Chapter 5: Watch This! Stranger than Fiction
“Freedom from” is political, hence all political revolutions fail - when they succeed. If they don’t succeed they can go on hoping, but the moment they succeed they fail, because then they don’t know what to do. That happened in the French Revolution, that happened in the Russian Revolution - that happens to every revolution. A political revolution is “freedom from.” Once the Czar is gone, then you are at a loss: What to do now? Your whole life was devoted to fighting the Czar; you know only one thing, how to fight the Czar. Once the Czar is gone you are at a loss; your whole skill is useless. You will find yourself very empty. “Freedom for” is artistic, creative, scientific. And “just freedom” is religious.
Nitin, before I can teach you moksha - just freedom, neither for nor against, neti-neti, neither this nor that but pure freedom, just the fragrance of freedom - before I can teach it to you, you will have to know the positive one: “freedom for.”
Hence the commune. It is a creative commune; we are going to be creative in a thousand and one ways. In every possible way we are going to be creative, so that you can learn how to say yes to life.
When the yes has destroyed your no, both can be thrown away. That is the ultimate in joy, in freedom, in realization.
The second question:
Is life not sometimes far more surprising than fictions themselves?
Not only sometimes but always. Fictions are only reflections of life - how can they be more surprising? No fiction is as fictitious as life itself; life is made of the stuff called dreams. Hence the mystic says life is illusion, maya, a mirage. It is a mystery, unfathomable, infinite, beginningless, endless.
So I will not say that only sometimes it is surprising; each moment of it is a surprise, but you don’t feel it. You feel it only once in a while when something really extraordinary happens and you are shocked into wakefulness. Only then do you understand that life is far more surprising - because you are fast asleep. Unless something out of the way, very outlandish, far out, happens, and you are shaken and shocked into a little bit of awareness, only then do you see what a miracle life is, how much surprise it contains.
But to the buddhas each moment of it is a surprise, because it is each moment new, renewing itself. Everything is extraordinary if you are alert, if you are sensitive enough, if you are open enough. Then the whole of life, from the mundane to the sacred, from the lowest to the highest, the whole of life is such a mystery that you are always in for a surprise. It depends on your sensitivity, it depends on your awareness, it depends how conscious you are.
A Zen master was asked, “What did you use to do before you became enlightened?”
He said, “I used to chop wood and carry water from the well for my master’s house.”
The inquirer asked, “And now that you have become enlightened, what do you do?”
He said, “I chop wood and carry water.”