Listening to them – and a great crowd gathered – the donkey became restless, so restless that he jumped, fell from the bridge down into the river and died. The two men came down – the donkey was dead.
They sat by the side and the old man said, “Now listen…”
This is not an ordinary story – the old man was a Sufi master, an enlightened person, and the young man was a disciple. And the old master was trying to show him a lesson, because Sufis always create situations; they say unless there is a situation, you cannot learn deeply. So this was just a situation for the young man.
Now the old man said, “Look: just like this donkey you will be dead if you listen too much to people. Don’t bother what others say, because there are millions of others and they have their own minds and everybody will say something; everybody has his opinion and if you listen to opinions this will be your end.”
Don’t listen to anybody, remain yourself. Just bypass them, be indifferent. If you go on listening to everybody, everybody will be prodding you this way or that. You will never be able to reach to your innermost center.
Everybody has become eccentric. This English word is very beautiful: it means “off the center,” and we use it for the mad people. But everybody is eccentric, “off the center,” and the whole world is helping you to be eccentric because everybody is prodding you. Your mother is prodding you towards the north, your father towards the south, your uncle is doing something else, your brother something else, your wife, of course, something else – and everybody is trying to force you somewhere. By and by, a moment comes…you are nowhere. You remain just on the crossroads being pushed from north to south, from south to east, from east to west, moving nowhere. By and by, this becomes your total situation: you become eccentric. This is the situation. And if you go on listening to others and not listening to your inner center, this situation will continue.
All meditation is in order to become centered, not to be eccentric, to come to your own center.
Listen to your inner voice, feel it, and move with that feeling. By and by, you can laugh at others’ opinions, or you can be simply indifferent. And once you become centered you become a powerful being; then nobody can prod you, then nobody can push you anywhere, simply nobody dares. You are such a power, centered in yourself, that anybody who comes with an opinion simply forgets his opinion near you; anybody who comes to push you somewhere, simply forgets that he had come to push. Rather, just coming near you, he starts feeling overpowered by you.