We feel that to penetrate and transform the deeper layers of the unconscious only through awareness is difficult and not enough. What else should one do other than the practice of awareness? Please explain more about the practical dimensions of this matter.
The unconscious can be transformed only through awareness. It is difficult, but there is no other way. There are many methods for being aware, but awareness is necessary. You can use methods to be aware, but you will have to be aware.
If someone asks whether there is any method to dispel darkness except by light, howsoever difficult it may be, that is the only way – because darkness is simply the absence of light. So you have to create the presence of light, and then darkness is not there.
Unconsciousness is nothing but an absence – the absence of consciousness. It is not something positive in itself, so you cannot do anything except be aware. If unconsciousness were something in its own right, then it would be a different matter – but it is not. Unconsciousness doesn’t mean something; it only means not consciousness. It is just an absence. It has no existence in itself; in itself it is not. The word “unconscious” simply shows the absence of consciousness and nothing else. When we say “darkness” the word is misleading, because the moment we say “darkness” it appears that darkness is something that is there. It is not, so you cannot do anything with darkness directly – or can you?
You may not have observed the fact, but with darkness you cannot do anything directly. Whatsoever you want to do with darkness you will have to do with light, not with darkness. If you want darkness, then put off light. If you don’t want darkness, then put on light. But you cannot do anything directly with darkness; you will have to go via light.
Why? Why can you not go directly? You cannot go directly because there is nothing like darkness, so you cannot touch it directly. You have to do something with light, and then you have done something with darkness.
If light is there, then darkness is not there. If light is not there, then darkness is there. You can bring light into this room, but you cannot bring darkness. You can take light out from this room, but you cannot take darkness out from this room. There exists no connection between you and darkness. Why? If darkness were there, then man could be related somehow, but darkness is not there.
Language gives you a fallacy that darkness is something. Darkness is a negative term. It exists not. It connotes only that light is not there – nothing more – and the same is with unconsciousness. So when you ask what to do other than to be aware, you ask an irrelevant question. You will have to be aware; you cannot do anything else.
Of course, there are many methods for being aware – mm? – that is a different thing. There are many ways to create light – but light will have to be created. You can create a fire and there will be no darkness. And you can use a kerosene lamp and there will be no darkness, and you can use electricity and there will be no darkness. But whatsoever the case, whatsoever the method of producing light, light has to be produced.
So light is a must, and whatsoever I will say in reference to this question will be about methods to produce awareness. They are not alternatives, remember. They are not alternatives to awareness – nothing can be. Awareness is the only possibility for dispelling darkness, for dispelling unconsciousness. But how to create awareness? I talked about one method which is the purest: to be aware inside of whatsoever happens on the boundary line of the unconscious and of the conscious – to be aware there.
Anger is there. Anger is produced in darkness; anger has roots in the unconscious. Only branches and leaves come into the conscious. Roots, seeds, the energy source, are in the unconscious. You become aware only of faraway branches. Be conscious of these branches. The more conscious you are, the more you will be capable of looking into darkness.
Have you observed at any time that if you look deeply in darkness for a certain time, a certain dim light begins to be there? If you concentrate in darkness, you begin to feel and you begin to see. You can train yourself, and then in darkness itself there is a certain amount of light – because, really, in this world nothing can be absolute, and nothing is. Everything is relative. When we say “darkness,” it doesn’t mean absolute darkness. It only means that there is less light. If you practice to see in it, you will be capable of seeing. Look! Focus yourself in the darkness! And then, by and by, your eyes are strengthened and you begin to see.
Inner darkness, unconsciousness, is the same. Look into it. But you can look only if you are not active. If you begin to act, your mind is distracted. Don’t act inside. Anger is there – don’t act, don’t condemn, don’t appreciate, don’t indulge in it, and don’t suppress it. Don’t do anything – just look at it! Observe it! Understand the distinction.
What happens ordinarily is quite the reverse. If you are angry, then your mind is focused on the cause of anger outside – always! Someone has insulted you – you are angry. Now there are three things: the cause of anger outside, the source of anger inside, and in between these two you are. Anger is your energy inside, the cause which has provoked your energy to come up is outside, and you are in between. The natural way of the mind is not to be aware of the source, but to be focused on the cause outside. Whenever you are angry you are in deep concentration on the cause outside.
