Philosia... the path of the mystic
AM I A PHILOSOPHER?
Milarepa, philosophy is not the real thing, and to be a philosopher is just to go astray.
Philosophy only thinks but never experiences, and there are things which cannot be thought about: either you experience them or you don't. How can you think about truth, of which you have no experience? How can a blind man think about light and colors and rainbows and flowers and butterflies? Whatever he is going to think is going to be wrong.
To know the colors, to know the light, to know the stars one needs eyes; not thinking.
And to have eyes is a totally different phenomenon than thinking. In fact, only blind people think. Those who have eyes see, experience.
Philosophy is a non-existential approach to existence; hence it never comes to any conclusion. It goes round and round but remains stuck in the same groove. One of the oldest professions of man is to be a philosopher, and it has always been praised very highly. But the reason for the praise was that the philosopher is thinking about ultimate values, while the whole world is concerned with the mundane. It is a world of blind people. And if one blind man starts thinking about light, other blind people are going to worship him. But there is no way to think about light.
There is no way to think about truth.
There is no way to think about love.
There is no way to think about beauty.
In fact, the moment you pinpoint some ultimate value for thinking, you immediately feel uneasy. For example, if somebody asks you, pointing to a beautiful sunset, "What do you think about it?" or to a beautiful rainbow, "What do you think about it?" obviously you are going to say, "It is beautiful," because you have never thought about whether you know beauty or not.
You have simply accepted others' opinions, and that accumulation of others' opinions is all that you have -- nothing of your own, everything borrowed. If it is insisted upon, "What do you mean when you say a sunset is beautiful? What is beauty?", you will immediately feel caught in a difficulty. There is no way to define what beauty is. There is no way to define what good is. There is no way to define what love is.
You can love but you cannot define it.
You can be overwhelmed by love, you can be transformed by love, but still you will never be able to think about it. Thinking is a very low category, in fact the very bottom; you cannot go lower than that.
Being a philosopher is not something great, Milarepa. I hate the very word because it helps people to hide their ignorance. It never gives them a breakthrough into light, into life, into love, into existence. It blocks their path. It becomes a China Wall.
Thoughts can create such a barrier that even if you are standing before a beautiful flower, you will not be able to see it. Your eyes are covered with layers of thought. To experience the beauty of the flower you have to be in a state of meditation, not in a state of mentation. You have to be silent, utterly silent -- not even a flicker of thought -- and the beauty explodes, reaches to you from all directions. You are drowned in the beauty of a sunrise, of a starry night, of beautiful trees.
Last night it rained again very hard. It was so silent -- everybody must have been fast asleep. It was past midnight, but in the darkness of the night, in the serenity of the night, the dance of the rain was immensely beautiful. But you have to be receptive to it.
Philosophy is an aggression, and through an aggressive attitude you may become a scientist, but you will never go beyond matter. You can dissect matter, you can think about its constituents, you can put it together, you can even produce it, but matter is something outside you.
Beauty is something within you.
To see the beauty of a rose you need a beautiful heart.
Light is not just outside. To see the light you need receptive eyes. You may never have wondered that if the whole world suddenly goes blind would the sun still shine with its light? Ordinary logic will say yes, it does not matter; whether you are blind or whether you have eyes, the sun will rise. But those who have penetrated deeply into all these problems have come across very different conclusions. If everybody on the earth goes blind, there will be no light at all. The sun is only half of the phenomenon. Unless you have receiving eyes, there cannot be any light, nor can there be any darkness.
The moment you leave your room, lock the room, you are performing a miracle of which you are not aware. All the photographs in the room, all the clothes in the room, all the paintings, everything disappears. No color can exist without an eye to see it. The color is a response of an eye, so the moment you have locked your room, your room becomes colorless -- everything. The green is no longer green; the red is no longer red. But if you just look through the keyhole all the colors simply jump back in their place. Once the eye is there the missing link is no longer missing.
One cannot think about anything which is valuable.
This is the basic difference between the whole heritage of philosophy and my approach.
With great humbleness I want to say that all great philosophers are great blind men -- certainly great, because what they cannot see they manage to think about, what they cannot touch they manage to figure things about.
In the fables of Aesop you must have heard the most famous fable. Five blind men go to see an elephant. All five are philosophers, Milarepa, and naturally they start touching the elephant. Somebody touches the legs of the elephant and he says, "My god, the elephant is just like the pillars in a temple."
