"Darkness within darkness-- the gateway to Mystery." This is one of the insights of the Tao Te Ching. "The Classic Book of the Way and its Virtues (Or Powers)." The Virtues (Te) of the Way (Tao) are the powers of growing up. The Way of growing up is the Way of bearing the pain of "darkness within darkness" and stepping through "the gateway of mystery." Bearing the pain of growing up is bearing the pain of life as it is. I understand schizophrenia to be the way of avoiding the Way of growing up. The pain is too much, so we opt for denial, and schizophrenia is the most advanced form of denial there is. Schizophrenia is the refusal to live in the world as it is. Schizophrenics "are drowning in the world gurus live in." And the difference between a guru and a schizophrenic is not much. We are always only a slight shift in perspective away from "lost" to "found," from "blind" to "seeing." The key to the shift is the decision to bear the pain of being alive. More specifically, it is bearing the pain of the conflicts/contradictions at the heart of being alive. To grow up, we have to leave Mama and Daddy and find our own way in the world-- our own way through the agonies and sorrows of life in the world. The agonies and sorrows of not being able to have what we want without giving up something else that we also want. We have to give up "this" to have "that." The fundamental crucifix of life. Life is death long before we die. We die metaphorically again and again until we stop breathing at last. And that is too much to ask of some people. A lot of people. And so, we have this world of pleasure as denial of that world of pain. For, we will not pay the price of being fully alive. It costs too much. And schizophrenia is the ultimate refusal to be fully alive. Being a guru is easier. And just as much escapist. My favorite examples of people who had what it takes to be fully alive are, on the fictional level, Tevya in "The Fiddler on the Roof," and, on the actual level, Helen Keller. If we could spend the remainder of our life being Tevya and Helen Keller, what a life it would be. What do you think? Are we up for it? Do we have what it takes? To be alive?