THE CAUSE OF SORROW
All men desire to discover for themselves, with certainty, what is the purpose of life. This discovery can only be made by living and not by mere intellectual theorizing. After the discovery of that purpose they can work for it one-pointedly. But to do this they must be rid of all philosophies, dogmas, creeds, religions, particular rites -everything, because no one can, for a single moment, discover his true purpose in life, or life itself, with all these encumbrances. When man has completely detached himself from all unessential things, he can begin to discover what it is that he is seeking. It is as an individual, that he must make the discovery.
Each man is seeking to free himself from sorrow. Desire is life, and that desire is constantly battling against limitations. It seeks to be free. In search for happiness it is constantly breaking away from limitations.
Men are all the time looking for perfection. Imperfection is a limitation, and the individual life, which begins in limitation, which goes from corruption to corruption, is ceaselessly seeking incorruption and freedom. So long as there is limitation there is sorrow, and it is from sorrow that all men would escape. They are trying to find a way out of suffering, out of their entanglement in the wheel of sorrow and pain. In the attainment of perfection is liberation to be found, and in nothing else.
Seek perfection therefore rather than philosophies, theories, dogmas, religions and objects of worship -which are all unreal, childish, unessential. Men, distracted by all these, do not attack the one problem which lies at the root of all that suffocates them, which creates havoc in their self-expression, in their individual growth.
Do not waste time with shadows, which vanish as the morning mist.
So, we come back to that dynamic thing which is desire. You may worship false gods -and all gods are false- you may cling to the unreal, but desire will grow and overwhelm you, unless you encourage that desire towards perfection. With the thought of perfection alone you must dwell, because that is life; that alone will overcome the chaos, the unrealities to which men cling, instead of to the real.
What is the cause, therefore, of sorrow? With that we must concern ourselves. Sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, light and shade, are the same thing. Sorrow must exist, as pleasure must exist. It is useless to try to escape from either. Only when you are absolutely undisturbed by either will true perfection abide in your heart and mind.
The self is ever climbing towards perfection by self-assertion. It asserts "I am" as it climbs the mountain of experience. That self-assertion of "I am" creates echoes and those echoes return as sorrow, pain, pleasure. That self-assertion of "I am" is inevitable. You cannot escape from it. Self-assertion in imperfection creates individuality. You are all the time asserting "I am", "I" think so and so, "I" feel this, "I" am much greater than someone else. The "I" is all the time creating this vast whirlpool of echoes, which return to you and bind you. But when you have attained the fulfilment of life, your "I am" will no longer create echoes, no longer create whirlpools. In the process of self-assertion, the love of life, which is the whole -to which all life, individual or universal, must come- is forgotten.
What is self-expression? You express yourself not knowing your true self. You express whatever comes into your mind, and hence there is this combative chaos of the different selves. As a tree in the forest steals the light of its neighbour, so do you in your self-expression steal the light, the understanding, the happiness of another, and so create sorrow, misfortune, and weariness. True self-expression must be the outcome of the love of life, which is freedom, which is perfection. Then you cannot come into conflict with another. Then you will have true friendliness for your neighbour. Then you will know that unity of which you speak so glibly. The moment you lose the love of life and interpose your self-expression of the moment between you and the eternal, in your limitation you are bound to suffer, to create pain for yourself and others. For that reason you should know what is the final fulfilment of all life. When once you have a vision of perfection, as part of yourself, in translating that vision -which again is self-assertion- ¬lies true creation. Creation to most people means building houses, painting pictures, writing poems. That is not true creation; that is only the creation of the self in limitation. True creation is the outcome of that harmony which is perfection, the delicate poise of reason and of love. Life itself is creation; life itself is the greatest artist. Directly you are able to attain perfection, you are also becoming the true creator because you are one with life itself.
You cannot escape from self-assertion, because existence itself is self-assertion. But the self must be made perfect through self-assertion, through the realisation that as long as that self-assertion is within bondage, within limitation, it is bound to create sorrow and pain. When you break down that limitation, because you have understood, you will have fathomed the love of life.
THE CAUSE OF SORROW
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