I am afraid to jump from a three-meter tower into a swimming pool.
Will I still be able to jump into enlightenment?
The first basic thing to understand is that you are not expected to jump into enlightenment. You have to climb for it; it is higher than you, not lower than you. So at least, one fear you can drop!
And climbing to enlightenment is a simple process. It is not something tortuous, arduous. It is something like peeling an onion: after one layer there is another layer, fresher, younger, juicier, after that layer there are still more juicier layers. And if you go on peeling, finally nothing is left in your hands, because the onion was nothing but layers upon layers. Enlightenment is a kind of peeling of the ego.
It is parallel to the onion because it has no inner substance, only layers. And those layers sometimes slip by themselves; they become old sometimes by accident. If you watch your life, you can see it happening. It is not a theorization. Sometimes you can see that you are not wearing the right mask for the right occasion. When you are expected to smile, you are not smiling; when you are expected to weep, you are not weeping.
I used to live with a distant uncle’s family. His wife died. In fact it is very difficult to find a husband who never thinks that if his wife died it would be good, a good riddance. And my uncle’s wife was certainly a nightmare. In fact everybody was happy that she died, and everybody knew that the husband was happy that she had died, but still the convention, the tradition…
I used to sit in the garden. He told me, “I cannot remain in a miserable posture the whole day long because really I am not miserable. You know it. I cannot hide it from you – twenty-four hours a day you are in the house – but when relatives come, I have to show that I am very miserable.” Not to be caught being happy and at ease, he told me, “You mostly sit in the garden reading, so you can just give me a signal from there that somebody is coming.” So I had to give him signals.
And the miracle was that the moment I would give him the signal, immediately he would become miserable. Sometimes I would play a joke; I would give the signal and nobody would turn up. And he would be very angry: “This you should not do, because this is a dangerous joke. Sometimes I may think you are joking and somebody may turn up. You have to understand that I should not be caught enjoying myself. In fact I have never enjoyed myself because of this woman! She was such a pain in the neck. And even today, although she is dead, she is torturing me through these relatives – relatives I have not seen for years, relatives I don’t even recognize as relatives. They come and I have to be miserable; whether the relative is real or false, I have to bring tears to my eyes.