In Deep Patience
People from the West come to me and they say, “This very evening we are leaving, so give us some key. How can we become silent? But we don’t have any time to stay – we must go.” They are thinking in terms with which they have become acquainted – instant coffee – so they think there must be some instant meditation, a key I can hand over to them and it is finished. No, there is no key. It is a long effort, it is a deep patience. And the more you are in a hurry, the longer it will take. So remember this: if you are not in any hurry it may happen this very moment. When you are not in a hurry the quality of mind is there, silence is there.
I will tell you one story. Once it happened that two monks were traveling. They crossed a river in a boat, and the ferryman said to them, “Where are you going? If you are going to the city beyond this valley, go slowly.”
But the old monk said, “If we go slowly we will never reach, because we have heard that the gates of that city are closed after sunset, and we have just one or two hours at the most, and it is a very long distance. If we go slowly we will never reach, and we will have to wait outside the city. And the outside of the city is dangerous – wild animals and everything – so we will have to make haste.”
The ferryman said, “Okay, but this is my experience: those who go slowly, reach.”
The other monk listened to it. He was a young man and he thought, “I don’t know this part of the country, and this ferryman may be right, so it is better to follow his advice.” So he walked slowly, leisurely, as if not going anywhere, not in a hurry, just for a walk.
The old man hurried, started running. He had many scriptures on his back. Then he fell down: tired, carrying weight, old, and in such a hurry, so tense, he fell down. The man who was not in a hurry simply walked and reached.
The ferryman was coming and he came near the old man. He was lying by the side of the road; his leg was broken and blood was oozing out. The ferryman said, “I told you that this has been always so: those who walk slowly reach, those who are in a hurry always manage to stumble somewhere or other. These parts are dangerous. The road is rough and you are an old man. And I had advised you, but you wouldn’t listen to me.”
This is one of the Korean Zen stories, and this is how it is in life. Go slowly, patiently, not in a hurry, because the goal is not somewhere else – it is within you. When you are not in a hurry you will feel it; when you are in a hurry you cannot feel it because you are so tense. If you are not going anywhere at all, then you can feel it more immediately.
In Japan meditation is called zazen. Zazen means simply sitting and not doing anything. So Zen priests, monks, have to sit for six hours a day or even more; the master never gives them anything to do, they have just to sit. They have trained themselves for just sitting, not asking for anything to do, not even a mantra – just sitting.
Excerpted From Vedanta: Seven Steps To Samadhi CH: 5