TANTRA: THE SUPREME UNDERSTANDING
Chapter 4: Be Like a Hollow Bamboo
THE SONG CONTINUES:
DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX; SHUT FIRM THE MOUTH AND SILENT REMAIN; EMPTY YOUR MIND AND THINK OF NOUGHT. LIKE A HOLLOW BAMBOO REST AT EASE WITH YOUR BODY. GIVING NOT NOR TAKING, PUT YOUR MIND AT REST. MAHAMUDRA IS LIKE A MIND THAT CLINGS TO NOUGHT.
THUS PRACTICING, IN TIME YOU WILL REACH BUDDHAHOOD.
First, the nature of activity and the hidden currents in it have to be understood, otherwise no relaxation is possible. Even if you want to relax, it will be impossible if you have not observed, watched, realized, the nature of your activity, because activity is not a simple phenomenon.
Many people would like to relax, but they cannot relax. Relaxation is like a flowering: you cannot force it. You have to understand the whole phenomenon -- why you are so active, why so much occupation with activity, why you are obsessed with it.
Remember two words: one is "action," another is "activity." Action is not activity; activity is not action. Their natures are diametrically opposite. Action is when the situation demands it, you act, you respond. Activity is when the situation doesn't matter, it is not a response; you are so restless within that the situation is just an excuse to be active.
Action comes out of a silent mind -- it is the most beautiful thing in the world. Activity comes out of a restless mind -- it is the ugliest. Action is when it has a relevance; activity is irrelevant. Action is moment to moment, spontaneous; activity is loaded with the past. It is not a response to the present moment, rather, it is pouring your restlessness, which you have been carrying from the past, into the present. Action is creative. Activity is very very destructive -- it destroys you, it destroys others.
Try to see the delicate distinction. For example, you are hungry then you eat -- this is action. But you are not hungry, you don't feel any hunger at all, and still you go on eating -- this is activity. This eating is like a violence: you destroy food, you crush your teeth and destroy food; it gives you a little release of your inner restlessness. You are eating not because of hunger, you are simply eating because of an inner need, an urge to be violent.
In the animal world violence is associated with mouth and hands, the fingernails and the teeth; two are the violent things in the animal kingdom. In food, while you are eating, both are joined together; with your hand you take the food, and with your mouth you eat it -- violence is released. But there is no hunger; it is not an action, it is a disease. This activity is an obsession. Of course, you cannot go on eating like this because then you will burst. So people have invented tricks: they will chew PAN or gum, they will smoke cigarettes -- these are false foods, without any nutritious value in them, but they work well as far as violence is concerned.
A man sitting chewing pan, what is he doing? He is killing somebody. In the mind, if he becomes aware, he may have a fantasy of murdering, killing -- and he is chewing pan: a very innocent activity in itself. You are not harming anybody -- but very dangerous for you, because you seem to be completely unconscious of what you are doing. A man smoking, what is he doing? Very innocent in a way: just taking the smoke in and bringing it out, inhaling and exhaling; a sort of ill PRANAYAMA, and a sort of secular transcendental meditation. He is creating a MANDALA: takes smoke in, brings it out, takes it in, brings it out -- a mandala is created, a circle. Through smoking he is doing a sort of chanting, a rhythmic chanting. It soothes; his inner restlessness is relieved a little.
If you are talking to a person, always remember -- it is almost hundred percent accurate -- if the person starts finding his cigarette, it means he is bored, you should leave him now. He would have wanted to throw you out; that cannot be done, that will be too impolite. He is finding his cigarette; he is saying, "Now, finished! I am fed up." In the animal kingdom he would have jumped on you, but he cannot -- he is a human being, civilized. He jumps on the cigarette, he starts smoking. Now he is not worried about you, now he is enclosed in his own chanting of the smoke. It soothes.
But this activity shows that you are obsessed. You cannot remain yourself, you cannot remain silent, you cannot remain inactive. Through activity you go on throwing your madness, insanity. Action is beautiful, action comes as a spontaneous response; life needs response. Every moment you have to act, but the activity comes through the present moment. You are hungry and you seek food. You are thirsty and you go to the well. You are feeling sleepy and you go to sleep. It is out of the total situation that you act. Action is spontaneous and total.