The other one who is touching the big ears of the elephant... Certainly the story must have been born in India because the African elephant does not have big ears. That's how you can find from where a story is coming. The Indian elephant has really big ears. The blind man who was touching the ears said, "You idiot! Stop all that nonsense about pillars in a temple. The elephant is like a big fan." Before electricity came into being, rich people used to have very big fans, and two servants standing by their sides were continuously moving the fans over them. Those fans are almost like the big ears of the elephant.
And so on and so forth; all the five blind philosophers argued and argued. One man was watching. Just a simple and ordinary man, not a philosopher but a man with eyes. He could not believe how these people are going to come to a conclusion. They are fighting, quarreling, arguing. He said to them, "You are all in a tremendously great difficulty.
Your arguments are not going to help. What you need are eyes, not arguments. Once you see the elephant, there is no question of thinking about it."
The word 'philosophy' comes from two words: 'philo' and 'sophia'. Philo means love, and sophia means wisdom or knowledge -- love of knowledge. In the East we have nothing parallel to philosophy. In the East we have a totally different approach. It is not the approach of the philosopher; it is the approach of the mystic.
We don't have any system parallel to philosophy in the East. What we have is totally different. But continuously there has been a misunderstanding between the scholars from the West, from the East. They have all started calling it Eastern philosophy. There is no such thing in existence.
In the East we have a word 'darshan', which means seeing not thinking; it means simply seeing. Darshan cannot be translated as philosophy. I have coined a word for it. I don't care about languages and I don't care about grammar, and I don't care about dictionaries and encyclopedias. My concern is existential not linguistic. I have coined my own word and that is philosia: love of seeing, not love of knowledge.
Milarepa, if you have decided to be something, be a lover of seeing the truth. Be a lover of experiencing the truth. Become part of the vast experience I am calling philosia.
Trust more in your eyes than in your mind.
Trust more in your heart than your thoughts. Trust more in your being, because it is the being which is going to experience the very center of the cosmos.
Avoid philosophy; it is a sickness of the soul. The moment you see the distinction between philosophy and philosia, you will be amazed that that small difference between two words takes you on different routes. Philosophy takes you deeper into the mind; it refines your mind. It gives you more systematic arguments. It can help you to make a perfect system of thought but it will be only hot air; it will not correspond to the reality.
Philosia will take you on a different path, the path of the mystic, whose whole search is to find a new way of looking at things. His search is for eyes. His search is for an open heart -- to be receptive. His ultimate search is to come in tune with his being, with the existential heartbeat. When your heart is beating in synchronicity with the universal heart, you know without knowledge, you are wise without wisdom, because you experience without any explanation.
If you want to understand me, then you have to understand the distinction between these two words. Philosophy leads deeper into mind and that means deeper into mess. Philosia leads you beyond mind into a state of no-mind. Philosia is basically meditation. It is an opening of a third eye within you, as if... The third eye is only a new way of receiving the gifts of existence. I am using only a parable. Don't take it literally.
Philosophy is bound to be aggressive. One of the books of the great philosopher of the modern age, Bertrand Russell, is entitled, CONQUEST OF NATURE. That indicates the hidden aggressiveness of philosophy.
Philosia is not a conquest of nature, but on the contrary is a willingness to be conquered by nature. It is a deep trustfulness, openness, receptivity. The philosopher is bound to become serious. The deeper he moves into the paths of philosophy, the more serious he will become, because the farther away he is going from life, love, the farther away he is going from beauty, from celebration, from festivity, from laughter.
Just the opposite happens to the mystic. He comes closer and closer to a childlike innocence. He is full of smiles, bursting out into laughter looking at the miracle of existence all around. We are so blind that we never see the wonder anywhere. You sow a seed and the rains come, the seed disappears and dies in the soil, and two green leaves start sprouting -- and you don't see any wonder? You don't see the magic? Out of that small seed will grow a big huge tree with thousands of flowers and thousands of fruits.
Out of one seed the tree will give millions of seeds every year.
It is said by a scientist that just a single seed can make the whole earth green in time. So much miracle in a small seed! But we live in an attitude of "taking for granted." That is our blindness. Don't take anything for granted, and then you will be encountering on every step, every moment, miracles upon miracles.
The mystic becomes so overwhelmed by the majesty and the miraculousness of existence that he knows, but he does not reduce his knowing into knowledge. He never becomes a philosopher. He always remains a seer.
Milarepa, you are a musician. That is far better and far higher than being a philosopher.
Perhaps you have not thought about it....
Music consists of sound and silences. Philosophy is only so much prose, just words and words and words. The word is a secondary phenomenon. Sound is a primary phenomenon. You can listen to the music of a waterfall, you can listen to the music of wind passing through the pine trees... nothing is said, but much is understood. The wind passing through the pine trees has no words, but it has a sound.
