Then Mark Twain said, “Once twenty years ago a doctor said to me, ‘Some day or other your right side will get paralyzed,’ so since then I have been pinching myself; I always feel, twenty or thirty times a day, whether it has gone. Just now I was pinching and” …he was pinching somebody else’s leg.
But why go on pinching? Why be concerned with paralysis? It is more of a disease if you have to pinch your leg thirty times a day for twenty years. Count it. This is worse than paralysis! Paralysis happens once; this is happening thirty times a day for twenty years. They say a brave man dies once and cowards die millions of times – because they go on pinching and feeling whether they are dead yet or not.
Your diseases help you to retain your ego. You feel that something is happening – of course not bliss, not ecstasy, but sadness and “Nobody is as sad as I am,” and “Nobody is as blocked as I am,” and “Nobody has such a migraine as I have got.” You feel superior there, everybody else is inferior.
If you are concerned too much with yourself remember, you will not attain. This over-concern will enclose you, and the Way is right before your eyes. You have to open your eyes, not close them.
Now try to understand this parable.
A master was asked by a curious monk: “What is the way?”
The first thing is to understand that the monk is curious, not a seeker. If you are a seeker you inquire in a different Way. You inquire with your being, you put yourself at stake, you become a gambler. If you are simply curious it is just like an itch; you feel a subtle itch in the mind but it is nothing, you are not really concerned with it, not sincere about it – whatsoever the answer you will not bother. It will not change you. And a curious man is a superficial man. You cannot ask such questions out of curiosity, you have to ask them out of a very authentic search. And when you go to a master you feel you have to ask something; otherwise you will be thought foolish.
Many people come to me and I know from where they are asking. Sometimes they are simply curious: because they have come, now they have to ask; otherwise they will be thought foolish. And by asking they prove they are foolish, because if the question has not really arisen in you, if the question has not become a deep inquiry, if the question does not put everything at stake, if the problem is not a problem of life and death, if you are not ready to be transformed by the answer, you are foolish if you ask. And if you are not questioning from the heart, it is difficult to give any answer, and even if an answer is given you will misunderstand it.