Chapter 6: Encountering the Unconscious
For example, they will say to some seeker, “Find out what your original face is.” And by “original face” they mean the face you had before you were born, or the face you will have after you die - the original face. “Find out how your original face looks.” How can you find it out? One has to meditate on it. The problem is such that you cannot solve it by intellect, by reason. You have to ponder over it, meditate over it, go on meditating and searching: “What is my original face?” The teacher will be there with his staff, and he will look around to see if someone is going into sleep. Then the teacher’s staff will be on your head. You cannot sleep; sleep is not allowed at all. You have to be constantly awake.
So a Zen teacher is a hard taskmaster. You have to meditate before him, and he will not allow you to drop into sleep because the moment when you are dropping into sleep is the moment to encounter the unconscious. If you can remain out of sleep, then the unconscious will be revealed - because that is the line. The very line from where you drop into sleep is the line where you can enter into the unconscious.
You can try this. You have been sleeping every day, but you have not yet encountered sleep. You have not seen it - what it is, how it comes, how you drop into it. You have not known anything about it. You have been dropping into it daily, coming out of it, but you have not felt the moment when sleep comes on the mind, what happens. So try this, and with three months’ effort suddenly, one day, you will enter sleep knowingly. Drop on your bed, close your eyes, and then remember, remember that sleep is coming and “I am to remain awake when the sleep comes.” It is very arduous, but it happens. In one day it will not happen, in one week it will not happen. Persist every day, constantly remembering that sleep is coming and “I am not to allow it without knowing. I must be aware when sleep enters. I must go on feeling how sleep takes over, what it is.”
One day, suddenly, sleep is there and you are still awake. That very moment you become aware of your unconscious also, and once you become aware of your unconscious you will never be asleep again in the old way. Sleep will be there, but you will be awake, simultaneously. A center in you will go on knowing. All around will be sleep, and a center will go on knowing. When this center knows, dreams become impossible, and when dreams become impossible, daydreams also become impossible. Then you are asleep in a different sense, and then you will be awake in the morning in a different sense. That different quality comes by the encounter.
But this may look difficult, so I suggest to you a more simple exercise to encounter the unconscious. Close the doors of your room and put a big mirror just in front of you. The room must be dark. Then put a small flame by the side of the mirror in such a way that it is not directly reflected in it. Just your face is reflected in the mirror, not the flame. Then constantly stare into your own eyes in the mirror. Do not blink. This is a forty-minute experiment, and within two or three days you will be able to keep your eyes unblinking.
Even if tears come, let them come, but persist in not blinking and go on staring constantly into your eyes. Do not change the stare. Go on staring into the eyes, your own, and within two or three days you will become aware of a very strange phenomenon. Your face will begin to take new shapes. You may even be scared. The face in the mirror will begin to change. Sometimes a very different face will be there which you have never known as yours.