BENGALURU: Meditation is the approach to this problem of living. Either you can treat meditation as an escape from life, that is, retire into some monastery, put on a garb of some special kind, and withdraw from the whole complex life. And there are such schools which offer escapes. Both in India and in Asia there are these schools which offer a method, a system, a way, which will give perhaps a great sensitivity, perhaps if one is sufficiently silly enough, to have visions, to perpetuate the same old sordid life, and escape altogether into some mysterious, metaphysical existence.
There is that approach to that word with its meaning. Or meditation is the living, not an escape, not an abstraction of life with all its delight, with its sorrow and despair, and an escape, an avoidance, a metaphysical, mystical, non-realistic but romantic escape. So we are not, at least the speaker is not, using that word as a means of escape, but rather to understand the very existence, the whole meaning of life. I think that has great meaning. And meditation becomes then a benediction, an extraordinary thing that one must understand very deeply.
And if one has time this evening, afternoon, or whatever it is, we might perhaps go into it together. Because that word has now become the fashion, to talk about meditation. It is almost on every lip - it is even in the New Yorker, and every - I don’t know what to call them - long-haired gentlemen talk about it. They offer a system, a few words by repetition of which, or the practice of that method, you are going to transcend all your sorrow and achieve some extraordinary reality, which is obviously nonsense, because a stupid mind, a dull mind, a mind that is conditioned, heavily sodden by its own prejudices and superstitions and conclusions, a dull mind can meditate indefinitely, following a certain method, and it will still remain a dull mind.
So we can intelligently, objectively, push all that aside - the method, the ‘how’, the pattern set down by the ancients, or by the modern yogi, with all his pretensions, offering for a certain sum of money the absurdity for exchange of what is called enlightenment. We can in examining it see its futility. So we won’t in any way concern or be involved in those forms of escapes, which is called meditation. So let’s be very clear from the very beginning that meditation is not an entertainment, it is not something that you purchase from another, whatever the price be.
It is not the acceptance of authority of any kind, including that of the speaker, and specially that of the speaker, because in understanding this extraordinary problem of living there is no authority, no teacher, no master, no guru, because they have all failed. Because each one of us is in travail, is in sorrow, confused, miserable, striving, and it is important, essential that we understand that and not some mysterious vision. And visions are very easily explained. The mind can produce, believe in anything, and convince itself of anything, and it can play any trick - through drugs, through repetition of words, through various forms of self-hypnosis.
So we are concerned with life, with the living of that life of every day - the struggle, the pain, the fleeting pleasures, the fears, the despair, the sorrow, the loneliness, the utter absence of love, the crude and subtle forms of selfishness; and of course there is the ultimate fear of death. So that is what we are concerned, and to understand that deeply, with all the passion that is necessary, meditation is the key.