While reading your books and listening to your tapes when I am alone, I become immensely happy and I weep, cry and dance in aloneness. But I can’t express my feelings in the presence of others, even though I wish very much to do so. Please tell me what to do.
It is one of the basic human problems, because our whole upbringing creates a split in our very mind. You have to show a face to the society, to the crowd, to the world – it need not be your real face; in fact, it must not be your real face. You have to show the face that people like, that people appreciate, that will be acceptable to them – their ideologies, their traditions – and you have to keep your original face to yourself.
This split becomes so unbridgeable because most of the time you are in the crowd, meeting with people, relating with people – very rarely are you alone. Naturally, the mask becomes more and more part of you than your very nature itself.
And society creates a fear in everybody: the fear of rejection, the fear of somebody laughing at you, the fear of losing your respectability, the fear of what people will say. You have to adjust to all kinds of blind and unconscious people. You cannot be yourself. This is our basic tradition all over the world, up to now, that nobody is allowed to be himself. It is because of this that the problem has arisen – it is everybody’s problem.
You are asking, “While reading your books and listening to your tapes when I am alone, I become immensely happy and I weep, cry, and dance in aloneness. But I can’t express my feelings in the presence of others, even though I wish very much to do so.”
The moment the other is there, you are less concerned about yourself; you are more concerned about what his opinion will be about you. When you are alone in your bathroom, you become almost like a child – sometimes you make faces before the mirror. But if you become suddenly aware that even a small child is looking through the keyhole, you immediately change: you become your ordinary, old self again – serious, sober, as people expect you to be.
And the most amazing thing is that you are afraid of those people and they are afraid of you – everybody is afraid of everybody else. Nobody is allowing his feelings, his reality, his authenticity – but everybody wants to do it, because it is a very suicidal act to go on repressing your original face.
You are not living; on the contrary you are simply acting. And because the whole world is watching, your centuries-long unconscious holds you back – not to express, not to come out of the mask of your personality. Everybody is hiding behind something false – it hurts.
To be dishonest, to be insincere to yourself, is the worst punishment you can give to yourself.