Here, listening to me, be alert. Whenever you feel that you have gone again into sleep, bring yourself back: just shake a little and bring yourself back. When walking on the street, if you feel you are walking in a sleep, shake a little, give a little shake to the whole body. Be alert. This alertness will remain only for a few moments; again you will lose it, because you have lived in a sleep for so long, it has become such a habit, that you cannot see how you can go against it.
I was traveling once from Calcutta to Bombay in a plane, and one child was creating a great nuisance, running from one corner of the aisle to the other, disturbing everybody – and then the stewardess came with tea and coffee. The boy ran into her, and everything was a mess. Then the mother of the child said, “Now listen, I have told you many times – why don’t you go outside and play there?”
Just old habit. She was sitting just by my side and was not aware of what she had said. I listened as she spoke, and she never became alert to what she had said. Only the child made her alert. He said, “What do you mean? If I go out I am finished!”
A child is more attentive of course, because he has less habits. A child is more alert because he has less armor around him, he is less imprisoned. That’s why all religions say that when a man becomes a sage he has some quality of a child: the innocence. Then habits drop. …Because habits are your prison, and sleep is the greatest habit.
Now, try to enter in this parable with me.
While Tokai was a visitor at a certain temple, a fire started under the kitchen floor.
A monk rushed into Tokai’s bedroom, shouting, “A fire, master, a fire!” “Oh?” said Tokai, sitting up. “Where?” “Where?” exclaimed the monk. “Why, under the kitchen floor – get up at once.” “The kitchen, eh?” said the master drowsily. “Well, tell you what, when it reaches the passageway, come back and let me know.”
Tokai was snoring again in no time.
Tokai was a great Zen master, enlightened, living in total awareness, and whenever you live in total awareness you live moment to moment. You cannot plan, even for the next moment you cannot plan – because who knows, the next moment may never come! And how can you plan it beforehand, because who knows what the situation will be in the next moment? And if you plan too much you may miss it, the freshness of it.
Life is such a flux, nothing remains the same, everything moves. Heraclitus has said that you cannot step twice in the same river – how can you plan? By the time you are stepping the second time, much water has flowed, it is not the same river. Planning is possible if the past repeats itself. But the past never repeats itself, repetition never happens – even if you see something repeating itself it is just because you cannot see the whole.