WHY IS IT THAT, APART FROM SITTING WITH YOU TWICE A DAY, I ONLY FIND MYSELF MEDITATING WHEN I AM DOWN OR CONFUSED?
WHY IS THAT I RARELY MEDITATE OUT OF MY JOYOUSNESS?
Deva Anupo, your question touches very deeply the human heart and its workings. In the old way people used to pray only when they were in misery, suffering, some trouble. When they were happy, joyous, successful they never bothered God. It can make you aware of an intense involvement of all the religions with suffering, because only those who are suffering become victims in the hands of the priests. Otherwise, who cares about priests, who cares about holy books?
When you are happy, contented, joyful, you want to enjoy your life. You don't want to waste your time praying in a church or a temple. This must have been discovered by the priest long, long ago. All religions are based on the exploitation of this discovery. Bertrand Russell is right when he says, "If we can destroy poverty, sickness, old age, unequality and make people happy and joyous, religions will die on their own accord." He is perfectly right in his analysis, because the joyous man has never been in any way concerned with so-called religions. But Bertrand Russell was an agnostic.
My standpoint is totally different. To me it is natural that when you are sick you will go to the doctor and when you are sick you will need medicine. You don't go to the doctor when you are healthy.
You don't go to the druggist for some medicine when you are perfectly healthy. And it is not that the so-called religions have helped you in any way to get out of misery - that would be destroying their whole business. They want you to remain in misery, hoping that in the next life you will enjoy the blessings of God, because you suffered so contentedly, you suffered without revolt against the vested interests.
Politicians became interested in religion and kings were very much supportive of organized religion, because they could see a simple arithmetic. Religion provides opium to the people, a consolation, and if this opium is not provided for the people, revolt is going to happen. So those who are in power are deeply interested that you should remain sad, miserable, in anxiety, because your anxiety and your sadness will take you to the priests and they will give you the opium called hope. "Don't be worried, pray. And if you pray with a pure heart, and if you pray with absolute belief, your prayer will be answered."
Now, it is a very tricky game. Nobody can have absolute belief. Belief as such is borrowed from somebody else, you don't know anything about it. How can you be absolute in your belief? At the most you can repress your doubt with the belief, but the doubt is there. So when your prayers are not heard, you know it is not the fault of God or the fault of prayer: your belief is not total, your trust has doubt underneath it. Although you are praying, you know deep within you, "Who knows whether there is a God who is listening or going to answer?" This helps the priest to keep you in your miserable situation.
If your prayer is not heard, then fast, purify yourself, do all kinds of disciplines and certainly your prayer will be answered. Nobody's prayer has ever been answered. But because of this strategy, they have planted in you the idea that when your prayer is not answered, you are at fault. So you have to be absolutely pure.
They demand perfectionism. And because of their demand of perfectionism they have driven the whole of humanity neurotic. Nobody can be perfect. Perfection is simply out of the question; perfection means death. You have to go on trying to be perfect - in this way evolution moves.
You will be coming closer and closer to perfection, but you will never be perfect. The moment you are perfect you are finished, evolution has come to an end. The ideas of evolution and perfection are antagonistic.
But all over world, through all the ages, civilizations and cultures, every child has been forced to be perfect. And once this cancer of being perfect enters your mind, you will always feel you are not perfect, you will always feel guilty. You will pray, but you know your prayer will not be heard.
But the religions have completely diverted your attention. Your suffering is being caused by the vested interests here, now, and they have shifted the whole idea to the future - and not even to the near future... to after death. Different religions have tried different strategies, but the basic thing is to divert your mind from the exploitation which is going on right now. If all kinds of consolations are dropped, you will be able to see that your problem, your suffering, your misery is being created, manufactured by man. It has nothing to do with prayer.
And this is a very dangerous situation because all the religions - and almost everybody belongs to some religion - are trying to divert you from the actuality of things to dreams of paradise and heaven and all kinds of joys. These people are sellers of dreams and they fill your mind with dreams so much that you stop seeing the reality. The reality is that a few vested interests - politicians, the rich people, the priests - they are the cause of your suffering, of your anguish, of your misery, and they can be removed. But who is going to remove them? - because the people who are suffering never think that these good people can be the cause of their suffering.