Mahavir has called krodha – anger – a sort of meditation. He has named it roudra dhyan – meditation on negative attitudes. It is! – because you are concentrated. Really, when you are in deep anger you are so concentrated that the whole world disappears. Only the cause of anger is focused. Your total energy is on the cause of anger, and you are so much focused on the cause that you forget yourself completely. That’s why in anger you can do things about which, later on, you can say, “I did them in spite of myself.” You were not.
For awareness you have to take an about-turn. You have to concentrate not on the cause outside, but on the source inside. Forget the cause. Close your eyes, and go deep and dig into the source. Then you can use the same energy which was to be wasted on someone outside . . . the energy moves inwards. Anger has much energy. Anger is energy, the purest of fires inside. Don’t waste it outside.
Take another example. You are feeling sexual: sex is again energy, fire. But whenever you feel sexual, again you are focused on someone outside, not on the source. You begin to think of someone – of the lover, of the beloved, A-B-C-D – but when you are filled with sex your focus is always on the other. You are dissipating energy. [. . .]
Science is more concerned with the cause and religion is more concerned with the source. The source is always inside; the cause is always outside. With cause you are in a chain reaction. With cause you are connected with your environment. With source you are connected with yourself. So remember this. This is the purest method to change unconscious energy into conscious energy. Take an about-turn – look inside! It is going to be difficult because our look has become fixed. We are like a person whose neck is paralyzed and who cannot move and look back. Our eyes have become fixed. We have been looking outside for lives together – for millennia – so we don’t know how to look inside.
Do this: whenever something happens in your mind, follow it to the source. Anger is there – a sudden flash has come to you – close your eyes, meditate on it. From where is this anger arising? Never ask the question: who has made it possible? Who has made you angry? That is a wrong question. Ask which energy in you is transforming into anger – from where is this anger coming up, bubbling up? What is the source inside from where this energy is coming?
Are you aware that in anger you can do something which you cannot do when you are not in anger? A person in anger can throw a big stone easily. When he is not angry he cannot even lift it. He has much energy when he is angry. A hidden source is now with him. So if a man is mad, he becomes very strong. Why? From where is this energy coming? It is not coming from anything outside. Now all his sources are burning simultaneously – anger, sex, everything, is burning simultaneously. Every source is available.
Be concerned with from where anger is bubbling up, from where the sex desire has come in. Follow it, take steps backwards. Meditate silently and go with anger to the roots. It is difficult but it is not impossible. It is not easy. It is not going to be easy because it is a fight against a long, rooted habit. The whole past has to be broken, and you have to do something new which you have never done before. It is just the weight of sheer habit which will create the difficulty. But try it, and then you are creating a new direction for energy to move. You are beginning to be a circle, and in a circle energy is never dissipated.
My energy comes up and moves outside – it can never become a circle now – it is simply dissipated. If my movement inwards is there, then the same energy which was going out turns upon itself. My meditation leads this energy back to the same source from where the anger was coming. It becomes a circle. This inner circle is the strength of a Mahavir. The sex energy, not moving to someone else, moves back to its own source. This circle of sex energy is the strength of a buddha.
We are weaklings, not because we have less energy than a buddha: we have the same quanta of energy, everyone is born with the same energy quanta, but we are accustomed to dissipating it. It simply moves away from us and never comes back. It cannot come back! Once it is out of you, it can never come back – it is beyond you.
A word arises in me: I speak it out; it has flown away. It is not going to come back to me, and the energy that was used in producing it, that was used in throwing it away, is dissipated. A word arises in me: I don’t throw it out; I remain silent. Then the word moves and moves and moves, and falls into the original source again. The energy has been reconsumed.
Silence is energy. Brahmacharya is energy. Not to be angry is energy. But this is not suppression. If you suppress anger, you have used energy again. Don’t suppress – observe and follow. Don’t fight – just move backwards with the anger. This is the purest method of awareness.
But certain other things can be used. For beginners, certain devices are possible. So I will talk about three devices. One type of device is based on body awareness. Forget anger, forget sex – they are difficult problems. And when you are in them, you become so mad that you cannot meditate. When you are angry you cannot meditate; you cannot even think about meditation. You are just mad. So forget it; it is difficult. Then use your own body as a device for awareness.
