A while ago I realized that it is not situations but rather people that I can react to – Because if someone I feel good about does something, it doesn’t bother me, but if someone I don’t like does the same thing, I may think, “What an awful thing to do.”
Intellectually I have come to understand that the reason I don’t like certain people is simply that they reflect certain characteristics in myself that I would rather not know about.
I was hoping that gradually, deep inside, I would come to accept this rather unpalatable fact, and that my judgments would miraculously disappear without my having to face anything unpleasant in myself. Unfortunately, so far this hasn’t happened. I still react strongly to some people, and find it difficult sometimes even to remember to turn my energy into watching myself rather than judging. I have been comforting myself by saying, “Nothing to do, just keep watching,”
But as my watching is so wishy-washy and this is taking so long, I was wondering if you could suggest some trick to help me – preferably a shortcut through the whole process.
There is no trick and there is no shortcut because watchfulness is the shortest way to enlightenment. And the question of tricks does not arise at all.
No trick can help you.
Tricks are good in playing cards and cheating people, but you cannot cheat existence, you cannot deceive life.
If you want to go a longer way, that can be found; because you can be shown some unnecessary, non-essential things and the path becomes longer.
Religions have done that. They have made the path very long, so that it cannot be achieved in one life, many lives are needed. It was a strategy of the priests to deceive people because if it is said that it can be achieved right now, then the question is why are you not achieving it, perhaps you don’t want it, perhaps you want to wait a little, perhaps you want to finish some other jobs first, perhaps you think that enlightenment should be the last thing in life. And the trivia, the mundane things of life, keep you engaged.
But there may be a few people who may try and still will not get it. Then the priest will be in trouble because he himself is as far away as you are. To be a priest is just a profession for him, he is not a seeker. And you may start asking him, “Why is it not happening?” And he cannot really answer you relevantly because he does not know himself what it is, what can prevent it, what can help it.
So the easiest way for him is to say, “It is such a long way. It will happen but in several lives. So don’t be in a hurry, it is not something that you can manage now. Go on working, go on praying; when the time is ripe in some life it will happen.” This was just a shelter for the priest.
Watchfulness is the shortest way. It does not need lives to attain it. It needs not length of time but intensity of longing, the way you feel thirst; when you feel thirsty for truth – as if it is a question of life and death – you put your whole energy to this moment and the door is bound to open.
And remember never to think of tricks because you cannot get anywhere through tricks as far as reality is concerned.
The simple truth is that watchfulness is the shortest possible way. It cannot be made shorter.
What is expected of you in watchfulness… just try to see, nothing is expected. You already watch things, you know what watchfulness is. You watch a football match, you watch a movie, you watch the television. You know what watchfulness is, there is no need to tell you; just the same watchfulness has to be applied to the screen of the mind. Close your eyes and let your mind function as a screen of a movie or a television, and whatever passes on the mind you simply remain watchful, doing nothing, not even judging.
And this is the only miracle I know of, that as your watchfulness becomes more and more stable, the screen becomes empty. Soon the watcher is there but there is nothing to be watched, the screen is completely empty.
And when the watcher is left alone, it starts watching itself – because that is its nature, to watch. And to watch oneself is the greatest happening in anyone’s life. Everything else happens through it – blissfulness, silence, peace, ecstasy, and finally going beyond even all these experiences and just remaining in a pure isness.
Those who have attained that pure isness have fulfilled the mission of human life.
From The Transmission of the Lamp, Discourse #23
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