Chapter 8: Please, Settle for No-self
One of the Indian mystics, Kabir, in his youth wrote a small poem, the beginning of which means, “I have been searching my self, my friend. But on the contrary, finding myself, I found no ‘myself.’ The dewdrop disappeared in the ocean, now where to find it? I am no more.”
At the time of his death he called his son, Kamal, and said to him, “Correct those lines. As I have become more intimate with reality I see that a correction is urgently needed, and I am going to die. After me nobody will have the courage to correct me.” And in fact those lines are so beautiful, there is no need to correct them.
Kamal said, “Those lines are so beautiful - the dewdrop disappearing into the ocean - what more do you want?”
Kabir said, “Change it, make it the other way around - the ocean disappearing into the dewdrop. My first experience was that the dewdrop is disappearing; my last experience is that the ocean has disappeared into me. Now I am the whole.”
What people like al-Hillaj Mansoor say - “Ana’l-Haq!” I am the truth - is not bragging, they are simply stating an ordinary fact of everybody’s life. You either know or you don’t know - it is up to you. You can delay as long as possible; you have the whole eternity to postpone. But by postponing the truth you are living in utter misery, suffering, anguish, anxiety. Your whole life is just a tragedy - tragedy upon tragedy, failure upon failure. Everybody is trying to hide his tears and failures. Your love is unfulfilled, your desire is incomplete, whatever you have longed for has disappeared as a mirage.
You know the ordinary proverb of the ancients: man proposes and God disposes. There is no God, and what purpose will be served by God disposing your desires? He will be getting mad by disposing everybody’s propositions. Everybody is proposing a thousand and one things, and God goes on disposing! He seems to be a head clerk or something, who simply disposes of files without even looking in them.
But the proverb carries meaning. God may not exist, but in the very fact of proposing you have disposed yourself. In the very fact of proposing you have asked existence to be according to you, and this vast existence cannot be according to you. If you want it to be according to you, you will have to be according to it.
Don’t try to swim upstream, just let the river take you to the ocean. Why make unnecessary effort and get tired? That is one of the essentials of Zen: no effort, total relaxation into the hands of totality; no seeking, but just looking in. Because it is already there, you don’t have to seek.
Zen will not agree with Jesus - neither do I agree. The words are very beautiful; one is tempted to agree with Jesus when he says, “Seek and ye shall find” - it is poetry - “Knock and the doors shall be opened unto you. Ask and the answer will be given to you.”