There is no question of making any distinction between imagination and reality. Imagination is that which disappears if you become aware of it, alert to it.
Reality is that which becomes more real if you become aware of it, alert to it.
You cannot distinguish between the two, because both are never present simultaneously.
And you need not worry about it. All that you have to do is simply be watchful. Whatever passes through your experience - thoughts, feelings - don't let it go unwatched, and the unreal will disappear on its own accord. It cannot face the watching eyes; only the real will remain.
So for the watcher, there is only the real.
For the sleeper, there is only the unreal.
And they never meet, so the question of distinction does not arise. It is not that you can put reality on one side and imagination on the other side and make a comparison, or find differences.
For example, in this room, either there is light or there is darkness. You cannot manage to have both. Darkness appears to be as real as light, but it is not a reality because you cannot do anything with it. You cannot bring it in, you cannot take it out, you cannot cut it into pieces; you cannot do anything with it.
Just bring a lighted candle in, and the darkness simply disappears. It is not that it goes out of the door, or runs out of the windows. You can keep all the windows and doors open or closed; in either case darkness will not be found.
Light is real because you can do everything with it. You can bring it in, you can take it out. You can light a candle, you can blow it out. It is a reality.
Darkness is only an absence - an absence of light.
Light is presence, darkness is absence. Imagination is not even absence; it is simply a thought in your mind, just a signature made on water - you have not even completed it and it is gone.
So don't be worried about these subtle distinctions; rather, simply be aware that shadows will disappear - the unreal, imaginative experiences will disappear - and only that which remains in your awareness and becomes more and more clear as you become aware is true, is real, is the nature of existence.
The moment you trust in let-go, the moment you stop struggling against existence, you need not worry about anything; existence takes care.
The whole trouble with the human mind is, it is constantly fighting, it is trying to go against the current. There is a reason why it does so: only by going against the current does it feel the ego.
Just going with the flow of life - without any struggle, letting life lead you wherever it wants to - your ego will disappear. You will be, you will be more than you are now - more authentic, more true - but there will be no sense of I. And then you will be able to see where you are going.
Even the path that is created as you move can be seen by those who have no egos. You can even see the footprints of the birds flying in the sky. They don't make any footprints but if the mind is clear of the ego, the whole being becomes such a clean mirror that even those footprints reflect in it.
The Japanese form of drama called Noh is a by-product of Zen experience. Zen has given birth to many things. No other religious movement in the world has been so creative, so productive. It has created art - which has a quality of its own - it has created poetry, it has created literature, it has created drama, it has created sculpture. Whatever it has created, it has left unmistakably the mark of meditativeness on it; it has turned things into meditation which nobody has ever imagined can even be associated with meditation.
For example, swordsmanship. Who can think that swordsmanship can be a discipline for meditation?
And drama. All other religions have condemned the whole world as drama. Zen has used even drama. And if the actor moves, focusing his whole energy just under the navel - two inches under the navel, where according to Zen is the point hara, our life source - if he concentrates inside on the hara and moves slowly step by step, those who are silent enough in the audience will see, behind him, a path is being created. His energy is moving forward leaving a certain imprint which can be read only by those who are capable of some silent awareness. It is tremendously beautiful, the whole drama. It is not like any other drama in the world, they have changed the whole character; they have made it sacred. The audience is not sitting in a theatre but in a temple, and the actors are not just acting, they are meditating.
Zen painting or Zen poetry, they have the same quality; Zen has transformed the whole meaning of any art that it has touched. No religion has been able to do that; in fact, no religion has been creative. They have all been destructive.
Zen is the very essence of creativity. You can do anything and yet your action can be sacred.
The question is not what you do; the question is whether you do it with awareness or unawareness.
They have shifted the whole question. Every religion thinks, "This is wrong, that is right. Do this, don't do that." They are pointing towards certain acts which are wrong, certain acts which are right - which is a very childish thing, because an act can be right in one context and the same act can be wrong in another context.
