Chapter 7: It Will Devour You Too
Listen sometimes to what goes on inside your mind.
Just the other night I was reading a passage from Ionesco’s play, The Bald Soprano:
Two couples - the Smiths and the Martins - sit in a room engaging in small talk which does not communicate. A weird clock on the wall which strikes at any time does not communicate either.
At one point in the play, the four characters angrily shout meaningless insults at each other: “Cockatoos, cockatoos, cockatoos.. Such coca, such coca, such coca.. Such cascades of cacao, such cascades of cacao, such cascades of cacao..”
When the Martins fall into bored slumber, the maid addresses the audience: “Elizabeth is not Elizabeth, Donald is not Donald. It is in vain that he thinks he is Donald. It is in vain that she thinks she is Elizabeth. But who is the true Donald? and who is the true Elizabeth? Who has any interest in prolonging the confusion?”
Ionesco is telling us in this play that loss of self is the loss of communication, and the loss of communication is the loss of self.
Have you watched inside yourself what goes on? No communication! between one fragment of your being and another fragment of your being. What to say about communion? There is no communication even. You are not one: you are a multiplicity. And you are a multiplicity because of the multiplicity of desires. You want to become so many things.
In the first place, the moment you want to become something you are losing your being. In the clouds of becoming, the being is lost. The moment you start thinking in terms of what to become, you are no more aware of who you are. When becoming is dropped, energy turns back upon itself.
That’s what Jesus calls conversion - returning to the source. That’s what Patanjali calls pratyahar - coming back to oneself. That is what Mahavira calls pratikraman - turning back to one’s own being.
We are all rushing - rushing for somewhere there in the future. We are all rushing so fast because life is short and time is fleeting. And we go on rushing, and where do we reach? We reach only our graves. Nothing ever is fulfilled, because those desires are by their very nature unfulfillable.
Try to understand the nature of desire. That is the only deception there is, the only mirage, the only illusion. If one understands what desire is, one becomes a buddha. Seeing the futility of desire, desire is no more valid for you. That dimension simply disappears. Becoming aware that no desire is ever fulfilled, cannot be fulfilled by its very nature, it is intrinsically unfulfillable, you need not then renounce it.