But with the other dimension, the religious dimension, of the myth – the ascetic, the self-torturer, the masochist – people never come to know their reality because they never torture anybody else. They torture only themselves. And people go on respecting them. People respect them very much because they are not harmful to anybody except to themselves. That is their business. The ascetics have always been worshipped. But asceticism is a kind of neurosis; it is not normal.
To eat too much is abnormal; to fast is also abnormal. the right amount of food is normality. To be in the middle is to be normal. To be exactly in the middle is to be healthy and whole and holy.
If you go to one extreme, you become a politician. If you go to the other extreme, you become a religious fanatic, an ascetic. Both have missed balance.
So the first thing to be understood is that the religion that we are creating here – and it has to be created again and again because it becomes corrupted again and again – the religion that we are invoking here is not political and is not in the ordinary sense even religious. It is neither sadistic nor masochistic. It is normal. It is to be in the middle.
And what is the way to be in the middle? The way to be in the middle is to be in the world but not to be of it. To be in the middle means to live in the world but not to allow the world to live in you. To be exactly in the middle and to be balanced means you are a witness to all that happens to you. Witnessing is the only foundation for a real authentic religion. Whatsoever is, has to be witnessed – joyfully, ecstatically. Nothing has to be denied and rejected. All denial, all rejection, will keep you in limits and you will remain in conflict. Everything has to be accepted as it is.
And you have to be a watcher. Pleasure comes – watch. Pain comes – watch. Neither be disturbed by pleasure nor be disturbed by pain. Let your calm remain unperturbed. Let your silence, your tranquillity, remain undisturbed. Pain will come and go and pleasure will come and go. Success will come and go and failure will come and go. And soon you will come to understand the point that it is only you who remains. That is eternal. This witnessing is eternal.
The contents that flow in the consciousness are temporary. One moment they are there, another moment they are gone. Don’t be worried about them; don’t be either in favor of them or against them. Don’t try to possess them, don’t hold onto them, because they are going to go. They have to go. It is the very nature of things that they cannot be permanent.
Something pleasant is happening. It cannot be permanent. It will have to go. And following it, something unpleasant is already getting ready to happen. It is the rhythm of life – day and night, life and death, summer and winter. The wheel goes on moving.
Don’t hold on and don’t try to make something very, very permanent. It is not possible. The more you try, the more frustrated you will become, because it cannot be done. And when it cannot be done, you feel defeated. You feel defeated because you have not understood one simple thing: nothing can be static. Life is a flux. Only one thing is eternally there and that is your consciousness, that innermost watcher.