What is Meditation?
1 April 2009
What is meditation?
The first thing: meditation is not concentration. In concentration there is a self concentrating and there is an object being concentrated upon. There is duality. In meditation there is nobody inside and nothing outside. It is not concentration. There is no division between the in and the out. The in goes on flowing into the out, the out goes on flowing into the in. The demarcation, the boundary, the border, no longer exists. The in is out, the out is in; it is a nondual consciousness.
Concentration is a dual consciousness: that’s why concentration creates tiredness; that’s why when you concentrate you feel exhausted. And you cannot concentrate for twenty-four hours, you will have to take holidays to rest. Concentration can never become your nature. Meditation does not tire, meditation does not exhaust you. Meditation can become a twenty-four hour thing – day in, day out, year in, year out. It can become eternity. It is relaxation itself.
Concentration is an act, a willed act. Meditation is a state of no will, a state of inaction. It is relaxation. One has simply dropped into one’s own being, and that being is the same as the being of all. In concentration there is a plan, a projection, an idea. In concentration the mind functions out of a conclusion: you are doing something. Concentration comes out of the past.
In meditation there is no conclusion behind it. You are not doing anything in particular, you are simply being. It has no past to it, it is uncontaminated by the past. It has no future to it, it is pure of all future. It is what Lao Tzu has called wei-wu-wei, action through inaction. This is what Zen masters have been saying: Sitting silently doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself.
Remember, ‘by itself’ – nothing is being done. You are not pulling the grass upwards; the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. That state – when you allow life to go on its own way, when you don’t want to direct it, when you don’t want to give any control to it, when you are not manipulating, when you are not enforcing any discipline on it – that state of pure undisciplined spontaneity, is what meditation is.
Meditation is in the present, pure present. Meditation is immediacy. You cannot meditate, but you can be in meditation; you cannot be in concentration, but you can concentrate. Concentration is human, meditation is divine.
Concentration has a center in you; from that center it comes. Concentration has a self in you. In fact the man who concentrates very much starts gathering a very strong self. He starts becoming more and more powerful, he starts becoming more and more an integrated will. He will look more collected, more one piece.
The man of meditation does not become powerful: he becomes silent, he becomes peaceful. Power is created out of conflict; all power is out of friction. Out of friction comes electricity. You can create electricity out of water: when the river falls from a mountainside there is friction between the river and the rocks, and the friction creates energy. That’s why people who are seeking power are always fighting. Fight creates energy. It is always through friction that energy is created, power is created. The world goes into war again and again because the world is too dominated by the idea of power. You cannot be powerful without fighting.
Meditation brings peace. Peace has its own power, but that is an altogether different phenomenon. The power that is created out of friction is violent, aggressive, male. The power – I am using the word because there is no other word – the power that comes out of peace, is feminine. It has a grace to it. It is passive power, it is receptivity, it is openness. It is not out of friction; that’s why it is not violent.
Buddha is powerful, powerful in his peace, in his silence. He is as powerful as a roseflower, he’s not powerful like an atom bomb. He’s as powerful as the smile of a child… very fragile, very vulnerable; but he’s not as powerful as a sword. He is powerful, as a small earthen lamp, the small flame burning bright in the dark night. It is a totally different dimension of power. This power is what we call divine power. It is out of non-friction.
Concentration is a friction: you fight with your own mind. You try to focus the mind in a certain way, towards a certain idea, towards a certain object. You force it, you bring it back again and again. It tries to escape, it runs away, it goes astray, it starts thinking of a thousand and one things, and you bring it again and you force it. You go into a self-fight. Certainly power is created; that power is as harmful as any other power, that power is as dangerous as any other power. That power will again be used to harm somebody, because the power that comes out of friction is violence. Something out of violence is going to be violent, it is going to be destructive. The power that comes out of peace, non-friction, non-fight, non-manipulation, is the power of a roseflower, the power of a small lamp, the power of a child smiling, the power of a woman weeping, the power that is in tears and in the dewdrops. It is immense but not heavy; it is infinite but not violent.
Concentration will make you a man of will. Meditation will make you an emptiness.
That’s what Buddha is saying to Sariputra. Prajnaparamita means exactly ‘meditation, the wisdom of the beyond’.
You cannot bring it but you can be open to it. You need not do anything to bring it into the world – you cannot bring it; it is beyond you. You have to disappear for it to come. The mind has to cease for meditation to be. Concentration is mind effort; meditation is a state of no-mind. Meditation is pure awareness, meditation has no motive in it.
Meditation is the tree that grows without a seed: that is the miracle of meditation, the magic, the mystery. Concentration has a seed in it: you concentrate for a certain purpose, there is motive, it is motivated. Meditation has no motive. Then why should one meditate if there is no motive?
Meditation comes into existence only when you have looked into all motives and found them lacking, when you have gone through the whole round of motives and you have seen the falsity of it. You have seen that the motives lead nowhere, that you go on moving in circles; you remain the same. The motives go on and on leading you, driving you, almost driving you mad, creating new desires, but nothing is ever achieved. The hands remain as empty as ever. When this has been seen, when you have looked into your life and seen all your motives failing….
No motive has ever succeeded, no motive has ever brought any blessing to anybody. The motives only promise; the goods are never delivered. One motive fails and another motive comes in and promises you again… and you are deceived again. Being deceived again and again by motives, one day suddenly you become aware – suddenly you see into it, and that very seeing is the beginning of meditation.