Chapter 1: The Animals Must All Be Laughing
Everybody is so miserable that he wants to find some reason somewhere to explain to himself why he is miserable, why she is miserable. And the society has given you a good strategy: judge.
First, naturally, you judge yourself in every way. No man is perfect, and no man can ever be perfect - perfection does not exist - so judgment is very easy. You are imperfect, so there are things which show your imperfection. And then you are angry, angry with yourself, angry with the whole world: “Why am I not perfect?”
Then you look with only one idea - to find imperfection in everybody. And then you want to open your heart - naturally, because unless you open your heart, there is no celebration in your life; your life is almost dead. But you cannot do it directly; you will have to destroy all this upbringing from the very roots.
So the first thing is, stop judging yourself. Instead of judging, start accepting yourself with all your imperfections, all your frailties, all your mistakes, all your failures. Don’t ask yourself to be perfect. That is simply asking for something impossible, and then you will feel frustrated. You are a human being after all.
Just look at the animals, at the birds; nobody is worried, nobody is sad, nobody is frustrated. You don’t see a buffalo freaking out. He is perfectly contented chewing the same grass every day. He is almost enlightened. There is no tension; there is a tremendous harmony with nature, with himself, with everything as it is. Buffaloes don’t make parties to revolutionize the world, to change buffaloes into super buffaloes, to make buffaloes religious, virtuous. No animal is concerned at all with human ideas.
And they all must be laughing: “What has happened to you? Why can’t you be just yourself as you are? What is the need to be somebody else?”
So the first thing is a deep acceptance of yourself.
I was constantly asked by my teachers, “Don’t you ever feel that you are mischievous?”
I said, “I am perfectly contented. This is the way I am, and I don’t want to be anybody else.”
They said, “This is strange because things that you do must make you feel guilty.”
I said, “For what?”
One of my teachers was constantly talking about fearlessness - that he was a man of fearlessness, that he could go in the darkest night into the thickest forest. Listening to him again and again I said, “I am suspicious - because you are talking so much about your fearlessness. And what fearlessness is this, going into the dark night, into the thickest forest? This is not great bravery. My feeling is that you are a perfect coward.”
He was very angry; he said, “You will have to prove it.”