Eckhart gives a brief insight deeper questions and answers… Who am I?
Eckhart gives a brief insight deeper questions and answers… Who am I?
Those who desire to understand, who are looking to find that which is eternal, without beginning and end, will walk together with greater intensity, will be a danger to everything which is unessential, to unrealities, to shadows. They will concentrate. They will become the flame, because they understand.
Thank you Tao & Zen
Many of us feel the magnetic pull of something within us we can’t quite explain. There’s a question that looms larger and larger: Who am I? It’s becoming more insistent. We can all pull quite a long list of things out of our pockets, but intuitively we know our list isn’t answering the question.
Just try it. Ask yourself, “Who am I?” When you’ve exhausted your list, sit quietly for a moment. Do you feel that tug? Something is still asking, “But, who am I?” You can produce another list, things you may have forgotten: a man, a woman, a human being, an Earthling, a Christian, a Hindu, a mother, a father, a son or daughter, a neighbor, a friend, an accountant, a police officer, etc. But the tugging is still there. The question remains. Its inexhaustible.
Feel the pull. It’s there for a reason. Follow it. Dare to answer the question. At some point you’ll become bored or tired of creating with more adjectives. You’ll find you’re left only with, “I am….[silence]”.
If you look at the long list you’ve produced to search for something you may have forgotten, something will happen. You’ll realize what you’re looking at is a story. A story of who you think you were, are, or want to be. But the question is still tapping you on the shoulder, unanswered. And it wants an answer.
In exhausting yourself, however, you’ve made some beautiful discoveries. The story you’ve produced isn’t complete. If you can be honest with yourself, you know intuitively this story isn’t true. It was created by you. And it’s utterly false. You know this because You are reading the story. Who is this reader? Who is this You?
Welcome to the rabbit hole, Alice. You’re about to go on the grandest journey of your life. Without knowing it, you’ve already sipped from the bottle labelled “drink me” and you’re holding the golden key. On this key is a tag, and it say, “I am…”.
“I am…[silence],” the last answer to your long list of who you are is the white rabbit. Follow it. Follow it the with ceaseless curiosity of a child. But there’s one rule. Regardless how tempting your experiences and discoveries, no matter how wondrous, don’t touch any of them. Don’t sneak one into your pocket, for if you do, it will disappear into your story; the story which isn’t true.
Follow until “I am” begins to dissolve. Don’t worry. It won’t leave you alone and lost. It’s taking you home. “I am” will become “am”. You’ll feel your Self growing and growing until no house can hold you. Not even the house of your mind. But don’t stop. As long as you can see the rabbit’s tail, you’re not quite there.
Follow until “am” disappears. Nothing at all remains. Not even You. There’s only the infinitude of the Truth, fully aware. You have answered the questioned. The pulling has ceased. You are the living answer.
As you crawl out of the rabbit hole you’ll find that the fragrance of a vast abiding peace and love is all around you. Look for its source and find it comes from you. Eventually someone will ask you, “Who are you?” and you’ll find you can’t answer. There are no words because the living answer can’t be spoken. You can see it there in the eyes of the one who’s asking you; a curiosity ignited. You’ll probably choose a line or two from that story you’ve written your whole life to satisfy the situation. And that’s okay. You know the Truth. And we’re all a little mad here.
Yep. That’s me. I was a hoarder. Not a hoarder of knick-knacks or cats. No. I was a hoarder of thoughts. Sounds a bit strange, I know, but I’ll bet as you following my unburdening you will relate to it.
Ouch. That’s uncomfortable, isn’t it? To be likened to those horrific images of homes filled with discarded food containers, unwashed dishes, and stacks and stacks and stacks of stuff makes you squirm. But, please don’t misunderstand. I’m not trying to shed a judgemental light on those afflicted with hoarding. What I am doing is identifying with how painful it is. Stick with me here…
It’s true that I don’t fill rooms with accumulated things, but I’ve discovered that I have filled my head these past 50 years to the point where there is just no more room. All these ideas, opinions, concepts and beliefs were practically dribbling out of my ears. And it was more than uncomfortable. It was painful. Physically and emotionally painful.
It got so bad I found myself contemplating suicide often. Now, before you shrink in horror or judgement, let me continue. There was also something else working behind the scenes of my filled-to-bursting brain. A magnetism, a force, that peeped over the top of and through the tiny gaps between the thoughts, and the misery, and the thoughts of misery. Something whispering, “You’re missing something. There’s something you’re not seeing.”