You cannot stamp a certain act as wrong or right. Then how to decide what is moral, what is immoral, what has to be done and what has not to be done? Zen does not decide. Zen simply says, "Just be aware, whatever you are doing. If your awareness remains unwavering while doing it, it is right. If you have to lose your awareness - only then you can do it - then it is wrong." The decisive point has gone inward; not to the object, but to your subjectivity.
And the same you have to understand here with me - no act in itself is right or wrong, no person is good or bad. It all depends on awareness.
I am reminded of one great mystic, Nagarjuna. He used to live naked. He had only a begging bowl; that was his only possession. But perhaps he was the greatest genius that has been born on this earth, as far as intelligence is concerned - his sharpness is incomparable. Great kings, queens, great philosophers were his students.
One queen was very much devoted to him, and when he came to her capital she had made a golden begging bowl studded with diamonds. And when he came to the palace to beg, she said, "First you have to give me a promise." He said, "You are asking a promise from a naked man who has nothing but his begging bowl." She said, "That will do. I'm just asking for the begging bowl." He said, "You can take it." She said, "That is only half. I will replace it, and you will have to take my begging bowl."
He said, "There is no problem, any begging bowl will do."
He was not at all aware of what she was hiding. It was a golden begging bowl studded with very valuable diamonds.
He took it. As he was going back to the ruins of the monastery where he was staying, one thief saw him and could not believe his eyes. The begging bowl was shining like stars and he is a naked man - of course very beautiful, magnificent; but what is the begging bowl doing with this naked man?
And how long can he keep it? Somebody is going to take it away, so why not I?
He followed Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna went inside a room, which was a little shed with just the walls left.
The whole monastery was in ruins, and there was a window by the side, and the thief was hiding outside the window knowing that Buddhist monks eat only once a day. Now he will eat, and then he will have a little sleep - just a nap. And that will be the right moment. In this monastery nobody lives. It is thousands of years old.
But before giving him a chance to steal the bowl, Nagarjuna ate his food and threw the bowl out of the window where the thief was sitting. The thief could not believe it. He was really shocked. For a moment he could not think what to do; what kind of man is he? He has eaten his food and thrown away this immensely valuable bowl as if it is of no use - and exactly where I am sitting.
He stood up and he asked Nagarjuna, "Can I come in just to ask one question?" Nagarjuna said, "To bring you in, I had to throw the bowl out. Come in. The bowl is yours; don't be worried. I have given it to you so you will not be a thief. It is a gift, a present. I am a poor man. I don't have anything else, only that bowl; and I know I cannot keep it for long because I will have to sleep, somebody will take it away and you have taken so much trouble. From the capital you followed me, and I have been watching. And it is a hot summer day. Please don't refuse. Take it."
The thief said, "You are a strange man. Don't you know how costly it is?" Nagarjuna said, "Since I have known myself nothing is costly." The thief looked at Nagarjuna and said, "Then give me one present more: how can I know myself in comparison to which this precious bowl is nothing?" He said, "It is very simple." But the thief said, "Before you say anything I want to introduce myself. I am a well-known thief."
Nagarjuna said, "Who is not? Don't be concerned with trivia. In this world everybody is a thief because everybody comes naked without anything, and then everybody has something or other. All are thieves, so don't be worried. That's why I live naked. It is perfectly okay. Whatever you are doing, do it well. Just do one thing: when you are stealing be aware, be alert, be watchful. If you lose watchfulness then don't steal. That is a simple rule for you." The thief said, "It is very simple.
When I can see you again?" He said, "I will be here for two weeks. You can come any day, but first try it."
For two weeks he tried, and he found that it is the most difficult thing in the world. Once he reached even into the palace, opened the door of the treasures, but when he will try to take something he will lose his awareness. And he was an honest man. So he will leave that thing - that cannot be taken.
But it was difficult: when he was aware, there was no desire to take anything; and when he was not aware, he wanted to take the whole treasure.
Finally he came empty-handed to Nagarjuna and he said, "You have disturbed my whole life. Now I cannot steal." Nagarjuna said, "That is not my problem. Now it is your problem. If you want to steal forget all about awareness." But the thief said, "Those few moments of awareness were so valuable.
I have never felt so at ease, so peaceful, so silent, so blissful - the whole treasure of the kingdom was nothing compared to it.
