God is not there to be found somewhere else – in Kaaba, in Kailash, in Girnar, in Jerusalem. God has to be found under your cloak. And the reality is this: that there is nobody except God within you. But you have not turned upon yourself, your eyes are fixed at distant goals. Your eyes are roaming there somewhere in the future; and God is here, and you are not here. Hence the meeting is difficult. Otherwise there is no difficulty at all.
Sufism is the path of intense love, passionate love. As Bayazid has said, “The duration of Bayazid’s life of asceticism was only three days. On the first day he renounced the world, on the second day he renounced the other world, and on the last day he renounced himself.”
There are only three steps. The first step: becoming aware that this world is nothing but games, becoming aware that this world is nothing but our projections; and the second step, becoming aware that the other world, heaven, paradise, is also nothing but our unfulfilled dreams, our unfulfilled desires projected in time, in the future; and the third step, when this world is dropped and that world is dropped, then all that is left is you. Then all that is left is the faculty of projection, the mind, the ego. And the third step consists of dropping the ego. And suddenly you are back home. Suddenly nothing is needed any more, all is available. And then one starts laughing, because this had always been so – all had always been available. Just because we were searching and searching, and we were in such a frantic search that We never looked within; We never looked at the treasure that we are already carrying, we became too much obsessed with the outside world; we forgot the language of the inner, we forgot that there is an interior in us and that interiority is God.
Meditate over these beautiful lines of D.H. Lawrence:
Are you willing to be sponged out,
Erased, canceled, made nothing?
Are you willing to be made nothing,
Dipped into oblivion?
If not, you will never really change.
The phoenix renews her youth
Only when she is burnt, burnt alive,
Burnt down to hot and flocculent ash.
The myth, the beautiful myth of the phoenix, the bird who becomes alive only through death, who renews itself by burning itself, utterly burning itself, whose death becomes resurrection…The myth of the phoenix bird is the myth of all the awakened people.
Jesus is another representation of the same myth: crucifixion and resurrection.
Bayazid says, “I am gone, I am no more.” This is death. But out of this death something deathless arrives, is found. But people are cunning: they would like to have God also. Just as they have a good bank balance, they would like God also to be in their fist. They would like God to be their possession so that they can brag about and claim that “I know God.” But that ego will not allow them.