In the fall when all the paths become full of falling leaves... have you walked in a forest?
Just by your walking you create sound, because the paths are full of old leaves. Just a little breeze comes and those old leaves start dancing and moving. Existence is full of sounds, but it never speaks a single word. The birds are singing but they are only making sounds. They are not saying anything, but their songs are immensely beautiful. They touch the very core of your heart.
Music is a higher system than philosophy, because music is something in between philosophy and philosia; in other words it is something between words and silence, perhaps just a midway overnight stay. If you fall back, you can become a philosopher. If you go ahead, you can become a mystic. Falling back means losing sounds and catching hold of words. Going forward means losing even sounds and just entering into silence because music consists of both the sound and silence. It is a rhythm, a dance, hand in hand between sound and silence.
A musician can easily become a meditator, he is very close. There is nothing closer to meditation than music -- wordless, meaningless, but tremendously significant. It says nothing but shows much, expresses nothing but brings to you a great splendor. From musician move towards the mystic. The day your music consists only of silence, you have arrived home.
This will not make you sad. Music is not serious; it is playfulness, it is song, it is dance. It has an immense beauty. It can move peoples' hearts. Entering into music, don't remain stuck there. That's where modern music has got stuck. It has become too much sound and it has forgotten the silences in between. You have to change the gestalt.
If you know about gestalt psychology... it is a very specialized approach. The word 'gestalt' is worth understanding. In any book on gestalt psychology you will find a picture inside, just a sketch, a line sketch of a woman. If you look at it and go on staring, a moment comes... the woman becomes old. If you go on staring, again a moment comes...
the woman becomes young, very beautiful.
In those lines both are hidden; just your gestalt changes, your emphasis changes. You are looking at the lines in one way; it looks like an old woman. But because your mind cannot stay long with any experience -- it is continuously moving -- soon it changes its gestalt, and the same lines which were making an old woman suddenly create a beautiful young woman.
The strangest part is that you cannot see both together. You cannot see because obviously the same lines have to be used. Either you can see the old woman or you can see the young woman, but you cannot see them simultaneously, together, because there are not two.
The word 'gestalt' means change of emphasis.
There is a great Sufi book -- I would like to call it the greatest book in the world because nothing is written in it; it is absolutely empty. It is almost twelve hundred years old, and the first man who purchased it was Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi.
His disciples were very intrigued, very curious, because he never read that book in front of anybody. When all are gone he would close the door and pull out the book, which he used to keep under his pillow, and then he would read it. Naturally it was creating much curiosity, "What kind of mysterious book is it?" People tried in every possible way.
Sometimes a few disciples were found on the roof, removing tiles and looking underneath to see what Jalaluddin Rumi is reading, but they could not figure it out.
The day Jalaluddin Rumi died, they were more concerned with the book than Jalaluddin Rumi... and they loved the man. They loved him as Sufis have never loved any other master. Mevlana means beloved master. That word is used only for Jalaluddin Rumi and for nobody else. In twelve hundred years in the world of the Sufis there has never been a more charming, more beautiful, more loving, more human being than Jalaluddin Rumi.
But even the disciples forgot that their master had died. They rushed and pulled out the book from underneath the pillow and they looked, and they were amazed -- the book was absolutely empty! There was nothing to read. But those who were very close and intimate devotees, they understood the meaning.
Words have to be dropped.
Only then can you have silence.
The whole teaching of the book is be silent. First let the words go, then the sounds, and there remains an emptiness, nothingness, just a pure space. That purity is what meditation is all about. For twelve hundred years the book has not been published because no publisher was ready to publish it. Obviously the publisher asked... there is nothing to publish in it. Finally one Sufi master published it himself. Now it is available -- but it is just empty pages. It is called THE BOOK OF BOOKS.
Move from sound to silence.
This way you will not become serious and dead like your saints. I have heard, Milarepa:
A man once said to Doctor Johnson, "You are a philosopher, Doctor Johnson. I have tried too, in my time, to be a philosopher, but I don't know how to be one. You see, cheerfulness was always breaking in."
You cannot be a philosopher and retain your cheerfulness. It is better to drop all philosophizing and open all the buds of your cheerfulness. Sing just like the birds. Play on your guitars, but remember the gestalt should be on the silences. Dance to abandon, and you may be coming closer and closer to the reality because the reality is so festive. It is a festival of lights, day in, day out.
Just watch existence and you will be surprised. What do these poor trees have? -- no bank account, no houses to live in, no clothes to hide their nakedness. But just watch their cheerfulness; just watch their flowers, their fragrance. They don't have anything as possessions, but they have themselves. You may have many possessions, but you don't have yourself.
