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Osho - Awareness is a process of being more and more awake

Question - Beloved Osho, I have no idea about what 'Right Awareness' is. How to judge that I am going in the right direction?

Osho - There is no right awareness because there is no possibility of wrong awareness. Awareness is right. So first, drop the wrong question. Once you are asking a wrong question to yourself you cannot get the right answer. Don't ask what is right awareness. Simply ask what is awareness. Your question gives the fallacious impression that you know what awareness is, that the only thing that you don't know is, what is right awareness and what is not right awareness. Erase that fallacy completely from your mind.

Awareness is simple, very innocent. Everyone has it, so it is not a question of achievement. One wrong question leads to another wrong question: first you ask what right awareness is, then you ask how to achieve it. You already have it. When you see the sunset, are you not aware? When you see a roseflower, are you not aware? You are aware of the beautiful sunset, you are aware of the beautiful rose; all that is needed is that you become aware of your awareness, too. That is the only thing that has to be added, the only refinement. You are aware of objects. You have to be aware of your subjectivity.

When you are looking at a sunset, you are so absorbed in the beauty of the sunset that you completely forget that there is a greater beauty which is making it possible for you to know the beauty of the sunset -- it is your awareness. But your awareness is focused on an object -- the sunset, the sunrise, the moon. Drop the object and just remain engulfed in pure awareness, in silence, in peace. Just be alert.

I am reminded of one of the most beautiful stories that I have come across in my life. A king in Japan sends his son to a mystic, to a master, to learn awareness. The king was old. And he said to the son, "Put your total energy into it because unless you are aware, you are not going to succeed me. I will not give this kingdom to a man who is asleep and unconscious. It is not a question of father and son. My father has given it to me only when I attained awareness. I was not the right person, because I was not his eldest son, I was his youngest son. But my other two brothers, who were older than me, could not attain.

"The same is going to happen to you. And the problem is even more complicated because I have only one son: if you do not attain to awareness, the kingdom is going into somebody else's hands. You will be a beggar on the streets. So it is a question of life and death for you. Go to this man; he has been my master. Now he is very old, but I know that if anybody can teach you, he is the man. Tell him, `My father is sick, old, can die any day. Time is short, and I have to become fully aware before he dies; otherwise I lose the kingdom.'"

A very symbolic story too: If you are not aware, you lose the kingdom.
The king's son went to the old master in the mountains. He said to the master, "I have been sent by your disciple, the king."

The master was very old, older than his father. He said, "I remember that man. He was really an authentic seeker. I hope you will prove to be of the same quality, of the same genius, of the same totality, of the same intensity."
The young prince said, "I will do everything."

The master said, "Then start cleaning in the commune. And remember one thing -- that I will be hitting you at any time. You may be cleaning the floor and I may come from the back and hit you with my stick, so be alert."
He said, "But I have come to learn about awareness...."
The master said, "This is how you will learn."

One year passed. In the beginning he was getting so many hits every day, but slowly slowly he started becoming aware. Even the footsteps of the old man... he might be doing anything -- howsoever absorbed in the work, he would become immediately aware that the master was around. The prince would be ready. After one year the master hit him from the back while he was deeply involved in talking with another inmate of the ashram. But the prince continued to talk, and still he caught hold of the stick before the stick could reach his body.

The master said, "That's right. Now this is the end of the first lesson. The second lesson begins tonight."
The prince said, "I used to think that this was all. This is only the first lesson? How many lessons are there?"

The old man said, "It depends on you. The second lesson is that now I will be hitting you while you are asleep, and you have to be alert in your sleep."
He said, "My God. How can one be alert in sleep?"
The old man said, "Don't be worried. Thousands of my disciples have passed through the test. Your father has passed through the test. It is not impossible. It is difficult, but it is a challenge."

And from that night he was getting hit six times, eight times, twelve times in the night. Sleep was difficult. But within six months he started feeling inside himself a certain awareness. And one day when the master was just going to hit him, with closed eyes he said -- "Don't bother. You are too old. It hurts me; you are taking so much trouble. I am young, I can survive these hits."

The master said, "You are blessed. You have passed the second lesson. But up to now I have been hitting with my wooden staff. The third lesson is that now I will start hitting, from tomorrow morning, with a real sword. Be alert! Just a moment of unconsciousness and you are finished."

Early in the morning the master used to sit in the garden, just listening to the birds singing... the flowers opening, the sun rising. The prince thought, "Now it is becoming dangerous! A wooden stick was hard, difficult, but it was not going to kill me. A real sword...." He was a swordsman but he was not given any chance to protect himself; only awareness was going to be his protection.

An idea came to his mind: "This old man is really dangerous. Before he starts his third lesson, I would like to check whether he himself can pass the third test or not. If he is putting my life at risk, I cannot allow him to do it without checking whether he is worthy of it or not." And these were only thoughts that he was thinking lying down in his bed; it was a cold morning.

And the master said, "Come out of your blanket, you idiot! Do you want to hit your own master with a sword? Feel ashamed! I can hear the footsteps of your thoughts... drop the idea." He had heard. Nothing was said to him, nothing was done to him. Thoughts are also things. Thoughts also, while moving, make sounds, and those who are fully alert can read your thoughts. Even before you have become aware of them, they can become aware of them. The prince was really ashamed. He fell at the feet of the master and he said, "Just forgive me. I am really stupid."

But because it was a question of a sword, a real sword, he became aware of everything around him, even his own breathing, his heartbeat. Just a small breeze passing through the leaves, a dead leaf moving in the wind, and he was aware. And the master tried a few times but found him always ready. He could not hit him with the sword because he could not find him unconscious, unalert. He was just alertness. It was a question of death -- you cannot afford to be anything but alert.

