Chapter 7: I Respect the Individual
I don’t believe in what others call meditation - that for ten or twenty minutes you do it, and then just be your ordinary self for twenty-four hours, then again meditate for twenty minutes. This is stupid. It is like saying to a person, “Every morning breathe for twenty minutes and then forget all about it, because you have to do many other things. Then the next morning you can breathe for twenty minutes again.”
To me, meditation is exactly like breathing. So, whatsoever you are doing and wherever you are, do it more consciously. For example, I can raise this hand without any consciousness, just unconsciously, out of habit.
I have heard about two Jews walking by the ocean. It was a cold morning and one Jew was keeping his hands in his pockets. It was really cold. And the other was continuously talking, and saying this and that. And he was puzzled that the other man was saying only, yes, no, but did not participate in the conversation. This is not Jewish.
Finally he asked, “What has happened to you? Have you changed your religion?”
The other said, “You can say whatever you want to say, but I am not going to take my hands out of the pockets.”
But the first said, “What has that to do with it?”
The other said, “A Jew cannot talk without his hands. I am not going to talk; it is too cold to take my hands out!”
But you can also raise your hand with full awareness, and you can see the difference between the two. The act is the same: one is mechanical, the other is full of consciousness, and the quality is tremendously different.
Try it, because it is a question of taste and experience. Walking, just try for a few minutes to walk consciously. With each step be alert, and you will be surprised that the quality of your walk is totally different, it is relaxed. There is no tension, and there is a subtle joy that is arising out of your relaxed walking. And the more you become aware of this joy, the more you would like to be awake. Eating, eat with awareness. People are simply throwing food into their mouths, not even chewing it, just swallowing it.
Thirty million people in America are suffering from overeating. A strange world we are living in: one thousand people are dying every day in Ethiopia because they don’t have food; thirty million people are dying in America because they have too much food. These people are suffering from obesity, fatness, cannot resist eating more and more. No doctor is going to help them - unless they become aware while they are eating, if they become aware. A few things happen as a by-product of awareness. Their eating will be slowed down; they will start chewing - because unless you chew your food you are putting an unnecessary burden on your whole system. Your stomach has no teeth. One has to chew each bite exactly forty-two times, then anything that you are eating becomes liquid.