In my meditations, as I try to look more and more inside, I often feel that there is nobody. It is like falling into an endless black gap. And I feel a lot of tension and wanting to run away. If there is no me inside, then whom should I love? Please help me find that love for myself, and that totality that you have talked about so many times.
Shivam Annette, the question you have asked is one of the most important questions as far as the people who are meditating are concerned. Before I go into your question, a few necessary distinctions have to be understood.
When I say, “Go inwards,” that does not mean that you will find someone there waiting for you. On the contrary, the more you go inwards, the less and less you are an ego. You are, but the feeling of I-ness starts disappearing — for the simple reason that the I can exist only in reference to Thou. If the Thou is not present, the I starts melting.
Outside you are confronted with many Thous, they keep your I alive. But inside, there is no Thou; hence, there can be no I. That does not mean that you are not. It simply means you are in your purity — not in reference to somebody else, but just yourself, without any reference, in your absolute aloneness. Because our whole life we live as an ego, as an I, this disappearance of the I naturally creates fear and an effort to run away. Although it is natural, it is not right.
You have to go through this fear, darkness, anxiety, tension, because your I is dying. Up to now, you have remained identified with the I, so it seems as if you are dying. But just look at a single point: you are watching fear, you are watching the disappearance of I, you are watching tension, you are watching blackness, darkness, you are watching a feeling of nobodiness. This watcher is you.
Going inwards is to find the witness in its absolute purity, unpolluted by anything — just a pure mirror, not reflecting anything. If mirrors were thinkers — fortunately they are not — and if they were brought up always with somebody looking in them, that would have given them an idea of who they are. And for many years, always reflecting somebody, they would have created a certain image of themselves — that they are the reflectors. Just visualize that one day suddenly nobody reflects in the mirror. The mirror will feel fear. The mirror will feel as if he is falling into a deep abyss, dark, dismal, into nonexistence — who is he? His identity is lost just because nobody is looking in the mirror. The mirror has not changed, in fact the mirror is pure. But with this purity he has never been acquainted; nobody has introduced him to this purity.
Meditation takes you to your purity.
Your purity is witnessing, watching, awareness.
You have not asked, “Who is the watcher?” You are asking, “I find there is nobody.”
Who finds it? — That’s you! You will find nothingness, you will find nothing reflected in you; you will find emptiness. You have to change your focus from the object to your subjectivity. One thing is certain: the witness is present, and the inward journey is to find the witness — is to find the pure mirror of your being.
You say, “In my meditations, as I try to look more and more inside, I often feel that there is nobody.” But you are not conscious at all that you are finding that there is nobody. But you are! Do you think you are going to meet yourself as somebody? Do you think you are going to meet somebody who will say, “Hello, Shivam Annette, how do you do?” That will really freak you out — “My God, I’m not one, I’m two!”
This feeling that there is nobody is absolutely right. You are on the right track. Just go on being alert that you are still there, watching. All these are objects — the nobody, the darkness, the fear, the tension…. “It is like falling into an endless black gap. And I feel a lot of tension and wanting to run away.”
Watch all these things. They are just your old habits. You have never been into your own depths; hence the fear of the unacquainted, of the unknown. You have always been going around and around — but outside — and you have even forgotten the path to your inner home. In the beginning it will look like an endless black gap. Allow it. Blackness has a beauty of its own. Blackness is deep, is silent — enjoy it! There is no need to run away from it.
“If there is no me inside, then whom should I love?”
There is certainly no me inside anyone. But there is something else far more important: there is something which can only be called your am-ness, your is-ness — just your pure existence.
You call it me, because outside you need to refer to yourself. Have you watched small babies? In the beginning they often refer to themselves by their name, “Johnny is hungry.” They are far more accurate. But in a society they will be thought to be insane. “Johnny is hungry?” Why don’t you say, “I’m hungry” “Johnny” gives the idea that somebody else is hungry. Johnny is your name to be used by others.
You cannot use it when you are referring to yourself. Then you have to refer to yourself as ‘I’, ‘me’, but not your name.”
It happened in Thomas Alva Edison’s life… he was one of the greatest scientists. As far as numbers of inventions are concerned he is unparalleled — he invented one thousand things. It is almost impossible to find a thing which is not invented by Thomas Alva Edison. He was so much respected that nobody mentioned his name, just out of respect. His colleagues called him Professor, his students called him Sir, and obviously he didn’t use his own name.
Then came the First World War, and for the first time rationing was introduced, and he went to the rationing shop. There was a queue; he was standing in the queue and when the man in front of him had left, the clerk shouted loudly, “Who is Thomas Alva Edison?” And Thomas Alva Edison looked here and there, where is Thomas Alva Edison? The clerk was also a little puzzled, because this man ought to be Thomas Alva Edison; it was his number. And the whole queue was also puzzled. They were looking at each other, what is the matter?
Finally one man from the back of the queue said to him, “Sir, as far as I remember, I have seen you. You are Thomas Alva Edison.”
And Edison said, “If you say so, perhaps I am.”
The clerk said, “Are you insane or what?”
He said, “Not insane, but I have not heard this name for almost thirty years. I have forgotten it. Nobody calls me by the name. My father died when I was very young, my mother died. Now it is a far, faraway memory. I can remember that something like Thomas Alva Edison used to be my name, but for thirty years nobody has mentioned it. It is good that that man recognized me; otherwise I don’t think that on my own I would have been able to recognize it myself.”
It is a rare case, but thirty years is a long time, particularly for a man like Edison whose life is so full of creativity. His thirty years are almost three hundred years in your life. It is simply a social invention that you refer to others by their name, and you refer to yourself by I, me. But inside there is no other, and with the other gone, the me, the I, is gone.
But there is no need to worry. You will not find your I, but you will find something greater: you will find your is-ness, your existence, your being.
When I say “Love yourself,” this is for those who have never gone inside; because they can always… they are bound to understand only a language of duality. Love yourself — that means you are dividing yourself into two, the lover and the loved. You may not have thought about it, but if you go inside you will not love yourself, you will be love.
You will be simply the energy called love.
You will be loving; you will radiate love. Love will be your fragrance.
Goldstein, who looked Jewish, was walking down a street in Berlin just before the war, when he accidentally collided with a stout Nazi officer.
“Schwein,” bellowed the Nazi.
“Goldstein,” replied the Jew with a courteous bow.
Sometimes you may need your name also; life gives strange situations. Goldstein did well. Rather than being offended, he introduced himself, just as the Nazi had introduced himself. But all these names can be used only on the outside.
Inside you are nameless, you are egoless. Inside you are just a pure existence — and out of that pure existence arises the aroma of love.
From The Golden Future, Discourse #8
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