SUFIS STORY- THEN THERE IS GOD
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HASAN ASKED AJAMI, 'HOW DID YOU REACH YOUR PRESENT HEIGHTS
OF SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT?'
AJAMI SAID, 'THROUGH MAKING THE HEART WHITE IN MEDITATION, NOT BY MAKING PAPER BLACK WITH WRITING.'
LITTLE boy was playing with his blocks when his father entered the room.
'Quiet, Dad, I am building a church.'
The father, thinking that he would test his son along the lines of religious knowledge said, 'Why do we want to be quiet in church?'
'We have to, because the people are sleeping.'
Man is asleep. This sleep is not the ordinary sleep, it is a metaphysical sleep. Even while you think you are awake, you remain asleep. With open eyes, walking on the road, working in your office, you remain asleep. It is not only in the church that you are asleep, you are asleep everywhere. You are simply asleep.
This metaphysical sleep has to be broken, this metaphysical sleep has to be completely dropped. One has to become a flame of awareness. Only then does life start being meaningful, only then does life gain a significance, only then is life not the so-called day-to-day, ordinary, dull routine -- life has poetry in it and a thousand and one lotuses flower in the heart. Then there is God.
God is not a theory, it is not an argument. It is an experience of significance in life. And the significance can only be felt when you are not asleep. How can you feel the significance of life in sleep? Life is significant, immensely significant. Each moment of it is precious. But you are asleep. Only awakened eyes can see this significance, live this significance.
Just the other day there was a question. Somebody asked: OSHO, YOU GO ON TELLING US TO CELEBRATE LIFE. WHAT IS THERE TO celebrate? I can understand. His question is relevant. There seems to be nothing to celebrate. What is there to celebrate? His question is your question, is everybody's question.
But reality is just the contrary. There is everything to celebrate. Each moment is so immense, is so fantastic, each moment brings such an ecstasy.... But you are asleep. The ecstasy comes, hovers around you and goes. The breeze comes, dances around you and goes. And you remain asleep. The flowers bloom and the fragrance comes to you, but you are asleep. God goes on singing in a thousand and one ways, God dances around you; but you are asleep.
You ask me: WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE? What isn't there to celebrate? Everything that one can imagine is there. Everything that one can desire is there. And it is more than you can imagine. It is in abundance. Life is a luxury!
Just think of a blind man. He has never seen a rose flower bloom. What has he missed? Do you know? Can't you feel any compassion for him? That he has missed something, something divine? He has not seen a rainbow. He has not seen the sunrise or the sunset. He has not seen the green foliage of the trees. He has not seen colour. How dull his consciousness is! And you have eyes and you say: WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE? The rainbow is there, the sunset is there, the green trees are there, such a colourful existence.
And yet I understand. Your question is relevant. I understand that this question has some meaning. The rainbow is there, the sunset is there, the ocean, the clouds, all are there -- but you are asleep. You have never looked at the rose flower. You have passed by, you have seen the rose flower -- I am not saying you have not seen it, you have eyes so you see -- but you have not looked at it, you have not meditated upon it, you have not given a single moment of your meditation to it, you have never been in tune with it, you have never been by the side of it, sitting close by, in communion, you have never said 'hello' to it, you have never participated with it. Life passes by, you are just there, not participating. You are not en rapport with life, that's why your question is meaningful. You have eyes and yet you don't see, you have ears yet you don't hear, you have a heart yet you don't love -- you are fast asleep.
This has to be understood, that's why I go on repeating it again and again. If you understand that you are asleep, the first ray of awakening has entered you. If you can feel that you are asleep then you are no more, then you are just on the verge of where the day breaks -- the morning, the dawn.
But the first essential is to understand that 'I am asleep.' If you think you are not asleep then you will never be awake. If you think that this life which you have been living up to now is a life of an awakened being, then why should you seek and search ways to awaken yourself? When a man dreams, and dreams that he is awake, why should he try to be awake? He already believes that he is awake. This is the greatest trick of the mind and everybody is befooled by this trick. The greatest trick of the mind is to give you the idea of that which you are not, and to help you feel that you are already that.
Gurdjieff used to tell a parable to explain how the world is run by an elite.... There was a magician who was also a shepherd. He had thousands of sheep to look after and he was a very miserly man so he didn't want many servants and he didn't want many watchmen. He did not want to pay anybody and he did not want his sheep to be lost or taken by the wolves. But it was very difficult for him to take care of all the sheep alone. He was very rich and he had many sheep.
So he played a trick on the sheep. He hypnotised them -- he was a magician. He hypnotised them and told every sheep, 'You are not a sheep. Don't be afraid.' To some he said, 'You are a lion.' To some he said, 'You are tigers.' To some he even said, 'You are men. Nobody is going to kill you. Don't be afraid and don't try to escape from here.'
The sheep started believing in his hypnosis. Every day he would butcher a few sheep but the others would think, 'We are not sheep. He is butchering only sheep. We are lions, we are tigers, we are wolves, we are French, we are Russians, we are Chinese, we are this and that...' even that they were men. Some were even told that they were magicians -- and they believed it. It was always some sheep which was to be butchered. They remained aloof, distant. They were not worried. And by and by they were all butchered.
'This is the situation,' Gurdjieff used to say.
When somebody dies, has the question occurred to you that it is your death? No, the mind goes on playing the game. The mind says it is always the other that dies, it is never you.
