When does discipline become meditation?
Never. Discipline never becomes meditation; meditation certainly becomes a discipline. Don’t start with discipline otherwise you will never arrive at meditation. Start with meditation and you will arrive at a discipline, and the discipline will not be imposed from the outside. It will be an inner overflow; you will become luminous from within.
In fact, to call it ‘discipline’ is not good because it is so utterly free – but still you can call it discipline. Your life will be disciplined, not by any effort, but by your inner understanding. You will behave responsibly, not that you have to behave that way, you will behave responsibly because a conscious man can behave only in that way – there is no other way. You will not behave for any profit, for any motive; you will behave out of your spontaneity; there will be no greed in it. If somebody is a Christian saint, he is greedy; he wants to reach to the Christian paradise. If somebody is a Jain monk, he is greedy, he is a businessman. He is trying to win over by virtue, to be victorious in the other world, to become a spiritual conqueror; but the idea is of greed.
If you go and look around the world at monks and saints and mahatmas, you will find ninety-nine per cent of them are just greedy people, materialistic people. They are disciplining themselves because they know that if they sacrifice, great is going to be the pay-off. They are ready to sacrifice, they are ready even to kill themselves – but it is a bargain.
A man of meditation, understanding, has no motive, no bargain with reality. How can you bargain with reality? The whole idea is silly. A man of meditation is good because it feels good to be good; there is no motive. He is virtuous because being virtuous he feels so happy and so delighted. He loves, he shares, just like a flower shares its scent, its fragrance – naturally. His virtue is not cultivated, conditioned; it is growth in his being.
So you ask ‘When does discipline become meditation?’
Never. Discipline never becomes meditation. But meditation always brings a discipline, an inner discipline. And that discipline is because of freedom. That discipline is not a new cage. That discipline makes you totally free and liberated. You don’t have any commandments to follow, you don’t follow anybody, any scripture. You simply follow your own inner core. And there is no conflict within you, there are no alternatives. You are not to choose, you don’t have to choose to do this or to do that. Whatsoever arises in your being, you do it. There is never any repentance because a man of meditation cannot do wrong – it doesn’t happen. Whatsoever he is doing, he is doing totally; the next moment he has moved beyond it. He never looks back, he never repents: whatsoever happened happened; whatsoever did not happen, did not happen. He neither praises himself: ‘I did this’, neither does he ever feel guilty: ‘Why could I not do this?’ He has no hangover, he is clean-cut from the past. Each moment he moves into the future, each moment the past disappears and he is fresh like the drew-drops in the morning.
That discipline has freshness, that discipline has freedom, that discipline has fragrance.
Otherwise, discipline makes people dull, stupid. Discipline makes people mediocre; discipline kills your freedom, kills your being; discipline becomes a suicide. So never start with discipline, start with meditation. That’s why my emphasis is on meditation. If discipline comes out of meditation – good, otherwise it is not needed. It is better to have no character than to have a forced character.
From Tao: the Pathless Path, V.1, Discourse #4
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