Secondly, Deva Anupo, you have found it very clearly in your own meditations that when you are in suffering you want to meditate, but when you are happy you don't even think about it. You are using meditation again as a new hope, as a new consolation. You are not really a meditator. You are using meditation also as medicine. It will give you some relief, but it cannot transform you to a state where ecstasy becomes your moment-to-moment experience.
You will have to learn something which has been forcibly killed by all the religions and all the politicians and all the powers; it was in their favor. We have forgotten completely that to be joyous in fact is the basic condition of meditation. When you are joyous, that is the right moment to meditate.
Then you can ride on the wave of joy into higher realms. When you are suffering, meditation may help to bring you out of your suffering, but that is not much. When you are feeling a well-being, when you are feeling ready to dance, that is the moment to meditate. Then you can ride on higher waves of dancing, music, into meditation.
Meditation has to be taken out of the hands of the religions. They are using it for wrong reasons, for exploitation, and they have done it for so many centuries that it has become almost an inbuilt program in us.
In China a strange experiment was done. The emperor was very much impressed by Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, Lieh Tzu. He lived long enough to be in contact with the master Lao Tzu, then his disciple Chuang Tzu, then his disciple Lieh Tzu. These three people impressed on the emperor a very novel, original idea, but it has not been followed. The moment the emperor died the old vested interests came back and destroyed something of tremendous value.
Lieh Tzu, Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu had a strange idea: that no doctor should be paid by his patients, because if the patient has to pay the doctor, knowingly or unknowingly the doctor would like the patient to remain sick as long as possible - that is his business. If he cures him quickly he cannot earn much.
A famous story Chuang Tzu used to tell was about an old doctor. His three sons were studying medicine.
The first son came back from the university and he said, "Now you are too old, you rest. I will take care of your patients." So the father allowed him to take care of his patients.
After two days the young man came to the old father and said, "It is very strange. You are such an experienced doctor and a woman you have been treating for thirty years, I have cured her in two days. And I am fresh from the college, I don't know much."
The father said, "You idiot, it is that woman who has paid all your expenses in medical college. She was going to pay for your two other brothers. She was rich enough, there was no need for her to be healthy. And she was my main source of income."
Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu impressed on the emperor that if the patient has to pay the doctor, you are creating a very dangerous situation. The doctor's interest will be that the patient remains a patient as long as possible. And he will apparently show concern that he wants to cure you. He will be in a dilemma himself.
The emperor asked Lao Tzu, "Then what is your suggestion? - because this has been always the case."
He said, "The solution is very simple. All doctors should be paid by the government, and the whole population should pay the government - nothing to do with the doctor. The doctor has not to be paid because he has cured a patient; the doctor has to be paid if his patient has remained healthy. Every month the patient has to report, 'I am healthy, you can pay my doctor.' If the patient falls sick, then the doctor cannot be paid: 'What business are you doing here? If people are falling sick, then what use is your medicine, your knowledge, your experience?'"
So a very strange system... but the emperor was impressed, it was absolutely logical. And in my understanding, one day it is going to be the system in the whole world, because its logic is very clear. The doctor should be paid for health, not for sickness. And if his patients are sick, then his salary should be cut. His interest should be in the health of the patient, not in his disease. And the patient has not to pay him, the patient has to pay to the government a certain fee to be kept healthy.
The government pays the doctor to keep people healthy, and if they are not healthy, he misses his salary.
But once the emperor was dead, the system disappeared, the old idea came in again - which is absolutely foolish.
The priest, the religions have learned the strategy perhaps from people suffering from diseases, that they are the most vulnerable sources for exploitation. Just give them hope; all that they need is consolation. This has corrupted the whole human psychology. So when you are sick you think of meditation, when you are suffering you start meditating. But when you are down and confused, to meditate is very difficult; it is going against the current.
So, on the one hand you have chosen a wrong situation in which to meditate. At the most meditation can pull you out, somehow from your downgoing, your suffering, but it cannot give you joy or ecstasy.
