Chapter 2: Discovering Your Own Path
So the whole agony of the West is basically rooted in this wrong approach. Life should be tackled through living, not through speculation, not through intellectual theorizing. Life should be existentially known. And this is the miracle: if you know life existentially then there is no problem. It is not that existential living solves your problems, rather, when you live life totally, there is no problem. I would like to say that not only does intellect hinder solutions, it creates problems.
Take any problem. If you are in fear - a basic problem, more obvious in the West - what can the mind do about it? Fear is there, death is there. What can the mind do about it? And the problem of fear cripples you totally, it destroys you completely, it uproots you; life becomes impossible. You can only vegetate, the fear will not allow you to live. So what can you do? What can the intellect do about fear?
It can analyze. It can analyze the problem, what fear is. But even if you know what fear is, it makes no difference. You know what fear is: death is there, you are going to end; you exist always on a volcano; never for a single moment can you be at ease. Death is there; analysis cannot do anything at all about it. You can create theories around the problem, but no theory will solve the riddle for you. At the most it can make you adjusted, you can prolong. The fear is there; somehow you can train yourself to neglect it - through theories. But it is there and its working will be there, and its poison will continue to flow in you. It will go on uprooting, it will go on poisoning your sources of life.
There are so many theories to explain, but even if you explain what fear is, it is not explained away, it remains where it was. Theories go on accumulating in the memory and the problem goes on, continuing in your roots of life - and the two never meet. Theories are accumulated in the memory - just a storehouse - and the fear is somewhere underground, in the roots. They never come in contact. Memories can never go deep down into your roots, they just accumulate in a corner of the mind. And they are so nonessential that the mind can be washed completely - your mind can be washed completely - and your life will not be affected. It will go on, unconcerned.
So what can be done existentially? This approach is diametrically different. If there is fear, the intellectual approach is to think about it. The existential approach is to live it. Don’t think about it, feel it, live it, tremble in it, let your whole being be in trembling and anguish in it. Don’t escape from it, don’t postpone it, don’t try just to theorize about it and escape from it. Be in it. There is death: one has to face it. There is disease: one has to face it. No one can help you; you alone will have to encounter it.
It will not help at all if you just close your eyes and go on speculating. It will not help at all; it will just create new problems. The fear will be there, death will be there - now you will even fear to open your eyes. A new fear will creep in. You will theorize, explain things, and each explanation will bring new doubts with the mind. The mind will create new doubts and there will be fear, whether the explanation is right or not, whether the theory is correct or not. You will be just pushing the problem back, but it cannot be wiped out.