Please explain how I can meditate over something without using my mind.
Meditation has nothing to do with mind; meditation simply means a state of no-mind. The functioning of the mind is the only disturbance in meditation. If you are trying to achieve meditation THROUGH mind you are bound to fail, doomed to fail. You are trying to achieve the impossible.
A Zen initiate was meditating for years and whenever he would come to his Master, whatsoever experience he would bring to the Master, the Master would simply reject: “It is all nonsense. You go back and meditate again.”
One day the Master came to the hut of the disciple – he was sitting in a Buddha posture. The Master shook him and told him, “What are you doing here? If we needed stone Buddhas we have many in the temple! Just by sitting like a stone Buddha you will not attain to meditation. Do what I have been telling you to do. Just by stilling the body, your mind is not going to disappear, because it is through the mind that you are enforcing a certain discipline on the body. Anything done by the mind is going to strengthen the mind. It is a nourishment for the mind.”
A year passed. The Master came again. The disciple was sitting almost in a kind of euphoria, enjoying the morning breeze and sun with closed eyes, thinking that he was meditating. The Master took a brick and started rubbing it on a stone in front of the disciple. It was such a disturbance that finally the disciple had to shout, “What are you doing? Are you trying to drive me crazy?”
The Master said, “I am trying to make a mirror out of this brick. If one goes on rubbing it enough I think it will become a mirror.”
The disciple laughed. He said, “I always suspected that you were a little mad – now it is proved! The brick can never become a mirror. You can go on rubbing it on the stone for lives together; the brick will remain a brick.”
The Master said, “That shows some intelligence! Then what are you doing? For years you have been trying to make meditation out of the mind; it is like trying to make a mirror out of a brick.”
And the Master threw the brick in the pond at the side of the tree the disciple was sitting under. The brick made a great splash in the pond, and the very sound of it was enough to do the miracle.
Something awakened in the disciple. A sleep was broken, a dream was shattered: he became alert. For the first time he tasted something of meditation.
And the Master immediately said, “This is it!”
It happened so unexpectedly – the disciple was taken unawares. He was not waiting for this to happen, that the Master would suddenly throw the brick into the pond, and the splash…
Basho has a beautiful haiku:
The ancient pond.
The frog jumps in.
That’s all. The sound can awaken you.
Meditation is not a question of effort because all effort is going to be through the mind, of the mind, by the mind. How can it take you beyond the mind? You will go round and round IN the mind. You have to wake up! Mind is sleep. Mind is a constant process of dreaming, desiring, thoughts, memories.
Dinesh, you ask me: Please explain how I can meditate over something without using my mind.
Can’t you see something just with your eyes? Can’t you watch something without bringing your mind in? The birds chirping, this silence… What need is there of the mind? It is a question of watchfulness not of concentration.
But it is not only your problem; it is the problem of millions of people who become interested in meditation all over the world. They all mistake concentration for meditation. Concentration is something of the mind. It is being taught in the schools, colleges, universities. It has its uses – I am not saying it is useless. It is focusing on a certain object. In science it is needed. You have to focus your mind on a particular object totally so that you can observe deeply. You have to exclude everything else; you have to break it out of everything else.
You have to narrow down your consciousness; you almost have to make a pinpoint of it. That’s a scientific way as far as the objective world is concerned.
But as far as the subjective world is concerned it is of no help, not at all. There you are not to focus your mind on anything – on the idea of God or on some inner light, flame, love, compassion – you are not to concentrate at all; you have to be simply aware of all that is.
The man of concentration can be distracted easily; anything can become a distraction because he is trying to do something unnatural. Just a child crying, and he will be distracted; the traffic noise, and he will be distracted; an airplane passing by, and he will be distracted; a dog starts barking, and he will be distracted. Anything can distract him. And of course, when he is distracted he will feel miserable, frustrated – he has failed again. The man of meditation cannot be distracted for the simple reason that he is not concentrating in the first place.
Existence is not linear, it is simultaneous. For example, I am speaking here, the birds are chirping, the traffic noise is there, the train is passing by – all these things are happening together. You have to be simple, silent, watchful, witnessing all that is – no need to exclude anything because the excluded thing will try to distract you. If nothing is excluded, if your awareness is all-inclusive, then what can distract you? Can this bird distract you? In fact, it will enhance your silence. Nothing can distract you because you are not in a tense state.
Concentration is tension, hence the word “attention”. It comes from the same root, “tension”. Awareness is not attention; awareness is relaxation, it is rest.
So rest silently. Thoughts will pass; there is no need to he worried – what can they do? Desires will come and go. Watch them coming and going. Don’t have any evaluation. Don’t say, “This is good; this is bad.” Don’t say, “Aha! This is something great, spiritual, far out!” Some sensation in the spine – it may be just an ant crawling up and you start feeling your kundalini is rising, or just imagination – you see some light inside, which is not difficult… You can see light; you can see colors, psychedelic colors. You can experience beautiful things, but it is all imagination, howsoever colorful, howsoever beautiful.
Don’t start saying that this is good that Jesus is standing in front of you or Krishna or Buddha and that now you are starting to feel you are coming closer and closer to the ultimate realization. Buddha says, “If you meet me on the Way, kill me immediately!” He means: If I come in your meditation, don’t start feeling very good about it, because if you start feeling good about it you will start clinging to the idea – and it is only an idea. Just watch it with no preference, with no choice. If you can be choicelessly aware of everything outside and inside, meditation will happen one day. It is nothing that you have to do.
You can do only one thing and that is to learn the art of watching, watching without any judgment.
Then one day you simply relax, and in that total relaxation there is pure awareness. All thoughts disappear, all desires disappear; the mind is found no more. When mind is not found, this is meditation. A state of no-mind is meditation.
So you have been misunderstanding me. When I say “Meditate”, I mean “Watch”. If I say “Meditate on the songs of the birds”, I am simply saying “Watch”. I am not saying “Concentrate” – I am against concentration. And because I am for watchfulness you can watch anything. You can sit in the marketplace and watch people and that will be meditation. You can sit in the railway station and you can watch all kinds of noises: the trains coming and the passengers getting down and the coolies shouting and the vendors, and then the train goes away and a silence falls over the station. You simply watch, you don’t do anything.
And slowly, slowly you start relaxing, your tensions disappear. Then insight opens up like a bud opening and becoming a flower. Great fragrance is released. In that silence is truth, is bliss, is benediction.
From Tao: The Golden Gate, V.1, Chapter Six
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