How to introduce Yoga to the western mind?

There is nothing like the western mind or the eastern mind. These are just two aspects of one mind. Understand the mind. And this eastern-western dichotomy is not very meaningful, not even significant now. There are eastern minds in the West and there are western minds in the East. And now the whole thing has become a mess. East is now also in a hurry. The old East has disappeared completely.

I am reminded of one Taoist anecdote. Three Taoists were meditating in a cave. One year passed. They were silent, sitting, meditating. One day one horseman passed nearby. They looked. One of the three hermits said, “The horse he was riding was white.” The other two remained silent. After one year again, the second hermit said, “The horse was black, not white.” Then one more year passed again. The third hermit said, “If there are going to be discussions, I am leaving. If there is going to be any bickering, I am leaving. I am leaving! You are disturbing my silence!”

What did it matter whether the horse was white or black? Three years! But this was the flow in the East. Time was not. East was not conscious of time at all. East lived into eternity, as if time was not passing. Everything was static.

But that East no longer exists. The West has corrupted everything; the East has disappeared. Through western education everybody is now western. Only a few island-like people are there who are eastern – they can be in the West, they can be in the East, they are not in any way confined to the East. But the world as a whole, the earth as a whole, has become western.

Yoga says – and let it penetrate you very deeply because it will be very meaningful – yoga says that the more you are impatient, the more time will be needed for your transformation. The more in hurry, the more you will be delayed. Hurry itself creates such confusion that delay will result.

The less in a hurry, earlier will be the results. If you are infinitely patient, this very moment transformation can happen. If you are ready to wait forever, you may not wait even for the next moment. This very moment the thing can happen, because it is not a question of time, it is a question of your quality of the mind.

Infinite patience. Simply not hankering for results gives you much depth. Hurry makes you shallow. You are in such a hurry that you cannot be deep. This moment you are not interested here in this moment, but what is going to happen in the next. In result you are interested. You are moving ahead of you; your movement is mad. So you may run too much, you may travel too much, you will not reach anywhere because the goal to be reached is just here. You have to drop into it, not to reach anywhere. And the dropping is possible only if you are totally patient.

I will tell you one Zen anecdote. One Zen monk is passing through a forest. Suddenly he becomes aware one tiger is following him, so he starts running. But his running is also of a Zen type; he is not in a hurry. He is not mad. His running also is smooth, harmonious. He is enjoying it. And it is said that the monk thinks in the mind, “If the tiger is enjoying it, then why not I?”

And the tiger is following him. Then he comes near a precipice. Just to escape from the tiger he hangs with the branch of a tree. And then he looks downwards. One lion is standing there in the valley, waiting for him. Then the tiger has reached, he is standing just near the tree on the hilltop. He is hanging in between, just with a branch, and another lion is waiting for him, deep down.

He laughs. Then he looks. Two mice are just cutting that branch… one white, one black. Then he laughs very loudly. He says, “This is life. Day and night, white and black mice cutting. And wherever I go, death is waiting. This is life!” And it is said that he achieves a satori – the first glimpse of enlightenment. This is life! Nothing to worry about; this is how things go. Wherever you go death is waiting, and even if you don’t go anywhere day and night are cutting your life. So he laughs loudly.

Then he looks around, because now it is fixed. Now there is no worry. When death is certain, what is the worry? Only in uncertainty there is worry. When everything is certain, there is no worry; now it has become a destiny. So he looks for these few moments, how to enjoy this moment. He becomes aware just by the side of the branch some strawberries, so he picks a few strawberries, eats them. They are the best of his life. He enjoys them, and it is said he becomes enlightened in that moment.

He has become a Buddha because death is so near even then he is not in any hurry. He can enjoy a strawberry. It is sweet! The taste of it is sweet! He thanked God. It is said in that moment everything disappears – the tiger, the lion, the branch, he himself. He has become the cosmos.

This is patience, absolute patience! Wherever you are, in that moment enjoy without asking for the future. No futuring in the mind – just the present moment, the nowness of the moment, and you are satisfied. Then there is no need to go anywhere. Wherever you are, from that very point you will drop into the ocean; you will become one with the cosmos.

But the mind is not interested in here and now. The mind is interested somewhere in the future in some results. So the question is, in a way, relevant for such a mind, the modern mind it will be better to call it rather than western. The modern mind is constantly obsessed with the future, with the result, not with the here and now.

How can this mind be taught yoga? This mind can be taught yoga because this future orientation is leading nowhere. And this future orientation is creating constant misery for the modern mind. We have created hell, and we have created too much of it. Now either man will have to disappear from this planet earth, or he will have to transform himself. Either humanity will have to die completely – because this hell cannot be continued any more – or we will have to go through a mutation.

Hence, yoga can become very meaningful and significant for the modern mind because yoga can save. It can teach you again how to be here and now – how to forget the past, how to forget the future, and how to remain in the present moment with such intensity that this moment becomes timeless; the very moment becomes eternity.

Patanjali can become more and more significant. As this century will come to its closure, techniques about human transformation will become more and more important. They are already becoming all over the world – whether you call them yoga or Zen or you call them Sufi methods or you call them Tantra methods. In many, many ways, all the old traditional teachings are erupting. Some deep need is there, and those who are thinking, anywhere, in any part of the world, have become interested to find again how humanity in the past existed with such beatitude, such bliss. With such poor conditions, how such rich men existed in the past, and we, with such a rich situation, why are we so poor?

This is a paradox, the modern paradox. For the first time on the earth we have created rich, scientific societies, and they are the most ugly and most unhappy. And in the past there was no scientific technology, no affluence, nothing of comfort, but humanity was existing in such a deep, peaceful milieu – happy, thankful. What has happened? We can be more happy than anyone, but we have lost contact with existence.

And that existence is here and now, and an impatient mind cannot be in contact with it. Impatience is like a feverish, mad state of mind; you go on running. Even if the goal comes, you cannot stand there – because running has become just the habit. Even if you reach the goal you will miss it, you will pass it because you cannot stop. If you can stop, the goal is not to be searched.

Zen Master Hui-Hai, has said that, “Seek, and you will lose; don’t seek, and you can get it immediately. Stop, and it is here. Run, it is nowhere.”

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