In India it happens – a person may be sixty years of age and may not feel independent, because his father is still alive. In India a man becomes grown-up only when the father dies. This is ugly. You have to wait for that – when your father dies then you will be able to be on your own. But a man who has lived for sixty years as a dependent, how can he become independent suddenly when the father dies? He will only pretend; deep down he will remain dependent.
The family depends on dependence, the society depends on dependence – they all depend on your non-growing selves, they all try to keep you stuck somewhere. That’s why there is pain. The pain is not because of growth, but because your culture, your society, has a great investment in you and it does not allow you to grow.
Take hold of your being. Face your pains and throw off all kinds of bondages, because only by being free of all bondages will you be able to sing your song and dance your dance. And that’s what prayer is. If you have been able to sing the song that you brought in your heart, you are fulfilled. Then you are a tree which has bloomed.
In spring, hundreds of flowers; In autumn, a harvest moon. In summer, a refreshing breeze; In winter, snow. If useless things do not hang in your mind, Any season is a good season.
It is a Zen saying: “If useless things don’t hang in your mind….” Growth is painful because you are carrying so many useless things in your mind. You should have dropped them long before. But you have not been taught to drop anything, you have only been taught to hold everything – meaningful, meaningless. Because you are carrying so many hang-ups, hence the growth is difficult. Otherwise growth will be so smooth, just like a bud opens into a flower.
The second question:
I am always feeling guilty, as if I have committed great crimes. How can I drop this guilt? It is destroying me and all the possibilities to live my life joyously.
That’s what I was saying just now: you have been programmed in such a way that you cannot live joyously. All joy has been contaminated, all joy has been poisoned, all joy has been condemned. And you have heard it repeated so many times – from the priest, from the parent, from the teachers, from everybody – that it has become a very, very ingrained idea in you that there is something wrong in being joyous.