Chapter 9: When Shibli Is Absent
The whole process of narrowing, why is it so? - because you get identified, and when you start getting identified with the part, then it is a natural process that you will be getting identified with smaller and smaller parts. In the end only a very small thing, the narrowest thing in the world, the ego, is left. To be too much present, to be too much in the I, to be too much the I, is an identification with the part.
Hassan did well. He said, “I cannot choose the part, because that is the foolishness I have been doing all along. Now I cannot choose the part.” But he must have been a very perceptive man, because it ordinarily happens that if you have been too much identified with the part, you are too prone to choose the whole. Simple logic. One moves to the other extreme.
Many have done that also. Then they try destroying their egos. The monks in the monasteries, the traditional sannyasins in India, you go to them, they have been trying to kill the ego, to destroy the part. But they don’t know: if the part is destroyed, the very path to the whole is destroyed.
It is a delicate affair. Life is very very subtle and mysterious.
You should not get identified with the part, that’s right, but you should not destroy it, because then the very base is destroyed.
That’s why monks live a very monotonous life - that is my definition of a monk: one who lives a monotonous life. He may not be living in a monastery, but he lives in monotony. Monotony is his monastery. He lives a life of a single note, he has no other notes. He cannot create a harmony, because he is afraid of the conflict. He is trying to destroy the part. If you destroy the part, in the destruction of the part the very possibility to move to the whole is lost.
But fortunately nobody can destroy the part, you can only think that you have destroyed it: it always remains hidden in you. At the most you can suppress it, that’s all. You cannot destroy it.
Destruction is not possible in this world. You can neither create anything nor can you destroy anything, because destruction means something was there and now it has become nothing. Something cannot become nothing, there is no way to reduce something to nothing. And there is no way to create anything, because creation means to bring something out of nothing. There is no way. Something can change into something else, but there is no creation and no destruction.
You cannot destroy the part, because in fact the part never belonged to you - who are you to destroy it? The part belongs to the whole, how can you destroy it? You never created it. Can you create the ego? If you cannot create the ego, how can you destroy it? Don’t be stupid.
All that you can do is to create a gestalt or to destroy a gestalt. This German word is beautiful. Out of this word a whole attitude towards life has arisen - gestalt psychology. It is meaningful, tremendously meaningful. There is no way to translate this word into English or into any other language. Gestalt means: the relationship between the figure and the ground.