Sometimes an old man comes to me, very old. And he is always worried about my death. He asks, 'Osho, if you die, what will happen to me?' He is nearabout seventy-five. I am always surprised when he says, 'If you die what is going to happen to me?' Osho is going to die and he is not going to die! There is every possibility he will die before me but about that he never asks. Whenever he comes this is his question, 'Don't leave me. If you die, what will happen to me?'
This is how the mind goes on functioning. It is always somebody else who dies. Have you not seen people in their cars rushing with mad speed? Why? There is a deep idea in the mind that accidents happen to others. Even on boards it is written how many accidents are happening every day, how many people died yesterday, yet people go on rushing by. Who bothers? These things happen to others. 'These accidents, yes, they happen, but they never happen to me.' That idea persists . Gurdjieff's parable is not just a parable.
All that is wrong happens to somebody else. Even death. You cannot conceive of your own death. And if you cannot conceive of your own death, you cannot become religious. Even to think about it seems impossible -- how can I die? How?
One goes on keeping oneself separate from all, one goes on believing that one is the exception. Watch out! Whenever you feel that you are the exception, remember, the mind is going to deceive you. The magician of the mind is tricking you. And it has tricked everybody. This is the metaphysical sleep. 'Death is not going to happen to me. And I am already that which I want to be. And everything is good. And I am awake. And I already know. So what is there to seek and search for?'
These false notions, these absurd ideas have been repeated for so long that you have been hypnotised by them. You have autohypnotised yourself. The magician is not somewhere out-side, it is your own mind. It takes all significance away from you. Significance is only in awareness, significance is awareness. It is a kind of radiance. When you become aflame with awareness everything becomes aflame with significance.
It is you who are reflected in existence -- the existence functions as a mirror. If you are dull and dead, there is nothing to celebrate because existence simply shows your dull and dead face. What is there to celebrate? If you are alive, flowering, singing a song, dancing a dance, the mirror reflects a dance, a song -- there is much to celebrate. When you celebrate there is much more to celebrate. and it goes on and on. There is no end to it. If you don't celebrate, by and by you become more and more dead and more and more dull. There is less and less to celebrate. One day suddenly life is absolutely meaningless.
Children are more alert than they will ever be again in their life unless they deliberately start seeking some path of awareness, some path of meditation. Unless by accident they come close to a Master -- a Sufi, a Zen, a Hassid -- they will get more and more into the mire of sleep. Children are born awake and old people die fast asleep, snoring. If you ar asleep there is no celebration.
But why -- why is man asleep? What is the root cause of it? It is a way to avoid; sleep is a way to avoid. There are many problems in life. Obviously they are there. When I say celebrate, I don't mean there are no problems. Problems are there. They have to be encountered, they have to be transcended. And celebration is a way to encounter them.
I am not saying there are no problems, I am not telling you fairy tales, I am not telling you that there are no problems and that life is simply beautiful and there are no thorns and only rose flowers -- there are not. For every one rose, there exist one thousand thorns. I am not creating a dream for you, a utopia. I am utterly realistic and pragmatic.
But the way to get beyond the thorns is to celebrate life, is to celebrate that one flower. In fact, that one flower is more precious because there are one thousand thorns. If there were all flowers and flowers and no thorns, flowers would be meaningless. It is because of darkness that the morning is so beautiful, it is because of death that life has such joy, it is because of illness that health is significant.
I am not saying there is nothing to be worried about. There are many things, but there is no need to worry about them. They can be encountered. They can be encountered without any worry, they can be encountered through celebration. There are only two ways to encounter them: one is the way of worry and the other is the way of celebration. The way of worry is the way of the world; the way of celebration is the way of religion. The way of worry creates sleep -- there are so many worries, how to get rid of them? You don't know. Not even a single worry can be solved.
For example, there is death. How can you solve it? What can you do to solve it? It is there, naked in front of you. You cannot even avoid it, it is happening every moment. We have made every arrangement to avoid it. We make our cemeteries outside the town, we make our graves with beautiful marble and we write beautiful maxims on that marble. We go and put flowers on graves. These are ways to make the shock of death a little less shocking. When a man dies we say that his soul is immortal. This is again a trick. I am not saying that the soul is not immortal -- it is -- but it is not for you, it is only for those who have awakened. You are simply using it as a consolation. It is a prop to avoid death.
We paint the dead man,, we put beautiful clothes on the dead man. In the West now a whole profession exists of how to decorate the dead body so that it looks alive at least in appearance. And sometimes it happens that a dead body can be decorated so perfectly that the man never looked so radiant when he was alive as he looks when he is dead.
I have heard about a rich man. He purchased a beautiful Cadillac and just three days later he died. The doctors had said that the disease was so sudden that nothing could be done about it and he would die within twenty-four hours. So he made a will. He said, 'I have just purchased my Cadillac. It was specially ordered, made to order, and I have not even been able to drive it, so do one thing -- bury me in my Cadillac.'
His will was followed. A big grave was dug and he was put in the Cadillac and with a crane the Cadillac was put in the grave. The whole town had gathered to see this thing. All were there.
Two beggars also came and one beggar said to the other, 'Man, this is the way one should live. This is what I call living! This is life, man!'
It happens you are so dead in life that sometimes your death can look very, very alive -- comparatively.
You cannot solve the problem of death. There is no way. Then what is one supposed to do? The easiest way that man has found is to go into a sleep about death -- not to look at it, to avoid it. Never look at it face to face, eye to eye. Avoid it. Avoidance has become the way of man.
