A lot of you have been here before, and some of you have not been here before. A lot of people have been here before, maybe five or six hundred people, and from those five or six hundred people, maybe thirty or forty of them are here this evening. Many of those hundreds of people have not only been here and participated in what goes on here, but have also, at the end of the seminar, received a spiritual name from me. If you went into a supermarket and saw someone standing there and you asked, ”Have you got a name from Michael Barnett?” they would probably say yes. So there are plenty of them around, but they don’t come and see me when I come here to Prague.
Coming here, for many people, is a big thing and they get something special from it, so much so that at the end they ask for a spiritual name – which is a name for the path that we have been on while we were here – but then they disappear. They have a certain kind of experience, even an amazing experience, and they think, ”This is the way,” and then they vanish. Maybe they remember the group and say, ”That was fantastic,” like a great movie you have seen or a great book you have read, or a great fuck you have had, but then on to the next one.
So this time I thought I should begin by saying what the Work is all about. It is not about having amazing experiences, about seeing light, about giving and receiving love, and it is not about feeling a great joy coming in. Those things happen to many people who come, some of them are even overwhelmed by their experiences here, but this is not what it is all about.
Now I am going to tell you what it is all about. Usually I expect people to realise what it is all about, but this time I am going to take the chance and tell you.
You are somewhere on your way through life. You have already gone twenty years, thirty years, forty years, even fifty years, maybe more, and all the things that have happened to you have disappeared. Now you are here for something different, which in a little while will also disappear because everything disappears. Highs disappear, lows disappear, good times disappear, bad times disappear, friends disappear, lovers disappear, parents disappear, children disappear, jobs disappear – everything appears and disappears.
Most of you are all young and well, but that will also disappear. You get ill and things are bad, so even wellness disappears, but fortunately sickness also disappears, even the last sickness which takes you into death – that disappears when you die. Everything comes and goes.
Now I am feeling dry so I will take a sip of water *(Michael takes a sip of water)*, and now the dryness is gone, but it will come back, so I will have another drink and then it will go again. It is so monotonous, everything coming and going. Nothing lasts. There is nothing you can rely on. You can just hope that good things will come more often than bad things. And we forget that even if the good things come tomorrow, that maybe next week they will be gone again, because while good things are there, we feel good and we forget that they go – which is a very sensible thing to do otherwise you couldn’t enjoy things when they are good.
A guy, who is well known to you guys and whose name is Buddha, said many things – he gave seventeen thousand, five hundred talks. I don’t know whether I will manage to surpass that before I finish, this is about number six thousand, so I am not doing too bad! He said many things during those talks that are important to know about, and they are quoted a lot in Buddhist teachings, and one of those things he said I am pointing to this evening. He said…(Michael goes quiet for a few moments) I am waiting, because when it comes and I give it to you, I don’t want it to go away too quickly. I want you to see if you can remember it, at least until Sunday afternoon!
Buddha said, ”Look for that which neither comes nor goes.” If it neither comes nor goes, then it is not part of what I was just saying, that everything comes and goes. Everything that comes has to go. And I have some bad news for you – you came to the world, so what is the bad news? You are all going to go. Sorry to remind you of the fact, you are young and it is not going to happen tomorrow, but sooner or later you are going to go. Why? Because you were stupid enough to come, and once you come, you are going to have to go.
Buddha didn’t say, ”Look for that which doesn’t go,” he said, ”Look for that which neither comes nor goes.” That means that it must be here all the time – before we came and after we have gone, it will be here.
I am a lucky guy – one day I fell over, and I fell into that which neither comes nor goes. Pure accident, could have been anybody, but I was the lucky one. I fell, and I landed in that which neither comes nor goes. I was never born and I will never die, and every instant I can touch that which neither comes nor goes, and that, my friends, is what I want to pass on to you this seminar. You may get just a taste that will persuade to look again and again for it until you can be in it, and then when you have found it, you can say, ”I am eternal. I am timeless. I don’t mind that everything else comes and goes. Well, sometimes I mind a bit, but I don’t mind so much because I have touched something that will always be there.”
So the hundreds of people who come here, see me, pay something and then go, they stay along that stream of reality where everything comes and goes. All the great experiences that they have had in this room and other rooms in Prague, they came, they went, and they forgot – except for some. There are some people here this evening who have been many times and come back again and again, and they are the ones who, even if they couldn’t say what I have said this evening, can smell that somewhere, through what happens here, they will find something that they can relax into and feel that that is what they have been searching for.
Then the search has ended. Of course you can still search for good times, good friends, great lovers, good tastes, all these things, but no longer does your happiness, contentment and your feeling of yourself depend upon that kind of phenomenon.
So during these days together, see if you can look out for that and get a taste of that, and not grasp the good experiences but remember that behind all the nice things that happen, and almost surely some good things will happen for you this weekend, they are not the point. They are the phenomena that come from the movement towards that which neither comes nor goes, and that place is the source of all life. Even if, in a way, life stops – you are not doing anything, you are not going anywhere, you are not with anybody, you are not excited about anything, you are not aiming for anything, you are just there, you will be perfectly content because you will feel as if you are with everything.
On top of that you can have good times, enjoy the things you enjoy, but it is not that you need to find things to enjoy, one after another, and hold onto them so that you have something you can say is great in your life. These things will go, and then you have to find something else, which then also goes, and then you have to find something else, and so on.
Relax into something that is always there and is always ready to receive you with open arms, and get a feeling when you are there, that time is an illusion.
*Talk, Prague, 29th of February 2008*