The real problem is the mind, because the mind is created by human society, specially designed to keep you a slave. The body has a beauty of its own. It is still part of the trees and the ocean and the mountains and the stars. It has not been polluted by the society. It has not been poisoned by the churches and religions and the priests. But the mind has been completely conditioned, distorted, given ideas which are absolutely false. Your mind is functioning almost like a mask and hiding your original face.
To transcend the mind is the whole art of meditation, and the East has devoted almost ten thousand years to a single purpose – all its intelligence and genius – of discovering how to transcend the mind and its conditionings. That whole effort of ten thousand years has culminated in refining the method of meditation.
In a single word, meditation means watching the mind, witnessing the mind. If you can witness the mind, just silently looking at it – without any justification, without any appreciation, without any condemnation, with no judgment at all, for or against – simply watching as if you have nothing to do with it… it is just the traffic that goes on in the mind. Stand by the side and watch it. And the miracle of meditation is that just by watching it, it slowly, slowly disappears.
The moment mind disappears, you come to the last door which is very fragile – and that too is not polluted by the society – your heart. In fact, your heart immediately gives you a way. It never prevents you, it is ready almost every moment for you to come to it and it will open the door towards the being. The heart is your friend.
The head is your enemy. The body is your friend, the heart is your friend, but just in between the two stands the enemy like a Himalaya, a big mountain wall. But it can be crossed over by a simple method. Gautam Buddha called the method Vipassana. Patanjali called the method Dhyan. And the Sanskrit word dhyan became, in China, Ch’an and in Japan it became Zen. But it is the same word. In English there is not exactly any equivalent for zen or dhyan or ch’an. We arbitrarily use the word meditation.
But you should remember: whatever meaning is given to the word meditation in your dictionaries, is not the meaning as I am using it. All the dictionaries will say meditation means thinking about something. Whenever I say to a Western mind, “Meditate” the immediate question is, “On what?” The reason is that in the West, meditation never developed to the point dhyan or ch’an or zen have developed in the East.
Meditation means simply awareness – not thinking about something or concentrating on something or contemplating something. The Western word is always concerned with something. Meditation as I am using it simply means a state of awareness.
Just like a mirror – do you think a mirror is trying to concentrate on something? Whatever comes before it is reflected, but the mirror is unconcerned. Whether a beautiful woman comes before it or an ugly woman comes before it or nobody comes before it, it is absolutely unconcerned; a simple, reflective source. Meditation is only a reflecting awareness. You simply watch whatever comes in front of you.
And by this simple watching, mind disappears. You have heard about miracles, but this is the only miracle. All other miracles are simply stories.
Jesus walking on water or turning water into wine or making dead people come to life again… all are beautiful stories. If they are symbolically understood they have great significance. But if you insist that they are historical facts, then you are being simply stupid. Symbolically they are beautiful. Symbolically, every master in the world is bringing people to life who are dead. What am I doing here? Pulling people out of their graves! And Jesus pulled out Lazarus after he had been dead only four days. I have been pulling people out who have been dead for years, for lives! And because they have lived in their graves so long they are very reluctant to come out. They give all their resistance – “What are you doing? This is our house! We have lived here peacefully, don’t disturb us!”
Symbolically it is right: every master is trying to give you a new life. As you are, you are not really alive. You are just vegetating. If the miracles are interpreted as metaphors, they have a beauty.
I am reminded of a strange story which Christians have completely dropped from their scriptures. But it exists in the Sufi literature. The Sufi story is about Jesus.
Jesus is coming into a town and just as he enters the town he sees a man whom he recognizes; he had known him before. He was blind and Jesus had cured his eyes. That man is running after a prostitute. Jesus stops the man and asks him, “Do you remember me?”
He said, “Yes, I remember you and I can never forgive you! I was blind and I was perfectly happy, because I had never seen any beauty. You gave me eyes. Now tell me – what am I to do with these eyes? These eyes are attracted towards beautiful women.”
Jesus could not believe… he was stunned, shocked: “I thought I had done some great service to this man and he is angry! He is saying, ‘Before you gave me eyes, I never thought about women,
I never thought that there were prostitutes. But since you have given me eyes you have destroyed me.’”
Jesus leaves the man without saying anything – there is nothing to say. And as he moves on he finds another man lying in the gutter, saying all kinds of meaningless things, completely drunk. Jesus pulls him out of the gutter and recognizes that he had given him legs. But now he is feeling a little shaky himself. He asks the man, “Do you know me?”
The man says, “Yes, I know you. Even though I am drunk, I cannot forgive you: it is you who disturbed my peaceful life. Without legs I could not go anywhere. I was a peaceful person – no fight, no gambling, no question of friends, no question of going to the pub. You gave me legs, and since then I have not found a single moment of peacefulness, of sitting silently. I am running after this, after that, and in the end when I am tired I get drunk. And you can see yourself what is happening to me. You are responsible for my situation! You should have told me beforehand that if I was getting the legs, all these problems were going to arise. You did not warn me. You simply cured me without even asking my permission.”
Jesus became so freaked, he left the city. He did not go any further. He said, “Nobody knows what kind of people I am going to meet.” But as he was coming out of the city he saw a man who was trying to hang himself from a tree. He said, “Wait, what are you doing?”
He said, “Again you have come! I was dead, and you forced me to be alive again. Now I don’t have employment, my wife has left me because she thinks a man who has died cannot be revived; she thinks I am a ghost. Nobody wants to meet me. Friends simply don’t recognize me. I go into the city and people don’t look at me. Now what do you want me to do? And again when I am going to hang myself you are here! What kind of revenge are you taking? Can’t you leave me alone? Now I cannot even hang myself. Once I was dead and you revived me – if I hang myself you are going to revive me again. You are so intent on making miracles, you don’t even care who are the sufferers of your miracles!”
When I came to see this story, I loved it. Every Christian should know about it.
There is no miracle except one, and that is the miracle of meditation which takes you away from the mind. And the heart is always welcoming you. It is always ready to give you a way, to guide you towards your being. And the being is your wholeness; it is your ultimate well-being.
Excerpted from Om Mani Padme Hum, Chapter two
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