Chapter 6: No Going Back
The first question:
Unimagined ecstasy, unimagined pain.
It is natural. Ecstasy and great pain happen together, because it is a new birth: the joy of being born, the joy of entering into the unknown, the great adventure into godliness. But pain is also there, great pain: the pain of leaving the old, the familiar, the known; the pain of leaving the secure, the safe; the pain of dying - dying as the ego. If the ecstasy is true, it is bound to happen that there will be great pain. This is one of the criteria by which to judge whether ecstasy is true or not.
It is like uprooting a tree from its known soil and transplanting it into a new climate, into a new country. The tree will have to learn to live again from ABC, and it is hard to unlearn and it is hard to learn again. There is bound to be pain. Great pain and agony precede great ecstasy. It can continue for months, for years too, it all depends on you.
Now, don’t look back. That which is gone is gone, and gone forever, never to return again. Whatsoever you do, you cannot bring it back.
The child cannot enter the womb again; howsoever pleasant it was, comfortable, convenient, secure, safe. The child may have great nostalgia for the womb, for those beautiful, eternal nine months. Yes, I say eternal, because the child feels them as eternity, not as nine months; he has no idea of calculating time. Those long, long nine months of such warmth, of such protection, of such unworried existence, of such tremendous rest and relaxation - the nostalgia hangs around. The child would like to go back to the womb, but it is not possible.
Going back is not possible at all; it is not in the nature of things. One always has to go forward, and when you look forward everything is so unfamiliar that great fear arises. One never knows where one is. One loses one’s identity, one passes through a great crisis of identity. The known is no longer there to cling to, and the unknown seems to be ungraspable.
But don’t look back; that which can’t happen can’t happen. Look forward, and don’t interpret the new and the unknown as unsafe. Interpret it in terms of adventure, exploration. Interpret it as great freedom. Buddha talks again and again about freedom. It is freedom from the past, freedom from the mother, freedom from the parents, freedom from the society, freedom from the church, the state.