Chapter 23: What Kind of Vehicle are You Using?
A man was admitted to a psychiatric hospital because he thought he was Ronald Reagan. But this caused a problem for the staff because they already had a Ronald Reagan on the books and the director thought it might cause trouble. But then he hit upon a brilliant idea. On his first night at the hospital, one of the staff put him in the same cell as the other Ronald Reagan in the hope that this confrontation would bring one or both to their senses.
The next morning he called the new man to his office and asked how his first night had been.
“Oh, doctor,” replied the man, “I have been living under a delusion for many years.”
“That’s an amazing insight,” said the doctor excitedly. “Please go on.”
“Well,” continued the man, “for as long as I can remember, I thought I was Ronald Reagan, but I’m not.”
“That’s very good,” said the doctor. “So who are you?”
The man looked at the doctor, smiled sweetly and said, “I’m Nancy.”
People go on changing their illusions.
I want you to come out of all the illusions and just see reality as it is. It is simple and it is beautiful. In the beginning you may be shocked because your delusions are destroyed. But as you will become more and more accustomed and in accord with existence and reality, you will feel a tremendous freedom and a great sense of authenticity.
Gautam Buddha’s statement is on record that to experience truth in the beginning is bitter, in the end it is very sweet. But illusions are totally different, just the contrary: in the beginning they are very sweet; in the end they turn out very bitter. In fact, this should be the criterion: something that is sweet in the beginning, be aware of it; it is illusion. Soon you will be awakened out of it and it will hurt and it will feel very bitter. It is better to experience truth, which is bitter in the beginning but in the end proves to be the sweetest experience possible.
So when I am talking to you, I have to be poetic for the simple reason that there are things which cannot be said in prose. There are things which can only be hinted at in a poetic way. But poetry can always be misunderstood because poetry is symbolic and you cannot take it as actual. The moment you take poetry as literal and factual, you are creating an illusion which will sooner or later be destroyed by the reality.
No illusion can live for long.
Every illusion has a very small lifespan.
I don’t want you to get into any kind of illusory relationship with me. I have been talking about the master and the disciple relationship from different angles, emphasizing many things; this also should be remembered, that all that has been said to you about it is poetic and symbolic.