Chapter 11: The Paradox That Life Is
Can’t you see any beauty in sadness? Meditate over it. Next time when you are sad don’t fight with it, don’t waste time in fighting. Accept it, welcome it - let it be a welcome guest. And see deep into it, with love, care. Be a real host. And you will be surprised - you will be surprised beyond your comprehension - that sadness has a few beauties which happiness can never have. Sadness has depth, and happiness is always shallow. Sadness has tears, and tears go deeper than any laughter can ever go. And sadness has a silence of its own, a melody, which happiness can never have. It will have its own song, more noisy, but not so silent.
I am not saying choose sadness; I am just saying enjoy it too. And when you are happy, enjoy happiness. Swim on the surface too, and sometimes dive deep into the river. It is the same river. On the surface the play of ripples and waves, and the sun rays and the wind - it has its own beauty. And diving deep into the water has its own quality, its own adventure, its own danger.
And don’t become attached to anything. There are people who have become attached to sadness too - psychology knows about them. They are called masochists - they go on creating situations in which they can remain miserable forever. Misery is the only thing that they enjoy, they are afraid of happiness. In misery they are at home.
Many masochists become religious, because religion provides a great protection for the masochist mind. Religion gives a beautiful rationalization for being a masochist. Just being a masochist without being religious, you will feel condemned and you will feel ill, ill-at-ease, and you will know that you are abnormal, and you will feel guilty about what you are doing to your life. You will hide the fact.
But if a masochist becomes religious he can exhibit his masochism with great pride, because now it is no more masochism - it is asceticism, it is austerity, tapascharya; it is self-discipline, not torture. Just the labels have been changed. Now nobody can call him abnormal - he is a saint. Nobody can call him pathological - he is pious, holy.
Masochists have always moved towards religion. Religion has a great attraction for masochists. In fact, so many masochists down the ages have moved towards religion - it was very natural, that movement - that religion became dominated by the masochists. That’s why religion goes on insisting on being life-negative, life-destructive. It is not for life, it is not for love, it is not for joy. It goes on insisting that life is misery. By calling life misery, it rationalizes its own clinging to misery.
I have heard a beautiful story - I don’t know how far it is correct, I cannot vouch for it:
In paradise, one afternoon, in the most famous cafe, Lao Tzu, Confucius and Buddha are sitting, and talking sweet nothings.
The bearer comes and on a tray brings three glasses of the juice called “life” and offers them. Buddha immediately closes his eyes and he says, “Life is misery.”