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Chapter 2: Go like an Arrow

This is a very good example for meditators. You go a little while and then you say, “I have to go tomorrow again, what is the hurry? It is enough, now rest - and if finally everybody has to become a buddha, what does it matter whether it is Sunday or Saturday? There are only seven days; some day I will become a buddha.” But if you think in terms of going slowly, in a lousy way, taking rests, you will never reach.

Although the path is very short, it is short only for those who go like an arrow. The arrow does not stop on the way, there are no stations for the arrow. It does not rest a little while in the air and then go again, it simply goes straight without halting on the way. And that should be remembered by every meditator.

I have been using the word arrow purposely so that you can understand that going into yourself is not a morning walk - that you can return from anywhere. It is not something that you can do in parts; you have to do it one day in a single quantum leap. Whenever you decide, then don’t look back, just go ahead.

Certainly it needs guts and courage because you are moving in a dark and unknown space. You don’t have with you even a lamp - no companion, you don’t have any map. And meditation demands that you go with the speed of light, so fast that the journey of thousands of lives is completed in a single moment.

Hakuin says:

“My native place is close to the seashore, barely a few hundred paces from the beach. Suppose a man of my village is concerned because he does not know the flavor of sea, and wants to go and taste it for himself. If he turns back after having taken only a few steps, or even if he returns after having taken a hundred steps, in either case when will he ever know the ocean’s bitter, salty taste?”

You have to go to the ocean; one hundred feet or two hundred feet, that is not the question. You have to go all the way.

“But, though a man comes from as far as the mountains of Koshu or Shinshu, Hida or Mino, if he goes straight ahead without stopping, within a few days he will reach the shore, and, the moment he dips the tip of one finger into the sea and licks it, he will instantly know the taste of the waters of the distant oceans and the nearby seas, and of the southern beaches and the northern shores, in fact of all the sea water in the world.”

But the question is of going to the sea, not just going in a lukewarm way: “Today a few steps and then we will see tomorrow.” But tomorrow you will have to take these few steps again. And if this becomes your habit - “A few steps today and then we will see tomorrow” - if this becomes your pattern then you will never reach. Always you will be going on those few steps, and then the decision that, “It is enough, now we will see tomorrow.”

For the meditator there is no tomorrow.

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