Many times we have this question and feeling that – I HAVE A BELIEF THAT IN ORDER TO GROW I HAVE TO TAKE RISKS, AND IN ORDER TO TAKE RISKS I HAVE TO MAKE DECISIONS. THEN WHEN I TRY TO MAKE DECISIONS I AM FILLED WITH ANXIETY THAT I WILL MAKE A WRONG CHOICE, AS IF MY LIFE DEPENDED ON IT. WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS?
This seems still to be a belief, not an understanding. Belief is not going to help.
Belief means borrowed; belief means you have not understood it yet. You may have become fascinated with it, you may have seen people who have risked and grown through it, but you have still not realized that risk is the only way to live; there is no other way. Not to risk is the only wrong there is; to risk is never wrong.
You cannot risk wrongly because if you are always afraid not to risk, something may go wrong, then you are not risking at all. If everything is guaranteed and then you risk, and everything is settled that everything is right, then you risk – then where is the risk? No, in the risk, the possibility of going wrong that’s why it is a risk. And it is beautiful to move in that openness where something can be right, something can be wrong.
One grows through it because even if you commit a wrong, you will never be the same again. Through committing it you will understand much. Even if you go astray you can come back the moment you realize it. And when you come back you have learned something – and learned the hard way. Not just memorized, it has become part of your blood, bones, and marrow. So never be afraid of going astray. People who are afraid of going astray, they become paralyzed. They never move.
And life is a risk; because life is alive; it is not dead. Only in a grave is there no risk.
When you are dead there is no risk.
One disciple asked Lao Tzu, “Is it not possible to be at ease, comfortable in life?”
Lao Tzu said, “Wait. Soon you will die, and in the grave you can be at ease and comfortable forever and forever – for eternity.”
Don’t waste life for that, because that is coming. These few moments live. And there is no other way to live: to live means to risk. It is always there. It has to be so because you are a flow. You can go astray.
I have heard about a man who was always afraid of deciding, but one has to decide. So he had to decide, and whatsoever he would decide would always go wrong, and it had become almost a part of his life. And he knew it, that whatsoever he decided would go wrong. The business will bring no profit; the train that he decides to go on, he will miss; the woman that he decides to marry will fall in love with somebody else. He was always missing.
One day it happened, he had to go to another town for some business work and there was only one airline and only one plane – there was no question of decision. So he was very happy because there is no question of decision; there is no alternative. He had to take that plane. But just in the middle, the engines failed.
He was very much worried; he said, “My God! This time I have not decided. There was no alternative. Now this is too much. If something is wrong with me and my decision it’s okay, but this time I have not decided at all. You have decided.” He was a follower of St. Francis, so he called, “St. Francis, save me! At least this time. I have never asked your help because I was always deciding so I knew it was because something is wrong with me that everything goes wrong. This time I am not at fault.”
A hand from the sky came and took him out of the plane. He was very happy.
Then a voice was heard in the sky, “Which Francis? Francis Xavier, or Francis of Assisi? Tell me whom you have called!” Now again…. You cannot escape. Life is always a risk. One has to choose. Through choice you grow; through choice you become mature. Through choice you fall and you get up again.
Don’t be afraid of falling: otherwise your legs will lose the capacity to move.
Nothing is wrong with falling. Falling is part of walking: falling is part of life. Fall, get up again, and every fall will make you stronger: and every time you go astray you will come back better, more experienced, more aware. Next time the same path will not be able to distract you. Commit as many errors as you can – only don’t commit the same error again and again.
Nothing is wrong in committing errors. Commit as many as you can – the more you can the better, because the more experience, the more awareness will come to you. Don’t remain sitting, don’t remain hanging in an indecisive state of mind.
Decide! Not to decide is the only wrong decision because then you are missing everything.
It is said about Thomas Edison that he was working on some project and he failed one thousand times. For almost three years he worked continuously, and he would fail. He tried everything, nothing seemed to work. His disciples became desperate, hopeless. One day one disciple said, “You have done one thousand experiments. Every experiment has failed. We seem not to be moving anywhere.” Edison looked surprised; he said, “What are you saying? What do you mean? Not moving anywhere? One thousand wrong doors are closed: now the right door cannot be very far away. We have committed one thousand errors, that much we have learned. What do you mean by saying that we are wasting our time? These one thousand errors cannot attract us anymore. We are coming, we are zeroing upon the truth. How long can it escape?”
Never be afraid of errors, mistakes, of going wrong.
Life is moving. You can remain sitting: then your life will be like a death. Get up and be moving. Take the risk.
Our situation is like a little boy: Wise Winifred returned from summer camp with awards for woodcraft, hiking, and sailing; and also with a small star. Asked what the star was for, he replied, “For having my trunk packed neatly when we came home.” His mother was very pleased until Winifred added, “I had not unpacked it.”
Unpack! Don’t be afraid that you may not be able to pack it again so neatly. A little mess is good; nothing is wrong about it. But remaining with the unopened life, closed, is the only wrong you can do to life. That is refusal. That is refusing God. The whole has created you to live here, to live as profoundly as possible – to live as dangerously as possible. The whole wanted you to be so alive, alive at the peak – wildly alive that’s why you are sent. And you are afraid something may go wrong.
