What is awareness? Why is it lost, and how can it be regained? Are there any steps for the same?
Awareness is never lost.
It simply becomes entangled with the other, with objects.
So the first thing to be remembered: it is never lost, it is your nature, but you can focus it on anything you want. When you get tired of focusing it on money, on power, on prestige, and that great moment comes in your life when you want to close your eyes and focus your awareness on its own source, on where it is coming from, on the roots – in a split second your life is transformed.
And don’t ask what are the steps; there is only one step. The process is very simple. The step is only one: that is turning in.
In Judaism there is a rebellious school of mystery called Hassidism. Its founder, Baal Shem, was a rare being. In the middle of the night he was coming from the river – that was his routine, because at the river in the night it was absolutely calm and quiet. And he used to simply sit there, doing nothing – just watching his own self, watching the watcher. This night when he was coming back, he passed a rich man’s house and the watchman was standing by the door.
And the watchman was puzzled because every night at exactly this time, this man would come back. He came out and he said, “Forgive me for interrupting but I cannot contain my curiosity anymore. You are haunting me day and night, every day. What is your business? Why do you go to the river? Many times I have followed you, and there is nothing – you simply sit there for hours, and in the middle of the night you come back.”
Baal Shem said, “I know that you have followed me many times, because the night is so silent I can hear your footsteps. And I know every day you are hiding behind the gate. But it is not only that you are curious about me, I am also curious about you. What is your business?”
He said, “My business? I am a simple watchman.”
Baal Shem said, “My God, you have given me the key word. This is my business too!”
The watchman said, “But I don’t understand. If you are a watchman you should be watching some house, some palace. What are you watching there, sitting in the sand?”
Baal Shem said, “There is a little difference: you are watching for somebody outside who may enter the palace; I simply watch this watcher. Who is this watcher? This is my whole life’s effort; I watch myself.”
The watchman said, “But this is a strange business. Who is going to pay you?”
He said, “It is such bliss, such a joy, such immense benediction, it pays itself profoundly. Just a single moment, and all the treasures are nothing in comparison to it.”
The watchman said, “This is strange… I have been watching my whole life. I never came across such a beautiful experience. Tomorrow night I am coming with you. Just teach me. Because I know how to watch – it seems only a different direction is needed; you are watching in some different direction.”
There is only one step, and that step is of direction, of dimension. Either we can be focused outside or we can close our eyes to the outside and let our whole consciousness be centered in. And you will know, because you are a knower, you are awareness. You have never lost it. You simply got your awareness entangled in a thousand and one things. Withdraw your awareness from everywhere and just let it rest within yourself, and you have arrived home.
From The Osho Upanishad, Discourse #3
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt Awareness is Never Lost.