Buddha has said that when you walk, walk consciously. When you breathe, breathe consciously. The Buddhist method is known as anapanasati yoga – the yoga of the incoming and outgoing breath, incoming and outgoing breath awareness. The breath comes in: move with the breath; know, be aware, that the breath is moving in. When the breath has gone out again, move with it. Be in, be out, with the breath.
Anger is difficult, sex is difficult – breath is not so difficult. Move with the breath. Don’t allow any breath to be in or out without consciousness. This is a meditation. Now you will be focused on breathing, and when you are focused on breathing thoughts stop automatically. You cannot think, because the moment you think your consciousness moves from breath to thought. You have missed breathing.
Try this and you will know. When you are aware of breathing, thoughts cease. The same energy which is used for thoughts is being used in being aware of breath. If you start thinking, you will lose track of the breath, you will forget, and you will think. You cannot do both simultaneously.
If you are following breathing, it is a long process. One has to go into it deeply. It takes a minimum of three months and a maximum of three years. If it is done continuously twenty-four hours a day . . . it is a method for monks, those who have given up everything; only they can watch their breathing twenty-four hours a day. That’s why Buddhist monks and other traditions of monks, they reduce their living to the minimum so that no disturbance is there. They will beg for their food and they will sleep under a tree – that’s all. Their whole time is devoted to some inner practice of being aware – mm? – for example, of breath.
A Buddhist monk moves. He has to be continuously aware of his breath. The silence that you see on a Buddhist monk’s face is the silence of the awareness of breathing and nothing else. If you become aware your face will become silent, because if thoughts are not there your face cannot show anxiety, thinking. Your face becomes relaxed. Continuous awareness of breathing will stop the mind. The continuously troubled mind will stop. And if the mind stops and you are simply aware of breathing – if the mind is not functioning – you cannot be angry, you cannot be sexual.
Sex or anger or greed or jealousy or envy – anything needs the mechanism of mind. And if the mechanism stops, you cannot do anything. This again leads to the same thing. Now the energy that is used in sex, in anger, in greed, in ambition, has no outlet. And you go on continuously being concerned with breathing, day and night. Buddha has said, “Even in sleep try to be aware of breathing.” It will be difficult in the beginning, but if you can be aware in the day, then by and by this will penetrate into your sleep.
Anything penetrates into sleep if it has gone deep in the mind in the day. If you have been worried about a certain thing in the day, it gets into the sleep. If you were thinking continuously about sex, it gets into the sleep. If you were angry the whole day, anger gets into the sleep. So Buddha says there is no difficulty. If a person is continuously concerned with breathing and awareness of the breathing, ultimately it penetrates into the sleep. You cannot dream then. If your awareness is there of incoming breath and outgoing breath, then in sleep you cannot dream.
The moment you dream, this awareness will not be there. If awareness is there, dreams are impossible. So a Buddhist monk asleep is not just like you. His sleep has a different quality. It has a different depth and a certain awareness in it is there.
Ananda said to Buddha, “I have observed you for years and years together. It seems like a miracle: you sleep as if you are awake. You are in the same posture the whole night.” The hand would not move from the place where it had been put; the leg would remain in the same posture. Buddha would sleep in the same posture the whole night. Not a single movement! For nights together Ananda would sit and watch and wonder, “What type of sleep is this!” Buddha would not move. He would be as if a dead body, and he would wake up in the same posture in which he went to sleep. Ananda asked, “What are you doing? Were you asleep or not? You never move!”
Buddha said, “A day will come, Ananda, when you will know. This shows that you are not practicing anapanasati yoga rightly; it shows only this. Otherwise, this question would not have arisen. You are not practicing anapanasati yoga – if you are continuously aware of your breath in the day, it is impossible not to be conscious of it in the night. And if the mind is concerned with awareness, dreams cannot penetrate. And if there are no dreams, mind is clear, transparent. Your body is asleep, but you are not. Your body is relaxing, you are aware – the flame is there inside. So, Ananda,” Buddha is reported to have said, “I am not asleep – only the body is sleep. I am aware! and not only in sleep. Ananda – when I die, you will see: I will be aware, only the body will die.”
Practice awareness with breathing; then you will be capable of penetrating. Or practice awareness with body movements. Buddha has a word for it: he calls it “mindfulness.” He says, “Walk mindfully.” We walk without any mind in it.
