I notice that the questions I write to you usually turn out to be “confessions.” I assumed it was because of some kind of conditioning, although my upbringing did not include the practice of confession to a priest.
It seems that I have an expectation that by telling you, you can free me. Is this so? Or am I, in fact, abdicating responsibility by asking in this way? Perhaps it is not authentic asking?
Every question is a confession. You may be aware of it, you may not be aware of it. Your question brings you out in the open. It is not good to say that it is a confession because that word, confession, has Catholic associations, and those associations are ugly; otherwise, confession can be a tremendously helpful device.
The moment you open up your heart and allow all the secrets that you are hiding behind you to come into the light, you become weightless. Those secrets make you feel burdened. You are always afraid of being caught – those secrets make you afraid. Confession can free you from those burdens, those fears; and confession also accepts your humbleness, your sincerity, your being a human being.
It is human to err, and it is also human to forgive…to say that it is divine to forgive is a dangerous statement. It prevents people from forgiving each other because they think they are only human beings. Forgiving is not for them; revenge is for them, punishment is for them. Hence, I would like to repeat: to err is human, to forgive is even more human.
But the Catholic conditioning has misused the device of confession. In itself, it is tremendously psychological and significant. What the patient is doing on the couch of a psychoanalyst…just because you don’t call it confession, do you think he’s doing something else? He’s making deeper confessions than are being done before any priests. He’s opening up all his wounds – even bringing up his dreams hidden in the unconscious.
But the secret of life is: if you bring your unconscious into the light, those hidden secrets which are functioning like wounds, like burdens that are heavy on you, evaporate. You need not do anything else – all that you need is a loving heart to listen to you.
The world has come to a point where nobody has the time or inclination to listen to anybody else. At most, people hear, and they avoid even that, too. Bertrand Russell, in one of his statements, has a prediction for the future: that in the future people will become so much strangers to each other, so closed to each other that nobody will have time to waste listening to your garbage. And listening is not a simple process; you become unburdened, but the other fellow who has been listening to you – he becomes burdened.
Bertrand Russell says that the time will soon be here…you will have to go to professional listeners. They will take their fee and listen to you; whatever you want to say, without any condemnation, without any evaluation, without saying it is good or bad – a pure listening, a professional listening. And people will pay for it because that man is wasting his time.