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Chapter 3: The Center and the Periphery

A few more things about the mind before we can enter Patanjali’s sutras. From one standpoint, mind is like waves - a disturbance. When the ocean is calm and quiet, undisturbed, the waves are not there. When the ocean is disturbed in a tide or strong wind and tremendous waves arise and the whole surface is just a chaos - mind from one standpoint. These are all metaphors just to help you to understand a certain quality inside which cannot be said through words. These metaphors are poetic. If you try to understand them with sympathy, you will attain to an understanding. But if you try to understand them logically, you will miss the point. They are metaphors.

Mind is a disturbance of consciousness, just like an ocean with waves is a disturbance. Something foreign has entered - the wind. Something from the outside has happened to the ocean, or to the consciousness - the thoughts, or the wind - and there is a chaos. But the chaos is always on the surface. The waves are always on the surface. There are no waves in the depth - cannot be, because in the depth the wind cannot enter. So everything is just on the surface. If you move inward, control is attained. If you move inward from the surface you go to the center; suddenly, the surface may still be disturbed, but you are not disturbed.

The whole of Yoga is nothing but centering, moving towards the center, getting rooted there, abiding there. And from there the whole perspective changes. Now the waves may still be there, but they don’t reach to you. Now you can see they don’t belong to you - just a conflict on the surface with something foreign. And from the center, when you look, by and by the conflict ceases. By and by you relax. By and by you accept that, of course, there is a strong wind and waves will arise; you are not worried, and when you are not worried even waves can be enjoyed. Nothing is wrong in them.

The problem arises because you are also on the surface. You are in a small boat on the surface and a strong wind comes and it is a tide, and the whole ocean goes mad. Of course, you are worried; you are scared to death. You are in danger. Any moment the waves can overthrow your small boat; any moment death can occur. What can you do with your small boat? How can you control? If you start fighting with the waves you will be defeated. Fight won’t help. You will have to accept the waves. In fact, if you can accept the waves and let your boat, howsoever small, move with them not against them, then there is no danger.

That is the meaning of Tilopa’s “loose and natural.” Waves are there; simply allow. You simply allow yourself to move with them, not against them. You become part of them. Then tremendous happiness happens. That is the whole art of surfing: moving with the waves - not against, with them - so much so that you are not different from them. Surfing can become a great meditation. It can give you glimpses of the inner because it is not a fight, it is a let-go. Once you know that even waves can be enjoyed. And that can be known only when you see the whole phenomenon from the center.

It is just as if you are a traveler and clouds have gathered, there is much lightning, and you have forgotten where you are moving; you have forgotten the path and you are hurrying towards home. This is what is happening on the surface: a traveler lost, many clouds, much lightning. Soon, there will be tremendous rain. Seeking home, the safety of the home - then suddenly you reach home. Now you sit inside, now you wait for the rains, now you can enjoy. Now the lightning has a beauty of its own.

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