So remember, whenever there is to be a choice, choose the untrodden path. But you have been taught just the contrary. You have been taught always to choose the known. You have been taught to be very clever and cunning. Of course, there are comforts with the known. One comfort is that you can remain unconscious with the known. There is no need to be conscious. If you are following the same path you can move almost asleep, like a somnambulist. If you are coming back to your own home, and every day you have been coming, you need not be aware; you can just come unconsciously. When it is time to turn to the right, you turn; there is no need to keep being alert. That’s why people like to follow the old path: no need to be aware. And awareness is one of the most difficult things to achieve. Whenever you are moving in a new direction, you have to be aware at each step.
Choose the new. It will give you awareness. It is not going to be comfortable. Growth is never comfortable; growth is painful. Growth goes through suffering. You pass through fire, but only then you become pure gold. Then all that is not gold is burnt, reduced to ashes. Only the purest remains in you. You have been taught to follow the old because with the old you will commit fewer mistakes. But you will commit the basic mistake, and the basic mistake will be this: that growth happens only when you remain available to the new, with the possibility of committing new mistakes. Of course, there is no need to repeat an old mistake again and again, but be capable and courageous of committing new mistakes – because each new mistake is a learning, becomes a learning situation. Each time you go astray, you have to find the path back home. And this going and coming, this constant forgetting and remembering, creates an integration within your being.
Always choose the new; even if it looks worse than the old. I say, always choose the new. It looks inconvenient – choose the new. It is uncomfortable, insecure – choose the new. It is not a question of “new”; it is to give you an opportunity to be more aware. Efficiency has been taught to you as the goal. It is not. Alertness is the goal. Efficiency makes you follow the old path again and again, because you will be more efficient on the old path. You will know all the nooks and corners. You have travelled on it for so many years, or maybe so many lives; you will be more and more efficient. But efficiency is not the goal. Efficiency is the goal for a mechanism. A machine has to be efficient, but a man? – man is not a machine. A man has to be more aware, and if efficiency comes out of awareness, good, beautiful. If it comes at the cost of awareness you are committing a great sin against life, and then you will remain unhappy. And this unhappiness will become a pattern. You will simply move in a vicious circle. One unhappiness will lead you to another, and so on and so forth.
Unhappiness as an awareness is a blessing, but unhappiness as a style of life is a curse. Don’t make it your style of life. I see many people have made it their style of life. They don’t know any other style of life. Even if you say to them, they won’t listen. They will go on asking why they are unhappy, and they won’t listen that they are creating their unhappiness every moment. That’s the meaning of the theory of karma.