Chapter 17: A Little Bit of Sky
“I found it here in this cave. Look through that hole and you will catch a glimpse of my happiness.” And he showed them a small window.
“You have deceived us, for all we can see is some branches of a tree.”
“Take another look.”
“All we see are some branches and a little bit of sky.”
“That,” said the hermit, “is the reason for my happiness - just a little bit of heaven.”
Bliss is man’s intrinsic nature. It has not to be attained, it has only to be re-discovered. We already have it. We are it. Searching for it somewhere else is a sure way to miss it. Stop searching and look within and the greatest surprise of your life is awaiting you there, because whatsoever you have been seeking down the ages, through so many lives, is already the case. You need not be a beggar, you are a born emperor. But the Kingdom of God is within you and your eyes go on searching without, hence you go on missing it. It is behind the eyes, not in front of the eyes.
The Kingdom of God is not an object, it is your subjectivity. It is not to be sought because it is the very nature of the seeker. And then, even in the darkest forest, utterly alone in a cave, one can be happy. Otherwise even palaces only create misery.
There are all kinds of miseries in the world: the poor suffers one kind of misery, the rich suffers another kind of misery, but there is no difference as far as misery is concerned. And sometimes it happens that the rich suffers more, because he can afford more. He has more possibilities, more alternatives open for him. The poor cannot purchase much misery, but the rich can purchase. Hence the richest people feel the most miserable in the world. The richest people become the poorest in this sense. In fact, when you become rich, for the first time you feel the poverty of life. When you are poor you can hope that some day you will be rich, and there will be joy and there will be celebration; but when you have attained to the riches of the outside, suddenly the hope disappears and great hopelessness settles in. You are surrounded by a despair: now there is no hope and no future, now the last hope has disappeared.
You had lived with the idea that “One day I will be rich and then everything will be all right.” Now you are rich and nothing has changed; the inner misery continues as ever. In fact, because of the outer riches, in contrast to the outer riches, you can see your inner poverty more clearly, more accurately, more penetratingly. The outer richness only provides a background for feeling the inner poverty: outer possessions make you aware of the inner emptiness. Hence, it is not surprising that rich countries become religious.