Have you ever heard anything like that, “Don’t be consistent”? When you hear it for the first time or read it for the first time, you will think there has been some mistake, maybe a proof mistake or something. Because your so-called saints have been telling you just the opposite. “Don’t be inconsistent,” they say. “Be consistent.”
It is here that Atisha is superb. He says:
DON’T BE CONSISTENT.
Why? What is consistency? Consistency means living according to the past. With what will you be consistent? If you want to be consistent you can have only one reference, and that is the past. To be consistent means to live according to the past, and to live according to the past is not to live at all. To live according to the past is to be dead. Then your life will be just a repetition.
To be consistent means you have already decided that now there is no more to life, that you have already come to a full stop; you don’t allow life to have anything new to give to you, you have closed your doors. The sun will rise, but you will not allow its rays to enter into your room. And the flowers will bloom, but you will remain unaware of their fragrance. Moons will come and go, but you will remain stagnant. You have stopped being a river.
A river cannot be a consistent phenomenon. Only a pond can be consistent, because it is non flowing. The flow by its very nature has to be inconsistent, because it has to face new situations, new challenges. New spaces are constantly coming upon it; it has to respond spontaneously, not according to the past.
The consistent man is a logical man, his life is one-dimensional. He lives in arithmetic, he follows logic. If anything goes against logic he simply avoids seeing it; he pretends that it is not there, because it is so disturbing to his logic.
And the logical man is the poorest man in the world, because life consists not only of logic, but of love too. And love is illogical. Only a very small part of life is logical, the superficial part. The deeper you go, the more and more you move into the illogical, or, to be more accurate, the supralogical.
Logic is good in the marketplace, but not in the temple, not in the mosque, not in the church. Logic is good in the office, in the shop, in the factory. Logic is not good when you are with your friends, when you are with your beloved, with your children. Logic is good when you are dealing in a business like way. But life is not all business; there is something far more valuable in life than any business. Allow that too.
A professor of philosophy went to a doctor and asked for advice on how to improve his sex life.
“You seem to be in good physical condition,” said the doctor, after an examination. “You run ten miles a day, every day for seven days, then phone me.”
A week later, the professor telephoned. “Well,” said the physician, “has the running improved your sex life?”
“I don’t know,” said the professor. “I am seventy miles from home now.”
This is the way a logical mind functions. It is one-dimensional.
Life is multidimensional.
Don’t confine it, don’t make it linear, don’t live like a line. Live the multi dimensions of it, the multi-phases of it, and then you cannot be consistent, because life is paradoxical — one moment it is joy, another moment it is sadness. If you are very consistent, then you have to go on smiling; whether your heart is crying or smiling, that doesn’t matter, you have to be consistent. You have to be Jimmy Carter and go on smiling. I have heard that his wife has to close his mouth every night, because at night also he goes on smiling. If you practice such a thing the whole day, naturally, how can you relax so suddenly at night? It becomes a fixed pattern.
Life consists of sadness too. And sadness is also beautiful; it has its own depth, its own delicacy, its own deliciousness, its own taste. A man is poorer if he has not known sadness; he is impoverished, very much impoverished. His laughter will be shallow, his laughter will not have depth, because depth comes only through sadness. A man who knows sadness, if he laughs, his laughter will have depth. His laughter will have something of his sadness too, his laughter will be more colorful.
A man who lives life in its totality is a rainbow; he lives the whole spectrum of it. He cannot be consistent, he has to be inconsistent.
Atisha is giving you something tremendously valuable. Live all the moods of life; they are your own and they all have something to contribute to your growth. Don’t become confined to a small space. Howsoever comfortable and cozy it looks, don’t become confined to a small space. Be an adventurer. Search and seek all the facets of life, all the aspects of life.
It is said that you cannot write a novel about a good man. And that is true; a good man really has no life. What novel can you write about him? At the most you can write a character certificate saying that he is good — and that is his whole life. He does not have much of a life, because he has no multidimensionality.
