A talk given by Phiroz Mehta at Dilkusha, Forest Hill, London on 28th July 1972
Quite naturally human beings desire and pursue happiness, security, success, fulfilment and so on. But the actual fact of our existence has been and still is that practically all human beings undergo great tribulation. They see much sorrow in life, they are perplexed, they have no idea of the way out and they little realize that they themselves are the source of their misery. We are producers of ill, and this ill which afflicts us is not only bodily, not only concerned with the material things of the world, but it is also psychological, it is mental (intellectual, I mean there), and it is also spiritual.
The spiritual distress we must never try to be rid of. Our spiritual distress is due fundamentally to our sympathy for all that suffers. If that spiritual distress were not there, if that extraordinary sensitivity which bridges the gulf between oneself and all the rest of the world were not there, then there would be little hope for mankind. That sensitivity makes one suffer with everyone and with everything. It is that spiritual suffering which is one of the most powerful sources for the awakening of intelligence, of understanding, and the release of all those forces and energies which ultimately do work and produce human fulfilment. For the spiritual distress is not something which we should ever attempt to fight against, or to overcome or to solve. In fact if we are sensible we would welcome it, because this is the real thing that will help Man to free himself from his state of being a sub-human and become true Man.
Our concern is religion in its profoundest, in its deepest sense. Because of that, quite naturally we seek various ways and means for fulfilling the religiousness which lies at the heart of our being, and also we are conditioned by our upbringing and our educational methods. We imagine that if we follow such-and-such ways of life or listen to such-and-such teachers and try to practise what they suggest, or read certain books and so on, we imagine that if we did all that, all would be well and we would get along towards an unimaginably wonderful goal which we call Nirvana or the Kingdom of Heaven or whatever you like.
But this is where we err very considerably. We are living beings, and what characterizes the living being first and foremost is his own living process. The living process is not a process of acquisition, it is a process of growth. Development where living creatures are concerned is of quite a different nature from development in terms of the business world or the world of machines, invention, industry and so on. It is totally different because development for us means the growth of our sensitivity as human beings. Both the sensitivity to receive impressions as living creatures and to respond to what we receive in the right way, is what I mean by our sensitivity. It is this which undergoes growth, flowering, fruition, and in this there can be no acquisition. The living process is a creative process, it is not an accumulative process, and this is what through the ages we have failed to appreciate. The release of all the sensitivity which lies in this psycho-physical organism which we call the human being is what we should awake to.
If we really appreciate this point, an enormous load of emotional and intellectual distress would just drop away. A great deal of our conditioning would disappear and we would find ourselves in a state of inward freedom to grow as human beings, instead of being bound tight with systems and methods which are imposed systems and methods, with a set of ideas, verbally expressed and philosophies as we call them. When those press upon the mind, then this sensitivity within ourselves to touch reality, to know the truth, is cramped, confined, not allowed to grow. This is a very, very important point.
You may recall that through the years time and again we have tried to enter, or try out, shall we say, certain forms of meditation for instance, which I knew would be very helpful, helpful in the direction of releasing our sensitivity, our psychical and spiritual sensitivity. These experiments which we have tried as a group cannot of necessity go very far, because we try it out for a few moments. It is as if one were trying just to drop a seed in the soil and see what will happen. It is for each individual afterwards to tend that process. Be careful! This is not a system, a method which is suggested which you must mechanically follow as a daily routine. It is a living process.
How do we use our senses? We look at something and each one of us sees that something. If the act of seeing by each one of us is not conditioned by the professor in the laboratory or the parent or the friend saying, “Ah, look out for this, that and the other, and you will see this, that and the other,” if we are not conditioned that way, our whole psycho-physical sensitivity involved in seeing would work freely. In the first instance I may see very little or nothing at all. But if anything catches my interest, then this power of sensitivity within me, this faculty of sensitivity within me, will bridge over the physical gap and something inside me will be seeing and seeing and seeing in a way which is quite different from the way in which a camera mechanically records, by virtue of so many electrical and light processes, what it is exposed to. There is a great difference. The camera will see. (They say that a camera does not lie. We’ll take it for granted that it does not lie, although we know ways and means of making it lie!) The camera does not lie, but the camera does not know the truth, nor can the camera communicate with another camera as to what the truth is! You and I can do that as living beings. This sensitivity is the very important part. This applies to all our senses and sense functioning. It also applies to our whole intellectual, our mental process. It also applies to that which transcends intellect.
Wherein is the root of all this? You have again and again heard me use the phrase One Total Reality. We have all heard, read words like God, Infinity, the Absolute and so on. We heard the word, we saw it in print, we are told it, and we nod in acquiescence with the word. But when the world was spoken to me how sensitive was I at that moment and afterwards? If my sensitivity had been a total, full sensitivity I would be in the position to say, “I and the Father are One”, as a simple fact, as simple a fact as saying, “My name is Phiroz Mehta.” But there is a barrier. The doors are perhaps only very slightly open, largely they are shut. So my sensitivity cannot go out fully to the Truth embodied in One Total Reality. The intellect, because it has been trained as a skilful machine, may say, because it can logically deduce it, “Yes, there is only One Total Reality.” But that is like your cinematographic film or your camera at work, a machine, not a live thing, not a living process.
