Chapter 2: When you are Not, God is

Question 2



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The second question:

Question 2


IT APPEARS weird but it is true -- because on one level everybody is already a Zen master, on one level everybody is already a Buddha; on another level everybody is the Emperor, the ego.

There are two planes in you: the plane of the mind, and the plane of the no-mind. Or, let me say it in this way: the plane when you are on the periphery of your being and the plane when you are at the center of your being. Every circle has a center -- you may know it, you may not know it. You may not even suspect that there is a center, but there has to be. You are a periphery, you are a circle: there is a center. Without the center you cannot be; there is a nucleus of your being.

At that center you are already a Buddha, a Siddha, one who has already arrived home. On the periphery, you are in the world -- in the mind, in dreams, in desires, in anxieties, in a thousand and one games. And you are both.

So it is possible that when I am talking about Zen masters you can feel: "Yes, it is true!" Not only is it intellectually true -- you can feel it is existentially true. "Yes! This is what is happening to me also." When listening to me, there are bound to be moments when you will see that you have been for a few moments like a Buddha -- the same grace, the same awareness, the same silence; the same world of beatitudes, of blessings, of benediction.

There will be moments, glimpses of your own center. They cannot be permanent; again and again you will be thrown back to the periphery... and then it will look weird. Then you will see that "I am like the Emperor: not understanding at all; stupid, sad, frustrated; missing the meaning of life" -- because you exist on two planes: the plane of the periphery and the plane of the center.

But, by and by, the weirdness will disappear. By and by, you will become capable of moving from the periphery to the center and from the center to the periphery very smoothly -- just as you walk into your house and out of your house. You don't create any dichotomy. You don't say, "I am outside the house so how can I go inside the house?" You don't say, "I am inside the house so how can I come outside the house?" It is sunny outside, it is warm, pleasant -- you sit outside in the garden. Then it is becoming hotter and hotter, and you start perspiring. Now it is no longer pleasant -- it is becoming uncomfortable: you simply get up and move inside the house. There it is cool; there it is not uncomfortable. Now, there it is pleasant. You go on moving in and out.

In the same way a man of awareness and understanding moves from the periphery to the center, from the center to the periphery. He never gets fixated anywhere. From the marketplace to the monastery, from sansar to sannyas, from being extrovert to being introvert -- he continuously goes on moving, because these two are his wings, they are not against each other. They may be balanced in opposite directions -- they have to be; if both the wings are on one side, the bird cannot fly into the sky -- they have to be balancing, they have to be in opposite directions, but still they belong to the same bird, and they serve the same bird. Your outside and your inside are your wings.

This has to be very deeply remembered, because there is a possibility... the mind tends to fixate. There are people who are fixated in the marketplace; they say they cannot get out of it; they say they have no time for meditation; they say even if time is there they don't know how to meditate and they don't believe that they can meditate. They say they are worldly -- how can they meditate? They are materialistic -- how can they meditate? They say, "Unfortunately, we are extroverts -- how can we go in?" They have chosen only one wing. And, of course, if frustration comes out of it, it is natural. With one wing frustration is bound to come.

Then there are people who become fed up with the world and escape out of the world, go to the monasteries and the Himalayas, become sannyasins, monks: start living alone, force a life of introversion on themselves. They close their eyes, they close all their doors and windows, they become like Leibnitz' monads -- windowless -- then they are bored.

In the marketplace they were fed up, they were tired, frustrated. It was getting more like a madhouse; they could not find rest. There was too much of relationship and not enough holiday, not enough space to be themselves. They were falling into things, losing their beings. They were becoming more and more material and less and less spiritual. They were losing their direction. They were losing the very consciousness that they are. They escaped. Fed up, frustrated, they escaped.

Now they are trying to live alone -- a life of introversion. Sooner or later they get bored. Again they have chosen another wing, but again one wing. This is the way of a lopsided life. They have again fallen into the same fallacy on the opposite pole.

I am neither for this nor for that. I would like you to become so capable that you can remain in the marketplace and yet meditative. I would like you to relate with people, to love, to move in millions of relationships -- because they enrich -- and yet remain capable of closing your doors and sometimes having a holiday from all relationship... so that you can relate with your own being also.