There are problems -- ill-health is there, disease is there, cancer is there, tuberculosis is there, and many things. And nobody is ever secure, nobody can ever be -- because life exists in insecurity. You may have a big bank balance but the bank can go bankrupt any day, or the country can become communist. Anything can happen. You have a wife and suddenly she falls in love with a stranger and is gone. You have a son and you were trusting in him and he becomes a hippy -- or a sannyasin! Who knows? Life is insecure, there is no security. You can only pretend that you are secure, nothing ever is.
Then what to do? Escape into sleep. Create a haze around yourself so that you don't see clearly what is what. People live with this haze, this metaphysical haze, around themselves, like a fog, so they can believe whatsoever they want to believe.
I have heard about a man who was driving his car. A young hippy was standing on the road. He wanted to be taken into the car. The driver very lovingly opened the door and took him in. And the car started rushing again with mad speed.
It started raining. And as it started raining the driver speeded up. The wipers were not working. The hippy could not see at all through the wind-shield so he told the driver, 'The wipers are not working and you are going with such speed. I cannot see anything and my eyes are perfect and you are an old man, how are you managing?'
The driver laughed. He said, 'You don't be worried. It does not matter whether the wipers are working or not because I have left my glasses at home.'
When you don't see, you think nothing matters. You create a fog around yourself then you don't see ahead. Death is there, you don't see; insecurity is there, you don't see; your wife is going to leave tomorrow, you don't see; your husband is going to become a poet, you don't see. There is a fog. You remain asleep.
Sleep is avoidance. It is a trick of the mind to avoid real problems in life. It is a drug invented by man. But it doesn't help. The reality remains as it is, the danger remains as it is, the insecurity remains as it is. In fact, it becomes worse because you are unaware. You could have done something, but now you cannot because you cannot see and you have created a fog. The problems are multiplied by your fog and your sleep, they are not solved. Nothing is solved by your sleep. But you can have a kind of consolation that there is no problem.
You must have heard about the ostrich and his logic. This is his logic: when the ostrich sees an enemy coming, he simply puts his head into the earth, into the sand. He stands there completely unafraid because he cannot see. His eyes are closed in the sand, he cannot see the enemy. And his logic is that if you cannot see, then the enemy is not.
This ostrich logic is very human. Don't laugh at the ostrich. This is what you have done, this is what millions of people have done, this is what ninety-nine per cent of humanity is doing. Don't see the enemy; just go on believing everything is okay. At least this moment nothing is wrong, everything is okay, so why bother? Go on living in this drugged state.
But this is the sure way never to be in a mood of celebration. Never will you be able to celebrate because celebration comes through transcendence -- when problems are transcended. Remember, I use the word 'transcendence' not the word 'solution'. No problem is ever solved, no problem can ever be solved -- because to call them problems is, in fact, not right. They are not problems.
Try to understand it. Is insecurity a problem? We call it a problem but it is just the way life is. You don't say that the tree is green so green is a problem. It is just the way trees are. You don't say that the sun is hot so this is a problem. It is not a problem. The sun is hot -- it is simply how the sun is. Insecurity is a basic ingredient of life. In fact, life cannot exist without insecurity. Without insecurity life will be dead -- it is only through insecurity that it remains alive, throbbing, hopeful.
Insecurity makes it possible for life to change. Change is very essential. If you change, there will be insecurity; if you don't change, there is no insecurity -- but if you don't change then you are a rock. A rock is more secure than a rose bush. Naturally, because a rock does not change so fast. For millions of years it can remain the same, there is no problem. But for the rose bush there are many problems. If water is not given to it for two days the roses will start disappearing, the greenery will start disappearing, the bush will start dying. Or, if the sun is too hot, or a madman comes, or an animal enters into the garden, then too it will die. The rose bush has to exist on so many insecurities -- for the rock there is no problem. But the rose bush changes, that's why it is alive.
Animals are less alive, man is more alive -- or at least can be. It is his potentiality to be more alive. But then there is more insecurity. No animal is aware of death, hence there is no problem. Only man is aware of death. But if you are aware of death then it can become a challenge -- how to transcend it, how to face it, how to live in the face of death, not avoiding it, accepting it totally, knowing totally that it is there.
How to live knowing that death is going to happen? In fact, life will become a great intensity when death is known. You know that tomorrow it is possible that death may come -- or maybe the next moment -- so you have only one moment at one time in your hand. Don't waste it. And don't live lukewarmly because who knows? -- the next moment may never come. This is the only moment that you have got, the next is not certain. It may be, it may not be, you cannot depend on it. You cannot postpone, you cannot sacrifice the present for the uncertain future. If you accept death and if you face death you will start living in the present. Death is not a problem, death will help you to be alive, more alive, intensely alive. You will start living totally because there is no way to have any hope for the future. The future does not exist. If death is known, accepted, then the future disappears.
And with the disappearance of the future the only thing that remains in your hands is now. Then you can go deep into this now -- whatsoever you are doing. You can be eating or dancing or making love to a woman or singing or digging a hole in the ground -- whatsoever you are doing. This is the only time you have, why not do it totally? Why not celebrate it? Celebration and being total mean the same thing. You celebrate only when you are total in something and when you are total in something you celebrate it.
Have you not watched it yourself? Whenever you are total in something there is celebration. For example, if listening to me you become a listener totally there is great celebration. You are not doing anything, you are simply sitting there. But listening to me, deeply, totally, intensely, a great joy arises. And you are not doing anything, you are not creating that joy, the joy is already there -- you just have to be here, herenow. Here is the only space and now is the only time -- because death is there.
