God is not a form, God is formlessness. God is absolute nothingness, God is total void. Out of that voidness everything arises – trees, people, mountains, earths, stars, creations. They come, for the time being they are there, and then they again disappear into the ultimate void. That is the beginning and the end; it is before the beginning and after the end. Buddha calls it the beyond, the ultimate beyond, beyond the beyond.
You ask me, Bruce, “Why, despite appearances, is the void more tangible than the form, consciousness more than thought, silence more than the word?”
Consciousness is God because consciousness is nothingness. Thought is a world; hence Buddha calls mind “the world.” The moment a thought arises, a wave has arisen in the lake of consciousness, a form has arisen, and the form is only temporal, momentary. Soon it will disappear; it is not going to abide, it is not eternal. Don’t cling to it. Watch it come in and watch it go out. Watch it arising and watch it disappearing, but don’t cling to it. Remember consciousness, in which it arises and in which it dissolves again. That is your reality, that is your truth. The thought can be good, the thought can be bad, but good or bad it makes no difference. A thought is a thought; it is not eternal – and that is the only criterion of reality.
That’s how the mystics have always been judging reality: whatsoever is eternal is real and whatsoever is momentary is only a dream phenomenon. There is no difference between the dream that you see in the night and the dream that you see in the day, the dream that you see with closed eyes and the dream that you see with open eyes. Yes, there is a little difference: one dream is absolutely private. In the night with closed eyes you see a private dream; in the day with open eyes you see a collective dream, an objective dream. There are many participants in it, hence it gives you the feeling as if it is real. It is not so. What happens when you fall asleep? You forget all about the day.
It is said about Chuang Tzu that one morning he woke up and started laughing. His disciples gathered together and they asked, “What is the matter?”
Chuang Tzu said, “I have come across a problem that I cannot solve. Help me to solve it.”
That was the first time that he was asking the help of the disciples to solve a problem. Otherwise he was always solving their problems.
The disciples said, “It must be a really great, complicated problem – you tell us.”
He said, “The problem is simple, but in a way very complicated – and I don’t think it can be solved, it seems insoluble. That’s why I am laughing. I have looked at it from every side; it seems absolutely insoluble. The problem is, in the night I dreamed that I had become a butterfly.”
The disciples said, “That’s nothing. We all dream all kinds of things – dreams are dreams. Now you are awake the dream is finished. Why make so much fuss about a dream?”