What is awareness and how to be aware ?
“Risk everything for awareness, but never risk awareness for anything.”
This is the commitment of a sannyasin: that he is ready to lose his life but not his awareness; he has found a value which is higher than life. There is no other value that is higher than awareness. Awareness is the seed of godliness in you. When it comes to its full growth, you have come to the fulfillment of your destiny. As your goes deeper, your actions may not be efficient but they will have a new quality, the quality of grace, which is far more valuable. No machine can have the quality of grace. Your actions, your words will have a beauty of their own.
The way a man of awareness lives, each moment is filled with tremendous grace and beauty. It is reflected in his actions, even in the smallest actions — just in the gesture of his hand or just the way he looks; in the depth of his eyes or the authority of his words or the music of his silence. His very presence is a celebration.
Awareness Is Simple, Very Innocent
I have no idea what “right awareness” is. How to judge that I am going in the right direction?
There is no right awareness because there is no possibility of wrong awareness. Awareness is right. So first drop the wrong question. Once you are asking a wrong question to yourself you cannot get the right answer.
Don’t ask what is right awareness. Simply ask what is awareness.
Your question gives the fallacious impression that you know what awareness is, that the only thing that you don’t know is what is right awareness and what is not the right awareness. Erase that fallacy completely from your mind.
Awareness is simple, very innocent. Everyone has it, so it is not a question of achievement. One wrong question leads to another wrong question: first you ask what right awareness is, then you ask how to achieve it. You already have it. When you see the sunset, are you not aware? When you see a rose flower, are you not aware? You are aware of the beautiful sunset, you are aware of the beautiful rose; all that is needed is that you become aware of your awareness, too. That is the only thing that has to be added, the only refinement.
“You are aware of objects. You have to be aware of your subjectivity.”
When you are looking at a sunset, you are so absorbed in the beauty of the sunset that you completely forget that there is a greater beauty that is making it possible for you to know the beauty of the sunset — it is your awareness. But your awareness is focused on an object — the sunset, the sunrise, the moon. Drop the object and just remain engulfed in pure awareness, in silence, in peace. Just be alert.
“You Are Awareness….”
Real awareness remains with you; you need not cling to it.
Who will cling to it? You are aware. Who will cling to whom? In awareness there are not two — the clinger and the object of clinging; in awareness, you are one. There is only awareness and nothing else. One cannot cling to awareness. But it is bound to happen if you reject the mind; the very first step has gone wrong. Don’t reject it — understand it.
“Be more alert, aware, but don’t cling to it.”
Clinging will destroy the whole beauty of it. Why cling? What is the fear? We cling only out of fear. You are aware, you cannot lose it. Even now, when you are unaware of the fact that you are aware, you have not lost it.
“Truth cannot be lost. Whether you know it or you know not, it makes no difference. The truth remains the truth, known or unknown. Your innermost being is still pure awareness. You live on the circumference, hence you are not able to see your own center.”
Awareness Functions Almost Like Magic
Let everything arise out of your awareness. And the miracle of awareness is that without your saying anything, without your doing anything, it simply dissolves all that is ugly in you into all that is beautiful.
“Awareness is a transforming force.”
Whatsoever deepens with your awareness is a virtue. Whatsoever disappears with your awareness is sin. I don’t label any act as sin, virtue, right, wrong — acts don’t have that quality. It is your awareness. Just try it and you will be simply amazed that there are things in you which cannot stand in front of awareness, they simply disappear.
“Were you ever in love, Dusty?” asked Walker Long of old Dusty Rhodes one day as they were picking up and putting them down on a railroad right-of-way.
“Yeah, once when I was a young squirt, I was in love,” answered old Dusty.
“Well, you never did get married, did you?” pursued Walker Long.
“Nope, I never did marry,” vouchsafed old Dusty.
“How did that happen?”
“Well, it was like this. The gal I was in love with wouldn’t marry me when I was drunk, and I wouldn’t marry her when I was sober.”
Awareness with Spontaneity
“What is the difference between a childish person and a person who is like a child?
