Life is not always easy to live, but the opportunity to do so is a blessing beyond comprehension. In the process of living, we will face struggles, many of which will cause us to suffer and to experience pain.
– Lionel Kendrick
Door Is Open
Once it happened, a great prime minister of a very great emperor died. The prime minister was rare, very intelligent, almost wise, very cunning, shrewd, a great diplomat, and it was very difficult to find a substitute. The whole kingdom was searched. All the ministers were sent to find at least three people; then the final decision will be taken and one of them will be chosen.
For months the search was on. The whole kingdom was searched; every nook and corner was searched. Then three persons were found. One was a great scientist, a great mathematician. He could solve any mathematical problem, and mathematics is really the only positive science — all sciences are its branches — so he was at the root.
Another was a great philosopher, he was a great system-maker: out of nothing he could create all. Just out of words, he could create such beautiful systems — it is a miracle, only philosophers can do it. They have nothing in their hands; they are the greatest magicians. They create God, they create the theory of creation, they create everything — and nothing is there in their hands. But they are clever artisans of words: they join words together in such a way that they give you a feeling of substance — and nothing is there.
And the third one was a religious man, a man of faith, prayer, devotion. And the people who were searching for these three men must have been very wise, because they had found three.
These three represent the three dimensions of consciousness. These are the only possibilities: a man of science, a man of philosophy and a man of religion — these are the basis. A man of science is concerned with experiments: unless something is proved through experiment, it is not proved.
A man of philosophy is a man of logic, not of experiments. Experiment is not the question; just through logic he proves, disproves.
And the third is the religious dimension. This man does not look at life as a problem. Life is not a problem for a religious man. It is nothing to be solved, it is something to be lived.
The religious man is the man of experience, the scientist is the man of experiment, the philosopher is the man of thinking.
Life is not an object, it is the very core of subjectivity. When you experiment you are different; when you live you are one. So the religious man says, “Unless you are one with life, you can never know it.” How can you know it from the outside? You may go about and about, around and around, but you will never hit the target. So neither experiment, nor thinking, but experience; simple, trusting — a man of faith.
They searched and they found these three men, and then they were called to the capital for the final judgment. The king said, “For three days you rest and get ready. On the morning of the fourth day will be the examination, the final. One of you will be chosen and he will become my prime minister — the one who is proved to be the most wise.”
They started working in their own ways. Three days were not enough! The scientist had to think of many experiments, and work it out — who knows what type of examination there is going to be? So he couldn’t sleep for three days, there was no time: and there was his whole life to sleep once he was chosen, so why bother about sleep?
The philosopher started thinking, many problems were to be solved: “Who knows what type of problem is going to be asked?” Only the religious man was at ease. He ate, and ate well. Only a religious man can eat well, because eating is an offering, it is something sacred. He slept well. He would pray, sit outside, go for a walk, look at the trees, and be thankful to God; because for a religious man there is no future and there is no final examination. Every moment is the examination, so how can you prepare for it? If something is in the future you can prepare; but if something is right now, here, how can you prepare for it? You have to face it. And there was no future.
And on the morning of the fourth day, when they started for the palace for the final examination, the scientist was not even in a position to walk. He was so tired with his experiments, as if his whole life had oozed out.
And the philosopher? He was not so tired, but he was more uncertain than ever, because he had thought and thought and argued and argued, and no argument can become the conclusion. He was muddled, in a mess, he was a chaos.
Only the religious man was walking happily, singing. He could hear the birds in the trees, he could see the sun rising, he could see the sun rays on the dewdrops. The whole life was such a miracle. He was not worried because there was no examination — he would go and face the thing, he would simply go and see what happens. And he was not asking for anything, he was not expecting, he was fresh, young, alive — and that’s all. That’s how one should approach God; not with ready-made formulas, not with
Ready-made theories, not with many experimental research works, not with many PhD’s. No, it is not going to help. This is the way one should go — singing and dancing to the temple. And if you are alive, then whatsoever comes you can respond to it, because response is through life, it is through the heart, and the heart is ready when it is singing, when it is dancing.
They arrived. The emperor had made a very special device. They were taken into a room where he had fixed a lock, a mathematical puzzle. Many figures were on the lock, but there was no key. Those figures were to be fixed in a certain way: the secret was there, but one had to search for it and find it. If those figures were fixed in a certain way the door would open. The emperor took them in and said, “This is a mathematical puzzle, one of the greatest ever known. Now you have to find the clue — there is no key. If you can find the clue, the answer to this mathematical problem, the lock will open. And the person who comes out of this room first will be chosen. So now start.” He closed the door and went out.
Immediately the scientist started working out many experiments, many things, many problems on paper. He looked — observed the figures on the lock. There was no time to lose, it was a question of life and death. The philosopher closed his eyes, started thinking in mathematical terms what to do, how this puzzle can be solved. The puzzle was absolutely new.
That is the problem with the mind: if something is old the answer can be found, but if something is absolutely new, how can you work it out through the mind? The mind is quite efficient with the old, the known, the routine. Mind is absolutely inefficient when the unknown faces it.
The religious man never went to the lock, because what can he do? He does not know any mathematics, he does not know any experimental science. What can he do? He just sat in a corner. He sang a little, prayed to God, closed his eyes. Those two others were thinking that he is not a competitor at all. “In a way it is good, because the thing has to be decided between us two.” Then suddenly they became aware that he had left the room, he was not there. The door was open.
The emperor came in and he said, “What are you doing now? It is finished. The third man is out.”
But they asked, “How?… because he never did anything.”
So they asked the religious man. He said, “I was just sitting. I prayed and I was just sitting and a voice said within me, ‘You fool. Just go and see. The door is not locked.’ And I just went to the door; it was not locked. There was no problem at all to be solved, so I went out.”
Life is not a problem. If you are trying to solve it you will miss it. The door is open, it has never been locked. If the door was locked, then scientists would find the solution. If the door was locked, then philosophers may find a system to open it. But the door is not locked, so only faith can go — without any solution, without any readymade answer. Push the door open and get out.
Life is not a riddle to be solved, it is a mystery to be lived. It is a deep mystery, so trust and allow yourself to enter into it. No debate can be of any help — with somebody else, or with yourself inside the mind — no debate. All debates are futile and stupid.
Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
– Paulo Coelho