Chapter 10: Religion Is a Search for Meditation
A man brings a wife home. Then, as the days go by and she becomes more and more familiar, he becomes less and less attentive toward her. She becomes as well known to him as the street he crosses every day - and suddenly the woman next door looks more attractive. The reason is nothing more than the fact that her unfamiliarity excites his attention. Looking at her, his attention has to become condensed; the focus of his eye changes immediately. Actually, the eyes of husbands and wives don’t change focus when they look at each other. In fact, a husband hardly ever looks at his wife; he avoids her. The way he lives and moves around her does not require him to pay any attention to her. Hence, in my view, the attraction for another woman or another man is really the attraction of attention. In that one moment, in that moment of thrill, the mind becomes fully alert. It has to - because only then is it possible to see somebody.
There is a chase going on - to have a new house instead of the old, new clothes instead of the old, a new position instead of the old. Deep down, all this chasing indicates a profound desire to experience crystallized attention - meditation. And all the joys in one’s life depend on how crystallized one’s attention is. The moments of bliss are the moments of crystallized attention. Hence those who wish to attain bliss must awaken. You cannot attain bliss in a sleepy state.
Religion is a search for alertness - meditation - and so is gambling. One who goes to battle, sword in hand, is in search of meditation too. One who goes hunting a tiger in the forest is also searching for meditation. And the one who is sitting in the cave with his eyes closed, working hard on his agya chakra, his third eye center, is searching for meditation as well. The search can be in a good or bad direction, in a desirable or undesirable direction, but the search is one and the same. A search may succeed or a search may fail, but the desire for searching is one and the same.
Meditation means the faculty of knowing, which is within me, coming to its total manifestation; so that no part of it remains dormant within - in seed form - so that the whole potential that I have for knowing does not remain just a potential. It becomes actual.
The moment a person becomes fully awake is also the moment when he fully is. Both events occur simultaneously. For example, a tree is hidden in a seed, but it is only a potentiality: the seed can die without materializing into a tree. The tree will not necessarily be born out of the seed. It can, but it is only a potentiality, not an actuality yet.
Later, the turning of the seed into a tree is only another state of its being, the state of manifestation. It would not be wrong to say that the seed is the unmanifested state of the tree, or the tree is the manifested state of the seed, because what appears in the form of a tree is the same as was hidden within the seed. Following the same analogy, it would not be incorrect to say that unconsciousness is the dormant state of consciousness, or that consciousness is the manifested state of unconsciousness.
What is it that moves between these states? What is it that was present in the seed and also exists in the tree? There must be a connecting link, a bridge, between the seed and the tree, which makes the journey from the seed to the tree, and which exists in both. How else can there be a connection between the seed and the tree? What is it that was hidden in the seed and has manifested as the tree? It can be neither the seed nor the tree.
This needs to be understood.