A certain man was sitting before Buddha when he was talking one day. He was moving his leg and a toe unnecessarily. There was no reason for it. Buddha stopped talking and asked that man, “Why are you moving your leg? Why are you moving your toe?” Suddenly, as the Buddha asked, the man stopped. Then Buddha asked, “Why have you stopped so suddenly?”
The man said, “Why, I was not even aware that I was moving my toe or my leg! I was not aware! The moment you asked, I became aware.”
Buddha said, “What nonsense! Your leg is moving and you are not aware? So what are you doing with your body? Are you an alive man or dead? This is your leg, this is your toe, and it goes on moving and you are not even aware? Then of what are you aware? You can kill a man and you can say, ‘I was not aware.’” And, really, those who kill are not aware. It is difficult to kill someone when you are aware.
Buddha would say, “Move, walk, but be filled with consciousness. Know inwardly you are walking.” You are not to use any words; you are not to use any thoughts. You are not to say inside, “I am walking,” because if you say it then you are not aware of walking – you have become aware of your thought, and you have missed walking. Just be somatically aware – not mentally. Just feel that you are walking. Create a somatic awareness, a sensitivity, so that you can feel directly without mind coming in.
The wind is blowing – you are feeling it. Don’t use words. Just feel, and be mindful of the feeling. You are lying down on the beach, and the sand is cool, deeply cool. Feel it! – don’t use words. Just feel it – the coolness of it, the penetrating coolness of it. Just feel! Be conscious of it; don’t use words. Don’t say, “The sand is very cool.” The moment you say it you have missed an existential moment. You have become intellectual about it.
You are with your lover or with your beloved: feel the presence; don’t use words. Just feel the warmth, the love flowing. Just feel the oneness that has happened. Don’t use words. Don’t say, “I love you,” you will have destroyed it. The mind has come in. And the moment you say, “I love you,” it has become a past memory. Just feel without words. Anything felt without words, felt totally without the mind coming in, will give you a mindfulness.
You are eating: eat mindfully; taste everything mindfully. Don’t use words. The taste is itself such a great and penetrating thing. Don’t use words and don’t destroy it. Feel it to the core. You are drinking water: feel it passing through the throat; don’t use words. Just feel it; be mindful about it. The movement of the water, the coolness, the disappearing thirst, the satisfaction that follows – feel it!
You are sitting in the sun: feel the warmth; don’t use words. The sun is touching you. There is a deep communion. Feel it! In this way, somatic awareness, bodily awareness, is developed. If you develop a bodily awareness, again mind comes to a stop. Mind is not needed. And if mind stops, you are again thrown into the deep unconscious. With a very, very deep alertness you can penetrate. Now you have a light with you, and the darkness disappears.
Those who are bodily oriented, for them it is good to be somatically mindful. For those who are not bodily oriented it is better to be conscious of breathing. Those who feel it difficult, they can use some artificial devices. For example, mantra – mm? – it is an artificial device for being aware. You use a mantra such as “Rama-Rama-Rama” continuously. Inside you create a circle of “Rama-Rama-Rama” or “Aum” or “Allah,” or anything. Go on repeating it. But simple repetition is of no use. Side by side, be aware. When you are chanting “Rama-Rama-Rama,” be aware of the chanting. Listen to it – “Rama-Rama-Rama” – be aware.
It will be difficult to be aware of anger because anger comes suddenly and you cannot plan it. And when it comes you are so overwhelmed that you may forget it. So create a device like “Rama-Rama- Rama.” You can create it, and it will not be a sudden method. And if used for a long time, it becomes an inner sound. Whatsoever you are doing, there will be “Rama-Rama” as a silent sequence. Be aware of it. Then the mantra is complete, the japa is complete, the chanting is complete, when you are not only the creator of the sound but also the listener. It is not only that you are saying “Rama” – you are also listening to it. The circle is complete. I say something. You listen; the energy is dissipated. If you yourself say “Rama” and you yourself listen to it, the energy comes back. You are the speaker, you are the listener.
But be aware of it. It should not become a dead routine. Otherwise, you can go on saying “Rama- Rama-Rama” just like a parrot, without any awareness behind it. Then it is of no use. It may create a deep sleep even. It may become a hypnosis. You may become dull. Mm? Krishnamurti says that those who chant mantras, they become dull, they become stupid. And he is right in a way, but only in a way. If you use any chanting just as a mechanical repetition, you will become dull. Look at the so-called religious people: they are just dull and stupid. No intelligence, no flame in their eyes of life, of aliveness. They just look dead, like lead, heavy. They have not given anything to the world, they have not created anything. They have just repeated mantras.
