You can't get there from here - Question #4
RECENTLY I HAD A GLIMPSE OF EMPTINESS. IN MY WORK I COMMUNICATE THROUGH IMAGES JUXTAPOSED STRANGELY. WILL THE CLEARING PROCESS ALLOW THE IMAGE TO RISE ANEW, OR AS I VANISH WILL THE WORK VANISH?
It depends. If your work is just a profession, it can vanish when you vanish.
When your ego disappears into deep meditation your profession can also disappear, but if it is not a profession but a vocation, if it is not just a job but a calling, if it is not just imposed on you by yourself or by others but has deeper sources within you, deeper springs to feed it and nourish it, then when the ego disappears, your work for the first time becomes your love; then you become more creative. Tremendous energy is released when the ego disappears because the ego is carrying much of your energy -- wasting much of your energy. Just watch for twenty-four hours. Your ego is taking so much energy -- in anger, in pride, in trips. So much energy is wasted. When the ego disappears, all that energy becomes available to your work, to you.
It can become creative, but then the creativity has a very different quality, a different taste and savor. Then it is not as if you are creating; it is as if you have become a vehicle, as if you are possessed by something greater than you, as if existence has made you an instrument, a medium. You have become a flute and now God sings. You are just a hollow, a passage; you allow the whole to flow through you. If there is any fault, it is yours. If there is any beauty, it is God's. If you err, you err. If something is really given birth through you, you feel grateful.
Then all mistakes are yours because then you must have hindered in some way.
Blocked, you must not have been totally empty. The passage was not clear for God to flow through. But whenever something beautiful happens -- a painting, a poetry, a dance, or whatsoever -- you feel deeply grateful. A prayer comes to your heart; a thankfulness comes to your heart.
Then your creativity has a very quiet, calm quality to it. Right now, with the ego, there is much turmoil and tumult. With the ego the creativity is nothing much but the noise that you are a creator. The poetry may not be worth, but the poet goes on shouting from the housetops. The painting may not be of any value, may not have anything original to it, may be just an imitation, a fake; but the painter goes on carrying his head high in pride. It is very noisy with the ego. When the ego disappears, you flow in many ways, but everything becomes very silent and quiet.
I have heard:
Someone once asked Professor Charles Townsend Copeland of Harvard why he lived on the top floor of Hollis Hall in his small, dusty old rooms. "I shall always live here," he answered. "It is the only place in Cambridge where God alone is above me." Then, after a pause, he said, "He is busy, but he is quiet."
Yes, God is busy, tremendously busy -- spread all over existence. Just see how many things he is doing together, simultaneously. This infinite expanse is his.
You must have seen pictures of Hindu gods with thousands of hands. They are very symbolic. They show that he cannot work with two hands. Two hands won't be enough. The work is so vast. You must have seen Hindu gods with three heads looking in three dimensions -- because if he has only one head then what will happen to his back? He has to look in all directions. He has to be busy everywhere, with a thousand and one hands... but so quiet -- not even claiming, "I have done so much."
And you do a small thing -- you just arrange a few words and you think it is a poem -- and now arises the pride and you go mad. And you start claiming that you have created something. Remember, only mediocres claim. The real creators never claim, because the real creators become so humble, they understand that it is none of their own doing. In fact they have only been vehicles.
When Rabindranath, a great poet, used to have moods, was possessed, he would go in a room, close his door. For a few days he will not eat, he will not come out. He will just silently listen to the voice of God. He will purify himself so that he can become the right vehicle. He will cry and weep and he will go on writing. And whenever anybody asked he would always say. "Whatsoever is beautiful is not mine, and whatsoever is ordinary must be mine. I must have added it."
When Coleridge died, almost forty thousand incomplete pieces of poetry and stories were found -- forty thousand. Almost all his life his friends were saying, "Why don't you complete them?" He said, "How can I complete? He starts; he has to complete -- whenever he wills. I am helpless. One day he possessed me and then a few lines came -- and only one line is missing, but I am not going to add it because that will become destructive to it. Seven lines from the sky and one line from the earth? No, it will cut the wings. I will wait. If he is not in a hurry, who am I to worry about it?" This is a real creator.
A real creator is not a creator at all. A real creator becomes instrumental; he is possessed of the great forces. Wild forces of God possess him, wild seas and skies of God possess him. He becomes a mouthpiece. He utters, but the words are not his. He paints, but the colors are not his. He sings, but the sounds are not his. He dances, but he dances as if possessed -- somebody else dancing through him.
So it depends. The question is if your ego disappears into meditation what will happen to your work. If it is a profession it will disappear, and it is good that it disappears. Nobody should be a professional. Your work should be your love; otherwise the work becomes destructive. Then somehow you drag it and your whole life becomes dull. Your whole life becomes empty in a negative sense, unfulfilled. You are doing something which you never wanted to do in the first place. It is violent. It is suicidal -- you are killing yourself slowly, poisoning your own system. Nobody should be a professional. Your work should be your love; it should be your prayer. It should be your religion, not your profession.
There should be a passion flowing between you and your work. When really you have found your vocation, it is a love affair. It is not that you have to do it. It is not that you have to force yourself to do it. Suddenly you do it in a totally different way you had not known before. Your steps have a difference dance, your heart goes on humming. Your whole system functions for the first time at the optimum. It is a fulfillment. Through it you will find your being -- it will become a mirror; it will reflect you. Whatsoever it is -- a small thing.
It is not a question that only great things become vocations no. A small thing. You may be making toys for children, or making shoes, or weaving cloth -- or whatsoever. It doesn't matter what it is, but if you love it, if you have fallen in love with it; if you are flowing with no reservation, if you are not withholding yourself, if you are not dragging -- dancingly moving into it -- it will cleanse you, it will purify you. Your thinking by and by will disappear. It will be a silent music, and by and by you will feel that it is not only work, it is your being. Each step fulfilled, something in you flowers.
And richest is the man who has found his vocation. And richest is the man who starts feeling a fulfillment through his work. Then the whole life becomes a worship. Work should be a worship, but that's possible only when your being starts to be more meditative. Through meditation you will gather courage. Through meditation you will gather courage to throw the profession and to move towards the vocation. Maybe through the profession you could have been rich, but that richness would have been of the outside. Through the vocation you may remain poor; you may not be so rich. The society may not pay for it because the society has its own ends.
You may be writing poetry and nobody may be purchasing them, because the society does not need poetry. It can afford -- it is foolish enough -- it can afford to be without poetry. It pays if you are preparing something for war, for violence. If you are doing something for love -- a poetry is something for love, people will be more loving -- the society doesn't bother. The society needs soldiers, the society needs bombs, the society needs weapons not worship.
The society may not pay you, you may remain poor, but I tell you that poverty, that risk, is worth taking because inner riches will be overflowing towards you. You may die poor as far as your outside is concerned, but you will die an emperor as far as your inner being is concerned -- and ultimately only that is of any value.
Yoga: The Alpha and The Omega Vol. 7
Chapter title: You can't get there from here
6 January 1976 am in Buddha Hall