The difference is the childish person has no awareness at all. Yes, he’s innocent: when he feels hungry he feels hungry and he eats, and when he feels sleepy he sleeps — but his spontaneity has a deep background of unconsciousness. The spontaneity is there, but it is unconscious.
When the spontaneity is there and in the background of consciousness is awareness; when the awareness is there and still you don’t interfere with the spontaneous… You are so disciplined in your consciousness that you don’t create any unnatural discipline for yourself; your awareness helps you to be natural, to be spontaneous, non-interfering, non-repressive, but yet you are aware.
These two things have to be understood. Some people are unconscious and innocent; they are childish. They will not enter the kingdom of God, they are not sadhus. Then some people are conscious and have become unnatural; because of their consciousness, they have started interfering with their natural life. These people are so-called monks, sadhus; they are also not ready for the kingdom of God.
A new combination, a new synthesis is needed: awareness with spontaneity.
That is what Kabir means when he says Sahaj samadhi. Sahaj means spontaneity, samadhi means awareness: spontaneous awareness. If awareness interferes with your spontaneity, you have missed. If your spontaneity goes against awareness, you have missed.
“ A sadhu is one who is both together: Sahaja kaya sad.”
Awareness functions in two ways.
if something is real and you become aware of it, it becomes tremendously beautiful, it becomes psychedelic, it becomes very colorful. If it is unreal, it disappears. If it is real, it becomes more real; if it is unreal, it becomes absolutely unreal.
Awareness is light. If you bring light into the darkroom, darkness will disappear, but the paintings on the wall will appear. When the room was dark, the paintings were not there; although they were there, you could not have seen them — for you they were not there and darkness was there. When you bring light, darkness is there no more and the paintings have appeared.
Something disappears when you become aware, and something appears.
If you are aware, anger is impossible and compassion becomes a natural outcome: the same energy that was becoming anger becomes compassion. If you are aware, sex disappears and love arises: the same energy that was becoming sexuality through unawareness takes on a new manifestation of love through awareness.
“Western psychology is based on analysis, Eastern psychology is based on awareness.”
This is a problem in the world. People who think, never act; and people who don’t think, go on acting. The world is in misery. People who are fools, go on acting because they never think, they jump in everything. Hitlers and Napoleons, and Maos, they go on doing things, and wise people, the so-called thinkers-Aristotle, or Kant, or Hegel-they go on thinking, they never do anything.
There are three steps of awareness.
become aware of your body — walking, chopping wood, or carrying water from the well. Be watchful; be alert, aware, conscious. Don’t go on doing things like a zombie, like a somnambulist, a sleepwalker.
When you have become aware of your body and its actions, then move deeper — to your mind and its activity, thoughts, imagination, projections. When you have become deeply aware of the mind, you will be surprised.
When you become aware of your bodily processes, you will be surprised there too. I can move my hand mechanically, I can move it with full awareness. When I move it with full awareness, there is grace, there is beauty.
I can speak without awareness. There are orators, speakers…. I don’t know any oratory; I have never learned the art of speaking because to me it looks foolish. If I have something to say, that is enough. But I am speaking to you with full awareness, each word, each pause… I am not an orator, not a speaker.
But when you are aware of speaking, it starts becoming art. It takes on the nuances of poetry and music.
When you become aware of the mind, you are in for a greater surprise. The more you become aware, the fewer thoughts move on the track. If you have one hundred percent thoughts, there is no awareness. If you have one percent awareness, there are only ninety-nine percent thoughts — in exact proportion. When you have ninety-nine percent awareness there is only one percent thought, because it is the same energy.
As you become more aware there is no energy available for thoughts; they die out. When you are one hundred percent aware, the mind becomes absolutely silent. That is the time to move still deeper.
The third step.
to become aware of feelings, moods, emotions. In other words, first the body — its action; second, the mind — its activity; third, the heart and its functions.
