Sometimes running here and there, talking, laughing, working, reading, writing and cleaning – The fact is: When the door closes behind and the eyes are shut – it is dark.
Thoughts or no thoughts, feelings or no feelings it is dark. Morning or night any time inside it is dark. Looking inside for the looker it is dark. Is ‘I’ darkness? Who is writing this question?
Yes, Prasad, ‘I’ is darkness, the ego is darkness, and if you look within and the looker is there, it will remain dark. Morning or evening won’t make any difference, thoughts or no thoughts won’t make any difference, because the ‘I’ itself is the essential thought, the fundamental thought – the looker.
It contains all thoughts and all feelings. You can look, but you have already divided yourself in two: the looker and the looked-upon. And this division is darkness, this duality is darkness, this split is darkness.
Oneness is luminous, oneness is light; twoness is darkness.
So, whenever a meditator goes in, first he always encounters darkness, and that darkness is frightening – who wants to go into that darkness? One becomes afraid, one wants to escape from it. In the beginning it is always so, but if you go on and go on and go on, and you stop even asking for light… Why should you ask? If it is dark, it is dark. And darkness is perfectly right – and when darkness is perfectly right, darkness is absolutely bright.
Accept it. Love it. Embrace it. Feel one with it. And the moment the split disappears, when there is no looker and the looked-upon, no observer and the observed, then suddenly there will be light – and a light which needs no fuel, a light which is eternal.
But if you are divided, then that light won’t happen to you.
So, what is to be done? You have to love this darkness, you have to fall into this darkness and disappear. Don’t search for the light. The search for the light will keep you distant, unloving, unavailable to the darkness, and that will be a barrier to light. Don’t search for light. If it is dark, it is dark. This is what Buddha calls tathata. If it is dark, it is dark; don’t ask for something else, let it be dark, enjoy it. What is wrong with darkness?
But we are conditioned in such a way that we cannot enjoy a few things. We have been brought up in such a way that we can enjoy only light, not darkness. Now this is missing something tremendously beautiful and something tremendously alive.
Darkness has its own joy, light has its own joy, and the person who understands will enjoy both. And he will not create any conflict and he will not choose. Darkness has silence in it, which no light can ever have. Darkness has a stillness in it, utter stillness, which no light can ever have. And darkness has infinity: unbounded it is, it knows no boundaries. Light has always boundaries to it: it is never infinite, it is finite. Light comes and goes; darkness abides, darkness is eternal.
It is because of this experience that in India we have painted Krishna as dark – his other name, shyam, means dark, ‘the black one’.
Darkness has depth. Whiteness is shallow, whiteness always looks superficial. Start enjoying darkness. Feel its infinity, feel its spaciousness, feel its eternity. Be touched by it and be moved by it – it is so velvety, it has a beauty of its own. And unless you are capable of loving darkness, you have not earned the right to know light.
The light that you know is the outside light; it is against darkness. And the light that you will know when you transcend inner darkness will not be against darkness, it will contain all that darkness has – and something more, and plus. Remember it: the light outside is not the true light; the true light will have all the qualities of this light and all the qualities of this darkness and still will be more than the sum total of both of them. It is a great splendour where dualities meet and merge into each other, where dualities pour all their beauties into each other and a new beauty arises: the beauty of unity, integration.
So, remember it: whatsoever you know about light and darkness – both have to be left behind. When you close your eyes, you have left the light outside; now you enter darkness. Love it. Sing a song with it. Have a dance with it. Don’t fight with it, don’t be afraid of it, don’t keep a distance from it. And don’t go on looking for light. Forget about light. This darkness is there – it has to be enjoyed; one has to be grateful to God for this darkness, this silence, this stillness, this velvety expanse. And then, one day, the observer and the observed are no more two.
When you love something, the duality disappears. If you love darkness, you become darkness. And when there is no duality, there comes a luminousness of a totally different quality. It is not the light that comes from the sun, and it is not the light that comes from electricity, and it is not the light that comes from the moon; then you have come to the very source of all light and all darkness, then you have come to the very root, the very ground, of being.
It is beautiful that the darkness is arising in you. You have taken a great step. Now, don’t go on fighting with it; otherwise, the next step will be hindered.
