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Chapter 43: Finding the Changeless through the Changing

Whenever something new enters, you become conscious - for many reasons. It is a safety measure. It is needed for your life - to survive. When something changes you have to become aware. It may be dangerous. You have to take notice, and you have to adjust again to the new situation that has come into being. But if everything is as it was, there is no need. You need not be aware. And this same element in you, what Hindus have called atman, the soul, has been there always from the very beginning, if there was any beginning. And it is going to the very end, if there is going to be any end. It has been eternally the same, so how can you be aware of it?

Because it is so permanently the same, eternally the same, you are missing it. You take notice of the body, you take notice of the mind because they are changing. And because you take notice of them, you start thinking that you are them. You know only them; you become identified.

The whole spiritual effort is to find the same amidst the unsame - to find the eternal in the changing, to find that which is always the same. That is your center, and if you can remember that center, only then will this technique be easy - or if you can do this technique, remembering will become easy. From both the ends you can travel.

Try this technique. The technique is to be the unsame same to friend as to stranger. To the friend and to the enemy, or to the stranger, be the “unsame same.” What does it mean? It seems contradictory. In a way you will have to change, because if your friend comes to meet you, you will have to meet him differently, and if a stranger comes you will have to meet him differently. How can you meet a stranger as if you know him already? You cannot. The difference will be there, but still, deep down remain the same. The attitude must remain the same, but the behavior will be “unsame.” You cannot meet an unknown person as if you know him already. How can you? You can pretend at the most, but pretensions will not do. The difference will be there.

There is no need to pretend with a friend that he is a friend. With a stranger, even if you try to act as if he is a friend, it will be pretension - something new. You cannot be the same; unsameness will be necessary. As far as behavior is concerned you will be different, but as far as your consciousness is concerned you can be the same. You can look at the friend as at the stranger.

It is difficult. You may have heard, “Look at the stranger as if he is a friend,” but that is not possible if what I am saying is not possible. First look at your friend as the stranger; only then you can look at the stranger as at the friend. They are correlated.

Have you ever looked at your friends as if they are strangers? If you have not, then you have not looked at all. Look at your wife: do you really know her? You may have lived with her for twenty years or even more, and the more you live with her, the more is the possibility that you will go on forgetting that she is a stranger - and she remains a stranger. Howsoever you love her, it will not make any difference.

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