In this part of the world it doesn’t rain much, about fifteen to twenty inches a year, and these rains are most welcome for it doesn’t rain for the rest of the year. There is snow then on the mountains and during summer and autumn they are bare, sunburnt, rocky and forbidding; only in the spring are they mellow and welcoming. There used to be bear, deer, bob cat, quail and any number of rattlers. But now they are disappearing; the dreaded man is encroaching. It had rained for some time now and the valley was green, the orange trees bore fruit and flower. It is a beautiful valley, quiet away from the village, and you heard the mourning dove. The air was slowly being filled with the scent of orange blossoms and in a few days it would be overpowering, with the warm sun and windless days. It was a valley wholly surrounded by hills and mountains; beyond the hills was the sea and beyond the mountains desert. In the summer it would be unbearably hot but there was always beauty here, far from the maddening crowd and their cities. And at night there would be extraordinary silence, rich and penetrating. The cultivated meditation is a sacrilege to beauty, and every leaf and branch spoke of the joy of beauty and the tall dark cypress was silent with it; the gnarled old pepper tree flowed with it.
You cannot, may not, invite joy; if you do it becomes pleasure. Pleasure is the movement of thought and thought may not, can in no way, cultivate joy, and if it pursues that which has been joyous, then it’s only a remembrance, a dead thing. Beauty is never time-binding; it is wholly free of time and so of culture. It is there when the self is not. The self is put together by time, by the movement of thought, by the known, by the word. In the abandonment of the self, in that total attention, that essence of beauty is there. The letting go of the self is not the calculated action of desire-will. Will is directive and so resistant, divisive, and so breeds conflict. The dissolution of the self is not the evolution of the knowledge of the self; time as a factor does not enter into it at all. There is no way or means to end it. The total inward non-action is the positive attention of beauty.
You have cultivated a vast network of interrelated activities in which you are caught, and your mind, being conditioned by it, operates inwardly in the same manner. Achievement then becomes the most important thing and the fury of that drive is still the skeleton of the self. That is why you follow your guru, your saviour, your beliefs and ideals; faith takes the place of insight, of awareness. There’s no need for prayer, for rituals, when the self is not. You fill the empty spaces of the skeleton with knowledge, with images, with meaningless activities and so keep it seemingly alive.
In the quiet stillness of the mind that which is everlasting beauty comes, uninvited, unsought, without the noise of recognition.