Why do we resist becoming more conscious? It seems we do everything possible to avoid it. Is there a risk that we just get stuck here forever?
“Most of the people in the world are trying to be as unconscious as possible, because what little consciousness they know is nothing but anxiety, anguish, worry. It is a torture, a tension.
“And there is no certainty that what you are deciding is the right thing, so there is a great fear, a hesitation. In the small consciousness that man has, he is always in the position of either-or – divided, split, torn apart – one part pulling in one direction, another part pulling in another direction. He is simply miserable.
It is not an accident that alcohol and other drugs, which can drown your consciousness in the vast unconscious, are as old as man.
“Thousands of times it has been impressed on man that he should drop these things. He has been punished for them – he has suffered imprisonment, fines – but these drugs give him something greater than the fear of your punishment.
“All religions are basically against drugs, all governments are basically against drugs, all educational systems are against drugs. It is very strange: everybody is against drugs; then why do drugs continue? And there is not a single individual to stand up and ask why.
“Drugs are as old as man and the effort to drop them is also as old as man, and every effort has failed – and the efforts are being made by the powers against individuals who have no power. But still they have not been able to eradicate drugs from human life.
And I don’t think they will ever be able to eradicate them, because they don’t take into account the basic cause of why man wants to be unconscious. They just go on fighting with the symptoms, which is simply stupid.
“None of the religions, none of the governments, provide the exact reason why man wants to become unconscious. In fact they could not say it even if they knew it, because it is a condemnation of their whole society. The way they have created the world is so ugly that people don’t want to be conscious. People want to become unconscious, people want to forget all about it. They are ready to take punishment, they are ready to go to jail, but they are not ready to drop drugs because, in the world that these so-called powers and so-called religions have created, it is not worth being conscious; it is simply terrible.
“And unless we change the situation…either we make the conscious life of man so beautiful, so loving, so blissful, that he would not like to become unconscious – he would like to become more conscious; or we have to make man himself completely free from all these things that can make him miserable. Then he would not like to be unconscious.
Then he would like to be more and more conscious, because the more conscious he is, the more life becomes juicy, the more life becomes an adventure, the more he comes to know of the mysteries of existence.
“He wants to become more conscious, and this longing for more consciousness will not stop until he has attained absolute consciousness – until he is pure consciousness and there is not even a small corner of darkness and unconsciousness in him, until he is full of light, just light.
“The whole history of man is a history of making man more and more unconscious, and drugs are not the only way. There are other things which make man unconscious. So it is possible that sometimes a man may not be interested in drugs, but that does not mean that he is interested in remaining conscious – he has found some other kind of drug which is not known as a drug, for example a man who is full of the lust for power. That is also a drug, but he cannot afford to be totally unconscious; he has to fight for power, and he has to remain conscious.
Politics is a drug of the same category as marijuana, LSD – perhaps more dangerous because the people who have been taking marijuana or LSD or hashish have done no harm to the world.
“They may have harmed themselves but they have not harmed anybody. But the politicians? They have done nothing but harm. The whole history is full of blood. Now, the people who have been taking marijuana and things like that, they don’t create history, they don’t create Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Nadir Shah, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler. They don’t create those kinds of monsters. Their drug is very innocent in comparison to politics.
“Somebody may be after money; money becomes almost a drug to him….
“There are people who can get addicted to money, people who can get addicted to power, but they are doing the same thing, in a little more sophisticated way, as simple people are doing by taking marijuana.
No marijuana-taking person can become Adolf Hitler – impossible. He will not find it interesting. No opium eater would bother to become a prime minister – then who will take the opium?
“I have told you about the opium addict barber, a friend of my grandfather. I had told him, ‘You are so much respected’ – that was a lie, but he enjoyed it so I don’t think there was any harm. If somebody enjoys it and feels happy, and it costs nothing…. I said, ‘You are so much respected that if you stand in the elections you can have any post you want.’
“He said, ‘That I know, but it is such a botheration; it is almost begging for votes. Moreover, when I take opium I am the emperor of the whole world. Who cares to become a cabinet minister or prime minister – with my opium I am already.’
These people have done no harm, and the people who have done harm, we don’t think of them as addicts of some kind of drug. Their drugs are very sophisticated.
“And the struggle has been that these sophisticated drug addicts have been harassing the poor drug addicts throughout history. Still they are doing the same, and they will continue to do the same. But they cannot change the situation for a simple reason: why should a person be conscious? There is nothing.
“Unconsciousness has an attraction. It helps you to forget all your worries, responsibilities. It helps you to relax. The whole world disappears, with its nuclear weapons and Ronald Reagans. That’s the reason why people have not tried to be more conscious: because the small consciousness has not given them the taste to desire more. It has been a really bitter experience; they don’t want it.
“These are the two ways: either the world becomes so beautiful that the bitterness of consciousness changes into a sweet experience – which is not going to happen, which is almost hoping against hope.
The other possibility is that individuals can increase their consciousness, and as they increase their consciousness, the bitterness disappears.
“They come upon a fresh ground which the world has not contaminated yet. The deeper they go into consciousness, the more fresh the ground, the more fresh the water, coming directly from the glaciers – and then a great longing to have it all. Then each life they will be increasing their consciousness….
“So you will not necessarily be growing just by being born again and again. You can go on moving in the same circle, never attaining any spiritual strength, any evolutionary consciousness.
But if you try in this life to become more conscious, whatever you gain will remain with you in the next life; it is never lost.
“So in the next life you can begin exactly from the place you left in the past life, because you have only changed the body – you are the same. So if something has become conscious in you, it will remain conscious in you in a new life. Everything has a fresh beginning; with nothing hanging over you, you will have more freedom to grow in consciousness.
In every life you will have more chances, more opportunities to grow. It all depends on you.”
Excerpted and abridged from Osho, The Path of the Mystic, Talk #11 – And the Wheel Moves