I’m driven by curiosity. I thrive on it. The gauntlet had been thrown down and that strange magnetic pull lit a fire inside of me. I began digging through the mess and tangle of my crowded “house”. At first, and for years and years, I expended a lot of energy and attention on each thing I encountered. Crazy, right? I mean, who in their right mind examines the garbage they’re tossing out? Who obsesses over rotten banana peels and used tissues? No one in their “right” mind does.
But this is what I did with every thought, every obsession, every belief I held and all the emotions associated with them. Over and over and over. Decade after decade. And it was exhausting. I gave up many times only to amass more “junk” and then start the process of garbage fondling all over again. Yuck. And I can tell you without hesitating this is what drove my misery to the point of breaking me.
And I celebrate that moment. The moment where I was so fed up with whoever this train wreck of myself was that I put down the garbage, tore open my heart, and shouted to the ethers, “I give up! I don’t want to be me anymore. I just QUIT!”
And that’s when that strange but magnetic force reached out and touched the core of my tired mind. It was like a cool fragrant cloth on a fevered brow. The smell of rain after a drought. Pure magic. That’s when everything began to change.
I discovered that all I had to do was return that loving magnetic touch emanating from the core of me and all that junk just started to disappear. Imagine if house work was so easy. But it was. I’ve stopped caring about any of the stories I had written in my mind. Not about who I am or what I believe or what I thought about anything. They’re all just stories. Well, most of the stories anyway. The emptying out is still going on. I occasionally succumb to the old habit of fondling the garbage on its way out the door, but I quickly put it down and send it on its way. It’s not important.
What’s truly amazing is the amount of space the removal of all this junk has left. I can now stretch out in my mind without bumping into anything. I can run, leap and dance without bruising myself. It’s like my “house” is now filled with sunshine and the sweet smell of a grace I never knew existed. It sure beats the stench of the garbage that was there before. And what really excites me and keeps me holding hands with that wonderful force is the intuition that one day soon, not only will my “house” be swept clean, but the walls are coming down too. I don’t need them anymore.
I know what this magnetic force is. It’s my true self. My completely natural state of being. It’s what was there before my “house” was built and will remain long after it’s gone. This is the real me. Not all those ideas, stories and beliefs. And this real me is so joyously spacious and so filled with unbreakable love that I can dance my way into infinity without ever suffering a bruise again.
So, yeah, I’m an ex-hoarder. Even this story will be swept away soon. For I am disappearing, or at least who and what I thought I was. I am nobody and it feels so amazing. I am nothing, yet here I am. And I am free.
“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” -Albert Einstein
Ever notice how slippery the term “freedom” is? It’s something we all value, think we have a right to, or are fighting for. But what is it exactly? What are free from? To do what? When were we not free?
We’ve been taught from birth that we aren’t free or that we must rely on someone or something else to ensure we can become and remain free. This, unfortunately, isn’t a fact. It’s societal programming. I’m not saying it’s a plot or conspiracy and I’m not saying it isn’t. It’s actually both, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we’ve bought into this idea that freedom is either something we have a right to or something we must defend. Freedom, even the concept of free will, remains contingent upon the externally-perceived world around us. Even when it comes to matters of the subconscious. The term “freedom” has become synonymous to the concept of an “other” in relation to a perceived “you”.
What if I told you that we are all free, right now in this moment, and always have been? Would you believe me? Please do. Not only has this freedom always been present, it’s unchanging and unalterable. We simply aren’t aware of it and that’s the irony. The way to have it is simply to be aware of it. Not intellectually, but experientially and the way to experience it is not to look outward at the world of “others” but to turn within.
Ask yourself who it is that’s free or not free? If you reply, “me, of course,” then ask yourself who is this “me”? Don’t answer it but look for what this “me” is. Search inside for the place where this me lives; from where this thought of “I” arises. See if you can find it. Is it even there or does it disappear when you inspect it?
It disappears. The truth is, we can never find it. Try it. “I” is just an idea and a story we’ve been telling ourselves from the moment of birth. Part of this story is that we are not innately free unless it’s given to us, taken, or allowed to us; that it’s something out there. But if we continue searching inwardly for this me-idea, we’ll discover something quite amazing, something we’re so familiar with we forgot it was there: our natural nature, our state of being. Pure, peaceful, unadulterated awareness.
