The danger with the positive expression is this: that any positive expression is bound to be limited. The positive means the defined. Only the negative can be undefined, only the negative can be unbounded. The positive immediately becomes a thing, and you are not a thing. You are a no-thing; that’s why Buddha says you are a nothing. Remember always, nothing does not mean nothing; it simply means no thing.
But we live in the world of things, we are surrounded by things. And it is very easy to think of our own self as another thing – luminous, divine, but still a thing. It is not a thing, it is a no-thing. It is not even a person, it is only a presence. It is not even a flower, but only a fragrance.
In our “thingified” culture, personal existence has lost all significance. We are continuously surrounded by things, man-made things. Things distract the human person from the fact that he is a no-thing. Maybe that’s why we are so interested in things. “Have as many things as you can, go on accumulating things. The more things you have, the more you are”: this is our logic.
When you have a great bank balance you feel you are. The moment the bank balance disappears you start disappearing. People commit suicide when they go bankrupt, as if their soul was in the bank. Their bank balance was their soul. How can they live now without a soul?
Just watch how attached you become to things. Your house, your many scientific gadgets, which are nothing but toys – how deeply you become obsessed with them. And slowly, slowly you forget completely that you are a no-thing.
Not only that you forget that you are a no-thing, you forget that your wife is not a thing, that your child is not a thing. Surrounded by things and things, living in a thingified culture…. That is the real name for a materialist culture. One tends to forget all that is spiritual, and one tends to reduce everything into a thing. Even persons are reduced.
When you meet a woman and you fall in love, she is a person. Sooner or later you reduce her into a thing – she becomes a wife. A wife is a thing; a woman is a person. If you really love any woman you will not reduce her to a wife. A wife is a function. If you really love a man you will not reduce him to a husband. A husband? It is a legal contract, a formality. To be in love with a man, undefined, indefinable, has beauty; to reduce him to a contract, to reduce him to a function, to reduce him to a husband, means you have reduced him into a thing.
But whatsoever you do, a person remains a person and he cannot be reduced into a thing. And that creates trouble. The wife remains a woman, whatsoever you think. She remains a woman. You can believe that she is a wife, but still she is a woman – vast, unpredictable. That creates trouble. You would like her to be as predictable as a thing, as your car, as your tape recorder, as your TV – predictable, manipulatable, controllable, always obedient. And she tries, but still there is something inside her which is not a thing at all – a no-thing, a freedom. That asserts. And whenever that freedom asserts, there is trouble.
And you also have that freedom, and whenever your freedom asserts there is trouble.