Chapter 3: Stop Talking and Thinking
To deny the reality of things
is to miss their reality;
to assert the emptiness of things
is to miss their reality.
The more you talk and think about it,
the further astray you wander from the truth.
Stop talking and thinking,
and there is nothing you will not be able to know.
The reality is always there, waiting just near your heart, near your eyes, near your hands. You can touch it, you can feel it, you can live it - but you cannot think it. Seeing is possible, feeling is possible, touching is possible, but thinking is not possible.
Try to understand the nature of thinking. Thinking is always about, it is never direct. You can see the reality but you will have to think about it, and about is the trap, because whenever you “think about” you have moved away. “About” means indirect. “About” means you will not see this flower here and now, you will think about it, and the “about” will become a barrier. Through that “about” you will never reach to this flower.
Seeing is direct, touching is direct, thinking is indirect. That’s why thinking misses. A lover can know the reality, even a dancer can know it, a singer can feel it, but a thinker goes on missing it.
I have heard about one Jewish philosopher. He was an ordinary peasant but very philosophical. His name was Yossel. He would think about everything, as philosophers do. It was very difficult for him to do anything because thinking would take all his time, and by the time he was ready the opportunity was lost.
Once he went to the market, to a nearby village, to sell his wheat. He told his wife, “As soon as I am able to sell the wheat, I will immediately send you a telegram.”
He sold the wheat with much profit so he wrote a telegram, went to the post office, filled in the form - and then started thinking about it.
He wrote: “Wheat sold profitably. Coming tomorrow. Love and kisses, Yossel.”
Then he started thinking and he thought, “My wife will think I have gone mad. Why “profitably”? Am I going to sell my wheat at a loss?” So he crossed out the word profitably. Then he became more concerned, because if he could miss and write a wrong word he may have made other errors also. So he looked, started thinking about each word.
Then he said, “Why ‘coming tomorrow’? Am I going to come next month, or next year? My wife knows that I will come as soon as the wheat is sold.” So he crossed out the words coming tomorrow.
Then he thought, “My wife already knows that I have come to sell the wheat, so why write, ‘sold wheat’?” He crossed that out too.
And then he started laughing. He said, “I am writing to my own wife. Why should I write ‘love and kisses’? Am I writing to somebody else’s wife? And is it her birthday or Yom Kippur or something?” He crossed that out too.