We love people, but our love is not real love because we go on reducing them into things. Real love will raise them higher, higher than the person. Real love will make them presences. Watch. When you meet a man or a woman, the other is a person. If your love is not real, the person will disappear and there will be a thing, a wife, a husband, et cetera. If your love is real, if you respect the nothingness of the other person, the innermost unbounded infinity and eternity of the person, you will raise him or her into a presence. The person will disappear; there will be a presence, a very, very vital presence. But the presence cannot be predictable, and the presence cannot be manipulated. The presence means freedom. It is as free as the fragrance of a flower.
Because no person can really be reduced totally and finally into a thing, people stop loving people. They start loving things. It is more safe that way. Watch yourself. Do you love things? That means you have forgotten completely who you are and you have forgotten completely that God exists as a presence in existence. And you will never be able to have any communion with God.
Millions of people only go on gathering things, go on possessing things. Finally what happens? They are possessed by things. If you try to possess things you will be possessed by things. And this is the ugliest state a man can fall to.
Things seem solid – certainly they are solid. There is no need to believe in things; there is no need to trust. They are so solid, they are there, tangible. Their existence needs no proof. Things seem solid; they are solid. And, the no-thing seems to be in danger today, because that no-thing that you are is not solid. It is not tangible, it is not visible. You cannot touch it, you cannot see it, you cannot hear it. Unless you have a heart to feel it, your senses are incapable of knowing anything about it. It is not an experience of your senses; it is something transcendental to the senses.
Deep concern, care, respect, love, responsibility, the giving of self to another, these are not thing-like activities; and when you start believing too much in things these activities start disappearing.
That’s why I say this country thinks it is religious. It is not! It believes in things. There are two kinds of people in this country, but both believe in things. One kind is called the worldly: that kind goes on accumulating things. The other kind is called the other-worldly, spiritual, religious: he goes on renouncing things. But both are focused on things, both concentrate on thing – one to possess, one to dispossess. But their eyes remain focused on things.
I call this country one of the most materialistic countries in the world. But it is living in a great illusion, and the illusion is created because the people who renounce things appear to be religious. It is not a question of possessing things or renouncing things.
A religious person is one who has started living in the world of no-things, who knows how to love, how to pray, how to meditate – because meditation is not any solid thing. You cannot show it to anybody. And neither is love a commodity. You cannot sell it in the marketplace; you cannot profit out of it. The religious person is one who starts entering into the world of no-things. And the beginning has to be with the acceptance, with the celebration of your own no-thinghood, of your own nothingness.
It is far better to use the negative expression so that you don’t start thinking about yourself as a thing.