The very process of belief is believing in something that you have not experienced on your own. How can you believe if you are sincere? If your search for truth is authentic you cannot believe; you cannot disbelieve either. You cannot say God is, you cannot say God is not. You can only say, “I don’t know and I am searching and I am seeking and I am experimenting and I am trying to experience.”
That is the way of meditation.
Prayer requires belief as a presupposition; without belief there is no possibility of prayer. To whom will you pray? To whom will you address your prayers? – to some God which you have accepted because it has been told to you from your very childhood, you have been hypnotized.
Every belief is nothing but hypnosis. One is hypnotized as being a Hindu, another is hypnotized as being a Mohammedan; both are living in a kind of deep sleep. Hypnosis means sleep; the very word means sleep. You have been given so much poison, slowly, slowly through belief that you have fallen asleep. You are no longer aware what you are doing, why you are doing. Why are you going to the temple? Why are you bowing down to a stone statue? Why are you reciting something meaningless? Why are you going to Kaaba or Kashi or Girnar? For what? There is something a priori. You already believe that is what religion is, without experiencing, without inquiring.
This is the way of the coward, this is the way of the zombie.
Meditation requires courage. It requires the basic integrity, sincerity, respect towards your own being. At least don’t deceive yourself.
Buddha says: Let your own experience decide. If this is understood you are bound to move towards meditation instead of prayer. Then meditation will bring a prayer of its own – a prayerfulness, rather. You will not be praying but you will be in prayer, because more and more you will become silent, more and more you will become still. More and more you will experience the presence, the mysterious presence that overwhelms everything, penetrates everything. You may like to call it God, you may not like to call it God; it doesn’t matter what you call it. You may not like to call it anything; you may be silent about it, because that is the most appropriate thing to do. It cannot be put into any words; no words are adequate enough to express it.
But Buddha has not been listened to. Humanity has remained in its old, zombielike, sleepy way. It has remained hypnotized, unconscious.
Howard Rabinowitz, a huge, granite-fisted, super tough young fellow, was drinking a whisky in a bar when he heard the announcement of the Six-Day War on the radio. Filled with excitement and Jewish fervor, he rushed to the airport and took the first available flight to Israel where he was immediately inducted into the army.
But his reception at the military base was rather cool. He was not exactly avoided by the Israeli soldiers, but neither did they go out of their way to welcome him.