Dukkha means the knowledge that whatsoever appears to be living is going to die, whatsoever appears to be blissful is not so. And as we live, ordinary life is going to end in death; it is just a progression toward death. So on the third level, the innermost, suffering means dukkha; you can also say “spiritual agony.” And I would like to tell you that today there are very few persons who are spiritually in agony, who are in dukkha.
The anguish is there, the mental agony is there, the mental disharmony is there – and in the West, it is intense. In the East it is not so intense; the mental agony is not so intense. And the reason? The reason is this, that mental agony becomes intense only when physical pain is not there. When physical pain is less, only then is your consciousness freed from the physiological level and can go to the mental.
And the same again happens when there is no mental agony and the mental realm becomes harmonious: you become aware of spiritual suffering, spiritual agony. If the body is suffering – as it is suffering in the East – you will not feel mental agony. You have no energy left to feel it; you are exhausted by the day-to-day struggle to survive. The day-to-day struggle for the body to somehow survive exhausts you so much that on the mental level you are simply tired, not in anguish. So whenever a society becomes materially prosperous, mental agony is deepened, but whenever a society is poor, mental agony is not there.
This is not a good sign. In the East people think this is a good sign that we are in less mental agony than people in the West. But it is not a good sign at all. It simply shows that we are more poor, more hungry, more starved. We are so much engaged with the body that we cannot pay any attention to the mind. As far as the mind is concerned, we only feel tiredness, that’s all.
So this is the difference: in the East, pain is predominant, physical pain is predominant, physical suffering, is predominant; in the West, psychic pain, mental agony, has become predominant. And this is a sign of progress; this is a sign of progress. The East must also come at least up to this level – of being mentally in anguish.
You have arranged the whole – there is no pain, there is no anguish – but then what? When there is pain you are struggling for something – for a house, for a body. You are struggling for it. There is something to do, and to be engaged in and occupied with. When the body is okay, then the mind suffers. It becomes aware of intrinsic contradictions, intrinsic tensions.
But if and when this happens, if you are also not in mental anguish, if there is harmony as far as the mind is concerned, then you become aware of a deeper meaninglessness. Then you become worried on a more fundamental dimension. The body is okay, the mind is okay – now you yourself are meaningless.
Meditation is to help the mind regain harmony. In fact, meditation leads you only up to the last boundary of the mind; no method can lead you to the spiritual. No method can lead you to the spiritual, it can only lead you to a mental harmony. And when mental harmony is attained you become aware of a deeper realm of yourself, because you need not be concerned at all with the mind now.