The reality is always there waiting just near your heart, near your eyes, near your hands. You can touch it, you can feel it, you can live it – but you cannot think it. Seeing is possible, feeling is possible, touching is possible – but thinking is not possible.
Try to understand the nature of thinking. Thinking is always about, it is never direct. You can see the reality, but you will have to think about it and ‘about’ is the trap, because whenever you think about you have moved away. ‘About’ means indirect. ‘About’ means you will not see this flower here and now, you will think about it, and the ‘about’ will become a barrier. Through that ‘about’ you will never reach to this flower.
Seeing is direct, touching is direct – thinking is indirect. That’s why thinking misses. A lover can know the reality, even a dancer can know it, a singer can feel it, but a thinker goes on missing it.
I have heard about one Jewish philosopher. He was an ordinary peasant but very philosophic. His name was Yossel. He would think about everything, as philosophers do. It was very difficult for him to do anything because thinking would take all his time, and by the time he was ready the opportunity was lost.
Once he went to the market, to a nearby village, to sell his wheat. He told his wife, “As soon as I am able to sell the wheat, immediately I will send you a telegram.”
He sold the wheat with much profit so he wrote a telegram, went to the post office, filled in the form – and then started thinking about it.
He wrote: “Wheat sold profitably. Coming tomorrow. Love and kisses, Yossel.”
Then he started thinking and he thought, “My wife will think I have gone mad. Why ‘profitably’? Am I going to sell my wheat at a loss?” So he crossed out the word ‘profitably.’ Then he became more concerned, because if he could miss and write a wrong word he may have made other errors also. So he looked, started thinking about each word.
Then he said, “Why ‘coming tomorrow’? Am I going to come next month? Or next year? My wife knows that I will come as soon as the wheat is sold.” So he crossed out the words ‘coming tomorrow.’
Then he thought, “My wife already knows that I have come to sell the wheat, so why write, ‘sold wheat’?” He crossed that out too. And then he started laughing. He said, “I am writing to my own wife. Why should I write ‘love and kisses’? Am I writing to somebody else’s wife? And is it her birthday or Yom Kippur or something?”
He crossed out that too.
Now only his name remained: Yossel. He said to himself, “Yossel, have you gone mad? Your wife already knows your name.” So he tore up the telegram, happy that he had saved much money and foolishness.
But this is how it happens: if you go on thinking ‘about’, you miss the whole life – everything is crossed out by and by. In the end you are also crossed out – not only is the word crossed out, you are also in the end crossed out. Thinking becomes smoke; everything moves into it and everything is finished.
And action becomes impossible – even to send a telegram is not possible. Action becomes impossible because action is direct and thinking is indirect. They never meet.
This is the problem in the world. People who think, they never act; and people who don’t think, they go on acting. The world is in misery. People who are fools, they go on acting because they never think, they jump in everything. Hitlers and Napoleons and Maos, they go on doing things, and wise people, the so-called thinkers – Aristotle, or Kant, or Hegel – they go on thinking, they never do anything.
The problem for a man who is seeking reality is how to stop the vicious circle of thinking, yet be aware. Because fools also don’t think, but they are not aware. Be aware – the energy that moves into thinking should become awareness. Consciousness that goes on in a vicious circle with thinking should be retained, purified. Thinking should stop, the whirling of consciousness should stop, but not consciousness. Consciousness should become more crystallized and action should be there, action should not stop.
Awareness plus action, and you will attain reality immediately. And not only you – you will create a situation in which others can also attain reality. You will become a milieu, a climate around which things will start happening. That’s what happened with a Buddha, with a Sosan, with a Chuang Tzu.
Remember: action is good, thinking is a vicious circle; it never leads anywhere. So thinking has to stop but not action. There are people who will go on thinking; action will stop. That’s how it happens when a person renounces life, moves to the forest or the Himalayas. He renounces action, not thinking. He renounces the world where action was needed. He is renouncing reality itself, because through action you come in contact with reality. Seeing is action, moving is action, dancing is action, painting is action. Whatsoever you do, you come in contact with reality.
