Chapter 8: Going beyond the Senses
Those who have studied the human mind deeply assert that as soon as someone says, “This is happiness,” it has already converted into misery. Because if it is happiness, then there is no space even to say “This is happiness.” You only have this space when it is already disappearing.
The first thing to be understood is that happiness and misery are not contradictory, they are interchangeable, like waves - sometimes washing up on this shore and sometimes on the other shore. We all know this, and we have seen our happiness changing into misery, but we never learn from it. We don’t allow the mind to learn its lesson; as soon as one happiness changes into misery, we immediately rush off in search of another source of happiness. We don’t stay to see that what we knew as happiness yesterday has become misery today - and maybe it is always like that, that whatever we come to know as happiness will necessarily change into misery. The mind will say that this might actually have been misery in the first place; there must have been some mistake - it must have already been misery, it was just an illusion to perceive it as happiness.
That is why it is amazing that the greater the happiness you can imagine, the greater the misery you are in when it changes. If you don’t get much happiness from something, the misery is also diminished in the same proportion when it changes. The proportion will be just the same.
For example, if a man has an arranged marriage settled by his parents he has not much expectation of happiness. As a result he is not very miserable. An arranged marriage does not bring as much misery as a love-marriage, because there is not that much expectation for happiness through an arranged marriage. What is there to be broken? What is there to be damaged or shattered? There will be no great misery when it breaks up - of love withering away, of splitting up. The greater the expectation, the greater the misery that follows.
For the last one hundred years the West has believed that to marry for love would bring much happiness to their lives. And they were right. But what they did not know was the other side, that a love-marriage would also bring much misery, that it would come in equal measures. The greater the expectation of happiness, the greater the misery when it changes.
Eastern people were wise in a way, their approach was different. They tried not to expect too much happiness so that when the inevitable change came it would not bring too much misery.
An arranged marriage gives neither too much happiness nor too much misery. So arranged marriages work, while a love-marriage does not work because when things change after the expectation of so much happiness, it brings a lot of misery. When the peak is desired and the abyss happens, the break is certain.
Man can only walk on even ground where there are neither too many abysses nor too many peaks. He cannot walk for very long where a fall from the peak into the abyss is inevitable. This is why, after the experience of only a hundred years, the West is shifting from love-marriages to no marriage at all.