"Now I understand what you mean by saying that once you have known yourself nothing else is costly. I cannot stop practicing awareness. I have tasted just a few drops of the nectar which you must be tasting every moment. Will you allow me to be a disciple and follow you?" Nagarjuna said, "I knew it that very day. I had initiated you already when you followed me. You were thinking you are going to steal the begging bowl and I was thinking how to steal you. We are both in the same business."
Never be bothered about anything else, only one thing - one thing is the whole religion, and that is awareness, and then you will be able to see where your life is going, where all of life is going. And you will be able to feel that this is the only way to be at ease and in harmony with existence, the only way to dissolve yourself into the whole.
So just remember one thing, whatever you are doing - it may be drama, it may be cooking in the kitchen, it may be washing the dishes.
I used to have a German disciple, Gunakar. He was too much in a hurry to become enlightened, just like any German! While he was with me, of course, he could not become enlightened because I was there and he could not declare himself enlightened, he knew that he is not enlightened; but when he went to Germany, there he will declare that he is enlightened. And he will start writing great letters to world leaders, religious leaders, representatives in the U.N., presidents, prime ministers, advising them how the world can be transformed. And somebody will inform me that Gunakar has become enlightened. And I will call him back, and he will come back to me. And I will say, "Gunakar, is it true?"
He will say, "It is not true, but when I go to Germany the temptation is so great - because to other Germans who don't know anything about enlightenment I can declare, but here it is difficult.
It is strange. People come here to become enlightened, but whenever I come here I become unenlightened. In Germany I remain enlightened."
Three or four times he became enlightened, became unenlightened. Then for a few years - five years almost, I had been in America - I had not heard of him. I was worried that perhaps he has become really enlightened and is afraid to come. But no; the reality was something else. Just two days ago, somebody informed me that he saw Gunakar in a sannyasins' commune in Germany, washing dishes.
And he knew that this man had become many times enlightened. He asked, "What happened to your enlightenment?" He said, "Forget all about it. I'm just a dishwasher. Don't talk nonsense to me."
This awareness may make him one day enlightened - washing dishes I am a dishwasher; cleaning the floor I am a cleaner; cooking food I am a cook.
Each moment, whatever you are doing, do it with full awareness, with totality, intensity, love; and do it as if it is the greatest thing in the world to do. Make it an art, so that each moment of your life becomes the life of an artist.
Enlightenment will come on its own accord without even knocking on your doors. One day suddenly you will see that your joy, your ecstasy, never leaves you; whether you are awake or asleep, it is within you. For days you have not been miserable, for days you have not felt any agony, for days you have not felt anger, jealousy, competitiveness, for days you have not felt yourself as an I.
This is the whole work of the mystery school, to let your ego dissolve and to help you into a deep let-go with existence.
The moment a person dies he releases all his energy. If you are receptive, you will feel it. If you are available, open, you will feel your energy level rising up. It depends on many things - what kind of man has died, what kind of energy he used to have. If he was a man of anger, violence, then it is better not to be close to him because all his repressed anger, all his repressed violence will be released and you can unnecessarily suffer from all that energy entering you.
And it is very natural because when somebody is dying or dead, you automatically become silent by their side - nobody makes any noise, nobody talks. Death is such a mysterious phenomenon that everybody is in shock.
So the first thing to be aware of is, what kind of person is dying. If the person has been a loving person, compassionate, kind, always helpful, always sharing whatever he had, then to be close to him and sit silently will be very helpful to you. When he is leaving, these energies will be radiated all around him.
But if he was sexually repressed, a rapist, or some kind of criminal, it is better not be close to him because whatever he has been collecting in his life is going to be released. He is moving into a new house, so all his old furniture is going to be left in the old house. He cannot carry all that furniture with him; it will be diffused around him.
Because of this fact, in India the three great religions - Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism - have decided that the dead person's body should be burned as quickly as possible, so that it does not radiate unnecessary, harmful things to people - and mostly people are repressing ugly things. So in India, only the saints are not burned; that's the exception. Their bodies are kept in samadhis - in a certain kind of grave, so that their bodies can go on radiating for years, sometimes for hundreds of years.
