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Chapter 58: Go Beyond Karma

Concentration is always feverish, because you are forcing your energy to one point. Energy by itself flows in all directions. If has no direction in which to move; it simply enjoys flowing all over. We create conflict because we say, “This is good to listen to; that is bad.” If you are doing your prayer and a child starts laughing, it is a disturbance - because you cannot conceive of a simple awareness in which the prayer continues and the child goes on laughing and there is no conflict between the two; they both are part of a bigger whole.

Try this: be totally alert, totally aware. Don’t concentrate. Every concentration is tiring, you feel tired, because you are forcing energy unnaturally. Simple awareness is inclusive of all. When you are passive and non-doing then everything happens around you. Nothing disturbs you and nothing by-passes you. Everything happens and you know it, you witness it.

A noise comes: it happens to you, it moves within you, then it passes, and you remain as you were. Just as in an empty room: if there was no one here the traffic would go on passing, the noise would come into this room, then it would pass - and the room would remain unaffected, as if nothing had happened. In passive awareness you remain unaffected. Everything goes on happening; just passes you, but never touches you. You remain unscarred. In feverish concentration everything touches you, impresses you.

One more point about this. In the eastern psychology we have a word, sanskar - conditioning. If you are concentrating on something you will be conditioned, you will get a sanskar, you will get impressed by something. If you are simply aware - passively aware, not concentrating, not focusing yourself, just being there - nothing conditions you. Then you don’t accumulate any sanskar, you don’t accumulate any impressions. You go on remaining virgin, pure, unscarred; nothing touches you. If one can be passively aware, he passes through the world but the world never passes through him.

One Zen monk, Bokuju, used to say, “Go and cross the stream, but don’t allow the water to touch you.” And there was no bridge over the stream near his monastery.

Many would try, but when they crossed, of course the water would touch them. So one day one monk came and he said, “You give us puzzles. We try to cross that stream; there is no bridge. If there was a bridge, of course we could have crossed the stream and the water would not have touched us. But we have to pass through the stream - the water touches.”

So Bokuju said, “I will come and I will cross and you watch.” And Bokuju crossed. Of course, water touched his feet, and they said, “Look, the water has touched you!”

Bokuju said, “As far as I know, it has not touched me. I was just a witness. The water was touching my feet, but not me. I was just witnessing.”

With passive alertness, with witnessing, you pass through the world. You are in the world, but the world is not in you.