For years, Grandpa Goldstein had been stubborn and bad-tempered, no one could please him. Then overnight he changed. Gentleness and optimism twinkled about him. “Grandpa,” asked his grandson, “what made you change so suddenly?”
“Well, sonny,” said the old man, “I have been striving all my life for a contented mind. It has done no good, so I have decided to be contented without it.”
He just dropped the effort. He was trying to have a contented mind and that was making him bad-tempered, irritated, because everybody was disturbing the possibility and his hope. But the day he decided to live without it, he relaxed…and suddenly there was contentment.
You say, “Everything takes time.”
That is not true. Everything except enlightenment takes time. That is the one exception, and it has to be an exception. Because everything else belongs to the world. Enlightenment is a ray from the beyond. It does not take time. What takes time is to learn that all efforts are useless because every effort is making you tense, and in a tense state enlightenment cannot happen. Relaxedness is absolutely essential. If you can relax just now, no other conditions have to be fulfilled. The beyond will suddenly open and flowers will start showering on you.
That’s how it happened to Gautam Buddha himself. He strived as hard…perhaps as nobody else in the whole history of man has strived. For six years, just single-pointedly, one target; and he did everything that was prescribed in the scriptures. He almost destroyed his body in practicing all those arduous methods, disciplines; they are all a kind of self-torture, and he tortured himself. He was a man with a totality of mind – if he wanted to do something, he was not the one to be defeated, he would do it – and that became the barrier.
When he was born, the astrologers had declared that either he would become the emperor of the whole world or he would become an awakened man. He would have become the emperor of the whole world without much difficulty. He was a man of power, concentration, intelligence. But he had chosen to become enlightened. And he strived for it in the same way as you strive when you are trying to conquer the world – and that was his failure.
And on the full-moon night that has passed just a few days ago – this same full moon, this same month – he dropped all efforts. Seeing the futility, that nothing happens…whatever you do everything fails. He had renounced the world, now he renounced all spirituality; he renounced the other world also, and for the first time in six years he slept in utter relaxation. There was nothing to do, no tension, no dream, no desire – everything was finished.