I feel somewhat detached from all external events—even sharp physical pain. It would be nice to think that this is the first bud of meditative being, but it seems more likely to be a chilling sign of schizoid withdrawal. Could you please say something about the perils of withdrawal, and how to avoid them?
In the search for a meditative state of mind, that peril always exists. In the search of one’s own self there is always a danger that you may choose the inner against the outer. Then the withdrawal becomes schizoid, because you become lopsided, you lose balance.
Balance is health. To lose balance is to lose health. And balance is sanity—to lose balance is to become insane. The fear is always there. The danger is always there. The danger comes because of your mind.
It is always easy for the mind to change its diseases. Somebody is mad after women; only sex is his obsession. One day or other he will be fed up with this, tired of it all. He will start moving to the other extreme: he will start thinking of brahmacharya, celibacy, of becoming a Catholic monk or something.
There is danger. It is as if you have been eating too much and then one day you decide to fast. Eating too much is bad but fasting is not better. In fact, by eating too much you are not going to die so soon; you may become heavier, fatty, uglier, but you will linger on, you will drag on. But by fasting, within weeks you will disappear; you cannot survive more than three months. Both are dangerous.
Eating too much is neurotic. Fasting is the opposite neurosis, but still neurotic. Have a balanced diet. Eat as much as is needed by the body; don’t go on stuffing your body. But this is how it happens. I have been watching people: whenever a society becomes very rich, fasting comes as a cult.
In India, Jains are one of the richest societies—fasting is their cult, fasting is their religion. Now America is becoming very rich. Fasting is becoming more and more a fashion. It is difficult to find a woman who is not on a diet. People go to nature cure clinics to fast.
A poor man’s religion is always of festivity, feast. Mohammedans, poor people, when their religious day comes they feast. They starve the whole year so, of course, the religious day, at least on that day, they change their clothes, new clothes, colorful, and they enjoy—at least for one day they can enjoy.
Jains feast the whole year, and when their religious days come they fast. That is logical.
A poor man’s festival is going to be a feast; a rich man’s festival is going to be a fast.
People move to the opposite extreme.
So when you start meditating, there is a danger that you may become too much attached to this introversion. Meditation is an introversion; it leads you to your center. If you lose your elasticity and you become incapable of coming back to the periphery, then it is a withdrawal and a dangerous withdrawal. It is schizoid.
Be alert! That has happened to many people. The whole history is full of such people who became schizoid.
When you are meditating, always remember that the periphery is not to be lost permanently. You have to come to the periphery again and again so the route remains clear and the path remains there. Hence my insistence to meditate but not to renounce the world. Meditate in the morning and then go to the market; meditate in the morning and then go to your office. Meditate and then make love! Don’t create any dichotomy, don’t create any conflict. Don’t say, “Now how can I love? I am a meditator.” Then you are moving in a dangerous direction; sooner or later you will lose all contact with the periphery. Then you will become frozen at the center. And life consists of being alive—changing, moving. Life is dynamic, it is not dead.
There are two types of dead people in the world: dead on the periphery and dead on the center. Become the third type: alive in between; go on moving from the center to the periphery, from the periphery to the center. They are enriching to each other; they are enhancing to each other. Just watch! If you meditate and then make love, your love will have a tremendously new depth to it. Love and then meditate and suddenly you will see: when your energy is full of love, meditation goes so deep and so easily. You simply ride on the wave; you need not make any effort. You simply float and reach higher and higher and higher. Once you understand the rhythm of the polar opposites, then there is no fear.
Remember: life is a rhythm between day and night, summer and winter. It is a continuous rhythm. Never stop anywhere! Be moving! And the bigger the swing, the deeper your experience will be.
So make it a point that you have to be continuously journeying, you have to travel. When you go to the inner center in your meditation, enjoy it! — as if there is no periphery.
Forget the periphery completely; there is no need to remember it. Don’t be distracted by it. Dig deep into your own being, be enriched by it! And bring that flavor back to the periphery. Bring that fragrance back to the world. Bring that aura, that light, that grace, that dignity, that grandeur, back to the periphery.
Walk in the marketplace like a Buddha. Live in the world… the world is very enriching, because relationship mirrors. All relationships are mirror-like. You see your face in the mirror of the other’s being. It is very difficult to see your own face directly. You will need the other, the mirror, to see your own face. And where can you find a better mirror than the eyes of the other?
Sometimes, look in the eyes of your enemy and you will see a facet of your being.
Sometimes look in the eyes of your lover, your friend, and you will see another facet of your being. Sometimes look in a person’s eyes who is indifferent to you and you will see yet another facet of your being. Collect all these faces—they are yours; aspects of your being. In different situations, with different people, in different worlds, move… and gather all this richness and awareness and alertness and consciousness. Then go back to the center and take all this awareness with you, and your ecstasy in the meditation will be deeper and richer for that.
And this has to go on continuously. Pour your center on the periphery, and pour your periphery on the center. Pour your love in your meditation and pour your meditation in your love.
This is what I teach. This is what I call a dynamic life. And a religious life is a dynamic life.
From A Sudden Clash of Thunder, Chapter Two
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