For the past few weeks, I have been able to sit and allow my mind to be quiet –sometimes for only a second, but sometimes for longer. Since this has been happening, I have experienced many beautiful spaces, as if this quietness somehow invites the universe in. Inside these glimpses there is no doubt, no ‘me’ to doubt. Coming out, I doubt. I do not know whether this doubt comes from my mind or simply from an inner knowledge that there is yet so much more.
Master, can I trust that I am moving into meditation, or is my mind cunning enough to make me believe that I am?
Antar Devopama, mind is capable of creating all kinds of illusions, hallucinations. But mind is not capable of creating the illusion of meditation, for the simple reason that meditation is an absence of mind. All other illusions and hallucinations need mind to be present; they are mind projections.
Only meditation is beyond the capacity of mind. Because it is beyond the mind, mind has no experience of meditation; it cannot delude you. If you are feeling meditative, silent, thoughtless, innocent, a pure space, you can trust that you have entered the temple of meditation.
Mind is certainly cunning, but there is a limit to that cunningness, and mind finds that limit in meditation. Meditation actually is the death of the mind; the mind cannot manage it. So if something of meditation is happening, you can trust it totally.
The questions arise only when you come back to the mind. Your meditation is only for a few moments, then you are back to the mind; and mind starts creating distrust. That is the nature of mind, to create distrust. It starts creating questions. But when you are in meditation – those few moments – mind cannot speak at all. For those few moments, mind virtually does not exist; its function stops.
A Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, and a Jewish rabbi met on a golf course and decided to bet on who would win their game. But first they had to decide what proportion of their winnings should be given back to God.
“Let us draw a small circle on the ground, throw our winnings up in the air, and what lands in the circle goes to God,” the Catholic priest suggested.
“No, let us draw a large circle,” said the Protestant minister, ”throw the money up, and what lands outside the circle will go to God.”
”Wait,” cried the rabbi. ”Forget all about circles. Let us throw the money up, and what stays up God can keep.”
Mind is very clever. But as far as meditation is concerned, mind is absolutely impotent.
Your question is, “For the past few weeks, I have been able to sit and allow my mind to be quiet – sometimes for only a second, but sometimes for longer. Since this has been happening, I have experienced many beautiful spaces, as if this quietness somehow invites the universe in. Inside these glimpses, there is no doubt, no ‘me’ to doubt. Coming out, I doubt. I do not know whether this doubt comes from my mind, or simply from an inner knowledge that there is yet so much more. Can I trust that I am moving into meditation, or is my mind cunning enough to make me believe that I am?”
Mind is not capable of that. But one thing more has to be remembered: that whatever beautiful experiences may be happening to you, your inner being knows perfectly well that there is yet so much more. Mind does not know that. In a way, mind is very poor. All its experiences are very mundane – about money, about power, about prestige, about borrowed knowledge, about a thousand and one things but they are all trivia.
Mind has no understanding, or even a suspicion that there exists a dreamland within you, a golden place. Mind cannot conceive what blissfulness is, what it is to be totally conscious, what constitutes ecstasy. Mind is not meant for that.
Make the division clear: mind is for the objective world – there it has tremendous capacity. The whole of science is a creation of the mind.
Meditation is for the inner world, the subjective. That’s why in the East science could not develop, and in the West, Gautam Buddhas could not be born. The West remained confined to the mind, reached to the deeper secrets of matter but could not manage even a single glimpse of the inner world. Rather than accepting its inability, the mind simply says there is no inner world. In that way, it can hide its impotence.
For centuries, the East worked only on meditation. Meditation cannot create technology. Meditation can give you tremendous experiences of your immortality, of the universal godliness, of an oceanic ecstasy. But meditation is incapable – in the same way as mind is incapable – of knowing anything about matter. That’s why, in the East, the mystics have denied the very existence of the outside world, saying it is maya, it is illusion.
It is the same logic. Mind denies the inner world – that there is no inner world, no spiritual world, no soul, nothing divine, all is solid matter. Meditation, on the other hand, in a similar way denies that there is anything real outside – the real is inside.
