What a liberation to realize that the “voice in my head” is not who I am. Who am I then? The one who sees that.
– Eckhart Tolle
Get Rid Of The Crowd
A young seeker came to a great Sufi master. As he entered his room and saluted the master with great respect, the master said, ”Good. That’s perfectly good. What do you want?”
He said, ”I want to be initiated.”
The master said, ”I can initiate you, but what about the crowd that is following you?”
He looked back; there was nobody. He said, ”What crowd? I am alone.”
The master said, ”You are not. Just close your eyes and see the crowd.”
The young man closed his eyes and he was surprised. There was the whole crowd that he had left behind: his mother weeping, his father telling him not to go, his wife in tears, his friends preventing him – every face, the whole crowd.
And the master said, ”Now open your eyes. Can you say that people are not following you?”
He said, ”I am sorry. You are right. The whole crowd I am carrying within myself.”
So the master said, ”Your first work is to get rid of the crowd. This is your problem. And once you are finished with the crowd, things are very simple. The day you are finished with the crowd I will initiate you, because I can only initiate you; I cannot initiate this crowd.”
The story is meaningful. Even when you are alone you are not alone. And a man of meditation, even though in the crowd of thousands of people, is alone.
When you are alone, nobody can see the crowd, because it is within you. And when a meditative man is in the crowd and yet alone, nobody can see his aloneness, because that too is within him.
To know your aloneness is to be acquainted with existence, nature, your reality. And it gives such blissfulness that there is no comparison with any joy that you have felt in the past.
Unless and until we drop the crowd – in form of thoughts, emotions and people whom we are carrying in our mind we cannot be true Disciple.
– Dhwani Shah
Excerpted From Death To Deathlessness CH: 40