Buddha said, “After two miles, ask again.”
Ananda said, “What do you mean? After two miles also we are not going to get to the village?”
Buddha said, “I don’t believe them. They are just compassionate people. They are simply encouraging you. If they say it is ten miles, you may get discouraged.”
It turned out to be exactly ten miles, and each time they asked everyone on the way, just simple villagers, all said, “Just two miles, it is just…you have almost reached.”
When they reached the town Ananda asked, “How did you know that it must be at least ten miles? It turns out to be exactly ten miles.”
Buddha said, “That is my whole business. That’s what I have been doing my whole life, telling people, ‘Just a little more. Soon you will be reaching,’ just to keep them going.”
A friend, a guide, a master is immensely helpful in many ways; otherwise you may get tired, you may think you have lost the way. You may think it is a futile search, you may think it is really madness and it is better to stop doing such things. People may start to think of you as insane: you are getting into danger. Your own children, your wife, your father, your mother, your friends have started thinking that you are going a little cuckoo. It is best to stop right now, before it is too late, before you have gone too far and you cannot come back.
A master is needed to assure you, “This is only a momentary phase, it will go away. You have to go a little farther. Going back is meaningless. Go on, in spite of what happens, in spite of what people think of you. You will pass over it.”
Somebody with great authority and experience has to keep you inspired, courageous. There are moments of weakness, there are moments of doubt, and somebody is needed to keep your spirit awake, strong, ready to go on the full adventure.
The master cannot take you to the goal, but without the master it is almost impossible to reach. There are so many other difficulties, which you alone may not be able to cross over. This is one, and this is one of the most significant because nobody wants to be thought about as crazy or mad. But it comes to every meditator. This is the price one has to pay.
You cannot get the highest experience in life without paying any price. These are the prices you have to pay. And when these moments come, feel grateful to existence that the journey has started, that you have entered at least into the new space of your innermost being.
Be thankful for this madness. It happens only to those who are blessed. And if it is happening to you, you are blessed.