Written by Naren on March 08, 2009
In a classroom filled with fifth graders, while the teacher is lecturing, some children are busy gossiping, and others drowsing. Aware of her students’ conduct, the teacher says, “Okay children; remember we learned definitions last time. I am going to see if you were paying attention.” Suddenly a pin-drop silence pervades the room, and the children glance nervously at each other. The teacher approaches a little boy, and asks, “Will you give me the definition of ‘unaware’?”
The boy thinks for a while and with a smile on his face answers, “Hm... ‘unaware.’ Oh! Yeah, it’s the very last thing that I take off before jumping into my bed.”
Surely, no one in the class is paying attention. Everyone is lost and caught up in their chit-chats; the little boy must have heard “underwear.”
Lost in the Jungle
Likewise, looking at the situation of today’s humanity it seems as if we are all living in a state of unawareness, under some kind of spell. No one is alert; no one is aware. Everyone seems lost.
When we ponder over the way we are living it is clear that we have forgotten how to live a real life. We are not aware how we have strayed from our paths and have become lost in the jungle of our mundane affairs, worries, desires, hopes, fears, sufferings, and miseries.
Life is meant to be lived in full awareness, joy, and freedom, but are we really doing so? Why are we caught up in these trivial and worldly matters, so-called ego, and material worries? Life is slipping from our grasp every moment, are we aware of this? Though each and every moment comes along filled with the fragrance of a rose flower, a melodious song of a cuckoo, a dance of a leaf in the wind, the radiance of a morning sky; we are so caught up, lost, and unaware that we continually keep on missing these wonderful moments that could be the most pleasurable experiences of our life. Life should be a song of celebration, but it turns out to be barren, dry and arid, and ultimately becomes no more than a sorrowful cry of suffering, pain, and misery. Why?
The answer is simple. Because we are lost. We are asleep, and we are not aware. A dark cloud of unawareness has covered our ability to see things in their clarity. The dust of ego has obscured the way we perceive reality. People may think that they are awake and conscious, but if one pays close attention to their actions, it shows the signs of a deep hypnotic sleep propelled by unawareness. For example, if your room is dark and cluttered, then you will undoubtedly trip on something. It is bound to happen. Similarly, your mind has become a dark dungeon where only unawareness reigns, and in that dark alley of unawareness crawls your ego, which haunts, torments, and prevents you from the sunrays of awareness. Now, with the cluttering of ego in your mind, you will trip. You will fall and fail.
The Lamp of Awareness
Just open the window and let the sunrays enter into a dark room, then there is no way you will fall or trip. All the clutter and mess will be visible to your eyes and you will, instead, start cleaning the room. Before it was dark, you couldn’t see, but now you can. Similarly, only in the presence of light will you be able to see what’s happening in your life. All the mess that you’ve created, all the webs of hopes, desires, and consolations that have been spun around you, all the impossible dreams that you have dreamed, all the entanglements that your life has been caught up in, will be apparent to you. All this will simply unfold, but only when you light the lamp of awareness in your life. It is absolutely essential, because all that is wrong in your life happens only in unconsciousness, and in unawareness.
In life, every moment is full of hurdles and dangers, as well as bliss and ecstasy; hence, it is absolutely essential for you to light the lamp of awareness, the sooner the better, before you get engulfed into the darkness of unawareness , where you will get so lost that there will be no way back. You need to be alert and watchful so that you can surpass these hurdles and make these moments, great moments of ecstasy and blissfulness.
If you are awake, if only you are a little aware, then this life is tremendously beautiful. Yes life is mysterious, but it is also miraculous. Just open your eyes, and look around, miracles are happening everywhere. Just that you are able to breathe, isn’t that a miracle unto itself. Just probe into this a little: Who is making you able to breathe? It’s not in your hands. How are you able to breathe so spontaneously? Just being alive in this world, isn’t that a greatest miracle. Everything is so available, but since we are so asleep we have been missing life continually. We have been given so much by the existence, and we simply take it for granted, and chase relentlessly the mundane things, which will never be able to fulfill us.
I am not saying that you renounce everything, and become an ascetic. My insistence is on life. No, you should not give up anything, you are perfectly okay as you are, just become a little aware, that is all that is needed. You should enjoy life to its fullest but in awareness and freedom, not running after mundane dreams, not building castles in the air or in the false comforts of others’ lies and consolations.
Just by becoming aware and conscious, you can enjoy life in its totality without having to renounce life. People may preach that having material possessions is wrong, because one day you have to leave this world empty just like the way you entered . But, you also need certain comforts in life. You need to have the basic necessities. There is no point in being spiritual or religious on a hungry stomach -- how can you be? The world has changed. We are all living in the 21st century, and we cannot strictly follow what people preached 2,000 years ago. Yet, there are some who continually keep on saying one should renounce everything. I am strongly against this nonsense. You don’t need to renounce anything at all; all you need is to be a little aware, alert and conscious of whatsoever you do. Just be watchful of your actions and that’s it. Your life will change by itself, and for the better.
For example: how many of us are aware when we go to work, or even for a morning walk? Our mind is so full of thoughts and worries. There are a thousand and one things troubling us. Deep inside, our heart is shaking; there is no inner peace and tranquility, so much confusion, so many thoughts running berserk like wild horses. Our mind is never still and relaxed. Even a morning walk, we cannot enjoy, let alone life. We are now so blinded in the race to achieve and become something or somebody that we have totally forgotten to live our own real life. We don’t even know who we are as we are constantly trying to be like others, and have ignored our own authentic individuality. We have completely forgotten the reason why we are in this world.
