The mind never allows you to be where you are, it never allows you to see things as they are. It is always taking you somewhere else, either into the past or into the future; it never allows you to be in the present. Either it drags you into memories – which are nothing but footprints on the sands of time – or it drags you into the future: great projections, great expectations, desires, goals. And you become so involved with them – as if they have some reality! And the reality is slipping out of your hands while you are engaged in all these trips into the past, into the future.
The mind never allows you and will never allow you to see that which is; it always takes you to that which is not.
Edith was complaining to her friend, Rose, that her husband never showed any interest in making love. He would just sit every night and watch television. Rose suggested that she make herself more appealing and somehow tantalize him.
So the next night Edith put on her most bewitching perfume and dressed herself in nothing but shoes, hat, gloves, and handbag. She went into the living room and casually strolled around. Her husband kept his eyes glued on the TV set. She coughed, and he finally looked up at her.
“Oh, are you going out?” he asked.
“Of course!” she said sarcastically.
“Great,” he replied, “because I was hoping you could mail this letter for me.”
He is not there. He is not seeing the woman, he is not seeing that she is naked. He is not there at all. Nobody is – everybody is somewhere else.
It is said by the ancient Sufis that God wants to meet you, and wherever he thinks you should be he comes, but he never finds you there. You are always somewhere else. He comes in the present – you are in the past, you are in the future. He knows only one time: now, and only one place: here. But you are never here and you are never now; you are always there and you are always then. The meeting is impossible. He knows no other time than the present and no other place than this. He lives in thisness, suchness. Buddha’s word is tathata – he lives in suchness, tathata.
One of the names of Buddha is Tathagata – one who lives in suchness, one who has become free from all the distractions of the mind. And the miracle is that the mind consists only of distraction, so once you are free of all distractions there is no mind left. In the present there is no mind. In the present there is only consciousness, awareness, watchfulness.
Live in the world, but not through the mind. Don’t let the past or the future stand between you and reality. And if you can manage the state of no-mind even for a few moments – that’s what meditation is all about – you will be surprised: suddenly you are in rhythm with existence. You will know what Buddha calls aes dhammo sanantano: the eternal law. You will pulsate with it, vibrate with it. You will be just a wave in the great ocean of the law. You will be in such attunement, in such at-onement, in such deep harmony and accord, that the whole sky will start showering flowers on you, the whole existence will rejoice with you.