When this real “me” is discovered and experienced, an incredible liberation begins. This natural state is immense, boundless. Nothing disturbs it. If we can be in this space it becomes easy to observe how our mind has entrapped us. Thoughts and resulting emotions swirl around this unmoving peaceful place begging to be noticed, to be purchased, to be believed, but because this place of pure awareness is only the witness to all this, it’s unconcerned. Unconcerned until we allow our attention to chase after these thoughts and grab onto them and allow ourselves to be dragged along behind to be shaken and bruised and beaten into believing they’re real again. When we buy back into that, we suffer. We lose clarity. We blunder and stumble along through life. We begin believing in and writing that story again and forget we’re really that which watches it all.
So, if it’s true freedom we desire, then the only way it can be had is to realize our true nature is freedom and nothing external to us can change that. Try it. It’s the single greatest gift we give ourselves. It’s a gift that keeps on giving. Revisit it every day, several times and as much as you can. Eventually the light of this truth burns away the pages of your illusory story and the real you can live truly and irrevocably free.
“The Egg,” a thought provoking story by Andy Weir…
You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me.
“What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right.”
“Well, all religions are right in their own way,” I said “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void.
“Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders.
“Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had. You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me.
“But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.” And I sent you on your way.
We have grown to be in love with our thoughts. We have chained ourselves to our intellect, prostrate before it, and worship it as the ultimate. We groom it like a show pony, display it like a precious gem, yet we rarely see the truth of this treasure. It’s no treasure at all.
The intellect is not a sparkling diamond. It’s nothing but a hammer and chisel. It chips away at memories of experiences past and engraves them upon our reality as if they were a great testament to who we are. But the intellect is only a tool busily engraving dreams upon dust; a tool of the mind. It has no eyes to see the dreams and dust blown away on any errant breeze. It’s too busy chiselling.
We have grown to love our emotions. Not only to love them but to fear them as well. Here we seek our thrills, Leaping from the cliff of love in hopes our parachute will open, exploding in a rush of anger to feel the burning flames engulf us, weeping cool tears to the strains of music so sweet it almost drives us to madness we delight in the aliveness. Swept up in the dance we seek reassurance that this is who we are.
But the emotions are not who we are. Emotions are the little chips of stone that patter to the ground as the intellect chisels away, the ringing of the hammer on chisel. They’re but the sounds of its labor.
When we put the chisel down the song of its work goes silent and a sudden and unexpected enquiry arises like the sun burning through a cloud: “Who drives the hammer and holds the chisel? Who hears its song and watches the chips fall?”
This is the moment you become the Craftsman. The hammer, chisel and chaff are in your hands but they are not who you are. They are merely the tools and by-products of the timeless observer endlessly creating its own reality. This is the moment you realize you can put the tools down and rest.
I am reminded of the fateful day of twenty-first March, 1953. For many lives I had been working — working upon myself, struggling, doing whatsoever can be done — and nothing was happening.Now I understand why nothing was happening. The very effort was the barrier, the very ladder was preventing, the very urge to seek was the obstacle. Not that one can reach without seeking. Seeking is needed, but then comes a point when seeking has to be dropped. The boat is needed to cross the river but then comes a moment when you have to get out of the boat and forget all about it and leave it behind. Effort is needed, without effort nothing is possible. And also only with effort, nothing is possible.
Just before twenty-first March, 1953, seven days before, I stopped working on myself. A moment comes when you see the whole futility of effort. You have done all that you can do and nothing is happening. You have done all that is humanly possible. Then what else can you do? In sheer helplessness one drops all search.
And the day the search stopped, the day I was not seeking for something, the day I was not expecting something to happen, it started happening. A new energy arose — out of nowhere. It was not coming from any source. It was coming from nowhere and everywhere. It was in the trees and in the rocks and the sky and the sun and the air — it was everywhere. And I was seeking so hard, and I was thinking it is very far away. And it was so near and so close.
Just because I was seeking I had become incapable of seeing the near. Seeking is always for the far, seeking is always for the distant — and it was not distant. I had become far-sighted, I had lost the near-sightedness. The eyes had become focussed on the far away, the horizon, and they had lost the quality to see that which is just close, surrounding you.
