The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlighted person. The former has one greatness: he remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things.
There is a very beautiful method. You can start it as you are; no other prerequisite is needed. The method is simple: you are surrounded by persons, things, phenomena – every moment something is around you. Things are there, events are there, persons are there – but because you are not alert, you are not there. Everything is there but you are fast asleep. Things move around you, persons move around you, events move around you, but you are not there. Or, you are asleep.
So whatsoever happens in your surroundings becomes a master, becomes a force over you; you are dragged by it. You are not only impressed, conditioned by it, you are dragged by it.
Anything can catch you, and you will follow it. Somebody passes – you look, the face is beautiful – and you are carried away. The dress is beautiful, the color, the material is beautiful – you are carried away. The car passes – you are carried away. Whatsoever happens around you, catches you. You are not powerful. Everything else is more powerful than you. Anything changes you. Your mood, your being, your mind, depend on other things. Objects influence you.
This sutra says that enlightened persons and unenlightened persons live in the same world. A Buddha and you both live and move in the same world – the world remains the same. The difference is not in the world, the difference happens in the Buddha: he moves in a different way. He moves among the same objects but he moves in a different way. He is his own master. His subjectivity remains aloof and untouched. That is the secret. Nothing can impress him; nothing from the outside can condition him; nothing can overpower him. He remains detached; he remains himself. If he wants to go somewhere, he will go, but he will remain the master. If he wants to pursue a shadow, he will pursue it, but it is his own decision.
This distinction must be understood. By ‘detachment’ I don’t mean a person who has renounced the world – then there is no sense and no meaning in detachment. A detached person is a person who is living in the same world as you – the difference is not in the world. A person who renounces the world is changing the situation, not himself. And you will insist on changing the situation if you cannot change yourself. That is the indication of a weak personality. A strong person, alert and aware, will start to change himself… not the situation in which he is. Because really the situation cannot be changed – even if you can change the situation, there will be other situations. Every moment situations go on changing so every moment the problem will be there.
This is the difference between the religious and the non-religious attitude. The non-religious attitude is to change the situation, the surrounding. It doesn’t believe in you, it believes in situations: when the situation is okay, you will be okay. You are dependent on the situation: if the situation is not okay, you will not be okay. So you are not an independent entity. For communists, Marxists, socialists, and all those who believe in changing the situation, you are not important; really, you don’t exist. Only the situation exists and you are just a mirror which reflects the situation. The religious attitude says that as you are you may be a mirror, but this is not your destiny – you can become something more, someone who is not dependent.
There are three steps of growth. Firstly, the situation is the master, you are just dragged by it. You believe that ‘you are’, but you are not. Secondly, ‘you are’, and the situation cannot drag you, the situation cannot influence you because you have become a will, you are integrated and crystalized. Thirdly, you start influencing the situation: just by your being there, the situation changes.
The first state is that of the unenlightened; the second state is of the person who is constantly aware but as yet unenlightened – he has to be alert, he has to do something to be alert. The alertness has not become natural yet so he has to fight. If he loses consciousness or alertness for a single moment, he will be in the influence of the thing. So he has to stand on his toes continuously. He is the seeker, the sadhak, the one who is practising something. The third state is that of the siddha, the enlightened one. He is not trying to be alert, he simply is alert – there is no effort to it. Alertness is just like breathing: it goes on, he does not have to maintain it. When alertness becomes a phenomenon like breathing, natural, sahaj, spontaneous, then this type of person, this type of centered being, automatically influences situations. Situations change around him – not that he wishes them to change, but he is powerful.
Power is the thing to be remembered. You are powerless so anything can overpower you. And power comes through alertness, awareness: the more alert, the more powerful; the less alert, the less powerful. Look… while you are asleep even a dream becomes powerful because you are fast asleep, you have lost all consciousness. Even a dream is powerful, and you are so weak that you cannot even doubt it. Even in an absurd dream you cannot be skeptical, you will have to believe it. And while it lasts, it looks real. You may see just absurd things in the dream, but while you are dreaming, you cannot doubt. You cannot say this is not real; you cannot say this is a dream; you cannot say this is impossible. You simply cannot say it because you are so fast asleep. When consciousness is not there even a dream affects you. While awake, you will laugh and you will say, “It was absurd, impossible, this cannot happen. This dream was just illusory.” But you have not noticed that while it was there you were influenced by it, you were totally taken over by it. Why was a dream so powerful? The dream was not powerful – you were powerless. Remember this: when you are powerless even a dream becomes powerful.
