The Fire of Awareness – Osho

When I become more and more aware, my attention develops and there remains a feeling that I exist, I am present, I am aware. Please explain how this feeling can be dissolved into an egoless state of just awareness. 

This is again a supposed question. When I become more and more aware, my attention develops and there remains a feeling that I exist, I am present, I am aware.

This never happens, because as awareness grows, the I decreases. In full awareness, you are, but there is no sense that I am. In words, at the most, this can be said – that you feel a subtle amness, but there is no I.

You feel existence, and you feel it in abundance, a fulfilled moment, but the I is not there. You cannot feel I exist; you cannot feel I am present; you cannot feel I am aware. That I is part of unawareness, inattention; part of your sleeping state. It cannot exist. It cannot exist when you are really alert and aware and conscious.

This is how supposed questions can arise. You can go on thinking about them, and nothing will be solved. If this happens – that you feel I am; I am aware – then you only have to note one thing, and that is that you are not alert, you are not aware. Then these feelings – I am aware, I am conscious, I exist – these are thoughts, you are thinking them. They are not realized moments. You can think I am aware; you can go on repeating I am aware – that will not do. Awareness is not this repetition. And when you are aware, there is no need to repeat I am aware. You are simply aware; the I is no more.

Try awareness. Right now, be alert. Where is the I? You are – rather, you are more intensely – but where is the I, the ego? In the very intensity of consciousness, the ego is no more. Later on, when you lose awareness and thinking starts, you can feel I am, but in the moment of awareness there is no I. Right now, experience it. Silently you are here, you can feel your presence, but where is the I? The I never arises. It arises only when retrospectively you think. When you lose awareness the I arises immediately.

Even if for a single moment you can experience simple awareness, you are, and the I is not there. When you lose awareness, when the moment has slipped, gone, and you are thinking, the I comes back immediately. It is part of the thought process. The very concept of I is a thought, it belongs to thinking. I am is a thought.

When you are alert and there is no thought, how can you feel that I am? The amness is there – but that too is not a thought, it is not thinking. It is there existentially; it is a fact. But you can turn the fact into thinking immediately, and you can think about this gap that existed where there was no I. And the moment you think, the I has come back. With thinking, the ego enters – thinking is the ego. With no-thinking, the ego is not. 

So, whenever you want to ask a question, first make it existential. Before giving me the question, test whether whatsoever you are asking is relevant or not. Such questions look relevant, just verbally, but they are like this: I say that the light has been put on, and then I ask, ‘The light has been put on and still the darkness remains, so what is to be done with darkness?’ The only thing is that the light is still off, it has not been put on, otherwise how can the darkness remain? And if the darkness is there, then the light is not there. And if the light is there, then the darkness is not there. They cannot be both together.

Awareness and the ego cannot be together. If awareness has come on, if it is there, the ego has disappeared. This is simultaneous; there is not even a single second’s gap. The light is on and the darkness has disappeared. It is not that it disappears by and by, in steps, gradually. You cannot see it going outside; you cannot say that now the darkness is going out.

The light is there, and the darkness is immediately not there. There is not a single moment’s gap, because if there is a gap then you can see darkness moving out. And if there is a single moment’s gap, then there is no reason why there can’t be a gap of one hour. There is no gap. The act is simultaneous. Really, the coming of the light and the going out of the darkness are two aspects of one phenomenon.

The same happens with awareness: when you are aware, the ego is not. But the ego can go on playing tricks, and the ego can say, ‘I am aware.’ The ego can say, ‘I am aware,’ and can befoul you. Then the question will arise. And the ego wants to accumulate everything, even awareness. The ego not only wants wealth, power, and prestige; it wants meditation also, it wants samadhi also, it wants enlightenment also.

The ego wants everything. That which is possible must be possessed. The ego wants to possess everything – even meditation, samadhi, nirvana. So, the ego can say, ‘Now I have achieved meditation,’ and then the question will arise. The meditation has been achieved, the awareness has come, but the ego remains, the misery remains. The whole burden of the past remains. Nothing changes.

The ego is a very subtle braggart. Be aware of it. It can deceive you. And it can use words, it can verbalize things. It can verbalize anything, even nirvana.

I have heard that once it happened that two butterflies were winging their way through the canyons of New York. Just passing near the Empire State Building, the male butterfly said to the female, ‘You know, if I wanted to, just with one blow I could cause this Empire State Building to collapse.’

One wise man happened to be there who heard this remark, so he called that male butterfly and asked, ‘What were you saying? You know very well that you cannot cause that Empire State Building to collapse with a single blow. You know it well, there is no need to tell you, so why did you say such a thing?’

