Introduction to Meditation Techniques No. 33, 34, 35 & 36

33. Simply by looking into the blue sky beyond clouds, the serenity.

34. Listen while the ultimate mystical teaching is imparted. eyes still, without blinking, at once become absolutely free.

35. At the edge of a deep well look steadily into its depths until — the wondrousness.

36. Look upon some object, then slowly withdraw your sight from it, then slowly withdraw your thought from it. then.

We live on the surface of ourselves — just at the fringe, the boundary. The senses are just on the boundary and your consciousness is way deep down at the center. We live in the senses; that is natural. But that is not the ultimate flowering, it is just the beginning. And when we are living in the senses, we are basically concerned with objects, because senses are irrelevant unless there is concern with some object of enjoyment. For example, eyes are useless unless there is something to be seen, ears are useless unless there is something to be heard, and hands are useless unless there is something to be touched.

We live in the senses; therefore, we have to live in objects. The senses are just on the boundary of the being, in the body, and objects are not even on the boundary: they are beyond the boundary. So three points have to be understood before we enter the techniques.

First, the consciousness is at the center. Second, the senses through which the consciousness moves out are at the boundary. And third, the objects in the world to which the consciousness moves, through the senses, are beyond the boundary. These three things have to be remembered: consciousness at the center, senses at the boundary and objects beyond the boundary. Try to understand it clearly, because then the techniques will be very simple.

Look at it from many directions. One: senses are just in between, just in the middle. At one side is consciousness, at another side is the world of objects. Senses are just in the middle — between the two. From the senses you can move either way: either you can go to the objects or you can go to the center. Either way the distance is the same. From the senses, doors open both ways — move to the objects or move to the center.

You are at the senses. That is why one of the most famous Zen Masters, Bokuju, has said that NIRVANA and the world are the same distance away. So do not think that the nirvana is very far away. The world and the nirvana, this world and that other world, are both at the same distance.

This saying has created much confusion because we feel that nirvana is very, very far away – that Moksha, liberation, the kingdom of God, is very, very far away. We feel that the world is just near, just here. But Bokuju says, and he says rightly, that both are at the same distance.

The world is here, and nirvana is also here. The world is near, and nirvana is also near, For nirvana you have to move inwards, for the objects you have to move outwards; the distance is the same. From my eyes, my center is just as near as you are near me. I can see you if I move outward, I can see myself if I move inward. And we are at the doors of the senses, but naturally, the bodily needs are such that consciousness moves outwards. You need food, you need water to drink, you need a house where to live. These are your bodily needs and these can only be found in the world, so quite naturally, consciousness moves through the senses toward the world. Unless you create a need which can only be fulfilled when you move inward, you will never move inward.

For example, if a child were born self-sufficient, if he didn’t need any food, he would not look at his mother at all. The mother would become irrelevant, meaningless, because for the child the mother is not the meaning: food is the meaning. The mother is his first food, and because the mother gives him food and satisfies a basic need, without which he will die, he starts loving the mother. That love comes secondly, as a shadow, because the mother is fulfilling a basic need.

So those mothers who are feeding their children through bottles should not expect much love because for the child food is the need, not the mother. The mother will come into his being, enter into his being only through food. That is why food and love are deeply related-very, very deeply related. If your love need is fulfilled, you will need less food. If your love need is not fulfilled, you will need more food. So those who love and who are loved will not gather much fat. There are other reasons also, but this is one of the most basic. They will not eat much. If love is not fulfilled, then food becomes a substitute. Then they will eat much.

For the child, food is the basic need. But if a child should be born who can be self-sufficient, who does not need any food, who does not need any outward help to be alive, he will not move in the world at all. Do you think he will move? There would be no need. And unless a need is there, the energy will never move. We move outwardly not because we are sinners. We move outwardly because we have needs which can be fulfilled only through objects-which can be gained if we move in the world of objects.

Why do you not move inward? Because you have not yet created the need to move inward. Once the need is there, it is as easy to move inward as to move outward. What is that need? That need is concerned with religion. You cannot be religious unless that need is there. How is that need created? By what process does one become aware of a deep need which helps you move inward?

