Chapter 2: Creating Space for the Future
The self is not a self. The self is exactly a no-self: there is no idea of “I” in it, it is universal. All ideas arise in it, but it cannot be identified with any idea that arises in it. All ideas arise in it, all ideas dissolve in it. It is the sky, the context of all contexts, it is the space in which everything happens. But the space itself never happens - it abides, it is always there, and because it is always there, it is easy to miss it. Because it is so much there and always there, you never become aware of its presence.
It is like the air; you don’t become aware of its presence. It is like the ocean that surrounds the fish; the fish never becomes aware of it. It is like the pressure of the air; it is so much, but you are not aware of the pressure, it has always been there.. It is like gravitation; it is so much, but you are not aware of it. It is like the earth rushing with great speed round and round the sun; the earth is a spaceship, but nobody is aware of it. We are aboard a spaceship, and it is going at a great speed. Still we are not aware of it.
Awareness needs some gaps. When there are no gaps you fall asleep; you cannot remain aware.
If one has always been healthy, one will not be aware of health. Awareness needs gaps - sometimes you should not be healthy. You should fall ill, then you have the sense of health. If there was no darkness in the world and there was only light, nobody would have ever known light; people would have missed it.
That’s how we go on missing the original self - call it godliness or nirvana, it doesn’t matter. Sufis have two beautiful words. One is fana, fana means dissolving the ego, dissolving the false substitute. And the other word is baqa, baqa means the arrival, the arising, of the real self.
The real self is universal. How to find it? It is not far away, so you are not to make a long journey to it. It is so close that no journey is needed at all. It is within you. Rather than journeying, you will have to learn how to sit silently.
That’s what meditation is all about - just sitting silently doing nothing. Thoughts arise: you watch. Desires arise: you watch. But you remain the watcher. You don’t become a victim of the desires and the thoughts that are arising; you remain a watcher. You remain the context of all contexts, you remain the space before which everything appears. But the space never appears before itself - it cannot, it is impossible.
The mirror cannot mirror itself, the eyes cannot see themselves. I cannot catch hold of my hand with the same hand; it is impossible.
This is the most fundamental thing to remember. You are the watcher and never the watched, you are the observer and never the observed, you are the witness and never the witnessed. You are pure subjectivity. You never appear as an object - how can you appear as an object in front of yourself? Whatsoever appears in front of you is not you.
Go on eliminating the contents. Go on saying, “Neti neti, I am not this, I am not this.” Go on eliminating, and a moment comes when there is nothing left to eliminate. There is pure silence. No content moves in front of you, the mirror reflects nothing. That is the moment when self-knowing arises in you. You become illumined, you are enlightened.