Two men were trying to commit suicide. It was a rare phenomenon: two men, by chance, arrived at the same rock from which they were going to jump into the river. They looked at each other and they said, “Strange. Have you also come here to commit suicide?”
They both said, “Yes.” So before committing suicide, there was a little conversation which changed the whole thing. The suicide never happened. They asked each other, “Why are you committing suicide?”
One said, “I loved a woman and I could not get her because she loved somebody else, and I cannot live without her.” He described the woman, he told the name of the woman, and the other man was shocked.
He said, “What are you saying? I am committing suicide because of this woman! I got married to her, and I cannot live with her. You cannot live without her; I cannot live with her. Fate has played a great game to bring us both here to this rock. Now what shall we do? Committing suicide now seems to be absolutely meaningless.” Both were right. One could not live without her. He had missed her, he could not get her. The other got her, and soon everything failed.
We are responsible for it. Everything that was beautiful turns ugly. Something that looked very charming turns out to be very bitter.
The whole problem is whether you can live without any choice. Whatever comes, enjoy it. When it goes and something else comes, enjoy it. Day is beautiful, but night is beautiful in its own way – why not enjoy both? And you can enjoy both only if you are not attached to one.
So only a choiceless person squeezes the juice of life in its totality. He is never miserable. Whatever happens he finds a way to enjoy it. And this is the whole art of life, to find a way to enjoy it. But the basic condition has to be remembered: be choiceless. And you can be choiceless only if you are alert, aware, watchful; otherwise you are going to fall into choice.
So choicelessness and awareness have different meanings in the dictionary, but not in existence.
What is Choiceless Awareness?
We all use our minds to make choices. Deciding between A or B is a constant in daily life, whether the choices are as minor as picking what to eat for lunch or as major as deciding on a profession. Therefore, choiceless awareness seems like a contradiction. It implies a state where your mind chooses for you. Instead of saying “I want this. I don’t want that,” someone in choiceless awareness becomes the silent witness to all the choices being made. What would be the good of such a state?
The good is hidden from view, because it involves a shift of focus. Instead of paying attention to “I, me, and mine,” your awareness has settled into an impersonal region that is the source of all thoughts, feelings, sensations, and images. From this source the active mind arises, but in itself there is no action. The simplest way to understand this hidden domain of the mind is by analogy. In quantum physics, the entire visible universe arises from the quantum vacuum, which appears to be nothing, in that it contains no specific activity of any kind — no matter, energy, time, or space. Having none of these things isn’t ordinary emptiness, however. Instead, the vacuum state is point zero in creation, the very source of all matter, energy, time, and space. There is infinite fullness here, once you realize that the fullness consists of pure potential.
In the same way, your mind has always depended on its own point zero, a state of possibility that is infinitely full even though you can’t point to any single quality or activity. Consider how you use language. In your lifetime there are all the sentences you have ever spoken. No one bothers to count how many these amount to, but theoretically you could. Then there are all the sentences you could ever possibly speak. These cannot be counted, because the possibilities are infinite, quite literally — the number of things that human beings will say in the future constantly expands as new words and situations arise.
The difference between everything that exists and everything that could exist marks the boundary of awareness. On one side is physical evidence; on the other is infinite potential. Both states are real. If you identify with the things in your life that already exist, you will be immersed in countless individual experiences from the moment you were born. If you identify with the domain of pure potential, you will experience yourself as the field.
This puts choiceless awareness in a new light. When aware was couched in spiritual or religious terms, the appeal of choiceless awareness came from it being a state of surrender to God’s higher power, where fear and suffering disappears as divine grace suffuses you. Field awareness comes down to an expanded sense of self.
Learning from the story Choiceless: Choiceless Awareness
When people report that their awareness has shifted, the “I” that they identify with has also shifted. It’s no longer a pinpoint focus of desire, fear, dreams, wishes, ambitions, memories, and old conditioning. Those are the apparatus of an “I” that looks upon itself as the outcome of being born and going through limited experiences as time passes. In field awareness, the “I” is unburdened of the whole apparatus. Life unfolds with more ease and effortlessness, simply by eliminating so much baggage. At the same time, now that your vision has cleared, you can rest into existence, as it were. You simply are. Your being takes care of you.
Far from being passive or aloof, field awareness is dynamic, because everything that anyone has ever achieved began at the source. Therefore, the closer you are to it, the more fulfilled your life becomes. The reason you give up choices isn’t because you want your life to be empty — quite the opposite. Choices are no longer necessary because what you need is continually provided. The amount of action that other people see you perform is irrelevant. If you enter a marathon, you will be seen running as hard as anyone else. But on the inside you will relate to every action as if it is unfolding of its own accord, without interference, worry, confusion, or doubt on your part.
To accept that choiceless awareness is real, you must experience it for yourself, which requires a journey. You move out of ego-based awareness and the whole apparatus it entails. Nothing else is really required. You can’t aim or aspire to choiceless awareness, because that’s a contradiction, like saying “I aspire to exist.” As a hidden state, choiceless awareness already exists; every mind comes from the same unbounded source. So as you distance yourself from the apparatus of the ego’s constricted state of awareness, the new state that appears happens automatically. Once you become the self that has always existed.