But ordinary persons' bodies are immediately burned - as quickly as possible.
Other religions of the world have decided not to burn bodies but to put them in a grave. It is dangerous. It means you are putting away accumulated anger, hatred, sexuality, murder - all kinds of energies which will be radiating from their graves - and you can catch them, they are infectious.
In the East whenever a man who has attained to himself dies, he announces beforehand when he is going to die so that all his disciples can come to share his energy - his last gift. He wants to die amongst his own people, his own disciples who can understand him and be receptive to him. And his whole life's treasure of beautiful feelings he showers on them.
As far as the man who is dying or dead is concerned, one has to be very watchful.
There is an ancient parable. A man was dying. He had four sons. They were all present. He said to the eldest, "Come close to me, I want to give you a message." But he wouldn't come. Even though he was dying, the man was very angry; and he said, "I always knew that you were good for nothing, you cannot even take a message from a dying man and I'm your father." But the young man remained in his place, like a frozen statue, he didn't move. He asked the second; he didn't move.
He asked the third; he didn't move. But the fourth was very young so he went; and he whispered in his ear, "All these three are traitors. They have betrayed me. Now you be faithful to me. Do one thing. When I am dead, cut my body into pieces and throw a piece into every neighbor's house and inform the police." The boy said, "But why?" He said, "Just to give peace to my soul. Seeing them all handcuffed going towards the police station, my soul will feel more peaceful than I have ever felt before."
The three sons knew their father perfectly well. His whole life he was fighting. His whole day he was in the court. His whole life was nothing but a fight. They were afraid to listen to the last message, in case there may be something dangerous, and you cannot deny a dying man his last wish.
And he died.
They all asked the young man what he had said. The young man said, "I had no idea that our father was such a man. I cannot do it. But his soul will suffer very much."
This is an ancient parable signifying that whatever a person has been throughout his life, will be accumulated at the end, at the very end; and energy in itself is natural, but what form it has taken in a man depends on the man, his personality, his whole life's actions.
Bennett remembers in his autobiography that after the second world war he was so tired - he had been in the war fighting - that he felt close to dying. But he wanted to see George Gurdjieff, his master, for the last time - at least before he dies. So he went to see him in Paris. He went in, and Gurdjieff said, "What has happened to you, Bennett? You are looking so pale, as if you are going to die. You have come at the right time. Just come close to me." He took hold of his hands, stared in his eyes, and within two minutes Bennett started feeling a tremendous rush of energy. But that was only one side of it. At the same time he saw Gurdjieff becoming pale, and he became afraid of what he was doing. He stopped him, saying, "Stop. I am perfectly okay."
Gurdjieff said, "Don't be worried about me." He somehow managed to walk to the bathroom, and closed the door; after ten minutes he came out. He was perfectly okay.
Bennett remembers, "I had never thought that energy could be transferred in such a simple way."
But it is being transferred.
It was so direct, that's why he became aware of it. In other ways, every master is giving his energy to his people - every moment he looks into your eyes - every moment he comes close to you. What else he can give to you? He has achieved whatever one can achieve in life. Now his energy is just to share.
But if somebody is dying to whom you are closely related - your father, your mother, your wife, your husband, your child, your friend... and you would like to do something to take part in it - the person is dying, you are alive - you can sit by the side of the person, you can put your hand on his heart or hold his hands and just be silent, and just be peaceful. And your peace and your silence will be transferred, transmitted; and if you can help the person to die peacefully, silently, you have done a beautiful act, a virtuous act. You may feel afterwards a little weak, tired, exhausted; but that is nothing - just a little rest and you will be perfectly okay.
So from your side you can help the dying person to move on to a better plane of life, but for that you have to be silent and you have to be peaceful. Then you are on a higher plane and energy can flow.
Energy flows in the same way water flows - downwards. It cannot flow upwards.
So remember it, that both ways energy can be exchanged. If the person is certainly of an evil character, it is better to avoid him. You will not be able to help him; on the contrary, he may help you - give you some of his devilry, sow some seeds in your heart, in your being. It is better to avoid him.
