Chapter 45: A Peak unto Yourself
“Now, even if you go to the marketplace you will still remain aloof, you will still remain alone, because once a person has tasted the wine of aloneness he cannot be lost. That taste is so sweet, so transcendental, that everything in the world becomes almost illusory in comparison to it, a hallucination. But the masses cannot understand it.”
Without being aloof, and without being drunk with your own aloneness, there is no beginning - beginning of the great pilgrimage that will bring you to yourself.
And you have said, “He holds council with the trees of the forest, but not with men.” It has been observed for thousands of years that mystics feel closer to the trees, closer to the mountains, closer to the rivers, even closer to the animals than to man, because man is the only sick animal on the earth. His psychology is beclouded, his mind carries junk, his senses are dull. If you say something he hears, but he does not listen.
In the dictionaries both words mean the same thing, but not in existence. Hearing is a simple phenomenon - just because you have ears you hear. Listening is a profound change. When you hear without any thoughts in your mind, in utter silence, then hearing becomes listening; otherwise whatever is said to you, you hear, but your thoughts get mixed with it. They interpret it according to their own conditioning.
One night it happened. Gautam Buddha had told his disciples that the last thing and the first thing in the morning had to be meditation. Begin the day with meditation. As the sun rises, rise to the heights of meditation, of silence; and as the sun sets, go deep into meditation in your own inner depths where even sun rays cannot reach. This way you will know your heights and your depths. A man who knows his heights and his depths becomes complete.
This was a routine thing, so Buddha did not need to repeat it every day. He simply used to say, when he gave his evening sermon and the sun was setting and darkness was descending. Rather than saying go and meditate, he would say, “Now is the time to do the last thing before you go to sleep - disperse.”
One night a thief was in the congregation, and a prostitute. They all heard the same words: “Now the darkness is descending, go and do the last thing before you go to sleep.” All the sannyasins went to meditate, and the prostitute suddenly remembered that this man is certainly a magician, “How has he discovered my profession? - ‘the darkness is descending; go now, do the last thing before you go to sleep.’”
And the thief said, “My God! I was thinking that nobody knows me here, and this man” - there were almost ten thousand sannyasins, and the thief was hiding in the crowd - “how has he managed to know about me? It is true; darkness is descending and this is the time of my profession. I should do it first, before I go to sleep.”