“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.