You said that the master is like the sky; he appears to be, but he is not.
I think I am, therefore I am.
Is this the only difference between enlightenment and unenlightenment?
It is one of the most significant differences. In the Western philosophy there are few names which are more important than the name of Descartes. Descartes’ whole philosophy is based on the single statement, “I think, therefore I am.”
But it is obviously very childish because you are not thinking constantly, still you are; you are not thinking while you are asleep, still you are; you may be in a coma, you are not thinking, still you are.
“I think I am, therefore I am.” Thinking seems to be the most significant part. It is a conclusion of thinking that “I am,” but when you are not thinking, what happens?
In meditation there will be no thinking. And those who have meditated for thousands of years, their experience has to be compared. They say, “When thinking ceases, then I am;” just the opposite of Descartes – because thinking is a disturbance. And when you are engaged with thoughts, you are engaged with something objective, and you are not an object.
When all thoughts have disappeared and you are sitting silently doing nothing, the East says, “For the first time you know you are – because now there is no object to distract your consciousness. Your whole consciousness is settled at the center, in the heart.”
And it is not a conclusion; it is not “therefore…” What Descartes is saying is “my existence is a logical conclusion: I think, therefore I am.” It is not an existential experience, it is a logical conclusion. The East says, “When there is no thought, you experience that you are.” There is no question of “therefore…”
Descartes can be refuted because it is only a logical conclusion. It is so simple to refute him, and he has become the father figure of Western philosophy! It is so simple to refute him because when you are asleep, you are – and you are not thinking. Even when you are just going for a walk, you are not thinking.
If Descartes is right, then a person will be in a continuous trouble; he will have to think continuously, “I am thinking,” to keep himself alive. The moment he forgets thinking, he is finished.
It would be rather more mature to say, “I am, therefore I think. I am, therefore I dream. I am, therefore I meditate.” Then every possibility is open. Then you can do many things, everything: “I am, therefore I am silent.”