How to start the Journey?
The journey has already started; you are in the journey. This has to be recognized. Unconsciously, you are in the journey: that’s why it feels as if you have to start it. Recognize it, become conscious about it; the very recognition becomes the beginning. The moment you recognize that you are always moving going somewhere-knowingly, unknowingly, willingly, unwillingly-but you are going…some great force is constantly working within you: God is evolving. He is constantly creating something within you, so it is not how to start it. The right question will be, how to recognize it. It is there, but recognition is not there.
For example, trees die, but they don’t know; birds and animals die, but they don’t know. Only man knows that he has to die. That knowledge is also very cloudy, not clear — and the same is so with life. The birds are alive, but they don’t know that they are alive — because how can you know life if you don’t know death? How can you know that you are alive if you don’t know that you are going to die? Both recognitions come together. They are alive, but they don’t recognize that they are alive. Man recognizes, a little, that he is
going to die, but that recognition remains very cloudy, hidden in deep smoke. And the same is true about life: you are alive, but you don’t know exactly what being alive means. That too is cloudy, not clear. When I
say recognition, I mean becoming alert to what this life energy is, that is already on the way. To become aware of one’s own being is the beginning of the journey. To come to a point where you are so absolutely
alert that not even a fragment of darkness exists around you is the end of the journey. But in fact, the journey never starts and never ends. You will continue even after that, but then the journey will have a totally different meaning, a totally different quality to it — it will be sheer delight. Right now it is near misery.
“How to start the journey?” — become more alert about your actions, about your relationships, about your movements. Whatsoever you do — even an ordinary thing like walking on the street — try to become alert, try to take steps with full awareness. Buddha used to say to his disciples, “When you take a step with the right foot, remember, now this is the right foot; when you take a step with the left, remember; now this is the left. When you breathe in, remember, “Now I am breathing in”; when you breathe out, remember; “Now I am breathing out.” Not that you have to verbalize it. Not that you have to say in words “I am breathing in”, but just becoming alert that now the breath is going in. I am saying it to you so I have to use words, but when you are becoming alert you need not use words because words are like smoke. Don’t use words – just feel the breath going in and filling your lungs then being emptied. Just watch, and soon you will come to a recognition, a great recognition, that it is not simply breathing that goes in and out, it is life itself. Each breath in is life infusing its energy into you. Each breath out is a short death. With each breath, you die and you are reborn. Each breath is a crucifixion and a resurrection.
And when you watch it, you will come to know a beautiful feeling of trust. When you breathe out, there is no certainty that you will ever be able to breathe in again. What is the certainty? Who has guaranteed it? Who can guarantee that you will be able to breathe in again? But somehow, a deep trust; you know that “I will breathe again”. Otherwise breathing would become impossible. If you become so afraid that, “Who knows if I let my breath out, and if I go through this small death, what is the certainty that I will be able to breathe in again? If I can’t breathe, then it is better not to breathe out”, then you will die immediately. If you stop breathing out, you will die. But a deep trust exists — that trust is part of life. Nobody has taught you.
When a child starts walking for the first time, tremendous trust exists in him that he will be able to walk. Nobody has taught him. He has just seen other people walk, that’s all. But how can he come to a conclusion that “I will be able to walk”? He is so tiny. People are so big, giants compared to him, and he knows that whenever he stands he falls down — but still he tries. Trust is in-built. It is in your every cell of life. He tries, many times he will fall; he will try again and again and again. And one day, trust wins over and he starts walking.
If you watch your breath you will become aware of a deep layer of trust, a subtle trust in life — no doubt, no hesitation. If you walk, and walk alert, by and by you will become aware that you are not walking, you are ‘being walked by’. That’s a very subtle feeling: that life is moving through you, not that you are moving. When you feel hungry, if you are aware you will see life is feeling hungry within you, not you.
Becoming more alert will make you conscious of the fact that there is only one thing you have got that you can call yours and that is witnessing. Everything else belongs to the universe; only witnessing belongs to you. But when you become aware of witnessing, even the idea of being ‘I’ is dissolved. That too does not belong to you. That was part of darkness, part of the clouds that had gathered around you. In the clear light, when the sky is open and the clouds have disappeared and the sun is bright, there is no possibility of any idea of being ‘I’. Then simply witnessing is; nothing belongs to you. That witnessing is the goal of the journey.
How to start the journey? — start becoming more and more a witness. Whatsoever you do, do it with deep alertness; then even small things become sacred. Then cooking or cleaning become sacred; they become worship. It is not a question of what you are doing, the question is how you are doing it. You can clean the floor like a robot, a mechanical thing; you have to clean it, so you clean it. Then you miss something beautiful. Then you waste those moments in only cleaning the floor. Cleaning the floor could have been a great experience; you missed it. The floor is cleaned but something that could have happened within you has not happened. If you were aware, not only the floor but you would have felt a deep cleansing.
Clean the floor full of awareness, luminous with awareness. Work or sit or walk, but one thing has to be a continuous thread: make more and more moments of your life luminous with awareness. Let the candle of awareness burn in each moment, in each act. The cumulative effect is what enlightenment is. The cumulative effect, all the moments together, all small candles together, become a great source of light.
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt How to Start the Journey.