While you are awake, a dream cannot influence you, but reality, the so-called reality around, does. An awakened person, an enlightened person, has become so alert that your reality also cannot influence him. If a woman passes, a beautiful woman, you are suddenly carried away. Desire has arisen, the desire to possess. If you are alert, the woman will pass by, but the desire will not arise – you have not been influenced, you have not been taken over. When this happens for the first time, when things move around you and you are not influenced, you will feel a subtle joy of being. For the first time really you feel that you are; nothing can drag you out of you. If you want to follow, that is another thing. That is your decision. But don’t deceive yourself. You can deceive. You can say, “Yes. The woman is not powerful, but I want to follow her, I want to possess her.” You can deceive. Many people go on deceiving. But you are deceiving nobody except yourself – then it is futile. Just take a close look: you will know the desire is there. The desire comes first, and then you start rationalizing it.
For an enlightened person, things are there and he is there but there is no bridge between him and the thing. The bridge has broken. He moves alone. He lives alone. He follows himself. Nothing else can possess him. Because of this feeling we have called this attainment moksha – total freedom, mukti. He is totally free.
All over the world, man has searched for freedom; you cannot find a man who is not hankering after freedom in his own way. Through many paths man tries to find a state of being where he can be free, and he resents anything that gives him a feeling of bondage. He hates it. Anything that hinders, that makes him imprisoned, he fights. He struggles against it. Hence so many political fights, so many wars, revolutions; hence so many continuous family fights – wife and husband, father and son, all fighting each other. The fight is basic. The fight is for freedom. The husband feels confined, the wife has imprisoned him – now his freedom is cut. And the wife feels the same. They both resent each other, they both fight, they both try to destroy the bondage. The father fights the son because every stage of growth in the son means more freedom for him. And the father feels he is losing something: power, authority. In families, in nations, in civilizations, man is hankering after only one thing – freedom.
But nothing is achieved through political fights, revolutions, wars. Nothing is achieved. Because even if you get freedom, it is superficial – deep down you remain in bondage. So every freedom proves a disillusionment. Man longs so much for wealth, but as far as I understand it, it is not a longing for wealth, it is a longing for freedom. Wealth gives you a feeling of freedom. If you are poor, you are confined, your means are limited – you cannot do this, you cannot do that. You don’t have the money to do it. The more money you have, the more you feel you have freedom, you can do anything you like. But when you have all the money and you can do all that you wish, imagine, dream about, suddenly you feel this freedom is superficial, because inside your being knows well that you are powerless and that anything can attract you. You are impressed, influenced, possessed by things and persons.
This sutra says that you have to come to a state of consciousness where nothing impresses you, you can remain detached. How to do it? Throughout the whole day the opportunity is there to do it. That is why I say this method is good for you to do. Any moment you can become aware that something is possessing you. Then take a deep breath, inhale deeply, exhale deeply, and look at the thing again. While you are exhaling look at the thing again, but look just as a witness, as a spectator. If you can achieve the witnessing state of mind for even a single moment, suddenly you will feel you are alone, nothing can impress you; at least in that moment nothing can create desire in you. Take a deep breath and exhale it whenever you feel that something is impressing you, influencing you, dragging you away from you, becoming more important than yourself. And in that small gap created by the exhalation look at the thing – a beautiful face, a beautiful body, a beautiful building, or anything. If you feel it is difficult, if just by exhaling you cannot create a gap, then do one thing more: exhale, and stop inhalation for a single moment so the exhalation has thrown all the air out. Stop, don’t inhale. Then look at the thing. When the air is out, or in, when you have stopped breathing, nothing can influence you. In that moment you are unbridged – the bridge is broken. Breathing is the bridge. Try it. It will be only for a single moment that you will have the feeling of witnessing, but that will give you the taste, that will give you the feeling of what witnessing is. Then you can pursue it.Throughout the whole day, whenever something impresses you and a desire arises, exhale, stop in the interval, and look at the thing. The thing will be there, you will be there, but there will be no bridge. Breathing is the bridge. Suddenly you will feel you are powerful, you are potential. And the more powerful you feel, the more YOU will become. The more things drop, the more their power over you drops, the more crystalized you will feel. Individuality has begun. Now you have a center to refer to, and any moment you can move to the center and the world disappears. Any moment you can take shelter in your own center, and the world is powerless.