Activity is never spontaneous, it comes from the past. You may have been accumulating it for many years, and then it explodes into the present -- it is not relevant. But mind is cunning; the mind will always find rationalizations for the activity. The mind will always try to prove that this is not activity, this is action; it was needed. Suddenly you flare up in anger. Everybody else becomes aware that it was not needed, the situation never demanded it, it was simply irrelevant -- only you cannot see. Everybody feels: "What are you doing? There was no need for it. Why are you so angry?" But you will find rationalizations; you will rationalize that it was needed.
These rationalizations help you to remain unconscious about your madness. These are the things that Gurdjieff used to call "buffers." You create buffers of rationalization around you so you don't come to realize what is the situation. Buffers are used in trains; between two bogies, two compartments, buffers are used so that if there is a sudden stopping there will not be too much shock to the passengers -- the buffers will absorb the shock. Your activity is continuously irrelevant, but the buffers of rationalizations don't allow you to see the situation. Buffers blind you -- and this type of activity continues.
If this activity is there, you cannot relax. How can you relax? -- because it is an obsessive need, you want to do something, whatsoever it is.
There are fools all over the world who go on saying, "Do something rather than nothing." And there are perfect fools who have created a proverb all over the world that "An empty mind is a devil's workshop." It is not. An empty mind is God's workshop. An empty mind is the most beautiful thing in the world, the purest -- because how can an empty mind be a workshop for the devil? The devil cannot enter into an empty mind, impossible! The devil can enter only into a mind which is obsessed with activity -- then the devil can take charge of you, he can show you ways and means and methods how to be more active. The devil never says, "Relax!" He says, "Why are you wasting your time? Do something, man! Move! Life is going by -- do something!" And all the great teachers, teachers who have awakened to the truth of life, have come to realize that an empty mind gives space to the divine to enter in you.
Activity can be used by the devil, not an empty mind. How can the devil use an empty mind? He will not dare to come near because emptiness will simply kill him. But if you are filled with a deep urge, mad urge to be active, then the devil will take your charge, then he will guide you -- then he is the only guide.
I would like to tell you that this proverb is absolutely wrong. The devil himself must have suggested it.
This obsession to be active has to be watched. And you have to watch it in your own life, because whatsoever I say, or Tilopa says, will not be of much meaning unless you watch it in yourself: that your activity is irrelevant, it is not needed. Why are you doing it?
Traveling, I have seen people continuously doing the same thing again and again. For twenty-four hours I am with a passenger in the train. He will read the same newspaper again, again, not finding what else to do. Enclosed in a railway compartment there is not much possibility to be active, so he will read the same newspaper again and again, and I am watching. What is this man doing?
A newspaper is not a GITA or a BIBLE. You can read the GITA many times because each time you come to it a new significance is revealed. But a newspaper is not a GITA; it is finished once you have seen it! It was not even worth reading once, and people go on reading it. Again and again, they will start again. What is the problem? Is it a need? No -- they are obsessed; they cannot remain silent, inactive. That is impossible for them -- that looks like death. They have to be active.
Traveling for many years gave me many opportunities to watch people without their knowing, because sometimes only one person was with me in the compartment, and he would make all sorts of efforts to bring me to talk to him and I would say only yes or no; then he would drop the idea. Then I would simply watch -- a beautiful experiment and without any expense.
And I would watch him: he would open the suitcase -- and I would see that he was not doing anything -- then he would look in it, close it. Then he would open the window, and then would close it; then again would go to the newspaper, then he would smoke, then again open the suitcase, rearrange it, go and open the window, look out. What is he doing? and why? An inner urge, something is trembling within him, a feverish state of mind. He has to do something, otherwise he will be lost. He must have been an active man in life, now there is a moment to relax -- he cannot relax, the old habit persists.
It is said that Aurangzeb, a Moghul emperor, imprisoned his father in his old age. Aurangzeb's father built the Taj Mahal -- Shah Jehan. He imprisoned him, dethroned him. It is said, and it is written in the autobiography of Aurangzeb, that after a few days, Shah Jehan was not worried about imprisonment because every luxury was provided. It was a palace and Shah Jehan was living as he was living before; it was not like a prison; absolutely everything that he needed was there. Only one thing was missing and that was activity -- he couldn't do anything. So he asked his son Aurangzeb, "It is okay, you have provided everything for me, and everything is beautiful. Just one thing I will be grateful forever and ever if you can do, and that is, send thirty boys. I would like to teach them."
