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Chapter 4: Be like a Hollow Bamboo

The song continues:

Do naught with the body but relax.
Shut firm the mouth and silent remain;
empty your mind and think of naught.
Like a hollow bamboo, rest at ease with your body.
Giving not nor taking, put your mind at rest.
Mahamudra is like a mind that clings to naught.
Thus practicing, in time you will reach buddhahood.

First, the nature of activity and the hidden currents in it have to be understood; otherwise no relaxation is possible. Even if you want to relax, it will be impossible if you have not observed, watched, realized, the nature of your activity, because activity is not a simple phenomenon.

Many people would like to relax, but they cannot. Relaxation is like a flowering; you cannot force it. You have to understand the whole phenomenon: why you are so active, why so much occupation with activity, why you are obsessed with it.

Remember two words: one is action; another is activity. Action is not activity; activity is not action. Their natures are diametrically opposite. Action is when the situation demands it, you act, you respond. Activity is when the situation doesn’t matter, it is not a response; you are so restless within, that the situation is just an excuse to be active.

When action comes out of a silent mind, it is the most beautiful thing in the world. When activity comes out of a restless mind, it is the ugliest. Action is when it has relevance; activity is irrelevant. Action is moment-to-moment, spontaneous; activity is loaded with the past. It is not a response to the present moment; rather it is pouring your restlessness, which you have been carrying from the past, into the present. Action is creative. Activity is very, very destructive; it destroys you, it destroys others.

Try to see the delicate distinction. For example, if you are hungry then you eat. This is action. But if you are not hungry, you don’t feel any hunger at all, and still you go on eating, this is activity. This eating is like a violence; you destroy food, you crush with your teeth and destroy food; it gives you a little release of your inner restlessness. You are eating not because of hunger; you are simply eating because of an inner need, an urge to be violent.

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