The first question:
For most of my life I have held myself aloof, separate and isolated, and I have therefore been protected from people and situations.
My innermost fear has always been that if I opened my heart totally the vast love that I feel would rush out like water from an overflowing well and be lost, diverted or rejected. My essence is like a delicate flower and if it blossomed in the wrong terrain it could easily be badly bruised or destroyed. This is my fear.
Is this the time and place to open my heart totally?
It is one of the most basic fears of all human beings. This is the fear that has created the monks and the nuns. The whole past of humanity has been dominated by this fear, like a cancer of the soul.
It looks very logical, that if you share your love you will be wasting it and soon you will become poor. This is the ordinary law of economics: if you want to have more money don’t share it, be miserly. Get as much as you can and give as little as possible. Only then can you accumulate, then can you be rich.
This is true as far as the outside world is concerned, but it is absolutely untrue about the inner world; a totally different law functions there. The inner law is: if you don’t give you will lose, if you give you will keep. The more you give the more you will have, the less you give the less you will have. If you don’t give at all then you will not have anything – you will be just utterly empty, a grave. And inside the grave there is no possibility of any flower blossoming. The flower needs the sun, the rain, the wind, the stars, the sky, the birds. It needs to open up to existence, howsoever delicate it is. In that opening the fragrance is released, the imprisoned splendor is released.
You are basically a monk. The word monk is significant – it means “one who lives a lonely life,” one who lives a life of no relationships, of no relatedness, of no love, of no sharing; one who lives a windowless life closed on all sides, utterly closed in himself out of the fear that if he opens up, who knows what will happen to his tender heart, to his delicate inner being? He is afraid of rejection, he is afraid of situations, he is afraid of the unknown. He clings to himself, but this clinging only brings death. He may go dragging on for years, but that is not life, that is slow suicide.
The very word monk means one who has decided to live in a lonely way. From the same root comes monastery, where people live in loneliness; from the same word come words like monopoly, monotony, monogamy.