It is easy to understand Jalaluddin Rumi, or Picasso, or Nijinsky. It is a little more difficult to understand Tosu when he says, “What are you asking about Tosu? At this moment there is only oil. In the morning there was not even oil; I had asked you for some cash…”
This small anecdote between two masters of similar experience, similar greatness, can be of great help to you. Any activity, if it becomes so total that you are completely absorbed in it, becomes a meditation. Losing yourself and remaining conscious – that is the simplest formula for meditation.
At the funeral of one of his monks, Joshu joined in the procession and commented, “What a long procession of dead bodies follows in the wake of a single living person!”
The man who had died was a master, and a master is more alive even in his death than you are in your life. The master never dies. That is the very secret that has made him a master – that he knows there is no death. He has got hold of eternity in his hands. He carries immortality in his very depths. You can burn his body, but you cannot burn his eternity, his immortality.
Joshu is right when he says, “Look at the strange procession! In the wake of one living man…and that living man is lying down in the coffin; thousands of dead bodies are following.”
To the man of understanding, unless you are utterly conscious you can’t claim that you are alive. At the most you can say you are surviving, just at the minimum. You have not known the Himalayan peaks of life; you have not known the Pacific depths of your consciousness. So thin is your consciousness that it is a miracle that you manage for seventy years to breathe, to walk, to talk, to do all kinds of things. And your roots remain neglected. You don’t know even that you have roots. You never nourish your roots.
Do you understand that attention is food for consciousness? In a very unconscious way you are aware that if nobody pays attention to you, you start feeling a little embarrassed. If the whole city decides one day that nobody will take note of you, as if you are not, you yourself will start suspecting whether you are alive or dead: “Do I exist or am I only dreaming?” You need attention continuously.
And that is the struggle between parents and children, husband and wife, and friends. What is the struggle? – “Give me more attention!” I have seen wives taking newspapers away from their husbands’ hands: “While I am here, what do you mean by reading the same newspaper the whole day? How many times have you read it?” And the poor fellow was simply reading it to avoid getting into any conversation with the wife; because every conversation ends in a fight.