IN MY MEDITATIONS, AS I TRY TO LOOK MORE AND MORE INSIDE, I OFTEN FEEL THAT THERE IS NOBODY. IT IS LIKE FALLING INTO AN ENDLESS BLACK GAP. AND I FEEL A LOT OF TENSION, AND WANTING TO RUN AWAY.
IF THERE IS NO ME INSIDE, THEN WHOM SHOULD I LOVE? PLEASE HELP ME FIND THAT LOVE FOR MYSELF, AND THAT TOTALITY THAT YOU HAVE TALKED ABOUT SO MANY TIMES.
Shivam Annette, the question you have asked is one of the most important questions as far as the people who are meditating are concerned. Before I go into your question, a few necessary distinctions have to be understood.
When I say, "Go inwards," that does not mean that you will find someone there waiting for you. On the contrary, the more you go inwards, the less and less you are an ego. You are, but the feeling of I-ness starts disappearing -- for the simple reason that the I can exist only in reference to Thou. If the Thou is not present, the I starts melting.
Outside you are confronted with many Thous, they keep your I alive. But inside, there is no Thou; hence, there can be no I. That does not mean that you are not. It simply means you are in your purity -- not in reference to somebody else, but just yourself, without any reference, in your absolute aloneness. Because our whole life we live as an ego, as an I, this disappearance of the I naturally creates fear and an effort to run away. Although it is natural, it is not right.
You have to go through this fear, darkness, anxiety, tension, because your I is dying. Up to now, you have remained identified with the I, so it seems as if you are dying. But just look at a single point: you are watching fear, you are watching the disappearance of I, you are watching tension, you are watching blackness, darkness, you are watching a feeling of nobodiness. This watcher is you.
Going inwards is to find the witness in its absolute purity, unpolluted by anything -- just a pure mirror, not reflecting anything. If mirrors were thinkers -- fortunately they are not -- and if they were brought up always with somebody looking in them, that would have given them an idea of who they are. And for many years, always reflecting somebody, they would have created a certain image of themselves -- that they are the reflectors.
Just visualize that one day suddenly nobody reflects in the mirror. The mirror will feel fear. The mirror will feel as if he is falling into a deep abyss, dark, dismal, into non- existence -- who is he? His identity is lost just because nobody is looking in the mirror.
The mirror has not changed, in fact the mirror is pure. But with this purity he has never been acquainted; nobody has introduced him to this purity.
Meditation takes you to your purity.
Your purity is witnessing, watching, awareness.
You have not asked, "Who is the watcher?" You are asking, "I find there is nobody."
Who finds it? -- that's you! You will find nothingness, you will find nothing reflected in you; you will find emptiness. You have to change your focus from the object to your subjectivity. One thing is certain: the witness is present, and the inward journey is to find the witness -- is to find the pure mirror of your being.
You say, "In my meditations, as I try to look more and more inside, I often feel that there is nobody." But you are not conscious at all that you are finding that there is nobody. But you are! Do you think you are going to meet yourself as somebody? Do you think you are going to meet somebody who will say, "Hello, Shivam Annette, how do you do?" That will really freak you out -- "My God, I'm not one, I'm two!"
This feeling that there is nobody is absolutely right. You are on the right track. Just go on being alert that you are still there, watching. All these are objects -- the nobody, the darkness, the fear, the tension.... "It is like falling into an endless black gap. And I feel a lot of tension and wanting to run away."
Watch all these things. They are just your old habits. You have never been into your own depths; hence the fear of the unacquainted, of the unknown. You have always been going around and around -- but outside -- and you have even forgotten the path to your inner home. In the beginning it will look like an endless black gap. Allow it. Blackness has a beauty of its own. Blackness is deep, is silent -- enjoy it! There is no need to run away from it.
"If there is no me inside, then whom should I love?"
There is certainly no me inside anyone. But there is something else far more important:
there is something which can only be called your am-ness, your is-ness -- just your pure existence.
You call it me, because outside you need to refer to yourself.
Have you watched small babies? In the beginning they often refer to themselves by their name, "Johnny is hungry." They are far more accurate. But in a society they will be thought to be insane. "Johnny is hungry?" Why don't you say, "I'm hungry" "Johnny" gives the idea that somebody else is hungry. Johnny is your name to be used by others.
You cannot use it when you are referring to yourself. Then you have to refer to yourself as `I', `me', but not your name."
It happened in Thomas Alva Edison's life... he was one of the greatest scientists. As far as numbers of inventions are concerned he is unparallelled -- he invented one thousand things. It is almost impossible to find a thing which is not invented by Thomas Alva Edison. He was so much respected that nobody mentioned his name, just out of respect.
