And these are related phenomena. If a person is murdered, he leaves the body abruptly – like when your house is on fire you jump out of the window. Within seconds he will enter into another womb, but the experience of being murdered has been such an intense experience that you cannot erase it within a few seconds. The person will enter into the mother’s womb just the way you are describing slipping into some new embodiment. And the same thing is repeated every morning.
If you just try silent awareness while going to sleep, the same experience will be felt again. But most probably sleep comes slowly, so you don’t have time to see the distance. But the distance is a reality whether you see it or not. It is good to see it. It is good to make it bigger.
So first you can make the distance from the body a very solid reality. Then you can make the distance from the mind, which is possible only through meditation.
In this experience you are not feeling distinct from the mind, the distance is only from the body. It is a good step, a good beginning, one third of the process is achieved – something good to begin with. In the same way, look at the mind as distinct. And finally look at your feelings and heart as distinct.
Ultimately we have to find one point in ourselves from which we cannot in any way feel distinct because we are it. There are layers just like an onion; you peel one layer and there is another layer. You peel that layer and there is another. Go on peeling the onion. In Zen they have a saying: “Go on peeling the onion till only nothingness is left in your hands.” And that nothingness is you.
This experience makes it certain that in the past life you must have been murdered or had some sudden accident – falling from a train, coming under a car – something that abruptly separated you from the body. And that’s why that experience is happening. But use it now; it is tremendously valuable.
It seems to me that just because you give someone sannyas, it does not necessarily mean that they are a disciple. Does one have to earn discipleship, or does it just happen?
It is a complicated question. Three things: first, just my giving sannyas does not make one a disciple; it simply shows his intention to become a disciple.
Secondly, you have to do everything that you can do to earn disciplehood – although you cannot earn it, it happens. But it can happen only if you have exhausted all your resources in earning it. So you cannot drop the earning part. If you drop the earning part, the happening will never be possible. For the happening to happen, your ego should be so exhausted, so tired, so flat on the ground, that you are almost egoless – even for few seconds – and that will give enough time for the happening.
The flower of discipleship is something so unique, so beautiful, that those who have not found it have missed a treasure in their life. It is the most precious treasure, because with discipleship so much happens multi-dimensionally.