Nobody can exist without a center…. It has not to be created but only rediscovered. Essence is the center, that which is your nature, that which is God-given. Personality is the circumference, that which is cultivated by society; it is not God-given. It is by nurture, not by nature.
One Sufi mystic who had remained happy his whole life—no one had ever seen him unhappy—he was always laughing. He was laughter, his whole being was a perfume of celebration. In his old age, when he was dying—he was on his deathbed, and still enjoying death, laughing hilariously—a disciple asked, “You puzzle us. Now you are dying. Why are you laughing? What is there funny about it? We are feeling so sad. We wanted to ask you many times in your life why you are never sad. But now, confronting death, at least one should be sad. You are still laughing! How are you managing it?” And the old man said, “It is a simple clue. I had asked my master. I had gone to my master as a young man; I was only seventeen, and already miserable. And my master was old, seventy, and he was sitting under a tree, laughing for no reason at all. There was nobody else, nothing had happened, nobody had cracked a joke or anything. And he was simply laughing, holding his belly. And I asked him, ‘What is the matter with you? Are you mad or something?’ “He , ‘One day I was also as sad as you are. Then it dawned on me that it is my choice, it is my life. Since that day, every morning when I get up, the first thing I decide is, before I open my eyes, I say to myself, “Abdullah”—that was his name—‘what do you want?Misery? Blissfulness? What are you going to choose today? And it happens that always choose blissfulness.’” It is a choice. Try it. The first moment in the morning when you become aware that sleep has left, ask yourself, “Abdullah, another day! What is your idea? Do you choose misery or blissfulness?” And who would choose misery? And why? It is so unnatural—unless one feels blissful in misery, but then too you are choosing bliss, not misery.
Finding the real source
When you see a friend and suddenly feel a joy rising in your heart,concentrate on this joy. Feel it and become it, and meet the friend while being aware and filled with your joy. Let the friend be just on the periphery, and you remain centered in your feeling of happiness. This can be done in many other situations. The sun is rising, and suddenly you feel something rising within you. Then forget the sun; let it remain on the periphery. You be centered in your own feeling of rising energy. The moment you look at it, it will spread. It will become your whole body, your whole being. And don’t just be an observer of it; merge into it. There are a few moments when you feel joy, happiness, bliss, but you go on missing them because you become object-centered. Whenever there is joy, you feel that it is coming from without. You have met a friend—of course, it appears that the joy is coming from your friend, from seeing him. That is not the actual case. The joy is always within you. The friend has just become a situation. The friend has helped it to come out, has helped you to see that it is there. And this is not only with joy, but with everything: with anger, with sadness, with misery, with happiness, with everything, it is so. Other are only situations in which things that are hidden in you are expressed. They are not causes; they are not causing something in you. Whatsoever is happening, it is happening to you. It has always been there; it is only that meeting with this friend has become a situation in which whatsoever was hidden has come out in the open—has come out from the hidden sources—it has become apparent, manifest. Whenever this happens remain centered in the inner feeling, and then you will have a different attitude about everything in life. Even with negative emotions, do this. When you are angry, do not be centered on the person who has aroused it. Let him be on the periphery. You just become anger. Feel anger in its totality; allow it to happen within. Don’t rationalize; don’t say that this man has created it. Do not condemn the man. He has just become the situation. And feel grateful toward him that he has helped something which was hidden to come into the open. He has hit you somewhere, and a wound was hidden there. Now you know it, so become the wound. With negative or positive, with any emotion, use this, and there will be a great change in you. If the emotion is negative, you will be freed of it by being aware that it is within you. If the emotion is positive, you will become the emotion itself. If it is joy, you will become joy. If it is anger, the anger will dissolve. And this is the difference between negative and positive emotions: if you become aware of a certain emotion, and by your becoming aware the emotion dissolves, it is negative. If by your becoming aware of a certain emotion you then become the emotion, if the emotion then spreads and becomes your being, it is positive. Awareness works differently in both cases. If it is a poisonous emotion, you are relieved of it through awareness. If it is good, blissful, ecstatic, you become one with it. Awareness deepens it.
