Chapter 8: Attainment of the Way
This law is the same as the laws of science. The scientist says that water is made from the combining of hydrogen and oxygen. If two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen join, water is made. If you ask him “But how? Why can’t water be made from three atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen?” the scientist will say, “There is no question of any ‘why’ - I am only saying how it is. It just so happens that two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen make up water. There is no question of any ‘why’, it is simply the way it is.”
Science does not give answers to why, it answers how. It does not say why it is so, it just says that it is like this. That is why science never loses sight of the facts, and philosophy very often gets lost in trying to answer why. Why! These sutras are very scientific, and their emphasis is on how and not on why. This sutra does not say why it is so, but that it is so.
Without experiencing the contrary there cannot be any experience.
If you keep this in mind, and rightly understand this great law of opposites, then your whole way of looking at things will change. Then you will be able to remain happy even in the midst of suffering, because you will understand that without suffering there can be no understanding of happiness either. And you will be able to maintain your calm even in the midst of turmoil, because now you know that turmoil is a necessary part of learning peace. Then you will accept even death joyfully, because you will understand that the flower of life blossoms in the soil of death.
Then, you will gladly tolerate misfortune, because there is no blessing without it. You will also accept an insult with a smile, because you will know that it is also the door for respect. Then, you will not run away from ignorance, you will not be afraid of it; instead you will stand up to it with your eyes wide open, because that very confrontation, that very looking at ignorance in the face will become the key to the temple of wisdom. You won’t be disturbed by the paradoxes of life; all life’s contradictions will appear to lead you to a worthwhile and meaningful end.
Nothing is useless, nothing can be useless. You may not grasp its meaning, that is something different, but whatever exists has a meaning, and its meaning lies in exactly this: that it is taking you towards its opposite. Now, let us understand this sutra:
Look for the flower to bloom
in the silence that follows the storm;
not till then.
A storm is necessary for the existence of silence. And he who wishes that there were no storm, only calm, his silence will be dead, it will have no life in it.
This is a very strange phenomenon: that calmness rests inside a storm. By itself, calmness is of no use. It is of no use until there is a storm raging all around it. The storm puts life into it. Only a storm can give birth to silence, can make it come alive. Only a storm can create the presence of joy in silence - a storm, which appears to be just the opposite. If you have experienced the storm with full awareness, then you will know that there is nothing to compare with the calm that follows.