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Chapter 9: The Business of Isness

If only you could see that the body is hungry and you are seeing this and knowing this; if only you could see that the body is sick, that it is old, that it is on the verge of death and all this you are seeing and knowing as a witness.. You are the witness to all these happenings. The whole drama is enacted in the body, as though the body were a vast stage, and all the characters projections of the mind within that body. And you - you view it all from a distance; you are the audience. There is in you the doer, by which the world, your reality, is created, and there is in you a witnessing too, through which brahman is seen. Asleep you cannot remember this; even awake during the day you keep forgetting. The moment your body is hurt you forget that it is the body, not you, that has been hurt, and that you have simply known the happening.

This is the essence of all sadhana, that the moment the doer takes up the space, wake up! Don’t allow him to fill the space. Leave all the actions - the desires, the hungers and thirsts - to the body. Let the body do the deeds, and you only keep the capacity to know with you, just the awareness, just the art of seeing.

This is why in India we have called philosophy, darshan - seeing. You just protect this ability to see, and the moment you are able to see, you will find that all your dreams have disappeared - the ghosts have vanished, the world is not, the dreams have dissolved. You have awakened!

This ultimate awakening we call buddhahood - buddha means the awakened one - and in this ultimate awakening we attain to supreme bliss. Sleeping we attain only to agony and anxiety. There is only one agony, and that is to forget the reality of the self; and there is only one bliss - to regain that reality. You can call it whatsoever sounds beautiful to you - self-realization, brahman-realization or enlightenment or nirvana - the essence is one.

This is a short anecdote from an Upanishad: There is a tree on which two birds are living. The tree has been, since ancient times, a symbol of life. Just as the tree comes out of its seed, spreading its branches out and up toward the open sky, full of the hope and promise that it will touch the sky, so does life grow out from a tiny seed, sprouting with great desires and unending ambitions to fill the whole sky and span the furthest horizons. The tree is of life, and on this life-tree sit two birds. One tastes the fruit, indulging in its sweetness; the other only watches - he never tastes, he never enters the field of action, he never becomes a doer. The indulging bird sits on the lower branches of the tree; the witnessing bird sits on the higher branches.

The end result of indulgence is always agony. One finds pleasure in it, but it is always interwoven with misery because every pleasure brings its own unique misery. And while the pleasures last only momentarily, they leave behind a long trail of miseries. In finding a single pleasure we have to go through many sufferings. And if the pleasures are analyzed in detail they prove to be only illusory. Viewed closely, it is very doubtful whether what we have called our moments of pleasure were really so. Look back over your life, over forty, fifty, sixty years, and can you really find in all these sixty years a moment of true happiness?

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