“You don’t know yourself as long as you are with yourself,” I told her once.
“Getting rid of ‘self’ is a difficult procedure, like removing an old oil stain from the garment of being. What will you lose by trying a couple of things? Just do everything you’re doing now, only don’t eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. And breathe the way I’ll show you.”
This could hardly have been called an initiation. I wasn’t a teacher, guru, sheikh, but only one who had reached the conclusion: Unless the branch of the tree moves, its shadow doesn’t move.
She had a dream that first night: A big, long serpent wrapped around her body. Every bit of food she ate, everything she drank, every breath she took was stolen. It all went to the serpent.
As Charles Beaudelaire once said, “The Enemy who grows by our heart grows by drawing strength from the blood.1”
She woke up from that nightmare sweating.
She kept fasting for ten or twelve years. During those years, I seldom met her. On one occasion she told me about another dream. In that dream, she was attending an important meeting, but nothing was ready. She prepared the place, gathered people, argued about some something or other, but couldn’t remember what it was once she was awake. She did remember that after the meeting, some of the group went to a restaurant, and it was just empty space. Instantly, she furnished the place, putting a white table cloth and a vase on each table. Everywhere she went in her dream, all was empty, and everywhere she went, she decorated it. There were no limitations of time and space, which is why she called it a dream. When she was awake, time and space came back and made everything real.
There is no world which has ever existed before it has been perceived. Either in sleep or awake, she was dreaming at the shadow of the same tree.
“We are nothing but children of our perception.” That is the way she thought.
Everything became clearer the longer she fasted and did the breathing the way I had shown her. By doing these couple of things, instead of trying to change the shadow, she could move the branch of the tree, and eventually, the tree would disappear.
Is there something more than death2?
She answered, “Yes, yes.” I am bigger than ‘myself.3”
- Beaudelaire, The Enemy
- Gilgamesh, p. 73.