Chapter 2: Meditation: A Jumping Board to Your Being
Many religious people brag about it: “Look, he is such a great scientist, a Nobel prize-winner,” and this and that, “and yet he comes to church every day.” They forget completely that it is not the Nobel prize-winning scientist who comes to the church. It is not the scientist who comes to the church, it is the man without his scientific part who comes to the church. And that man, except for the scientific part, is far more gullible than anybody else - because everybody is open, available, thinks about things; compares, what religion is good; sometimes reads also about other religions, and has some common sense, which scientists don’t have.
To be a scientist you have to sacrifice a few things - for example, common sense. Common sense is a common quality of common people. A scientist is an uncommon person, he has an uncommon sense. With common sense you cannot discover the theory of relativity or the law of gravitation. With common sense you can do everything else.
For example, Albert Einstein was perhaps the only man in history who dealt with such big figures that only one figure would take up the whole page - hundreds of zeros following it. But he became so involved with big figures - which is uncommon, but he was thinking only of stars, light-years, millions, billions, trillions of stars, and counting them - that about small things he became oblivious.
One day he entered a bus and gave the conductor the money. The conductor returned some change; Einstein counted it and said, “This is not right, you are cheating me. Give me the full change.”
The conductor took the change, counted it again and said, “Mister, it seems you don’t know figures.”
Einstein remembers: “When he said to me, ‘Mister, you don’t know figures,’ then I simply took the change. I said to myself, ‘It is better to keep silent. If somebody else hears that I don’t know figures, and that too from a conductor of a bus..’ What have I been doing my whole life? Figures and figures - I don’t dream about anything else. No women appear, no men appear - only figures. I think in figures, I dream in figures, and this idiot says to me, ‘You don’t know figures.’”
When he came back home, he told his wife, “Just count this change. How much is it?” She counted it and said, “It is the right change.”
He said, “My God!. This means the conductor was right: perhaps I don’t know figures. Perhaps I can only deal with immense figures; small figures have fallen out of my mind completely.”
A scientist is bound to lose his common sense. The same happens to the philosopher. Contemplation is wider, but still confined to a certain subject. For example, one night Socrates was thinking about something - one never knows what he was thinking about - standing by the side of a tree, and he became so absorbed in his contemplation that he became completely oblivious that snow was falling; and in the morning he was found almost frozen. Up to his knees there was snow, and he was standing there with closed eyes. He was almost on the verge of death; even his blood might have started freezing.
He was brought home; a massage was given to him, alcohol was given to him, and somehow he was brought to his common senses. They asked him, “What were you doing there, standing outside in the open?”