Just Be Alert – In Gita Verse 16.11-12 They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilization. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratiﬁcation.
Krishna says when you feel anxious, anxiety-ridden, what is one to do? What do you ordinarily do when anxiety is there? You try to solve it. You try alternatives, and you get more and more into it. You will create a bigger mess because anxiety cannot be solved through thinking. It cannot be dissolved through thinking because thinking itself is a sort of anxiety.
What can we do instead of trying to solve it – Feeling Anxious? Be Alert! Don’t do anything with anxiety. Just be alert!
I will tell you one old anecdote about Bokuju, another Zen master. He lived alone in a cave, but during the day, or even in the night, he would sometimes say loudly, “Bokuju” – his own name, and then he would say, “Yes, I am here.” And no one else was there.
Then his disciples used to ask him, “Why are you calling ‘Bokuju’, your own name, and then saying, ‘Yes sir, I am here’?”
He said, “Whenever I get into thinking, I have to remember to be alert, and so I call my own name, ‘Bokuju.’ The moment I call ‘Bokuju’ and I say, ‘Yes sir, I am here,’ the thinking, the anxiety disappears.”
Then, in his last days, for two or three years, he never called “Bokuju,” his name, and never had to reply, “Yes sir, I am here.”
The disciples asked, “Master, now you never do this.”
So he said, “But now Bokuju is always there. He is always there, and there is no need. Before I used to miss him. Sometimes the anxiety would take me, cloud me all over, and Bokuju was not there. So I had to remember ‘Bokuju,’ and the anxiety would disappear….”
Try your name. When you feel deep anxiety, just call your name – not “Bokuju” or any name, but your name – and then reply to it, “Yes sir, I am here,” and feel the difference. Anxiety will not be there. At least for a single moment you will have a glimpse beyond the clouds, and that glimpse can be deepened. Once you know that if you become alert, anxiety is not there, it disappears; you have come to a deep knowing of your own self and the mechanism of inner working.
How to become an observer of your anxiety and liberate yourself: Become an observer of the currents of thought that flow through your consciousness. Just like someone sitting by the side of a river watching the river flow by, sit by the side of your mind and watch. Or just as someone sits in the forest and watches a line of birds flying by, just sit and watch. Or the way someone watches the rainy sky and the moving clouds, you just watch the clouds of thoughts moving in the sky of your mind. The flying birds of thoughts, the flowing river of thoughts in the same way, silently standing on the bank, you simply sit and watch. It is the same as if you are sitting on the bank, watching the thoughts flowing by. Don’t do anything, don’t interfere, don’t stop them in any way. Don’t repress in any way. If there is a thought coming don’t stop it, if it is not coming don’t try to force it to come. You are simply to be an observer….
In that simple observation you will see and experience that your thoughts, anxiety and you are separate – because you can see that the one who is watching the thoughts, anxiety is separate from the thoughts, anxiety, different from them. And you become aware of this, a strange peace will envelop you because you will not have any more worries. You can be in the midst of all kinds of worries but the worries will not be yours. You can be in the midst of many problems but the problems will not be yours. You can be surrounded by thoughts but you will not be the thoughts…
Krishna says if you become aware that you are not your thoughts, anxiety, the life of these thoughts, anxiety will begin to grow weaker, they will begin to become more and more lifeless. The power of your thoughts, anxiety lies in the fact that you think they are yours. When you are arguing with someone you say, “My thought is”. No thought is yours. All thoughts are different from you, separate from you. You just be a witness to them.Tags: Just Be Alert