Chapter 4: Stop and See
Fresh water springs, natural sources of water, lie buried under layers of rock deep beneath the earth. As soon as these rocks are removed, the stream of water rushes out. I see layers of thought burying the sources of knowing. As soon as these thoughts are removed, we have a limitless stream of consciousness. Dig a well within yourselves. Remove the layers of thought with the tool of meditation. Make thoughts lifeless, make them rootless through right-mindfulness and alert awareness. What you will know then is knowing. In that pure flame of consciousness where there are no thoughts, is knowing.
I do not ask you to go into solitude. I ask you to create solitude within yourself. A change of place won’t help, a change of your inner state is necessary. It is not the situation but the state of your mind that is the central and important point. You may go to a solitary place, but if there is no solitude within you, you will be surrounded by the crowd even there, for the crowd will be there inside you.
My friends, the crowd is not outside, it is within you. You are surrounded by the crowd within, so how will running away from the crowd outside help? The crowd that is with you now will go with you into your solitude. Running away from the crowd is useless. To disperse the crowd from within is the only meaningful thing. So, don’t search for solitude outside, become a solitude. Don’t go to a solitary place, create a solitary space within. The moment you experience yourself within, in your absolute aloneness, you will know that there has been no world, there never has been a world outside, it was all inside you. Seen out of peace, emptiness and solitude, this world turns into the divine. You find that you, yourself are all that which was surrounding you. You turn into all. It must have been in such a moment that someone exclaimed, “Aham brahmasmi” - I am God, I am the ultimate reality.
The dust of the ages lies heaped on our minds. Traditions, conventions and superstitions have covered us. Just as a deserted house is covered with spiders’ webs and inhabited by the birds of darkness, in the same way we are full of thoughts borrowed from others. And these borrowed thoughts about truth and about God are great obstacles. They keep us from knowing the truth ourselves. So the stirrings of the search for the self that can awaken our sleeping consciousness never even start in us.
Before one can know truth for oneself, it is necessary to rid oneself of the knowledge borrowed from others. Brush off all this information taken from others, from traditions, as you would brush the dust from your hat. A cleanliness will arise, and the curtain between the truth and yourself will no longer be there. The crowd of thoughts stands in between like a wall.
There is a world of difference between knowing about the truth and knowing the truth. Knowing about the truth is a bondage of the borrowed, dead knowledge; knowing the truth is the free sky of self-experiencing. One takes away your ability to fly; the other gives you wings that can take you to the divine. It is because of this that I talk of emptiness, of nothingness.