[A new sannyasin said he had done an encounter group in the west: It was not very pleasant but I think it gave me a lot.]
Mm mm. Encounter cannot be pleasant. If it is true, it is going to be painful; if it is untrue, it can be pleasant. It is an effort to uncover all that which we are hiding. Those are unpleasant things that we are hiding, that's why we are hiding them: anger, violence, hatred, jealousy and all that. We are hiding them because we are afraid that if people come to know about them, they will not like us.
It is not only that we hide them from people; by and by we start hiding them from ourselves too, because if we know about them, then we will not like ourselves. And it will be very difficult to live with yourself if you constantly know how ugly you are. So not only do we have to hide facts from others, we have to learn strategies to hide facts from ourselves too.
Encounter is a process to break down those strategies. It is a process to bring out, to bring into the open, all that you have been throwing in the basement of your being. It stinks, it hurts, and one still tries to hide it. Those facts are painful, and the effort not to allow them, not to allow the process of encounter to bring them out in the open, that too is painful. It is unpleasant but it is surgical. Surgery is not pleasant, but once you can have the courage to go through that pain you will come out of it purified. It is always helpful, it is always a gain. The process is painful, but in the end you can see, you can recapitulate and see, that something has happened.
While you are here remember that: many painful things are going to happen. Nobody wants to give you pain; the pain is because of your past. Those wounds are there, they have to be opened. When you open a wound, the pus oozes out. You had forgotten the pain and again the pain is there, but that is the only way to heal it. To open a wound to the sun and to the wind is the only way to heal it.
Anand means bliss, sutra means a thread. It is just as your mala has a thread inside: you can see the beads, you cannot see the thread. But without the thread there will be no mala, the beads will fall apart.
Man's life consists of a thousand and one things but behind all those things there is a connecting thread: that thread is bliss. Many times one may not be able to see it, many times one is not able to see it, many times one cannot even believe that bliss exists - there is so much suffering and so much pain. But if one searches deep down there is always a thread running inside. Even in deepest pain, even in greatest misery and agony, even when you are suffering and falling apart something holds you, keeps you together. Otherwise man would have committed suicide long before. Man has not committed suicide, he still lives and still hopes.
Deep down hope comes from that feeling of the thread. The beads are not so important: the really important thing is the thread that connects them. Childhood is not important, neither is youth nor old age, but the thread that connects the child with the young man and the young man with the old is.
Neither birth nor death is important but the thread that connects birth with death is. That thread is god, and to know that thread is to be blissful.
Once you have started feeling its presence your whole vision changes. Then there are difficulties, there are hurts and pains, but they don't matter any more. You know that behind them all something sustains you. You start sensing the reality of a universal spirit. That thread has to be searched for; and it is not far away, it is inside you.
A man lives many lives, so life is not important. You have been in the body many times: sometimes in the body of a man and sometimes in the body of a woman, sometimes in the body of an animal and sometimes in the body of a bird, and so on, so forth. In the East we say that eighty-four million bodies are possible!; and man has passed through all those, so one body, one life is just a bead. But there is a connecting link, a continuity, something eternal, that passes from one body into another, from one life into another. You have been here from the very beginning and you will be here to the very end. You cannot disappear; the bodies come and go but you remain.
That remaining phenomenon is called the thread. To search for it is to search for god, and to find it is to find bliss.
Prem means love, yoga means union - love union. And that is the goal, the target, for you.
Start making as many contacts with existence as possible, wherever possible. Sitting by a tree, hug the tree and feel that you are meeting and merging with the tree; let there be a union of energies.
Swimming in water, close your eyes and feel you are melting into water; let there be a union. And so on and so forth. Find out ways and means wherever you can relax and unite with something. The more you unite your energy with some other energy, in any form - a cat, a dog, a man, a woman, a tree - the closer home you will be. This is going to be your work; and it is pleasant work, it is ecstatic work.
Once you have come to feel it, once you have come to know the knack of it, you will be surprised at how much you have missed in your life. Each tree that you have passed could have given you a great orgasm, and each experience - a sunset, a sunrise, the moon, the clouds in the sky, the grass
on the earth - all those things could have become great ecstatic experiences again and again. Lying down on the lawn, feel you are becoming one with the earth. Melt into the earth, disappear into it; let the earth penetrate you.
This is your meditation: attain to yoga, to union, through as many ways as possible. God has ten thousand doors and from everywhere he is available. But he is available only in the state of union.
That's why sometimes it happens that lovers come to know of meditation in deep orgasm. That is one of the ways of creating union, but that is only one of the ways; there are millions. If one goes on searching there is no end to it.