The moment you have learned something, discard it; otherwise there is every possibility that it will become part of your knowing, part of your accumulation. If your knowledge comes from your past experiences, then too it is borrowed, because you are not the same person any more. And whether your knowledge is borrowed from the past or it is borrowed from someone else makes no difference at all.
Yesterday’s me is far away; it is already dead…it is nowhere to be found except in my memory. Yesterday’s me is as “other” to me now as you are. In fact, it is even more “other,” because you are nearer to me in time. In this moment, if you can be silent, you are me, part and parcel of me.
If I am telling you something that came to me yesterday, it is not I who will be talking to you: I will be a dead person, a dead record. I will not be living in this moment, adjusted to this moment. Something that is dead will be asserted through me. And to rely upon something that is dead…it is impossible.
If I am still living in the memory of yesterday, then I am not capable of living today. If I can live yesterday’s moments yesterday, then I must live what is happening today this very moment and what I say must come through the me of this moment. If it comes from the dead past, it is borrowed. Even if it comes from me, from my own past, it is dead weight, it is not knowing.
Knowing is always spontaneous, whereas all claims are always to past knowledge, to memory. When you borrow from your memory you are not in the moment of knowing. One must not borrow from anyone, not even from one’s own past. One must live moment to moment, and live in such a way that everything which comes to you becomes part of your knowing.
If I look at you, my look can be knowing only if my memory is not in between. If I am looking at you through my memory of our past meetings then I am not really looking at you. But if I can look at you without any burden of the past, the look becomes meditative. If I can touch you without the burden of any experience that my hand has known in the past, the touch becomes meditative. Everything that is innocently spontaneous becomes meditative.
The third point that I would like to stress is that a meditative mind lives moment to moment. It does not accumulate, it lives each moment as it comes. It never goes beyond the here and now, it is always in the now, receptive to each moment as it comes.
What is dead is dead; what has passed is past. The past has gone and the future has not yet come. This moment between the past and the future is the only thing that exists.
The past is part of memory and the future is part of longing. Both are mental; they have no existence in themselves, they are human creations. If mankind did not exist on the earth there would be no past and no future. There would just be the present, the now, only now – without any passage of time, without any coming, any going. The meditative mind lives in the now – that is its only existence.
A Zen monk was sentenced to death. The king of the country called him and said to him, “You have only twenty-four hours – how are you going to live them?”