The word discipline basically means capacity to learn, hence the word disciple. It does not mean control; it means to be capable of learning, to be open to learn. A disciplined man is one who goes on learning through life experiences, who goes into everything, unafraid, who risks, who explores and adventures, who is always ready to go into the dark night of the unknown, who does not cling to the known and who is always ready to commit mistakes, who is always ready to fall in a ditch and who is always ready to be laughed at by others. Only people who are courageous enough to be called fools are able to live and love and know and be.
Maturity comes through more and more, deeper and deeper experiences of life, not by avoiding life. By avoiding life you remain childish.
One thing more: when I say be like a child I don’t mean be childish. A child has to be childish, otherwise he will miss that great experience of childhood. But whether you are young or old, childishness simply shows that you have not been growing. But to be like a child is a totally different phenomenon. What does it mean?
Jesus says again and again, “Unless you are like a child you will not enter into my kingdom of God.” And so I say to you: You will not enter into my “kingdom of God” if you are not like a child. What does he mean by “like a child”? He means many things. One, the child is always total. Whatsoever the child is doing, he becomes absorbed in it, he is never partial. If he is collecting sea-shells on the beach, then all else simply disappears from his consciousness, then all that concerns him are the seashells and the beach. He is absorbed in it, utterly lost in it. That quality of being total is one of the fundamentals of being like a child. That is concentration, that is intensity, that is wholeness.
And the second thing: a child is innocent. He functions from a state of not-knowing. He never functions out of knowledge because he has none.
You always function out of knowledge. Knowledge means the past, knowledge means the old and the told, knowledge means that which you have gathered; and every new situation is new, no knowledge is applicable to it. I’m not talking about engineering or technology: there the past is applicable because a machine is a machine. But when you are behaving in a human atmosphere, when you are communicating with alive beings, no situation is a repetition of any other. Each situation is unique. If you want to function rightly in it you will have to function through a state of ignorance, like a child. Don’t bring your knowledge into it, forget all knowledge. Respond to the new as new, don’t respond to the new from the old. If you respond from the old you will miss: there will be no bridge between you and what is happening around you. You will always be late, you will always go on missing the train.
Anand Maitreya goes on dreaming again and again of a train, and he always misses it. He’s rushing and running and reaches the station, and by the time he reaches, the train has left. And this is not only Maitreya’s dream, this is the dream of millions of people. This is one of the commonest dreams. Why does this dream come again and again to millions of people on the earth? They are missing life. They are always late. There is always a gap. They try, but the bridge is never made. They cannot commune, they cannot get into anything, something hinders them. What is it? It is knowledge that hinders.
I teach you ignorance.