So the man was very excited. He came to Nasruddin who was sitting under a tree. The sun was setting. The man said, “I have come for this purpose. My whole life’s earnings are here in this bag, and I will give them to you if you can give me a glimpse of happiness.
“Mulla Nasruddin listened. The evening was descending; it was becoming dark. Without answering him, Mulla Nasruddin snatched the bag from the rich man and ran away. Of course, the rich man followed him crying, weeping and screaming. The village streets were known to Mulla Nasruddin; they were not known to the rich man as he was a stranger, so he couldn’t find him. From all over the village people from the whole village started following them. Nasruddin was just running round and round. The man was mad. He was crying, “I have been robbed of all my life’s riches. I am a poor man! I have become a beggar!” He was weeping – weeping like anything.
Then Nasruddin reached the same tree, and he just put the bag before the tree and went behind the tree to hide there. The man came there, he fell on the bag, and started weeping in happiness. Nasruddin looked from behind the tree and said, “Are you happy, man? Have you had a little glimpse?”
The man said, “I am as happy as anyone can be on this earth.”
What happened? To have a peak, a valley is needed. To feel happiness, unhappiness is needed. To know the divine, the world is needed. The world is just a valley. The man was the same, the bag was the same. Nothing new had happened, but now he said that he was happy – as happy as anyone can be on this earth – and just a few minutes before he was miserable. Nothing had changed. The man was the same, the bag was the same, the tree was the same. Nothing had changed, but the man was now happy, dancing. The contrast had happened. Consciousness becomes identified because through identification the world is and through the world you can regain yourself.
When Buddha attained he was asked, “What have you achieved?” He said, “Nothing. On the contrary, I have lost much. I have not attained anything because now I know that whatsoever I have attained was always there; it was my nature. It was never taken away from me, so I have not achieved anything. I have achieved that which was already there, which was already achieved. I have lost only my ignorance.”
Identification is ignorance. It is part of this great play – this cosmic leela, this cosmic play – that you will have to lose yourself to find yourself again. This losing yourself is just a way, and the only way, to regain yourself. If you have lost too much already, you can regain. If you have not yet lost yourself enough, you will have to lose more. And nothing can be done before that; no help is possible before that. Unless you are lost completely in the valley, in the darkness, in the sansara, in the world, nothing can be done. Lose so that you can gain. This looks paradoxical, but this is how the world is, how the very process is.