Center of the cyclone
When desire grips you, you are disturbed. Of course, that is natural. Desire grips you, then your mind starts wavering and many ripples go on, on the surface. The desire pulls you somewhere into the future; the past pushes you somewhere into the future. You are disturbed: you are not at ease. Desire is, therefore, a ‘dis-ease.’ This sutra says, “In moods of extreme desire be undisturbed.” But how to be undisturbed? Desire means disturbance, so how to be undisturbed—and in extreme moments of desire! You will have to do certain experiments; only then will you understand what it means. You are in anger: anger grips you. You are temporarily mad, possessed: you are no longer in your senses. Suddenly remember to be undisturbed—as if you are undressing. Inside, become naked, naked from the anger, undressed. Anger will be there, but now you have a point within you which is not disturbed. You will know that anger is there on the periphery. Like fever, it is there. The periphery is wavering; the periphery is disturbed, but you can look at it. If you can look at it, you will be undisturbed. Become a witness to it, and you will be undisturbed. This undisturbed point is your original mind. The original mind cannot be disturbed; it is never disturbed. But you have never looked at it. When anger is there, you become identified with the anger. You forget that anger is something other than you. You become one with it, and you start acting through it, you start doing something through it. Two things can be done. In anger you will be violent to someone, to the object of your anger. Then you have moved to the other. Anger is just in between you and the other. Here I am, there is anger, and there you are—the object of my anger. From anger I can travel in two dimensions. Either I can travel to you: then you become my center of consciousness, the object of my anger. Then my mind becomes focused on you, the one who has insulted me. This is one way that you can travel from anger. There is another way: you can travel to yourself. You don’t move to the person whom you feel has caused the anger. You move to the person who feels to be angry; you move to the subject and not to the object. Ordinarily, we go on moving to the object. If you move to the object, the dust part of your mind is disturbed, and you will feel, “‘I’ am disturbed.” If you move within to the center of your own being, you will be able to witness the dust part: you will be able to see that the dust part of the mind is disturbed, but “I am not disturbed.” And you can experiment upon this with any desire, any disturbance. A sexual desire comes to your mind; your whole body is taken by it: you can move to the sexual object, the object of your desire. The object may be there, it may not be there. You can move to the object in imagination also, but then you will get more and more disturbed. The further away you go from your center, the more you will be disturbed. Really, the distance and disturbance are always in proportion. The more distant you are from your center, the more you are disturbed; the nearer you are to the center, the less you are disturbed. If you are just at the center, there is no disturbance. In a cyclone, there is a center which is undisturbed—in the cyclone of anger, the cyclone of sex, the cyclone of any desire. Just in the center there is no cyclone, and a cyclone cannot exist without a silent center. The anger also cannot exist without something within you which is beyond anger. Remember this: nothing can exist without its opposite. The opposite is needed there. Without it, there is no possibility of it existing. If there were no center within you which remains unmoved, no movement would be possible there. If there were no center within you which remains undisturbed, no disturbance could happen to you. Analyze this and observe this. If there were no center of absolute undisturbance in you, how could you feel that you are disturbed? You need a comparison. You need two points to compare. Suppose a person is ill: he feels illness because somewhere within him, a point, a center of absolute health exists. That is why he can compare. You say that your head is aching: how is it that you know about this ache, this headache? If you were the headache, you could not know it. You must be someone else, something else the observer, the witness, who can say, “My head is aching.” In the Book of Secrets, Shiva says: “In moods of extreme desire, be undisturbed.” What can you do? This technique is not for suppression. This technique is not saying that when there is anger, suppress it and remain undisturbed—no! If you suppress, you will create more disturbance. If the anger is there and an effort to suppress is there, it will double the disturbance. When anger is there, close your doors, meditate on the anger, allow the anger to be. You remain undisturbed, and don’t suppress it. It is easy to suppress; it is easy to express. We do both. We express if the situation allows, and if it is convenient and not dangerous for you. If you can harm the other and the other cannot harm you, you will express the anger. If it is dangerous, if the other can harm you more, if your boss or whoever you are angry at is more strong, you will suppress it. Expression and suppression are easy: witnessing is difficult. Witnessing is neither. It is not suppressing, it is not expressing. It is not expressing because you are not expressing it to the object of anger. It is not being suppressed either. You are allowing it to be expressed—expressed in a vacuum. You are meditating on it. Stand before a mirror and express your anger—and be a witness to it. You are alone, so you can meditate on it. Do whatsoever you want to do, but in a vacuum. If you want to beat someone, beat the empty sky. If you want to be angry, be angry; if you want to scream, scream. But do it alone, and remember yourself as a point which is seeing all this, this drama. Then it becomes a psychodrama, and you can laugh at it and it will be a deep catharsis for you. Afterwards you will feel relieved of it and not only relieved of it: you will have gained something through it. You will have matured; a growth will have come to you. And now you will know that even while you were in anger there was a center within you which was undisturbed. Now try to uncover this center more and more, and it is easy to uncover it in desire. This technique can be very useful, and