Chapter 11: The Discipline of Witnessing
So don’t form any idea, concept, sketch or conviction about truth. The belief you form will become an experience. But that experience is not real, only mental. These experiences are not spiritual. All beliefs taught in your ignorance to discover truth are false. Don’t think about what truth is and what it is like. All such thinking is blind. It is like a blind man trying to imagine light. Poor thing - how can he conceive what light is! Without eyesight, thinking about light is not possible. Whatever such a person may think will be fundamentally wrong. He cannot even imagine darkness accurately, let alone light. One needs eyes to see darkness as well.
What shall a man without eyesight do then? I would say to him, “Don’t think about light. Treat your eyes.” It isn’t thinking but treatment that can be helpful and meaningful. But what do I see? I see him being given sermons, I see the philosophy about light being explained to him. But nobody bothers about treating his eyes.
And what is more surprising is that those who are sermonizing on the subject of light have not seen the light themselves! They too know about the existence of light, but they have not known light. I say this because if they had known light they would have realized the futility of all sermons and would have focused their concern and sympathy on the treatment for blindness. If the eyesight is cured, light is experienced automatically. Light is ever-present, what is required is eyesight. If there is no sight, the presence of light turns into absence.
Sight and light are words that can lead in very different directions. Thinking about light leads to philosophy. It is the dimension of mere thinking. It does not lead to experience; it is mere thinking. There is a lot of walking in it but one reaches nowhere. There are many conclusions but never the ultimate conclusion that brings the solution in life. This is only natural. Even the most perfect thinking process about water cannot quench one’s smallest thirst. The path to quench one’s thirst is quite different. It is having a discipline for eyesight, not thinking about light. I have said that thinking about light is philosophy and now I want to say that having a discipline for eyesight is religion. By thinking you can attain intellectual conclusions, while through meditation you attain spiritual experience. One is like thinking about water; the other, like quenching one’s thirst. One is still part of the problem; the other is the solution.
I ask everyone this question: Do you want to know light or to know about light? Do you want to know truth or do you want to know about truth? Do you want to know about water or do you want to quench your thirst? Your answer to these questions will decide whether you are thirsty for knowing or for collecting information.
And keep in your remembrance that these two are opposite directions. One leads to ego-dissolution; the other to ego-enhancement. One makes you innocent while the other makes you complicated. True knowledge destroys the ego whereas information pumps it up and inflates it all the more. All collecting, all acquiring fills the ego, and for this reason the ego desires it, lusts after it.
Thoughts are also a subtle form of acquisition, a food for the ego. The conceit you find among scholars is not without reason, nor is it accidental. It is the natural outcome of thought accumulation.