You have to become more and more sensitive in your doing. Doing is not to be renounced; action should be totally there, because that is the passage through which you move into reality and the reality moves into you. Try to understand, because this is very basic – basic to me: renounce thinking, don’t renounce action.
There are people who go on thinking, and there are people who go on renouncing action. But in the Himalayas what will they do? Then the whole energy, not moving in action, will move into thinking. They will become great philosophers. But philosophy is a fool’s land; you live in words, not in realities. Love disappears, only the word ‘love’ is retained. God disappears; because he was there in the fields, in the market, in the world, but the word ’God’ is retained. Actions disappear, only concepts are carried. Your head becomes your whole being.
Avoid. Never renounce action, only renounce thinking. But if you renounce thinking there is a possibility you may become unconscious, or you may become a fool. You may start doing anything whatsoever, because now you don’t know what to do, and you don’t think. You may go crazy.
Thinking is to be renounced, but you are not to become more unaware, more unconscious. You have to become more conscious.
This is the whole art of meditation: how to be deep in action, how to renounce thinking, and how to convert the energy that was moving into thinking to become awareness.
It is going to be very delicate and subtle, because if you miss a step you fall into infinite ignorance.
It is easy to drop thinking, but then you go to sleep. Every day in deep sleep it happens: you renounce, thinking stops – but then you are no more there, consciousness drops. Your consciousness has become too attached, associated, with thinking, so whenever thinking stops you fall into a coma.
And this is the problem. One has to renounce thinking and not fall into a coma, because the coma will not lead you to reality. If you fall unconscious you are not going into reality, you are simply fast asleep: the conscious has merged into the unconscious. Just the reverse has to be attained: the unconscious merges into the conscious. If the conscious falls into the unconscious you fall into a coma, and if the unconscious falls into the conscious and becomes conscious itself, you become enlightened, you become a Buddha, a Sosan.
And it is very easy to help the conscious fall down into the unconscious, because it is a very small fragment. One tenth of your being is conscious, nine tenths of your being is unconscious. Just a small fragment has become conscious, and that too is always wavering. Any moment it can fall, it is very easy.
That’s how it happens in intoxication: you take alcohol, the conscious falls into the unconscious.
Hence the appeal in all the ages and all the climates and in all the countries of alcohol. And this is what happens when you take a drug: the conscious falls into the unconscious.
It is beautiful because thinking stops. Sleep is beautiful and you have many, many dreams. And if you are a good dreamer then a drug will give you beautiful dreams – fantastic, more colorful than any dream can be, more luminous. You move into paradise, into a dreamland, but you are not moving into reality.
LSD, marijuana, mescaline, or any drug, gives you only a good sleep, and in that good sleep you dream. Those dreams are colorful, and your life is so poor and your life is such a misery that you would even like to live those dreams rather than live in this miserable life. You would choose – if that was the only choice – to live in a beautiful dream rather than to live in this miserable life. This life is like a nightmare. Even if a drug is only going to give you a luminous dream, colorful, three dimensional, why not take it? Because what is there in this life? Because life is in such a mess you choose dreams.
Drugs, alcohol, or other sorts of intoxicants, they have always been used by religious people. But through them you never move into the reality. Through them you fall into a torpor, into a coma. And in that coma you can have dreams.
And if you have been thinking too much about God, you can see God, because you can project your own dreams. Dreams can be directed and guided. If you have been thinking too much of Christ, then while under the influence of a drug Christ will appear to you. This is your own mind playing games. If you have been too much attached to Krishna then he will be standing there with his flute on his lips, singing and dancing. If a Hindu, a devotee of Krishna, takes LSD he will see Krishna, and a Christian will see Jesus, and a Buddhist will see Buddha – but these are mind projections. Reality is miserable but don’t hanker after dreams, because if you hanker after dreams then there is only one way: how to help the conscious become unconscious again.
