Chapter 7: Awareness: The Fire That Burns the Past
Eknath suspected. So one night he pretended to sleep but he was awake, he watched. The thief appeared near about midnight, in the middle of the night, and he started changing things from one person’s luggage to another person’s. Eknath caught him red handed and he said, “What are you doing? And you had promised!” He said, “I am following my promise. I have not stolen a single thing. But this is my old habit. In the middle of the night if I don’t do some mischief, it is impossible for me to sleep. And for one year, not to sleep? You are a man of compassion. You should be compassionate towards me. And I am not stealing, things are found again and again. They don’t go anywhere but are just exchanged from one person to another. And moreover, after one year I have to start my stealing again, so it will be good practice also.”
Habits force you to do certain things; you are a victim. Hindus call it the theory of karma: each action that you repeat, or each thought - because thought is also a subtle action in the mind - becomes more and more powerful. Then you are in the grip of it. Then you are imprisoned in the habit. Then you live the life of an imprisoned man, a slave. And the imprisonment is very subtle: it is of your habits and conditioning and the actions that you have done. It is all around your body and you are entangled in it, but you go on thinking and befooling yourself that you are doing it. When you get angry, you think you are doing it. You rationalize it and you say that the situation demanded it: “I had to be angry, otherwise the child would go astray; if I were not angry then things would go wrong, then the office would be in a chaos, then servants won’t listen; I had to be angry to manage things, to discipline the child. To put the wife in her right place I had to be angry.” These are rationalizations. That’s how your ego goes on thinking that you are still the boss, but you are not. Anger comes out of old patterns, out of the past. And when anger comes you try to find an excuse for it.
Psychologists have been experimenting and they have come to the same facts as the Eastern esoteric psychology: man is a victim, not a master. Psychologists have put people in total isolation, with every comfort possible. Whatsoever was needed was given to them but they didn’t come in any contact with other human beings. They lived in isolation in an air conditioned cell - no work, no trouble, no problem, but the same habits continued. One morning, with no reason now - because every comfort was fulfilled, there was no worry, there was no excuse to be angry - and the man would find suddenly that anger was arising.
It is within you. Sometimes, suddenly, sadness comes for no apparent reason at all, and sometimes one feels happy, sometimes one feels euphoric, ecstatic. A man deprived of all social relationships, isolated in total comfort, supplied with every need, moves through all the moods that you move through in relationship. That means that something comes from within and you hang it on somebody else. That is just a rationalization. You feel good, you feel bad, and these feelings are bubbling from your own unconscious, from your own past. Nobody is responsible except you. Nobody can make you angry, and nobody can make you happy. You become happy on your own, you become angry on your own, and you become sad on your own. Unless you realize this, you will always remain a slave.