Is my life a movement of escaping or of participating?

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Is it possible that I may invite you maybe for another hour to be in a space that we may be with ourselves? Why I’m saying this is because most often the preferred state of most is to be in a space where they escape themselves. If we can be unaware of ourselves, of our existence, it appears to be the preferred state for most.

You might find it hard to agree with me, but do consider …

You don’t go to the movies, clubs, pubs or wherever you go to become aware of yourself. You want to go somewhere where you can be in a space to forget yourselves. Tragically, this has even become the fate of meditation. On the contrary, meditation is actually the opposite of this. But tragically this has been what so many people offer in so many ways, somewhere to go to forget you.

So I’m asking, is it possible for another hour … I understand you’ll find it hard to grasp what I’m saying. You say, “No Master, I’m aware of myself.” Do give this a chance.

The club, the pub, the football match, the horse race is so there are some moments where you can completely forget yourself and get involved in something. It’s no different than meditation nowadays, it is to be involved with something where you can forget yourself. And the tragedy of meditation is that it is almost a healthy way to forget yourself, which is not what meditation is.

So the preferred state for most people is when attention is not brought to themselves by themselves. If they can escape paying attention to themselves, that’s what we consider a holiday. So our happiness is to the depth we can forget about ourselves and be distracted.

I suspect even falling in love or romance or the initial excitement of meeting someone is the same thing. You make the other everything … actually, you have just used the other to forget about you, but don’t worry sooner or later the other will remind you. The ego is nothing but an imaginary state, created, kept real so you never have to face you because there’s a projection of you that you live out using another. So you are never there.

Do consider this for a moment.

See the absolute importance that one faces oneself not as a therapy … just a state of existing.

When we watch television and if the programme is good, we have an hour in which we forget ourselves and get involved in that and we call that entertainment, we call that rest. So it appears rest is when I forget me. This is what they mean when the ancient Masters kept saying, people are asleep. Like people become incredibly conscious of everything around us, of what happens, but they are not conscious of themselves in that environment.

We want to create a life where we never have to be there, there’s something outside of us. Maybe that is why we get involved with life and we want it to be so exciting that we never have to look at ourselves, we want to exist in deep distraction.

If you look back at your own life, you would have gone through many things and experienced many things. A question arises – did I live being aware of me or did I live in a dedication of escaping being aware of me?

I’m not saying this as an error of yours. Please understand. I’m not blaming. It seems to be the natural default of humanity, it seems to be what is lacking. In some sense you seem to be in it, in a natural phenomenon.

I go somewhere and I do something and the whole day it was such excitement, I was so involved with something and I came back and I think I had a good day, but that whole excitement was an excuse, a created situation for me not to be aware of me.

So have I concluded not to be aware of me is happiness? Or is the absence of awareness of me the source of my misery?

The nature of ego is it is very conclusive about itself and its conclusions create a situation where you never have to look at yourself because you already assume you know. That’s an ego. The ego is a conclusion lived and by that you never have to pay attention to what is here, you just have to defend that conclusion. That’s why it is quite a miracle if someone can truly be interested in meditation.

We are going to begin this way … this should be the honest way to begin, you probably are not interested in doing this but I’m saying you should be. It’s like if you go to exercise and your instructor gives you a set of routines to do, he probably must start with that line – you probably don’t want to do this, but you ought to. So can I begin not by what you want, what you like, what you’re interested in … can we begin by intelligence?

How do you know a movie is good? From the beginning till the end it grabbed your attention and you believed what was happening on screen was really happening. When I was a kid, I used to go to the cinema with my father and I’ve heard people screaming out to the actor saying, “Careful, the guy is coming with the knife at the back.” It was so real for them. At that moment they were not there, understand?

What does that lead us to? A state of being absent, a state of being unengaged, a state of non-growth. Do you see? A state of not being in contact with what is here so one is blinded about oneself … one is just an idea, a thought about oneself, not actually meeting what is here.