The day effort ceased, I also ceased. Because you cannot exist without effort, and you cannot exist without desire, and you cannot exist without striving.
The phenomenon of the ego, of the self, is not a thing, it is a process. It is not a substance sitting there inside you; you have to create it each moment. It is like pedalling bicycle. If you pedal it goes on and on, if you don’t pedal it stops. It may go a little because of the past momentum, but the moment you stop pedalling, in fact the bicycle starts stopping. It has no more energy, no more power to go anywhere. It is going to fall and collapse.
The ego exists because we go on pedalling desire, because we go on striving to get something, because we go on jumping ahead of ourselves. That is the very phenomenon of the ego — the jump ahead of yourself, the jump in the future, the jump in the tomorrow. The jump in the non-existential creates the ego. Because it comes out of the non-existential it is like a mirage. It consists only of desire and nothing else. It consists only of thirst and nothing else.
The ego is not in the present, it is in the future. If you are in the future, then ego seems to be very substantial. If you are in the present the ego is a mirage, it starts disappearing.
The day I stopped seeking… and it is not right to say that I stopped seeking, better will be to say the day seeking stopped. Let me repeat it: the better way to say it is the day the seeking stopped. Because if I stop it then I am there again. Now stopping becomes my effort, now stopping becomes my desire, and desire goes on existing in a very subtle way.
You cannot stop desire; you can only understand it. In the very understanding is the stopping of it. Remember, nobody can stop desiring, and the reality happens only when desire stops.
So this is the dilemma. What to do? Desire is there and Buddhas go on saying desire has to be stopped, and they go on saying in the next breath that you cannot stop desire. So what to do? You put people in a dilemma. They are in desire, certainly. You say it has to be stopped — okay. And then you say it cannot be stopped. Then what is to be done?
The desire has to be understood. You can understand it, you can just see the futility of it. A direct perception is needed, an immediate penetration is needed. Look into desire, just see what it is, and you will see the falsity of it, and you will see it is non-existential. And desire drops and something drops simultaneously within you.
Desire and the ego exist in cooperation, they coordinate. The ego cannot exist without desire, the desire cannot exist without the ego. Desire is projected ego, ego is introjected desire. They are together, two aspects of one phenomenon.
The day desiring stopped, I felt very hopeless and helpless. No hope because no future. Nothing to hope because all hoping has proved futile, it leads nowhere. You go in rounds. It goes on dangling in front of you, it goes on creating new mirages, it goes on calling you, ‘Come on, run fast, you will reach.’ But howsoever fast you run you never reach.
That’s why Buddha calls it a mirage. It is like the horizon that you see around the earth. It appears but it is not there. If you go it goes on running from you. The faster you run, the faster it moves away. The slower you go, the slower it moves away. But one thing is certain — the distance between you and the horizon remains absolutely the same. Not even a single inch can you reduce the distance between you and the horizon.
You cannot reduce the distance between you and your hope. Hope is horizon. You try to bridge yourself with the horizon, with the hope, with a projected desire. The desire is a bridge, a dream bridge — because the horizon exists not, so you cannot make a bridge towards it, you can only dream about the bridge. You cannot be joined with the non-existential.
The day the desire stopped, the day I looked and realized into it, it simply was futile. I was helpless and hopeless. But that very moment something started happening. The same started happening for which for many lives I was working and it was not happening.
In your hopelessness is the only hope, and in your desirelessness is your only fulfillment, and in your tremendous helplessness suddenly the whole existence starts helping you.
It is waiting. When it sees that you are working on your own, it does not interfere. It waits. It can wait infinitely because there is no hurry for it. It is eternity. The moment you are not on your own, the moment you drop, the moment you disappear, the whole existence rushes towards you, enters you. And for the first time things start happening.
Seven days I lived in a very hopeless and helpless state, but at the same time something was arising. When I say hopeless I don’t mean what you mean by the word hopeless. I simply mean there was no hope in me. Hope was absent. I am not saying that I was hopeless and sad. I was happy in fact, I was very tranquil, calm and collected and centered. Hopeless, but in a totally new meaning. There was no hope, so how could there be hopelessness. Both had disappeared.
The hopelessness was absolute and total. Hope had disappeared and with it its counterpart, hopelessness, had also disappeared. It was a totally new experience — of being without hope. It was not a negative state. I have to use words — but it was not a negative state. It was absolutely positive. It was not just absence, a presence was felt. Something was overflowing in me, overflooding me.
