I will not be there; only my empty chair will be there…
Another new thing, I will not be there; only my empty chair will be there. But don’t miss me because in a sense I will be there, and in a sense there has always been an empty chair before you. Right now the chair is empty because there is no one sitting in it. I am talking to you but there is no one who is talking to you.
It is difficult to understand, but when the ego disappears processes can continue. Talking can continue, sitting and walking and eating can continue, but the center has disappeared. Even now, the chair is empty. But I was always with you up till now in all the camps because you were not ready. Now I feel you are ready. And you must be helped to get more ready to work in my absence, because feeling that I am there you may feel a certain enthusiasm that is false.
Just feeling that I am present you may do things which you never wanted to do; just to impress me you may exert more. That is not of much help, because only that can be helpful which comes out of your being. My chair will be there, I will be watching you, but you feel completely free. And don’t think that I am not there because that may depress you, and then that depression will disturb your meditation.
I will be there, and if you meditate rightly whenever your meditation is exactly tuned, you will see me. So that will be the criterion of whether you are really meditating or not. Many of you will be able to see me more intensely than you can see me right now, and whenever you see me, you can be certain that things are happening in a right direction. So this will be the criterion. By the end of this camp I hope ninety percent of you will have seen me. Ten percent may miss because of their minds.
So if you see me don’t start thinking about it, what is happening, don’t start thinking whether it is imagination or a projection or am I really there. Don’t think, because if you think immediately I will disappear; thinking will become a barrier. The dust will come on the mirror and there will be no reflection. Whenever the dust is not there, suddenly you will become aware of me more than you can be aware here right now. To be aware of the physical body is not much awareness; to be aware of the nonphysical being is real awareness.
You must learn to work without me. You cannot be here always, you will have to go far away; you cannot hang around me forever, you have other works to do. You have come from different countries all over the world; you will have to go. For a few days you will be here with me, but if you become addicted to my physical presence then rather than being a help it may become a disturbance, because then when you go away, you will miss me. Your meditation should be such here that it can happen without my presence, then wherever you go the meditation will not be in any way affected.
And this too has to be remembered: I cannot always be in this physical body with you; one day or another the physical vehicle has to be dropped. My work is complete as far as I am concerned. If I am carrying this physical vehicle, it is just for you; some day, it has to be dropped. Before it happens you must be ready to work in my absence, or in my nonphysical presence which means the same. And once you can feel me in my absence you are free of me, and then even if I am not here in this body the contact will not be lost.
It always happens when a Buddha is there: his physical presence becomes so meaningful. and then he dies. Everything is shattered. Even a disciple like Ananda, his most intimate disciple, started crying and weeping when Buddha said, “Now I have to leave this body.” For forty years Ananda was with Buddha, twenty-four hours, just like a shadow. He started crying and weeping like a child; suddenly he had become an orphan.
Buddha asked,” What are you doing?”
Ananda said, “It will be impossible now for me to grow. I couldn’t grow when you were there so how can I grow now? It may be now millions of lives before I come across a buddha again, so I am lost.”
Buddha said, “My understanding is different, Ananda. When I am not there you may become enlightened immediately, because this has been my feeling — you have become too much attached to me, and that attachment is working like a block. You have become too much attached to me; that very attachment is working like a barrier.” And this happened as Buddha said. The day Buddha died, Ananda became enlightened. There was nothing to cling to then. But why wait? When I die, then you will become enlightened? Why wait?
My chair can be empty; you can feel my absence. And remember, only when you can feel my absence can you feel my presence. If you cannot see me while my physical vehicle is not there, you have not seen me at all. This is my promise: I will be there in the empty chair, the empty chair will not really be empty. So behave! The chair will not be empty, but it is better that you learn to be in contact with my nonphysical being. That is a deeper, more intimate touch and contact.
That is why I say a new phase of my work starts with this camp, and I am calling it a Samadhi Sadhana Shibir. It is not only meditation, it is absolute ecstasy that I am going to teach to you. It is not only the first step, it is the last. Only no mind on your part is needed and everything is ready. Just be alert not to think much. The remaining time between these three meditations, remain more and more silent, don’t talk. If you want to do something, laugh, dance: do something intense and physical but not mental. Go for a long walk, go jogging on the grounds, jump under the sun, lie down on the earth, look at the sky, enjoy, but don’t allow the mind to function much. Laugh, cry, weep, but don’t think. If you can be without thinking for these three meditations and the time between them, then after three, four days you will feel suddenly a burden has disappeared. The heart has become light, the body weightless and you are ready to take a jump into the unknown.
from : A Bird on the Wing Ch. 1