Chapter 22: Freedom Doesn’t Choose, It Discovers
What does it mean when you say, “Just be yourself”? How can I be myself when I don’t know who I am? I know many of my preferences, likings, dislikings and tendencies, which seem to be the outcome of a programmed biocomputer called the mind. Does just being oneself mean that one totally lives out the whole content of the mind as watchfully as possible?
Yes, it exactly means that - to live as an awareness: awareness of all the programs the mind has been conditioned for, awareness of all the impulses, desires, memories, imaginations.all that the mind can do. One has to be not part of it, but separate - seeing it, but not being it - watching it.
And this is one of the most essential things to remember, that you cannot watch your watchfulness. If you watch your watchfulness, then the watcher is you, not the watched. So you cannot go beyond watchfulness. The point that you cannot transcend is your being. The point that you cannot go beyond is you. You can watch very easily any thought, any emotion, any sentiment. Just one thing you cannot watch - and that is your watchfulness. If you manage to watch it, that means you have shifted: the first watchfulness has become just a thought; now you are the second watcher.
You can go on shifting back, but you cannot get out of watchfulness because it is you: you cannot be otherwise.
So when I say, “Just be yourself,” I am saying to you, “Just be unprogrammed, unconditioned awareness.” That’s how you had come into the world, and that’s how the enlightened person leaves the world. He lives in the world but remains totally separate.
One of the great mystics, Kabir, has a beautiful poem about it. All his poems are just perfect - nothing can be better. One of his poems says, “I will give back the soul that was given to me at the time of my birth, as pure, as clean as it was given to me. I will give it back that way when I die.” He is talking about awareness, that it has remained unpolluted. The whole world was there to pollute it, but he has remained watchful.
All that you need is just to be watchful, and nothing will affect you. This unaffectedness will keep your purity, and this purity has certainly the freshness of life, the joy of existence - all the treasures that you have been endowed with.
But you become attached to the small things surrounding you and forget the one that you are. It is the greatest discovery in life and the most ecstatic pilgrimage to truth. You need not be an ascetic, you need not be anti-life; you need not renounce the world and go to the mountains. You can be where you are, you can continue to do what you are doing. Just a new thing has to be evolved: whatever you do, you do with awareness - even the smallest act of the body or the mind - and with each act of awareness you will become aware of the beauty and the treasure and the glory and the eternity of your being.