Only foolish people make vows. A man of understanding does not make vows, he becomes aware. Making vows is making an effort on the same level. It is like a primary school class where small children are fighting amongst themselves and creating a great noise, and suddenly a teacher enters the class and immediately there is silence. The children all sit in their places and open their books as if nothing different were happening before – a power of a higher level has entered the room and its presence has brought about the transformation.
As soon as you awaken the power of a higher level, immediately the struggle and conflict at the lower level will calm down. This needs to be understood clearly: whenever there is a conflict in your life don’t fight with it directly, try to invoke the power of a higher level.
To those who ask me how to quiet the mind, I tell them not to bother about it, not to do anything with the mind. Just awaken your intelligence, become conscious. Don’t struggle with the mind, because it will also be the mind which fights. Even the one who advises you to be silent is also the mind. So if the mind fights with itself by dividing itself in two parts, the fight will be like my right hand fighting with my left hand. No one will win and no one will be defeated. It is within my own control. Sometimes I can make the right hand appear to be winning and at another time I can let the left hand win – but both are my hands and both are using my energy; there is no question of winning or losing. I may be identified with my right hand but at another time I may be identified with my left hand. Thus, sometimes you become identified with the part of the mind which is full of desire and at another time you become identified with the part of the mind which makes oaths and thinks about repentance. The mind goes on swinging like a pendulum, at one moment in this direction and the next moment in another.
When there is a conflict on one level, it is necessary to search for a higher and deeper level which can be awakened. The essence of intelligence is vivek, wakeful intelligence. Vivek means awareness in thought and in action, a sort of vigilance, a constant remembrance.
You are walking on a road – this walking is mechanical. You know how to walk, the body walks mechanically. There is no need to remain aware of the fact that you are walking or that you are lifting your leg. You are breathing and it continues mechanically; you don’t have to do anything to breathe, awareness is not needed at all. But you can also breathe with awareness.
Buddha’s basic method and his total discipline was breathing with awareness. Buddha used to tell his disciples that if they could breathe consciously, everything else would fall into place. Such a simple thing to do and everything becomes okay? But however simple it may appear on the outside, it is very difficult to do inside. It looks as simple as when you push a switch and thousands of bulbs light up. Someone may ask you how only one small switch can make thousands of bulbs light up at the same time. That one switch is visible, but the whole network of wiring that is hidden behind is not visible. In the same way awareness seems to be very easy, but it is very difficult.