You pay by dropping your thoughts, by dropping your emotions, by dropping your moods. Only then you can be silent, still. You have to pay with your mind, only then you can get meditation. You cannot keep both, the mind and meditation together; either you are in the mind or you are in meditation. And there is always a subtle balance.
In the marketplace we accept that nothing is free; yet as far as non-material things are concerned, like love, happiness, meditativeness, we tend to think this law does not apply.” This law still applies, but in a more subtle way, in a more invisible way.
For example, you cannot get love if you are not ready to give up your ego – that is the payment. You cannot be happy unless you drop things that are preventing your happiness from arising. You cannot be meditative unless you disperse all your thoughts. Nothing is free; one has to pay for everything, material or immaterial.
Of course, in the marketplace you have to pay for commodities in a material way. You can see that you are paying something for getting it.
But in a non-material world, also you are paying something for getting something; but because it is non-material, you need a deeper insight to see this.
Ouspensky is right, that one has to be clearly aware of what he wants and how much he is ready to pay. His statement is very significant, because if God is free, everybody would like to have it. What is the harm? You don’t have to pay for it; if meditation was free, I don’t think anybody would like not to have it. But it is more arduous than paying for something with money. You have to pay with mind, you have to drop your ego, you have to drop your unconsciousness – because these things are inner and not visible to the eyes; hence your question has arisen.
You are also saying, ”We seem to take them for granted, as if they are our due.” They are our due, but you cannot take them for granted; you will have to prepare yourself to receive them. And that very preparation is the payment.
You are also saying, ”Things that life owes us....” Life does not owe anything to you. You owe everything to life. This is a great misunderstanding which should be dropped: ”things that life owes to us, because we have been good enough to grace existence with our presence.” The reality is just the opposite. Existence has been generous enough even to accept you, even to make a place for you. It is very rare that existence feels your grace, because you don’t have grace. Yes, when a man becomes awakened, existence starts owing something to him.