Chapter 7: A Man Who Loved Seagulls
There was a man living by the seashore who loved seagulls. Every morning he went down to the sea to roam with the seagulls. More birds came to him than could be counted in hundreds.
His father said to him one day: “I hear the seagulls all come roaming with you - bring me some to play with.”
Next day, when he went to the sea, the seagulls danced above him and would not come down.
The greatest secret of life is - and remember it always - that life is a gift. You have not deserved it in the first place. It is not your right. It has been given to you, you have not earned it. Once you understand this, many things will become clear.
If life is a gift then all that belongs to life is going to be a gift. Happiness, love, meditation - all that is beautiful is going to be a gift from the holy, from the whole. You cannot deserve it in any way and you cannot force existence to make you happy, or to make you loving, or to make you meditative. That very effort is of the ego. That very effort creates misery. That very effort goes against you. That very effort has destroyed you - it is suicidal.
In the American constitution they have given a right, a basic right - and they call it the basic fundamental right - to pursue happiness. It is impossible to pursue happiness. Nobody has ever pursued it. One has to wait for it. And it is not a right at all. No law court can force you to be happy or force happiness to be with you. No government violence is capable of making you happy. No power can make you happy.
The founding fathers committed a very deep mistake. It seems Jefferson didn’t know much about happiness. Politicians can’t know - they are the unhappiest people on earth. Jefferson added this right to the American constitution, and you will be surprised that because of this, the very wording of it, America has become one of the unhappiest countries in the world, ever..Because the very idea that you can pursue happiness, that you can deserve it, that you can demand it, that you have the right to be happy, is foolish. Nobody has the right to be happy. You can be happy, but there is nothing like a right about it. And if you think that it is your right you will go on missing, because you have started to look in the wrong direction from the very beginning.
Why is it so? If life is a gift, all that belongs to and is intrinsic to life is going to be a gift. You can wait for it, you can be receptive to it, you can remain in a surrendered mood, waiting, patient, but you cannot demand, and you cannot force.