Chapter 3: As I Have Loved You
On that day, the last day of Jesus with his disciples, Jesus did a Zen act - he washed his disciples’ feet, he touched his disciples’ feet with deep reverence. The disciples touch the feet of the master, but their reverence can never be total. For the majority it is just a mannerism that has to be done. It is a sort of duty; they do it unconsciously. Something that has to be done, has to be done, but they are not in it. When they bow down, nothing bows down within them, just the body. It is a dead gesture. For a few others it may not be so dead. Maybe a little life flickers in it, but it is not a flame of totality. The disciples must have touched the feet of the master many times, thousands of times. This time, the master was going to touch the feet of the disciples to show them what reverence is, in its totality. That moment, there was nobody who was bowing down and washing. There was bowing, there was washing, but there was nobody - because whenever you are total the ego disappears. The ego exists only when you are partial. If you have experienced it in some way, sometime.and I see that everybody has experienced it sometime, somewhere. Because it doesn’t fit with your style of life you have forgotten; because it does not fit with your own pattern you do not pay much attention to it; because it doesn’t fit, you by and by forget it, throw it into the unconscious, into the basement of the mind. Otherwise, it has happened to everybody, unknowingly, unawares. Sometimes, just swimming, and suddenly you are filled with an unknown bliss. It happens only if the swimming becomes total. When the swimmer disappears, then the cause of all misery disappears, and then suddenly, God is there.
Whenever you are total, God is there. Whenever you are divided, God is unavailable. So let me say this: your totality is God. God is not a person, it is an experience. It is not waiting somewhere; you have to create it within you. God is not like an object, like a rock that some day you find and bring home, no. God is an inner harmony - you have to create it to find it. It is not a search for a dead object. It is creativity, it is tremendous creativity; and there is no higher creativity than that. A painter paints a picture, a singer sings a song, a sculptor makes an image; a religious seeker creates God! And there is only one way to create God: to become total so that the act becomes whole.
Jesus showed them; that was his farewell. He could not have given a greater gift to them. He showed them what reverence is, what love is, how one can totally surrender. They thought that they had surrendered, but a disciple’s surrender is a disciple’s surrender. A disciple is divided, he is a crowd; only a part of him surrenders. That part may not even be the majority, and the many other parts go on resisting. He surrenders in a reluctant way. A part goes on pulling away from the master, withdrawing, another part goes on saying “no.” One part says “yes,” one part says “no.” The disciple is always “yes plus no.” When Jesus touched their feet, there was only “yes.” He gave them the greatest gift he could, the gift of reverence.
I have heard that once a question was asked of Rabbi Joshua Ben Karha: “Why did the Holy One, blessed be he, choose to speak to Moses at Mount Horeb out of a thorn bush?” It is relevant, why God chose to speak to Moses from a thorn bush. Could he not find a better place? - a thorn bush? At least he could have found a rose bush. Why choose a thorn bush in the first place? It has been asked for centuries, but never has anyone given such a beautiful answer as Rabbi Joshua gave. Rabbi Joshua answered so as to teach us that there is no place on this earth free from the presence of God. God is everywhere, even in the lowly, even in a thorn bush. The whole earth is holy.