The mind is also divided in two parts: the left hemisphere of the mind is male, the right hemisphere of the mind is female. I am saying this so that I can explain to you why there is such a phenomenon as Zen-and-Sufism – they are polar opposites. Zen is the path of via negative; it is basically male-oriented. It is the path of intelligence, meditation, awareness. Sufism is the path of via positive; it is feminine. It is the path of love, affirmation.
The Buddhist moves by negating: This is not the truth, that is not the truth – neti, neti – neither this nor that, says Sosan. Go on negating, eliminating. When you have eliminated all, that which remains and cannot be eliminated any more is the truth.
Sufism is based on positivity: Don’t negate, don’t use no, say yes. And don’t search in a negative way; move in an absolutely positive way. Don’t think of the wrong, think of the right. Don’t think of illness, think of health. Don’t think of thorns, think of flowers. Don’t think of ugliness, misery, think of beauty and joy.
Both are there. And you cannot use both together – you will go mad if you use both together. That’s really what happens when a man goes mad. He starts using both his polarities and both those polarities go on negating each other. That’s why he becomes paralyzed in his intelligence. One has to use one; the other will be there but as a shadow, just complementary to it.
In Zen you use no, and, slowly slowly, all that is meaningless is cut from the very roots. But the meaning remains, because meaning cannot be cut. The significance remains; that is impossible to destroy, it is indestructible. So there is no problem! People who follow Zen reach. They reach to health by eliminating diseases. That is their way.
The Sufi way is just the opposite: it moves through the positive, through health, through yes-saying. And, slowly slowly, it arrives at the same goal. And, in a way, the path of the Sufi is more full of joy, more full of songs, because it flows through the valleys and mountains of love.
Zen flows through a desert land. The desert also has its own beauty – the silence of it, the vastness of it, the purity of its air – the desert has its own beauty! If you are a lover of the desert, don’t be worried about it. People have reached through the desert to the ultimate. But if you are not, then there is no need to torture yourself in the desert. There are green valleys too.
Sufism moves through green valleys. Now this too is very strange, but this is how the mind functions: Sufism was born in a desert; Zen was born in a green valley. Maybe that’s why it happened so. The people who live in a desert can’t choose the path of Zen. They are already in a desert, tired of the desert. Outside is the expanse of desert and desert alone. They would not like to choose the inner desert too; otherwise, the polarity will be lost. Outside is desert, inside they have to create a green valley of love, of positivity. That will make things balanced. That will help the dialectical process.