The great silence
Silence usually is understood to be something negative, something empty, an absence of sound, of noises. This misunderstanding is prevalent because few people have ever experienced silence. All that they have experienced in the name of silence is noiselessness. But silence is a totally different phenomenon. It is utterly positive. It is existential, it is not empty. It is overflowing with a music that you have never heard before, with a fragrance that is unfamiliar to you, with a light that can only be seen with your inner eyes. It is not something fictitious; it is a reality, and a reality which is already present in everyone-just we never look in. Your inner world has a taste of its own, has its own fragrance, has its own light. And it is utterly silent, immensely silent, eternally silent.
When you are not doing anything at all – bodily, mentally, on no level – when all activity has ceased & you simply are, just being, that’s what meditation is.
You are not your experiences
One of the most fundamental things to remember – not by you but by everyone – is that whatever you come across in your inner journey, you are not it. You are the one who is witnessing it – it may be nothingness, it may be blissful, it may be silence. But one thing has to be remembered – however beautiful & however enchanting an experience you come by, you are not it. You are the one who is experiencing it, & if you go on & on & on, the ultimate in the journey is the point when there is no experience left – neither silence, nor blissfulness, nor nothingness. There is nothing as an object for you but only your subjectivity. The mirror is empty. It is not reflecting anything. It is you.
Witnessing simply means a detached observation, unprejudiced; that’s the whole secret of meditation.
Watching is meditation. What you watch is irrelevant.
The quality of observation, the quality of being aware & alert – that’s what meditation is. Remember one thing: meditation means awareness. Whatsoever you do with awareness is meditation.
Nothing needs to be done; just be a witness, an observer, a watcher, looking at the traffic of the mind – thoughts passing by, desires, memories, dreams, fantasies. Simply stand aloof, cool, watching it, seeing it, with no judgment, with no condemnation, neither saying ‘this is good,’ nor saying ‘this is bad.’
Your inner being is nothing but the inner sky. Clouds come & go, planets are born & disappear, stars arise & die, & the inner sky remains the same, untouched, untarnished, unscarred. We call that inner sky sakshin, the witness, & that is the whole goal of meditation. Go in, enjoy the inner sky. Remember, whatsoever you can see, you are not it. You can see thoughts, then you are not thoughts; you can see your feelings, then you are not your feelings; you can see your dreams, desires, memories, imaginations, projections, then you are not them. Go on eliminating all that you can see. Then one day a tremendous moment arises, the most significant moment in one’s life, when there is nothing left to be rejected. All the seen has disappeared & only the seer is there. The seer is the empty sky. To know it is to be fearless, & to know it is to be full of love. To know it is to be God, is to be immortal.
Rising in love: a partnership in meditation
There are a few fundamental things to be understood. First, a man & a women are on one hand halves of the other, & on the other hand, opposite polarities. Their being opposites attracts them to each other. The farther away they are, the deeper will be the attraction; the more different from each other they are, the more will be the charm & beauty & attraction. But there lies the whole problem. When they come close, they want to come closer, they want to merge into each other, they want to become one, a harmonious whole – but their whole attraction depends on opposition.
Unless a love affair is very conscious, it is going to create great anguish, great trouble. All lovers are in trouble. The trouble is not personal; it is in the very nature of things. They would not have been attracted to each other – they call it falling in love – they cannot give any reason why they have such a tremendous pull towards each other. They are not even conscious of the underlying causes; hence a strange thing happens; the happiest lovers are those who never meet.
Once they meet, the same opposition that created the attraction becomes a conflict. On each small point, their attitude is different, their approach are different. Although they speak the same language, they cannot understand each other. The way a man looks at the world is different from a woman. For example, a man is interested in far away things – in the future of humanity, in faraway stars, whether there are living beings on other planets or not. A woman simply giggles at the whole nonsense. She is only interested in a small, closed circle – in the neighbours, in the family, in who is cheating his wife, whose wife has fallen in love with the chauffeur. Her interest is very local & very human. She is not interested in reincarnation; neither is she concerned about life after death. Her concern is more pragmatic. She is concerned with the present, here & now.
Man is never here & now. He is always somewhere else. He has strange preoccupations – reincarnation, life after death. If both partners are conscious of the fact that it is a meeting of opposites, that there is no need to make it a conflict, then is a great opportunity to understand the totally opposite point of view & absorb it. Then the life of a man & woman together can become a beautiful harmony. Otherwise, it is a continuous fight. But it is one of the strangest phenomena that for thousands of years men & woman have been living together, yet they are strangers. They go on giving birth to children, but still they remain strangers. The feminine approach & the masculine approach are so opposed to each other that unless conscious effort is made, unless it becomes your meditation, there is no hope of having a peaceful life.
