Chapter 60: Liberate Yourself from Yourself
It is a very well known saying of Zen mysticism that if you can become just ordinary, you have become extraordinary. Only the person who is at ease with his ordinariness is extraordinary. Because everyone hankers to be extraordinary, so the desire to be extraordinary is very ordinary. Everyone - you cannot find a person who is not trying to be extraordinary in some way, so the desire, the lust to be extraordinary, is a part, a basic part of the ordinary mind. Zen masters say, “So to be ordinary is the most extraordinary thing in the world. To be just ordinary. It is rare. Very rarely it happens that someone is simply ordinary.”
One Japanese emperor was in search of a master, so he went from one teacher to another, but no one could satisfy him, because one old man had said that the real master would be most ordinary. He went on searching, but he couldn’t find an ordinary man. He came back to the old man who was just on his dying bed, and he said, “You have put me to great trouble. The way you defined the master - that he will be simple, ordinary - has become a problem for me. I have been searching all over the country, and no one satisfies me. So give me some clue how to find the master.”
The dying man said, “You have been searching in wrong places. You have been searching in wrong places! You have been going to persons who are in some way extraordinary, and then you try to find the ordinary. Move in the ordinary world. And really you are still trying to find the extraordinary. Now you define him as ordinary, but you are still searching for the extra-ordinary. Now the definition has changed. Now you define him as the most ordinary, but the rare, the exceptional. You are still in this search. Don’t do that, and the moment you are ready and not searching in this way, the master will come to you.”
The next morning while he was sitting, he tried to understand what the old man had said, and he felt that he was right. The desire left him. A beggar appeared - and he was the master. And he had known that beggar his whole life. He was always coming, that beggar was coming daily to the palace, so the emperor asked the beggar, “How did it happen that I couldn’t recognize you before?”
The beggar said, “Because you were searching for the extra-ordinary. I was here, but you were searching there. You missed me continuously.”
Tantra says this not that, particularly in this technique. There are techniques in which that is discussed, but this is most tantric - this, here and now, the most intimate. Your wife, your husband, this, your friend, the beggar, may be the master. But you are not looking at this; you are looking at that, there, somewhere in the clouds. You cannot even conceive that near you can be that quality of being. You cannot conceive; because you think you already know the near, so you search for it far away. You already feel that you know this, so now the only thing to be found is that.
This is not true. You don’t know this, you don’t know the near. The near is as unknown as the far away. Have a look around you. You are not acquainted with anybody. You don’t have any knowledge of anybody. Do you know the tree you pass every day? Do you know your friend with whom you have lived your whole life? Or do you know yourself, who is the nearest? Do you know your body, the breath that comes and goes continuously? Do you know it? Nothing is known. Even this is not known, so why hanker after that?