When people come to me and they ask, “How to meditate?” I tell them, “There is no need to ask how to meditate, just ask how to remain unoccupied. Meditation happens spontaneously. Just ask how to remain unoccupied, that’s all. That’s the whole trick of meditation – how to remain unoccupied. Then you cannot do anything. The meditation will flower.”
When you are not doing anything the energy moves towards the center, it settles down towards the center. When you are doing something the energy moves out. Doing is a way of moving out. Non-doing is a way of moving in. Occupation is an escape. You can read The Bible; you can make it an occupation. There is no difference between religious occupation and secular occupation: all occupations are occupations, and they help you to cling outside your being. They are excuses to remain outside.
Man is ignorant and blind, and he wants to remain ignorant and blind, because to come inwards looks like entering into a chaos. And it is so; inside you have created a chaos. You have to encounter it and go through it. Courage is needed – courage to be oneself, and courage to move inwards. I have not come across a greater courage than that – the courage to be meditative.
But people who are engaged outside with worldly things or non-worldly things, but occupied all the same, they think – and they have created a rumor around it, they have their own philosophers – they say that if you are an introvert you are somehow morbid, something is wrong with you. And they are in the majority. If you meditate, if you sit silently, they will joke about you: “What are you doing? – gazing at your navel? What are you doing? – opening the third eye? Where are you going? Are you morbid?… because what is there to do inside? There is nothing inside.”
Inside doesn’t exist for the majority of people, only the outside exists. And just the opposite is the case. Only inside is real; outside is nothing but a dream. But they call introverts morbid, they call meditators morbid. In the West they think that the East is a little morbid. What is the point of sitting alone and looking inwards? What are you going to get there? There is nothing.
David Hume, one of the great British philosophers, tried once… because he was studying the Upanishads and they go on saying: Go in, go in, go in – that is their only message. So he tried it. He closed his eyes one day – a totally secular man, very logical, empirical, but not meditative at all – he closed his eyes and he said, “It is so boring! It is a boredom to look in. Thoughts move, sometimes a few emotions, and they go on racing in the mind, and you go on looking at them – what is the point of it? It is useless. It has no utility.”
And this is the understanding of many people. Hume’s standpoint is that of the majority: What are you going to get inside? There is darkness, thoughts floating here and there. What will you do? What will come out of it? Had Hume waited a little longer – and that is difficult for such people – if he had been a little more patient, by and by thoughts disappear, emotions subside. But if it had happened to him he would have said, “That is even worse, because emptiness comes. At least first there were thoughts, something to be occupied with, to look at, to think about. Now even thoughts have disappeared; only emptiness…. What to do with emptiness? It is absolutely useless.”
But had he waited a little more, then darkness also disappears. It is just like when you come from the hot sun and you enter your house: everything looks dark because your eyes need a little attunement. They are fixed on the hot sun outside. Comparatively, your house looks dark. You cannot see, you feel as if it is night. But you wait, you sit, you rest in a chair, and after a few seconds the eyes get attuned. Now it is not dark, a little more light…. You rest for an hour, and everything is light, there is no darkness at all.
If Hume had waited a little longer, then darkness also disappears. Because you have lived in the hot sun outside for many lives your eyes have become fixed, they have lost the flexibility. They need tuning. When one comes inside the house it takes a little while, a little time, a patience. Don’t be in a hurry.
In haste nobody can come to know himself. It is a very, very deep awaiting. Infinite patience is needed. By and by darkness disappears. There comes a light with no source. There is no flame in it, no lamp is burning, no sun is there. A light, just like it is in the morning: the night has disappeared, and the sun has not risen…. Or in the evening – the twilight, when the sun has set and the night has not yet descended. That’s why Hindus call their prayer time sandhya. Sandhya means twilight, light without any source.
When you move inwards you will come to the light without any source. In that light, for the first time you start understanding yourself, who you are, because you are that light. You are that twilight, that sandhya, that pure clarity, that perception, where the observer and the observed disappear, and only the light remains.
But it takes time. In the beginning you will feel chaos. One has to pass through it. And nobody else can do it for you, remember, you have to pass through it. The master can only do this much – he can help you to pass, he can give you courage. He can say, “Don’t be afraid, just a few steps more.”
It happened: Buddha was moving from one town to another. They had lost their way. They asked a few villagers on the way, “How far until the next town?”
They said, “Just two miles,” as is always said in India. Whether it is fifty miles or twenty miles, it makes no difference; villagers always say, “Just two miles.”
Buddha and his disciple Ananda, they walked two miles but there was no sign of any village coming nearer. They couldn’t see any possibility that the village was any nearer. They asked again a few villagers, “How far is the village?”
They said, “Just two miles.”
They moved two miles. Ananda became desperate. He said, “Are these people absolute fools or are they knowingly deceiving us? – Because we have again moved two miles and there is no village. Are they playing tricks? Why should they lie?”
Buddha said, “You don’t understand. They are like me. It is because of compassion that they say, ‘Just two miles,’ so you get courage. And you say, ‘Okay, so just two miles? Let two miles be passed.’ They help you. If they say, ‘It is a hundred miles,’ you will drop dead. You will be flat on the earth. You will lose courage.”
A master cannot do it for you. He cannot pass through the misery, through the chaos. If he could he would have done it, but that is not possible in the nature of things. But he can help you, he can give you courage, he can say, “Come on, just a little more, and the night will pass. And when the night is the darkest the morning is nearest.” He will give you courage, and that is needed.
That’s why without a master it is almost impossible to travel on the path, because who will help give you courage? Who will say, “Just two miles more…”? Who will say that you are almost at the end of the journey, you have almost reached, just a little bit more…? And as Lao Tzu says, a thousand league journey is completed by taking only one step at a time. You take one step, then another, then another, and a thousand-mile journey is completed.
Chaos is going to be there. When you enter inside, all diseases that you have suppressed will erupt to the surface. All the miseries that you have been avoiding – they are waiting for you there, restlessly waiting for you. They will surface. You will pass through hell. But nobody ever reaches heaven if he is not ready to pass through hell. Hell is the gateway. Hell is the way, heaven is the journey’s end. But one has to pass through the hell. Through a dark night one has to pass to come to the morning. And you will have to encounter it.
Man is ignorant, and he resists any effort to break his ignorance because he is afraid a chaos is waiting. And you rightly suspect, the chaos is there. You will almost go mad. A master will be needed who can hold your hand while you are going mad, and take you out of the madness.
These are the implications. That’s why the mind goes on playing games with you. It says, “Yes, tomorrow I am going to meditate.” But it is afraid. Meditation is like death. And it is. You will have to die as you are; only then the new can be born.
Excerpt from Just Like That, Chapter Six
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