The first and foremost thing it asks us to do is to be loving towards oneself. Don't be hard; be soft. Care about oneself. Learn how to forgive oneself -- again and again and again -- seven times, seventy-seven times, seven hundred seventy-seven times. Learn how to forgive oneself. Don't be hard; don't be antagonistic towards oneself. Then you will flower.
And in that flowering you will attract some other flowers. It is natural. Stones attract stones; flowers attract flowers. And then there is a relationship which has grace, which has beauty, which has a benediction in it. And if you can find such a relationship, your relationship will grow into prayer... your love will become an ecstasy... and through love you will know what God is.
“The one who sees that the self pervades all beings, and that all beings pervade the self, sees the divine.” This one has transcended all limitations and has destroyed all boundaries. To him, this tree does not appear as “thou,” this body does not appear as “I” – his “I” permeates the tree and the tree’s “thou” permeates him. For him, there is no boundary line of I and thou in this world. To feel a boundary between I and thou means that you still feel yourself to be separate.
Martin Buber has written a book, I and Thou. Martin Buber was the Jewish philosopher and a great thinker. He was one of the few great thinkers of 20th century. He has done a deep study of the relationships between I and thou, and he says that the highest experience of life happens in the perfect relationship between I and thou. According to Jewish thinking, nobody can grow alone. In a sense, it is true that nobody can be alone. And even if he is, he will be very unhappy.
This is worth understanding, because Eastern thought is just the opposite of this. The East says that the more you go into aloneness, the more you become alone, absolutely alone, the more you will grow. Jewish philosophy sees it from the other end: it says that the more you enter into aloneness, the more poor and wretched you will become because there can be no growth without relationships. So the deeper the relationships, the more you will grow. And the ultimate depth of relationship is in the closeness between I and thou. When you can say “thou” to someone, then through this you also will reach to a height. When you address someone with love, you are also transformed. So it is good, this dimension is valuable.
Jewish thinking says that, ultimately, man will remain “I” and the whole immensity will become “thou” – the whole universe will become “thou” and the man will remain “I.” In the meeting that happens between these two, man’s soul will reach the ultimate and perfect growth. But Jewish thinking does not go beyond this.
The East goes beyond this. It says that as long as thou is still thou and I is still I, no matter how deep the relationship may be, it is still not the ultimate. The distance between the two is still there, the gap between the two is still there. So no matter how much I may love someone, as long as he is thou to me and I am I, no matter how close we may come, the distance will still remain. This distance between I and thou may be very small, but still it is a distance. And an interesting thing about distance is that the smaller it is, the more it hurts, the more it pinches. The bigger the distance the less it is noticed. The distance is noticed only when it is very small, and then the pain is terrible.
This is why there is an intrinsic reason for the pain that lovers experience: the distance has become so small, and yet it has not completely disappeared. It never disappears, although the distance becomes so small that it creates a hope that soon it will completely disappear. And each time lovers come so close, a friction, a collision also begins to happen – but the distance does not totally dissolve. The sense of distance only starts becoming clearer, sharper. In a sense, the smaller the distance, the greater the distance becomes because now it hurts more. It hurts more because now it feels that the distance could dissolve. Now the shore is so close that you can stretch your arms out and touch the other – but the touch does not happen and the distance remains. So even if you go very close to the divine, the language can become like that of lovers, I and thou – yet the distance continues.
If one’s self is not seen in all beings and all beings in one’s self, if thou does not become I and I thou, the distance will remain. This is the last jump – where the lover becomes the beloved and the beloved becomes the lover. This is the last jump, where the devotee becomes God and God becomes the devotee. This is the last jump, when it is no longer clear who is who. Who is who is no longer known.
May you always shine like a Star and be fragrant like a Flower,
God bless your Life with infinite Love and Peace, Amen.