Any ordinary drug makes you simply unconscious. Meditation brings awareness, but awareness is such a big phenomenon that you are bound to be drowned. And in the beginning the experience is so much, so intense, that you are almost erased, as if you have disappeared. But it is not illusion. It is not any kind of hallucination.
And to call it divine wine is just being poetic. It is pure awareness which does the same work that is expected by people through intoxicating drugs. Intoxicating drugs remove symptoms; awareness removes the very cause. Drugs simply give you a few hours of forgetfulness, and again the misery is there – and with a vengeance, because it has to wait for six hours; it becomes more intense.
Awareness cuts the very root of being miserable, in anxiety, in anguish. And because it cuts the very roots, after you have come down from the heights of awareness you don’t find misery – you find a peace, a silence, a very mild sweetness and a very subtle fragrance, left behind the tide, the tidal wave that had come and overtaken you.
It is perfectly beautiful. There is nothing illusory in it. It is absolutely existential. It has nothing to do with intoxicants. Only in appearance, in the beginning, you will feel as if you are intoxicated.
Irving Levinsky was walking around New York City thinking how crowded and impossible city life was becoming. When he saw a man lying in the gutter. Irving walked over and said to him, “Are you sick, can I help you?”
“No, it is okay,” said the man. “I have found a parking space so I have sent my wife out to buy a car.”
Intoxication is one thing: this kind of thing is not possible through awareness. Through awareness you can feel in the beginning things which look strange – happy for no reason at all, smiling or laughing for no reason at all. And it becomes a vicious circle: when you laugh then you see that “This is stupid, why I am laughing?” Then you laugh more and then it becomes difficult to stop. Just seeing yourself laugh without any reason it appears as if you have gone mad, because you have never understood, never experienced that being joyous, laughing, is natural and healthy.
It does not need to have any cause. Sadness, seriousness are parts of a psychologically sick man – they need causes. So when you are feeling happy, don’t start asking, “Why am I happy?” When you are feeling sad ask why you are sad. But strangely, it has become conventional to our minds that when we are sad we accept it as if it is our nature. And when we are joyous even we are surprised; deep inside we even start worrying: “What is happening to me?”
Just this morning I quoted Walt Whitman, and he says, “I am the celebration, I am the song.” It is one of his most beautiful poems, in which he sings the song of himself: “There is no reason. It is my nature to be a celebration, to be a song, to be a festival.” It is just healthy. It is just to be yourself.