The purpose of life is to become conscious. It is not only the purpose of yoga; the very evolution of life itself is to become more and more conscious. But yoga means something still more.
The evolution of life is to become more and more conscious, but the consciousness is always other oriented: you are conscious of some thing, some object. Yoga means to be evolving in the dimension where there is no object and only consciousness remains. Yoga is the method of evolving toward pure consciousness; not being conscious of something, but being consciousness itself.
When you are conscious of something, you are not conscious of being conscious. Your consciousness has become focused on something; your attention is not at the source of consciousness itself. In yoga the effort is to become conscious of both the object and the source. The consciousness becomes double arrowed. You must be aware of the object, and you must be simultaneously aware of the subject. Consciousness must become a double arrowed bridge. The subject must not be lost, it must not become forgotten when you are focused on the object.
This is the first step in yoga. The second step is to drop both the subject and the object and just be conscious. This pure consciousness is the aim of yoga.
Even without yoga man grows toward becoming more and more conscious, but yoga adds something, contributes something, to this evolution of consciousness. It changes many things and transforms many things. The first transformation is a double-arrowed awareness, remembering yourself at the very moment that there is something else to be conscious of.
The dilemma is this: either you are conscious of some object or you are unconscious. If there are no outside objects, you fall into a sleep; objects are needed in order for you to be conscious. When you are totally unoccupied you feel sleepy – you need some object to be conscious of – but when you have too many objects to be conscious of, you may feel a certain sleeplessness. That is why a person who is too obsessed with thoughts cannot go into sleep. Objects continue to be there, thoughts continue to be there. He cannot become unconscious; thoughts go on demanding his attention. And this is how we exist.
With new objects you become more conscious. That is why there is a lust for the new, a longing for the new. The old becomes boring. The moment you have lived with some object for a while, you become unconscious of it. You have accepted it, now your attention is not needed; you become bored. For example, you may not have been conscious of your wife for years because you have taken her for granted. You no longer see her face, you can’t remember the color of her eyes; for years you have not really been attentive. Only when she dies will you again become aware that she was there. That is why wives and husbands become bored. Any object that is not calling your attention continuously creates boredom.