Chapter 15: Following Your Natural Course
Lao Tzu said, “Unless you drink the whole of it you cannot pass any judgment, because there are things which are bitter in the beginning and sweet in the end. And moreover, one has to learn tasting too. Just taking one sip, with no previous experience of drinking life.your judgment is simply worthless.
“Confucius, you are a confused man and you have confused thousands of others. You pose as if you are pragmatic, but what kind of pragmatism is this, that just by tasting a little bit you make a judgment about the whole? By knowing the part you don’t know the whole. Yes, by knowing the whole you know the part, but not vice versa.”
Lao Tzu took the whole flask - he was not a man to drink from a cup - drank the whole flask, emptied the flask, thanked the lady, and told all those great friends of his, “You are all idiots! It is tremendously beautiful, delicious, but one has to experience it in its totality. Less than that won’t do.”
This is the whole approach of the pagan.
Lao Tzu is a pagan. That’s why in his writings you will not find God mentioned, or heaven and hell talked about. He is solely concerned with here and now. He lived that way.
Once Confucius had asked him, “People ask me about death but I don’t know anything about death. Perhaps - you are older and wiser, and you love to move into dangerous spaces of consciousness - perhaps you have some idea about death.”
Lao Tzu said, “Without dying, there is no way to know death. Commit suicide; go and jump from the hill and you will know what death is. The only way to know is to live it. Asking about death, trying to find an answer about death, is silly. Right now try to live; otherwise you will miss this too.
“And mind my advice, that you are not going to live forever; soon you will be dead. Then, Lying in your grave, meditate upon death as long as you want - nobody will disturb you.
“But don’t waste your lifetime thinking about death, because those are the people who, when they are dying, will be thinking of life. That’s how their mind functions. They are never where they are, they are always where they are not. That has become their routine. While alive they are worried about death - while dying they will be worried about life.”
I am a pagan.
And only a pagan can drop miseries.
Only he has the guts to drop miseries.
The society won’t allow you to drop your miseries - it has so much investment in them.
You are miserable, you go to the priest; he gives you fictions, consolations. Of course he takes his fee and assures you that he will take care of you; he will persuade God in favor of you. You just be patient and accept whatever happens to you, trusting in God, trusting in the holy book, trusting in the messiah. You need not be worried: these miseries will be soon over, life is so short.
For people who don’t know how to live, life is so short.