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Chapter 10: Me, Enlightened?

In the marketplace you are a little bit more alert. When you sit silently in your meditation room you start falling asleep, because the only kind of alertness that you know is that which is created by the noise around you. You know only one kind of awareness, which is pathological because it is out of disturbance, not out of stillness.

That’s why it is one of the basic experiences of all meditators that the moment they start meditating they start falling asleep. Hence the Zen master has to walk amongst his disciples with a stick in his hand: whenever he sees somebody asleep, he hits him immediately. The hit you can understand, because it is on the circumference. Suddenly the energy rushes upwards in your spine, and you are awake, alert. The Zen tradition says that when the master hits you, bow down to him in deep respect. He has obliged you; he has taken great trouble to hit you.

You know only one kind of alertness - when you are hit, when you are in some danger, when you are in some accident. It is because of this that people go mountain climbing, because when they are climbing mountains and the danger is great they become a little alert. It is because of this that people compete in car races, because the speedier the car goes, the more danger is close by. Death can happen any moment, you have to become alert.

Danger has an attraction. The only attraction of danger is that you become a little alert, but this is a superficial kind of alertness. Real alertness has to happen at the center, otherwise you can remain alert on the circumference because of the noise, disturbance, but it is coming from others, it is not your own, and your center can go on sleeping.

I go on telling you this again and again. Why do I say it again and again? So that it can sink in and can reach your center. It takes time, and it takes a right moment.

My father’s disappearance from the body may have been the right moment for you. Yes, he was a simple man, just like anybody else. So was Buddha and so was Mahavira and so was Jesus - simple people, innocent people. He was not in any way extraordinary; that was his extraordinariness. I have known him from my very childhood - so simple, so innocent, anybody could deceive him.

He used to believe anybody. I have seen many people cheating him, but his trust was immense; he never distrusted human beings although he was cheated many times. It was so simple to see that people were cheating him that even when I was a small child I used to say to him, “What are you doing? This man is simply cheating you.”

Once he built a house and a contractor was cheating him. I told him, “This house is not going to stand, it will fall, because the cement is not in the right proportion and the wood that is being used is too heavy.” But he wouldn’t listen; he said, “He is a good man, he cannot cheat us.”

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