much benefit can happen to you through it. But it will be difficult because when you become disturbed, you forget everything. You may forget that you have to meditate. Then try it in this way: don’t wait for the moment when anger happens to you. Don’t wait for that moment! Just close the door to your room, and think of some past experience of anger when you went mad. Remember it, and re-enact it. That will be easy for you. Re-enact it again; do it again; relive it. Don’t just remember it: relive it. Remember that someone had insulted you and what was said and how you reacted to him. React again; replay it. This re-enacting something from the past will do much. Everyone has scars in his mind, unhealed wounds. If you re-enact them, you will be unburdened. If you can go to your past and do something which has remained incomplete, you will be unburdened from your past. Your mind will become fresher; the dust will be thrown away. Remember in your past something which you feel has remained suspended. You wanted to kill someone, you wanted to love someone, you wanted this and that, and that has remained incomplete. That incomplete thing goes on hovering around the mind like a cloud. Gurdjieff used this technique a great deal. He created situations, but to create situations a school is needed. You cannot do that alone. Gurdjieff had a small school in Fontainebleau, and he was a taskmaster. He knew how to create situations. You would enter the room where a group was sitting, and something would be done so that you would get angry. And it would be done so naturally that you would never imagine that some situation was being created for you. But it was a device. Someone would insult you by saying something, and you would get disturbed. Then everyone would help the disturbance and you would become mad. And when you were right at the point where you could explode, Gurdjieff would shout, “Remember! Remain undisturbed!”You can help. Your family can become a school; you can help each other. Friends can become a school and they can help each other. You can decide with your family. The whole family can decide that now a situation has to be created
for the father or for the mother, and then the whole family works to create the situation. When the father or mother goes completely mad, then everyone starts laughing and says, “Remain completely undisturbed.” You can help each other, and the experience is simply wonderful. Once you know a cool center within you in a hot situation, you cannot forget it. And then in any hot situation you can remember it, reclaim it, regain it. In the West, one therapeutic technique is used: it is called psychodrama. It helps, and it is also based on techniques like this. In psychodrama you just enact,you just play a game. In the beginning it is a game, but sooner or later you become possessed. And when you become possessed your mind starts cooperating, because your mind and your body function automatically. They function automatically! So if you see an actor acting in a psychodrama who, in a situation of anger, really becomes angry, you may think that he is simply acting, but it is not so. He might have really become angry; it may not be acting at all now. He is possessed by the desire, by the disturbance, by the feeling, by the mood, and if he is really possessed, only then does his acting look real. Your body cannot know whether you are playing or you are doing it for real. You may have observed yourself at some time in your life that you were just playing at being angry, and you didn’t realize when the anger became real. Or, you were just playing and you were not feeling sexual: you were playing with your wife or with your girlfriend, or with your husband, and then suddenly it became real. The body took over. The body can be deceived. The body cannot know whether it is real or unreal, particularly with sex. If you imagine it, your body thinks it is real. Once you start doing something, the body thinks it is real and it starts behaving in a real way. Psychodrama is a technique based on such methods. You are not angry; you are simply acting angry and then you get into it. But psychodrama is beautiful because you know that you are simply acting. And then on the periphery the anger becomes real, and just behind it you are hidden and looking at it. Now you know that you are not disturbed but the anger is there, the disturbance is there. The disturbance is there, and yet the disturbance is not. This feeling of two forces working simultaneously gives you a transcendence, and then in real anger also you can feel it. Once you know how to feel it, you can feel it in real situations also.Use this technique. This will change your life totally. Once you know how to remain undisturbed, the world is not misery for you. Then nothing can create any confusion in you, nothing can hurt you, really. Now there is no suffering for you, and once you know it you can do another thing. Once you can detach your center from the periphery, you can do it. Once the center is detached completely, if you can remain undisturbed in anger, in desire, you can play with desires, with anger, with disturbances. This technique is to create a feeling of two extremes within you. They are there: two polar opposites are there. Once you become aware of this polarity, you become for the first time a master of yourself. Otherwise others are your masters; you are just a slave. Your wife knows, your son knows, your father knows, your friends know that you can be pushed and pulled. You can be disturbed, you can be made happy and unhappy. If someone else can make you happy and unhappy, you are not a master. You are just a slave. The other has a hold. Just by a single gesture, he can make you unhappy; just by a small smile he can make you happy. So you are just at the mercy of someone else; the other can do anything to you. And if this is the situation, then all your reactions are simply reactions, not actions. This knowledge of the center or this grounding in the center makes you a master. Otherwise you are a slave, and a slave of so many—not only of one master, but of many. Everything is a master, and you are a slave to the whole universe. Obviously, you will be in trouble. With so many masters pulling you in so many directions and dimensions, you are never together; you are not in a unity. And pulled in so many dimensions, you are in anguish. Only a master of oneself can transcend anguish.