When you move to the heart and bring your awareness there, again a new surprise. All that is good grow and all that is bad starts disappearing. Love grows, hate disappears. Compassion grows, anger disappears. Sharing grows, greed disappears.
When your awareness of the heart is complete, the last surprise, and the greatest surprise: you don’t have to take any step. A quantum leap happens on its own accord. From the heart, you suddenly find yourself in your being, at the very center.
There you are aware only of awareness, conscious only of consciousness. There is nothing else to be aware of or to be conscious of. And this is the ultimate purity. This is what I call enlightenment.
And this is your birthright! If you miss, only you are responsible. You cannot dump the responsibility on anybody else.
And it is so simple and natural, that you just have to begin.
Only the first step is difficult. The whole journey is simple. There is a saying that the first step is almost the whole journey.
When you are flowing with joy, blissfulness, that is the moment to be aware, but people do exactly the opposite. When they are happy who cares about awareness? And when they are in anguish, then certainly they start thinking it is time to be aware and get out of anguish. But nobody has ever been able to get out from anguish directly.
“First, one has to get out of ecstasy. If you can be aware of your joyful moments in the first place, the depression, the downs will not come. The door to get out is from ecstasy. So this is the simplest way:
“Be happy and be aware.
“Rejoice and be aware.
“Love and be aware.
“Don’t put awareness aside saying, ‘This is a kind of disturbance; I am in such a great ecstasy.’ Awareness becomes like a disturbance; it is not. It may appear like this in the beginning, but soon you will see it will take your ecstasy to higher peaks. Ultimately awareness and ecstasy become one. Then those downs, depressive moments, agonies disappear.”
Awareness and Relaxation Are Almost Two Sides of the Same Coin
Relaxation has always been one of the most valuable states of being for me. Watchfulness seems to be possible only then, or at least so much easier.
Would you like to comment on how relaxation is connected to awareness?
“They are not only connected with each other, but they are also almost two sides of the same coin. You cannot separate them. Either you can begin with awareness and then you will find yourself relaxing…because what is your tension? — your identification with all kinds of thoughts, fears, death, bankruptcy, the dollar going down…! All kinds of fears are there. These are your tensions. They also affect your body. Your body also becomes tense because body and mind are not two separate entities. The body-mind is a single system, so when the mind becomes tense, the body becomes tense.
“You can start with awareness; then awareness takes you away from the mind and the identifications with the mind. Naturally, the body starts relaxing; you are no longer attached. Tensions cannot exist in the light of awareness.
“You can start from the other end also. Just relax…let all tensions drop…and as you relax you will be surprised that a certain awareness is arising in you. They are inseparable. But to start from awareness is easier; to start with relaxation is a little difficult because even the effort to relax creates a certain tension.
“Hence, in the East, we have never started meditation from relaxation; we have started meditation from awareness. Then relaxation comes on its own accord, you don’t have to bring it — because if you have to bring it there will be a certain tension. It should come on its own; then only will it be pure relaxation. And it comes.”
My Hand Should Have Moved with Awareness..,.
“One morning, Gautam Buddha is passing through a village with one of his most intimate disciples, Ananda. A fly comes and sits on his forehead. He is answering some question of Ananda, and he is so absorbed in answering that, without any awareness, mechanically, he waves his hand. The fly is gone, but then he becomes suddenly aware that the waving of the hand was not done in awareness — it was mechanical. You can do such an act even in your sleep. If you feel something in your sleep creeping on your feet you simply throw it off, and your sleep is not disturbed. It is a mechanical process; your body does it without bothering you.
“Buddha stopped in the street and again raised his hand, and with great grace and awareness brought it to his forehead. Ananda said, ‘What are you doing? The fly has gone away.’
“Buddha said, ‘I am not concerned with the fly, I am concerned with myself. I acted in unawareness. I was too concerned with your question and with answering it, and my hand moved mechanically; I am trying to see how it should have moved. It has nothing to do with the fly. My hand should have moved with awareness.’”
