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Chapter 17: A Flowering of Consciousness

What is the difference? If you are listening to me, you are conscious of me, the speaker; you are not conscious of the listener. Your consciousness is one-arrowed. The arrow is towards the speaker, and you are just in the shadow. The light is focused towards the speaker and you are in darkness. For a moment, if I say something about it, you can become conscious, but the moment you become conscious of the listener you will become unconscious of the speaker. If you can become conscious of both, if you can have a double-arrowed consciousness - simultaneously aware of the speaker and the listener - then you are conscious.

When I say you are not conscious, I don’t mean that there are not sometimes moments when you are conscious; sometimes there are moments, but very few, and they show only the possibility, not the actuality. It is just like if you jump and then again you are on the ground. You can defy gravitation for a single moment, and again you are under it. It is just like this. Sometimes, in particular situations, we jump out of unconsciousness. For a single moment we are out of the pull of gravitation, but not really out of it because the gravitation is working all the time and will bring you down again. You can have a feeling of freedom for a single moment, but then again you are back on the ground.

In certain dangerous situations you become conscious. Someone has come to murder you: suddenly you are conscious - not only of the murderer, but also of yourself, the one who is to be murdered. Then the consciousness is double-arrowed, but only for a single moment and again you are on the ground. Sometimes in deep love you jump out of your unconsciousness. Then you are not only aware of your lover or beloved, you are also aware of yourself - but only for a single moment, then again you are back.

Suddenly, in some accident, in some deep, touching experience, one becomes aware. But there are very few such moments. You can count them on your fingers. In a long life of one hundred years you can have certain experiences which can be counted on your fingers. They show only a possibility that you can be conscious.

Ordinarily we exist as automata. And, really, we find it convenient to exist as automata: it is very comfortable to exist as automata. You are more efficient when you work on mechanical lines. You need not worry. Your body, your mind, works as a machine; it is efficient. And it is convenient not to be aware, because to be aware will bring such a sensitivity about things around you that it is going to be painful.

To be a buddha is not only blissful. It is blissful as far as Buddha himself is concerned. He comes to a peak experience of bliss. But at the same time he has to pay very dearly, because he becomes so sensitive that everything around him gives him pain. He suffers because of others’ suffering. A beggar meets you: you pass him unconsciously; there is no problem, it is very convenient. If you become conscious, then it is not so convenient. Then you are bound to come to realize that you have a hand in it, you are part of this ugly world. You are responsible for all that is, whether it is a Vietnam war or a Hindu-Mohammedan riot, or poverty. Whatsoever is there, if you become conscious you become responsible. It is difficult now to escape. This is the cost to be paid.

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