Selling Water By The River
Withdrawal brings a peace that is suicide. Yes, you go to the Himalayas, you live in a cave, you are peaceful – because there is no possibility to fight with anybody. You have not changed at all, you have only changed the circumstances. You are the same person. If circumstances arise, you will go to war, you will fight. You will become angry if somebody comes and insults you.
You may have lived for thirty years in a cave in the Himalayas and somebody comes and insults you, and you will be surprised that anger comes back. Thirty years won’t help; the anger was waiting there for the right season. Now somebody has insulted – the spring has come, and the anger blooms. And in a single moment all those thirty years of withdrawal have disappeared.
The real test is in life. If you are really peaceful, then be in the marketplace – there is the real test of your peace. Be peaceful there. I am not for withdrawal, I am for transformation. I am not for renunciation, I am all for life-affirmation. Live life as totally as possible. Find out ways how to live it more peacefully, how to live it more meditatively, how to live it in a more divine way. But don’t escape.
The escapist is a coward; he has no courage. He is closing his eyes because he has become too much afraid of the world. His logic is that of the ostrich. That is not very human; that is very very below human. That is a little bit stupid. Just by closing your eyes nothing changes; the world remains the same. You can believe that everything has changed, because you cannot see anything any more. Your house is on fire, and you can sit with closed eyes and you can believe that the house is not on fire and everything is okay. You can create a kind of auto-hypnosis – and of course you will not be disturbed. But open your eyes, and the house is on fire.
A real man of peace lives with the world, in the world, and yet is not of it. He will do everything that he can do – if the house is on fire then he will do everything that he can do to put the fire off – and yet he will remain undisturbed, undistracted. He will remain unwavering.
That integration is what I call real peace. “Peace of mind can be gained by withdrawal from the world..” No, it has never been gained and it can never be gained “.by stilling the vortices of the mind.” No. By stilling the mind you can simply force the mind to be peaceful. It is a kind of repression.
The real peace does not come out of repression. The mind has not to be repressed, the mind has to be understood. Why is the mind so noisy? Why does it go on and on? Why? This whole phenomenon of the mind has to be understood with love, with compassion. Befriend your mind, don’t be in a hurry to force peace on it. A forced peace is not a peace at all. And don’t try to still it; stillness is not the real thing.
Silence is not stillness. Silence happens. Stillness is managed, stillness comes out of control. A man sits controlling his body in a yoga posture, forcing his attention somewhere – on Krishna, on Christ; repeating a mantra – aum, Ram, anything – somehow managing, trying to manage to remain concentrated. This man is just creating a false substitute.
Zen: The Path of Paradox, Vol. 2 CH: 2