Be Aware of Yourself
“Whatsoever you are doing, go on doing one thing inside continuously: be aware of yourself doing it. You are eating: be aware of yourself. You are walking: be aware of yourself. You are listening, you are speaking: be aware of yourself. When you are angry, be aware that you are angry. In the very moment when anger is there, be aware that you are angry. This constant remembering of the self creates a certain energy, very subtle energy in you. You begin to be a crystallized being.
“Ordinarily, we are just a loose bag. No crystallization, no center really, just liquidity, just a loose combination of many things without any center, a crowd, constantly shifting and changing, with no master inside. By awareness is meant, be a master. And when I say ‘be a master,’ I don’t mean to be a controller. When I say ‘be a master,’ I mean to be a presence, a continuous presence. Whatsoever you are doing or not doing, one thing must be constantly in your consciousness: that you are.
“This simple feeling of oneself, that one is, creates a center: a center of stillness, a center of silence, a center of inner mastery, an inner power. And when I say ‘an inner power,’ I mean it literally. That’s why this sutra says the fire of awareness. It is a fire. It is a fire. If you begin to be aware, you begin to feel a new energy in you, a new fire, a new life. And because of this new life, new power, new energy, many things which were dominating you just dissolve.
That Which Grows in Awareness Is Virtue
So to me, this is the criterion: if something is deepened by your awareness, it is something good. If something is dissolved through awareness, it is something bad. That which cannot remain in awareness is sin and that which grows in awareness is a virtue. Virtue and sin are not social concepts, they are inner realizations.
Use your awareness. It is just as if there is darkness and you bring in light: the darkness will be no more there. Just by bringing light in, the darkness is no more there, because, really, it was not. It was negative, just an absence of light. But many things will become manifest which are there. Just by bringing in light, these shelves, these books, these walls, will not disappear. In darkness they were not; you could not see them. If you bring light in, darkness will be no more there, but that which is real will be revealed. Through awareness, all that is negative like darkness will dissolve — hatred, anger, sadness, violence. Then love, joy, ecstasy, will, for the first time, become revealed to.
Use any opportunity to be alert
A Zen master will throw you out of the window and shout from behind: “Be aware!” You have been thrown out, you are in between, you are just passing through the window — and he cries: ‘Be aware!’ You have fallen onto the ground; your face must change — now the situation is quite different. You had come to ask some metaphysical question, and he has done something absolutely non-metaphysical — he has thrown you out of the window. You were asking whether the truth is or not.
It is absolutely irrelevant to throw one through the window. But he says, ‘Be aware!’ in the exact moment when you were changing faces, changing a state. When you are in between, passing through the window, it is not only your body that is passing through a change. Your state of consciousness will be passing through a change. And the teacher knows exactly when it changes. At that exact moment he will cry: ‘Be aware!’ And if you can hear him for a moment you will be at the center — thrown out of the periphery.
So, whenever there is any changing situation, be careful to look inside. There is no traveling. There is only a jump from the periphery to the center, and from the center to the periphery. The behavior is just like the electron, or just like dreams. Deepen this awareness. This is all that you can ‘do.’ This is negative because awareness is not a doing. Awareness is not an act.
Whenever you are aware, there will be no action. Action will be withheld whenever you are aware. If you become aware, then there will be not even a breath. If I hold a dagger toward you, even the breath stops. You become so aware that everything stops. You are thrown to the center. Awareness is not an action. The addiction to action is only the escaping of awareness. And we all have become addicted: one must do something, one must go on doing something. This addiction is helping continuity.
“Use any opportunity to be alert — any opportunity. And there are thousands and thousands of opportunities every day. Be alert, and you will feel the jump from the periphery to the center. When this being at the center becomes easy for you when this being at the center becomes as easy as coming into the house or going out of the house… You are outside the house: it has become hot; you come in. Whenever you feel like coming in, you come in. Whenever you are feeling like going out, you go out. There is no difficulty. When this movement from the periphery to the center has become just like this, then you will have the explosion.”
Osho, The Ultimate Alchemy, Vol. 2, Talk #1
Originally published at https://www.thelitthings.com.