Chapter 5: On the Danger of Overweening Success
In religion thousands of Lao Tzus may have happened, but nothing is solved. You have to know it again and again on your own. It is not science. Science can create scriptures, theories, but religion cannot create scriptures and theories. It is a lived experience. You cannot reduce it to a theory, it is too subtle for that, too delicate for that. Theory is very rough, gross; experience is very subtle. Can any tightrope walker make a theory out of tightrope walking and just by understanding the theory.? You can understand the theory perfectly, you can be examined and you can get a hundred percent mark. But do you think that you will be able to walk on that tightrope just because you have understood the theoretical background of it? No, it won’t help. It is not a science. And I say to you, it is not even art - because art can be imitated; knack can never be imitated. Art is something you do outside of you: you paint a picture, you make a poem, you dance, you do something which is visible, which can be imitated. Even Picasso can be imitated.
But religion can never be imitated; it is nothing outside, it is something within. You can imitate a Picasso, a Michelangelo, but how can you imitate a Lao Tzu? You feel something is there but it is elusive. You know that he knows something but you cannot pinpoint it, you cannot figure it out. It is a knack.
Then what is a knack? A knack comes when you do many many things on the path - trial and error, falling and rising, going astray and coming back - thousands of experiments in living, and then suddenly one day you have the knack of it. A knack is the essence of many errors, mistakes, of trial and error. Something grows in you, and once you know it you can forget about it, you have it always. You need not remember it. If you need to remember it, it is still not a knack, it is something in the mind. If it is a knack it goes into the blood, into the bones, into the very marrow, into the very being. Then you can forget about it.
A Lao Tzu has not to remember how he has to walk, how he has to be. It is not a discipline. Once you know, you know. You can forget, you can simply drop it out of the mind. But you will follow it, you will follow it without thinking about it. Knack is neither science nor art, it is a lived experience. And this is the greatest art or the greatest science - the science of life or the art of life.
You have to walk in life - and see how you fall; you have to watch yourself - and observe how you go astray. And the mind will insist on going to the very extreme. Whenever you feel an imbalance immediately balance it by moving to the opposite.
Mind is either a rightist - it moves toward the right, then it never moves to the left; or mind is a leftist - then it moves to the left and never moves to the right. And I have come across a very strange phenomenon: sometimes mind becomes a middlist - remains in the middle but as fanatic about the middle as others are about right and left. But this man is not in the middle because a man who is in the middle is never fanatic; only extremists are fanatics, they cling to a certain position. And the middle is not a position, it is a constant gaining of balance.
Try to understand. This is the most meaningful feeling that Tao can give to you. The middle is not a fixed state, it is a constantly changing movement. So you cannot be in the middle like the man who can be on the left or on the right. You cannot cling to the middle. One who wants to be in the middle will have constantly to lean toward the right and left; sometimes you will see he is a leftist, and sometimes you will see - now, look! - he has become a rightist. He has to walk like a tightrope walker. Only between these two extremes, balancing constantly, continuously, is the middle.