This sutra says, The appreciation of objects and subjects is the same for an enlightened as for an unenlighted person. The former has one greatness: he remains in the subjective mood, not lost in things. He remains in the subjective mood, he remains within himself, he remains centered in consciousness. Remaining in the subjective mood has to be practised. As many opportunities as you can get, try it. And every moment there is an opportunity, every single moment there is an opportunity. Something or other is impressing you, dragging you out, pulling you out, pushing you in.
I am reminded of an old story. A great king, Bharthruhari, renounced the world. He renounced the world because he had lived in it totally and he had come to realize that it was futile. It was not a doctrine to him, it was a lived reality. He had come to the conclusion through his own life. He was a man of strong desire, he had indulged in life as much as possible, then suddenly he realized it was useless, futile. So he left the world, he renounced it, and he went to a forest.
One day he was meditating under a tree. The sun was rising. Suddenly he became aware that just on the road, the small road which passed nearby the tree, lay a very big diamond. As the sun was rising, it was reflecting the rays. Even Bharthruhari had not seen such a big diamond before. Suddenly, in a moment of unawareness, a desire arose to possess it. The body remained unmoved, but the mind moved. The body was in the posture of meditation, siddhasana, but the meditation was no longer there. Only the dead body was there, the mind had moved – it had gone to the diamond.
Before the king could move, two men came from different directions on their horses and simultaneously they became aware of the diamond lying on the street. They pulled out their swords, each one claiming that he had seen the diamond first. There was no other way to decide so they had to fight. They fought and killed each other. Within moments two dead bodies were lying there next to the diamond. Bharthruhari laughed, closed his eyes, and went into meditation again.
What happened? He again realized the futility. And what happened to these two men? The diamond became more meaningful than their whole life. This is what possession means: they threw away their life just for a stone. When desire is there, you are no more – desire can lead you to suicide. Really, every desire is leading you to suicide. When you are in the power of a desire, you are not in your senses, you are just mad.
The desire to possess arose in Bharthruhari’s mind also; in a fragment of a moment the desire arose. And he might have moved to get it but before he could, the other two persons came and fought, and there were two dead bodies lying on the road with the stone there in its own place. Bharthruhari laughed, closed his eyes, and went into his meditation again. For a single moment his subjectivity was lost. A stone, a diamond, the object, became more powerful. But again the subjectivity was regained. Without the diamond the whole world disappeared, and he closed his eyes.
For centuries meditators have been closing their eyes. Why? It is only symbolic that the world has disappeared, that there is nothing to look at, that nothing is worth anything, even to look at. You will have to remember continuously that whenever desire arises, you have moved out of your subjectivity. This is the world, this movement. Regain, move back, get centered again! You will be able to do it: the capacity is there with everyone. No one ever loses the inner potential, it is always there. You can move. If you can move out, you can move in. If I can go out of my house, why can I not come back within it? The same route is to be traveled; the same legs are to be used. If I can go out, I can come in. Every moment you are moving out, but whenever you move out, remember – and suddenly come back. Be centered. If you feel it difficult in the beginning then take a deep breath, exhale, and stop. In that moment look at the thing which was attracting you. Really, nothing was attracting you, you were attracted. That diamond lying there on the road in the lonely forest was not attracting anybody, it was simply lying there being itself. The diamond was not aware that Bharthruhari had been attracted, that someone had moved from his meditation, from his subjectivity, had come back into the world. The diamond was not aware that two persons had fought for it and lost their lives.
So nothing is attracting you – You get attracted. Be alert and the bridge will be broken and you will regain balance inside. Go on doing it more and more. The more you do, the better. And a moment will come when you will not need to do it because the inner power will give you such a strength that the attraction of things will be lost. It is your weakness which is attracted. Be more powerful and nothing will attract you. Only then for the first time are you master of your own being.
That will give you real freedom. No political freedom, no economic freedom, no social freedom, can be of much help. Not that they are not desirable, they are good, good in themselves, but they will not give you the things which the innermost core of your being is longing for – the freedom from things, from objects, the freedom to be oneself without any possibility of being possessed by anything or anybody.
From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #73
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Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt He Remains in the Subjective Mood.