When wolves were discovered in the village near Master Shoju’s temple, Shoju entered the graveyard nightly for one week and sat in zazen. This put a stop to the wolves’ prowling. Overjoyed, the villagers asked him to describe the secret rites he had performed.
“I didn’t have to resort to such things,” he said, “nor could I have done so. While I was in zazen a number of wolves gathered round me, licking the tip of my nose and sniffing my windpipe, but because I remained in the right state of mind, I wasn’t bitten. As I keep preaching to you, the proper state of mind will make it possible for you to be free in life and death, invulnerable to fire and water. Even wolves are powerless against it. I simply practice what I preach.”
What is meditation? Is it a technique that can be practiced? Is it an effort that you have to do? Is it something which the mind can achieve? It is not.
All that the mind can do cannot be meditation. It is something beyond the mind; the mind is absolutely helpless there. The mind cannot penetrate meditation: where mind ends, meditation begins. This has to be remembered, because in our life, whatsoever we do, we do through the mind; whatsoever we achieve, we achieve through the mind. And then when we turn inward we again start thinking in terms of techniques, methods, doings, because the whole of life’s experience shows us that everything can be done by the mind.
Yes, except meditation, everything can be done by the mind. Everything is done by the mind except meditation, because meditation is not an achievement. It is already the case, it is your nature. It has not to be achieved, it has only to be recognized, it has only to be remembered. It is there waiting for you – just a turning in and it is available. You have been carrying it always and always.
Meditation is your intrinsic nature. It is you, it is your being. It has nothing to do with your doings. You cannot have it. You cannot not have it. It cannot be possessed, it is not a thing. It is you, it is your being.
Once you understand what meditation is, things become very clear. Otherwise you can go on groping in the dark.
Meditation is a state of clarity, not a state of mind. Mind is confusion. Mind is never clear, it cannot be. Thoughts create clouds around you, they are subtle clouds. A mist is created by them and the clarity is lost. When thoughts disappear, when there are no more clouds around you, when you are in your simple being-ness, clarity happens. Then you can see far away, then you can see to the very end of existence. Then your gaze becomes penetrating, to the very core of being.
Meditation is clarity, absolute clarity of vision. You cannot think about it. You have to drop thinking. When I say you have to drop thinking, don’t conclude in a hurry. Because I have to use language, so I say, “Drop thinking” – but if you start dropping you will miss, because again you will reduce it to a doing.
“Drop thinking” simply means don’t do anything. Sit. Let thoughts settle themselves. Let mind drop on its own accord. Just sit gazing at the wall in a silent corner, not doing anything at all, relaxed, loose, with no effort, not going anywhere, as if you are falling asleep awake. You are awake and you are relaxing and the whole body is falling into sleep. You remain alert inside and the whole body moves into deep relaxation.