I have heard about Shah Farouk, the king of Egypt: He was once asked how many kings there would be in the world after twenty-five years.
He replied without hesitation that there would be five, and then he explained: “The king of England, the king of hearts, the king of diamonds, the king of clubs and the king of spades.”
The kingdom that comes from the outside is just a kingdom of dreams. You can be a king, but you will be a king of playing cards or, at the most, the king of England. Nothing much of value, worthless; just a bogus symbol, meaning nothing.
The real kingdom is within. And the most amazing fact is this: that you go on carrying it within yourself completely unaware, not knowing what treasures you are having, and what treasures are yours just to claim.
Religion is not a search for any belief. Religion is an effort to know the very ground of your being, to touch the very rock bottom of your existence. That experience of the rock bottom of your existence is what we mean when we use the word truth. It is existential. It is an experience.
So don’t be too much befooled by beliefs. Be alert – they are deceptions. And because of these beliefs people don’t search, because once you think you know, you believe you know, what is the point of searching? They are devices to avoid the search, because the search is arduous, the search is difficult. Many dreams will be shattered, many images will be shattered, and much, much pain you will have to pass through. That pain is a necessity: it cleanses, it gives you solidity, integrity; it matures you. Those pains are like birth pains, because through them you are going to be reborn.
Belief is cheap; it costs nothing. Just a nodding of the head and you become a Christian or a Hindu or a Mohammedan. It is too cheap. Truth cannot be that cheap. You will have to sacrifice many cherished dreams. You will have to sacrifice your imaginary image. You will have to sacrifice many things which you value too much in your ignorance. You will have to come out of the cloudy state of your being in which you are right now. You will have to rise above it. And, of course, climbing a mountain is difficult – and there is no other mountain which is greater than you.
You are carrying the greatest peak, the Everest, within you. And, of course, the climbing is going to be difficult. But the difficulty pays, pays tremendously. Once you reach the peak, just the effort, the difficulties, the challenge, the arduousness of climbing – and something goes on crystallizing within you. The moment you reach the peak, it is not only a peak that you have reached – you have become the peak. You have attained to a height you had never known before. You were living in a dark valley; now you live in sunshine.