To think of death as a problem is to move in the wrong direction. Then you start avoiding it. When you avoid it you be come asleep. To accept death.... Yes, death is there, it is part of life. It entered you the very day you were born, it entered with birth. Birth and death are two aspects of the same coin. The day you were born you became vulnerable to death. Now there is no way to avoid it.
Yes, I know medical science can help man to live for two hundred years or three hundred years, but that doesn't make any difference. Whether you live thirty years or three hundred years does not make any difference. The difference can be made only by one thing -- how you live, not how long. If you live sleepily you can sleep for thirty years or three hundred years or three thousand years, it doesn't matter. There will be no celebration. If you live a life totally, meditatively, then even three minutes may be enough, even a single second may be enough. A single second of total ecstasy gives you a taste of eternity. It is enough, more than enough. You will not hanker for anything more. It is so fulfilling, it is such a contentment.
Don't avoid, otherwise you will remain asleep. Don't avoid death, don't avoid problems, don't avoid anxieties -- accept them, encounter them, they are part of the game.
Just the other day I was reading a passage from Bernard Shannon. He writes an almost Sufi parable:
'A man awakens suddenly in the cabin of a ship, and realises that he has no memory of boarding the vessel, nor knowledge of where he is bound. Hoping to find someone who could enlighten him he leaves the cabin and ascends to the deck, finding it crowded with people who appear to be playing various deck-games with complete absorption.
The man approaches the nearest group, and hesitantly enquires as to the destination of the ship. The group look at him blankly, saying they do not know. The man, puzzled, now asks when and from where the ship sailed, to again receive negative replies and blank looks. At that moment, one of the player. is pulled to the rail by some invisible force, and vanishes over the side. The group still seems intent upon its game, so the man agitatedly points out that one of their number has been whisked over the side. The players shrug, telling him that it happens all the time -- people just get swept away and are never seen again.
Bemused, the man goes further along the deck, only to see other players falling suddenly to the deck, afflicted by disease or accident. He is thoroughly alarmed -- what a bizarre situation to be in! A passenger on a ship, without knowledge of how he came to be there nor of where the ship sailed from or is bound. The other passengers all absorbed in games and freely admitting they have no idea of how long they will be aboard; the invisible force could sweep them away at any moment, or they can be struck down by painful afflictions or disabilities.
The whole set-up is wildly illogical, yet the strange position has been accepted as natural by the other passengers. They just do not think about it, but instead prefer to divert their minds by immersion in the ups and downs of the deck-games. These games are governed by certain rules that are termed -- logic!'
This is what is happening on the earth. The earth is the ship on which one day you suddenly find yourself, not knowing from where you come, not knowing where you are going, seeing people becoming old, afflicted, seeing people die. You start enquiring and nobody is interested in your question. In fact, whenever you ask somebody 'What is death?' he starts feeling restless. He wants to avoid it, he wants to drop the topic. He will think you are a little morbid or something. Why bring up such an ugly subject? Why talk about death?
The very word 'death' gives you a shiver in the spine. People don't use the word 'death' when somebody has died, they say he has 'passed away'. Just to avoid the word 'death' they say 'he has passed away' or 'he has been called by God' or 'he has gone to his heavenly abode'. Tricky people. Just to avoid one single word 'death', to avoid the fact that he has died -- because death can hurt you, that you have to die can hurt you -- they say, 'He has gone to a heavenly abode. Now it is perfectly okay, let him go. He must be enjoying the company of God.' This is the situation.
And people are deeply involved in their games. Somebody is playing the game of politics -- he wants to become the prime minister or the president or somebody. He is completely absorbed in it.
In India just a few days ago Morarji Desai became the prime minister. He is eighty-two. He was still interested in being a prime minister, he is not interested in death at all. It is time to think about death, but no, he is not interested in death. He goes on saying that within ten years he will solve all the problems of the country. Within ten years.... How long does he think he is going to live? No, he has not thought about that at all. Nobody does. He is not exceptional.
And people are completely absorbed in their games. Somebody is absorbed in his money game -- how to have more money, how to grab more money. And somebody is absorbed in holding knowledge. These are all games and these games are invented by man to avoid real problems in life. These games gives you a chance to solve things. You cannot solve anything in real life, nothing can be solved -- because real life is a mystery not a problem. Death is a mystery not a problem. You cannot solve it. It is not a crossword puzzle. It is a mystery. It remains mysterious. You have to accept it as it is. There is no way to solve it. But through accepting it you transcend. Through accepting it a great transformation comes to you.
The problem remains there but it is no longer a problem. You are no longer against it. The very word 'problem' shows that you are against it, afraid of it, it is the enemy. When you accept it, it becomes the friend, you befriend it. Insecurity is there but it is no more a problem. In fact, it gives you a thrill.
In fact, if your wife leaves you tomorrow, don't be worried about it. Let it be a thrill, let it be an adventure. Nothing is wrong in it.
If your son turns to be a hippy, don't be worried. At least he has done something that you never did. You missed something he is not going to miss. Let him live in his own way. He has more life. He is more interested in real life than in your bogus games. You wanted him to become rich and he has become a beggar. You wanted him to become a president or a governor or some other nonsense and he has become a sannyasin: Don't be worried. It is not a problem at all. You have given birth to an alive person -- be happy, feel thankful. It is good.
Maybe by his turning into these unknown paths some window will open in your mind also, some ray of light will enter into your dead being, you will start pulsating again. Who knows? You are not really dead, you have only become dead. You have gathered an armour around you which has become heavier and heavier every day and it is difficult to move with it. Seeing your son turn on to the unknown, maybe you will drop your armour, you will start moving for the first time into the labyrinth of the mysterious life. For the first time you become alert that the games you are playing are meaningless, they are just games.
