Chapter 14: Enlightenment: A Simple Realization
The first question:
I keep thinking of my life in terms of goal or destination, waiting to wake up some day and find myself enlightened, and I worry that others will reach before me. Today is a tension. Why is eternity so difficult to feel and remember? You keep reminding me but I keep forgetting and lose patience. Why am I such a fool? And then I think, “So what?” and then I want to scream “No more!” but go on.
Man has been conditioned down the centuries for goals, destinations, purposes, meanings - that’s how man has lived hitherto, with the goal-oriented ideology. Hindu, Christian, Mohammedan, communist, it doesn’t matter - all ideologies are goal-oriented. It is always tomorrow that you have to look to, or the next life. It is always somewhere else: the goal, the meaning, the bliss, the paradise - it is never now here.
Because of these ideologies you cannot allow yourself to relax in the moment. They go on goading you - you have to attain something, you have to achieve something. Your whole education system is a strategy of poisoning your consciousness; it is a strategy of driving you crazy after goals, it is a strategy of creating ambition in you. And ambition is neurosis. But this has been done for so long that it has become part and parcel of the human mind.
That’s why you go on thinking in terms of goal or destination. It is not you: it is the society that goes on thinking in you, through you. It is your parents, it is your priests, it is your politicians, it is your pedagogues, who go on thinking through you, and you are identified with them. You don’t know that you are separate.
The first thing that you will have to learn is to be a witness to all that goes on in the mind, because the mind is a social phenomenon - it is not a God-given gift. It is social exploitation; it is society that makes a mind in you, and through that mind controls you, keeps you imprisoned, chained, reduces you to a slave. And you are not the mind. You are the witness who can see the mind very easily. You can see the thoughts moving in your consciousness - those thoughts are the content of the consciousness but they are not consciousness itself.
And this is what meditation is all about: creating a distance between you and your mind. Once the distance is there, you will be surprised that the whole mind structure is your imprisonment - you are free from it because you are separate from it. Once you start enjoying the freedom from the mind all goals will disappear, all destinations will disappear.