He then galloped off to the wars. Ten miles away from home he heard the clatter of hoof-beats behind him and he waited. His friend on horseback galloped up saying, “You gave me the wrong key!”
Man is so deeply unconscious!
A couple of drunks in a bar started talking about sex. “Say,” said the first one, “have you ever gotten so drunk you kissed a broad’s navel?”
“Drunker!” answered his pal.
Just watch your life and you will be absolutely in agreement with him: “Drunker!” What have you been doing? Can you say you have lived your life with awareness? Can you say your actions have the quality of awareness? Somebody insults you: do you respond or do you react? If you react, you are asleep; if you respond, you are awake.
And what is the difference between reaction and response? – the difference is great.
Once a few people were insulting Buddha very much. They were shouting at him, saying all kinds of dirty words to him, and he was standing there listening to them as totally as possible.
After a few minutes they felt frustrated, because he was not saying anything, and one of them asked, “Are you deaf or something? Why don’t you answer?”
Buddha said, “I am answering, but my answer is a response, not a reaction.”
Naturally they asked, “What is the difference between reaction and response?”
And Buddha said, “Sit down and I will explain it to you.”
And the enemies turned into disciples. They were listening to Buddha, sitting silently; listening to what he was saying. They were converted. Buddha said, “If you had come ten years ago, when I was asleep just as you are, I would have reacted. You would have pushed my buttons.”
When you push the button and the fan goes on it is not a response; it is a reaction, it is mechanical. When you push the button and the lights go on or off, it is a reaction not a response. The light, the fan, or any other mechanism, has no freedom to choose; it simply reacts. Response means choice, response means “chosen with consciousness.”