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Chapter 7: The Disease Called Seriousness

So be ready to be any shape or form. Any shape or form is good: trees are good and dogs are good and man is good. Be ready to be in any shape or form, then you will be living more and living intensely - because intensity is killed when you become identified with a particular form. Then you are shallow because you are concerned with the form, not with the being. Then you will be tense, not intense.

It you are ready to be any shape whatsoever then there is no surface to you: there is no shape and no form. You are ready to be in any form. Then you begin to live inwardly and you can flow with everything. And the more you can flow, the more alive you are.

So to me, life is not seriousness at all - but religious people have made it serious. That’s why religious people are basically antilife. But to me, that is not religion, that is just a metaphysics for suicide - it is suicidal. To me, religion means a very nonserious attitude - very childlike in everything, very innocent.

A serious person can never be innocent, and one who is innocent can never be serious. They are contradictory; they cannot exist simultaneously. A child is never serious, but very intense, in everything intense. If he is playing he is intense; if he is angry he is intense, if he is loving he is intense. But an old man is never intense. He is serious. Even when he is playing he is serious. He will turn play into work because the play will become a fight, a struggle, competition, defeat and victory - everything will come, every nonsense will emerge. It will not be just a play.

So intensity is something else. It is not seriousness. With seriousness, sadness is always about to come. You cannot enjoy seriousness, you cannot be happy with seriousness, you cannot laugh with seriousness. That’s why saints have never laughed. With seriousness, sadness is always bound to be somewhere around the corner.

Seriousness is sad, it cannot laugh. And even if it laughs, it is only a release mechanism and the laughter is not innocent - it is only a release mechanism. A serious person can laugh, but then it is only to release the tension of seriousness, and then again he is ready to be serious. Tensions are accumulated.

If I tell a joke, then I create tension in you, expectation, curiosity. What is going to happen? How will the thing turn out? So you become tense with expectation. You become serious, and your mind begins to work - what is the end going to be? And if the end turns out just as you have expected it to, you will not laugh because then there is no release. If the end turns out to be completely unimagined, if the end is just a turning, a complete turn; if you could never have expected that this will be the end, then the tension which has come to a climax is released. You laugh. That laughter is not innocent, because that laughter is just a by-product of tension. So every joke has to create a tension in you. Then you feel released.

But innocent laughter is something very different. It is not a release mechanism, it is just a way of living. It is just a way of living!

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