Many years ago, it seems, I used to be able to meditate—I think.
A beautiful, silent, transparent state would arrive from somewhere; I presumed this was meditation. Now, nothing comes except a racing mind. What happened?
Prem Veena, it always almost happens this way. The days when you were feeling a kind of meditation happening to you were the days you were not looking for it — it was happening to you. Now you are trying to make it happen, and that makes all the difference. All the things that are really valuable in life only happen; you cannot make them happen, you cannot do them. It may be meditation, it may be love, it may be blissfulness, it may be silence.
Anything that goes beyond your mind is beyond your capacity to do it; you can only do things which come in the territory of the mind.
The mind is the doer, but your being is not a doer. Your being is just an opening, and a deep acceptance of whatever happens, with no complaint, with no grudge — just a pure gratefulness. And that, too, is not done by you; that is also part of the happening. We have to make this distinction very clear; almost everybody gets confused. Something happens to you — it is so beautiful, so blissful — the mind starts immediately desiring that it should happen more, that it should happen more often, that it should go deeper. The moment mind comes in, it disturbs everything. Mind is the devil, the destroyer.
So one has to be very aware that mind should not be allowed to interfere in things of the beyond. Mind is perfectly good as a mechanic, a technician. Give your mind what it can do, but don’t let it interfere in things which are beyond its capacity. But one of the problems is that mind is nothing but desiring — desiring for more. As far as the world of doing is concerned, you can have a bigger house, you can have a better house, you can have better furniture — you can do everything better; it is within the capacity of the mind.
But beyond the mind… mind can only desire, and each desire is going to be frustrated. Instead of bringing more meditation, it will bring you more frustration. Instead of bringing you more love, it will bring to you more anger. Instead of silence and peace, it will bring more traffic of thoughts — and that happens to almost everybody. So it is something natural that one has to grow out of.
You are saying, “Many years ago, it seems, I used to be able to meditate. A beautiful, silent, transparent state would arrive from somewhere; I presumed this was meditation.”
Neither were you expecting it, nor were you desiring it; it was just a guest, like a breeze that comes to you. But you cannot keep it, and you cannot order it to come. It comes when it comes. And once you understand this, you stop trying.
You have heard the expression, “Try and try again. I would like to say to you: Un-try and un-try again. Whenever the idea of trying arises, immediately drop it. It is going to lead you into failure, into frustration, and if you can drop it… and everybody can drop it, because it never brings anything. What is the problem in dropping the failure, frustration, despair and hopelessness? Just drop them and forget all about meditation.
One day, suddenly, you will find a window opens, and a fresh breeze with new rays has filled your heart. Again, don’t commit the same mistake! Be thankful for what is happening, but don’t ask for more — and more will be coming. Don’t ask, “Come again” — your asking will become the barrier.
It will come again, it will come more often. Slowly, slowly it becomes your heartbeat; waking, sleeping, it is always there, it never goes. But it is not your doing. You cannot brag that “I have done it.” You can only say, “I have allowed the unknown to do it to me.” It is always from the unknown that great experiences enter into our small hearts, and when we are trying hard to get them, we become so tense that the very tension prevents them.
When you are not trying, and you are relaxed — you are not even bothered about meditation and things like that — you suddenly find the footsteps of the unknown, something from nowhere, approaching you. Look at it with wonder, not with desire. Look at it with gratitude, but not with greed.
You are saying, “Now, nothing comes except a racing mind. What happened?” You became aware of the unknown. A little taste of meditation, and you became greedy, desirous. Your desire, your greed spoilt the whole game. Still, everything can be put right. You see the mind continuously racing; let it race — you simply watch, just be a bystander, an observer.
Just watching the mind is one of the greatest secrets of life, because it does not show that it works — but it works! Just as you watch, indifferent, uninterested, as if it has nothing to do with you, those thoughts start getting thinner; there is less traffic on the track of the mind.
Slowly, slowly there are small gaps, and in those gaps you will have a glimpse of what you used to have. But don’t jump upon it, don’t be greedy. Enjoy it, it will also pass; don’t try to cling to it. Thoughts will start coming again; again a gap will come, a bigger gap. Slowly, slowly bigger gaps will be happening when the mind will be empty.
In that empty mind the beyond can enter into you, but the basic condition is that you should not cling to it. If it comes — good; if it does not — good. Perhaps you are not ripe, perhaps it is not the time — still, be grateful. One has to learn watchfulness and gratefulness. Even when nothing is happening that you deep down want to happen, still be grateful. Perhaps it is not the right time for you, perhaps it will not help your growth. I have often told you the story of a Sufi mystic, Junnaid. He was the master of Al Hillaj Mansoor and because of Mansoor he became very famous. Mansoor was killed by the orthodox, traditionalist fanatics, and because of Mansoor, Junnaid’s name also became famous — Mansoor was Junnaid’s disciple.
