Your head will explode!

Posted on 4/7/2019

Ajahn Chah was a famous Thai Buddhist Monk who did a lot to make Vipassana meditation popular in the West. While explaining the abstract concept of Anatta, which is loosely translated as not-self or self doesn’t exist or sometimes to reflect impermanence of everything - he suggested that you have to experience it to grasp the concept. You have to meditate. That is the only way to understand it. If you try to understand it only by intellectualizing - your head will explode !

कहै कबीर गूँगे गुड़ खाया, बूझै तो का कहिए. Or या इस रंग को क्या जाने पूछो तो कभी पी है !

I don’t think he literally meant that your head will explode but ... He was trying to put in words the importance of grasping ideas by experiencing it first hand. I haven't experienced so how can I even try to explain ! ... but for some other somewhat similar experiences I can definitely correlate to what he meant and I sure you too can. There are emotions, feelings and some sort of things (I don't know what to call it) that are inexplicably deep, and too mysterious to make sense. When we feel things that sound familiar to something that we have heard earlier, something that we have read but ...not exactly. It is like we can see the familiar picture but we don't know what else looked like it. …we know the process but we can’t write the equations, some parameters, some rules and some constraints feel missing. We feel our heart melting but we know it has nothing to do with melting ! We feel like a flowing river… feels like time has stopped but we also know that it was none of these but something entirely different. There is a huge difference between abstract concepts and actual feelings. Description of it vs actually seeing it. Upanishdads are full of such phrases… meanings without experience seem to make sense only up to a point.

Or probably we should not try to figure out the causes of all the things that happen, maybe we should let few things be !