Relate with others, but relate with yourself also. Love others, but love yourself also. Go out! -- the world is beautiful, adventurous; it is a challenge, it enriches. Don't lose that opportunity! Whenever the world knocks at your door and calls you, go out! Go out fearlessly -- there is nothing to lose, there is everything to gain.

But don't get lost. Don't go on and on and get lost. Sometimes come back home. Sometimes forget the world -- those are the moments for meditation. Each day, if you want to become balanced, you should balance the outer and the inner. They should carry the same weight, so that inside you never become lopsided.

This is the meaning when Zen masters say: "Walk in the river, but don't allow the water to touch your feet." Be in the world, but don't be of the world. Be in the world, but don't allow the world to be in you. When you come home, you come home -- as if the whole world has disappeared.

Hotei, a Zen master, was passing through a village He was one of the most beautiful persons who have ever walked on earth. He was known to people as 'The Laughing Buddha' -- he used to laugh continuously. But sometimes he would sit under a tree -- in this village he was sitting under a tree, with closed eyes; not laughing, not even smiling; completely calm and collected.

Somebody asked: "You are not laughing, Hotei?"

He opened his eyes and he said, "I am preparing."

The questioner could not understand. He said, "What do you mean by 'preparing'?"

He said, "I have to prepare myself for laughter. I have to give myself rest. I have to go in. I have to forget the whole world so that I can come again rejuvenated and I can again laugh."

If you really want to laugh you will have to learn how to weep. If you cannot weep and if you are not capable of tears, you will become incapable of laughter. A man of laughter is also a man of tears -- then a man is balanced. A man of bliss is also a man of silence. A man who is ecstatic is also a man who is centered. They both go together. And out of this togetherness of polarities a balanced being is born. And that is what the goal is.

So sometimes when I am talking about Buddhas, you may have glimpses, you may start flying into the inner world. And you will see, yes! -- you know what it is. It simply fits with you in some moments. You can become a witness to it. But in some other moments it is weird. You don't know what a Buddha is. You have lost contact with your own inner center; now you are on the periphery. You can understand a Machiavelli, but now you cannot understand a Buddha. You are both!

And I am not in any way suggesting that you choose one. I would like you to remain in the world and also to have a few holidays for yourself. Even God had to rest on the seventh day. In six days He created the world, and then the seventh day He rested -- even God! Some theologians have reached to the conclusion that He must have been a Jew, because nobody else can work six days a week. He worked for six days continuously.

If you ask Hindus, they have a better conception of God and His creativity. I also think that this concept of working six days and resting the seventh is a Jewish concept -- the businessman's concept. Even on the seventh day, it seems, very reluctantly He would have allowed Himself a little space. Hindus have a totally different attitude. They say: God's world, His creation, is not like a profession, not like business -- God's creation is like play. So each moment is both: work and worship, work and rest. That is the difference between work and play. Hindus call it leela -- God's play. It means He is resting and at the same time He is doing.

That is the difference between a profession and a vocation. A profession is work -- you get tired, then you need rest. A vocation is a play -- while you are working you are also resting, your very work is your rest. In a profession, vacation is needed separately. In a vocation, vacation is implied in it -- vocation is at the same time vacation also.

So Hindus don't have any concept that God created the world in six days and then rested. No, He has never rested -- in that way. And, in that way, He has never created the world -- He is still creating! And His very creativity is His rest.

Have you watched a businessman? Six days he works in the marketplace; the seventh day he comes home and starts painting. Now he says this is rest. Painting is his love, his play; it gives rest. Or he comes home and starts playing a flute. Six days he has been working and now he is again working, but this is no longer work -- it is play.

God is playing. And a real man of understanding becomes godly -- godly in the sense that he is in the world and yet he remains out of it; on the periphery and yet he remains mindful of his center. Doing a thousand and one things, yet he remains a non-doer. In tremendous activities, but he is never lost. His inner light burns bright.


Next: Chapter 2: When you are Not, God is, Question 3


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