Chapter 8: Putting Shoes on a Snake
The river is already flowing towards the ocean, why interfere? Why direct it? If you start directing the river, you kill it - it becomes a channel. Then it is no more a river, then the life has disappeared, then it is a prisoner. Then you can force it anywhere you want to take it, but there will be no song and no dance; it will be carrying a corpse. The river was alive, the channel is dead. The channel is just a river for the name’s sake. It is not a river, because to be a river means to be free, to flow, to seek, to follow one’s own intrinsic nature. Not being directed, not being pulled and pushed, not being manipulated, is the very quality of being a river. Once you have understood that you grow when you don’t interfere in your own life, when you understand that you grow when nobody interferes in your life, how can you interfere in anybody else’s life?
But if you interfere with your own life, if you have some ideal of how it should be, the ideal brings interference. The “should” is the interference. If you have some ideal: that you have to be like Jesus or like Buddha or like Lao Tzu, that you have to be a perfect man or a perfect woman, that you have to be this and that, then you will interfere. You have a map, you have a direction, you have a fixed future. Your future is already dead, you have converted your future into past. It is no more a new phenomenon: you have converted it into a dead thing. You will carry the corpse, you will interfere in everything because whenever you will feel you are going astray - and by astray I mean astray from the ideal.. Nobody has ever gone astray, nobody can go astray. It is not possible to commit error. Let me repeat it: It is impossible to go astray because wherever you go is God and whatsoever you do culminates into divinity. All acts are naturally transformed into the ultimate - good and bad, all. Sinner and saint, all reach to God.
God is not something that you can avoid, but if you have some ideal you can postpone. You cannot avoid: sooner or later, God is going to take possession of you, but you can postpone. You can postpone infinitely - that is your freedom. Having an ideal means you are against God.
Gurdjieff used to say that all religions are against God, and he has something; he has a great insight into it. All religions are against God because all religions have given ideologies, ideals. No ideal is needed, no ideology is needed. One should live a simple, ordinary life; one should allow God to do whatsoever he wants. If he wants you to be this way, good. If he wants you to be that way, good. Let his kingdom come, let his will be done - that is the Taoist attitude. Then there is no interference. When there is no ideal there is no interference. And once you enjoy the freedom that comes when you don’t have any ideals, how can you interfere in anybody’s life?
You interfere in the lives of your children. you interfere in the life of your wife, your husband, your brother, your friend, your beloved. You can interfere only because you think that by interference you arc helping them. You are crippling them. Your interference is like what Zen people say - they have the right expression - they say: “Putting shoes on a snake.” You are helping, you may be making a great effort, doing great things - putting shoes on a snake thinking “How will the snake walk without shoes? There may be difficulty and the roads are rough and there are thorns also. Life is full of thorns, so help the snake put shoes on the snake.” You will kill the snake.