The man who lives in the future, lives a counterfeit life. He does not really live, he only pretends to live. He hopes to live, he desires to live, but he never lives. And the tomorrow never comes, it is always today. And whatsoever comes is always now and here, and he does not know how to live now-here; he knows only how to escape from now-here. The way to escape is called “desire,” tanha — that is Buddha’s word for what is an escape from the present, from the real into the unreal.
The man who desires is an escapist.
Now, this is very strange, that meditators are thought to be escapists. That is utter nonsense. Only the meditator is not an escapist — everybody else is. Meditation means getting out of desire, getting out of thoughts, getting out of mind. Meditation means relaxing in the moment, in the present. Meditation is the only thing in the world which is not escapist, although it is thought to be the most escapist thing. People who condemn meditation always condemn it with the argument that it is escape, escaping from life. They are simply talking nonsense; they don’t understand what they are saying.
Meditation is not escaping from life: it is escaping into life. Mind is escaping from life, desire is escaping from life.
From The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Volume 1, Chapter Seven
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