Three things are to be remembered. Firstly, death. Remember, all life-needs force you to move outward. If you want to move inward, death must become a basic concern; otherwise you cannot move inward. That is why it happened that persons like Buddha, who became deeply conscious of death, started moving inward. Only when you become aware of death will you create the need to look back.

Life looks outward. Unless you become aware of death, religion is meaningless for you. That is why animals have no religion. They are alive, they are as much alive as man, or even more, but they cannot be conscious of death, they cannot conceive of death, they cannot see death in the future. They see that others are dying, but it never occurs to the animal mind that this death is an indication of his death also.

For the animal mind death always occurs to others. And if for you also death is just something which happens to others, you still live in the animal mind. If you are not aware of death, you have not yet become man. That is the basic difference between animal and man-because animal cannot be aware of death, only man can be. If you are not aware of death you are not a man yet, and only man creates the need to move inward.

To me, man means awareness of death. I am not saying become afraid of death; that is not awareness. Just be aware of the fact that death is coming nearer and nearer and you have to be prepared for it.

Life has its own needs; death creates its own needs. That is why younger societies are irreligious — because younger societies are not yet aware of the phenomenon of death; it has not become a central concern for them. An older society — for example, India, one of the oldest societies in existence — is so much aware of death. Because of that awareness, deep down India is religious. So the first thing: become aware of death. Think about it, look at it, contemplate it. Do not be afraid, do not escape the fact. It is there and you cannot escape it! It has come into existence with you.

Your death is born with you; now you cannot escape it. You have hidden it in yourself — become aware of it. The moment you become aware that you are going to die, that death is certain, your total mind will start looking in a different dimension. Then food is a basic need for the body, but not for the being, because even if you get food death will occur. Food cannot protect you from death, food can only postpone. Food can help you to postpone. If you get a good shelter, a good house, it will not protect you from death. it will only help you to die conveniently, comfortably. And death, whether it happens comfortably or uncomfortably, is the same.

In life you may be poor or rich, but death is the great equalizer. The greatest communism is in death. Howsoever you live, it makes no difference; death happens equally. In life, equality is impossible; in death, inequality is impossible. Become aware of it, contemplate it. And it is not only that death is certain somewhere in the future: with the idea that it is very far away, you will again not be able to contemplate it. The mind has a very small range; the focus of the mind is very small. You cannot think beyond thirty years. After thirty years there will be death… it is as if you are not going to die. Thirty years is so long, the distance is so much, it is as if death is not going to occur.

If you want to contemplate death, know another fact about it: it can occur the next moment; it is possible the very next moment. You may not be able to hear my whole sentence, I may not be able to complete it. My mother’s father used to tell me that when I was born he consulted one astrologer, one of the best known astrologers of those days. The astrologer was to make my KUNDALI — birth chart. But the astrologer studied it and he said, “If this child survives after seven years, only then will I make the chart. It seems impossible that he can survive for more than seven years, so it is useless. If the child is going to die in seven years it is useless to make the kundali; it will be of no use. And it has been my habit,” the astrologer said, “that unless I am certain that the kundali will be useful I never make it.” So he didn’t make it.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, I survived. Then my mother’s father went to the astrologer, but he was dead, so he never could make my kundali. He was dead, and I have been constantly wondering about this. He was aware of the fact that this child may die, but he was not aware of the fact that he may die. He was not aware! It seems that he was absolutely unconcerned — and he was no ordinary man. But no one is concerned with his own death. Knowingly, cunningly, we are not concerned with it because it creates a fear. So I have always suspected that that astrologer might have never looked at his own kundali; otherwise he would have become aware.

Death is possible the very next moment, but the mind will not believe it. I say it and your mind will say, “No! How is it possible the next moment? It is far away.” But that is a trick. If you postpone, you cannot contemplate. It must be so near that you can focus on it. And when I say that the next moment it is possible, I mean it. It can happen, and whenever it will happen it will be the next moment. Just before it, you could not have conceived that it was going to happen.

