The people who have known reality not as a knowledge but as an experience, have emphasized one point tremendously: that you are already what you can ever be. Your essential reality has already been given to you. It is not going to happen in the future. It is possible you may not realize it in the present – that does not mean that it is not present, it simply means your eyes are closed. You can stand with closed eyes before a sunrise and you will remain in darkness; that does not deny the existence of the sun. It simply shows your stupidity. Just open your eyes…and in fact all that you need is already given to you.
I am reminded, Amrito, of a Sufi story. A very strange mystic, Junnaid, used to pray and every time he would pray – in the morning, in the evening, in the night – he would end up his prayer with a deep gratitude towards existence: “Your compassion and your abundance of gifts to me is so much that I feel embarrassed. How am I going to repay it? Except my empty gratefulness and my tears, I don’t have anything to give to you.”
They were on a pilgrimage. He had many disciples with him. It happened that one time, for three days continuously, they passed through villages where there were fanatic Mohammedans. They would not give Junnaid and his disciples food, not even water. There was no question of shelter either. For three days in the desert without food, without water, without shelter…but the prayer continued to be the same and the gratefulness towards existence did not change even a little bit.
This was too much for the disciples. When days were good, it was perfectly okay to be grateful, but for three days they have been starving, thirsty, in the cold nights of the desert – no shelter, and there is no hope that tomorrow things are going to be better. Finally, they encountered their master Junnaid and said, “There is a limit to everything. We have listened to your prayer for years, and we thought it was perfectly in tune with existence. Existence was giving us everything. But these three days we have waited, thinking that perhaps you will stop being grateful or maybe you will even complain, but you seem to be the same. Again the same gratitude, the same tears – we can’t understand it. For what are you being so full of gratitude?”
Junnaid laughed and he said, “These three days were the most important in my life. These three days showed me whether I have any gratitude or not. Is my gratitude simply a bargain, a persuasion, or is my gratitude something that has grown in my heart? It doesn’t matter – as far as I am concerned, I don’t have a choice. Whatever existence gives to me is needed by me. These three days of starvation were absolutely needed by me; for it to be otherwise is not possible. These three days of thirst, coldness in the night, almost facing death, were absolutely my intrinsic needs. I don’t know about you – my gratitude is not conditional. My gratitude is unconditional, it is not because God is good to me. It has no reason at all; it is simply my joy, my blissfulness, my prayerfulness to existence. I don’t have a choice.”
A choiceless awareness simply means whatever happens to you is perfectly the right thing to have happened. You don’t have any judgment about it. It does not mean that you will stop doing things; you will continue doing things but your doing things will be more like a man flowing in the current of the river, not swimming, not swimming against the current.