It is said about Nero that he used to keep four physicians constantly with him even when he went to war. Those four physicians were to help him vomit because he liked to eat so many times in the day. Now you cannot eat so many times a day; there is a limitation. You can eat three times, four times, five times at the most; more than that will be impossible. The body will not contain it, you will burst. So after eating, the physicians would help him to vomit immediately so he could eat again. He used to eat at least twenty times per day. He must have been the greatest eater in the world. But what kind of life is this? – twenty times vomiting to eat twenty times! – as if he lived only in the buds of the tongue, in the taste buds.
Of course Plato is far deeper. He enjoys a contemplative life: he contemplates the stars, he contemplates the sunrise and the sunset, he contemplates the possibility of human progress. And he enjoys it – and he enjoys it so much that many times he forgets to eat, he forgets completely that he has missed a meal.
It happened once:
Albert Einstein was brought his breakfast and he was so deep in contemplation – it must have been some great mathematical puzzle he was involved in – that he was sitting with closed eyes. So the servant did not disturb him; he left the breakfast in front of him and went away.
Meanwhile a friend came. He also saw him so deeply absorbed that he thought, “It is better…the breakfast is getting cold.” So he ate the breakfast and pushed the plates aside.
At that moment Einstein opened his eyes, looked at the empty plates, looked at his friend and said, “Sorry, you came a little late. I have taken my breakfast.”
Now, this is better than being a Nero. But there is a third layer still higher, still deeper: the layer of the heart – love, music, poetry, dance. People who enjoy art, people who can enjoy and appreciate harmony, color, people who can see some poetry in life and existence, who can feel some celebration going on all around, of course they are going still deeper. A Rabindranath…the poet goes deeper than the mathematician, the musician goes deeper than the philosopher. But these are still concentric circles around your center.
The fourth – the mystics in India have called it simply, “the fourth,” turiya – is the world of your being, the innermost core. Those who enjoy meditation, neither food nor philosophy nor poetry, but who have gone beyond all these and entered into the world of utter silence, of absolute emptiness, who know how not to be…. Yes, the question is, “To be or not to be?” Those who have chosen not to be, they are the meditators. They have moved from the senses to samadhi, and that is the highest experience of life.
Buddha says: Desiring nothing, doubting nothing, beyond judgment and sorrow and the pleasures of the senses, he has moved beyond time.