You are a house full of things, but the master is missing. Awaken the master. Be more alert, aware, receptive, and you will come to know immense mysteries surrounding you.
When one feels surrounded by mysteries, a deep gratefulness arises in the heart. That gratefulness is the only authentic prayer. All other prayers are false, manufactured by man. Only gratefulness that arises spontaneously is not manufactured by you. It is a happening just like love.
And once it starts happening, it starts growing wider, bigger. Soon it starts reaching to the faraway stars. Your whole life becomes nothing but a prayer. Your actions become prayer, your rest becomes prayer, your work becomes prayer, your sleep becomes prayer, you become a prayer. It is not something to do in a church or in a temple. It is something to be, wherever you are.
Milarepa, no one has ever heard of any philosopher coming to a conclusion. No one has ever heard about any philosopher becoming enlightened, becoming self-realized. It is as unheard of as anyone ever complaining of a parachute not opening. Philosophers are the most misguided people on the earth, and to follow them is to follow blind people.
Find someone who sees, who is a seer, who experiences... whose heart dances with the wind, the rain, the sun, whose innermost being has achieved a synchronicity with all that surrounds you, from the lowest grass leaf to the biggest star in the world. He is in tune with everything. He is no longer an outsider; he is an insider. The philosopher is an outsider. He stands away and thinks about things. The mystic takes a jump into existence, becomes an insider, has no need to think. He tastes, he smells, he sees, he loves, he lives.
Truth has to be lived, not known.
Life has to be squeezed to the last drop of juice. It is not something to be contemplated upon -- drink it.
The last words of Jesus to his disciples are significant. The last supper, the last time when Jesus ate and drank with his disciples before being caught and taken to prison... He was aware that he is going to be caught; the rumor was all around. He was aware that it is possible he may be crucified. So after supper he spoke a few words to the disciples:
"Perhaps I may not be able to see you again. Just remember one thing: You have not been with me to listen to what I say; you have been with me to eat me, to drink me, to live me.
I may be gone, but you can continue to drink me."
Once you have known the secret of drinking and eating and absorbing, then the whole existence is available.
The master is only a small window into the universe. Once you have come to the master, the window disappears and you are facing the whole existence. The frame of the window should not become important. That's what has happened to millions of people: the frame of the window is being worshiped; nobody is looking through the window to the beyond.
The window is only an invitation to see to the beyond, but people are worshiping the windows: somebody worshiping Buddha, somebody worshiping Jesus, somebody worshiping Ramakrishna. These are all windows, but they are not for worshiping; they are to be transcended. They give you the vision, the philosia. Then leave them behind and go on moving into existence as deeply as possible. And that is possible only in silence.
Let your music slowly become more and more close to meditation. Philosophy is a kind of disease -- very dangerous, almost incurable. I would like you not to be a philosopher but just a dancer, a singer, a flute player, because they are very close to my world of meditation.
My emphasis is to increase your cheerfulness, your laughter, because this world is not for the miserable. This world is not for the people who have become too accustomed to anxiety, anguish. This world belongs to those who live moment to moment in utter ecstasy. Cheerfulness, nonseriousness, a sense of humor to me are very fundamental qualities of a religious being.
Solomon Rabinowitz went to his doctor to have a checkup. The doctor said, "For a man of eighty-seven you are doing well. Why a checkup?"
Solly explained that he was going to marry a girl of twenty. He would not be dissuaded, so the doctor's final advice was, "Then if you hope for a fruitful marriage, take a lodger as well."
When they met again after eight months the old man said, "Congratulate me, Doctor, my wife is pregnant."
The doctor paused for a moment, and then said, "Ah yes, so you took my advice and had a lodger as well?"
"Of course," grinned Solly through his toothless gums. "She is pregnant too."
Just remain cheerful.
Existence loves nothing more than cheerfulness.
Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan are traveling in a plane together when Reagan says, "If I throw a one dollar bill out of the plane, I will make someone happy."
"Okay," says Gorbachev, "but if I throw out a one hundred ruble note I will make one hundred people happy."
"In that case," says Reagan, "I will throw out a million dollars and make a million people happy."
"Go ahead," says Gorbachev, "and then I will throw you out and make the whole world happy."
It was in the divorce court and the judge asked the husband, "So you have not spoken to your wife for three years -- why?"
The husband replied, "I did not want to interrupt her."
The priest was visiting the young widow who had just moved to his parish. After talking with her for a while he raised a questioning eyebrow and said, "Now let me get this straight. You say you have a child of two and another three years old, and yet you say that your husband has been dead for seven years."
