You often tell stories of persons who went into aloneness in some forest and who became silent and peaceful there. But aloneness seems to make most modern persons anxious and depressed, and it creates a yearning for human companionship. Instead of the patterned mind dropping, we become more acutely aware of it and preoccupied with it. How to overcome this? How can we learn to enjoy long periods of aloneness, and drop the old mind in it?
This is nothing new for the modern mind; this has been always so. Mind cannot exist in aloneness; to be alone means mind will have to commit suicide. Mind becomes anxious – it is a murder. Whenever you go alone, the mind cannot exist in that aloneness.
Mind can exist only in the society; mind is a social phenomenon, others are needed for it. You cannot be angry when alone, or if you become angry you will feel very foolish; you cannot be sad when alone, because there is no excuse; you cannot be violent when alone, because the other is needed; you cannot talk, you cannot go on chattering. You cannot use the mind, the mind cannot function – and when mind cannot function it becomes anxious, worried. It needs functioning, it needs someone to communicate to.
Mind is a social phenomenon, a societal byproduct. And it has always been so. Even when Svetaketu went into the forest, he was anxious, he was worried, he was depressed in the beginning. The difference is not in the mind; the difference is in patience. The mind remains the same, modern or old, but in the old days people were more patient, they could wait. You are not patient –that is the problem. They were not time conscious and you are time conscious.
In the old days in the ancient world, particularly in the East, there was no time consciousness. That’s why watches and clocks were not invented in the East. There was more possibility for their invention in China than in India, because they had done many things and it was possible to invent clocks, to measure time, but they were not interested in time. The modern mind is too interested in time. Why? This is a part of the Christian influence on the world. With Christianity and Islam time consciousness entered into the world. There are reasons for it.
In the East it has been believed always that life goes on forever and ever, it is eternal, it is timeless – so there is no hurry; you will be again and again. Millions of times you were here and millions of times you will be again here; there is no hurry. This life is not the last nor the first, it is a long procession, and you are al-ways in the middle – there is no beginning and no end. So there can be no hurry about time; enough time, more than enough, is available.
With Christianity there is only one life – this is the first and the last. Once you die you don’t have any time any more; so you have a life span of seventy years at the most. There is so much to do, and so little time with you. That’s why in the West there is so much hurry; everyone is running because life is going. Every moment life is becoming less and less. Time is passing, you are dying, and you have so many desires to fulfill and no time to fulfill them, so anxiety is created.