Aurangzeb could not believe it: "Why would my father like to teach thirty boys?" He had never shown any inclination to be a teacher, was never interested in any type of education. What has happened to him? But he fulfilled the desire. Thirty boys were sent to him and everything was okay. He became again the emperor -- thirty small boys. You go in a primary school, the teacher is almost the emperor; you can order them to sit and they will have to sit; you can order them to stand and they will have to stand. And he created in that room with thirty boys the whole situation of his court -- just old habit and the old drug addiction to ordering people.
Psychologists suspect that teachers are in fact politicians. Of course, not self-confident enough to go into politics, they move to the schools and there they become presidents, prime ministers, emperors. Small children -- and they order them and they force them.
And psychologists also suspect that teachers have an inclination towards being sadistic, they would like to torture. And you cannot find a better place than a primary school. You can torture innocent children -- and you can torture for their own sake, for their own good. Go and watch! I have been in primary schools, reading, and I have been watching teachers. And psychologists suspect -- I am certain, they are torturers. And you cannot find more innocent victims: unarmed completely, they cannot even resist; they are so weak and helpless -- and a teacher stands like an emperor.
Aurangzeb writes in his autobiography: "My father, just because of old habits, still wants to pretend that he is the emperor. So let him pretend and let him fool himself, there is nothing wrong. Send him thirty boys or three hundred, whatsoever he wants. Let him run a MADERSA, a small school, and be happy."
Activity is when the action has no relevance. Watch in yourself and see: ninety percent of your energy is wasted in activity. And because of this, when the moment for action comes, you don't have any energy. A relaxed person is simply non-obsessive, and the energy starts accumulating within him. He conserves his energy, it is conserved automatically, and then when the moment for action comes his total being flows into it. That's why action is total. Activity is always half-hearted, because how can you befool yourself absolutely? Even YOU know that it is useless. Even you are aware that you are doing it for certain feverish reasons within, which are not even clear to you, very vague.
You can change activities, but unless activities are transformed into actions, that won't help. People come to me and they say, "I would like to stop smoking." I say, "Why? This is such a beautiful TM, continue. And if you stop it you will start something else -- because the disease doesn't change by changing the symptoms. Then you will chew pan, then you will chew gum; and there are even more dangerous things. These are innocent, because if you are chewing gum you are chewing gum yourself. You may be a fool, but you are not a violent man; you are not destructive to anybody else. If you stop chewing gum, smoking, then what will you do? Your mouth needs activity, it is violent. Then you will talk, then you will talk continuously; yakety-yakety-yak -- and that is more dangerous!"
Mulla Nasruddin's wife came just the other day. She rarely comes to see me, but when she comes I immediately understand there must be some crisis. So I asked, "What is the matter?" Thirty minutes she took, and thousands of words, to tell me: "Mulla Nasruddin talks in his sleep, so you suggest something -- what should be done? He talks too much and it is difficult to sleep in the same room. And he shouts and says nasty things."
So I said, "Nothing is to be done. You simply give him a chance to talk while you both are awake."
People go on talking. They don't give any chance to anybody else. Talking is the same as smoking. If you talk twenty-four hours ... and you talk: while you are awake, you talk; your body is tired, you fall into sleep, but the talk continues. Twenty-four hours, round the clock, you go on talking and talking and talking. This is like smoking, because the phenomenon is the same: the mouth needs movement. And the mouth is the basic activity, because that is the first activity you started in your life.
The child is born: he starts sucking the mother's breast; that is the first activity -- and the basic activity. And smoking is just like sucking the breast: warm milk flows in; in smoking, warm smoke flows in; and the cigarette in your lips feels just like the breast of the mother, the nipple. If you are not allowed to smoke, chew gum, and this and that, then you will talk, and that is more dangerous because you are throwing your garbage on other people's minds.
Can you remain silent for a long time? Psychologists say that if you remain silent for three weeks, you will start talking to yourself. Then you will be divided into two: you will talk and you will listen also. And if you remain silent for three months, you will be completely ready for the madhouse, because then you will not bother whether somebody is there or not. You will talk, and not only talk, you will answer also -- now you are complete, now you don't depend on anybody. This is what a lunatic is.
A lunatic is a person whose whole world is confined in himself. He is the talker and he is the listener; he is the actor and he is the spectator -- he is all, his whole world is confined in himself. He has divided himself in many parts and everything has become fragmentary. That's why people are afraid of silence -- they know they may crack up. And if you are afraid of silence that means you have an obsessive, feverish, diseased mind inside, which is continuously asking to be active.
