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Chapter 19: Step Aside, Let the Mind Pass

He said, “What do you want? That man is an opium addict.” In India razor blades are not used; things almost like six-inch long knives are used as razor blades. “Now what do you want me to say? - with that man who has a knife, a sharp knife in his hand, just on my throat. To say no to him.he will kill me! And he knows it. He sometimes tells me, ‘You never say no. You always say yes, you always say great.’ And I have told him, ‘You should understand that you are always under the influence of opium. It is impossible to talk with you, to discuss with you or to disagree with you. You have a knife on my throat, and you want me to say no to something?’”

I said, “Then why don’t you change from this man? There are so many other barbers, and this man takes two hours for a five-minute job. Sometimes he shaves half your beard and then he says, ‘I am coming back, you sit.’ And he is gone for an hour because he gets involved in a discussion with somebody and completely forgets that a customer is sitting in his chair. Then he comes and says, ‘My God, so you are still sitting here?’”

And my grandfather would say, “What can I do? I cannot go home with half the beard shaved. You just complete it. Where have you been?”

The barber would say, “I got in such a good argument with somebody that I completely forgot about you. It is good that that man had to go; otherwise you would have been sitting here the whole day. And sometimes I don’t even close the shop at night. I simply go home, just forget to close, and once in a while a customer is still sitting in the chair and I am sleeping. Somebody has to say to him, ‘Now you can go; that man will not be seen again before tomorrow morning. He is fast asleep in his home. He has forgotten to close his shop and he has forgotten about you.’”

And if you were angry.. Sometimes new people got into his shop, and became angry. He would say, “Calm down. At the most you need not pay me. I have cut only half of the beard; you can just go. I don’t want to argue. You need not pay me; I don’t ask even half payment.”

But nobody can leave his chair with half the beard shaved - or half the head shaved! You ask him just to shave the beard and he starts shaving your head, and by the time you notice, he has already done the job. So he asks you, “Now what do you want? - because almost one-fourth of the work is done. If you want to keep it this way I can leave it; otherwise I can finish it. But I will not charge for it because if you say that you never wanted it to be cut, then it is my fault and I should take the punishment. I will not charge you.”

This man was dangerous! But my grandfather used to say, “He is dangerous but he is lovely and I have become so much identified with him that I cannot conceive that if he dies before me I will be able to go to another barber’s shop. I cannot conceive.for my whole life he has been my barber. The identity has become so deep that I may stop shaving my beard, but I cannot change my barber.”

But fortunately my grandfather died before the opium-addict barber.

You get identified with anything. People get identified with persons and then they create misery for themselves. They get identified with things, then they get miserable if that thing is missing.

Identification is the root cause of your misery. And every identification is identification with the mind.

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