Learn the art of living with the eternal
WHY AM I NOT CURIOUS ABOUT ANYTHING ANYMORE?
Devageet, twelve hundred years ago there was a mystery school exactly like this. The mystery school belonged to one of the greatest Sufis, Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. The Turkish word mevlana means Beloved Master; it has never been used for anyone else.
In front of his mystery school was written in bold letters: "This place is not for those who are only curious."
Curiosity has no spiritual meaning.
Curiosity is something like itching in your mind: if you itch it goes; if you don't itch it goes also.
Curiosity has no passion in it; it is very superficial. Just by the way, an inquiry, a question arises in you - but it is not your quest, you are not to dedicate your life in searching for the answer to it. You are not even going to commit yourself to the exploration.
Curiosity is cheap. If somebody answers, good; if nobody answers, that too is okay. You are not deeply interested... it is not arising out of your heart. Curiosity has to disappear before you can attain to a passionate inquiry into existence.
So, Devageet, it is not a bad sign, but a tremendously important indication that you are on the right path. The path does not belong to the curious ones; it belongs to those who are committed, dedicated, who are ready even to sacrifice their lives for the experience of truth. As the curiosity disappears you are no more a student, you become a disciple.
That's the only difference between the student and a disciple. The student is only curious, gathering knowledge from all the sources without much concern. It is not his essential search, just gathering knowledge to cover up his ignorance. But the ignorance remains there, and the more it is covered, the more dangerous, because you start forgetting it. And a man who has forgotten his ignorance is a man utterly lost.
To go on remembering that you are ignorant is to go on remembering that the night is not over and your morning has not yet come - that you have to go a long way still before the darkness will disappear and you will see the first signs on the horizon of the sun rising with all its colors and all its beauty and all its blessings.
The curious person is not at all accountable for anything deep. The moment you become passionately interested to know, it becomes a question of life and death. Without knowing, your life seems to be just a desert without any oasis anywhere. You have to know; only then will your life have some significance, some meaning, some relevance, some reason to go on existing.
But the disciple is only a beginning, not the end - but the right beginning. A moment comes when your passionate longing to know turns into still deeper waters. It becomes a longing not just to know, but to be.
Knowledge is always something there; there is a distance between you and the known. You are not one with it; the knower is separate from the known. That is the state of knowledge. It cannot quench your thirst. The water is there, you are there, but there is no connecting link. Your thirst will become even more fiery.
That great moment also comes in the life of the disciple when he drops the quest for knowing and starts the quest for being.
The curious is interested only in information.
The disciple is interested in knowledge.
The devotee is interested in transformation. He is not contented to know the truth; he will be contented only when he becomes the truth.
And in fact it is just poverty of language that I have to use the word 'becoming'. No one ever becomes the truth, because everyone is already the truth. Truth is your very being, not your becoming. It is not a process, it is not a path that has to be traveled, it is not some faraway goal that you have to reach.
Truth is something in your innermost being that has always been there from eternity to eternity whether you know it or not. Whether you realize it or not, whether you recognize it or not, it does not matter; it is there.
The devotee does not become the truth, he discovers that he is the truth. And this discovery is the greatest discovery possible for human consciousness.
So it is perfectly good that you are not curious about anything anymore. It is a sign of maturity, of moving from the state of the student to the disciple. And as I know you, Devageet, you have already moved even from the state of the disciple to the ultimate glory of being a devotee. Your quest, your inquiry is no more a dry exploration. It has become your love, it has become your very heartbeat.
Naturally, all curiosity will disappear.
One day you will realize that even to know about truth, to know about godliness, to know about beauty... you are no more interested in knowing. Knowing about water is not going to help. Even knowing it scientifically, that it consists of oxygen and hydrogen, is not going to quench your thirst.
The most glorious moment on the path comes when your whole interest and passion becomes concentrated on a single point of discovering yourself, of discovering that you have always been, you are, even in this moment, and irrespective of whether you understand or not, you will remain always your authentic, your essential, your existential being. It contains all:
Satyam, shivam, sundram.
The truth, the godliness and the tremendous beauty that arises from the recognition of your being truth, of your being part of a divine existence. Your every gesture becomes a dance, your every silence becomes a song, your words become aflame with a new fire, with a new light - your whole life becomes a source of a magnetic force.
Just a few days before, a child was born in France. The mother had been working in an atomic plant.
While she was pregnant for nine months she was exposed to atomic radiation and the doctors and the surgeons were very interested to know how it had affected the child.
