Chapter 6: Repression or Transformation?
The first question:
There is a Zen story about two monks who were returning to their monastery. While walking ahead, the older monk came to a river. On the bank there was a beautiful young girl. She was afraid to cross alone. The old monk quickly looked away from her and crossed the river. When he was on the other side he looked back, and to his horror he saw the younger monk carrying the girl across the river on his shoulders. The two monks continued their journey side by side. When they were just outside the monastery gates the older monk said to the younger: “That was not good, that was against the rules, we monks are not supposed to touch women.” The younger monk replied: “I left her on the bank of the river, are you still carrying her?”
Would you talk to us about the alternative to suppressing or expressing our emotions?
Man is the only being who can suppress his energies - or who can transform them. No other being can do either. Suppression and transformation exist as two aspects of one phenomenon - that man can do something about himself.
The trees exist, the animals exist, the birds exist, but they cannot do anything about their existence. They are part of it, they cannot stand out of it. They cannot be the doers. They are so merged with their energy, they cannot separate themselves. Man can, he can do something about himself. He can observe himself from a distance - he can look at his own energies as if they are separate from him. And then either he can suppress them or he can transform them. Suppression only means trying to hide certain energies which are there - not allowing them to have their being, not allowing them to have their manifestation. Transformation means transforming, changing energies toward a new dimension.
For example, sex is there. There is something in sex which makes you feel embarrassed about it. This embarrassment is not only because society has taught you so. All over the world many types of societies exist, and have existed, but no society, no human society, has taken sex easily. There is something in the very phenomenon of sex that makes you embarrassed, guilty, self-conscious. What is that? Even if nobody teaches you anything about sex, nobody moralizes to you about it, nobody creates any conceptions about it, still there is something in the very phenomenon that you are not at ease with. What is that?