Activity is your escape from yourself. In action you are; in activity you have escaped from yourself -- it is a drug. In activity you forget yourself, and when you forget yourself there are no worries, no anguish, no anxiety. That's why you need to be continuously active, doing something or other, but never in a state when non-doing flowers in you and blooms.
Action is good. Activity is ill. Find the distinction within yourself: what is activity and what is action; that is the first step. The second step is to be more involved in action so that the energy moves into action; and whenever there is activity to be more watchful about it, more alert. If you are aware, activity ceases, energy is preserved, and the same energy becomes action.
Action is immediate. It is nothing ready-made, it is not prefabricated. It doesn't give you any chance to make a preparation, to go through a rehearsal. Action is always new and fresh like the dew-drops in the morning. And a person who is a person of action is also always fresh and young. The body may become old, but his freshness continues. The body may die, but his youth continues. The body may disappear, but he remains -- because God loves freshness. God is always for the new and the fresh.
Drop more and more activity. But how can you drop it? You can make dropping itself an obsession. This is what has happened to your monks in the monasteries: dropping activity has become their obsession. They are continuously doing something to drop it: prayer, meditation, yoga, this and that -- now that is also activity. You cannot drop it in that way; it will come from the back door.
Be aware. Feel the difference between action and activity. And when activity takes hold of you -- in fact that should be called a possession: when the activity possesses you, like a ghost; and activity is a ghost, it comes from the past, it is dead -- when activity possesses you and you become feverish, then become more aware; that's all that you can do. Watch it. Even if you have to do it, do it with full awareness. Smoke, but smoke very slowly, with full awareness so that you can see what you are doing.
If you can watch smoking, suddenly some day, the cigarette will fall from your fingers, because the whole absurdity of it will be revealed to you. It is stupid; it is simply stupid, idiotic! When you realize that, it simply falls. You cannot throw it because throwing is an activity. That's why I say it simply falls, just like a dead leaf from the tree ... falling, just like that it falls. If YOU have thrown it, you will pick it up again in some other way, in some other form.
Let things drop, don't drop them. Let activity disappear, don't force it to disappear -- because the very effort to force it to disappear is again activity in another form. Watch, be alert, conscious, and you will come to a very very miraculous phenomenon: when something drops by itself, on its own accord, it leaves no trace on you. If you force it, then a trace is left, then a scar is left. Then you will always brag that you smoked for thirty years, and then YOU dropped it. Now this bragging is the same; talking about it you are doing the same thing -- not smoking, but talking too much about that you have dropped smoking. Your lips are again in activity, your mouth is functioning, your violence is there.
If a man really understands, things drop -- and then you cannot take the credit that "I have dropped it." It dropped itself! You have not dropped it. The ego is not strengthened through it. And then more and more actions will become possible. And whenever you have an opportunity to act totally, don't miss it, don't waver -- act.
Act more, and let activities drop on their own accord. A transformation will come to you by and by. It takes time, it needs seasoning, but there is no hurry also.
Now we will enter into the sutra.
DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX; SHUT FIRM THE MOUTH AND SILENT REMAIN; EMPTY YOUR MIND AND THINK OF NOUGHT. DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX.
Now you can understand what relaxation means. It means no urge to activity in you. Relaxation doesn't mean lying down like a dead man; and you cannot lie down like a dead man -- you can pretend only. How can you lie down like a dead man? You are alive; you can only pretend. Relaxation comes to you when there is no urge to activity; the energy is at home, not moving anywhere. If a certain situation arises you will act, that's all, but you are not finding some excuse to act. You are at ease with yourself. Relaxation is to be at home.
I was reading one book a few years ago. The title of the book is YOU MUST RELAX. This is simply absurd, because the "must" is against relaxation -- but such books can only sell in America. "Must" means activity, it is an obsession. Whenever there is a "must" an obsession is hidden behind it. There are actions in life, but there is no "must," otherwise the "must" will create madness. "You must relax" -- now relaxation has become the obsession. You have to do this posture and that, and lie down, and suggest to your body from the toes to the head; tell the toes, "Relax!" and then go upwards.
Why "must"? Relaxation comes only when there is no "must" in your life. Relaxation is not only of the body, it is not only of the mind, it is of your total being.
