Even to say, “It is very close,” is not right; it is you. Closeness also means a little distance. When you want to see things you need a certain perspective. If you put your mirror just on your nose you will not see anything; you have to keep it a little away from you, then you can see your face. But the truth is closer than anything. In fact, the word closer gives the idea of distance. That’s why I say, Ta Hui is just one step away. One step more and he will disappear.
Truth is you.
He has almost reached the end of his pilgrimage:
Just because it is so very close you cannot get this truth out of your own eyes. When you open your eyes it strikes you, and when you close your eyes it is not lacking either.
When you open your eyes it is really the truth opening its eyes, and when you close your eyes it is the truth that is closing its eyes. One who has realized knows that the seeker himself is the sought. That is the trouble: the pilgrim is himself the goal of the pilgrimage.
There is a Sufi story about al-Hillaj. He was a poor man, but very sincere in his search. Mohammedans think that if you go to their holy place, Kaaba, just once in a lifetime, that’s enough for your liberation. So he collected money, sold his house, his land, whatsoever small things he had – and the village gave him a good send off.
But just outside the village under a tree was sitting a great master, Junnaid. Al-Hillaj had no idea who he was, but Junnaid said, “Listen, where are you going?”
Al-Hillaj said, “I wanted to ask you which way I should go. I am going to Kaaba.” Al-Hillaj looked at the man more carefully. He was so radiant – he was not an ordinary man.
Junnaid said, “Forget all about Kaaba. I am here. Just make seven circles around me, the way you would be doing if you reached Kaaba, and put all your money in front of me. Don’t waste it!”
The man was so authoritative that poor al-Hillaj gave him all his money and made the seven circles. Then Junnaid said, “I have found the truth within myself. In Kaaba there is only a stone; I am a living truth! Your pilgrimage is fulfilled, but just one step more….”
Al-Hillaj asked, “What is that step?”
He said, “The step is when you start making the circle around yourself. Still, my truth is my truth. You will be blessed, you will feel great, you will have ecstatic moments, but still it is my truth. You should learn to circle yourself.”
Al-Hillaj said, “That seems to be a very difficult job. How one can circle oneself?”
And Junnaid said, “Just whirl…whirl in the same place seven times, and wherever you are is the truth.”