Chapter 6: Effort Opens the Door
A friend asks:
Does one attain to meditation through the grace of existence?
It will be useful to understand this, because it has led to lots of misunderstandings and mistakes. Many people have thought that if meditation is attained through the grace of existence then there is no need to do anything, and so they don’t do anything. You are grievously mistaken if you mean by the grace of existence that you don’t have to do anything.
Another misunderstanding that flows from this is that the grace of existence is not equally available to everybody, that some persons receive more of it and others less. But in fact, no one is the chosen one of existence; no one is its favorite. And if even existence has its favorites, then there is no hope for justice in the world. If you mean by the grace of existence that existence is kind to some and unkind to others, then you are wholly mistaken.
But the statement that one attains to meditation through the grace of existence is quite correct in another sense. Really it is not the statement of those who have yet to attain to meditation. It is the statement of the enlightened ones - those who have attained to it. This is because when it happens, when someone arrives at it, the efforts he had made seem to be utterly irrelevant. In the context of the attainment, which is so immense, the efforts look so petty that one simply can’t say that he arrived because of them. When one arrives, he feels so overwhelmed with its immensity that he says, “How could it have happened through my efforts? What have I done to find it? What price have I paid? What had I staked on it? Did I have anything that I could have contributed? Nothing.” When the infinitely infinite bliss of existence showers on someone, he just exclaims, “It is through thy compassion, existence, it is through thy grace, that I arrive! Otherwise it was beyond me, impossibly beyond me.”
But remember that this is the statement of the blessed ones, the enlightened ones. If the unenlightened, the initiates, cling to it they will be misled forever. Efforts are essential; one must make efforts.
The happening of meditation or enlightenment, or whatever you call it, is like opening the doors of a darkened house to let in the sun. Although the sun has risen, if we keep the doors of our house shut we will always be in the dark. And if we open the doors and wait, the sun will come in on its own. No other effort is needed to bring the sun in; we can not put it, or its light, in a container and take it to our house. It comes on its own accord.