Of course, if you go on repeating a particular mantra without awareness, you will be bored by it yourself, and boredom will create stupidity. You will become dull; you will lose interest. A certain sound repeated continuously can even create madness. But Krishnamurti is right only in a sense; otherwise he is completely totally wrong. And whenever one judges something by those who are not following it, really that judgement is not good. Anything must be judged by the perfect example.
The science of japa is not just to repeat. Repetition is secondary. It is just a device to create something of which to be aware. The real thing is to be aware. The basic thing is to be aware. If you build a house, the house is secondary. You build it to live in. And if there is no living, and you create a house and live outside, then you are foolish.
Repetition of a certain name or sound is creating a house to live in. It is creating a certain milieu inside. And if you have created it, you can manipulate it more easily than sudden happenings. And by and by you can become accustomed to it, related to it in a deep consciousness – but the real thing, the basic thing, is to be conscious of it.
The science of japa says that when you become a hearer of your own sound, then you have reached. Then you have completed the japa. And there is much in it. When you see a sound, for example, “Rama,” your peripheral apparatus is used in creating it, your vocal apparatus. Or it you create a mental sound, then your mind is used to create it. But when you become alert about it, that alertness is of the center, not of the periphery. If I say “Rama,” this is on the periphery of my being. When I listen to this sound “Rama” inside, that is from my center – because awareness belongs to the center. If you become aware in the center, now you have the light with you. You can dispel unconsciousness.
Mantra can be used as a technique; there are many, many methods. But any method is just an effort towards awareness. You cannot escape awareness. You can start from wherever you like, but awareness is the goal. [. . . .]
These are all methods of will: you will have to do something.
On the path of will, there are only guides. There are not really Gurus, Masters. There are simply guides. They instruct you; you have to do everything. They cannot do. [. . . .]
The last dying words of Buddha to Ananda are, “Ananda, be a lamp unto yourself. Don’t follow me: appa deepo bhava – Be a lamp unto yourself! Don’t follow me.” Ananda was following Buddha continuously for forty years. It was not a small period. For his whole life Ananda had followed devotedly, and no one could say that his devotion was imperfect in any way or incomplete. It was total. But Ananda, the most devoted follower, could not achieve Enlightenment, and the death of Buddha was nearing.
One day Buddha said, “Now, today I am going to leave this body.”
So Ananda began to weep and said, “What will I do now? For forty years I have been following you in every single detail.”
Even Buddha could not say, “You have not followed and that’s why you have not reached.” He had followed and he was sincere, but he was still an ignorant man.
Buddha said, “Unless I die, Ananda, it seems you will not reach.”
“Why?” Ananda asked. Buddha said, “Unless I die, you cannot return to yourself. You are too much attached to me, and I have become the barrier. You have followed me, but you have forgotten yourself completely.”
You can follow a Teacher blindly and still reach nowhere – if you are just following the Teacher according to you. Remember these words: “according to you.” Then you have not surrendered. Surrender means now you are no more there to decide. The Teacher decides. Even if the Teacher is not there, surrender to the cosmic energy. Then the cosmic energy decides. The moment you surrender, your gates are thrown open and the cosmic flood enters you from everywhere and transforms you.
Look at it this way: my house is filled with darkness. I can do two things. Either I have to create light in my house – then I will have to create it; or, I can open my doors and the sun is outside. I just open my doors, and my house becomes a host to the Divine guest, to the sun, to the rays. Then I become receptive and the darkness disappears.
On the path of will, you have to create the light. On the path of surrender, light is there – you have just to be open. But when the house is dark and when everywhere there is darkness, one fears to open doors – one fears even more. Who knows whether light will enter or whether thieves will come in? So you lock up. You close every possibility so that nothing enters in. That is the situation.
Either create light by yourself: then the darkness disappears. Or use the cosmic light: that is always there. Then open yourself! Be vulnerable! Then don’t depend on anyone. Then be ready, whatsoever happens. If you are ready no matter what may happen, then darkness itself becomes light. With that readiness, nothing can remain dark. That very readiness transforms you totally.
From The Ultimate Alchemy, V.1, Discourse #18, Q1
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For a related post see Path of Will or Path of Surrender.