And when I say I was helpless, I don’t mean the word in the dictionary-sense. I simply say I was selfless. That’s what I mean when I say helpless. I have recognized the fact that I am not, so I cannot depend on myself, so I cannot stand on my own ground — there was no ground underneath. I was in an abyss… bottomless abyss. But there was no fear because there was nothing to protect. There was no fear because there was nobody to be afraid.
Those seven days were of tremendous transformation, total transformation. And the last day the presence of a totally new energy, a new light and new delight, became so intense that it was almost unbearable — as if I was exploding, as if I was going mad with blissfulness. The new generation in the West has the right word for it — I was blissed out, stoned.
It was impossible to make any sense out of it, what was happening. It was a very non-sense world — difficult to figure it out, difficult to manage in categories, difficult to use words, languages, explanations. All scriptures appeared dead and all the words that have been used for this experience looked very pale, anaemic. This was so alive. It was like a tidal wave of bliss.
The whole day was strange, stunning, and it was a shattering experience. The past was disappearing, as if it had never belonged to me, as if I had read about it somewhere, as if I had dreamed about it, as if it was somebody else’s story I have heard and somebody told it to me. I was becoming loose from my past, I was being uprooted from my history, I was losing my autobiography. I was becoming a non-being, what Buddha calls anatta. Boundaries were disappearing, distinctions were disappearing.
Mind was disappearing; it was millions of miles away. It was difficult to catch hold of it, it was rushing farther and farther away, and there was no urge to keep it close. I was simply indifferent about it all. It was okay. There was no urge to remain continuous with the past.
By the evening it became so difficult to bear it — it was hurting, it was painful. It was like when a woman goes into labour when a child is to be born, and the woman suffers tremendous pain — the birth pangs.
I used to go to sleep in those days near about twelve or one in the night, but that day it was impossible to remain awake. My eyes were closing, it was difficult to keep them open. Something was very imminent, something was going to happen. It was difficult to say what it was — maybe it is going to be my death — but there was no fear. I was ready for it. Those seven days had been so beautiful that I was ready to die, nothing more was needed. They had been so tremendously blissful, I was so contented, that if death was coming, it was welcome.
But something was going to happen — something like death, something very drastic, something which will be either a death or a new birth, a crucifixion or a resurrection — but something of tremendous import was around just by the corner. And it was impossible to keep my eyes open. I was drugged.
I went to sleep near about eight. It was not like sleep. Now I can understand what Patanjali means when he says that sleep and samadhi are similar. Only with one difference — that in samadhi you are fully awake and asleep also. Asleep and awake together, the whole body relaxed, every cell of the body totally relaxed, all functioning relaxed, and yet a light of awareness burns within you… clear, smokeless. You remain alert and yet relaxed, loose but fully awake. The body is in the deepest sleep possible and your consciousness is at its peak. The peak of consciousness and the valley of the body meet.
I went to sleep. It was a very strange sleep. The body was asleep, I was awake. It was so strange — as if one was torn apart into two directions, two dimensions; as if the polarity has become completely focused, as if I was both the polarities together… the positive and negative were meeting, sleep and awareness were meeting, death and life were meeting. That is the moment when you can say ‘the creator and the creation meet.’
It was weird. For the first time it shocks you to the very roots, it shakes your foundations. You can never be the same after that experience; it brings a new vision to your life, a new quality.
Near about twelve my eyes suddenly opened — I had not opened them. The sleep was broken by something else. I felt a great presence around me in the room. It was a very small room. I felt a throbbing life all around me, a great vibration — almost like a hurricane, a great storm of light, joy, ecstasy. I was drowning in it.
It was so tremendously real that everything became unreal. The walls of the room became unreal, the house became unreal, my own body became unreal. Everything was unreal because now there was for the first time reality.
That’s why when Buddha and Shankara say the world is maya, a mirage, it is difficult for us to understand. Because we know only this world, we don’t have any comparison. This is the only reality we know. What are these people talking about — this is maya, illusion? This is the only reality. Unless you come to know the really real, their words cannot be understood, their words remain theoretical. They look like hypotheses. Maybe this man is propounding a philosophy — ‘The world is unreal’.
