Chapter 9: Seated in the Cave of the Heart
When you are nobody, anguish is impossible, anxiety simply unbelievable. When you are nobody there is great silence, stillness, no noise inside. The past gone, the future disappeared, what is there to create noise? And the silence that is heard is celestial, is sacred. For the first time, in those spaces of no-mind, you become aware of the eternal celebration that goes on and on. That’s what existence is made of.
Except man, all existence is blissful. Only man has fallen out of it, has gone astray - because only man can do it, because he has consciousness.
Now, consciousness has two possibilities: either it can become a bright light in you, so bright that even the sun will look pale compared to it. Buddha says it is as if a thousand suns have suddenly risen - when you look within with no mind, all is light, eternal light. All is joy, pure, uncontaminated, unpolluted. It is simple bliss, innocent. It is wonder. Its majesty is indescribable, its beauty inexpressible, and its benediction inexhaustible. Aes dhammo sanantano: so is the ultimate law.
If you can only put your mind aside you will become aware of the cosmic play. Then you are only energy, and the energy is always herenow, it never leaves the herenow. That is one possibility: if you become pure consciousness.
The other possibility is you can become self-consciousness. Then you fall. Then you become an entity separate from the world. Then you become an island, defined, well defined. Then you are confined, because all definitions confine. Then you are in a prison cell, and the prison cell is dark, utterly dark. There is no light, no possibility of light. And the prison cell cripples you, paralyzes you.
Self-consciousness becomes a bondage; the self is the bondage. And only consciousness becomes freedom. Drop the self and be conscious! That is the whole message - the message of all the buddhas of all the ages, past, present, future. The essential core of the message is very simple: drop the self, the ego, the mind, and be.
Just this moment, when this silence pervades. Who are you? A nobody, a nonentity. You don’t have a name, you don’t have a form. You are neither man nor woman, neither Hindu nor Mohammedan. You don’t belong to any country, to any nation, to any race. You are not the body and you are not the mind.
Then what are you? In this silence, what is your taste? How does it taste to be? Just a peace, just a silence. And out of that peace and silence a great joy starts surfacing, welling up, for no reason at all. It is your spontaneous nature.
The art of putting the mind aside is the whole secret of religion, because as you put the mind aside your being explodes into a thousand and one colors. You become a rainbow, a lotus, a one-thousand-petaled lotus. Suddenly you open up, and then the whole beauty of existence - which is infinite! - is yours. Then all the stars of the sky are within you. Then even the sky is not your limit: you don’t have any limits anymore.
Silence gives you a chance to melt, merge, disappear, evaporate. And when you are not, you are - for the first time you are. When you are not, godliness is, nirvana is, enlightenment is. When you are not, all is found - and when you are, all is lost.