You see why I say this is not a therapy, a therapy has a goal – they want to fix you. Why is this not therapy? It is not about fixing, that very observation does what it needs to do because fixing is still within your intelligence. Allowing the observation to do what it must do is a greater intelligence.

In one of his last interviews I believe J. Krishnamurti said, “It’s sad I was just a mere entertainment.” And I suppose what he implied was they even used him to escape looking at them.

We must accept that’s what we are … which means there is a pain in paying attention to ourselves or we were not educated to pay attention to ourselves. Even if we look at ourselves, we want to quickly fix it and then forget all about it. You understand? We want to go in and if there’s a pain, there’s a sorrow, there’s a sadness, there is a trauma … you quickly fix it and then you forget all about it, and maybe afterwards we can go to the pub and have a pint or two. Again, I’m not condemning, I’m not … I’m just putting forth what is there.

So one becomes completely detached or unconnected to what is going on. So can I state to you that – the sum total of what I’m looking for is to distract myself from me and the distraction from me is I don’t want to participate in my own evolution.

Buddha was talking to someone and suddenly he stopped the conversation, and then he waved his hand again over his nose. So the disciple said – earlier there was a fly and you chased it away but then you stopped and you did it again. Buddha said – then I did it unaware, so I’m just doing it so I don’t escape it. It was an auto function, now I’m doing it deliberately. It is a very beautiful story.

So could it be the ego is the depth of unawareness of me? So I have to spin a story about me to give some validity to me. Could it be?

There was an explanation given, you know, which was of great significance to me. This is something Osho said and it was very beautiful, it was a turning point for something to hit home. Someone asked him a question – Osho, I don’t want to be a Buddha, I don’t want to be a superman, I don’t want to be an enlightened man and all that. Can I just be human? And that was my question at that time, I couldn’t be bothered about the rest of it. I just wanted to be me in person. And this was Osho’s answer. It was very significant. He said, the nature of man is in a limbo. He cannot go back and be an animal. He’s not an animal anymore and he’s not a Buddha yet, he’s in between and you cannot make the in-between permanent.

And that struck something very deeply in me and released something in me because I was holding back, I love just being me. He said you can’t, it’s not possible. So the dream of being a human is a futile dream. Your demand just to be human is not possible.

Could it be that we don’t want to be aware of ourselves because of the growth it demands? So could it be the entire world created every faculty for us to reject this natural thing that is happening, that we evolve from animals and we are sub-species before we become what we can be? Do consider this.

So could it be the strategy of not paying attention to me is trying to just stay like this, to escape the process? Could it be? And could it be that we waste our entire life in dedication to escape? By right real life is in the engagement of me. Could it be?

I don’t want you to consider you, I want you to consider the greater humanity. Could it be the process of evolving that happens by me watching me and never a moment taking my eyes off me, being completely aware here, participating with me in every moment … could it be incredibly painful for some and maybe we found a way to escape it, is that our civilisation? Is that what we are?

Slowly … so two directions; one direction is I don’t want to be aware. I don’t want to see me. I don’t want to face what is here. I just want to live a projection and escape.

And again, what I speak is not a commandment, what I’m speaking is not a demand, what I’m speaking is not a condemnation. What I’m speaking of is just a wish, that’s all. A suggestion. If you understand it and you want to do it, you do it not because I said you should, but because it is your right.

So could it be the key action is paying attention to me, to sit down and pay attention – I’m here too. Simirthi they call it, just being here. Every moment just being in touch with what is going on, almost being bodied if you like … without an idea of fixing, manipulating, just paying attention, being present as the backbone of the exercise of waking up to what I can be and not escaping it.

Would you agree with me on a deliberate space of action? Deliberate … That I must cultivate self-observation, not self-thinking, not therapy. Just observing myself. Just paying attention … I’m here.

I want to start a global effort and the effort is simple, I would like to have many, many, many, many places around the world in which a few of you can offer just an hour of sitting being conscious of yourself, that’s all.