It is enough if it can take you out of your misery. The real situation is a healthy, happy, joyous state of mind. But at that time you think of playing football, at that time you want to go to the movies, at that time you want to watch television; that is the time to go to a discotheque. In fact that is the time to meditate.
When you are suffering you can go to hell: any discotheque, any restaurant, any game - boyfriend, girlfriend game. When you are suffering, these are the things to do. But when you are happy, feeling good, in tune, surrounded with a certain well-being, don't waste it in stupid things. This is the right springboard from where you can take a jump into higher realms of consciousness, of blissfulness, of peace and ecstasy. This idea is just an old conditioning, forced upon you by those who were immensely profited by it. You have to understand it and change the situation.
In my childhood it was a constant conflict between me and my father. Whenever I was feeling good, that meant a holiday from school. And he said, "You are a strange fellow. When you are sick, you have fever, you are suffering from a cold, then you go to school. You have an upside down mind!"
I said, "Whether the mind is upside down or not, when I am feeling good I go to the river" - which I loved... to swim for miles or to boat. In a beautiful full-moon night the river looked almost like silver.
And I told him, "I am not going to waste my time in school. When I have a fever and I cannot go to the river, school is good. School to me is a kind of hospital."
He said, "Do whatever you want to do. There is some truth in what you are saying, because you cannot enjoy the river and swimming when you are sick."
I said, "You have understood my point. Whether I am sick or I am not sick, I don't enjoy your history, your geography anyway. So when I am sick it is perfectly good, I can waste my sickness on your school and your education. For the remaining part of my life I am going to enjoy nature, to enjoy the stars, to play the flute, to sing songs, to go to the forest and to dance there amongst the dancing trees. I have made a clear-cut distinction."
And in my childhood I was rarely sick, so rarely present in the school. But you will be surprised, I was not present in school but they were giving me seventy-five percent attendance every year. They were very happy that I was somewhere else!
Every principal of every school, college, every vice-chancellor of every university I was taught in, told me once or twice, "If you can go somewhere else - to the library, to the botanical garden... or the whole world is there. Just don't go to your classroom, because it creates so much trouble for us.
And I promise you that we will not prevent you from entering the examination because you have not attended enough." Seventy-five percent was the right percentage of attendance, only then could you enter the examination. "Even if you don't come at all, just appear at the examination hall and every paper will be ready and you will be allowed to sit."
I said, "This is such a good arrangement. I am happy outside, you are happy inside. But once in a while when I am not feeling well, I want to make it clear to you, I will not allow you or your college either to be in a state of well-being. If I am not feeling well, I am going to come. So pray to God that I never fall sick. That is your only protection!"
When you are feeling joyous, this is the time to come in tune with existence. This is the time when you can love the trees, the moon, the sky. This is the time you can enter into yourself very easily, with no hindrance. Meditation is not for the suffering type.
There are types... There are a few people who are born with English faces. Seriousness is an inbuilt program in them. Leave those few people for the churches, because after all, priests also need to feed themselves, to clothe themselves. I don't want to destroy their business completely. But ninety percent of their business has to be completely destroyed.
And I will suggest to you also that whenever you are sick, go to the church, go to the synagogue.
Spread all kinds of infections there, weep and cry. But when you are happy and joyous it is better to go to the mountains, it is better to climb a high tree and sit there silently. Sometimes one falls....
I have many marks on my feet because so many times I have fallen from trees. But in my experience the farther away you are from gravitation, the easier it is to meditate. But the trouble is, the easier it is also to fall asleep. So just make a good arrangement, tie down... I learned slowly, that again and again falling I am going to have fractures. So I would tie myself to the tree, so that if I fell asleep at least I would be hanging, but I would not fall. But even hanging from a tree, with the beautiful fresh wind blowing is such a joy...
Use your joyful moments in discovering the truth, in discovering yourself, and it will be a very easy thing. People have been discovering at wrong times, in wrong seasons, and against the current.
My whole approach is, go with the current - no effort, just floating, not even swimming. There is no need.
In water the gravitation of the earth is less, because water functions under a different law - levitation.