You are too much in activity, of course tired, dissipated, dried up, frozen. The life-energy doesn't move. There are only blocks and blocks and blocks. And whenever you do something you do it in a madness. Of course the need to relax arises. That's why so many books are written every month about relaxation, and I have never seen a person who has become relaxed through reading a book about relaxation -- he has become more hectic, because now his whole life of activity remains untouched. His obsession is there to be active, the disease is there, and he pretends to be in a relaxed state so he lies down. All turmoil within, a volcano ready to erupt, and he is relaxing, following the instructions from a book: how to relax.
There is no book that can help you to relax -- unless you read your own inner being, and then relaxation is not a must. Relaxation is an absence, absence of activity, not of action. So there is no need to move to the Himalayas. A few people have done that: to relax, they move to the Himalayas. What is the need to move to the Himalayas? Action is not to be dropped, because if you drop action you drop life. Then you will be dead, not relaxed. So in the Himalayas you will find sages who are dead, not relaxed. They have escaped from life, from action.
This is the subtle point to be understood: activity has to go, but not action -- and both are easy. You can drop both and escape to the Himalayas, that's easy. Or, the other thing is easy: you can continue in the activities, and forcing yourself every morning, or every evening, for a few minutes, to relax. You don't understand the complexity of the human mind, the mechanism of it. Relaxation is a state. You cannot force it. You simply drop the negativities, the hindrances, and it comes, it bubbles up by itself.
What do you do when you go to sleep in the night? Do you do something? If you do, you will be an insomniac, you will move into insomnia. What do you do? You simply lie down and go into sleep. There is no "doing" to it. If you "do," it will be impossible to sleep. In fact, to go into sleep all that is needed is, the continuity in the mind of the activities of the day has to discontinue. That's all! When the activity is not there in the mind, the mind relaxes and goes into sleep. If you do something to go into sleep, you will be at a loss, then sleep will be impossible. Doing is not needed at all.
Says Tilopa, DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX. Don't do anything! No yoga posture is needed, no distortions and contortions of the body are needed. "Do nought!" -- only absence of activity is needed. And how will it come? It will come by understanding. Understanding is the only discipline. Understand your activities and suddenly, in the middle of the activity, if you become aware, it will stop. If you become aware why you are doing it, it will stop. And that stopping is what Tilopa means: DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX.
What is relaxation? It is a state of affairs where your energy is not moving anywhere, not to the future, not to the past -- it is simply there with you. In the silent pool of your own energy, in the warmth of it, you are enveloped. This moment is all. There is no other moment. Time stops -- then there is relaxation. If time is there, there is no relaxation. Simply, the clock stops; there is no time. This moment is all. You don't ask for anything else, you simply enjoy it. Ordinary things can be enjoyed because they are beautiful. In fact, nothing is ordinary -- if God exists, then everything is extraordinary.
People come to me and ask, "Do you believe in God?" I say, "Yes, because everything is so extraordinary, how can it be without a DEEP consciousness in it?" Just small things .... Walking on the lawn when the dewdrops have not evaporated yet, and just feeling totally there -- the texture, the touch of the lawn, the coolness of the dewdrops, the morning wind, the sun rising. What more do you need to be happy? What more is possible to be happy? Just lying down in the night on the cool sheet on your bed, feeling the texture; feeling that the sheet is getting warmer and warmer, and you are shrouded in darkness, the silence of the night .... With closed eyes you simply feel yourself. What more do you need? It is too much -- a DEEP gratitude arises: this is relaxation.
Relaxation means this moment is more than enough, more than can be asked and expected. Nothing to ask, more than enough, than you can desire -- then the energy never moves anywhere. It becomes a placid pool. In your own energy, you dissolve. This moment is relaxation. Relaxation is neither of the body nor of the mind, relaxation is of the total. That's why buddhas go on saying, "Become desireless," because they know that if there is desire, you cannot relax. They go on saying, "Bury the dead," because if you are too much concerned with the past, you cannot relax. They go on saying, "Enjoy this very moment."
Jesus says, "Look at the lilies. Consider the lilies in the field -- they toil not and they are more beautiful, their splendor is greater than King Solomon. They are arrayed in more beautiful aroma than King Solomon ever was. Look, consider the lilies!"
What is he saying? He is saying, "Relax! You need not toil for it -- in fact, everything is provided." Jesus says, "If he looks after the birds of air, animals, wild animals, trees and plants, then why are you worried? Will he not look after you?" This is relaxation. Why are you so much worried about the future? Consider the lilies, watch the lilies, and become like lilies -- and then relax. Relaxation is not a posture; relaxation is a total transformation of your energy.