That’s why the East has remained poor – at least outwardly poor; its richness is of the inner. The West has become rich outwardly; its poverty has remained of the inner.
The man I conceive of in the future should not deny either; there is no need – there is no conflict, there is no contradiction. Mind is for matter, and matter is a reality not an illusion. Meditation is for consciousness, and consciousness is a higher reality – not a by-product of matter, or just a hypothesis; it is an experiential fact.
Without any exception, whoever has gone in has found consciousness.
I want the new man to rebel against the West and to rebel against the East, because they have divided man and they have divided man’s conception.
They both have created a certain kind of poverty, when man can be rich on both the sides. There is no conflict at all. You can meditate in a golden palace; the gold in the palace is not going to disturb your meditation.
There is no need to renounce the world; in fact, it is so surprising that the people who have called the world illusory have insisted on renouncing it. If it is illusory, what are you renouncing? If it does not exist, then where are you going? What is there to renounce? Your every sense says the world is real – it is just that your meditation is incapable of penetrating the objective reality.
If the world were really unreal, then renouncing the world would not have been considered something saintly, but something stupid. You don’t renounce your dreams in the morning – “I renounce all my dreams of the night, they were all unreal.” If they were unreal, what is there to renounce? I have never heard of anybody renouncing his dreams.
But all the mystics in the past have been calling the world unreal, and yet insisting on renouncing it, going to the mountains and to the deserts. There is some fear; there is some need to escape. And the fear is that their mind and all their senses insist on the reality of the world – which goes against their experience of meditation. They find themselves in a very great dilemma. Just to have a peaceful state, it is better to call one of the two illusory, and escape from it so that you are no longer split, in a dilemma, in any problem. They are trying to make life simple.
The scientist has been denying consciousness; he has been denying anything of the inner. It is so stupid because simple logic will say if there is something outer, the inner must exist. Without the inner, how can the outer exist? They are together, inevitable, inseparable.
But the scientist’s problem is the same, the same dilemma. His whole knowledge, experience, experiments and conclusions are about the objective world. He has to deny meditation because that becomes a distraction to him. If there is something like meditation, if there is something like a divine being within man, then all his great effort in physics, in chemistry and in biology becomes trivia. It is easier to say that there is no soul, no consciousness. This way, in the past, man has been solving his conflict. But in fact this has not solved anything, it has made him both in a way rich, and in a way poor.
My own perception for the new man is that he has to be rich on both sides, there is no need to be poor. He has to be rich in science, in technology, in whatever mind can do, and he has to be rich in meditation, in love, in ecstasy. And there is no need to create any contradiction. Mind’s function is limited, and meditation’s function is limited. Their spheres don’t overlap.
Devopama, there is certainly much more to experience, and this statement will remain true forever. Whatever you experience, you will find there is still much more ahead of you. The inner is as inexhaustible as the outer.
In the Middle Ages, religious people used to think that the earth was the center of the whole universe, and that all the stars were hanging around like lanterns to give light in the night when the sun sets – they were almost touchable, very close. As science grew more and more in its understanding, it was astounding to know that these stars are far away – the closest star is four light years away.
They had to invent a new measurement, the light year, because miles wouldn’t do. One light year is the measurement of a ray traveling in one year’s time, and the speed of light traveling is one hundred and eighty-six thousand miles per second. With that speed, the closest star can be reached in four years – and we have discovered almost four million stars. With the naked eye in the night, you see only about three hundred stars. You will be surprised, because you think you see thousands of stars… try to count!
Nobody has been able to count more than three hundred. Then he gets mixed up, then he starts forgetting whether he has taken this star into account or not. But scientists say the eyes cannot see more than three hundred stars, and there are four million.