A small part has come up out of unconsciousness, and that is the beauty of a human being. Agony and ecstasy both, but that is the beauty of a human being, that he has become an island in a vast unconscious. This island has to grow higher and higher so it becomes a continent. Through drugs it will go again underwater, you will live again the life of an animal or a tree – beautiful in themselves but not worthy of you, because you are losing so much. And you could have attained reality; that island could have become a continent. But not only drugs – there are other subtle means also to help the conscious become unconscious.
Through music it can be done, through chanting it can be done. If you repeat a mantra continuously you will fall asleep, because anything monotonous brings coma.
They are subtle means, on the surface not like drugs. In every temple, church it is going on – and temples and churches are against drugs, and they don’t know what they are doing. They are also using subtle drugs, not so crude as LSD or marijuana but still drugs – because when you chant a certain word continuously it gives you sleep, it cannot give you anything else.
You relax. The very chanting gives you a deep boredom. The same word – ram, ram, ram – you go on, you go on, you go on… What will you do? Because mind remains alert only if something new is happening, otherwise mind goes to sleep. If something new is happening then mind is alert. If nothing new is happening, only ram, ram, ram, a chanting, and you know again and again it will happen, infinitely, the mind starts feeling sleepy.
Every mother knows this. Whenever a child is not going to sleep she will repeat a line of a song, very simple, two, three words, and she will repeat the same again and again – a lullaby. It becomes a mantra and the child goes to sleep. And the mind is the same – whether you are a child or an old man makes no difference – the mind goes into sleep through lullabies, but the process is the same.
Thinking has to be stopped, but not by becoming unconscious. Thinking has to be stopped by becoming more conscious, alert, aware, so the energy that is moving in thinking moves into consciousness, and a witnessing arises in you. So remember, thinking has to be stopped not through chanting, but through becoming a witness to the thought process – looking at it, watching it, a watcher on the hills, looking, seeing…
If you deeply see and penetrate the words, they start disappearing. A gap comes, an interval. Clouds disappear and the blue sky is seen. You are alert, sensitive – not in a coma. More unconsciousness has been drawn into consciousness; your flame is bigger, more vital, and you can see more, you can touch more, you can smell more. And your action takes on a new quality, the quality of divineness.
Whenever a Buddha touches you, the touch is different. You also touch, you also feel sometimes differences. You touch a man just casually, and then you don’t move through the hand. Then the hand is dead, closed; you simply say hello with a dead hand. You can feel it, that the hand has been given but yet not given. It was diplomatic. The hand was not alive, not warm, not meeting and merging with you. Sometimes when in love the hand is given, it is a merger, energy flows through it, it is an opening. Through the hand the being comes to meet you. It is warm, it is alive, it trusts you.
When a Buddha touches you, it is absolutely different, the quality has changed. Because whenever the consciousness is total, absolute, every action becomes total. When he touches, he becomes just the touch. He is nothing any more. His whole being is the touch, he flows into it. He is nowhere else, he is in the touch.
At that moment he is no more eyes, he is no more ears; at that moment his whole being is transformed into touch. He becomes a total touch, and you will feel that you are illuminated through his touch – energy has moved into you. If you were not ready you may even be shocked. If you were ready then you will rejoice, you will be delighted in it.
When a Buddha looks at you he becomes just the eyes; otherwise is not possible, because he is not divided within. When you look, you look and you do many other things also. Thinking goes on, you go on divided. Your eyes are not total.
When a Buddha looks at you his eyes are total. They will be like a burning sun. They will penetrate you, they will make a hole within your being, they will go directly to your heart. You will never be the same again – if you allow. Otherwise you can remain closed and he cannot penetrate you. Even if he touches, he touches a dead corpse; you can remain closed.
Whenever consciousness is there, and action, consciousness and action become a totality.
From Hsin Hsin Ming: The Book of Nothing, Discourse #3
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