A person is dying: just a moment before he could never have thought that death is so near. It always happens in the next moment — remember. It has always happened that way, and this will be the way always. It always happens in the next moment. Bring it near so that you can focus on it, and that very focusing will help you to enter in, a new need will be created.

Secondly, you go on living. You go on creating artificial meanings and purposes for this very moment. You never think of your life as a whole, whether it has any meaning or not. You go on creating new meanings, and you push yourself on with those meanings. That is why a poor man lives a more meaningful life than a rich man — because a poor man has many things to get, and that gives a meaning to his life. If you are really rich, it means you have everything that is possible and this world cannot offer anything to you. Then your life becomes meaningless. Now you cannot create any meaning for this moment, for this day, to help you live. That is why the richer a society, the more affluent a culture, the more meaninglessness is felt. Poorer societies never feel meaninglessness.

A poor man is concerned with having a house. For years together he will work for it. His life has a meaning; something has to be achieved. And when he gets the house he will be happy for a few days at least, but then bigger houses are there… So he will go on moving, doing this and that, never thinking about his life as a whole, whether it has any meaning or not. He never takes life as a whole.

Just imagine that you have everything — the house, the car that you long for, and all your dreams are fulfilled. So now what? Just imagine that whatsoever you need is there, you have it. Now what? Suddenly meaning disappears. You are standing on an abyss; nothing can be done. You become meaningless. You are already meaningless, just not aware. Even if you get the whole world, then what? What is fulfilled?

Alexander was coming to India, and he met a great saint, Diogenes. Diogenes was one of the most penetrating minds ever born. He lived naked like Mahavir; he is the Mahavir of Greek civilization and culture. He left everything, renounced everything, not because through renouncing things he was going to get anything — that is not real renouncing, not authentic renunciation. If you renounce something to get something, that is a bargain. If you think that you are going to have some reservation in heaven and that is why you renounce, it is not renunciation. If you renounce the bodily pleasures to have spiritual pleasures, this is not renunciation.

Diogenes renounced everything, not because out of it he was going to get something. He renounced just to see if when he has nothing, whether there is any meaning or not. He thought that if one possesses nothing, if even then one has a meaning, a purpose, a destiny, then death cannot annihilate anything, because death can annihilate only a possessions and the body is also possession. He left everything. He had only one thing: a wooden bowl out of which to drink water. He thought, “This is not much of a possession.” Then one day he saw a child drinking water with his hands. He immediately threw away the bowl. He said, “If a child can drink water with his hands, am I more weak than a child?”

When Alexander was coming to India to conquer, to make a world empire, somebody informed him that just on the way, where he would be stopping, there lived a great sage who was just the opposite of him. He was told, “You are going to make a world empire, and he has even thrown away his bowl because he says that as he is happy without it, why carry this burden? And you say that unless the whole world becomes your empire, you cannot be happy. So he is just at the opposite pole, and it would be good if you meet him.”

Alexander was fascinated. It happens that the opposite always fascinates. The opposite always fascinates; it has a deep sexual attraction. Just a man is attracted to woman or woman is attracted to man, there is the same attraction with the opposite. Alexander could not by-pass Diogenes, but it was not good for him to go to Diogenes, and it was impossible that Diogenes would come to him — there was no solution.

Diogenes was informed. Many, many messengers came to inform him that “The Great Alexander is passing this way. It would be good if you meet him.” He said, “The Great Alexander? Who has said this to you! I think he himself has. So tell your Great Alexander that he has nothing to give to me, and there is no need for him to meet me — and I am a very small man.” He used to say, “Really, I am a dog, not a man at all — just a dog, so there is no need. It is below his dignity to meet this dog.”

Then Alexander had to come. Diogenes is reported to have said, “I hear you are going to win the whole world, so I thought, I closed my eyes and thought, ‘Okay! If I have won the whole world, then what?’ This has been my problem constantly: if I have won the whole world, then what?” It is reported that Alexander, after hearing this, became very sad. “Then what?” he said to Diogenes. “Do not talk such things. You make me very sad.”

