The first question:
What is the difference between being passive
and flowing with the river?
A lot of difference, and not only of quantity but quality – of direction, of plane, of dimension. And it has to be understood very minutely because the difference is subtle.
The passive mind can appear as if it is flowing with the river, but the passive mind is not flowing with the river because it has a certain attitude – of passivity. The passive mind is also a mind and to flow with the river you need a no-mind. But because of the similarity, through the centuries, many and many have been deceived. To cultivate passivity is easier than to flow with the river. To condition your mind in passivity is very easy. That’s why, in the past and even now, monasteries, monks, sannyasins have existed – people who have renounced the world.
What they are really trying to do…they are trying to become absolutely passive. But their passivity is negativity. They have already chosen an attitude.
First, these people were much too active in the world; running, desiring, ambitious. The mind was active, excited – with desire, future, hope. Then they got frustrated, because whatsoever you hope for is not going to be fulfilled. All hopes are hopeless and all desiring comes to frustration, and all expectations carry frustration as a seed within. So sooner or later, everybody is bound to come to a point in life when the active mind looks simply like a hell: too much activity and no result out of it, running and running and never arriving.
If you are intelligent it happens soon, if you are stupid it takes a little longer time, but it happens all the same. If you are very intelligent then when you are young you will come to see it, if you are not that intelligent then in old age, but sooner or later. Everybody comes to feel that a life with the active mind is frustrating – it leads nowhere. It promises much but it never fulfills anything. It leaves a distaste in the mouth, a discontent in the being. One simply feels tired and wearied, defeated. One simply feels that the whole thing has been futile.