Clear the way and then walk, march, run and sprint — that is meditation1Let us start our programme with a short story. There were two friends. They were very, very, very, very dear friends. One day, God alone knows why, they had to make fun of each other.
One friend said, “Look at your shoulders! Look at your neck! Your whole body is twisted. For forty years you have been walking, and you find on the way pennies, nickels and some material objects. These things are almost useless, but for you everything is useful. You have bent down, bent down, for forty years. Every day, morning and evening, you go out for a walk and look what you have done to your body, to your health!”
Then the other friend said, “What have you done? When you walk, you just enter into another world. When you walk, you look into the sky and enjoy mental hallucination. Your mind is just roaming here and there. In my case, I am concentrating. Each time I bend, I concentrate and pick up a penny or a nickel. Then I have got something. I have accumulated so much money over the years by collecting and collecting. In your case, what have you got to show? You have only fooled yourself by looking into the sky. Your mind was just roaming.”
The first friend objected, “No, my mind was not roaming. I was meditating.”
So the two friends went to God to ask Him to be the Judge. The first one who accused his friend said to God, “Is it not a sheer waste of time? He has collected a vast quantity of nickels and pennies and other earthly objects, but these are all useless. For this, he has ruined his health by bending and bending and bending.”
God kept quiet. Then God asked the other friend what he had to say. The second friend said, “God, I have not destroyed my health. By examining the pavement, I have developed occult power. It has come from my concentration.”
The first friend said, “God, I was not fooling myself for forty years. I have been meditating while I was looking into the sky and at the beautiful flowers. Now I have become the vastness of the sky and the beauty and fragrance of the flowers and trees.”
Now God had heard both sides. One said he had developed occult power and the other said he had developed spiritual power.
God was supposed to say who had done the right thing. First God had to tell them whether they had actually developed occult power and spiritual power by looking at the ground with one-pointed concentration or by looking at the sky and trees and so forth.
God said, “Both of you are right. One has gained occult power and one has gained spiritual power.”
Then both of them began bragging once again. The first friend said, “My spiritual power is far better than your occult power,” and the second friend said, “My occult power is far better than your spiritual power.”
Once again, God had to be the Judge. God said, “When you have to concentrate, you get occult power. You throw away all earthly thoughts until there is no thought, nothing, and then occult power comes. And when you enter into vastness, you get spiritual power. Both are needed.”
At this point, the friend who had developed occult power interrupted God. He said, “I cannot agree with You. Please say that mine is more important. Occult power means that immediately I can do something. If something has happened, I can immediately go and save the person.”
The other friend said, “God, many times when my friend wants to save people with occult power, he does it so hurriedly that instead of curing the person, he can even kill the person because it is done so hurriedly. Whereas, I go slowly, slowly, steadily and with utmost confidence. When I cure them, it is a real cure. I do not kill anybody. But he misuses his occult power. There is a great tendency for the occultist to misuse his power. But people who have spiritual power on very rare occasions misuse it. Perhaps one out of a million times they can make a mistake, whereas occultists can make mistakes in season and out of season.”
God agreed with the first friend to some extent. He said, “True, occult power can be of immediate use, but in occult power there is again another problem. It is so powerful that there is some restlessness involved. You do everything fast, fast, fast. But spiritual power has so much vastness inside. It is already peaceful, silent, calm and quiet. As I said before, both occult power and spiritual power are needed. If you want spiritual power, you have to meditate by looking at the sky, but do not be absorbed. Meditate in such a way that you have become vastness, without fooling yourself. Become the vastness, beauty and fragrance.”
Then God said to the occultist, “When you walk, you have to look at the ground to develop occult power. But you have to be very careful. If you concentrate for a long time and it is beyond your capacity, if you do not have enough receptivity, then you can have some problems with your brain. If you have the power of concentration for five minutes and if you are concentrating for fifteen minutes intensely, then you will be in trouble. You may develop something wrong. Concentration has that problem after fifteen minutes or half an hour, if you do it very intensely, looking at a very small object. But meditation does not have that problem. In meditation, you are looking at the vastness and entering into the vastness, but the vastness will not turn you insane. True, while meditating you can fall asleep. What result will you get then? Nothing. If you are not fully alert while you are meditating, then you may enjoy sleep and you will get no result.
