This seems easier to people – to lose imagination – because you are going downhill. But this is not the way to become blissful, because blissfulness is possible only when you are utterly intelligent. The trees are not hankering for more, but they are not blissful either, because they are not aware. How can blissfulness happen when you are not aware? They look blissful to us because we can see and watch, because we can observe.
Flowers look beautiful to us, children look beautiful to us – so silent, so innocent – because we can observe and we can be aware. But in themselves they are simply below the threshold of awareness. Nothing is happening there, because happening starts only with awareness.
So you can fall into a dull existence, monotonous, stale, flat, and then the game is no more there. Or, you can rise above, you can move upwards, and you can come to a point from where, from the hilltop you can look at the valleys, and the whole game seems meaningless. Not that you stop playing it; you continue to play – because it is meaningless but beautiful. You continue to play with no idea of any goal in it. You participate in it, but you are no more a participant.
That is the meaning of the Zen saying: “Be in the world but be not of it.” Be in the world but don’t let the world enter in you. Move in the river but don’t be touched by the water, don’t allow the water to touch you.
There is nothing wrong in the game if you understand that it is just a game; then you can play it. The problem arises when you become very serious about the game. And you can watch people – even playing cards they become very serious. Even playing chess they become very serious and very tense. They know they are playing a game but they go on forgetting again and again. The game becomes serious.
It is beautiful to participate in it. Chess is beautiful, a good sharpener of intelligence. But to become serious, it creates anxiety. To become very serious about it can create madness.
I have heard about one emperor of Egypt. He went mad because he was such a serious player of chess. His whole life was nothing but a concern about chess. When he went mad his physicians were very much worried. They inquired all over the country. They asked old wise men what to do. One Sufi mystic suggested, “If some good chess player is ready to play with him he will be okay. But you will have to find a very serious player, and really a match for him.”
They were ready to pay whatsoever was demanded. One of the greatest, a world champion, came and accepted the offer. One year continuously he played chess with the mad emperor. After one year the emperor was back to his sanity – but the other fellow went mad.
There is nothing wrong in being playful, but don’t get serious about it. And it seems – the question is from Prabha – it seems she is serious about it. Let us dissect the question step by step.
First: “Why can’t we let one another be?” Because we are not ourselves, so how can we allow others to be themselves? You can allow the other only that which you have allowed yourself. You cannot allow more than that, remember it. If you are not free you will not allow freedom to anybody else. If you are repressed you will not allow expression to others.