Chapter 12: Laughter Is the Highest Spiritual Quality
I have just read an article by Stephen Jay Gould, a warm, amusing, open-minded scientist whose field is biology, and particularly evolution. It seems probable that about five to eight million years ago the chimp-human ancestral line split into what was to become modern chimp and modern man. Homo erectus appeared about a million or so years ago.
The interest in all this is that if true, it means that man learned to stand up very fast in evolutionary terms - over only about a million years. Elsewhere, in trying to explain missing fossils it has been suggested that evolution is not necessarily slow, but may occur in sudden leaps.
When I think of an imaginary conversation between pre-chimp and pre-human, as they parted company so long ago, I think of you talking to mankind.
Are we living through an equally momentous point in evolution, where you, as the first of Homo Novus point to a beautiful vision which is as far removed from Homo Sapiens as he, in turn, is from the chimpanzee? Might the jump into enlightenment as a quantum leap in consciousness have any natural equivalent in evolutionary jumps in the physical world?
The quantum leap is the latest discovery in modern physics. Up to now evolution was always thought of as a slow process. Hence it was always contrasted with revolution. Revolution was fast, quick; evolution was very slow.
But a quantum leap cannot even be called fast. It is instantaneous: from one point, from one stage, you disappear, and you appear at a higher, at a different point, at a different stage.
It was very puzzling in the beginning because no such thing had ever been conceived of. But slowly, slowly physics has settled with it, that it is a reality. Electrons disappear from one point and appear at another point and between the two there is no time gap. Here it disappears, there it appears; the distance is covered but time is not taken in covering the distance.
In physics it has now become accepted; in metaphysics, as far as human consciousness is concerned, it can be even quicker, because if matter can take such jumps that it moves almost beyond imagination, beyond the speed of time, in consciousness many more miracles are possible, because of course consciousness is the highest flowering of existence. It seems that the whole existence has been working to reach to the stage of a Gautam Buddha. Gautam Buddha followed slowly the path of evolution, because that was the only possibility in those days.
After twenty-five centuries, it is possible to declare that quantum leaps are available, for those who have the courage, in the field of consciousness too. Particularly in consciousness, time has no reference, no relevance - consciousness in non-temporal.
One can move from sleep to awakening instantly - or do you think it takes a long slow process - that first one is partly awake, then a little more awake, and by the evening one is fully awake? And then the second process starts - you start partly asleep, then more, then more, then by midnight you are fast asleep?
We know that it happens to everybody that you wake up instantly. Any device may do - just an alarm clock, which has nothing to do with you. The alarm clock is not even aware of you, is not concerned with you - it may be enough to change you from deep sleep into a quick awakening. The same is possible as far as spiritual sleep is concerned. It is only a question of finding a device. The problem is a little complicated, because an alarm clock will do for everybody, but spiritual devices are meant for unique individuals. One device will not work for all, because people are so different, so unique. Nature does not produce carbon copies, everybody is original. Hence he needs an original device.
In the past, one hundred and twelve methods have been found for meditation - those are the devices. The undercurrent is the same, just the devices are a little different from each other, because individuals are different from each other.