Chapter 10: Wisdom and Understanding
Accept yourself. That is the only reality there is, that is the only possibility there is. Accept yourself as you are and suddenly everything is transformed. Acceptance is the word for Lao Tzu, not enlightenment - total acceptance, whatsoever the case is. Nothing else is possible. This is how things are. This is how you have happened into this vast universe. This vast universe wanted you to be like this - now you accept.
There are only two choices available: either you reject yourself or you accept yourself. If you reject then there are again two possibilities open: you reject in a worldly way or you reject in an other-worldly way. If you reject yourself in a worldly way it means that you would like to be more beautiful than you are, you would like to be more strong than you are, you would like to be more rich than you are, you would like to have a bigger house than you have. This is to reject in a worldly way. If you reject yourself in an other-worldly way, the religious way, it means that you would like to attain satori, samadhi, enlightenment, nirvana; you would like to become a buddha; you would like to possess God; you would like to live in infinite bliss. This is how you reject in a religious way. These are both rejections and both are wrong. For Lao Tzu both are equally absurd.
Your marketplace is a marketplace; your temple is also part of it. Your this-worldly desires are worldly desires; your other-worldly desires are also desires and worldly. In fact there cannot be any other-worldly desire. Desire itself is this-worldly. Desire means this world.
I would like to tell you an anecdote. It happened in a Sufi’s life:
A great mystic, living silently by himself, one day was suddenly awakened by a messenger from God.
The messenger said, “Your prayers have been accepted. Now the Supreme Being, the Creator, is very happy with you. You can ask, and whatsoever you desire will be fulfilled. You ask and immediately it will be fulfilled.”
The mystic was a little puzzled and he said, “You came a little late. When I needed things, when I had many desires, you never came. Now I have no desires, I have accepted myself, I am totally at ease, at home. Now I don’t bother even whether God exists or not, I don’t pray to him. I pray because it feels good. I have stopped thinking at all about him. My prayer is not addressed to anybody anymore; I simply pray as I breathe. It’s so beautiful, whether God exists or not is irrelevant. You came a little late. Now I have no desire.”
But the angel said, “This will be an offense against God. When he says you can ask, you have to ask.”
The man was puzzled, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “But what to ask? Can you suggest anything? - because I have accepted everything and I am so fulfilled. At the most you go and tell God that I’m grateful. Give my thanks to him. Everything is as it should be. Nothing is lacking, everything is perfect. I am happy, blissful, and I don’t know anything about the next moment. This moment is all, I am fulfilled. You go and give my thanks.”