says Jean-Paul Sartre. Why is man a useless passion? He says it is because there is no meaning in life. Man searches and searches, and the gain is nothing but frustration. Man is doomed to fail because meaning, as such, does not exist. The message of Jean-Paul Sartre is that of despair, hopelessness, anguish. If there is no meaning, naturally, man is a useless passion. He exists for nothing, exists accidentally, arbitrarily; he goes on keeping himself occupied in useless things, but the ultimate end is nothing but emptiness. Nothing is gained. Man comes empty and goes empty. The whole effort, and the effort is great, is just pointless.
The myth of Sisyphus in Greek mythology is of significance. It says that the gods were angry with Sisyphus. They condemned him to carry a big rock to the hilltop. It is a hard task, it is an almost impossible task, but Sisyphus docs it — he carries the rock to the top. And then, the ultimate result is that the rock cannot remain on the top. Because of its weight, of its own accord, it starts falling back into the valley again. And it happens again and again: Sisyphus carries the rock, prepares a thousand and one details, fights with the heights, and the ultimate result is that the rock rolls back into the valley. Sisyphus goes down — starts the work again.
This myth is symbolic of man’s life. From birth to death you struggle and you struggle, and it is a hard struggle and it is an uphill task, and you carry a rock… and then, when you reach, the rock starts slipping back. The end is death, waiting for you, and death destroys all that you have done, it takes away all that you have created. And again another birth… and the whole nonsense begins. And so on and so forth.
The moon reflected in the stream,
The wind blowing through the pines
In the cool of the evening, in the deep midnight, —
What is it for?
–Yoka is saying: If you ask this question, you are a fool
And that insight is the foundation of Zen; that insight has to be understood — it is one of the most important things that has happened to human consciousness ever. What did he come to know? He came to know one thing: that if meaning is dropped, meaninglessness also disappears. This is a great insight — the greatest. If meaning is dropped, then meaninglessness automatically disappears.
It has to be so, because how can you say life is meaningless if there is no meaning? If there is no meaning, then meaninglessness cannot be possible. To make meaninglessness possible, meaning will be needed. If you say that your statement is meaningless, that means statements are possible which will be meaningful. If all statements are meaningless then you cannot call any statement meaningless — how will you compare? what will be the criterion?
Buddha’s insight that early morning was such that he dropped all search for meaning. He had searched long enough — for many lives — and for six years he had been looking in this life also. He had tried all the answers, all the available answers he had looked into, and found them lacking.That early morning, when the last star was disappearing into the sky, something disappeared into his inner sky also.
He came to a profound insight, he saw that ‘Life looks meaningless because I am searching for meaning. Life is not meaningless; it becomes meaningless, it looks meaningless, because of my longing for meaning. The problem is my longing for meaning, not the meaninglessness of life. If I don’t long for meaning, then what is meaningless? Then great joy is released.’
God is the simultaneous majesty of experience, the simultaneity of the magic that is happening. These raindrops, the sound of it, this silent morning… this simultaneous majesty, this is God.
This is what Zen is. Zen drops the search for meaning because it is an ego search. The gratification of the ego is thought to be the meaning. Zen drops the very search for meaning, and in that very dropping, all kinds of meaninglessnesses disappear. See the beauty of it. Then life is — simply is: no meaning, no meaninglessness. How can you be in despair? And when there is no search for meaning, then you are no more separate from life. When there is no search for meaning, how can you divide yourself from life? Then you are part of this organic unity, this simultaneous majesty, this magic of being, this ecstasy of being. Then you sing with the birds, and you bloom with the trees, and you dance with the stars. Then you don’t have any private world of your own: this world is your world. And then there is no idea of the future. Then this moment is all: it contains eternity.
The entire book for free at ‘Sun Rises in the Evening‘, by Osho.