The failure of thinking is the arousal of meditation.
Science is thinking, religion is meditation. If you think about God, it is philosophy, it is not religion. If you live God, then it is religion.
If you are looking at a lotus flower and thinking about it, then it is science, philosophy, aesthetics. But if you are simply looking at the lotus flower…. The look is pure, uncontaminated by any thought, and the lotus flower is not thought to be a problem but just a beauty to be experienced…you are there, the lotus flower is there, and there is nothing in between – just empty, nobody is standing between you and the flower – it is meditation. Then the flower is not outside you, because there is nothing to divide as the in and the out. Then the lotus flower is somehow within you and you are somehow within the lotus flower. You melt into each other; divisions are lost, boundaries become blurred. The lotus starts touching your heart, and your heart starts touching the lotus. There is communion. It is meditation.
Whenever thought is not functioning, it is meditation. Listening to me, sometimes it becomes meditation to you. I say “sometimes” because sometimes you start thinking and then you lose track. When you are just listening, not thinking at all about what is being said – neither for nor against, not comparing with your past knowledge. not being greedy to accumulate it for your future use, not trying to justify, rationalize, not doing anything at all…I am here, you are there, and there is a meeting. In that meeting is meditation. And then there is great beauty.
You ask me: Your last words at this morning’s discourse were “Meditate on this.”
Yes. Whether I say it or not, that is my message every day, in the beginning, in the middle, in the end – that’s what I am saying: Meditate on this. Meditate.
The English word meditation is not very adequate for what we mean by dhyana in the East; “meditation” again carries some idea of thinking. In English, “meditation” means to think about, to meditate upon something. Dhyana does not mean to meditate upon something. Dhyana simply means to be in the presence of something, just to be in the presence. If you are in the presence of a tree, it is meditation on the tree. If you are in the presence of the stars, then it is meditation on the stars. If you are here in the presence of me, then it is a meditation. And when you are alone, and you just feel your own presence, that is meditation.
From dhyana came the Chinese word ch’an; from ch’an came the Japanese word zen. They are all derivations of dhyana. Dhyana is a beautiful word. It is not translatable into English, because English has words like meditation, contemplation, concentration – they all miss the point.