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Chapter 3: Walking without Crutches

A man once hurt his leg. He had to walk with a crutch. This crutch was very useful to him, both for walking and many other things.

He taught all his family to use crutches and they became part of normal life. It was part of everyone’s ambition to have a crutch. Some were made of ivory, others adorned with gold. Schools were opened to train people in their use, university chairs endowed to deal with the higher aspects of this science.

A few, a very few people, started to walk without crutches. This was considered scandalous, absurd. Besides, there were so many uses for crutches.

Some replied, and were punished. They tried to show that a crutch would be used sometimes, when needed; or that many of the other uses to which a crutch was put could be supplied in other ways.

Few listened.

In order to overcome the prejudices, some of the people who could walk without support began to behave in a totally different way from established society.

Still they remained few.

When it was found that, having used crutches for so many generations, few people could in fact walk without crutches, the majority ‘proved’ that they were necessary. “Here,” they said, “here is a man - try to make him walk without a crutch. See? - he cannot!”

“But we are walking without crutches,” the ordinary walkers reminded them.

“This is not true; merely a fancy of your own,” said the cripples, because by that time they were becoming blind as well - blind because they would not see.

Life is a movement, a constant flux. Each moment it is new. But the mind? - the mind is never new, it is always lagging behind. The very nature of the mind is such that it cannot be one with life. Life goes on: mind lags behind. There is always an inconsistency between life and mind - it has to be so.

You see a flower: the moment you realize that you have seen it, it is no longer the same - life has moved. You see a river, but you don’t see the same river again. You cannot. Says old Heraclitus: “You cannot step in the same river twice.” And I say to you that you cannot step in the same river even once - because the river is constantly flowing. The moment mind recognizes, it is already no longer the case. Mind goes on accumulating dead footprints. Life once existed there, but it is there no longer.

And we are trained as minds; that is the misery. You go on missing life, and you will go on missing it - unless you drop the mind, unless you start living out of a state of no-mindness. Then you are one with life. Then the inconsistency between you and your mind disappears. Then you no longer live according to some ideas, because ideas are of the mind. You don’t live according to any ideology, religion, scripture, tradition - you simply live out of the emptiness of your being.

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