Being fully alive
When you talk to someone, are you aware of it or are you simply identifying with it? When you got angry with somebody, were you aware that you were angry or were you simply identifying with your anger? Later, when you had the time, did you study your experience and attempt to understand it? Where did it come from? What brought it on? The only way to awareness is to change what you understand. What you do not understand and are not aware of, you repress. You don’t change. But when you understand it, it changes.
If you are gifted with divine grace and suddenly understand who “I” is, you’ll never be the same again, never. Nothing will ever be able to touch you again and no one will ever be able to hurt you again.
You will fear no one and you will fear nothing. You’ll live like a king or queen with no concern about getting your picture in the newspapers or having a lot of money. You fear no one because you’re perfectly content to be nobody. You don’t give a damn about success or failure. It means nothing. Honor, disgrace, mean nothing! If you make a fool of yourself, that means nothing. The quality of your life changes. You’re different. You react differently. In fact, you react less and act more. You see things you’ve never seen before. Get rid of your
fear of failure, your tensions about succeeding, you will be yourself. Relaxed.
That’s being fully alive. “The glory of God is a human being fully alive.” That’s what life is all about and it can only come from awareness. In awareness you will understand that honor doesn’t mean a thing. It’s a social convention, that’s all. That’s why the mystics and the prophets didn’t bother about it. Honor or disgrace means nothing. Success or failure means nothing.
The three most difficult things for a human being are not physical feats or intellectual achievements. They are, first, returning love for hate; second, including the excluded; third, admitting that you are wrong. But these are the easiest things in the world if you haven’t identified with the “me.” You can say things like “I’m wrong! If you knew me better, you’d see I’m wrong a lot. I haven’t identified with these aspects of “me,” you can’t hurt me. Initially, the old conditioning will kick in and you’ll be depressed and anxious. You’ll grieve, cry, and so on. “Before enlightenment, I used to be depressed: after enlightenment, I continue to be depressed.” But there’s a difference: I don’t identify with it anymore. Do you know what a big difference that is?
You step outside of yourself and look at that depression, and don’t identify with it. You don’t do a thing to make it go away; you are perfectly willing to go on with your life while it passes through you and disappears. It’s a paradox.
Let it come in, because the more you fight it, the more power you give it. You’re willing to observe it as it passes by. You can be happy in your anxiety. You can be happy in your depression. But you can’t have the wrong notion of happiness. Did you think happiness was excitement or thrills? That’s what causes the depression. Didn’t anyone tell you that? You’re thrilled, all right, but you’re just preparing the way for your next depression. You’re thrilled but you pick up the anxiety behind that: How can I make it last? That’s not happiness, that’s addiction.
Don’t look down your nose at the alcoholics and the drug addicts: maybe you’re just as addicted as they are. Once you get this new way of being, you’ll understand what it means to be alone, with nowhere to rest your head, to leave everyone free and be free yourself, to be special to no one and love everyone. Because love shines on good and bad alike; it makes rain fall on saints and sinners alike.
We were blinded by what culture calls love. That isn’t love at all, that’s desire and control and possessiveness. It’s manipulation, and fear, and anxiety, not love. Happiness isn’t good looks and money, but we convince ourselves happiness depends on other things, both within us and outside us. There’s only one reason why you’re not experiencing bliss at this present moment, and it’s because you’re thinking or focusing on what you don’t have. Right now you have everything you need to be in bliss.
There’s only one evil in the world, fear. There’s only one good in the world, love. It’s sometimes called by other names. It’s sometimes called happiness or freedom or peace or joy or God or whatever. But the label doesn’t really matter. And there’s not a single evil in the world that you cannot trace to fear. Ignorance caused by fear, that’s where all the evil comes from, that’s where your violence comes from. The person who is truly nonviolent is fearless. It’s only when you’re afraid that you become angry. Think of the last time you were angry and search for the fear behind it. What were you afraid of losing? What were you afraid would be taken from you? That’s where the anger comes from. Think of an angry person can you see how frightened he or she is? They’re really frightened or they wouldn’t be angry. Ultimately, there are only two things, love and fear.
If observe when there is something happening to you, to see it as if it were happening to someone else, with no comment, no judgment, no attitude, no interference, no attempt to change, only to understand, you’ll begin to realize that increasingly you are dis-identifying from “me.” If someone else has cancer and I don’t know the person, I’m not all that affected. If I had love and sensitivity, maybe I’d help, but I’m not emotionally affected. If you have an examination to take, I’m not all that affected. I can be quite philosophical about it and say, “Well, the more you worry about it, the worse it’ll get. Why not just take a good break instead of studying?” But when it’s my turn to have an examination, well, that’s something else, isn’t it? The reason is that I’ve identified with “me”—with my family, my country, my possessions, my body, me. How would it be if God gave me grace not to call these things mine? I’d be detached; I’d be dis-identified. That’s what it means to lose the self, to deny the self, to die to self.