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Chapter 10: No Goal, No Effort

One thing you will become aware of sooner or later: that whenever you make effort, awareness comes to you but it is a very tortured awareness, very nightmarish. It is very heavy, it sits just like a rock on your head. It is not joyful, it is not weightless, it is not dancing. But while making this effort, sometimes, suddenly you will become aware - when you were not making the effort. And that awareness will be light, joyful, dancing, ecstatic.

This will happen only to those who are making efforts. While making efforts, sometimes, when you are not making effort, this glimpse will happen to you. Then you will become aware that through effort you cannot achieve that ultimate - it happens only through non-effort.

To many meditators around me it happens. They come to tell me that while meditating in the morning, in the evening, nothing much is happening. But suddenly in the night or suddenly in the afternoon they are sitting, and something starts - and they were not doing anything. This will happen.

Just as many times you forget some name and you feel it is just on the tip of the tongue; you become very much strained, you make every effort to bring it to consciousness. It is not coming, and the more you make an effort, the more you feel lost. You know that you know, continuously you know that you can remember. It is just around the corner but some barrier, something like a block is there, and the name is not coming to you - it may be the name of a cherished friend. And then the whole effort becomes so futile you leave it. You start reading a newspaper or go for a smoke, or you go in the garden for a walk, or you just start digging in the garden, and suddenly it pops up. Suddenly the name is there, the friend is standing there, the face is there.

What happened? When you were making the effort you were so tense that very tenseness became the block; the very tenseness narrowed down the passage. The name wanted to come, the memory was knocking on the door, but the very tenseness became the closedness. That’s why you were feeling it was just on the tip of the tongue. It was! But because you were so tense, so worried about it, so anxious to bring it out, your anxiety became a block. When a mind is very anxious it becomes closed.

All that is beautiful and true happens only when you are not anxious about it. All that is lovely happens only when you are not even waiting for it - not asking, not demanding. Then the mind has no blocks. That’s why it happens when you have forgotten it. Effort is needed, in the beginning effort is a must - futile, but still a must. The futility will be realized by and by. When you have glimpses, sudden glimpses, with the feeling that you were not making any effort and those glimpses have showered upon you, gifts from the divine, then you can leave the effort. Then leaving the efforts, more and more gifts will come.

In the East we have always believed, and believed rightly, that enlightenment is nothing like an achievement. It is like a grace, it is a gift, it is prasad. God gives it to you, you cannot snatch it away from his hand.

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