Chapter 71: Forget the Periphery
In any position gradually pervade an area between the armpits into great peace.
Feel yourself as pervading all directions, far, near.
Life without is a cyclone - a constant conflict, turmoil, struggle. But it is only so on the surface - just as on the surface of the ocean are waves, maddening noise, constant struggle. But this is not all of life. Deep down there is also a center - soundless, silent, no conflict, no struggle. In the center, life is a noiseless flow, relaxed, a river moving with no struggle, with no fight, no violence Towards that inner center is the search. You can get identified with the surface, with the outer. Then anxiety and anguish follows. This is what has happened to everyone: we are identified with the surface and with the struggle that goes on there.
The surface is bound to be disturbed, nothing is wrong in it. And if you can be rooted in the center, the disturbance on the surface will become beautiful it will have a beauty of its own. If you can be silent within, then all the sounds without become musical. Then nothing is wrong; it becomes a play. But if you don’t know the inner core, the silent center, if you are totally identified with the surface, you will go mad. And everyone is almost mad.
All religious techniques, techniques of yoga, meditation, Zen, are basically to help you to be again in contact with the center; to move within; to forget the periphery; to leave the periphery for a time being and to relax into your own being so deeply that the outer disappears completely and only the inner remains. Once you know how to move backwards, how to step down into yourself, it is not difficult. It becomes as easy as anything. But if you don’t know, if you know only the mind clinging to the surface, it is very difficult. Relaxing into one’s self is not difficult: non-clinging to the surface is.
I have heard a Sufi story. Once it happened that a Sufi fakir was traveling. It was a dark night and he lost his way. It was so dark he couldn’t even see where he was moving - then suddenly he fell into an abyss. He was terrified. He didn’t know what was down there in the darkness or how deep the abyss was. So he caught hold of a branch and started praying. The night was cold. He cried but there was no one to listen, only his own voice echoed back. And the night was so cold that his hands were becoming frozen and he knew that sooner or later he would have to leave the branch - it was going to be difficult to keep on holding it. His hands were getting so frozen that they were already slipping from the branch. Death was absolutely near. Any moment he would fall and die. And then the last moment came. You can understand how terrified he was. Dying moment by moment, then the last moment came and he saw the branch slipping out of his hand. And his hands were so frozen that there was no way to hold on, so he had to fall.