That’s why if a person goes to the desert, to the Arabian Desert, to the Sahara, and sits there, he will start imagining, visions will start coming to him, because a desert is a very monotonous thing. Nothing to pay attention to – just the same monotonous expanse of sands and sands; nothing to distract, nothing new – monotonous, boring. A person becomes dreamy, one starts substituting. If there is nothing new outside, one creates one’s own imaginative world and starts looking into it.
That’s what happens to people who go to the Himalayas and sit in caves to meditate. They start imagining. Then they can imagine anything – gods and goddesses and apsaras and angels and Krishna playing on his flute, and Rama standing with his bow, and Jesus – and whatsoever your imagination, whatsoever your conditioning. If you have been conditioned as a Christian, sooner or later in a Himalayan cave you will encounter Jesus, and this will be pure imagination. Nothing to distract the mind outside, the mind starts creating its own dreams inside. And when you continuously dream, those dreams look very, very real.
Many experiments have been done in the West on sense deprivation. If a person is deprived of all impressions – his eyes are closed, he is put in a box, his ears are closed, his whole body is encased in foam rubber so the touch is monotonous, the darkness in the eyes is monotonous, the soundlessness is monotonous, everything monotonous – within two, three hours he starts dreaming – such fantastic dreams, and so real…realer than real. And if a person is deprived for twenty-one days he will never come back sane. He will become insane, because his imagination will take complete possession of him.
But why does the mind start daydreaming? The scientific explanation is that the mind cannot live alone with itself. So either it needs somebody in reality, or, if in reality somebody is not there, then it creates fantasy. Fantasy is a substitute. The mind cannot live alone.
That’s why you dream in the night – because in sleep you are alone; the world disappears. Your husband is no more there, your children are no more there, your wife is no more there, you are simply alone – and you have become incapable of aloneness. Your mind simply substitutes another world of dreams; dreams, cycles of dreams the whole night. Why are dreams needed? Because you cannot be alone.
This whole illusion that exists around you is because you have not learned one basic thing – of being alone. The Zen master is right. He says, “This is the greatest miracle. I sit here alone with myself.” To be with oneself and to be happily with oneself, blissfully with oneself, and not to move into fantasies…then suddenly one is at home, one is entering into one’s own abyss.
It appears like emptiness when you enter, but once you have entered it is the very fullness of being, the fulfillment, the blossoming, the climax, the crescendo. It is not emptiness. It only appears to be emptiness because you have lived with others and suddenly you miss the others; that’s why you interpret it as empty. Others are not there, only you are there – but you cannot see yourself right now, you simply miss the others.