But if you are effacing yourself you will become more and more sad and heavy, you will become more and more dull and dead – because effacing oneself is nothing but a slow suicide. Beware of it! And you have to be aware, very aware, because they both look alike.
The real danger in spiritual growth is from things which are diametrically opposite but look very alike. The real problem does not arise from things which are apparently opposite; the real problem arises with things which are not so apparently opposite, and yet they are opposite.
The real opposite of hate is not love, the real opposite of love is not hate – it is so apparent, who can be deceived by it? The real opposite of love is pseudo-love: love that pretends to be love, and is not. One has to be watchful there.
The real opposite of compassion is not anger. The real opposite of compassion is cultivated compassion: compassion that is not within you but is only in your character, compassion that you have painted on your circumference.
The real opposite of your smiles are not tears, but smiles which are painted, smiles which don’t go any deeper than the lips, which are nothing but exercises of the lips. No heart collaborates with them, no feeling stands behind them. There is nobody behind the smile, the smile is just a learned trick. Tears are not opposite to smiles, they are only complementaries. But the false smile is the real opposite.
Always remember, the false is the enemy of the true. If your smile is true and your tears are true, they are friends, they will help each other because they both will strengthen the truth of your being. If your tears are false and your smiles are false, then too, they are friends; they will strengthen your falsity, your personality, your mask.
The conflict is between the real and the unreal or pretended. Emptying oneself is of tremendous value, but effacing yourself is dangerous. Effacing yourself is a subtle way of the ego – the ego coming from the back door.
And naturally it will make you more and more serious. That’s why your so-called saints look so serious. Their seriousness has a reason in it. The reason is, they are maintaining humbleness which is not really there. And to maintain something which is not really there is arduous, hard. One has to be continuously on guard. Just a little slip here and there, and the reality will assert, and it will destroy all that you have maintained for so long. It will destroy your respectability.
Anything that has to be maintained will keep you serious and sad, deep down afraid of being caught red-handed, of being caught in your falsity. You will escape from people if you are carrying something false in you. You will not allow anybody to be friendly, to be intimate with you, because in intimacy the danger is that the other may be able to see something which strangers cannot see. You will keep people at a distance; you will run and rush away from people. You will have only formal relationships, but you will not really relate, because to really relate means to expose yourself.