Existence knocks at every door. Its grace visits every home. But our doors are shut. And even when we hear a knock we immediately rationalize it and explain it away.
In the old days they said that, “A guest is God.” There is a slight mistake in this maxim. The truth is that existence is the guest. Existence is waiting as a guest at our doorsteps, but the door is closed. Its grace is equally available to all. Therefore don’t ask whether one attains through its grace; one attains only through its grace. And as far as our efforts are concerned, they are a help in opening the door, in removing the hurdles from the way.
When it comes, it comes on its own accord.
You have talked of four stages of meditation. Would you please explain them fully?
Firstly, you should know that the first three stages are merely steps to meditation, not meditation itself. The fourth stage is meditation. The fourth is the door, while the other three are doorsteps. Steps don’t make for the door, they only lead to the door. The fourth stage is the door to meditation, which is relaxation and rest, emptiness and void, surrender and cessation, dissolution and death, or whatever you call it. That is the door, and the first three steps take us to it.
And the fundamental principle behind the first three stages is one. If a person is to relax, he will have to pass through a state of absolute tension; it is only then that the passage to relaxation becomes possible. If a man works throughout the day, he can sleep well in the night. The harder he works, the deeper he sleeps. One can argue that since sleep is the opposite of work, how can he who works hard sleep? He should not be able to sleep, because labor and rest are so opposed to each other. Logically, sleep should be available to the person who rests the whole day in bed. But the truth is that he will not be able to sleep at night if he rests in the daytime.
That is why, as man’s life is becoming increasingly comfortable, his sleep has been disappearing in the same measure. The more comforts and leisure we have, the less sleep we will have. And the irony is that we go on adding to our comforts in the hope that they will help us sleep undisturbed. But the contrary is the case. With the growth of civilization and leisure, sleep will disappear, because hard work is a prerequisite of sleep. As one works, so he sleeps. Similarly as one’s tension mounts and reaches its climax, one easily slips into deep relaxation.