Chapter 7: The Mines of Meditation
God is a faraway prospect! To attain God means that the most profound peak of existence enters within you; but then you have to create a space for him within yourself. You are so shallow that a small thing causes a storm within you. A slight movement and you tremble, a slight insult and you burn within, a little suffering and you feel all hell is let loose on you. You are affected by little, little things; there is no depth in you. Someone throws a pebble and a storm rages in you. You are not a deep ocean.
The ocean is so deep that even if the Himalayas fall into it, the waves will be blissfully oblivious of the happening. So many rivers pour into the sea, but the waters of the sea do not rise by even an inch. The ocean stays the same, whatever may happen.
You desire God. Have you ever thought what your state would be if He were suddenly to descend on you? You will be in a dilemma. Where will you seat him? How will you welcome him? You will be so shaken the only thing to do is run away from home.
You have no throne befitting him. Were it to be made of gold and precious stones perhaps you could have had one made, but you have to make a peacock throne of your own heart. You have to fashion a throne of love. You can buy gold in the market, but where can you buy love?
Were a palace required to be made, that would be easy. Then God would already have descended to some king’s palace. But you have to build a palace within, a palace of emptiness, a palace of meditation. That is a very difficult task; the journey is long.
If you take as your home the place where you find yourself, you are a worldly mortal. If you take this world as only a dharmshala where you rest for a while and then start again, then you are a sannyasin.
There is a very old Sufi story: A man went to a Sufi fakir asking the secret of attaining God. The fakir proceeded to recount the following tale:
A woodcutter went every day to the forest to cut wood. Each day he would gather wood, carry it to town and sell it. Whatever he got would be barely enough to give him a meal. Sometimes he managed to buy a little food; at other times he went to sleep hungry.
A fakir who used to stay in the same jungle watched him every day. He was filled with pity for this miserable man who barely managed to keep alive. One day he told him, “Every day for the last so many years I have been watching you. You are such a foolish fellow. Why don’t you go still further into the jungle?” The wood-cutter asked, “How will that help?” The fakir replied, “Whoever went deeper within became wealthy. Go in, and you will find mines of copper.”
The man went a little further and he found the copper mine. He began to sell copper. Once again he met the fakir who said, “Foolish fellow, go still further. There are mines of silver there.” The man went and found the silver mines. He now began to sell silver and became very rich.