Have you not watched people playing chess and how absorbed they become? And all is false. The king and the queen and the elephants and the horses... everything is false, just symbolic. But people get so absorbed in the symbols that they forget that life is real, not symbolic.
I have heard....
A motorist was driving along a country road when he saw a big sign: Beware of the Dog. Farther down the road was another sign in even bigger letters: Beware of the Dog. Finally he arrived at the farmhouse and there was a little poodle standing in front of the house.
'Do you mean to say,' asked the motorist, 'that that little dog keeps strangers away?'
'No,' replied the farmer, 'but signs do.'
Who bothers to look at the dog? People have become so afflicted with signs, symbols, words, language -- who bothers whether there is really a dog or not?
It works, I know, because I have practised it. Once I used to live in a town and I didn't have a dog. But I used to put up a sign. There was no poodle, just a sign, a big sign, on the door: Beware of the Dogs. And people wouldn't enter. That was enough to keep them away. You need not have a dog really. Who bothers about reality?
Games are symbolic. And people were playing games on that ship and they were not interested in what was really happening: from where they came, where they were going to and what was happening to people who simply disappeared one day and were never seen again. And they accepted it, this mysterious thing, without meditating over it. They said, 'Yes, it happens all the time.' People disappear and still they are absorbed in their games. They don't want to look at that fact. That fact is disturbing, that fact is inconvenient. It may disturb their sleep.
So people have gone into sleep because they are trying to avoid. And they are trying to avoid because they have wrongly taken mysteries as problems. Insecurity is mystery. Death is mystery. Love is mystery. All is mysterious. And by 'mysterious' I mean it is not logical. It is very illogical. One never knows.
Do you know when you fall in love with a woman or a man? Have you any answer why? Can you answer it? It simply happens. It simply happens out of the blue. You come across a strange woman and suddenly something has clicked. You can't answer, she can't answer. Suddenly you find yourself moving in a direction together. Suddenly you find you are on the same wavelength, you fit. And as suddenly it happens that it can disappear also. It is a mystery. You may live with a woman for twenty years, in deep love and with all the joys of love, and then one day that climate is no more there, that vibe is no more there. You are there, the woman is there, and it is not that you have not loved each other -- you have loved for twenty years -- but suddenly, as it came out of nothing, it disappears into nothing. It is not there. Now you can pretend -- that's what husbands and wives go on doing. You can pretend. You can pretend that still the love is there but now life will become a drag. The joy is no more there.
Love cannot be pretended and love cannot be managed.
There is no way to manage love; it is bigger than you. It comes from the same source as birth and death. From where they come, love comes. These three things -- birth, love and death -- come from the unknown. They suddenly enter you like a breeze and they suddenly disappear.
You cannot solve these problems but you can transcend them. And the way to transcend is to accept that they are there. And don't think that they are problems, they are mysteries. Once you start feeling that they are mysteries suddenly you are en rapport with life -- and there is celebration, there is trust.
This is possible only if mind is not allowed to play games. The heart is the centre where love happens, birth happens, death happens. When death happens it is the heart that stops. When love happens it is the heart that dances. When birth happens it is the heart that starts beating. All that is real happens in the heart and all that is unreal happens in the mind. The mind is the faculty for the unreal, for the fictitious, for the games.
So the only transformation that is needed by Sufism is how to shift your energy from the mind to the heart.
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HASAN ASKED AJAMI, 'HOW DID YOU REACH YOUR PRESENT HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT?'
AJAMI SAID, 'THROUGH MAKING THE HEART WHITE IN MEDITATION, NOT BY MAKING PAPER BLACK WITH WRITING.'
A small statement but of tremendous beauty, meaning, truth.
Hasan's question is very ordinary. Ajami was a great Master. Hasan also became a great Master finally but he took a long time. He went to many Masters. He was a great seeker -- but as seekers go he was more interested in knowledge than in knowing. Hence it took so long. Finally he attained. finally everybody is going to attain -- this life or another life -- finally everybody is going to attain.
Hasan used to go to Rabia, to Ajami, the other Masters -- whosoever was available -- but his questions are that of a knowledgeable man. Just the formulation has to be understood.
HASAN ASKED AJAMI, 'HOW DID YOU REACH YOUR PRESENT HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT?'
Now all the words that he has used are unspiritual. First, 'HOW DID YOU REACH.... ' Spirituality is not something that you reach to, it is already the case. It is not a goal somewhere, it has already happened in you. It is there in your heart. But you are not there in the heart, hence you go on missing it. The treasure is in the heart and you are In the head. This is the only difference between you and God: the difference between head and heart. It is not much -- maybe one foot, one and a half feet -- it is not much.
Somebody asked Rabia al-Adawiya, 'What is the difference between truth-and a lie?'
And Rabia said, 'Four inches.'
The man was puzzled. He asked again, 'I don't understand. What do you mean?'
She said, 'The difference between the ear and the eye is the difference between the lie and the truth. The lie is all that you hear from the ear; the heard is the lie and the seen is the truth.'
Truth is your own experience, your own vision. Even if I have seen the truth and I tell you, the moment I tell you it will become a lie for you, not a truth. For me it was truth, for me it came through the eyes. It was my vision. For you it will not be your vision, it will be a borrowed thing. It will be a belief, it will be knowledge -- not knowing. It will come through the ear. And if you start believing in it, you will be believing a lie. Now remember it. Even a truth becomes a lie if it enters your being through the wrong door. the truth has to enter through the front door, through the eyes. Truth is a vision. One has to see it.