God is not afraid to send you. He is not afraid. He goes on sending all sorts of people – good people, wrong people, saints and sinners. He goes on. He is not afraid. If he was afraid the world would have disappeared long before, or it would never have Some into existence. If he was afraid, “If I create people and they do something wrong, if man goes astray….” In fact the first man Adam went astray. Man has to go that way. He created the first man, and he rebelled and disobeyed and he took the risk of getting out of the comfort of the garden of Eden, of convenience. He took the dangerous path. Just think of Adam – what risk. And God has not stopped since then. Otherwise he would have stopped. There is no need. He created the first man, and the first man went astray – now no need. He goes on creating.
In fact it seems that God created the whole situation. He said to Adam, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree.” This was temptation. Christians are absolutely wrong when they say that the devil tempted Adam absolutely wrong. God tempted when he said, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree of knowledge.” What more temptation can you imagine? Just try with any child. Tell him not to go into that room, and the next thing that he is going to do is to go into that room.
Osho’s small sannyasin, Dheeresh, was going back to London. Osho gave him a box and told him not to open it. He said. “Yes, I will not open it.” And then I talked to his mother, and again I told him, “Remember not to open it.” He said, “I will never open it.” The mother said, “He has already opened it!” It is God who tempted. When he said to Adam, “Don’t eat the fruit of this tree.” There is no need for any devil. God is the greatest tempter because he wants you to go, to experience, to move all over existence. Even if you go astray you cannot go out of him. Where can you go? Even if you do wrong, what wrong can you do, because he is and only he is? You cannot do anything against him. There is no possibility. It is just a game of hide-and-seek. God sends you, gives you a temptation – because that is the only way to grow.
Yes, you will come back someday. Adam goes out of the garden, Jesus comes back. Jesus is Adam coming back. It is the return, the return journey. Jesus is Adam who has realized, who has become aware of the error, of the mistake: but Jesus is not possible if there is no Adam in the beginning.
A priest was talking to small children and he was telling them how to pray to God, how your mistakes can be forgiven. Then he asked questions; he asked, “To be forgiven what is the basic requirement?” A small child stood and said, “To sin.”
To commit a mistake: to be forgiven that’s a must. Adam is needed for Jesus to be. Adam is the beginning of going astray: Jesus is coming back.
But Jesus is totally different from Adam. Adam was innocent. Jesus is wise – innocent plus something more. That plus has come to him because he went astray. Now he knows more, understands the ways of life and growth more.
Everybody has to enact this drama again and again. You have to be Adam to become a Jesus. Don’t be worried. Take courage. Don’t be a coward. Move.
And I tell you even going astray is all right. Just don’t do the same mistake again and again, that’s enough – because if you do the same mistake again, again, then you are stupid. If you never do the mistake then you are worse than stupid. If you make new mistakes every day, you will become wise. Wisdom comes through experience, and you cannot have it in any other way. There is no shortcut to it.
“I have a belief that in order to grow I have to take risks….” Drop this belief. It is not a question of belief. Watch life; watch yourself. Let this become an insight, not a belief. Not that I say so that you believe, but try to understand that you will remain crippled if you are afraid and you don’t move. If a child is afraid and does not try to walk…. And everybody knows he will fall many times – he may have wounds, he may hurt himself – this is going to happen; but that’s the only way to learn. By and by he learns how to balance. Watch a child trying to walk.
First he moves on four, then he tries the greatest adventure of standing on two feet.
I call it the greatest because the whole of humanity has come out of that adventure. Animals go on moving on four: only man has tried two. Animals move with more safety. Man has been a little fascinated, more fascinated, with danger – he tried to move on two.
Just think of the first man who must have stood on two feet. He must have been one of the most unorthodox, nonconformist of men – the greatest revolutionary, the rebel – and everybody would have laughed at the ridiculousness of it. Just think when everybody was walking on four and suddenly one man stood on two feet: the whole Society must have laughed. They must have said, “What?… what are you doing? Have you gone mad? Nobody has ever walked on two. You will fall; you will break your bones. Come down, come back to the old way.” And it is good that man never listened to them. They must have laughed. They must have tried in every way to put him back in the old fold, but he moved.
Those conservatives are still in the trees. The monkeys, the baboons – they are the conservatives, the Tories. The revolutionary has become a man. They are still clinging to the trees and moving on four. They may be still thinking, “And why have these people gone wrong? What misfortune has befallen them?”
But if you try something new, you become available to something new at the same moment, instantly. Don’t be afraid. Move, in the beginning, small steps, small decisions, remaining always aware that something is always possible, you may go wrong. But what is wrong in being wrong? Come back. You will come more wise.
Don’t let it be just a belief. Let it become an understanding. Only then does it become effective.
“… and in order to take risks I have to make decisions.” Of course, one has to make decisions. That is one of the most beautiful things in life. That shows that you are free. You would have liked that somebody else decide for you: then you will be slaves. In that way animals are in a better position – everything is decided. They have a fixed food to eat; they have a fixed pattern of life to live.
They don’t decide themselves; they are never confused.Tags: Make Decisions Patanjali