So, always remember, this is not a philosophical association, not a theosophical society where everybody is trying to prove that he knows more than you know. This is a place of transformation, of going through a revolution. And unless you show your real face, it is impossible to make any changes in your life, any transformations in your consciousness.
At the most, I can paint your mask, but I cannot change your real face by painting the mask. The mask has to be put aside. Hence, love and trust are needed – that you can be utterly nude, without any fear.
You are not going to be condemned here. You will be accepted as you are, and we will begin from that acceptance to reach for a higher stage, for growth. But that growth is not a condemnation of your present state. That growth is based on your present state of being; it has to be accepted.
But the religions of the world have really poisoned people’s minds. Nobody is ready to open up and show who he is, because for centuries things have been condemned, you have to hide them. Nobody wants to be condemned. And there are things which have been praised, so you have to show them – whether you have them or not does not matter.
It is very human and very natural; you want to be loved and to be accepted.
And the society has made the rules of the game, that these are the things to be condemned, so if you have those things hide them, repress them so deeply that even you become unaware of them. And if you don’t have those things which society praises, honors, then pretend, and pretend so cleverly that it seems almost real.
Sometimes it is possible that the pretender may look more real than the real person, because the real person never goes through rehearsals. The pretender practices, disciplines himself.
I have always liked a beautiful incident in the life of Charlie Chaplin. It was his birthday, perhaps the fiftieth birthday, and all his fans and friends wanted to celebrate it in a special way. And they found a special way: all over England, in every place, there were competitions, and people were invited to play the part of Charlie Chaplin. And in those competitions there were selections, and then there were other competitions from district to district. Then the semi-finals were in London and there was a final decision about who would get the first prize.
Just to give his friends a great surprise, Charlie Chaplin himself entered into the competition from a nearby district. He came to the semi-finals, but rather than surprising his friends he was surprised himself: he got second prize. Somebody played his act better than him; he had never thought about the possibility. But it happened because the other person was practicing it, rehearsing it, and Charlie Chaplin simply appeared as he was. There was no need for him to rehearse – he was Charlie Chaplin. But getting the second prize…