Have you tried it? Sitting silently, doing nothing, start swaying in a kind of inner dance and start saying “Yes…yes….” Go into it. Let it come from your very heart. Let it spread over your whole being. Let it throb in your heartbeat, let it pulsate in your blood. Let it electrify you, this “yes,” and you will be surprised: for the first time you have tasted what prayer is.
The English word yes can become a great mantra. It is. The very sound of it is yea-saying, the very sound of it creates an affirmation in the heart. Say no – try the polar opposite sometimes – sitting silently, say “no…no….” Go into it. Let your whole being say no, and you will see the difference. When you say no you will be angry. When you go on saying no you will become enraged. When you go on saying no you will feel that you are cut from existence, separate, isolated, alienated – the bridge has disappeared. And particularly the modern mind is a no-saying mind. Descartes, the French philosopher, has said Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am The modern mind says: “I say no therefore I am.” It is a no-saying mind, it goes on saying no. “No” creates the ego. You cannot Create the ego without saying “no.” You can create the ego only by saying “no” more and more.
Ego separates, ego makes you irreligious, because ego takes you away from the whole, and you start thinking you are a whole unto yourself. You forget that you exist in an immense complexity, that you are part of a vast universe, that you are not an island – “No man is an island….” We are all parts of an infinite continent. Yes-saying bridges you with the continent. Yes-saying bridges you with God. Say yes more and you will become more religious. Let “yes” be your church, your temple. And Jesus is a yes-sayer.
Even on the cross, dying, he says “Look beyond those trees. Can you see our house?” and this is his last moment. But his love for existence, for life is still there, radiantly there. In the last moment he prays to God “Father, forgive these people because they don’t know what they are doing.”
They knew exactly what they were doing. They knew they were killing. But that is not the point. When Jesus says “They don’t know what they are doing,” he is saying “They are so asleep, so confined in their egos, they have lost their eyes, Father. They don’t have any consciousness. I can see great darkness in their heart. Forgive them, they are not responsible.” This is the voice of love. He is not condemning them. Ordinarily he would have prayed “Destroy all these people. They are destroying your only begotten son. Kill them immediately, right now! Come like a thunderbolt! Shower like fire, burn them here and now! Show them what they are doing to your son!” That may have been just, but that was not right for Jesus.
Jesus does not exist at the level of justice, he exists at the level of compassion. Compassion forgives, justice punishes. And when you punish you create in the other’s mind great anger. He will watch for his own time to take revenge, and with a vengeance. Only love creates reconciliation, because love does not create any chain. Anger, fear, violence, aggression, punishment – all create ugly chains. And one thing leads still into deeper darkness, into deeper gloom.