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The lake was very deep, with soaring cliffs on both sides. You could see the other shore, wooded, with new spring leaves; and that side of the lake was steeper, perhaps more dense with foliage, and heavily wooded. The water was placid that morning and its colour was blue-green. It is a beautiful lake. There were swans, ducks and an occasional boat with passengers.
As you stood on the bank, in a well-kept park, you were very close to the water. It was not polluted at all, and its texture and beauty seemed to enter into you. You could smell it the soft fragrant air, the green lawn and you felt one with it, moving with the slow current, the reflections, and the deep quietness of the water.
The strange thing was that you felt such a great sense of affection, not for anything or for anyone, but the fullness of what may be called love. The only thing that matters is to probe into the very depth of it, not with the silly little mind with its endless mutterings of thought, but with silence. Silence is the only means, or instrument, that can penetrate into something that escapes the mind which is so contaminated.
We do not know what love is. We know the symptoms of it, the pleasure, the pain, the fear, the anxiety and so on. We try to solve the symptoms, which becomes a wandering in darkness. We spend our days and nights in this, and it is soon over in death.
There, as you were standing on the bank watching the beauty of the water, all human problems and institutions, man's relationship to man, which is society all would find theirright place if silently you could penetrate into this thing called love.
We have talked a great deal about it. Every young man says he loves some woman, the priest his god, the mother her children, and of course the politician plays with it. We have really spoilt the word and loaded it with meaningless substance the substance of our own narrow little selves. In this narrow little context we try to find the other thing, and painfully return to our everyday confusion and misery.
But there it was, on the water, all about you, in the leaf, and in the duck that was trying to swallow a large piece of bread, in the lame woman who went by. It was not a romantic identification or a cunning rationalized verbalization. But it was there, as factual as that car, or that boat.
It is the only thing which will give an answer to all our problems. No, not an answer, for then there will be no problems. We have problems of every description and we try to solve them without that love, and so they multiply and grow. There is no way to approach it, or to hold it, but sometimes, if you will stand by the roadside, or by the lake, watching a flower or a tree, or the farmer filling his soil, and if you are silent, not dreaming, not collecting daydreams, or weary, but with silence in its intensity, then perhaps it will come to you.
When it comes, do not hold it, do not treasure it as an experience. Once it touches you, you will never be the same again. Let that operate, and not your greed, your anger or your righteous social indignation. It is really quite wild, untamed, and its beauty is not respectable at all.
But we never want it, for we have a feeling that it might be too dangerous. We are domesticated animals, revolving in a cage which we have built for ourselves with its contentions, wranglings, its impossible political leaders, its gurus who exploit our self-conceit and their own with great refinement or rather crudely. In the cage you can have anarchy or order, which in turn gives way to disorder; and this has been going on for many centuries exploding, and failing back, changing the patterns of the social structure, perhaps ending poverty here or there. But if you place all these as the most essential, then you will miss the other.
Be alone sometimes, and if you are lucky it might come to you, on a falling leaf, or from that distant solitary tree in an empty field.
From Bulletin I,1968