Chapter 49: Conscious Doing
Buddha is reported to have laughed and said to the man, “You cannot do anything because you are not. How can you do anything when you are not? So don’t think of the world. Don’t think of how to serve the world, how to help others.” Buddha said, “First be - and if you are, then whatsoever you do becomes a service, it becomes a prayer, it becomes compassion. Your presence is the turning point. Your being is the revolution.”
So these are the two paths: the path of action and the path of meditation. They are diametrically opposite. The path of action is basically concerned with you as a doer. It will try to change your actions; it will try to change your character, your morals, your relationships, but never you. The path of meditation is diametrically opposite. It is not concerned with your actions; it is directly and immediately concerned with you. What you do is irrelevant. What you are is relevant. And that is basic and primary, because all action springs from you.
Remember, your actions can be changed and modified, can even be replaced by diametrically opposite actions, but they are not going to change you. Any outward change will not bring the inner revolution, because the outward is superficial and the innermost core remains untouched; by what you do it remains untouched. But the vice versa brings the revolution: if the innermost core is different, the surface automatically changes. So think a basic question; only then can we enter these techniques of meditation.
Don’t be concerned with what you are doing. That may be a trick, that maya be a device to escape from the real problem. For example, you are violent. You can make every effort to be non-violent, thinking that by being non-violent you will become religious; by becoming non-violent you will come closer to the divine. You are cruel, and you may make every effort to be compassionate.
You can do it, and nothing will change and you will remain the same. Your cruelty will become a part of your compassion - and that is more dangerous. Your violence will become a part of your non-violence - that is more subtle. You will be violently non-violent. Your non-violence will have all the madness of violence, and through your compassion you will be cruel.
You can even kill through your compassion; people have killed. There are so many religious wars - they are fought in the mood of compassion. You can kill very compassionately, very non-violently; lovingly you can kill and murder, because you are killing for the sake of the person you are killing. You are killing him for himself, for his own sake, to help him.
You can change your actions, and this effort to change the actions may be just a device to escape the basic change. The basic change is this - first you must be. You must become more alert, more conscious of your being, only then a presence comes to you.
You never feel yourself, and even sometimes when you feel, you feel through others - through excitement, through stimulation, through reaction. Someone else is needed, and via someone else you can feel yourself. This is absurd. Alone, without excitement, with no one there to become a mirror, you fall in sleep, you get bored. You never feel yourself. There is no presence. You live absently.