His colleagues called him Professor, his students called him Sir, and obviously he didn't use his own name.
Then came the first world war, and for the first time rationing was introduced, and he went to the rationing shop. There was a queue; he was standing in the queue and when the man in front of him had left, the clerk shouted loudly, "Who is Thomas Alva Edison?" And Thomas Alva Edison looked here and there, where is Thomas Alva Edison? The clerk was also a little puzzled, because this man ought to be Thomas Alva Edison; it was his number. And the whole queue was also puzzled. They were looking at each other, what is the matter?
Finally one man from the back of the queue said to him, "Sir, as far as I remember, I have seen you. You are Thomas Alva Edison."
And Edison said, "If you say so, perhaps I am."
The clerk said, "Are you insane or what?"
He said, "Not insane, but I have not heard this name for almost thirty years. I have forgotten it. Nobody calls me by the name. My father died when I was very young, my mother died. Now it is a far, faraway memory. I can remember that something like Thomas Alva Edison used to be my name, but for thirty years nobody has mentioned it. It is good that that man recognized me; otherwise I don't think that on my own I would have been able to recognize it myself."
It is a rare case, but thirty years is a long time, particularly for a man like Edison whose life is so full of creativity. His thirty years are almost three hundred years in your life.
It is simply a social invention that you refer to others by their name, and you refer to yourself by I, me. But inside there is no other, and with the other gone, the me, the I, is gone.
But there is no need to worry. You will not find your I, but you will find something greater: you will find your is-ness, your existence, your being.
When I say "Love yourself," this is for those who have never gone inside, because they can always... they are bound to understand only a language of duality. Love yourself -- that means you are dividing yourself into two, the lover and the loved. You may not have thought about it, but if you go inside you will not love yourself, you will be love.
You will be simply the energy called love.
You will be loving; you will radiate love. Love will be your fragrance.
Goldstein, who looked Jewish, was walking down a street in Berlin just before the war, when he accidentally collided with a stout Nazi officer.
"Schwein," bellowed the Nazi.
"Goldstein," replied the Jew with a courteous bow.
Sometimes you may need your name also; life gives strange situations. Goldstein did well. Rather than being offended, he introduced himself, just as the Nazi had introduced himself. But all these names can be used only on the outside.
Inside you are nameless, you are egoless. Inside you are just a pure existence -- and out of that pure existence arises the aroma of love.
BEING WITH YOU, SEEING YOUR BEAUTY, HEARING YOUR COZY VOICE, FEELING YOUR PRESENCE -- THIS ALL UNCOVERED AGAIN THE DEEP LONGING IN ME FOR THAT WHICH ZARATHUSTRA CALLED `THE GREAT NOONTIDE'.
IS THAT ENOUGH? DOES THAT LEAD ME TO THE ULTIMATE?
Shantu Abhinava, this is not enough. This will not bring you to what Zarathustra calls, "the great noontide", but it is a good beginning.
You are saying, "Being with You, seeing Your beauty, hearing Your cozy voice, feeling Your presence -- this all uncovered again the deep longing in me for that which Zarathustra called `the great noontide'. Is that enough? Does that lead me to the ultimate?"
It is not enough, and it will not lead you on its own to the ultimate. You will have to understand something deeper on each point that you mention. "Being with You" is not enough; you have to be with yourself. Being with me may give you a taste, but that is not going to be enough nourishment. You have to learn, from that -- being with yourself.
"Seeing Your beauty"... these are good indications, but when are you going to see your beauty? I can only be an arrow. But the arrow is always pointing towards your center.
The arrow may be beautiful, you may appreciate it, that was not the purpose of the arrow.
The purpose of the arrow was for you to move to where it was pointing.
You have to see your beauty.
You have not only to hear my voice; you have to hear the still, small voice of your own being.
It is a good beginning to experience my presence, but one should not stop at it. You have to experience your presence. That will bring in you what Zarathustra calls `the great noontide'.
The master is just a milestone, on every milestone there is an arrow showing you -- move on, you are coming closer to the goal. And when you come to the milestone where there is no arrow but zero, you have come home. That is the great noontide.
This is not going to happen just by itself; you will have to move a little, make a little effort. And the effort has to be very relaxed -- that is the secret. We know efforts, but they become tensions, anxieties, worries.
You have to learn a different kind of effort -- what Lao Tzu calls effortless effort -- utterly relaxed, because you are not going anywhere. You are simply relaxing within yourself. You are not going to find some goal, some achievement far away which creates worries -- whether you are on the right path or on the wrong path, whether you are moving in the right direction, whether the goal really exists or it is just a fiction that you have heard from others. With me one thing is clear -- that you are not a fiction.
God may be a fiction and paradise may be a fiction.
You are a reality.
