Esalen is almost dead, it has seen its days of glory. People have deserted it – only a few people once in a while go there – because they could see the point: that in becoming egoistic they are creating a more miserable life for themselves. What is the point of growing up? – misery, agony, jealousy, competitiveness, violence…because if you are assertive, violence is not very far away from you. It is just behind you like a shadow; your assertiveness can become violence any moment. And with a strong ego it is bound to become your very way of life.
I am not trying here to polish your egoistic mind. I am trying to demolish, not polish. I am trying to help camels to become lions! Of course, it is difficult for a camel to become a lion, but it is not impossible, because I have made many camels into lions.
And once you become a lion, I have nothing to do. Your very lionhood will make you a child: simple, innocent, clean, pure, holy. That is growth. You have found the roots. And those roots are not just yours. You cannot claim, “These are my roots,” because your ego is no longer there to claim it. You have found the universal source of roots. You know now, perfectly well, that it is the same existence that blossoms in the rose, in the lotus, that moves the stars.
It is the same universe that is your energy too. You are not apart from existence, you are part of it. And the moment you realize that you are part of this beautiful universe, a great ecstasy surrounds you twenty-four hours a day.
So there is not only a difference between the so-called growth movement and what is happening here, they are diametrically opposite. The so-called growth movement is preventing people from growing. It consists only of camels. We are not interested in keeping you in the lowest grade of consciousness – camels, ugly. Nothing is straight in a camel; you cannot find a single straight line. Everything is as it should not be.
The lion has a beauty, tremendous beauty. If you have seen any statue, or a photograph or a drawing of the face of that great lion, Bodhidharma, you will be surprised looking at his eyes. Those eyes look so ferocious. The man was not like that, he was one of the most beautiful men who has walked on the earth. It is symbolic: those are the eyes of a lion.
It is a well-known fact that when the lion kills some animal, his method is hypnotism. He simply looks into the eyes of the animal, and the animal becomes hypnotized, stuck, frozen. He cannot escape, he cannot move. Trembling, he stands before the lion. The lion just has to keep hold of his eyes; through the eyes he prevents him from escaping. You will see in Bodhidharmas’s eyes the same flare, the same flame.
Many people escape from me. Their whole lives they will escape; now this becomes their growth. They waste their lives just escaping, and they can’t see a simple fact, that they are just cowards. There was an opportunity to go through a transformation. Of course something has to be dropped, something has to be burned, something has to be completely forgotten; only then do you allow transformation to take place.
The master’s work is to transform camels into lions. Then things take their own course: the lion becomes a child without any effort. The lion has found the roots. The child is going to blossom into his being.