Live, and allow all that is possible. Sing, dance, cry, weep, laugh, love, meditate, relate, be alone. Be in the marketplace, and sometimes be in the mountains.
Life is short. Live it as richly as possible, and don’t try to be consistent. The consistent man is a very poor man. Of course the society respects the consistent man, because the consistent man is predictable. You know what he is going to do tomorrow, you know how he is going to react. He is manageable, he can be easily manipulated. You know what buttons to push and how he will act. He is a machine; he is not truly a man. You can put him on and off and he will behave according to you; he is in your hands.
The society respects the consistent man; the society calls consistency “character.” And the real man has no character. A real man is characterless, or beyond character. A real man cannot afford character, because character can be afforded only at the cost of life. If you renounce life, you can have character. If you don’t renounce life, you will have many characters, but you will not have character. If you don’t renounce life, how can you have a character? Each moment life is new, and so are you.
Society will not respect you, you will not be a respectable citizen — but who cares? Only mediocre people care about the respect of the society. The real person cares about only one thing: Whether I am living my life or not, whether I am living it according to my own vision or not, it is my life, and I am responsible to myself. The most important responsibility is not to the nation or to the church or to anybody else.
The real responsibility is to yourself. And it is that you have to live your life according to your own light and you have to move wherever life leads, without any compromise.
The man of character compromises. His character is nothing but an effort to guarantee the society, “I am not dangerous,” and to declare to the society, “I will follow the rules of the game, I am utterly at your disposal.”
The saint has character, hence he is respected. The sage has no character, hence it is very difficult to recognize him. Socrates is a sage, Jesus is a sage, Lao Tzu is a sage but they are very difficult to recognize, almost impossible, because they don’t leave any trace behind them. They don’t fit into any mold, they are pure freedom. They are like birds flying in the sky, they don’t leave any footprints.
It is only for a very few sensitive souls to find a sage as a master, because the mediocre follow the saint. Only very very intelligent people attune themselves to a sage, because the sage has no character and he cannot fulfill any of your expectations. He is bound to offend you, he is bound to disappoint you, he is bound to shake you and shatter you in many many ways.
Slowly slowly, he will make you as free as he himself is.
Osho: The Book of Wisdom Chapter #13 Chapter title: Don’t make Wicked Jokes
सफ़र में कोई किसी के लिए ठहरता नहीं
न मुड़ के देखा कभी साहिलों को दरिया ने ………………फ़ारिग़ बुख़ारी
safar meñ koī kisī ke liye Thahartā nahīñ
na muḌ ke dekhā kabhī sāhiloñ ko dariyā ne………………..FARIGH BUKHARI
nobody waits for anyone during the journey
flowing river did not turn to see the shores.
Life is like a river, life is a flow, it is multi dimensional and it is never consistent…The song from the film “Dhadkan” seems to relate with this…says, I will go wherever the roads lead, I do not care where my destination is nor if there are any fellow travelers.
Main Toh Chala – Kishore Kumar | Old Bollywood Song | Sanjay Khan | Dharkan – YouTube
7 thoughts on “Don’t be consistent.”
Thanks for sharing. Really resonate with this.
A wise teacher of mine used to talk about the grasshopper – the only creature that jumps (or takes a leap) without first determining where it wants to land.
I still have the inscription she wrote in a copy of her book for me:
“Leap before you look!”
😊 Thanks again.
Such a new thought process …don’t confine..don’t be consistent….it gives deeper understanding to what exactly one wants from life.
Thanks for the insightful writeup.
Very Fresh Thought Provoking……Keep the Good work continue…
Thank you Rajeev!!
Thanks for sharing Rajeev, excellent thoughts…makes us think deeply…
Rajiv brilliant written as usual.
Hats off to your flow of narration.👏👏
Simply awesome. Very well written Rajiv uncle.