The male butterfly said, ‘Excuse me, sir. I am very sorry. I was just trying to influence my girlfriend.’

The wise man said, ‘Don’t do it,’ and dismissed the butterfly. 

The male butterfly went back to his girlfriend. Of course, the girl friend asked, ‘What was the wise guy saying to you?’

So, the male braggart said, ‘He begged me and said, “Don’t do it!” He was so afraid, trembling, nervous. He had heard that I was going to cause this Empire State Building to collapse, so he said, “Don’t do it.”’

The same is happening continuously. Those words were uttered by the wise man with a very different meaning. He meant, ‘Don’t say such things,’ but the ego exploited him. Your ego can exploit anything, it is deeply cunning. And it is so experienced in cunning – experiences of millennia – that you cannot even detect where the cunning enters.

People come to me and they say, ‘The meditation has happened. Now what to do about my worries?’ This is how the ego goes on playing tricks – and they are not even aware of what they are saying. ‘The meditation has happened; the kundalini has arisen – so what to do? The worries still continue.’

Your mind wants to believe things, so without doing anything you go on believing, deceiving – wish fulfillments. But the reality doesn’t change by your wish-fulfillments: the worries continue. You can deceive yourself; you cannot deceive the worries. They will not just disappear because you say, ‘The meditation has happened and the kundalini has arisen, and now I have entered the fifth body.’ Those worries will not even hear what you are saying. But if meditation really happens, where are the worries? How can they exist in a meditative mind?

So, remember this: that when you are aware, you are, but you are not the ego. Then you are unlimited, then you are infinite expanse, but with no center. There is no focused feeling of I; just unfocused existence, beginning nowhere, ending nowhere – just infinite sky. And when this I disappears, automatically the you disappears, because the you can exist only in reference to the I. I am here; that’s why you are there. If this I disappears from me, you are no more there. You cannot be. How can you exist?

I don’t mean that you will not be there bodily, that you will not be there physically. You will be there as you are, but for me, you cannot be you. The you is meaningful in reference to my I; my I creates the you. One part disappears; the other disappears for me. Then simple existence is there; all the barriers have dissolved. With the ego disappearing, the whole existence becomes one. The ego is the divider – and the ego exists because you are inattentive. The fire of awareness will destroy it.

Try it more and more. Suddenly become alert. Walking on the street, immediately stop, take a deep breath, become alert for a moment. And when I say alert, I mean simply alert of whatsoever is happening – the traffic noise, people passing and talking, everything that is all around. Simply become alert. You are not there in that moment: existence is and the beauty of it.

Then the traffic noise doesn’t appear to be noise, it doesn’t look like a disturbance, because there is no one to resist it and fight it. It simply comes to you and passes; it is heard and heard no more. It comes and passes. There is no barrier against which it can strike. It cannot make a wound in you, because all wounds are made in the ego. It will pass. There will be no barrier to it on which it can strike; there will be no fight, no disturbance.

Remember this: the noise on the street is not the disturbance. When the noise of the street struggles against you, when you have a fixed notion that it is a disturbance, it becomes disturbance. When you accept it, it comes and passes. And you are simply bathed by it; you come out of it more fresh. And nothing tires you then. The only tiring thing, that which goes on dissipating your energy, is this resistance which we call the ego.

But we never look at it in this way. The ego has become our life, the very gist of it. Really, there is no ego. If I say to someone…. Many times, it happens. If I say to someone to dissolve this ego, immediately he stares at me as if with the question, the nude question, that ‘If ego is dissolved, then where is life? Then I am no more’.

I have heard that one very great politician, a big leader of a country, was asked, ‘You must be getting tired. The whole day, wherever you move, there is a crowd of autograph seekers.’

That politician, that leader said, ‘It almost kills me – but this is only half of the truth.’ He must have been a very rare, honest man. He said, ‘It almost kills me – but almost. If there was no one seeking my autograph, it would kill me completely. This continuous crowd almost kills me, but the other thing would be more dangerous. It would kill me completely if there was no one to ask for my autograph.’

So howsoever tiring the ego, howsoever wearing, you still feel it is life, and if the ego is not there, you feel life will disappear from your mind. You cannot conceive how life can exist without you, without there always being a reference point of I. It is logical in a way, because we have never lived without it. We have lived through it, we have lived around it; we know only one type of life, which is based on ego. We don’t know any other life.