And the same can be said about God and you -- the difference is not more than one and a half feet or two feet. You exist in the head, you are always there, hung up, like a cloud. And the heart is there, full, full of celebration, just waiting for you to come back home. The treasure is there but you have gone searching for it all over the world.
There is a famous Hassid story.
A man dreamed that near a certain bridge in the capital town there was a great treasure and that if he went there he could find it. In the morning he laughed. He was a poor man, a poor rabbi. He laughed. He said, 'All nonsense. And it is so far -- one thousand miles. And a dream is a dream.'
But the dream came again. Then he became a little suspicious. Maybe it was not just a dream. Maybe God was giving a hint. But still he could not gather enough courage to go one thousand miles just for a dream. He was a poor man and he would have to beg for the money to purchase tickets. And who knows whether that bridge exists or not? He had never been to the capital.
But the third day the dream came again and with great persistence the dream said to him, 'You just go and find it. It is all yours. Just by the side of the bridge.' An exact place was shown. Not only that, he could see the whole place, all the surroundings. It was so clear that he had to go.
He travelled one thousand miles. Many times suspicions came, many times doubts came, but he said, 'It has to be finished. I have to go and see.' He went and he was surprised. The bridge was there -- exactly the same bridge that he had seen in the dream. Absolutely the same. The same surroundings, the same trees, and the same place that was shown. But there was a problem. In the dream there was no policeman and now he found that a policeman was constantly there. Shifts changed, but another came. For twenty-four hours there was someone there.
He enquired why this policeman was standing there. People said, 'Because a few people have committed suicide from this bridge.' But now it was a problem. He was moving round and round, around the place, coming this way, that way, and the policeman became suspicious about him.
Seeing him coming and going so many times, one day he asked, 'What is the matter? Are you thinking of committing suicide? Don't create trouble for me. Why are you constantly here? What do you want?' And the rabbi said, 'Listen. I have nothing to do with the bridge. I am here because I had a dream. And the dream persisted.' And he told the dream to the police-man. He said, 'This is the dream and where you are standing, just here, within three feet, there is a great treasure.'
And the policeman laughed uproariously and he said, 'You are a fool! But this is a mystery. I also had a dream that in a certain town' -- and it was the town in which the rabbi used to live -- 'there lives a certain rabbi' -- and he was the rabbi -- 'of a certain name. And I have been dreaming constantly about going there because underneath his bed there is a great treasure. But I never pay any attention to dreams. Dreams are dreams. You are a fool. I am not such a fool. I will not go one thousand miles and search for this small village and then search for this poor rabbi and then look under his bed. Dreams are dreams. You go back home!'
The rabbi rushed back home. He went and dug a hole underneath his bed and there was the treasure.
It is a beautiful parable. The treasure is within you, in your own home. You need not go to Warsaw or to New Delhi or to Washington. Underneath your own consciousness, just within you, is the kingdom of God. It has not to be searched for because all search means searching outside. It needs only a coming inside. It is not a reaching, it is really a coming. It is not going anywhere, it is stopping all going so that suddenly you are there where you should be.
'HOW DID YOU REACH,' ASKED HASAN, 'YOUR PRESENT HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT?'
Now, the heights are visible but they depend on depths -- just like a tree. A tree rises high in the sky, one hundred feet high, talks to the clouds, whispers to the moon and the stars, plays with the sun-rays -- but that is not the real tree. the real tree is underneath, it is in the roots. The real source is in the roots. The heights depend on depth. The roots can exist without the tree. You can cut the tree but roots will still exist, and another tree will be born. But if you cut the roots there will be no tree and there never will be again. So the essential tree is in the roots and the roots are in the depth. That which is visible on the ground is not the essential part of it. The foliage and the flowers and the fruits are non-essential parts. The essential part is hidden underneath the ground, underground. It is in the roots. There is the source of life. And there is the source of spirituality.
If a man understands rightly he will ask about the depths, not about the heights. Heights don't matter, depths do. One has to go deep into oneself. Yes, when you go deep, great foliage and great flowers and great fruits arise. Your branches rise high into the sky, you have a great height.
And that height is seen by everybody, it is visible. Always remember, the visible is not very real; the real always remains invisible. The real source is in the invisible, the roots. Why are the roots invisible? Because God is invisible. Why are the roots invisible? They have to be otherwise they will be destroyed. And once the source is destroyed there will be no possibility for the tree. The tree can afford to exist on the outside, the roots cannot. They are so precious that they have to remain hidden so nobody knows about them.
That's why real religion is secret. Islam is the tree, Sufism is the root . Buddhism is the tree, Zen is the root. Judaism is the tree, Hassidism is the root. The real religion is always hidden, the real religion is secret -- it is occult, it is esoteric, because it is in the depth.
And you can watch it everywhere. If you put a seed on the ground it will not grow. It cannot grow. Visible to everybody, exposed to everybody, it cannot grow. Growth needs darkness, depth. Put the seed deep underneath the ground and then it starts growing.
A child grows in the womb of the mother -- that's why in the East we have always called the woman 'the earth'. The child is the seed, goes deep into the woman, disappears into the woman. Even the woman cannot see it -- what to say about others? Nobody can see it. It has disappeared deep into the depths. And from there it starts growing.