Energy can have two dimensions. One is motivated, going somewhere, a goal somewhere; this moment is only a means and the goal is somewhere else to be achieved. This is one dimension of your energy, this is the dimension of activity, goal-oriented. Then everything is a means; somehow it has to be done and you have to reach to the goal, then you will relax. But for this type of energy the goal never comes, because this type of energy goes on changing every present moment into a means for something else, into the future. The goal always remains on the horizon. You go on running, but the distance remains the same.
No, there is another dimension of energy: that dimension is unmotivated celebration. The goal is here, now; the goal is not somewhere else. In fact, you are the goal. In fact, there is no other fulfillment than of this moment -- consider the lilies. When you are the goal and when the goal is not in the future, when there is nothing to be achieved, rather, you have just to celebrate it, you have already achieved it, it is there. This is relaxation, unmotivated energy.
So, to me, there are two types of persons: the goal-seekers and the celebrators. The goal-oriented, they are the mad ones; they are going, by and by, crazy, and they are creating their own craziness. And then the craziness has its own momentum: by and by, they move deeper into it -- then they are completely lost. The other type of person is not a goal-seeker -- he is not a seeker at all, he is a celebrator.
And this I teach to you: Be the celebrators, celebrate! Already there is too much: the flowers have bloomed, the birds are singing, the sun is there in the sky -- celebrate it! You are breathing and you are alive, and you have consciousness -- celebrate it! Then suddenly you relax, then there is no tension, then there is no anguish. The whole energy that becomes anguish becomes gratitude; your whole heart goes on beating with a deep thankfulness -- that is prayer. That's all prayer is about: a heart beating with a deep thankfulness.
DO NOUGHT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX.
No need to do anything for it. Just understand the movement of the energy, the unmotivated movement of the energy. It flows, but not towards a goal, it flows as a celebration. It moves, not towards a goal, it moves because of its own overflowing energy.
A child is dancing and jumping and running around; ask him, "Where are you going?" He is not going anywhere -- you will look foolish to him. Children always think that adults are foolish. What a nonsense question, "Where are you going?" Is there any need to go anywhere? A child simply cannot answer your question because it is irrelevant. He is not going anywhere. He will simply shrug his shoulders. He will say, "Nowhere." Then the goal-oriented mind asks, "Then why are you running?" -- because to us an activity is relevant only when it leads somewhere.
And I tell you, there is nowhere to go: here is all. The whole existence culminates in this moment, it converges into this moment. The whole existence is pouring already in this moment; all that is there is pouring into this moment -- it is here, now. A child is simply enjoying the energy. He has too much. He is running, not because he has to reach somewhere, but because he has too much; he has to run.
Act unmotivated, just an overflow of your energy. Share, but don't trade, don't make bargains. Give because you have, don't give to take back -- because then you will be in misery. All traders go to hell. If you want to find the greatest traders and bargainers, go to hell, there you will find them. Heaven is not for traders. Heaven is for celebrators.
In Christian theology, again and again, for centuries it has been asked, "What do angels do in heaven?" This is a relevant question for people who are goal-oriented: "What do angels do in heaven?" Nothing seems to be done, nothing is there to do. Somebody asked Meister Eckhart, "What do angels do in heaven?" He said, "What type of a fool are you? Heaven is a place to celebrate. They don't do anything. They simply celebrate -- the glory of it, the magnificence of it, the poetry of it, the blooming of it, they celebrate. They sing and they dance and they celebrate." But I don't think that that man was satisfied by Meister Eckhart's answer, because to us an activity is meaningful only if it leads somewhere, if there is a goal.
Remember, activity is goal-oriented, action is not. Action is overflowing of energy; action is in this moment, a response, unprepared, unrehearsed. Just the whole existence meets you, confronts you, and a response comes. The birds are singing and you start singing -- it is not an activity. Suddenly it happens. Suddenly you find it is happening, that you have started humming -- this is action.
And if you become more and more involved in action, and less and less occupied in activity, your life will change and it will become a deep relaxation. Then you "do" but you remain relaxed. A buddha is never tired. Why? -- because he is not a doer. Whatsoever he has, he gives, he overflows.
DO NOUGHT BUT WITH THE BODY BUT RELAX; SHUT FIRM THE MOUTH AND SILENT REMAIN.
