It takes time to realize that which you are.
Your reality is within you, it is not somewhere else. But to understand the point, sometimes it takes years. You knock on many doors before you come to your own door… and then you are puzzled, because this is the house you had left and this is the house you have been searching for.
But the search has not been useless; it has given you the eyes to recognize.
I have often told a Sufi story. A man renounces the world, his wife, his home. He is young and he is going in search of a master.
Just outside his village under a tree, an old man is sitting. The sun is just setting, and darkness is descending. The young man asks the old man, “You look as if you are a traveler; you certainly don’t belong to my village. I am a young man and I am in search of a master. You are old; perhaps you have come across a master in your journeys, and will be kind enough to help me with some directives, some guidelines — because I am feeling at a loss, where to go.”
The old man said, “I will give you exact details. The master looks like this” — and he described the face of the master, the eyes of the master, the nose of the master, the beard of the master, his robe. “And he sits under a certain tree” — and he described the tree.
And he said, “You will find him; just remember these details. Whenever you find a man who fulfills these criteria, you have found your master.”
Thirty years passed. The young man became old, tired. He never came across anybody fitting the description given by the old man. Finally he gave up the whole idea of finding a master: “Perhaps there is no master anywhere.”
He went back to his village. And as he was entering the village, under the same tree… It was sunrise, there was more light. The old man had become very old. The last time they had met he must have been sixty; now he was ninety. And because for thirty years the man had been looking for certain eyes, a certain nose, a certain beard, a certain robe, a certain tree…. As he saw the tree and he saw the old man he said, “My God, so you were describing yourself! Why didn’t you tell me? Why did you force me to travel unnecessarily around the world for thirty years searching for you, while you were sitting here?”
The old man said, “First throw out all your tantrums and your anger; then I will tell you the truth. Thirty years ago you were too young. The time was not right; it was sunset, darkness was descending. And you were in such a hurry to go in search, that if I had told you that I was the master you would have laughed and said, `This is strange that you are sitting just outside my village!’ And you cannot blame me because I explained every detail, but your eyes were looking far away. You were listening to me, but you were not looking to see that I was describing my eyes, my nose, my beard, my robe, that I was describing the tree under which I was sitting. You were not ripe.
“These thirty years have not gone to waste; they have matured you. Now you can recognize me. Just look; it is sunrise, the right time. And it is not the beginning of your journey, you had already given up. I am meeting you at the end of thirty years of long, arduous effort. That which you can get cheap you cannot recognize. You had to pay these thirty years and all the troubles that you went through just to be mature enough to recognize me.
“I could have told you on that day too — but it would have been pointless, and you would have missed me.
“And you think you have been in trouble for thirty years? Just think about me — for thirty years I have been sitting under the same tree, because I described this tree. I have not left it for a single day because I was aware that any moment you might come, and if you didn’t find me here I would have been proved to have spoken lies. I have been sitting here for thirty years continuously — day in, day out; summer, winter, rain, but I have been sitting here. And you see I am old. I was worried that if I died before you came back, it would be a tragedy. So I have been trying to somehow cling to life — because as far as I am concerned there is nothing left; I have realized myself. Life has given everything that it can give. I have been sitting just for you.”
The story is strange, but significant.
It takes time to realize that which you are.
Basically there is no need: you can realize just now, this very moment. But to realize it you will need a certain maturity, a certain centering, a certain awareness, a certain silence.