God functions in privacy, in secrecy. And as it is true with the child in the womb, as it is true with the seed in the earth, so it is true with the ultimate growth of your essential nature, of spirituality. Darkness, not light, is needed for something to grow -- because privacy is needed.
Birth is in privacy. The birthday is not the real birth. The child has already lived nine months. Your birthday is not right. The real birth moment is when the child got conceived. It was completely private.
And it is not just accidental that people like to make love in privacy. It is part of it. It looks ugly and obscene to make love in a public place. It looks just ugly. Love is so precious, it is so fragile, it cannot be exposed. When people are standing there and watching and you make love, you are doing an ugly act against life and against God. It is profane, it is sacrilegious. Love needs secrecy, privacy. That's why the night has been the time to make love, not the day -- darkness, privacy.
And have you watched? When you make love to a woman she even closes her eyes. She knows better than men. Only men are interested in looking at the naked body of the woman; no woman is interested in looking at the naked body of men. They have more sense and more respect. They are more intuitively in tune with the divine. It is ugly. To become a watcher is ugly. One should feel it with closed eyes. When you love a woman she closes her eyes. With closed eyes she starts feeling with her whole being. When you are looking at a woman with open eyes then you will not feel her with your whole being. Then you will be an onlooker.
And it does not make much difference whether you are looking at a naked picture in a Playboy magazine or at a real woman. Both are pornographic. Man is pornographic, woman is not. She is more in tune with nature. When two lovers are really in love, even the man will close his eyes. They will disappear into deep depth, into the unknown. There is the meeting. The meeting is not of the bodies, the meeting is of the souls. And when a child is conceived it is conceived in deep darkness.
And so is death. You will die a private death, nobody will be a witness to it. People will see your body dead but nobody will see you dying. As nobody ever saw you being born, nobody will ever see you dying. In the death moment you will be again alone. It will happen in your privacy, in the uttermost privacy. Nobody will be there. You cannot invite anybody. You cannot share your death. People will be standing outside, but what they will see will be just the body and the disappearance of something from the body, but they don't know what and where.
Life enters invisibly, life disappears invisibly . And so does love -- it appears from some unknown and disappears into; some unknown.
'HOW DID YOU REACH,' ASKED HASAN, 'YOUR PRESENT HEIGHTS OF SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENT?'
A really authentic seeker, one who understands, will ask about the depths not about the heights. And he will not talk of spirituality as an attainment, it is not. It is not anything that you attain, it is not an achievement, it is not an ambition fulfilled, no. It is the disappearance of all ambition, it is the disappearance of the achieving mind. The achieving mind is no longer functioning. You are no longer an achiever.
You are not even a seeker. The seeking, the achieving, the reaching -- all have disappeared. There is no ambition. there is no desire. It is a state of desirelessness. Suddenly, when you don't desire and there is no longing in your heart, where can you go? Desire becomes the path to go away. When there is no desire you fall into your very centre, into the very core of your being. It is not an achievement, it is a realisation.
When Buddha was asked after his enlightenment, 'What have you achieved?' he laughed and he said, 'I have not achieved anything at all. In fact, I have lost much. I have lost my ignorance and I have lost my ego and I have lost my mind, and I have not achieved anything.' The people were puzzled. They said, 'But we had always thought that spirituality was a great attainment and you say you have not achieved anything.' And Buddha said, 'No. Whatsoever I have achieved was always there, so I cannot call it achievement. It was already the case. Only I was not looking at it, that's all. So I have looked at it. It is not a discovery, it is a rediscovery. It was given to me. It has been with me for millennia, from the very beginning. Not for a single moment had I lost it. I had just lost a memory. So it is a recognition -- PRATYABHIGYA, a recognition.'
It is just like when you have money in your pocket and you have forgotten about it. and suddenly you become a beggar because you don't have any money. And then after a few years, one day, searching for something else, you put your hand in your pocket and the money is there. It has never been anywhere else, it has been there always. You just forgot about it.
So Sufis say that God is not lost but only forgotten. God has not to be found, only remembered -- JIKR. Hindus call it SURATI, Buddhists call it SMRITI -- just to be remembered. It is yours just for the asking. Even if you don't ask, it is yours.
AJAMI SAID, 'THROUGH MAKING THE HEART WHITE IN MEDITATION, NOT BY MAKING PAPER BLACK WITH WRITING.'
Ajami says, 'Not by thinking but by meditation, not by thought but by love, not by the head but by the heart, it has happened.'
First, something to be understood about thinking -- only then will you be able to understand about meditation. Something has to be understood about the head, only then will you be able to descend into the heart.
Thinking is abstract. Thinking is nothing but hot air. Let me tell you a story -- that will make it clear.
Mulla Nasrudin was travelling in a compartment with three other women passengers. These three women were doing their utmost to impress each other -- as women do. Their whole life is just an effort to convince other women that they are far more beautiful or far more rich or far more famous.
The one said, 'My husband bought me a bracelet worth fifty thousand rupees, but I had to return it to the jewellers because I am allergic to platinum.'
The second said, 'My husband bought me a mink costing seventy-five thousand rupees, but I had to return it to the furriers because I am allergic to it.'
Before the third lady started, just as she was going to say, 'My husband.... ' Mulla suddenly fell down and fainted. When he regained consciousness the three ladies asked what caused him to faint so suddenly. And he looked so healthy and so perfectly all right.
He replied, 'It is just because I am allergic to hot air.'