In three days' time the master could not find a single moment, a single loophole. And after the third day he called him and told him, "Now you can go and tell your father -- and this is the letter from me -- that the kingdom is yours."

Awareness is a process of being more and more awake. Whatever you are doing, you can do it like a robot, mechanically. Just watch: the way you are walking, is it alert or just a mechanical habit?

A man was brought to me and he was really in a great mess because he was a professor and he walked like a woman -- which is a miracle. It is not easy to walk like a woman, because to walk like a woman you need a womb. Only the womb helps you to move in a certain way, otherwise you cannot.

But by some freak of nature he was walking this way from his very childhood. And because everybody was laughing and telling him that this was bad, he was trying hard not to move like that. But the more he made the effort, the more it became impossible. It became a deep-rooted habit.

He was a talented person, a good teacher. And in the university he was a laughingstock wherever he would go. Whoever would see him walking was bound to laugh -- "Look at this man!" He was given psychoanalytic treatment, he was taken to other therapists; nothing worked.

Somebody suggested me. His parents brought him to me and I said, "Do one thing. In front of me, consciously, try to walk like a woman."
He said, "What are you saying? That is my PROBLEM!"
I said, "You forget the problem. You simply walk in front of me, with full consciousness, with as much grace as possible, like a woman."
He looked at his parents. He said, "Where have you brought me? I want to get rid of it, and this man seems to be a trainer!"
But the parents said, "There is no harm, just try. Who knows? He has some secret idea behind it -- you try."

Forced, he tried -- and he could not walk like a woman because now he was trying to walk consciously. He was surprised, he could not believe it. He said, "My whole life I was trying not to walk like a woman but it was an unconscious effort... because people were laughing."

I told him, "If you want to get rid of it, wherever you go remember: you have to walk consciously like a woman. In the university, in the city, in any club -- wherever you go, walk consciously like a woman."
After three years he met me and he said, "In these three years it has not happened. I have been trying my best."
I said, "Go on trying, because in that very effort is your alertness."

People come to me -- they want to drop smoking and they have tried thousands of times. And again, after a few hours the urge is so much: their whole body, their whole nervous system is asking for the nicotine. Then they forget all the religious teachings that "You will fall into hell." They are ready, because who knows whether hell exists or not? But right now they can't live in this hell; they can't think of anything else but cigarettes.

I have told these people, "Don't stop smoking. Smoke consciously, lovingly, gracefully; enjoy it as much as you can. While you are destroying your lungs, why not destroy them as beautifully and gracefully as possible? And these are your lungs, it is nobody else's business. And I promise you there is no hell -- because you have not harmed anybody, you have just harmed yourself; and you have paid for it. You are not stealing cigarettes, you are paying for them. Why should you go to hell? You are suffering already."
Somebody is suffering from tuberculosis. The doctors are telling somebody, "You stop; otherwise cancer is absolutely certain to happen to you, you are preparing the ground." What more hell?

But when you have decided to do it and when you cannot restrain yourself from doing it then do it aesthetically, consciously, religiously. They will listen to me and will think, "This man must be mad. What is he saying -- RELIGIOUSLY?"
And I will teach them how to take the packet from the pocket consciously, slowly. Open the packet, take the cigarette consciously -- watch, look around. It is such a beautiful thing! You love it so much, you should give it a little time, a little attention.

Then light it; watch the smoke, be alert as the smoke goes inside you. You are doing a great job: pure air is available free; to pollute it you are wasting money, hard earned -- enjoy it to the full. The warmth of the smoke, the smoke going in, the coughing -- be alert! Make beautiful rings, they all go towards heaven. You cannot go to hell; even your smoke is going to heaven, how can you go to hell? Just enjoy it. And I forced them: "Do it in front of me so I can be satisfied."

They will say, "It looks so awkward. It looks so stupid, what you are saying."
I said, "This is the only way, if you want one day to be free from this urge."
And they will do it, and they will say to me, "This is strange, that for the first time I was only a watcher. I was not smoking -- perhaps the mind, perhaps the body, but I was simply watching it."

I said, "You have got the key. Now be watchful, and smoke as much as you can because the more you smoke the more watchful you will be. Smoke in the day, smoke in the night, in the middle of the night when you wake up. Don't miss the chance, smoke. Don't bother about your doctors, your wife; don't bother about anybody. Just take care of one thing: remain alert. Make it an art."

And hundreds of people have found that the urge disappeared. The cigarette is gone, the cigar is gone. Even the desire... looking back, they cannot believe that they were in such bondage. And the only key to get out of the imprisonment was awareness. You have the awareness, it is just that you have not applied it. So apply it so it becomes more and more sharp. Without application it has gathered dust. In any act -- walking, eating, drinking -- whatever you are doing, make it a point that side by side a current of awareness will always remain running. And your whole life will start having a religious fragrance. And all awareness is right, and all unawareness is wrong.

Source - from Osho Book "The Osho Upanishad"

Related Osho Discourses:
By becoming more aware, one becomes more aware
What is the relationship between Let-Go and Witnessing?
What is the Difference between Awareness and Witnessing?
Are Witnessing and Sensitivity two sides of the same coin?
Awareness is not part of the mind. It flows through the Mind
What is Awareness? Why is it Lost, and how can it be regained?
Osho - Just by witnessing, identification disappears, not the mind
Awareness can be attained only by doing, not by thinking about it
All that you need is just to be Watchful and nothing will affect you
You are neither the heart nor the mind. You are a pure Consciousness
Awareness is a Transforming Force, it does not repress but it Transforms

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