And the whole understanding behind it is we are simply sitting and looking at ourselves and not making a fuss about it. Not trying to have an experience, just slowly teaching the system to be okay looking at itself, at the same time being completely aware of its surroundings.

So almost what J. Krishnamurti said – We are simply sitting together observing ourselves. Without expecting anything. We’re not trying to fix anything, it’s not therapy. Shifting the movement from escaping me as the point of living, to participating with me. I think real disappointment is you somehow instinctively know, if you didn’t then you won’t be disappointed … I could have been more. I could have been better. I could have grown. And I think that’s an instinctive knowing, right? I could have loved, I could have flowered. I could have been something.

Meditation is not looking to get something, meditation is simply me sitting watching me because I know a part of me wants to escape … so that turning. Almost every part of you doesn’t want to do this. It has to be so because you have never seen anybody do this.

So I’m putting forth an initiative and I hope many of you can volunteer and carry the burden for yourself and for others, it’s just simply sitting for an hour, paying attention to ourselves. That’s all. So we break the pattern of escaping to participating.

It’s simply sitting, considering you and considering another. It is actually the principle of Friends to Mankind. Two principles: in considering you, consider another too; may your success be the success of humanity. Without the frills, without the bells and whistles, without that whole drama. And I would like the Sweden Ashram to be a dedication to this. All year long, let it be a sanctuary that you can go sit down and pay attention to you.

In the beginning, you think it’s easy but it’s not, it takes a little bit of effort. It takes a bit of time. Just simply sitting, being with you. You will find out how difficult it is. If you don’t learn anything, if this alone I can give it to you, all else will happen through this. It’s not about thinking about me, it’s simply being in touch that I’m here, you are there and never to break that.

All it needs is … and I will quote Osho in this … is just awareness. The greater intelligence knows it, it settles it as it settles it, a natural evolution. I don’t even believe there is anything on your part to do.

You have been initiated to be distracted and being distracted is what we think happiness is. But if you have wisdom, you know that distraction is what costs the real hell. You are not there, only a thought is there.

What I want to see and we are just starting, is that in many, many, many places in the world that we simply offer this … just to sit an hour paying attention. And just sitting with you, nothing more. Don’t manipulate it. We hold the purity of it. This is the pure meditation. I’m simply sitting, watching myself and we try one hour at a time and slowly …

And one starts detecting everything one uses to escape. If you observe you will know, an hour would have passed, and you would have not been aware of you at all in that hour.

It’s a simple understanding. One path is where I move in escaping and the other path is where I move in participating. Just to hold this space for humanity to rehabilitate and understand this, this needs to be initiated because to escape is very natural.

This is the base of self-remembrance – that I change from somebody who uses life to escape me, to using life to remind me. For this you cannot wait for when you want to do this as that want will never come. It is when you allow your intelligence to act, you understand?

It’s almost like the exercise of fasting; fasting is overriding … your body wants to eat, you override it a little bit. Then they see all the benefits in fasting. And I think what fasting does is it takes away food being an escape.

So again, I’ll summarise it for you. It is an invitation, an effort, an initiation, maybe to honour Krishnamurti’s words, it’s almost the words of all Masters – simply sitting together, observing ourselves, just paying attention to ourselves.

And I spoke of this to the Fourth Discipline students yesterday, it seems not to be allowed, you’re not allowed to consider you. You must only consider yourself according to somebody else. You must only consider yourself by what is allowed by the world. I think it’s the violence of the world. We are not allowed to be considered, but that’s another topic for another day.

Now am I condemning escape? If the escape is a relief from observation, I think that is okay. You take a little break to come back to do this. By this we break the back of the ego. The ego is it doesn’t want to do this, but still pretends it’s here. That’s the ego.

I leave you with this invitation. The soul of this effort is from the line of escaping to the line of not. We are simply sitting, watching ourselves.

This article is based on a transcript from a lecture by Dhyan Vimal. The text may differ from the original lecture as minor adaptations have been made in the transcript for clarity of reading.

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