But if the person is a good person, has not done any harm to anybody... the basic thing is that if you love the person, you have a feeling for the person, then you can pour your energy into him. This is the time - and the last time; you won't have another opportunity to give him a gift.
And there cannot be a better gift than this, because this gift can change his whole future journey. If he dies peacefully and silently, he will be born on a higher plane.
But you have to be very careful. Don't try sitting in meditation and helping Adolf Hitler - don't try. It is beyond you. You cannot give energy to him; he will give energy to you - and all the more easily if you are silent and peaceful.
One has to be very careful with the dying person, because much can happen between the two of you. His future life can be affected, your future life can be affected - unless you are so much aware that nothing can affect you. Then there is no problem, then you can sit in full awareness even by the side of Adolf Hitler, he will not be in any way capable of harming you. Perhaps you may be able to help him a little bit.
Certainly. The more they are uprooted from the stable past and become accustomed to changing things in all spheres of life, the easier it will be for them to see what I am saying, to understand what I am saying.
In stable societies in the past people were absolutely closed.
Things were so settled that your religion was given at your birth. There was no question of you changing it. It was part and parcel of your blood, your bones, your marrow.
The two oldest religions in the world are the Hindus and the Jews. Both are non-converting religions, they don't convert anybody.
These two religions are the oldest - all other religions are off-shoots of these two. They do not believe in conversion because conversion means the possibility of change.
In a stable world, where everything is stable, a Jew is a Jew; he is born a Jew, he will live as Jew, he will die as a Jew. There is no question that he can change.
Now things are in a more flexible state. It is possible to have different views from your parents, it is possible to have different ideologies from your teachers. In fact, if you are intelligent you will have different ideologies because their ideologies are out of date.
You have to find fresher visions, more up-to-date approaches to existence.
So it is absolutely certain that as things are moving and people are moving - changing their jobs, their wives, their husbands, their countries - they will be more open to me. And this you can see.
In the East it is difficult for me to find somebody open and receptive. In India it is difficult.
In the West it is easier. It is not a coincidence that most of my sannyasins are from the West. The reason is clear. The Western mind is now accustomed to change.
The Eastern mind is still not accustomed to change. It still lives in a stable world.
According to the Hindus, the stars don't move. Even today they go on saying that. Everybody knows that they move with tremendous velocity. But according to the Hindus, they are just decorations on the ceiling of the earth, they don't move. Nothing moves.
In fact, India was very much shocked after Hiroshima and Nagasaki - not because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki themselves, but because after the atomic explosions the weather changed, the climate changed. Before, in India dates were fixed. On a certain date every year the rains will come, on a certain date the summer will start, on a certain date the winter will start; it was fixed for millions of years.
There was no question of change. But the atomic explosion shook the whole atmosphere. Now nothing is certain. Even that gave the Indian mind a great shock - that change is possible, that one should not take it for granted that things are going to remain always the same.
But India is still far from being receptive as far as their belief systems are concerned. They are very closed about it. Nobody talks about it. There is no question of talking. Everybody has his god, everybody has his holy book, everybody knows where his temple is, everybody knows his ritual from birth - the prayer, the priest. Everything is settled. There is no need to search. Nobody goes in search of a master.
The search for a master starts only when you become suspicious of your belief systems.
That was the reasoning of the pope when he said to Galileo, "You should change in your book where you have written that the earth goes around the sun. It should be changed because according to the Bible the sun goes around the earth." And Galileo said, "Just a small statement: what difference does it make to you?" And the pope said, "It is not a question of a small statement. If one statement in the Bible is proved wrong, then suspicion arises in the believers - that if one statement is wrong then what guarantee is there about other statements? And if God can write one statement wrong, then he is not infallible. You have to change it. It is not a question of factuality, of science. The question is the whole prestige of the Christian religion." - On that small statement, which has nothing to do with Christianity, which has nothing to do with God!
But in a way the pope's argument was right. If one brick out of your temple is taken, then the danger is that other bricks may start falling. And once doubt arises, there is no end; and doubt has arisen.
