You also ask: “As a scientist, do I ever stand a chance of experiencing mystery?” Not as a scientist, there is no chance. I cannot give you false hope. As a scientist you have no chance to know the mysterious; but that does not mean that you have to stop being a scientist, that simply means that you can let science be one of the aspects of your life. Why make it your whole life? Why become synonymous with it? It is perfectly good to use your logical mind, your analytical mind – it is perfectly good, it is beneficial. The world needs technology, the world needs science, and you can be of immense service to humanity – but that is a totally different matter.
You should not think that this can be your whole life. Otherwise you will live only on the porch of the palace: you will think that this is the palace and you will suffer all kinds of things on the porch. Sometimes it will be too cold and sometimes it will be too hot, and sometimes the rain will start coming in – it is only an open porch! And the palace is there, available; you could have entered the palace. I am not against the porch, remember, I am not telling you to demolish it. The porch is a necessity, but a porch is a porch. Pass through it, use it, but you have a beautiful palace – why not explore the whole palace of your being?
Explore poetry, explore music, explore dance, explore meditation, and finally and ultimately disappear into the fourth. Then, and only then, the goose is out!
The second question:
When serious, sad people become enlightened, do they remain serious and sad or do they become funny like you?
Who has ever heard of serious people becoming enlightened? The serious person cannot become enlightened. Seriousness is a disease; it is the cancer of the soul. Seriousness is a wrong, utterly wrong approach to life. How can you come to truth through a wrong approach? The serious person is simply ill, pathological. Of course, for thousands of years serious people have dominated us because that is their only joy in life, there is no other joy for them – the joy of dominating.
There is a beautiful parable of Kahlil Gibran: Every day he goes for a morning walk and he comes across a field where a scarecrow has been put. The scarecrow has a purpose: he drives wild animals away, birds away from the crops.
One day Kahlil Gibran asks the scarecrow, “You have been standing here year in, year out – you must be getting very tired, very bored?”
And the scarecrow says, “No, I may look bored, I may look very serious, but I am enjoying my job.”
Kahlil Gibran says, “What kind of enjoyment can you have? I don’t see anything here for you to enjoy.”
He says, “The very joy of making people afraid gives me such a thrill. Day in, day out, I am driving animals and birds crazy! They run away from me. I am the supreme-most around here, I am the most powerful person. Everybody is afraid of me. Don’t you think that’s more than one can expect from life?”