A very beautiful Zen story. Listen to it attentively; it is YOUR story.
Behind a temple there was a field where a lot of squashes were ripening. One day a fight started. Now, you know, squashes are squashes… a great fight. The squashes split into two groups and made a big racket shouting at each other. And of course they used to live in a temple, they were growing in a temple, so those two groups must have been religious: Christian and Jew, Buddhist and Jaina, Hindu and Mohammedan – something like that. A great theological debate arose. The head priest heard the uproar. He yelled and scolded them saying, ”Hey, you squashes! The idea of fighting among yourselves! And in a Zen temple?! Everyone do ZAZEN! Sit silently doing nothing.”
The priest taught them how to do ZAZEN: ”Fold your legs like this; sit up and straighten your back and neck.” While the squashes were sitting ZAZEN, their anger subsided and they settled down. Then the priest said, ”Everyone put your hands on the top of your heads.” When the squashes felt the top of their own heads with their hands, they found some weird thing on their heads. It turned out to be the vine that connected them together.
They started laughing. They said, ”This is really ridiculous! We are one, and we were fighting unnecessarily.”
Ask yourself why we feel separate?
MIND THINKS IN TERMS OF SEPARATENESS, division analysis. Through mind, life is divided into fragments. Life itself is not divided; life itself is a unity. Life itself remains undivided, but the mind thinks in terms of fragments so whatsoever the mind says is bound to be false. The tree over there, the sky above you, the earth, you and everything are in a deep unity. The tree appears to be separate from you, but it is not, it cannot be. The sun is so far away, but you cannot exist here if the sun dies. Immediately, you will cease to exist here. Without the sun there – ten crore miles away – you cannot exist here. If the sun ceases to exist we will never be able to know that it has ceased, because there will be no one to know it. We are part of the rays of it.
The whole universe is a cosmic unity. You are not isolated; you are not like an island. You are connected; you are rooted in the ocean of existence just like a wave.
The fear of death comes into existence because you think that you are separate. Then you start fighting, then you start protecting. You start seeing yourself as an enemy, in conflict. You think in terms of conquering, of being victorious. But then you will be defeated; your defeat is certain.
You are just a part of the whole, but you go on fighting with the whole. That’s why, everywhere, you see that everyone is a failure: defeated, frustrated. And in the end, everyone comes to realize that life has been a long defeat and nothing else. Not only those who are unsuccessful feel it. Those who are successful also feel it. Napoleon, Alexander, even they feel defeated.
Why is this so? It is because you are not separate from the whole. A man irreligious if he thinks he is separate from life, and a man religious if he knows that he is an organic part of life.
Learning from the story Put Your Hands On The Top Of Your Heads: Understanding is needed to feel Cosmic Unity.
Big question how?
That is a way to remain the same…that is a trick of the mind. Rather than understanding, the energy starts moving into condemnation…and the change comes through understanding, not through condemnation. So the mind is very cunning: the moment you start seeing some fact, the mind jumps upon it and starts condemning it. Now the whole energy becomes condemnation, so understanding is forgotten, put aside, and your energy is moving into condemnation…and condemnation cannot help.
It creates separation from existence.
Understanding is liberating, so when you see a certain fact there is no need to condemn, there is no need to be worried about it. The only need is to look into it deeply and to understand it.
Whatsoever you see, don’t take it in a personal way. It has nothing to do with you particularly; it is just the way the mind functions. If there is jealousy, if there is possessiveness, if there is anger, this is how the mind works…everybody’s mind more or less; the differences are only of degrees.
The mind has another mechanism: either it wants to praise or it wants to condemn. It is never in the middle. Through praise you become special and the ego is fulfilled; through condemnation also you become special. Look at the trick: both ways you become special!
Once you feel special you are separated.
To feel united start from small thing – suggested as the process below:
Think about a flower, a rose flower. When you think, you are separate, there is a gap, a distance, a space. For thinking, space is needed; for thoughts to move, distance is needed. Feel the flower and the gap disappears, the distance drops. Because for feeling, distance is the barrier. The closer you come, the more you feel. A moment comes when even closeness appears to be a sort of distance — and then melting happens. Then you cannot feel the boundaries of where you are and where the flower is, of where you end and where the flower begins. Then boundaries melt into each other: the flower enters you in a way, you enter the flower in a way. Feeling is losing the boundaries; thinking is creating the boundaries. That is why thinking always insists on definitions, because without definitions you cannot create boundaries.
Thinking says define first, and feeling says don’t define. If you define, feeling stops.