I can’t conceive of you ever being unenlightened. Did you really become enlightened only thirty-two years ago?
Neither can I conceive it. This is one of the very fundamental things in the nature of enlightenment. Once you are enlightened, you are in a very strange situation – trying to conceive how you could manage to remain unenlightened for so many lives. It is a tremendous work, it needs great effort. Misery, jealousy, competitiveness – all that is ugly is needed to remain unenlightened.
Enlightenment itself is simple, it is natural. Unenlightenment is your creation.
Enlightenment is a gift from existence. So it is up to you how long you want to remain unenlightened. Any moment you can drop unenlightenment. Never ask how to become enlightened, because nobody can become enlightened. Everybody is born enlightened. Just ask, “How can we drop all those props that are keeping us unenlightened?”
There is a beautiful story in Gautam Buddha’s life. Again and again he has told it….
In one of his past lives he met an enlightened being. Out of respect he touched his feet. But he was surprised – in return the enlightened man touched his feet. Buddha could not believe his eyes. He said, “What are you doing? I am an unenlightened man, ignorant. I have not experienced truth. I have not yet been able to love, to be compassionate. My laughter is still phony, my heart is full of discontent. Why have you touched my feet?”
And the enlightened being laughed. He said, “Don’t be worried. As far as I am concerned, you are as enlightened as I am.”
From your side, that is your problem – I don’t see any of you here as unenlightened, it is impossible. Enlightenment is your very center, your very being. But you have been conditioned, programmed to remain unenlightened. All your religions are responsible for it. They don’t want you to become enlightened, because an enlightened man cannot be a Christian, a Hindu, a Mohammedan. From his state of consciousness, all these theologies, religions, are sheer nonsense – fictions created by ignorant people for other ignorant people.
Never ask how to be enlightened. You can ask how to remain unenlightened, that is relevant. If you want to be enlightened, you are this very moment. Nobody is preventing you except yourself.
And you are making so much hard, arduous effort to become enlightened. That is one of the ways to remain unenlightened. The very effort keeps you troubled; and each effort is going to fail, because what you are already you cannot become.