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Count the Moments of Awareness*

You tell us to be aware of everything - which means to be a witness to everything, every act. When I decide to be aware in work, I forget about awareness, and when I become aware that I was not aware, I feel guilty; I feel that I have made a mistake. Could You please explain?


It is one of the basic problems for anybody who is trying to be aware while at work - because work demands that you should forget yourself completely. You should be involved in it so deeply... as if you are absent Unless such total involvement is there, the work remains superficial.

All that is great created by man - in painting, in poetry, in architecture, in sculpture, in any dimension of life - needs you to be totally involved. And if you are trying to be aware at the same time, your work will never be first rate, because you will not be in it.


So awareness while you are working needs a tremendous training and discipline, and one has to start from very simple actions, for example, walking. You can walk, and you can be aware that you are walking – each step can be full of awareness. Eating... just the way they drink tea in Zen monasteries - they call it the ‘tea ceremony’, because sipping the tea, one has to remain alert and aware.

These are small actions but to begin with they are perfecdy good. One should not start with something like painting, dancing - those are very deep and complex phenomena. Start with small actions of daily routine life. As you become more and more accustomed to awareness, as awareness becomes just like breathing - you don’t have to make any effort for it, it has become spontaneous - then in any act, any work, you can be aware.

But remember the condition: it has to be effortless; it has to come out of spontaneity. Then painting or composing music, or dancing, or even fighting an enemy with a sword, you can remain absolutely aware. But that awareness is not the awareness you are trying for It is not the beginning; it is the culmination of a long discipline. Sometimes it can happen without discipline too.

But this can happen only rarely - in extreme conditions. In everyday life you should follow the simple course. First become aware about actions which do not need your involvement. You can walk and you can go on thinking; you can eat and you can go on thinking. Replace thinking by awareness. Go on eating, and remain alert that you are eating. Walk, replace thinking by awareness. Go on walking; perhaps your walking will be a little slower and more graceful. But awareness is possible with these small acts. And as you become more and more articulate, use more complicated activities.

A day comes that there is no activity in the world in which you cannot remain alert at the same time, doing the act with totality.

You are saying, “When I decide to be aware in work, I forget about awareness.” It has not to be your decision, it has to be your long discipline. And awareness has to come spontaneously; you are not to call it, you are not to force it.

“And when I become aware that I was not aware, I feel guilty.” That is absolute stupidity. When you become aware that you were not aware, feel happy that at least now you are aware. For the concept of guilt, there is no place in my teachings.

Guilt is one of the cancers of the soul. And all the religions have used guilt to destroy your dignity, your pride, and to make you just slaves. There is no need to feel guilty, it is natural. Awareness is such a great thing that even if you can be aware for a few seconds, rejoice. Don’t pay attention to those moments when you forgot. Pay attention to that state when you suddenly remember; “I was not aware.” Feel fortunate that at least, after a few hours, awareness has returned.

Don’t make it a repentance, a guilt, a sadness - because by being guilty and sad, you are not going to be helped. You will feel, deep down, a failure. And once a feeling of failure settles in you, awareness will become even more difficult.

Change your whole focus. It is great that you became aware that you had forgotten to be aware. Now don’t forget for as long as possible. Again, you will forget; again, you will remember - but each time, the gap of forgetfulness will become smaller and smaller. If you can avoid guilt, which is basically Christian, your gaps of unawareness will become shorter, and one day they will simply disappear. Awareness will become just like breathing or heartbeat, or the blood circulating in you - day in, day out. So be watchful that you don’t feel guilty. There is nothing to feel guilty about. It is immensely significant that the trees don’t listen to Catholic priests. Otherwise, they would make the roses feel guilty: “Why do you have thorns?” And the rose, dancing in the wind, in the rain, in the sun, would suddenly become sad. The dance would disappear, the joy would disappear; the fragrance would disappear. Now the thorn would become his only reality, a wound - “Why do you have thorns?”

But because there are no rosebushes so foolish as to listen to any priest of any religion, roses go on dancing, and with the roses, thorns also go on dancing.

The whole existence is guiltless. And the moment a man becomes guiltless, he becomes part of the universal flow of life. That is enlightenment, a guiltless consciousness, rejoicing in everything that life makes available: the light is beautiful; so is darkness.<...>


* - excerpt from OSHO. Meditation - the First and Last Freedom.

Updated on 09-12-2019

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