Sometimes you may not be able to see this, because things are very subtle. A man of meditation, silence, serenity, is going to have a different kind of dance from a man who is in anguish, tension, worry, despair. A man who is living his life totally, intensely, moment to moment, and a man who is thinking of committing suicide – both can dance, but their dances will have different qualities. The person who is thinking of committing suicide, his dance will have the shadow of death in it. It will stink of death, of a dead body. His movements will not be movements of life.
The other man, who loves and lives totally and has a silent space within himself – that’s what I call meditation – his dance will also have a silence surrounding it. His movements, his gestures will have a grace, a beauty, a fragrance of their own.
You cannot divide man into parts.
Your question is, “Here in our commune, there is no separate time for meditation….” It is our basic approach. We cannot have a separate time for meditation. Meditation should be spread all over your life: eating, sleeping, taking a bath, or just having a walk, or just sitting doing nothing. Meditation should be in all these actions, inactions, activities, non activities. The thread of meditation should continue underground, whatever you are working at.
A great master, Nan In, was chopping wood. The king of the country had come to see him. He had heard so much about Nan In that finally he could not resist the temptation to go and see the man. Just as he entered the monastery, near the gate was a man perspiring in the hot sun, chopping wood.
Naturally the king thought, “This man must be able to direct me to where I can find the master” – because it was a vast monastery with five hundred monks living in it. So he asked the man, who was Nan In himself, “Please forgive me for interrupting you; you are so absorbed in chopping wood, you have not even seen that I have been standing here for a few minutes, waiting. But then I thought it is better to interrupt you because you are not going to see me of your own accord.”
The man said, “I am sorry, but this is how my life is. Whatever I am doing I am doing it totally. Nothing of me remains to do anything else. Chopping wood, I am simply chopping wood. There is nobody else other than the chopper of wood. So, no need to be embarrassed. What do you want?”
He said, “I want to see the master, Nan In.”
Nan In said, “You go directly into that hut and wait. The master will be coming soon.”
The king went and waited there. Nan In took a shower, put on his master’s robe, and came in from the back door. But the king was very puzzled, because both men looked so alike. He thought, “It is almost an impossibility. There are not two men alike in the whole world, and just in this monastery, within a few hundred yards I have seen a man exactly like this man.”
Nan In said, “You wanted to see Master Nan In – Master Nan In is now here.”
The king said, “That I will inquire about later on. First I want to know who was chopping wood at the gate.”