sunrise!” And then suddenly he remembered: you are alone, you are not supposed to use words. Only mad people use words when they are alone.
They came back. Reaching the house, Lao Tzu said to his neighbor, “Please tell your guest never to come again. He is too talkative.”
In a two-hour morning walk he had uttered only that small sentence - “What a beautiful sunrise!” But still Lao Tzu is right. Because the guest tried to argue with him - he said, “I simply expressed my feeling.”
Lao Tzu said, “I was also present, I was also experiencing the sunrise and the beauty. We were all surrounded with the same blessing, the birds singing and the flowers opening. I am not blind; I also have a heart. You insulted me by saying, ‘What a beautiful sunrise’ - do you think I cannot understand the beauty? And moreover you forgot your promise. You are not a man who can be relied upon, you are not a man of your word.”
These strange people like Lao Tzu or Diogenes are the authentic people of the world. And they have known the truth not by conquering the world, not by becoming astronauts, not by climbing Everest; they have known the truth just by sitting silently doing nothing. And obviously, the grass grows by itself!
You don’t have to do a thing. And when truth comes to you in its utter simplicity, it goes deep to the very center of your being because it is not a mind fabrication; it is not a thought, it is something existential.