Relaxing within yourself simply means not going outwards, withdrawing all your energy which generally goes on moving outwards. Don't go anywhere -- just be now and here.
There is no question of tension, there is no question of any worry.
Silently you will slip into your own being and you will feel a great presence and you will hear a soundless sound -- what the Zen people call "the sound of one hand clapping."
You will see the most beautiful space which you cannot imagine, which you cannot even dream of. And it is so close by -- just at the very center of you.
The journey is small, but it has to be done, and done in such a strange way that there is no doer -- almost the way you fall asleep. You cannot be a doer, you cannot make any effort to bring sleep -- that will be a disturbance. This entering into your own being and presence is almost like allowing it to happen.
That is the great effort which is effortless, which will bring the noontide and the ultimate experience. In a single word: meditation is equivalent to total relaxation. Just doing nothing, sitting silently, and the grass grows by itself.
ONE LINE FROM DOSTOEVSKY'S WORK HAS IMPRESSED ME MUCH IN MY CHILDHOOD. HE SAYS, "IN SUFFERING LOOK FOR HAPPINESS." I USED TO THINK THAT NOTHING OF VALUE COULD BE ATTAINED WITHOUT SACRIFICE AND HARD WORK. AFTER MEETING YOU AND DRINKING YOUR MESSAGE OF LOVE, LIFE, ENJOYMENT AND CELEBRATION, I REALIZE THAT MY PREVIOUS IDEA WAS QUITE MASOCHISTIC AND SUICIDAL.
I LOVE DOSTOEVSKY AND ALL HIS WORKS HAVE BEEN OF IMMENSE VALUE TO ME. BUT NOW I FEEL THERE IS A DEPTH OF SADNESS IN HIM, WHICH HE SEEMS TO STOP -- AS IF SOMETHING OF THE OPPOSITE IS MISSING.
COULD YOU PLEASE SHED SOME LIGHT ON THIS?
Jivan Mada, Fyodor Dostoevsky is a very special case -- he was a genius. If one has to decide on ten great novels in all the languages of the world, he will have to choose at least three novels of Dostoevsky in the ten.
His insight into human beings and their problems is greater than your so-called psychoanalysts, and there are moments where he reaches the heights of great mystics. But he is a sick soul; he himself is a psychological case.
He needs all the compassion, because he lived in suffering, utter suffering. He never knew a moment of joy; he was pure anguish, angst. But still he managed to write novels which perhaps are the best in the whole literature of the world. BROTHERS KARAMAZOV is so great in its insights that no BIBLE or KORAN or GITA can be a competitor to it.
And this is the strange fact about him: that he was writing such great insights as if he was possessed, but he himself was living in hell. He created it himself. He never loved anybody, he was never loved by anybody. He never knew that there is something like laughter; he was sickly serious. I don't see that he ever felt even a single moment of blissfulness. There is nobody else in the whole history of man who was so sick, and yet had such clarity about things. He was a madman with a method.
You are saying, "One line from Dostoevsky has impressed me much in my childhood. He says, `In suffering look for happiness.'" That statement will appeal to many people because many are suffering, and one can tolerate suffering only if one goes on looking for happiness; if not today then tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. Suffering can be tolerated only through hope. Then one can suffer his whole life, just looking for happiness.
Your being impressed by the statement is dangerous. One should not look for happiness; one should look for the causes of suffering, because that is the way to come out of suffering. And the moment you are out of suffering there is happiness. Happiness is not something that you have to wait for. You can wait for infinity and happiness will not come to you, unless you destroy the causes of suffering.
I will not agree with the statement. I will say, "In suffering look for the causes of suffering." Don't waste your time about happiness; it is none of your business. You are suffering; suffering is your state. Look what is causing it -- jealousy, anger, inferiority complex -- what is causing it?
And the miracle is: if you can go into your suffering as a meditation, watching, to the deepest roots of it, just through watching, it disappears. You don't have to do anything more than watching. If you have found the authentic cause by your watching, the suffering will disappear; and if it is not disappearing, that means you are not watching deep enough.
So it is a very simple process and with a criterion: if your watching is deep enough... just the way you pull out a plant to look at its roots, it dies, because the roots outside the earth cannot survive. In the light is their death.
Suffering can exist only if its roots remain in the unconscious of your being. If you go deep down searching and looking for the roots, the moment you become conscious of the roots of suffering, suffering disappears. The disappearance of suffering is what you call happiness.
Happiness has not to be found somewhere else; it was always with you, but the cloud of suffering was covering it. Happiness is our nature.
To say it in other words: for suffering you have to make much effort, for happiness you don't have to make any effort. Just stop making the effort to create suffering.
"I used to think that nothing of value could be attained without sacrifice and hard work."
