Buddha was speaking one evening. An emperor had come to listen to his discourse. He was sitting just opposite to Buddha. While listening to Buddha, the emperor kept shaking his big toe. Buddha stopped speaking and started staring at the emperor’s toe. The emperor became conscious, uncomfortable and embarrassed. People around him started wondering what was happening.
The emperor realized that Buddha had noticed his twitching toe so he immediately stopped doing it. Buddha started speaking again. After a while, the emperor started shaking his toe again.
We have seen many such people shaking their legs sitting on the chair, scratching here and there, they keep doing something or the other. They are not conscious of what they are doing.
Buddha again stopped speaking. The emperor was now really uncomfortable. His minister was sitting next to him, his queen on the other side. Emperor felt that it was becoming a real embarrassment. He said to Buddha why he stops speaking and starts staring at his toe? Buddha said, “I am wondering why your thumb is twitching. Give me an answer and I will stop staring at it.”
Emperor said, “Honestly, I do not know. When you stop speaking and start staring at my toe, only then I realize that it was moving. And I immediately stop doing it. Then again, I forget, and the toe starts twitching again.”
Buddha asked if this toe was his or someone else’s? It’s your toe and you don’t even realize that it’s shaking??? By this logic, one day you may even kill someone and say that it was your hand but you didn’t realize that it acted.
It’s important to be aware of the body. Walk with the awareness that you are walking, sit with the awareness that you sat. One has to bring the intensity and depth of awareness in life that even while you are asleep, you are aware of your movements. When you come to a point where you realize that your body was sleeping but you are awake, that is the point where you have crossed the first stage of self-awareness.
How do I stay aware, alert? – मै भला होश में कैसे रहूं?
Osho says, If you are having dinner, then being aware or alert is not a different activity that it will hamper eating. But if I tell you that you have dinner and run…then you could do only one thing – either you eat or you run. You can’t do both. Being aware is not another parallel activity. One can eat while being alert or otherwise.
The meaning of being alert is that while having dinner your total attention is on having food. If your mind loiters anywhere else, then you are eating unconsciously. For example, you are eating dinner and the mind goes into office. Your body is on dining table while your mind is in the office. So, you are neither at the office because you are not there physically and nor you are on the dining table as your mind is not there. So, the dinner that you are eating is in your unconscious state of mind.
“Being aware” is the process to break this unconsciousness. As if the whole world has dissolved and you are only concentrating on this small activity with total awareness when you are making and picking up a bite, placing it in your mouth, chewing it, gulping it with total awareness. Your entire concentration is on eating and nowhere else.
As you do your activities with total awareness, the ability to execute that task improves. If you are doing work at office with total concentration then your ability will increase, stamina will improve, output will grow, above all you will not feel tired and you will save energy to do more. You will return from work fresh.
Because when body does something and mind does something else, it triggers tension between them and this tension is fatigue which breaks you. When your mind and body are in sync, you will observe that while you are playing any game, you become fresh and feel energetic. Actually, you may spend more energy while playing but still you feel rejuvenated. It sounds very contradictory. When you are playing badminton or swimming or running in the garden with your kids, you are spending energy but still you feel good and fresh.
And if this activity is assigned to you as work, you will feel tired. There is one significant difference between work and play is that your entire concentration is present while you play but that may not be the case while you work. Hence if you appoint someone to play with your kids then he will feel tired after play. Then it is no more a play for him but work. People who are wise, will make their work also a play.
The meaning of play is that whatever you are doing, you are totally involved, fully focused and with total joy that you think there is nothing more enjoyable beyond this activity. Will improve your skills and efficiency. Many would misunderstand awareness with something that you do per force and try to concentrate then you will be tired as whatever you do forcefully becomes work.
One should not make things difficult by creating pressure on oneself to be aware. Slowly and steadily let it happen as you practice and not to feel guilty about it if initially you fail. Whenever you remember, concentrate again, and do not feel worried if you forget.
If you have decided to do your activities with total awareness, you may fail initially, it may take years to practice the same as it is difficult to be aware and conscious even for a fraction. You may decide that I will walk in total awareness and after taking just two steps you may lose that concentration. Don’t ever feel guilty for it as we have practiced unconscious behaviour for many many years. No sooner you realize that you are again walking unconsciously, bring the focus joyfully back and continue walking. Don’t ever feel guilty and slide in self-pity that you are incapable of being aware all the time, it might only be possible for great souls like Mahavir but not me. Please don’t think that way as possibly Mahavir would have faced the same difficulties when he would have started on this journey. Mahavir is standing at the end of this journey and you are still at the beginning.
When a toddler tries to walk and if he sees you walking straight on two feet and think that it will not ever be possible for him to walk like you. You all have started the same way. You also would have walked two steps and fallen and started crawling again with two hands and legs. Just get up when you realize that you lost your awareness and start walking consciously with joy. Do not waste energy in feeling let down or guilty that you slipped into unconsciousness. Immediately start focusing again…even if you could stay aware for 24 fractions in 24 hours, slowly you will improve on the awareness and that child who is thinking today that its impossible to walk on two legs will soon start walking effortlessly…you have the potential to be Mahavir.
One day Buddha was walking — it must have been just before he was enlightened – with a disciple. He had gathered a few disciples even before he became enlightened, because a light had started spreading — just as early in the morning, the sun has not risen yet, but the sky becomes red, and the earth becomes full of light. The sun is just going to rise above the horizon.
Just before Buddha became enlightened, he had five disciples. He was walking with those five disciples; a fly sat on his head. He was talking to the disciples; without paying much attention, mechanically he moved his hand, the fly went away. Then he stopped, closed his eyes. The disciples could not understand what was happening, but they all became silent — something precious was happening.
His face became very luminous, and he raised his hand v…e…r…y slowly, and again moved it near his forehead as if the fly was Sitting there. It was not there anymore. The disciples asked, “What are you doing? The fly is no more there.”
He said, “But now I am moving my hand consciously — that time I did it unconsciously. I missed an opportunity of being conscious. I was too much engaged in talking with you and the hand simply moved mechanically. It should have moved consciously. Now I am moving it as it should have moved.”
This is the path of virtue: to become so alert that even small acts, even small gestures, movements, all become full of awareness.
Osho: Philosophia Perennis, Vol 1: Chapter #6: Chapter title: Logos: Power: Necessity (Excerpts) and two video talks by Osho.
यूं ही चलता रहूं तो भटकने का डर भी रहता है
थोड़ा संभल जाऊं तो चलने का मझा भी पाउँगा ।
Yun hi Chalta rahun to bhatakne ka darr bhi reheta hai
Thoda sambhal jaun to chalne ka majha bhi paunga.
I fear I may stray from my path if I keep walking
with a bit of awareness, I might enjoy the ride as well.
Written in the 16th century by the poet Goswami Tulsidas (गोस्वामी तुलसीदास). The bhajan glorifies Shri Rama and his characteristics during the childhood and even His struggle while taking the first few steps. I love this beautiful bhajan which was sung by Lata Mangeshkarji. Another version was sung by Anup Jalota ji, is here for us to enjoy. (455) ठुमक चलत रामचंद्र Bhajan with Lyrics | Anup Jalota | राम भजन | Tulsidas Bhajan 2021 – YouTube