When Berkley in the West said that the world is unreal, he was walking with one of his friends, a very logical man; the friend was almost a skeptic. He took a stone from the road and hit Berkley’s feet hard. Berkley screamed, blood rushed out, and the skeptic said, ‘Now, the world is unreal? You say the world is unreal? — then why did you scream? This stone is unreal? — then why did you scream? Then why are you holding your leg and why are you showing so much pain and anguish on your face. Stop this? It is all unreal.
Now this type of man cannot understand what Buddha means when he says the world is a mirage. He does not mean that you can pass through the wall. He is not saying this — that you can eat stones and it will make no difference whether you eat bread or stones. He is not saying that.
He is saying that there is a reality. Once you come to know it, this so-called reality simply pales out, simply becomes unreal. With a higher reality in vision the comparison arises, not otherwise.
In the dream; the dream is real. You dream every night. Dream is one of the greatest activities that you go on doing. If you live sixty years, twenty years you will sleep and almost ten years you will dream. Ten years in a life — nothing else do you do so much. Ten years of continuous dreaming — just think about it. And every night…. And every morning you say it was unreal, and again in the night when you dream, dream becomes real.
In a dream it is so difficult to remember that this is a dream. But in the morning it is so easy. What happens? You are the same person. In the dream there is only one reality. How to compare? How to say it is unreal? Compared to what? It is the only reality. Everything is as unreal as everything else so there is no comparison. In the morning when you open your eyes another reality is there. Now you can say it was all unreal. Compared to this reality, dream becomes unreal.
There is an awakening — compared to THAT reality of THAT awakening, this whole reality becomes unreal.
That night for the first time I understood the meaning of the word maya. Not that I had not known the word before, not that I was not aware of the meaning of the word. As you are aware, I was also aware of the meaning — but I had never understood it before. How can you understand without experience?
That night another reality opened its door, another dimension became available. Suddenly it was there, the other reality, the separate reality, the really real, or whatsoever you want to call it — call it god, call it truth, call it dhamma, call it tao, or whatsoever you will. It was nameless. But it was there — so opaque, so transparent, and yet so solid one could have touched it. It was almost suffocating me in that room. It was too much and I was not yet capable of absorbing it.
A deep urge arose in me to rush out of the room, to go under the sky — it was suffocating me. It was too much! It will kill me! If I had remained a few moments more, it would have suffocated me — it looked like that.
I rushed out of the room, came out in the street. A great urge was there just to be under the sky with the stars, with the trees, with the earth… to be with nature. And immediately as I came out, the feeling of being suffocated disappeared. It was too small a place for such a big phenomenon. Even the sky is a small place for that big phenomenon. It is bigger than the sky. Even the sky is not the limit for it. But then I felt more at ease.
I walked towards the nearest garden. It was a totally new walk, as if gravitation had disappeared. I was walking, or I was running, or I was simply flying; it was difficult to decide. There was no gravitation, I was feeling weightless — as if some energy was taking me. I was in the hands of some other energy.
For the first time I was not alone, for the first time I was no more an individual, for the first time the drop has come and fallen into the ocean. Now the whole ocean was mine, I was the ocean. There was no limitation. A tremendous power arose as if I could do anything whatsoever. I was not there, only the power was there.
I reached to the garden where I used to go every day. The garden was closed, closed for the night. It was too late, it was almost one o’clock in the night. The gardeners were fast asleep. I had to enter the garden like a thief, I had to climb the gate. But something was pulling me towards the garden. It was not within my capacity to prevent myself. I was just floating.
That’s what I mean when I say again and again ‘float with the river, don’t push the river’. I was relaxed, I was in a let-go. I was not there. IT was there, call it god — god was there.
I would like to call it IT, because god is too human a word, and has become too dirty by too much use, has become too polluted by so many people. Christians, Hindus, Mohammedans, priests and politicians — they all have corrupted the beauty of the word. So let me call it IT. IT was there and I was just carried away… carried by a tidal wave.
The moment I entered the garden everything became luminous, it was all over the place — the benediction, the blessedness. I could see the trees for the first time — their green, their life, their very sap running. The whole garden was asleep, the trees were asleep. But I could see the whole garden alive, even the small grass leaves were so beautiful.
I looked around. One tree was tremendously luminous — the maulshree tree. It attracted me, it pulled me towards itself. I had not chosen it, god himself has chosen it. I went to the tree, I sat under the tree. As I sat there things started settling. The whole universe became a benediction.
