You are the problem
The first thing you need to do is get in touch with negative feelings that you’re not
even aware of. Lots of people have negative feelings they’re not aware of. Lots of people
are depressed and they’re not aware of it. It’s only when they experience joy that they understand how depressed they were. You can’t deal with a cancer that you haven’t detected. The first thing you need is awareness of your negative feelings. What
negative feelings? Gloominess, for example. You’re feeling gloomy and moody. You feel
self-hatred or guilt. You feel that life is pointless, that it makes no sense; you’ve got hurt
feelings, you’re feeling nervous and tense. Get in touch with those feelings first.
The second step is to understand that the feeling is in you, not in reality. So stop trying to change reality. Stop trying to change the other person. We spend all our time and energy trying to change external circumstances, trying to change our spouses, our bosses, our friends, our enemies, and everybody else. We don’t have to change anything. Negative feelings are in you. No person on earth has the power to make you unhappy. There is no event on earth that has the power to disturb you or hurt you. No event, condition, situation, or person. That’s why you’re in the mess that you’re in right now. That is why you’re asleep. Nobody ever told you this, but it’s obvious.
When you bump your knee against a table, the table’s fine. It’s busy being a table. The pain is in your knee, not in the table. The mystics keep trying to tell us that reality is all right. Reality is not problematic. Problems exist only in the human mind. Take away human beings from this planet and life would go on. There is no problem. You created the problem. You are the problem. You identified with “me” and that is the problem. The feeling is in you, not in reality.
The third step: Never identify with that feeling. It has nothing to do with the “I.”
Don’t define your essential self in terms of that feeling. Don’t say, “I am depressed.” If
you want to say, “I am feeling depression,” that’s all right. If you want to say depression is there, that’s fine; if you want to say gloominess is there, that’s fine. But not: I am gloomy.
You’re defining yourself in terms of the feeling. That’s your illusion; that’s your mistake.
There is a depression there right now, there are hurt feelings there right now, but let it be,
leave it alone. It will pass. Everything passes, everything. Your depressions and your
thrills have nothing to do with happiness. Those are the swings of the pendulum. If you
seek kicks or thrills, get ready for depression. Do you want your drug? Get ready for the
hangover. One end of the pendulum swings to the other.
This has nothing to do with “I”; it has nothing to do with happiness. It is the “me.” If
you remember this, if you say it to yourself a thousand times, if you try these three steps a
thousand times, you will get it and make the biggest discovery in your life. You’re free; you don’t care anymore about being accepted or rejected, that makes no difference. Psychologists tell us how important it is to get a sense of belonging. Why do you want to belong to anybody? It doesn’t matter anymore.
There’s an African tribe where capital punishment consists of being ostracized. He thinks he will not be able to live if he does not belong. It’s very different from most people is it? He’s convinced he needs to belong. But you don’t need to belong to anybody or anything or any group. You don’t even need to be in love. What you need is to be free. What you need is to love. That’s it; that’s your nature. But you want to be desired. You want to be applauded, to be attractive, to have all the little monkeys running after you.
You’re wasting your life. Wake up! You don’t need this. You can be happy without it.
You can’t control a person like this. He doesn’t need you; he’s not threatened by your criticism; he doesn’t care what you think of him or what you say about him. He’s cut all those strings; he’s not a puppet any longer. There is no situation in the world that justifies a negative feeling. The negative feeling is in you. Lord Krishna says, “Plunge into the heat of battle and keep your heart at the lotus feet of the Lord.”
You don’t have to do anything to acquire happiness. Meister Eckhart said, “God is not attained by a process of addition to anything in the soul, but by a process of subtraction.” You don’t do anything to be free, you drop something. Then you’re free.
The fourth step: How do you change things? How do you change yourselves? Well, Imagine a patient who goes to a doctor and tells him what he is suffering from. The doctor says, “Very well, I’ve understood your symptoms. Do you know what I will do? I will prescribe a medicine for your neighbor!” The patient replies, “Thank you very much, Doctor, that makes me feel much better.” That’s crazy, but that’s what we all do. The person who is asleep always thinks he’ll feel better if somebody else changes. You’re suffering because you are asleep, but you’re thinking, “How wonderful life would be if somebody else would change; how wonderful life would be if my neighbor changed, my wife changed, my boss changed.”
We always want someone else to change so that we will feel good. But has it ever
struck you that even if your wife changes or your husband changes, what does that do to
you? You’re just as vulnerable as before; you’re just as idiotic as before; you’re just as
asleep as before. You are the one who needs to change, who needs to take medicine. You
keep insisting, “I feel good because the world is right.” Wrong! The world is right
because I feel good. When you awaken, when you understand, when you see, the world becomes right.
There is no explanation you can give that would explain away all the sufferings and
evil and torture and destruction and hunger in the world! You’ll never explain it. You can
try gamely with your formulas, religious and otherwise, but you’ll never explain it.
Because life is a mystery, which means your thinking mind cannot make sense out of it.
For that you’ve got to wake up and then you’ll suddenly realize that reality is not the problem, you are the problem.