That’s what I was saying the other day: if the myth of Sisyphus were written by a Zen Master, it would have been totally different – the gods would have been defeated. You cannot punish a Zen Master. Sisyphus would have enjoyed, would have danced, would have been ecstatic, because there is no goal, so there is no failure. When the rock starts slipping back towards the valley, he would have listened to the sound echoing, re-echoing, in the valleys. He would have enjoyed it, and he would have started the downward journey with great joy because he knows the beauties of the valley too. Yes, there are beauties of the hilltop, the sunlit hilltop, and the openness of the sky, but there are beauties of the valley too: the shelter, the security, the beautiful birds, and the rivers, and the friends, and the pub. Sisyphus would have come back dancing from the hill, thinking of the pub and the friends and the beloved. And his children must have been waiting, and his woman – and it was time. And he would have had a beautiful, restful night, and in the morning he would have begun again: he would have taken the rock back to the top, another day, another challenge. Another day, another adventure, and in the morning he would have started again, whistling a song. The story would have been totally different.
The Greeks could not envision it; the logical mind cannot envision it, an illogical mind is needed to envision that beauty. Yes, when you go in and there is darkness, don’t become the Greek Sisyphus, remember what I am telling you. Love the darkness: it is a gift. All is a gift from God. Feel grateful to God that he has given you such a beautiful darkness of your own – so virgin, so pure, uncontaminated. Relax into it, and as you relax, it disappears. When you have relaxed totally, it is no more found. Then you have arrived at the very source of all darkness and all light, but that source has a totally different quality of light. It is not this light – it has something of it. It is not this darkness – it has something of it, but it is immensely vast. That’s why the mystics have always felt it difficult to say what it is.
Ineffable it is, inexpressible it is, and indefinable it is.
But, Prasad, you have taken a great step; going into darkness is a great step. Zen people call it ‘the great doubt’, and the Christian mystics call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. But the morning is just arriving, just following. The dark night of the soul has the morning following just on the heels of it, just following like a shadow. Don’t be too worried about the darkness, don’t become too obsessed by it; otherwise, you will miss the morning that is following it – and is just coming on the heels.
This is the way to look at life, and then thorns are no more thorns; they also have a beauty of their own. Then the cactus is as beautiful as any rose. And your heart expands when you can see the beauty of a thorn. To see the beauty of a rose is not much – anybody can see it; nothing is required of you. The rose is so obviously there – even a stupid person can see the beauty of it. But to see the beauty of the thorn great intelligence is needed, much is required of you; it is a challenge. Unless you have found beauty everywhere, you will not find God. Unless you are at home everywhere, you will never be at home.
So, in darkness, be at home. Whatsoever arises in you has to be accepted with joy as a gift. And I know it is difficult sometimes to think that this is a gift when you are ill, when it is all dark, when you are miserable, when love is broken. How can you see the beauty of it when a beloved dies? Death has happened – it is difficult to see the beauty. That only shows that you have a very, very narrow definition of beauty, that you have imposed some definition on reality. Drop that imposition. Let reality be freed.
Just the other day I was reading about a Hassid mystic, Zusia. He is one of the most beautiful Hassid mystics. He was going into the hills, and he saw many birds, caught by a man, in a cage. Zusia opened the cage – because birds are meant to fly – and all the birds flew away. And the main man came rushing out of his house and he said ‘What have you done?’ And Zusia said ‘Birds are meant to fly. Look how beautiful they look on the wing!’ But the man thought otherwise; he gave Zusia a good beating. His whole day’s work had been destroyed, and he had been hoping to go to the market and sell the birds, and there were many many things to be done – and now Zusia had destroyed the whole thing. He gave him a really good beating, but Zusia was laughing, and Zusia was enjoying – and he was beating him! Then he thought this man must be mad. And Zusia started moving.
When the man had finished, Zusia asked ‘Have you done it, or would you like to do a little more? Are you finished? Because now I have to go.’ The man could not answer. What to answer? This man was simply mad! And Zusia started singing a song. He was very happy – happy that the birds were flying in the sky and happy that he was beaten and yet it didn’t hurt, happy that he could receive it as a gift, happy that he could still thank God. There was no complaint. Now, he had transformed the whole quality of the situation.
This has to be learned. Slowly, slowly a man has to become so wide that all is accepted, yes, even death, only then the song bursts forth. Yes, even the darkness, only then the light arrives. The moment you have accepted the night totally and there is no seeking and hankering for the morning, the morning has come. This is how it comes, this is the way of its coming.
From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Discourse #6
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