Chapter 30: This Chair Is Empty
Ordinarily you will see the body. To see the nothingness within you need a deep insight. And one never knows in what condition it may happen.
You were dancing around me joyously, so deeply in the moment. With great love you were sitting in front of me, bowing down, repeating the greatest mantra there has ever been: Buddham sharanam gachchhami, “I go to the feet of the awakened one.” And thousands of people were creating a milieu around you. It was not an ordinary situation: an extraordinary device, so when you opened your eyes suddenly for a moment I was not there.
And your understanding is right, that it is just for your love that I am carrying the body. Howsoever difficult it may be, it is worth it if it can help you to realize your potential. Otherwise my body’s work is long ago finished. It should not be there.
I am trying every effort to hang on to it, because most of you are not yet ready to see me. You see only the body. The day you all will be able to see me, there will be no need for the body to be carried continuously - which is for me just a burden, just a trouble. But I will wait until enough of you are aware of my nothingness.
Remember, the moment you are aware of my nothingness, you are also experiencing nothingness in you. Only two nothingnesses can recognize each other.
Gayan, you saw the chair empty, and the experience was so strange that you forgot to look within yourself. If you had done that, you would have found that the same nothingness is there.
We are not egos. We consist of universal nothingness. And nothingness is not a negative word; it simply means absence of everything, just pure existence. Of course the pure existence cannot have a form. So if you happen to see pure existence, you will see the body disappear, the chair empty.
If it happens again, then in the same moment look within yourself, and you will find your body is also absent - you are not. And to know that one is not is the door to know that one is eternal. This is the ultimate paradox of spiritual experience.
Shakespeare is puzzled by the problem “to be or not to be,” because he is absolutely unaware that the way to be is not to be. There is no question of choice. It is not that you have to choose one. If you choose to be, you will have to choose not to be. If you are ready to disappear, evaporate, you will find your authenticity for the first time. It is certainly a paradox. No logic can explain it, but experience can make it absolutely clear.
You had felt ridiculous. You had laughed, because thousands of people are bowing down to an empty chair chanting Buddham sharanam gachchhami, and there is nobody.