Chapter 14: Respect Your Heart
A second difficulty is also possible: that you will never discard the path once you have taken it. Now that you have taken it, what is the sense in leaving it? If this is the case, then too, you will never reach. The path can only take you to your destination; it cannot take you inside it. Only when you let go of the path can you gain entry to it.
Stairs can take you up as far as the roof, but not onto it. If you remain standing on the stairs, you will have managed to come as far as the roof, but that doesn’t mean that you have arrived on the roof. And if you discard the stairs right from the start, you won’t even manage to get near the roof. At some point you will have to abandon the steps, but this doesn’t mean that you become their enemy. You need the help of the staircase, but this doesn’t mean that you become attached to it. You have to learn to use the staircase.
Right now, nature is your stairway, you are standing on it. This sutra applies to nature. The first sutra was about reverence for life, which is reverence for nature. You have to understand this if you want to transcend nature - and it is necessary to transcend nature, because if you remain in it you will not attain to supreme bliss. In nature, there is both suffering and happiness.
In nature there is duality; its very existence is based on duality. In nature you can attain to happiness as well as to suffering. And however much happiness you desire, you will also have that much suffering. Your capacity to experience happiness will be exactly the same as your capacity to experience suffering. Nature is duality, and in a state of duality the sides are always equally balanced, always even. If this were not so, nature would be perverted, everything would go haywire.
So as you are moving more to one side, you are gaining momentum to move to the other side. If you wish your reputation to grow, be aware that your notoriety will also grow. It goes along with it. If you wish for good health, know that sickness too is standing just around the corner. And if you want life, you will also have to accept death. You will always have suffering as well as happiness in nature. Nature is duality.
You have to go beyond, because it is duality that is creating all the problems. You have to attain to that moment when duality vanishes. We call such a moment bliss, we call such a moment peace, we call such a moment moksha - when both happiness and suffering disappear. Moksha means being beyond duality - when you are not being pressurized from either side, when the opposites are not squeezing you, where neither side is pulling you, when the banks vanish and the river is absorbed into the ocean. That is why we know the banks as friends, because they help us to reach the ocean. But we should not become such friends with them that we remain attached to them and hold back from becoming one with the ocean.
So reverence for nature is reverence for life, and a sensitive use of the laws of life.