Chapter 26: To Be Effortless Is Just to Be Spontaneous
It is a poor humanity who needs training to laugh. The day would be very ugly when birds ask, “First train us, then we will sing the song.” And the peacocks will say, “We don’t care about the clouds. First train us; then we will open our wings.” But the peacocks dance as the first clouds of rain start coming; there is no training for it, no training school for peacocks. No training for the birds, no training for the flowers - why should man be trained for everything? Why should he not be allowed to be spontaneous?
There is some fear in spontaneousness, because the spontaneous behavior is unpredictable. You may laugh at somebody and he may simply look at you as if you are an idiot. There is no need for him to laugh in response - he is being spontaneous, he is feeling like looking at you as an idiot. Nothing is wrong in it; it is his problem. You were laughing; that was your problem. Why get mixed up?
To avoid such situations, people have been trained for everything: how to walk, how to talk, what to say, when to say it. Naturally, by and by they become very phony. Just actors in a drama, repeating dialogues.
Otherwise, the question of actionless action will not arise at all.
I was visiting a theological college which is the biggest in Asia, which trains missionaries to go all over the poor East to convert people to Christianity. The principal was a friend, and he took me around their campus.
In one class, I could not believe my eyes. What I saw being done was such an absurdity that I was almost stunned. The professor was teaching nearabout sixty students who were ready, almost ready to go for their missionary work. He was telling them, when you repeat a certain statement of Jesus, what kind of gesture, what kind of facial expression to use. When is the time to hit hard on the table, and when is the time to whisper silently that God is love. “And when you describe paradise, don’t just describe it in prose. Let your face be radiant; let each of your words be pure honey, just poetry.”
And at that time one student asked, “And when we are describing hell, what are we supposed to do?”
The professor said, “As far as hell is concerned.as you are, it is perfectly okay.”
There is no training for hell because you already look like you are in hell!
I asked the principal, “Can’t you see this nonsense? These people don’t have any feeling, and you are imposing on them that when they say something a certain expression on the face, in the eyes, in the hands, is needed.”
I have never been in any training, but when it is needed the hands know what to do. The words know when to stop and when to let silence take over. The eyes flash by themselves when you are describing your own experience. Then there is no effort.
Aikido, or any other training which asks you to be effortless, is simply asking you to be spontaneous. Just don’t get lost into philosophical words, because they look absurd. When somebody says “effortless effort - actionless action” you say, “My god, this fellow is going to give me a migraine!”