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Chapter 4: Be like a Hollow Bamboo

These rationalizations help you to remain unconscious about your madness. These are the things that Gurdjieff used to call buffers. You create buffers of rationalization around you so you don’t come to realize what the situation is. Buffers are used in trains; between two bogies, two compartments, buffers are used so that if there is a sudden stop, there will not be too much shock to the passengers - the buffers will absorb the shock. Your activity is continuously irrelevant, but the buffers of rationalizations don’t allow you to see the situation. Buffers blind you, and this type of activity continues.

If this activity is there, you cannot relax. How can you relax? It is an obsessive need; you want to do something, whatsoever it is.

There are fools all over the world who go on saying, “Do something rather than nothing.” And there are perfect fools who have created a proverb all over the world that an empty mind is the Devil’s workshop. It is not. An empty mind is God’s workshop. An empty mind is the most beautiful thing in the world, the purest, because how can an empty mind be a workshop for the Devil? The Devil cannot enter into an empty mind, impossible! The Devil can enter only into a mind which is obsessed with activity - then the Devil can take charge of you, he can show you ways and means and methods how to be more active. The Devil never says, “Relax!” He says, “Why are you wasting your time? Do something, man! Move! Life is going by, do something!” And all the great teachers, teachers who have awakened to the truth of life, have come to realize that an empty mind gives space to the divine to enter into you.

Activity can be used by the Devil, not an empty mind. How can the Devil use an empty mind? He will not dare to come near because emptiness will simply kill him. But if you are filled with a deep urge, mad urge to be active, then the Devil will take charge, then he will guide you - then he is the only guide.

I would like to tell you that this proverb is absolutely wrong. The Devil himself must have suggested it.

This obsession to be active has to be watched. And you have to watch it in your own life, because whatsoever I say, or Tilopa says, will not be of much meaning unless you watch it in yourself: that your activity is irrelevant, it is not needed. Why are you doing it?

Traveling, I have seen people continuously doing the same thing again and again. For twenty-four hours I am with a passenger in the train. He will read the same newspaper again and again, not finding what else to do. Enclosed in a railway compartment there is not much possibility to be active, so he will read the same newspaper again and again, and I am watching. What is this man doing?

A newspaper is not a Gita or a Bible. You can read the Gita many times because each time you come to it a new significance is revealed. But a newspaper is not a Gita; it is finished once you have seen it! It was not even worth reading once, and people go on reading it. Again and again, they will start. What is the problem? Is it a need? No, they are obsessed; they cannot remain silent, inactive. That is impossible for them; it looks like death. They have to be active.

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