Chapter 5: Meditation Does Not Need God
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples: “Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.”
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Tarry ye here, and watch with me.”
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter: “What, could ye not watch with me one hour?”
41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”
43 And he came and found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them: “Sleep on now, and take your rest. Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.”
46 Rise, let us be going. Behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats’ feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar.
Shape without form, shade without color,
Paralyzed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
Remember us - if at all - not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
These lines from T.S. Eliot are very significant, tremendously meaningful. Man, in his ignorance, is just a negative emptiness; stuffed with straw, hollow within. Just observe yourself. What have you gained in life? You may have lost much, but you have not gained anything. It is not only that your hands are empty, your whole being is empty. And empty not in the Buddhist sense: empty not in the sense of silence, empty not in the sense of fullness of being; but empty because the consciousness is lacking, empty because the awareness is missing. You are not a presence, you are an absence - hollow within, stuffed with straw. That straw may be gold, it may be money; that straw may be power. A thousand and one are the names of that straw, but it is straw because it does not nourish the soul. It does not create the soul, it is destructive. At the most, it gives you a feeling of fullness, a very deceptive feeling.
These are the two ways to live: either to attain to true emptiness, a positive emptiness - that is the way of meditation, prayer, the way that moves, by and by, towards God; the other way is just to go on stuffing yourself with useless, futile things, with no ultimate meaning in them. At the most, for the moment they keep you occupied. But sooner or later, one comes to discover that one has missed the opportunity.
When Woodrow Wilson became the President of America, the whole family was celebrating. His friends all over the country were dancing in happiness, he was crying and weeping in his room. The wife approached. She could not believe her eyes because Woodrow Wilson was sitting on his chair near the window, head leaning downwards, as sad as he had ever been seen before, with tears rolling down. With deep love the wife asked the husband, “What has happened? Why are you crying and weeping?” He looked up with sad eyes. He said, “Now that I have become the President of the most powerful country, now that I have become the most powerful man, I realize tremendously the whole absurdity of it. Nothing is gained, and I have wasted my whole life. Now I understand the futility of power, because sooner or later, death will be coming, and I am powerless against it.”