“When you concentrate you have to know how much you can concentrate. For how long? Five minutes, fifteen minutes or half an hour? More than that, if you want to concentrate at a stretch very deeply, very intensely, something may happen. If you are concentrating beyond your capacity, then you can have some serious problem inside your forehead, or inside your brain. Again, if you are fully alert, for five minutes, ten minutes or half an hour you can meditate. But if you are completely in another world and you are only fooling yourself that you are meditating, then it is no good. Here also, beyond your capacity if you meditate, you will find yourself in trouble.
“In a family, if one has mastered concentration and if another one has mastered meditation, they have to work together. If they want to do something, they have to establish friendship. The one who has spiritual power and the one who has occult power have to establish their friendship. They are members of the same family. They have to act like two brothers. When anything happens, they have to work harmoniously. Sometimes, unfortunately, an occultist wants to save someone, but a spiritual person feels that if he saves that person or helps that person it will be wrong. For some inner reason, God may want to give a particular experience to that person. In this case, the person who has spiritual power has more wisdom. The one who has occult power goes very fast because his heart is there. But the one who has spiritual power has more wisdom. He waits for God’s Command. The one who has occult power quite often does not wait, he does not consult God. You can say that he shows off. He just goes to help to show that he has the capacity. But the other one has time at his disposal. He discusses the case with God and takes permission from God before he acts. Somehow he takes approval from God to do it.
“According to Sri Ramakrishna and others, the one who can meditate most successfully is more in tune with God’s Will than the one who has occult power. The occultist develops intensity but union with God’s Will he does not have all the time. He does not care for that. But the one who has spiritual power always tries to be in tune with God’s Will.
“So occult power and spiritual power have to go together. If it is God’s Will, the occultist will play his role for immediate help and the spiritual one will play his role for a permanent cure. It does not have to be a disease. If somebody’s consciousness has gone low, at that time the occultist has to go and raise the consciousness a little higher and the spiritual one will go to keep it permanently high or even to raise it higher.
“So both the brothers must go together — the occult power holder and the spiritual power holder must go together.”
This story came because the other day in Oslo, early in the morning, I came out of the hotel. Thirty metres I was going for a haircut. I saw an American penny on the ground. Some American had dropped it. It was very new and bright. I said, “I do not need this penny.”
Five steps I took and then I said, “I have no sympathy for this poor little penny! Perhaps it wants me to pick it up.”
So I went back to the place. When I bent down, I got such a severe cramp in my right leg. I asked myself, “Now which one is better? Is it because I neglected to pick up the penny that I am being punished or is it because of my stupidity that I came back?” So this debate went on.
Then I came to realise that I should have taken it the very first time. I got the curse of this penny because I neglected it. So any material wealth if you see it and if you disrespect it, you have to know that these material objects have their own power. It is not a matter of seeing a dime and putting it in your pocket, no.
We have to take it that these coins get tremendous joy when we pick them up. We are all spiritual people. When we see some coins, we pick them up. But if it is a very large amount of money, we must be sincere and go to the police station or somewhere and try to give the money back. But for a quarter or a dime or a nickel or a penny, what will you do?
From this experience, I said, “Now let me have concentration and meditation.” So here today on Father’s Day I am saying, try to do both concentration and meditation. Concentration clears the road. Otherwise, many, many thoughts come — unhealthy, uncomely thoughts. They can destroy everything. Whereas, when meditation is successful, thoughts can come, but they do not disturb us. They are like a flight of birds. The sky is so vast that these birds cannot do anything. They cannot scratch the skies. Inside the mind, there is a vast sky. When we meditate, if thoughts come, they cannot damage the mind. Whereas, during concentration time, if wrong thoughts come and if you do not concentrate intensely, then you cannot proceed to meditation. So they go side by side, concentration and meditation. If you can concentrate for five minutes and clear the road, then you will be able to run very fast during your meditation.
When you come here to Aspiration-Ground, first try to concentrate for a few minutes — three minutes or five minutes or ten minutes — then enter into meditation. Otherwise, if you try to meditate right from the start, it does not work. Only spiritual Masters and very, very highly developed spiritual seekers can jump into meditation immediately, after a few seconds. But for ordinary seekers, it is always advisable to concentrate a little so that you can conquer the thought-world. Then you can go beyond the thought-world and meditation comes. So all of you kindly try to concentrate for a few minutes when you come here to Aspiration-Ground. Then meditate. That is the right thing to do. Clear the way and then walk, march, run and sprint. That is meditation.
SCA 1280. Sri Chinmoy made these remarks on 17 June 2001, at Aspiration-Ground, during a special programme to celebrate Father's Day.↩