It is difficult to say how long I was in that state. When I went back home it was four o’clock in the morning, so I must have been there by clock time at least three hours — but it was infinity. It had nothing to do with clock time. It was timeless.
Those three hours became the whole eternity, endless eternity. There was no time, there was no passage of time; it was the virgin reality — uncorrupted, untouchable, unmeasurable.
And that day something happened that has continued — not as a continuity — but it has still continued as an undercurrent. Not as a permanency — each moment it has been happening again and again. It has been a miracle each moment.
That night… and since that night I have never been in the body. I am hovering around it. I became tremendously powerful and at the same time very fragile. I became very strong, but that strength is not the strength of a Mohammed Ali. That strength is not the strength of a rock, that strength is the strength of a rose flower — so fragile in his strength… so fragile, so sensitive, so delicate.
The rock will be there, the flower can go any moment, but still the flower is stronger than the rock because it is more alive. Or, the strength of a dewdrop on a leaf of grass just shining; in the morning sun — so beautiful, so precious, and yet can slip any moment. So incomparable in its grace, but a small breeze can come and the dewdrop can slip and be lost forever.
Buddhas have a strength which is not of this world. Their strength is totally of love… Like a rose flower or a dewdrop. Their strength is very fragile, vulnerable. Their strength is the strength of life not of death. Their power is not of that which kills; their power is of that which creates. Their power is not of violence, aggression; their power is that of compassion.
But I have never been in the body again, I am just hovering around the body. And that’s why I say it has been a tremendous miracle. Each moment I am surprised I am still here, I should not be. I should have left any moment, still I am here. Every morning I open my eyes and I say, ‘So, again I am still here?’ Because it seems almost impossible. The miracle has been a continuity.
Just the other day somebody asked a question — ‘Osho, you are getting so fragile and delicate and so sensitive to the smells of hair oils and shampoos that it seems we will not be able to see you unless we all go bald.’ By the way, nothing is wrong with being bald — bald is beautiful. Just as ‘black is beautiful’, so ‘bald is beautiful’. But that is true and you have to be careful about it.
I am fragile, delicate and sensitive. That is my strength. If you throw a rock at a flower nothing will happen to the rock, the flower will be gone. But still you cannot say that the rock is more powerful than the flower. The flower will be gone because the flower was alive. And the rock — nothing will happen to it because it is dead. The flower will be gone because the flower has no strength to destroy. The flower will simply disappear and give way to the rock. The rock has a power to destroy because the rock is dead.
Remember, since that day I have never been in the body really; just a delicate thread joins me with the body. And I am continuously surprised that somehow the whole must be willing me to be here, because I am no more here with my own strength, I am no more here on my own. It must be the will of the whole to keep me here, to allow me to linger a little more on this shore. Maybe the whole wants to share something with you through me.
Since that day the world is unreal. Another world has been revealed. When I say the world is unreal I don’t mean that these trees are unreal. These trees are absolutely real — but the way you see these trees is unreal. These trees are not unreal in themselves — they exist in god, they exist in absolute reality — but the way you see them you never see them; you are seeing something else, a mirage.
You create your own dream around you and unless you become awake you will continue to dream. The world is unreal because the world that you know is the world of your dreams. When dreams drop and you simply encounter the world that is there, then the real world.
There are not two things, god and the world. God is the world if you have eyes, clear eyes, without any dreams, without any dust of the dreams, without any haze of sleep; if you have clear eyes, clarity, perceptiveness, there is only god.
Then somewhere god is a green tree, and somewhere else god is a shining star, and somewhere else god is a cuckoo, and somewhere else god is a flower, and somewhere else a child and somewhere else a river — then only god is. The moment you start seeing, only god is.
But right now whatsoever you see is not the truth, it is a projected lie. That is the meaning of a mirage. And once you see, even for a single split moment, if you can see, if you can allow yourself to see, you will find immense benediction present all over, everywhere — in the clouds, in the sun, on the earth.
This is a beautiful world. But I am not talking about your world, I am talking about my world. Your world is very ugly, your world is your world created by a self, your world is a projected world. You are using the real world as a screen and projecting your own ideas on it.
When I say the world is real, the world is tremendously beautiful, the world is luminous with infinity, the world is light and delight, it is a celebration, I mean my world — or your world if you drop your dreams.