It is one of my deep concerns; how to make love & meditation so involved in each other that each love affair automatically becomes a partnership in meditation - & each meditation makes you so conscious that you need not fall in love, you can rise in love. You can find a friend consciously, deliberately.
You feel a deep harmony with me, moments of peace, love & silence, & naturally the question has arisen in you that if this is possible with me, why is it not possible with the man you love? The difference has to be understood. You love me, but you don’t love me in the same way you love your husband, your wife. Your love towards me is not biological; with me your love is a totally different phenomena – it is of the spirit, not of the body. & secondly, you are connected with me because of your search for truth. My relationship with you is that of meditation. Meditation is the only bridge between me & you. Your love will deepen as your meditation deepens, & vice-versa: as your meditation blossoms, your love will blossom. But it is on a totally different level. With your husband, you are not connected in meditation. You never sit silently for one hour together just to feel each other’s consciousness. Either you are fighting or you are making love, but in both cases, you are related with the body, the physical part, the biological, the hormones. You are not related with the innermost core of the other. Your soul remains separate. In the temples & in the churches & in the courts, only your bodies are married. Your souls are miles apart.
If you want a harmonious relationship with your man, you will have to learn to be more meditative. Love alone is not enough. love alone is blind; meditation gives it eyes. meditation gives it understanding. & once your love is both love & meditation, you become fellow travellers. Then it is no longer an ordinary relationship between husband & wife. Then it becomes a friendliness on the path towards discovering the mysteries of life. Man alone, woman alone, will find the journey very tedious & very long, as they have found it in the past: seeing this continuous conflict. All the religions decided that those who wanted to seek should renounce the other – the monks should be celibate, the nuns should be celibate. But in five thousand years of history, how many monks & how many nuns have become realised souls? You cannot even give me enough names to count on ten fingers. & millions of monks & nuns of all religions – Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan – what has happened? The path is not so long. The goal is not that far away. But even if you want to go to your neighbour’s house, you will need both your legs. Just jumping on one leg, how far can you go?
I am introducing a totally new vision, that men & women together in deep friendship, in a loving, meditative relationship, as organic wholes, can reach the goal any moment they want. Because the goal is not outside you; it is the centre of the cyclone, it is the innermost part of your being. But you can find it only when you are whole, & you cannot be whole without the other. Man & woman are two parts of the one whole. So rather than wasting time in fighting, try to understand each other. Try to put yourself in the place of the other, try to see as a man sees, try to see as a woman sees. & four eyes are always better than two eyes – you have a full view; all four directions are available to you. But one thing has to be remembered: that without meditation, love is destined to fail: there is no possibility of its being a success. You can pretend & you can deceive others, but you cannot deceive yourself. You know deep down that all the promises love has given to you have remained unfulfilled.
Only with meditation does love start taking on new colours, new music, new songs, new dances – because mediation gives you new insight to understand the polar opposite, & in that very understanding the conflict disappears. All the conflict in the world is because of misunderstanding. You say something, you wife understands something else. Your wife says something, you understand something else. I have seen couples who have lived together for thirty or forty years; still, they seem to be as immature as they were on their first day together. Still the same complaint: ‘she doesn’t understand what I am saying.’ Forty years being together & you have not been able to figure out some way that your wife can understand exactly what you are saying, & so you can understand exactly what she is saying.
I think there is no possibility for it to happen except through meditation, because meditation give you the qualities of silence, awareness, a patient listening, a capacity to pit yourself in the other’s position. It is possible with me: I am not concerned with the trivia of your life. You are here basically to listen & understand. You are here to grow spiritually. Naturally there is no question of conflict, & harmony arises without any effort. You can love me with totality, because with me your relationship is of meditation. With any other man or with any other woman, if you want to live in harmony you will have to bring the same atmosphere & the same climate you have brought here.
Things are not impossible, but we have not tried the right medicine. I would like to remind you that the word ‘medicine’ comes from the same root as ‘meditation.’ Medicine cures your body; meditation cures your soul. Medicine heals the material part of you; meditation heals the spiritual part of you. People are living together & their spirits are full of wounds; hence, small things hurt them so much. People are living without any understanding. Hence, whatsoever they do is going to end in disaster. If you love a man, meditation will be the best present that you can give him. If you love a woman then the world’s largest diamond is nothing: meditation will be a far more precious gift - & it will make your life sheer joy. We are potentially capable of sheer joy, but we don’t know how to manage it. Alone, we are at most sad. Together, it becomes really hell. With meditation the other becomes your heaven. That is the misery of western man. Western man is missing the flowering of life because he knows nothing about meditation, Eastern man is missing because he knows nothing about love. And to me, just as man & woman are halves of one whole, so are love & meditation. Meditation is man; love is woman. In the meeting of meditation & love is the meeting of man & woman. And in that meeting, we create the transcendental human being – which is neither man nor woman. Unless we create the transcendental man on earth, there is not much hope.