Diogenes said, “But you will become very sad when you win the whole world. What can I do? I am just imagining, and I have come to conclude that this is useless. You are making a suicidal effort. You yourself are trying to win the whole world — so then what? If you succeed, then what? ”

Alexander returned from Diogenes very disturbed, upset, sad. He said to his companions, “This man is very dangerous. He has shattered my dreams.” And he could never forget, could never forgive Diogenes. The day he died, he remembered him again, and he said, “It may be that that fellow was right: then what ?”

So the next thing is to remember always that whatsoever you are doing, whatsoever you are achieving, remember to ask, “If I succeed, then what?” Is there any meaning in it all, or is there just some artificial meaning given by you only to divide, to create an illusion around you so that you feel you are doing something worthwhile — and all the time you are really wasting life and energy, not doing anything worthwhile! There is only one thing worthwhile: if you can become happy without anything, without any dependence: if you can be blissful alone, totally alone. If nothing is needed for your bliss, only then can you be blissful; otherwise you will be in misery, always in misery.

Dependence is misery, and those who depend on possessions, those who depend on accumulated knowledge, those who depend on this or that, they are helping their own misery to become accumulated more and more. So the next point to remember is to ask whether you have any meaning, or whether you are just floating along without any meaning. Are you just making believe that this or that is the meaning of your existence?

One man used to come to me. He used to say that if his son gets into college, that would be all and he would be very happy. He was a poor man, a very ordinary clerk, and that was the only dream, that his son would get into college. Then the son got into college. Now the son has become a forest official. A few months back the son was here and he told me, “I am getting only six hundred rupees per month. I have two children and this is my only dream, that they can get a good education; that is all. I am working hard. If they can be well educated and if I can send one of my children to some foreign country to study, that is all I ask.”

His father is no more; he has died. This was his meaning in life, his purpose — to make his boy educated and well placed. Now the boy is well placed, and now the boy has the same purpose, to help his children become educated and well placed. And he will die, and those children will go on doing the same nonsense.

What is the meaning of all this? What are you doing? Just passing time? Just destroying life? Or have you got some authentic meaning which you can say makes you happy, blissful? This is the second consideration which will turn you inward.

And thirdly, man goes on forgetting. You go on forgetting things. You were angry yesterday, and you repented it. Now you have forgotten, and if the same stimulus is given again, you will be angry again. This has been so for your whole life: you go on repeating the same things.

It is said that it is very extraordinary to find a man who learns through life — very rare. Really, no one learns. If you learn, then you cannot commit the same mistake twice. But you go on committing the same thing again and again. Rather, the more you commit, the more you become prone to commit it. You are angry again and again, and again and again you repent it, and you have not learned anything. Given the stimulus, you will be angry, and you will do the same madness, and then you will repent again — that is also part of it. And then you will again be ready to be stimulated and to be angry.

The third thing: if you want to turn in, learn! Whatsoever you are doing, learn through it. Take the essential out of it. Look back at what have you been doing with your life and your energy and your time. The same mistakes, the same foolishnesses, the same stupidities, again and again.

So you move in a wheel. However, it is not good to say that you move the wheel: rather, the wheel moves you. Mechanically, you go on and on and on. That is why in India we have called the world SANSAR. SANSAR means the wheel which goes on, and you are just clinging to some spoke on it and you go on moving.

Unless you learn something about this wheel, this vicious circle, this sansar, unless you learn something about it, you will not leave the spoke and jump out of it. So three words, three key words:

Death: make it a constant contemplation.

Meaning: go on searching for it in your life.

And learn: learn through your life, because there is no other learning. Scriptures won’t give you anything.

If your own life cannot give you something, nothing can give it to you. Learn through your own life, conclude through it. What have you been doing with yourself? If you are in a wheel, jump out of it. But to know that you are in a wheel, you will have to go deep into understanding and learning. These three things will help you to turn in.

Next hand   Meditation Technique No. 33

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