And because we have lived through it, we have not been really able to live. We are simply struggling to live, and the life never happens to us, it just by-passes us. It is always just in the reach, in the hope – just tomorrow, the next moment, and we will be living. But it never comes, it is never achieved. It always remains a hope and a dream – but we go on moving. And because it is not coming, we move fast. That too is logical: if life is not happening to us, the mind can think only one thing – that we are not moving fast enough. So, make hurry, be in a speed.

Once it happened that one of the great scientists, T.H. Huxley, was going to deliver a talk somewhere in London. He came to the station, to the suburban station, but the train was late, so he jumped into a cab and told the driver, ‘Hurry! Go at top speed!’

They were racing fast, when suddenly he realized that he had not given the address. But then he also remembered that he had himself forgotten the address. So he asked the driver, ‘Cabby, do you know where I am supposed to be going?’

He said, ‘No, sir. But I am going as fast as possible.’

This is happening. You are going as fast as possible. Where are you moving? Why are you moving? What is the destination? – the hope that someday life will happen to you. And why is it not happening right now? You are alive – why is it not happening right now? Why is the nirvana always in the future, always in the tomorrow? Why is it not today? And the tomorrow never comes – or whenever it comes it will always be the today and you will miss again. But we have lived only in this way. We know only one dimension of living – this so-called living we are already living – just dead, not alive at all, just pulling together anyhow, just waiting.

With the ego it will always remain a waiting – and a hopeless waiting. You can do it fast, you can make haste, but you will never reach anywhere: just by hurrying you will dissipate energy and you will die. And you have done that so many times. You have always been in a hurry, and in that hurry dissipating energy, and then only death comes and nothing else. You are hurrying for life, and only death comes and nothing else. But the mind, because it is accustomed to only one dimension, because it has known only one way – which is not even a way, but just appears to be a way – will say that if there is no ego, where is life?

But I say to you, if there is ego, there is no possibility of life, only promises. The ego is a perfect promise-maker. It goes on promising you. And you are so unaware – no promise is ever fulfilled, but again you believe. When the new promises are given, you again believe.

Look back! The ego promised many things, and nothing has been achieved through it. All the promises have fallen down. But you never look back, you never compare. When you were a child there were promises for youth: life will be there when you are young. Everyone was saying it, and you also were hoping that when you become young, all that was to happen would happen. Now those days have passed, the promise remains unfulfilled, but you have forgotten. You have forgotten the promise, you have forgotten that is has not been fulfilled. It is so painful to look at it that you never look at it.

Now you hope for the old age – that in old age the sannyas will flower, the meditation will happen to you. Then the worries will be over: your children will have gone to the college, and everything will have become established. Then there will be no responsibility on you. Then you will be able to seek the divine. Then, in the old age, the miracle is going to happen. And you will die unfulfilled.

It is not going to happen, because it never happens in the hope, it never happens with the hope. It never happens with the promise of the ego. It can happen right now. It can only happen right now. But then a very intense awareness is needed, so that you can throw all the promises, and all the hopes, and all the future programs, and all the dreams, and look directly here and now at what you are.

In that returning to yourself – your consciousness not moving somewhere ahead but returning to yourself – you become a circle of consciousness. This moment becomes eternal. You are alert and aware. In that alertness, in that awareness, there is no I; simple existence, simple being. And simplicity comes out of that awareness.

Simplicity is not a loin-cloth, simplicity is not living in poverty, simplicity is not becoming a beggar. Those are very complex and very cunning things, very calculated. Simplicity is born when you have achieved a simple existence where no I exists. Out of that, simplicity arises; you become humble. Not that you practice it, because a practiced simplicity can never be simplicity. A practiced humbleness is just a hidden ego.

It happens: if you can be aware, it starts flowing through you. You become humble; not against the ego, because a humbleness against the ego is again a different sort of ego – a more subtle ego and more dangerous, more poisonous. It is humbleness as the absence of ego; not as the opposite of the ego, just the absence. The ego has disappeared. You have come to yourself and known that there is no ego: simplicity arises, humbleness arises – they simply flow. You have not done anything for them; they are by-products – by-products of intense awareness.

So, this type of question is foolish. If you feel that you are aware and still the I remains, know well that you are not aware. Make effort to be aware. And this is the criterion: when you are aware, the I is not; when you are aware, the I is not; when you are aware, the I is not found there. This is the only criterion.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Discourse #54, Q2

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

Here you can listen to the discourse excerpt The Fire of Awareness.

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com  or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available in the U.S. online from Amazon.com and Viha Osho Book Distributors. In India they are available from Amazon.in and Oshoworld.com.

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