Who am I?
Gurdjieff tried from one angle. He said, just try to remember you are. Ramana Maharshi tried from another angle. He made it a meditation to ask, to inquire, “Who am I?” And don’t believe in any answers that the mind can supply. The mind will say, “What nonsense are you asking? You are this, you are that, you are a man, you are a woman, you are educated or uneducated, rich or poor.” The mind will supply answers, but go on asking. Don’t accept any answer because all the answers given by the mind are false. They are from the unreal part of you. They are coming from words, they are coming from scriptures, they are coming from conditioning, they are coming from society, they are coming from others. Go on asking. Let this arrow of “Who am I?” penetrate deeper and deeper. A moment will come when no answer will come. That is the right moment. Now you are nearing the answer. When no answer comes you are near the answer, because mind is becoming silent—or, you have gone far away from the mind. When there will be no answer and a vacuum will be created all around you, your questioning will look absurd. Whom are you questioning? There is no one to answer you. Suddenly, even your questioning will stop. With the questioning, the last part of the mind has dissolved because this question was also of the mind. Those answers were of the mind and this question was also of the mind. Both have dissolved, so now you are. Try this. There is every possibility, if you persist, that this technique can give you a glimpse of the real—and the real is ever-living.
Sufi Whirling is one of the most ancient techniques, one of the most forceful. It is so deep that even a single experience can make you totally different. Whirl with open eyes, just like small children go on twirling, as if your inner being has become a center and your whole body has become a wheel, moving, a potter’s wheel, moving. You are in the center, but the whole body is moving. Instructions It is recommended that no food or drink be taken for three hours before whirling. It is best to have bare feet and wear loose clothing. The meditation is divided into two stages, whirling and resting. There is no fixed time for the whirling—it can go on for hours—but it is suggested that you continue for at least an hour to get fully into the feeling of the energy whirlpool.The whirling is done on the spot in an anti-clockwise direction, with the right arm held high, palm upwards, and the left arm low, palm downwards. People who feel discomfort from whirling anti-clockwise can change to clockwise. Let your body be soft and keep your eyes open, but unfocused so that images become blurred and flowing. Remain silent. For the first 15 minutes, rotate slowly. Then gradually build up speed over the next 30 minutes until the whirling takes over and you become a whirlpool of energy—the periphery a storm of movement but the witness at the center silent and still. When you are whirling so fast that you cannot remain upright, your body will fall by itself. Don’t make the fall a decision on your part, nor attempt to arrange the landing in advance; if your body is soft you will land softly and the earth will absorb your energy. Once you have fallen, the second part of the meditation starts. Roll onto your stomach immediately so that your bare navel is in contact with the earth. If anybody feels strong discomfort lying this way, he should lie on his back. Feel your body blending into the earth, like a small child pressed to the mother’s breasts. Keep your eyes closed and remain passive and silent for at least 15 minutes. After the meditation be as quiet and inactive as possible. Some people may feel nauseated during the Whirling Meditation, but this feeling should disappear within two or three days. Only discontinue the meditation if it persists.