Chapter 6: Encountering the Unconscious
Sufi mystics use whirling dances. With such vigorous whirling you cannot sleep, it is impossible. How can you fall asleep when dancing? Someone seeing your dance may go to sleep, for him it may become a boring thing, but you cannot go. So Sufis use dance to create more activity inside, more vitality, so that consciousness spreads. These dances are not really dances. They look like dances. The Sufi who is doing the dance is constantly remembering every movement of the body. No movement should be done unconsciously. Even if a hand is raised, then this hand must be raised with full consciousness that you are raising the hand - now the hand is raised; now you are dropping it again. No movement should be allowed unconsciously. You are whirling around, dancing vigorously; no movement is to be made unconsciously. Every movement must be done consciously, with full alertness.
Then suddenly the unconscious drops, and after three months of continual dancing, for hours, you encounter the unconscious. You penetrate deep, deep, deep, and suddenly you become aware of everything that is inside. That is what I mean by encountering the unconscious. Nothing remains which is not in clear vision. Your totality, all your instincts, all your suppressions, your whole biological structure, everything - not only of this life, but of all lives - is suddenly revealed. You are thrown into a new world which was hidden or, rather, to which you were not alert. It was there, but you were asleep - or your consciousness was so narrowed down that it escaped.
Your consciousness is just like a torch - narrowed. You enter darkness with a torch; you have a light, but it is a narrow, focused light. You can see something, but all else remains in darkness. When I say that nothing unconscious remains, I mean unfocused consciousness - unfocused. A focused consciousness will always choose something to see and choose many things not to see; it is a choice. So I use the similarity: just like a torch, narrowed down. One point will become very clear, but everything else will be in darkness. This is what we ordinarily do through concentration.
The more you concentrate, the less you will be able to encounter the unconscious. You will be able to know something very definitely, at the cost of not knowing many things. That’s why experts, by and by, become just ignorant, ignorant of the whole world, because they have narrowed down their minds to a particular thing in order to know more about it. So it has been said that an expert is a person who knows more and more about less and less. In the end he remains focused only on a point, which he knows at the cost of ignoring everything else.
This is how concentration works. So through concentration you can never encounter the unconscious. You can encounter the unconscious only with meditation - and this is the difference between concentration and meditation. Meditation means your mind working not as a torch but like a flame: everything is enlightened around it - everything. It is not narrowed down, the light is diffused. It is not moving in one direction, it is moving in all directions simultaneously so the whole is enlightened.
How to do it? I said Sufis use dance as an active meditation and then they can encounter the unconscious. Zen monks in Japan use absurd problems to encounter it. You face some problem which cannot be solved - which cannot be solved at all! Howsoever you try, the problem is such that it cannot be solved. They call such problems, koans - absurd problems.