The mouth is really very very significant, because that is where the first activity landed; your lips started the first activity. Surrounding the area of the mouth is the beginning of all activity: you breathed in, you cried, you started groping for the mother's breast. And your mouth remains always in a frantic activity. That's why Tilopa suggests: "Understand activity, understand action, relax, and ... SHUT FIRM THE MOUTH."
Whenever you sit down to meditate, whenever you want to be silent, the first thing is to shut the mouth completely. If you shut the mouth completely, your tongue will touch the roof of your mouth; both the lips will be completely closed and the tongue will touch the roof. Shut it completely -- but that can be done only if you have followed whatsoever I have been saying to you, not before it.
You can do it! Shutting of the mouth is not a very big effort. You can sit like a statue, with a completely shut mouth, but that will not stop activity. Deep inside the thinking will continue, and if thinking continues you can feel subtle vibrations in the lips. Others may not be able to observe it because they are very subtle, but if you are thinking then your lips quiver a little -- a very subtle quivering.
When you really relax, that quivering stops. You are not talking, you are not making any activity inside you. SHUT FIRM THE MOUTH AND SILENT REMAIN. And then don't think.
What will you do? Thoughts are coming and going. Let them come and go, that's not the problem. You don't get involved; you remain aloof, detached. You simply watch them coming and going, they are not your concern. Shut the mouth and you remain silent. By and by, thoughts will cease automatically -- they need your cooperation to be there. If you cooperate, they will be there; if you fight, then too they will be there -- because both are cooperations: one for, the other against. Both are sorts of activity. You simply watch.
But shutting of the mouth is very helpful. So first, as I have been observing many people, I will suggest to you that first yawn: open your mouth as wide as possible, tense your mouth as wide as possible, yawn completely; it even starts hurting. Two or three times do this. This will help the mouth to remain shut for a longer time. And then for two or three minutes, say loudly gibberish, nonsense. Anything that comes to the mind, say it loudly and enjoy it. Then shut the mouth.
It is easier to move from the opposite end. If you want to relax your hand, it is better to first make it as tense as possible. Clench the fist and let it be as tense as possible, do just the opposite and then relax -- and then you will attain a deeper relaxation of the nervous system. Make gestures, faces, movements of the face, distortions, yawn, say two or three minutes nonsense -- and then shut. And this tension will give you a deeper possibility to relax the lips and mouth. Shut the mouth and then just be a watcher. Soon a silence will descend on you.
There are two types of silences. One, silence that you can force upon yourself. That is not a very graceful thing, it is a violence; it is a sort of rape on the mind, it is aggressive. Then there is another sort of silence that descends on you, like night descends. It comes upon you, it envelops you. You simply create the possibility for it, the receptivity, and it comes. Shut the mouth, watch, don't try to be silent. If you try, you can force a few seconds of silence, but they will not be of any value -- inside you will go on boiling. So don't try to be silent. You simply create the situation, the soil, put the seed and wait.
EMPTY YOUR MIND AND THINK OF NOUGHT.
What will you do to empty the mind? Thoughts are coming, you watch. And watching has to be done with a precaution: the watching must be passive, not active. These are the subtle mechanisms and you have to understand everything, otherwise you can miss anywhere. And if you miss a slight point, the whole thing changes its quality. Watch; watch passively, not actively.
What is the difference? You are waiting for your girl, or your lover -- then you watch actively. Then somebody passes by the door and you jump up to look whether she has come. Then, just leaves fluttering in the wind, and you feel maybe she has come. You go on jumping up; your mind is very eager, active. No, this will not help. If you are too eager and too active this will not bring you to Tilopa's silence or my silence. Be passive as you sit by the side of a river and the river floats by, and you simply watch. There is no eagerness, no urgency, no emergency. Nobody is forcing you. Even if you miss, there is nothing missed. You simply watch, you just look. Even the word "watch" is not good, because the very word "watch" gives a feeling of being active. You simply look, not having anything to do. You simply sit by the bank of the river, you look, and the river flows by. Or, you look in the sky and the clouds float, and passively.
This passiveness is very very essential; that is to be understood, because your obsession for activity can become eagerness, can become an active waiting. Then you miss the whole point; then the activity has entered from the back door again. Be a passive watcher.
EMPTY YOUR MIND AND THINK OF NOUGHT.
This passivity will automatically empty your mind. Ripples of activity, ripples of mind-energy, by and by, will subside, and the whole surface of your consciousness will be without any waves, without any ripples. It becomes like a silent mirror.