And every day new stars are being discovered which are farther away, so far away that it becomes almost unimaginable. Stars have been found whose light started coming towards the earth when there was no earth… that means four billion years, and their light has not yet reached us – four billion years with that speed. And scientists say that there are stars which will never know that the earth ever existed, because by the time their light will reach it, the earth will be gone, the sun will be dead. They started the journey when the earth and the sun were not in existence, and they will reach when both are finished. They will never know that a planet like earth ever existed.
And scientists have been shocked and surprised because every day new stars go on bubbling up. As our instruments for measuring distance become more and more subtle and refined, new stars are discovered.
Albert Einstein, perhaps the only man in history who has devoted his whole life to the stars, finally said, “Their number is infinite, and above all they are running away with the same speed as light from some center which we don’t know about. They are all spreading farther and farther away.”
It seems perhaps the idea in the Middle Ages may have been an old, ancient idea, but stars were closer! In millions of years, they have run far away – and certainly the earth is not the center; it is so small that it is almost negligible. Even our great star, which is six thousand times bigger than the earth, is a mediocre star; there are stars thousands of times bigger than our sun. And science has not been able to find the center from which they are escaping in all directions.
Bertrand Russell has a beautiful story….
A Christian priest had a dream that he had died, and of course reached heaven. But he was very shocked because the doors of heaven were so big that he could not see where they ended. In all directions, as far as he could see, there was the door. And he himself, compared to the door, looked like an ant. He was very shocked: “This is very disrespectful. I was hoping that God would be here at the gate, and angels would be playing on their harps, ‘Allelujah!’”
The gate was closed. He knocked, but he himself wondered, “Who is going to hear?” The gate was so vast; his knock was such a small sound, almost inaudible. It took him three days continuously knocking.
Then Saint Peter opened a window and looked down. He had one thousand eyes. The priest immediately fell on his knees, and said, “God.”
Saint Peter said, “I’m not God, I’m just the gatekeeper. You must have heard, my name is Saint Peter. As far as God is concerned, I have not yet been able to see him. It is a very vast space. Although I have one thousand eyes, I have not yet been able, in two thousand years, to find him.”
The priest said, “This is unbelievable. What about Jesus Christ?”
Saint Peter said, “I have not found him either, the place is so big. I have been searching for two thousand years. And who are you?”
He said, “I am a Christian priest from the earth.”
Saint Peter said, “This won’t do. What is the index number of your earth, which earth? There are millions of earths; each star has its own solar system, has its own planets, its own moons, its own earths. So you give me the index number, and I will run to the library to find out from which earth you are coming.”
The priest said, “My God! I have never heard about any index number. I’m coming from the solar system.”
Saint Peter said, “Each star has its own solar system, and there are millions of solar systems. Again, you will have to give me the index number.”
It became a nightmare. There was no question of his getting a welcome. First, he had to give his identity; only then would the doors open. Saint Peter disappeared, telling him, “I’m going to the library. Perhaps the librarian can help me.”
Waiting, and waiting, and waiting… perhaps thousands of years passed… he woke up from this nightmare, and he said, “My God! It is better to be alive; I don’t want to go to such a heaven. I cancel all the prayers that I have made before. It is so humiliating.”
But this is the situation. To us, our earth looks so big; compared to the sun, it is nothing. To us, our sun looks so big; compared to the stars, it is nothing. And the stars compared to the universe are nothing – just soap bubbles.
Just as mind is getting more and more baffled as it is approaching into the deeper realms of objective reality, in the same way, meditation goes on and on – new spaces go on opening up. It is never that you come to a place at which you can say, “This is the dead end of the street.” There is no dead end of the street – neither inwards, nor outwards. Both are infinite.
Hence, the feeling coming to you that there is “yet so much more,” is absolutely correct – and it is going to remain relevant forever! It is not that one day you will say, “Now the journey is finished.”
There is no goal, there is only a beautiful pilgrimage. Make the most of it – outwardly and inwardly. Have all possible experiences, and move on.
Gautam Buddha used to end his sermons every day with the word charaiveti: move on, move on. Never stop and think that you have come to the end.
From The Rebel, Chapter Two
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