Chapter 27: The Contemplation of Emptiness
“Can’t right now. He’s in El Paso standing up for Grandpa. Grandpa is getting married tomorrow. He’s a hundred and fourteen.”
“Your family is simply unbelievable,” said the newspaperman. “Here you are, a rodeo champion at sixty, your father is a football player at eighty-six, and now your grandfather wants to get married at a hundred and fourteen.”
“Hell, mister, you got that wrong,” said the Texan. “Grandpa does not want to get married. He has to.”
This way life goes on and on to, the very end. This is not real life. You are just a victim - a victim of your unconscious instincts, a victim of biology, a victim of physiology, a victim of nature. This is the bondage. To be free of all this unconsciousness is liberation. To be free of the bondage of your body chemistry, to be free of the bondage of the program that nature has put in your body cells, to be free of all that is unconscious in you, to be on your own, to be a conscious light - that is the beginning of real life. Count your age only from the moment when you start living consciously, fully alert, meditatively. When each act has the flavor of consciousness, then you are coming closer to home; otherwise you are going farther and farther away.
And life gives you many opportunities to wake up. But rather than waking up, rather than using those opportunities, you start searching for even deeper drugs to drown you in unconsciousness. When suffering comes, that is an occasion to wake up, but then you start searching for a drug. The drug may be sex, may be alcohol, may be LSD, the drug may be money, may be power-politics - the drug can be anything. Anything that keeps you unconscious is a drug. Anything that keeps you engaged in the non-essential is a drug. Drugs are not only sold at the chemist. Drugs are available everywhere. Your schools, your colleges, your universities sell drugs because they create ambition, and ambition keeps people unconscious. Ambition keeps them running, chasing shadows, illusions, dreams. Your politicians are the greatest drug-peddlers: they continuously go on creating a powerlust in you, a hunger, a greed for power, that keeps you occupied.
To be ambitious, to be competitive, is to be alcoholic. And this is a deeper alcohol. The ordinary alcohol can be prohibited. This alcohol is so tremendously available from every nook and corner - from parents, from priests, from politicians, from professors. Your whole society lives in this drugged state. If you have something to run after, you feel good. The moment you have nothing to run after, you feel lost. You immediately create some new occupation.
The observation of the buddhas down the ages is that when suffering comes it is a hint from God that it is time - “Wake up.” But you drown the suffering in a drug.