That's why in water you can pick up a big rock without any effort because the gravitation is not the same, but the moment you come out of the water you cannot hold that rock. You will be amazed how much difference it makes. The water takes much of the gravitation.
But even on the earth, if you are joyful, in a mood of dancing, meditation is very easy. So it is up to you, Deva Anupo, to make your meditation easy and successful, or difficult and unsuccessful.
Paddy's at the bar and he's drunk so much that the bartender asks him to leave. Paddy insists that he is not drunk, and he will prove it.
"See that cat coming in the door?" he says. "Well that cat has only one eye and that proves I am not drunk."
"You are drunker than I thought!" says the bartender. "That cat is not coming in, it's going out."
A rich young girl finds that she has developed a passion for the smell of burning rubber. So she buys herself a sports car and satisfies her passion racing around country lanes. One day she passes a young man who is hitch-hiking and stops to pick him up. The hitch-hiker settles back in his seat, thinking that his luck has really changed.
Suddenly the girl stamps her foot on the accelerator and drives full speed towards a steep cliff. At the last minute she puts her foot on the brakes and the car stops inches from the edge.
"Can you smell that?" she asks her passenger enthusiastically.
"Smell it?" sobs the man. "I'm sitting in it!"
A pretty young farm girl has been to the market one day and is walking home to her farm after dark.
Soon she meets one of the lads from the neighboring farm walking in the same direction. They walk together for a little while, and the girl says, "You know, I'm not sure a weak and defenseless girl like me should be walking with a big strong chap like you after dark."
The farm lad says nothing.
A few minutes later she starts again, "I'm almost afraid to be alone in the dark with you like this. You might take advantage of me."
The boy laughs and says, "Here am I carrying a pitchfork and a chicken in one hand, a washtub in the other, and leading a goat. And you think I'm going to get ideas? No chance."
The girl thinks for a few seconds and says, "Well, I only thought that if you were to stick the pitchfork in the ground, tie the goat to it and put the chicken under the washtub, I would be in trouble."
A woman is on the fifth floor of a burning apartment building, screaming, "Help, save me!"
The fire truck drives up to the building and a burly fireman is soon climbing up the extension ladder.
As he approaches the woman he says, "It gives me great pleasure to save a pregnant woman."
Indignantly the woman replies, "But I'm not pregnant!"
"Well lady," replies the fireman, "you're not saved yet!"
Just be joyful. And life is so hilarious... all around. You have just to look joyfully and you will not find time for suffering and agony. In this beautiful life there is every possibility for you to become a great meditator. But you have to learn to see the joyous side of life. It is full of juice, full of laughter, and if you can also laugh with it, nobody can prevent your meditativeness. Meditativeness will come on its own accord, following your joy like a shadow.
What is meditativeness?
Just a silence, a dancing silence.
Ruthie Finkelstein is lying on her deathbed. "Moishe," she murmurs to her husband sitting beside the bed, "I must make a confession before I go. The fact is, I have been unfaithful to you."
"I know," says Moishe quietly.
"I don't think you understand," pleads Ruthie. "What I mean is that I have been with another man."
"Yes, I know that," Moishe murmurs.
"Not just once," continues Ruthie, "but lots of times - in his office, in his house..."
"Yes, I know that, dear," says Moishe soothingly.
"Even in this house, in this very bed!" cries Ruthie.
"Yes, I know," whispers Moishe. "That's why I put rat poison in your tea."
Hymie Goldberg walks into an appliance store and asks the price of a remote-controlled T.V.
"One dollar," replies the clerk.
"You've got to be kidding," says Hymie.
"Listen," says the clerk, "do you want it or not?" Of course, Hymie gives him a dollar.
On his way out of the store, he sees a big refrigerator. "How much for that?" asks Hymie.
"Fifty cents," replies the clerk.
Hymie pulls out fifty cents and gives it to the clerk. "What the hell is going on here?" he asks.
"Nothing is going on here," replies the clerk. "But my boss is at my house with my wife and what he is doing to her, I am doing to his business."
Yes, Beloved Master.