LIKE A HOLLOW BAMBOO REST AT EASE WITH YOUR BODY.
This is one of Tilopa's special methods. Every Master has his own special method through which he has attained, and through which he would like to help others. This is Tilopa's specialty:
LIKE A HOLLOW BAMBOO REST AT EASE WITH YOUR BODY.
A bamboo: inside completely hollow. When you rest, you just feel that you are like a bamboo: inside completely hollow and empty. And in fact this is the case: your body is just like a bamboo, and inside it is hollow. Your skin, your bones, your blood, all are part of the bamboo, and inside there is space, hollowness.
When you are sitting with a completely silent mouth, inactive, tongue touching the roof and silent, not quivering with thoughts, mind watching passively, not waiting for anything in particular, feel like a hollow bamboo -- and suddenly infinite energy starts pouring within you, you are filled with the unknown, with the mysterious, with the divine. A hollow bamboo becomes a flute and the divine starts playing it. Once you are empty then there is no barrier for the divine to enter in you.
Try this; this is one of the most beautiful meditations, the meditation of becoming a hollow bamboo. You need not do anything else. You simply become this -- and all else happens. Suddenly you feel something is descending in your hollowness. You are like a womb and a new life is entering in you, a seed is falling. And a moment comes when the bamboo completely disappears.
LIKE A HOLLOW BAMBOO REST AT EASE WITH YOUR BODY.
Rest at ease -- don't desire spiritual things, don't desire heaven, don't desire even God. God cannot be desired -- when you are desireless, he comes to you. Liberation cannot be desired because desire is the bondage. When you are desireless, you are liberated. Buddhahood cannot be desired, because desiring is the hindrance. When the barrier is not, suddenly Buddha explodes in you. You have the seed already. When you are empty, space is there -- the seed explodes.
LIKE A HOLLOW BAMBOO REST AT EASE WITH YOUR BODY. GIVING NOT NOR TAKING, PUT YOUR MIND AT REST.
There is nothing to give, there is nothing to get. Everything is absolutely okay -- as it is. There is no need for any give and take. You are absolutely perfect as you are.
This teaching of the East has been very much misunderstood in the West, because they say, "What type of teaching is this? Then people will not strive, and then they will not try to go higher. Then they will not make any effort to change their character, to transform their evil ways into good ways. Then they may become a victim of the devil." In the West, "Improve yourself" is the slogan; either in terms of this world, or in terms of the other, but improve. How to improve? How to become greater and bigger?
In the East we understand it more deeply, that this very effort to become is the barrier -- because your being you are already carrying with you. You need not become anything -- simply realize who you are, that's all. Simply realize who is hidden within you. Improving, whatsoever you improve, you will always be in anxiety and anguish because the very effort to improve is leading you on a wrong path. It makes future meaningful, a goal meaningful, ideals meaningful, and then your mind becomes a desiring.
Desiring, you miss. Let desiring subside, become a silent pool of nondesiring -- and suddenly you are surprised, unexpectedly it is there. And you will have a belly-laugh, as Bodhidharma laughed. And Bodhidharma's followers say that when you become silent again, you can hear his roaring laugh. He is still laughing. He has not stopped laughing since then. He laughed because, "What type of joke is this? You are already that which you are trying to become! How can you be successful if you are already that, and you are trying to become that? Your failure is absolutely certain. How can you become that which you are already?" So Bodhidharma laughed.
Bodhidharma was just exactly a contemporary of Tilopa. They may have known each other, maybe not physically, but they must have known each other -- the same quality of being.
GIVING NOT NOR TAKING, PUT YOUR MIND AT REST. MAHAMUDRA IS LIKE A MIND THAT CLINGS TO NOUGHT.
You have achieved if you don't cling; nothingness in your hand -- and you have achieved.
MAHAMUDRA IS LIKE A MIND THAT CLINGS TO NOUGHT. THUS PRACTICING, IN TIME YOU WILL REACH BUDDHAHOOD.
What is to be practiced then? To be more and more at ease. To be more and more here and now. To be more and more in action, and less and less in activity. To be more and more hollow, empty, passive. To be more and more a watcher -- indifferent, not expecting anything, not desiring anything. To be happy with yourself as you are. To be celebrating.
And then, ANY MOMENT, any moment, when things ripen and the right season comes, you bloom into a buddha.