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Awareness: The Key to
Living in Balance


by Osho

From the Books Foreword :

One of the most important things to be understood about man is that man is asleep. Even while he thinks he is awake, he is not. His wakefulness is very fragile; his wakefulness is so tiny it doesnít matter at all. His wakefulness is only a beautiful name but utterly empty.

You sleep in the night, you sleep in the day - from birth to death you go on changing your patterns of sleep, but you never really awaken. Just by opening the eyes donít befool yourself that you are awake. Unless the inner eyes open - unless your inside becomes full of light, unless you can see yourself, who you are - donít think that you are awake. That is the greatest illusion man lives in. And once you accept that you are already awake, then there is no question of making any effort to be awake.

The first thing to sink deep in your heart is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. You are dreaming, day in, day out. You are dreaming sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, but you are dreaming - you are a dream. You are not yet a reality.

Of course in a dream whatsoever you do is meaningless. Whatsoever you think is pointless, whatsoever you project remains part of your dreams and never allows you to see that which is. Hence all the Buddha's have insisted on only one thing: Awaken! Continuously, for centuries, their whole teaching can be contained in a single phrase: Be awake. And they have been devising methods, strategies; they have been creating contexts and spaces and energy fields in which you can be shocked into awareness.

Yes, unless you are shocked, shaken to your very foundations, you will not awaken. The sleep has been so long that it has reached to the very core of your being; you are soaked in it. Each cell of your body and each fiber of your mind have become full of sleep. It is not a small phenomenon. Hence great effort is needed to be alert, to be attentive, to be watchful, to become a witness. If all the Buddha's of the world agree on any one single theme, this is it - that man as he is, is asleep, and man as he should be, should be awake. Wakefulness is the goal and wakefulness is the taste of all their teachings. Zarathustra, Lao Tzu, Jesus, Buddha, Bahauddin, Kabir, Nanak - all the awakened ones have been teaching one single themeÖ in different languages, in different metaphors, but their song is the same. Just as the sea tastes of salt - whether the sea is tasted from the north or from the east or from the west, the sea always tastes of salt - the taste of buddhahood is wakefulness.

But you will not make any effort if you go on believing that you are already awake. Then there is no question of making any effort - why bother?

And you have created religions, gods, prayers, rituals, out of your dreams - your gods are as much part of your dreams as anything else. Your politics is part of your dreams, your religions are part of your dreams, your poetry, your painting, your art - whatsoever you do, because you are asleep, you do things according to your own state of mind.

Your gods cannot be different from you. Who will create them? Who will give them shape and color and form? You create them, you sculpt them; they have eyes like you, noses like you - and minds like you! The Old Testament God says, "I am a very jealous God!" Now who has created this God who is jealous? God cannot be jealous, and if God is jealous then what is wrong in being jealous? If even God is jealous, why should you be thought to be doing something wrong when you are jealous? Jealousy is divine!

The Old Testament God says, "I am a very angry God! If you donít follow my commandments, I will destroy you. You will be thrown into hellfire for eternity. And because I am very jealous," God says, "donít worship anybody else. I cannot tolerate it." Who created such a God? It must be out of our own jealousy, out of our own anger, that you have created this image. It is your projection, it is your shadow. It echoes you and nobody else. And the same is the case with all gods of all religions.

It is because of this that Buddha never talked about God. He said, "What is the point of talking about God to people who are asleep? They will listen in their sleep. They will dream about whatsoever is said to them, and they will create their own gods - which will be utterly false, utterly impotent, utterly meaningless. It is better not to have such gods."

Thatís why Buddha is not interested in talking about gods. His whole interest is in waking you up.

It is said about a Buddhist enlightened master who was sitting by the side of the river one evening, enjoying the sound of the water, the sound of the wind passing through the trees.... A man came and asked him, "Can you tell me in a single word the essence of your religion?"

The master remained silent, utterly silent, as if he had not heard the question. The questioner said, "Are you deaf or something?"

The master said, "I have heard your question, and I have answered it too! Silence is the answer. I remained silent - that pause, that interval, was my answer."

The man said, "I cannot understand such a mysterious answer. Canít you be a little more clear?"

So the master wrote on the sand "meditation," in small letters with his finger. The man said, "I can read now. It is a little better than at first. At least I have got a word to ponder over. But canít you make it a little more clear?" The master wrote again, "MEDITATION." Of course this time he wrote in bigger letters. The man was feeling a little embarrassed, puzzled, offended, angry. He said, "Again you write meditation? Canít you be a little clear for me?"

And the master wrote in very big letters, capital letters, 

"M E D I T A T I O N."

The man said, "You seem to be mad!"

The master said, "I have already come down very much. The first answer was the right answer, the second was not so right, the third even more wrong, the fourth has gone very wrong" - because when you write "MEDITATION" with capital letters you have made a god out of it.

Thatís why the word God is written with capital íGí. Whenever you want to make something supreme, ultimate, you write it with a capital letter. The master said, "I have already committed a sin." He erased all those words he had written and he said, "Please listen to my first answer - only then I am true."

Silence is the space in which one awakens, and the noisy mind is the space in which one remains asleep. If your mind continues chattering, you are asleep. Sitting silently, if the mind disappears and you can hear the chattering birds and no mind inside, a silence...this whistle of the bird, the chirping, and no mind functioning in your head, utter silence...then awareness wells up in you. It does not come from the outside, it arises in you, it grows in you. Otherwise remember: you are asleep

Reprinted by Permission of Osho International


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