Chapter 14: Take the Challenge
Whenever you fail in something it is not the ultimate failure, you can transcend it. Next time you need not do it again, next time you need not make the same error and the same mistake, next time there is no need to move in the suffering. A man who is wise suffers as much as a man who is not wise, but in a different way each time. A wise man commits as many mistakes - even more than a stupid man - but he never commits the same mistake twice. That’s the only difference: the quantity may be more, but the quality is different. An idiot may not commit many mistakes, he may not commit mistakes at all, because he is never going to do anything. You only commit a mistake when you do something.
You can go astray if you seek and search, if you walk on the path. If you are simply sitting at home, how can you go astray? If you don’t do anything you will never commit a mistake, you will be a mistakeless man, but you will never move; by and by you will simply rot, vegetate and die. Never be afraid of making mistakes, simply remember that there is no need to make the same mistake twice. Why do you make the same mistake twice? - because the first time you made it you didn’t learn anything from it. That’s why you have to make mistakes again and again and again. And people go on making the same mistakes, repeating them their whole lives; they move in a circle. That’s why Hindus have called this world sansara.
Sansara means the wheel: you simply repeat the same mistakes again and again and again. Situations may differ, but the mistake remains the same, of the same quality. What does it show? It shows that you are not alert, otherwise why commit the same mistake again? Commit another because then you will learn. Nobody learns without mistakes. Whenever you commit a mistake you have to suffer. Nobody learns without suffering. Hindus have said that you have to be born again and again because you have not yet grown up.
Only a grown-up person goes beyond this world. Those who have not grown, they have to fall back in the pit, they have to learn. And every learning is the hard way, there is no shortcut. That hard way is suffering. Don’t protect yourself against suffering; rather, on the contrary, move into suffering as fully aware as possible. Take the challenge, encounter it! You will grow through it. Try to transcend it, go beyond it. Don’t be afraid, once you become afraid you are already dying. That’s why Jesus says: Blessed is the man who has suffered; he has found life. And one who suffers becomes more alert, and alertness is the key to the temple of life. The more alert, the more aware.
What is the difference between you and the trees? The trees are beautiful, but they are not higher than you because they remain unconscious. A stone, a rock is below even the level of the trees, more unconscious. A stone also suffers, but it is not aware. A tree also suffers, but not consciously; and if you also suffer without consciousness, then what is the difference? Then you are just a moving tree.
Deep down, the basic thing that makes you human has not yet happened. Consciousness makes you human. And this is the beauty of it, that whenever you are conscious, suffering disappears. Suffering brings in consciousness, but if you move more and more in consciousness, suffering disappears. This law has to be understood: if your head is hurting, it brings consciousness, you become aware of your head; otherwise nobody is aware of their head. You become aware of the body only when something is wrong.