Clinging to attachments, and desiring to attain more, achieve more, and be better than everyone, are not helping us. In fact, these are the hindrances in our growth and happiness in life. We are ready to do anything to fulfill our ambitions and dreams. We would betray everyone and lower ourselves to the lowest level to achieve what we want. In this insane race of achieving and attaining more and more, we have completely forgotten our own worthiness, and now have become dead like a stone, with no signs of friendliness and love. Have you seen the faces of the most successful and wealthiest people? What has happened? There is no charm, no grace, and no love – they seem like a dry wilted tree. Outside they have everything, yet they are not content. They have become so hollow inside, that they have completely lost their grace and beauty. These people could stop, and enjoy life while helping others as well, but they can’t because of unawareness. And in unawareness they have become completely oblivious to the true essence of life -- which to be lived, enjoyed, and relished in full delight, bliss, and ecstasy.
Rich as an Emperor
My idea of life is rich. When I say rich, I mean to say rich in both worlds –outside and inside. This is only possible when you become more and more aware. This awareness will unfold understanding and shower you with a deep sense of contentment. You will be perfectly happy with whatsoever you have in life. Failures won’t scare you, or poverty won’t make your heart tremble. As you become more and more aware, fear and desire will disappear leaving no trace. Because then you will arrive at the understanding that there is nothing to take, there is nothing to achieve, there is nowhere to go, just being alive, and living life moment-to moment in freedom and awareness, and enjoying everything that you have is enough. Then you will start living life like an emperor, not like a grieving beggar. Yes, then your life will shine in glory, in abundance, innocence, and freedom.
So, my insistence is awareness. In all of my articles I have been stressing awareness. Because, awareness is such an existential experience that can totally transform your life. Thus, it should be a common experience, and it is absolutely possible to live a life of awareness. But you have to make an effort. Awareness has to be your very lifestyle. It should be imbibed in each and every action of your life. Imbibe means it should flow inside your blood, go deep into the very depth of your cells, and resonate from the very strings of your heart. If awareness sinks into you this way then it can bring a total transformation in you. Then you will view life differently. You will find joy and happiness even in the simplest things. Then tomorrow morning when you go to your work or on your walk, you won’t be lost in deep thoughts, instead, you could enjoy the morning walk, hear the beautiful song of the birds, the fresh cool breeze, and the warm morning rays. Yes, your vision and perspective will be totally different. The same people whom you perceived as enemies will be seen as friends. Because now the light of awareness has penetrated all through you. For instance, you bring a candle inside a dark room; it illuminates the whole room in a second. Similarly, you will illuminate the immense grace all around in such a way that you will eliminate the darkness that you used to carry with you before.
So the key in life is awareness. I would even call it a master key, because it can open all the bliss and ecstasy that could shower on you from the ultimate (the existence) in your life at this very moment. So just open your eyes. Toss that egoistic and achiever mind away. And do not complain and grumble over the miseries in your life. There is absolutely no point in crying, weeping and whining over the spilled milk. Toss the blanket of hopes and unquenchable mundane thirst away. Because that thirst is not real, that’s why it cannot be filled, and has never been filled. The real thirst is inside, and yes it can be quenched, but only through awareness and intelligence.
Be content with what you have. Because existence has given you so much abundantly. Everything is available to you as much as to the others. So do not compare and turn you life into hell. Just be grateful that you have this life. Have you ever seen the sunrise in the morning? It’s so beautiful. Do you see any discrimination there? The sun rises in the morning for everybody who is available to receive it. It doesn’t discriminate because of color, race, ethnicity, religion or nationality. It’s for all. Existence does not create discrimination, only man does. Neither a flower that spreads its fragrance discriminates. Nor the cool breeze of air or the beautiful moon that shines above your window every night. So accept these beautiful gifts from the existence with a joyful heart. But if you shut your door and hide inside your cozy comforts then you will miss these treasures. So be ready to accept which is available to you. Life belongs only to those who are courageous enough to accept whatsoever comes along in the course of life.
Life is in your hands. You can either create it or destroy it. You are your own master. You have the key. So just open your heart, and be a little aware. Life is not very complex as it may seem. Just simple understanding is needed. That’s it. No need to entangle yourself in intricate philosophies, logic and theories. Life is not a mystery that can be solved with the mind, it is a simple understanding that is just meant to be lived. And live like an emperor richly, do not get caught up in unnecessary and unquenchable desires.
Let the understanding sink deep within you, that an aware person can help others become aware as well. He can show them the way. Though he cannot transfer his inner blissfulness and immense silence to them, he can give them a glimpse, a taste, just like a candle. Even a small flame of light can illuminate a whole dark room. An aware person can guide others to move toward the ultimate source of joy that could overflow in their lives. He can move them toward the real, authentic, and awakened life, where one blossoms in his own individuality and does not hide in someone else’s false mask. Here love flowers knowing no boundaries, distinctions, and discriminations. Here hate, jealousy and a sense of competition have no place in one’s heart, and here compassion and friendliness flow like a melodious song in the very core of one’s being.
So, do not wait any longer. Right now, right here, light the lamp of intelligence and awareness, and attain the inexhaustible beauty and joy that have been offered to you by the most gracious existence so abundantly.
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