Now to help make it a living process, we have tried out meditations of this sort. You remember what we called the Earth Meditation. Here we are, like this, at this moment. The time is a quarter to eight or whatever it is. This is our experience at the moment. In that part of the world which has the same time as this, namely our longitude on this side of the world (not the opposite side because they will have a quarter to eight in the morning, whereas we have it in the evening), so many thousands, so many millions of people will be undergoing this, that and the other activity. Supposing we move eastwards, we gradually can hold in our consciousness the fact that at this one moment here, if you take the whole world as such, all Mankind is doing each and everything that Man does in his lifetime, in his history. Somewhere there is a war, somewhere procreation is going on, somewhere people are eating, somewhere they are doing this, that and the other. The totality of human activity takes place simultaneously for every single moment of the Earth’s life. In conjuring up this fact before our mind’s eye in a particular meditative process is one step, but to be sensitive to the whole thing is something very different.
In being contented with the No-Thing one is in the state where there is no imposition of self upon a not-self. There is no conflict of self and not-self, because in the contentment with the No-Thing we have completely transcended all duality. This is a state of sensitivity which can be realized through meditation of this sort if the meditation is allowed to come alive. You cannot bring it alive deliberately by will, by desire, by trying to grasp what is wonderful. It is there. Just let it be and not intrude upon it.
Life, Truth, Reality cannot be grasped by us, it is totally impossible. Life, Truth, Reality live through us in perfection if we do not obstruct them. This is the way in which we have to be intelligent as far as living religiously, living the spiritual life is concerned. Otherwise we are living the worldly life, and at the very root of worldliness is the consciousness of self as opposed to, or in conflict with, or trying to master the not-self. If we appreciate this and if this sensitivity is allowed to come alive, then we never resist anything whatsoever. We interplay with it, we interact with it, but we interact and interplay free of all personal desire, of all personal conceptions of how the situation ought to be or ought to turn out. I, being a finite, limited mortal, cannot possibly conceive the perfect ought-to-be.
These are very deep things. One hears such statements with one’s ears, the intellect gets to work, but we must be sensitive to the word. Then the word becomes the Word of Power and it affects the transformation in your own inner living being, as well as in your outer life. If and when through one’s own sensitivity the Word of Power is released in one’s own being, it completely transforms it. If it comes from outside and one is wholly, totally open-minded, rightly receptive to it, then it comes into our own beings as a seed and releases from within ourselves our Word of Power, although we may still use the same word in the language which the other person used when speaking to us. This is the magic of it. If any one of us is able to release this sensitivity and go out in the fullness of that sensitivity into the One Total Reality, that one person becomes a centre of transformation of the whole world.
Has this not been illustrated in the lives of the great Teachers? Consider the world before the Holy Ones appeared on this planet, the Holy Ones who had realized Transcendence. Consider the life of this world. The Earth has been in travail all the time to give birth to such Holy Ones. Our Mother Earth has travailed for five thousand million years before such beings appeared on the Earth, the fruition of her travail. The Earth went though pain and sorrow and strife and struggle, but when these were born, there then came peace and love and beauty. We by the millions today are the inheritors of at least the words and the concept of peace and love and beauty which were unknown for the thousands of millions of years.
But look, touch, feel. This is a matter of sensitivity in each one of us. If the living sensitivity is there, we will see what a release it is, what freedom it is to let go all the forms of bondage, including the forms we heap upon ourselves with the idea that this form will release me, will liberate me. For if the sensitivity is there and alive then one realizes that oneself is the creator of the forms. They just emanate out of one and pass out of one. Instead of this we take these forms and make them cages for our bondage. This is the difference. If Transcendent Love and wisdom were not a reality, even the very little things that come out in our group meetings here would not come out. They cannot be produced to order. One cannot turn a tap, and, lo and behold!, wonderful ideas or thoughts spring out. It is not like that. It is because there is this living sensitivity which in itself is love and beauty and wisdom and goodness and purity. It is because this living sensitivity is all that, that such things happen, and it affects us, it changes us.
Now this is largely on the form side. When we try to let our sensitivity go out towards the whole Earth and all that is therein, it is a form. It is a collection of innumerable forms, humans, animals, trees, the weather, the phenomena which take place, the whole Earth, it is a form. It is a finite, limited particular. There is its counterpart, its counterpart which is not separate from the form. The counterpart of the finite is the Infinite, not another finite in this Transcendent religious sense. This is how it is. The counterpart of the form is the formless. The counterpart of the void is the plenitude. The counterpart of psycho-physical manifestation is Transcendent Mind, which is consciousness which cannot be defined, which has no characteristics, this pure awareness being, which is the real meaning of the word God, or Brahman, or whatever word you like. This we can also touch in terms of pure awareness. Sensitivity enables us to touch the One Total Reality in the language, in the terms of form. Pure awareness enables us to touch and be that One Total Reality, in terms of the form-less, the In-finite, the Un-bound, in terms of creative power which is Creation. If somehow you light up with this, that One Total Reality will always function through you unobstructedly.
“And the spirit of God moved over the face of the deep.” Do you get the feel of it suddenly now? He who wrote that realized things like this. That is how he was able to say it in so many words. Do not let the intellect try to get this. Let the intellect act merely as the receiving set, but let the sensitivity do the absorbing and the responding. Then the intellect will not obstruct, otherwise the intellect is bound to obstruct.
Now we will try this other far more profound and in a sense difficult, and in a sense the easiest meditation of pure being, or pure awareness. So do not seek to know anything, to discover anything; we only discover the finite. The Infinite finds us. The Infinite can do that with the finite. The finite, you or I, cannot do it with the Infinite.