"Yes," said the woman, "but I'm not."
A philosopher becomes enclosed within himself. He loses contact with the birds. Do you hear them? -- for no purpose, just out of sheer joy, just for being in existence.... Nobody has asked them to sing. The song is coming from an inner source of cheerfulness.
Nobody has asked the trees to give flowers so colorful and so fragrant. But the tree, just out of gratitude towards existence, brings all those beautiful flowers -- a silent prayer and a beautiful offering.
A man remains miserable if he becomes closed within his own mind and goes on and on just making sand castles -- words, theories, hypotheses. He loses contact with existence.
And to lose contact with existence is to be almost dead before death comes.
It is almost the average case that people die at the age of thirty and are buried at the age of seventy. For forty years what have they been doing here? -- just dragging themselves, and dragging towards the graveyard. These people go to the churches, go to the temples, go to the mosques, go to the synagogues, and because of these corpses, all synagogues, all churches, all temples have become utterly sad, serious.
In Israel just now there are riots among Jews themselves. They had to fight with the Mohammedans, who are surrounding them like a vast ocean, and Israel is just a small island surrounded by millions of Mohammedans; that fight continues. But a new fight has started which is more dangerous; it is coming from inside. Now Jews are divided into three sections in Israel.
The people who have been living there for centuries think they are the real Jews. They follow everything as traditionally as it has been followed since Moses, four thousand years ago. The second group has come from European countries. They are a little more progressive; they cannot follow dead routines. They have lived in a different atmosphere, in different cultures.
The worst problem is with the Jews who have come from America. And you will be surprised to know that on the Sabbath, on Friday evening, the orthodox Jews stop working -- everything. The American Jews have never thought that driving their car home from the office is work. The American Jews are being stoned; their cars are being damaged. They are beaten because they are driving cars. No work is allowed.
Now Israel is really in a terrible mess. Orthodox Jews are telling the European and the American Jews to go back, "You are destroying our religion, our culture, our tradition."
And naturally, the American Jew is a totally different species; just in name is he a Jew.
I have told you one story befor....
Three American rabbis were bragging about their synagogue's progressiveness. The first rabbi said, "Nobody can beat me. In my synagogue people are allowed to smoke."
The second rabbi laughed and said, "That's nothing. In my synagogue we are really progressive. People are allowed to drink, bring their girlfriends, dance, are even allowed to make love."
The third rabbi said, "Drop all this crap. We are the most avant garde, most progressive people in the world. In my synagogue there is a board hanging on the door saying that on Jewish holidays the synagogue will remain closed."
This is real progress! Naturally the orthodox Jews in Israel who have always lived there and have not known anything about the world, are still with their conditionings from the past. They are serious people. They cannot conceive that in a synagogue you should laugh. In a synagogue even a smile is not allowed. You have to be serious; it is serious business.
But the whole existence is nonserious.
To me the only authentic temple is existence.
Learn from it. You don't have to become a philosopher, you don't have to become a saint, you don't have to become a wise man. Milarepa, it is perfectly good to remain OTHERwise. The so-called wise have tortured humanity so much that now my preference is for the OTHERwise.
Be more human. Don't betray the earth. Be more in love with the earth and with all the treasures that that the earth provides you with. It is our home. We are not renouncers, we are rejoicers. We want to participate in the dance of existence.
My people are not anti-life.
My people are life affirmative.
Except life there is no God.
And life is not something to be thought about, it is something to be danced, to be loved, to be celebrated.
A Frenchman staying at an English country house for the weekend was attracted to a beautiful society girl, and without much difficulty seduced her. Several months later they met by chance at a very select society ball. He stepped forward with outstretched hand, but she walked straight past him without acknowledgment. As soon as he could, the Frenchman cornered her and said, "Surely you remember me?"
"Of course I do, young man, but you are not to assume that in England a one-night frolic means that we have been introduced."
Life is so hilarious that to be serious is to be sick unnecessarily. A psychological health, a spiritual sanity, a possibility to remember that here you are not to be dead, that you have to live life in its totality, with intensity, to burn your torch of life from both ends together.
That is the only authentic philosia.
But don't be a philosopher; that is the original sin of man. I stand against all philosophies because all philosophies are poisonous. They poison your possibilities of humor, of playfulness, of cheerfulness. They destroy your songs. They make you crippled and stop you from dancing. All these philosophers with long faces have dominated humanity too long. It is time that their domination be completely eradicated.
A new era of the mystics is knocking on your door. Listen carefully and open your doors.
The Great Pilgrimage: From Here to Here