He said, “My God, I hate to go home, and you are telling me to be loving to that woman? As I enter the house she starts her tirade of imaginable and unimaginable illnesses. And she goes on reading medical encyclopedias, finding out what kind of misery would be good. She knows great names. In the beginning she used to freak me out, that ‘My God, I have never heard of this disease!’ And she would give the whole description of what was happening. Only later on I found the encyclopedia and the exact description, and she had marked it. At first I used to take it seriously and take her to the doctor. And every doctor said, ‘This misery has just been discovered. This disease is only just in the periodicals; only experts know about it. Your wife is a real genius! Even ordinary practitioners, physicians, doctors, will not understand what kind of disease she is talking about!’”
He said, “I remain in the court as long as I can, then in the court library. And then I go to the bar, because I can tolerate that woman only when I am drunk. I wanted to warn you because you are giving her a lift every day – you may end up in my situation!”
I said, “Don’t be worried. I never sympathize, I simply enjoy. She talks as you are saying and I encourage her to talk more, because I love such details. And she looks at me with very weird eyes: ‘…A strange fellow. I am suffering from cancer, I say to you!’”
I told her, “Suffer! Just tell me the details – I love it. You know so much about cancer. Obviously, you must be suffering, even cancer experts may not be able to defeat you, but please give me all the details. I love it so much!”
In three days I stopped her. She would sit completely silently, keeping her face looking out of the window. And I would go on poking her: “Please tell me something. You are so great, you are carrying such a burden of the whole world. You are almost an encyclopedia of medicine.”
She stopped asking for a lift. I had to go inside their house and ask her husband, “Where is she? – because I enjoy her so much.” She was such a nice woman, so knowledgeable! And I am absolutely ignorant about these great diseases. It was just a great teaching on the way – for one hour coming, one hour going; for two hours every day I would become an expert!
I have been in touch with thousands of people – they have all been victims of a wrong psychology. Their parents have paid attention to them when they were sick. Nobody bothers about a child when he is not sick. This is a very dangerous phenomenon: you are forcing the child to be sick because you are giving attention, and attention is a subtle food.
I had a gardener, an authentic gardener, who really loved flowers, who loved the plants. And I would see him sitting by the side of the roses and other flowers. Sometimes I heard him talking to the flowers. At first I thought he looked a little crazy, but every year he was winning the first prize in the city for growing the biggest flowers. He was with me for almost twelve years.
I asked him, “What is your secret?”
He said, “Nothing, I am just a little crazy. When there is nobody around, I talk to the flowers: ‘Don’t let me down this time. The time for the exhibition is coming close – grow as big as you can.’ And I have been winning for twenty years continuously. No flower has ever let me down.”
Just the attention, just a loving attention to a flower, makes him immensely happy. There is someone who will be happy: the flower will do everything for him to make him happy. There is someone who is watching and waiting for his growth; he is not alone, he is not unneeded.