Sometimes in moments of danger there is awareness; the rest of the time we are asleep. When death is close by there is awareness. Normally we are not aware. That is why we do not like to change our habits – because one has to become aware if habits are to be changed. Old habits do not need your awareness.
Look at a man: how he takes out a cigarette packet from his pocket, puts a cigarette in his mouth and lights it with a match. If you watch attentively, you will find that he is completely unaware and doing all these things almost in sleep. He has no awareness of taking the cigarette packet out, lighting the cigarette, and puffing in and out.
If the world is full of enough consciousness, it will be difficult to find such unintelligent people who do the work of inhaling and exhaling smoke for hours. And even if you ask someone to smoke a cigarette, he will say, “I am not so mad that I would inhale and exhale smoke!” Not only are people inhaling and exhaling smoke; the whole world protests, explains that it is harmful, that it causes sickness, that it will shorten your life. But these people are so unconscious, their ears do not hear.
America recently decided that on each cigarette there packet should be written in red in capital letters, “Smoking is harmful to the health.” The shopkeepers who sell cigarettes, the owners of the companies, the manufacturers, all raised so much hue and cry saying that they would run into a loss of billions. When I read all this, I said that these cigarette manufacturers do not know how unconscious people are. How long do they think people will read this warning written in red ink? Not for very long. And that is exactly what has happened. For six months the sale of cigarettes decreased, but after six months it went back to the same level as before.
The warning is now written on the packet in red – but the reader has to be there to read it. Once or twice someone reads it and then he falls asleep about it again. Cigarette packets are manufactured with the warning on them but no one reads it. The sale of cigarettes has gone back to normal again.
If it is written on something in red ink that it is poisonous, that it is dangerous to drink it, will someone with any degree of consciousness drink it? It will be difficult; everybody knows what poison is.
But it is the same situation with everything that is harmful. How many times have you decided that now you won’t be possessed by anger? How many times have you decided this and how many times have you failed to keep your vow? Not even once have you been able to maintain your resolve, because if you had, there would be no need to take it again.