Chapter 5: The Birth of a New Man
As that first feeling of loneliness became deeper and deeper, something new began to happen in life. At first that loneliness had made me only unhappy, but slowly it began changing into happiness - because it is a rule that when we become attached to anyone or anything, in one way or the other we turn from facing ourselves. Actually, the desire for attachment to someone or something is a device for escaping from one’s own self. And as the other goes on becoming more and more important to us, to the very same extent he becomes the center for us and we become the periphery.
We continue to remain other-centered for the whole life. Then one’s own self can never become the center. For me, the possibility of anyone else becoming my center was destroyed in the very first steps of my life. The first center that was formed broke down, and there was no other way but to revert back to my own self. I was, so to speak, thrown back to my own self. Slowly, that made me more and more happy. Afterwards I came to feel that this close observation of death at a tender age became a blessing in disguise for me. If such a death had occurred at a later age, perhaps I would have found other substitutes for my grandfather.
So the more unripe and innocent the mind is, the more difficult it becomes to replace a love object. The more clever, skillful, cunning and calculative the mind becomes, the more easy it becomes to replace or substitute another for the one lost. The more quickly you replace, the sooner you become free from the unhappiness derived from the first. But it was not possible for me to find a substitute on that very day when death occurred.
Children are not able to find a substitute easily. The place of the love object that is lost remains empty. The older you are the faster you can fill the emptiness, because then one can think. A gap in thought can be filled up quickly, but emotional emptiness cannot be quickly filled. A thought can persuade one faster, but the heart cannot persuade. And at a tender age when one is not capable of thinking but is capable only of feeling, the difficulty is greater.
Therefore, the other could not become important to me in the sense that it could save me from my own self. So I had to live with my own self only. At first this seemed to give me unhappiness, but slowly it began giving me the experience of happiness. Thereafter, I did not suffer any unhappiness.
The cause of unhappiness lies in our attaching ourselves to the other, in expectation from the other, in the hope of gaining happiness from the other. You never actually gain happiness, but the hope is always sustained. And whenever that hope gives way, frustration begins.
Thus, in the very first experience, I became so badly disappointed from the other that I did not try again. That direction was closed for me, and so thereafter I never became unhappy. Then a new type of happiness began to be experienced which can never come from the other. Happiness can never come from the other; what is created is only a hope for future happiness. Actually, only the shadow of happiness is received.
Exactly the reverse is the situation when encountering oneself for the first time. When encountering oneself, unhappiness is experienced in the beginning, but authentic happiness progressively comes about as the encounter continues. On the contrary, encountering the other gives happiness in the beginning, but unhappiness is the end.