Thinking is just hot air. It is unreal. It is the same stuff dreams are made of. If you want to connect, contact, relate with reality, thought is not the bridge, cannot be the bridge. It is the barrier. Reality can be contacted only when there is no thought. Only in no thought are you one with reality. There is nothing to hinder. Thought functions as a screen, it creates a fog around you. It helps sleep. It is the metaphysical sleep I have been talking about. The more you think, the more you fall away from reality. Thinking means going astray from the real. The real needs no thinking, the real needs only awareness. That's what meditation is. Meditation means just being alert, seeing that which is without thinking about it.
Try it. In the beginning you will find it difficult, but by and by you start getting the knack of it. And then it is tremendously beautiful. It is the greatest experience that life can give to you, the deepest ecstasy that is available through life. Look at a rose flower and just go on looking at it. Don't think. Don't verbalise. Don't bring language in. Don't say it is a beautiful flower. Then you have missed.
I have heard....
Lao Tzu was going for a morning walk. A neighbour who used to go with him, knew him -- knew that he was a very silent man and did not like talking.
Once the neighbour mentioned that the morning was beautiful -- it was a beautiful morning. Lao Tzu looked very puzzled. He looked at him as if he had said something mad. The man became restless. He said, 'What is the matter? Why are you looking at me in such a way? Have I done anything wrong?'
And Lao Tzu said, 'I am also looking at the morning, so what is the point of saying that it is beautiful? Do you think I am dead, I am dull or asleep? The morning is beautiful, but what is the point of saying it? I am also here, as much as you are.'
Since then the neighbour stopped talking. He used to follow him, walk with him, and after years of going for a morning walk with Lao Tzu he also became alert about what meditation is.
Then a visitor came to the neighbour and he also wanted to come for a walk. And the visitor said that day, 'It is a beautiful sunrise.' That day the neighbour understood. He looked puzzled as once Lao Tzu had looked puzzled at him, and he said, 'Why should you mention it? I am also here.'
And Lao Tzu said, 'Now do you understand?'
There is a way of being in contact with reality without words. In fact, that is the only way there is. Words don't help, they hinder.
So sometimes, sitting just by the side of a rose bush -- look. Sometimes sitting at night with the stars, don't think. Don't start thinking what the name of this star is. Stars have no names. The rose does not know that it is called 'rose' and the sun is not at all alert, aware, that it is beautiful. Forget all these things; just be there. That being there, that presence, is what meditation is.
And when Ajami said, 'THROUGH MAKING THE HEART WHITE IN MEDITATION, NOT BY MAKING PAPER BLACK WITH WRITING,' he means this, 'I have not been reading the scriptures, I have not been writing books, I have not been creating a philosophy, I am not interested in doctrines or theology, I am not interested in words, I am not at all concerned with logic and logic-chopping -- my whole effort has been how to transform my energy into feeling energy instead of thinking energy. I have dropped from the head into the heart.'
And there is a new phenomenon when you drop into the heart: head is cold and heart is hot, because heart is alive. Head is as cold as a grave and heart is as alive as God and as hot. Through the head you can create greater and greater logic, through the heart you can only bring more and more love.
'THROUGH MAKING THE HEART WHITE IN MEDITATION....' Meditation is falling into the heart, and when you fall into the heart, love arises. Love always follows meditation. And vice versa is also true: if you become a lover, meditation follows. They go together. They are one kind of energy, they are not two. Either you meditate and you will become a great lover, you will have great love flowing all around you, you will overflow in love, or, start becoming a lover and you will find that quality of consciousness called meditation where thoughts disappear, where thinking no longer clouds your being, where the haze of sleep that surrounds you, is no more there -- the morning has come, you are awakened, you have become a Buddha.
Ajami says, 'This is how I have entered into the divine, the dimension of the divine. God is all over -- you just have to be in your heart and you will fall in tune with God.'
God is broadcasting himself all over but your mechanism is not functioning rightly. It is as if your radio is not functioning rightly, or you have not tuned into the station rightly -- hence your life is dull, stale. No joy is showering on you, no celebration.
And you ask me: WHAT IS THERE TO CELEBRATE? What is not there? What is missing? All is there, only you are asleep. Come out of your sleep. And when I say come out of your sleep, I mean come out of your dead head. Come into the heart. Let the heart pulsate, let the heart sing, let the heart dance. And then don't he worried about the God of the theologians -- you will be getting the real God. Then don't be worried about the God of the Mohammedans and the Hindus and the Christians, then you will be getting the God who has created all. The real God is not the God of Hindus or Mohammedans or Christians, the real God is simply God. All belongs to him. And he belongs to nobody as a possession.
Sufis have a very beautiful dictum. They say: 'The world is God although God is not the world.' The world is a small thing. God is a big circle and the world is a small circle in it. We can say the small circle is the big circle but we cannot say that the big circle is the small circle. 'The world is God but the God is not the world.' God has infinite potential. This world is just some small part of God that has become actual.
But you can find God here. He is everywhere -- in each tree, in each river, in each mountain, in each person. When a child smiles, it is he who smiles; when a woman is crying and tears are flowing, it is he who is crying. It is in the beggar and in the emperor, it is in me, it is in you -- because only it is, only God is.
But somehow we go on missing. And we want to seek and search and we want to go to the Himalayas or to Ka'ba or to Kailash -- there is no need to go anywhere. He is as much here as anywhere else, he is as much in you as in Mohammed or Mahavira or Krishna or Christ. He is equally available, there is no inequality, you just have to Create that kind of attunement where you start receiving him. And that reception happens in the heart, never in the head.
The whole function of a Master is to behead his disciples -- that's what I go on doing here. You have nothing to lose but your head.
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