The Russian empire was one of the greatest empires that has ever existed, spreading from one continent to another continent. And the prime minister, who has had great power, one day becomes the owner of a grocery store in New York, and becomes so afraid that he changes his name, he changes his identity. Only when he died was it found in his papers and in his diaries that he was Kerensky, the missing prime minister of the czars.
All our positions, all our powers, our money, our prestige, respectability, they are all soap bubbles. And certainly, The essence of the way is detachment. Don’t get attached to the soap bubbles; otherwise you will be continuously in misery and agony. Those soap bubbles don’t care that you are attached to them; they go on bursting and disappearing into the air and leaving you behind with a wounded heart, with a failure, with a deep destruction of your ego. They make you sour, bitter, irritated, frustrated. They make your life a hell.
Just to understand that life is made of the same stuff as dreams are made of is the essence of the way. Detachment: live in the world but don’t be of the world. Live in the world but don’t let the world live within you. Remember that it is all a beautiful dream, because everything is changing and disappearing. Don’t cling to anything. Clinging is the cause of our being unconscious.
If you start unclinging a tremendous release of energy will happen within you. And that energy that was involved in clinging to things will bring a new dawn to your being, a new light, a new understanding, a tremendous unburdening – no possibility of any misery, agony, anguish.
On the contrary, when all these things disappear you find yourself serene, calm and quiet, in a subtle joyfulness. There is a laughter in your being. That’s what Bodhidharma says, that a buddha laughs without laughing. Nobody has seen any statue of Buddha laughing – there is no need for him to laugh; his whole being is feeling the laugh.
You have to understand the psychology of laughter. You laugh very easily, but your laughter has a different quality than the laughter of the buddha. You laugh because your life is so miserable that any moment, any incident which looks ridiculous helps you to forget your misery for a moment. All your tensions disappear and there is a laughter. Hence laughter is a great relaxing phenomenon. It is tremendously healthy. Within a second it takes you beyond all your tensions, but only for a moment…and you are back again in your dark cave.
A buddha laughs without laughing because he has no tensions. He does not accumulate the energy in tensions that can explode in laughter. And he knows that life is ridiculous. Here people are doing things which are all laughable. Laughter becomes something ingrained in the very cells of his being; it does not come just to his lips. His clarity makes him see things which perhaps you go on missing seeing.
I have heard:
A woman suddenly said to the man who was in bed with her, “Get up, quick! I heard the noise of my husband’s car, which is so rotten that you can hear it from half a mile away. He has just braked in the driveway. You just get up!”