And they were surprised: the child was very healthy, very radiantly healthy. They were thinking he may be blind, they were thinking he may be crippled. Those people had never seen such a beautiful child, so alive and so vibrant.
But then there was another shock and surprise: as they put the child on the table, all the instruments of the surgeons and the doctors started moving towards the child. The child had become a magnetic force.
Exposure to continuous radiation in very minute doses has been found by Japanese scientists to be very healthgiving. Bigger doses can kill; as the quantity becomes bigger it becomes dangerous. A qualitative change comes in through greater quantity. At the very minimum, soft doses of radiation can create immense health and well-being.
One scientist in Japan has been working for twenty years in Hiroshima and Nagasaki on this particular project: Is there any possibility of a certain quantity of radiation being life-affirmative?
When he came back after twenty years to the university he belongs to, his colleagues could not believe it. They had all aged twenty years and that man seemed to have become younger than when he had gone. He is sixty-five, but he looks forty-five. He had discovered a tremendous thing.
He loves me immensely, and he has sent me a few small things. Just a small bottle of radioactive material... he has been using it for one year. He just puts it in his bathtub and the water becomes radioactive, but in a very soft and minimum dose. He has sent me a belt that he has been using for one year; it is filled with radioactive material from Hiroshima, and that belt, he feels, has taken away his old age, has taken away his diseases.
He was immensely concerned about my health, and he is going to come here. I have not used those things that he has sent, because what is a soft dose to one person may be too much to another. I have a very delicate physical structure, so I am waiting for him first to see the difference between me and himself, and then to decide.
As you move from the disciple to the state of the devotee, suddenly you start radiating something that has been dormant in you for centuries. You become a magnet - not an ordinary magnet, but a spiritual magnet. People will start moving towards you, not knowing why, but experiencing a tremendous desire to be with you and a great feeling of well-being and a great turning inwards.
I had started my journey alone, and without informing anybody I found that my caravan is becoming bigger and bigger and bigger. People from faraway lands around the world have come, wondering why they are coming, not knowing the inner pull.
Devageet has the heart of a small child, utterly innocent. His transformation from disciplehood to the glorious space of being a devotee has come to him very naturally, very spontaneously, without any effort on his part. Just being in my presence, just being with me he has moved millions of light-years.
It is natural, Devageet, that your curiosities will disappear. Soon you will find another thing disappearing - your longing for knowledge. These are good indications of coming back home.
Perhaps just one step more and you will have forgotten curiosities, questions, quest for knowledge, and you will simply relax in the new light that you have found within yourself, perfectly at ease, cool and calm, not a single worry in the world, at ease with the trees and the birds and the ocean and the stars.
You love to laugh, you have a great sense of humor, and according to me all the religions in the past have missed the great religious quality of the sense of humor. The reason was that they were all against life, they could not be for laughter; they were all against love, how they could be in favor of laughter? They were life-denying, not life-affirming ideologies.
Hence you don't see a single instance in the life of Jesus when he would have laughed. Even before he was crucified he lived like he was continuously being crucified. The crucifixion of Jesus seems to be the ultimate outcome: this guy will never be satisfied unless he is crucified.
"Why were you kissing my young daughter in that dark corner last night?" said the angry father.
"Now that I have seen her in the daylight," said Ernie, "I sort of wonder myself."
In the darkness you have been curious and you have been many more things, but in the light you start sort of wondering, "What have I been doing?"
It was the couple's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and the wife said, "Darling, you have been a very good husband over the years and I would like to show you my appreciation. Is there anything that you would like on this special day?"
The husband thought for a while and then said, "Yes, actually there is. You have always forbidden me to look into the top drawer of your cupboard. I would really like to see what is in there."
His wife agreed and he opened it. Inside there were two eggs and about ten thousand dollars in cash.
"What are the eggs for?" he inquired.
"Well," said his wife, "I guess it's time you should know. Every time I was unfaithful to you, I put an egg in the drawer."
"Twice in twenty-five years," smiled the husband, "that's understandable. But what is all that money?"
"Well, darling," she replied, "Each time I had a dozen eggs, I sold them."
Devageet, it is very good not to be curious about unnecessary things, because one never knows....
I REALLY ENJOY MEDITATION AND AM ABSOLUTELY CONTENTED WITH MY LIFE. BUT NOW IT HAS BEEN SO LONG SINCE I HAD ANY GREAT PASSION OR GREAT JOY OR GREAT PAIN THAT I AM WONDERING IF I HAVE BECOME DULL AND STUCK, OR IF THIS IS THE WAY THINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO BE.
