The first question:
You said man is a bridge between the animal and the divine.
Where are we on this bridge?
You are not on the bridge, you are the bridge. This has to be understood. If you think that you are on the bridge, you have missed the point – this is the ego misinterpreting the whole thing. You are the bridge. You have to be surpassed, transcended. You, as you are, are the bridge. You have to be left behind; you have to go beyond yourself.
If you understand this rightly then one thing can become very clear: if you are too much, you will become the animal; then too the bridge disappears. If the ego is crystallized too much, then too you are not a bridge, the bridge is no more – you have become the animal. If you are not at all, the bridge again disappears – then you are the divine. If only ego is left, you are a dog; the ego is the dog. If you have completely disappeared, then the remaining silence is divine, is God.
The remaining emptiness, the remaining void, the remaining space, infinite, with no boundaries – that’s what Buddha has called nirvana. The word nirvana means: when you have ceased to be. Literally the word nirvana means: when you extinguish a flame – the flame has disappeared, vast darkness, no light. When the flame of the ego has disappeared – you have become infinite, you cannot find yourself anywhere now – then you have become the divine.
Between these two points – the ego and the egolessness – is the bridge. You are that bridge. It will depend on how much ego you have: if you have too much you are leaning towards the animal; if you have not too much you are leaning towards the divine. A rope stretched between the animal and the divine – but you are the rope. So don’t ask where you are on the bridge, because that is the ego asking. Just try to understand that you are the bridge. It has to be transcended, surpassed; you have to go beyond yourself.
Don’t try to be free, because that may be a subtle ego motivation. Try to be free from the ego – because even freedom can become a motivation for the ego, but then you will never be free because the ego is the bondage. The freedom is not going to be yours; the freedom will be there only when you are not.