Chapter 7: Learning the Knack
The first question:
My mind has difficulty understanding the existence of “beginninglessness.” Would you please talk about it?
Reality is indefinable. Reality simply is; there is no way to say what it is. It is not a “what,” it is not even a “that,” it is this. It is this-ness: you can experience it, but it cannot be explained.
And reality is beginningless and endless. The mind has a beginning and an end, hence the mind and reality cannot meet. The mind cannot comprehend the eternal. The mind exists in time, in fact the mind is time: it exists in the past and the future. And remember, time consists of only two tenses, past and future. The present is not part of time, the present is part of eternity.
Hence the mind is never found in the present. It is always wavering, either towards the past or towards the future. It moves into that which is not, or into that which is not yet. Its whole skill consists in dreaming. It is rooted in the non-existential, hence it cannot understand existence itself. It is like darkness. How can darkness comprehend light? How can death comprehend life? If death can comprehend life then death will have to be life. If darkness has to comprehend light then darkness will have to be light.
And so is the case with the mind. If the mind wants to comprehend reality, it will have to come out of the past and the future. But coming out of the past and the future, it is no longer the mind at all. Hence the insistence of all the great masters of the world: The door to reality is no-mind.
Slip out of the mind, and you will know what it is: the beginningless, the endless. Remain confined to the mind, and you will be puzzled; reality remains inconceivable.
I cannot explain it to you, because in explaining I will have to use the mind. Trying to understand it, you will have to use the mind. I can be silent with you and if you can also be silent with me, then there is understanding. Understanding is not of the mind. Then there is great intelligence, great insight. Suddenly you know, and you know from a totally different center of your being; you know from the heart. Your knowing has the quality of love, not of knowledge. Your knowing has the quality of transcendence. It is no longer scientific knowledge, reducible to concepts. It is poetic vision, it is mystic experience.
If you really want to understand, you will have to lose the mind. You will have to pay the price of losing the mind. But if you insist, “I have to understand through the mind,” then only one thing is possible. The mind will convince you, slowly, slowly, that there is nothing which is beginningless, nothing which is endless, nothing which is indefinable, nothing which is unknowable.