When you drop your dreams you see the same world as any Buddha has ever seen. When you dream you dream privately. Have you watched it? — that dreams are private. You cannot share them even with your beloved. You cannot invite your wife to your dream — or your husband, or your friend. You cannot say, ‘Now, please come tonight in my dream. I would like to see the dream together.’ It is not possible. Dream is a private thing, hence it is illusory, it has no objective reality.
God is a universal thing. Once you come out of your private dreams, it is there. It has been always there. Once your eyes are clear, a sudden illumination — suddenly you are overflooded with beauty, grandeur and grace. That is the goal, that is the destiny.
Let me repeat. Without effort you will never reach it, with effort nobody has ever reached it. You will need great effort, and only then there comes a moment.when effort becomes futile. But it becomes futile only when you have come to the very peak of it, never before it. When you have come to the very pinnacle of your effort — all that you can do you have done — then suddenly there is no need to do anything any more. You drop the effort.
But nobody can drop it in the middle, it can be dropped only at the extreme end. So go to the extreme end if you want to drop it. Hence I go on insisting: make as much effort as you can, put your whole energy and total heart in it, so that one day you can see — now effort is not going to lead me anywhere. And that day it will not be you who will drop the effort, it drops on its own accord. And when it drops on its own accord, meditation happens.
Meditation is not a result of your efforts, meditation is a happening. When your efforts drop, suddenly meditation is there… the benediction of it, the blessedness of it, the glory of it. It is there like a presence… luminous, surrounding you and surrounding everything. It fills the whole earth and the whole sky.
That meditation cannot be created by human effort. Human effort is too limited. That blessedness is so infinite. You cannot manipulate it. It can happen only when you are in a tremendous surrender. When you are not there only then it can happen. When you are a no-self — no desire, not going anywhere — when you are just herenow, not doing anything in particular, just being, it happens. And it comes in waves and the waves become tidal. It comes like a storm, and takes you away into a totally new reality.
But first you have to do all that you can do, and then you have to learn non-doing. The doing of the non-doing is the greatest doing, and the effort of effortlessness is the greatest effort.
Your meditation that you create by chanting a mantra or by sitting quiet and still and forcing yourself, is a very mediocre meditation. It is created by you, it cannot be bigger than you. It is homemade, and the maker is always bigger than the made. You have made it by sitting, forcing in a yoga posture, chanting ‘rama, rama, rama’ or anything — ‘blah, blah, blah’ — anything. You have forced the mind to become still.
It is a forced stillness. It is not that quiet that comes when you are not there. It is not that silence which comes when you are almost non-existential. It is not that beautitude which descends on you like a dove.
It is said when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River, god descended in him, or the holy ghost descended in him like a dove. Yes, that is exactly so. When you are not there peace descends in you… fluttering like a dove… reaches in your heart and abides there and abides there forever.
You are your undoing, you are the barrier. Meditation is when the meditator is not. When the mind ceases with all its activities — seeing that they are futile — then the unknown penetrates you, overwhelms you.
The mind must cease for god to be. Knowledge must cease for knowing to be. You must disappear, you must give way. You must become empty, then only you can be full.
That night I became empty and became full. I became non-existential and became existence. That night I died and was reborn. But the one that was reborn has nothing to do with that which died, it is a discontinuous thing. On the surface it looks continuous but it is discontinuous. The one who died, died totally; nothing of him has remained.
Believe me, nothing of him has remained, not even a shadow. It died totally, utterly. It is not that I am just a modified RUP, transformed, modified form, transformed form of the old. No, there has been no continuity. That day of March twenty-first, the person who had lived for many many lives, for millennia, simply died. Another being, absolutely new, not connected at all with the old, started to exist.
Religion just gives you a total death. Maybe that’s why the whole day previous to that happening I was feeling some urgency like death, as if I am going to die — and I really died. I have known many other deaths but they were nothing compared to it, they were partial deaths.
Sometimes the body died, sometimes a part of the mind died, sometimes a part of the ego died, but as far as the person was concerned, it remained. Renovated many times, decorated many times, changed a little bit here and there, but it remained, the continuity remained.
That night the death was total. It was a date with death and god simultaneously.
This is one of the most beautiful moments I’ve witnessed. It’s just that simple and the laughter at the realization is just delicious! I just had to share this. Beautiful!