The first three steps seem to be completely contradictory to the fourth, which is meditation. You may ask: How can anyone relax after so much strong exertion, after passing through peaks of tension and turmoil touching on madness? I say, only then can one relax. The truth is that relaxation follows tension as night follows day, as the valley follows the peak. The higher the peak, the deeper the valley. The higher the hill you fall from, the deeper the canyon you enter. Don’t forget that every mountain has its valley. In fact there cannot be a mountain without a valley. As the mountain grows up it creates deep valleys all around it. That is how, when your tension grows, at the same time you are gathering energy to relax and rest. The higher the summit of tension, the deeper the valley of rest.
That is the reason I ask you to bring all your energy into it, to exert your best, to stake your all and not to withhold yourself even a little bit. That is how you will reach the height of tension and then descend into the bottomless pit of relaxation and rest. And it is in that moment of absolute rest that meditation happens.
The basic thing is that you should reach the peak of tension, and then drop tension altogether.
Many people come to me to ask if it is possible to relax without going into tension. No, it is simply not possible. And even if it were possible, it would be relaxation in name only. If you want to dive deep into the water, it will be necessary to jump from a high jumping board. The higher the jumping board the deeper the dive.
Look at these pine trees, they are about forty feet tall. To attain that height their roots had to sink forty feet deep inside the earth. The higher the trees rise, the deeper the roots go. The deeper the roots go, the higher the trees rise. Now this pine tree can ask, “What harm will it do if the roots are only six inches deep?” It will do no harm except that the tree itself will be only six inches tall. And if the roots don’t grow at all there is no chance for the tree to be.
Nietzsche wrote a maxim of great insight. He said that if one wants to reach the heights of heaven he will have to touch the very depths of hell. It is really a statement of great insight. If a man wants to reach the heights of heaven he will have to go to the depths of hell. That is why mediocre people are never able to reach the height of religiousness, while sinners often do, because one who goes deep into sin, can rise to the height of religiousness.
The technique of meditation is one of transformation through extremes. Every transformation takes place when the extreme point is reached. If something reaches its extreme point, the change happens. Have you watched the pendulum of a wall clock moving? If it moves to the left, it goes on moving till it reaches the extremity of the left, and then it swings back to the right. You may not have noticed that when it is moving to the left, it is at the same time gathering momentum to move to the right. And it will move to the right to the same extent as it moves to the left. Such is the case with the pendulum of your mind. If it is led to the extreme point of tension it will swing back from there and enter into the deepest core of relaxation. You cannot relax if you are not led into the maximum of tension.
Some people come to me with very strange questions. It seems that they are out to gather flowers without going to the trouble of planting a tree. It seems they want the harvest without sowing the seeds and caring for the crop.