One, meditation is not concentration but relaxation – one simply relaxes into oneself. The more you relax, the more you feel yourself open, vulnerable, the less you are rigid. You are more flexible, & suddenly existence starts penetrating you. You are no longer like a rock, you have opening. Relaxation means allowing yourself to fall into a state where you are not doing anything, because if you are doing something, tension will continue. It is a state of non-doing; you simply relax & enjoy the feeling of relaxation. Relax into yourself
All great masters say this, that one day you have to drop the method. And the sooner you drop it, the better. The moment you attain, the moment awareness is released in you, immediately drop the method. When you don’t cling to anything, there is nowhere to go; you cannot go anywhere; all paths have been dropped; all dreams & desires have disappeared, there is no way to move. Relaxation happens of its own accord. The moment comes, as awareness is getting purer & purer, when suddenly it is utterly pure; drop the method, forget all about the remedy, just settle & be.
These are the three things: relaxation, watching & no-judgment - & slowly, slowly a great silence descends over you. All movement in you ceases. You are, but there is no sense of ‘I am’ – just a pure space.
Vipassana is the meditation that has made more people in the world enlightened than any other, because it is the very essence. All other meditations have the same essence, but in different forms; something non-essential is also joined with them. But vipassana is pure essence. You cannot drop anything out of it & you cannot add anything to improve it.
The Zen people say just sit, don’t do anything. The most difficult thing in the world is just to sit doing nothing. But once you have the knack of it, if you can go on sitting for a few months doing nothing for a few hours every day, slowly, slowly, many things will happen. You will feel sleepy, you will dream. Many thoughts will crowd your mind, many things. The mind will say, ‘Why are you wasting your time? You could have earned a little money. At least you could have gone to a film, entertained yourself, or you could have relaxed & gossiped. You could have watched TV or listened to the radio or at least you could have read the newspaper you have not seen. Why are you wasting your time?’ mind will give you a thousand & one arguments, but if you just go on listening without being bothered by the mind....it will do all kinds of tricks; it will hallucinate, it will dream, it will become sleepy. It will do all that is possible to drag you out of sitting. But if you go on, if you persevere, one day the sun rises. One day it happens, you are not feeling sleepy, the mind has become tired of you, is fed up with you, has dropped the idea that you can be trapped, is simply finished with you! There is no sleep, no hallucination, no dream, no thought. You are simply sitting there, doing nothing....& all is silence & all is peace & all is bliss. You have entered God, you have entered truth.
Don’t be fooled by experiences
All experiences are tricks of the mind, all experiences are just escapes. Meditation is not an experience, it is a realisation. Meditation is not an experience; rather it is the stopping of all experience. Experience is something outside you. The experiencer is your being.
You go on moving towards the inner centre where nothing remains except you in your total aloneness. Only consciousness remains, without content. Content is the experience; whatsoever you experience is the content.
The real is the one to whom these experiences happen.
Once a man is in a state of no-mind, nothing can distract him from his being. There is no power bigger than the power of no-mind. No harm can be done to such a person. No attachment, no greed, no jealousy, no anger, nothing can arise in him. No-mind is absolutely a pure sky without any clouds.
There is an intrinsic law; thoughts don’t have their own life. They are parasites. They live on your identification with them.
The ultimate achievement is when you are surrounded with no-mind for twenty-four hours. That does not mean that you cannot use your mind. That is a fallacy propounded by those who know nothing about no-mind.
When the mind remains silent for hours, it becomes so fresh, young, more creative, more sensitive, rejuvenated through rest.
Entering into death
In life, nothing is certain except death. Everything is uncertain; only death is a certainty. All else is accidental – it can happen, it may not happen – only death is not accidental. And look at the human mind. We always talk about death as if it were an accident. Whenever someone dies we start talking as if it has been an accident. Only death is not an accident – only death.
Death is just beautiful, because nothing is like death – so silent, so relaxing, so calm, so unperturbed. But we are afraid of death. Why are we afraid of death? Why is there so much fear of death? We are afraid of death not because of death – because we don’t know it. how can you be afraid of something that you don’t know? At least you must know it to be afraid of it. so really you are not afraid of death; the fear is something else. You have never really lived – that creates the fear of death.
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