That is the disease Christianity has been spreading all over the world. In fact, everything of authentic value is achieved by relaxation, by silence, by joy. The idea of sacrifice and hard work will create more suffering for you. But once the idea gets settled in your mind, your mind will go on telling you that you are suffering because you are not working hard enough, that your sacrifice is not total.
Hard work is needed to create things. Sacrifice is needed when you have something of value, truth, love, enlightenment. And when there is an attack by the mob on your experience, one is ready to sacrifice, but not to compromise.
Sacrifice is not in finding the truth; sacrifice is when you have found it -- then you will be in trouble. Sacrifice is not in finding love, but when you have found it you will be in trouble. Then either compromise or sacrifice. The cowards compromise. The people who have guts sacrifice -- but sacrifice is not a means to attain anything.
"After meeting you and drinking your message of love, life, enjoyment and celebration, I realized that my previous idea was quite masochistic and suicidal."
It is good that you understood something very significant. All your saints who have been sacrificing and working hard and torturing themselves, are just masochistic and suicidal.
And because they are worshipped, they go on continuing more and more masochistic torture to themselves.
And the people who are worshipping them also have the same desire, but not the courage; they also want to be saints, perhaps in a future life. At least in this life they can worship the saints.
The whole past of humanity has been dominated by masochistic, sadistic, and suicidal people. That's why there is so much misery. To be blissful in this world looks as if you are committing a crime; to dance with joy amongst so many dead people all around... you cannot be forgiven.
I have always thought that Christianity became the greatest religion of the world because Jesus was on the cross. Just think, if he was with his girlfriend on the beach there would not have been any Christianity, although he would have enjoyed....
And why did it become the greatest religion? Almost half of humanity is Christian.
Because he represents your deepest desire. You also want to be crucified, and in different ways you are crucifying yourself; in the name of duty, in the name of nations, in the name of the religion....
Jesus says, "Everybody has to carry his cross on his shoulders." But why? this will look very awkward -- wherever you go you will be carrying your cross. But nobody has objected to it. Nobody has said, "Why?" And if I say that everybody has to carry his guitar they all condemn me! The whole world is against a single man who is not saying anything sick.
This is a sick idea, carrying your cross. Can't you carry anything else? Just a flowerpot?
If you are determined to carry... then there are more beautiful things in the world. A cross is not something... just a bamboo flute will do, light in weight. And you can do something with it. You can play on it -- a beautiful tune, a song; you can dance. What are you going to do with the cross? -- except crucify yourself. So why carry it. Why not crucify it here and now? Unnecessarily carrying such weight....
Jesus was only thirty-three years of age, and he fell three times while he was carrying the cross -- the cross was so heavy. And naturally, if it becomes the fashion that everybody has to carry his cross, you will see that people will be carrying heavier and heavier crosses, heavier than everybody else! You will feel embarrassed if you are carrying a small cross -- are you childish or what? A heavy cross is needed so that you fall on the road many times and have many fractures....
But Christianity is masochistic. It does not know anything about enjoying life. It knows only about sacrificing life -- sacrificing for some stupid fiction. It knows nothing of singing and dancing and celebration.
You say, "I love Dostoevsky and all his works have been of immense value to me. But now I feel there is a depth of sadness in him, which he seems to stop -- as if something of the opposite is missing."
There is not only sadness in him, there is absolutely suicidal instinct; he is tired and bored with life itself. In his best book, BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, one of the characters, Ivan Karamazov, makes a very significant statement. Perhaps Dostoevsky himself is speaking through him.
Ivan Karamazov says, "If there is a God and I meet him, I am going to return his ticket and ask him, `Why did you send me life without asking me? What right do you have? I want to return the ticket to you.'" This is a suicidal instinct.
He lived very miserably and has always written that existence has no meaning, that it has no significance, that it is accidental, that there is nothing to find -- no truth, no love, no joy. All his conclusions are wrong. But the man was tremendously capable, a great genius. Even if he writes things which are wrong, he writes with such art and such beauty that millions of people have been influenced by him -- just like you, Jivan Mada.
The danger is: the words can be beautiful and the message can be poison, pure poison.
His insights are deep -- but they are always deep -- to find more suffering in life, more misery in life. He is determined in all his works to prove that life is an exercise of utter futility. He influenced the contemporary philosophical movement of existentialism -- he became a pioneer.
I also love him, but I also feel sad and sorry for him. He was a man who could have danced, who could have loved, who could have lived with tremendous totality and intensity. But he served death rather than life. Read him -- there is nothing better to read - - but remember you are reading a psychopath, a man who is deeply sick, incurably sick.
His whole work is just a dark night which knows no dawn.
The Golden Future