Chapter 2: What’s the Attraction?
The very first forewarning I want to give you about such a despair, about such an assumed defeat, is that life is not a pile of dirt and pebbles. There is much more in life. A lot is hidden within the dirt and pebbles. If you have the right eyes to see, then the ladder to reach the divine also emerges from life.
Within this body of blood, flesh and bones is hidden that which is beyond these, that which has nothing to do with flesh, blood or bones. In this very body - which is born today and dies tomorrow, returning to dust - lives that which is deathless, that which is never born and never dies. In the form lives the formless, in the visible lives the invisible. Within the fog of death is hidden the flame of the deathless. Within the smoke of mortality is hidden the flame of immortality, the light that never dies. But seeing the smoke, we step back and never find the flame; or those who gather a little more courage search a bit in the smoke, but they too get lost in the smoke and do not reach the flame.
How can we carry out this voyage to the flame beyond the smoke, to the self within the body, to godliness hidden in nature? How can this be accomplished?
It is about this I wish to discuss in three stages.
The first thing, we have created such viewpoints about life, we have established such ideas about life, we have raised such philosophies about life, that due to them, we are deprived of seeing the truth of life. We have already accepted what life is - without any search, without any quest and without any realization of our own. We have understood only some pre-decided, preconceived idea about life. For thousands of years we have been taught only one thing repeatedly like a mantra: life is meaningless, life is futile, life is a suffering, life is only worth renouncing. From constantly hearing it, it has settled deeply into our being like a solid rock. Because of this, life has begun to be a suffering and seem futile. Because of this, life has lost all joy, all love, all beauty. Man has become an ugliness, man has become a hotbed of misery.
And after accepting that life is meaningless and futile it’s not at all surprising if efforts to make it meaningful have also stopped. If you have accepted that life is ugly, why would you search for beauty in it? And when one firmly believes that life is only worth renouncing, then what sense remains in trying to decorate it, in trying to cleanse it and to refine it, beautify it?