Deva Avesh, it is part of this great pilgrimage. The moment you become contented, in the beginning it feels the journey is over and you are tremendously blissful. But as time passes contentment settles down, you are peaceful, you are happy, you are at ease.
But an old habit of millions of lives starts raising its head: there seems to be no excitement... have you become dull? or have you died? This is just an old habit and it has to be understood.
Excitement is for those who are miserable. Without excitement they cannot live; their misery will be too heavy. A little excitement in their lives, a new love affair, getting a lottery opened in their name - these small things keep them going. These excitements function like lubrications and they go on in their miserable lives hoping another excitement may be coming. And what are your excitements?
Moving into a new house and you are excited...? Purchasing a new car and you are excited...?
I have heard about a man who was tired of his beautiful house. Finally, everything becomes tiring, boring. The house was beautiful, and just behind the house was a beautiful lake and beyond the lake the mountains and the forest - but the same scene every day, morning, afternoon, evening...
There was no excitement.
He called a real estate agent and told him that he wanted to sell this boring house. The real estate man was completely puzzled. He had never seen in his life such a beautiful house with such peaceful surroundings. It was almost paradise.
So he said, "I will advertise it and it will be sold, there is no problem." And he advertised it in the newspapers.
The next day the man read the advertisement and he was so excited - a beautiful marble house surrounded by a lake and just beyond the lake a primeval forest, thick, with trees so high as if they are trying to touch the stars. The description was so poetic and of course there was no mention of his name or his address, only the phone number of the real estate man.
He immediately phoned and said, "Whatever the price, I want to purchase this house."
The real estate man said, "This is too difficult a problem; this is your house!"
He said, "My God, you have written such a poetic piece about it. I had completely forgotten the lake; I had started taking it for granted. The forest, the mountains... Yes, I remember now; when I entered this house for the first time there was so much excitement."
But excitement is a momentary thing. You cannot remain excited forever; otherwise your blood pressure will rise so high you will simply pop off! Excitement always means going up to a certain point and then going down; it is always up and down. Falling back into misery, searching again for some excitement... this is the ordinary run of life.
But when you attain to contentment through meditation, when you come to a peaceful inner space where nothing moves, where time stops... in the beginning it is a tremendous ecstasy, not only excitement. But soon you will become accustomed to it, and that's what is happening to you. Neither have you become dull, nor are you stuck. It is just natural. It is the way things are supposed to be.
You have to learn a new art of seeing your contentment, your peace, your silence, your happiness, not as something that you had yesterday too. You have to learn to forget completely the past. To be more exact, you have to die to the past, so that every day your peace and your contentment are fresh, ecstatic, as if you have discovered them just now.
Die every moment to the past and be reborn again and again.
Each moment has to be a death and a resurrection. Unless you learn the art of dying and resurrecting, you will feel a little bored, because it is the same, always the same, nothing changes.
Your millions of lives in the past you have lived only through changes, hoping for some excitement.
Arriving you have to learn some new art; some new dimension has to open into your being - how to live with the eternal.
You have known only living with the changing, with the impermanent, with the ephemeral. Now learn the new art of living with the eternal, the unchanging, the absolutely still, unmoving - something beyond time and space.
Once you have learned this new art, you will find every day new flowers in your contentment, new stars in your silence, new showers of blissfulness and ecstasy. But you have to forget your yesterdays, otherwise it will look like the same repetition.
I am not bored... and I have lived in utter contentment, in absolute peace. Nothing moves within my being. All is totally silent and still. But because I never think of yesterdays - what is past is past, I have never looked back - I am immensely ecstatic every moment. It is the same contentment, the same peace, the same silence, but because I go on dropping the past it is always new for me.
Learn the art of keeping the eternal always fresh. Don't allow any dust to gather on the mirror of the eternal.
A Zen story:
In the world of Zen it is a beautiful tradition that masters send their disciples to other masters just to see the reality from some other angle. Even masters who have been contradicting each other their whole lives exchange disciples, so the disciple can see the truth from a totally different standpoint.
It happened, one disciple was getting into the same space as Deva Avesh. He was utterly content, there was no complaint, nothing was missing. But this eternal silence without any change was against the old, very deep rooted habit of the search for excitement. Now there was no excitement possible.
The master called him - he had not been calling him for many days - and then slapped him. The disciple could not believe it. He had not said anything, he had not done anything. He asked, "Why have you hit me?"
The master said, "You needed a little change. And moreover you have to go to the monastery of my eternal enemy, opposite. Now you have to live with that master."
