Chapter 27: Harmony Is Your Reality
“I will not attempt to describe how I felt.” Even if you do attempt, you cannot describe it. The experience of your inner being, howsoever small, is basically indescribable. There are no words, no concepts into which you can put it rationally. It is an experience where language has never entered, where mind has never entered. It is not a mental experience; otherwise there would be no difficulty to describe it. Anything that can be described is of the mind, and anything that cannot be described is of real authentic value; it is spiritual.
“I will not attempt to describe how I felt, but I can say it was more ecstatic than anything that I could imagine. I felt doors that were stuck tight, dissolve, and in my trembling and astonished innocence.” Remember these words. It was happening in your “trembling and astonished innocence.” “I was aware of your compassionate presence cushioning me. Oh my precious and beloved master, what was this treasure I discovered?”
You are again asking for a description, for an explanation. And you know perfectly well that even in ordinary life there are many things which cannot be described, but only experienced.
You taste something - is there any way to describe it? Is there any way to give an explanation about it? And it is an ordinary thing. You have tasted something, you have smelled a fragrance, you have heard music.. You experienced it; it thrilled you. You can say what happened to you, but you cannot say what it was exactly. You know perfectly well what it is, but there exists no language. Language is created by people for mundane affairs.
For the sacred there is only silence.
A man came to Zen Master Rinzai. He was sitting on the beach. The man said, “I have been looking for you, and for many days I have been thinking to come to you. I want to know the essential, the very essence, of all your religious teaching - in short, because I am not a man of philosophical bent. What is it that you are teaching?”
Rinzai looked at him and remained silent. A moment passed. The man felt a little strange. He said, “Have you heard me or not?”
Rinzai said, “I have heard you, but have you heard me or not?”
The man said, “My god, you have not said a single word.”
Rinzai said, “I was sitting silent. That is the essential part of my teaching. I thought that rather than talking about it, it would be better to show it to you. In words, things get distorted; in words, you start interpreting according to your own prejudices.”
The man said, “It is beyond me. Please give some words that I can remember.”
Rinzai said, “If you insist I will commit the crime of forcing something into words which is not ready, which is absolutely unwilling to be put into words.”
He wrote with his finger in the sand where he was sitting: meditation.
The man said, “I have come from very far away and you are making me more puzzled. First you remained silent; now you simply write ‘meditation.’ That does not make any sense to me. What is meditation?”