The East lives in myth; myth means a repetitive theme, the essential is always there. In the West myth is meaningless. If you can prove that something is a myth it becomes meaningless. You have to prove that it is history, it has happened in time; you have to be exact about it.
This linear concept of nonrepetitive life creates anxiety, so when you go into silence, alone, you become worried. One thing is: time is wasted. You are not doing anything, you are just sitting. Why are you wasting your life? And this time cannot be regained, because they go on teaching in the West: Time is wealth. It is absolutely wrong, because wealth is created by scarcity, and time is not scarce. The whole economics depends on scarcity: if something is scarce it becomes valuable. Time is not scarce, it is there always. You cannot finish it; it will always be there – so time cannot be economic. It is not scarce; it cannot be wealth.
But we go on teaching, “Time is wealth – don’t waste it. Once wasted it never comes again.” So if you go into aloneness and then you sit there, you cannot sit there for three years, you cannot sit there for three months, even three days are too much – you have wasted three days.
And what are you doing? The second problem arises – because in the West being is not very valuable, doing is valuable. They ask, “What have you done?” – because the time has to be used in doing something. They say in the West that a vacant mind is the devil’s workshop. And you know it, in the mind you also know it, so when you are sitting alone you become afraid. Wasting time, not doing anything, you go on questioning yourself, “What are you doing here? Just sitting? Wasting?” – as if just being is a wastage! You have to do something to prove that you have utilized your time. This is the difference.
In the old ancient days, in the East particularly, just to be was enough; there was no need to prove anything else. No one was going to ask, “What have you done?” Your being was enough and accepted. If you were silent, peaceful, blissful, it was okay. That’s why in the East we never demanded from sannyasins that they should work – no, no need. And we always thought that sannyasins, those who had left all working, were better than those who were occupied in work.
This cannot be done in the West. If you are not working you are a vagabond, a bum. Hippies are a very new phenomenon. The East has always been hippie-oriented. We have created the greatest hippies of the world – a Buddha, a Mahavira: not doing anything, just sitting and meditating, enjoying their being, just being blissful as they are, not doing anything. But we respected them – they were the supreme, the highest, the most respectable. Buddha was begging, but even kings had to come to bow to his feet.
Once it happened that Buddha was passing through a village, and the chief minister of the king of that locality told the king, “Buddha is coming, so we will have to go to receive him and touch his feet and pay our respects.”