The disciple said, "But you have always been contradicting him. You have never agreed on any point with that man, neither has he ever agreed with you. Why are you sending me to him?"
The master said, "Never ask the master why. He knows, and there is no need for you to know it. You simply go and ask the other master to accept you as a disciple."
His whole contentment, meditation, silence, everything was disturbed. Tidal waves of thought... he had forgotten completely. This was too much: for what was he being punished? He forgot all about boredom and that life has no more any excitement. Now there was great excitement. But if the master says, "You have to go..."
He went to the other master very reluctantly, very unwillingly, almost in a state of split. He knew that that man is wrong; he had been listening to his master and he was so logical in his refutation of the other man....
But finally he knocked on the doors of the monastery. The master himself came out and he said, "What is the matter? What do you want? You belong to my enemy."
The disciple said, "I know it. I never wanted to come here but your enemy, my master, has sent me to request of you that I should be accepted as your disciple."
The master said, "This is very strange. And you followed whatever he said?"
The disciple said, "I had to. He hit me very hard also, and he is a dangerous fellow. If I don't follow he will beat me every day, morning, afternoon, evening, in the middle of the night. He is not reliable.
I thought it prudent to come to you."
The master closed his doors in his face saying, "Your master is very compassionate. Go back to him."
This was even more puzzling. He said, "You have been contradicting my master, writing books against him, teaching your disciples not to listen to him, not even to talk to his disciples - and today suddenly you have changed your mind?, you say, 'Your master is very compassionate'?"
The old man laughed and he said, "Yes, he is very compassionate. Out of compassion he disturbed you to give you a sense that 'don't be stupid. You are settling... all the waves in your mind are disappearing, all the thoughts becoming silent.' It is out of his compassion that he has disturbed you and he has sent you to me so that I can disturb you more. I am against him, I am against everything that he says, but I am sorry I cannot accept you. You will have to go back. You have already arrived...
just one step more!"
He went back to his master and said, "He has rejected me and the reason he gives is that 'your master is too compassionate. Go back to him.'"
The master said, "Start meditating again."
And again it was excitement and again a beginning into the unknown. But soon, because he was already a great adept, things settled... contentment, peace. But now there was no more desire for excitement, it was stupid.
But it comes to everybody out of a deep-rooted inheritance of your past lives. It is so deep rooted that it has gone into your blood, into your bones, into your marrow.
You are not becoming dull and you are not stuck. You yourself are saying, "I really enjoy meditation and am absolutely contented with my life, but now it has been so long since I had any great passion or great joy or great pain that I am wondering if I have become dull and stuck, or if this is the way things are supposed to be."
Avesh, this is the way things are supposed to be.
Bernie had been out of town and was surprised when he got back to find his wife, Stella, in bed with a strange man. The stranger, naked and obviously well satisfied, was sprawled on the bed.
"Why you son-of-a-bitch!" Bernie exploded.
"Wait, darling," cried Stella. "You know that fur coat I got last winter? This man gave it to me.
Remember the diamond necklace you like so much? This man gave it to me. And remember when you could not afford a second car and I got a Toyota? This man gave it to me."
"For God's sake, it's drafty in here!" shouted Bernie. "Cover him so he does not catch cold!"
Avesh, just be a little understanding. Everything is going perfectly beautifully.
Just a few jokes for you - not to disturb you, but just as a little holiday from your contentment, just for a few moments to forget your meditation and contentment.
It was a late night again in the bar when the door opened and a voice called out, "MacTavish your house is on fire."
One man rushed out and after running a hundred yards down the street, suddenly skidded to a halt.
"Wait a minute," he said to no-one in particular, "My name is not MacTavish."
The veteran preacher was instructing a class of new ministers on the importance of facial expressions harmonizing with their sermons.
"When you speak of heaven," he said, "let your face light up, let it be bright with a heavenly gleam, let your eyes shine with reflected glory. But when you speak of hell - well, your ordinary face will do."
A Frenchman, a Swiss and an Italian are on a flight to Italy in their little private plane. As the weather gets bad they get lost in the clouds. The Frenchman puts his hand out of the window and suddenly says, "I touched the Eiffel Tower; this must be France."
After a while the Swiss puts his hand out of the window and says, "We are home. This is Switzerland; I touched the mountains."
Finally the Italian sticks his hand out of the window and says, "This must-a be Italy."
"How do you know?" asked the others.
The Italian pulls his hand in and says, "They stole-a my watch-a."