The West is far more fortunate because it is now full of doubt, skepticism, disbelief.
The East is unfortunate because it is still lingering in the old stable world where nothing changed, everything was static, and everything was known - there was nothing left to be discovered, so there was no question of any quest, any enquiry, any science. All was in the religious books, and as it was, even to have a question about it was thought to be sinful.
It is a perfectly right time for me.
And the fear of the Western governments shows it clearly. Why they are so afraid of me? I don't have an army, I don't have nuclear weapons. What can I do? But they know that I can destroy their belief systems very easily, people are ready; just somebody is needed to make them aware that the earth they used to stand on is no longer there, that they have to find a new earth to stand on.
This world-wide conspiracy against me looks strange because never before have all the countries agreed about a single individual, that he is dangerous.
Just the other day a German court has given us its verdict, that the German government was wrong to declare me dangerous.
A fight was going on between sannyasins and the German government in the courts, and the German government was trying to prove that I am a dangerous man. And all that they could prove was that I could prove a dangerous man. And the magistrate seems to be a fair man, intelligent.
He said, "That can be said about anybody - COULD PROVE - but you don't have any proof that this man has been dangerous. On what grounds are you predicting the future? And just on your assumption?" So he has prohibited the German government from using such words against me, or my followers - that they are dangerous, that they are a cult.
This government's effort to prove that I am dangerous because I could prove dangerous... but in what ways could I prove dangerous? Can I manufacture nuclear weapons there? They cannot even say it. They know what the fear is, but to say it will expose them, it won't help them.
The fear is that I can catch hold of the younger people, and they don't have any way to prevent it. Their philosophies are dead and their theologies are dead, their churches are graveyards, their priests and their popes are just corpses from the past. They don't have any argument for the present, for the new age, for the new man.
There is no harm in looking at me, but the meditation on your own eyes in the mirror has certain effects which will not be the same as looking at me.
Looking at me you may feel peaceful, silent, in a kind of beatitude; but that is not the purpose of the meditation. The purpose of that meditation is totally different.
You can do both. There is no need to make them alternatives.
Nobody is preventing you from looking at me. But don't try to avoid that meditation, because that meditation will give you great insight into your own ego, your own mind. It will help your watchfulness.
So don't avoid that.
You can do anything else that you want to do. But every meditation has its own consequences.
No, it won't do, because you cannot stand still. You don't know how to be still. It is not just a matter of standing. The world is moving, but that movement is invisible. The earth is moving, but you don't feel its movement because you are also moving with it. The earth is making a double movement:
first, on its own axis - it is moving round and round; and second, it is going around the sun. So a double movement is there, but you are not aware of either. You can stand still, but the earth goes on moving and you are moving with it. In twenty-four hours it makes one round of itself, and in three hundred and sixty-five days it makes another round of the sun.
You will be moving. You cannot stand still. There is no place where you can stand still. Everything is movement. Stillness is possible only if your mind is without thoughts. If your awareness helps you to get rid of your thoughts, then there is stillness; and that is the only stillness possible in the world.
Archimedes used to say, "If I can find a silent still point in the universe, I can revolutionize the whole world." But he never found it because he was always looking outside. And that silent still point is within you; it has never moved. The earth moves, the sun moves, the stars move, now everything is whirling; but something within you is always absolutely still, and eternally still.
But to see it, to feel it, you have to get rid of your thoughts. If you don't get rid of your thoughts, those thoughts will not allow you to see yourself. They keep you engaged, occupied. And it is easy to disperse them.
Just try the simple thing that I am insisting on continually: do whatever you are doing, just go on watching your thoughts. If you miss, no harm; whenever you remember again, start watching. You will miss many times. Slowly, slowly you will miss less. Soon there will be big gaps when you will be aware and there will be no thoughts. In those gaps you will see the silent, still point; and certainly if you have found it, you can revolutionize the whole world.
The people who have brought evolution to the world are those few people who have found their center. They are the people who have changed humanity for better, and they are needed now more than ever, because humanity is in such a critical stage that if we don't have enough people to transform it onto a higher level, it is going to destroy itself.