Chapter 3: The Sun of Consciousness
If you try to remember your past you will only be able to remember back to the age of four or five. Before that everything is dark for you; nothing can be remembered before the age of four. Certainly you were there up to the age of four, but it seems that you were not self-conscious. This is why small children and animals seem to have a similar condition of innocence. There is no tension. Naturalness is seen in small children, in birds and in plants and trees. Perhaps up to the age of four we also were not aware that we existed.
Then every day seven or eight hours are spent in sleep, in unconsciousness. If a man lives for sixty years, he sleeps away twenty years of them. So twenty years of life go in unconsciousness; there too you are not conscious. You have slept so many times, but can you tell how sleep comes, when it comes, and what it is? You cannot. As long as you keep awake at night, until then sleep has not come, and when it comes you are already unconscious. Sleep always finds you unconscious. You are unconscious until the moment sleep leaves you. When sleep leaves you in the morning, consciousness comes.
When you say, “I slept for eight hours in the night,” it doesn’t mean that you are aware that you slept for eight hours. It only means that there is a gap of eight hours between the last moment when you were awake and the moment when you woke up again in the morning. This is how you know; otherwise in sleep you have gone back to the world of the animals and plants. And during the remainder of the day, when you think you are conscious, even then you are conscious only sometimes.
One day just stand by the side of the road and watch people passing. You will feel that many of them are almost sleepwalking. Someone is talking to someone who is not there, someone is gesturing with his hands, someone is moving his lips. To whom are they talking? They are in some dream. Are they awake? Nobody seems to be there. With whom is this talk going on then?
If you can observe yourself, you will find that you are not aware the whole time. Awareness comes only sometimes. Suppose somebody puts a knife to your chest. In such moments there is self-awareness in you. In such moments you are full of awareness; otherwise not.
Try to understand with some examples. Near us are the roofs of two buildings. If a one-foot wide wooden board is placed between the roofs of the two buildings and you are asked to walk along it, perhaps none of you will be ready to do it. If the same wooden board is put on the ground and you are asked to walk on it, all of you - old people, children, women, all - will be able to do it and perhaps no one will fall. The wooden board is the same, you are the same - then why would you refuse to walk along it when it is put between the roofs? And so many people were able to walk along it when it was on the ground and no one had fallen, so where is the possibility of falling off it now? But no..
What is the real difficulty? The difficulty is somewhere else. The difficulty is that while walking along it on the ground there is no need to be aware; you can walk in unawareness. But to pass between the roofs you will have to be aware. We know we have no awareness; hence the fear of a fall which may kill us. On the ground we are not going to be killed even if we fall off.