Chapter 5: Wakefulness Is Life
Wakefulness is the way to life.
The fool sleeps
as if he were already dead,
but the master is awake
and he lives forever.
He is clear.
How happy he is!
For he sees that wakefulness is life.
How happy he is,
following the path of the awakened.
With great perseverance
he meditates, seeking
freedom and happiness.
So awake, reflect, watch.
Work with care and attention.
Live in the way
and the light will grow in you.
By watching and working
the master makes for himself an island
which the flood cannot overwhelm.
One of the most important things to be understood about man is that man is asleep. Even while he thinks he is awake, he is not. His wakefulness is very fragile; his wakefulness is so tiny it doesn’t matter at all. His wakefulness is only a beautiful name, but utterly empty.
You sleep in the night, you sleep in the day; from birth to death you go on changing your patterns of sleep, but you are never really awake. Just by opening the eyes, don’t befool yourself that you are awake. Unless the inner eyes open, unless your inside becomes full of light, unless you can see yourself, who you are, don’t think that you are awake.
That is the greatest illusion man lives in. And once you accept that you are already awake, then there is no question of making any effort to be awake. The first thing to sink deep in your heart is that you are asleep, utterly asleep. You are dreaming, day in, day out. You are dreaming sometimes with open eyes and sometimes with closed eyes, but you are dreaming, you are a dream. You are not yet a reality.
And, of course, in a dream whatsoever you do is meaningless, whatsoever you think is pointless, whatsoever you project remains part of your dreams and never allows you to see that which is. Hence Buddha’s insistence - and not only Gautama the Buddha but all the buddhas have insisted on only one thing: “Awake!” Continuously, for centuries, their whole teaching can be contained in a single word: be awake!
And they have been devising methods, strategies, they have been creating contexts and spaces, and energy fields in which you can be shocked into awareness. Yes, unless you are shocked, shaken to your very foundations, you will not awaken. The sleep has been so long, it has reached to the very core of your being; you are soaked in it. Each cell of your body and each fiber of your mind has become full of sleep. It is not a small phenomenon. Hence, great effort is needed to be alert, to be attentive, to be watchful, to become a witness.