That’s exactly what you would do if you had the privilege of dreaming any dream you wanted when you went to bed at night. This would enable you, of course, in one night, to dream 75 years of clock time. And what you would do, first of all: you would have marvelous adventures. You would have every conceivable delight and satisfy every wish. And then, as time went on, that would get a little boring and you would get more daring. You would have adventures: you would rescue princesses from dragons. And then you would get even more daring, and you would dream that you weren’t dreaming. And then you’d get into really serious messes—because wouldn’t it be a surprise when you woke up! And eventually you would be dreaming that you were sitting here in this auditorium listening to me. You would eventually get around to that, for your sins.
Man is a little germ that lives on an unimportant rock-ball that revolves about an insignificant star on the outer edges of one of the smaller galaxies. Gosh, what a putdown that was. But on the other hand, if you think about that for a few minutes, I am absolutely amazed to discover myself on this rock-ball rotating around a spherical fire. It’s a very odd situation! And the more I look at things, I cannot get rid of the feeling that existence is quite weird!
See, a philosopher is a sort of intellectual yokel who gawks at things that sensible people take for granted.
As Aristotle said: wonder is the beginning of philosophy. Because it strikes you that existence is very, very strange. And then, moreso, when this so-called insignificant little creature has inside his skull a neurological contraption that is able to center itself in the midst of this incredible expanse of galaxies and start measuring the whole thing. That is quite extraordinary! And then, furthermore, when you realize that in a world where there are no eyes, the sun would not be light, and that in a world where there were no soft skins, rocks would not be hard, nor in a world where there were no muscles would they be heavy. Existence is relationship, and you are smack in the middle of it.
The disciplines—say, of yoga in Hinduism, or of the various forms of Buddhist meditation—do not require you to believe anything. And they have no commandments in them. They do indeed have precepts, but they are really vows which you undertake on your own responsibility, not in obedience to anybody. They are experimental techniques for changing consciousness. And the thing they are mainly concerned with is helping human beings to get rid of the hallucination that each one of us is a skin-encapsulated ego. You know, a little source, a little man inside your head, located between the ears and behind the eyes who is the source of conscious attention and voluntary behavior.
See, the parents give you the body and you pop the soul into it at some period—conception or parturition; nobody could ever decide. And this attitude stays with us: that we are something in a body; that we have a body and we are not it. So we experience the beating of the heart as something that happens to me, whereas talking or walking is something that I do. Don’t you beat your heart? Our language won’t allow you to think that. It’s not customary to say so. How do you think? How do you manage to be conscious? You don’t know. How do you open and close your hand? Do you know? If you’re a physiologist you may be able to say, but that doesn’t help you to open and close your hand any better than I do. See, I know how to do it, but I can’t put it into words. In the same way, the Hindu god knows how he creates this whole universe because he does it—but he wouldn’t explain it, that would be stupid! You might as well try to drink the Pacific Ocean with a fork.
There are no victims of God. He’s never anything but his own victim. You are responsible. And if you want to stay in the state of illusion, stay in it. But you can always wake up.