Chapter 5: The Art of Let-Go
You just watch a child - he is relaxed, he is in a let-go. But you won’t allow him to enjoy this state of paradise. You will soon civilize him - because every child is a primitive, uncivilized. And the parents and the teachers, everybody, is after the children to civilize them, to make them part of the society - and nobody bothers that the society is absolutely insane. It will be good if the child remains as he is, is no longer initiated into the society and your so-called civilization.
But with all good wishes the parents cannot leave the child alone. They have to teach him to work, they have to teach him to be productive, they have to teach him to be competitive. They have to teach him, “Unless you are at the top you have failed us.”
So everybody is running to be at the top. How can you relax?
When, for the first time in India, railway lines were being laid down.I have heard a beautiful story:
The British engineer who was overseeing the work that was going on was amazed to see that every day a young Indian, a villager, would come and lie down under the shade of a big tree and watch the workers working and the engineers instructing them. The engineer became interested: This is a strange fellow! He comes every day, he brings his food with him, he takes his lunch and rests, he sleeps in the afternoon under the shade of the tree..
Finally the engineer could not resist the temptation and he asked the villager, “Why don’t you start working? You come every day anyway, and you waste your time just lying down, watching.”
The villager asked, “Working? But for what?”
The engineer said, “You will earn money!”
The villager asked, “But what will I do with the money?”
The engineer said, “Stupid, you don’t know what can be done with the money? When you have money you can relax and enjoy!”
The poor villager said, “This is strange, because I am already relaxed and enjoying! Going in such a roundabout way: working hard, earning money and then enjoying and relaxing.but I am doing it already!”
Children come with the intrinsic, intuitive quality of let-go. They are utterly relaxed. That’s why all children are beautiful. Have you ever thought about it? All children, without exception, have a tremendous grace, aliveness and beauty. And these children are going to grow, and all their beauty and their grace will disappear. It is very difficult to find a grown-up man with the same grace, with the same beauty, with the same aliveness.
If you can find a man with childlike innocence and relaxation, you have found a sage.
That’s how we have defined the sage in the East: he attains his childhood again. After experiencing all the ups and downs in life, finally he decides - the decision comes by itself out of experience - that before death comes, he has to be again the same as he was in his childhood.