Chapter 9: The Phenomenon of Unconsciousness
“But officer” protested the man “this lady is my wife. I was driving along the road in the pouring rain when I saw her walking along with a raincoat over her head. So I stopped to pick her up, and after a while we pulled in here to have a rest.”
“Then why on earth didn’t you tell me it was your wife instead of letting me lecture you?” the policeman demanded.
“Well” said the man “I didn’t know it was until you shone your torch on her.”
Man is really unconscious. And life goes on, and you go on living - but that living is so lukewarm that nothing really happens in it. There is no passion in it, no intensity in it, no fire in it. Consciousness is fire. When consciousness is there you will be consumed in that fire, the ego will be consumed in that fire. And when you are not, and there is nothing but pure consciousness left, it is what God is, it is what nirvana is.
The whole effort of the masters down the ages has been one - singularly one: how to help you to become a little more sensitive, a little more conscious, a little more aware. A little more attention, and things start changing and you start moving in a new dimension.
These are the only two dimensions: either you live unconsciously or you live consciously. And to live unconsciously is to waste this great opportunity. It is immensely valuable that you are. It is immensely valuable that God has given you a gift. It is a great opportunity. Don’t miss it. It can be transformed into a greater opportunity: it can become eternal life.
Jesus says again and again: If you come to me, I will give you life in abundance, life that can never be exhausted, life that goes on, life that knows no death, life that is forever. But you will have to jerk yourself a little bit out of your unconsciousness. And the unconsciousness is ancient. You have remained unconscious for many lives, for millennia. Yes, on the surface you appear conscious - you go to the town, to the market, to the office, to the factory - you do certain things, but those are all habitual, mechanical. You have learned to do them and now you go on repeating them. You need not be conscious about them: you have become automatic, you have become an automaton.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples: My whole approach is how to de-automatize you, how to bring again a non-mechanical life in you. Watch yourself how you react. You have reacted that way a thousand and one times; it has become a set habit with you. Now you are not needed for it - it is programmed in your brain. You need not be at home, and it will answer. You can go on sleeping, and it will answer. Somebody insults you, watch what you do. Somebody appreciates you, watch what you say. Are you really saying it? Are you there while you are saying it? Or are you not needed at all - it is a programmed thing in the mind and the mind repeats it?