Once you are certain that you can be silent, then your whole focus will change. It is not a question of discipline, it is not a question of being prayerful, it is not a question of believing in God and all kinds of nonsense. It is a question of feeling your own possibility, and once you have known the possibility and become confident about it, the whole religion in your vision will have a different color.
It is a question of silence and consciousness and blissfulness – it has nothing to do with sins and virtues and confessions. Existence does not bother about your sins – what sin can you commit? What punishment should be given to poor human beings? Religions have been giving, for small things, eternal hell. One has to be a little just also.
Bertrand Russell has counted all the sins that he has committed, and all the sins that he has thought to commit but he has not committed, and all the sins that he has committed in his dreams. He has given the whole list and has asked the Christian theologians…and he has remained unanswered for more than half a century. Now he is dead; fifty years he waited for the answer. He was asking, “These are all that can be counted as sins: these things I have committed, these things I have only thought, these things I have only dreamt. How much punishment can be given to me on these grounds? The strictest judge cannot give me four and a half years of jail, and Christianity is going to throw me into eternal hellfire!”
To be punished for eternity you need another eternity to commit sins; otherwise it will not be just. In his book, Why I Am Not A Christian – he was born a Christian, but as he became aware of the stupidness of the whole Christian theology, he wrote the book – he has asked these questions but none of his questions have been answered. The only answer was that his book was banned by the pope. It was put on the pope’s blacklist, which is published every year for the Catholics, saying that “You should not read these books.”
I am fortunate, my books are also on the list. In the Middle Ages the pope used to burn these books; now it is difficult. But he can at least prevent Catholics, at least old Catholics who are afraid of death and who are coming close to it. It is difficult for him to burn the books; it is difficult for him to prevent even the new Catholic generation. In fact, just by his order that this book should not be read, it becomes more attractive.
The only answer that Bertrand Russell got was that his book was put on the blacklist and his name was put on the blacklist: “This book certainly, and any other book by this man should not be read by Catholics because he can disturb your belief. He is an agent of the devil” – this is the answer.
He has asked very pertinent questions. He says that on the one hand, Jesus says, “Love your enemies”; he goes even to the point of saying, “Love your neighbors”…which is of course more difficult, because enemies are far away but the neighbors are always sitting on your back.