Junnaid used to go for a pilgrimage every year to the Mohammedan holy place, Kaaba. It was not very far from his place, and Mohammedans are expected by their tradition at least once in a life to go to Kaaba; otherwise they are not complete Mohammedans. But Kaaba was so close to his place that every year he used to go with his disciples. He was the revolutionary kind of saint. In fact, any kind other than the revolutionary are not saints — just facades, actors, pretenders, and hypocrites.
The people in the villages where Junnaid had to pass were very angry with him. A few villages were so angry that they would not give him anything to eat, or even water to drink and would not allow him to stay in the village.
It was Junnaid’s usual prayer — Mohammedans pray five times a day — and after each prayer he would raise his hands to God and he would say, “I am so grateful to You. How should I express my gratefulness? You take care of me in every possible way; Your compassion is infinite, your love knows no bounds.”
The disciples were tired because five times every day, and in situations where they could see there is no care taken by God — they have not received food, they have not received water, they have not received shelter from the hot sun in the desert…. Once it happened that for three days continually they were thrown out, stoned, given no food, no water, no shelter; but Junnaid continued his prayer the same way.
On the third day, the disciples freaked out. They said, “Enough is enough. Why are you saying, ‘You are compassionate’, `Your love is great’, `You take care of us in every possible detail?’ For three days we have not eaten a single thing, we are thirsty, we have not slept under shelter, we have been sleeping in the desert, shivering in the cold night. For what are you being grateful?”
The answer that Junnaid gave to his disciples is worthy of being remembered. He said, “For these three days, do you think I cannot see that food has not been given to us, that we have been thrown out, that we have been stoned, that we are thirsty, that for three days we had to remain in the open desert…? Don’t you see that I am also aware of it? But this does not mean that he is not taking care of us. Perhaps this is the way he is taking care of us; perhaps this is what we need at this time.
“It is very easy, when life is going comfortably, to thank God. That thankfulness means nothing. These three days I have been watching. slowly, slowly, all of you have stopped thanking Him after the prayer; you failed the test. It was a beautiful test. Even if death comes to me, I will die with gratefulness. He gave me life; He took it away. It was His, it is His, it will be His. Who am I to interfere in His affairs?”
So there will be times when you will not find any moment of peace, silence, meditation, love, blissfulness. But do not lose hope. Perhaps those moments are needed to crystallize you, to make you strong. Be grateful not only when things are going good, but be grateful when everything is going wrong. A man who can be grateful when everything is going wrong is really grateful; he knows the beauty of gratefulness. For him, things can go wrong forever, but his gratefulness is such a transforming force, it is going to change everything.
So don’t be worried about the racing mind; let it race. Allow it to race as fully as possible; don’t prevent it, don’t try to stop it — you just be a watcher. You get out of the mind and let the mind race, and soon, without fail, as a natural law, gaps will start happening. And when gaps happen, don’t get too happy that, “I have got it.” Remain relaxed. Enjoy those gaps also, but without greed and without desire, because they will disappear; and they will disappear soon if you become greedy. If you are ungreedy, undesirous, they may stay longer.
This is the whole training of meditation. Soon, the day comes when the mind is completely silent, filled with great joy, silence. But remember, it is not your doing. If even for a single moment you think it is your doing, it may disappear. Always remember that you are the doing of existence. All that is great is going to happen to you not by your effort, but by your relaxed openness, availability.
Just keep your doors open.
The guest will come — it has never been otherwise
The guest always comes.
Pat’s son became an actor, and one evening rushed home to his father in a state of great excitement, “Guess what Dad,” he announced, “I have just been given my first part. I play a man who has been married for twenty-five years.”
“Keep it up my son,” said Pat, “someday you may get a speaking part, too.”
In the case of Veena, it is just the opposite. Right now you are in the speaking part; just keep on, someday you will certainly get the silent part too. But there is nothing to be worried about. Life has to be taken very playfully, with a great sense of humor. In good times and bad times, when things are happening and when things are not happening, when the spring comes and when, sometimes, the spring does not come to you….
Remember, we are not the doers as far as things beyond mind are concerned; we are only receivers. And to become a receiver, you have just to become a watcher of your mind because through watching those gaps appear. In those gaps your door is open. And through that door stars can enter into you, flowers can enter into you. Even when stars and flowers enter into you, don’t be greedy, don’t try to keep them in. They come out of freedom and you should remember, they will remain with you only in freedom. If you destroy their freedom, they are destroyed too. Their freedom is their very spirit. It is my continual experience of thousands of people that when they come for the first time to meditate, meditation happens so easily because they don’t have any idea what it is. Once it has happened, then the real problem arises — then they want it, they know what it is, they desire it. They are greedy for it; it is happening to others and it is not happening to them. Then jealousy, envy, all kinds of wrong things surround them.
Always remain innocent as far as things beyond mind are concerned. Always remain amateur, never become an expert. That is the worst thing that can happen to anybody.
From The Golden Future, Discourse #3
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